Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chapter II: The Black Prince

Chapter II: Nelo Maxwell




Roderick sat up in his bed, cold sweat ran down his back like a serpent snaking across a desert. He looked at his surroundings; the bed room was cool and black. He put on his glasses, which were slightly cracked, the light from his alarm clock blinked 8:30. How did I get in my room.

“Roddy?” Natalie’s voice rang out through the hollow hall. “Are you up?”

Roderick rubbed his eyes with is hands. Of course I’m up who could sleep with you yelling like that? “Yeah mom I’m up.” Roderick stepped out of bed and ran his fingers through his hair. Walking out into the hallway he noticed his mother putting on her earrings in a hallway mirror. “What’s the matter why were you yelling?”

“Well, your brother Avery didn’t come home last night, have you heard from him?” She maneuvered her earnings as if they were wires of a bomb, and one false move would set them off.

“No mom sorry, can’t say that I have.” Roderick closed his door. He wouldn’t ask Avery for a molecule of air if he were drowning, so talking to him causally wasn’t going to happen. However, on the edges of his mind something told him that Avery was gone and may never come back.

“Ok well, I’ll call him later I’m going out, love you honey.” Roderick heard her descend the stairs.

Roderick swung his legs toward the edge of the bed, and felt a small tinge in his stomach. “How did I end up here, I was in school, getting my ass kicked by Randy.”

“I made contact with you.” Roderick’s reflection began to speak. “That’s what happened.”

“Contact, but that was a…?”

“That thing in the bathroom earlier, I couldn’t let you get your ass kicked, there’s still so much to do, and my enemies from Scrawl are still on my trail.”

“But Scrawl’s just at story I created.” Roderick plopped back onto his bed.

“Hate to break it to you but Scrawl existed long before you did, you were just taping into the Stasis, I’d tell you all about it, but it’d be better to show you.”

“How are you going to do that?” Roderick raised an eyebrow.

His reflection sighed heavily, the glass stretched out like bubble gum. “I need your body.”

Roderick crawled backward, a sinking fear framing his face. “What’ll happen to me?”

“Nothing, we’ll be sharing the same body.” He shrugged. “Look I can explain better to you once you’ve seen the Stasis.”

“How do I do that?” Roderick’s face calmed a little bit.

“Well you just Sleep” The last word was a voice in his head, and he was out.

They stood at the edge of a stream both on either side. Roderick walked toward the reflection that stood on the opposite side. With each step, he spun taking in the beauty of the new area. The sky was a powder blue and there was a thin haze all around, small green lights twinkled in the distance and the trees blew but there was no wind. Roderick noticed that his reflection didn’t wear, his eyes were silver, his locks were wild and untamed, and from what Roderick could tell, he was very athletic.

“I thought you were supposed to be me.” Roderick raised an eyebrow. “You look different, better.”

“Well I’m more of the other you, from Scrawl.” The smile was normal this time.

“Right, do you have a name; I mean I don’t recall giving you one.” Roderick scratched his head. “I mean it’s mine but I assume you want your own.”

“I have a name.”

“You do, what is it?”

“I’m called Nelo Maxwell back in Scrawl.” he smiled.

“So if I give you my body, what do I get?”

“I’ll make your life better, I’m an Ink Dweller, we have power. Not only that but, I’m charming, I’m witty and I kicked Randy’s ass although you weren’t awake to see that.” Nelo laughed

“About that, what happened?”

“When I’m awake you’re asleep, but you can see what I’m doing and vice versa, but that’s only for now.”

“So will I be like schizophrenic?” Roderick gave a puzzled look.

“No, once this happens I’m you, it’ll be like the conscious and the subconscious or two halves of the brain.” Nelo rubbed his onyx chin. “It’s not like two people in one body, it’s more like a synthesis.”

“Oh ok, so how do we do this?”

“You just walk to the edge of the Stasis and you’ll wake up.”

“Oh ok, whose gonna be in control?” Roderick asked.

“I’ll take over, as I recall you have to meet with Sierra at the arcade, and I know how you feel about her, just leave it to me.”

