Naraku no Hana
Beginning note: Yes, as you read this chapter, know it's a flashback chapter, and yea, the setting and themes are that of the GirlWhoQuestionsSleep's story Lonely Beginning. This chapter is also used to just fill up space and explain some events that lead up to the first chapter's flashback. I go by Natasha Bedingfield's lyric from "Unwritten" the pen's in my hand ending unplanned. ENJOY!
Chapter 8: Tears to Shed
"And the pain here that I feel, try and tell me 'it's not real' I know that I am dead, but it seems that I still have some tears to shed."
- "Tears to Shed" by Helena Bonham Carter as the Corpse Bride
It was the end of another very boring day in Ms. Bitters' class, a day full of her shaming us for not having homework, not being smart enough, and worst of all -and most reoccurring- being alive.
I packed up my things in my old knapsack, thinking of heading home where I could curl up in bed and draw my heart out. SWACK! Comforting thoughts were driven from my mind. I turned around and saw Johnny on the ground and Ted walking off and laughing, "Watch your step, Noodle Boy!" he taunted, Jett and Randall- his "sidekicks" as he refers to them- walking away snickering evilly from behind their hands.
Nny sighed, glaring at their receding backs. Normally he would have at least offered an idle threat or even a smile and a shrug like "What can we do?" But for some reason he seemed a bit more resigned when it came to their bullying. "Are you alright?" I asked, helping my friend up.
"I'm fine," he started, now able to stand on his own, "is there another 'kick me' sign on my back?"
I checked, "Yes." I grumbled, ripping it off of him and tearing it practically to shreds. "Honestly, Nny," I started, dumping their crude attempt at harming someone into a nearby trash bin, "I don't understand why you won't tell Ms. Bitters, the principal, or even your parents. They'd put a stop to this."
He looked down for some reason, "That'd be a waste of time." he mumbled.
"I've got to go, see you!" I said, smiling as I slung my backpack over my shoulder.
"Wait." Johnny said urgently.
I turned to him and saw that he was blushing a little and rubbing the back of his neck, "Do you think you would want to come over to my house for a little while?" he asked shyly.
"Do you mind if I ask my mom?" I said just as shyly. He smiled widely and nodded.
In the office I basically pleaded with my mom to let me go, "Well... Ok. Just don't do anything you don't want your mother hearing about!" she joked.
"Moooooooooom!" I groaned with a small chuckle, "We'll be good, I promise!" I shouldn't make promises I can't keep.
THE AUTHOR NEEDS SOME TIME TO LAUGH AND THINK OF HOW SHE CAN HUMILIATE SPIDERMAN WITH THAT LAST LINE.
Johnny and I sat on a practically empty and trashy bus, being completely silent for the knowledge that if we did speak all the other riders could hear us. I looked at Nny for lack of anything better to do.
He stared at his odd steel-toed boots, as if he was thinking that he would be cured of his ails if he just managed to burn a hole through his feet. That's when I noticed how different he looked now. He had dark rings around his eyes like he'd given up on sleeping at all anymore. I blushed and looked away, feeling almost like a stalker by watching that intensely. "So... do you always take the bus home?" I asked, still feeling awkward.
"No," he started, looking up at a useless ad as he did, "...usually Vera picks me up from school."
"Why isn't she getting you today, if you don't mind my asking?" I asked sheepishly.
"We don't always get back right away, sometimes we're out for hours and she always leaves me in the car, usually with nothing to do. I don't want to put you through that." he said solemnly, like it touched a nerve of his.
"I'm sorry." I said, looking around.
"It's ok," he said soothingly, looking me straight in the eyes, "There's no way you could have known."
"Venus Gardens!" called the driver, "All off for Venus Gardens!" and he made a sudden stop during the middle of this.
During that little fiasco, Johnny and I had tried to get up an off. The up part worked, off was a little awkward. We'd both fallen over, but I happened to fall on top of him. "Uh... are you ok?" he asked nervously, turning redder than a tomato.
I jumped off and flushed "Y-yea...I'm good.", scrunching my shoulders in shame.
"This is our stop." he said quietly.
We hastily walked off the bus, ignoring the driver's call of "Well, it took the noodle long enough."
Despite the name, Venus Gardens was anything but beautiful. We passed a lot of fat women laying drugged on lawn chairs with up to five babies crawling all over them, grown men in stained wife beaters and drinking can after can of beer, and some ghetto teens swinging switchblades around thinking themselves 'tuff'.
One of these glared harshly at me, and I squealed like a trodden on mouse and grabbed Nny's arm, hoping that would be enough to protect me.
