Chapter 13:


Curiosity Killed The Cat

The days were not going by smoothly for poor Kothur. Things were getting worse for him in all directions. My. Dunnock was often calling him to meet other important people. This stressed him. Veith told him the experiment was going well despite Soline experiencing some side effects. That stressed him. All these things reaffirmed his feelings of powerlessness. He truly believed there wasn't anything he could do but go along with things that didn't sit right with him.

There was another reason for Kothur’s stress lately. Mylise had been missing work more often. It worried him to think about her in such a dangerous position. He hadn’t even gotten a chance to talk to her again. There was something about her. He thought about her again and again even though he felt he had no right to.

His whole head was also beginning to hurt regularly and the sudden scene changes weren’t going away. It felt as though his body would crumble soon. He didn’t know how much longer he would last in this state. He’s tried his best to hide it, but he didn’t know if anyone suspected anything already.

It was his day off today. There was nothing for him to do. He lounged on the couch, the only piece of furniture in the room. The walls of his apartment seemed to only exacerbate his bad mood. The world outside seemed to be doing even worse. There was no future to look forward to. Would his parents be proud of him like this? He grabbed at his hair and grit his teeth.

I can’t do anything right! I can’t do things that should be easy! Even with this cursed eye! It would have been better if-!

No! Stop thinking like that. Not everything’s all bad, right? I should be grateful for the life I have at all. I’ve come so far, they said. It’s only through their pity that I can live with Reohn here in peace. Everyone else is struggling. We are lucky.

Kothur suddenly looked towards the kitchen. I know. I should drink some water. That’s healthy, right? That’ll make me feel better. I don’t think I’ve eaten today. He got up from the couch and made his way to the kitchen though his legs were weak. He placed a hand on the counter to balance himself. He was out of breath already, but chose to ignore it.

He reached out to grab the glass he usually used to take his medicine, but his hand was shaky. It fell out of his hand before he could fill it. The sound of the shatter made him flinch. The appropriate reaction he felt would be to sigh, but he couldn’t help but laugh. He crouched down to pick up the pieces that spread over the tile floor. One by one the shards collected in his left palm.

He focused on the simple task. It was what he should do right now. His right hand carelessly reached out into his blind side. It was sliced by a large piece of glass he couldn’t see. The pain made him cry out and drop the ones he managed to gather. The cut was deep; drops of red were already beginning to spread out on the floor.

He couldn’t figure out what a normal response would be. Panic? Cry? Another laugh came out instead. This is ridiculous. He stood up and clutched at his hand. He didn’t have any bandages here; he would need to go get some. The sharp, throbbing pain kept his mind more grounded. For that, he was thankful. Perhaps another strange response, but he didn’t care.

He brushed his hair with his left hand, trying not to look at himself in the mirror too much. He wanted to pretend that he looked normal despite how he felt. It was cold outside. He gently put his black coat on and his gloves even more carefully. Luckily, the bleeding had mostly stopped. The sting continued, however, forcing him to keep his hand still as he walked.

The afternoon cool air felt nice. Kothur followed the path in front of him. He couldn’t think of much right now, but he still didn’t feel all there. The increasing number of people around made him anxious. He turned his head down to avoid looking at anyone. There’s no way I can go to the store like this, he thought. I should just walk around until I feel better. With no particular destination in mind, he veered off towards the forest.

It wasn’t until he ran out of pavement that he stopped; his head still lowered. Now what, he sighed. The cold had made his hand a bit numb and was feeling better. He should just go to the store and go home.

A female voice called out to him. “Hello, Kothur. I thought I would find you here.”

Kothur quickly turned around to see Mylise in her casual attire. He couldn’t believe it. Why was she here? He couldn’t even get a greeting out.

She walked closer to him. “It’s so nice of you to come to the spot we last met. You’ve been thinking about me quite a bit, haven’t you?” Her blue eyes shone at him. Her expression was as mysterious as ever.

Embarrassment overcame him and he took a step back. His couldn’t meet her eyes as he responded. “Just wanted a bit of fresh air. I’ve been worried about you, that’s all.”

“How kind. The truth is, I wanted to see you, too. I think our chance to have these little conversations is coming to an end soon. I’ve been waiting here a while. I thought you might not come. I’m glad I stuck around.” A smile formed on her lips.

“Why were you waiting for me?”

“Hm. There’s something about you. I can feel it.” She put a hand on her chest. “You’re hiding something.”

His breath caught in his throat. His heart started to race. This wasn’t good. He felt cornered. What did she know about him? He didn’t know what to do. He flinched when he tried to move his hand.

She seemed to notice and moved closer again. “What happened to your hand?”

Kothur was glad for the change of subject. “Oh, I accidentally cut it on some glass earlier.”

She inched closer again with that, staring at it. He carefully took off the glove to show her since she seemed so interested. He held his hand in front of her. The bleeding had stopped, but it was still fresh. Her eyes were so focused on it. She put out her hand as if to hold his; it was practically touching him. This situation is so weirdly familiar. His heart was still pounding. The adrenaline forced a crazy idea in his head.

He forcefully clenched his fingers around the gash, clawing it back open. The pain made him whine. He opened his fingers to show her. Blood came dripping out once again. Though his gritted face, he saw her smile at the sight. He remembered now. Ah. Haha. He was right. There’s no way this girl isn’t related to the one he met when he was a kid. How absurd.

Mylise pulled her hand away and swiftly brought her mouth to his ear. Her voice was whisper soft; it made him shiver. “No matter what happens from here on out, I hope you can stand by my side.”