Chapter 3 - Communion
They were out of the warehouse; a place filled with so much evil that the remains of the bloodbath were lined up against the wall or strewn across the red streaked floor. Strangely, the remnants remained almost perfectly preserved save for the wounds and dried blood. At one point, it annoyed Ken how he never smelled the carcasses. Perhaps there was a larger force at work, masking even the building away from the public.
Ken decided to maintain its secrecy, as he had found the light switch to the warehouse right beside the door and made it pitch black again. He never saw the effects of doing so despite the newfound darkness, as it made Evie and Fiona crash into a wall of alertness and anticipation before they regained their composure outside of the forsaken pit.
Ken felt pain in his chest when he looked at Evie. He was willing to leave behind the emotional spat he gave Evie, but he felt that now she had to keep her distance.
They trudged through the alleyway as the three watched their footing around the numerous black trash-bags. Fiona and Evie were particularly focused on the ground to make sure that they do not trip over the foreign objects. Ken wondered if there was a lazy sanitation worker, or the possible fact that there were more bodies than the ones in the warehouse.
His memory drew back to before he went into the warehouse. He remembered a suggestion that paired him up with two lost women with a bad start. A muscular man observing from a table popped up in his head. Ken recognized him as the one who sent him into the warehouse to become a freak of nature. A desire to hunt him grew as he stepped out into the open snowy turned to his left and squinted into the dark interior of the restaurant that he formerly worked in. He made a seething noise through his teeth, indicating his displeasure.
As he turned back around, he saw both faces engaged in looking around their new and open surroundings with awe. Evie spun in place with a gaping mouth as she eyed the empty family stores and restaurants. Steaming pies, delectable cakes, and fresh red apples garnished the stores. They contrasted with the bright and explicit neon signs of the visible nightclubs. Even the skyscrapers catered to her wandering eye. Fiona was also preoccupied observing, particularly focusing her vision at the large and snowy park opposite of the sidewalk they were on. She was so focused that she did not care about her legs being swarmed by the shivering wind.
Have they never been in a city before? Thought Ken. Their clothes do look like they came out of the wilderness
Ken looked at Evie. A wave of warming happiness radiated from her as it made Ken grow a natural grin, unlike his original desire to kill himself.
He stood still as his focus on Evie put him increasingly more at ease, as he already forgotten why he yelled at her. A blast of a cold wind gushed through his jacket and snapped him out of his trance, making him almost buckle from the piercing temperature. He even saw Fiona's legs quaking and her choppy breath seething through her teeth. Ken's resolve to return to a warm place was strengthened.
Ken eyed the large street layered with ice. From baby steps to long strides, he slid on his feet across the street towards the park. Fiona raised her eyebrows at his sauntering. Placing the syringe into the knapsack she carried, she tilted her body closer to the icy layer of the street.
Her eyes drew across from her position to the park as she curved her body back up. Nudging the engrossed Evie, she pointed towards the park before she took her first steps on the street as carefully as she could. She looked at Ken again in disbelief as she had trouble grasping on how exactly Ken glided across the ice. She even attempted to hasten her own crossing when she widened her eyes at Evie speeding past her across the street.
Evie's eyes were struck in a daze. She flapped her arms haphazardly, dropping Fiona's hammer along the way as she gained closer to the curb of the white sidewalk. At the foot of the open gated entrance into the park, Ken finally turned around to witness a girl falling to his feet into the snow. Realizing it was Evie; Ken seized the opportunity to hold out his hand towards the girl trying to get back to her feet. With her hair covering most of her vision, she took the hand as soon as she saw it. She blew her hair out of the way to see a Ken nodding at her.
With a silent gasp, she averted her vision away towards Fiona, who arrived at the curb with her hammer. Evie did not want to look at Ken, but she certainly didn't enjoy the tsk-tsk from her proud companion.
"This way," said Ken before he strode into the park ahead of the two. Having his hands deep in his jacket pockets, Ken was more intent on getting into his warm home now than worrying about Evie or Fiona. The two soon followed behind him, not wanting to get lost in a vast unknown place.
They walked on a winding brick path surrounded by trees that could easily hide the skyscrapers of the city. Pole lamps were spotted along the path to carry the three through the darkness of the forest; they piqued Evie as she saw how the light emanating from the lamps remained still. There was neither a flicker nor a shadow that Evie could see in the seemingly perfect lamps, as if an eternal candle continued to burn in each lamp for the rest of time. After walking across a paved bridge with arched stone, they soon came to a large frozen lake surrounded by a metal fence. There was a little spigot in the middle of the lake that failed to spit out water. The path curved around the lake as they made their way beside the metal fence.
There was a little and vacant wooden shack beside the lake that distributed maps and free cups of water to park visitors. Both Fiona and Evie stopped to look inside the shack, seeing only bent plastic cups, an empty office water cooler, a wooden stool, and ripped pieces of a map. Ken continued his trek back home. He was unaware of the two staying behind for now.
Fiona responded at the whisper of her name with a questioning look at Evie, who casted her drooped eyes at the water cooler. Evie's hands trembled in the cold air as her fingers fiddled with each other.
