(sorry for spelling/grammer errors.) Oh, and you may notice a slight resemblance to Soul Eater. I have a serious phobia of Stein so my friend dared me to write a book about him and have it published. My next step after this is to publish this and hand a copy to my friend. Let me know of anything I need to change, etc, etc.

9:34 p.m.
Let’s get the story straight, this wasn’t my idea. This whole “journal” thing. Trust me, if I could have anything in the world, a journal would not be it. Maybe world peace, the cure for cancer, or, heck, that my dad was still here. Oh, well. I might as well start by telling you about myself. I have long dirty blonde hair. Almost brown. I’m thirteen. I’m small for my age, only about 4 foot 8. I’m thin but that isn’t always a good thing. At least in my case. I only weigh about 85 pounds. Anyway, I live in Death City, Nevada. Nice name right? I’m kidding, its actually a really sweet town kinda out in the country but near enough that you can drive to town within a half hour. Death City is a large town with a 10,000 population but it could be much, much, bigger My nearest neighbor lives across the street. But we all have huge property. Except my house. We probably own less than 7 acres including the woods and small field we share with one of the neighbors. My neighbor owns horses but he’s really old and I don’t see him much. My other neighbor who lives a half mile down the street grows grass for hay. That’s the guy we share the field with. We don’t use it for much. Dad and I used to drag race with go carts. Not anymore. We live surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans and tons of forest. If you drive about ten miles south, you’ll meet a highway that leads to the more “businessy” part of Death. With all the little stores and the school. Yeah, Death City has a creepy name but the folks here are the nicest you’ve ever seen. OK, on to school. I go to St. John’s public school. I have friends but I’m not very popular. I’m an only child. Oh, and my name is Chirp. My dad named me. At least thats what mom says. I like my name and all but it doesn’t suit me very much. Even with my small build, I’ve won a few fights. The only reason I don’t change it is so I can hang onto my dad. You see...I don’t know most of my family. They’re all missing. Down in Florida or something. My dad has been dead for two years but my mom is still around. I have an uncle. But he hasn’t been seen in a long time. I don’t even know his name. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. Except when I was born. He showed up and held me. Supposedly. But mom doesn’t like to talk about him much. Speaking of mom, she decided to get me this journal to - and I quote - “help me sort out my feelings” So, I’m gonna write in this to make her happy. It’s time for bed. School gets out soon but I still gotta do the last three weeks.

3:02 a.m.
Thought I heard someone. Probably just the fish tank bubbling. Going back to bed.

3:31 a.m.
I heard something again, but I keep my eyes closed and my breathing deep and even. Who is in my room? What does it want?

3:32 a.m.
Someone is whispering. I think its a man.

3:36 a.m
I can feel him touching my arm, feeling for a vein. I open my eyes a crack. He has an IV. He sees that I’m awake. Tries to get the IV in before I can stop him. I open my mouth to scream. Bad move. He shoves something sweet in it and wraps his hand around my face so I can’t spit it out.

It tastes like candy. Wait, candy?

“Yeah, candy. Peppermint to be exact,” He gives me a triumphant smile. It’s the last thing I see before darkness claims me.

5:47 a.m.
I’ve been awake since five. Well, let me rephrase, he’s kept me awake since five. He just left my room. I open my eyes. He’s back. Why is he here? Why me? Before my eyes close, I see his face. Pale and thin with wire-rimmed glasses and a scar on his right cheek that starts just below his ear and then disappears into his chin length gray hair. Wait, something’s not right with my arms. I can’t move them. Can’t move legs. Can’t even open my eyes.

5:50 a.m.
I can’t move. I can’t even fall asleep. All I can do is lay there and listen to him mutter while he examines the two scars from my most recent surgery. I’ve had twelve in my whole life. I guess you could call me a troubled child. His voice is soft but really rough. Like he has a sore throat that’s still healing. At least he’s talking. Better than silence. Something about requesting sharper scalpels. I swear, if he dissects me, I’ll kill him. But no blood runs down my calf where my scars are. He keeps saying my doctor’s name. How does he know my doctor? While I’m lost in my thoughts, he shoves another candy into my mouth. I spit it back in his face. It’s hard not being able to move and all. But I have OK aim. It smacks his glasses. I can hear the candy hit them. He leaves but not until he injects something in my IV line and makes sure I’m pretty much out. When he stands, I realize how tall he really is, he has to duck a little to get out my door. I’d only come up to his chest, he’d easily tower over me. And his jacket. A white lab coat over a brown and gray turtleneck.

7:00 a.m.
At dad’s weird dreams last night. Can’t stop thinking about them. Some creepy guy in a white lab coat. I need to stop thinking about it.

7:28 a.m.
Bus is here, gotta go.

7:31 a.m.
I’m starting to think my dreams were somewhat real. They seemed extremely realistic. I’ll check my arms for scars later.

2:30 p.m.
In Study Hall. I checked for scars during first period. I have one on my left lower arm. Right above my wrist. Not my first location when I think of IV’s. But that is where the guy put it in my dream. I gotta go, teach is giving me the hairy eyeball.

3:31 p.m.
Finally home. Really tired, might take a nap.

3:41 a.m.
My scars hurt so bad. So bad. They burn. My whole leg burns. But not like fire. Like warm water is running down my leg. And where the scars are, the water burns like acid. I roll up my left pant’s leg to mid thigh. The biggest, a five inch scar runs diagonally from my inner thigh and down towards my knee. And the other, two inches long, runs vertical down my left calf. Wait. They aren’t scars anymore they’re fresh wounds held together with tiny even stitches. Did he? No. He wouldn’t. I would have felt it. Then I notice the throb in my right arm. I’m hooked up to another drip. I never agreed to this! At least he’s not here now. Maybe I should try to get away. All right, later. Right now, I need sleep.

3:38 a.m.
He’s touching my scars again. Probably taking out the stitches. Why would he even open them in the first place? I don’t like it and try to pull away. I can’t. My ankles and wrists have been restrained to the bed with leather straps. I want him to leave. I’ve had a rough day at school. No luck just more candy. Did I spit it at him again? No! I swallowed it like a good little pet. Just kidding! Like I would do anything he wanted me to. I spat it on the ground once he left to get who knows what.

3:40 a.m.
He’s really mad at me for spitting out the candy. Almost cut me open right there. So that pretty much explains why I’m sitting in the hall closet. Why mom doesn’t wake up even though he’s screaming, I don’t know. Maybe he drugged her too. I’ll just stay here the rest of the night. Maybe that’ll discourage him when he can’t find me and he’ll leave. I doubt it though.

