Chapter 39: Her, Part III

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 452


The electricity registered for Zooka at the exact same time. Her hand stayed holding the doll for an extra moment and then she let go, allowing it to swing down again. Zidane recovered before the dress flipped completely, scooping up the doll again and holding it with both hands. Zooka smiled and nodded approvingly.

"That's better!" she said. She brought the other doll to the floor, humming while she made it walk in silly bouncing motions that let its limbs flail. The doll began walking up an invisible staircase and then stopped nearby the doll in Zidane's hands. It bowed, throwing the arms forward.

"Why, hello there, sleepyhead!"

Zidane looked to her, then the doll, then to Zooka again. This time, his eyes didn't brighten. He looked to the doll she held one last time, and when he spoke to Zooka, it was as if he were carefully delivering grave news.

"It's not talking..."

For a single moment, Lance saw shock register on Zooka's face—and in a deep distance part of her eyes, something shattered. Then, she scowled. "You're not very good at this game."

Zidane's eyes darkened as he looked back at his doll. With another smile, Zooka tapped him on the shoulder. "Tag, you're it!"

Turning behind him, Zidane looked to see Zooka already half-way across the room. She headed towards a caregiver standing near the hallway, hiding behind them. A moment later, she peered out to look at him, a grin on her face.

"Come on!" she called when Zidane didn't move, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

He looked to Kazuo, who encouraged him on with a nod in her direction. Zooka ran towards Kazuo with a light squeal that turned into giggles, like she was experiencing the game for the first time. A smile touched Lance's face along with a hint of sadness, and he watched as the hyperactive kid from before ran by. He tapped Zooka on the shoulder.

"You're it!"

Zooka let loose a shriek and more giggles from as she chased after him. Zidane rose to his feet, a smile on his face as he observed the game in front of him. Zooka passed by and began a lap around an invisible track in the middle of the room, noticing Zidane as he came within her sight. He tensed, the smile now a grin, and took off before she got close enough to touch him. He ran, her chasing from behind with her laughter cutting through all the other noise in the room. The kid that had been running around before was nowhere to be seen, and before Lance could try and look for him, his focus was captured by the two children running towards him.

It was Zidane's face he looked towards first. There was something different and odd about his eyes being this bright, just as there was something different and odd about seeing an actual smile on his face. But it was a good difference; it was something Lance could get used to.

His stare was moving towards Zooka before he even realized it, and the shock that banged in his chest was like someone slamming down the keys of a piano. A tiny realization formed, a horrible recognition of what that feeling could possibly be. With his stomach lurching, he pushed it as far away as possible. She was eight. What the fuck was going on? What kind of sicko was he?

"You okay?"

He looked up, looking away from Zidane and around the room. Everyone had left without him knowing, and even Zooka was no longer present. Lance looked down, noticing a cold sweat had broken out and streamed down his temple. He raised a hand, pushing the drops into his hair and trying to think of the logic behind how he could be sweating in something else's mind. But eventually, he had no choice but to look and meet Zidane's waiting stare.

Nervous. Lance could tell there was a nervousness behind those eyes. So both of them were concerned about something. Probably worried for the same person.

"Yeah." Lance looked away, stretched his eyes wider, moved both hands through the sides of his hair. "Yeah. I'm fine."

Meeting Zidane's stare was a calling he felt like he had to answer. He looked up, staring into those dark eyes that seem to be getting blacker without the color changing. The emotions were shifting, changing, but to what feelings exactly, Lance couldn't sense.

Then Zidane nodded, and with an unreadable expression, looked towards the middle of the room. "We only have about three more parts to go. Sorry if this is a little boring."

Lance was shocked at the fact he wasn't joking. "What?" A smile shot on his face, hands raising in light defense. "Dude, what are you talking about? This is awesome—it's like I'm inside a movie. Don't even worry about it!"

That got a smile on Zidane's face. He looked back to Lance with eyes a little brighter.

"Alright," he said with a nod, and then faded out again.

Before Lance could blink, he was teleported a few feet away, staring at the spot he stood just seconds ago. The playroom was still empty, and the setting sun from outside shadowed everything in the light hues that came with sunset. Footsteps came from the hallway, and Lance turned to see Zooka hurrying into the room, holding Zidane's hand as he trailed behind. They were headed towards the wall Lance was facing.

"There it is!" Zooka pointed with her other hand as they approached the wall and her steps slowed. She let go of Zidane and sat down, staring at the floor.

"I heard there's something down there."

Lance began making his way across the room, watching Zidane sit down with his legs underneath him and reach out, peeling back carpet that had been worn out. "What could be down there?" he asked.

The strip of carpet flipped over, exposing a few floorboards. Zooka stared down at them, shrugging. "Something..." she replied.

