Monday, 24 February 2014

Chapter 18 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

We are standing frozen in the dark alleyway faced by three vampberrys.

All three of the vampberrys are just standing perfectly still and staring directly at me, River is right next to me and gripping my arm tightly, but they are not showing the slightest interest in River, it is me all three of them are intensely staring at.

I wander for a moment if these are vampberrys from back home who have caught up with me, Jazz has told River we should be pretty safe now, he doesn't think there are any vampberrys following us from home and there are no dens in this town or the surrounding area because the sun is too hot for them ... these three vampberrys shouldn't be here ... so what is the reason for them being here? ... it has to be me.

I can feel myself starting to shake slightly as I wait for one of them to make a move.  Me and River are both just frozen to the spot, there is nothing that we can do but wait for them ... to turn out the lights ... and I know it's going to be painful, I've already nearly had my lights extinguished once.

If we move it might provoke them into making a move, if we try to run I know we are never getting very far .... there isn't anything that we can do to get out of this ... there are three of them and three of us, Storm is okay, but me and River don't stand a chance ... we are done for, I just know it!!!

We seem to be standing there for ages ... it feels like time has frozen with us, my nerves are jangling just waiting for them to do something ... what are they trying to do prolong the agony?!

I'm not sure my nerves can take this suspense of them staring and not moving.  I feel like if I make the slightest movement, even daring to blink, that is when they are going to pounce.  I almost prefer what happened to us in the vampberry den, it was so quick we didn't know what had hit us, there was none of this waiting and wondering WHEN?!  If they are going to do it they may as well get on with it ... I really can't see us getting out of this ... if this is IT ... then better they do it quickly.

"STORM HELP!!"  I shout because I don't know what else to do ...

Even with Storms help this is going to be impossible, I know he is stronger than they are but Storm can only do so much, he is not superman ... he can't fight all three of them and keep them away from me and River all at the same time.  We might have stood a chance if we had our wooden stakes with us but we don't ... we never expected there to be any vampberry's in this town, or we would never have been out during the hours of darkness, we have only just started to relax and stopped looking over our shoulders for them all the time ... now see what has happened ... we are stood facing three of the damn creatures ... we are doomed!!!

"Don't worry Tap ... I'm onto it"  he shouts as there is a sudden flash as Storm flys past me taking one of the vampberry's with him.  They start fighting right behind the other two vampberrys who still aren't reacting, not even to Storm taking their mate ... they are too wrapped up in continuously staring intensely at me.

"Is it me Sam ... or is he totally silent?"  The one vampberry says to the other, pointing in my direction.  The vampberry, who's name I now know is Sam, is frowning at me, he looks really puzzled.

"Yes Don, he's totally silent, I can't even hear his heart beating."  Sam stands there scratching his head.  Suddenly Don pokes me a few times in the chest with his icy cold finger, almost like he's very wary and nervous of me, like a child would poke at something that they have never seen before that they are very unsure about.  Well isn't this just comical ... they, the blood sucking vampberrys, seem to be nervous of ME!!

The two vampberry's exchange another confused glance.  The vampberry called Sam sniffs the air  "I can't smell him either!!  How odd is he??!!  I thought I was going mad for a minute!!"  The two vampberry's glance at each other again and I can't really read the expressions on their faces.

I suddenly realize what is going on ... I am confusing them because they can't smell my blood or hear my heartbeat and thoughts ... they haven't done anything yet because they are very confused by me - just like Jazz and Celeste were the very first time they came across me.

These vampberrys couldn't have been looking for me, or they would have known all about me and just faded me straight away.  These two vampberrys are definitely confused and don't understand me, they were probably just out hunting for food ... they have never come across anyone like me before and it has thrown them!!  They are trying to work out what I am!!  But I know their confusion isn't going to last for long ... they will do something eventually.

I can't take my eyes off them, like they can't take there eyes off me while they are trying to work me out.  I feel like I'm standing here holding my breath as I wait for one of them to make a move ... strangely I can feel myself relaxing a little, I'm not as scared of them as I thought I would be if I ever had to face one again ...  even if I don't like the thought of what is probably coming to both me and River unless Storm can pull off some kind of miracle ... but if they stall for long enough Storm might just be able to take out two of the vampberrys before the third vampberry gets a chance to go for either me or River ... I have a little hope that at least one of us might survive this!!

I keep catching glimpses of movement in the corner of my eye as Storm continues to knock the defenseless third vampberry around the alley way, I'm now willing him to hurry up so that he can come and take out the second vampberry.  I'm surprised that the other two haven't reacted to this, they are not attempting to help their mate or even act like they know or even care about what is going on behind them.  Actually, what can they do to help their mate ... nothing!!  They can't touch Storm, he's ethereal, all the vampberrys can do to save themselves from Storm is run and hope his doesn't catch them.

"He just spoke to that spirit too ... this one is seriously not normal!!"  the vampberry called Don leans a little closer towards me  "You just spoke to that spirit didn't you boy?"  he snarls at me   "How can you see him? What are you?"  I just stand there ignoring his questions, hoping somehow I might be able to stretch this out a little to give Storm a little more time.  I feel Rivers grip tighten around me as he moves really close holding onto me, I can feel him shaking so I put my arm around him ... his movement attracts there attention, they look at him but only for a second then the two vampberrys suddenly exchange quite a shocked look with each other.

"Impossible!!"  Don says as he leans even closer to me then looks at River again, poking him like he had poked me not long ago, I seriously don't understand all the poking that they are doing, what exactly does that tell them?  "Now they have both gone silent! ... I can't hear either of them now can you Sam?"  he looks back at his mate, who shakes his head and agree's we are both totally silent to him now too.

What?!  How can we both now be silent to them?  Me and River look at each in confusion as the two vampberry's study us shock and confusion clearly written all over their faces.

They try to seperate us, one of the vampberry tries to pull me away from River, his ice cold fingers dig painfully into my arm as he tugs me away.  River is determined to hang onto me so the vampberry hits River quite hard, sending River flying away from me, I watch as he smashes into the wall and hits the alley way floor with a thud.  I try to get to him, as he's just lying sprawled out on the floor looking winded and totally dazed, but the vampberry just holds me back from going anywhere near River.

The two vampberrys stand there for a second even more confusion on their faces as they look between me and River then start talking among themselves  "I can hear him again now ... it's like the silent one has just totally hidden his mates from us ... !!!"  I watch River slowly picking himself up off the floor.

"Mate ... we are seriously out of our depth with this one ... I think we need to take the silent one back with us ... he isn't right ... this is definitely one for the originals ... I think they will be VERY interested in the silent one ..."  they smile at each other almost like they are gloating ... like they think they have just found something wonderful that is going to earn them brownie points with the originals ... little do they know I've already been seen by an original and she was so scared of what I might be capable of, all she wants to do is fade me.

This worries me, not only do I not want to be taken by them to another vampberry den, but I'm worrying more for River's safety, if they take me they are not just going to leave him go free, they are going to fade him so he never tells the secret of their existence.

"Hold on Sam ... is he even mortal?"  They start frowning at each other again.

Suddenly the vampberry who already has a hold of my arm, grabs for my wrist lifting it to his mouth and tears his sharp teeth through my flesh, I winse with the pain as his pointed fang leaves quite a deep cut in my arm.  The vampberry turns my arm over and holds it up ... we watch the blood start dripping from the deep cut he has made just above my wrist.  He licks the blood slowly off my arm, just the feel of his cold tongue slithering over my skin makes my stomach turn.  "B negative like his mate ... he's mortal alright!!"  the vampberry says as he drops my arm.

Storm is now standing behind them alone, the third vampberry has disappeared, I presume and hope that he has disposed of it.  Storm is trying to catch my attention, when he sees he's got it he points at me, then to his eyes, then at the vampberry, then he points quickly between the two vampberrys and runs his hand across his throat.

Our own brand of sign language has always been one of our specialties, especially when we are plotting stuff in the middle of a fight or behind an adults back ... its the way we always used to communicate without having to use any words that could be heard  ... I get what he's trying to tell me straight away ... he's telling me to do that eye contact thing on the vampberry, and I think he's trying to tell me to get the vampberrys to fade each other or themselves.

Nice idea Storm, but how am I going to do that, unless he realizes he will have to hold the vampberry down and still long enough for me to actually do it.

The vampberry sees me smile and shrugging at Storm so he spins round to face him

"Spirit ... what is this boy? ...  he is not an ordinary mortal ... how is he communicating with you ... how does he even see you? ... what is he? ... we can't tell he's blocked off from us?!"  he growls at Storm.  I wander why neither of the remaining vampberry's have even noticed let alone commented on the third vampberrys disappearance.

