1.10| Truths Come To Light

So, it’s been quite some time since I’ve been out and about with people. I just haven’t felt like it…I’m still miserable. I miss him. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to get that close to him, or to anyone. I knew better. I won’t let myself do it again.

W215
What did I just say?

I should keep to myself. I know I should. Yet when his name flashed across my phone screen…I couldn’t help but answer.

“Hey.”

“Hi.”

“Look…I need to tell you something Sally. Will you meet me in Sulani?”

“Jaxen, I don’t think that’s a good idea…”

W216

“Just one time, please? Just hear me out, and then if you never want to see me again afterwards, so be it.”

Just once more…then I could be done with him completely. I should say no. I should have said no. But as they say, curiosity killed the cat…

“Where in Sulani?”

So here I am, after following his instructions and paying someone to boat me out here. It’s not a cheap trip let me tell you but it’s stunning here. Now if only I can find Jaxen and get this over with, I might spend some time here exploring…once he says what he has to say.

W217

I eventually found him napping at a bench near a bar. I didn’t want to disturb him, and I did want a cream cola…so that’s exactly what I got. It seemed as if he’d been rolling in the sand, and he looked as though he hadn’t showered in weeks. I had never considered maybe he was homeless…surely not. He spent lots of money on my artwork at least, so he couldn’t be homeless.

W218

Eventually I walked back over and roused him from his near death-like slumber. “Hey sleepyhead, wake up.”

“Sally, you’re here.” He seemed surprised.

“Yep, and so are you…are you a beach bum now or something? You haven’t showered in days…or at least washed your clothes.” His clothes reeked!

He grinned. “Yeah I smell worse than a dung pit, don’t I? Eh, I’ll head back home soon, just need to wrap things up here…after we talk.”

“Yeah..about that.”

W219

“I’m sorry for pushing the whole papers thing on you. I shouldn’t have…it’s truly none of my business. It’s just..” Jaxen had an odd look about his face, and I knew what he would say next was not said lightly.

“You are my only friend, the only one I’ve allowed to get this close…” He grimaced. “It’s probably a stupid mistake…you’d be better off not knowing me but…well, here we are. So…I…ugh. Words aren’t helping me here. What I am trying to say is, I trust you enough to let you in…do you trust me in return?”

I stared at him, concerned but curious. I thought about it. We’d only known each other for a season, one very cold winter that wasn’t even nearly done…but did I trust him? Without a shadow of a doubt, despite my head telling me otherwise.

W220

“I do.” Those words felt heavy and filled with meaning, because that’s exactly what they were.

He sucked in a deep breath. “Alright. Well…I need to tell you the truth then. I’m not human, I never have been human. I am a vampire…and I know you are not exactly human, and that you are Fractured. I’ve been watching you for several years…but curiosity had me get closer. And when I got closer…I liked you more and more, we became friends, and now…here we are.”

I blinked once, then twice. I took a swig of my cola and processed what he said. Was I surprised? Yes. Did it make sense? Also yes. It filled in some holes and opened up more questions. Was I offended or terrified? Also no. It was as if I had known, deep down, that he wasn’t human. Perhaps…perhaps whatever I had been before, whatever part of me that was, knew from the start that he wasn’t human. Maybe that’s what I had been, once.

W221

“Okay.” Was what I eventually said.

“Okay? That’s it?” He seemed relieved and humored, as if he had expected me to run.

“Yep…I mean, I’m surprised, but at the same time not, so…okay.” It might take a bit of time to get used to the thought, but it was more of what that meant for our relationship. It would all take some thought.

“Alright, I was expecting you to be more…scared? Running away? Talkative? But this works too.” He chuckled and I drank more of my cola, finally putting down the empty glass.

W222

“I mean, I’m not afraid of you for several reasons, the biggest reason is likely because I’m not afraid of death, so…eh?” I laughed along with him. “It will take some getting used to though. But…well, you said you know I’m Fractured, and maybe you can explain it more to me another time, but…it’s as if whatever I was before kinda recognized you? It’s weird.” He shrugged.

“Perhaps, but…you don’t know what you were before?”

“I have no clue!” I didn’t feel comfortable sharing in my mission with him yet…to watch them grow in this world. Maybe another time. This new aspect was just too new, even though I just knew I could trust him. I would tell him, but not yet.

