Chapter 8:

Shattering Expectations, and the Closing of Doors

Setting Sun Story: Beta

Tallsoul Residence, Baustas - Arrabelle - 7:30 AM

The cool static air of the morning lingers in through the open double-door windows of Arrabelle’s bedroom. The tasseled fluffy handles of her beige window curtains sway ever slightly behind the flow.

Up and ready to take the coming day is Arrabelle, standing in front of the askew mirror, which points at her entire outfit, cutting off at her neck.

Poof. Fluff. Excess Wow factor. Arrabelle’s work uniform could be described by the kingly minds of old as “fuwa fuwa.”

Her eyes twitch in the questionable unsightliness of the dress. Resembling herself a cupcake, Arrabelle dons a large and wide gray uniform, an apron draping down the awning that Mrs. Painny likes to call a skirt.

“Dear God,” Arrabelle lets out as she looks at her long bare legs, jutting out from the outfit like the roots of a massive redwood.

She picks at the chest region, trying her best to submerge the push-up effect made in the tightening of the area and contrasting white.

Giving up, her eyes focus on something sitting on her desk. A hideous creation that only an insane individual could devise. Against her gut instinct, she takes it up, and runs the band through her hair, topping off the uniform with a black headband; equipped with a fake cupcake of bright pink, sitting barely slanted to the side.

She tilts the mirror up, and inspects the band. Staring back at herself, the Arrabelle in the mirror shakes her head honestly.

“I’ll change when I’m there,” She says nervously, before ripping off the uniform and dressing herself in something drab.

Collecting everything she needs, she leaves the room.

In the sitting room just past the hall, Arrabelle finds a blond ponytail attached to the back of a head looking outward into the park. Deep in meditation, Taron ignores the presence of his daughter. She does the same, quietly stepping past him onto the stairs.

She takes a quick glance as she steps down into the dining room at the shut yet observing eyelids of a killer. One that could only be titled a ‘hero’ by the already corrupted powers that be.

The crimson beads open, already trained on her, just as she exits the floor. Making her way to the entrance, she hears her father’s voice.

“Arrabelle!” Taron calls out from upstairs. Arrabelle drops her shoulders and yells back, looking up to the ceiling.

“What is it?”

“Speak to Zalach!” He commands in short, unexplained bellowing.

“Wh- I have to anyway!” she retorts, finding his sword lying against the wall.

Without another word, she heaves the blade over her change of clothes, and opens the door, using her forearm to keep everything afloat. As she does so, she’s met with a surprised face, and a hand already at the other side’s knob.

Erin, face darkened from a lack of rest, is waiting outside.

“Uh, morning,” he says, unprepared.

Arrabelle shuffles past him onto the porch.

“Hey, was that you idiots making all that noise last night?” She asks.

“Y-yeah, sorry, but we got somethin’ bad to deal with,” he responds in a grim tone.

Confused with the seriousness, Arrabelle cocks her head momentarily, before continuing onward.

“Is your father home?” Erin asks behind her back as she sidles down, watching the stone steps from the corner of her eye.

“You couldn't hear his shouting from the other side of the city...? Yeah of course, go on in,” she says jokingly.

Erin steps through the frame behind her, and she is left only more concerned as she hears, “Captain! We have something urgent!” from Erin before the door shuts.

Pushing it from her mind, Arrabelle steps forward onto the road, hauling the load. She looks up to the East, taking in the bright ruby dawn. For the first time, she walks on to something new. 

Unobstructed by her blood, unobstructed by her childhood, she takes a chance on a different world.

“Today begins the first day of a normal life.”

Baustian Library - Adam - 8:00 AM

“Today begins the last day of my life, doesn’t it?”

The Old Baustian Library is kept behind a massive gate of black metal. It sits atop the pathway that runs beside the West main road, and opens every morning just before the Sun rises.

Leading up to the entrance of the library is a massive garden full of exotic and most likely endangered flora, outlining a beautifully interlaced brown brick path. Outside of that, and a maintenance tool shed, the compound of the library is mostly empty, as if construction was abandoned, leaving the building to feel aged and often eerie before its time.

Adam is sure to cherish this walk, possibly the last of its kind. He takes in the detail of every step. That feeling of entering into a place without time. As going beyond the gate and hearing the sounds of the city washing away, being met with the well kept garden, and seeing the slow decay of the Library’s stone baking in the red sky is unequivocally jaw-dropping.

The paradise promised by these days will cease.

Even here, Adam allows a melancholy to eat away at what normally fills him with hope. Every single day for the past few years, behind those doors he believed would lie evidence of wonder.

Why did I give up in one night?

11:00 AM

Behind those doors is indeed where he finds himself. The interior carries the feeling of the compound’s contradicting decrepit wear and perfection of beauty tenfold.