"He's just a normal mortal mate."  Storm says to him quite calmly, he calls him mate, which reminds me of our first encounter with the vamperrys on our travels, when he was talking to one outside our motel room window, pretending to be his friend to help keep things calm  "Look through his eyes mate and you'll see he's just an ordinary mortal like the other one!"  I laugh to myself, I can see what he is trying to do, he's trying to get the vampberry to make eye contact with me.

The vampberry turns back round to studies me for a moment then he grabs me firmly by the chin ... and I think he's stupid enough to fall for what Storm said so easily ... River tries to lung at the vampberry, he can't hear Storm so he probably thinks the vampberry is about to drain me, he doesn't realise that he's just looking into my eyes.  The vamperry just swipes River away effortlessly and I hear him crying out in pain as he goes flying into the brick wall again, even harder this time.  The vampberrys both laugh as they glance at River who is sprawled out on the floor moaning, I presume he is saying something in his head that is amusing them both.

I wasn't impressed when the vampberry ripped off my glasses and I heard them hit the floor, now I'm done for because I can hardly see past my nose without them.

The vampberry leans towards me as his cold fingers dig painfully into my face, our noses are virtually touching, I can feel his cold breath on my face, I can vaguely make out his face, but I can see his glowing eyes as they are looking into mine, I laugh in my head, he's trying to go through my eyes just like Storm told him too, he's just made the biggest mistake of his sorry life!!  I hope!!!

I wait for what's coming ... that strange sensation burning behind my eyes ... and it comes ... straight away I say in my head  "LEAVE THE MORTALS ALONE ... FADE YOUR VAMPBERRY MATE ... THEN FADE YOURSELF!!" I shout angrily in my head.  I see his eyes start glowing brighter as his face starts to move away from me ... Man I hope this works!!!

The vampberry lets go of my face suddenly and just stands there doing nothing at first.  I can barely see him, feeling like a blind bat I crouch down and scramble about on the floor feeling around trying to find my glasses.  Luckily I find them quickly and put them on, thankfully they are not broken.

I freeze for a moment as I see the other vampberry has a hold of River and it looks like he might be thinking about draining him, he has him hoisted up in the air, River's feet are no longer touching the floor.  Storm flies in a blur towards River knocking the vampire flying across the alleyway and River falls to the floor, Storm quickly grabs River pulling him out of the way as the compelled vampberry flies towards them.

I was beginning to worry that the eye contact hadn't worked, it had taken him a while to react?  I start to relax a little as I watch the two vampberrys who are now facing each other ... they stand growling at each other quite nastily.  The compelled vampberry flies at his mate taking him across the alleyway and smashes him into the wall so hard dust and small pieces of the wall start flying around.

As I watch them start fighting each other, I think it might just have worked!!! River who is now back up off the floor moves towards me awkwardly, grabbing me and tries to pull me away.

"What just happened, what did you just do?  Why are they fighting each other?"  River asks confused as he glances towards the fighting vampberrys, so I tell him about what I'd said during the eye contact, he laughs momentarily because his mind is on other things "Storm that wooden fence, get us a few pieces"  River shouts at Storm

"Forget the wood we should just run while we've got the chance!!"  I say to him wandering why he wants to stay here and see this through.

"We can't ... we need to dispose of those vampberry's they know about you ... we can't let them leave here, they were planning to take you to the originals ... if either of them get away, they will tell them about you and we are seriously going to be stuffed!!"  I can't help but notice, the expression on his face, he looks like he's in pain.

"If this works neither of them are going anyway but disintegrating!!"  I laugh at him

We stand and watch as the two vampberrys are smashing each other around the alleyway, dust and rubble is flying around everywhere making us cough, at times it feels like the whole alley way is shaking under our feet.  We start backing away a little, sometimes they are getting a little too close to us for comfort.  As I watch them fighting I'm starting to worry ... what if the vampberry I compelled loses this fight?! ... then what are we going to do?!  I am praying that one of these vampberrys are disposed of in this fight then Storm can sort out the last vampberry ... I think we might just be okay!!

Storm is now back and has two strips of the wooden fence which River snatches, to him probably out of thin air, and hands me one.  It doesn't take long for the one vampberry to finish off the other one who has now disappears to the floor ... I stare at the pile of dust floating to the floor and collecting in a pile ... it amazes me and distracts me for a moment ... it's the first time I've seen what happens to a disposed vampberry, I remember Cosmic telling me they disintegrate but watching it just blew my mind ... its almost like a D.I.Y. cremation.

The vampberry that I had compelled just stands there then, looking a little confused,  I wander what he's doing ... Is he thinking?  I did tell him to fade himself didn't I?! ... Can he actually fade himself?!

I think about the piece of wood in my hand.

"Hey Vampberry!"   I shout him and he ignores me and just carries on standing there looking confused, he's obviously in some sort of trance. How do I even do that?!  This ability that I appear to have really makes no sense to me at all ... its not even like I know what I'm doing ... I just say things in my head and they do it.  I'm not sure telling this one to fade himself is working though ... I wander if he even has the capability to fade himself.

I call the vampberry a few times but he carries on just ignoring me, standing doing nothing.  I think about when Jazz was shouting Maizie in the den, when I told her to get me a glass of water, she hadn't reacted to being shouted either ... Fudge!!  He is just standing there doing nothing ... maybe he can't fade himself?!  I look down at the wood in my hand.  Maybe he could if he had the wood in his hand, but he hasn't got the wood ... I have!

"I'll finish him"  Storm says as he starts moving towards him

"NO!!  He's MINE!!"  I yell as I run at him, I want to do this!!!  I remember River saying it had to go through the heart ... I plunge the wood through his chest with every ounce of strength that I have ... holding my breath ... hoping I've hit the right spot.

The vampberry starts to disintegrate in front of my eyes ... one minute he's there, the next he's gone ... another pile of dust falls to the floor ... along with the wooden stake, the sound of the wood echoing around the alley way as it hits the floor a few times before it settles on the ground and lies there silent and still.

It has gone so quiet you could almost hear a pin drop ... Me, Storm and River stand there silently in shock for a while just staring down at the dust remains of the vampberry and the stake on the floor in front of us.

"Oh Berry!!"  River finally breaks the silence, you can hear the shock in his voice  "Did that seriously just happen?!  I thought it was lights out for us two for sure!!!"   his gaze is still fixed on the floor where the last vampire fell. "Did you seriously just do that?!"

"GO TAP!!"  Storm starts laughing  "The vampberry brainwasher!!  Something else that Cosmic told me about you that I didn't quite believe ... but I do now!!!  Man you are one serious freak!!!  ... We could turn this into a profession and become vampberry faders" 

"Shut up Storm you idiot!!"  I laugh at him  "If I ever look at another vampberry again it will be too soon!! The last thing I want to do is go looking for them so we can dispose of them!!!"  River looks at me and frowns then starts looking a little distressed, he can't hear what Storm is saying, and I guess he doesn't fully realize what just happened then, but he didn't give me a chance to explain.

"Come on we need to get out of here just in case there are any more!!"  River says grabbing my arm in an attempt to get me moving, we start running out of the alley way and don't stop running until we reach the motel ... I couldn't help but notice that he is limping quite badly and struggling to keep up with me, I have to slow down a little for him.

As soon as we get into the safety of our room and the door is locked behind us, the curtains are drawn tightly, it feels like we have slipped straight back into the old routine we've had for the past few months, I sit on the bed staring at the window, waiting for movement outside ... I think it was only then that it fully hit me ... exactly what has just happened and what we have managed to do ... escape and dispose of three vampberrys.

River  pulls out his phone and starts dialing a number.

"Jazz ... you are a damn idiot!! ... relax you said ... there wouldn't be any vampberry's in this town or for miles you said ... well we've only just escaped from being a midnight snack!!"  he says angrily as he limps into the bathroom listening to whatever Jazz is saying to him  "Only three of the damn things up close and personal!!!" I hear him say as he closes the door behind him.

I sit on the bed just staring at the closed door for ages.  I'm sick of this ... I'm an adult now and he is STILL ... they are STILL having their hidden conversations away from me, they are still hiding things from me.  why is River constantly hiding away in the bathroom while he's talking to them?  I'm just thinking about barging into the bathroom and demand to know what they are plotting or hiding now when the door opens suddenly and River limps out holding the phone out towards me  "Here ... Jazz wants to talk to you."

