Love is Revenge’s Best Motivator

Zander is a noble general who is on his way to becoming the ruler of his country. The current ruler has allowed himself to be possessed by a demon. This has allowed him to rule with absolute authority in order to make the country stronger and expand its borders. Afraid of Zander’s eventual replacement of him, the ruler secretly orders some of the troops to allow Zander and his group of soldiers to die in the next battle and they do. Zander’s head is cut off and the rest of his forces are wiped out.

Unsatisfied with the destruction he’s caused, the ruler decides to go after Zander’s family. He sends a small loyal force of demonically possessed soldiers to his house and burns down the house. Zander’s wife, Prisca, tries to save their children but is caught by falling debris. Desperate to save her children, she cuts her trapped right arm off with Zander’s sword, however, she falls through the floor and is unable to go back up to where they were. She tries to find some way outside of the house to get upstairs, but the house collapses and her children and everything she has is destroyed.

Catching her in her shock, the demonic soldiers try finishing her off. Prisca does her best to fight off the assault with her singular arm, even though it is obvious that she is outnumbered and under skilled. The spirit of Zander comes down from the afterlife and fights off the demons for Prisca. His skills outmatch the demons as they can’t do anything against a pure spirit who is also skilled with a sword. Most of them retreat, but one manages to sneak up on Prisca. He carves the Chinese symbol for death in her left eye before being taken out by Zander.

Before being sent to Hell, the demon says, “You’re marked for death, Prisca! Other beings like me will be after you. There will be no rest for you until you die! Hahaha!”

Finally free from danger, for now, Prisca cries over the ruins of her family as it rains.

Zander tries comforting her by holding her. “Calm down. I’m here with you.”

“Some timing you have! Our children are dead!”

“I know. I saw them in the afterlife. I’m allowed here in the mortal realm to aid you in defeating our demonic ruler.”

“I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t even have my right arm. I can’t fight like I used to.”

“It’s okay because I’ll possess you to help you fight, but you have to allow me to do so when the time comes.”

“I still…”

“I’m here with you now. Remember that there’s nothing that can stop us when we’re together.”

Zander wraps and heals Prisca’s wounds. He then kisses her then holds her hands to make her feel his power and love for her.

He then says, “We’ll send that demon to Hell together and free our country from his control. I promise you that we can do this.”

Prisca breathes in deeply. “Okay. I trust you.”

“I knew you would. We have to hurry. Evil is heading our way.”

Prisca collects herself, sheathes Zander’s sword, and heads off in the direction of the capital city. Because of his efforts and rank, Zander was able to earn a nice house not too far from the capital. It’s a nice area with plenty of natural beauties to it such as rivers, flower beds, and good land to grow crops. Prisca can only look at it now as she says goodbye to it.

She says to Zander, “Do you remember those days when you were home from war? The days that we spent together enjoying each moment of being together as if it were our last?”

“How could I not? Those are some of my most treasured memories.”

“And what about our first time meeting? Doesn’t it count up there with them?”

“Of course it does. I didn’t know the day meeting you in the streets would end up like this.”

The rain, mud, and pain that Prisca is going through starts to harshly strike at her nerves.

“I need to hear more,” she says, “All of this is eating at my soul. I don’t know if I can survive it.”

“I’m here. Don’t-They’re here. Get ready.”

Zander possesses Prisca’s body. Despite missing an arm, she holds her sword as if she still had it. Zander’s spirit arm helps her hold it up and keep a proper fighting stance in the pouring rain. A shadow moves in the dark sly and silent.

“Be on your guard. I’ve imbued my sword with the ability to exorcize demons. Let me handle this,” Zander says as he helps Prisca move.

Because of the frail condition of her body and her weakened spirit, Zander is able to easily move Prisca even though he’s never possessed someone before. He’s never even fought a demon before, so he tries to be ready for anything. Meanwhile, Prisca’s thoughts are empty. She’s calm as she moves along with Zander. The two have never felt closer. As his thoughts flow through hers, she remembers his memory of being killed, the betrayal he felt, and his judgment by God.

“Now’s not the time to be remembering that, Prisca.”

Figures start forming out of the darkness with their arms formed into swords ready to slash at Prisca. Zander senses their presence when they form and immediately reacts and cuts them down. He slashes at the shadows at the ground and the ones that form into soldiers. Archers form out of the shadows and shoot at Prisca from a distance. Zander manages to dodge them and even deflects back at the other shadows.

Seeing that they need to step up their efforts, the shadows and darkness of the small farm town then converge to a single point to form a singular being. This large shadowy demonic creature is comprised of two legs, two arms, three tails, and three heads with demonic faces. Its body is full of faces who laugh at Prisca since they think she has no chance of survival. It then begins to throw rocks and chunks of the ground at Prisca that Zander miraculously manages to slash through. The creature then uses its large fists to squash Prisca, but Zander manages to slash through its fists as well. Seeing that the creature’s fist regenerate because of the shadows, Zander keeps cutting down its limbs. First, its legs go then its arms, heads, and then Zander cuts into the creature’s chest then thrusts his sword into the core of the creature. The moon regains its light as the monster is destroyed and its body disintegrates into the light.

The damage it caused is now clear as some of the houses in the small town have major damage done to them. Some of the farms and flower gardens are ruined while the houses have major parts of it missing. The sounds of agony, loss, and fear are heard from the people who have suffered the most. Prisca feels their pain along with Zander.

“What happened here was terrible, Prisca, but we have to keep moving, otherwise, we’ll only be bringing them more suffering…”

“…right.”

Prisca’s mind has gone numb after experiencing so much suffering in less than an hour. She moves without feeling into the nearby forest so that the demons don’t hurt anyone else. After a short walk, she rests underneath a tree to give her some protection from the rain. Zander releases himself from her body and heals whatever damage that was done to her during the battle.

He says, “This battle is going to take a lot out of us, but if we cooperate like we just did, then we can take down the ruler.”

“…”

“We did great. That nightmare of a creature didn’t stand a chance against us. I told you that there’s nothing that can stop us.”

Prisca starts to smile to Zander’s relief, but then she starts to laugh in a crazy way with tears falling down her face. She holds out Zander’s sword and thinks about taking her life.

“Prisca! Calm down!”

“That’s easy for you to say, haha. You’re going to Heaven with our children after this. I’m going to have to struggle to stay alive.”

“I know what you’re feeling.” Zander puts his hand on Prisca’s and the two feel each other’s feelings. “You can feel how worried I am about you. The pain I feel over the loss of the lives of our children and the way things have turned out for us, but there is hope for us. We can make it out of this if you trust in God and me.”

“If you say so.” Prisca kisses Zander’s immaterial face.

“I’m sorry. I wish I could kiss and hold you as well.”

“You’re going to have to make it up to when I die then. Tell God to hold you to it.”

Prisca uses the tree trunk to help her stand up before heading off to the capital.

“I’m not sure if I should be more or less worried about you now.”

“If I die, I’ll be with my family. If I don’t, I’ll be a hero. It’s a win-win if you ask me.”

“I don’t think you’ll become a hero. You will bring peace to the land though. One of my most trusted friends should be the next ruler since I had him trained to be in case, I suddenly died on the battlefield or an assassin took my life.”

“I’m glad you were prepared for that, but you weren’t prepared for twins. I remember seeing your shocked face and you being scared for weeks. How can a general who constantly stares death in the face be scared of two of the sweetest children ever?”

“I know more about warfare than caring for children.”

“It’s scary stuff, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know how you did it.”

“It’s because I loved my children and wanted to give my husband the best children possible.”

“I didn’t think you would fail me even for a second.”

The rain starts to slow down as something in the environment changes. Zander quickly possesses Prisca and assumes a fighting stance.

“What weird demon do you think is after us next?”

“I don’t know. I just know it’s dangerous.”

“Thanks for the obvious information.”

“Silence. It’s coming.”

The rainfall progressively slows down until it completely stops. Zander stops as he closely listens to any possible footsteps until he catches them that sound like a single drop of water. He slashes at, cutting the water in the air. It then starts to pour again.

“Did we get it, Zander?”’

“No.”

Prisca runs underneath a tree for cover from the rain. It then begins to thunder.

“Move!”

A bolt of lightning strikes the tree Prisca is near and almost electrocutes her.

“What are we going to do?”

“Dance like we did at our wedding.”

“Dancing with lightning. How romantic.”

“Concentrate!”

Lightning strikes all around Prisca as Zander helps her dodge around it. A direct hit is about to hit her, but Zander manages to slash the demon within it while protecting Prisca from the electrocution.

“That was amazing!”

“Did you expect anything less from me? The demon isn’t done with us yet.”

“What else could it throw at us?”

“Watch out!”

The demon takes the form of rain again and is falling upon Prisca. Zander tries cutting it, but it gets on Prisca anyway.

“What’s going on?”

“Prisca! The demon is on your body. You have to trust me and stab yourself with the sword.”

“Don’t trust that demon, Prisca! I killed the demon for you. It’s just influencing your thoughts to try to make you kill yourself.”

The voices sound the same so Prisca doesn’t know what to do.

“Zander?”

“You’re going to have to trust me! Stab yourself and I’ll protect you!”

“Don’t listen to its insanity. It’ll go away from your mind eventually.”

Prisca takes a chance and thrusts the sword into her chest. Before the tip of the blade can touch her chest, the demon releases itself from Prisca. Zander takes back control and quickly upward slashes the demon, sending it back to Hell in pieces. The rain stops pouring and begins to calm down.

“Thank you for trusting me,” Zander says.

“I’ve never not trusted you,” Prisca replies.

“Come on, let’s keep moving.”

Prisca makes it far enough into the forest to see the capital in sight. The rain finally dies down as her goal is nearly within reach. Zander removes his control from her body as the two travel along the deserted road.

“How did you know stabbing myself would release the demon from me?”

“It was honestly just a bold guess.”

“A bold guess?!”

Prisca tries hitting Zander with the hilt of his sword multiple times.

“You’re not hurting me.”

“I’m still getting satisfaction from this!”

“Come on, stop messing around.”

“Fine. Do you have a plan for me to get close enough to the ruler to cut his head off?”

“My friends and his garrison should be there guarding the castle. If I say something to them that they would know, they should let you in.”

“I’m not sure if it’ll be that simple.”

“I do have backup plans if that doesn’t work.”

“I hope so.”

“Hope that we don’t bump into any more trouble along the way.”

“I doubt we won’t. They have to know how close we are.”

“And here one is on cue. You didn’t hope hard enough!”

“I’ll hope more when we kill it.”

Zander possesses Prisca again as she assumes a fighting stance.

“It seems that my constant possession of you has allowed you to copy some of my skills.”

“Good. I’ll need them after we succeed.”

“At least you’re thinking positive now.”

The various rock formations and trees start shaking around her until she is lifted into the air just near the top of the rest of the trees in the forest.

“What is this, Zander?”

“It’s a turtle dragon. That demon must’ve let it rest here in case we got close to the capital.”

“Shadow demons, rain demons, and now this? Why not? We can take it!”

“That’s the spirit!”

Trees and rocks on the dragon start forming themselves into parasites and attack Prisca. Zander dances in between them and easily takes them out because of their large size. The dragon then turns its head completely around, extends it, and swallows Prisca. Inside the belly of the beast are the skeletons of its previous victims near treasure.

“What happened to these people?”

“Turtle dragons like these act like small tunnels with sparkling treasures in them to lure in greedy treasure hunters. Once inside, the travelers starve to death with the treasure they went through the trouble to get,” Zander answers.

“That isn’t going to happen to us.”

Zander cuts through the dragon’s stone interior, which does major damage to it. Its defense system of parasites try defending its inside to no avail. With his sword in Prisca’s hands, he cuts open the turtle dragon, killing it.

Prisca gets out of the corpse of the dragon and says, “If we can defeat that thing, then we can beat that demonic ruler.”

“We can, assuming he doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve.”

“You said to have hope, right? Then let’s have hope.”

“You’re right. Let’s keep going. We’re almost there.”

Once she finally reaches the capital, Prisca grabs a cloak to not draw attention to herself. Zander then leads her to the entrance that her friend should be guarding. He finds him there and his friend recognizes Prisca.

“Prisca. It’s good to see you, but what happened to your eye? Why do you have death in it?”

“Because the demon you serve marked me for death after taking everything away from me. I’m here to avenge my husband and my children. Please let me through.”

“I know our ruler is corrupt but it is my duty to protect him. Zander would agree with me. I’m sorry.”

“Zander has helped me get this far. His spirit has given me his skills and strength.”

“Prove it.”

Zander possesses Prisca and says, “Move it you, fool or do I need to tell your soldiers about the paintings of your wife that you keep in your bunker? I’m sure it’ll boost troop morale.”

“Ah! Zander, you are here!”

“That’s right. Our ruler is completely corrupt and killed me because I was going to be the next ruler of this country. Move aside so I can dethrone him myself.”

“I will. Godspeed, brother.”

“Thank you. You will be the ruler in his place as planned. You can’t say we did this for you or else you will be executed for conspiracy and the assassination of the rightful ruler. Be ready when the time comes.”

Zander’s friend nods as Prisca walks away into the castle. She makes her way to the throne room where the demonic ruler is waiting with his sword drawn.

Zander says, “It’s over, demon! You killed me, but God has granted me revenge.”

“Zander, do you really think you can beat me by possessing your wife who only has one arm?”

“We do,” Prisca and Zander say in unison.

“Then your arms better make up for hers.”

