A/N: Hey guys! Sorry for the moderately slow update. It's been a slow two months, and even I'm having trouble finding ways to quell my writer's block. Sorry for the lack of gore and horror I've been promising…I'm seeming a bit overboard with drama, suspense, mystery, and above all, ROMANCE. XD But it's Harvest Moon, so I can't help it. Thank you everyone for reviewing and favouriting and stuff, and I know beggars can't be choosers, but it'd be nice if you O blessed silent ones could offer me even the slightest feedback, whether in a pm or review. So thanks again and enjoy!
Cold As Snow
Gwen lounged soundly in her room, too awake to even lie in bed. So she sat on it, wringing her fingers and wishing she'd packed more things than just clothes, weapons (just in case) and few pictures or sentimental valuables. She wished she could've brought a game—Flower Bud Monopoly—anything. But as bored as she was, she still ached for Dan.
Then, remembering something, her face lit up suddenly. She leapt up, literally, and dug through her things, not stopping until one particular belonging was in sight. She grabbed it, delicately but firmly, and plopped onto the ground.
Dan had given her this, telling her not to look at it until she had arrived at her destination. Technically, this wasn't her intended destination, but it was close enough and she was much too eager to wait any longer. Gwen linked her fingers through the opening of the pure, long white envelope, sliding it open with ease.
She sucked in her breath when she saw a single paper—no, more like parchment—looking light brown with age. Unable to help herself, she brought it to her face and sniffed it. It smelled like Dan. She hugged it against her heart. Then, pulling it out, she unfolded it, careful not to make a rip to the delicate parchment, and read. Each word melted into her eyes, and she pretended Dan was beside her, reading it aloud. She could almost feel the room piece away…
Your tongue is sharp as scissors, and your eyes as fierce as flames
Steel as steel, and wild as the wild
You are a rose among weeds
A red, ruby rose, so pristine
Like a young child, you are delicate
You are dear, so dear to my heart
Gwen let out her stalled breath when she finished reading, feeling confused yet wonderful. She reread each sentence, then read line one, then three, then two, and then closed her eyes and pictured everything he had written. She paused, wondering if this was really Dan—she'd never seen the poetic side of him. Angry, pitiful, blissful…but not poetic.
She began to question the poem's phrases and format, wondering what he meant by 'forever.' Did he mean they'd be together forever? He'd love her forever? She would be dear to his heart forever? And was he calling her the word 'dear' in the second last stanza, or merely repeating it for emphasis?
It's a love poem, you dumbass. It's supposed to make you feel good, not think.
She smiled to herself, overjoyed that Dan would write a poem to her. It gave her a fluttery feeling, a light feeling…and a feeling that finally allowed her to feel, if only slightly, tired.
She folded the letter back up, pocketed it into the envelope, and laid it on the nightstand. Then she switched out the lights and snuggled under the covers.
"A rose among weeds, huh…"
I'm more like the pesticides.
Nami leaned against the front counter, lights off in the ground floor. She stared at the frail lights coming through the cracks in the wood walls, but quickly looked away. It wasn't like she was scared of the dark or anything, even if it was pitch black and she could barely see even herself. It was just…she was getting this weird feeling. And for the first time in a long time, she really didn't want to be alone.
Tilting her head up to glance in the general direction of the hidden staircase, she toyed with the idea of seeing the bellman. She didn't know his name, and he was ringing the bell when she met him, so that would be his new nickname—Bellman. In fact, he seemed like one of the people that could relate to her, and there weren't many…
Acting on pure instinct, she reeled up the stairs, surprisingly unhesitant. Then, approaching her room quietly, she didn't bother knocking and threw open the door. She almost smiled when the startled bellman jumped up from the bed, looking disgruntled and restless.
"What do you think you're doing?" he snarled.
She rolled her eyes, walking in and closing the door behind her in case they awakened anyone else. "What do you mean? This is my room. I'm just going to my room."
He looked annoyed and unable to find a comeback. Uncurling himself from the ball he'd rolled into, he opted to take up a sitting position. "Well…"
Clearly he was finding no means of conversation starters, so she gave him one. "What's your name?" Nami asked quietly. For some reason she found names to be extremely important to the person. Even if it wasn't their choice, it was the one word that described everything they were.
"Jamie. Why?" He looked suspicious.
"Why?" Nami repeated, raising an eyebrow. "Isn't it common courtesy to ask for someone's name?" She paused, intentionally not too long or short. "Oh yeah, you're a foreigner. Of course you don't have the same rules."
