The Portrait of Len Kagamine
There was a hand in the dark, and it held a knife
The Graveyard Book, by N. Gaiman
A high-pitched scream threatened to escape from Rin's mouth, but unexpectedly, before she could collapse to her feet, before sound came forth her lips, tremendous noises drowned her will to shriek. Rackets of all the sorts that made her blood run cold.
Suddenly in the mansion it was raucous.
Sharp and high: Low and groaning: Fast drumming: Some slamming: Something that resembled an elephant on childbirth: These noises decorated the entire once-so silent and dead mansion, making it seem alive. Everywhere there seemed to be one kind of auditory disturbance: They were louder now. Out of it all, Rin felt her heart beating out of both sides of her ears, the thumping blocking the outward commotion. The clattering somehow sounded as though they were approaching where Rin's spot was, and she felt like she grew out vines and ingrained herself to the floor.
Rin stared at what she thought to be the door, last she remembered before blackness concealed the sight, frozen in place. She felt like ice was frosting the ground, and she shivered: From the cold or from the denial, that there was something weird going on, she didn't know, and the latter she was afraid to say she thought truest. Then, there was a sound she couldn't believe she was hearing. She didn't dare move, and her eyes were getting teary from the astonishment.
There was playful giggling. Like it belonged to a very young boy's voice.
Whoever it could've been had done no potential harm and only ran across the room, his vanishing footsteps and giggles relaxing Rin's ill nerves that reached their peaks. He was gone.
Could it be one of Grandfather's servants' son? Poor kid, running around in the dark…However last time she visited, a little more than a couple of months ago, she was positive that no child wandered about the mansion, or she would have played with him.
None of her grandfather's servants she seemed to know were immature enough to be up and about in a blackout, either…
Then, the part of her mind that was scuttling for explanation said, wasn't this an ordinary blackout?
The thought alone imperilled Rin had she let a gasp slip from her. Ghosts of atrocious monsters that she kept so well-hidden from her evasive consciousness made their way to creep up inside her, whispering probable carnages. Whatever could hear her, she was sure, if she should utter a quietest squeak, would potentially be a threat to her life, or just scare her enough to give her a cardiac arrest.
All of a sudden, the darkness seemed…looped, as though the interior of the room had—been—altered in the blackness, turning to an illusion she would find most horrible once—she refused to use an 'if'—the lights would come back on. The floor her palms were spread out on was definitely moving: Her fingers were shaking, too. The vastness of the room felt too despotic, the emptiness suffocating Rin. Her instincts screamed at her, pleading mercy and for the warm, hot water rushing down her body to scald her into a numbing state, become detached, losing herself in the shower—
…Rin's ears strained, a long, running one-way sound passing her ears.
There was silence, before she knew it. Was it that her good thoughts prevailed…?
It was too quiet.
And for one second Rin believed she was safe.
The longer the time passed, the more her senses heightened, foretelling her that there was a reason behind the silence, one so strong to have made everything so quiet in less than how long the uproar of sounds took to fill the house with cantankerous reverberation, alerting her of a danger nearby, warning her of a presence in the room. She was blanketed in a thick sheet of heavy fear, atop it a foreboding entity's aura whomever it was emanating from, Rin was fairly sure, omniscient and could see her had she been elsewhere in the mansion.
One whose gaze she held for so long she discerned it in her dizziest daydreams.
Whose shade of blue was one she'd never forget.
Rin's mind was racing; her head filled with such condescending thoughts that discouraged her from believing in what little hope of sanity was left in her. According to her crazy, doddering smidge of faith, she had to turn around to see what could be standing there—waiting to scare the bejeeses out of her. This better not be funny, Gatch, Rin told herself to steel her courage, whatever ounce of belief that wanted so much to convince her it was merely a practical joke not doing so well. She bravely craned her neck to see what's behind her—
—the fireplace had been lit up, the embers burning, cackling, sizzling. It was radiating a dim light, with enough to see her room: It was the same, to be speaking in pure honesty, save for the carpet-less floor.
And a lone figure standing in front of the fire.
It was a boy. He was wearing what Rin distinguished in the little light she could use to see with green attire, all long sleeves concealing his somewhat pale skin: Rin could tell it by just looking at his outstretched hand reaching out to his hair, to brush a few strands from his eyes. She instantly took note of his hair, a startling golden shade of blond skimmed with red fiery streaks reflected from the fire. She couldn't see too much of his face to make a first impression of him, and, shallowly speaking, hoped she wouldn't stay with him long enough to.
Rin thought her heart had failed her that second. Where did he come from?
Just as she was about to open her mouth to talk, he turned his whole body to her direction.
Her heart was frozen over.
Pale creamy skin that glowed like delicate porcelain in the light of the fire had shadows casted on his forehead by his neat hair swept to either side of his face, forming a curtain of hair on his face that didn't dwarf his ever-so bright azure eyes twinkling in the darkness, the colour of a frosted blue rose, crystal clear in form and majesty. Nothing in the world can rival the bizarre yet exotic hue his eyes revealed: It was like that lone reminder that struck you the chord of the beauty in the simple things in life. She felt like she was dragged in by his electric blue orbs.
