Saturday, 30 June 2012

Circle Quartet: 38

Chapter 38

“One down, three to go!” I show thumbs up to my teammate while sheathing my double sword.

“That’s the nice one, Alice,” praises Deena who also returns the thumbs up to me.

This is the first time I team up with Deena, together with Stefan and Raven.

“Yeah, very nice,” nods Raven slowly. “You shouldn’t cut off his head, you know.”

“Well, he started it. Serve him right for trying to shoot me from behind,” I shrug.

“I thought that we only need to capture them. Not to kill them,” says Raven.

“No, Raven. The order is to eliminate them,” says Stefan.

“And take his blood. But I don’t want to drink from this one. He’s too skinny,” I crouch down to the headless body which the red blood is still flowing. Deen crouches down next to me and takes out a bottle from her bag pack. Then she begins to shift the blood into the bottle. Then the headless body turns into dust.

“This one is not bad. Maybe after I purify it, it’s going to be tasty,” beams Deena as she has done shifting the blood and purifying it by using magic.

“Are you sure, Deena? This one doesn’t look tasty for me. Let’s find another three. Maybe their blood is much tastier,” I smile, showing my fangs to her. Deena giggles and we begin our next move.

“Uhh…guys. Before we leave, I think we forget something,” says Raven and points to the severe head.

“Oh, the head,” says Deena, Stefan and I in unison. Deena burns the head until it turns to dust.

After being trained for two weeks and a half, I am now officially an assassin. I don’t want to tell you what kind of training that I’ve been through for they can’t be explained by words, which means there are horrible. I nearly died in one of the training. Thank God that SimpleThing Jeff is with me. If not, I don’t think I can make it this far.

My team and I are been given a task to eliminate the bank robbers. Since we’re nocturnal, we hunt during the night. And the robbers are active in such time. Stefan turns into a werewolf while Raven turns into a big wolf and begin to track their scent.

They are not far. We can catch them in no time. Says Stefan.

“We need to scatter. Raven, you go to the back door. Stefan, you go to the left and I’ll go to the right. Alice, you go to the roof top since you have better eye-sight,” Deena winks at me. “If you guys found them make a contact through Mini,” Deena gives order since she’s the leader.

Three of us nod in unison. “Roger that!”

Then we scatter within no time. I jump on the roof top and look around. This building is five-storey building. Those robbers can’t go very far. I stand on the edge of the building and use my night vision to search for them. Then my Mini beeps.

“Alice, one of them runs to the roof top. He’s all yours,” Deena’s voice echoes from the Mini.

“Bring it on!” I beam and get ready to greet my second victim. It doesn’t take long to wait for him. As he reaches the roof top, he suddenly stops when his gaze meets mine.

“Welcome,” I spread my hand as if I am longing to see him. “Lovely night, isn’t it?”

“Who…who are you?” his voice shake and pulls out a knife from the pocket.

“Me? I’m just a girl who loves high places,” I take a step slowly approaching him. I smile evilly at him, showing my beautiful fangs.

“Wh-what are you?” he’s shock to see the fangs of mine. I ignore him and take a step forward. “Stay back! Or I’ll stab you!” he warns in panic.

I giggle. Like I’m scared with his little knife.

“What’s so funny?” he asks and still in panic.

“Nothing,” I shrug and teleport behind him. “I just love to see your shocking face,” I whisper behind his ears while putting one of my swords to his throat. That man stiffens. “I see you’re shaking,” I giggle and cut his head off. His head rolls on the floor. Blood splutters everywhere.

I press my Mini and put it near my mouth. “Mine is down.”

“Me either,” replies Stefan and Raven.

We manage to eliminate all those robbers in two hours. That’s a record for our team.

“You guys just leave the corps. I’ll take care of them. Good job, guys!” says Deena excitedly.

“I’m coming to you, Alice,” says Stefan.

Stefan arrives at the roof top, and Raven comes along few moments later. She looks disgustingly at the headless body.

“Don’t tell me you’re scared, Raven?” I tease her.

“I’m not scared. Just don’t like to see the head rolls. Yuk!” Raven sticks out his tongue. Stefan and I laugh.

“Well, killing two people in one night is great. I have a wonderful night, tonight,” I look at the sky. “It’s nearly full moon.”

“Yeah. And next month, we’re going to turn 18,” says Stefan who is looking at the half moon, too.

