WRITTEN BY SF GUILLERMO
A boy ran through the green fields over the outskirts of Madison.
He was carrying a baseball cap and a football in his hands, which he threw to a girl about ten feet away from him. He had a limp, and a leg made out of plastic, but it didn’t seem to bother him much.
The other girl moved as fast as she could so she could get the ball. She was laughing as she ran.
“I’ve got it!” Cassidy yelled, almost confident that she would get it.
“Yeah, right,” Kev smirked, “It would be the first time.”
Cassidy caught the ball in mid-air. Kev puffed.
“Ain’t bad for the first time.”
“Alright,” She looked down, pretending to be defeated, “You beat me. I lose.”
“Can you get this one, though?”
She threw the ball this time in the opposite direction to Kev.
“Oh, I see. My girlfriend and her temper, am I right?”
Looking to see a laugh on Cassidy, he totally missed the ball, which almost blew his head off.
“Oh, gosh. I’m so sorry!” Cassidy told him over and over while Kev got up and pretended nothing had happened.
“This is the time when you say ‘my boyfriend and his indestructible head’, man.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Cassidy laughed.
The truth was that they hadn’t been alone together in such a long time, which was what made this event so special. Even if they both ended up playing a sport neither of them were good at.
They both settled down after a while under a tree in front of a setting summer sun.
“It’s beautiful.” Cassidy said.
“Yeah,” He took her hand, “Yes it is.”
DARK TIMES AHEAD
We waited until the sun had fully set without saying another word.
Just the two of us feeling the summer breeze. This was a summer vacation we both deserved, and that we both were going to enjoy.
It had only been a month since Kirby had closed.
Kirby hadn’t been my school. But the closure affected all of us in some way. And even though at that moment I felt complete, I knew there was still a hole there that I couldn’t easily ignore. I knew Cassidy felt the same way.
In fact, she had told me that she was afraid she wouldn’t get over it.
“Hey, Cassidy.” I called her.
“I figured, that with Kirby closing-“
“- Not this again, Kev.” She said, annoyed and looking the other way.
“I just think that we should think about the future,” He then looked her in the eye, “Our future.”
“We need to know where we are going to go, what we’re gonna do. We can’t just wait for things to happen as we go.”
Cassidy groaned. “Now?”
“Alright, maybe not now,” I replied, “But possibly later on? I just want us both to be together. It would be a bummer if we end up going separate ways after everything we as a team have gone through.”
“Do you know anything about the rest?” Cassidy asked.
“Not much, really,” I raised an eyebrow. I did that a lot now. “But I know Clark is going to Claremont, and then some others have gone to Wheeler.”
“Claremont you say?”
“Wasn’t that the fancy school from Emily?” She sighed, even though she looked like she totally knew what school Claremont was.
“Yeah, but they’ve gone back now, after everything,” I took a deep breath, “It’s really hard to restart, you know what I mean? Like, forget about everything and live like any ordinary teenager. I’m gonna miss it.”
“At least we have each other.” Cassidy replied, and took the origami Vision I was holding in my hand and looked at it.
“Do you think we’ll use them again?”
I laughed. “Did we ever? I mean, we were the ones who did the work in the end. The puppets just gave us a personality. A character to live up to.”
“True, but anyways.”
There was silence while we looked at the final stages of the setting sun, until it turned orange, and then it started turning dark blue.
“Oh gosh,” Cassidy suddenly said. “Caiden is at Claremont as well.”
“With so many people, maybe we could go and pay them a visit this summer. Especially if you two get along just fine.”
“He ‘s nice. I think it’d be a great idea.”
“He’s your twin brother and he’s just nice?” I was surprised.
“Kev, sometimes I wonder if you ever listen,” Cassidy said. This made me sort of retreat. “Do you know the main difference between Wheeler and Claremont?”
“Oh, uhm,” I suddenly felt stupid, “Claremont’s all like ‘I’m so fancy’ and stuff while Wheeler is more like an average school. So what?”
