Beyond The Flowers
“We can’t trust him—“
“We can’t trust him—“
“Row 6. 4th Grave. Row 6. 4th Grave. Row 6. 4th Grave. Row 6. 4th Grave.”
Leonardo burst his eyes open, quickly sitting up on his bed. He had had a bad dream, but couldn’t seem to remember anything from his dream.
The boy got off his bed, the rest of the boys still asleep. He looked to the bed next to his, Arthur sleeping soundly. He was about to wake him up but hesitated at the sight of him comfortably sleeping. He decided not to.
So, Leonardo proceeded to walk out of the sleeping area and to the lounge, where he found Marceline sitting down on one of the chairs.
“Good morning.”, she greeted him as she noticed him walking towards her.
“You too”, he said, still feeling sleepy.
“Did you sleep well?”, she asked
“No”, he quickly answered.
Marceline let out a chuckle, “Was Theo snoring?”
Leonardo nodded his head, smiling at her as he sat down on a chair opposite to her.
The two of them didn’t speak to each-other, not knowing what to say, until finally Leonardo spoke, “You said you didn’t know your last name. What’s that mean?”
“Isn’t it obvious? My parents abandoned me at a young age. I was found on the street somewhere or so Miss Anne tells me.”
Leonardo asked, “Miss Anne?”
Marceline nodded, “She owns this place, takes care of us and stuff. She hasn’t been here for a while though, so Benedict’s usually in charge.”
“There aren’t any other people who work here?”, Leo inquired.
Marceline shook her head, “Hasn’t been since the day I got here. This place isn’t too much of an Orphanage, it’s more like a home. Miss Anne has basically adopted us all, we don’t get put up for adoption or anything like that.”
“What about Mary? She said she was familiar with this place, but she has-, well, had parents.” Leonardo asked.
“She— she didn’t get adopted. She ran away”, Marceline said, looking sad.
“Why? Why would she run away from here?”, Leo asked
“She had a quarrel with Miss Anne, and, she wasn’t exactly- mentally stable back then”, Marceline answered.
Leonardo stopped asking questions, nodding his head.
“So—, what about you? It’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to talk about it, but, what exactly happened? Why are you here?”, Marceline asked.
“I don’t know”, he answered.
“What do you mean? It happened when you were there. You should know.”, she said, eager for him to answer.
“I said I don’t know.”, he answered.
Marceline sneered, “Listen. I know you’ve been through a lot. But, we need information. Two boys who experienced a Camellian attack suddenly show up to our home, you can’t possibly expect us not to ask you questions.”
“I don’t know what happened—!”, Leonardo barked.
“Marceline”, a male voice echoed in the lounge. It was Benedict.
Benedict walked up to Marceline, leaning down. He whispered, “Not now. He’s been through a lot, wait a few days.” What he said was inaudible to the other boy.
Marceline nodded, “Sorry”, she said to Leonardo,
Leonardo shook his head, “It’s alright.”
Leonardo had barely gotten any sleep. He had exited the room, and sat on the stairs outside of the Orphanage.
And he cried.
He cried until he felt like he couldn’t let out any more tears. It had taken the young boy a day to process what had happened to his beloved parents. He had always been close to the both of them, but now they were gone. He blamed himself.
What if I had left at night to go get them? Would they have still been dead? It’s my fault, it’s my fault, it’s my fault, it’s my fault, were the only thoughts going through his head.
After a few hours of staying outside, bawling his eyes out. He got up, absolutely hating himself. What if he hadn’t listened to Arthur? If he had gone for his parents that night, maybe they would’ve been alive today.
He entered the room, his eyes red, it was obvious that he had been crying.
After a while of staring aimlessly at the roof of the room, he fell asleep, waking up only two hours later.
It was noon. The children had finished having breakfast and sat together in the lounge. Aiyla obviously sat with Arthur, busy braiding his hair in twin pigtails.
“The Camellia are a group of revolutionists, their specific goal is unknown to mankind, but we know that they target adults”, Benedict suddenly said, looking at Arthur and Leonardo with a serious look on his face.
