Chapter V. Beautiful Exception/Stumbling Over Delusions

Chapter V. Beautiful Exception/Stumbling Over Delusions

A Chapter by Writer #00
"

Iris...Culous...having an interpersonal conversation in the wee hours of the morning? Sounds like a midnight tryst.

"

Culous:

 

‘Falip, are you awake?’

‘I am now.’

Pardon...’

‘It’s okay.  What is it?’

‘Something that’s worth a few minutes of sleep: this.’

...

‘Who wrote it?’

Je ne sais pas, but look at the back side.  Most of it is smudged, but there’s one line I can make out: ‘Le Oeil Vert du Cyclope.

Green-eyed Cyclops?

Oui, et regardes le devant.

N...Y...N--NYN?

‘These are the same initials that--‘  

 

:

 

It was the sound of strengthening rain that awoke him in the middle of the night.  The droplets came down fast and hard, like liquid bolts of lightening.  He sat up, almost bumping his head on the little hide-outs low ceiling.

 

So, you can sleep, too?

 

The voice was a mix of curious question and. . .was that sadness?  He looked about the hide-out for the voice’s owner.  Iris.  She was sitting, wide awake, at the other end of the secret base, watching the raindrops stain her makeshift walls of linen.  He was puzzled by this statement.  Oui, he could, but what was so grand about this?  Couldn’t she sleep just like he and his partner could?

 

"Oui, Madameoiselle. . .pourquoi?" Culous replied, standing up (as much as he could under such a heightless roof) and walking over to her.

 

"I didn’t think anyone could, and now I’m under the same roof with three people who can."

 

"I don’t understand.  Why wouldn’t we be able to sleep. . .why can’t you?"

 

Iris and Culous:

 

Iris sighed, trying not to think about the negative side-effects of sleep.

 

|Spirals dancing in eyes|

 

She shook the memory away, shivering slightly, then proceeded to answer his question:

 

"You’ve seen the gélatine before, right?"

 

Culous nodded, not yet seeing the connection.  Weren’t all those people suspended in an eternal sleep?

 

"Those people live their lives in a ‘self-made utopia’. . .a literal dream world."

 

Culous leaned back, not realizing that there was nothing to lean on, and his back hit the floor awkwardly.  Iris failed to hold back a few snickers and maintain her temporal air of wisdom.  Culous bolted back up with a grin of embarrassment, placing his elbow on his knee and resting his chin on his hand.  Iris collected herself, continuing with her explanation:

 

"When people. . .normal people. . .fall asleep, these creatures called Leisers take them into the gélatine and they never leave until the day they die."

 

"Ca a l’air magnifique!  After what Falip and I’ve been through in the last three years, I’d gladly go into the gélatine."

 

"And you would be in the gélatine. . .should be in the gélatine, but. . ."

 

"But for some reason I’m not, and you don’t know why."

 

Iris nodded.  "Yep."

 

They sat in silence for a few moments before Culous turned to Iris.

 

"How do you know you would go into the gélatine if you slept, Mademoiselle?"

 

The rain was becoming more dense now, winds were howling louder, the walls flapped violently.  Iris stretched out her arms and legs, then changed the subject to something Culous didn’t much enjoy.

 

"Why don’t I ask you a question, hmm?" she asked, but Culous knew it wasn’t really question.  She’d ask regardless of his answer.

 

"And what would that be, Mademoise--"

 

"Okay, before I do, will you stop calling me that?"

 

"Pourquoi, Ma--Iris?"

 

|Mademoiselle. . .|

 

Iris fought back a tear, she didn’t want her eyes to imitate the clouds outside.  She didn’t know what Culous and Falip would do once they left.  If she and Duke met them again in the future, she didn’t want Culous to remember her as the wimpy girl who cried her face to pools while discussing petty honorifics.

 

"Because it’s annoying and stupid.  I mean, the world’s basically a piece of garbage-- who’s getting married?  The ‘Mademoiselle’ bit’s sort of a given."

 

Culous shrugged "If you say so. . ." he couldn’t resist the urge to give her a nickname. . .it’s just what he did "Fusil-Dame"

 

Iris lifted a brow. "Fusil-Dame?" she asked, not exactly warming up to being the idea of being called ‘Shotgun-Lady’, but still delighting in the prospect of becoming close enough to someone to exchange cute little names.  Then she gagged (mentally).  With him, she thought, regarding the Necromancer she was currently conversing with, pas possible, Cherie.