“Well, Caiden decided to go to Claremont instead of attending Wheeler with me-“
“- So that’s what’s annoying you so much.”
“And I don’t know what will happen if we just visit him.”
I turned to her. “Cassidy. We don’t have to go if you don’t want to. I just figure it’s a way to spend the summer and go on a sort of trip together, if you will.”
“And you’ll be seeing your brother…”
“Still nice, I guess?” Cassidy laughed, “Alright, I changed my mind. I think it’d be great to take this trip after all.
“Sweet.” I smiled.
I personally have always hated packing, which is one of the reasons why I always come up with an excuse for whoever is next to me to pack my bags instead of me packing them myself, which is why I went to Kev’s house for that reason.
Yes, it could have been a good idea to figure out how to pack before this moment, because something told me Kev was having a hard time too.
“So is it too warm around that side of the world?”
I laughed. “Come on, we’re not going that far!” I looked at my bag, “Could you help me though?”
Kev looked at my bag, then at his, then mine, his, mine and his back and forth. I had a feeling he was a bit confused.
“You know what I’m thinking?”
“We should pack our bag together! One bag!”
Then, looking through the window, I saw a girl I hadn’t seen in such a long time… Claire Morgan.
“Claire!” I called from the window. She looked to me.
“Cassidy! Oh my gosh it’s been such a long time!”
She hurried to the door and Kev opened the door for her, not knowing what was happening.
“Howdy, girl!” She laughed, “Long time no see!”
Kev looked at me and raised an eyebrow. I signalled him that I’d explain later.
“We were just packing.”
“Just packing? We?” She asked, “And who is this handsome man?”
Kev blushed and looked to the other side.
“Yes, the floor is made out of floor,” he joked, then shook Claire’s hand.
“Call me Kev.”
“Okey Dokey! Where are you two going, if I may ask?” She laughed.
“We’re, uhm, visiting my twin brother Caiden at Claremont.”
“Brother at Claire-mont?”
“Yes, that’s what I said sweetie, Clairemont.”
“What a great opportunity to tag along!” She yelled in excitement.
“We don’t know if we’re going yet, right?”
Kev didn’t get the indirect way to get rid of Claire.
“Oh, well I think we are very sure we want to go, right?”
“Perfect! I’ll start packing and we’ll see each other in a jiffy!” She closed the door behind her, not before waving goodbye stupidly at Kev, who smiled back.
“Yeah? Oh yeah. Sorry darling.”
“And now we have two choices. We can take her with us or we can leave her here.”
Kev looked upset. He sighed. “But she looks so fun! Maybe that’s just what we needed now, a bit of fun, you know.”
“Kev, you and I have fun on our own, we don’t need anyone else-“
“-C’mon, you said you didn’t wanna talk about the school or anything!”
I stopped to think. “Are you sure you’re doing this for me?”
“Cassidy, everything I do, I do for you.”
I didn’t know why Kev was acting so strange all of a sudden. I mean, I knew that we had been discussing the fact that I didn’t want to talk about the school because it would get me depressed again, just like I had for a couple of months since Kirby closed down… But this was nowhere near what I had in mind.
In fact, this was the opposite of what I wanted.
The idea of visiting my brother with my boyfriend had actually got me excited. Even though I wasn’t very convinced by it at the beginning, I had really grown into it.
Now, suddenly, this girl I had known for a long time comes and wants to come with us.
I could have just said no, but I wasn’t fast enough, and now Kev wants her to come with us.
Either he’s quickly fallen in love with her or… Oh Gosh, I hope not. I really hope not…
“She’s nice! How long have you known her?” Kev asked me.
“Since I was little, but I can’t remember the date,” I explained, “We lost contact but then came back two months ago… but she’s a bit different from how I knew her. She’s way too eccentric now.”
“She ‘s nice.” Kev repeated, and I didn’t know what to reply.