Six arms with swords come out from the ruler’s back. Despite his disadvantage, Zander manages to keep up with the flurry of attacks and cuts off two of the extra arms.

“Gah! Impossible!”

“If you only knew the odds, then you’d know that it’s impossible for you to win.”

“Ahhhhh!”

Zander then cuts off another two arms then another two on both sides, which leaves the demon with his original two arms.

“Your reign is over.”

“Not by a longshot!”

An arm comes out of the demon’s mouth with a sword and cuts off Prisca’s other arm in an instant. She writhes in pain as Zander gets her to dodge the demon’s finishing blows. The demon then laughs as continues his assault.

“I’m not giving up yet!” Prisca says as she thinks of a plan that Zander allows her to execute.

She slides through the demon’s attacks and picks up Zander’s sword with her mouth. Zander’s possession of her allows her to fight this way and cut off the mouth hand before beheading the demonic ruler. The symbol of death fades away from Prisca’s eye since the ruler is sent to Hell.

Prisca lets go of the sword in her mouth as she says, “We did it!”

“What did I tell you? Nothing can beat us when we’re together,” Zander says as he heals and wraps Prisca’s dismembered arm, “I’m sorry about your arm. I didn’t expect an arm with a sword to come out of his mouth.”

“It’s okay. We freed the country and you can move onto Heaven.”

“Right. Let’s get out of here.”

Prisca exits the castle the way she came. Zander’s friend sees this and brings in his fellow soldiers to show them what happened in order to take control of the throne. Meanwhile, Prisca rests on the streets of the capital, tired and weary.

“This is hardly a good treatment for a hero,” Prisca says.

“You’ll get your reward in Heaven where our children and I will be waiting for you.”

“How will I survive until then?”

“A priest will come by to take care of you.”

“Are you kidding? I’m of no use to anyone.”

“After what happened tonight, can you truly say that? I’ll be praying for you until I see you again.”

“I’ll see you then. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Zander shares one last real kiss with Prisca before he fades away from her vision into a bright light that no one else in the capital sees.

After a few moments, a priest walks up to Prisca and says, “Poor woman. You need shelter and a place to stay.”

“I don’t think I’ll be of any use to you, father,” Prisca says as she shows the priest her lack of arms.

“Do not worry. I need people to talk and inspire others. I’m sure you will do this because I was led here to you.”

“Is that so? Ha, alright.”

Prisca becomes a teacher for a small convent in the capital while Zander’s friend becomes the next ruler of the country. Rumors of what happened circulate through the country. The most popular one is that the corrupt ruler had Zander killed and his spirit took revenge on him. Others include mentions of his wife, but she doesn’t play an important role. Despite getting neither glory nor rewards in this life, Prisca moves onto a happy life where she cares for new children to become as brave and strong and she and her husband are.

The End

A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.

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The Monster and His Mistress – Part 1

Download for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/793384

 

A teenage boy and girl wander the land of Eurasia the time of kings and knights in search of adventure, conflict, and redemption. To say they are merely children is a severe understatement. The boy has the soul of a warlord who has destroyed nations, killed innocent people, and taken their possessions. It was not until the girl, who was a woman at the time, came to him and readjusted his view of the world. Though he did not like what she was saying, he couldn’t bring himself to raise his hand against her. She showed him beauty and goodness in the world and in people that he was completely blind to. Her presence gave him peace that his possessions could not, so he married her. The blood of his actions, however, could not be washed away with the little time he had left to redeem himself and was cursed to live forever on the earth until it was. Though she was allowed into Heaven, the girl turned away from it and held onto the boy and promised to help him on his journey. He tried to push her away, so she wouldn’t be caught up in his punishment, but she stuck close to him. As part of his punishment, he was granted the blessing to turn into a white devil with six tendrils that protrude from his back. He can exact righteous justice on those who deserve it and the punishment will fit the crime. The girl was granted wisdom and knowledge to guide the man’s decisions and be his source of relief and happiness. The boy wears a hooded sackcloth, which is a far cry from his royal robes he once wore. It’s covered in the blood of the innocents he killed, and the blood is so much so that it looks naturally red instead of brown. The girl wears a simple white and red dress similar to the one she was married in.

The two of been through times of ruin and peace. Throughout it, the girl has kept the boy under control and on the road to redemption, but in some cases, the boy’s intuition and knowledge of the fallen humanity helps him make instant judgments while the girl’s empathy has lead to the death of innocents. As much as she helps keep him on the right path, he does the same every now and then. They still continue their journey throughout the land of Eurasia to not only obtain the boy’s redemption, but to also bring justice and peace.

 

Part I

As the two walk along a forest path, they come across an apple tree with a woman picking fruit from it.

The girl says to the woman, “Excuse me miss? Can we have an apple each? We’ve been adventuring for a while now and some fruit would help us immensely.”

“Oh, of course you can!”

The woman tries to get more than two apples for them, but as she shakes the tree to pick the apple, three loose apples fall on the girl’s head. This enrages the boy to which he transforms into the white devil.

“You wench!” he yells out, “How dare you be so careless in the presence of my beloved!”

His tendrils retrain the woman’s legs, arms, neck, and body. Her punishment then comes on her. A single apple falls on her head. Once her punishment is complete, the boy’s tendrils release her, and she runs away in fear of the two. The boy goes back to his human form once she’s clear of them.

“Are you okay my-”

He receives a hard backhand to the face from the girl.

“How many times do I have to tell you to not worry about me when things like this happen?!” she says, “Do you like getting slapped?”

“Kind of…” he says with a smirk before getting slapped again, “I was joking…”

“Hmph. Hopefully we won’t see that woman again so we won’t have trouble in the nearby town. Are you seriously eating the apples she dropped?!”

“Uh, yes? Want one?”

She takes an apple before backhanding him again. They take several apples with them as they enter the nearby town. The town has various churches and bustling marketplace since it’s a town of commerce and community. There’s an art contest being held at the art section of the marketplace and the girl decides to join in.

“Why don’t you join too?” the girl asks the boy.

“Nah. I don’t exactly…create things.”

“Nonsense. I’ve seen you doodling when you were bored and with pen and paper.”

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t call my doodling good art.”

“Just join with me for fun!”

“I guess I should, but why am I even doing this? I’m a grown man.”

“But mentally you’re a child.”

“I was a conqueror of men!”

“And now you’re my husband, which means I’ve conquered you and your men. Come on already!”

“…fine.”

The two go up to the adult who is taking the names of the participants.

“Hey kids!” a woman who appears to be a mother says, “Are you going to be making art with us today?”

“Yes mam!” the girl says.

The boy doesn’t say anything until the girl elbows him.

“Yes mam.”

“Can I get your names before you enter?”

“My name is Bella, and this is my boyfriend Mao.”

“Oh! A couple drawing together eh?”

The woman elbows and smiles at a man who the kids assume to be her husband. He smiles and laughs.

“Now that I have your names, you should look around here for the supplies you need to draw. We also have hundreds of pieces of art around the marketplace, so take a look around if you need some inspiration. It also doesn’t hurt to ask others for help. Got it?”

“Got it!” Bella says.

“Yup. I got it,” Mao responds.

“The contest starts in twenty minutes, so you still have plenty of time and don’t forget. This is just for fun, but still try your best!”

Mao and Bella go around to get their tools and drawing material. They go around the marketplace to find inspiration for their work and once it’s time to draw, they put their skills to the test. Bella draws a bright picture that has a small bunny with flowers around it. She uses paint, brushes, and her finger to draw the picture. Mao, on the other hand, draws a war-torn knight in bloodied and injured, but still charging towards battle. He uses charcoal and his sackcloth to erase and draw shapes and figures. Oddly enough, Mao wins the contest. Since Bella and Mao had previous experience in drawing and their competition are just normal kids, they outclassed the others by a mile. As a reward, Mao gets a small reward of money, a fruit basket, and a kiss from Bella.

“Congratulations young man!” the mother says, “I’m sure your parents are going to be very proud of you!”

“I-I guess so.”

Bella and Mao go to a fountain near a church to eat the fruit basket.

As Bella drinks in the feel of the town, she says, “This reminds me of my hometown.”

“That’s where I first met you. I came to raid your town, but you came out by yourself and got me to back off.”

“I’m that special, aren’t I?”

“Most towns don’t have a single woman coming to meet an army. Special isn’t half of it. I’m sure your parents were worried about you when you did that. What do you think my parents are thinking about me right now?”

“I’m sure they’re proud of you for changing.”

“I don’t know about that.”

All of the sudden, two girls run by and push the two into the fountain then run away.

“What was that for?!” Mao says as Bella tries to keep him calm.

A man helps the two out of the fountain while saying, “Don’t mind those two. They’re not used to losing so they get a little mad when they do.”

“Thanks mister,” Bella says then waits for him to leave to tell Mao, “I remember girls like them when I was little. They’re nothing, but jealous princesses who are full of themselves.”

“What do you want to do?” Mao asks with a bit of curiosity.

“The same thing I did to them years ago. Get revenge.”

Both Mao and Bella deviously smile at the different ways to get revenge from Bella’s innocent but humiliating ways to Mao’s harmful but simple ways.

“What are you thinking Bella?”

“I’m thinking that we should return the favor of them cleaning us.”

Bella gets several pale of water that are from the bathrooms and the two get on top of the rooftops. Mao uses his man tracking skills to find the girls and finds them with their friends. Bella and Mao wait until the girls walk closer to them to pour the water on top of them. Once they do, they quickly dump the water on top of the girls then sprint away as they hear their screams. The couple laugh then reward themselves with a little dinner date at an outside restaurant. Mao eats a steak while Bella eats fish.

“I didn’t know you were like that Bella.”

“What do you mean?”

“That you take revenge in that way. I thought you were a very forgiving person.”

“I am…most of the time, but I can’t stand prissy little girls like that.”

“Did other people in your town know you were like this?”

“I kept it secret from them, so I could always get away with what I did.”

“Do you know I like you more and more with each day?”

“I do.”

Before they can kiss, an incoming parade catches their attention. The town is celebrating the death of the tyrant that was Mao. They have fake statues of Mao and Bella that are half destroyed and covered in drawings.

“Hoorah! Hoorah! The demon Mao is dead and is rotting in hell! Praise be to God!” they say, “May all the earth rejoice in his absences! May we rejoice also in the death of his useless wife who tried to make him pay for his sins but failed.”

“Mao…This isn’t right. No one’s death should be celebrated like this!”

“I don’t mind it.”

“But!”

“I don’t mind it! I’d celebrate my death like this too because of the things I’ve done.”

Mao sighs as he turns to watch the parade as it passes by him. He watches how happy everyone is that he died and how they celebrate it with streamers, confetti, and fireworks.

“You know Bella, I’m happy that I died. I’m even happier that I got the chance to redeem myself and that you didn’t go to Heaven to help me out. The reason why I don’t really mind what they’re saying is because your opinion of me is all that matters…Bella?”

Bella has moved from her chair and is now in front of the parade.

She yells out, “What is wrong with you people?! No one’s death should be celebrated no matter how horrible they were! Stop this celebration at once!”

The crowds don’t take too kindly of Bella’s defense of Mao and start yelling at her and throw stones and various hard objects at her.

“Bella! You bastards!” Mao says as he transforms into a white devil.

The sky turns black as judgment is going to be dealt. Mao shields Bella from the projectiles and the crowds are shocked by Mao’s appearance.

“You people are just as evil as the people you mock!” Mao says in a demonic voice, “What kind of people praise death and throw things at a child wiser than you?!”

Mao’s tendrils spilt into multiple tendrils to catch everyone and hold them as they are judged. The things they threw at Bella levitate and get thrown back at them harder than they were thrown. Hard rocks then fall from the sky to ruin the parade and rain on the marketplace. Mao carries Bella out of the town as the rocks pelt everything and everyone around them. Though no one in the town is seriously hurt, houses, shops, and the other buildings and streets were heavily damaged. The people of the town then prayed for forgiveness as they rebuilt what was damaged because of their actions. Mao and Bella are now far away from the town as they continue Mao’s journey for redemption.

“Mao…I’m sorry you had to see that parade.”

“Like I said I didn’t mind it. The worst thing about it is that the statue they had of you had a bigger butt and chest than you did when you were that age.”

“What?”

“Your actual chest and butt are smaller and I’m not trying to say that it would be better if those parts of you body were bigger. I mean that’s probably the inner teenager in me speaking, but you know. I’m just saying.”

Mao takes one look at Bella’s mad face.

“Oooooh boy.”

Mao then starts to run away as Bella swings at him while saying, “I’ll show you who has smaller private body parts!”

 

Part II

After a beating and two days, Mao and Bella come across a village. There are several farms in this village along with a church and a school with various houses and shops near it. Bella brings Mao to a farm where the owners are allowing a few of the kids to ride the horses they have.

“I swear Bella! Your childlike personality is out of control!”

“But look at the horses!”

“I had dozens of them, but you didn’t care much for them.”

“That’s because you had them scarred to mark them as yours.”

“It made them look intimidating and battle experienced!”

“You made them look like a fantasy horse.”

“Which is scarier than a normal one.”

“Right…and I’m the one with a child’s personality.”

Since Mao isn’t too fond of riding the horses, he gets the adults to put him on it as she rides in front and he has to hold onto her back.

“This is embarrassing!” Mao says.

“This is great!” Bella says as she rides around the field with the horse.