“Or maybe 100. Who knows? I’m curious to know my exact age,” I shrug.

“I hate being old,” sighs Raven.

“It’s just our age, Raven. We’re not going to be old that fast,” I chuckle. Then Deena appears.

“You like to cut off heads, right Alice?” says Deena. I just smile.

We go back to the Academy after accomplishing our mission. Before we head to our respective rooms, we need to report ourselves to Zayne who is waiting for us in his room. Deena hands the D-vice to Zayne. Zayne reads the report which is written in it smiles at us proudly.

“Well done, guys. You may leave now except Alice and Stefan. There’s something I want to discuss with them,” says Zayne. Deena and Raven bows in respect and leave.

“It’s about Cody, right?” I guess.

“Hey, you read my mind? It’s not fair, Alice,” Zayne chuckles. “Yeah, it’s about him.”

Suddenly, Jeff appears from the necklace. I think he wants to know too about Cody.

“We check his room in this Academy last two days and I found this,” Zayne puts a book on the table. “It’s his journal. Read the last page, Stefan. And don’t get shock.”

Stefan takes the book and flips to the last page. “Oh, no,” he groans in frustration.

“What is it, Stefan?” I ask and take a peep on the journal.

“We need to save him,” replies Jeff and puts the journal on the table.

My eyes widen when I read what’s written in the last page.

I finally can meet my Mom back.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Alice and Jeff

I've found this picture while reading Otogi Matsuri manga. It reminds me of character Alice and Jeff in Circle Quartet.

And this picture is also dedicated to Sui (^__^)

Circle Quartet: 37

Chapter 37

I can’t concentrate much in the class tonight. I’m still thinking of what I saw last night. Fortunately, this is only the briefing class for the new semester. Everything has been installed and updated in our D-Vice so all we need to do is refer to it. There will be a lot of training sessions for our class, the Elite Class, since we are automatically nominated to be assassins. And yes, we’re still searching for Cody since he left the Academy for months, or I should say, he betrayed his clan and ran away with super evil creature.

My cousin, Adam, is our class advisor. He’s one of the great vampire-assassin and he used to be in one team with Jeff. Even though he looks kind of nerd (because he likes to wear a spectacle though he has a very good vision; all vampires have good vision), but he is as great as Jeff. Whenever he was given a task or mission, he never failed. But he’s quite funny person whom I can get along well.

Adam explains about the second semester where he states that this is the toughest semester for all of us. We don’t know when Alse might come back and attack us, so we need to be extra careful and extra aware. He stresses on the word extra. After the briefing class, we scatter to the night cafeteria since we’re hungry. Some go back to their respective rooms, some go to the library and some go to the gym. Abbie, Stefan and I go to the library since I ask them to discuss something. But before that, I ask them to follow me to the Vampire Parlour at the north wing.

Both of Abbie and Stefan is shock when I show them the writings below Jeff’s portrait. After that, we adjourn to the library. We take a seat a little bit far from anyone else and I grab some books about the four clans.

“I think our parents are hiding something very important to us,” I say and show the page about the age of our clan. “Our longevity.”

“You’re right. I mean, why they want to hide our real age from us? I thought I’m 18,” Abbie agrees.

“Maybe they have their own explanation. Or, they wanted to get the right time to tell us,” says Stefan. “I can’t believe that Jeff’s real age was 300 years old. Maybe Zayne is 300 years old too.”

“Me neither. I couldn’t help staring at the mirror, thinking about my real age,” I close the book.

“So, do we need to ask our parents about our real age? Or search for our birth certificate? Our parents must keep them somewhere,” Abbie gives opinion.

We get into silence for a while, thinking.

“I think we should let them tell us in the right. The most important thing that we need to do is focus on our training. We have special training 4 times a week,” Stefan cracks the silence. He seldom does that.

“I agree with Stefan, Abbie. Right now, we need to be stronger to defeat Alse. Besides, we’re not human beings. Of course we live longer than them,” I nod.

Abbie shrugs. “That’s fine by me too. Oh, let’s go to the cafeteria. My stomach is calling for food!” She stands up, grabs my hands and Stefan’s and teleport to the cafeteria.

I walk to the parlour once again to watch the portrait of Jeff. Even though the SimpleThing change into Jeff, but he’s not like the real Jeff. I really miss the real Jeff most. I don’t know how long I gaze at his portrait but there’s someone else in this parlour watching me from behind. I heard someone is clearing the throat and I quickly turn around. It’s a hooded-man who proclaims that he’s my guardian.

