Othersiders: Art of the Necromancer (tentative title)
Finian stood alone at the train station, watching the endless crowd of people come and go with his imagination running in overdrive. A mother and her two daughters marched past him with purpose and determination, the small girls pulling character suitcases on wheels, and Finian decided that this was a mother vampire and her two sucklings. They carried blood packets in their suitcases and they were off to visit Dracula in Transylvania. A man in a black suit with a black bowler hat was the owner/operator of the world’s largest poodle farm and he was taking a trip to West Whateverville to purchase the largest puce poodle in the Northern Hemisphere. This prized overgrown cotton ball with eyes was worth more than all the bananas in Antarctica and he would not go living another day without her. The stories went on and on. Finian could never get enough of people watching.
Lost in his own little world Finian never saw Evelyn coming. She came up from behind him and placed her hand on his shoulder, resulting in a near ear splitting scream. Finian was not known for his bravery.
“Finn, it’s me, calm down.”
Finian turned back to face Evelyn, his chest heaving and his hands on his hips like he had just run a great distance.
“Yeah, I know. I was just giving off that war cry thing that they do in martial arts.” Evelyn stared back at him blank faced. “You know, the shout before they kill you, or while they are killing you. I was never clear on that part actually.”
“Are you talking about ‘Kiai’?”
“Yep, that’s it. I was letting off my ki thingie.. I hope I didn’t scare you.”
“You didn’t.” Evelyn said with a total lack of emotion.
“Right. Good. So, what took you so long?”
Evelyn did not respond. Instead she turned toward the schedule board to begin looking over the train times. Finian could feel that Evelyn’s mind was somewhere else as he attempted to read her expression. He usually tried not to make a habit of looking too hard at Evelyn because he knew he ran the risk of being caught staring. Looking at her was dangerous, like staring into the sun. As she brushed her short black hair out of her eyes though he could see they were puffy. She had been crying recently. Finian also noticed that she did not have the books she had gone to get from home. He put two and two together and decided it was best not to ask what was wrong. He knew the answer already.
“It looks like we only have about five minutes until the train, we should get moving.”
She turned back and Finian was caught doing just what he had been trying to avoid being caught doing. He panicked and just kept staring. Her hazel eyes boring a hole in his face, he could feel his eyes getting wider. Crippled with indecision he nodded his head quickly.
“Yeah, I got the tickets already. No problem.”
She raised one eyebrow and cocked her head, a strand of red that was streaked through her hair falling back into her eyes. She looked sad. If Finian did not know her better he would have said she looked defeated as well. He really wanted to know what had been said between her and her parents but asking would be bad tact. The best he could do was smile and pretend he knew nothing. That was one thing Finian was an expert at.
“Shall we go?” he said, looking around to see if he was leaving anything behind even though he had been standing there holding all his worldly possessions from the moment he came into the station. Finian never put his belongings down. He was too paranoid.
“Yes, let’s,” Evelyn said, taking a deep breath and sounding a bit more like the girl Finian knew but still not quite right. This made Finian nervous. They would need her if they were going to get anything useful out of Alice King.
The train ride was long and uneventful. Evelyn sat by the window watching the countryside roll by with a stony expression and Finian occupied himself by making up more stories. He had found the reanimated zombie corpse of Abraham Lincoln, a fairy, two shape shifters and Madonna’s sex slave. He was also quite sure that the ancient old lady sitting across from them knitting a Christmas sweater was Tupac in disguise.
When they arrived at their stop Evelyn turned toward Finian and she almost looked surprised to see him. Avoiding the topic of what had happened back at Evelyn’s house had become impossible. Finian had to say something now.
“Evie, are you alright? Your head seems like it’s somewhere else. I mean, I know I am one to talk. My head is usually somewhere else and VP Grant feels that my head spends the majority of it’s time in a place that I am quite certain I am physically incapable of putting it but that is the point, isn’t it? I am the shifty space cadet. You are the strong, focused one. We really can’t switch parts right now, not when we are going in to question someone who really could know something about these ghosts you have us chasing.”
The whole time Finian was speaking Evelyn looked completely blank. She did not smile or frown. The fight with her parents had obviously done some serious damage to make someone as strong as Evelyn turn this stoic.
“I’m fine, Finn. Don’t worry about it.”
Finian was torn. The non-confrontationist in him wanted to run from this discussion like a witch from fire but then he thought again about what would happen if they really did find ghosts at Alice King’s. He was quite certain they could end up in serious trouble if Evelyn was not focused.
“Evie, look,” Finian said, putting his hand on her shoulder. “I know things at home went badly. I know you fought with your parents. It’s written all over your face. If you want to call it quits for today and just wander around out here in the butt end of nowhere, let’s do that. But let me tell you something my dad always told me when I moped about. He would say, “Finn, every moment of your life is precious and you will never get a single one of them back. People spend a lot of their time looking back at moments and wishing they had done one thing or another differently but it’s impossible to go back. That means you should focus on the moment you are in. How do you want to spend it? Whatever you do, don’t you dare spend it looking back at the one you just left. That is just a waste.” So here we are, Evie, and you have to decide if you want this moment right now to be about right now or if you want it to be about what happened back at your house. It was bad, I know. If it shook you this much it had to have been. But it’s over. So you tell me, are you here with me, or are you still back there at home?”
Evelyn blinked and stared down at her hands. A small laugh escaped her lips and she sighed.
“Finn, you are a strange boy.”
“Yes I am.”
“What I don’t understand is why you insist on playing stupid all the time when you’re not.”
“It keeps the expectations low. Besides, sarcasm, good sarcasm, takes a lot more intelligence than people give it credit for.
Evelyn nodded. Finian used jokes as a kind of armour and she could respect that. Evelyn did not believe in arming herself and always rushed headlong into danger with her emotions bared.
“I’m here now, Finn. Thank you.”
“Any time, homie.”
“I know. Shut it.”
Evelyn and Finian turned and headed off the train to find Alice King’s house.