“They don’t attack people between the age of their birth to twenty and pregnant women. However, there have been cases where they have murdered children who retaliate against them in cold blood. Whether they don’t attack children because they feel sympathetic or whether they have a certain goal doesn’t matter. They’re evil.”, Benedict continued.
“Why are you telling us this?”, Leonardo asked.
Benedict disregarded his question, continuing. “Their blood red eyes enhance their strength, agility and intelligence. They’re strongest during winter nights. Hence, the name Camellia, since the red Camellia flower blooms during the winter. Confirmed by eye witnesses, it’s said that victims have froth bubble up in their mouths, but no injuries. The reason for this is unknown as none have currently seen a Camellian murder someone with their own eyes. A weakness to their powers are yet to be found. They can change their eye colour, or so it’s said, so there is no way to differentiate them from normal human beings as of now.”
Leonardo felt shivers up his spine, an image of his parents dead bodies flashing through his head. He went pale.
“And so, we’re going to get rid of them. I’m explaining this to you because we want you to join us, Arthur, Leo”, Benedict declared.
Leonardo froze, he had already thought of his answer.
“I’ll join you.”, Leonardo gritted his teeth, feeling nothing but hatred for the so-called Camellia.
Arthur, however, hesitated. He didn’t want to join them, not at all, it was too dangerous, he thought. But, after hearing Leonardos answer, he also agreed, “…Me too—“
Benedict grinned, pleased with the two boys’ answers, “Well then— Training starts in a week.”
“Why’d you say yes, Arthur?”, Leonardo asked the other boy, with obvious concern. The two boys were sitting outside together on the stairs. The orphanage was isolated, two forests on either side of it, with an empty road in front.
“I want to be with you”, the boy answered.
“It’ll be dangerous”, said Leonardo.
Arthur nodded, “I know”
Leonardo sighed, “You don’t have to join for me”
Arthur spoke, “They hurt Mr and Mrs Francis, it’s not just for you, Leo”
“Alright then”, Leonardo said. Leonardo sounded hurt.
While Arthur and Leonardo were having their conversation outside, Aiden confronted Benedict inside.
“Are you sure about them? I mean, Leonardo looks fine, but Arthur doesn’t look too capable. He looks rather weak, it would only slow us down”, Aiden said.
Benedict chuckled, looking at the concerned boy, “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. We have Aiyla with us as well, she’s young but she’s also proved herself. Arthur can do it as well.”
Aiden sighed, “Alright. How long do we have anyways?”
“Two years at the most”, Benedict responded.
Arthur and Leonardo got off the stairs at the sound of horses galloping. Two familiar faces came riding their way, it was Jade and Adam, along with someone else. They stopped at the sight of Leo and Arthur, Adam giving them a soft smile as he walked towards them. Jade, however, didn’t look too pleased. The other person who came riding with them was a tall male, he looked older than Jade and Adam, maybe in his mid-twenties, he had a few hairs on his chin and brown hair, tied in a ponytail. His ponytail reached a bit below his shoulders. Pale ivory skin and dark green eyes. He walked behind Jade and Adam.
“Good afternoon.”, said Adam.
“Good afternoon”, Leonardo responded
The other male looked down at Leo and Arthur, giving them a crooked grin as he spoke, “Name’s Javier Pierre. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise—“, Leonardo responded, “—I’m Leonardo, he’s Arthur.”
“Let’s head inside”, said Adam.
The five of them walked inside, where Benedict and Aiden were sitting down together, talking about something which looked like it was important. They paused as they saw the five of them enter the lounge.
“Sir! Adam, Jade!”, Benedict said, looking excited for some reason, “It’s been a while”
Aiden looked at them, waving awkwardly.
The man named Javier greeted them and sat down on one the chairs, “So, Anne’ll be back soon?”, he asked.
Benedict nodded his head, “She will. I received a letter from her yesterday, she said she will be arriving in a few days or so.”
Javier looked pleased, “Where’d she go?”
“Business trip, she said. I’m not too sure either.”, Benedict replied.