I take the phone off him and look at it for a moment, I haven't spoken to Jazz since we left the vampberry den and I suddenly start feeling nervous ... and I'm not even sure why?  I take a deep breath and say hello.  He needed me to tell him everything that happened from start to finish because River is at a disadvantage where Storm is concerned, he can only see half of it.  I didn't speak to him for long, he told me not to worry, he thinks they were just hunting out of their own area and we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As I stay sat on the bed, suddenly tears start streaming down my face, and I'm not even sure why, I've got so many emotions running through me, I'm confused because I've never felt like this before ... normally by now I would have gone off on one, my head would have blown and I would have had one of my outburst ... but strangely I don't, I just sit there calmly crying.

I'm still a little shocked by what has just happened, I seriously thought we had both had it, I never imagined we would both make it back to our room in one piece ... we were very lucky this time ... it doesn't mean we will be next time!!  Berry ... what if that had happened last night ... what if we had been as drunk tonight as we were last night ... we definitely would have been goners right now.

River winces like he's in pain as he sits down on the bed with a bag I recognize, I just look at him as he silently wipes the tears off my face.  He's playing doctor and starts pulling medical things out of the bag and onto the bed.  He cleans the bloody mess on my arm and starts to stitch up the deep cut that runs across the inside of my arm.  It had completely slipped my mind until he starts cleaning it, it wasn't until I look down at it that I can actually feel just how much it is hurting me, the shock or adrenalin running through me must have blocked it from my mind.

River suddenly starts chuckling to himself as he is stitching up my cut.  I frown at him wandering how he can even laugh at a time like this.  "It appears you have another ability to add to your string of supernatural oddities."  he starts laughing again, I carry on frowning at him  "I asked Jazz about when we both went silent ... the vampberry said you hid me from them ... Jazz recons he thought he'd noticed you hiding Honey a few times but it was only for seconds so he thought he was imagining it ... he thinks whatever is blocking you off from them, when anyone gets very close to you, as in when you put your arm around me, you are either transferring it or pulling them into your 'bubble' thats hiding you so it hides them too ... we can't test it out properly until we get home."  he frowns at me  "You remember our first encounter, I think you did it then, when we were sitting on the bed together, we had our arms around each other then, I was convinced that vampberry outside the window should have heard me ... I think he didn't hear me because you hid me."  River stood up, and cried out in pain.

"You're hurt, you took quite a battering and I saw you limping! Where does it hurt?"  he smiles at me and tells me he's okay, but I know he isn't, you don't limp for nothing or wince in pain when you sit down.  I demanded he tell me whats wrong with him, he rolls his eyes sitting awkwardly back down on the bed and lifts up his top turning his back to me, he says his back hit the wall a little too hard but it's nothing.  I can see there is already a really nasty large bruise forming on over half of his back.  He really must have hit that wall hard and that doesn't look like nothing to me!!

"A bruise doesn't make you limp ... you need to get your back x-rayed ... you might have broken something!!"  he laughs at me then tells me to stop fussing ... he's a doctor remember, he says it's just badly bruised and if its still hurting when we get to Rainbow Valley he'll get it looked at.  He got up off the bed awkwardly and I noticed him taking some painkillers.

We both went to bed feeling nervous and on edge again, Storm after only having one night off from his duty is back outside on vampberry watch ... it took me ages to fall off to sleep.

The next morning when we get up after both of us having a restless nights sleep, River really didn't look well, I'd heard and felt him tossing and turning and moaning in pain during the night, I'd also seen him get up and take more painkillers a few times, but he still insisted he's fine.  I doubt he'd had any sleep at all.  I tried to talk him into getting himself checked out at the hospital, but he wouldn't have none of it, he said I am fussing for nothing ... but somehow I don't think I am.

He said he just needed bed rest.  Great!!  I really don't like the idea of being cooped up in here all day. After he ate some breakfast he settled down on the bed lying flat on his back, with his book. I sit down on the carpet and start drawing, after about an hour I watch him get up and hobble painfully to the toilet after taking more pain killers.  I couldn't help but notice his dressing gown fall open a little, before he pulls it round him I caught sight of the bruise on his chest.  He is really starting to worry me.

"Hey, you need to lay off that coffee!!  that's the third mug you've had today already ... moderation I said!!"  he snaps at me as he walks past me heading in the direction of the bed.

"My nerves are still jangling from last night, and you are really worrying me ... what's the bruise on your chest?"  he looks at me sheepishly holding his dressing gown tightly closed so I can't see the bruise on his chest.

"It's nothing ... it's just where the vampberry's fist hit me."  he pulls a face at me  "Just lay off that coffee Tapestry!!  No more today!!"  he snaps, he goes back to the coffee probably trying to steer the conversation away from his bruises and pain.

"You can't say anything to me about coffee while you are eating painkillers like they are smarties and pretending there is nothing wrong with you, when there clearly is!!"  he didn't say anything as he made his way back to lying down on the bed.

"I hope you don't think I'm going to be cooped up in here all day ... I'm going to end up climbing the walls!!  I'm going out in a bit to stretch my legs."   I say to him, even though I hate that he's in pain, but with him being bed bound this will probably help me achieve what I've been plotting since yesterday, to go out on my own today without him, which was always going to be the hardest part of my plan.   He looks up from his book and pulls a face.

"I'm sorry!!!  I don't feel up to going anywhere, I'm in  ..."  it was almost like he was about to tell me how much pain he's in and he stops himself from saying anymore ... he doesn't have to tell me how much pain he's in because I can see!!  "I don't like the idea of you going out there alone, especially not after last night!!"

"I'll be okay with Storm, it's daytime, can I go and check out the orange shop to see if they have a guitar ... I can check on the car too if you want."  he looks at me still pulling faces  "It's day time PLEASE I won't be long and I'll be perfectly safe with storm!!" 

"Okay, you can check on the car and the orange shop ... but leave it until about 2pm, the suns hottest then, but you are going nowhere without Storm."  he says then changes his mind  "No, actually leave the repair shop, I'll phone them, you just go to the orange shop ... straight there and straight back!!"  he looks around suddenly  "Storm you don't let him go ANYWHERE else!!  Don't let him go wandering off like he does!!"  Two o'clock couldn't come quick enough!! Storm laughs because I think he know's I'm up to something.

I set off on my mission really excited with Storm in tow ... it was the only way River was letting me out on my own, but that didn't matter because I need Storms help to pull this off anyway ... I have $400 burning a hole in my pocket ... if everything goes to plan, it won't be there for long!!

I make my way out of the motel and walk down the road a little to the 'Green' shop, walking past the window I see the guitar is still there, I smile to myself.  I can't help but stop and look at it again.

I WANT that guitar and I'm going to get it.  I notice there is a woman behind the counter today, not the guy who I had a tiff with yesterday.  I walk away from the window and around the side of the Green shop, as it is the end one in the row and lean against the wall and so does Storm.

"Storm as soon as you see a green berry tell me!"  I say quietly to him

"River is going to go mental ... are you not even going to look in the orange shop first?!"  he laughs  "And how do you know they aren't going to do a runner with your money?  You know what green berry's are like ... sour inside!!"  This makes me laugh for a moment, I know he's having a dig at his mother and evil siblings.

"Are you off your head .... YOU KNOW what that guitar is!!!  I'm getting that guitar even if it fades me!!"  I smile at him and he knows why  "and they won't do a runner with my money, because if they try ... you are going to stop them!!"  he just laughs at me.

We stand for ages, watching different people wandering around the street, Storm keeps calling out different colours when a new person comes into view ... but its never green and I'm starting to get a little irritated.

We were standing there for about half an hour before the first green person came into view, Storm jumps up and says we've got one!  The little old lady who is just crossing over to this side of the road, he points towards her.  I smile, a little old lady, even better this is going to be easy!!  I start walking towards her.

"I'm sorry to disturb you but I've got a problem and I'm wandering if you would be so kind as to help me out with it?"  I smile at her sweetly, she looks up at me suspiciously saying nothing, I hope she doesn't thinks I'm going to mug her or something as I notice she grips tightly onto her bag.  "It is my best mates birthday, he is green and I've seen something in the green shop that I want to buy him for his birthday, but because I'm orange the guy in the shop won't let me buy it for him."  she seems to relax a little, so I smile at her again  "I know I could just give him the money to go in and get it, but I really want it to be a surprise, I want to see his face when he opens his present!"  she starts laughing  Oh man!!  If this doesn't work, I don't know what else I can say to her

"You want me to go in and buy if for you?!"  she smiles at me

"Would you?!  I would be eternily grateful, and so will my mate when he sees his surprise!!"  I grin at her like a cheshire cat, she laughs again

"Okay, I shouldn't ... but seeing as its for your green friend and you asked so nicely." she smiles at me.  I take $300 out of my pocket and hand it to her and tell her its the guitar in the window.  she smiles at me, she puts her shopping bag down on the pavement and asks me to watch it and hobbles off towards the shop.  I stare down at her bag wandering why she would trust me with it after she had looked at me so suspiciously to start with ... but then I suppose I have just handed her $300.  My stomach is doing somersaults waiting for the old woman to come back out of the shop.

