"Up and up we go, then a guy with a tomahawk started kneading dough."
Zero snickered at his adoptive sister's poor attempt at making a rhyme. Their brutally long car ride had taken a toll on the both of them. While Yuki tried to think of nonsensical ways to entertain herself, Zero was desperately trying to ignore the shooting pain in his legs. Five long hours in a compact car without a chance to stretch his legs had made a solemn son even less pleasant to be around.
"How much longer?" Zero inquired and tried to adjust himself in the seat so that the sun wouldn't hit him directly in the eyes.
Kaien, his adoptive father, shoot him a quick smile. "Almost there. And try calling me dad once in a while."
"How about daddy?"
Zero twisted so that his back was facing the driver side and his face was uncomfortably pressed against the glass.
Their view going up the hill was stunning. Massive green threes and thick bushes with various barriers lined both sides of the bumpy gravel road that was taking them to their new home. New sounds and smells could be detected from their opened windows and Yuki made a game out of trying to identity every miniscule noise.
A part of her was excited about this new change. Though she enjoyed nature and a good hike, and had often dreamed about living in a tiny country villa, she was also anxious about not being able to adjust from city life to something simpler. She was used to living a very active life and the city offered her many different activities to occupy her time, but now she had a sneaking suspicion that the majority of her time would be spent in her room with nothing but her creative mind to amuse herself with.
And she wasn't that creative.
"What if I don't make new friends?" Yuki asked in a low tone.
"What's that, sweety?" Kaien inquired from the driver seat. His gaze was firmly on the road and he was trying to navigate the path that had quickly gotten more narrow, but Yuki knew that he still heard her.
"Nothing." She lowered her head and tried to fight of the nausea. "Are we almost there?"
"Soon. Soon, dear children. There is nothing to fear."
"I need to spread my legs, old man." Zero grumbled and more violently shifted in his seat. "This car wasn't build for someone my size. How about I just walk the rest of the way?"
Yuki gestured with a thumb toward her own face. "And I need to throw up."
Kaien wished that he could just let their ungrateful butts out of the car. He took one hand of the wheel and attempted to rub some of the tension out of his shoulders. "We are almost there. And, besides, I don't want to miss the look on your faces when you see the surprise. I have a feeling that this will be a memorable moment."
"This is a prank, right?" Zero unclenched his fist and rubbed the top of his forehead in an attempt to ease his headache. "You took us all this way to play a joke on us?! I will never forgive you for this!"
Yuki spread her arms wide and leaned her head far back. The sound that came from her mouth sounded like someone was choking a duck.
"Why would you do this? This is not our home!" She asked her soon former adoptive father.
"Yes it is." Kaien struggled with getting all the suitcases and bags out of the trunk. "And don't just stand there like lazy children. Help me!"
"This is not out home." Yuki reaped herself in a calmer tone. Zero had layed down on the ground with one of his arms thrown over his eyes to shield them from the sun.
"Yes, it is."
Kaien stopped trying to move their luggage and looked her straight in the eyes. "Don't you like it?"
Yuki took in a deep breath and admired the immense size of their new home. "It's a castle."
Maybe not an actual castle, but the mammoth like structure could easily resemble one. There were three levels and two massive rustic metal doors that opened up to a very spacious "greeting room". The outside walls were made of red brick and the ceiling tiles were of a dark blue hue. Their entire front garden was decorated with vibrant red roses and very sharp thorns. Something that Yuki found out the hard way.
She licked and sucked on her forefinger to ease the bleeding. "This place is to big. How can we live here? How could we afford it."
She gently nudged her brother in the ribs and motioned towards their father with her head. "Help him."
While the two of the were busy carrying their stuff in side, Yuki decided to do some exploring.
Luckily for them the house was fully furnished. They had sold all their old furniture because they didn't want to pay extra moving fees and had only brought the items the didn't wish to separate with.
She pulled one of the sheets off to reveal a a small round table near the entrance and dropped her backpack on it. Next she found a grandfather clock that didn't work, a burgundy red sofa with an odd dark stain on it, a long and narrow table adorning one of the walls with scratches on it and for some unknown reason a plate with a lovely painting on it lying on the floor. Yuki didn't know who the woman in the art work was, but she looked sad.
