Safety: Part 2 of the Pay Day Trilogy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Jake and many others begin noticing Celina displaying unusual behavior. Dal suggests for Jake to talk to her. Jake grudgingly complies, but he's in for a surprise...

Submitted: September 10, 2012

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Submitted: September 10, 2012

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I left Celina’s room with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I didn’t like having it, but the taste was so oddly satisfying. I felt as though I were going to throw up, then lap up my own barf off the floor like some kind of animal right afterwards. I said nothing and walked rapidly back to my room in Group 3’s hall. I flopped onto my bed and tried to get to sleep quickly, hoping to wash away the thought of Celina’s blood in and around my mouth. But nothing liked to go my way as Robert entered my room with the crimson toxin around his lips.

“What are you doing up here?” he asked.

“Sleeping,” I responded bluntly.

“Dude,” he said, “You have got to look at what Dal’s doing downstairs! He has like, magic abilities!”

“What?!” I asked, truly surprised.

Robert escorted me out to the hall where I saw Dal surrounded by the other members of Section B and also Section A. They all seemed really impressed about something. They were all cheering him on to do whatever it was he did again.

“Ok, ok,” he said, “Last time though.”

I watched in moderate surprise as he raised his hand toward the empty end of the hall. Slowly, a fireball, about three or four inches in diameter, materialized in his hand. With a flick of his wrist the fireball blasted itself toward the wall. Showoff. To make a clear message, I fired one of my own, at least 3 times bigger than his, at the same wall leaving a large scorch mark.

All eyes were on me now. I looked at Dal in disapproval.

“You know very well what I think of all of this,” I said.

“And I think you are just complaining about what little you have,” he said. “Would you rather be dead?”

“As a matter of fact,” I reply, feeling a pointed pupil on me, “I would.”

There were many hushed whispers among the crowd as I stood atop the gantry above everyone else. Dal decided he would try to play with me by firing a quick flame toward my face. With a slight wave of my fingers it bounced away and onto the ground like a child’s toy. The hushed whispers got louder as I walked back into my room, callous about the day in general. Within minutes, Dal was back to showing off the powers he’d gotten from our Double Bonus for Pay Day. I didn’t care. I just went to sleep, where I didn’t have to worry about anything.

As the sun sets, I know my time allotted is running short. I begin my run back home, not wanting my parents to know that I’d been out. I run like I always did. The running itself also seemed to allow me to feel more free. It was another simple pleasure I had in life; one that I overlooked, mind you, but would miss greatly if it had been taken from me. I make it back home just in time to catch a movie with the family.

Waking up this morning was the same as any other day, nothing special about it whatsoever. We got up, walked out of our group halls, into the Grand Hall, and into Celina’s throne room. Celina immediately began listing off the jobs for the day.

“Group 1,” she announced, “Laundry. Section A on Drying, Section B on collection and redistribution, Section C on washing, Section D on rinsing.”

The usual fourth of the crowd went to the laundry room towards the left.

“Group 2,” she continued, “Working with me for the day. Section A cleaning the Grand Hall and this room, Section B in my room, Section C hunting, and Section D cooking.”

A third of the remaining crowd all went in separate directions, toward their workplaces.

“Group 3,” she continued, “Cleaning the halls. Section A on Group 3, Section B on Group 4, Section C on Group 1, and Section D on Group 2.”

I followed the rest of the crowd, feeling a pointed pupil on me. I whirl around rapidly back towards Celina.

“…something the matter?” she asked.

Looking Celina up and down before responding, I spoke, “N—no.”

“Get to work then,” she said.

I obeyed Celina and finished my walk back to Group 4’s hall.

Cleaning it was no big deal. Group 4 was known for being a very nit-picky group, keeping everything as clean as possible. Thus, every four days, our laundry felt as though it had been handled with great care, every four days, our halls would be cleaned to near pristine condition, and every four days, our food would be the whitest possible meat that was available. We watched as Celina walked out with Group 2, Section C to go hunting. I turned around to see how far we were. Only one room was left. After that, we had to do the higher walls of the hall. After some time, Celina came in to inspect.

“How are we doing?” asked Dal.

“Wonderful,” she responded in a low, monotonous tone.

Dal paused before responding, “You don’t sound like we’re doing wonderful.”

“Oh,” she said, her tone changing, though I, and many others probably, could tell she was faking her usual happiness, “I’ve just been thinking a lot.”

“About what?” asked Dal.

“It’s… well…” she stuttered, “um… never mind.”

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” she responded.

“Are we missing something?” he asked, “We could—”

I SAID DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!” she roared.

Dal grew very white.

