The Portrait of Len Kagamine

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There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife

The Graveyard Book, by N. Gaiman

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A morose young lady walked in, leaving the doors open for her driver to get inside no problem.

"So, you've come."

She nodded inertly, her eyes dim with bleakness. The interior of the mansion didn't change, nor were the furniture arranged differently from her last visit, although the atmosphere was droning. Everything was as it should be: An old Victorian house with hardly any vibrant souls that could radiate the whole place life and humdrum beings that need only breathe whatever healthy air was left in the room to spend the day with. Every time she visits, there would be an impressive number of paintings more than the previous time, and all the more detailed and bigger.

And who should forget the ever-cryptic old man who kept his caprices to himself? He stood with such posture and carried himself like a well-dignified man, as someone as him should, that his stiffness and stillness until spoken to or asked to respond was much like an ornament's themselves. If he stood in a crowd of mentally disturbed psychos, he would most likely stand out, and people would stare at him for his lugubriousness, dismissing all the others as ordinary irrelevancies that deserved not even a smidge of their discreet interest. He was a healthy old man of sixty-something: Wrinkles were barely seen in his face, as he preferred not eating anything that would wreck his fitness, and thus that called for the whole of his body looking like it came out of a refrigerator. His face wasn't droopy like all the other's his age however it would be clear to anybody to see that he was older than middle-aged. A proper man, he wore vintage suits and a necktie, no matter where, it was commonplace of him to even wear it in his lonely household. He had a small moustache and a goatee, whitening with age. Where his hair once was there was now a bald spot, and a huge one. His thinning hair was enough proof that he wasn't as young as he used to be. The last she'd seen her grandfather was during her father's funeral, silent and almost a corpse himself with grief.

Sure enough, he looked like he hadn't changed. Except that you wouldn't know if it was the blonde girl or him who radiated such an aura that created such a downcast atmosphere. Both relatives nodded in silent agreement, and the young lady bowed.

"At your request," she said, her voice soft and monotone. She stood up straight, facing her grandfather, who was more than a foot taller than her. Sad sapphire and clear carmine.

There was a noise from outside, and a tall figure appeared, carrying heavy luggage with miraculously just his two arms.

The girl paid him no heed until he set them down on the floor, heaving a sigh.

"G'noon, Sir." Her butler bowed politely, his bleached green hair covered by his hat. "The name's Gatch, sir. I'm kinda your granddaughter's new slave. Pleased to be acqua—nice to meet you. So, where'm I gonna carry these to?"

He turned to his mistress, who in turn said in a nonchalant fashion, "Up in my room. It's on the second floor, just left from the stairs—"

"I'm afraid that won't be necessary. It's at the end of the hallway on the topmost floor. It's the biggest room in the whole floor, so it wouldn't be so hard finding it."

Alarmed aqua eyes widened as the girl furrowed her brows at her grandfather. "Won't I still be sleeping at the same room?"

The old man shook his head. "Not this time, Melinda."

The young man Gatch raised his eyebrows at the girl, shrugging as he slung the bags over his shoulder, the weight not a matter to him. "Heard that, Sport? Not this time, Melinda."

He wiggled his eyebrows mockingly at her, and then proceeded to lift the luggage up the stairs.

There was a sigh: The girl stared after the butler as he struggled to carry all the bags up the stairs. They were alone again.

Melinda felt the tension crawling in their skins, but it's become so hackneyed that the mood seemed too easy to brush off now. Sadness was a familiar stranger that she talks to every day, but didn't know much of.

In the vastness of the antechamber, she couldn't have felt all the more suffocated. The emptiness of this house made the opposite effect on her…

"How do you fare, Granddaughter?"

The question seemed to be articulated so dully that it sounded foreign: A busy old man like her grandfather shouldn't have time for melancholies, as a smile was easier to give than a frown. In this case, though…

"Okay, I guess," replied his granddaughter, taut. "It's been pretty hard."

"Yes, yes, I see it has," her grandfather was muttering to himself, his eyes never leaving her face. "Perhaps you might be wondering why I invited you so peculiarly, given the circumstances."

Actually, she was wondering what he could have been thinking, but that's been in her mind, too. Also, 'invited' was a word too inappropriately used in this sort of situation. It should be something like 'summoned…' She only nodded.

Melinda's grandfather's gaze never fell upon anywhere else: Nothing she thought on her face was eye-catching enough for him to notice it too long a time that it bothered her. "We will be having dinner soon. It would be rude to speak of it without your new confrère, as I think everyone deserves the right to know why you have to come here so far."

"He's my friend," Melinda said curtly. And that wasn't really answering her unspoken question. "So I'll have to wait until then to know the reason."

Her grandfather put his arm around her shoulders and led her to the grand staircase that beckoned them in its stunning grandeur. It wasn't the stairway that caught Melinda's faltering thought: His hands were cold, and, if she were correct, shaking. Did such a thing that could frighten even the infallible Joachim Kagamine exist? It could have been her imagination, although she wasn't so numb with touch that she couldn't feel the odd trembling of Grandfather.

"And until then, you shouldn't leave your room."