Not gonna lie, I was worried.
Kev knew how to drive. Let’s start with that.
I had been too worried since last summer to get my own driving license because I was already working on an extracurricular activity: getting my Spanish C1 level test done.
It was crazy, I tell you, but thankfully Guillermo was able to help me with some stuff, even though some of the time he looked like not even he knew what he was doing, but still.
Yeah, that had been something I had coming for a while, and that’s the only reason why Kev got the wheel.
“Kev, last moment to decide if we want her with us.” I told Kev. I wasn’t totally sure this was a good idea.
He looked at me, and through his eyes I saw in him a change of heart.
“You don’t want her to come, then she doesn’t have to come. It ‘s simple.”
“Thanks Kev. It doesn’t have anything to do with her, I promise. I thought this would be a good time just for you and I to have fun.”
“I know. That’s why I’m doing it. She doesn’t have to come.” He smiled.
“Alrighty-tighty! I’ve packed and I’ve smacked!” Claire’s voice rebounded in the street where the car stood.
“Do I tell her or do-“
“I’ll do it,” I cut him, “I’ve known her for longer.”
“Okely Dokley!” The voice was closer, until the girl stood in front of us.
I looked at Kev again, still unsure about what Claire’s reaction would be.
“Claire. I’m so sorry, but we actually had some things planned for the occasion.” I spit out, kinda fast.
It took her a while to get the hang of what I was saying by that.
“Again, I’m really sorry. It’s just that you caught us by surprise and didn’t know what to say-“
“It’s not because of you, really. It isn’t.”
She looked down for a second, and this actually made me feel bad.
“Nah, I didn’t wanna go anyways…”
She turned her back on us without saying another word and marched to her house.
“And now I feel bad.” I said with a tone of sarcasm.
“Me too, but you were right that we needed a vacation on our own. This must be a thing for us.”
Kev turned the car engine on, and I smiled.
“So, where to, Origami Scarlet Witch? You name it.”
SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS
“So this school is fancy right?”
“Yeah.” Cassidy snorted.
“Just how fancy?”
“Fancy enough, Kev”
“Alright, alright… So what’s with your brother?”
“My brother and I have a weird relationship right now. We used to get along just fine when we were young. He always cared about me. Kind of like a big brother but with the same age.”
“He decided to go to Claremont, instead of staying with me here, at Wheeler. I sometimes miss when we were together.”
“Can’t you just talk to him?”
“We did, but it’s not that simple. If he really wanted to be with me he would have stayed here. He’s…not like me at all, really. Kind of the opposite.”
“If you’re so mad at him then why are we going to see him?”
“I’d better see him with you than alone. Now if I cry after I see him I have you to comfort me.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you either.” I smiled and turned on the radio, and Sweet Dreams started playing. Almost ironically, we were going to visit Origami Quicksilver.
“Do you know where he lives?” I asked Cassidy.
“Yeah, he gave us some directions, because I told him we were coming. Did you lock the car?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Than why are the lights still on?”
I looked back. True enough, the lights were on.
“That can’t be possible. The lights were out two minutes ago when I locked the car.”
“Tell that to the car.”
We approached it with care, kind of expecting someone to bump out.
I inspected the door, and it was open.
“This has an answer, you didn’t lock it.”
“I did, don’t tell me I didn’t-“
“Well obviously you didn’t.”
“Alright, okay!!!” She lifted her hands up, “I trust you!”
“Then who on earth opened the car?”
I heard some footsteps behind us, and Cassidy heard them too, because we each turned around.
“What’s wrong?” Caiden Lashlay appeared at that moment. “Long lost bro can’t squeeze his stinkin’ sister to death or what?”
I was suddenly very annoyed.
“Oh, Caiden, I’m so glad to see you!” Cassidy had a change of heart towards his brother or something- I don’t know- and went to hug him.
“Wassup man?” He lifted his hand up to me.