“Oh ok.” Roderick and Nelo walked to the edge of the Stasis, looking back he watched Nelo Maxwell vanish. Breathing deeply he walked toward the infinite expanse before him.

The sounds of exploding cars and bloody fights filled the air. Lights flashed from machines that prompted their users to dance on time to a beat. He stood still adjusting to the sounds and light

People went head to head on steep highways and racetracks at break neck speeds. If you’d like to kill an hour of your life, take a walk in the park, if you’d like to waste it, hit the local arcade. The Cyber Chest was an arcade and video game retailer that had been around since anyone could remember. All of its patrons were what you expected the younger versions of seedy bar flies that rarely had sex and used date rape drugs to do so look like. Roderick pushed his way through the crowd lining the arcade machines, beyond the smoke and smell of unwashed bodies he’d hoped to find a bit of fun while trying not to get sucked in. Now arcades usually had a high male to female population, that being 99:1, the females that were regulars sometimes made you wonder whether it wasn’t a 100:0 ratio. On occasion, an attractive female did show up and if she wasn’t on someone’s arm, she fell into three categories, Shrew, Crazed, and Rare. Tonight Roderick was looking for one in particular

There she sat staring at the lights of the newest racing game cooling off, from having danced her heart to a screaming pace. Roderick had seen her when he walked in ,hips like you wouldn’t believe and an ass to go with it; her hair was braided in a way that reminded him of tree roots. She wore a fitting novelty t-shirt, and pant’s so tight, you could see the change in her pocket. He brushed his hair in front of his face, to imitate the fashion of the day, his locks perfectly framing his glasses. Adjusting his t-shirt so that the logo on it was clearly visible, he tightened the belt on his skinny jeans to make them look even tighter. Finally he dusted off his sneakers and walked over.

“Mind if I join you?” Roderick stood next to her seat.

She looked up a bit annoyed, but then her eyes changed, lighting up like stars. “Roddy, you made it, I was worried.” She got up and hugged him tightly.

“Why would you be worried?” He hugged her back a bit closer.

“I heard you and Randy had a fight in the bathroom.” She looked at him with a hint of sadness. “And he’s bigger than you…so I was afraid…”

“Well as you can see I’m ok, but enough about that, let’s play some Zero fist.”

“Oh well I didn’t know you were in such a hurry to get your butt whooped.” She laughed.

Zero Fist was a 3D fighting game that both Sierra and Roderick had become acquainted over. On Roderick’s first day, he’d come to the arcade to find some competition. Here he and Sierra ran into each other and preceded to a match, after realizing they went to the same school, they began hanging. They walked up to the game cabinet, slotted their coins and selected their characters, they both picked Caporeia fighters.

“How about we make this interesting, the loser buys dinner.” Sierra smirked.

“Oh, sure, I hope you have enough to spot me though.” Roderick laughed.

The first round she beat him badly inciting combo after combo, but there were three rounds in a head-to-head match and he’d have two more to win. The second round he used a flurry of kicks and acrobatics to throw her off guard and win. The third round would be tough, she didn’t seem at all worried, but he knew she was. Roderick could read people and he’d known from experience Sierra’s little nervous ticks. He watched her lips twitch and knew she was as nervous as he was. She began a simple combo, a barrage of kicks coming for him, the trick to winning would be anticipating her final attack. He waited for her to charge up a finishing blow and attack at the exact same time.

Double K.O.” The voice from the machine blared.

“I guess we’re going Dutch.” Sierra smiled.

“Yeah well let’s go now.” Roderick wiped sweat off of his face.

They exited the arcade out into the cool night air. “You know I’ve always loved nights like this.” Roderick said as they began to walk, the moon hung large in the sky closer than it had ever been.

“Oh yeah, why’s that?” Sierra put her hair in a ponytail using a rubber band.

“Well it’s one of those nights, that makes you want to fall in love.” He smiled taking off his glasses to wipe the fog off.

Sierra looked at him vacantly, as if transfixed by his words. “Yeah, I guess so.” She forced a laugh.