“Sorry for surprising you, Alice. I didn’t mean to watch you from behind,” says the guardian.

I just stare at him.

“I know you miss Jeff so much. He’s a good brother and also a good Commander. I also feel sad about his lost,” says the guardian and takes a step next to me.

The spirit Jeff is also standing next to me but the guardian can’t see him. I’m sure that he can’t because he doesn’t even glare at Jeff.

“You knew my brother?” I ask.

“I’ve known him since he was very small, Alice. It was many, many years ago. You’re not even born yet that time. He’s a kid with a special talent. And yet, he’s very down-to-earth person. He entered this Academy when he was 80 years old. 13 years old in human age,” the guardian smiles.

“If you knew Jeff when he was small, then your age must be…,” I frown.

“Way older than him. But it’s not the right time for you to know who I really am. The important thing now is dealing with Alse. She’s not dead yet and she will come back. In the mean time, I want you to get ready for her arrival,” he says.

“Why Alse is targeting me even she wants Stefan’s blood too?” I ask. I hope I can get the clear answer this time.

The guardian only looks at me and smiles. “You need to find out yourself.” Then, he disappears.

“Who’s that, Alice?” asks Jeff who stays silence during our conversation.

“He claims that he’s my guardian. He never told me his name. I think he holds the answer but he doesn’t want to tell me,” I reply with a sigh.

“A guardian? Well, he’s kind of…spooky. Lucky me he couldn’t see me standing here next to you,” Jeff sighs in relief.

“Why? Are you afraid that you’ll vanish?” I chuckle. This Jeff is quite funny and gets panic easily. I wonder if he’s reliable to carry out his duty as he had promised Jeff.

“That’s one thing,” he chuckles while scratching the back of his head. “But that man really sends chill down to my spine.”

“Oh, really? Are you sure you have spine in the first place? You’re only a spirit,” I tease him.

“Hey, a spirit can get scared, you know?” he pouts.

I laugh at him and he’s still making his sulky face. Then, we go back to my room. It’s nearly dawn and I need a good sleep for the class tomorrow. Abbie is getting ready to sleep when I reach the room. I tell her I went to the parlour before coming here. Jeff is watching outside. He wants to guard the door even if I ask him to get back to the necklace.

We are now gathering at the Great Hall. I sit next to Abbie while Stefan sits next to me. The hall is filled with loud whispers from others while waiting for the Elders to come. Our parents also come and they sit at the front rows. I can see Mom and Dad sitting next to each other while Stefan’s parents sit next to mine. Not long after all the students filling the hall, the Elders appear on the top of the stage. They are wearing the formal attire according to the clan.

Grandma Zelda steps forward to the rostrum and tap the mike. The hall turns silence. Then she clears her throat. “Welcome to the Great Hall, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for coming today. Let’s begin our special ceremony. Don’t worry, it won’t be long, I promise,” Grandma Zelda beams. Everyone chuckles but not very loud. “After we had lost our First-Commander in Assassin Squad, we did a meeting with the Elders and Members of the Board. We decided to appoint Zayne Silver as the new First Commander of the Assassin Squad,” announces Grandma Zelda.

When Zayne steps in front of the stage, everybody stands up and gives a round of big applause, including me, Stefan and Abbie. Zayne gives a little speech, saying thank you and vow to be a good commander. He is the one who’s capable to be our new First Commander. After the ceremony, both Stefan and I go to meet Zayne. We congratulate him and he’s very happy. Next, his parents show up and hug him tight. I still remember when Jeff was appointed to be the First Commander. Mom and Dad hugged him tight and then Jeff hugged us, his siblings.

Zayne startles me as he pats on my head, just like Jeff used to do. I look at him and smile. He says that he’s going to treat me like Jeff did. Then, we go to the dining hall for supper. I need to eat something before going to sleep. I have hunting class tomorrow and I bet it’s going to be fun.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Circle Quartet: 36

Chapter 36

“Jeff? Is that really you?” I frown in disbelieving.

“Yes and no,” Jeff answers with a warm smile.

“What do you mean?” asks Stefan. He takes a step in front of me for he’s not sure whether that man is truly Jeff or not.

“I know that I freaked you guys out just now. I’m Jeff but not your real brother,” he shifts his gaze at me. “I only change into his figure. Jeff transferred his remaining soul into that necklace. And when the necklace touches my elemental body, I change into him, just like now.”

