Another Day, Another Life
Chapter 1: Sound of a Boy Hatching
Cain hated school. He really did. He hated having to go to a building full of idiots. At least he considered them to be idiots. Even the teachers were idiots. Sure, they knew stuff, they could teach from a textbook and they knew information; yet they were idiots in that they lacked imagination, common sense, and ingenuousness. Cain was of the opinion that idiocy begat idiocy, and it was also a contagious disease. Thus he distanced himself from the other people at school. The girls thought he was cute and doted upon him, but he mostly blew them off. The boys tried to be his friend, but when they noticed his apathy toward their advances they quit trying to be so friendly. The teachers knew he was brilliant, so they didn't hassle him much. When called on in class, Cain usually answered with an intentionally wrong answer, so after a time the teachers got the hint and stopped calling on him. "What is osmosis, Cain?" they would ask. "George Washington." he'd reply. He got A's so none of them really cared about his classroom antics. Cain was just that cool kid in his own little world, too involved with it to pay any attention to others.
At the moment, Cain was in class with his chemistry book propped up onto the desk with a book on flowers hidden behind it. Not happy flowers either, it was a book on the most dangerous plants in the world. Cain had this morbid fascination with dangerous plants and the poisons that could be made from them. He considered chemistry a boring subject and did not care to listen to any of the lectures, but when the tests were passed out he still managed to get an A, so he spent most of his time in class reading Edgar Allan Poe or books on man-eating plants or something. He also enjoyed books on real-life murder mysteries, like the Black Dahlia or the Jack the Ripper murders. Cain loved books, so he read constantly. He never watched TV and he never listened to the radio. While Cain was intent on reading about poppy plants, the teacher droned on and on about how one balances two elemental formulas. Riveting stuff.
"Excuse me. Sorry I'm late," came a new voice from the doorway of the classroom.
The unexpected intrusion caused everyone in class to break from their individual preoccupations and look up at the new kid standing in the doorway. Even Cain broke away from his book and looked up at the new kid. "Oh, you must be the transfer student." the teacher greeted the boy.
"Yes, I am." The boy replied curtly as he came to stand at the front of the room.
Cain inspected the new kid with his scrutinizing gaze. He took in the tall, thin frame and hair so pale it looked white. The boy was his age, about 17 or 18. His hair was neat even if it was a bit long and rakishly strewn around his head. His clothes, a pair of khaki pants and a white oxford shirt, were neatly pressed and creased. He looked like the kind of person who was impeccable in his appearance, and Cain was sure that he would wear a tie if it wasn't so un-cool to do so. The boy stood there with his perfect posture and pressed clothes and talked to the teacher quietly in a refined voice. What Cain was most interested in was his face. The kid had a handsome face with classical features. He looked like a Greek Koros with his smooth pale skin, wide, full lips, thin nose, high arched eyebrows and icy blue eyes shaded by thick eyelashes. His features gave him an air of adultness, he seemed more mature and more a man than most of his peers. Cain was impressed by his aura and the fact that the man was absolutely gorgeous.
The teacher turned to his students. "Class, this is a new transfer student. His name is Riffiel Raffit." The teacher looked around the classroom for an vacant seat. "There is an empty desk next to Cain's, why don't you sit there? Cain, why don't you raise your hand so Riffiel knows where to go?"
Cain lifted his hand a bit. Riffiel caught the motion while telling the teacher, "Please, call me Riff."
Ice blue eyes met golden green as the two boys made eye contact. Riff made his way to the seat and glanced over at Cain. "Hi there. I'm Riff. Pleased to meet you." he said while giving the other boy a small smile.
"Cain Hargreaves." Cain replied curtly.
"Wow! Cain actually gave someone a straight answer!" the boy behind Cain chirped up in surprise. A few nearby students snickered a bit.
Cain rolled his eyes and went back to reading his book. Throughout class he kept glancing over at Riff who appeared to be taking notes on the teacher's lecture. At one point, for a second, their eyes met again.
Soon the bell rang and Cain scooped up his things immediately and rushed out of the classroom without another word.
The school was big and almost maze-like. Riff had trouble finding his way around so he was practically late to every one of his classes. His first two classes he couldn't even go to since he had to go through registration and orientation in the school office. He hated being late to anything, even classes. He had caught the second half of his chemistry class and had just gotten out of a history class. It was his lunch period now and he had fifty minutes to kill. He wandered into the lunch room and grabbed a bottle of water and an apple from the cafeteria. He looked around the room and did not see any familiar faces from any of his classes. He hoped that maybe he had the same lunch period as the kid from his chemistry class, but he couldn't see the smaller boy anywhere.
With no where to go and nothing to do, Riff wandered out the door and into the sunny outdoors. It was spring, so the weather was sunny but not too hot. Riff did not have any destination in mind so he wandered around the building while he ate his apple. On the North side of the building there was a graveyard. Riff had seen it on his way driving to school that morning. He stood at the North side of the building and looked over to the graveyard. He finished his apple and threw the core over under a nearby tree. He thought while he sipped at his water.