W223

“Well that kinda sucks, but still, cool. So, you don’t want to run away screaming in terror, I don’t want to suck your blood, and we can stay friends…or, whatever we are?” He seemed hopeful.

Wow, what a day. “I…think so, yes. And you’ve never drank my blood before, right?” Surely whatever I was before would protect me from that just in case.

He shook his head. “No, never. I made sure the others of my kind have left you alone…except Caleb. He found out about you a while ago, but I had already known about you for a good bit longer.”

Ah yes, Caleb. “I remember him. He seemed odd, old fashioned even. Not too mean though.”

“Yeah, he needs to ditch the coat.” He paused for a moment, happy that this had gone over so well. “Well, I hate to leave you, but I gotta go finish things, but I’ll call you as soon as I’m back home, maybe we can go out somewhere…like a date or something. See you around Sally.”

“Bye Jaxen.” He disappeared in a cloud of dark mist just as the words left my lips. He was in a hurry, but he had taken the time to tell me his truth…and I felt special because of that.

W224

So instead of exploring Sulani like I had intended, I made a sand sculpture and pondered on what this all meant. Was it okay I was friends with a vampire? Would he pose a threat to the Brooks? Could I truly trust him? One thing was for sure…that was not at all what I was expecting to come out of today and I was looking forward to his call.

W225

What a day…

1.9| Alone

W208
Dance is good for the soul.

I dance to soothe my soul. This is a difficult time for me. My only friend…and our friendship ended in a terrible way.

W209

Winter was steady, and long. Now, with no one to share the beauty of the world with, it felt hollow, and I felt broken.

W210
Still, I had to earn my living somehow.

Art was a difficult process for me.

W211
Sleep was a relief from this dark depression.

I just felt like sleeping. I didn’t care where. Depression was terrible thing to combat, but I would push through. I had no choice in the matter.

W212

I didn’t see him at all. There was no contact. If he stopped by, I didn’t know. I doubt he did. It was a good thing he didn’t. Our friendship should never have happened.

W213

But it had. It was wonderful while it lasted. Now that it is done, I am miserable.

W214
Misery sucks.

I am alone once more.

1.8| Serious Talk

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a bit of an update on my attire. Perhaps it’s my new found look on life, an uplifted attitude…or a person.

W195
The drinks flow well within this local watering hole.
W196
The cold is bitter this long winter’s night.

I can freely admit to myself that I quite enjoy Jaxen’s company. I do not wish this winter to end. Once it ends, we will go our separate ways…and it is nearly halfway over. I do not look forward to the spring flowers like I usually do, for I will have no one to enjoy them with. Just as it should be…oh, how I wish it wasn‘t so.

W197
My sleep schedule hasn’t been normal in about two generations I think.

Jaxen is off doing something else for a few days again. He comes in and out of my life, but I do not mind, for he has a life of his own that I am not a part of and that’s how it should be. Friends are important, but family is more important. A job creates money which is how people live. I get it. So I spend my time tending to my winter herbs and doing my art in the snow, as snowflakes fall into my hair.

W198
But I cannot help but feel sad as winter begins to shorten.

Still…soon my friend will be gone. Already I worry because he called tonight and said he would come to my home, my humble abode in the woods that he somehow knew about…I didn’t tell him. He sounded so serious, and wouldn’t tell me what’s wrong. Thus, I am rightfully worried.

W199
The warmth of the flames soothe my worries a little bit.

Still, I am Fractured and seemingly immortal at this point in time, what can he truly do? I trust him not to kill me at the very least. Perhaps he’s known where I’ve lived from the start. Perhaps he followed me home one night. Perhaps he knows everything or nothing. Only he can tell me.

W200
For a while, we enjoyed the warmth in the snow.

Soon he arrived, finding me huddled by the roaring fire. This was a relatively new addition to my cabin home, I got it set up before the heavy snow set in. We passed on our usual greetings and sat on the logs, enjoying the warmth.

W201

“So…what brings you all this way Jaxen?” The cold permeated my bones but it didn’t seem to affect him, not that it ever did. He was an odd one as always, but I still trusted him.

He smiled as if to reassure me, but the serious glint in his eyes was mixed with uncertainty. I was not reassured.

