Join Date: February 22, 2006
Re: an Untitled story by my friend Catie and I
As we took off, I could hear people behind us. But we were out of there. For a fleeting instant, I wondered how we escaped so easily. Vollmer was a smart guy, and it didnâ€™t seem like heâ€™ let his prizes get away so easily. I shook it off though, because I had more important things to worry about right now.
We flew Rip to the ground. Gennadius instructed me to lift up a manhole and for a second, I refused.
â€œNo way. I am not going into the sewers again.â€
â€œRo, itâ€™s not the sewers. We have to hurry,â€ he replied. I was getting so paranoid that every noise I heard was the cocking of a gun, or someone sneaking up behind me. I obeyed, and the three of us loaded Rip underground. Ham offered to take Rip from there and through the full-grown man over his shoulder as though he was a rag doll. We ran down the underground hallway into a special room. I looked around the little place, wondering what this was.
Ham laid Rip down on a table type thing and Gennadius shooed us away.
â€œIâ€™m going to get someone to check for any bugs. In the meanwhile, you two can relax. Iâ€™m pretty sure that Ceil got here a bit ago. Take that door and make two lefts and a right and youâ€™ll find where you want to be.â€
That was just what I needed. One loooong relaxing bath to myself. No henchmen, Not even any other Dumaniz wrecking my privacy. However, after about twenty minutes, I got bored. I turned off the water, dried off, and got dressed.
I patted my hair down as I entered the â€œliving roomâ€. Shyam and Butch played some kind of video game. It involved driving a car away from police and getting extra points by smashing into other vehicles. Was it training or just mindless?
Creak, creaked the door in the shadows. I grabbed a coaster off the table, poised to smash it on top of someoneâ€™s head if they tried doing anything. Shyam and Butch rolled under the coffee table, and they surprisingly fit. Those two were pretty short, I have to say.
It swung open and two figures emerged, one male, one female. Ham and Ro.
â€œOmigod!â€ I whooped. Shyam and Butch darted out from the table and leaped into their arms, taking turns hugging each person. I came over, beaming, as Ham released Butch from a brotherly embrace. Wow! He wasnâ€™t actually all macho-ness; he actually had a heart. Ham glanced at me and smirked, andâ€“ sort of scaring me- he yanked me into a hug. I donâ€™t know what happened. Ham suddenly became to me an older brother Iâ€™ve never had. And I couldnâ€™t help but smirk, knowing Ro would want to be where I was.
â€œYouâ€™re okay,â€ he sighed, letting my lungs fill with air again.
â€œYou guys too. Whereâ€™s Gennadius?â€ I asked.
â€œHeâ€™s in the tunnel. We snagged Rip while we escaped and, well, heâ€™s unconscious. We donâ€™t know whether heâ€™s even on our side. But Gennadius is checking him for bugs,â€ Ro said. I didnâ€™t know what to do here. She was alive, thankfully. But hugging her. No. So we settled on high-fives.
â€œHey, you donâ€™t smell,â€ Ro said randomly.
â€œUm, thanks?â€ I said.
â€œWhat I meant was, there must be a shower or something here. Which means weâ€™re actually somewhere civilized and welcome!â€
â€œYeah, but Iâ€™m still not quite sure if itâ€™s welcome. But there is ice cream in the freezer. Here, let me give you a grand tour,â€ I said. I started off by motioning that where we were in must have been a living room, then I moved on and showed them the kitchen, dining room, and hall leading to more stuff, where there were the two bathrooms and three bedrooms.
â€œThe pink room is for the girls,â€ I added.
â€œYeah, way to assume that everything pink belongs to a girl!â€ she accused. I rolled my eyes. I knew sheâ€™d go into this.
â€œGo look in the drawers,â€ I told her simply. She entered and looked inside each one. â€œGirl clothes, right?â€
â€œYes,â€ she admitted, defeated.
â€œWell, now that weâ€™re here, what are we going to do?â€ Ham asked.
â€œNow that we just got somewhere safe and comfortable, but the whole group isnâ€™t here yet, you can make some food, play a video game, wash up, change. But I think we should just wait for the whole group to decide what weâ€™re doing next.â€
Ceil emerged from nowhere, and acknowledged Ro and Ham. â€œHow are you? Whereâ€™s Gennadius?â€
Ham looked a little confused. I knew he saw Ceil in the cell at Vollmerâ€™s H.Q. but he didnâ€™t get a proper introduction.
â€œWeâ€™re fine. Gennadius is out in the hallway, taking care of Rip,â€ Ro explained.
â€œRip came with you?â€ Ceil said, confused.
â€œWe ran into him,â€ was all Ham could elaborate at the moment. â€œAnd you are?â€
â€œOh, I realized we hadnâ€™t properly met,â€ he explained. â€œMy name is Ceil. I am an Assist to the Dumaniz. Gennadius, Matthias, and I, are all in charge of this specific group. There are many of us, but all of us are former partners of Vollmer who turned from him when he tried to acquire the Dumaniz to make an army. We use Vollmerâ€™s technology to give ourselves powers.â€
â€œAssist? And what do you mean â€˜this specific groupâ€™?â€ I butted in.