“Hey.” I grinned. I hadn’t seen him in a while.
They both started talking to each other, and I stood there, feeling weird next to the car.
“So what have you guys been up to?” He asked the both of us, but mainly her sister.
“We came here to visit you, as a matter of fact.” I said, moving the car keys so they could be heard by Caiden.
“Well,” He clapped his hands, “I’m so glad you guys are here. Oh wait, so you have somewhere to stay?”
“Actually, we were kind of half-expecting you to let us into your room.”
Caiden looked around, thinking.
“I have a room… and a roomie.”
We walked with him. He was staying on campus for the year, so he knew his way.
He entered the room and locked the door. After that, he undid the couch and it turned into a bed.
“Buckle up boys. I’m tired, we’ll see each other in the morning,” He announced, and then caught Cassidy’s eye, “If you need anything, you guys just tell me. I’m just on the bed next to you.”
We woke up with a noise. Glass broke, and I felt something falling on my leg. I sat up quickly, grabbed my prosthetic from the floor and slipped it on.
Caiden jumped from his bed and looked at the window.
It was partly broken, and from the stone that was sitting on my bed, I could tell someone had thrown a stone from outside.
The question now was who.
“Kev!” Cassidy yelled.
“Cassidy!” Caiden reached the window.
“Whoever did this seriously needs to go to sleep right now.”
“Who on earth throws a stone ON CAMPUS?” I desperately asked Caiden. I’m not gonna lie, but that actually creeped me out. Not to mention what happened earlier with the car.
“Let’s go to sleep, we’ll see in the morning,” Caiden said, but quickly changed his mind, “No, no way I’m leaving this mystery unsolved.”
We got our coats, even though all three of us were half asleep, and Caiden even grabbed a golf stick or whatever you call that from the drawer.
Cassidy shot a look at him.
“What on earth?”
“Imagine the guy is armed, duh.”
“That’s why I brought this.” Cassidy got out her puppet of Scarlet Witch, only it was more… changed. It was changed. The hair was different, and the red in the suit was darker. Like in the comics.
I knew she had kept the puppet, but his brother did not.
“You still kept it, even what happened to Kirby?”
“Yeah, well. A reminder I was part of all of that.” She looked at her puppet silently and sadly.
I grabbed her hand. Caiden still didn’t like this kind of affection in front of him.
“Hey, it’s all gonna be alright.”
“Yeah.” She looked at me, and looked like I comforted her.
“Let’s go get this cow.” Caiden got his origami Quicksilver out and grabbed the stick high.
CHAOS ORIGAMI, AND THAT MAKES YOU…
“The Scarlet Witch?” My brother asked, “I would have imagined you threw her out.”
“How could I?” I replied. Kev had thrown his OriVision out. No, he had torn it apart. He’d been a bit more affected by the T.H.A.N.O.S. thing than he let on.
“Wait, did you see that?” Kev signalled a corner, where a shadow moved. “Let ‘s go!” He pushed the team forward, even though it was the other guy who was carrying the stick. Very brave on his side.
We followed the path the shadow gave us. It was all very strange, considering this was all in the middle of the night.
If I had known we weren’t gonna find the culprit just outside the door, I wouldn’t have bothered leaving the room.
But still… Did we really want to find out who did this?
In the best case scenario it would be a crazy guy, but in the worst, we could find ourselves in a gang fight.
And we didn’t want that, did we?
Well guess what. It wasn’t anything we expected.
“Hey, guys.” Claire drew a smirk through the empty darkness of the night.
“How on earth?” Kev looked at her surprised.
“I’m sorry, I’m confused.” Caiden truthfully said.
“I won’t judge you. I’d be even more confused if I hadn’t met her earlier today.”
“Alright, Claire,” Kev tried to get to her, “Please tell me you didn’t just throw a rock at our window. Pretty please.”
Claire raised an eyebrow, and we were all very surprised when she pulled out an origami finger puppet.