"I probably shouldn't leave school grounds," he thought out loud to himself. Riff had a habit of doing that, so he wasn't really aware of it. "I am probably not even supposed to be outside of the school building." He finished his water and tossed the bottle into a trashcan close by. "I would hate to get into trouble on my first day of school." Riff looked over at the graveyard and felt an undeniable urge to go in there. He sighed. "Oh well."
Riff walked quickly across the lawn to the iron fence separating the school yard from the graveyard. He quickened his pace as he approached the fence, planted his hands on the upper rail, and easily vaulted the obstacle by swinging his long legs up and over to the other side of the fence. Riff was a pretty athletic person even though he didn't play any sports. He had played football when he was younger and enjoyed boxing, but no high schools had boxing as an extra-curricular activity. Riff wandered around down the row of graves. While he had no particular destination in mind, his subconscious seemed to propel him toward some unknown destination. Before he knew it, he had come across the old part of the graveyard with the large, expansive graves and mausoleums.
As Riff wandered down a row of large gravestones he saw a familiar figure up ahead. Spread out on one of the concrete slabs covering a particular gravebed was Cain, the boy from his Chemistry class. Riff approached quietly as he looked at the smaller boy. Cain was laying on the concrete slab with his face and shoulders in the shade of the large gravestone. His eyes were closed as if he were sleeping, and he had a book lying on his stomach open. He looked like a statue lying there with one of his arms behind his head, the other hand across the book on his stomach, and one of his knees bent so his foot was planted on the concrete. Riff took the opportunity to really look at the boy, noting his black hair grown long and layered around his jaw line that was falling haphazardly wherever it wished. His clothes were breathtaking in a way. Cain's slim-fitting leather pants and his white poet shirt with billowy sleeves were completed by a pair of chunky black boots and a studded belt. With the way he was laying with his shirt unbuttoned a bit at the top and the hem pushed up a bit to expose a pale sliver of stomach, Riff felt almost like a pervert as he gazed at the boy's small, slim body. Instead he looked at the boy's face with the pale, smooth skin. He almost looked like a girl. His lips were small and pink, and he had a delicate nose. His eyes were closed so Riff could only see his long, thick lashes and his plucked and arched eyebrows; but he could remember the boy's striking cat-eyes from his earlier encounter with him. Cain looked completely relaxed with a small smile playing across his delicate lips. Riff soon noticed that he was staring.
Prying his eyes away from the boy's beautiful face with it's placid expression, Riff looked at the title of the book in his hand. It was Spoon River Anthology. Riff looked away from the boy and up at the sky, he didn't want to disturb the kid but he wanted to talk to him. As Riff watched the clouds pass by in the sky he felt like eyes were on him. Without turning his head, he looked down and over to the boy lying on the gravebed. Cain was looking up at the larger boy with half-lidded eyes. "Nice weather today, isn't it?" Riff greeted him.
"So it seems." Cain replied, sitting up and resting on his arms stretched out behind him; but not looking at the sky, but rather at Riff with that cool half-lidded expression.
Riff averted his eyes up to the sky. "The weather was so nice, I decided to take a walk around outside… and I came upon you here…" he said, as if he needed an explanation of why he was in the smaller boy's company.
"Normal people don't take walks in graveyards in order to enjoy the nice weather." Cain said coolly.
Riff turned to face the boy. "Normal people also don't nap on other people's graves either." Their eyes locked again and Riff found himself unable to look away.
"What are you staring at? Are my eyes very strange?" Cain demanded.
"You have golden eyes…" Riff offered him, still not able to look away. He felt like he had had this conversation before. "Are you reading that?" he asked, his eyes flitting to the book that had fallen next to the boy.
"Yeah. I have read it a few times actually."
"I particularly like 'Edmund Pollard'" Riff offered.
Cain's eyes grew wide. "That's my favorite too." he said softly while looking at the taller boy.
Riff smiled at the boy. "Well, Edgar Lee Masters is a great poet. I love his free verse style, it is so simplistic yet requires one to ponder on the meaning of his words."
Cain giggled. Riff looked at the boy in surprise. "You said 'requires one to ponder,'" Cain explained.
"Is that bad?" Riff asked.
"No, I just thought that I was the only one who said things like that." Cain replied. Riff looked a bit puzzled so Cain changed the subject. "I like your name. Raffiel… It sounds like the name of an angel. It's so archaic. Of course, I like Riff too. I just rolls off your tongue…"
Riff stared at Cain. Cain arched an eyebrow at him, waiting for him to reply. "I like your name too. Cain… it has a sweet ring to it." he finally said.
"Yeah, but it doesn't roll off your tongue, does it now?"
"Do you want it to sir?"
The two boys stared at each other, their eyes wide. They each contemplated the other, the conversation, and it's implied meaning. From far away the school bell echoed throughout the graveyard. "That's the school bell," Cain said, snapping out of his thoughts. "You better go to class."
"What about you?" Riff asked.