â€œAn assist is simply someone who tries to help and take care of the Dumaniz. All Dumaniz, at the moment, are under the age of twenty, so they need support from someone whoâ€™s older. And yes, there are more of you. Rip is what the Dumaniz call a â€œChiefâ€, a Dumaniz leader of a â€œtribeâ€ of Dumaniz. Before the attack on your H.Q., they were going to officially name their â€˜tribe.â€™ This place weâ€™re in now? Itâ€™s a safe house for all Dumaniz in this Quarter. Before you ask,â€ he went on, obviously trying to get somewhere and wanted to answer all our questions, â€œa Quarter is sort of like a dimension, but not really. Itâ€™s sort of like a different part of time, in the same place as Shamus and Roâ€™s earth. Itâ€™s difficult to explain. Youâ€™ll understand later,â€ he finished sternly.
â€œNow if youâ€™ll excuse me, I need to pee.â€
â€œUh,â€ stated Ham as Ceil scurried into the bathroom.
â€œUm,â€ I added on. â€œSo you two do whatever you want while we wait for Irisâ€™ group. Ro went back to the living room, while I followed Ham into the guysâ€™ bedroom. He fell down on a cot, and sighed. I felt like I owed him some sort of apology.
â€œHam?â€ I said.
â€œHmm?â€ he mumbled, not opening his eyes. I sat down a cot next to his.
â€œSince I first met you I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve given you any reason to like me. You actually scared the crap out of me back there when you treated me like I was your brother or something. Not when we met with the whole group when we first arrived, not during that breakfast incident, and I probably donâ€™t even seem to you like I care about us. But I do. Iâ€™ve just not been living up to my responsibility. Iâ€™m sorry.â€
He let a smile reveal itself across his face. â€œKid, responsibility is not what you have to do. Thatâ€™s your job, your role as a human, as one of the Dumaniz. Responsibility is how you react when you screw up. Iâ€™d have to say youâ€™ve shown lots of responsibility. Like it or not,â€ he opened his eyes and rolled over on his side, facing me, â€œyouâ€™re one of us now. So we all gotta love each other now. Even Ro.â€ I recalled the moment days ago when he referred to her as my â€œgal pal.â€
â€œMy gal pal?â€ I joked.
â€œEveryone knows its Iris you want,â€ he interjected. I opened and closed my mouth, stunned. â€œAnd, dude? You got a chance with her.â€
My face flushed brilliantly. â€œOh, and thereâ€™s also a secret passage in the wall,â€ he pointed, excited. There was a panel hidden in the wall, covered by a sliding piece of plastic that resembled the wall. I leaped over to it, Ham watching. I flipped the panel open, and there was a thumbprint scanner behind it. I carefully pressed my thumb against it, and it turned green and made a happy beeping noise.
Then a passage in the wall materialized out of no where, and narrow stairs led to two doors. I hurried down the stairs and opened the first door. It was another house-type unit! It didnâ€™t surprise me too much; I figured that if there were so many Dumaniz that this safe house was all there was. The second door led to an even cooler treat: a pool, like the one in the middle school where we had to take swimming classes. They only led to uncomfortable bathing suits and humiliation. But this one had no weird teachers, but it did have two diving boards and was pretty long and got pretty deep.
â€œWhoah,â€ Ham gasped. â€œButch! Shyam! Ro!â€ he yelled. Sound carried really well in this whole underground safe house system, seeing as they heard and came running.
â€œOh,â€ Ro said, pleasantly surprised. â€œBetter than Shyam and Butchâ€™s video games.â€
â€œScore!â€ the boys hollered and slapped high-fives. â€œWho wants to go in?â€ they said.
â€œI dunno,â€ Ham said. â€œWe have to wait up there for when Matthias, Iris, Giggles, and Uma arrive. Do we even have bathing suits?â€
â€œYeah, I saw some in our bureau,â€ Ro said.
â€œAnd in our ours,â€ I said.
â€œGo ahead,â€ Ceil spoke up from behind us. I sort of flinched, taken by surprise. â€œThis thing was put in a year ago, so the Dumaniz could have a safe place to work out. Donâ€™t even ask how we get all the things to build this place. Itâ€™s too complicated for now. So you lot enjoy yourselves, and Iâ€™ll keep watch. They are fine, I checked on them. They are late because their predetermined path was too dangerous and they were forced to take a longer, but safer one.â€ Ceil finished up his monologue, gesturing us to pass him and do whatever we wanted, which for Shyam, Butch, and me was to change and hit the pool.
This place was so cool, though I knew we would not live there forever. Perhaps we can live here for at least a few days, I wished.