12:32 p.m.
He found me. Hence the no update until he was out of the house. He kept me out of it for the rest of the night. Same paralyzed feeling. Not cool. I haven’t told anyone about him yet because, A) I’m still not sure that he’s not a dream and I’m just paranoid. B) I have no proof (except for the cuts but they’ll sum it up to me cutting myself and have me put through counseling. Bleh.) And C) I’ll be called crazy more counseling, etc. You get the picture.

12:47 a.m.
I’m determined to stay awake until he gets here. I’m armed with pepper spray, a frying pan, and tons of zip ties. Let’s see if I can get some answers out. It is, after all, OK to stay up. It’s Friday and school get’s out in a week.

3:32 a.m.
Why does he always show up around 3:30? Ah shoot, I missed my chance. He left, must have forgot something. Weird, no car noises. Just the door closing. Maybe he walked here...

3:43 a.m.
All right he’s here. My equipment is hidden under my pillow and I don’t think he suspects a thing.

3:48 a.m.
Gonna make my move while he sets up the drip. Wish me luck!

8:06 p.m.
So... The whole interrogation blew up in my face. Big surprise. He was trying to get the IV in my arm again and I leaped up in my plaid pj’s and attempted the classic, “Pepper-spray-in-your-face” trick. Apparently he keeps those candy things in his coat pocket along with some other drug cause, he pulled out a candy and a gas mask with a small tank and well... I was down for the count. The only thing good that came out of last night was that the gas in the can smelled like root beer. Weird man with candy flavored drugs... Note To Self; Avoid at all costs.

7:56 p.m.
I found out more about him. His name is apparently, Professor Stein. And now he has a partner. Some guy in a black suit. He leaves the jacket open to show off an olive colored shirt and a black tie that kinda looks like an upside-down cross. Unusual taste. But it looks good on him. He has shoulder length straight red hair and blue gray eyes. I heard Stein call him Spirit. My dad had red hair and my dad’s name was Spirit. But he more than died two years ago and he wouldn’t be caught dead in a tux.

3:47 a.m.
He’s late. I hear him shuffling trying to fit into my tiny room. Wait. His hands are warm. Stein’s hands are never warm. Always cold. His breathing is off to. He’s breathing fast and shallow. Why? I open my eyes. Oh, its Spirit. I moan, he jumps. Oh, yeah, I forgot. He doesn’t know that I know him. Whatever, I’m done being these guys science experiment. I sit up.

“Chirp?” How does he know me?

“Don’t touch me!” I scream and hop out of bed. Pepper spray ready.

“Stein! She’s up! I need something S.T.A.T!” He’s yelling equally as loud.

3:48 a.m.  
I dodge around Spirit and a push past a very drunk Stein and out the door. Across the street and into the neighbor's cornfield. The old one that owns the horses. I’m lucky the we’ve had a lot of rain. The corn isn’t usually this tall. I can hear their shouts and see that they have a flashlight. Glad I’m wearing dark pajamas.

4:02 a.m.
I’m really surprised they haven’t found me. Wait, I jinxed it, they see me. I run towards the neighbor’s house.  The barn is locked but I slip around behind, crawl through a gap between two boards, and inch my way among the sleepy horses. One is a big, old, black stallion with white fuzz on his ears and muzzle who seems to sense my adrenaline. He turns around to protect-slash-hide me with his giant head.

“Thanks, Oscar,” I whisper. He nickers and licks my face. Now you know why he’s my favorite.

9:57 a.m.
I’m back home. I was crouching behind Oscar trying to look invisible and then I look outside and see Spirit coming around the corner pulling Stein behind him. I guess he drank too much. They kept calling my name. They had almost gone past me when Stein stopped two feet away and suddenly he turns around and looks at me with this twisted smirk on his face. It scared me so bad, I screamed. I don’t know how he found me but he did. Long story short, Oscar is my hero. He fought them off as best he could. He’s probably still out cold. It took five whole minutes to pry me away from him. So, I was drugged and carried back to the house by Stein. I passed out when we reached the road. The medicine worked that fast. Stein smelled like cigarettes and antiseptic. And although I hate to admit it, he smelled kinda familiar. Scary right? If I know him from somewhere, I’m gonna cry.

3:48 a.m.
Guess where I am. Go ahead, guess. Fine, I’ll tell you. I’m crouched under a bridge by Oscar, in the middle of a herd of horses standing in a creek. The neighbor forgot to put them up. I actually have a plan this time. I’m gonna ride Oscar down to the train tracks, get to the river and... Well, that’s as far as I planned. I’m soaking wet and cold. But still, at least I’m away from those two.

4:03 a.m.
Ok, no sign from either of them for almost ten minutes. I’m making a break for it.

5:23 a.m.
Down by the river. Well, more like *riding* down *through* the river. Yep, they found me. This is getting really old, really fast. I refuse to be their guinea pig any longer!

6:00 a.m.
They keep telling me to come out. That they need to get me home before anyone misses me. NO! They can go rot in a hole!

8:09 a.m.
They finally left. The same deal as last time but they forgot their little miracle drugs so Stein had to bind me hand and foot and carry me back again over his shoulder. It was especially funny cause Stein was trying to lecture me about staying with them while I was pounding his back with my bound fists and screaming through my gag. Spirit just gave me a weird look. Comedy Gold! And when I say, “funny” I mean I’m desperately trying to get over my desperate attempt at escape. Which failed in case you didn’t pick that up.

3:18 p.m.
All right, I officially have a plan. And this time, it doesn’t involve Oscar. I’m afraid if I ride him again he’s gonna collapse under me. So, right before they get here, 2:45ish, I’m gonna run down to the cornfield again, but I have a head start. OK, so through the hopefully still very tall cornfield, across the hopefully deserted highway, and into the hopefully empty canning factory. Yes, I know that there are a ton of “hopefullies” in this plan. But its better then letting those two in my room. If Stein’s not drunk, he’s crazy and if he’s not crazy, he’s mad. As in upset. And Spirit, well he’s Spirit. It’s an endless cycle. The strangest thing is, well, they both seem really, really familiar. Not like, familiar like his face kinda reminds me of a family member, familiar as in, so familiar I’m having déjà vu every time I see him. I know I said this earlier but it’s really creeping me out. I don’t know much of my family. Just mom, dad, and uncle. But no one's seen him since I was born.