It’s always been one of her favorite things to do years ago. She used to race horses with her fellow town’s people and do obstacle courses. Feeling that she still has the skill, she goes through the obstacle course that’s on the farm ground. Since Mao’s teenage body isn’t used to riding on a horse and wasn’t sure about Bella’s risky movements, he threw up after they finished their ride. Everyone who was watching claps at Bella’s performance and the owners tell her she can come back anytime she wants. They give her and Mao an apple pie as they leave.

“Can we eat it now?”

“But you just threw up!”

“And now I’m hungry because of it!”

“Fine.”

They both eat half of the pie before continuing to walk through the town. Unlike the previous town, this smaller one is quieter and less busy. It still manages to stay alive seemingly because of the community and farms around it, but the area itself has nothing of interest to Mao and Bella so they move on to the next area of interest. Along the way, they come across highwaymen robbing a young boy. The boy appears to have already tried resisting to no result.

“They’re mine,” Mao says as he transforms and tangles the robbers in his tendrils.

Everything they have including their clothes disintegrate and the thieves are left with nothing though the boy’s possessions are untouched. They run away from Mao in fear while the young boy stays where he is because he doesn’t know what to do.

Mao transforms back to a human and asks the boy, “Are you alright?”

“Yo-You’re like me?” the boy says.

“We both are,” Bella says, “Now go back to where you’re from.”

“I can’t I won’t,” the boy says as he collects what was stole from him.

“Why’s that?”

“It’s full of terrible people who touch me in weird ways.”

“We’ll deal with them. There’s a farm town not too far from here. Go there and they’ll take care of you.”

“Thank you so much!”

As the boy leaves, Mao says, “This place should be interesting.”

“That means we have to be careful,” Bella says.

“It means we’re going to be encountering a lot of sin and I love ridding the world of it.”

“Don’t be so caught up in violence. It’s what got you in this situation in the first place.”

“It’s what lead me to you, so it’s not all bad.”

“Don’t sweet talk me like that mister or else you’ll be getting my hand on your face again.”

“I love you.”

“…I love you too.”

Bella tries swinging at him, but he dodges it.

“Ha! Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me.”

Bella kisses Mao’s face then smacks it.

“That was worth it.”

The couple makes it to the town the boy was from and it appears to be a cesspool of sin. It even smells the part as well. This town is filled with prostitutes and killers alike that don’t mind showing their private business in the open. Among the crowd, Mao spots a normal looking family that appears to be moving from the town. This familiar sight of a good family in a terrible area brings Mao back to his childhood.

“Do you think my parents are proud of me?” Mao says aloud without realizing, “Did I really let them get the best of me when they died? Do they regret having me after I did? Am I a bastard child? Bella?”

Mao notices that Bella isn’t with him and panics. Back when they were adults, Bella used to be interested in the human figure and liked making art that bordered on pornography. Mao is thinking that she’s watching these people and getting caught up in them for her “art”.

An older woman pulls Mao aside and says, “You’re a cute young man. Want to have some fun?”

Though this woman looks better than Bella, Mao rejects her by saying, “I don’t associate myself with harlots. Besides, I’m married.”

“Who cares about marriage? Trust me, when I’m done with you, you won’t want to be married.”

“I respectfully reject your offer now leave me be.”

The cougar pins up Mao against the wall and presses herself against him

“It isn’t an offer.”

She begins to lick his face. He responds in turn by biting into her neck and tearing her throat out, which he could do since it is self-defense. Mao leaves the woman to choke to death on her own blood as he turns to the rest of the people.

“Ssssinnnnnn,” Mao says in a snake-like voice as he transforms into the white devil.

He uses his tendrils and the people of this place receive their judgment.

“You have abandoned God and He has abandoned you in turn. You’re all mine now, which means you get my favorite execution. Shred and rip them apart!”

Blades and thorns come out of the ground to slowly cut and tear apart everyone. Blood and guts splatter the ground as Mao searches for Bella. He finds her naked with a piece of paper with one of her drawings on it. It doesn’t appear that she was harmed or sexually assaulted, so he quickly carries her away as the entire village sinks into the earth. During the next morning, the runaway boy goes back to this place with a couple escorts and only finds several objects that were stolen from other villages and towns. Mao is still carrying Bella who is still naked, but he isn’t in his devil form.

“How long do you think it’s going to be until I get another pair of clothes?”

“Hopefully soon.”

“Why’s that?”

“…Is there a correct answer to that?”

“Yes. Pick it.”

“…So no one sees you naked? But you being naked isn’t something that I mind!”

“That’s right.”

Bella kisses Mao’s forehead. As they keep moving, a traveling merchant appears from behind them. Mao turns around to hide Bella’s nakedness.

Mao says to the merchant, “Excuse me sir. Do you mind if we buy a pair of clothes from you? My wife here got them stolen.”

“Of course! You can have them for free. I have a perfect dress for her.”

It may be a coincidence, but the merchant gives Bella a red and white dress that she had from before. She gets changed and thanks the merchant and tries to give him money for his gift.

“It’s no problem my dear,” he says, “I don’t ask for anything from the needy. May I ask where you’re heading?”

“Wherever the road takes us,” Bella tells him.

“How about you two travel back to my house with me? Rest for a bit then leave?”

“Thank you. We’ll take your offer.”

Mao whispers to Bella, “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

Mao and Bella board the carriage. As they travel to the merchant’s house, Mao falls asleep and rests across Bella’s lap.

“How far did your husband carry you?”

“Maybe ten miles at the least.”

“He must really love you then.”

“Of course he does. He’d do anything for me.”

“So why are you on your journey? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“It’s for his redemption and that’s all I’ll tell you I’m afraid.”

“Well that journey should be coming to an end soon. A man who would carry his wife for miles can’t be all bad.”

“I know he isn’t, but some people won’t see that.”

“Give them time. I’m sure your boy will show them who’s better.”

Once they arrive at the merchant’s house, they put Mao to bed who is still sleeping. Bella repays his kindness by helping around the house and fix his merchandise. She teaches him a couple recipes to use when selling food that she remembers from the royal chefs she had as a queen. After all that, Bella tells the merchant to prepare a special event for Mao when he wakes up. Mao eventually wakes up a couple hours later and doesn’t know where he is. He grabs a nearby object as a weapon to protect himself.

“Bella? Bella?” he says while wandering the house.

He eventually sees candlelight in the kitchen to which he goes to.

“Surprise! Happy birthday!” the merchant, his family, and Bella say as Mao turns the corner.

He almost swings but then says, “What?”

“Were you not keeping track of the days?” Bella asks, “Today is your ‘fourteenth’ birthday!”

Mao is embarrassed and sheepishly says, “I-uh. Thanks, but I don’t think I deserve it.”

“Of course you do!” the merchant says, “You carried your wife all the way to help. You’re what I call a real man!”

The merchant’s wife says, “Now would you do the same thing?”

“Of course I would especially if you weren’t wearing clothes!” he responds.

They all laugh, but Mao is still surprised by the celebration.

“Come on Mao! Sit down.”

The family and Bella have a cake made for Mao with candles on it. They sing him happy birthday as he sits at the head of the table. Bella sings while she holds him and while this is happening Mao is trying not to cry, but he can’t help but smile. He feels loved in the same way that he did with his family and Bella. His armies never did anything for him like this nor did they love him as his family and Bella do. Mao blows out the candles and everyone cheers. They then eat the cake and celebrate Mao’s birthday. The first birthday in a while that he felt good about. He eventually warms up to the family and talks to them though he doesn’t tell them who he and Bella really are. The couple leaves the next day with food, water, and good memories of this family. Starting the day after the family met the couple, the business they have starts to thrive as tons of people start buying food, clothes, and various other products from the father. He says to this day that both Mao and Bella are a blessing to this world.

 

Part III

Though they didn’t intend to, they’ve finally come back to Mao’s home country, the main capital to be precise. It’s in a state of civil war as Mao and Bella’s children fight against the leaders they put in before they died. Their children, like Mao, fell to bad influences as they were spoiled after hearing the power and strength their father had before he met Bella. They think their mother made their father weak and were constantly arguing with their father as he became a more peaceful man. Thinking they would need more help, Mao and Bella ordered several wise elders to control their country and continue teaching their children the right way to live. It doesn’t appear to have worked, but both Bella and Mao don’t think their children are behind this. As they make their way through the destroyed streets, they think about who could’ve done this.

“It has to be those bastards who were a bad influence on them!” Mao says.

“I’ll rip them apart! No one messes with my babies!” Bella yells out as she runs at full speed.

“What are we going to do if our children decide to fight us?”

“Let’s hope they haven’t committed too many evil acts. I can only imagine what inspiration they took from your old self.”

“Oh no.”

Mao sees one of the worst inspirations his children took from him. To make people fear him, Mao would take the bodies of people and impaled them to the ground and to buildings as a warning. He would impale the elderly, the fit, the poor, the rich, the young, it didn’t matter to him at the time. The bodies would stay there and rot in the cities of his enemies and his conquered. If anyone would bury or move them, they would be executed, and their bodies would be impaled on the streets as well.

“We have to get to them now!” Mao says with extreme worry.

Mao and Bella make it through the death and destruction to find their five children at the castle gates with their army behind them. They’re trying to knock down the gates to get to the rest of the civilians and resistance. Both Mao and Bella are transformed into adults so the soldiers and their children will recognize them. Mao is wearing his old armor set while Bella is wearing a luxurious white and red dress. They notice this and appear to realize the meaning of it.

“Clear the way! Your king returns!” Mao announces as to get the army’s attention.

The army sees their king and queen return and bow in their presence. Their children are shocked by this and stop breaking down the gates.

The army proclaims, “The king and queen are immortal! Give praise to the ultimate rulers of the strongest country on earth!”

They cheer and praise them, but Bella says, “Silence! What have you done to our capital city?! It lies in ruin with your fellow men and women lying in their own blood! Shame on you all especially the ones who made our children do this!”

One of the soldiers says, “But they organized it all! No one else made them do it.”

“My children would never do such a thing! If you do not want to face the righteous wrath of God, then turn your lives around and leave now!”

About one hundred and fifty soldiers of the four thousand retreats. Mao and Bella’s children approach them and the oldest, Martino, speaks for them.

He says, “Now that you are immortal you might see truth. Tear down this gate and restore this nation to its former glory!”

Mao says in a stern voice, “My son Martino, have you not seen sense yet? Blood and destruction is not the way to get what you truly want. It is through love of God, others, and self that will give satisfy and bring you what you need. Your mother taught me that.”

“Mother is a dolt who acts hypocritically. She’ll take childish revenge, draw pornography, and hit you to show her dominance.”

“Not everyone is perfect, and temptation gets to us every now and then. Be thankful those three things are the only things she does.”

“She matters not to us. Take back the kingdom and go back to your old ways so we can conquer the world!”

“Please. Don’t let me do this.”

Bella starts to tear up as she says, “I love you all! Please! Turn around and change your ways!”

“If you won’t turn let go of this woman then I’ll kill her for you father!”

“No!”

Mao unintentionally turns into the white devil and his tendrils restrict his children and call down their judgment.

“Please, don’t be so harsh on them,” Bella begs.

“I don’t have control of it,” Mao says with fear.

Seven angelic executioners descend from Heaven and behead all five of Mao and Bella’s children then toss their bodies into the abyss. The executioners then kill the rest of the army who didn’t retreat while a cherubim shields Mao and Bella as they mourn for their children.

“Why did this happen?” Mao asks the cherubim who doesn’t want to answer.

“Because that’s the way our kids were,” Bella answers for him, “There’s nothing else we could’ve done. It was their decision and they have to live with it.”

“I know that, but…but I want there to be a different reason.”

Mao looks out as his men are killed and his city brought to even more ruin than before. His fists are clenched, so Bella hugs him from behind to calm him. After the fight ends, all three thousand eight hundred and fifty soldiers lay dead. Though they tried to fight back, the executioners sustained no injuries from the army. The cherubim and executioners then rise back to Heaven and the gates of the castle open. Mao’s most trusted official, Shun, walks out to them.

He says, “You’ve brought us angels to save us. You truly have achieved redemption, my lord.”

“Not yet,” Mao responds, “I still have much to do.”

“I am sure that you will obtain it soon since you are alive and the angels came down to your aid.”

“I hope so my friend.”

“Are you going to rule us again? You were our mightiest king and there might be more rebellion.”

“No, I won’t. I died and am reborn for a different purpose. There won’t be any rebellion for generations after what has happened today, so be at peace. Again, I command you my last command. Keep the city safe and continue to teach them in the ways of our Lord God.”

“As you wish my king. We will begin with repairs for the city and burying of the dead.”

“If you couldn’t repair my child-”

Bella grips Mao’s arm while tears are still in her eyes.

“Forgive me my king. We tried our best-”

Mao puts his hands on Shun’s shoulders.

“I’m sorry too. I should’ve been a better king and father to begin with.”

The two old friends embrace then say their final goodbyes again. Once Bella and Mao leave the city, they turn back into teenagers. They hold hands as they go as they bear the pain of their children’s deaths. As the day turns to night, the sky light starts to turn into various colors and appears to be dancing around. Bella and Mao come to a field of roses and begin to hear angelic music played.

“This must be the angels comforting us,” Bella says with wonder.

“They should after what we’ve been through,” Mao responds with some distain.

“Don’t be that way Mao. They’re doing us a favor. Appreciate it. If we weren’t there to stop our children, then they would’ve killed more people.”

“…You’re right.”

“Let’s enjoy this and let the past be the past.”

Mao and Bella enter the field of roses and begin to dance to the music. The music is unlike anything made even by the great musicians Mao obtained for Bella when she was queen. Its cadence, tempo, and sound are foreign, but it brings peace to their souls and a smile to their face. The lovers dance and dance until they fall in exhaustion. They smile at each other and cuddle while admiring the lights in the sky then fall asleep.