Both Stefan and I stare at him in silence.

“Jeff often came here and met me. One day, he told me that he’ll die. Then, he told me that I will take his place to protect the most important person in his entire life, which is you, Alice. That’s why I decided to make a contract with Jeff. Once his life was taken away, I’ll take over his place. And when I enter your world, only the wearer of the necklace can see me,” he explains.

“So, I can’t see you when we get out of this place?” asks Stefan. Jeff nods.

“Only Alice can see me. This is for her safety since Alse is targeting her,” replies Jeff.

“But Alse wanted Stefan’s blood too,” I cut in.

“I know. But Alse wants more from you. I don’t know the reason but that is what Jeff had told me. I’ll stay in the necklace as a spirit and Alice, you can summon me anytime that you want. But, you can’t tell this to other people. Jeff said that once you reveal the secret, I’ll vanish,” he says in a serious voice.

This is getting weird. First, Jeff’s death. And now, this. I thought Jeff is coming back to life but I was wrong. There are lots of thing that I need to ask him but the questions just linger in my mind. I don’t know where to start. Suddenly, something comes across my mind.

“You said Jeff put half of his soul in the necklace,” I say. Jeff nods. “When?” I ask.

“The night that he died,” Jeff replies.

I remembered when I hugged him for the last time, I felt something warm absorbed into the necklace. Maybe that was the time when Jeff transferred his soul into this. I grip the necklace and sigh. Stefan puts his hand on my left shoulder, saying that I should calm myself down.  

“I may not be your real brother but I’ll carry my duty as I promise. I hope that you can accept me as I am,” says Jeff, looking straight at me.

I look at him for a while and smile. “Sure. At least I still have my brother’s soul with me.”

After that, we go back home. Jeff transfers his spirit into my necklace when I reach my room. It’s nearly dawn and it’s time to rest.

Now I am craving for meat. I’m now in my family’s chamber, laying flat on the couch, facing Mom who is preparing for dinner. Dad, Ace and Sable are out, playing golf, perhaps.

“Mom, can you cook grilled-beef for tonight?” I ask, still laying flat on the couch. I’m too lazy to walk up to her.

“Grilled-beef? It’s rare for you to ask for beef, Alice dear. Are you sure that you’re okay?” asks Mom as she opens the fridge.

“I have a dream this morning. We have beef party and I’m craving for one,” I reply.

“Well, let me see,” she peers into the fridge, “we don’t have beef. Guess that we have to eat chicken.”

“Ask Dad to buy them when he’s on his way back,” I say. I really, really want the grilled-beef.

“Why don’t you ask Stefan to deliver the meat? He’s a werewolf and werewolf normally eats meat,” she closes the fridge and starts to wash something in the sink.

“What?” I raise my head abruptly and unfortunately I fall down from the couch. “Ouch!” I rub my head. It’s going to have a huge bump up there.

“Alice, honey, are you okay?” shouts Mom as she hears the loud thud.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” I mutter.

“How about I make grilled-chicken? Is that okay with you?” asks Mom, still shouting.

I ponder for a while. Grilled-chicken is good too, but I’m craving desperately for grilled-beef. Oh well, as long as I can eat for dinner, its fine.

“Okay, Mom!” I shout and climb lazily on the couch and lay flat, again. I don’t know why I’m craving so much for grilled-beef. Am I going to be a werewolf? No way!

“You won’t turn into a werewolf, Alice. It’s normal for vampire to crave for beef. Everybody loves beef,” Jeff appears out of the blue and makes me yelp. This time, I don’t fall down the couch. Thank God!

“Alice, what’s wrong?” shouts Mom.

“Nothing, Mom. I nearly fell from the couch,” I shout. “What are you doing here? I didn’t summon you!” I hiss angrily at Jeff who is snickering seeing my shocking face.

“Sorry. I just feel a little bit bored being inside the necklace. I forgot to tell you that I can come out anytime that I want,” he grins.

“Don’t ever do that again!” I warn him, still in hissing voice. I don’t want Mom to get suspicious when she hears me talking alone in this living room.

Then, the door opens with two tanned-skin boys entering the chamber. I burst into laughter.

“What happened to you? You guys look like scorching lobsters!” I laugh. Jeff laughs out loud too but no one hears him except me.