He seemed to be getting pissed. "Well, if you're such a little miss polite, then what the hell's your name?"
"Usually you omit the 'hell'—"
"I don't care!"
She grinned, almost triumphantly. "Then you don't get my name." Oddly curious, she sank into her favourite wooden stool. "So where are you from?"
He looked reluctant, but still too sleep-deprived to retort. "A place far, far away that no one gives a damn about. And I'm assuming you live here?" He nodded to her walls.
Nami shrugged. "Kind of. I'm a traveler. I don't really live anywhere. But residence-wise, then yes, I do pretty much live here."
"You sound unsure." He smirked at her with only one side of his lips. "What do you do for a living?"
Turning the tables, hm? He's an interesting one. "Live," she answered vaguely. "Et tu?"
"I'm a farmer. Well, used to be. Then something happened."
He seemed bitter, so it made her even more curious. "What happened?" She didn't mean to be nosy or pry—but it wasn't often that she found someone that appealed to her so much.
"Well, there was this guy—oh, wait, why am I telling you this?" He shook his head and laughed, half mockingly and half earnestly. "First of all, you haven't even told me your name. Second, I try to forget, myself…"
"How about this," Nami compromised, "you tell me your life story, and I tell you my name. Fair trade?"
"Not in the least."
"Too bad. Shoot."
A bit more awake now, he actually started explaining. "Well, it all started back at my home village, Flower Bud. Well, it was once my home, anyway. I was just a regular old farmer there, and rancher, mind you. I took care of crops, animals, talked to townsfolk every so often…" Jamie paused to look over at her, as if expecting an interruption. "A listener, aren't you?"
She nodded, not offended. "Your turn, Talker."
He wiggled into a more comfortable position, looking distant. "Well, yeah, I was your everyday farmer, as I've said for the thousandth time. And there was this…person. Let's call him…uhm…Stewey. Stewey and I didn't so much like each other."
Nami interrupted him with a short laugh. "Like a rival? And what's with the cover name? I'm not going to stalk him."
"Well, you know." Jamie paused, and for that moment she wondered what was going through his head.
She spoke softly, not wanting to be distrusted. "It doesn't matter. Go on."
He nodded appreciatively in her direction, but that only drove her a bit more insane. "Well, one day, there was this abrupt…storm. It wasn't like any normal rainfall. It was raining heavily, thundering disastrously, and terribly…uh…lightning and wind…-ing. In short, the weather was enough to seriously mess you up.
"At the time of the storm, I was tending my fields. It was idiotic because I was just done tilling the soil and the rain would wash it all away. Even worse? I lose my dog, Calvertutrp."
"Wait, what the hell kind of name is Calvertutrp?"
When he glared at her, she blushed. "No more interruptions," she promised, so he continued.
"Well, Cal had gone missing at the very beginning. And, well, the storm wasn't at its worse yet, and I didn't want my dog getting zapped to death, so naturally I went out to look for him." He came to a sudden halt when Nami cocked her mouth open, and she shrank away again, her lips tightly sealed.
"After a while, I was getting pretty weak, so I, uh, passed out. This old man, a clay maker guy, took me in, and guess who I saw in front of me first thing when I woke up?" He seemed to make an allowance as he nodded to Nami.
"'Stewey'," she filled in, still listening intently.
"That's exactly right. Well, Stewey was there, and things were getting a bit heated. Then the old man comes and hands out this crap in a bowl, claiming it's racoon liver, then saying it's fish soup! No pun intended, but it was pretty fishy. So Ja—Stewey eats it and bam! He's out like a light."
Nami's eyes widened, picturing the scene in her mind. "Ouch," she offered.
Jamie shrugged, not seeming to care. "I don't care about the ass anyway…"
"Why do you hate him so much?"
He blinked. "Excuse me?"
Nami instantly began to feel she shouldn't have said anything. But she got that feeling a lot of times, and when she started, she couldn't stop—she needed answers. "I can tell you hate him. But why?"
"It's just…who he is. He's one of those people that I really just…hate."
"Is he demanding? Mean? Protective?"
"No, but…" He faltered. "Can't a man not need a reason to hate another?"
Nami frowned. "It's not right to hate someone for no reason. Dislike is fine, but hate is a very strong word—"
"You don't get it. I just hate him."
"What did he ever do to you then?"
"Well, I'm not done with the story—"
"You claimed that even before the 'story' took place, you hated him. You're saying that you hate him for no reason."
"Damn it, there's a reason!!"
