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|So part two of it. :) I hope you like it!!||
Gary dropped the sheet and turned around quickly, his head as red as an average rose. There was Anthony standing behind him in his full height.
‘I, I just, I,’ Gary stammered hopelessly while Anthony picked up the sheet and pocketed it carefully. ‘I wondered where you have your notes on vectors. You know, we have a test in three weeks, and I, ahm, I need to understand everything.’
Anthony obeyed him suspiciously then turned around and was about to leave the room when he suddenly said something.
‘Don’t dare to go into my room without my permission again. If I find you in here one more time you will wish never to have been born.’
‘Who are you and what did you do to my brother?’ Gary said, meaning every single word that left his mouth.
Anthony laughed. But in a way that made Gary shudder. This guy wasn’t his brother. He could impossibly be. He had known his brother for more than seventeen years now (well if he counted the years where he had worn Pampers too) and he was a hundred percent sure that Anthony wouldn’t have laughed about such a question. Anthony would have gone away, not even taking notice of it.
‘You’d like to know that, don’t you?’ Anthony said. ‘Leave this room, immediately.’
His brother left the room and so did Gary. He had to think about some things for the next few hours. Mysterious things were going on and they multiplied with every hour that passed. All the things about the voice, the behaviour of his brother, Mr Thompson’s absence, the boys from school who planned that thing he didn’t know anything about and at long last Andy’s vanishing. What was going on there?
Gary checked his watch and decided that he would just wait in the Dragon Swamp for the remaining three hours. So he put on his cloak and left the three girls without telling them anything about where he was going. The boy walked along in the surroundings, looking at trees and birds, observing children who were playing with their mothers and fathers, listening to the sounds nature made, thinking about all the things that came to his mind and settling down on a bench one and a half hours later.
It was a short while past five. He had thought about all the things but couldn’t understand anything. At least Andy was about to return to them soon and maybe he could give him the answers to some of his questions. Maybe they would find out the secret within the appearing of the voice as soon as there was a clover, a marble and a feather. It was strange. They had heard that voice so often before but never-
Gary swore loudly. THE FEATHER! Gary stood up and ran home as fast as his legs could carry him. In his anger he had completely forgotten to pocket the feather. And without it they wouldn’t be able to get Andy back. At that moment a strange feeling spread out in his stomach but the boy couldn’t really think of that now. He had to get the feather and rescue his best friend. Again his stomach made him feel sick in a way.
He dashed up the staircase and took the feather out from his bag. A quick look at the grandfather-clock told him that he had only an hour left. That was enough. Trina entered his room. And so did his other sisters. All of them looked at him with a mixture of anxiety and sadness. Gary stared at them.
‘Where are you going?’ Cynthia asked.
‘Meetin’ with friends.’ he answered.
‘When is Ant coming home?’ Trina asked.
‘At three in the mornin’- don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be alright when he comes home again. He had a bad day at school.’ Gary said, crossing his fingers behind his back. ‘But if you’d excuse me now, I’ve got to go. Go to bed at eight, you hear me? Eight!’
And he left the house again and headed for the Dragon Swamp. Gary walked slowly but knowing that he didn’t have so much time left he reached the street where the Park was soon enough. He had twenty minutes left. So he decided to visit Lana until they would try to get Andy back. Gary walked through the Park leaving it at the other side and walking along the street where his two friends lived. He crossed an intersection and came to a halt abruptly when he saw his brother standing at the other end of the other street, talking to some boys. If only he could hear their voices! And if only he could hear what they were talking about!
Anthony held something in his hand; it seemed to be a piece of paper, a sheet. That sheet! He had to draw nearer! The bad thing about the streets where that you could see everybody from wherever you were! There were no trees and no bushes; there were no little walls or fences. There was only the street and the streetlamps. It would have been a wonder if Andy hadn’t been seen from behind a streetlamp. He had to walk on if he wanted his brother not to notice him. In case Anthony did notice him Gary would surely have big problems as soon as he had to face his brother for the next time.
‘What are you doing here?’ Lana said interested.
Gary screamed shocked but then hurried along the street he had just come from, right beside him Lana. He couldn’t explain anything about his brother! If he judged her the right way he expected her to be angry with him because he hadn’t told her all about that at lunch. But what else should he say? He had been standing there trying to eavesdrop on people he didn’t know? Ha! Why was he so dumb?
‘I think it were the boys from school. You know the ones with the plan. I bet they are about to do something. If I just knew what!’ he said.