"Is there really no one else?"
Fiona shrugged in response, secretly knowing the unease that Evie felt. She brought her hand over to her back, only to stop a centimeter away. She left her hand to fall after a few seconds, only to raise it again. Fiona looked down at her own boots, curling her toes inside and mumbling to herself.
"Treat him like our new leader." Evie would rarely hear the deep but pleasant voice of the woman that would always keep to herself during their time together. She never questioned her silent nature. Evie smiled to herself, feeling a pat on her back before Fiona turned away from her and scuffed her feet towards the direction that Ken went.
Evie heard the footsteps receding away. A turn of her head spotted Fiona's disappearance into the trees on the path. Evie followed Fiona into the trees, giving off a resigned sigh. She never realized that Fiona had been staring into her hesitative and shaky hand until she caught up with her.
The two managed to get back to Ken just in time for him to look over his shoulder. He nodded to himself, confirming their appearance. The three walked as they could see the city beginning to reveal itself. Skyscrapers soon dominated the sky once again.
"We're getting close. Don't freeze to death before we get there." Ken joked as they walked out into the sidewalk of a city street. An unknown surge of confidence filled his body. His mindset became more positive as he began to plan out his future with them, noting that he should be able to lodge them for a while.
If they're here to beat up more of those uhh…Fomors, then maybe…I can forget about her, thought Ken.
Ken immediately thought of the girl in his head, before he visualized Evie. His chest pinched at him again as he craned his neck to check on Evie. He saw her looking away, observing the lingerie shop to her left. Ken felt uplifted when she did not notice him. The pain in his chest dissipated as he turned back his head forward.
I guess not, thought Ken as he sighed. As long as she's there, I'll remember her. But she hasn't gone away from me yet.
Ken stopped in front of a large building, and turned around to face Fiona and Evie. He wanted to gauge their reactions as they looked at him; Evie flashed her most polite smile while Fiona scratched her head.
"This is where I live," Ken pointed at the building right beside them, prompting them to gaze in wonder of their new home, a brown high-rise apartment complex reaching up to 24 floors. A bright sign on the building dubbed it Berry Towers.
Evie stared up at the numerous balconies of the complex in awe. Ken felt his lips instinctively forming a large grin. He never thought that he would be acknowledged for living in a low-rent flat.
"I live on the 15th floor to be exact," said Ken, looking at Evie's eyes widening. "Let's go ahead in since uhh…"
A certain woman continued to have her body quake in the freezing air as two pairs of eyes glanced towards her. She shrugged nonchalantly, causing Ken and Evie to smirk and giggle respectively.
I'm impressed, thought Ken. You've been out for this long while showing so much skin.
Ken brought his attention to the entrance of the apartment complex, which was a set of glass doors with no handles. He fumbled around in his pockets, before he pulled out a white card with a single red stripe.
"Alright, let's get in!" Ken walked towards the double doors, which opened automatically for him to pass through into a dim lobby.
"What magic is this…" mumbled Evie under her breath as she stared at the two automatic doors closing after Ken passed through them. Even Fiona extended her neck to inspect the doors. Ken motioned for the two to come inside. The two took careful steps, waiting for the door to open on its own. Ken shook his head when he saw Evie and Fiona flinch backwards when the doors opened.
On his right, Ken eyed a young woman asleep on her arms atop a long wooden lobby desk, recognizing her as Mrs. Sanatee. She was a receptionist of the complex around his age who would always greet him whenever she saw him. Ken remembered having enjoyable conversations with her whenever she was free from work despite not knowing her personally. He glanced at the clock above her, which showed the time to be almost an hour past midnight.
It's really late now, huh? It feels weird being in the lobby this dark, remarked Ken in his head. Too strange…what is that?
There was a robed figure sitting in a waiting room across the lobby desk. Then he was gone in a flash. Ken was the only one who saw him as he glanced at the unaware Evie and Fiona observed two identical metallic doors with buttons beside them. Ken felt a shiver that did not belong to the piercing wind outside of the apartment. He wanted to hurry to the elevator before more suspicious things happened.
Ken whispered, "Alright, let's go."
He power-walked to one of the metallic doors while making glances to any single dark shadow that he could be unaware of. Fiona noted his alarmed state, also keeping a careful eye out.
He pressed the up button next to the elevator, almost cursing to himself when he noticed that the lift was at the 13th floor. He turned around, watching his surroundings for any possible movement while Fiona and Evie watched the green numbers above the elevator glow one by one.
Come on out. Don't hide, mumbled Ken to himself. I just killed someone whose muscles would make anyone with steroids dream. And I'm with two deceptively scary women. I'm not afraid.
Muscles went stiff in the three when the elevator announced its arrival. The metallic door opened with no one inside, revealing a small and brightly lit room. Ken secretly thanked an imaginary higher being as he walked in. When he turned around, he saw the uncertainty in the two women on whether or not to enter.
