Chapter 2

Chapter 2

A Chapter by Rocki-san
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The Noir brothers go to Alddell, hoping to find answers or their father but they soon find that he is long gone. Now it's up to them to rid the town of a strange disease attacking their children

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“You never told us what we were doing up here,” I said and watched as snow began to drift lightly to the ground. I hadn’t been able to get a jacket of any kind on our way here and I regretted it, the cold wind blowing right through my black mesh shirt. I stopped shivering as Keno looked back at me; I casually put my frozen hands in the pockets of my jeans.

“Cold?” Keno asked and I shook my head. He smiled and looked back ahead as we walked down the streets of a remote northern town. “We’re on vacation.”

“Vacation?” I asked and looked around at the town. It looked deserted, not a soul on the streets around us.

“Some vacation,” Logan muttered. “It’s a freaking wasteland!”

“Yeah,” Keno said and pulled out a paper from his pocket. He handed the paper back to Logan for us to see. “But worth the trip.”

“What’s that?” I asked and looked over Logan’s shoulder.

“An anonymous tip,” Keno said. The word ‘vacation’ was never used in the right context for us, the true meaning being lost in our vocabulary. Even if we weren’t doing something for the CCOR we were still working, we were always working.

There wasn’t much on the unnaturally perfect folded paper, just the name of the town, Alddell, and a name we were all too familiar with: Niall Noir, our father.

“Dad was here?” Logan asked.

“Yup,” Keno knocked on a door but there was no answer. We’d been trying to find our father since the raid, Keno having the feeling that he could tell us the real story of what really happened that night mom died. It turns out; our father was just as elusive as any demon we’d ever faced. He was impossible to track. “Anyone home?”

There still wasn’t an answer and another gust of snowy wind blew past us, sending a shiver through me. Both Keno and Logan looked at me, shaking their heads and grinning.

“It’s okay to be cold, Ozzie,” Logan chuckled.

“I’m not cold,” I replied.

“I told you to bring a jacket,” Keno moved to the next building and knocked, still no answer.

“I don’t need a jacket, I’m not cold,” I said.

“Hello?” Keno called to the inhabitants of the building and pulled out his badge to hold it up just incase someone was peaking. “We’re with the CCOR, open up, please.”

I looked up at a window and saw the flap of a curtain flutter as the people inside tried to hide from us. I looked over to my brothers, wondering what was going on.

“Are you sure there wasn’t a job here?” Logan asked and we kept moving.

“There shouldn’t be,” Keno grumbled. “But, knowing the General, there most likely is.”

“There’s the hospital, someone ought to be in there, right?” Logan said and Keno shrugged. When we went into the hospital we were nearly hit with a bustling old woman. She was round and short, her hair gray and wound up in a tight bun. She pushed right past us, carrying a large tray of medicine bottles. Her hazel eyes glanced up at us and she held up a finger for us to wait before disappearing into a back room.

“Well, now we know where everyone is,” I said and Logan nodded. A young girl, about Keno’s age of twenty-two, walked out to meet with us. Her eyes were chestnut, like her hair which was tied up in a neat pony tail. She wore a long coat that should’ve been white but was now an off color and a tag that read Dr. Aalmers, there was exhaustion in her eyes but the smile she wore tried to hide it.

“May I help you?” She asked. The three of us pulled out our badges simultaneously and she nodded. “Alright, then, what can I do for you?”

“You can get the young one a coat!” We looked back at the old woman who smacked me on the back of the head with a clipboard. “It’s cold out, boy; it’s the wrong time of the year to go without a coat!”

I rubbed the spot and watched as she grabbed my badge and inspected it with her thick glasses over her eyes.

“This can’t be real,” she muttered and looked up at the three of us.

“It’s very real,” Logan grinned. “See? It has the CCOR’s seal.”

“Yeah, nothing a young hooligan like you can’t imitate,” she said and looked at me through the top of her glasses. “There are extra jackets in the closet over there, get one.”

“Thank you,” I went over and found a warm black jacket.

“Listen, we’re very busy here so whatever the CCOR wants it will have to wait, thank you very much,” the old woman walked off in a huff to get more medicine. That was a new reaction; most people couldn’t leave CCOR personnel alone, ever since the organization was established to keep the public safe from demons, ghouls, and monsters. We were the only ones who could protect them so they tended to cling to us like lost puppies and follow us around town.

“Sorry,” Dr. Aalmers said. “We’ve been trying to get the CCOR up here for a few years now.”