Rested and rejuvenated, they continue their journey. They approach a small town and see that a prophet is talking to the people in center of town.

He says, “The tyrant Mao is alive and young! Be wary of him as he is dealing harsh judgment to everyone who shows their sinful nature!”

Mao and Bella don’t exactly know what to do about this. The prophet seems to have been told this information by someone in Heaven because they don’t think word of what happened yesterday has spread yet even though they aren’t far from the capital city. They decide to keep low and see if this town will be of any interest to them. Throughout the day, Mao and Bella help people out then disappear before they are rewarded for their efforts. The two do acts such as; stopping thieves, picking up things that people drop, cheer up young children, and help store owners clean up their vandalized markets. Of course, Mao has problems doing most of these acts besides stopping thieves, but Bella humbles him and gets him to help these people. A messenger from the capital arrives and tells the people what happened there yesterday.

The prophet comes out and says, “My words have come true before I predicted them! Heed them for Mao is among us!”

The couple try to leave town, but a few people catch them and try to bring them before the prophet. Fearing for Bella’s safety, Mao transforms into the white devil. Everyone from the town gathers in awe of the reborn tyrant.

“Behold! I, Mao the Tyrant, am alive! I, the tyrant that spilled the blood of hundreds of thousands of people and killed their children or sold them for a profit! Deal your judgment to me while you still can!”

The town is silent as to what to do so Bella speaks up.

“Don’t do anything to him! He dealt righteous judgment to his children and their armies and now they lie in ruin. He is a changed man who only punishes the wicked and sinful! Today, he and I helped you with your problems, so please! Don’t hurt him!”

“Young girl, who is Bella his wife,” the prophet says, “We do not deal in revenge. We only offer forgiveness.”

Mao is taken back by this then says, “Wa-What? I had to have done something to you that has made your lives worse than it is. Do something about it!”

The villagers come one by one to say, “I forgive you.”

With each “I forgive you”, Mao staggers and collapses in weakness. He turns back into a teenage boy and cries because of the town’s mercy. Bella embraces him to calm him down then the people of the town offer them a celebration for Mao’s victory in the capital and change of heart. Everything from music to food is prepared in minutes and Mao is the center of attention. Bella sits with him and tries to get him to smile, but he’s too shocked in tears to do anything. Eventually, she gets him to dance with him and talk with everyone who tell him how thankful they are that he’s changed his ways. The party the town put together in minutes lasts the entire day and by the next morning, Mao and Bella leave the town with leftovers from the party and more energy to move forward.

 

Part IV

“I’m sorry Mao, but I have to leave you.”

“What?! Why?!”

“You’re smart enough to figure that out on your own.”

A pillar of light takes Bella into Heaven, which leaves Mao completely alone.

“Why?!” Mao yells to the skies, “I’ve done everything that you’ve told me to! What else is there I can do besides fix the entire world?!”

Nothing and no one gives him an answer to his questions. He doesn’t know which direction to go and for what reason, so he just paces back and forth. Thinking that he’s still supposed to do something, he goes in a direction that feels like its pulling him its way. Along the way he finds a couple taking a morning walk. Jealous of them, he attempts to intervene in their walk, but is blocked off by an invisible barrier. Mao can only watch as the two enjoy each other’s company.

“There has to be a reason I’m seeing this. I have to be learning something!” Mao says to himself.

He quickly escapes the couple’s presence as it becomes unbearable and enters a village. Mao and Bella usually get into interesting situations in places like this, so Mao hopes something will happen as he sits down on the streets. There’s nothing about him that is different from a common beggar. Mao begs for something to happen to give him purpose. He hopes that someone will extend their hand to give him comfort and attention. As his frustration and depression increases, he feels the need to judge the people of the town for ignoring him. His abilities, however, are restrained for whatever test he’s going through, so he just sits in the dirt alone, angry, sad, and isolated from the one he loves. Eventually he passes out and awakens in a church.

The hooded pastor says to him, “It’s good to see that you’re awake my son. Eat and drink this so you can feel better.”

Mao eats a piece of bread and drinks a small cup of water that the pastor gives him.

“Why did you help me?”

“Because I try to help all of my children.”

“Well you didn’t help much.”

“What do you mean? You were hungry and thirsty, so I helped you there didn’t I?”

“That’s not the most important part.”

“Then what is?”

“My wife is gone.”

“Gone?”

“Heaven took her.”

“That sadly happens to every husband unfortunately.”

“But she’s my moral compass, my source of happiness, and the person that kept me going.”

“God usually fills that role for most people.”

“Heh. That guy and I have a complicated relationship.”

“How so?”

“He’s the reason I’m still alive to make up for my past, let’s just say.”

“Shouldn’t that be a good thing?”

“Not when I don’t have my wife with me. She’s everything to me.”

“You shouldn’t deify her.”

“I understand that God is our source of morality and the main reason why she is the way she is, but…”

“But you make your wife the center of your world. Let me help you see how things really are.”

The hooded pastor helps Mao up and brings him to the front doors of the church. The village is bustling with happiness, goodwill, and love as if everyone’s worries and pains went away in an instant.

“This is the world I wanted to see every day,” Mao says as he watches everyone.

“How were you going to make it this way?” the pastor asks.

“Drag out the evil people and execute them one by one. Don’t ask how I know, but that doesn’t work.”

“Did your wife changes your ways?”

“She did. She showed me the beauty of the world and how to be a better man. I’d probably be in hell right now if it wasn’t for her.”

“But she wouldn’t be a good person without…”

“I know, I know she taught me that, but God shouldn’t diminish her importance.”

“He doesn’t. It’s you who diminishes His importance.”

“I’d like for Him to give me a reason to not do so.”

“Your wife. Your continued life for a chance at redemption. Any more that I need to mention?”

Mao doesn’t want to say anything else.

“Let me show you a world that you would’ve created.”

The pastor closes and opens the door to reveal a village burned to the ground with bodies gored all over the ground.

“How did you do that?!” Mao says out of astonishment.

“Does it look familiar?”

“Who are you?!”

The church doors close.

“You already know.”

“You?! I have a few things I have to get off my chest!”

“Then do that if you haven’t already.”

“Why did you take Bella away from me?!”

“As we were talking about, you deified her. I think it was time we fixed that.”

“What about my children?! Why did we send them to hell?!”

“Because of their deeds and refusal and accept my help. You were on a similar path to theirs until you changed.”

“And why was I able to change, but not my children?”

“They had your wife’s persistence.”

“…You got me there, but why keep me here on earth? Haven’t I done enough already?”

“Do you think you are just here for redemption? Did you not think that the acts you have done are not for some higher purpose or to answer prayers?”

“Enough of this!”

“Didn’t you say once you would fight me?”

“I did.”

“Since you can’t beat me in a game of intelligence, how about we go with strength? What weapon will you use? The strongest weapon you have is a blessing from me and doesn’t work on me. So what are you going to use? A sword crafted with human hands?”

“I’m defeated okay?! You got me from turn zero, so let your will be done on me! Strike me down and let my life be yours!”

Mao falls to his knees and closes his eyes as he waits for his execution. Instead, he is hugged and brought to his feet.

“Now you understand my son.”

Love and tranquility fills Mao as a light envelops him and he is teleported to a field with a small lake. There he finds Bella who was waiting for him. The two yell for each other then embrace with a kiss.

A light from Heaven says, “You have already achieved your redemption, but there is still much to do on earth. What do you want to do?”

“You know better than I do lord.”

Mao closes his eyes again and lets whatever happens, happen. He gets lifted up into the air with grace and elegance then dropped into the lake.

“Take a bath,” the light says before fading back into the sky.

Bella joins Mao in the lake. The two splash water at each other while enjoying their reunion together with Mao enjoying it the most. After being cleaned, they dry up in the sunlit field.

Bella turns to Mao and asks, “What do you want to do next my love?”

“We continue helping the world together,” Mao answers, “What better thing is there to do?”

“Enjoy each other’s company alone for a bit longer.”

“I like it, but you know we have forever together.”

“Of course. So, should we get moving?”

“Yes and let the lord’s will be done.”

Check out the author’s edition on Amazon! – https://www.amazon.com/Monster-His-Mistress-Albert-Oon/dp/1986118584/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520183203&sr=8-2&keywords=albert+oon

A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.

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The Thieves and the Child They Orphaned

Download the story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/908510

 

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64: 6

Chapter 1 – Doing Penance

We’ve might’ve made a mistake, Sylvia.

Yeah, it was not killing the kid before he could do this to us. He would’ve been with his parents right now if we did, and now we’re stuck with him and stuck with each other like this.

Who was that who put us like this? It seemed like it was God Himself.

Why would He have any beef with us? We don’t do anything that’s evil. In fact, if we did, then we’ve made it up with our heroics.

You got that right. This situation isn’t that bad in my opinion.

I know it isn’t, Simon. At least we know exactly what each other is thinking.

As if we didn’t know already.

“Is the coast clear yet?”

“Not yet, kid.”

“What did my parents ever do to you? Why did you kill them?”

“Nothing. They were just another target on our list. They did nothing but keep themselves happy and never tried to help others.”

“I’ve been trying to get them to do that. If you only gave them more time, then they would’ve helped more people than our family.”

“We didn’t mean to kill your parents. It was an accident. We don’t kill at all unless we need to. The bullets we use are non-lethal.”

“Then why did you try killing me?!”

“Because that’s one of our policies. If we accidentally kill a loved one, we have to kill everyone else who they love if they’re in the same house so they can die together. If they aren’t home, then we leave or send them a valuable gift as a way of saying sorry.”

“Your first way of making things right is horrible.”

“I think it’s a mercy. Do you know how hellish it is living without the people you love? We do. That’s why we do what we do. We lost people close to us by greedy people, so now we’re the Good Thieves.”

“The “Good” Thieves?”

“Yeah, don’t add quotations. We take from the greedy, whether they’re rich or poor, and give to those they hurt. You may have heard of us in the news. We’re pretty popular.”

“Is that why you’re being hunted down now?”

“Probably. We thought this would never happen, but I guess we stepped on too many toes. It’s safe to leave now. The one thing that your parents did do that was good was making a well-hidden closet in their room. It was a great hiding place. Whoever came after us really wanted us dead. Just look at how torn up this place is.”

“Can I bury my parents?”

“Sorry, kid, but we can’t now. We have to move if we want to stay alive.”

“My name is Alastair. Stop calling me kid.”

“Okay, kid. You’re with us now because you asked for God’s protection and he gave you to us. We’re your protectors from now on until we can get this curse off us.”

“I guess I have no choice. Let’s leave then.”

“You don’t order us. We do. Let’s go, kid.”

“Why do you always say we and us? Can’t you talk from one perspective? Your voices sound melded together.”

“This is what true love looks like. We trust each other to the point where we can finish each other’s sentences.”

“Wow. Your voices alternated when you said that.”

“Amazing, ain’t it? We still want to be back to normal since it’s better for us.”

“And I would be out of your life.”

“It’s not like that, kid.”

Yeah, it is.

Haha.

“If we’re supposed to be connected together, can you feel the same pain I do?”

“That sounds stupid-ow!”

“It’s true!”

“Then maybe you can feel the pain I inflict on ourself. Feel that?”

“No.”

“What? It’s only one way? That’s terrible.”

“For you it is. Remember that you’re the reason you’re like this.”

“Don’t smart talk us, kid. We’re your protectors now.”

“You’re more like my adoptive parents.”

“Don’t say that. We never wanted any kids especially since our line of work doesn’t allow it.”

“Are you ever going to stop thieving?”

“Not until every greedy man and woman pay for their sins.”

“That’s never going to happen through your efforts alone.”

“That’s fine as long as we get to see the hurt on them that we inflicted.”

“You don’t trust God too much, do you?”

“Can you blame us?”

“Yes, I can.”

“We’re adults. We have experience and wisdom. You should listen to us.”

“If I want to end up in a mess like you did, sure. Being older doesn’t mean you’re an adult.”

I guess he has a point, Sylvia.

Don’t admit that to him, Simon. He’ll just smart talk us more.

“And now we’re here at our little hideout. What do you think?”

“I expected more from such master thieves.”

“The best thieves travel light. Remember that we have to go from one place to another. The greedy don’t live in just one city and in this country.”

I swear we left our laptops somewhere. Let’s check this…oh no.

“Kid, we have to move.”

“What is it?”

“We’re compromised. Someone rigged our room with traps. I’m just taking the essentials with us.”

“Oh great. I thought you two were supposed to be experts.”

“Let’s hustle out of here before-”

“Ahhh!”

“Damn. They triggered the explosives manually. We have to move before they see us leaving. At least we disarmed the simple ones, so the explosion wasn’t as bad.”

“But won’t the small amounts of destruction make them think we survived?”

“Not if it’s all destroyed when we leave. Get clear!”

“Woah! Okay. I think you used too many explosives.”

“That just everything else in our hideout exploding. At least no one else was around the explosion.”

“Where are we going now?”

“Nowhere right now. We want to see who pops up to check if we’re still alive. We have a secret spot above here so we can see who comes without them noticing us.”

“What are you putting together?”

“It’s our special gun. We can turn it into a shotgun, assault rifle, submachine gun, and we’re turning it into a sniper rifle.”

“How did you get that?”

“We made it ourselves. You can make the best things when you’re motivated and bored.”

“My parents used to make the best things for me. They knew how to build and make things, which is why they were so rich.”

