A slight rap on the door caused Granny Chive to jump from her knitting. Who could it be? Who might it be? Images of her husband’s death slipped into her mind, so did everything whatever she had been trying so hard to forget in her life: her children’s’ death, the death of everyone in her family as well as her in-laws. She was almost accustomed to death, having lived in a village where death was not something unusual and spending the rest of her live in an accident-prone household, witnessing the tragic deaths of her husband and children. Her oldest son had died of rabies, according to the doctor. Her second child, this time a daughter had died of an infection, according to the wise herb woman. The third one had absentmindedly wandered out just when a hurricane was nearing and he was found about twenty miles away in a meadow with broken bones. He was paralyzed soon after and died just one and a half decades ago due to a brain tumor. Her fifth child had died in a car accident, the sixth dead due to drink-driving. The seventh died due to taking too much alcohol and drug abuse. The eighth, Silver’s father, had died of serious dengue fever while working in South-east asia a few years back. Her last son, the triplet’s father, had died of malaria and some other diseases. He had caught dengue but was lucky enough to survive it but then diabetes struck him and so did stroke caused by stress at his workplace. He died at quite a young age, 34, if she remembered well enough. Her husband was one of the casualties in a terrorist bombing on a shopping trip when they were on a holiday. Death was something familiar to her but she did not want to lose not another one child, relative or friend to death. They had every right to live their lives to the fullest, just as she had done. The pain of seeing another go was hard to bear. She carefully padded to the door and peeped through the key-hole. It was only Silver. But who was Silver carrying? She glanced at the color picture of a strawberry blonde boy in her pocket. So it was the boy who was going to stay at her house for some time. She unlocked the door and led her grandson in. He had led such a life, skipping grades when he was still in school, dealing with so many of his relatives’ deaths and his parent’s death; his father dying of malaria and losing his mother in a matter of seconds when a drink-drive motorist collided into mother and son. The lad was naturally more protective of those around him, though he did not show it and was quiet by nature, in contrast to his flamboyant red hair. His silver eyes matched his name and his normal dressing style only seemed to highlight his pale complexion as well as hair color. He stopped walking and put the boy down onto the couch before withdrawing a cerulean credit-card sized card with the electricity symbol on it. Then he slotted it into the power board. The room brightened up immediately and her old eyes adjusted themselves to the light in the living room. In their room, the triplets were playing their Atari which had been passed down through three generations. The trio, especially Garfield, could never get enough of the games and they were always searching for ways to hit high scores and stuff like that. The town itself appeared to be trapped in time but actually had some cutting-edge technology in its systems and households. Nostalgia was present in every street and corner of the town, wildflowers bloomed even in the harshest winter and happiness radiated off every living creature in sight, even the plants that grew by the roadside seemed to agree. A town like this would have been bustling with tourists if not for its climate; summer was as cool as early autumn and it was on high ground so not many tourists favored this place, though it was a popular stop for hikers and mountaineers to replenish their supplies before heading for the wilderness. Vintage was one word to describe it, but another was home. She had found a home here, a home though far away from the village she grew in but rich in history and everything ignited long-forgotten memories in her. Moving here after so many years of struggling in a small flat made her come to love her life and live it to the fullest. The town bloomed economically thanks to the hikers as well as nature. Nature had provided everything for the town, especially letting the town thrive in business, attracting amateur hunters during hunting season and those who were willing to set up families or business here.
She had come to know of the boy’s background thanks to Serge, the friendly man a few doors away. Finnian, that was his name. His mother had disappeared and his father had died of a parasitic infection when parasites broke out. His father was a pioneer in science, having made his debut in parasite research and environment wellness. His father, together with a team of scientists, had set up an underground laboratory and a base where they could test out the fossils and DNA of several different insects and plants. The research was a success but the results were not as expected. They had been mostly parasites and prehistoric versions of everyday insects and plants, all housed in their base. After his father’s death, his assistant took over and not much has been heard afterwards. The boy, lay on the couch, his body gaining back warmth as well as colour. Then his eyes flittered open and Granny Chive couldn’t help but gaze in awe at his teal eyes that held more life than she had ever seen in her very own children. Her entire family had silver or grey eyes, varying in shades. The triplet’s father’s eyes were slate while Silver’s father’s was silver-ish grey and to admit the truth, Granny Chive had almost never seen any life in their eyes. The triplets had inherited the eye-colors on their mother’s side and Silver’s eyes were silver but had faint hints of light azure in them which made them seem full of mystery and…you guessed it, life. As illogical as it seemed, Granny Chive believed that the livelier their eyes were, the higher the chances they would live for long. The next thing the boy did was to smile. The room’s atmosphere was lifted tremendously and there seemed to be a second sun in the room. Granny Chive watched closely as the sides of his lips curled to unfold a smile that was neither deceiving nor unnatural. It took her a while to recover from her daze to actually hear what the lad was saying.