“Don’t laugh, Alice! It was all Dad’s fault!” screams Ace in agony. “He forced us to play golf for 3 hours. And then, he drove us to the beach for sunbathing!”

“I’mgonnadie! I’mgonnadie! I’mgonnadie!” Sable lies flat on the floor, muttering that he’s going to die.

“Hello there, little buddy! Look what I got for you?” Dad appears with his beaming face, holding a plastic of seashells.

I roll my eyes and he laughs. “You know what, that’s your mother’s favourite habit. Rolling her eyes. Beautiful,” he kisses me on the cheek. “Hey, honey! I’m home!” he rushes to the kitchen and I can hear Mom squeals in joy. I don’t know whether Dad brought something nice to her, or they’re just being romantic in the kitchen.

Kitchen is their favourite for kissing. Weird, huh? Well, we’re not normal to begin with.

We have dinner which is grilled-chicken. Sable and Ace are fighting over a drumstick as usual. Mom nearly turns them into chickens. I have a wonderful dinner since Jeff’s death. Mom puts a frame of Jeff near the dining table so that we feel that Jeff is eating with us. Well, Jeff is eating with us now but no one can see him except me. And he’s really enjoying his meal.

Few days pass and it is time for me and Beatrice to go back to the Academy. Raven, Raina, and Ace are going to for they have been promoted. Raina is the one who is still squealing with joy that she can join the Academy. We board the train, like usual, together with the Silvers. This time, another Silvers joins us too; Tavis. So, Raina gets super excited seeing her fiancé in the train. They nearly turn us all deaf.

When I reach the Academy, I teleport to my room to say hello to Abby. She has arrived yesterday and she’s so glad to see me. She says that she really misses me during the break and I tell her that I’m fine now. I can’t wait to go to the class tomorrow for the new semester will begin since Alse won’t disturb us for long. We’re going to have a night class for we’re now nocturnal.

I go to the Vampire Parlour at the north wing to pay respect for Jeff. Portraits of memorable heroes are hung there. I walk around the parlour, looking at every portrait of my great, great grandfathers. But there’s no portrait of Vlad, the first vampire. Maybe they only hang his portrait at the Main Hall. Then, I stop at Jeff’s portrait. He’s wearing a silver cloak, showing that he’s the First Commander. I feel proud of him when I look at his picture. Then, my eyes catch something below the portrait. I take a step closer. There’s something written there.

Jefferson Amber-Black (1712 – 2012).

My eyes widen. Jeff had been living for 300 years? Then, how old am I now?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Circle Quartet: 35

Chapter 35

I can’t stop gazing at the picture of Jeff. There’s a big sickle around his neck. Jeff was wearing black in that picture and his face looked calm in his eyes closed; like he was willing to die. I look up at Amanda and Marc. Amanda lowers her gaze when my eyes meet hers. Maybe she thinks that I’m going to get mad for not telling me earlier.

“You’re the Seer?” I finally speak after the long silence.

Amanda nods slowly.

“And I’m the Teller,” says Marc. “Amanda can draw something that she sees or dreams, while I can tell the meaning of her drawings.”

“I can’t believe it,” I shake my head. “I heard that there’s a Seer and a Teller in our family and I never, ever expected the two of you.”

“I’m…I’m sorry, Alice, for not telling you about this,” mutters Amanda, trembling. She’s nearly in tears.

“Hey, it’s okay, Amanda,” I reach across the table and place my hand on hers. “I’m not mad at you. Ever. I’m glad that you show me this.”

“Amanda drew this picture the night when you came to our house. Do you still remember the ball that Dad held when you’re having your break?” asks Marc.

“Yeah. The frog massacre,” I roll my eyes. It was the night when Aunt Ada exploded and turned Harley into frog. How can I possibly forget that night?

Amanda and Marc giggle. Amanda wipes her tears. “After that night, I suddenly had a vision. I quickly ran to my room and got my drawing paper. It was happening so fast. When I finished drawing, I was shock to see the picture. So, I called Marc and showed this to him. He told me that something bad might happen to Jeff. We gathered our courage to meet Jeff that night and Marc told him everything,” Amanda sighs heavily.

“How did Jeff react when you told him the truth?” I ask.

Marc clears his throat. “Jeff didn’t say anything but smiled. He said that he had a dream where he met a Death God. He said that his time will come. Then, he told us to keep this secret from you before he left. He didn’t want you to worry about him. Everybody knew about his death, except you, Alice. We felt really guilty for not telling you but we had to keep Jeff’s promise,” he says in a low tone.