"You are a jammy pig!!"  Storm starts laughing at me

Finally the old woman comes out of the shop carrying the guitar in a large black rubbish bag, which Storm had to tell me, I had worried about the colour of the bag that it might come out in, because I couldn't have carried the green guitar through the streets, especially not in a bag that might have 'Green shop' stamped all over it,  but I was prepared I had a very similar black rubbish bag folded up in my pocket.  These colour coded towns are just ridiculous ... I can't wait to get home and back to normality where nobody gives a damn about what colour anything is!!

I thanked the old woman about 100 times, and gave her a $20 note for her trouble which at first she just stares down at with wide eyes when I placed it in her hand.  She said she didn't want it and tried to give it me back, but I made her have it, walking away and giving her no choice but to keep it.  I skipped off down the street like an excited child holding onto the bag tightly.  We have one more stop before we can go back to the motel.

I walked into the car repair shop, I notice as I walk past the repair bay they have the bonnet up on River's car and they are working at it.  I walk into the shop part of the garage and have to follow Storms directions as he points out what I need ... primer, orange spray paint and lacquer.

Being colorblind for me is not really a problem back home, but in colour coded towns it is going to be a total nightmare ... but with Storm following me around he is going to have to become my eyes and help me look like a normal person who isn't colourblind or breaking the colour code, which amuses me a little but also annoys me at the same time.

I pay for the spray paint then head back towards the motel feeling like I've just won the lottery.

When I get back to our room River is just coming out of the bathroom and I notice he's got himself dressed, he'd still been in his dressing gown when I left.  "Tapestry where have you been?!  What took you so long ... I was starting to get worried!!"  I just smile at him as I put the guitar down on the floor on its stand but leave the bag over it, I really need to pee because I've got myself over excited, so I run off into the bathroom.


I was expecting and waiting for him to start yelling when he sees the guitar in the bag is that green guitar from the green shop!!  I chuckle to myself as I'm taking a pee.  When I walk out of the bathroom he's still up on his feet with his hands on his hips, a face like thunder.

"What the hell did you do? .... how did you get this guitar? ... it's got to go back!! ... we can't keep this!! ... Berry I should have known better than to let you go out on your own!!  I notice Storm is as bad as you for not doing as he's told ... he's let you go wandering!!!  Please tell me you haven't be causing trouble with that guy in the Green Shop again!!"  he's stressing.

I take the spray paint out of the bag and hold it up so he can see it and tell him to stop stressing ... the green guitar will be orange before he knows it!!  He's still not happy ... he still says its got to go back.

Now I'm getting annoyed.  I take the black bag off the guitar and put it back onto its stand on the floor in front of him while I'm telling him I've caused no trouble explaining to him about the old woman going quite happily into the shop to buy it for me and that I gave her $20 for being so kind.   He's still scowling at me.

"Do you know what that is?"  I ask him and he just shrugs his shoulders and says a guitar which makes me laugh  "It's an Iconic Jam Guitar ... Google it ... that guy in the Green Shop ... he is pissed!!!  or he would be if he knew just how much money he's just thrown away ... $300 I still can't believe it!!! ... $300 ... that's probably not even how much one string costs!!"  I start laughing as River is frowning down at the guitar  "Go on google it ... I bet the cheapest one you'll find for sale, if any, is between $8,000 - $10,000 ... there were only so many made and it's VERY hard to get your hands on one ... I've been throwing tantrums trying to get Dad to buy me one of these for years but he won't have none if it ... wait till Prelude sees this guitar ... he's going to have a hissy fit!!"

I start laughing, he pulls his phone out and starts looking on the internet.  $300 man ... that is just ridiculous!!!  I pick the guitar up off it's stand, I've got the biggest grin on my face, I can't believe this guitar is actually MINE!!!  I start playing it ... something I thought I would never get to do in my lifetime.   River looks up at me after a while and just watches me playing.

"STOP!!"  he shouts suddenly  "You are not playing that guitar again until it's orange ... if you annoy anyone with your playing they might come banging the door down and might see that its green ... can you even spray paint?"

I take it that means he's okay about me keeping the guitar now.

"No, but Storm can ... he's doing the spraying."

"Well tell Storm to get it done quickly ... you aren't touching it again until its orange!!"

"Yes boss!!"  I smirk at him as I put the guitar back on it's stand and hand him the $70 I have left in my pocket.  He just frowns down at the money in his hand  "Your change, so I owe you $330 ... $300 for the guitar, $20 for the old woman and $10 for the paint."  I smile at him, he laughs at me and says he can see Storm has been counting for you again!!  We both laugh because he's right.

"Forget it, you don't owe me anything ... it's your birthday present, seeing as you never got any!!"  I smile at him, that makes it even better ... that will be the best present I'll probably ever have!!  I go to throw myself at him but he grabs my arms to stop me  "Don't even think about it ... you are going to hurt my back!!  Besides I'm still not happy with you for the little stunt you've just pulled!!"  I just pull a face at him. "Come on ... get yourself ready, we are due at work in half an hour!!"

"Oh so we are still going ... only after last night I thought you wouldn't want to, and with your back hurting so much, I didn't think you'd be up to it."  I'm surprised after our vampberry encounter that he would even consider going to the bar seeing as it will be after midnight and dark again when we come out.

"We are catching a taxi there and back so I don't have to walk far ... plus I'm well prepared tonight!!"  he unbuttons his jacket top and pulls it back so I can see something.  I start laughing when I see he's got two half sized wooden stakes in his inside pocket that are taped to the inside of his jacket to keep them from moving about or falling out.

"Has anyone ever told you your a nerd!!"  I laugh at him

"Yes plenty of times .... now get a wriggle on or we are going to be late for work!!"

Song: Undefeated - Daughtry

Note - Yes I know the vampire fighting pic is a tacky in game one - but I do try to keep the pics as tame as possible, I try to avoid violent pic etc as much as I possibly can, even though sometimes it's not easy.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Chapter 17 - Generation 2 - Tapestry

Who's They?

I'm just nodding off to sleep in the front seat of the car when I'm startled, I sit up straight quickly and my eyes snap open as I hear a very loud bang and I feel the car jolt ... for a moment I thought we had hit something or something had hit us.

I can hear River swearing under his breath as I spot the smoke coming from under the car bonnet.  The car starts to splutter to a holt just as River manages to pull it off the road and onto a dive bar car park.

"Great!!  This is all we need!!"  River shouts quite loudly as he thumps the steering wheel.

We both just sit silently watching the smoke pouring out from underneath the car bonnet ... I wander what we are going to do now, the car breaking down is one thing that has never even crossed my mind.   I glance over at River and start laughing at the expression on his  face as he starts repetitively banging his head off the steering wheel  "Tap its not funny ... now we are stuffed!!"

"I'm not laughing at the car you fool ... I'm laughing at you and I'm supposed to be the idiot here!!  he rolls his eyes and stops bashing his head off the steering wheel  "Lift the bonnet before you give yourself brain damage and take a look, you never know we might be able to fix it."  I say as I open the car door and get out of the car. River does the same and I walk round the car to where he's stood stressing.

"I'm a surgeon not a mechanic ..."  he says as he stands there rubbing his neck looking completely stressed out, he's not even attempting to look under the bonnet. "There is no point me even looking under that bonnet because I don't have the first clue about car engines!"

Storm tells me to pop the bonnet and he'll have a look.  I'd forgotten that Storm used to love messing around with cars, Prelude had brought him an old banger to play around with to stop him from messing under the bonnet of his own car.  I lift the bonnet and am almost choked by a cloud of hot smoke which engulfed me, I have to jump quickly backwards to get away from it.  Storm starts laughing as his head goes under the bonnet looking at the engine, not the slightest bit bothered by the cloud of smoke.  He told me straight away what the problem is.

"Storm says when was the last time you put oil or water in this car, the radiator has popped!!"  I tell River who stands there rolling his eyes.   He looks down at the car engine

"Which bit is the radiator?"  he frowns and I can't help but laugh at him because even I know a lot of the parts under the bonnet of a car ... River is just standing there looking completely confused.  I point to the radiator "Give me a human body any day ... that lot just looks dirty and complicated!"  he mumbles to himself ... I can't help but laugh at him as he is poking at the hole in the side of the radiator  "How did that happen?"