3:01 a.m.
I did it. I’m sitting in a storage unit surrounded by canned tomatoes. They won’t be looking for me for another half hour. And the first place they’ll look is in the barn by Oscar. But I planted Oscar about a mile in the exact opposite direction I planned on going. So they shouldn’t find me. Hopefully. OK, fine I admit, I’m a little freaked out about Stein knowing where I was when Oscar was trying to hide me. I still have nightmares about that. Of course, I only dream when I’m not drugged. So, I don’t dream much.

3:41 a.m.
Nothing yet.

4:02 a.m.
I can hear them now. Probably gonna be here in about ten minutes. Better make sure I’m hidden.

4:11 a.m. I hear them they’re going through each unit. One at a time. One of them is looking through the one next to me. He’ll be here any minute now. Gotta prepare myself mentally. Will update later. Wish me luck!

5:23 a.m.
Well, as you can see, I’m still free. He went right over me. Guess I was just paranoid about the creepy smile. He can’t tell where I am after all.

9:41 a.m.
Yeah, so I guess I was wrong. I waited about ten minutes and I could here them on the other side of the warehouse.  Then I slowly worked my way out of the factory. I inched backwards when I saw Spirit still guarding the door. I backed into something. I looked up. Right into Stein’s cold eyes. He grinned and wrapped his arms around me. Stein hugged me tight until Spirit could get the sack over my head. They started to carry me back towards the house. I kicked him and ran back into the cornfield. Spirit ran after me. He easily overpowered me and dragged me back scratching and biting to a doubled over Stein. I could tell he was mad, but he didn’t say anything. He put the sack back on my head with a candy and gag. Scooped me up in his arms, and carried me, half asleep, back to what I thought was the house.

10:00 a.m.
So, here I am. Fully awake with those two nut jobs leaning over me sticking something cold in my mouth. I smack it away and sit upright. I’m not at home. I’m in some sort of hospital. Only I’m alone except for those two. Stein appears sober and even Spirit’s a bit more relaxed than normal. I don’t care where I am as long as I get back home. Well, that went over like a ton of bricks. I was unconscious before I could even get out of the tangle of sheets!

12:03 p.m
They are so lucky my mom is out of town on business.She’d be freaking out if she saw I was missing.

3:49 a.m.
They are just so happy to have me all to themselves. They don’t to work around my tiny room. They can do whatever they want in this big empty... Whatever it is. I still don’t know where I am. Some sort of... I want to say barn but it would be multiple barns glued together randomly. Oh, and bigger and cleaner than a barn. They must spend a lot of time here. It smells like him.

7:23 a.m.
I’m back home. They dumped me here about an hour ago. Took me all that time to get out of my gag and blindfold. Hey, my hands were bound! At least schools out. Now I don’t have to worry about sleep.

3:34 a.m.
Never mind, I need to get more sleep. Even when they leave me alone, I don’t sleep very well. Mom is starting to notice my dark circles. Wish me luck explaining that to those two morons.

12:37 a.m.
Yeah, like I’m going to ask those idiots to stop... studying (?)... me so I can get some sleep. Well, I’d ask but they’d just laugh. Or worse... Don’t really want to talk about it.

3:27 a.m.
They should be here any minute. Listen, I know that my last interrogation attempt went horribly wrong, but for the past few nights, I’ve pretended to trust them. So, they don’t expect me to do this again. I’ll just have to hope that Stein’s too drunk to resist and Spirit, I’ve got a surprise for him.

3:32 a.m.
They’re here. I sit bolt upright, just Spirit, no Stein. Weird. I pull some of Stein’s candies out of my pj’s. (Yeah, I stole them.) I tackle Spirit and shove three in his mouth. He’s unconscious by the time I’m out of my room and down the stairs.

Crap! Stein’s sitting in the living room, smoking. He sees me and jumps up. I hold what’s left of the pepper spray from last time up like a gun. Aiming for his face, I fire. He’s on the ground yelling like a maniac. I drag him to the couch, and bind his hands and feet together with -what else?- duck tape. He’s cussing at me and trying to grab at my hair with his bound hands. I grab his turtleneck collar and shove him back down.

3:46 a.m.
Nothing useful. He won’t talk. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I hold up the pepper spray again, “Talk! Why are you here every night? What do you want with me?”

Nothing, just his gray eyes. Cold and hard under his now broken glasses. I squeeze the trigger. Nothing but a hiss of air. It’s empty. Crap! He sees the sudden fear in my eyes and takes this chance to roll off the couch and on top of me. I can’t breathe, can’t move. He broke his bonds. Not good. He has candy. His knees are on my chest and leather boots in my elbows. And if you don’t think that hurts, you’re crazier than him. He shoves a candy into my mouth. I feel him carrying me back upstairs. Roughly. He’s mad I can tell. Glad I’m out by the time we get back to my room.

5:23 a.m.
Ouch! He’s not even being nice anymore. OK, I guess I kind of deserve it. I did plaster his eyes with pepper spray. Spirit’s not around. Smart guy. At least Stein’s not drunk. He might end up “accidentally” slitting my throat. He’s leaving. Gives me another candy. I will forevermore know why parents say, “Don’t take candy from strangers.”

6:37 a.m.
He’s coming every night now. Just to remind me. As if I could forget. He’s getting rougher too. I have bruises. Mom’s going to notice. I’ll have to start wearing long shirts. Why don’t I want her to find out?

4:13 a.m.                                                                                                                        Stein and Spirit are fighting. Stein got drunk and punched me when I spat at him, Spirit intervened, shoved me in a closet and... Well, there’s a ton of yelling. Something just hit the wall. It was Spirit. I peek out. No, I was wrong. Stein’s on the floor. Spirit looks up at me. Scoops me up and runs. We’re in the neighbor’s barn. I’m on Oscar, playing with the white hair in his mane and rubbing his ears. Spirit is trying to explain something. But I’m not listening.

5:02 a.m.                                                                                                                            We’ve been sitting here for at least a half-hour. Spirit keeps grabbing my arm. Trying to say something, I keep shutting him out. Then he says something that catches my attention, “Your uncle.”

“What?” I ask begging silently that he’s not who I suspected him to be.

“Chirp, Stein is your uncle,” He looks down.

No. He can’t be. I had a hunch but I was too disgusted by the thought to pursue it. How? It’s not real, this is a bad dream. My tears are hot on my bruised face. I’m falling off Oscar. My head cracks on the concrete floor despite the hay covering it.

7:13 a.m.
I’m awake. In the lab. Again. Stein is looking at me from across the room. Sitting on his chair. Creepy. I stare back. He looks like he wants to talk, but I’m not letting him. When he unties me from this gurney and let’s me stand up, then we’ll talk, maybe. Probably not.

