Chapter 2: BEST LAID PLANS


Second part of Nano! If this sucks, please let me know. I know that this is definately NOT one of my best works.

Phase 1: Recollections

“How could you have allowed such a thing to happen? After all that trouble I went through to find you a nice girl to give me a grandchild I would be proud of, you let them burn her down?” The old woman berated her son, who stood in front of her with his head hung down. This seemed familiar to the old lady and her son; it reminded them both of his childhood and early adolescence, where he would often be chided like this (though in private) whenever he had made a mistake the old lady felt was embarrassing to herself and the family. He looked up at her and then replied, his voice sullen.

“You also chose my wife, whom, might I remind you, dear mother,” he placed special emphasis on the word, “That you were the one who chose that ‘rude cow’ for me, and as you didn’t want to take any notice of your grandchildren’s upbringing, she raised them as she saw fit,” he held his temper in check. The only person who could match him for his temper was his wife, and the only one who was not affected by it was his mother.

“And who was it that begged me to accept her once we knew her background? You made your choice son, and it was a bad one. Now we must rectify your mistakes before it goes too far!”

“My mistake? You were the one who introduced her to me!”

“Regardless, we must now undo the damage! Your wife will be the death of us if she continues on the way she is!”

He stared at her in silence. The old woman sat back, satisfied that she had had her rant. It was true that she had recommended the girl who was now her son’s wife in the beginning, but that was before she had discovered that the young one was the illegitimate daughter of a Vestal Virgin. The Gods only knew what kind of blood the girl had, and she was dangerous in that sense; the blood of a mortal was acceptable, those of a God the woman would not allow. The young woman had also shown signs of being an unusually sickly girl; she had taken to closetting herself away with her children and singing songs that glorified the death of Spring and the beginning of Autumn. This was not just highly irregular; it was worrisome.

The girl’s intelligence could not be denied though, the old woman thought. If the children had inherited even a speck of her intelligence, this may not have been such a wasted effort after all.

Phase 2: Dreaming isn’t fun

She woke up with a start, cold sweat covering her body. Turning to her right, she saw her sister sleeping deeply, her mouth slightly open. Looking around her, she threw the covers off and got out of the bed, heading towards the attached bathroom. Her steps were shaky and she reached out from time to time to grab the various objects in the room to steady herself. First it was the bed post, then the shelf, and as she reached out to switch the light in the bathroom on, even the cat’s tail. Of course, the cat screeched, and she jumped, and her sister jumped, and there was a loud crash as something fell from the overhead shelf onto the floor, which prompted more screeches, screams and heavy footsteps in the hallway that came running down to the girls’ room.

The door slammed open and a large, heavyset man came in with a baseball bat in his hands. He looked ready for anything and everything, while his wife behind him was carrying a golf club. They were both dressed in their nightclothes, but any doubt that they meant business would be wiped by the looks on their faces; protective and ready for danger. Of course, when they opened the door, the cat ran out, brushing against the wife’s leg. The wife screamed, and the man dropped the baseball and the whole rigmarole began again. It took a good two minutes before everyone calmed down, and by then the neighbours had been awoken and there was a general ruckus.

Once the apologies had been made and the dust settled, the husband and wife took the girl’s word that it had been an accident when she pulled on the cat’s tail before heading to bed. The other girl waited until she had come out of the bathroom before she spoke.

“It was that dream again, wasn’t it?” it was a statement of fact.

“Yes… Only this time she was berating him for marrying her… I always thought that she was for the marriage, not against.”

“She never was… In the old manuscripts and according to the old storytellers… she was always portrayed as a neutral element… She knew what the young woman was, but she never attempted to influence her son except in giving her more grandchildren,” the younger girl mused, opening the bedside drawer nonchalantly.

“So is this a true reflection of the past?” the girl closed the curtains, and reached under her bed for her weapon.

“Perhaps…” her sister jumped off the bed as something came crashing down through the roof.

The elder girl took a swing with the bat she pulled out from under the bed, which the stranger easily ducked. The younger girl put on her brass dusters and aimed a punch at the guy, which he easily evaded. No one seemed to find it unusual that unlike the earlier incident, there was no one coming to their rescue. In the small confined space, it was not easy to maneuver, but the girls had obviously been practising, so it was not long till the man was bending over. He finally broke his silence when someone kicked him in the groin.

“IT’S ME, DAMNIT, GISELLE! STOP KICKING ME!” The voice stopped the younger girl, but not the one named Giselle. She had to pull the girl off the man before Giselle would listen.

“What are you doing, Eliza?” Giselle demanded as she was pulled away and flung to the bed.

“Look at him properly, Giselle!” the younger girl pointed to the man, who got up slowly and painfully. Giselle took a long look at him and then promptly tackled him again.

“YANG-GER!” she hugged him tightly, even though he was now sprawled on the floor. Her voice was unusually high-pitched and enthusiastic.

“Giselle! Get off me!” Yang-Ger spoke in a very firm voice, and Giselle let him up. Behind her, Eliza looked on, and then settled on the bed. Giselle sat down beside her after a moment.

“The Hunt has begun, ladies. We move tonight.”

“Where’s our first stop?” Giselle’s voice shook a bit, but there was a resigned note in her voice.

“Celeste’s Temple,” he replied.

Behind them, one of the neighbours started running across the streets, naked.