"I have a study hall next, which I hardly go to anyway. No one cares if I'm there or not." Cain replied.
"Fine." Riff said while turning to walk away. On a second thought, he turned around and looked at Cain. "Do you come here everyday? Is this your lunch period too?"
"Yes, and only on the days when the weather is nice." he said.
"Is it okay if I meet with you here again, if the weather is nice?"
"Yes." Cain replied softly.
"Good then." Riff called out as he began to jog down the row of graves. He vaulted over the fence again and hurried to his next class.
Cain watched the tall man until he was out of sight. He was actually quite bemused with himself. He had actually giggled. Cain never giggled. He thought Riff was actually a pretty interesting fellow. Cain could see quite plainly that Riff was not an idiot. He liked that. Cain laid back onto the concrete slab and closed his eyes. He looked forward to seeing the other man again the next day.
The night air was chilly but Riff did not seem to mind. He was twenty-two and had just come to the Hargreaves household. After a day of orientations around the estate, he found himself wandering the grounds. He had been carrying around his textbook under his arm with no real intention of reading it in the dark. He came across a stone bench at the entrance to a garden and decided to rest for a moment before returning to the house and to his studies.
"Life is really ironic! So young, and yet…" Riff muttered to himself out loud. He let out a sigh and settled onto his spot on the bench and listened to the sounds of the chilly night.
After a moment, Riff realized that he heard a digging noise in the garden behind him. Riff listened for a moment before getting up to investigate. "What is that noise? It's already so late…" Riff went into the garden, listening to the digging sound and trying to figure out where it was coming from. No gardener would be out this late gardening.
Riff came to a clearing and strained to see in the dark. There was a small white figure crouched in the middle of the clearing. Riff quietly approached closer and his eyes widened at what he saw. In the middle of the clearing there was a small boy of about twelve years old kneeling on the ground in a white nightgown. He was forming a mound of dirt with his hands. The boy noticed Riff and looked up from his mound. Riff was taken aback by the boy's tear streaked face and beautiful cat-eyes looking at him from half-lowered lids behind an unruly fringe of dark auburn hair. Riff didn't know what to say.
"Who are you?" the boy asked as he wiped the tears from his face with the back of his dirty hand.
"What… are you doing in the middle of the night?" Riff asked. The boy had startled him. It was then that Riff noticed the boy had golden eyes.
"The little bird died. I'm making a tomb for him." The boy explained as he batted his lashes at the man. Riff could not take his eyes off the boy. As he looked closer he realized that the boy's eyes were not golden but actually green with a tint of gold. The boy approached closer. "What are you staring at? Are my eyes very strange?" he demanded as he took hold of Riff's tie and pulled on it forcefully. Riff made a small noise, he wondered at the amount of gall this child had to pull on a grown man's tie. Especially one so much bigger and older than himself. "What kind of book is that?" Cain asked, looking at the thick book in Riff's hand.
"Ah… it is a medical book! I am a medical student, but my family went bankrupt, so I had to quit school… I have no choice than to study on my own…" Riff explained to the boy.
Riff realized the boy was staring at him. "You.. can see me?" he asked uncertainly, almost as if he feared hearing the answer he didn't want.
"Eh?" Riff asked as he looked at the boy. Instead of replying, the boy swooned on his feet. His eyes slid closed and his body began to slump to the ground. "What is it? Are you all right?" Riff asked in alarm as he caught the boy in his arms. Riff held him for a minute, trying to wake him from his fainting spell before he realized he felt something wet on his hands. He brought one of them around to his face and peered at it in the moonlight. He was alarmed to find that it was blood. "What!" he exclaimed loudly.
"Cain! Where are you…" a voice cut through the darkness. Riff froze with the still body of the boy in his arms. His heart pounded in his ears as he waited for the voice to come closer. The boy, Cain, stirred in Riffs arms, finally coming around. A tall statuesque man with glasses and dark hair appeared in the clearing.
"M…Master!" Riff stammered.
"Ah… father…" Cain began.
Cain's father looked at Riff. His eyes narrowed behind his glasses. "Have you seen his wounds… It can't be helped. From now on, you are going to be Cain's servant. Both of you come here!" Alexis grabbed Cain and drug him out of the garden. "Cain, come here! I have already told you many times before!"
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry father!" Cain cried out as his father's rough hands drug him out of the garden.
Riff awoke with a start. He sat up in bed and looked around his room. The clock said 3:21 on his nightstand. He rested his head in his hand and tried to remember his dream more clearly. It was so weird. Why was he so much older? And why was Cain so much younger? Judging by the clothing and surroundings the time period and setting had even changed. Riff went to the kitchen to get himself a glass of milk. He sat down at the kitchen table and thought about his day. He had met the boy earlier that day. He felt totally at ease talking to him and being around him, and he had thought that quite strange. Then he had dreamt of the boy. That was even stranger. There was something peculiar about Cain, and Riff just could not put his finger on it. He took another sip of his milk before getting up and returning to bed. He had decided that he would tell Cain his dream in the morning.