 

Culous’ seemingly ever-present smile widened at her reaction.  "Oui, Fusil-Dame’s my name for you."

 

"Why?  It’s ridiculous."

 

Culous laughed, "Je suis un humain ridicule.  What question do you wish to ask me?"

 

Iris had almost forgotten about her proposition, but Culous’ little reminder brought her inquiry back to the surface of her tongue immediately.

 

"If you really are a Necromancer. . ."

 

The darkness of the night made it impossible for her to see the worry in his diamond-shaped pupil.  He’d been in this situation before, the last time he’d told someone of his necromancy, and he knew the words that would follow such a phrase.

 

"Will you do a favor for me?"  Iris asked, her emerald eyes reflecting slivers of moonlight that slipped through the tiny holes in the low-lying ceiling.

 

Those were eyes he knew well.  The eyes of someone who had lost.  The eyes of someone who pined for the impossible. . .

 

:

 

|It was only a few weeks after he’d discovered his strange ability to manipulate the dead.  A cold Ventôse morning characterized by debris dusted with hoarfrost and sand as subzero in temperature as ice.  Falip clung to his side, the tin pot on his head magnifying the freezing gales the season harshly exhaled.

 

COUGH.

 

Culous’ heart ached to hear every shoulder-ripping sign of sickness.  The sneezes, the dry-coughs, the sniffles--they all whispered in his ear: useless boy, can’t you do anything?  can’t you ease his pain?  Don’t you care for him?

 

But there was nothing he could do, nothing but let the little boy hang onto his side.  He’d already taken off his shawl and given it as a scarf, and he would have done so much more if he didn’t have to keep himself alive to guarantee Falip’s safety.

 

Exhaustion brought Falip to his knees, so Culous carried him in his arms.  There was nowhere he could go.  The gelid desert winds were roaring so furiously now that his vision was decapitated and north and south found fun in trading places from time to time. 

 

“I can keep going,” he would tell himself, pushing through the mixture of snow and sand, we’ll find a place to stay warm.

 

“I won’t give up, he would tell himself,” stumbling over delusions; his feet ready to give out, “If I don’t give up, I’ll find safety.”

 

“I have to continue on, no matter how painful,” he would tell himself as he crawled on his hands and knees, Falip slumped on is back, hacking blood in his sleep, “If I stop, Falip will die.”

 

“I was right,” Culous said, cracked lips bleeding as he spread them in a broad grin, “If I kept going, I’d find safety.”

 

He stripped down to nothing but his pale, frozen skin, and wrapped Falip’s sleeping form in them.  He collapsed in Ventôse’s deathly grasp, Falip pulled close to the warmth of his body, the only safety he could find for him.|

 

:

 

|His eyelids gently parted, an unfamiliar tepidity soothing his body. 

 

Où suis-je?” Where am I? His voice sounded like he had gorged himself on sandpaper.

 

The dim lambency was like a confined sunset, orbiting about him in a welcomed warmth.  Images came into focus: flame, white blocks, figures huddled at the other end.

 

“Fa. . .lip?”  Culous uttered, shakily pushing a blanket of black fur off of him, “Où êtes-vous?” Where are you?

 

This time, one of the figures heard him and came over.

 

“You’re better already?” the girl asked, removing her fur-lined hood and revealing her many white hairs, “You’re not normal, are you?”

 

Culous didn’t know what ‘normal’ was.  He’d only known himself and Falip and they were both so different that no scale of normality could be established: Falip’s wavy, blond hair framed his face; his straight, black hair hid half of his face from the world; Falip’s ears were curved; his were pointed, like a Lun Chat’s; Falip’s senses were enhanced; his only enhanced sense was the sixth.

 

Où est Falip?” Culous croaked, standing to his feet.

 

“Falip?  That’s your friend, isn’t it?” the girl assumed, “he’s over there.”

 

She indicated the group of people crowded close to one another a few yards from him.

 

“They’re the best in medicine,” she assured him.

 

“Will he survive?”

 

The girl smiled sadly, as if recalling a less fortunate moment in her life “They say he will.  It’s because of you.”