"We're...here...now." he said shyly, standing outside an old and weathered-looking apartment door.
I let go of him as He pulled a small, rusted key out of his backpack pocket, unlocked the door and we walked inside.
"Um... wow." I said, quietly dazed at the appearance of the "humble abode"
As the outside of the unit had suggested, the place was dirty. Fast food wrappers were strewn here and there, and alcohol stained couch dominated the room, and there were several unidentifiable substances all over the walls. "It's not much," Johnny began, taking my attention off the place, "but it's all I can call 'home'."
"Well, it's better than nothing, right? I've heard homeless shelters are worse." I said, trying to lighten the mood.
He looked at the couch now, a few empty whiskey bottles now visible, "That may be where I end up if I have to stay with Vera." he said suddenly stiff and solemn.
"Who is Vera?" I finally asked, "Is she your mom or something?" I knew that some parents asked their kids to call them by their first names, and hoped that was the case.
He looked up at me now, hurt reflecting in his face and eyes, "No," he said, anger rising in his voice, "I would NEVER call that B***H MY MOTHER!"
"Ok," I said softly, trying to hide fear, "I'm sorry."
Johnny's anger lessened, sad indifference returning, "Maybe you could show me your room?" I said distractedly, attempting get off any subjects that would anger or depress my friend.
He gave me a small smile, "Yea," he said, now taking my hand "We'd best go up before she gets back."
Needless to say Johnny's room was better than any other part of the house. For one thing, it was actually clean, as if he cared more if it was well kept than this other person did. No food or wrappers were in sight and the bed was neatly made.
For another thing, this room was decorated with hand done paintings, each of them beautiful. One was of a city at night, another was a ship on a stormy sea, and there was also one of a beach landscape, a brown haired girl in a white dress walking into the water. The one that caught my eye was of a field full of delicate white flowers. This one seemed to be a world made up of only that field, stretching outward for miles and miles, a purple sky was above and around it, pink and blue cottony clouds in its company. And then the most interesting of all, Johnny had painted himself into this one.
He was standing with his back to the viewer, a lot older than he actually was and walking hand-in-hand with a girl who had long brown hair in pigtails and was wearing a flowy white blouse and acid wash blue jeans. I wondered who she was as I ran my fingers through my long brown pigtails and straightened out my white shirt and light blue jeans. "These are so beautiful; did you paint all of these by yourself?" I asked, breathless from all the awe I happened to be in.
"Yes," Johnny said happily. I turned to see that he'd withdrawn a canvas, easel, paints, and some brushes, "would you like to paint something?" he asked, gesturing to the art supplies he'd laid out.
I smiled widely and nodded. He went to stand at the side of the easel, a position that let him see what I was painting without feeling like a stalker.
I stood there for a second, wondering what I should paint until an idea came to me. I pulled out a pencil for a quick sketch of the outline before taking a brush dipped in deep brown paint and filling in the area of the painting around the object to attract the most attention. 'Os iusti meditabitur' the Latin lyrics echoed in my head as I thought of mom's music box and painted in the white object. 'Sapientiam, Et lingua eius loquetur indicium.' I added dark red around its edges, 'Beatus vir qui suffert tentationem, Quoniqm cum, probates fuerit accipient coronam vitae.' a long, elegant green line as well as leaves stretching upward toward the sun, dying for the light, 'Kyrie, ignis divine, eleison..' Blood flowed down from one side, tears from the other, 'O quam sancta, quam serena, quam beigma, quam amorena conastidas Lilium.' The liquids flowed mingled down, landing to form a broken heart.
I dipped the brush in blue, copying down the lyrics in dark blue and the last word in a bright red. "It's so pretty!" Johnny exclaimed, moving the canvas in front of a slowly blowing air vent to let it dry, "I never knew you could paint." He said, coming back to my side.
"It's a hobby." I said simply, looking back to the purple sky painting.
"...That's you, you know." he said suddenly, knowing exactly where my gaze landed.
"I'm sorry?" I said, confused at his sudden statement.
He pointed to the unknown girl in the picture, "I painted you in there. You're my best friend; I'd want nobody else right there with me...well, with the exception of them." he whispered this last word and stared back down at the floor.
I looked at him and saw all the pain, and chose to put my arm around him, "What's wrong?" I asked.
He stood for a moment, shaking quietly. A tear fell out of his eyes, "M-my parents!" he said; now allowing himself to break down, "They're dead!" he cried out, "THEY'RE DEAD AND SHE KILLED THEM!"