“Oh,” said Celina, apologetically now, “I didn’t mean to frighten you like that.”

Not a peep was heard from Dal for the rest of the day. As Celina finished examining our room, she left in a bit of a hurry. Only I noticed the moisture in her eyes, and it was only I that the pointed pupil rested upon as Celina hurriedly left our hall.

The rest of the day was uneventful. We had turkey for dinner, Celina eating hers raw as always. I went strait to bed, my mind simply filled with boredom and anger at this life that I was forced to live. I escaped to my dreams, where life was simple and happy.

I wake up the next morning after watching a movie the previous night with my family. I stretch and yawn, today was going to be a good day. More summer vacation, and no one to stop me from having the time of my life. I invited a friend over and we both played on the trampoline. Neither of us could bounce that high, do any kind of somersaults or stunts, but it was fun nonetheless. Nothing could stop me when there was not a care to be had in the world around me.

But now was different. I had to care as the bell rang. I had to care as I put my other set of clothes on. I had to care as I walked into the Grand Hall. And I had to care as Celina gave the description of everyone’s jobs for the day.

“Group 1,” said Celina in an unfamiliar tone, “Pay Day. Group 2, Laundry. Section A on Rinsing, Section B on Drying, Section C on Collection and Redistribution, and Section D on Washing. Group 3, working with me, Section A on Cooking, Section B on Cleaning the Grand Hall and this room, Section C in my room, and Section D Hunting.”

I walked over towards the Great Hall along with my sector to wash the Grand Hall. This task was a bit more difficult then most the other work because these two rooms were very tall, and we had to get every inch of wall and ceiling in both rooms. Celina didn’t usually have much trouble grading our work because we were always just doing what we were told and not being disobedient, unlike that one young man who sweared up a storm and received the honorable “Stab-to-the-Throat” Award for his actions.

Once we finished the easily reachable sections of the Grand Hall, we had to get the ladders out from their usual corner between Group 1’s smelly hall and the Throne Room. We all continued working at a normal pace, nothing unusual going on today; just another day in Celina’s cave. I began my work in the Throne Room since my Grand Hall section had been completed. All was peaceful, until all of a sudden, a loud crashing sound reverberated from the Grand Hall followed by an ear-piercing male scream.

It wasn’t long before Celina was out of her room, her wrist dripping blood, and on the scene. She lifted the large ladder off of the young man and picked him up off the ground to examine his injury. She carried him back to her room and told us to continue our work. I did not object, though sometimes I wanted to. I resumed right where I had left off and Dal made up for the work of our now absent member. When I finished, I felt a pointed pupil on me as I went back to our hall to take a nap before dinner. This was my life and there was no changing it.

When dinner came around, I wasn’t surprised by the once again carnivorous diet we were given, or by Celina’s wish to eat it raw. But today, she didn’t seem as willing to devour her meal as she usually did. I wasn’t the only one who noticed her lack of enthusiasm in eating though.

“She seems depressed lately, doesn’t she?” said Robert.

I paused a while before speaking, knowing I wasn’t feeling much different from her at this point, “Yeah.”

Dal spoke up, “I think you should talk to her,” he said.

There was a long silent pause.

“Um,” said Dal, “I meant you.”

I looked up, finally realizing that he was talking to me.

“Me?” I asked, “Why me?”

“Well,” he said, “in case you haven’t noticed, Celina seems to favor us in many situations.”

“Gee,” I said. “Maybe because we actually get sh—”

I felt a pointed pupil on me as I recalled the rules spontaneously.

“…stuff done right.” I corrected myself.

“Yes, but what about those other times, when she just seems to treat us better, like when she gave us a bonus when we got her room organized ‘perfectly?’” he asked.

I had no response.

“So…” said Robert, “She likes us?”

“No,” said Dal, bringing his hands together and allowing his fingers to intertwine between each other, right in front of his mouth almost as though he were praying, though his eyes remained open, “I thinks she favors someone in particular.”

Another long pause of silence followed.

Ahem, I said, I think she favors someone in particular,” he repeated.

I looked up again, realizing that he was once again talking about me.

“Wh— What?” I asked, in complete shock.

“Yeah, I think she likes you, J—” he said, cutting himself off as I shot a glare at him, “Sorry.”

I eased off of him as I interrogated, “What makes you say that?”

“Um, dude,” he said, “have you noticed that she stares at you all the time?”

I felt a pointed pupil on me.

“No she doesn’t,” I said, trying to lie to avoid the whole complication.

That was one thing in all my time here that I’d learned: avoid complications. Anytime things get complicated, things get ugly, and someone almost always winds up dead.

“Seriously,” he continued, “I can’t count on my fingers and toes how many times she looks at you.”