"No water ... you've obviously not checked the radiator since we left home!!"  I tell him as I drop the bonnet back down, he just shrugs and tells me the guy at the garage back home always does that sort of stuff for him including the oil and water.  "The radiator is where the water goes wally!!"  he just laughs to himself  "How can somebody so intelligent be so thick?  Even I know that much!!  I'm surprised you know how to put petrol into it!!"  I laugh at him.

"Okay clever clogs ... I just drive it ... do I really need to know how the damn thing works!!"  River says as he starts looking up and down the street. "We'll have to find a car repair place and see if they can fix it today."    He suddenly smiles and points at something  "Well look at that - we are in luck - we couldn't have broken down in a better place!!"  he says as he starts walking off down the street.

I lean on the back of the car, I'm waiting here until he come backs, I'm pretty tired from the travelling and can't be bothered to walk to the repair shop.  I watch River walking off up the road, he stops opposite the repair shop and seems to be talking to someone on his phone.  He's only on the phone for a short while then he crosses over the road and goes into the repair shop.  As soon as he's out of sight I light up a cigarette, he always gives me loads of earache when he sees me smoking, hopefully I'll have finished it before he gets back.  I look around for Storm and he's just hanging around by the front of the car.

I wander when this is all going to end.  We have been on the long road away from Sugar Valley for what seems like forever now, It is starting to feel like we are never getting home and I can hardly remember what life was like before the vampberry den.   The days turned into weeks, the weeks into a month, close onto two months and we are finally getting close to Rainbow Valley.  Only being able to travel during day light hours has really slowed us down.  Our life has basically been a very boring routine of spending our daytime's in the car on the road and night time hauled up in a grotty motel room, worrying about the resident vampberrys in town.

Thankfully we have not come into contact with any vampberrys since our one and only encounter with them in the very first motel room we stayed in.  Not being too far away from Rainbow Valley, the vampberry dens in this area are few and far between according to Jazz, the only ones we need to worry about are vampberrys following us from back home, but he doesn't think now that Celeste told anyone about me, he thinks we are now pretty safe, so we are now becoming pretty relaxed and are no longer looking over our shoulder for vampberrys all the time.  I argued that if Celeste told nobody about me then why can't we just go home ... but it's not that simple apparently ... when they are sure it's completely safe to go home, we will be told.

My eyes had been a lot easier than we expected to sort out, my prescription is so close to River's that I could actually see through his glasses, his eyesight being actually just a little worse than mine.  For a few days his glasses gave me headaches but when my eyes adjusted to them, from then on it was fine.  River bought some orange none prescription eye contacts which you can just pick up from any chemist ... so I now wear those so my eyes look orange and wear River's glasses so that I can actually see further than my nose.  I hated wearing the glasses at first, it reminded me of when I wore them as a child and the other children, especially Mosaic, used to call me names ... but after a while I got used to the glasses and now I don't actually mind them.

I lost my hat too after a lot of nagging and persuasion from River, he convinced me that losing my hat would throw people off looking at me twice, everyone back home would never dream of seeing me without a hat, I'm known to live it in, the last thing people will be looking for is a hat less boy wearing glasses ... and changing my appearance completely is the best way for nobody to recognize me ... and he was right, we did spot my picture in various news papers in quite a few towns in the first weeks of travelling ... so I lost my hat.

River too had to change his appearance, he's also known for wearing a hat and glasses in Apple Hill, long blue hair covering his face in Sugar Valley and blue contacts.  So now River walks around without his hat or glasses, as he is supposed to be an orange berry, his hair he cut to a completely different style to how people are used to seeing him and he looks a lot different ... even if he does look too much like Dad now that he spooks me sometimes, but nobody is used to seeing him that way and I doubt now that anyone would recognize either of us at a glance, especially me now that I'm a young adult, nobody but River and Storm have seen how I've grown up into an adult ... back home I will still be that teenage boy in their minds.

I feel like I've grown up a lot over the last few months, not only physically, after having my birthday, but also mentally.  In a way, even though I hate it, being away from home and especially Dad has helped me to stand on my own two feet a little more, River doesn't baby me like Dad does, his approach to me and my problems is totally different, my tantrums get me nowhere so I've stopped throwing them, I've learnt for a quiet life it's easier just to toe the line and I have learnt quite a few new things about my self that I've never noticed before ... especially that I am not quite the horrible person that everyone has always made me believe that I am.

I was quite a nightmare and a handful for River during the first few weeks of our travels ... I don't know why he didn't just walk away and leave me to it, at times I was uncontrollable.  I had quite a lot of emotional outburst, virtually one every day, trying too deal mainly with Honey fading, I let the two babies that we should have been having really get to me which totally unhinged me.  I was also struggling with what we are having to do, running away from home and the vamperrys, I found it hard to cope without Dad after speaking to him on the phone and the vampberry's had really scared me to the point where I was having nightmares and refused to sleep alone, me and River were squashed up in a single bed every night,  he gave up even trying to get me to sleep alone and started to check us into rooms with a double bed.

That is the only thing that I still haven't grown out of ... I still can not sleep alone today.  I swear a lot of the places where we stay think we are a gay couple, which we have a good giggle at.  As the weeks rolled on my emotional outbursts got less and less and I haven't actually had any at all since those first few weeks and I even find that I can control my temper better and I don't get irritated so much, but River says that's all part of growing up.  My problems will never go away, but being an adult, I should be able to control them better.

I've learnt quite a lot too while we've been on the road, besides gaining a brother that I can actually get on with and who cares about me like a brother should, I now finally know about what all the adults back home have been hiding from us kids all of our lives ... all the lies and the cover ups.  Storm filled me in on everything that Manderine / Lime has done to everyone since they were at school together, even River too got to learn a few new things about that horrible green woman that had been sat in the corner of our cage in the vampberry den.  It was pretty hard for me to take at first know that woman is single handedly responsible for so much suffering to people that I care about ... even my own problems and the way I turned out has apparently been laid at her door, if Mom had never gone down the stairs and into a coma while she was pregnant with us triplets, they think I might have been a normal baby.

Cosmic fading, Jazz becoming a vampberry, Mom and Cosmics baby buried in the cemetery, Alpines brain damage, the scars on Ice's face, Mom's coma and brain damage, she nearly faded Prelude, the way that Storm and Parsley arrived and them being born in prison, if all of her children had been told the truth from the start, Forrest probably would never have faded Storm, his own brother ... When you think about it ... even this trip that we are having to take is down to her ... if she hadn't snatched me and Honey from Storms funeral, we would never have come into contact with the vampberrys, Honey and our babies wouldn't have faded and I wouldn't have to be running for my life.

I didn't hear or notice River walking up to the car, he kicks my leg gently to get my attention which nearly makes me jump out of my skin, I was miles away.

"Well that's blown it ..."  he says looking at me when I get up to my feet.  "They can fix it, but it could take a few days, they need to order in the radiator, and we want to hope its just that simple, I could have done other damage to the car, they can't tell until they get it into the repair shop and take a look .... we should have been in Rainbow Valley by then ... instead we are going to be stuck here for two or three days!!" he really does not look happy!!

"Never mind, what's a few more days."  I say not sure why he is getting so stressed out when we have already been on the road for nearly two months ... until he reminds me Winter is going mental right now, she's already had to turn down a transfer to Sugar Valley because we are heading in her direction, and it could be years before another one comes up, and she's getting really annoyed at how long it's taking us to get there ... annoyed that if we'd flown to Rainbow Valley we could have been there in a day ... but of course we couldn't just jumped on a plane because of me, I don't even have a passport being a mixed berry, I'd never be able to get one. Us flying anyway would have lead the police straight to our whereabouts.  Which has always made me wander how we are going to get home without it taking as many months to travel back.  I've always been scared of the answer River might give me so I've never asked him.  Winter also worries me, I bet she hates me already before she's even met me, all of this is my fault and I'm messing up her life, as well as River's ... his life has been ruined already because he's doing this for me.

"Then we need to hope they don't check the car out and get suspicious ... that car could well blow open our whereabouts, but I don't see what choice we have, we don't have enough money to buy another car, Winter can't come out and fetch us at short notice, it will be a week before she can get here!!  Our only other option is walk, the nearest train station is 20 miles away!!"  he thumps the back of the car  "Berry knows why I was so stupid ... you could have reminded me I needed to check the oil and water!!"