“Sally…I’m a bit worried about you honestly.” The truth leaked from his voice. “I know you don’t really have a name…or papers, or a birth certificate, or well, anything. I checked, because you and I are…well, and I just do on the people that are in my life for a prolonged period of time.” Again, there was a funny lilt to his voice when he said prolonged period of time. For the first time since I first met him, my head began to pound, only to go away after a moment.

W202
Now why would he do that?

“You looked into me? Why?”

“Because I was curious. You aren’t exactly like every other woman in this universe, so you can’t blame me for wondering…now looking, that’s another matter, but that’s not the point. The point is, I want to help you.”

Help? Me? I don’t need help. I am perfectly fine. If I cannot provide for myself, the Mother’s bounty will, as it has for three generations. I will survive, because I have a purpose in this world, until such time that the Cloaked One takes me. I do not need his concern or his help.

W203
“Uh, that’s sweet but…”

With Jaxen looking all serious and cross at me, I couldn’t help but laugh a little, trying to cover up the sound with my hand. It was sweet he was concerned, really, but I was 100% fine.

“Thank you for the offer, but I honestly do not need your help, or your concern. I’m fine.” I really am.

He wasn’t convinced. “Sally, this home isn’t exactly cheap. Living is hel-it’s expensive.” He smoothly hid his curse and kept right on going. “And as the years go on, those small commissions you get won’t cover all the bills.” It was true, while my home was small, the land was nice, and bills were not cheap in Brindleton Bay. Still, I made it work, and I never worried, therefore neither should he. But speaking of commissions…

“Speaking of commissions, I don’t want you to pay for my artwork anymore Jaxen. I’ll just give it to you, you seem to enjoy it enough.” Indeed, he and I would talk about art for hours.

W204
My rebuttals seemed to amuse him, instead of infuriate him as I expected.

“No, I will pay you because the work is excellent quality, and an artist should be paid.” He continued as if I hadn’t attempted to get him off this sorry subject. “I know people who can make you excellent papers Sally, I-“

“Yes, I believe that is illegal and it is not necessary. I don’t need them.” With slight panic I began to think of a good backstory to tell him in case he asked why I didn’t have any. Somehow my dog ate them didn’t seem good enough. If it worked for the children…

“You do though, and it would be no expense to you-“

“Jaxen, please stop. I don’t need them. It would be a major expense, not only is that illegal and there is the risk of prison involved, that sort of work isn’t cheap. I will be fine.”

W205
He played with fire like a child would, even as my temper began to stir.

“Don’t worry about the money Sally, people owe me favors, it’s no trouble at all.” He was unconcerned as fire singed his clothes and fingers.

“No Jaxen, don’t do it. I won’t need them!” He wasn’t listening to me at all, playing with the deadly force burning the logs.

W206
Unknown emotion muddled his red eyes.

“You will eventually. I could just get it done without you knowing.” Eventually he will be dead and I will be alone. No one needed to know I was here. After this winter we would be no more. Papers were the least of my worries, and currently my only worries were not to burn my marshmallow and to finish this argument.

“Well, now is not eventually. Drop it please. I don’t want them, and I do not need them. You are a good soul for offering, but that is illegal and you most certainly do not need to get into trouble, certainly not on my behalf. I will be fine, I’ve survived this long in my life without such a small mundane thing as papers, and I will survive for a quite a while more.”

He scowled slightly. I bit my lip and tried for a joke. “Besides…you would look awful in prison attire. There are no skulls on those uniforms you know.”

“Prison…” He scoffed and muttered under his breath for several seconds, too low for me to hear. He was cross with me, I could tell, but this I would not budge on. “I will leave you alone now, bye.” He left so quickly, it was as if he wasn’t there at all…but the tension in the air remained, and my heart despaired. Arguments were part of life. They were an unfortunate consequence to a relationship, but as long as you moved past them and they were resolved, all would continue on. But this…

W207

This wasn’t nearly as big as I was expecting…but it did get nastier than I expected. He was quite adamant and stubborn to help me, but it wasn’t necessary, and I cannot tell him why. I could never tell him why. Perhaps this friendship I had permitted myself to have was a huge mistake…just as I had expected. I am such a fool, I should’ve listened to my gut instinct. But, now it is done. I expect he won’t be around anymore…and I will not call him anymore. I am alone once more.

1.7| Pals In The Snow

W185
New snowfall, new day, new attitude.