His voice reverberated off the walls, and this produced a silence. Nami simply shook her head, and though Jamie refused to confide in her, she had the answers she wanted. "Please continue."
He looked pissed, shocked, and even a bit dejected. But he continued, his voice flat. "The clay maker suddenly turned psychopathic and cussed me out. Then Jack's dog came in so he chopped it into little pieces with this big axe. Then he chased me around trying to kill me so I rammed a sickle into his head and killed him."
If possible, the silence was even thicker and ten times more uncomfortable. Nami merely coughed. "Well, that advanced quickly," she reviewed briefly.
It seems this guy is just full up surprises. Nami stared at him, not incredulously, but not exactly smoothly either. Somehow, she managed to keep her mouth shut, barren of questions. "Wow," she muttered shortly.
Jamie's face was empty of expression, and his voice flat. "So then Jack woke up and—and he freaked. So we started, well, fighting. It was pretty bad because, like, he was armed and I wasn't. It turned into one big bloodfest. Then this horse came parading in out of nowhere and it drove us up the mountain, and then I had to give Jack this piggyback ride back to town. The end," he ended abruptly.
Nami stared. "Well…"
He seemed to be awaiting a response, looking ready to defend himself by any means.
Nami was speechless, but not thoughtless. "You do realize you revealed this guy's name, right?"
"What? No I—shit. I did." He groaned.
"What's the big deal?"
"He…uh, never mind…so you got any questions? Comments?"
Just to bug him, she let a silence hang in the air before saying uncaringly, "Nope."
He looked deadpan. "Then—"
"Look, I gotta go. There's a spare room down the hall so I'm gonna go there. Bye, later, see you!" She started off quickly, but stopped at the door. "Oh, by the way…"
She wheeled around smugly. "What kind of memory do you have?"
Jamie blinked. "Huh?"
Nami just shook her head and turned away. Just before she shut the door behind her though, she gave him her final goodbye. "My name's Nami. See you 'round, Bellman."
The door shut, and Jamie only blinked in confusion when she left. She wasn't even fazed that she was in the same room as a murderer. In fact, she didn't even seem awed. She even…believed me. It's as if someone hears a story like this everyday.
He looked at the faint scars that remained from his and Jack's battle.
And to top that all off…Bellman? What the hell?
"Look at me."
"I know you can hear me…there is no need to fear me. All I want to do is ask you some questions; you don't even have to answer. Just listen."
"Just assuming I have your attention—ah, I am being rude. Young sir, I have a question for you, if you're willing to listen."
The perpetual silence made a lip curl upward.
"Do you not wish you were still alive?" the accented voice asked with a high level of amusement, as if the question was casual and pertaining to the weather.
This time, the lack of response made the voice laughed.
As a single, crude voice pierced the air, its tone so bitter and teasing it came through pursed lips, more questions came pouring out. "Don't you wish you had real, actual skin? True red blood—actual, bone-made bones? Aren't you jealous of all those people who walk by you, acting is if you are invisible? Taking you for granted…like dirt?"
The other figure, male, stared blankly.
"Do you ever think, 'that should be me'? Does envy ever consume you? You're the one who belongs in those perfectly ordinary bodies. You belong, not them. They have no right to have something that you don't. All along, it should've belonged to you…" There was a catty pause, in which the voice took on a serious yet playful tone. "Don't you hate the humans? Don't you hate them?"
Still, the male stared.
"Act now," it ordered. "Act while you still can. Act while you still feel all the anguish they used against you…and slaughter them. Annihilate them. Gather all of the wrath, all the fury, all the rage…take it and destroy them. It's all the humans' fault why you're here without what they have. Clearly they will not leave…so kill them. Kill them with whatever you have. Let them share the fate they bestowed on you…"
Finally, the male responded. "Why do you care?" he asked in a crackling, weakening voice.
The other presence smiled tightly. "I don't. No one cares about you."
He whipped around incredulously at the blunt answer, fist raised, when a sharp cackle went through his ears.
"Yes, yes! That's what I want! Get that anger; take that pain! Turn it into power! Make everyone bow down to you, inflict this strength on everyone! Stop at nothing!" the voice shrieked.
The figure grew silent, to the point where he almost looked stony. "Kill them…" he finally repeated hypnotically.
"Yes, yes, kill them. Stop at nothing. Those hypocrites deserve death…I am glad you understand." The command was punctuated with a finalizing phrase, the perpetual smile wiped clear. "After all, there is no wrongdoing for someone who is barely alive…"
End Notes: I edited the last part. If you're reading this note, you've already read the edited version. (Duh.)