7:34 a.m.
Stein wheels up and unties me. Get’s up and gives me his chair. He stands. I don’t sit. He looks at me standing there with my arms across my chest wearing nothing but a tank top and shorts. I sit. He puts his coat around my shoulders. I shrug it off even though I’m cold. I don’t want to smell like old man.

7:35 a.m.
Stein looks sick, he swallows, “Chirp,” I realize with a start I’ve never heard him talk much. He continues, “Chirp, I’m sorry.”

“For what?” I pretend not to know. Pretend not to be hurt.

“For hiding who I was. I wanted to tell you, really, but things started to get complicated. If I told you willingly, you would have ran away,” He walks closer and places on hand on my shoulder. Goosebumps rise on the back of my neck. I shrug him away. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”

Didn’t want to hurt me? Is he insane? He stabbed me with countless needles, experimented on me without consent! I stand, fuming. His hand goes in his pants pocket. He raises an eyebrow. I sit. Again. He continues, “I love you, Chirp I’m trying to help you.”

“Then what’s with the random experiments? I’m pretty sure, sticking me with needles every night is not protecting me! And giving me more bruises to hide? What’s wrong with you?” I’m screaming. Spirit walks in and then backs out blushing. “Who’s he?” I demand. “Is he someone I know too? Tell me!”

Stein approaches and walks behind me. I’m screaming all the way to the van. One of those classic white creeper vans. Its raining and really hard to see. He stands me up and puts his coat back on my shoulders. I hate him so much. I bite and pound on his chest trying to get away while he’s trying to get a candy in my mouth. I hit flesh and I shove my teeth into his hand. He slaps me so hard stars burst in front of my eyes. Scoops me up, and drags me to the van. Shoves me in the backseat and slams the door shut. I try to open it but he has the child lock on. Good for child safety. Bad for running from wacko nut-jobs who want to kidnap you.

1:47 p.m.
I have no clue where we are. None of this looks familiar. I try for the thousandth time to get my fingers through the bars that separate us. No good. When I bit him, he got angry and hit me again. I can still taste his blood in my teeth. He looks in the rearview mirror. His eyes are cold and full of hate but something else. Does he actually care about me? I doubt it but that’s a nice daydream to pull me away from the truth. I realize something with a start and decide to pry.

I jam my fingers farther into the bars. It hurts but the pain helps me focus. I grit my teeth, “You never told me who Spirit really is.”

He looks up, “Spirit is your dad. Sorry,” He goes back to driving. Like its no big deal that he just broke me. Again. I spit in his gray hair. It’s a pinkish red color from when I bit him. He wipes the spit out but it still leaves a red streak. He looks at his fingers. They’re smeared with blood. He wipes the red off on his pants. His hand goes into his pocket and brings out another candy. He twirls it. I get the message and go back to looking for clues in the road signs. It’s hard when the windows are so dark and the rain so heavy.

5:34 p.m.
It been over fourteen hours since my last full meal. My head is starting to pound and my hands are shaky. I try to hide it ‘cause I don’t want him trying anything. He notices anyway and pulls over. I look out my window. We’re at a McDonald’s. Wait, what? He gets me a burger. He doesn’t get anything. I’ve never seen him eat. Only drink. Weird... Oh, yeah and smoke. I don’t think that counts though...

12:34 a.m.
We’re back home. I don’t get it. He takes me out and drives me across the country and doesn’t even touch me. Well, I’m here in my room. Stein left, I’m here with Spirit. I don’t care that he’s my dad, I’m not giving him any extra attention. I’m really hurt. By both of them. Why are they bent on doing this to me? Spirit keeps staring at me. He looks sad. He should be. I pretend to sleep until he leaves but not before kissing my forehead. It takes all my morale strength not to rip his face off.

6:35 p.m.
Nothing for three days. I think they’re going to leave me alone. Finally.

3:34 a.m.
Oh, I was wrong. They’re here. Well, its a new record. Four days total. Stein’s not here again. Its just me and Spirit. Now that I know Spirit’s my dad, I find his movements all that more familiar. Scary. I need to talk, so I sit upright and hold my hands up to show I don’t have any defense. He just sits there with his pitiful little restraints held up in front of his face. Its more of a begging situation then a threat. Little bit sad, even for him.

“Why did you leave? Why’d you come back? Why are you doing this to me?” I ask.

“Things got complicated,” He looks like he wants to cry.

“Really? That’s what ‘Uncle’ Stein said too.”

“You don’t have to call him that, Chirp,” He looks down.

“Really, Spirit? You team up with this wacko to watch me while I sleep? Every night? What’s wrong with you sick people?” He stares at the floor and blushes. Sometimes he reminds me of a little kid. Why does he act like that?

“You can call me dad,” He offers.

“You don’t deserve it,” I cross my arms.

He’s crying silently. I feel bad. “Look, I’m sorry I snapped. I just feel so betrayed,” I uncross my arms.

Stein walks in. He’s pushing his office chair in front of him. He sits next to Spirit, his coat splayed out behind him as he sits on the chair backwards. Weird way to sit. I’m so mad at both of them, I wish I still had my pepper-spray. But I used it all. For nothing. That only makes me madder. I sit back down on the bed as the tears rolling down my cheeks. Stein mistakes it for fear and scoots back on his chair. Trying not to intimidate me. As if he cares.

“Why do you come here every night? Why me and not some other poor neighborhood girl?”

Spirit won’t look at me but Stein looks only slightly down before looking me right in the eyes. Stein rests his arms on the back of the chair and lays his chin on top of his forearms. A glare on Stein’s glasses hides his eyes. “You are under observation because of something Spirit did.”

“You mean besides leave my mom and I to fend for ourselves?” I say sarcastically.

“No, that was for classified reasons.” Nice, Stein. Very specific. “Spirit and I watch over you because Spirit almost killed you and your mom.”

“You mean Spirit died?” What is he talking about?

Stein sits up. “No, he never died. He came to me when he recognized the first symptoms of Madness. Not telling anyone was his way of protecting his family. He was worried for you, Chirp. The disease is genetic. A father passes these traits down to his kids. All of them. When the child is born, she has a high risk of becoming Mad. Even higher than the father But only when that child is female. For some reason, girls are at a greater risk. The only way to make sure that the subject, you, doesn’t go through abnormal growth sequences that aid in the growth of Madness, is to monitor you constantly. Hence, at least every twenty-four hours, we must measure your vitals and perhaps draw blood depending on heart-rate and brainwaves. If any abnormalities show up, we take you to a classified location in town - i.e. here - for more tests.”