“So…you are Finnian?”
“Yep! The one and only!” He grinned
“Well…let’s see…the Serge bloke says that you’ll be sharing a room with me. Not all, just a laptop, bathroom and table. Yep, that’s everything except the bed in my room. Save for the mattress and Gameboy advance. It’s on the second floor.” Silver turned to the staircase and Finnian beamed.
“You know…your house looks vintage on the outside but quite high-tech in the inside to me…” He stared at the power card in the power board as well as the funny-looking junk just by the door.
“We use power cards to save on our electricity bills and the card holder there is for keeping tab on our cards. Except for the door, almost every door in our house has a electronic lock in it, something like a thermostat but can give static shocks to an unwanted intruder or limit people who can enter the room.”
Finnian blinked at what Silver had just said before taking out almost the exact same device that Serge had entrusted Silver with. Then he sprinted up the staircase and waved at Silver once he was at the third floor.
“It’s kinda empty in here! There’s only one room with the gadget you mentioned…there’s a room with a sliding door and then a balcony…” He yelled down.
“Wrong story, it’s on the second floor.” Silver over-calmly stated. Finnian actually sprinted down the stairs and once again waved at Silver.
“I’m going in~!” He sang as he swung his arms and headed in the direction of the door. Silver practically shot up the staircase and unlocked the door. “What’s the hurry?” Finnian blinked at the room with great curiosity sparkling in his eyes. Silver sighed before retrieving a small cardboard box and handing it to Finnian, who emptied the contents onto the mattress nearby.
“Towel, brush, clothes, socks, shoes, journal…and what’s this?” He held a small Gameboy console to Silver. His expression changed almost immediately and he sighed.
“Darn it! Thanks for helping me find it, Finnian. Been searching forever for it, didn’t know it was here.” Then he went to the table and kept it in his drawer. “Hey, Finnian, you don’t know this place or town, do you? I’ll show you around then.” He stood with his arms akimbo and handed Finnian a small computer chip. “For your device, Mr. Serge says. You’ve got no contact function or map function, right?” He winked at Finnian who checked his device and nodded. “Let’s start the tour shall we?” Silver turned and looked at Finnian expectantly. He nodded eagerly.
“Tour De Silver’s house, START!” Silver fist-pumped the air. Then he led Finnian out of his room.
“This is the triplet’s room and this is the drawing room, the one with the Japanese-style sliding doors.” Then he darted up the stairs. The third floor had a relaxed air like the previous floor, together with a sliding glass door leading to a tiled balcony as well as a room with sliding closet doors. “You have the storeroom here,” Silver said pointed to the room with sliding closet doors,” and the balcony where we hang clothes as well as relax.” Then he darted up the staircase once again. “This is where the guest rooms are, as you can see.” The rooms had a dignified air in them, amplified by the gold filigree wallpaper. Silver shuffled over to one of the rooms and opened the oaken door, letting the molten gold rays of sunlight spill onto the crimson carpet lined with a cheery yellow from the room’s magnificent Victorian sash windows as well as carpeting the furniture in the room with a golden coat. Finnian’s eyes widened at the sight and Silver gave a brief nod before continuing,” This is the first guest room, namely the White Lilac Guest room, the previous owner’s master room.”