“So that’s more than twenty?” asked Robert.

“Actually,” I said with a sneer, “more than nineteen.”

Robert glanced at me in a look of confusion, which quickly turned to surprise as the realization dawned upon him.

Dal chuckled, “I’ll show you later. And you seriously need to talk to Celina.”

I shook my head, objecting Dal’s request “No, no that would just make things complicated.”

“Is there anything wrong with complicated?” he asked.

I just glared at him again. There are two kinds of people in the world when it comes to finding patterns: people who see them, and people who ignore them, seeing them as coincidence. Dal was the latter of these two. I know he’s seen multiple occasions while we’ve lived in this cave where things became complicated, which lead to serious problems and disarray. And all Dal could do was laugh my glare off.

“Just give it a try,” he said, “You never know.”

He left before I could retaliate, leaving me alone at the table. The loneliness was dashed once again by the feeling of the pointed pupil. I trembled in its presence. It seemed to stare right into my innermost thoughts, piercing through me like a dagger to the heart. It felt as though it were dipping me into a tub of ice, sending chills down my spine. I shook my head violently, trying to shake off the feeling, but it would not release its deathly grip. I made one glance at Celina.

Suddenly, the feeling vanished, my body grew warm again as the pointed pupil seemed to disappear. Celina was busy picking through her meat, something I’d never seen her do in my lifetime. Something was wrong with her. Dal was right, she needed someone to talk to, and it seemed that I was the perfect candidate.

I waited until long I was finished with my food, after many had already left the grand hall, until Celina seemed to be finished with her food before I approached at long last.

“Uh, hi… Celina…” I said nervously, not exactly being the type to try to willing to talk casually with the one who was in charge of everyone here.

“Hello, Jake,” she said sincerely and casually, though her attention was still averted from me, focused on picking at her meat some more, though there really wasn’t much else to get from it.

A long silence followed as I just stood in front of her. She continued picking at the black parts of the meat, seeming dissatisfied with it. The long pause quickly became awkward. She was faster at fixing this than I was.

“Don’t you hate when you can’t find a half-decent piece of food around here?” she asked.

“Um, yeah,” I replied blankly, having never enjoyed the food in the first place.

Celina finally looked at me.

“Is there something you wanted to talk to me about?” she asked.

I looked around haphazardly before speaking quietly to her, “I don’t know if it’s just me, but you seem to be acting a bit off lately.”

She stared at me blankly, as though she had no idea what I was talking about. After a short pause she gestured with her head, telling me to follow her to her room; clearly this was something she didn’t want to talk about publicly. That made two of us. She led the way with me right on her tail, wanting to be out of plain sight as soon as possible. In a few seconds that passed like hours, we were within her room. She laid horizontally on her bed, looking right at me.

“I have been feeling a bit off lately,” she said.

“Oh,” I said, “Um, may I ask why?”

Her head drooped a bit onto her bed as she spoke, “I feel so lonely, like nobody cares about me.”

I knew this wasn’t true, everyone cared about her.

“We do care about you Celina,” I said.

“Oh really now?” she asked in a half-sarcastic tone.

“Well yeah, we do all that work for you,” I explained.

“In exchange for my blood,” she interjected.

“Well, yeah, but…” I tried to object.

Celina smiled and shook her head, “‘But’ what?”

I remained silent.

“See what I mean?” she continued, “Everyone here only cares about getting their share of blood, they have no interest in me.”

“That’s not true,” I said, suddenly covering my mouth, feeling I’d said too much.

“Oh?” she rolled onto her back in an almost playful fashion, tilting her head upwards to keep her gaze upon me, her bright blue eyes freezing me to the spot.

I said nothing and shook my head, dismissing what I’d just said from the conversation. She got off her bed and looked me deeper in the eye.

“Jake, are you scared of me?” she asked.

I remained silent.

“Answer me this, Jake, what could I have to gain from telling everyone about a secret that you would rather left unheard of?” she asked.

I said nothing, rage burning deep within my heart from the continued use of that name.

“All I’m waiting on is for you to say what is on your mind, Jake, I won’t say it for you, you have to do it yourself,” she said.

Another long pause transpired until I finally spoke, “I hate drinking your blood.”

Celina simply giggles, “Now, was that so hard?”

I sighed in relief.

“My big question, however, is, why?” she asked.

I was appalled at her response. Why do I not like drinking her blood? Perhaps because it’s just wrong? I could not believe she was asking this.

“Gee, I don’t know; maybe because the concept of drinking blood in general, let alone yours, is just sickening?” I asked facetiously.

Celina pondered further, “Are you not grateful that you are able to continue living off of it?”