As he escorted her up the steps, presumably to her room, she couldn't help but not shake an instinctive intuition off that screamed danger. They were on the second floor, and she sneaked a glance at her old room, in which she had slept innumerably all her lifetime every visit. They had turned to ascend the next flight of stairs, and thus she stole away her only opportunity of entering it once again.

At last they were at the topmost floor.

In every hallway there were at least fifty paintings hung on the walls. Words to describe the mansion were either too lengthy, or were yet to exist. A few possibly repetitive words that would be near accurate to label it were dark, mysterious and macabre. Apart from change, this mansion's properties were so perpetually the same for what seemed to be centuries that it's the only thing that never changes. You could wake up in here and always feel like it was yesterday that you slept in another place, and be shocked to find yourself in a room of this scary house.

They took a turn to the left and Melinda found herself walking in a hallway she didn't go through before. Albeit his structure and his ostensive disinclination to moving about the mansion, he knew the halls like he'd been there moments before. Then again, it was his house. Perhaps his attention wasn't solely being concentrated on the peculiar paintings that looked too lifelike to be stuck inside a frame. Truthfully Melinda herself was being too conscious about the objects that weren't even real inside the borders of Grandfather's imagination: She felt as though they were about to materialise and surface out of the wooden rims.

Her new room was at the very end of the floor, just as Grandfather had told Gatch…

Melinda's feet stopped moving when they were at the front of the huge black door, where Grandfather turned the knob and opened the door, his hand still on her shoulder. Somehow he didn't notice her inaction while he did, or he didn't make much of it. Her room seemed almost exactly like the one she'd slept in before, except there was something about it that made it look so considerably bigger. A small chandelier decorated the room with light that lit up the whole interior of the room: An incredibly large canopy bed with silk curtains to hide whoever slept on it sat at the farthest end of the room next to a small mahogany nightstand; there were shelves at every wall, filled to the rows with books, novels and odes about whomever she didn't even recognise; the window, a wide berth of the darkness view, was high as the ceiling; a white marble fireside was to her left, quiet embers crackling; black patterns so inexplicable and horribly sharp adorned the walls of the room with its simple sanguine gore. Just like all the other rooms in Grandfather's manor, not a single sign of modern advancement dwelled, and neither did any look like it would belong there.

Her bags were inside, yet the familiar face that greeted her with a smile forever glued to his expression wasn't.

"Shouldn't we have met my butler up the stairs…?"

"Ah," said Grandfather, ushering her while getting inside himself. "Quite adventurous, your butler, isn't he?"

Melinda fell silent, plopping down on the soft mattress. It was in that angle that she saw a marvellous portrait hanging above the fireplace, painfully and cryptically realistic as it returned her gaze, although so much fondly. It scared the living hell out of her: It looked really real. It was a painting of a young European boy with blond hair and blue eyes.

Very blue eyes. A hue Melinda couldn't quite pinpoint… Like the shade of the sky at the precise instant of dusk, alight with arctic passion.

"What can you say about my artworks, Rin?" The girl snapped out of her reverie, but even as she looked away from the painting, the piercing cobalt shone through her grandfather's eyes, outshining his dark brown ones. She bit her lip. "They're awfully realistic."

A smile far from coquettish tugged at the drooping skin of Grandfather's face. "They should be."

She lifted her head slowly and lowered it; a sluggish nod. "It will be dinner soon enough. I shall go and look for your lost butler, wherever he may wander. You'll know when it's time to leave the room." Grandfather Joachim's eyes twinkled ominously as he made to the door. He added, "Never leave your room until the bell chimes, Rin."

And with a last, fleetingly enigmatic look, her grandfather closed the door.

She sighed and sprawled on the bed, letting her body sink limp into the cushion.

Melinda was always welcome to her grandfather's manor despite of how far they lived from each other. However, since her father passed away a few months before, things got edgy, not to mention difficult. Undeniably, a young lady's most precious thing in the world was her daddy, so imagine what she was like when the news got to her. She wasn't very far off from those other prissier girls who dubbed themselves as part of a "clique," of which she wasn't a member, but different in a way that she did love her father unconditionally. In fact, she wasn't labelled as anyone worth being with at all… She was just somebody that's there. She tried to mingle with the somewhat feeblest classmates of all first, believing them to be easy friends. It didn't quite work out as well as planned, for formalities were thrown in everywhere that she just threw in the towel. Most of the class was composed of… well, supercilious and disdainful people of high class who knew not a single synonym of fun. It was either Melinda was too rich, or she was too simple, as though she was too much or just never enough.

Her father would be the one to help her get through her friendlessness. It was like he's the sun in the dark pit of her world. Now that he's gone, it's like…

She bit her lip to keep the tears from flowing. It's in the past now, Rin. You can't do anything about it.

The sheets of the bed were warm, and it helped her feel a bit more at home. There was just that odd painting hanging directly above the fireplace, and it made Melinda feel the least comfortable. On the contrary, it was driving her off the edge—it was crazy real, man. Not exactly a person standing in front of you, per se. It was just like looking straight in a mirror. The fact that he resembled Melinda a lot didn't help. No, not at all.