Beaming in with long rays right down the center of the building is the light from the stained glass. With vibrant greens and purples that almost counter the filter of the Sun’s light, the glass tends to, at least to Adam’s own imagination, act like a spotlight.

Many days, though without any positive results, it leads Adam down a spree of collecting and flipping through books at which it points. These books, the worn down and dusty residents of the library, are packed some forty feet high, lining shelves that run clear up to the convex of the ceiling.

The rest of the library’s features are pristine. With dark green carpeting and bright wood shelving and tables, if this place were empty, it would feel as though it were just erected.

The front third of the building is built as a hall, tabling runs along the South end to the left, while a single desk behind which always sits a Deacon-Librarian runs along the North.

Before the hall expands into a giant rectangular room filled with storage every couple of feet, a large staircase extends upward just behind the librarian’s desk.

The second floor hangs over the first like a balcony, drawing light from high and thin Westerly windows. It is where one can commonly find Adam taking a break from organizing and cleaning.

He leans over the rail, studying the particles that bathe in the morning’s dull glow, spiraling in whatever way the stagnant air wishes. He holds his finger in a closed book, marking his spot.

Climbing the stairs, and coming up beside him, is an old librarian, one Adam knows very well.

“Finding anything interesting today?” The old man squeezes out with a coarse breath.

Adam calmly slides his eyes to the old man, far removed from his regular jumpiness. He feels at home here.

“Just like any other day,” he responds plainly, yet somehow cool.

The librarian reaches under it, and pulls at the spine of the book with his ring finger, inspecting the title.

“Ah, another account of the Chaos birth?” He asks, “Looking for one last answer, are we?”

“Mhmm. I guess so,” Adam says, his voice falling softly into his fear. “But it’s just the same old story again.”

“One of the many ways to ingrain it’s meaning into our people,” The librarian responds sarcastically.

Adam questions the inflection, but decides not to ask, as the cryptic tone of the librarians usually doesn’t lead to any help.

“I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to read about this… I just want to find something on the old world,” Adam says, shaking the book in frustration.

The librarian smiles and nods as he walks behind Adam’s back, pacing to his other side.

“The worlds of yesterday and today are bound by nothing but the memories of their people. Does that make sense to you?” The old man asks, eying the boy inquisitively.

Adam shakes his head.

Nodding once more, the librarian takes Adam by the shoulder, leading him down the balcony hall to the stairs.

“There is no sense in fearing the next day. For the memories are not yet written, and no dream is out of the question,” the librarian continues, sure that Adam will understand.

“But I know what comes next… it’s hopeless now.”

“Such premonitions! Surely you must be a higher being!” The old man jests.

“You guys clearly know something, why hide it? You know I have to leave here by tomorrow! I mean, what does that have to do with these books?” Adam asks, tapping the cover of the old scripture.

“I can’t reveal it. I will say that perhaps keeping your head down in pages of the past, may hide the journey to come in the future.”

“What’s the point?!” Adam exclaims.

The librarian steps down, and takes his place behind the desk. Adam drags his feet to stand opposite him.

“If we gave you the answer, what point- would you have in existing at all?” The librarian asks.

Adam pauses for a second, his face frozen in thought. He gives up, leaning himself down on the front desk.

“You’re just messing with me!”

“Life often feels that way, doesn’t it?”

“But you have the answer!”

The librarian doesn’t respond. He seems to let his mind drift into space, putting a finger to his mouth.

“Someone once said to view the world from another’s shoes,” the librarian says slowly, clearly toying with Adam.

“Fine! View it from mine! I get led on some… chase- everyday! I find nothing each time!”

Ignoring him, the librarian continues as if Adam hadn’t spoken, “… wearing the wrong sized shoe can be bad for your feet.”

Adam’s eyebrows sink as nerves explode in his brain. The topic of conversation changes.

“So, you are planning on leaving us?” The librarian asks, referring to Adam's prior outburst.

Adam takes a moment to respond.

“I told my mom I was still thinking about it…” he says finally.

“But your decision’s already been made?” The librarian guesses.

“Not like I have a choice.”

“You certainly do, but I think you know the other outcome wouldn’t have been helpful,” the librarian pushes.

Adam laughs in defeat. He always knew.

“It’s not like the walls were ever going to drop for me. Not like I was something special. What, the doors are gonna cave when I ask them? How stupid could I be to think such idiotic shit? Destiny my as-” Adam is cut off.

A low boom drops dust onto Adam’s head from the high rafters. He and the librarian both look at each other. The librarian’s eyes are deep, and a smile remains on his face, as if he were prepared for that feeling.

11:05 AM

The doors of the library explode open as Adam rushes out into the courtyard. The librarian follows close behind.

As he looks upward, millions of butterflies parade overhead.

He blinks. The red sky seems to twitch and shake. Not butterflies… but millions of blue lights, like hot flame carving into the hue of the sky. A bubble getting ready to pop.