"This is an elevator. We'll be going up. There's nothing to worry about," reassured Ken as he gestured in the two women. They watched him casually pressing the button to the 15th floor. He glanced outside of the elevator and leaned his body outwards. He was still suspicious.
A very small shadow leaped in the dark. A finger jammed a button of the elevator as hard and fast as it could, prompting the comparatively slow door to close. Prying and horrified gazes ensued. The target of those gazes sighed with relief.
"Why are we he-," Evie squealed on the e when the elevator lurched upwards. Fiona and Evie braced their weapons while staring intently at Ken. It did not feel natural for the two to be in a tightly cramped space for so long, especially with a stranger that they do not know very well. Ken wrinkled his brow at their defensiveness.
A hammer banged against the floor. Fiona felt her stomach roll with unease as she covered her mouth. Evie gasped when she saw Fiona drop to the ground weakened and gagging before bringing her harried and skeptical glare to Ken. She kept making quick glances at Fiona to keep track of her.
Some people do get sick in elevators! Don't make it look like it's my fault! Exclaimed Ken in his head.
Ken made an exasperated sigh, before he looked up at the floor indicator. It brightened his face to see that he was at the 12th floor as he positioned himself at the door.
The elevator came to a halt, with the symptoms of a nauseous Fiona going away. The metallic door opened to reveal a hallway adorned with blue wall lamps, large pane windows, and dark wooden doors with fisheye glass peepholes. Ken walked out of the elevator and continued down the hall to a wooden door.
Fiona and Evie were recovering from their elevator episode when the doors started to close on its own. They panicked as they wasted no time in rushing out of the cramped and scary room, with Fiona diving out of the small opening after retrieving her hammer. They brought their attention to a window, gazing down at the dark city through one of the windows in the hallways. They looked down upon the people coming out of the late-night clubs as if the two were gods.
Ken leaned against his door, maneuvering his key card around his fingers. A slackened smile found its way into Ken's lips. He imagined the girl in his mind pressing her hand against the window with longing eyes. Ken compared Evie to the girl in his head again. He wondered how it would be possible to forget with the presence of Evie. Ken caught himself when he was almost enraptured by her, noting that they can stare out of the windows he has in his apartment.
"Hey you two, over here" ordered Ken. Fiona was the first to come, eying the dexterity of Ken's hand with the key card. Evie took as much time as possible to look out of the window while she departed towards Ken.
"Home Sweet Home," sung Ken as he inserted the key card into his locked door handle. With a twist of the door handle and the flipping of switches, another foreign place was present to the two.
The apartment consisted of only two rooms, big enough for a family up to six to live in. The room they came into was a spacious combination of the kitchen and the living room while the other was a large bathroom. The door to the apartment is in the space between the eating counter of the kitchen and a recliner leather couch while the door to the bathroom was in the kitchen. The place was somewhat messy, as sweatpants and a sweater were found on the floor. Fiona and Evie placed their weapons on the wall next to the door, becoming more cautious of Ken walking away from them.
Fiona took an interest in the kitchen side of the room, seeing a strange contraption that was the sink. Evie followed her; she would rather tag along with a person that she battled with many times than a man who shut down her glee.
Ken plopped down on a leather couch complete with pillows, taking off his jacket. He hefted a black duffel bag on the wooden coffee table in front of him. He became satisfied when the bag felt heavy and full. He noted to himself that the contents of the bag could sustain living with those two.
Ken heard a brandishing of a blade in the kitchen. It wasn't the first time that he stared at the two for their simplicity; but it was entirely different to see them fingering with steak knives with wonder and suspicion.
I have never seen a girl take a steak knife from the sink and thumb it around like a shiv, thought Ken, sighing. Rest is definitely in order for tonight.
It took Ken a while to lasso the two onto the couch, which only set their new object of interest upon a large CRT television set, seeing their reflections on the screen. It became so much trouble for those two that Ken did not feel like changing his clothes as well.
With his foot, Ken tapped a button on the couch to turn it into a makeshift bed, before he threw light blankets at the two from the armoire. After grabbing a blanket for himself, he smiled at the two that are already comfortable on their new bed. Endearing smiles were seen on both Fiona and Ken as they both looked down at the already sleeping Evie. Her beauty could enchant anyone to the point of wanting to touch her adorable face.
With a flip of the light switches, the room was only illuminated by a glass door that led to a small balcony. There were glass windows beside the door, but they were covered by blinds. Fiona took it as a signal to lie down right beside Evie with her body facing her back and closed her eyes.
Ken sat on a leather recliner seat closer to the television, pushing it back with a lever on the side. He threw the blanket he had all over himself and closed his eyes. He occupied his mind with the girl again. He imagined her pressing her hand against a glass window and gazing out into the horizon of the city. His thoughts raced with the intent to find her as if it was his mission, only to know that she could be anywhere in the city or out of it.
Ken knew full well that it was these thoughts that drove him to a certain act of desperation. But then he thought of Evie. He took comfort in knowing that he had her living in his home as if she was the girl in his head. These thoughts faded away as Ken drifted into slumber. Everyone was now asleep in the apartment, failing to notice a mysterious white-robed figure at the glass door.