“Oh,” Logan said with deep understanding.

“Why’s that?” Keno asked and looked around. I looked into a room and nudged him, the rooms were packed full of patients, a lot of them young. “Is there something going around?”

“We don’t know,” she said. “It’s strange, these past few winters different age groups get this bizarre disease and many of them die.”

“Alright,” Keno said. “What kind of disease?”

“They collapse,” she said and looked at a small boy, no older than four or five, he was comatose and the old woman was wiping his brow. “Become comatose and then they wither away until they die.”

“And they’re different age groups?” Logan asked and she nodded.

“Last year it was the elderly,” the doctor said and her eyes became dark. “Before that middle aged.”

“We’ll look into it,” Keno said. He wanted to ask about Niall but didn’t, that’s what Logan was for.

“Has a guy by the name Niall Noir been through here?” Logan asked with the utmost grace, if grace was what it could be called. Keno sighed and looked at Logan, who didn’t flinch at the glare.

“Niall Noir?” she asked, confused.

“Wait,” I said and dug through the rucksack before pulling out a crumpled photograph. It was the only picture we had of the whole family; I was just a baby since it was the day before he disappeared. I still had to stop myself from laughing at the young four year old Logan and six year old Keno. “Him.”

“Mr. Schramm?” she asked. “He was here six months ago, he started to investigate but then he disappeared.”

“Sounds like him,” Keno muttered sardonically.

“No,” Logan agued. He’d always believed dad to be a great man and that the whole time he was gone he was helping people or maybe on the same mission we were on. Keno had other ideas and me? I was unbiased; it was another of their fights that I stayed out of. I’d never met the man so I had no opinion. “He wouldn’t have just left on a job; he may have left us but never a job.”

“Well, why would he leave, Logan?” Keno asked.

“He was onto something or someone was onto him,” I said and they both looked at me. “That’s the only reason we’d ever leave.”

“We’ll talk about it later,” Keno sighed and looked at Dr. Aalmers. “Thank you doctor, we’ll get to work right away.”

We left the crowded hospital after another grumble from the old nurse about zipping up my jacket before she beat the daylights out of me and to Logan she threatened to rip the metal out of his head if he didn’t stop being disrespectful to his elders when he smirked. I could tell Keno liked her from the grin on his face upon our departure.

“I should leave you two here in her care,” he snickered.

“Yeah, right,” Logan snorted and stopped walking. “So what are we looking at here? Nurse turned satanic?”

“No, I was thinking a ghoul,” Keno said and Logan nodded.

“Very plausible,” I said and thought about it. “The sudden sickness at intervals, the ghoul would wake up at this time and consume the energy from people.”

Ghouls were the nastiest of creatures, they weren’t smart but they were tough and had an endless hunger. They were almost indestructible if you didn’t know where to hit them, their skin being tougher than anything on this earth. Once they were onto a hunt it was impossible to make them stop, it wasn’t until their cycle was over that they stopped eating.

“Alright, a ghoul it is then,” Logan grinned. He always enjoyed a challenge; it meant he could use more weapons and bring out the heavy guns and possibly a stick of dynamite or two.

“Now, where do we find it?” Keno asked.

“Ozzie?” they both turned to me. I never felt so used as when we were on a job, they always seemed to take advantage of my sensitivity.

“Alright, alright, I’ll be the freak again,” I sighed and turned away, scoping out the city. A chill ran through me, one similar to that at the abandoned city. It wasn’t what I was looking for but it was enough to have me jotting down a mental note, something I didn’t do often. I tried to push it to the back of my mind but the creepy feeling wouldn’t go away and it was distracting. “I’ve got nothing.”

“That means we have to do it the old fashioned way,” Keno said and Logan groaned. “It won’t kill you to open a book!”

“It will if you have a dust allergy!” Logan replied.

“Logan, if you had a dust allergy you wouldn’t be a pyromaniac obsessed with explosive devices that tend to create dust,” Keno replied and started towards the library.

A few hours later had passed and we had looked through all the records concerning the town and its medical history. This particular type of ghoul was attracted to diseases and epidemics so that’s what we were looking for but we still came up with nothing.

“Either this town is really bad at keeping records or there is nothing here!” Logan groaned and banged his head on the table. “And I’m thinking there isn’t anything here! Not one epidemic, not one Typhoid Mary, nothing! There’s not even a freaking sniffle pandemic!”

“I know,” Keno sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose with stress. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Hey, dweeb,” Logan sighed and flicked my head, bringing me out of my trance with a subconscious retaliation in the form of a fist to his arm. “You got anything?”