I close my eyes and try to remember the night that I fought with Jeff. He forced himself to scold me so that I hated him and left the group. That was his last wish. He didn’t want me to witness his tragic death. He knew that he’ll die. Mom and Dad knew. Ace and Sable knew. Everyone knew!

“Alice, are…are you okay?” asks Amanda in trembling voice.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I slowly open my eyes. “Thanks for telling me this.”

“There’s one more drawing that I would like to show you,” says Amanda. Her voice is barely whisper.

She shows another picture. It’s a picture of a place full with trees with no leaves but branches. I stare at the picture and focus on something weird in it. I see a creature, a black creature with yellowish eyes and there’s a spot of light in the middle of its body. I think I know this place. It’s the place that Jeff and I only knew!

“You saw this in your dream, Amanda?” I ask, staring at Amanda with an inquisitive expression.

Amanda nods. “Yes. I saw this place last night. That’s why I told Dad to come here so I can show you this. I saw you and Stefan walking to this place.”

Did she just say Stefan? Stefan knew this place too? This is getting confusing.

“Oh, before I forgot. Jeff gave me this, two nights before his death. He wanted me to give it to you,” Marc hands me a CD.

I take the CD and both of them excuse themselves to leave. I totally forgot that they are not nocturnal like me. I stare at the CD as they leave my room. I switch on my laptop and play the CD.

Jeff appears on the screen. He’s sitting on a sofa and looking straight at me. “Hello, Alice,” he greets. “When you see this video, I’m already dead.”


“Okay, I know. It’s lame,” he rolls his eyes. Then he chuckles. How I miss his chuckle so much! Then, Jeff clears his throat. “But it’s the truth. I record this video to let you know a secret. Do you remember the place called Path Beneath the Feet? I took you there once when you’re very small. It’s an enchanted place where only chosen people can enter.

“Do you still have the necklace that I gave to you before the final examination? That necklace is the key to open the path. After you watch this video, I want you and Stefan to go to Path Beneath the Feet. There’s a group of creature called SimpleThing, an elemental spirit which has a tip of light on their left chest. Find a SimpleThing that has emerald tip on his left chest. Match the necklace to the tip of light and you’ll find the answer.”

Then, Jeff sighs.

“I know that you must be sad when I’m not around anymore. I knew my time will come when Amanda showed me the picture that she saw in her dream. Please don’t get mad at her. She’s a super sensitive girl,” Jeff chuckles, and so I am. “I know you have a strong will. No matter what happen, Alice, I will always be with you. Always. I love you, little buddy. Until next time,” he smiles and waves goodbye.

The video ends. I can feel warm tears trickle down to my cheek. I quickly brush them off. I have to be strong, no, I am strong! I close the laptop and call Stefan. I tell him about the video and what Jeff told me to do. Stefan says that he’ll come to my house. I tell him that I’ll wait at the backyard gate.

I go to the backyard without telling anyone. They will know, eventually, as this mansion is surrounded by strong magic to prevent Alse from coming. But the dangers are lessened since Alse drank the false blood. It might take ages to heal herself. I don’t need to wait long for Stefan as he appears few minutes later with his superbike. I hop on his bike and direct him the way.

We reach a thick forest after 20 minutes ride. Stefan parks his superbike beside the road. We need to walk on foot from now on. The air is cold but it doesn’t affect me much.

“Is this the place?” asks Stefan.

“Yeah. We need to walk to reach there. This necklace will show us the way,” I reply and take out the necklace. The light glimmer and a green glowing arrow point appear.

“Look likes a compass,” says Jeff. I nod and we follow the pointed arrow. I don’t know how long we walk but we reach a stream. Green algae glows in the dark.

“God, I miss this place,” I whisper out loud.

Then, we see an opening not far from where we stand. The door is open. I hold Stefan’s hand firmly and together we walk through the opening. As we pass through, we can see lots and lots of SimpleThing. SimpleThing is a dark brown creature that floats in the air. There’s a tip of light on the left chest.

Jeff told me to find a SimpleThing with emerald light. I look around, right and left. It’s quite hard to find it. Then, the light from my necklace glows brighter and brighter. After that, I see one SimpleThing floating towards me and touch itself to the necklace. Suddenly, the light glows too bright that I need to close my eyes.