Bliss. Swimming in something thatâ€™s not sewages. You donâ€™t know how good it feels. In my drawers, I found a plain black one-piece bathing suit that fit nicely and grabbed a large, convenient beach towel and made my way up to the pool. There was no way in the world that Iâ€™d miss this. I showered off in the bathroom quickly to get the grim off (you wonâ€™t understand just how good soap felt until youâ€™ve been through something like me) and strode into the pool area. Ham had transformed into a shark and they were playing an extreme game of Sharks and minnows.
Without even testing the water like I usually do, I just dove right in. The water was surprisingly warm.
Then, I got an idea. Shyam called down to me to the shallow end of the pool, but I held up my finger to denote â€œin a minute.â€ I pulled myself out of the water and jumped into the air, pumping my wings hard. Once I was ten feet above the water, I closed my wings, did a flip, and fell back into the water, receiving the most intense adrenaline rush ever. Ok, not ever, but you know what I mean.
Grinning, I pulled myself over to the others with a few strokes.
Before I could say something, a voice interrupted us.
â€œExcuse me, but I am terribly sorry for interrupting. Shyam, your powers are needed for Rip,â€ Ceil said, standing at the door leading back into the house-thing. Shyamâ€™s face fell a little, but he nodded, his hair dripping into his eyes. He grabbed a towel, and went with Ceil, leaving the four of us alone.
â€œMarco Polo?â€ Butch asked, his ten year old face lighting up. None of us replied for a moment.
â€œNot it!!â€ Ham finally said. Shamus and I spat the two deciding words out and frantically swam away from Butch.
â€œWhat? Hey, not fair!â€ he said, â€œFine, but no deep end.â€
We all agreed. Butch went under water for ten seconds and came up again, eyes squeezed shut.
I wonâ€™t keep writing that, just to let you know. It went on for quite a bit, Butch trying to tag us. At one point, he was closing in on Shamus, who was about to swim away. Suddenly, something green sprung from Butchâ€™s hand and launched itself at Shamus.
â€œWhat in Godâ€™s green earth?!â€ Shamus cried out. Ham and I curiously swam over as Butchâ€™s eyes snapped open.
â€œButch, what is this?â€ I asked. The substance was like a thick and rubbery hose, wrapped around Shamusâ€™ arm.
â€œItâ€™s a vine,â€ Ham declared upon examination. For a moment, I was scared. How had a vine appeared in the middle of a swimming pool?
â€œYou guys, I think I know what my other power is,â€ Butch replied in a small, excited voice, his eyes shining with excitement.
â€œWell, youâ€™re still it,â€ I said grudgingly, trying to yank off the vine. It was grimy, rough underneath the grime, but still so totally awesome how it came from nowhere.
â€œMarco!â€ Butch hollered, and I dove underneath and swam along the bottom for as long as possible. I came up, spitting out water. Butch was heading for Ro, so I took a â€œfish-out-of-waterâ€ opportunity. Butch was hot on Roâ€™s tail, Ham had morphed back into human shape but kept gills. I stalked around the pool carefully, waiting to jump back in if Butch seemed to suspect a fish out of water.
I remembered at my house I had an in ground pool. My family had pool parties all the time. My last ten birthday parties were pool parties. Just then I realizedâ€¦ I wasnâ€™t â€œhome.â€ The Dumaniz, these kids, were becoming like my family. But what about my real parents? Were they worried about me? Or were their memories wiped clean of my total existence? At least they werenâ€™t happy I was gone. Orâ€¦ were they?
â€œFish out of water?â€ called Butch.
â€œHa!â€ Ham guffawed.
â€œOh..â€ I muttered, coming back to our game. â€œOkay.â€
After I went we sort of grew tired of Marco Polo again. Shyam came back, and Butch just had to demonstrate his new power.
â€œWow!â€ exclaimed Shyam, high-fiving Butch. We were all really excited for him. â€œDo more!â€ Butch nodded, and held out his hand, concentrating. Leaves grew from his fingers. How freaking cool!
â€œNow what do we do?â€ Ro asked.
â€œChicken?â€ Butch suggested.
â€œNo, someone will have to be left out,â€ said Ham.
â€œIf Fin were here, he could help us play some really awesome water game,â€ Shyam piped up. Butch nodded, but Ro, Ham, and I exchanged looks. We were beginning to doubt if Fin was still alive.
I went under to hide my concerned face, and I saw a penny! Iâ€™ve always loved finding pennies in random places. Oh, be quiet, I bet you do too. So I went to pick it up and it nudged a few inches away from me. I wasnâ€™t surprised, it could have just been water moving around on the bottom. But I reached for it again, and it floated. And moved up and down. Something told me a little object like that shouldnâ€™t be moving in such a way. Then, the penny lifted out of the water and hovered above my open palm.
â€œOoh, penny!â€ said Butch, unfazed. Ro and Ham caught on though and looked confused.
â€œShamus should only be able to control metallic objects that are iron, cobalt, or nickel,â€ Ham said.
â€œPennies are copper, right?â€ Ro said.
â€œI think so,â€ I said, as weirded out as they. Then my face lit up. â€œDo you know what this means? It means that I can do this magnetism thing with any metal! Iâ€™m defying the laws of nature! Alright!â€