Chapter Eight- 47, 3, 63

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Forty-seven floors up, third hallway on the left, and the sixty-third room down in the Dwellings Complex. That's where I headed as soon as I finished my night-walk in Burlington. If I was going to start living and enjoying life, I was going to need a few more personal belongings, so I told Ben where I was headed and went back to the Underworld to visit my personal room.

The door unlocked at my touch, and I stepped into my pine-scented room. My bed was in the corner, as it had been for hundreds of years, and it was messy and unmade as I always left it. Rifling through a few boxes of belongings, I began to fill my backpack with any items I especially favored on my trips back home. I found three half-filled sketchbooks, a lyre I'd kept from my days in old Europe, and a box of shading pencils, all of which I shoved into my bag before leaving the room. The last thing I grabbed wasn't something I wanted to carry with me so much as just something I thought would make Burlington feel a bit more like an enjoyable home to me, even for the mere three months and fifteen days I had left. I placed my original copy of the Star Wars: A New Hope poster carefully into my bag and headed out of the Dwellings Complex in ghost form.

When I touched back down to the ground in solid form again, I froze in my tracks.

Thirty yards in front of me, barely visible through the wall of guards surrounding her, was Fate. I'd only met her once, and it wasn't an experience I liked to remember.

I shook the memory from my head as I passed by her and her entourage quickly on my way to the Hall of Portals. Only when I reached my destination did I look behind me; for the thought of having Fate following you was one of nightmares.

The Portal Guard stationed outside of the gateway to world ninety-one didn't bother checking my papers, having just seen my come through it thirty minutes before, and motioned me through. I stopped before entering though.

"Hey, have you heard anything about what Fate's doing this far into town?" I asked the guard. His eyes widened and he turned to look at me.

"Fate is in town?" he asked in surprise. "What's she doing up here?"

"I was hoping you knew," I admitted. "Guess we're all at a loss. You should see the streets now though; they're all but empty. She sure knows how to clear the city."

"She knows how to scare the city, more like it," the guard muttered. "Well I'd come right through that portal with you if I had the choice. At least you can get out of here when she's on the loose."

I nodded and glanced down the hallway.

"Good luck if she comes here, I guess," I told the guard. He shivered and nodded, and I turned away to step through the portal.

Fate was still on my mind when I returned to my apartment, and I would have told Ben about it if he'd been awake. See, Fate coming out in public usually meant something horribly wrong happened in one of the worlds, or that some Reaper was in trouble and more than likely about to die.

I tried to shake all thoughts of Fate from my mind as I unrolled my Star Wars poster and hung it carefully on the wall across from my window. I was going to live now, and thoughts of Fate would only kill my spirit. When I finished hanging my poster, I pulled out one of my sketchbooks and flipped to the first page. It was one of my newer sketchbooks, but I could still tell the drawing was over thirty years old. It was of a sports car I'd gotten bored and rented while on one of my assignments back in the nineteen-seventies, and I laughed at the memory. I hadn't thought much of it at the time- it was just something to pass the time with- but thinking back on it now made me smile. I was already feeling more life in the memory than I'd felt at the actual time of the event, and I decided that I might enjoy this living-for-now plan.

By the end of the night, I had gone and looked through all three of the sketchbooks I'd brought with me and revisited the memories from each drawing. I didn't actually get around to sketching anything new, but I did remember a lot of experiences that I thought I'd forgotten for good. By the time I'd taken the time to ponder on each drawing though, the sun was coming up, and I decided that since I still had school in a few days that I ought to sleep some. So, at eight o'clock in the morning, I went to bed.

-

The first thing I saw when I woke up in the middle of the afternoon was the Star Wars poster hanging across from my window and bed. The second thing was the rain. I smiled broadly at sight and sound of precipitation on my windowsill, as it was something I often missed when I spent time in the Underworld. There was no rain in the Underworld; only dry thunderstorms.

"Yo!" Ben shouted from the other room, making me jump and breaking my train of thought. I rolled out of bed, threw some black denim pants and a hoodie on, and trudged out to the living room.

"What," I said flatly, though it was more of a statement than a question. Ben was hauling something large into the doorway and apparently needed help maneuvering it, based on the strained look on his face. I took my time walking across the room to help him, more curious about how many colors his face could turn than what was actually in the box, and finally took the other end. Together, we lifted the box and carried it to the middle of the living room.

"Now, for the big reveal," Ben said, rubbing his hands together. I watched in mild curiosity as he flipped out a pocket knife and tore into the cardboard. My jaw dropped a bit when I saw the sixty-inch flat-screen TV and sound box inside.

"What the hell?" I asked, stepping forward to get a closer look. Ben smiled triumphantly as he removed the foam from around the TV.

"I won it at a work banquet!" he told me excitedly. "I got entered in the drawing for free because I'm a new employee and won."

I nodded slowly and inspected the sound box that came with it. I didn't know a ton about technology, but it seemed to be fairly high quality.

"Well, I guess it can't hurt anything," I said after a moment. "And it'll sure make your extreme football game more interesting."

Ben laughed deviously and glanced over at the old TV.

"Your time has come, my faithful friend," he told it mournfully.

An hour and a half later, his "faithful friend" was in the trashcan outside the apartment, and Ben and I were sitting in front of the clearest flat-screen I'd ever encountered. Of course, compared to my entire life, televisions were actually fairly new, but this one still blew all others I'd seen out of the water.

"What other games do you have?" I asked Ben after we'd played football until dark. He thought for a moment, before pulling a couple Atari's out of the suitcase he lived out of. I smiled and took the one he handed me while he hooked them both up to some conversion panel on the back of the TV.

"This could be interesting," Ben said when he returned to the couch next to me, and I snickered.

"Interesting to me, detrimental to you," I taunted. And so it was on.

We stopped our twelve-hour gaming spree only to order a pizza and a large Mountain Dew and take pee breaks, and by the time I went to bed at around six in the morning, I'd all but forgotten about everything Karolyn related.

Until I saw the Star Wars poster that her words had prompted me to hang. Only, I didn't kick myself for thinking about her this time; I simply let my thoughts go as they wished as I drifted off to sleep.



---

Another shorter chapter. Remember how I said this book was from like.... Almost four years ago? Maybe five? This is one of the chapters where I can tell a tad bit more. So my apologies XD Someday I'll make it better maybe. It's just short and not entirely complete right now.

Hope you enjoyed anyway!

On another note, V is for Violet is FREE on Amazon June 15-19th, so check it out if you're interested in the complete version of my mafia-romance :)

-Haybails

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