“Wait? So, you think I have a chance of becoming Mad? Just because my dad, over here, had a daughter even though he knew that this so-called disease would be passed down to me? Hardly seems fair.” I’m mad again. Mad at Spirit, mad at Stein, mad at all my ancestors for giving me this. And not in the disease way.

“I agree, it’s not fair. I never wanted to give my children this but then I met your mom. But, its not my fault or your fault. So, we have to take what life throws at us.” Spirit looks back down and blushes.

“Wow, Spirit, that was really cheesy.” Stein and I speak at the same time. That’s scary. I clear my throat and stand.

I’m suddenly dizzy but I need to get out of here. Before they can get to me.

Stein stands to block my way. Almost like he cares. I shove past him and out onto the street. Glad I wore my shorts and T-shirt to bed instead of my usual sleep shirt. I’m hurt that no one told me that I lost my dad because of something our ancestors passed on. It’s not fair! I need to get out of here. I don’t want to be anyone’s experiment anymore. I run towards the road. It seems funny to me that I can’t stay in a straight line. Suddenly, my vision is going red. Somethings not right, I’m seeing things that shouldn’t be there. Small multicolored creatures with three twisted arms and three sideways goat eyes floating right on the edges of my vision. I run into the barn to saddle up Oscar. He sees me and runs the other way. Terrified. Why is he scared of me? What did I do? Maybe I smell like Stein. Instead of chasing after him I sink into the straw, vision getting blurry. Little creatures still dancing in front of me. I close my eyes right as Spirit’s voice reaches me. He’s screaming. Why?

I’m lying in a cradle. I hear someone yelling and sobbing. It sounds like a women. Someone else is laughing. I turn and see a man. He looks like Spirit. But not. His hair is more orange than red and its been cut short and spiked up with gel. The sun through the skylight makes his hair look like its on fire. His usually blue-gray eyes are red. Like a demon. He’s fighting something away from a woman. She has blonde hair and bright green eyes. She tries to fire a pistol. The one the man keeps trying to get away. It clicks. She fires again. Click. It’s empty. She’s screaming for help now. No one comes. The man is laughing hysterically. His face morphs into a hairless wolf with a human-hybrid body. He tosses the woman against the white concrete wall. She drops with a thud and slumps unconscious against it. The empty gun beside her. He laughs. Then turns to me. Crawling like a Hellhound. He scurries up the wall and across the ceiling like a giant spider.

“Dada! Dada!” I scream.

He looks surprised, like he can’t believe that dying wouldn’t be fun for me. He’s almost reached my cradle. The man stops and drops onto the floor. His head tilted to one side breathing in my face through his drooling maw. Smells like rotten flesh. I’m pretty sure that’s not normal. Blue flashes suddenly under the red. He collapses. His face returns to normal. The red tries to come back. Its like a battle for his mind. Back and forth. Blue, red, blue, red. Finally, eyes turning fully back to blue, he gets up and looks around, confused. Then he sees the women and me in the cradle, still crying. He blinks and dashes out the door. I fall back asleep.

I wake right as he returns with a man. Tall and thin with a lab coat. Cold gray eyes and a freshly stitched wound on his face. So fresh, blood is still oozing from between the stitches and skin. Like he had just gotten out of a rushed surgery. One that has to be finished later. He picks me up and wraps me in his jacket. It smells like cigarettes. Makes me sleepy. I’m barely aware of being carried into a different house. Then the strange man again. He’s talking to the demon. He sounds scared. The strange man sounds worried and concerned, but not scared. I’ve been set down on a stainless steel counter still wrapped in the lab coat. The counter is cold through the jacket and I cry again. The old man takes the cigarette out of his mouth and puts something red striped in mine. I yawn and close my eyes. Sleepy. I listen to them talk until I fall asleep. I like the man’s voice and the way he smells. Kind of like a doctor’s office only fresher. Like he spends a lot of time in the woods... Either that or he sprays himself with Febreeze, but I doubt that.

I’m back in the barn. Stein’s over me. Shaking me awake. I see Spirit. He’s still crying. Something bright is pointed in my eyes. I blink and sit up. Stein helps me. I stand. Try to walk. I’m dizzy. Fall back down. Stein puts his jacket around me. It reminds me of the dream. He scoops me up in his arms and carries me back to the yard and sets me down on the back seat of the car. I’m so tired I don’t care that my head in Spirit’s lap. The jacket is warm and soon I’m asleep. Spirit stroking my hair.

7:31 a.m.
We’re at the lab. I’m too sleepy so I don’t fight them. They run a C.A.T scan and take blood. To my knowledge, more than they ever have. Lot’s of murmuring. Spirit isn’t crying but he looks sad. Stein is edgy. He keeps pacing. When I’m finally able to sit up without stars everywhere, I ask them what’s wrong. Stein lights a cigarette and drinks something from a leather flask. His eyes are bloodshot. He pulls up a chair. Sits.

“Your scans were normal,” Takes a sip. “But that little episode was classic Madness. Eyes bright red, seeing things, those little lizard things, animals being afraid of you.”

“Wait, how did you know that I was seeing things?” I’m a little freaked out. If he knows what I hallucinate about, what else does he know? Not that I have anything to hide. I think.

“Simple,” He takes a long draw from his cigarette, let’s it out, and another sip from the flask. “Spirit kept a log. Jotted down all he saw and all he did. Including his hallucinations and visions. Usually, kids have similar hallucinations as the parents. So to track this particular case of Madness, I have a copy of the log. I still reread it every once in awhile.” He holds out a small packet of papers. Most of the handwriting is scrawled on with a jagged sideways look. I don’t take it. If my dad had hallucinations, I don’t want to know what they were. My mind flashes back to my dream, hallucination, whatever. I don’t get Stein’s point with the log.

“I want you to keep a log. Now that we know you’re Mad, you need to keep track of your symptoms. To make sure you don’t get worse. Or, if you’re getting better. Although probably not.”

“Can’t I just tell you if I’m getting worse?” I really don’t want him looking at my thoughts. Watching me sleep is more than enough.

“It’ll be too late by then. When Spirit realized he was getting worse, it was too late, he had already hurt someone. But, I won’t push you. Just don’t come crawling back after you kill someone you love.” He glances at Spirit. He’s is staring at the ground, shaking and sobbing. I don’t want to be reduced to that. I agree. Stein hands me an empty moleskin notebook. It’s a little thick for a journal. More like a small encyclopedia. I put it under my pillow. Stein raises an eyebrow. I take it back out and record my first encounter with Madness. My handwriting is neat and only somewhat formal. I try to keep it that way. Don’t want to scrawl everything down. Like Spirit. When I’m done, I hand it back to him. He places it in a large pocket. They leave. Something about more cigarettes.