They arrived at a small, Asian restaurant and were seated immediately; the place was almost empty and very quiet. They picked up their menus and looked them over. Instinctively Roderick checked his pockets for the money his mother had given him. God damn it Avery you fuck.

“I’ve gotta go, I just realized I don’t have any money on me.” Roderick got up.

“No, sit, I’ll pay for you.” Sierra had a worried expression on her face.

Roderick sat back down. “Are you sure?”

“Yes now sit and order.” She smiled.

The waiter walked up to them and took their orders, she had shrimp with garlic sauce, and he had broccoli in the same manner. One thing Roderick loved about Sierra, besides the other things, was that she never made fun of him for being a vegetarian. So you only eat plants, it could be worse you could eat people.

“Hey did my remark about the night make you uncomfortable?” Roderick adjusted his glasses.

“What, no, why would it?” Sierra looked around.

“Well you gave me this kind of vacant look.”

“It kinda caught me off guard.” She smiled nervously.

“Well you know I’ve always been a hopeless romantic.” He tented his fingers.

“I know, just not around me.”

“Sorry, I’ll try not to be it so often.” He sighed.

“No, no it’s ok just give a sista some warning before you do it.” She laughed again this one was lighter.

Roderick took a deep breath and thought about, what he came here to do. He hadn’t realized it but once he began talking to Sierra, everything became easier and seemed less depressing. He knew how he felt about her and now thanks to the Nelo persona had the courage to let her know. He reached across the table and grabbed her hand.

“Sierra, would I be wrong if I said I wanted to kiss you?”

She sat stunned; with a look so vast, she could’ve been calculating the expanse of space itself. “N-no.” She said almost breathlessly.

At that moment Roderick leaned across the table and kissed her, a hot bolt of warm electricity, shot from his heart to his brain and nether region at lighting speed. It was as if the longing built up in a two-year friendship had culminated in this kiss. Time stopped and it could’ve stayed that way for all Roderick cared. He pulled back and she stared at him.

“Maybe you should sit next to me.” He smiled

She shook her head slowly. “Y-yeah.” She went to get up, but their orders had arrived.

They were both slow to start they just stared at each other from across the table, then began taking little bites of their food. Roderick had lost his appetite; the electricity had settled in his stomach and refused to leave. The only thing that could satisfy him now was her and he knew she felt the same way. They finally finished and began to walk Sierra’s building was a few blocks ahead and as they walked they said nothing, Roderick listened in the night, he’d thought someone had been following them but wasn’t sure. Looking ahead, he stopped and held her hand for her to do the same.

“What’s wrong?” Sierra looked at him puzzled.

“Shh, someone’s following us.”

“So it’s true, you were cheating on me bitch.” Randy had stepped out from a door way behind them; he had a knife in his hand, his face was bruised and strangely pale. His eyes were bloodshot and he looked disheveled, his cornrows were undone and out of place.

“Randy, what are you doing?” Sierra stood in front of Roderick.

“Catching you and this nigga in the act, just like I knew I would.” Randy advanced toward them. “You may have gotten lucky last time but now, I’m gonna kill your ass.”

Roderick moved Sierra behind him something about Randy was off; it was most likely the effects of their previous altercation. “If you want a rematch we can have it, I’m sending her home though.” “Run.” He whispered to her.

Sierra cocked her eyebrow at him. “And leave you to get stabbed, hell no, we just started something and I’ll be damned if he finishes it.”

“Sierra.” He cradled her face in his hands. “Trust me, we’ll have a lot more time together just get home.”

She looked in his eyes for any sign of hesitation, but he was dead serious, what ever was going on it wasn’t anything she’d experienced before. “Ok, but you better not die.”

“I won’t, I promise.” He kissed her passionately. “Now go.”

She ran away from Roderick and Randy, down the block, toward her building hoping that this wouldn’t be the last time she saw Roderick. They had begun something new and though her last relationship had been bad, she knew Roderick would be different and she’d welcome it. Please live.

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