I guess what really got me was the day Jane died. I mean, sure, there were other things I should have worried about-- bullies, maintaining my grades, my baby sister, but nope. What bothered me more than anything was that my best friend had just died.
It just so happened that she was a cat. But, at the same time, Jane was really the only person that knew me for me. She was special. She had been since the day I picked her up off the street when I was only six years old. Now here I was, the week before my senior year in high school, and Jane wasn't here anymore.
I thought band camp would have helped me. I guess you could say I was a pretty decent clarinet player. I mean, yeah, I was a little full of myself, and I wasn't the best marcher in the band, but sometimes making people think you were more confident than you were made them think you were more talented than you were. Of course, there were always the two people that didn't think you were worth a shit, and well, this year my ex-best friend had joined that club. When she heard about Jane, she called and talked to me, but the next day she pretended I didn't even exist.
Without my cat I wished I didn't exist.
I guess that's why I was walking through the alley. In my mind, I thought I would find another cat just like Jane. You know how after you lose a pet, for a while you're okay but then you just want another bone to fill the void in your heart? That was me, and even though it was pouring the rain, I had faith I would find another kitty out roaming the street.
My hounds tooth Toms were soaked in water. Every few steps I would wind up in a puddle, but it was all paying off, because at the end of the alley sat a small kitten, walking in a circle and yowling. I ran up to it, feeling the blood rush to my cheeks, and grabbed it. I closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of it's fur, but when I opened them back up, instead of holding the kitten, I was marching in a band, just like at school. The only difference was that I didn't know any of these people here, and for whatever reason, I couldn't control a thing I was doing.
"Watch where you're going!" one guy yelled as I rammed my body into him.
"Have you ever played a day in your life?" a girl asked when I squonked out a wrong note. I averted my eyes to see a man sitting in the conductor's chair. He was whiter than snow, if that was possible, with a bald head and a sharky smile. He was wearing a red suit and opaque black glasses. I also noticed that he was much longer than a normal person, and I could tell from ten seconds of looking at him that there was no way he was human.
I noticed his hands right off the bat. His long, pointed fingers weren't necessarily conducting, but when he would point at a specific person, they would be directed out of the form or into another person. For whatever reason he kept picking me to fail.
The entire band halted, but I kept walking backwards until I finally fell. The group surrounded me, other than the man up front.
"Looks like we have a newbie," somebody said.
"Definitely a newbie," a girl with a bobbed haircut replied. I had complete control of my body now, but something inside me told me not to run, and I listened.
Somebody spit on me. "What should Syndee do to this one?" someone said with a cackle.
Is Syndee the conductor?
"Worse than he did to us," somebody replied.
A girl with heart shaped sunglasses poke up. "I think he should take her sight and her voice!"
A guy with scars all over half his face went next. "I think he should take her beauty."
"Or rape her!"
"Beat her up!"
"Cut off her legs!"
"Turn her into a man!"
"Steal her heart!"
Everything started mushing together in a cacophony of suggestions that all ended in my demise. Had this guy really done all these things to these people? I looked at everyone around me in panic, curled up in a ball, and screamed. "Stop it!" I yelled, but the people just got louder and louder. I repeated myself again and again. This had to be a dream. There was no way any of this was real. I covered my ears, but somebody pried my hands off and threw something at me. As a matter of fact, everyone started throwing things at me, and I was just sitting there letting them do it.
"Stop," a calm voice said. He had a Russian accent, the voice did. I lifted my head up and looked the crowd as they began to spread out. The conductor made his way through the crowd. Every eye was on him. He kneeled down beside me. Even then he towered over me, and up close, I wondered if he even had eyes under his glasses. "Are you okay?" he whispered. All I did was nod.
He turned to the crowd. "I don't think it is up to you to decide how I torture my guests."
Great, he was still going to torture me.
"And for that each of you will have a beating tonight. Just because you work in my home does not mean you are any higher up than the rest of the people here. Now, go to your quarters," he ordered.
The two of us were alone now. I was shivering and had my face cupped in my hands.
"It's okay," he said. "I don't have any plans of hurting you any more than you deserve, and I think that was enough. I bet youre wondering where you are right about now."
"Dreaming?" I managed to cough out.
"Oh no, Poplar. This is very real."
How does he know my name?
"You're in the Siniverse. I'm Syndee, and I'm over this place."
"Siniverse?" I asked.
"It's a different dimension than what you're used to. The cat you picked up held a portal to this world. You're here for a reason," he said.
"What is the reason?"
He smiled. "You'll know sooner or later. Just remember--" His smile faded,
"Why didn't you hurt me like them?" I asked. "Some people said you raped them. Other people said you took things from them like their limbs or senses. Why not me?"
He stood up and helepd me to my feet, smiling ever so slightly. "Because I like you. Now, I have to get going. I have an appearance to make. Just keep walking straight. You'll find your quarters."
And like that, he was gone.
I did as he said. For whatever reason, I trusted this guy, so I kept walking straight until I found a lttlke bunk room. There were rows of rooms just like mine, all of which held people as they slept. As I pulled back my blanket to sleep, I heard a scratching noise at my door. When I opened it, a small kitten was sititng on the floor holding a note. It read:
The kitten is for you,
There's a reason behind everything.
With love, Syndee.
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