"ME remind YOU!!"  I laugh at him, he looks at me and starts laughing with me.  "We could always ask Dad to send us some money!"  he just looks at me gone out ... then says what and wait a week for the carrier pigeon to deliver it ... he says he has got money in his own bank, only he can't access it or they'll know where we are straight away, we can't risk getting Dad involved, there is already too many other things going on.

That irritates me for a moment because I know they are always plotting and planning things back home ... but I'm never privy to what they are up to ... I'm still being kept in the dark over everything.  I get my weekly talk with Dad and that's it, he still talks to me like I'm three years old and River is always on the phone to them all the time moving himself out of my earshot, I suspect sometimes he gets to speak to Dad more than once a week even though he won't admit it, I'm sure he does.

"You've been smoking again haven't you!!"  he sighs  Busted ... now for the earache!!  "You bloody reek of it!!  I'm warning you Tapestry ... you can pack it in right now!!! ... you said you would once the packet was empty .... and when did you get this packet? ... I'm not stupid, I think I know why you are always so eager to go in and pay for the petrol ... its not to stretch your legs, its so you can buy crafty packets of fags!!"

"Stop nagging ... it's still the same packet ... anyone would think I was a chain smoker by the way you carry on ...  it's probably been three days since I last had a fag and I said I'd stop when I finished this packet ... there is one left so chill your beans!!"

"Well you better make that one your last and I mean it ... from now on every time you smoke you can sleep in the car, I'm sick of stinking you!!!  I'm sick of telling you how bad it is for your health, besides, I'm warning you I'm not having Dad laying into me because you are smoking!!  Just when I think you are growing up ... you always go and do something stupid!!"

I start laughing at him ... me and Storm have been smoking on and off since we were about 10 years old and Dad never caught us or even noticed, and its not like we've ever been serious smokers I can go for weeks without even touching one ... really I don't even know why I do it ... when I was a kid it was just the thrill of doing something rebellious, like drinking and most things me and Storm did together that we shouldn't have been doing.  It's just something I do when I think about it ... it's not like I'm addicted to it, or even enjoy it that much.  Exactly why do I still do it?

I take the fag packet out of my pocket open it and show him the one fag, I screw the packet and fag up in front of him then threw them into the bushes  "Happy now ... I just quit smoking!!"

"Just make sure it stays that way!!" he snaps at me

Storm came floating out of the dive bar wall  "They have rooms in this place, tell River, I don't know why they call it a dive bar, because it's far from it inside."  he says which makes me laugh, when some of the places we have stayed in on our travels have been downright chronic, but we've had to do everything we can to make what money we do have last.  He slouches against the car.

I now find myself struggling to look at Storm without feeling sorry for the life he's lost, especially for the things he now can't do and will never be able to do in the future, like get married and have children.  He is still a teenager, he will always be a teenager.  I've had my birthday and am no longer a teenager, Storm is very close age wise to me, he too should have been a young adult now, if he'd still be alive.

"Storm says there are rooms here."  River glances towards the dive bar and pulls a face

"No, I don't fancy a room over a noisy pub, we'll never get any sleep!! and it will probably stink of stale beer just like quite a few we've already stayed in remember, it's bad enough that I have to smell you stinking of fag smoke!!"  I laugh at him he couldn't resist getting that dig in!!  "There is a nice looking place I noticed just down from the repair shop ... I think we'll go check that out instead."  he says as he nudges me as he is lifting the car boot and starts taking the bags out.

Great!!  So we have to lug these heavy bags down the road when we could just stay here!!  I grab two of the bag while he grabs the others and he locks up the car.

After dropping the keys into the repair shop we checked into the motel River had seen and we go through the same routine as he always does, locking doors, closing curtains, telling me to take a shower, not to forget my teeth and giving me my medication.  He makes me laugh, I think sometimes he forgets that I'm an adult now and I don't need to keep being reminded to take a shower and brush my teeth all the time ... that is something not even Dad had to do when I was back home.

River rolls his eyes at me as I ignore his request and sit down on the carpet and start adding to the drawing that I've been doing for a few days, I look up at him and laugh, I think sometimes he regrets buying me this sketchpad.  Drawing is something that I've only been doing for a few weeks, something that River encouraged, and I do actually enjoy it for short periods of time,  he said just because I'm colourblind and dyslexic doesn't mean I can't draw and especially sketch with a grey pencil.  Of course I have to hear his reasoning on the subject .... one of the most creative artists in history was dyslexic, Leonardo DaVinci, although he wasn't colourblind like I am, but the attention to detail in his sketches and paintings was incredibly precise ... which is the flip side of dsylexia ... the gift of dyslexia according to River.  It doesn't look like much of a gift from where I am sitting!!!  He really makes me laugh sometimes, I think River is an even bigger nerd than Dad is!!

River is right even though I don't like to admit it to him, I can draw and sketch because it doesn't involve colour, I can duplicate an objects detail quite accurately ... something I've never noticed before, I think in pictures not words, so I do take in every bit of detail, something a none dyslexic person wouldn't do ... even though I don't think what I draw is very good, but River recons it's better than anything he could draw and with lots of practice I can only get better ... but I'm not holding my breath!!

After a while I put down the pad, stand up and glance at River who is stretched out on the bed his head is already buried deep in a book ... I'm surprised his head doesn't explode from all the stuff that he reads ... he'll spend the rest of the day and night lay there reading if I don't irritate him into putting his book down.

"It's early yet, I don't fancy being cooped up in this room all afternoon and evening, yet again we don't even have a television, lets go out and have some fun and do something different for a change!!  You said yourself we can start relaxing now, there aren't any vampberry dens for miles!!"  I say as I throw myself forcefully on the bed purposefully making it bounce, he hates it when I do that, he looks up, a little annoyed, from his book.

It's alright for him he can read, and yet again we have no television in the room so no doubt I'm going to be lay here twiddling my thumbs, bored out of my skull all night while he's not interested in talking because he's too busy reading and Storm is outside as bored as I am on vampberry watch.  There is only so much drawing that I can do.

"Like what?"  he says frowning at me

"I don't know - window shopping, cinema, bowling, pub, club ......"

"Wow!!  Slow down ... alcohol and your medication don't mix!"   I start moaning that I am sick of being cooped up bored out of my brain, it's no fun living with a bookworm and it's driving me insane.  For once can't we just go out and enjoy ourselves for a change, something we haven't done since all this started!!  I reminded him we haven't even celebrated my birthday yet and I bet Mosaic and Coral did!!

"Pretty please .... you know you are my favourite brother!!"  I say in a baby voice to him, he laughs and rolls his eyes at me

"You don't want to let Mosaic hear you saying that!!"

"He wouldn't care ... he hates me ... I'm 'Daddies spoiled brat' remember ... although Mo might be a little sore that I get on with his best buddy!!"  I laugh  "Oh come on!!  I'm sure you can stop being a nerd for one night!!"  he laughs again and surprisingly says okay without any arguing, I can have a couple of drinks and that's it!  Yeah ... we'll see!!

"Tell your ghost to get his glad rags on"  River says as he walks into the bathroom.

This made me and Storm really laugh.

On the way to finding a place to drink we walked passed a small row of shops.  I would have been quite happy going to the dive bar we saw future up the road but River insisted on going the other way, because the guy at the motel had told him there was a bowling alley further up the road, so that is were we are headed.  As we walked past the first shop I was glancing through the windows and a guitar caught my eye, so I stopped to look at it.  Now I'm really glad we walked this way!!  River carried on walking not realizing I'd stopped to look in the shop window ... I had to call him back.

"How much is the guitar?"  I asked River and he told me $300.

I nearly fell through the floor, not sure I'd heard him properly I asked him to repeat the price, which he did and again he said $300.

"River .... Get it for me ... PLEASE ... and I'll pay it all back in tips I earn from busking!!"  I say still staring at the guitar wandering why it is so cheap.

River starts laughing at me and asks me if I can even play the guitar.  "Of course I can play ... I can play any musical instrument I pick up!!"

"Your having me on Tap!!  How can you when you can't read and have the attention span of a gold fish ... you'd never read sheet music or remember how to play a piece of music off by heart?"  he says frowning at me, then he starts laughing.  I suppose I can't blame him for thinking I'm having him on!!

"I don't read sheet music ... I don't need to ... trust me I can play any musical instrument that I pick up, the piano and guitar I'm really good at ... ask Storm ..."  he starts laughing at me again, yeah telling him to ask Storm was a stupid thing for me to say because he can't, I know he won't believe me until I prove it to him.