I snorted disgustedly at her, how dare she!

Celina chuckled, “That’s not what I was asking anyway. What I meant is, if you don’t like drinking my blood, then why haven’t you killed yourself already?”

The question was cold, yet clear.

“I…” I stuttered, not knowing what to say.

“It doesn’t take much thought for someone to figure things out from there, now does it?” she said in a tone unfamiliar to me, not that I disliked it.

“Wh—what?” I asked nervously, confused about what she’d said.

Celina chuckled once more, “Your patience will be rewarded, Jake, you will see.”

Though the conversation was unnerving, I pressed just a little longer.

“So, um, you feel lonely?” I asked.

Celina giggled, “Go back to your room, Jake.”

“O—okay…” I said, even more confused than before as I walked out of her cozy room a pointed pupil gazing all over me.

As I walked back to the hall, I eyed the scorch mark on the wall. The events from a few days ago filled my head. Am I just being ungrateful? Am I not thankful for the little I had? Was I lucky to be alive? I shook my head at my own foolishness. What did I have? Nothing. Not a damned thing on this planet, nothing to look forward to. I went back to my room and slept, wishing for an easy way to escape other than death, where I could return to my old life in a place other than my dreams, though I knew such a concept was not possible.

But when I slept I did not dream. At first it felt like it, but it was too odd or surreal to be one of my usual dreams. All I knew was that I heard quiet whispering directed toward me and I felt this odd pang to do everything that it wished.

“Get up, Jakey,” it whispered softly.

I felt myself slowly get up, my body under the sway of powers beyond my understanding.

“Good, now, come with me,” it hissed gently, “Follow the sensational sound of my voice.”

I walked blindly through absolute nothingness, my mind numbly obeying every order.

“Yes, this way,” it beckoned quietly.

I turned this way and that, doing everything the voice commanded. I saw nothing; it seemed to lead me through an invisible maze, though the route seemed oddly familiar. After a while, I stopped. Whatever surface I was now stepping on was softer, as though I had just changed from concrete to grass or grass to mud. I’d prefer the first of these two transitions, but I had no way of knowing.

“Down over here, sweetie,” it resounded softly.

I heard the voice coming from down a bit lower to the left. I felt a pointed pupil upon me as I reached my hands downwards in that direction and found a very soft, comfortable surface.

“Aren’t you tired, my sweet, little Jakey?” the voice teased. “Sleep here, you have nothing to fear.”

I mindlessly lowered myself onto what must have been a very comfortable bed. I laid my body there gently on its side, not worrying about the thing that now rested right behind me.

“Yes, my sweet Jakey,” it ushered, “I would never hurt you.”

I felt something slightly cold lay on top of my body, though there was not much weight to it, as though it were being suspended by a larger mass, such as the one that existed directly behind me at this particular moment. The pointed pupil scrolled all over me, examining every aspect of me. I don’t mean only my physical attributes, but also my inner values and thoughts. It was as though it had the ability to pierce right through me and see everything.

I felt the air around me get a little lighter; almost as though a weight that was holding me from my own conscious had been lifted as the voice spoke again.

“Rest here with me, Jake,” it said, “If you do not fear death, than you have no reason to fear me.”

The air slowly got lighter and lighter as I slowly became more aware of the pointed pupil that seemed to feed off of my emotions, increase its own happiness by devouring mine. The voice hummed contently as I suddenly became aware that the cold object atop my body was a large, white, scaled wing.

I leapt out of the bed rapidly, escaping the beast’s clutches just in time.

“No!” screamed the voice as the scaled beast lunged towards me.

I evaded it rather quickly as the scene slowly inched more and more into view. Everything in this room had a touch of brilliance to it. There probably wasn’t a single thing that wasn’t an antique.

“Don’t hate me, my sweet!” yelled the voice apologetically as the beast grasped my entire body in its clawed hands.

As I slipped out I slowly came to noticing something shining on top of a nearby dresser. I couldn’t tell what it was, but I felt it might be useful.

“Please, Jake!” begged the voice, which was beginning to sound oddly familiar, “Love me! Please, I only want someone to share deep emotions with!”

The beast jumped in between me and the antique dresser and tried to sweep my legs with its tail, which proved to no avail as I jumped off of it and rebounded off the beast’s head. I grabbed what turned out to be a dagger atop of the dresser and landed safely on the bed once again, pointing it directly at the beast, the entire scene almost clear now.

“Please, Jake,” she said, “I don’t want to have to hurt you.”

As I retrieved my last bit of consciousness, I spoke to the beast, only now recalling its name.

“Celina!” I yelled at her, “What the hell is wrong with you?!?”


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