“Congratulations. You got parents who knew how to take care of themselves and their own. That’s not an accomplishment of any kind. Even the worst thieves and murderers we know help the people they care about.”

“What do you have against my parents?”

“Didn’t we already tell you? They’re greedy people who only care about themselves and their own.”

“But why?”

“We’ll tell you after this. Do you see those people down there?”

“Yeah, what about them? They look like normal officers to me.”

“Do you see those three lines on their back? A normal person would just think they’re wearing a strange undershirt, but what it really means is that they’re a group of unknown thieves vaguely known only to the thieving underground network.”

“Are they dangerous?”

“Extremely.”

“What are we going to do?”

“Take them out.”

“What? Won’t the other members hunt us down after this?”

“No, there’s only those few down there and…they’re done. Hello, nine-one-one? Do you know about that explosion that just occurred? Yeah, I know you just sent people to investigate it, but you might want to send more. Come on, kid. Let’s find a place to settle down.”

“There were only those few?”

“Yup. We know more about these guys than most. Nothing is more effective than deception and making people anxious about something as simple as the wrinkles on the back of someone’s shirt. They make themselves look big to intimate bigger foes.”

“Now what?”

“We hide our heads for a while before going back to stealing from the greedy.”

“You can’t!”

“You’re right. We don’t want to be responsible for any more children.”

“No, it’s not that. You can’t just take from people and think you’re justified in doing so because they’re evil. You can’t fight greater evil with lesser evil.”

“Both of us were orphaned by greedy people. It was fate that brought us together so that we could deliver justice to them. We aren’t any kind of evil.”

“Can you please stop being so self-righteous? I’m sorry about what happened to you two, but you can’t be like this. This isn’t going to help anyone. It’s more likely that you’ve created more greedy people. You don’t humble people this way.”

“And you’re more moral than us?”

“I was protected by God and you are forced to protect me. What do you think?”

“Ow!”

“Don’t even try to take out your anger on me. I didn’t ask for this situation to occur. This is just the way things are going to be for now.”

“Fine. We might as well properly introduce ourselves then. My name is Simon and my name is Sylvia.”

“My name is Alastair. It’s nice to meet you.”

He didn’t mean that.

I hope he didn’t. The brat’s too good for his age.

“Here, into this house.”

“It looks dirty and abandoned.”

“That’s what makes it a good hiding place. Eat up. You must be hungry.”

“What kind of food is this?”

“The kind that gets you through situations like this.”

“Most of these are sugary snacks.”

“What did you expect, military rations? We don’t need healthy food to keep up our beautiful figures.”

“Oh please.”

“What were you going to do today? You’re awfully well dressed for a normal weekday.”

“I convinced my parents to go to a volunteer charity event. I was in the process of changing them into better people.”

“You convinced them to go? Huh.”

“When’s the last time you did something charitable for someone?”

“It was a few months ago when we accidentally screwed over the wrong person. We gave them everything we took from them, two hundred thousand dollars, and a note saying sorry.”

“Where did you get the two hundred thousand from?”

“The people we were supposed to screw over.”

“That doesn’t count. You’re supposed to use your own money.”

“Kid, all we do is steal.”

“Then get a normal job.”

“That’s never going to happen.”

“It will now that I’m with you.”

“We doubt it.”

“We’ll see. Where am I going to sleep?”

“There’s only one bed. You can take it. We’ll sleep on the floor.”

“You shouldn’t. It’s not good for you.”

“We were homeless for a time in our life. We can handle it.”

“No, it’s fine you can sleep beside me, but I want to sleep next to Sylvia.”

“Why?”

“I’d just be more comfortable next to her.”

Isn’t he sweet?

“You better not try anything to my wife, buddy because remember that you get me too.”

“I wouldn’t even imagine it.”

I don’t know why I feel insulted.

Even when you look like this, you’re the most beautiful woman in the world, Sylvia.

That’s a sweet compliment, but that also makes you the most beautiful woman in the world since we’re in the same body.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I’m going with good.

“Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Alastair.”

We should find a fast and effective way to get rid of him, Sylvia.

I don’t know. I’m growing attached to him for some reason.

Well if you actually care for him, then we should put him into safer hands. He’s in serious danger with us.

Maybe we can leave him with a better couple.

Right. We’ll have to see after this assassination attempt on us blows over. We’ll get out of this situation. Just you wait.

Right. Good night, honey.

Good night.

 

 

Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching; for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.” – Proverbs 1: 8-9

Chapter 2 – Becoming Parents

Hey, Simon. Look.

What is it? The kid is holding onto to you. He’s dead when we lose responsibility for him.

Are you jealous?

No!

I know when you’re lying. When’s the last time you cuddled up to me like this?

He’s double dead then.

Doesn’t he look cute like this? His curly hair is fun to play with. I just have to hold him.

Hey, let go.

You can’t move unless I let you.

The same is true for you.

Yeah, but don’t act like you don’t feel what I do.

Sure, I do. Maybe even stronger than you do.

We should get him something to eat. There’s a breakfast shop not too far from here.

Sure, let’s go. Be careful not to wake him up.

Okay, let’s go.

Do you remember what I said yesterday? That we should give him to actual parents?

Yeah, but I feel like we should be his parents now.

Are you kidding me? Do you how much danger he’ll be in?

No one knows the Good Thieves’ faces.

Then how are we going to make a living? Are we really going to take Curly’s advice?

You never know what kind of jobs we’ll take a liking to. It’s not we haven’t worked low wage jobs before and lived in poor conditions before.

That’s right, but what about him? He’s used to living in comfort and luxury. What will he think?

I don’t know, but we’ll try to make him happy to the best of our ability. Remember to keep your head down while you order.

Right.

“We’ll-I’ll have a dozen glazed donuts and three sausage and egg sandwiches.”

“Got it.”

I don’t think you realize either that we can’t get a job like this. What are we going to say to the employer?

We’ll cover it up with makeup.

Even the obvious black line separating our bodies? We have different facial and body features that’ll definitely draw attention to us.

We have to find a way to make it work.

Or we could just go with my plan. It’ll be easier for us and for him.

It being easy doesn’t mean it’s the right thing.

Like we know the right thing to do. Curly is making us rethink our lives.

“Here’s your order, sir.”

“Thank you.”

Let’s just take it one step at a time. I hope he didn’t wake up and think we left him.

Me too. I’m sort of surprised we made it passed that without drawing any attention to us.

Then maybe we can do it every day then.

Let’s take your advice and do this one step at a time.

“Hey, you’re awake, Curly.”

“You’re calling me Curly now?”

“Think of it as a loving nickname. We got you breakfast. We thought that you wouldn’t live on the scraps of food that we are used to.”

“You went out and didn’t get noticed for your appearance?”

“We were hiding it.”

“I’m glad you thought about me. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, but I wish we could do more. Hey, uh. After things blow over, we were thinking about sticking you with a better couple. Our life is too dangerous for you and who knows what will happen later. You must have friends or family that will take you.”

“I don’t. Besides, God stuck you with me, so I’m staying with you. I don’t care if you’re a bit self-righteous. People can change.”

“That’s true, but just look at us. Do you really want us to be your caretakers?”

“If God thinks you can do it, I do too.”

“Fine, Curly. Keep digging yourself an early grave. The good do die young.”

“I’m sure you’ll keep me safe. So, what are we going to do today?”

“Lay low like we said until things blow over. We have enough money and snacks to live on until they do. We also have cards, our laptop, comics, and two handhelds that you can play games on if you want.”

“That sounds boring.”

“What kind of kid doesn’t want to do nothing all day?”

“Me. I did nothing but read books and educate myself when I wasn’t in school.”

“School wasn’t enough for you?”

“School doesn’t teach you the most important things you need to know like knowing God and being morally responsible.”

“You got a point there.”

“I heard weird noises that sounded like screaming last night next door. Did you?”

“We know of a bunch of thieves that steal people. They might be using this area of the city because the police usually keep away from here. You don’t want to know about it.”

“I’m old enough to know the worst of it. I know about kidnappers that steal people’s organs while they’re sleeping.”

“…Yeah. That’s the worst.”

“You have to do something about it.”

“We’re not sure if they’ll still be there. They usually move people during the night.”

“It doesn’t matter. You still have to save who’s there and bring the others to justice.”

“What happened to getting a normal job?”

“What happened to punishing the guilty and all that?”

“Fine, but we can’t make any promises. Stay here and don’t move until we come back. We should have an extra pistol in our large case. It’s non-lethal like the rest of our weapons.”

“I’m coming with you.”

“Absolutely not.”

“We’re connected. You can’t leave without me.”

“We left you when we got breakfast. Trust us on this. We know what we’re doing.”

“Okay. Come back safe and sound.”

“Thanks, and stay put.”

“Alright.”

Why don’t we do anything about the members of the thieves’ network that do things like kidnap people, Simon?

It’s a trust between thieves. I don’t mess with you and you don’t mess with me.

Should that really stop us from doing the right thing?

No, especially since we have other thieves after us.

This looks like a good building to do horrible things in secret.

I have the signal jammer on so they can’t call for help.

Let’s do this hard and fast.

Right. This doesn’t look like what we thought it would be.

Yeah. They do just sell organs.

At least we won’t have to lie to him.

There were only seven people in the building.

Well, it is the perfect number.

Wait, did you hear a gunshot?

Oh no. Let’s hurry!

They got Curly! Dumb kid.

“Put your gun down freak or the kid-”

“You don’t leave your head exposed during a hostage situation. Take it from the experts. Are you okay, Alastair?”

“Hey, you called me by my real name!”

“Ow! We forgot we couldn’t hit you. What did we tell you?”

“I thought-”

“You thought stupid! You could’ve been killed! Are you sure you weren’t hurt? Let me take a look at you.”

“You would’ve felt it. I didn’t know you cared so much about me.”

“It’s uh-we’re in this weird situation together and we couldn’t imagine an innocent like you being hurt. Oh.”

Never thought he would hug us.

He’s a good kid, Simon.

“Thank you for rescuing me. I’ll be sure to listen to you from now on…on things you know.”

“You better. Now go back. We’ll take care of things from here.”

“Okay.”

We didn’t check the thieves’ network yesterday. Let’s see if they’re saying anything about us.

Here’s a computer we can use. Hmmm. People are only talking about the thieves who attacked us getting arrested and our base being blown up. Most aren’t too worried about us.

Good. Let’s call this into the police then leave.

We’re acting like real heroes now.

Like we weren’t before.

We weren’t in the mind of Alastair. He seems to know about being good people better than we do.

He does have good points, but we shouldn’t make going after other thieves a habit. Don’t even think about saying yes to him if he asks us again, Sylvia.

I know you won’t say no to him.

He won’t suggest we do it again. I guarantee it.

“What are you guys going to do for the rest of the day?”

“Keep our heads down as planned. Maybe we’ll consider getting “real” jobs like you said.”

“That’s amazing, but do you know of any other thieves you could go after before you do that?”

Ha. You were wrong. You owe me something.

We didn’t even bet on it!

“Why? I thought you wanted us to leave that life behind. Now you’re making us doing vigilante work?”

“Okay, this is the last one. I want to see that you really want to change.”

“And the first one didn’t show it along with all of our other actions?”

“You always go the extra mile.”

“Fine. One more. You’re lucky that there’s one more group of thieves operating in this area. It’s a bit further away from here so you’ll have to stay a while by yourself.”

“I’m coming with you.”

“What did we say before?!”

“You don’t have to scream. Isn’t there anything I could do to help you with?”

“Maybe. The place these guys are held up just so happens to be throwing an early afternoon party for a charity event they’re holding.”

“Charity event?”

“Thieves can be charitable too, kid.”

“Here we go with the kid thing again.”

“Our looks should come in handy, but you could sneak into different places during the party to do things for us.”

“Then let’s go. We’re both already dressed up for the party.”

“Hold on. You can’t just go like that. Let me put makeup on your face so that you really look like you’re part of the party.”

“Don’t draw anything stupid.”

“I wouldn’t do that. Let’s see…Almost done…and…there we go. What do you think?”

“I look like a crazy killer. One half with a light blue eye and a purple frown, the other half with an orange eye and red smile.”

“I think you look cute.”

“You have weird taste in boys, so I believe it.”

“Watch it, kid. I could hold you down and draw something different on you.”

“I’m kidding, Simon. I think you’re a cool kind of weird.”

I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or half of one.

He likes you Simon.

I think he likes you more.

I won’t argue with that.

“Do you guys have a plan?”

“We do. You’ll have to sneak past the party and go to the power room to disable the power. We’ll be locking down the building and giving the authorities a nice present, even though some of the people are their own.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Distract everyone with our charming personality then make an escape route for us.”

“A very general plan, but I guess I should trust you on this.”

“We got this, Curly. Don’t you worry about it.”

“Are you sure you’re fine going out like this without covering your face? People are staring.”

“Hey, are you going to the costume party downtown?”

“We are.”

“I love your mask. How did you get it to be like…like you have it?”

“Mechanics and very fine cloth. It’s a delicate thing that you probably shouldn’t touch.”

“Don’t worry about it. It kind of freaks me out how realistic it looks to be honest. No offense.”

“None taken. So why are you going to the party?”

“To get more contacts within business and government. A bunch of medium to big names will be there today. Why are you going?”

“Same as you.”

“Then you heard about the rumors of some of the people there being thieves?”

“The greedy ones are always called thieves.”

“No, I mean literal thieves, as in, they steal for a living.”