 

Culous let out a sigh of relief, fainting.|

 

:

 

|The girl, Emeraude, had taken an interest in Culous automatically.  She knew there was something odd about him, and she’d find out what.  She spent every waking hour with him (which were a lot thanks to the power of the Caf.+ pills), making sure he ate, was well-rested, etc.  Eventually, the other members of the Grotte (this was what she had called their icy home) began to grow suspicious of Emeraude’s obsessive watch over him.  One of them confronted her about it:

 

“Why are you spending so much time with this piece of carrion, Eme?”

 

“He’s hurt, I’m just making sure he recovers.”

 

“He’s fine, if anyone needs nursing it’s the other one.  He won’t stop shivering and he isn’t eat.”

 

“I need to be near Culous.”

 

Why? . ..This is about your parents, isn’t it, Eme?”

 

“. . .”

 

“I knew it.  What do you think he can do?  He’s no different from us.  What makes him so special?”

 

“He is different, though, Marque.”

 

How?

 

“I heard the Sages talking.  He should’ve died out there.  No ordinary man could’ve survived it.”

 

So?”

 

“There’s something different about him, and whatever that is. . . it will help them, I‘m sure of it.”|

 

:

 

|A couple days later, Falip was on his road to recovery and had gained enough strength to walk.  Culous hadn’t left his section of the Grotte ever since he had arrived, only stepping outside to urinate.  He had been consumed with guilt.  You could’ve done better, every recollection of their trek through desert snow muttered inside him.

 

Upon the joyous news of Falip’s healing, however, Culous’ previously minute feelings of relief were magnified.  He felt a spontaneous surge of energy and purpose, bolting out of bed and to the Grotte’s portal.  Je peux te voir maintenant. I can see you now.|

 

:

 

|He spent more and more of his time beside Falip’s bed, talking to him and encouraging him to walk.  He was with Eme less, foiling her plans.  How was she to slide the truth out of him now that he and she no longer were in each others’ company?  A day before the Sages had deemed Falip ready to leave, she decided to quit the formalities:

 

“Culous, I need to talk with you.”

 

“Go ahead, I’m on my way to Falip.”

 

Non.  I mean. . . seul.” alone.

 

Culous stopped where he was.  No one else was around, here was as good a place as any, right?

 

Continuer.”

 

“Not here.  Follow me.”|

 

:

 

|They came to a clearing in the Pyrenees forest.  The snow had already begun to melt, evoking the start of spring mud.  She sat on a boulder, patting the one beside her to beckon him over.  Out of politeness, he sat next to her, too innocent at the time to sense anything suspicious.

 

“It was I who found you.  The amethyst at the end of your scepter glinted in the moonlight and I led the rest of the scouts to your body.”

 

Culous flashed her smile.  Merci, belle dame.

 

“So. . .you are grateful.”

 

“Of course,” he said with a tilt of his head, “you saved Falip’s life.”

 

“Then. . .would you mind answering something for me?”

 

“Anything, mon héroïne.

 

“Can you help me?”

 

Je sais ne pas, with what?”

 

Mon parents. . .” My parents.

 

“You’re lucky you have parents,” Culous murmured, then instantly regretted it.

 

Je n’ai pas de. . .” I don’t have. . . “They’re dead.”

 

The sadness.  The compassion.  The yearning in her dark eyes shimmered with newly-formed tears.  He hadn’t any memory of parents, heck, he wasn’t even sure if he had any, seeing a child wish so powerfully for them. . . it pulled at the very fibers of his heart.  But what could he. . .?

 

Je suis un Nécromancien.  I am a Necromancer.

 

Eme’s heart was tapped by Hope. 

 

“I knew it,” she said in the same way that a child might affirm her belief in the tooth mouse, “Vous êtes un ange,  You are an angel. . . “Will you do a favor for me?”

 

But he wasn’t an angel, and less than an hour later the Pyrenees Perfides had driven he and Falip back into the desert, praying it would eat them up. . .|

 

:

 

     Culous stared at his shoes, fiddling with their aglets.  He couldn’t bring himself to look Iris in the eye, but he couldn’t bring himself to decline the request, either-- after all, she’d forgiven him for almost starving her to death and she was keeping he and his partner dry during a rainstorm.

 

     “What is it?” he asked reluctantly, fearing her answer. 

 

     He didn’t want to disappoint her, but even Necromancer’s had their limitations.  It was something most people didn’t understand, which was why he couldn’t band together with other vagabonds like most Perfides did. . .unless he kept his necromancy a secret. . .but he couldn’t do that, it would be like keeping an entire part of his Self hidden.  Eventually, that part of him would come to light and waving farewell would be all the more difficult.  So, aside from the beautiful exception of Falip, he avoided relationships with others as much as possible.

