Author's note: Fleshed out characters, interesting cinematic choice using frames, and haunting music, that's what Folklore is.
What else is this game? Way out there in no-man's land, that's what. Here I thought Ico had few stories! That means if you do read this story, please leave feedback. It's always good to know if any fans are still out there. This will be a two part fic. :)
The holy grail. It's such a grandiose label to slap onto such a small thing like a book, but Keats feels allure tugging at him like a tightening noose around his neck. The torture has festered with growing intensity. Every time Keats lifts his head from his work and drops his gaze across the room to a certain relaxation spot, the curiosity urge refreshes itself. Like a winding noose, time does not abate his curiosity. Typing his article distracts him. It doesn't quell the hunger.
Tossed across his couch with her back facing him is Ellen. She visited after lunch, saying she wanted a place to pore over said tome of hers. Strangely, Ellen considered the Unknown Realms office "homey". Keats rejected the plan out of noise factor, but Ellen wholeheartedly promised to keep quiet. She had a tote bag. It seemed fairly full. That indicated to Keats that she'd keep busy. Besides, she looked very anticipatory about something when she asked him to stay, and almost fearful of his refusal. What was the big deal with her being here of all places?
Well, only one way to find out and get to the bottom of this new mystery. Keats relented.
So there they have it. Ellen is there on his squishy couch and Keats is here on his hard chair. Keats doesn't pay attention to the passing day, but he knows they've gone with gusto at whatever it is that makes them tick. For him, yet another deadline. For Ellen... Keats must pause. He doesn't know. He wants to.
Ellen indeed stands by her promise. She makes nary a noise past the sporadic shuffle of pages or a trip to the loo and Keats approves. If anything, Keats' clacking typewriter keys creates enough ruckus for both people combined. Hell, his gnashing teeth at running into frustration over and over could be a whole new category for cacophony.
Keats' progress crawls. When there's some form of sound coming from him, all is good. Muttering into his clunky tape recorder, shuffling documents around on his desk, or even changing the ink ribbon meant developments.
When the thwacking keys ceases due to a horrible bout of writer's block, the office turns despairingly silent. Damn, inspiration is lost.
Break. Keats slumps into his chair and tilts himself back. His arms hang at his sides and he shuts his eyelids, steeping in the blackness behind them.
Ellen materializes at his side. He doesn't even notice until she speaks and it's not until then when he glances at her. She asks him if he wants a cup of tea or strong java. She timidly smiles, cheerful.
Keats frowns, not grasping what was humorous. He gives her his empty mug which he forgot had run dry. He doesn't care about either drink. The cup soon returns with hellishly hot, rich coffee which he swears the pot the liquid came from went tepid long ago. The bitter, black coffee agrees with the working him. A sandwich plate follows the beverage. Lettuce and sliced ham neatly poke out from under the bread. Keats looks up in inquiry.
Ellen finds the question lingering in his eyes. Explains how she didn't think she was so hungry until this instant.
Over Ellen's shoulder, Keats spies the wall clock on the far wall to the right and silently chides himself. It's been too many hours since Ellen arrived to not owe her something to eat. Hosts do not let guests starve, let alone completely omit making a decent meal throughout the whole day. That's what Keats got for never having company while working. Keats really ought to remember to stock up on edibles.
He clears his throat, tacking an extra sticky mental note to his forehead to make a sandwich for Ellen in the future. He nods thanks.
With food in his stomach and caffeine dislodging the kinks out of his mental gears, Keats is ready to go. He takes out the rubbish sheet that's totally unpublishable and inserts a new pristine white sheet. His fingers poise above the typewriter and he takes in a breath before playing his concerto.
The next break comes and he lets his mind wander. It tiptoes to Ellen who he assumed had been writing for as long as he had typing. She can't see him from her position, but he can on her.
The respite from rhythmic mechanical keys allows Keats to notice a handful of colored markers on the floor next to Ellen. Her scribbling arm moves slow and steady and changes to quick strokes.
Highlighting passages? The thought reminds Keats of his college days, filled with study and flighty romps to break up monotony.
Later, he wills himself to believe. He'll find out later what she's up to, after he completes this damn assignment.
His fingers grudgingly prattle on.
Who knows how long Keats has tranced for, but he looks up to get air. Evening has already set; out his windows he sees blackness. Wearily removes his glasses and rubs his bleary eyes.
The spectacles find their way back to the bridge of his nose. Expecting Ellen to still be scratching away in her journal, Keats glances over to find out what color marker she has in hand. Then he can start guessing at what she was doodling and really get sidetracked.
Only, she has no drawing utensil in possession. Her braided pale mane is slumped to the side of the couch on a throw pillow, her arms loosely resting on top of her belongings in her lap.
The girl is asleep.
Oh yes, this means a blanket is in order, Keats plots. Ellen is the one to receive the order as Keats must drape it over her. As he does so, if his eyes stray to her work all laid out in the open, he wasn't prying in the slightest.
A mischievous grin crosses Keats' face. He pushes away his chair and stands with a needed stretch.
Holding an extra blanket from the closet, Keats unrolls it as he steps over to Ellen's dozing form.
She probably won't appreciate ruined pages by rolling on them. He justifies himself as his fingertips reach out for the pad and his gaze almost lowers to take in the contents of those pages. His peripheral vision can detect colors, but shape or words he cannot.
He watches her face. Peaceful. Relaxed with trust.
His outstretched hand toward the open book catches the edge of the cover. It gently lifts up and closes. What fun were surprises when nobody could witness his?
Trailing his gaze downwards, Keats lightly tugs at the perpetually mysterious book and the bright markers out of her hands and sets them near her bag. He can wait.
A fuzzy cloak of warmth settles over her. When it does and Keats straightens, Ellen shifts onto her side. She would have effectively crushed her work beneath her, had Keats not been imbued with such brilliant foresight.
Keats smirks. Perhaps silence isn't so bad.