Jaxen called. He invited me out to a shop in Magnolia Promenade. Despite everything I have been trying to believe, about staying away from him and all, it’s still winter, therefore my season is not over. Besides…I may see them out and about.

W186

So that being said, I’ve decided I won’t worry about it. I like being with Jaxen, and clearly there is something about me he must like, otherwise he wouldn’t keep calling. So for now, I will enjoy our time together – fleeting as his life may be – and years later, I will cherish these precious memories.

W187

Over this season of change, we have grown quite close, but I am determined to stay just friends. I am far older than he is, after all.

W188

Occasionally, I will see him staring at me in a way that is unnerving…but if he wanted to hurt me, he would have done it long ago. Can anyone hurt a Fractured One, after all? I am not sure.

W189
What an odd friend for one to have…but a true friend he seems to be.
W190
“Gotcha!”

I can have fun with him, and relax in the cold snow. Although how he can be fine in his hoodie, ripped jeans, and t shirt, I have no idea!

W191
“Ugh, snow is getting in my shoes!” – Jaxen

I can tell he doesn’t normally let loose like this, but he enjoys it all the same, appeasing me as he usually does. The more I observe the more oddities I find with him…and the more charmed I am with him. That probably isn’t a good thing.

W192
We were just two pals in the snow.
W193
W194

Eventually we went our separate ways, and where he walked off into the dark night, I stayed with the light, skating on cold ice, warm from our encounter earlier today. I knew winter would end soon, and with that, our friendship, but for now…for now I would enjoy the time we had together.

1.6| Cheery Winter

W174
Windenburg in winter.

The snow is coming down rather heavy now, both in Windenburg and Brindleton Bay.

w175
Despite the cold, I feel warm inside.

I spend some of my time playing for the creatures of the forest, soothing lullabies to bring them sweet dreams as they slumber in their burrows.

W176

I am just a wondering artist, playing for any and all who might listen.

W177
If one were to walk through my wood, they would find my snow souvenirs everywhere.
W178
This looks like a beautiful painting!
W179
I find myself in the city during this season, more than I expected.

Jaxen and I still talk, but he’s been too busy to go on outings. I feel foolish, like a flustered schoolgirl and wish to see him again…but I know it is better this way. Despite this, I am happy.

W180

For the first time in a long while, I feel cheerful, and at peace.

W181

I love my home.

W182
I am working on more commissions.
W183
Yes, it’s more shady commissions…but still.
W184

Still…life is good, and there can be hope, even in the dead of winter.

1.5| A Friend

This season is strange to me, the cold Northern have brought me someone…a friend, if just for this season.

W164
Jaxen asked me out to a friendly dinner so nicely, I found myself agreeing, despite my reservations…

Jaxen is an odd soul. There is something about him that seems so familiar and yet nearly everything about him is so alien to me. He dresses like a teenager but his intelligence is that of an old soul. I find myself trusting him but there’s no way I will spill my secrets. He’s just a weird young adult, that is all.

W165
He tells fantastic jokes!

Weird or not, I enjoy his company very much. We discuss art, nature – he appreciates a lovely midnight stroll just as much as me, under the sweeping arms of the Mother’s Embrace – and he even appreciates music, although he doesn’t play. I’ve learned that he is a self-employed programmer, which explains how he is able to buy my paintings. He even asks about my inspiration for the paintings. He’s an excellent listener to boot!

W166
“Wow, really? I’ve never seen nature quite like that.”

The only time I felt uncomfortable was when he gently asked me why I am not more famous – why don’t I take the bigger commissions, he knows people, he could help me make more money. I had to quickly come up with an excuse about how I prefer to just be a lone artist living humbly in the forest, etc. I could tell he thought it was bogus…but I cannot tell him the truth.

W167
Once again, he is paying for my meal. He insisted, even though I profusely refused. Turns out, he already prepaid the restaurant AND pre-tipped!

This meal is fantastic, and the company is amazing. This entire outing is so surreal to me…I feel like Sally and I are two different people…maybe I could be Sally Daniels, at least with Jaxen anyway. Sally is not me, she is funny and sociable, whereas I am quiet and gloomy. Sally has a fabricated backstory, and I do not know where I am from.