9:37 a.m.
So, here I am. Wandering around the lab hospital thingy. I don’t see how a quick cigarette run could possibly take two hours. Oh, they’re back. They have someone. Gonna go scope out the scene. (And, uh, yes, I am feeling better since I know Stein’s on my side.)

9:53 a.m.
They have a women. She’s wearing a bag over her head so all I can see off her is a black, hooded, sleeveless jumpsuit that looks like its made of sweat pant material. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough visual information, she’s barefoot.

They set her down. Pull off the bag. She has light mousy brown-yellow hair cut short and spiked up with gel. Her hair isn’t glamorous at all. Like it was cut for practicality instead of style. Oh, and cold yellow-green eyes. She can’t be older than 25. She’s screaming for them to let go. I’m half tempted to do just that, she’s screaming so much. Spirit’s eyes tell me different. I’m so busy watching those two trying to get her calmed down, that I don’t notice a little boy standing in the doorway.

He has chin length pale pink hair and big black eyes. One arm is wrapped around his shoulder while the other arm dangles towards the ground holding one of those classic knight swords. It has a black blade. Unusual color. Wonder what its for. He’s awfully thin... Pale too. Like he spent his whole life indoors in the dark.

10:02 a.m.
They finally have the woman under control. As in, duck-taped to a chair. The boy and I have been casting each other sideways glances for the past, oh, ten minutes or so. He seems only about seven or eight. He’s wearing an ankle length black dress with long sleeves. Very simple except for a crisp white collar like a turtleneck without the fluffiness... The same white fabric is on the end of both sleeves. His hair is a pale pink color and it’s cut short just above the chin. Long bangs hang down by his ears and one on his face. But down to just below the chin on the ears and only to his nose on his face. His hair is short and layered in the back but not shaved. And all of it is straight. But it spikes up slightly in the back. Not enough to look unnatural, just enough to look feathered. I know it sounds horrific on paper, but it’s really cute in person. He also has that black sword with a spiky metal hilt. Why does he have it? This is getting more awkward every minute. I decide to break the tension.

Extending a hand, I say, “Hi, I’m Chirp. That’s my Uncle, Stein. And Spirit. What’s your name?”

“Crona,” And he goes back to staring at the ground. I withdraw my hand. I just made it worse.

“Hi, Crona. What’s with the sword?” I nudge his arm with my elbow to make him feel better. He’s awfully small, only about 3 foot 6. He can’t be older than six.

He jerks away. “He’s a Demon. Lady Medusa put him in me.”

“Wait, the sword’s a he? And that women put him in you?” I gesture to the blonde women.
Now that I look, she has black snake tattoos down both arms. But they’re not solid. They’re mosaics. The snakes are nothing but circles to represent the scales. Cool. In a creepy sort of way. I sort of expected the snakes’ heads to be at her wrists. But they’re not, the heads start on her upper arm almost to her shoulder and wrap around each arm and end with a tail in her palms.

“My blood is black you know,” Uh, random, creepy, unneeded thought.

Stein looks up from his smoke. “Chirp, come here,” He steps on his cigarette and gestures to the door.

I go. We walk back past the lab. The one with all the gurneys. I’ve never been back here. We turn down a hallway and wind up -at least to me- completely lost.

When we reach a dead-end hallway, he turns around and grabs my shoulders. “Chirp, listen, that little boy, Crona, he’s not as he seems.”

I wiggle out of his grasp. “Well, yeah, I kinda guessed that. What’s with you kidnapping that lady? And what does Crona mean by, ‘He’s inside me?’ How is that even possible? How old is he anyway? Six?”

“Slow down. Listen, That lady is Crona’s mom. But she’s abusive to him. She’s a Witch. Literally. Her name is Medusa, she melted down a demon sword and injected it into his bloodstream. Now, his blood has mixed with the sword’s and has become Black Blood. A condition somewhat similar to yours. Hallucinations and all. Although, Crona’s sickness was intentionally caused. The sword does come out for defense and such. But whenever its not in use, its inside him. Running through his veins. Yes, the sword is actually a demon. His name is Ragnorak. He doesn’t show his true form. Ever. The sight of him is enough to drive people Mad. Without needing the correct genes. And he’s seven, not six.”

“So, this Medusa person is mean to him? Then why does he stay?”

“Having Black Blood affects the way the mind works. Like Madness, it often causes powerful hallucinations and in rare cases, the injector of the blood, Medusa, can tell the host, Crona, what to do. This is also done through hallucinations. So, Medusa, at anytime, could cause Crona to have a hallucination about anything. Like, us being evil. He would kill us.”

“Why?” Are you confused? ‘Cause I am!

“Medusa is kind of like me. A scientist. Only she’s evil. When Crona submits completely to the Black Blood, he will live in one long hallucination. He will live in one dream without waking up. Resistance is futile for him. He’s too young. When he is no longer needed, Medusa will kill him,” Stein looks down at me. He’s dead serious.

“What! We can’t let her! Does Crona know what she’s doing?” I’m actually comparing those two in my head. Stein’s evil, but yeah, he’s not as evil as Medusa.

“Yeah, he knows. The Black Blood keeps him from leaving. If he leaves, Medusa could just tell the demon to implode. Crona would die an extremely slow and painful death. Once the demon starts to kill off the body’s cells, Crona will spend the next few years bedridden with pain. Although the same fate awaits him if he stays. Which is why we have to kill the Witch.”

“Fine with me, but how do you know so much about Black Blood?”

He fiddles with the stitching on his collar. “I helped Medusa do this to Crona.”

“What? Why?”

“She has a very persuasive... Personality. She possessed my mind and tormented me day in and day out until I couldn’t tell up from down and right from wrong. I thought I was helping Crona. Now I know I wasn’t. She needs to die. You ready?”

“Yeah.” I get up and we walk back. We aren’t even halfway when we hear a loud bang and a yelp. We run the rest of the hallway.

10:24 a.m.
Spirit is slumped in a corner. He moans quietly and blood dribbles down his lower lip. Crona stands beside Medusa. Ragnorak raised above his head in a fighting position. Crona’s eyes are pale blue rimmed with black. His breathing fast and heavy. Medusa is untied.

She’s laughing but suddenly grows serious, “Crona, kill them.”