I-it was h-him…
He was the painting!
"Don't you like the music?"
His moist lips moved just as hers do: He was alive! He was definitely talking—and he just did, speaking using the mellowest of inflection, like a ripe fruit of winter, voice full of innocence and fluidity. And even as he did, Rin caught a tinge of slow understanding and careful experimenting, as though language was something he wasn't used to. He got the expression of what he said right, though.
What she knew of this boy should be solid fact and yet to be ascertained. Her voice cracked when she said, "What music?"
Before she knew it, lovely melodious music filled her ears.
It sounded as though it came from downstairs…
Rin recognised it. It was the one she used to dance to when she was younger…She'd try to recall, the urgency of the situation coaxing her into remembering. A rapid wave of flashback coursed through her eyes, whipping her with coldness: Her mother would tell her to calm down as she'd giddily jump around while her father, laughing, started to play a piece on the grand piano. The mansion would be filled with the harmonious music…
The people to know how to play that piece would be herself, her father, and her grandfather, the latter of the three the only plausible person to have been playing it this moment.
But why would he be playing the song now?
The boy's gaze never quite left her face. What solicitude he betrayed unknowingly on his face made Rin disregard all the creepiness she was getting from him. He was so focused on her that she just couldn't up and leave.
"It's actually the song of the lifeless."
The very atmosphere thawed her coldness and nearly scorched her with such heat.
The more Rin studied his expression, the more she could see how absolutely hungry he appeared: He looked like he was radiating malice and, dare she say it, bloodlust. It didn't actually help that he seemed to look like that for a long time and even more when he didn't avert his gaze from her face. It looked off-putting, especially on a face more fitting to grace and elegance.
She choked on her words, her heart leaping out of her mouth.
The shadows formed dark stripes across his face, which didn't seem so perfect looking angry.
"No." All the piano's keys were simultaneously hit by order like a wave of discordant notes, and silence from downstairs. "We're more like not alive to begin with."
Rin felt a burn thrum in every fibre of her body as she inched her way to the door, getting to her feet in the quietest way she could. The boy loomed over to her like a shadow, materialising in the darkness. She fumbled for the doorknob behind her, shaking madly. She felt the hard wall, though couldn't grope her hand to—where was the knob?
What's scary was that the entire time—from when she was enthralled in his actuality, when something not unlike lightning struck her at the recognition of those blue eyes—he never looked at anything else and was just begging for eye contact, and he maintained it on his own successfully enough—and Rin could feel her want to look at the same stunning hue again let concentration slip away from her.
Her left hand was failingly groping for the doorknob that could get her out of the room—away from him—as he was already a foot closer than he'd been a second ago. Her mind was screaming in panic. No no no no no no no! Stay back!
The boy stood high with such form and dignity that Rin felt her own shrinking: He was in front of her. He was so close to her that she'd forgotten how to breathe. It was then and there that she took in his scent: Strong and fresh, as though he was a pleasant plant blooming in the snow.
Her hand falling limp to her side, she looked up reflexively: Billowing freezing eyes turned misty with rile. "Let's play a game, shall we?"
Before she could look away from his hypnotising eyes, he pushed her lightly—
What she expected to fall on had been a door—yet she leaned a long way backward unto thin air: Her back was being embraced by the cold nothingness as she felt her weight hauling her backwards down. Her feet could support her no longer as she fell rearward—there used to be a door there!
Rin's hands futilely whipped up as she flailed in the hole, falling down: She wished to reach out to the boy and drag him down with her, demand of him an answer he just wasn't giving her.
She fell further and further down the ditch of darkness, feeling suddenly weightless—
Up from where she was, the living portrait boy just flashed her a coquettish smile of derisive whimsicality.
At first, it was hot. Rin felt like she was in a sauna.
And then she adapted to the temperature of where she was lying: The floor sure was cold. As soon as she realised that, the warmness was suddenly replaced by acclimation. Rin was lying down, her cheek plastered on the floor with cold sweat. She could see nothing within the dark room that could help her identify where in the mansion she was.
Or out of the mansion. Maybe she could've stepped out of the window—she was certain she'd gone to the right direction of the door, though.
She'd fallen down pretty deep—the odd thing was she felt little to no pain at all. Had she fallen on a flower patch? Her chances were as how unlikely it could be. Then bounce on a cold hard floor? Really, Rin.
Well, her mind argued, weirder things have happened. Like that boy…No, painting…
At a heartbeat she realised what situation she was in. Where were her grandfather and Gatch? His servants? Had they already come into her room and found the boy there, interrogated him, bound him until he'd talk of her whereabouts? If they did ask where she was… If the boy lied—and Rin was legitimately confident that he could pull an act of innocence and guilelessness with his deceptive looks, and one that would make a fool out of all the faint-hearted deceivable servants—and they'd risk trusting a stranger for the sake of finding her, he'd undoubtedly lead them astray. Did they come to her room? Were they able to mobilise themselves from the paralysis of the fear of darkness?