 

     Iris glanced at the floor guiltily.

     “Will you help me haul something?”

 

     Culous blinked.  What?  Had he heard her properly?

 

     “I killed a Rabotte yesterday, but I couldn’t get the body back here, so I was wondering if you could. . . maybe. . .” Iris continued, trailing off.  Fragments of dawn were peeking through the hideout’s imperfections.

 

     He burst out laughing, the volume of it waking Falip and snapping Duke out of. . . whatever state he was in. “That’s it?!”  Culous exclaimed with jovial relief, “Move a body?!”

 

     “I-I’ll help you--”  Iris added, not fond of the concept of being indebted to someone.

 

     Culous flicked his wrist, “Pssh!  Don’t worry about it, Fusil-Dame!  I’ll have that thing walk over here as soon as the rain clears!”

 

     Falip rubbed his eyes, sitting up and readjusting his earlocks.

 

     “Are you okay, Culous?  Is your wound reopening?” the boy asked, completely disoriented.

 

     Duke sat on a stool, scratching his head in confusion.

 

     Culous smothered Falip in a great bear-hug, ruffling his blond hair. 

 

     She just wants me to move something! He thought happily, tears of joy blurring his vision, She isn’t asking me to resurrect anyone!

 

     The rain lightened up, the fiery fingers of a sunrise stretched out over the fallen city, and the feelings of regret and uselessness slowly commenced subsiding; like an age-old pain whose antidote had, at long last, been found.

 

 

--Chapter V. Beautiful Exception/Stumbling Over Delusions



© 2013 Writer #00


Author's Note

Writer #00
I don't actually know what to type for this one... hmm... Oh! I couldn't decide on a title for this chapter (either Beautiful Exception or Stumbling Over Delusions), so if you have an opinion on which one pertains to the chapter more/ sounds better, please share!

Here are some notes that might clear up some things...maybe:

Je ne sais pas--> I don't know
Ca a l'air magnifique-->That sounds magnificent
pourquoi-->why
The "||" indicate past events. For example, |Duke ate the soup| should be interpreted as "(in the past) Duke ate the soup"... just in case you didn't pick up on that.

Um... please review if you feel so compelled (be as harsh as you feel is needed, I can take the criticism!) thanks for reading...and...well, here's the fifth chapter, hope you enjoy(ed)! : )

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Reviews

Hmm... I see some words that we're missed out but I ignored it so I won't mention it anymore, I was more overwhelmed with the great descriptions which I might not be able to achieve for awhile. This is worth reading, so don't worry, I was really interested on it. I just didn't know that there are new chapters ^-^

Posted 7 Years Ago


Writer #00

7 Years Ago

Do you mean I left some words out of the mini-glossary in the Author's Note or that there were words.. read more
Rhianne Ney

7 Years Ago

Thanks a lot, and that's what friends are for, right?
I enjoyed it a lot after what seems forever. You forgot to tell me,but it's all good. Because i have been watching

Posted 7 Years Ago


Writer #00

7 Years Ago

I'm glad you did (enjoy this chapter). Sorry about not telling you (I wasn't aware I was supposed t.. read more
“He’s fine, if anyone needs nursing it’s the other one.  He won’t stop shivering and he hasn't eaten anything"

Oh Iris, the one who doesnt want to be remembered as a little girl to be taken advantage of. It will be great to see culous put his necromancer skills to use but could falip actually have been dead, but it was just culous keeping his miniscule life up at that night?
Who knows but its great to see the loyalty in those two. At least culous will make the rabotte body move....by itself. Keep it up, great chapter

Posted 7 Years Ago


Writer #00

7 Years Ago

Oh, yeah, I think I meant "isn't eating..." I'll change that now, thanks for telling me!
Writer #00

7 Years Ago

Yes, Iris has her own problems. She doesn't want to appear weak to others, but at the same time she.. read more
Writer #00

7 Years Ago

Culous was supposed to have thought his last lines of this chapter, so I edited so that it was so.

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Added on March 12, 2013
Last Updated on March 14, 2013
Tags: LTGC, Culous, Iris


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Writer #00
Writer #00

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I'm participating in the Summer Writing Project through Jukepop.com, an online serial website, those entering had to submit a novella on Jukepop.com. The finalists will be decided by the number of +V.. more..

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