"Okay  ... I'll prove it to you!!"  I say to him as I start to walk into the shop laughing at him.  He starts shouting at me quite loudly saying I need to stop I can't go into that shop and so does Storm strangely, but I ignore them both, eager to prove to River that I can play that guitar.

I had only taken a few steps into the shop when a middle aged man came flying quickly across the shop towards me holding his hand up

"Sorry sir you can't come in here!!"  he says looking me up and down almost like I'm a piece of trash.  So I look down at myself for a moment wandering what his problem is, I can only think it's my clothes, then I look around the shop, it looks like some kind of tatty old second hand shop to me, so why can't I go in there exactly.  I frown at him.

"What's your problem mate?!"  I snap at him  "Am I not dressed well enough for you or something ... my top is ripped because it's the fashion ... I'm not a tramp ... if that's your problem!!"  River runs into the shop and tries to grab my arm and pull me out but I shrug him off me, I'm beginning to wander what everyone's problem is ... Storm and River are also telling me I can't go into that shop ... everyone is starting to irritate me.  "So come on MATE!!  Why can't I come into your poxy shop?!"

"Well MATE unless you are blind and utterly stupid ... you can not only see the colour but there is also a very big sign above the door that tells you this is a GREEN shop ... not an orange shop so YOU can't come in here!!"  I've never heard so much rubbish in my life, I'm orange so I can't go into his GREEN shop?!  Then it registered what he'd actually said to me and I start laughing

"Actually MATE I am both colourblind and dyslexic and all I want out of your GREY shop with the big sign of gibberish over the door is that guitar in the window!!"  he starts laughing at me and tells me to pull the other one and sling my hook before he calls the police.

"Actually, he seriously is both colourblind and dyslexic ... I'm sorry ... he didn't realise!!"  River says  "We come from a very small town and we don't have colour shops, he's never even seen a colour shop before ... I'm sorry we'll leave now!!"  he says grabbing me quite forcefully with the help of Storm and tugs me out of the shop.  With the pair of them pulling and pushing at me I had no choice but to leave the shop.  Storm is already having fits of laughter before we get through the shop door.

"What The Fudge!?"  I snap at River, "Do orange berrys have a decease that fades off green berry's or something?! Im orange so I can't go into his poxy green shop ... I've never heard such rubbish!!"  I'm highly confused. He pulls me round the corner away from the shop window and bursts up laughing.  I'm not finding this very funny so why is he  .. and Storm for that matter??!!  I glare at them both.

"All I want out of your Grey shop with the big sign of gibberish over the door is that guitar in the window"  he repeats what I'd said in the shop and double's up laughing almost hysterically holding his stomach, he's like it for ages and I'm getting very annoyed because he's not telling me why that just happened.

"For Berry's sake ... STOP laughing and tell me what's funny ... because I don't think it is!!"  I snap at him

He straightens himself up and tries to talk through his laughter  "I'm sorry Tap, it's not your fault, I should have warned you ... they have colour coded shops, everything in that shop is green, you can only go into and buy from your own colour shop ... like you can only wear your own colour clothes!"  I've never heard anything so ridiculous ... they really go that far?!

"So I can't buy that green guitar because I'm orange."  he shakes his head and says no I can't and I couldn't go out in public playing it either seeing an orange berry playing a green guitar would cause offense and I'd probably get arrested for it ... I'll have to look for one in an orange shop.  "Well that is just downright pathetic and  just great, how am I supposed know which are the orange shops, to me all these shops are grey with gibberish over the door!!  I suppose you are going to tell me in a minute I can only talk to orange berry's too!!"

"No, they don't go that far yet! but I'm surprised they don't!!!"  he says still laughing.  "I'm sorry Tap, I keep forgetting you come from a colour mix town and you don't know how these colour coded towns work ... especially as I've pretty much sheltered you since we left Apple Hill."  This is the first time I've actually been anywhere near a shop since we left the vampberry den, I've always stayed in the car with Storm while River has nipped into shops to get what we need, at first he couldn't trust me not to do anything stupid, then it just became a habbit.

"You do know don't you, you can't go chatting up anyone who isn't orange either, in the horrible colour coded world outside of Sugar Valley ... you are only allowed to date and marry your own colour ... for berry's sake never tell anyone Honey is yellow or Winter is blue ... or we'll both get locked up!!"  He said something that hit me like a slap in the face.

"IS yellow ... don't you mean WAS yellow!!"  he mumbled 'you know what I mean' and walked away so I couldn't see the look on his face.

We decided to go into a nice quiet looking bar a few doors away from the bowling alley, River's way to control my drinking no doubt, two in there then we are spending the rest of the night bowling.  As soon as we walked in I spot the piano, but I had actually heard it first, from outside, being played quite badly.  I followed River up to the bar laughing to myself thinking I'll show him I can play that piano when that guy stops butchering that piece of music.

"He's butchering that piece of music!!"  I say to River who frowns at me, but says nothing as he turns to the guy behind the bar to order our drinks.  The guy playing the piano keeps hitting some really bad bum notes and it's really starting to irritate me!!  I have missed not being home and not being able to play the piano or the guitar when I want to ... which is most of the time ... I am actually itching to get my hands on that piano keyboard  "I can't stand it anymore!!"  I say to River as I wander over to the piano, he shouts after me but I ignore him.

"Hey mate ... you're killing that piece!!"  the bloke on the piano looks up at me and frowns  "You keep hitting bum notes ... you are killing it!!"

he stares up at me for a moment then stops playing and stands up.

"Go on then mate ... if you think you can do any better ... go for it ... let's hear you play that piece!!" he waves his hand towards the piano and snatches the sheet music away for the piece he was playing and stands smirking at me as he starts folding it up.  He must of  thought he was being clever  ... thinking I'm not going to be able to play it without the sheet music, probably hoping I'd back down and clear off ... well he's got another think coming!!

"Don't need your sheets, I can't read them anyway!!"  I laugh as I sit down and start playing the same piece of music that he was playing, a piece I've played probably a millions times before back home, it's Dads favourite piece of music and I play it mainly when I'm trying to suck up to him.

After only a few minutes I hear the guy swearing under his breath as he walks away.  I laugh to myself as I carry on playing quite happily, thinking he's not shifting me off this piano again until we leave and go bowling.

A pint glass is put down on the top of the piano and I look up to see River standing there staring at me wide eyed.  "I told you!!"  I laugh at the expression of shock on his face.

"How the fudge are you even doing that Tap?"  he asks me quite shocked  I tell him just from listening to Dad playing, he frowns at me "But how Tap can you read sheet music?"

"Obviously not you wally!!"  I say to him and he looks up to the stand and rolls his eyes, he can probably see whatever sheet music is there is not the piece of music I'm playing.  "No I can't read it, I don't know how I do it ... I play by ear and I just feel the music ... when Dad buys new music sheets, he plays it for me once then I've got it.  I've been playing the piano like this since I was a child, he doesn't like it because he's says I can play better than he can."   He was also pretty surprised that Dad also plays the piano, he didn't know.

"I play the piano too"  he says and starts laughing  "But not as well as you do I don't think!!"  he scratches his head  "What other instruments can you play?"  so I told him anything ... guitar, base, violin, drums  "and you play them the same as the piano?" I told him pretty much yes.

"Guitar music isn't exactly piano music is it, so how do you learn that?"

"Storm and his Dad, Prelude, my Uncle, he's a guitarist in a band .. I listen to him mostly and I listen to a lot of rock music."  he smiles at me.

"I've heard you singing, you are pretty good at that too aren't you!!"  he smiles at me  "Okay, well I suppose I'll have to see about getting you that guitar that you wanted .... but not that green one!!" he starts laughing.

Oh ... I AM getting that green one ... he just doesn't know it yet!!!

We start taking it in turns to play ... while he drinks, I play and visa versa ... he doesn't need sheet music either and he, likes me, knows a lot of piano pieces.  I'm quite amused, neither of us knowing the other one played, we are both passionate about music and we've talked about a lot of things but I don't know why the subject of music and musical instruments has never come up before now.

We start to laugh after a while as we suddenly realize we are getting a steady stream of free drinks brought for us by people inside the bar.  First two pints were put on the piano, and we thought the woman who bought them us was just being very kind, we'd almost finished those and was really surprised when someone else brought us another two drinks over  ... we actually spent all night in that bar happily playing the piano and drinking free beer.  We were having so much fun that neither of us mentioned going to the bowling alley and River didn't even notice how much we were actually drinking ... way too much for me.

