Author's note: Hope you enjoy! If you want to read the next chapter just post me a comment and I will. ^_^
Matchmaker's Mansion: Ch. 10Asha sat on her solid blue comforter with her back slouched, staring in a daze out her bedroom window. Little snowflakes drifted down in the black night past her window to layer the ground in a frosty whiteness that reminded her of powdered sugar.
Her mind drifted like those snowflakes back to a warmer moment in the past, just a day ago when she had been dancing with Chase—and when Shay had smiled for the first time.
Smiling dreamily like an idiot as she thought about
A knock on her door spooked her out of her daydream. She quickly picked up her Physics book and flipped through a few pages to make it look like she had been doing her homework. The door slowly opened and her mom poked her head in.
“Still working on homework?” her mom said. Her voice held a sound of worry. She opened the door to watch Asha flip through a few more pages. Asha looked up when she felt her mother’s weight on the edge of the bed. “You know if all these after-school activities are taking up too much of your time you can always quit.”
Asha felt a jolt of guilt hit her conscience. After school activities were really sessions at Matchmaker’s Mansion and if her mom ever found out…well, she’d become the modern version of Rapunzel.
“Uh—“ she managed to stutter out a coherent sentence, “no…Mom..I’m perfectly, perfectly fine. It’s my senior year and I want to be involved in as much as possible. Ya know? I won’t be in high school forever.” Her lips formed a lop-sided smile that she felt made her look more guilty than innocent.
Her mother’s brown eyes gave her that “all-knowing” look that every mother seemed to possess. “I’m so proud of you.” Asha had to replay the message in her mind again, because when her mother said it, it didn’t match up with the expression on her face. Her mother leaned forward to squeeze Asha tight. “You’re finally making an effort to become involved with other people your age.”
“Mom,” Asha moaned, the air squished out of her lungs. When her mother released her, she leaned back from Asha with a smile on her face. “Keep it up, Asha,” she kissed Asha’s forehead. “I love you,” she said and left the room without another word.
Asha gazed after her, the closed door all that she saw. She pulled her knees up to her chin and rocked back and forth on her bed. Her heart felt the same way: a door had been shut between her mother and herself, cutting off all trust. And it was all due to the lies she had woven.
Deep down she felt like there was a danger that she was ignorant of and it would cost her…someday. Of course, her mom would be there to say, "You should've listened to me."
Chase stared up at the ceiling above with his hands behind his head. The glow-in-the-dark stars he had put there years before were only faint smudges of green on the ceiling. A thought bugged the back of his brain like an annoying mosquito that he couldn’t swat away.
He looked to the side in the dark room, the bunk beds in the right corner a dark indistinguishable mass.
“Ever?” he whispered. “Shay?” he said a little louder.
A light swept across from the top bunk like a blinding spotlight as it shone onto his face. “Of course Shay’s awake,” Chase mumbled.
“Man, that light is blinding!” Chase said when Shay kept the light on his face. Shay clicked it off.
“Why are you still up?” Shay whispered.
“I have a question.”
“Mmm?” Shay said, turning over on his stomach to look down at Chase from his top bunk.
“Why exactly do I get lovesick?” Chase said with all seriousness.
Shay chuckled in the darkness, “That’s just what Ever calls it.”
“Sooo….” Chase drew it out to show that he didn’t understand.
“Chase,” Shay said with alarm in his voice. “Do you even know why we’re here?”
Chase’s mind went blank as he stared into the darkness, spotting Shay’s head as a dark lump on top of the dark mass in the corner.
“Do you remember when we first came here?” Shay said slowly.
“It was too long ago,” Chase felt guilty for not remembering.
Shay sighed, “I suppose I’ll just tell you what I remember of my own personal experience then.” He paused to swallow, then started. “After I…” images of the girl from the picture flashed through his mind, blood smeared across her face. “Never mind, we’re skipping that part…When I arrived here at the age of seven—“ His mind flew back in the memories of his past and stopped at that moment when he had first come to Matchmaker’s Mansion.