Crona’s eyes widen even further. Unblinking and laughing like a madman, he stumbles towards us with Ragnorak pointed out like a dagger. Stein steps in front of me and holds his hands together palms pointed towards Crona’s stomach, outstretched so that the look almost like a sideways butterfly.

Yellow sparks dance around his fingers right as Crona runs into him. Stein shoves his hands into Crona’s abdomen. I gasp right in sync with Crona and Medusa. Mine a gasp of surprise, Crona’s a gasp of pain and I’m not sure what Medusa’s was. Shock? Blinding yellow light floods around them with the sound of electricity filling the air. The hair on the back of my neck stands up when Crona screams. I close my eyes after that. The light is too bright the screams too intense. When I open them, Crona is on the floor. Black liquid is seeping from his nose. He tries to get up and can’t. I’m absolutely stunned. This isn’t like Stein at all. I didn’t know that he could shoot electricity from his fingers. Now long has he been able to do that? And I’ve never seen him beat anyone up like that. Sure, he’s slapped me but I’ve never bled...

Medusa lunges towards Stein a screech of rage forming on her face. Stein easily sidesteps her and she hits the concrete wall behind him. For someone so evil, she’s not very agile. She collapses onto the linoleum floor. Stein grabs her arms and hoists her into his chair. He sends a bolt of energy right into her chest. Red blood bursts from her mouth. Her head slumps. Than she’s gone. Dissolving into tons of little black snakes. They disappear into all the little cracks in the wall until nothing is left.

By this time, Spirit is up and getting to his feet. He spits blood on the white tile. “Well, that was interesting.”

Stein doesn’t answer. He scoops Crona up into his arms. We all walk to the next room. Full of gurneys. He dumps Crona onto one and wipes the blood off his nose with his coat sleeve. Stein pries Crona’s thin fingers from the sword’s hilt and hands it to Spirit. Spirit wraps it in cloth and sets it in a corner. I’m still a bit confused so I sit down on his office chair. The one he drag around with him everywhere. He’s not using it. He’s busy checking Crona’s vitals and hooking him up to a drip. Halfway through, Stein lights a cigarette and sips from his flask.

1:57 p.m.
Crona’s up. His eyes are their normal black color. He makes no attempt at getting away. I sit by his side and hold his hand his eyes looking into mine. He’s crying. I feel so bad. It’s not his fault his mom was a jerk. He’s only seven and he had to see his mom die. Soon, I’m crying too.

3:12 a.m.
I feel Spirit scoop me up and lay me on a gurney beside Crona. Our hands still linked. I don’t know why I feel so close to Crona. Maybe because we’ve both had something go terribly wrong in our lives that wasn’t our fault. I don’t know. I close my eyes.

7:49 a.m.
I wake. Crona still asleep. I sit up and untangle my hand from his. Gently remove the drip from my arm and slip out from under the sheets. I walk down a long hallway, almost at random, looking for Spirit and/or Stein. I come across the kitchen. They’re both drinking coffee out of beakers. I sit on the couch between them. What? Spirit wouldn’t scoot over. Irritating, but he’s my dad. Whatcha gonna do? Yeah, I know a week ago I would have plastered his face with pepper-spray but this is different. They have my permission. OK, not really but where else am I to go? Mom’s probably worried sick. Stein gets up and goes behind a counter. He returns with bacon. I’m hungry so I don’t question his usual habit of drugging every food known to man. It tastes fine.

12 a.m.
Crona’s up. Still wearing his black dress. He’s barefoot, like me, though. His pink hair is a mess. Stein get’s him some bacon as well. He looks like he’s never had bacon before. He takes a bite and his face lights up. Well, it doesn’t light up. It just looks less... Sad.

Stein doesn’t seem to notice. He get’s right down to business,
“Crona, do you know who your dad is?”

Crona looks up from his bacon, “No, Lady Medusa has been with me my whole life.”

“All right, do you know who I am?”

“You’re Stein. Lady Medusa still likes you. She talked about you a lot.”

Stein’s eyes widen. I intervene, “So, is Medusa dead?”

“No,” Stein says, “She simply ran away. Luckily, she can’t control Ragnorak anymore. It is simply a sword now. A sword that can be stored in Crona’s blood. But, yeah, a sword.”

“Will she come back?”

“I doubt it, even if she came back and won Crona over, she couldn’t control him. The connection has been broken.”

“So he doesn’t have Black Blood?”

“Oh, he still has it. But he doesn’t hallucinate anymore.” Stein grabs Crona’s wrist and ****** his finger with a switchblade. I drop of black blood wells up.

“Ouch.” Crona murmurs.

“Stein,” Spirit says while looking at me.


“We discovered something last night. Didn’t we?” Still looking at me.


“What?” I ask.

Stein lights a cigarette, “There’s a way to cure your Madness.”

“Really? How?”

“It involves Crona’s blood.”

“How?” Just spill it!

“We take blood from Crona and put it in your bloodstream.”

“That sounds simple,” I say. It really does.

“It’s not. If this goes wrong, you’ll instantly become at least ten times as Mad. That means more hallucinations, more tantrums, more deaths.”

“Wait, I killed someone when I was crazy? But I don’t remember that.”

“Yeah, you killed.” He looks down.

“Who!? Tell me Stein!” I stand.

“Your mom.”

“What?” No. Not possible.

“Why do you think no one’s noticed you’re gone? Your mom was your last family member.”

I sit back down and lean my head against Spirit. “Let’s do it.”

“Fine, but you asked for it.” Stein stands and leads Crona and me back to the gurneys. He draws blood from Crona and blood from me. Mixes them together and puts the whole purple mixture in a hypodermic needle. He injects me in a vein on my right arm. Some long word I can’t pronounce. I fall off the gurney. Spirit catches me. My head hurts really bad. Right above the back of my neck. I struggle to stand.

“How do you feel?” Stein asks.

“Fine.” I say even though I’m not.

“Good, we’ll have to monitor you for another few days to be sure.” His face tells me he knows I’m lying but he doesn’t question.

4:23 a.m.
My vision is red. Crap. Have to get to Stein before the hallucinations come. I fall off the gurney onto the floor. I craw past Crona’s gurney and into the hallway. Too late. The little rainbow snake things are here. My vision is getting redder. Like blood dripping in my eyes. I can’t see. I will myself to scream for help. Nothing. I collapse on the floor. Then I see Stein. He’s killing my mom. No, this is a dream. Can’t listen to the voices. I shut my eyes but that only makes the pictures stronger against the black background. Wait, everything is falling into a plan.  Stein’s blaming mom’s death on me. Wait, he’s causing the hallucinations on purpose? I stumble to my feet. My vision suddenly clear again. This wasn’t Madness? This really happened? Red hot rage flows through my veins. How could he? I run down a hallway at random, looking for him. A door is slightly ajar. I peek in. Stein is at his computer. I can see him silhouetted by the glow in the dark room. I giggle quietly as I creep around to his left side.