I slowly open my eyes and shock to see a man who is standing in front of me. I can’t even utter a word as my gaze lock to his. Stefan is also in shock. We can’t believe that he’s there, a person that we miss the most, standing in front of us.

“It’s good to see you, Alice, Stefan.” Jeff smiles brightly.

Tell me that this is not a dream!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Circle Quartet: 34

Chapter 34

Black. Vampires love black. Black is a symbol of night. Most of the nocturnal creatures love black. Black is very related to us, vampires. Our cloaks are black because we can hide easily in the shadows. Black is also a symbol of elegant. Those who wear black considered as rich.

But the black that I wear today is not a symbol of elegant. It’s a symbol of death. Everyone, who attends this funeral, wears black. I used to like the colour black, even I asked Dad to buy me a black coffin, but today, I hate wearing it.

Today is the funeral of Jeff. After what happened last night, everyone is in shocked, especially my family. I’m standing between Ace and Sable, who are still sobbing since early this morning. Mom also can’t stop crying since she lost one of her children. She haven’t stop calling Jeff ‘my baby’ when we brought his dead body last night.

The funeral takes place at the Academy, the underground level, where the dead bodies are kept. Luminous candles are being put around this chamber; the Chamber of the Death. This chamber is quite huge, I think, because most of the clans gather here for the funeral. All of them are wearing black and they are all very sad of Jeff’s death.

I don’t listen to what Uncle Anders is saying – he’s been chosen to be the Priest tonight. I can’t help but stare at Jeff’s cold body. His face looks very calm. I remember every single word that he said to me before closing his eyes. Tears stroll down on my cheek, again.

Few minutes later, Jeff’s body is put inside a black coffin with silver carvings. Everyone mutter the death hymn as the lid is closing. I mutter the hymn too, but I can’t stop my tears from falling down. I begin to sob. This is the last goodbye for Jeff. I wish I can bring him back alive. I wish I didn’t say I hated him when we quarrelled over an itsy-bitsy thing.

When the funeral ends, everyone slowly departs upstairs, leaving my family and the Silvers. Dad ushers Mom upstairs and Ace and Sable join them next. The Silvers too, leave the chamber except for me and Stefan. I stare at the coffin, hoping that Jeff will come out and tell me that this is only a prank, a joke, or whatever it is that will make me surprise and start to scold him. But the lid doesn’t budge.

Stefan and gently touch my shoulder. I turn to him and hug him tight. I cry as long as I want. Stefan strokes my back without saying anything. I know that he too, is sad because Jeff was very close to him.

The next day, my family and I go back to Sewra. I’m having a break for two weeks since Alse won’t be around for this time being. She drank the false blood that night. She’s supposed to drink my blood and then Stefan – this is according to Grandma Zelda when she told us before the funeral begun, but she drank Jeff’s instead. Jeff had used the forbidden spell to turn himself as me and tricked Alse. That’s why Alse melted horribly that night. Grandma Zelda said that she might not be able to turn out for a long time. After all, her seal hasn’t broken yet.

I lock myself in my room, not talking to anyone. I even turn off my cellphone. I take my supplies to my room and I just sit near the window, looking outside. No one dare to console me, not even Mom and Dad. They know that I need time to heal myself to become normal again.

I spot some pictures in the frames on my table near the bed. One of them is the picture of me and Jeff when we celebrated my 16th birthday. Jeff came back from the Academy and bought a CD-Player for the present. That’s the thing I wanted the most, back then.

Jeff was the most cheerful person in my family. He liked to crake some jokes with Dad and spent most of his time with me, before Ace was born. He liked to venture outside of the house, went to the pond to catch some tadpoles, and he always dragged me along.

And when we played with Zayne and Stefan, Jeff never left me behind. Once we climbed up to the top of the tree to search for a bird’s nest and I nearly fell down. Jeff carried me on his back after that so that I didn’t fell. Of course I won’t die falling off the tree but it’s going to hurt lot.

Jeff loved ice-cream, strawberry flavour. He always bought a box of strawberry-flavoured ice-cream and kept them in the fridge for the whole week. He said that he couldn’t live without strawberry ice-cream. Mom sometimes forbade him to eat those because he always skipped brushing his teeth before going to sleep. That was one of the bad habits of Jeff. He also liked to pick his nose, like I did. He’s the one who taught me that. An absolute pleasure according to him, which is true.