“No,” I said and stood up to return the book to its proper shelf. “What if it’s not a ghoul?”

“What do you mean?” Keno asked. “What else would it be?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “If we learn more about what dad was doing here and why he left then maybe we’ll get some insight.”

“Mr. Schramm,” Logan sighed thoughtfully. “That man has more undercover names than the CCOR itself!”

“Mr. Schramm?” We looked up to see the elderly librarian. “What do you want with Mr. Schramm?”

“Do you know him?” Keno asked and the mousy woman nodded. Keno showed his badge and straightened in his chair. Sometimes I thought we abused the badge and the power that it gave us to get what we wanted, not that I was about to change that it was very useful.  

“He disappeared months ago,” she said while adjusting her glasses. “I think it was something he’d read here that made him leave.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Well, he was here day after day, trying to find out what was happening here,” she said. “Then, one day, the day before he left, I noticed his nose buried in an old newspaper and his face was white as if he’d seen a ghost. Then he was gone.”

“What newspaper was he reading?” Logan and Keno were both up in an instant, their voices synchronized. Slowly the elderly woman, no taller than four foot eight, stood and walked over to the section with the newspapers. She flipped through a few, reading a bit of every one with interest as she did. Logan’s tapping foot becoming less and less subtle.

“Ah, here it is!” She pulled it out and handed it to me. It was an old newspaper that was CCOR based, telling people current events on the ever lasting battle between human and demons.

 I looked at the headline but the words didn’t stick since the picture was much more haunting and eye catching than the black print. It was a photo of the country with rolling hillsides and houses few and far between. In the foreground, was nothing but a black pile, you could still see the smolder and smoke, even in the black and white of the photo.

“What is it?” Logan asked with impatience.

“It’s our house,” I said and Keno pulled it out of my hands. “Hey!”

“You don’t need to see that, Ozzie, those are memories that should stay repressed.” He said quietly and tucked it under his arm so I couldn’t see the picture any longer. I didn’t remember much about the night mom died, but every now and then I’d have nightmares, every one filled with horrific screams and the flicker of a hell-fire. I guess Keno didn’t want me to remember any more than that.  I couldn’t imagine what could be worse than that but I was sometimes proud of Keno’s overprotective manner. He handed the newspaper to the ancient librarian. “Thank you for your help.”

“So, Niall left because he saw an article about the raid ten years ago,” Keno said as we left the library. “Doesn’t really help us with the case.”

“No,” Logan said. “But it does tell us one thing.”

“What’s that?” Keno asked with suspicion with he saw Logan’s grin.

“You are more like the old man than you could ever believe,” Logan snickered.

“Am not,” Keno grumbled and looked down at me, trying to hide my quiet chuckle. “I’m nothing like him.”

“Stubborn, a workaholic, you are completely obsessive compulsive and soteriophobic.”

“Do you even know what that means?” Keno asked but Logan kept going.

“Tall, purple eyes, blonde hair -“

“You’re naturally blonde too,” Keno said and tugged a red lock.

“Ah, but I’m a dirty blonde!” Logan said with the infamous grin of triumph. Keno rolled his eyes and dropped the argument. “And I’m not the one with daddy issues.”

“You don’t know him like I do,” Keno muttered and looked up as we saw Dr. Aalmers walking down the street. She seemed stressed, and with reason, her gaze caught ours and she walked up to us.

“Hello,” she attempted a smile but it seemed to be only half complete. “You look lost.”

“This is a strange case, Dr. Aalmers,” Keno said, pushing his annoyance aside. “I’m afraid we haven’t gotten that far, either.”

“Please, call me Ila” she smiled. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t catch your names.”

“I’m Keno Noir and these are my brothers Logan and Oskar.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” she smiled. “I’m not surprised you haven’t gotten far, Mr. Schramm didn’t either but if you’re as good as your reputation makes you seem I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

“Our reputation?” I asked.

“We read the CCOR news a lot up here, we don’t have much else to do.” She smiled. “You’re quite popular with the press.”

“Yeah, you got to love the child prodigy we call our baby brother!” Logan caught me in a head lock.

“Shut up!” I pushed him away with embarrassment.

“Ila,” Logan cleared his throat and looked around the one street town. “Where’s the inn, hotel, motel, any where with a bed?”

“We don’t have one,” she said and smiled. “It’s a small northern town, not many people vacation up here.”

“Huh,” Logan said and looked at Keno. “I knew you were a freak.”

