It Lays in the Past Pt. 5

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I gaze up to take in the sight of the luminous, burned down building. My body begins to shake, my throat turns dry. Jin tenderly touches my hand and in turn, my body breaks of the shivers. His palm is warm, he's either excited or extremely nervous.
"I'm scared," I confide, "I hope we'll find out why are pasts are long forgotten."
"Everything will be fine," he coaxes, "I believe..."
"Oh," Cole mumbles, "very reassuring."
Valentine snatches Cole's hand and squeezes it in fright.
"I won't let anything happen to you Valentine, I promise."
Cole is quite protective of Valentine, perhaps he possesses a slight crush? We readily enter the realm that may, or may not, hold the keys to our doors to the past.

"Do all of you have reception?"
I ask, appraising the burned ruins.
"Yes." They all respond.
"We should split up," Cole turns on his flashlight, "I'll take Valentine."
"My phone is off," Valentine sheds a tear, "they cut off my phone. THEY hit ME and they cut off MY phone."
"B****rds... Let's hurry and get this over with."
I nod and inform Jin that we should search the right of the building and Cole and Valentine trek the left. We turn on our flashlights and venture forth.

Jin and I walk into the first room we see. "It appears to be a bedroom," Jin points out, "let's look around." The room is severely char-coaled and the floor boards feel flimsy. Two metal springs of what used to be two mattresses take place on opposite sides. The dressers are able to be opened, so I search them and find nothing of interest. I peer over at Jin and watch him stare attentively at a burned and maimed teddy bear.
"Jin?"
"I feel a connection towards this stuffed animal."

****
I can't believe they punched her. What? Because they're her parents they have the right to beat her til she's d*** near blinded in one eye?
"Cole?" Valentine opens a door, "I feel like someone is calling me."
Oh, great! They hit her in her head too!
"What do you mean?"
"I keep hearing children call my name."
I, I think I'm hearing it too. I open the door next to the room Valentine opened.
"Valentine?" I call out to her, finding a wooden box with my name engraved in it.
"Cole!!" Valentine screams for me and, seconds later, a giant crash pounds into my ears.
"Valentine!?"
I rush to the room, dropping the box. Collapsing to the ground, I grab her hand. She's dangling several feet over the floor beneath us.
"Help me!"
"I've got you, don't let go!"
"Please! Don't let me die! I don't want to die!"
"You're not going to die!"
With shear strength, borne of my frightened state, I yank her up. She falls into my arms and I onto the floor. Her body is quivering uncontrollably, her cries began to echo throughout the left wing. I hug her and pat her hair.
"I've got you, please, no more crying."

****
"Did you hear that?" I flash the light down the hallway.
"No," Jin shows me a small wooden box with his name on it, "I wonder what's inside."
"Open it and find out."
"I'm too nervous, can you do it?"
"Sure."
Lifting the lid, Jin takes out a picture and a small plastic bracelet.
"This photo..." A happy Asian family smile brightly, cradling a baby boy.
"These are... my parents?"
"And this bracelet?" I read, "Saint Legna Mental Institute... Mental Institute!?"
"I thought this was an orphanage!"
Jin looks like he's about to his balance.
"Jin," I take his arm and allow him to lean on my shoulder, "I'm confused..."
"This must be why our parents didn't want us to look into this..."
Mental Institute? This cannot be right... We were all mentally ill? In the distance, I hear laughter.
"I'm pretty sure you hear that?"
Jin whispers, holding my hand.
"I do," I clasp his sweaty hand tight, "maybe we should follow it, it could be a sign."

****
"I found this box," Valentine hands it to me, "it has my name on it."
"I found one too, I dropped it in the room over."
I kneel down and gather the items that fell out. A photograph, a bracelet and a mouth guard? I run my fingers across the photo of a Hispanic couple and their two children.
"Does this little boy look like me to you?"
She scans the photo and and nods, "looks just like you, and there's a little girl there too."
"It is me, isn't it?"
I have a little sister?

****
Jin opens the door to a former office.
"I'll check out the file cabinets," I rummage through and see that some of the folders are unscathed,
Oh..."
A box with my name on it. Inside rests a photo and a bracelet.
"My family," my fingers tremble under the smooth plastic, "is that a boy in the middle?"
"Celestina," Jin looks closer, "that's Cole."