He liked to play baseball. We played pitch-and-toss every evening. Sometimes he brought me to the baseball park to watch him play, while I waited for him at the bench with Stefan. We’re too small to play with the bigger guys. Jeff was good pitcher. His throw was very fast. Dad said that he got strong hands.

Jeff hated cockroaches. He despised them as he was afraid of them. He always screamed when he saw a cockroach running around on the floor, especially in the bathroom and I was the one who rescued him, because I’m not afraid of cockroaches. But when the cockroach flew, both of us will scream in terror, running like a headless chicken.

But Jeff was the bravest when it came to fight. Dad trained him martial arts when he was young and he didn’t scare of his opponent, until he died. I heard from Beatrice that Jeff took the risk to trick Alse even though it will cost his life. He said to Beatrice that he did that because of me. He knew something that I don’t. And he was really good in keeping secret.

I walk to the window again and sigh. The evening sky looks beautiful today. I can see Maddison, Lacey and Sabrina are merrily playing with their puppies. They look happy even though they know that Jeff couldn’t play with them anymore. Jeff was always played with them when he was around. Jeff loved kids very much and kids love him too. Three of them cried when they heard the news about Jeff but they manage to overcome their sadness.

I think I should be like them. Even if I cry all day long, I can’t bring Jeff back to life. Life must go on; I still remember what Grandma Maegan said during the funeral. Everybody is still sad about the death but they still continue their normal life. And I think, this is the time that I should get out from this room, go outside and face the world, make everybody happy because that’s what Jeff wanted me to do.

As I open the door, I hear a sound of music filling the hallway. Someone is playing the piano in the music hall. I walk to the stairs and the sound is getting louder. I know this piece. It’s Ode to Joy, the first piece that I learned from Jeff. Jeff loved this piece very much. I hurry to the music hall, wanting to know who’s playing the piece.

I slowly enter the music hall since the door is widely open. I see a guy plays the piece with a smiling face. My eyes start to water. This person knows has lightened up my sorrow heart. When he realizes that I am approaching him, he gives me his sweetest smile and his fingers are still connecting with the keys. Tears can’t stop flowing down my cheek as I hug him tight.

“It’s good to see you again, Alice,” whispers Stefan as he hugs me in return.

I can’t utter a word. I cry once again in his embrace but this time, I cry because I’m happy. I’m happy because he came and tried to cheer me up. After that, I let him go and wipe my tears.

“Thank you for coming here, Stefan,” I sniff.

“Ace told me that you didn’t come out from your room since you came back here. He didn’t know what to do so he asked my help. Everyone is worried about you, Alice,” says Stefan.

“Yeah, I know. I just…I need time to…,”

“Hey, it’s okay,” he caresses my cheek. “I know that you’re strong to face all these. I also feel the lost of my good buddy.”

We talk for a while before Mom and Dad come and greet me with joy. I told them that I’m sorry for making them worried. Stefan stays here for dinner; Aunt Ada is very delightful and I think she’ll cook some extra meal for Stefan. Aunt Ada loves guest, especially the guest that will be the part of the family. Besides, Uncle Anders and his family arrive surprisingly as we are preparing for dinner. He only brings 4 children with him, including his lovely wife, Aunt Ramona. Everyone is delightful on his arrival. This dinner is going to be merry.

Uncle Anders is very happy to see me back to normal again. He says that he’s worried about my condition after the tragic incident. I tell him that I’m fine now. Deena, Andrew and Harold have something to do so they couldn’t come and join this wonderful dinner. There are lots of thing that I want to talk to Deena. Well, I guess I’ll just send e-mail to her. It’s been a while since I had a last chat with her at the Academy. She’s too busy with her tasks but sometimes she bought some time to spend with me and Abbie.

After dinner, Stefan excuses himself to go back home. He says that he’ll come again tomorrow to play with my cousins. I also need to rest my mind after being thinking too hard upon Jeff’s death.

“Alice, can we meet you for a while?” calls Amanda as I’m going back to my room. She seldom talks to me as she’s a very shy person. Her brother, Marc, is standing next to her.

“Sure. You can come to my room,” I smile and usher them to my room. Luckily, it’s not too messy. At least they can sit comfortably on the soft carpet. I wait for them to explain rather than reading their minds.

“I want to show you this,” Amanda takes out a piece of drawing on the table.

My eyes widen as I see it.