Yuki tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and placed the plate next to her back back.
Loud footsteps were heard behind her. "Do you guys need-"
There wasn't anyone there.
Both of them entered from the outside. Zero carried her suitcase and Kaien had a small box in his hands. He whistled happily as he admired the place.
"It's going to take us the rest of the day to explore out new home." He planted the box next to her backpack before lifting the plate for a quick look and placing it back on the table. "Do you like it?"
Yuki was sure that she had heard someone in the room with her, but decided that maybe the house was creating odd noises. Old houses did that.
"So far so good, but I will need to see the rest of it."
Zero settled her suitcase next to her feet. "I'm not helping you." And then walked back outside. Kaien soon followed.
With a not-so-ladylike grunt she picked up her junk and tried to find where the stairs wore that lead to the bedrooms. Once again she heard the floorboards creak like someone heavy was walking on them, but she ignored it.
Six bedrooms. Too many chambers for simply three people. There were four on the second floor and two on the third, and Yuki choose one of the rooms on the third floor while the rest of her family stuck to the second. A portion of her wondered if perhaps the should move to be next to them. She didn't like to admit it, but she was scared of the dark and if the house was going to make disturbing groans in the middle of the night then she didn't want to be separated from everyone by a whole floor.
"Yuki!" She heard Kaien call from down the hall.
She leaned out of her room. "Yeah?"
"Go see if your brother is finished with diner."
She tugged on her earlobe. "But you're closer."
"I'm busy." To prove it he held up various papers. She didn't know if they were important documents or just plain recipes.
"Fine." It would give her an excuse the explore the first floor more. As she walked down the final set of stairs, she called out to her brother without receiving a response.
"Zero! Can you hear me?!"
A thud and a crash could be heard from behind the door that was next to the door leading to the kitchen. She opened it and expected to see her brother accidently having knocked something over. He was still displeased with their new home and had refused to leave the room that he had claimed as his until Kaien forced him downstairs to make them some food. They hadn't eaten anything except for protein bars on the drive over.
She couldn't see anything in the room. Mostly because it had no windows and the lights were off. She touched the wall next to her seeking the light switch and flipping it.
The plate she had noticed before with the fine picture was left on the floor in pieces and with picture frame next to it. The last time she had seen the plate it was still on the table in the greeting room and she didn't she any high place it could have fallen from. It was just smashed right in the middle of the room. Ignoring the broken bits, she reached for the picture frame and dusted it off with the sleeve of her sweater. This time she saw a photograph of a man laying down in a bed of roses. His dark shirt was half open showing off a toned stomach and a small scar next to his belly button. Dark silken hair that matched his clothes was disheveled and hid parts of his face. Somber eyes looked at the photographer like whoever it was had woken them from his sleep.
A thud was heard from behind her.
"You coming? Dinner is ready? Unless you want cold soup." Zero said.
"Soup? That's it?" She had hoped for something a little more filling.
"Go hungry." He told her before disappearing form the door frame.
Yuki placed the picture on a chair next to the door before following him.
Later that night after they had finished their meal and reluctantly played a game of monopoly with Kaien which Zero had won then silently left them with the clean up, Yuki was alone in her room. She was laying down on her new and freshly washed sheets while looking at the picture she had found earlier. The man in the photograph was beautiful and she pondered if he was a previous occupant of the house.
"Now I'm just a creep." She had gawked at the image longer then what would be considered normal and decided to place it face down inside a drawer in her bedside desk.
After changing her clothes to pajamas and crawling under the covers, she had fallen asleep rather quickly. Most of her dream consisted of a school on the beach and a blond guy she hadn't seen in ages trying to comfort her because some girls were mean to her. Then she had to chase down some kitten on a balcony before they fell down.
She woke up a little after midnight because she felt like someone was breathing on her lips. Her eyes were to tired to make anything out, but she could have sworn she saw a pair of onyx eyes glisten in the dark above her. That is before she blinked a couple of times and then they were gone.