This just reminded me of not so long ago (not much at all), when everybody we seemed to fight against fought according to the character they had chosen.
“You and your origami puppets… I thought you’d take me more seriously if I played your game.” She smirked, as she tried to make us guess her character. White hair, a purple cloak, and a cat or something as an accessory.
“I’m sorry, who’s that?” Caiden half laughed.
“This is Agatha Harkpleat, so nice to finally meet you, dear.”
“Alright, she’s weird.” Kev explained to my brother.
“Doesn’t ring a bell,” Caiden looked at his watch, “Look, I’m sure this is very interesting, but can we please continue this in the morning? It’s very late… or should I say early.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Claire picked up a rock from the ground, “But no one is leaving here today. You guys took me for stupid, and now you’re gonna pay.”
I came forth.
“I hope this doesn’t have anything to do with us not letting you come with us.”
“What are you, three?” Kev butted in, “It was a holiday for us both. We didn’t know how to tell you.”
“I’m tired of everything. I just try to be nice to people and have friends but for some reason I always end up excluded!” The tone of her voice was getting harder, and she clenched her teeth as she held the stone tighter in her hand.
If she was a good shot, we were in trouble.
I hoped we wouldn’t find out.
“Alright, let’s settle down.” Kev tried to get a hold of the situation, but I ran to Claire and knocked her down. I landed on my elbow.
The other two ran towards us and got her hands.
“You guys have done nothing in your life other than mess up. The school? That was all your fault!”
“You know about the school?” Kev asked.
“Everyone knows about the school, Kev. It was on the news. If you people don’t mess with things you don’t understand, bad things won’t happen.”
“How can you know, you weren’t in the school.” Caiden claimed.
“My brother was. Guess what? Wheeler was full, Claremont, where others were going… too expensive.”
“Away from town, so I don’t see my brother as much.”
They let go and Claire remained on the ground, but seated.
“It’s not that I don’t see him, it’s that he never did anything. The war? He didn’t participate, he didn’t try to stop it and he didn’t care. He remained under the radar. He didn’t deserve this.”
“And you think the rest of us did?”
“You guys are the ones to blame-“
“The reason Kirby even stood a chance against T.H.A.N.O.S and the destruction of the school was because of the OrigAvengers. What do you think we were doing?”
“T.H.A.N.O.S tried to end the war. You guys continued it.”
“We wanted to end the war too, but the end doesn’t justify the means, so we moved against T.H.A.N.O.S as well.”
“So, who really closed Kirby down?”
“You know it wasn’t us. It was all part of a big plan. F.O.L.D had been infiltrated by an agent of the enemy.”
Claire shook her head, and stood up.
“I guess I’ll be leaving, then.”
She turned around and left, but not long after did she look back and thanked us briefly.
Kev and I thought it would be better if we stayed with Caiden for a season and then returned to Madison before the year started again.
Something told me everything hadn’t ended yet. We still had some fights to win, either personal or with whoever stood in our ways to become better.
Truth be told, I think Kev and I are doing pretty good.
Some couples fight more often, and others not so much. It’s truly a matter of luck, and we are doing just fine.
I finally settled with going to Wheeler with him and face together whatever the future kept on hold for us.
“So,” Kev walked with me to the doors of Wheeler, “Are you ready for this next step?”
I smiled to him, while holding my origami Scarlet Witch on one hand, and his hand with the other.
“You know I always am.”
“So, you’re saying, a crazy girl broke your window?” Duncan Anderson closed the book on his lap, and used his Doctorigami Strange puppet to hold the page.
“And you convinced her that…?”
“We weren’t the ones who caused Kirby’s closure.”
Duncan swallowed and then stood up, and started searching for books in the library.
“I was wondering,” I told him, and he looked at me, “If you guys in the library needed any help. I want to meet more people.”
Duncan gave a chuckle.
“It would be good to have another person here, if that is what you mean.”
“Welcome then, Cassidy.”