‘Hm, but there’s no chance to listen to what they say. It’s too risky.’
They went along the street and crossed it to get into the Raven Park. They had five minutes left. Gary and Lana sat down on the bench. He took out his feather and in the next moment he noticed the pot plant Lana had in her hands. Did she have that thing before? He hadn’t noticed it.
‘What do you think, what do we have to do to get him back?’ the girl asked shyly.
At the thought of having Andy back Gary shuddered with happiness. That was getting really scary by now.
‘I dunno. Maybe put the things in a circle somewhere. Who knows.’ he said.
‘I can’t wait to have him back. You know I have seen him at least once a day since we first met. It was a strange day for me.’
Whom was she telling? Again the boy felt something strange going on in his stomach. He wasn’t really feeling that, was he? He had missed Andy too, maybe even more than she had done. An entire day at school without one’s best friend could mean death or something worse. From what Gary had experienced on that school-day he was pretty sure that death couldn’t be worse than losing your best friend.
‘We’ll see him again in two minutes.’ Gary said, smiling slightly. ‘Let’s just stand up and, well, wait.’
They stood up and held out the feather and the clover. The sky darkened suddenly and every now and then a rain drop touched their heads or hands. That was a sign.
‘Their clocks go wrong.’ Gary said sarcastically. ‘We still have more than a minute!’
Lana laughed. The sky was nearly black now and flashes of lightning flashed over it. It was a bad time for a meeting in the woods. On the top of the list of dangerous things in their surroundings was the swamp which was water, in a far fetched way.
‘Hold out the feather and pat the clover…’
‘I what?’ Lana said.
‘Pat it,’ Gary said smirking, holding out his feather.
Lana looked down at the clover dismally and patted it softly. Gary couldn’t suppress an enthusiastic laughter. Then the clouds moved away and a bright pin appeared right in front of them where Andy stood, pale and exhausted, a moment later. The light vanished and Andy fell down to his knees. Lana threw away the plant and grinned happily before tears could trickle down her face.
‘ANDY!’ she screamed and ran over to him, hugging him tightly.
Gary stood there, staring at his best friend as if he was something he had never seen before. Again his stomach turned around when their glances met. Andy tried to smile and Gary noticed that something was wrong with that smile. It was the smile of someone who had suffered from terrible pain. He walked over to his best friend. And whenever Gary had that in mind his stomach made a funny squirm. Something was very wrong with him.
‘I am so happy that you’re back! We missed you so much!’ Lana cried into his shoulder. ‘Oh Andy, I’m so glad.’
‘Let him breath.’ Gary said, patting the girl on her shoulder softly. ‘Let’s get him to the bench where he can sit down.’
‘Thanks,’ Andy said, sounding tired but relieved at the same time, taking Gary’s hand and standing up. ‘I can’t tell you how glad I am to be back here.’
Andy looked at Gary and for the first time in his life he felt it couldn’t have been better to be back at that very point of time.
An hour later Andy entered his bedroom. He was tired and felt terrible. The boy was glad to be back home, there was no doubt about that but he had been at the worst place he could imagine. And he needed a couple of hours of rest. The latest day of his life had been the far worst. He didn’t want to talk about what had happened on the other end of the voice. He couldn’t tell his friends. Andy needed to make sure that he himself understood everything properly.
His mother wasn’t at home. Andy felt something that was called hunger in normal people’s mouths. So he went into the kitchen and had a quick look in the refrigerator where he found one half of a chicken and salad. Smiling thankfully he took the things out and put the chicken into the microwave. He had a look around in the room while he waited for the microwave to make that dreadful noise. The clock was the only thing that made noise normally. When he stood in there he heard noise he hadn’t heard before. The microwave beeped.
Half an hour later Andy sat at the kitchen table and pushed away the empty plate and dish. It was a wonderful feeling to have a full stomach again. The front door opened. A few moments later Andy’s mother entered the kitchen and greeted him happily. Andy stared at his hand. Then his mother turned around slowly and looked at him.
‘ANDY!’ she screamed. ‘You’re back! Oh Honey, I was so worried! Where have you been?’
The boy tried to smile one more time but again it didn’t turn out the way it should have. For some reason it caused him so much pain to talk to all the people he loved. And it hurt most when he had to talk to Gary. Andy only didn’t know why.
‘I visited a friend mum.’ the boy said, without lying. ‘Mum, I am dead tired. I will go to bed, okay?’
‘Oh yes, yes. Naturally. Good night, darling.’ she said and kissed him onto his cheek.