Zidane reached down, attempting to get stubs of fingernails in between one of the floorboards. Lance stopped a few feet behind them, tips of his shoes barely touching the light the window stretched onto the floor. He saw Zidane's hands move back to his lap, and then the crossbreed turned, looking over his shoulder. His persona shifted, and eyes that looked too much like Arzo's came back.

He turned ahead of himself and reached into his back pocket, withdrawing a slim, short object that was a little too long for his hold. Lance felt his stomach sink as he heard the blade switch open, and instantly Zooka covered her eyes, upper body hunching into her knees.

Zidane glanced at her, then the knife before realizing what was wrong.

"Hey," he said, extending one hand out. He placed it on top of hers, and distantly Lance felt that bolt of lightning like a static shock. He roughly shoved it away, listening to Zidane speak again.

"Hey, it's okay. Look."

The knife was shoved into the crack of the floorboards and lifted up, beginning to pry open the desired board.

The nails on the board released, the closest side of the board lifting up like a see-saw. Nothing but darkness was below. Zidane slid back a little bit and held one hand out towards the board, offering for Zooka to inspect it.

Instantly, Zooka shook her head, the arms she had wrapped around herself tightening. "I'm not going! You do it!"

Zidane rolled his eyes, the slightest of smiles on his face. He leaned down, trying to peer inside.

"Well?" Zooka asked quietly.

"I'm not really seeing much, but that's probably 'cause it's so dark—"

Two spiders crawled out, and before they had traveled two inches forward, Zooka was five feet away. Her crabwalk stopped but the size of her eyes didn't go down. The spiders kept crawling, one of them stopping for a moment and then speeding in her direction.

Zooka shrieked.

"Kill it, kill it!"

Zidane's foot had stomped down before she finished the second command. He moved his other leg, squishing the second spider. Both of them stayed where they were—Zooka on the ground and Zidane standing near the floorboard five feet away from her. Someone was breathing hard, and for a few moments, Lance assumed it was Zooka's response to being scared. But then he noticed the rise and fall of Zidane's body as well, and realized both of them had been spooked.

He's not scared, Lance realized. There's something else.

A large semi-truck passed on by, the shadow of its body fanning through the orphanage's room. It swept over Zidane, and when the darkness was gone, his eyes stayed the same deep color. Guilt. Regret. Emotions that put a heavy sickness in Lance's gut.

Running footsteps came from the hall, and when Zidane looked up, Lance turned around. A caregiver slowed her stops, eyes scanning the situation before running up to Zooka. She knelt by the girl, her question of what was wrong directed at both of them.

"Spiders," Zidane answered, picking up one foot and revealing the remnants sticking his shoe like webs. Zooka's face paled.

"Oh—sorry." He scraped his foot on the floor, leaving a small streak of spider guts. "Sorry." He tried to clean his other shoe, leaving the same result. "Dangit." Another scrape. "Dangit."

"Please, please stop." The caregiver moved one hand away from her mouth and held out her other one. "You're getting it on the carpet."

Zidane's eyes dimmed slightly, glancing to Zooka as if to say What about her?

The caregiver helped Zooka up by the arm. "Here, you're both missing out on the fun outside. The sun's about to set. It'll be pretty, you know."

"Really?" Zooka returned.

Zidane watched them head towards the hallway. He looked down at his shoes, giving a sigh as he glanced at the bottom of one of them. He took a few steps, starting after Zooka, when Lance felt something like a shadow sweep over them both. Zidane turned, noticing it at the same time Lance did. Two people stood across the street, the sight of them very clear from the window. The more Lance stared, however, the more he realized he wasn't staring at humans.

The woman on the right was incredibly tall, and with a quick glance-over, Lance estimated her height to be nearly eight feet. The man beside her was something he noticed only after another look to study her fascinatingly strange style of dress. In contrast to her height, this man was incredibly short, barely a head taller than the fire hydrant close beside them and the crown of his head barely even reaching the woman's knee. It was with this observation that brought Lance to notice the points of his ears. They were sharp; that much he could tell by their thinness and the narrow icicle-like shape. Weight fell into Lance's gut and a bad taste came into his mouth as he glanced to the woman, seeing her ears just as sharp and with most of her hair tucked behind her ears, the points fully exposed. Lance's mind shot back to Lanquim, the town Zidane had first introduced him to. There was someone else like this. The physician, with pointed ears and—

Razalek. The name came to him and drew dark storm clouds into his mind along with it. They're Razaleks.

And for as long as Zidane had been staring out the window, neither of them had looked away.


Zidane turned towards Zooka's call. Without looking away from those still standing across the street, watching, Lance saw in his mind's eye how Zidane's eyes brightened upon seeing her again. He saw how Zooka was standing in the hallway's entrance, one hand holding the caregiver's and the other extending towards him in patient waiting.

Zidane turned back. The Razaleks were gone, leaving no evidence that they'd ever been present in the first place. Zidane slid his foot back, and after another moment's hesitation, quickly went off to join Zooka. 

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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