“I always hear about businesses and governments doing that, but they don’t get what they deserve. At least not in this life.”

“I know. I’m just saying we should be careful about who you talk to.”

“We will. We know who’s going to be there.”

“You seem to know your stuff. What’s your name? Mine’s Walter.”

“Siylviaon. I mean, Simon.”

“Nice to meet you, Simon. I hope to do business with you in the future.”

“Same to you.”

Do you think that guy could be trouble, Simon?

Nah, but he may be obvious to what’s really happening at the party. We may have to get him out of it when the cops show up.

“Huh? What is it, Curly?”

“Do you know what I’m thinking?”

“We are.”

“Oh, is this your kid?”

“Yes.”

“I like his makeup.”

“You seem like a good parent.”

“Thanks.”

We seem like a good parent?

We’ve only been with Curly for a day, but he’s attached to us and we’re growing close to him.

It’s the attachment that God put between us. He’s forcing us to take a liking us to each other.

It’s also because we’re trying to get along in this situation. He’s a good kid and we’re trying to be good caretakers.

But parents?

I don’t know.  He seems to have forgiven us already for accidentally killing his parents.

We have to ask him later.

Let’s take him out after this so we can do that.

“Wow! Look at all the colorful lights in the luxury apartment.”

“It’s great, ain’t it? The ugliest of people hide in the prettiest of lights. Let’s get this done and then we’ll treat you.”

“Alright.”

“Okay, Curly. You ready for sneaking?”

“Ready.”

“Remember, the power generator should be in the bottom floor. Put this device on it and the power should shut down completely. No one can remove it without permanently damaging the generator.”

“This won’t hurt me, will it?”

“You might feel a small shock, but that’s it. Come back upstairs when the power is off.”

And there he goes.

Our little troublemaker.

How are we going to distract everyone here? It doesn’t seem like anyone wants to talk to us.

We just distract them with our looks. People are already looking at us.

He just entered the basement. It shouldn’t be too long now. I wonder what they have to drink and eat here.

It doesn’t look like much.

Rich people food always look appealing but there’s never much to it. Remember that one time we got steaks on a menu that cost eighty dollars? It was just that and mashed potatoes.

That was a rip-off. We’ve had dinners that cost eighty dollars that filled us up more. Oh? Curly did it.

Everyone is confused. We should get moving.

Here he comes.

“You did great, Curly. We’re proud of you.”

“Thanks, but what about-”

“Almost forgot. Thanks for reminding us. Hey, Walter.”

“What’s going on Simon?”

“Nothing good. You should follow us.”

“Why-Hey, don’t pull on my suit too hard. It cost me a paycheck.”

“We know a way out of the building. Don’t bring anyone along.”

“You guys didn’t do this, did you?”

“Not directly.”

“Why should I trust you? Ugh!”

“Because we’re going to save your life.”

“You didn’t have to knock him out.”

“It was going to be difficult for him to do this next part.”

“What’s the next part?”

“Hold on. Yes, operator? There’s a luxury apartment with a dozen or so people that you have on your wanted list. There’s a bomb about to go off! Hurr-Close your ears, Curly.”

“What? Woah! Won’t the others be able to escape from here? Not if they want to climb down twelve stories with their bare hands.”

“So how are we going to get down?”

“You see this backpack we have?”

“Oh no.”

“Sit on Walter. We’ll hold you as we descend down.”

“Have you ever done this before?”

“Yes.”

Yes, as in jumping out of a high building. Not like this though.

We still got this.

You bet.

“Comfortable?”

“No.”

“Let’s go then. Woah!”

“Woooooooah!”

“Relax Curly or else you’ll fall. Just hold onto us. We’ll be on the nearby rooftop in no time.”

“Ehhhhhhhhhh.”

“Oh, stop it you big baby. Hahaha. We’re safe already.”

“Oh thank God. I’ll never take my life for granted again.”

“Let’s get out of here.”

Oh, hide our face.

“Did you guys escape that explosion? We saw it from our window and came up here to get a better view.”

“We didn’t, but get this guy, Walter, someplace to rest. He’s been skydiving a bit too much.”

“Oh, sure.”

“That was something else you guys.”

“Are we redeemed in your eyes now?”

“I think you are. Besides, I don’t want to do anything like that ever again.”

“We’re glad. Let’s reward ourselves then.”

“Where are we going?”

“We know of this great garden that you could eat lunch and dinner at. It’ll be a nice place to rest our minds at.”

“I’ll take anything good after this.”

This should perfectly make him comfortable for what we’re going to ask him.

I hope he won’t get mad at us.

He would’ve shown it by now.

But we’re still connected to each other like this.

Maybe it’s our punishment for what we did as thieves.

Do we really have to stay like this until we die?

You don’t like being with me like this?

It’s not that.

If you knew what we did, then I guess this seems justified.

Then we’ll stay like this.

It’ll be difficult.

As long as Curly and you are happy, it’ll be worth it.

Stole the words right from my mind.

“This place is amazing.”

“This is where I proposed to Sylvia. We haven’t been here in years.”

“I can see why. It looks like a great place to set the mood. So, what are we getting to eat?”

“We uh…want to ask you something first.”

“What is it?”

“Try to keep this down. Do you still hate us for accidentally killing your parents?”

“…”

Uh oh. I don’t like awkward silences.

Say something, Sylvia.

“We’re sorry for what we did. We’ll take of you to the best of our abilities and get whatever you want to make it up to you.”

“…”

“If you want us to bring you to a better family, then we’ll do that.”

“I don’t hate you.”

“You don’t? Why not?”

“It wasn’t your fault. I can’t blame you for it.”

“Don’t you want to still hate us from taking you away from your comfortable life? You were set in terms of wealth and possessions.”

“I know, but I have to let that go. Besides, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Oh, that’s right. Do you want us to leave you with a better family? You must have friends and other family members that will happily take you in. We’re just a poor couple with no job, no house, and a dwindling bank account.”

“Didn’t I answer this before? God put us together, so I’m staying with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor or stuck together like you are. This is the way things are meant to be now.”

He’s set on us.

I’m not sure if I should cry or not.

Don’t, Sylvia because you’re going to make me cry too.

“Hey, who else has parents like I do? My parents are so cool that they redeemed themselves after being one of the most infamous thieving couples. I think I have the coolest parents ever.”

“You’re right we’re the coolest. Now, let’s get something to eat.”

“I saw a breakfast store here. I want ice cream and pancakes.”

“We think that’s a great idea. We’ll have the same.”

 

 

There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.

-Pope John Paul II

Chapter 3 – A Family that Sacrifices Together, Stays Together

Simon, look at him smiling while he’s sleeping. I love it. I know you won’t say anything about it because it would make you sound weird.

What do you want me to say? The only thing I can pull from your mind is something positive, which is incredibly general.

You don’t understand at all, do you? Maybe it’s a motherly thing.

You’re not even his mother or one to begin with. What do you know about it?

I know that I’m feeling it. Do you think he’ll ever call us his parents?

I don’t know. It’s best not to get your hopes up.

He seemed to like what we got him yesterday. We should get it again for him.

I guess it’s better than nothing. Remember that we’re running out of money.

We’re good for a while. I pickpocketed some money at the party if you didn’t notice.

That’s great, but don’t let Curly know. We’re supposed to stop being thieves.

That’s right. We have to start becoming a real family.

If we really want to become his family, you’ll need to learn how to cook.

And you’ll have to learn how to be a real man and work.

You’ll have to come with me to work.

And you’ll have to learn how to cook with me.

What do you think we should make first?

He really liked those ice cream pancakes yesterday.

Breakfast sounds like a great idea. It’s the kind of meal that can be served at any time of day.

I’m full of great ideas, aren’t I?

You are. Hey, doesn’t that guy over there look familiar?

He does. I think we’ve seen him on the thieves’ network before.

The three thief groups being arrested should’ve been big news. Maybe they suspect us of double-crossing them because we are the only ones who haven’t been arrested yet or they might think we’re colluding with the authorities.

That’s true. We should get back to Alastair fast and get out of here.

They’ll think we’ve betrayed them if they catch us with him. We have to draw them away, get rid of them, and then haul out of this city.

Aren’t they experts in following people? Won’t they know if we’re leading them into a trap?

We’ll have to take a chance to protect Alastair. You ready?

Ready.

Let’s go to that one alleyway that leads into the building with the kidnappers. That’s right. Keep following us. Okay, so it looks like there’s three of them. Almost there. Where should we hide-Oh!

There were already two of them looking through this building.

Thankfully our reactions are still sharp.

Their friends are outside calling them now. They won’t come in until they respond.

Maybe we should use their friend’s unconscious body like a puppet. Lure them in that way.

That’s not going to work.

I know you don’t have a better plan let alone a plan at all.

Okay, we’ll go with that.

This is so stupid.

But it just might work.

Peek out. What can you see?

They’re confused but the three are coming this way.

Okay, now let’s use this guy as a body shield once they come in. And…action! One, two, three! That’s all of them.

You owe me again.

We didn’t bet-Let’s just get back to Alastair.

Do you think there’s more of them?

Probably. We have minutes before they converge on this area.

Let’s hurry up then!

I can’t make our legs move faster! That only stalls us.

Just try to think positively then.

“Alastair! We need to go!”

“What’s going on?”

“There’s a thieving group that might be after us. We aren’t taking any chances so pack your things and let’s go-damn! Get down, Alastair! Ack! Get off us!”

“Wow. What happened to you two?”

“None of your business, just let go of our kid!”

“Did the kid’s parents have some kind of special weapon to use on you? Did they do a kind of special surgery?”

“We said it’s none of your business!”

“I love the “we” routine you got going on there. I’ll tell you what. Because I respect your work and you so much, I’ll take the kid off your hands, maybe sell him to a rich family in a foreign country. You’ll thank me later. In the meantime, we’ll try to get you fixed up. Let’s get’em back to base boys.”

…Where are we?

We’re strapped to some surgery table.

We have to get out of here fast!

Maybe we can combine our strength to break these binds.

These binds are too tough!

Are you going to make that stop us? Alastair is in trouble. I can feel it. He’s going to be sold off or worse if we don’t do anything now.

You’re right.

“Rahhhh!!!!”

That’s right! We did it! Look how shocked they-oh boy.

Get down! We have to do something to stop them from firing at us.

What’s this stuff?

Medical stuff? Looks flammable. Let’s throw it at them. Woah!

They’re explosive too!

Really explosive.

I think we broke something important in the building. We might need this fireproof jacket for later.

Let’s take the rest of these.

Yeah keep running from us and our explosive …whatever it is! Uh oh.

I think we accidentally hit the power room. The building might be catching fire now.

That’s good and bad. Let’s make the most of it and find our weapons.

Here we go. We’re going full auto shotgun mode. This’ll give them a real headache when they wake up after getting hit from these rounds.

Now we’re ready. Where do you think they’re holding Alastair?

Top floor?

I’m not betting on it. Plus, it doesn’t really matter. We’re clearing this place out until we get to him.

Move out the way! Two pissed off parents coming through!

That’s right! Two heads are better than one!

We have one head.

It’s a technicality.

Whatever. There’s the guy that took us here! He’s got Alastair.

“Let go of our kid and you might live.”

“You guys don’t kill unless you need to. I know your history. Agh!”

“We don’t kill but we do hurt. Are you okay Alastair?”

“I’m okay. How are we going to do this? How did the building catch fire?”

“It doesn’t matter. We’ll care you through this. Here, we’ll wrap you up in this fireproof jacket, so the fire doesn’t touch your skin. Keep your head down.”

“What about you?”

“We’re going to be fine. All that matters to us is your safety. Trust us.”

“Okay.”

The flames are really tearing through this building, but we have to make it through this.

It’s so intense in here. I don’t know if we can make it.

We have to for our sake and Alastair’s. We have to give him the family he deserves. We put him in this situation and we’re taking him out of it.

I feel so strange.

Keep going! We’re going to make it!…Sylvia? Can you hear me? You see the exit? We’re going to make it! Just give it one final push and…we’re out! Smell that fresh air of victory and…woah.

“Simon, we’re back to normal.”

“But how?”

“You putting yourself at risk for me must’ve satisfied God. It was a literal trial of fire.”

“Thank you, God, for having mercy on us.”

“Oh, the firefighters are coming. Let’s get out of here. What are we going to do now? We’re flat broke with no home and nothing to our name.”

“That’s fine as long as we’re together.”

“Are you sure, Alastair?”

“We’re used to the homeless life, but you…”

“You’re my parents now. I don’t care as long as we love each other.”

“Alastair!”

“…I’m a father now…”

“Don’t cry or else you’re going to make me cry too.”

“You’re right. We’re going to be the best parents ever. We promise you that.”

“Are our minds still connected? Because you just took the words right out of my mouth.”

“I love you, mom and dad.”

“We love you too, son.”

 

The End

It is worthwhile to live as a family, that a society grows strong, grows in goodness, grows in beauty and truly grows if it is built on the foundation of the family.” – Pope Francis

A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.

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Blog – https://albertoonbts.blogspot.com/

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From Hatred to Love

Download the story for yourself on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/904030

 

Love, to be real, must cost. It must hurt. It must empty us of self.” – Blessed Mother Teresa

Chapter 1 – Forced Love

How are we ever going to fix this?

Maybe we should start from the beginning?

Maybe you should since you suggested it.

Okay. We woke up one morning in my room fused together. We were confused for a while before we heard a voice say, “Because you have hated each other and have secretly wanted harm upon one another, you will be fused together until you learn to love each other”. And here we are.