Andy walked up the stairs and into his bedroom. The boy changed his clothes and crawled under his quilt. He was back. At long last he was back with his friends and mother. A few minutes later he was fast asleep, dreaming of the things that wouldn’t leave his mind. And again there was the moon shining brightly on the sky.
Andy woke up quarter past six in the morning and a great idea came to his mind. He put on his sweater and trousers, took his school bag and ran down into the kitchen. His mother was already awake and cleaned the boards. She smiled in a friendly way when she spotted him.
‘Good morning.’ she said. ‘Why are you here so early in the morning?’
‘I had enough sleep, I guess.’ he said, taking a cup and filling coffee into it. ‘You know what? I will go and visit Gary now.’
His mother smiled again. Normally Gary picked up Andy because Andy’s house was on their way to school. He would have to walk about twice as long than if he had waited for Gary. But he had felt that Gary had wanted to talk to him the previous night.
At half past six Andy left the house and made for the Raven Park. It was the shortest way to get to Gary’s house. Soon the boy was standing in front of the door, knocking on it. Anthony opened with his usual grim expression on the face. Andy couldn’t help but smile.
‘Morning.’ Andy said.
‘Hi.’ Anthony replied bored and let the boy in.
‘Is Gary awake already?’ Andy asked.
‘Who’s it, Ant?’ Andy heard a familiar voice shout from the kitchen.
‘Morning Gary.’ Andy said, smiling broadly.
The one thing Andy had missed most was the kind face of his best friend. The expressions that appeared on his face whenever he came into an unexpected situation, the reactions he had, when something happened and the smile that let all the anger fade away at long last. Andy just couldn’t live without that anymore. And that had nearly cost him his live-
‘Whow, what are you doing here?’ Gary said astonished, letting drop his muesli into the dish.
‘Well, I, can I sit down here?’
‘Sure.’ Ant said, still bored, having a look on a sheet.
Gary twitched and a line appeared between his eyebrows. Andy didn’t even take notice of that.
‘I couldn’t sleep anymore so I thought it would be a nice surprise to pick you up for school once in a lifetime.’ the boy said.
‘Oh, that’s so nice of you!’ Gary said, patting Andy on his shoulder so hard that the boy nearly fell from his chair. ‘Oh, oops, sorry!’
Then a sudden change of things came. They didn’t know what to tell each other. Especially not with Anthony sitting next to them. So they didn’t say anything at all. It was an embarrassing situation for both of them and even for Anthony who knew his brother better than anybody else did. He knew things Gary didn’t even know. The only noise that was to be heard was the spoon that moved in the muesli dish. And they sat at the table for whole twenty minutes.
The two boys were glad when they left the house where all the children and Anthony, who made breakfast for Trina again, turning somersaults while preparing her lunch later on, were in. The day was cold but sunny.
‘How are you?’ Gary asked as they walked to their school.
‘I’m, well, fine. And you?’ Andy asked, looking a little bit unconcerned.
‘What did you want to tell me?’ Andy said, looking at Gary now.
Gary frowned. He didn’t know what Andy was talking about and that was the reason why he asked Andy what he was talking about. Andy smiled slightly, still looking pale and sick.
‘You wanted to tell me something straight from the moment when I came back. But Lana was there too, you didn’t want to mention it in front of her, I suppose?’
Gary’s mouth fell open.
‘Where d’you know that?’ he said astonished.
‘Well,’ Andy said, going slightly pink, ‘good friends know such things.’
‘Haha!’ Gary laughed out loudly, slapping Andy onto his back. ‘Yeah, well, that means that I am not a good friend of yours! ‘Cause I don’t know what’s goin’ on with you at the moment, mate!’
After a moment of silence Gary continued.
‘It’s Ant. I don’t know what to think ‘bout him.’ Gary began and told Andy everything that was on his mind.
They sat down on a bench near their school and were silent for another few moments. Then Andy spoke.
‘Whow, that’s strange. Thompson not here, me gone, that gang and your brother. He seemed to be quite normal today, if I may say so. I mean I don’t know him different to what he was today, see?’
‘Yeah sure, he’s a strange bit of a brother but nevertheless, you should have seen him yesterday.’ Gary said, shaking his head in disbelief. ‘I thought he would like to rip off my head the next moment.’
Andy couldn’t help thinking of Anthony and being sure that he looked like that every other day too. But that was Anthony.