I led him to the bed and we sat down as he continued to cry. "Ah~~~ Ah~~~~ Ah~~~~~~ Ah~~~~... Kyrie, ignis divine, eleison O quam sancta, quam serena, quam beigma, quam amorena conastidas Lilium." I sang quietly. He sniffled and wiped his eyes once I had finished. I let go as he finally calmed himself down, "What was that?" he asked, small traces of sorrow still in his voice.
"It's called 'Lilium'," I said, smiling weakly, "my mom taught it to me. She told me ' Jenny, if you or someone you know is feeling lost or hurt, sing them this song. It's a cure for the human heart'."
"That really helped," he said, smiling now, his eyes still slightly bloodshot, "I almost feel whole again. And I thought I didn't have any tears left to shed." he chuckled at his last remark.
"See, I helped!" I clapped, happy about my own minor achievement.
He actually laughed this time, and I joined in. After a few seconds pf laughing about nothing in particular, we wound down. "Hey, I think your painting is dry now." Johnny said ending a brief moment of silence.
He pushed himself up and picked the canvas up tentatively. He touched the last thing I had painted and took his finger off, discovering no paint had come off in that brief second.
He tried to hand it to me, but I shook my head, "You keep it. It's your cure now, if you're ever angry or sad or if life just hurts you too much, look at this and it should help you.
He nodded and smiled to himself a little. The clock downstairs chimed and rang five times, "Oh, gosh I have to get back home!" I said urgently.
Nny put my painting down and rushed over, taking my hand his, "Come on, I'll take you home." he said happily.
It was awkward when we got back to my house, guilt swirling like a tornado in my stomach. It was a tall, red brick Victorian styled house with black shingles, shutters, and front door as well as a small turret that served as my room, "Nice house." Nny remarked.
"Yea, sorry if I acted like a spoiled rich kid back at your place." I said sheepishly.
"No, it's fine," he said, nervous and blushing again, "I just used to live around here and I know how nasty Vera's is, so I can't blame you."
"I'd better get inside." I said, heading toward the door.
"Wait," Nny said. I turned and before I knew it, he had me in a tight hug.
I blushed like mad as we stood there basically frozen in place and I hoped my parents weren't seeing this, "Thank you... your song really helped. I'm glad you came over today." he said tensely, as though he was as nervous as I was.
"Um...you're welcome." I said shyly a large smile now on my face.
He finally let go, and stood for a second before shouting, "I'll see you at school!" and bolting in the other direction.
I stared at his receding shape before I noticed he'd dropped a painting. I picked it up and saw it was the one I had loved that was in his room. Before I could call out to him, I noticed a small note attached to it, To: Jenny From: Johnny Thank you again.
I hung this piece of art up in my room, across from my bed, so it would be the first thing I'd see in the morning. It was my treasure, something I never wanted to lose.
"That certainly is beautiful, the painting she gave him." Mr. Eff said.
"Quite, but that thing actually has a strong sort of enchantment radiating from it." D-boy said solemnly.
"What do you mean?" Eff inquired, looking at the pained and sorrowful lily.
He reached out a shadowy hand, "There's nothing wrong with it," he said, looking at his counterpart in a confused manner, "look, I can touch this thing no proble-" but his sentence cut off halfway.
When Eff had attempted to touch the painting, his hand had begun to melt, black, molten liquid falling from the wound and burning the floor. The painting had been destroying him, causing him to bleed all over the floor.
He screamed and pulled away his arm, shielding it from any further damage. Luckily for him as soon as he was away from the catalyst, his apparently "lost" appendage grew back. "Do you see what I'm talking about?!" D-boy asked, looking exasperatedly at Eff who happened to be too absorbed in what had just happened, "that painting is filled with joy, generosity, forgiveness, innocence and-" he pretended to gag here "-love! That thing is full of PURITY! That stuff can kill us!"
"I know," Eff growled at the piece of art he'd previously called "beautiful", "That stupid girl could undermine everything we've done and will be doing! there's only one thing that can be done."
"What would that be?"
"Do you remember a boy named 'Jimmy'?"
Ending note: Finally done! An extra long chapter to make up for my absence! Yes, a lot of this does belong to the GirlWhoQuestionsSleep's "A Lonely Beginning". I only used that plot because I freaking love that story, and there were some ties I made while reading what is up so far, and I thought I might as well share it with my reading audience. If she doesn't like how I used her story, I will remove this and write something else. See? I can be agreeable! Ok, that's it for me, BYE! -MMR