No—he was real now—could they even see him? That boy—that painting—the lights going out—
Panic and consternation threw Rin into distortion when everything dawned on her, almost like a meteor landing on her and splitting her skull.
What was he doing to her? Was this all a stupid prank? Where—where were her grandfather and her butler? Where—
Where was she?
The more her eyes adjusted to the lighting—however dim it may have been, it was clear to see with and just needed time to amend to—the more she could see what little of the room the light of the candles on the farthest walls could illuminate: She was in the very middle of the large empty room, excluding herself, whose only way of being perceived as one was a pair of tiny separate candles hung up on either side of the vast chamber. Even though she couldn't tell what room inside her grandfather's mansion she was in, she did know this: Not once had she been inside here before.
If she had been, she'd definitely remember. In every room she'd been into in Grandfather Joachim's manor, there was at least one framed painting hung on a wall and everything else that resided was decorative ornaments, all lavish. She knew her grandfather: He'd be extravagant about everything, and would put everything in detail and in order. If one such thing that was of his possession—or even something that he'd claim to be his if it wasn't yet—out of place or wasn't where it should be, he'd go ballistic and demand that the servants arrange it back the way he liked it. There would be a large window here and there or even a veranda to breathe in the fresh air from—in here was nothing. Not even the overly-redundant chandelier.
Speaking of chandelier, the ceiling was empty of any shafts through which she could have fallen to get into the room. So the only credible explanation for that was that, after the fall, someone had taken her here. She couldn't deduce how long she'd been unconscious, but, judging by the weightiness of her head, it wasn't too long to last an hour, at the very least.
The silence was singing a perish song, and it screeched so loudly Rin's ears were straining from the soundlessness. She took in a breath, steadily standing to her feet.
Air seemed too thick to inhale: Rin fretted an asthma attack, and her mind nagged that if she doesn't get a hold of herself right now something a lot worse than a coughing fit would be headed toward her.
She took in a deep breath, a scaly monster grinding her insides. There had to be some kind of door here—she couldn't just have been here without an entrance. Could she?
Rin stood still—any movement could lose that sound, or draw it to her. She was scared of either, so she remained where she was, relying on her ears to help her find the source.
It sounded like a sort of grumble…
A guttural noise; sounded a woman's.
"Hello?" Her own voice bounced back to her, although that much eerier. The echoes didn't end.
Instead of feeling a little less frightened, talking inside the empty room felt creepier with the echoes ricocheting off the walls.
"Who's there…?" she felt her throat contracting from fear of hearing her own voice repeating the words in such a way that made her spine gelatinised. She bit her tongue.
A cool breeze swept by the room: Chilly. There was nobody else in there with her, and nothing else she could have mistaken to have made the sound.
Until she saw, behind her at the farthest end of the room, unbelievably so distant from sight that the light could barely reach it and be seen at a first glance because of such dimness, a lovely gold frame encrusted with light jewels hung on the wall. Only, not a painting was there.
But a very distressed, very petrified crying woman.
She was slamming her hands on an invisible border that separated her from the room, as though a two-way mirror kept her there. Rin read her lips.
The giggling kid running through the hall was NOT Len, okay. (I emphasised 'LITTLE BOY.') Rin's first puzzle was Echo's Lament—totally made-up, but I wish I had enough talent to make one for REAL (SOBS)—in which a painting of Len is shown crying in a black background, wishing he had a voice of his own to speak with. In a way, Len DID kinda talk to her. Via echo.
Some introduction this was…
As you can see, I'm depicting Rin as this depressed yet gullible and taintless girl who goes along with things as she's used to doing. Her character's flexible enough for a child to relate to her, as one would behave were he/she placed in a similar situation. At least, that's how it is in GAMES. Rin's as clueless as you are from this point, so if I steer her in one direction you should be able to follow with ease. The blonde boy obviously being Len, he's extorting something huge Rin owed him, something our protagonist will soon learn to cherish. As you've discerned, I've done more than just insinuated that Len's some kind of Ice Prince in the context every chance I get.
I'M FIFTEEN! MAICHEESES! (I shouldn't be talking like a college professor!) Questions?
(1) Why's Len a douchebag here?
(2) Is this twincest?
(3) Where's Gatch?
(4) Is she the single protagonist here?
(5) Are there gonna be multiple endings just like in Ib?
Because he is. As I've said, no. It's—I-call-a-new-RinxLen-shipping-XD—PAINTIN'CEST! That would be telling ;) Oh, and this one: YES. I must confess that I have a LOT of endings in mind that would fittingly conclude this story. They're all gonna be parallel, so if in one ending, say, Gatch was actually a zombie in disguise and the fact that he is plays a minor role in the plot, he wouldn't be one in the other. And NO, Gatch ain't no zombie. Even here. Read my profile please.
Special thanks to: Lolly101; DarkestThinginTheLight; Guest; The-Devils-Pets; Antheasa; Nekuro Yamikawa; those-who-favourited
I bequeath thee thy a most grandeous meal of cupcakes