‘You know what I mean, don’t you?’ Gary said, reading Andy’s mind. ‘What if he’s involved to whatever is goin’ on at the moment? I just wouldn’t ever have thought of that possibility, see? It’s Anthony, the rule-lover. That’s just impossible.’
Andy laid his hand onto Gary’s shoulder and a strange feeling floated through Gary’s whole body. There was something really wrong with him, he just didn’t know what!
‘We’ll find out!’ Andy said, and Gary had the slight impression that his friend was going to be the same again soon. ‘I can’t think of the likelihood Anthony to be the leader of a gang. From what I know about him he can impossibly be. And I’m sure that all this is not more than a huge misunderstanding.’
‘Thanks mate,’ Gary said, putting his hand onto the one Andy had laid onto his shoulder just before. ‘I knew you’d cheer me up.’
Andy was more than happy. And what was far more important at the moment he felt alive and loved again. He just knew that he would have to talk about the experience to Gary the other day but he would understand. He would understand that Andy had to understand first what had been going on there. In the land of shadows and moonlight. Andy sighed.
‘Everythin’ alright, mate?’ Gary said.
‘Yeah, just-’ Andy said but stopped abruptly. ‘Let’s get into our classroom, shall we? It’s about time.’
Gary nodded and they went into the school building seeing Trina and Anthony some feet away from them. The little girl turned around to wave Anthony good-bye and spotted the two boys. But before they could care about her another person emerged right in front of them. Lana.
‘Good morning boys!’ she said enthusiastically. ‘How are you? Isn’t it a wonderful day?’
‘What’s up?’ Gary said impatiently. ‘Did your beloved boyfriend tell you how beautiful you are?’
Lana looked at the boy for a few seconds but then she smiled.
‘No he didn’t. I’m just glad that our dear friend Andy,’ Andy went slightly pink, ‘is with us again.’ She was about to leave them for her class when she turned around one more time, smiling broader than a toad possibly could, ‘And, thanks for the compliment, Gary! I didn’t know you think me being beautiful.’
With that she went away, Andy grinned amused and Gary went scarlet. Actually he hadn’t meant it like that. That was typical of girls. They used to turn the words a hundred and eighty degrees even if the words hadn’t been spoken out loud yet.
‘It’s good to have you back, mate.’ Gary said when they made for their seats in the back row of the classroom. ‘Yesterday was such a confusin’ day, I can’t tell you! Lana was so down she didn’t even brush her hair in the mornin’! And Alissia, I think she likes you more than a normal school fellow. Unfortunately I have been really rude to her when she asked me where you were.’
Gary looked at Andy who looked out of the window. It seemed as if he didn’t really care about anything at the moment. The boy sat down on the window-sill next to his friend. Andy’s eyes were unnaturally blue and there was some kind of aura around the boy. What had happened to him? Andy thought that it was about time. But on the other hand he wasn’t ready for it yet. There was a full-moon night that night, maybe he would have enough strength in two or three days’ time.
‘Did she?’ Andy said at long last. ‘I didn’t know she liked me.’
‘Hey mate, I don’t want to exert pressure on you or anythin’ but if you don’t tell me what is on your mind at the moment, I can’t help you. I know that there’s somethin’ really wrong with you.’ Gary said, looking concerned.
Andy turned around and smiled. But it was yet another smile of tiredness and exhaustion. The boy went over to his seat, sat down and took out his schedule.
‘Oh no, I missed a lesson of Art. Maybe I can ask Mrs Brown whether she could lend me her utensils to copy them.’ he said.
Gary went over to him and took his shoulders in a tight grip. Andy was forced to look into his best friend’s face. It was an angry one, full of sadness and hatred. Andy was quite sure that Gary didn’t hate him truly but his decision still was not to tell him anything.
‘Andy! What happened to you?’ Gary said sternly. ‘I know you! You are like somebody else.’
Maybe Gary was right. Maybe he was somebody else. What if he was and didn’t even know? What if he would wake up one morning and be back there? Andy couldn’t stop himself from hugging Gary and not letting him go for the next moments. Some of their fellows threw glances at them and started to whisper but neither Andy nor Gary cared about that. There were other problems. Problems of more importance.
‘I’m so sorry, Gary.’ Andy sobbed. ‘I can’t tell you. Not now. I’m so afraid they are taking me back there. I don’t wanna leave you and Lana anymore. Never.’
|the Path||Marblemoon Chapter 9|
|Marblemoon Chapter 8 a||What you are|
|Marblemoon Chapter 2a||Marblemoon Chapter 8 b|