****
"There's nothing else here."
Valentine continues down the hall and kicks a door open.
"I've always wanted to do that."
She glances down at her picture, "I can't tell what ethnicity they are."
"The Eiffel tower is in the back."
"Oh! I'm French!"
I laugh, she can be so ditsy sometimes, but it's the cutest thing I've ever seen.
"There's a file cabinet in here, Cole."
"Check through it, maybe there's something in there."
I check my box and pick up the bracelet.
"Saint Legna Children's Mental Institute."
My heart stops, my body goes numb. I fall to the ground, my head starts to spin. Valentine touches my forehead.
"Cole?"
"This was a mental Institute."
"You're such a comedian."
"Look at the bracelet in your box."
Valentine dangles the bracelet in front of her face and squints; she gasps.
"I'm French and I'm crazy!?"
"Celestina and Jin are still out there, we have to finish looking through the cabinets."
"I found something," I remove two files, one labeled Jinketsu Kingu and Celestina Reynoso Romero, "I think we're done here."
I pick up my phone and dial Cole's number.
"Hey, Celestina, we found some stuff."
"So did we, let's get out of here and head back to Jin's house."

We gather in Jin's house and place our findings on his coffee table. Cole was in my family picture; he hasn't, so much as glanced my way yet.
"I found this picture," I hand it to Jin and he passes it around, "and I found files with with our first names on it."
Cole straightens up and stares at me, "We have the same picture."
"Wait," Valentine puts her bracelet on the floor, "does that mean you guys are brother and sister?"
"Only one way to be certain," Cole opens his file, "is your last name..."
"Reynoso Romero?" I close my folder, "yeah, that's my last name."
Now what do I do? Cole is my brother... Do I act like a sister, or remain playing a friend? Is it the same thing? I sit in silence, hoping someone will break it.
"It says here my parents are Mitsuki Kingu and Rein Kingu."
Jin nods at me, thanks Jin.
"Mine are," Valentine leans closer to the file, "I'm sorry, I can't see it..."
Cole takes it and reads, "Valentine's parents are: Abrielle Delequax and Beaumont Delequax. Mine and Celestina's are: Emiliana Reynoso and Jaime Romero."
"I suffered from severe Bi-Polar disorder..."
I lower my head in shame and feel tears form in my eyes.
"I had OCD," Cole sighs, "why don't I remember? Valentine, you had Schizophrenia."
She slouches and rests her head on Cole's shpoulder.
"I had emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder," Jin continues, "It's characterized by impulsive actions, rapidly changing moods, choosing to be in chaotic relationships and feelings of emptiness and threats of self-harm and/or mutilation..."
"Hey," I flip a page, "It says here we were chosen for a new experiment that could possibly make us better, but brain surgery was the only way to do so. They must have made a mistake because brain surgery is the reason why we lost our memory. They were a poorly funded institution, so, maybe, due to our memory loss they thought they would get sued. So, they told our biological parents that we died in the fire...? Our parents don't even know we're alive!"
"They kept our firsts names, but changed our last," Jin adds, "in the hopes that someone of the same last name may take pity on us after we were placed in the orphanage and adopt us. They fire must have been staged. We were used and our parents were lied to."
"The fire was staged!?" Cole reads his paper, "this is crazy!"
"The experiment wasn't OK'd by our parents," I show them the unsigned form, "although it wasn't, they did it anyway... Which is clearly illegal... To save their own a**es, they staged the fire and our deaths!"
"It has our death certificates," Cole reveals them, "it says our bodies were turned to ash, so there were no caskets involved."
"Dad was right." I stand and throw they papers," I would regret finding out! I was better off not knowing! Things will never... Things will NEVER be the same!"
"Calm down, spazz!" Cole roars, "we're going to have to deal with this! So what, we were crazy!? We're not anymore, we're wealthy and loved, so suck it up and stop being a chick!"
"Cole!" Jin shouts, "there's no need to get upset with her!"
"What? You liker her too?"
Jin looks at me, "too?"
I throw my bracelet at Cole.
"You! I trusted you!"
"I was a schizophrenic?"
We all look at Valentine.
"As if my life isn't hard enough? Now, I find out I heard voices and had hallucinations?"
"Cole sighs, "my OCD was so bad," sitting down next to Jin, I fold my arms and grunt. He smiles at me and holds my hand. Please Jin, the last thing I need is false hope.
"It says I washed my hands constantly, organized things according to size, I had to take a certain amount of steps before in order to enter a room and if I mess up, I go back to where I started and do it over again... Also, If I didn't chew the food the right amount of time, I would sit it out. I was malnourished..."
"My Bi-Polar Disorder was severe, "I scan the paper intently, "one minute, I could be quiet and cry alone in my room and the next I had violent outbursts. I attacked the nurses staff..."
"Woah," Cole attempts to make a joke, "no wonder you hit like a man, you had training."
I crack a smile, I can't get mad at Cole... He's my brother.
"It's getting late," I help up Valentine, "I just left my Dad a text, he said you can spend the night."
She hugs me happily and kisses Cole on the cheek, "thanks for saving me."
He blushes, "of course, kid. You mean a lot to me."
I beam and feel myself wrapped in a warm and loving embrace. Inhaling slowly, Jin's buries his face in my neck. His hair smells so good...
"We'll see each other tomorrow?"
I nod, "yeah."





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