“Where do we sleep?” I asked to prevent any bickering between them.

“I’ve spoiled you these last few years,” Keno shook his head. “We used to sleep in damp and dirty ditches on the roadside, I’m sure you can live without a bed for one night.”

“You can stay with Baba,” Ila said. “I’ve been staying with her for… awhile.”

“Thank you, but we couldn’t impose,” Keno said.

“Soteriophobic,” Logan coughed and Keno glared.

“Please, you’re in the CCOR, you deserve a place to sleep,” she replied. “Come on, I was just heading there myself.”

We followed her to a large house, the largest in the town. It was old, vines climbing up the rock walls and the yard well kept. A few children’s toys were scattered around, buried under the snow. We walked through the door and were overwhelmed by the smells of our childhood.

“Baba,” Ila called. “You’re home early.”

“At least I come home, missy!” the elderly nurse from before came to the foyer. She still had her hair up in her gray bun but her nurse dress now became that of a nanny, a long dress with a stained white apron. She also seemed to be kindlier and less intimidating. “And you brought company!”

“I hope you made enough supper,” Ila took our jackets and placed them neatly on one of the many coat hooks.

“Of course I did,” she said. “I knew they would end up here one way or another.”

 

Later that night I laid in one of the beds in a room that was set for Logan and me, Keno sleeping on the couch downstairs. I stared at the ceiling, thinking as I usually did before bed. I heard Logan shift in the bed and looked over.

“Lo,” I whispered and just barely saw one lazy eyelid flicker open.

“What?” Came the irritable and sleepy reply.

“Was mom’s cooking that good?” I asked as I sat up on my elbows. It had been a long time since we’d had a home-cooked meal, probably as far back as our last night at home.

“No,” he sighed. “Her cooking was better, much better. What, you don’t remember?”

“No,” I said. “I don’t remember much about her, I barely remember what she looks like.”

“Just look in the mirror,” he yawned. “You look exactly like her.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he turned to look at the ceiling. 

“What do you think we’d be doing now?” I asked. “I mean, if dad hadn’t left and mom hadn’t died?”

“I don’t know,” Logan said. “It doesn’t really matter what could have been, though. What happened, happened and now all we can do is move forward.”

“Why does Keno hate dad so much?” I asked. “I mean, I know he left but Keno’s always been about family.”

“I guess he feels betrayed,” Logan said. “If you think about it, he didn’t have much of a child hood. He had to grow up as soon as dad left and then when we needed him he wasn’t there. Keno’s also all about trust and justice, dad hasn’t shone him either.”

“I never thought of it that way.” I said. “What do you think-“

“Go to sleep, Oz,” Logan sighed. “Tomorrow’s going to be a long day.”

A few minutes later I heard his soft snoring and murmurs, it had never taken Logan long to fall asleep and I’d always wondered how he’d done it. Many of my nights plagued by insomnia or nightmares, I had a lot of time to think, mostly about my brothers, our mission, dad but more recently mom. I pulled out the photo that she had stuffed into the bag, a reminder for the three of us to stick together.

Logan was right; I did look a lot like her. Our hair the same midnight black and our faces had a similar roundness to them. I still fantasized about what our life would be like if we hadn’t lost her, would dad have come back? Would we still be close? What would we be doing? I’d probably never find the answers to those questions and Logan was right, what was done was done but there were other questions I was determined to find answers to and I knew we wouldn’t stop until we found them. I just hoped the answers we seek were answers we could bear to hear.

 




© 2010 Rocki-san



Author's Note

Rocki-san
Alright.. so this is kind of a weird chapter, I know... It is probably a little boring too but there isn't much I can do about it except promise that it gets better, I hope. It basically gives you more of an idea of the boys' characters and what not.

Edit: I've edited some names... because I got a big book of names for Xmas and it made me happy!

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I didn't think it was boring at all! It's always nice to get a feel for the characters - you should always try for a balance of war and peace. To much of either can lead to a pretty boring story. So far, you seem to have a really great balance of the two. The calmer scene actually made me get far more attached to the brothers, and I think character attachment is extremely important to a story.

Posted 7 Years Ago



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Added on December 24, 2009
Last Updated on June 16, 2010
Tags: ANWA saga, supernatural and occult, sci-fi


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Rocki-san
Rocki-san

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Hey, I'm Rocki! I live on a 14-mile long island where there isn't really anything to do so I write. I'm an Anthropology major and willing to read your stories or books if requested as long as you give.. more..

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