That’s overly simple, James. What about the fact that part of my house is fused to yours? My clothes are even fused to yours. Just look at our wardrobe. Everything is fused together.

Don’t worry about it, Julia. At least it all matches.

But we’ll have to go to the bathroom and take a shower together! We’ll see each other naked!

That’s definitely the worst part.

Ow!

Ha! When you use our hand to hit me you still hurt yourself.

Ow!

Doing it again doesn’t help and I know that you feel that it does. I’m still somewhat surprised that the doctors said that our bodies are completely fine together like this.

Sure, but we have to walk together with a hood on all the time with our heads down.

Speaking about that, do you want me to control our legs when we walk because we have trouble doing anything unless we consent to let one person walk?

I don’t care. We both get tired even when we let the other do something.

I’ll do the walking then.

I’ll do the talking.

You’ll do the talking? No.

Why not?

Because you’re terrible at talking with people.

No, I’m not!

Yes, you are. Who has more friends than you do? Who got a promotion because I was a pseudo-human resources expert? That’s right. I know the thought crossed your mind.

Shut up. What am I going to do then? Just silently scream in our mind?

Oh God no. I’ll let you talk if you know more about something than I do.

But we both know the same things now.

Are you really going to pass up this opportunity to talk?

You can stop me from talking at any time.

And so can you so you’re going to have to trust me. Okay? Come on. We can’t do anything unless we can trust each other.

Fine.

Good. So how about we get ready for work now? We didn’t take a shower yesterday, so let’s-okay. You know for a fact that I don’t want to see you naked. Okay! Now you have a self-abuse problem. So, do you want to strip us or-

I’ll do it. Just close your eye.

I can still see out of your eye.

I’ll just look up then. Hey, make the water hotter.

It is hot.

No, make it hotter like this.

It’s too hot!

I don’t feel it.

I do!

Good.

Who’s going to be the one who’s going to wash us?

I’ll do it.

I didn’t know you wanted to touch me like that.

It’s not that! I’d rather you not touch me is all.

It’s still our body.

Whatever.

What kind of genitalia do we have?

It’s not mine and it’s not yours. I don’t want to think about it. Just stop thinking about it.

Okay. That’s finally done. I think we should wear this simple outfit.

Nope, we’re wearing this.

Who cares what we look like?

I do! I’m a woman of business unlike you.

Do women of business look like us? That’s what I thought. What’s for breakfast?

Cereal.

I’m fine with that. Except not that kind.

What’s wrong with it?

It’s just plain healthy cereal.

What are you four years old? Why does your cereal have to have marshmallows in it?

Because it actually tastes appetizing.

It doesn’t taste bad to me.

It does to me.

It’s just your imagination.

Whatever. Okay, you bathed, clothed, and feed us which is basically what a normal woman is supposed to do. Don’t hit me-us. Let me take over for walking.

I still don’t feel comfortable going out at all.

But we got to earn that bread for ourselves. It’s not too bad.

I feel so awkward being out here like this. This is going to be a pain if this carries over into the summertime.

Ever hear of short-sleeved hoodies?

I still don’t want this to go on for long.

And I thought you were starting to like my company. We have to do this regardless of how comfortable we are with it, so we have to start loving each other.

I’m not going to marry you.

You don’t have to. Love isn’t all about marrying.

I hope that’s not what God wants.

Me too. See? We’re starting to agree with one another.

But what are we going to do now at work?

Whatever we usually do. I think we should-

No, we can’t talk to anyone like this. Only our boss knows about this.

He would’ve already told most of the people here by now knowing him.

What an idiot. We already have people looking at us.

Don’t mind them.

“Hey, James! Or should I say, Julia? Or both?”

“Hey, Nick!”

Are you still mad at that the boss is paying me more than you?

I went to college and work harder than you do. Of course I’m still mad.

I didn’t need that stupid college “education” to be successful in life. All I needed was my family, friends, and my God-given talents. Don’t be mad because I got past where you are with more effort.

I’m going to beat you to a pulp when we’re separated.

You would still be hating me then.

I’m going to lovingly beat you to a pulp. Sound better?

Yep. This is where we decide which of our jobs are going to get done.

Okay.

Ow!

What did we do?

We fell on our butt because we took control of a different leg to go in a different direction. Let’s just decide what we’re going to do first.

I’ve got tons of work to do to help dozens of people within the business and outside of it. At least I try to help others outside my sphere of friends, unlike some people.

Well, you can’t do that if your building burns to ashes. Most things in the building are working fine but I have been seeing abnormalities in it. I should probably check it out before it gets serious.

What? I’m not going to get dirty while wearing this.

You knew we were going to. Don’t lie.

Can’t we just get my work done first?

Let me just check out the systems in the building. Maybe we won’t need to get dirty today.

I always see you dirty.

Yeah? Well you’re always jealous of me, and I’m not making that up, so let’s go.

Fine.

Okay, well everything seems to be better than yesterday. It looks like shutting off some of the systems fixed some of the issues, but there’s still one thing we have to get dirty for to check out.

What? Why?

Because it could cause a major fire if we don’t at least check on it. I adjust and upgrade these things from time to time so that you can “help” people like you say you do.

Let’s just get this over with.

It’s not that bad up there.

To you maybe. It’s filthy up here.

I’m glad you think so.

Why don’t you clean up here? Isn’t that a hazard or something?

Not if it doesn’t affect anything. I’ve been in worse places, so this is nothing to me.

I can’t stand being in here.

Just keep your mind off it then. There are only a couple more things I need to check.

Was that a roach?!

Yeah, I named him Bob.

Why don’t we call an exterminator?

Because buildings like these always have bugs in them. They come and go and if they feel comfortable, they stay.

But shouldn’t we get rid of them?

This is your first time noticing them, so they’re not a problem to you. They’ll be gone soon.

That’s a relief.

Okay. It looks like there isn’t anything wrong here.

So we came up here for nothing?

We came up here to check on something that could’ve been important. I’ve been doing this for months and you haven’t had any problems, which is another reason for my promotion.

Okay, let’s just get out of here. I think I’m going to get sick.

That’s just your imagination.

No, it isn’t. I feel like I need to take two baths after doing that, but I have to get my work done.

This is going to be so boring.

It’s not that bad. It’s just how work is.

My work isn’t like that.

Your work is disgusting and dirty.

But at least it doesn’t put me to sleep. This sucks so much.

Shut up. I’m trying to concentrate here.

Did you notice that the others aren’t saying anything?

The boss told us that he told them not to say anything or he’ll fire them.

It’s probably why we’re not on the news right now.

Do you ever shut up?

No, that’s why so many people like me. I’m also trying to keep us awake.

I don’t need your help.

Fine then. Nap time then.

Wait…stop…Ah!

Told you this work is boring.

Just try to stay awake a little longer. I’m almost done.

How come you never liked talking to me when we first met?

Because I wanted to concentrate on my work.

And that’s why you don’t have friends. How can you say you want to help people when you don’t even want to talk to them?

How can you say you love making friends when you don’t care about helping other people?

Hey, at least I do help people. At least I don’t just think I’m helping people because people tell me I am when I’m just sitting behind a desk while being miserable. Hey! Control yourself! People are really watching now. I’m sorry, okay? I can be a bit too blunt. I get that. You help out people in your own way and I do it in my own way.

Look, that paper you made is probably going to convince the company to help out people in need. Do you know how many lives you’re going to save?

Stop wiping away my tears! I can do it myself!

Okay.

…I’m sorry for that outburst.

It’s fine. I get it.

“Hey, uh…Julia? The boss wants to see you.”

“Okay.”

This is my fault.

I started it. Don’t worry about it.

He might fire us.

I don’t think he’ll do that. He probably just wants to talk to us.

“Hello, James and Julia.”

“Hello, Lloyd.”

“Who am I talking to specifically?”

You’re better at talking.

“James.”

“I can hear it now. Did you know that your voice changes when one of you is in control?”

“I didn’t notice that actually. Thanks for pointing that out. What did you want to talk about?”

“I’m letting you two or one have a little break from work to get used to being together like this.”

“Was it something-”

“No, it wasn’t anything you did. Besides, I know you don’t get aggravated, James.”

I messed up bad.

“It’s not Julia’s fault she got angry. I said some things to her that I shouldn’t have.”

No, you’re right. Don’t even think about using this against me.

“It’s not that she lost control. I just want you two to get better acquainted with the way you are now. You’ll be paid during your time off as well so don’t worry about that.”

“Thank you so much.”

“Don’t worry about it. Just try to get adjusted soon so I can have my two best workers back.”

“You got it.”

See? That wasn’t so bad.

That’s because you were talking.

I didn’t say anything that you wouldn’t’ve.

I wouldn’t have defended you.

That’s true but I’m glad you’re honest.

Let’s just go home. I’m beat.

That wasn’t such a bad day of work. I thought it was pretty interesting.

It was okay.

At least we learned to be caring towards one another.

I wonder how long that will last.

Come on, be more positive.

Sure.

More positive!

Very sure. I’ll take that. So, what do you do after work?

Shower, eat, then sleep. At least it isn’t as awkward taking a shower now.

Uh, you’re making me look-there we go.

Sorry. It’s a habit.

It’s fine. I don’t mind too much. Don’t hit me.

I wasn’t thinking about it for some reason.

See? We’re getting comfortable with each other now.

A little too comfortable.

What do we have here to eat? Uh, oh! I still have leftover pizza here. I’ve been craving it.

I’ll make us something. Hey, stop making me crave pizza!

It’s pepperoni and sausage.

That does sound really good. Wait, no it doesn’t. Stop making me want it. I don’t even like eating pizza.

You what?! You’re going to Hell.

For what?

Not liking pizza. It is one of the many foods God inspired humanity to make. Let me fill your mind with thoughts and sensations of the blessed food.

You already take up too much of my mind, but it does sound appetizing. Okay, I’ll try it.

So? How does it taste?

I’m not sure if you’re making me taste it this way or not.

I’m not doing anything.

Then it tastes great even though it’s just heated up again.

See? I told you.

Okay. Fine. You were right. Now it’s time to get some sleep.

Today wasn’t so bad, right? I don’t mind being with you like this as much now.

I can’t say the same.

I know you’re lying.

Don’t think I actually like you now.

Well, at least we’re off to a good start.

I guess so.

I’m glad that you agree. Good night.

Good night.

 

 

 

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.” – G.K. Chesterton

Chapter 2 – Learning to Love

Time to wake up, Julia. Huh? Why did you think of your ex-boyfriend? He seemed like a nice guy.

He wasn’t. Do you see that orange fox on my side of the bed? He got me that one Valentine’s day. Not because we were in a relationship, but because we’ve been friends since we were kids. We were each other’s only friend for years. The only other kind of love we felt was from our parents. We or at least I thought we were going to be friends forever. I thought we were going to graduate from college then get married, but then…

He cheated both on you and in college.

I never heard from him since. I keep this fox by my side to remind myself not to get my hopes up, even when it comes to people I love.

That’s cold but I understand. I have my own stuffed animal too. Do you see the white rabbit on my side of the bed? That was one of the only things my parents gave me to show me that they truly loved me. They worked in services that helped people, so they were always busy and never home. I keep this bunny to remind myself that them and people, in general, can be compassionate. I seem to have a more positive reminder of people than you do.

I see that. Even though your parents weren’t always there for you, it seems like you turned out exactly how they wanted you to. But me…

I’m sure your parents are proud of you and that ex of yours has been regretting his actions ever since. Please don’t put yourself down. You’re not a bad person. You just need the right person in your life.

Maybe you are that person.

Maybe.

You sure do have a lot of big textbooks over there. Read anything interesting?

You know.

I want to hear what you think of them.

They’re interesting to read. It helps me learn more about people and their motivations. Some of them are business and math books, which I know you find boring.

It’s kind of interesting from what you remember. I recognize some of the ways of thinking from my comic books and manga.

Those are children’s books.

And there we go.

What?

We were getting along so well and then you had to say that.

What makes them adult besides violence and sex?

The themes of good versus evil, moral responsibility, man playing god, pushing people to their limits, and the extremes someone would go to for their love.

That sounds interesting. Can you give me an example?

There’s this one series that’s about this crybaby who gets the powers of a devil. He becomes totally different after that, but things don’t go well as demonkind starts to wipe out humanity.

Okay. I’m remembering it through your mind and it seems good. It’s really dark.

How about something lighter? These comics are about a man who has an alien attached to him. The two go on adventures as they protect the innocent and punish the wicked. He’s a kind of lethal protector.

Looks fun, but it seems like a different take on the previous series that you told me about.

Okay, so how about this. This series is about this black swordsman that’s after this guy who was once one of his closest friends and well…it’s a long story, but you know what I’m trying to summarize.

You like a lot of dark stories.

But I do like my light ones too. Like this one series about this girl whose hair looks like a four-leaf clover. I especially like the part where she meets this guy with white hair that she absolutely hates.

Ha! That is so cute.

Alright, now enough about that. Do you want to get up?

What do you want to do?

We could go to the nearby church I usually attend. We could ask God for answers since He put us in this situation.

Do we have to now? I’m comfortable like this.

I didn’t know that you liked being with me in bed.

Okay. We’re going.

Haha. That did it.

I’m surprised that this church is doing so well in such a filthy area.

God works where the sinners are at and there are a lot over here. It’s a good thing it’s doing so well here. No one bothers it at all compared to the other places around here.

Have you ever been jumped in this area?

Once maybe twice when I was a teenager, but we should be fine.

And if we do get into trouble?