Shay’s seven-year-old self looked up with his pained grey eyes to the black brick building towering over his small stature. Cold metal handcuffs bit into his wrists and he winced when a strong grip clenched around his thin arm. Tears pricked the backs of his eyes from the pain not only in his wrists but in his heart. The harsh hand around his arm led him to the heavy iron door. A man in a police suit kept his gun pointed at Shay’s forehead as he opened the door with his free hand. The man’s grip finally released him when he shoved Shay through the door, the harsh sound of grating metal as it swung shut behind him.
Through bangs that needed a trim, Shay took in his new surroundings. Short white candles sat on every surface that was large enough to hold them. For a moment he thought he had been kicked out of Hell into Heaven. In the soft glow of white light he saw a white velvet chair and beyond that a heavy oak desk. Behind that desk sat a man dressed in a pure white suit that made him look like the butler to Heaven. He took a few steps forward, expecting to see a huge tome to be sitting on the desk, full of the names of those going to Heaven, and wings sprouting out of the man's back. But there was nothing on the desk but an inkwell, a stack of papers, and a glass figurine of a man.
Shay shook his head, feeling as thought everything was just a dream. After all, there was no way he was going to Heaven after what he had just done. The handcuffs gnawing at his wrists were proof enough.
“It’s so good to see you,” the man ,that apprantly didn't have wings, said in what seemed to be a genuine tone, but Shay still felt as though something was a little off. “You may call me Shaun. What’s your name?”
Shay stared at him, watching his every move through his black bangs. He never answered. “That’s quite alright. I’m sure you’re not comfortable enough to be friendly just yet. Please take a seat,” Shaun motioned to the white velvet chair. Shay looked the chair over, then back to Shaun. He turned for Shaun to see his handcuffed hands behind his back.
“Oh my,” Shaun said, “let me take care of that for you.” Shaun stood up from the desk, his full height revealed to be near six feet. He rounded the desk, kneeling behind Shay to unlock the handcuffs. Shay never wondered as to how he unlocked them, just rubbed at his sore wrists, thankful to be free.
Once Shay was sitting in the white chair, his feet dangling a few inches above the floor, Shaun kneeled before him to equal his height. Shaun lifted the glass figurine off of his desk and placed it gently in Shay’s small hands. The glass figurine of the man was heavy from the water that filled it up on the inside like a snowglobe without the fake snow to shake around.
“Do you see it?” Shaun asked the young boy. Shay glanced up at Shaun’s smiling face, then back down at the glass man. Inside of the glass man, floating in the water was a small purple ball the size of a jawbreaker with threads of black wound around it. Slowly, the ball began to pulse with a dark light and as it sped up the glass man heated in Shay’s hands. The glass rose to a scalding hot temperature, yet Shay didn’t let go. His hands felt like they had been glued to it. Screams gathered in Shay’s throat, clawing to come out, but they didn’t. The ball inside of the glass man started to unfurl to reveal a monster so hideous, so evil that Shay knew it had come from Hell. The fangs, the horns, the eyes, the forked tail: Shay’s eyes grew with fright, wincing as the monster inside of the glass man stared out at him, nearly burning the insides of his eyes.
The screams were just about to release themselves from Shay’s throat when Shaun pressed his hands over Shay’s smaller ones and said, “This is what rests inside of you—a monster. And the only thing that can remove it is love.”
“I remember this now,” Chase said softly, interrupting Shay's verbal flashback. “But I still don’t understand the lovesick part.”
Shay frowned though Chase didn’t see it, “When that monster inside of you is drawn out by love, in your case Asha, it literally is trying to come out of your soul. And in the process it hurts you physically.”
“Love really does hurt then,” Chase whispered.
“Indeed it does.”
When they had fallen silent for a few minutes, Shay dozed as Chase stared wide-eyed at the ceiling. “Shay!” Chase said.
“Shhh,” Shay hissed.
“Sorry,” a guilty smile spread on Chase’s face.
“What is it?” Shay said in a half-awake state.
“How did the monster get inside of us in the first place?”
“You have the worst memory ever. It’s called a Deum, or the love demon. And you’ll just have to read the book Shaun gave you to find out. I’m going to bed.” With that, Shay turned over on his top bunk that creaked with his shifting weight.