The room was painted with a soothing shade of apricot with a snow queen-sized bed with fluffy white duvet and pillows, a small bedside table painted a glossy white accompanied by a vintage bed lamp of the same color and a small vase of white lilacs as well as a gold- framed nameplate set neatly on the table. The next room they entered was decorated Japanese style, save for the door. The lavatory was covered by a sliding screen door, followed by a large closet with various items inside: yellow pages, cloth hangers, power cords, sewing kit, first-aid and et cetera. The room was more modern, with rolled up futon, or Japanese bedding sets neatly placed at a corner of the cream-painted room with a low table. A small Japanese lantern hung on a holder and a porcelain ashtray was placed on the table and four sitting cushions were laid by the table. It was more comfortable too, not extravagant like the previous but still, it had its unique essence. By the table set a porcelain tea set and a container of tea leaves as well as a small device of sorts. It was only when Finnian went nearer did he notice it was a high-tech watch, probably a recording device. Only when he pressed it he noticed it had been a clever skin indeed, a small game of sorts. Then he presented it to Silver who sighed once again and kept it in his pocket. Once they were out of the room, he asked, ”What was that? And the console I found earlier on?” There was a faint hint of nostalgia in Silver’s facial expression before he turned to Finnian and smiled eargerly.
“I used to play a lot in this room, so figured that Kan would hide it here the last time he played took my stuff. I’m sure he gets a real nice reward later on, hehehe…” Silver’s eyes glinted in a sadistic manner and Finnian found himself shivering. “Umm…can…we, err… get downstairs now?”
They walked down the stairs in a silence that was comfortable and Silver had Finnian to do his own unpacking. Finnian was staring at the room, admiring its beauty. It was simple, indeed, but it had a beauty that was unique to it, the beauty of those simple. The abstract beauty of the decoration allowed space for thought, recreation and many others, unlike the exquisitely decorated guest room he had seen earlier on. Finnian could see, as well as note the beauty of the light azure blue colour on the walls. Diamond, that was its name. He cast a sweeping glance over the pictures on the table; baby pictures, family pictures, New Year reunions and Christmases. There were many more, but one caught his attention. A red-haired boy of approximate six years of age stood smiling by his parents, a grey-eyed man in his thirties and a blonde woman in her early thirties. They were a happy family, smiling. The device in the boy’s hand was similar to the console he had found earlier on. The boy was Silver, when he was young. As Finnian looked at the other pictures he noticed one thing: Silver’s parents(he had assumed) were gone from the picture, first being his father, replaced by three extremely young children, assuming they were the triplets. Then his mother, assuming the woman was, was replaced by the granny he had seen. He entered the bath room and lathered the body wash onto his hand. Who could they be? He sighed as the lukewarm water rinsed his skin, erasing the coat of grime he had been wearing for the past few days. What could have happened? No… he couldn’t waste his thoughts on such things…no…
Someone had knocked on the bathroom door. Silver stepped in. “It’s been quite long you know, Finnian. Is anything wrong?” Finnian stared at Silver with blank eyes. Then he sat up straight on the tub. He turned to Silver, who had confusion written all over his face. Some question marks were popping out of his head, even. Finnian suppressed the urge to laugh. No, no, no. Don’t laugh. No. Don’t. I have more important things to do. To tell Silver. To ask Mr. Serge. To find Ma, Pa. No, finding ma and pa was a long dream, just like Silver. Just like him. No. No. Pa! Ma! Ugh! I hear voices… Silver….
Finnian jolted awake. Silver was there, looking at him. He was no longer in the bath. Warm blankets covered him. He would not forget, not this time, not this time. ‘You would forget, wouldn’t you?’ The voice of that darned woman came in his mind. No, he could not scream, would not scream, not matter how painful the memory was. He had to focus. Just like Ma and Pa always wanted him to. No, he would not cry. He had to become stronger… ‘I’m sure we’ll just finish off his legacy by removing this weakling,’ came the woman’s voice again. Weak. He always was. Ma and Pa… Professor… Two were down, probably three. His entire fault. Weak, causing so many to be hurt or sorrowed. Now they were involved. Mr. Serge had said he couldn’t do it alone, on his own. He wanted to prove…he wasn’t weak. He wasn’t inept. But doing so, many would be hurt. Sorrowed would many be. All his fault, once again. But…
“Hey! What’s wrong?”
The girl…her auburn hair, crystal blue eyes…
The violin she had in her hands. She was playing it.
No,no,no. He had to tell. He had to keep his mind clear of all obstructing thoughts.
“Yeah?” His eyes were full of worry now.
“Is Serge here?” He had to speak to Serge now.
“Yes and why?”