What? Do you want to make a bet? You already have my body and everything I have. Do you want my soul as well?

I’m just asking. Wow. This place is nice. The stained-glass windows, the statues of Jesus, Mary, the saints, and angels. The atmosphere here could stop any sinner in his tracks. This looks way better than the church I go to.

You don’t attend a heretical church, do you?

No, here’s what it looks like.

Oh, it’s not bad. It just has a simpler look to it. Let’s go up to the altar and pray while no one is around. Well no one besides God.

Okay…well? Is anything coming to mind? I can’t hear your thoughts for some reason.

I’m concentrating on prayer. I didn’t hear your prayers either. Is it me or are some of our thoughts audible to us while others are silent?

It seems that way, but we do hear the important parts.

That’s right. Hey, do you bring your family to church too?

No, I just go by myself.

I bring my family and friends to church. When there’s someone who isn’t strong in their faith or worships the wrong one, I bring them here to try to convert them.

What are you an evangelist?

No, not at all. I’ve only converted a few of the people I know.

That’s great. I’m sure God is happy…with…you…

What is it?

I save people money and help them get the help they need. You help save souls. Which one do you think is more important?

You do help more people than I do.

What does it matter when I don’t help them with what really matters? I don’t even think that I put God first like how I’m supposed to.

If you think that’s bad, I don’t even try to care about people. I only try to help those I’m comfortable with. I can see why that’s so bad now.

At least that isn’t as bad as divorcing people from numbers and generalizations. I always thought of people in terms of ideologies and I never took into account their unique personalities and situations. Everyone was just a different version of an archetype that I read in a psychology book in my mind.

Oh come on. Just look at the bigger picture. Because you help so many people with their problems, they can now focus on God and the afterlife.

But most people don’t do that. How about you look at the bigger picture. You’ve put all your friends and family on the narrow path of salvation that few people find and you’re putting me on it too.

If I did, then stop putting yourself down.

How about you stop putting down the importance of what you do?

Are we really arguing for each other on who is the better person?

We are, and you know I’m right.

And you know that I’m right as well.

Fine.

Fine.

…I guess those prayers helped after all.

And in so little time. He usually takes a while to answer them.

I guess we should put an extra donation.

We’ll go half and half.

I’ll donate forty dollars. You can buy me dinner later.

That’s not fair! I know you’re going to make it pricey.

Deal with it.

At least that was good for us. What do you think?

I think we’re being followed.

I think it’s your stereotyping of people that’s getting to you.

No, it isn’t.

I’ll look-oh we might have some trouble.

Told you. You deal with them.

“Hey, man. I remember you when we were kids.”

“Oh yeah? Do you remember what happened last time you snuck up behind us?”

“Yeah, and I remember, but you’re alone now.”

“And? I don’t need anyone else to beat-oh you brought along two of your boyfriends. How great.”

I’m going to need your help with this.

What am I supposed to do? I can’t fight.

Then what was all of that big talk about kicking my butt?

I’m still going to do that.

Watch out! Punch! Left! Kick! Duck!

Ow! I can’t do all of this at once!

Neither can I but maybe we can if we join our minds into one…Ready?

Ready.

Punch! Kick! Elbow! Pull! Punch! Left! Right! Left! Duck! Uppercut! Kick! Punch!

We did it!

“Ya’ll better fix yourselves up. If I see you again, it better be in that church praying for forgiveness.”

“What are you?!”

“That’s none of your business now get out of here!”

Look at them run. See, what did I tell you?

That calls for a little celebration. What do you think?

Are you just saying that because I’m buying?

Well, you don’t have to.

I will. It wouldn’t be manly of me if I didn’t.

Oh brother.

How about we try this sandwich place in town?

What do they serve?

Sandwiches.

I know-

I know what you meant. They have all kinds of sandwiches that are hard to find outside of the city.

At least it’s in a better area.

There are so many people here.

Remember to keep your head down. We don’t want to start a fuss.

Alright.

Let me try to remember what I got last time that was good. Uh…buffalo chicken, egg salad, grilled shark, some kind of double sandwich, uh…get an Italian sausage with gravy.

Okay. Oh man. The food smells great.

“Italian sausage?”

“That’s for me!”

“Here-oh!”

Dang it, you idiot. I told you to keep your head down. He almost dropped our sandwich.

I’m too used to bringing my head up to talk to people.

“Thank you!”

People are looking at us now. Keep your head down and we’ll eat somewhere else.

Where do you have in mind?

The only place that I know that is relatively empty is the garden park a couple blocks away from here.

Why is it relatively empty?

It’s a garden park. It smells like flowers and vegetables.

I love that smell.

Then I’m going to need you to make it seem good to me because the smell is irritating to me some days.

This place looks amazing. There’s a garden house fields to play and dozens of flowers. It’s amazing that this place exists in the city.

How about we sit over there on that bench near those roses?

Sure. Now it’s time to chow down. Yum! This is so good! What are you doing with my hand?

Hold on.

Why did you pick this flower?

Because I looked at it and I thought of you. Plus, you said you liked the smell of flowers and from what I can pull from your memories, you like these kinds of flowers.

I love it. Thank you.

You’re welcome. Remember to keep your head down. We don’t want anyone seeing our face…well maybe just yours in particular. I’m kidding of course!

I know. That guy was scared to see me.

I thought he was scared to see a pretty girl’s face attached to my ugly mug.

You’re not ugly. I know from your memories that there’s a girl in that shop that always likes looking at you.

That doesn’t mean anything. I’m only interested in girls that I talk to.

You’re always talking to me.

Well, that’s because I’m forced to-but that doesn’t mean I don’t like you! I think you’re a great person.

Do you really think that?

You know if I’m lying.

Then why are we still together like this?

I don’t know. Maybe there will be a challenge ahead of us that will test us.

I hope not. I’m not sure if I can handle challenges that make me distrust people.

Hey, you know me. You know my thoughts now. Even if I do something bad, I’ll make it up.

Okay. I trust you.

Now can we please go home? We’ve had to go to the bathroom since this morning.

I hate doing that like this.

Why? We’ve showered and dressed together.

But this is disgusting like this.

I’ll be quiet.

But I know you’ll be feeling it.

I know we’ll be crapping ourselves soon if you don’t move it! Pick your poison.

Okay, fine!

See? That wasn’t so bad.

I guess not.

So we’re cool with not holding it in for so long?

You’ll probably have to convince me again.

Dang it.

Should we go out for dinner? How can we hide our face in public for long periods of time?

We did it at work, but most people knew about it. Do you want to make dinner?

Is this another woman joke?

Half and half. I want to see what you can make.

I’m in the mood for breakfast. How about I make blueberry pancakes?

Sounds great.

Let me see if we have what we need and…we do. Should I start making it?

Yes. I’m thinking about going out again.

Where to?

That garden park again. Did you see those lights in the trees and greenery? Those light up every night.

I’d love to go!

Great. Let’s speed up making these pancakes then.

You can’t just speed up cooking. You know I’ve noticed that my way of talking is different from how I usually talk.

How so?

I’ve been talking more in laymen speak than the more proper, educated way that I usually talk in.

Maybe it’s because your mind and ours are almost completely connected?

Or maybe talking to you is making me dumb. I mean you know the way I feel now. I would never have dreamed of feeling this way towards another person just a few days ago.

You’re having a similar effect on me too. I’ve changed just as much as you have.

But you know me. You’ve done more for me than I have for you.

That’s true and I’m saying anything about doing more, it’s about the change. You know I wonder why you always you want to contradict me on things like this. First, we argued about each other and now we’re arguing for the other person. I’m trying to find a reason inside your head. Is it because-

It’s because I don’t trust myself anymore. The things I’ve learned these past couple days has completely destroyed the world I once knew. Now…I don’t know what to think.

You know what to think. Stop lying to yourself. You know what you did wrong, so now you know what to do. Even if you do the wrong thing again, you can just apologize and start over.

I don’t know.

Trust me about this. You got me to like you even after we hated each other for so many months. That has to count for something. I know you don’t like yourself anymore, but you have to love yourself a little. If you don’t, then I will.

Okay…thanks.

You’re welcome. Now pay attention to those pancakes because they might be getting a bit too burnt.

They are! I’m sorry.

Don’t worry about it. I like my food well done.

Stop lying.

No, it’s good. Great even! I’ve never tasted pancakes this good.

It tastes too burnt.

Yeah they are.

I’m glad you’re being honest with me now.

I was being honest!

Sure. Should we go out now?

Yeah. The lights should be on by the time we get there.

Okay. Wait, I just pulled up a memory that says you’ve never seen the lights?

Not at all. I’ve been waiting for someone to go there with.

Someone special?

You could say that. You ready to see them?

I can already see them from here. It’s like a completely different place.

It’s better than I imagined. Look at how the lights change and how they complement the colors of the flowers.

I know you want to compare me to them.

I do.

Say it then.

Why? You already hear it in my thoughts.

I want to hear it from you.

It’s cornier than corn!

Say it!

Okay. You’re more beautiful than all of the flowers and lights in the garden. Happy now?

Very. Aren’t you?

I guess so.

Guess?

I am happy even though I’m living like this with you. I wouldn’t mind living the rest of my life like this.

I wouldn’t mind either. Do you…just want to enjoy this moment in silence for a couple more minutes before we go home?

Yeah, I’d like that.

I knew you would. That’s how I got the idea.

Ha!

 

 

 

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” Mark 10: 6-8

Chapter 3 – Together as One

Julia.

James? What is it? Is it time to get up already?

Yeah. Hey, don’t try to go back to sleep! Why do you always have to put my side of our body on the bottom?

Because that’s where you belong.

Well, I’m burnt.

That’s right. Now, go back to sleep.

We can’t. We’re so close to being back to normal. I can feel it.

Do you want to leave me this badly?

What?

You’re the only person I’ve met who I can trust completely. I know what you think and what you’re going to do. There aren’t any consequences for staying like this until we die. This is perfect for us.

Stop thinking this nonsense! We can’t keep living like this.

We’ll find a way to make it work.

I’m-hey! Let me get up!

No. You’re mine until we die.

We can live well together separated.

But it won’t be like this.

You trust me, right?

Of course.

Then you know that I will never do you wrong.

Sure, but-

You don’t have to know everything I’m thinking to trust me.

But I want to.

Then you don’t trust me.

I do trust you!

Is it just because you can hear my thoughts? It sounds like it. Trust is vital in all relationships, so if you truly love me, then let me go.

But…I might lose you.

You know for a fact that fear bothers me too. I will do everything in my power to stay with you until the end.

But I won’t have you like this.

You will if you marry me.

I…I do.

I didn’t kneel or anything, but okay. This is great. Now all you have to do is let me have my control. Hey, I’m thinking of a song my parents used to sing to me during rainy days. Are you thinking about it too?

I am. Sing it with me then.

I can’t sing.

You’re not singing out loud and I love listening to your voice.

…okay.

 

I can see it in your eyes

In your tears

All of the suffering you’ve been through

All of the pain you’ve felt

 

I can feel your sadness

Your anger and your regrets

This world is a non-stop place for sorrow

Like an everlasting storm

 

I’ll be here for you

To hold you when things get tough

When hope seems far away!

I’ll always hold your hand

Through the happy moments and the sad

When everyone else has left, I’ll be right here!

 

The clouds cry with you

Angels shed tears as you suffer

So don’t believe you are broken beyond repair

And know that you will never be alone

 

I’ll stay with you through it all

Heal the bleeding in your heart

Walk with you through the storms

Nothing will stop me from getting you to smile

 

I’ll be here for you

To hold you when things get tough

When hope seems far away!

I’ll always hold your hand

Through the happy moments and the sad

When everyone else has left, I’ll be right here!

 

When the light seems so far away,

Hold onto me!

When all seems lost,

I will always stand with you!

 

I’ll be here for you

To hold you when things get tough

When hope seems far away!

I’ll always hold your hand

Through the happy moments and the sad

When everyone else has left, I’ll be right here!

 

Right here, always with you forever…

 

You know what the song means. You know how I feel. Trust me.

…Let me think about it for a second.

Eh…fine. Just don’t take waste time.

…Okay, I think I’ve made up my mind. Did you hear what I decided? Hey, are you awake? You have to be because I am. Ow. I guess you aren’t. That’s strange. I do like staying like this. I could stay lay down with you forever…but…I know I can’t. I’m sorry that I fooled myself into thinking we could stay like this forever. It’s just my mistrust of people, but I know that you won’t disappoint me. I trust you…

“Hey, stop hitting me…”

“I didn’t hit you because I didn’t feel it…”

“Wait! Ow!”

“That’s what you get for touching me where you’re not supposed to.”

“We’re going to be married! What’s so wrong with-Nevermind, our bodies are apart! My house is back to normal too!”

“Huh?! You’re right-”

“Ow! What now?”

“I wanted to be the one to kiss you first.”

“That’s too bad. Ow!”

“Ow! You can’t hit me!”

“I can defend myself. Is it really going to be like this?”

“It will be, and you can’t stop me. Hahaha! Hey!”

“You don’t have my strength anymore. You’re back to having the strength of a nerd. Haha! Ow! Why did you hit me there? I guess you don’t want kids.”

“I can still get you. Hahaha!”

We got married soon after then began to raise a family. We still argue with each other now and then, but who doesn’t with their closest friends and family? We thank God every day of our lives for the blessing he gave us that we thought was a curse. Even though we know life will have its difficulties when we will feel weak, we will stay faithful to one another until the very end.

 

The End

 

What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.

-St. Basil the Great

A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.

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