She admired how her grandfather was the next Da Vinci and all, but his works get the best of his granddaughter more often than to be fond of. She swore, sometimes they'd just move and their eyes would follow her, and, once she turned around, they'd be how they were. It's freaky, and weirdly, she'd been putting up with it for years. She thought that that feeling of sensing something's stalking you was only part of being a kid, and intuition at that age was entirely superstitious. But she was wrong.

Somehow, it's gotten worse. It was like the paintings were diverting her attention to them, and made sure it'd stay that way. Time didn't dull the experience at all. What's more, it seemed as though each visit, her grandfather was getting better with painting, and the features were even more humanlike—in the hallways there'd be artworks that filled the walls every foot away, one finished from different times. If the other was painted seven years ago, the other would be a score older. With that kind of talent, you'd wonder if that's how they got so rich. It wasn't. Oddly enough, her grandfather never consented to sell any of his paintings, for reasons yet to be known by her. But this painting…

Melinda stood up and walked over to the portrait, digging in every detail until she was full with awe at the lack of flaws.

It was a painting different from the others her grandfather did. This… this was a person, and a young boy. As far as she could tell by all the paintings she'd seen in the halls, he was only interested in painting objects, and other inanimate things. Wherever did he get the inspiration to make this…? It was so awfully in depth that it was realistic. Surely nobody could be so great as to work on something that didn't really exist, or something he didn't see with his own eyes before. Maybe it was him, when he was younger?

If he was so talented and all, wouldn't he paint an even more precise portrait of himself? This one looks so feminine and earnestly glad, if not happy—it almost couldn't possibly her grandfather. Perhaps he wanted to depict himself as this sporty youth?

She took her time examining the image, and felt the eeriness return: The closer she looked, the more the boy looked like her than any blond boy she knew. As much as she tried to convince herself that it was just a stupid, ugly painting, it was useless. Her heart was beating like a drum, exhilarated by her panic and overreacting; it was almost like she could hear it blow out of her system through her ears, growing louder each second that passed while she looked at the portrait.

It was a young man with flaxen hair, his bangs swept to the side of his face to show more of his boyish looks. His feminine features were well proportionate with his masculine ones, creating an air to whoever inspected this that stressed he was in late pubescent years, only on the borderline of childhood. Judging by the looks of his clothes, he was European, though Melinda highly doubted her grandfather even saw vintage clothes before. He was directly looking at Melinda, his eyes a candid shade of cobalt that shone in the sunlight…

Oh God, his eyes…

…Oh God.

The portrait—he—no! It

It moved. Its expression changed…he was talking wordlessly.

Melinda took a step back, fear mounting inside her—she was breaking out in cold sweat. This has got to be some insane joke her old man was pulling—it couldn't be really moving—it's some random Japanese—hell, maybe German—technology that her grandfather bought before it was available in the country—

It didn't stop moving: In his—its—repetition of trying to noiselessly vocalise what it wanted to say, Melinda caught what it was mouthing.

And she felt like her heart stopped beating.

Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin. Rin.

She stumbled backward, and scrambled for the door, terror and deliriousness dominating over rationality. Before she could touch the handle, the lights went out, and coldness devoured her.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! XD

(1) I'm making use of the Japanese's pronunciation of 'L' by playing with the name "Melinda" and using the "lin" there as "Rin," therefore—BADABING-BADABOOM! Rin's name! She'll be addressed as "Rin" generally after this, so I hope you don't get tangled up. There's nothing wrong with "Rin," it's just that I need a more proper formality for her, because, here, her grandfather's filthy rich, so I need an even filthier rich-ier exaggeratingly-unnecessary longer name for "Rin."

(2) Her butler's—waitforit—an older version of Ryuto! (I think his name's kinda Gachapoid, hence, 'Gatch.') C'mon, he's AD-AWR-ABLE! I'm not using gender-bents or overly-used Vocaloids because I think the less popular ones deserve some lurve!

(3) Rin's outfit here is the one from Adolescence, because I'm the writer, and I want it that way. JK, JK. It suits her here, really!

(4) As for her grandpa, it wouldn't be too much to ask you to imagine an OLD PewDiePie, would it? (Don't trip at this, brothas.) Actually, he's based on the brand new English Vocaloid, YOHIOloid. It was derived from his provider's middle name, "Johio," and thus, "Joachim." I Searched for the words "her grandfather" in the whole context and found about 20 MATCHES, and I replaced mosta them XD

Just like my other non-Oneshot stories, this's gonna be long-ish. Probably longer than most, especially since this is Horror. (Oh, you guys gotta play Ib and The Witch's House! XD) Yeah, I'm taking a break from Humour, my usual genre. This gets better, I swear. This is only the prologue, I think, but Rin won't be alone in this! Of course, there's—/SHOT FOR NEARLY SPOILING I'm looking for a BEAUTIFUL GRANDEOUS fanart of Len trapped in a mirror/painting/something-with-a-frame and Rin's just outside looking/staring/just-gazing-at-the-distance or something, and then I COULDN'T, so I've to settle with CorruptedFlower!Len, which is in itself a great depiction of what I had in mind. I'm gonna update The Mistress now ;v; I'm so sorry!