Javier nodded, “Where’s Aiyla?”
Benedict pointed to the stairs leading to the second floor.
Javier nodded as he proceeded to walk up the stairs Benedict had pointed to.
Aiden decided to leave as well, entering the boys’ sleeping area.
Jade followed Javier upstairs.
Adam walked up to Benedict, whispering, “Did you talk to the boys?”,
Adam looked at Leo and Arthur, giving them a dolorous smile.
Aiden and Tyler were polar opposites. Yet, they sat together, ate together, slept together, and barely spent any time apart. They were twins, so this seemed inevitable.
The two boys were sitting together on the same bed, close to the window in the boys’ dormitory, talking.
“Do you like them? Leonardo and Arthur, I mean”, Tyler asked
Aiden opened his mouth to talk, but stopped himself. He didn’t seem to have an answer.
Tyler gave the other boy a smile, “Arthur reminds me of you.”
“How so?”, Aiden inquired.
“His behaviour. When he arrived, it reminded me of the first time we came here. You had the same look on your face. You were barely able to hold in your tears either”, Tyler put his hand on Aidens shoulder, seemingly trying to comfort him.
A smile formed on Aiden’s face, “Thanks.”
“What for?”, Tyler asked, letting go of Aiden’s shoulder.
Aiden didn’t respond.
It had been five days since the attack on Festern and the news was spreading across the entire country. Fleur and Lyna walked into the boys’ dormitory where everybody else was sitting too, except for Adam, Jade, Javier, Mary and Benedict, the four of them were outside, waiting.
Fleur had a newspaper in her hand and a grin on her face.
She looked down, beginning to read it, “Festern, a small village situated next to Durnic, has been invaded. Was it the Camellia? King Ubel Pentra has yet to make an announcement.”
Lyna rolled her eyes, grabbing the newspaper from Fleur and taking a look at it herself, “God, that man is useless.”
“Well, one thing’s for sure—“, Benedict began to say but was interrupted at the sound of Mary barging into the room, “We caught one”, the girl said.
Everybody paused, looking at her with a tint of confusion in their faces.
The girl shook her head, “I— I mean Miss Anne did, she’s here.”
Everybody besides Leonardo and Arthur quickly stood up, eager to meet the popular Miss Anne Leonardo and Arthur kept hearing about. Leonardo and Arthur got up soon after the others did, exiting the room where they saw Adam, Javier, Jade, Benedict and the tall ginger haired woman by the name of Anne. She was slim and her wavy hair flowed down all the way to her waist.
“When I left I only had nine children—“, Anne smiled, “—now I’ve got two more.”
“Good- good afternoon!”, Leonardo exclaimed.
Anne chuckled at his nervousness. She didn’t look old, maybe in her mid-thirties, she then looked over to Arthur, her expression changing. She had a more soft look on her face.
“What did you mean, Mary?”, Aiden suddenly said, completely ignoring Miss Anne’s arrival. He looked agitated, eager to find out the answer to his question.
Mary nervously looked over to Anne.
Anne nodded at her, “A Camellian is what I caught”, she said, her smile remained on her face.
“Bring it in”, she said to Javier.
Javier nodded, walking outside.
When he came back inside, he was dragging a blonde haired girl with him. The girl had shackles on both her arms and legs, with a gag in her mouth, the girl was looking down so none of them could really clearly see her face.
Leonardo was horrified, That’s a Camellian?! But, she looks normal…, the boy thought.
Javier yanked her head up.
The blonde haired girl’s red eyes glistened in the room. They looked deadly but at the same time, harmless. She had a sad, tired expression on her face and looked young. Very young.
Leonardo looked towards Arthur. Arthur’s mouth was agape, he looked absolutely petrified as if he…recognised the girl.
“What? What’s wrong?”, Leonardo asked, looking at Arthur’s scared face.
“That’s— my sist—“, Arthur stuttered but before he could finish, the entrance to the Orphanage banged open and in entered three tall hooded figures. The only thing visible of their faces was their blood, red eyes.