Half way through the night, when I was making my way to the toilet a man from behind the bar called me over. He told me he was the landlord and I thought at first he was going to have a go at me for us hogging the piano all night, but it was quite the opposite, he wanted to know if either of us or both of us wanted a job playing the piano regularly.  I was a little surprised by him saying that.  He said that our piano playing was actually attracting people into the bar ... they hadn't been this busy in ages ... this really made me laugh, he even said he'd pay us for tonight if we stayed until midnight.  I told him to go and speak to River while I went to the toilet ... I wasn't going to make the decision ... I really don't know if River would go for it? ... I laughed to myself all the time I am using the bathroom ... being paid to play the piano which I love doing, kind of amused me.

River is laughing to himself when I get back to the piano.

He told me he'd accepted the two days work or three depending on how long they take to repair the car.  "See you was moaning only the other day you'll never get a job with your problems, you've got one already!!"  he says smiling at me.  "I can think of quite a few places back home where you can get a job with your musical tallent!!"

I am actually surprised that River agreed to take the work, but he says what else have we got to do here while we are hanging around waiting for the car to be repaired, I've got to start somewhere and we both enjoy it so why not!!  Somehow I get the feeling he's only done this for my benefit, to prove to me I can work like everyone else, even with my problems.

I'm not sure he's even thought about all these drinks that we keep getting bought for us.  Just as I thought it another two pints were put down on the piano.  We both just looked at them and laughed ... this was not exactly what we had planned when we left our motel room earlier, we had planned on two drinks then a night bowling, its ended up us getting paid to play the piano all night and free drinks to boot.

I look around suddenly remembering Storm, I wander where he is because I hadn't seen him for a while, I feel a little guilty for not thinking about him for ages, but I know piano music is not really his thing so I'm not surprised he hasn't been hanging around with us.

Then I noticed he is causing mischief over by the dart board, knocking peoples darts flying off course before they hit the board.  He's laughing his head off, it looks like he's found his own entertainment.

At midnight, we staggered out of the bar ... as soon as the fresh air hit us we both realized we had both drank just a little bit too much ... it was only then that River commented on me having way more than two pints.  We both started laughing hysterically as we stumbled down the road holding each other up, arguing playfully over just how many we had actually had to drink, me trying to convince him I'd only had three, of course he was having none of it.  Storm is dancing around us laughing at the state that we are in.

We were both hungry, we had planned to eat at the bowling alley, but we never got there.   Being so intoxicated we both literally fell into the kebab shop, both of us tripping up the step and landing flat on our faces ,River sprawled across the top of me after he landed on my knocking the wind out of me, he rolled off me and onto his back next to me and we both just lay on the floor laughing hysterically ... we were both totally hammered!!

The guy from behind the counter came round to help us get up off the floor, because we were holding up other people who are trying to get into the kebab shop.  I thought he was going to throw us out for being drunk and disorderly, but he didn't.  I vaguely remember him saying something like he sees people like us in here all the time.

We ordered food then went and sat outside on the bench to eat it.  After we'd finished eating we carried on sitting there talking rubbish, not caring about the dark, what time it is or even what we are talking about ... whatever River is saying to me is just going over my head, my head too full of alcohol to take in what he's saying and I think he's in exactly the same state as I am.

I remember thinking ... I've never had so much fun and if only Dad could see us now he would go ballistic at us both!!  I could just imagine the lecture we would be getting right now.

We had made a little detour to get to the kebab shop, so once we had finished eating and putting the world to rights waffling rubbish, we started off again, staggering down a dark alley which took us back onto the street that our motel is on.

We were just talking stupidity and laughing, so smashed we didn't have a care in the world, it was the first time either of us had been out in the dark since we set off from Apple Hill, the dark hours have scared both of us for the past few months, but tonight neither of us have even noticed or commented on the fact we are out past midnight stumbling around like a pair of idiots in the dark.

I'm not sure how we managed to find our way back to the motel safely.  As soon as we got into our room we both threw ourselves onto the bed fully clothed and passed out.

Waking up the next morning with the hangover from hell, is not much fun!!  I open my eyes and just lie on the bed as my head is swimming around.  I can hear the shower running in the bathroom River is already up.

I sit up and as I do my stomach rolls and my head starts swimming, I sit for a few minutes waiting for my head to settle a little before I scramble off the bed and stumble my way clumsily over towards the coffee machine, to make myself a coffee.  Something I've never quite got, why most of the rooms we stay in have a coffee machine, but no television.

I sit down and start drinking it, after only just a few mouthfuls my stomach starts rolling really badly again, and I start feeling really sick, I have to put down the coffee quickly as I start to heave.

I barge through the bathroom door and just about make it to the toilet before I start throwing up violently.

River shouts at me as he jumps out of the shower and grabs a towel which he puts round himself.  At first he wasn't too amused at me barging in on his shower, but as he stood there dripping water all over the tiled floor watching me with my head down the toilet he starts laughing.

"That will teach you to drink too much!!  Three pints my arse!!"  he laughs at me, I'm amused that he remembers are debate from when we first left the bar last night ... I'm wandering why he doesn't feel ill, we both drank the same amount last night  "Last night was a one off ... its flavoured water for you from now on!!"

"Why aren't you sick?"  I ask him between bouts of throwing up

"Your condition and medication don't help you know that and you are not used to drinking that much it's no wander you are sick!!"  he sighs  "I should never have let you drink that much last night ... I should have known better!!  but it definately won't be happening again!!"

There is a quiet knock at the door and I wander who on earth it could be.  River goes to answer the door.  As I stumble out of the bathroom he is just closing the door and he has a tray in his hand "Room service"  he says  "You'll feel better after you've eaten some breakfast ... I've ordered you some dry toast."

I stand in the doorway of the bathroom watching him eating cereal, just looking at the food has me running back into the bathroom to throw up again.

Of course I'm going to be refusing to eat any of that ... I don't do breakfast at the best of times ... I'd never keep any food down right now.

River wanders around the room like there is nothing wrong with him while I have the hangover from hell which I end up sleeping off for the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon.  Every time I open my eyes he's lay on the bed next to me reading his book.  My head is still banging when I sit up but I don't feel sick anymore.  He gives me painkillers for my headache.

We were due at the bar for a nights piano playing at 6pm, we basically had 3 hours of playing each until midnight but we planned to do the same as the night before, take it in turns on and off .... WITHOUT the drinking.  I laugh to myself because if tonight is anything like last night I don't know how we are going to avoid it with people just buying and bringing us drinks.  Of course, River had already got that all sorted out ... he had a word with the landlord, we now have a tips jar on the bar and on top of the piano, which ironically were empty pint glasses.  So instead of drinks we got tips instead, River did have a few pints during the night but I was strictly kept on flavoured water, and I drank a few cups of coffee too in between, but it didn't actually bother me because I still felt like shit and didn't want to wake up tomorrow feeling like I've felt all day today.

Drinking coffee amuses me, while Dad has always been very anti me drinking it at all, River has a different spin on it, in moderation coffee is good for people with my condition because it has a calming effect.  I like coffee so I'm not going to argue with him if he lets me drink it without giving me earache over it, as long as I don't drink it too much.  I wander sometimes if it isn't the coffee that is helping me control my temper,  I'm not so irritable, and I can control my tantrums and outbursts a lot better now.

River bought us some bar food and I had more coffee out of the tips jar and I did actually feel a lot better after I'd eaten it and I kept it down, the painkillers that I'd taken earlier had worked on my headache so by the end of the night I was feeling almost normal again.

We enjoyed our night playing the piano even without the alcohol and our six hours in the pub flew by.  Storm again spent the night again causing mischief with people playing darts, I think what amused him most was the amount of people who went to the bar complaining that the darts and flights are faulty and they need changing.  When he got bored with the dartboard, he came and started causing mischief with me ... dancing on top of the piano, I could have throttled him at one point because he kept making me laugh and he was distracting me from playing the piano and I couldn't really shout at him without making myself look mental.

We actually ran over time playing and didn't leave the bar until after 1 am in the morning.  River said he is hungry again, he's always hungry I don't know how he eats so much.  We wandered over to the kebab shop that we made a fool of ourselves in the night before to get ourselves a bag of chips to eat on the way back to the motel.  We walk down the alleyway arms linked and talking as we are sharing the chips that I'm holding.

Suddenly Storms starts shouting from behind me.

There is a sudden blur and a noise that I unfortunately recognize straight away which makes me shudder.

I drop the bag of chips all over the floor as the shock of what is happening hits me.

Stood right in front of me and River ... are three men and there eyes are shining brightly.



Song: Who's They - Daughtry