W168
He never touched his meal. Later he told me with a sheepish grin he was too enamored in the conversation.
W169

We sat and talked well into the night, with the full moon rising high into the sky, an everlasting beacon for the night travelers.

W170
I’ve never felt more alive than in this moment.

Eventually that outing ended and a few days later another one began, this time a dance party at the Narwhal place.

W171
Jaxen dances far better than I do…that ghost does too!

We got down on the dance floor and boogied the night away. It was great to have a friend.

W172
She’s still alive…

Still, my duties come by to remind me why I am here…and it is not to have fun.

W173
For how much longer though?

This has to be the final season of this…this winter, I will have my friend, but after that, I will be alone again. It has to be this way. Doesn’t it?

3.1| This Adventure Called ‘Life’

X21
Hi again!

Hi everyone! This Internet thing is so exciting, writing this for people I may never meet!! I am doing really well, I love waking up and seeing this world around me, it’s all so wonderful!

X22
Daddy says I came from the stars.

I started looking up at the night sky after seeing my big brother Cayson doing it. At first I just wanted to see what he saw in this activity…but now, I love seeing the nighttime sky. I came from there apparently, somewhere up in that huge cosmos…I wonder if I can visit one day? To see space…that would be amazing.

X23
Daddy says my art is amazing!

I like to do art like Daddy and Cayson…even if I feel like I am not that good at it yet!

X24
“Ew Red, you are a stinky boy!”
X25
Our little Girl Scout!

I’m glad Dad enrolled me into the Scouts program instead of the Acting activity Aunt Hope suggested. Being a Scout is so much fun! It’s filled with adventures, learning, and trips!

X26
*BOINK* Oops!
X27
Yuck, I wanted a FISH, not SEAWEED!

Tonight was a different kind of night. It was an important rite of passage – one I couldn’t partake in quite yet. I wasn’t old enough Dad said…so we fished instead, while my brothers did this generation’s Family Tradition, which is finding a stray pet in need of a good home…I cannot WAIT until I am old enough to find mine. Soon Dad says, soon. But how soon is soon?

X28
“HISS!”

On second thought…I can wait.

X29
Sometimes I wish I was normal.

I tried to find a stray…I did. But they all hate me. I think they know I’m not human…that I’m not from here. I hate being different sometimes.

X30
Tonight was awesome anyway!
X31
Whiskers is a good cat.

At least Cayson’s cat likes me.

X32
Coexisting siblings! SMILING!

Speaking of Cayson, he may like me a LITTLE bit better now??? Maybe? He still doesn’t really talk to me, but that’s okay. I know I kinda messed up the family dynamic when I came along. Just don’t tell Dad I know that, okay? He’ll get really upset. It’s not like it’s my fault…I was just born!

X33
Chores!
X34
Practice makes perfect!
X35
My room is my safe haven.

There’s some tension upstairs tonight, so I know it’s better if Beary and I stay down here.

X36
Whiskers and Monka are adorable!
X37
Imagination is a powerful brain activity.

I find the brain processes fascinating. I can sit here and dream up all sorts of adventures that aren’t even within the scope of our reality…isn’t that amazing?!

X38
Even if homework isn’t always fun, it’s awesome to learn new things!
X39
“Aw Red, you are stinky again! Just like that weird fish pie that never leaves our floor…”
X40

I like Oscar. Of my two brothers, he spends time with me and listens to what the other school kids call, the ‘chicken butt jokes’. They are silly, but funny!

X41

I think Cayson left me this violin. I found it by the stairs going down to my room this morning.

X42
School projects!
X43

Dad helps me with my projects. I know something is amiss with our family, but he won’t tell me what’s going on. I’m too young, he says. Red seems really upset about something. If only I was older, maybe I could help.

X44
More homework!
X45
Oscar sitting in my pink chair at my purple desk makes me giggle!

I help Oscar with his advanced STEM courses and he helps me with my English and History. I have the best brother ever! Although I am jealous of his STEM courses, I can’t wait for high school!

X46
Practice, practice, practice!
X47

Currently the only thing that can stand my violin playing is the strange glowing plant in the backyard. I hope my music doesn’t kill it…

X48

I think this here is my favorite memory. Oscar is helping me with an English essay and my typing while I call out my moves on his chessboard. I love my family, even if I kind of messed things up for the Brooks…oops?

Xialla