He snaps around, “Chirp!” Grabs my shoulders with his cold hard fingers.

I struggle out and punch his stupid face. He tumbles backwards but regains his footing and slaps me. Hard. I bounce back and punch Stein right above his silver belt buckle. He gasps for Spirit. Well, its more of a scream. Spirit comes and grabs my arms from behind. Trying to pin them to my back. I whirl around and sink my teeth into his shoulder. He releases me with a yelp and I hit him over the head with my hands joined in a single fist. Spirit collapses on the floor. I turn around to face Stein just as he puts me in a headlock.

His free hand goes in a pocket and returns with candy. He holds my nose until I open my mouth for a breath and shoves it in. He carries me back to the gurney and straps me down. The last thing I see is Crona. Reaching for my hand. Calling my name.

8:02 a.m. I howl. And howl. Crying, screaming, and sobbing. I bash my head back on my pillow repeatedly and release a strange animal sound trying to escape my bonds so I can rip Stein’s head off while he’s trying to get me calmed. I ignore Crona’s pleads. Stein looks sorry. Like its his fault. I’m so mad. I snarl at him. He turns my strapped arm over and simply inserts and IV into my vein.  It calms me. I’m still dizzy so the only resistance I make is to weakly make biting motions at his fingers every time he puts them too near my head. Why am I doing this? This isn’t me.

9:57 a.m.
I wake up strapped to a gurney. My head pounds. Ouch. I’m covered in dried blood. Why? Stein walks in with Spirit. Spirit’s head is wrapped in linen. I Squirm against my bonds.

“Why the restraints?” I ask even though I know the answer.

“The black blood reacted with the Madness. In a bad way. You had an attack early this morning. You’re lucky I stopped you. You almost killed us both. Spirit was hurt badly and even I’m going to have scars for a while.” He unties the restraints and removes the drip. Stein leaves and then returns with a wet washcloth. He wipes the blood off my hands and face.

I don’t move. Afraid he won’t let me up. But he does. I stand and walk down the hallway back to the kitchen walking past his computer room. More bacon for breakfast. Is that all he can cook well? Not that I’m complaining. I love his bacon.

Stein reminds me to write in the moleskin thing. I obey.

10:03 p.m.
Crona and I are alone. Walking down an almost empty ally. Empty except for a few Hoods. The gang that runs this part of town. They won’t mess with us though. Crona’s carrying Ragnorak in the open. They cast a few glares at us but won’t attack. Nice. I smile at a few just to catch their eye. We walk past them and onto main street. Crona puts Ragnorak away so we don’t catch anyone’s unwanted attention. Also known as the Boys in Blue. I look at Crona. He hasn’t said a peep all night. He’s really quiet. Not just now. All the time. Well, with a mom like Medusa, who can blame him. I still don’t see how him and me walking is going to solve anything if he doesn’t talk. Sometimes I love Stein and sometimes I hate his guts. The second more often. We circle back around towards the pier overlooking the Delta.

10:23 p.m.
We’ve reached the pier. I sit down on the edge. We’ve had a drought lately so my bare feet just barely skim the surface. Yeah, I walked here barefoot. Its a cool night but the water is still warm from baking under the hot sun all day. Feels nice. Crona doesn’t put his feet in. He takes his black boots off and crosses his legs under himself. He’s so adorable.

He looks almost younger in the moonlight but his voice sounds thousands of years old when he says, “Do you know your dad?”

“Yeah, he’s Spirit. The redhead. Do you know your dad?”

“No, Lady Medusa said he was worthless. That he didn’t matter.”

“Was Lady Medusa good to you?” I know the answer from Stein but I want an answer from him. In his own words.

“No, yes. I don’t know. Most of the time I was being controlled by the Black Blood through her, so I didn’t have time to eat even though I was hungry. I couldn’t even tell her much even when I wasn’t hallucinating Lady Medusa just ignored me. She claimed I wouldn’t feel anything. But I do. Every time I killed someone, I felt shame and...guilt.” He frowns and looks at me. “Is that normal? Lady Medusa said that I wouldn’t feel anything. But when I told her, she said that was normal. That I should get used to those feelings. I never did.”

“Crona, Stein never told me the whole story. What was Medusa doing with you when Stein captured her?”

“Lady Medusa and I were going to practice. We were almost to the house where the people were when this guy in a lab coat came out and hit Lady Medusa with this glowing stuff on his palm. I didn’t know what to do until your dad, Spirit, told me to follow. I did. And we walked to the lab. We had just walked in when Lady Medusa woke up. I don’t understand why she was mad. They seemed to know what they were doing. Like they didn’t want to hurt us. I trusted them for some reason.” His brow furrows and he looks at the ripples on the water.

“Why do you call her that?  ‘Lady Medusa?’ She doesn’t deserve respect from anyone, including you.”

He doesn’t answer.

“It’s getting dark. We should head back.” I stand. Crona stays.
“Come on.” I grab his arm and lead him back towards the lab. I don’t want him out here alone.

He seems confused so I leave him alone the rest of the night and drink coffee with Spirit and Stein. Stein doesn’t ask what happened. He has a good idea from the expression on my face. Spirit seems in a good mood so we let him babble on about his day. Probably not very exciting. He hung around the lab.

12:18 a.m.
Stein says bed. I’m going to be up pretty much the rest of the night so I don’t see his point. I listen anyway. Crona is out cold. Snoring slightly. He’s adorable when he sleeps. I smile and lay down on my gurney next to him. I close my eyes right as Stein comes in. He smiles. Not in the creepy, “I know where you’re hiding” smirk, the “It’s ok” smile. I love that one.

6:26 a.m.
Slept surprisingly good last night. When I could. Crona’s not beside me when I wake. I hear shuffling in the kitchen so I go to investigate. Spirit’s trying to teach Crona to make coffee. This involves making sure the beaker or test tube, whatever they’re using, is microwave safe. And unless you’re Stein, you have to trust that the glass tube you’re about to stick into his “modified” microwave isn’t going to explode. So far, they weren’t doing so well.

“Stein’s going to be mad.” I say leaning against the doorway.

“Oh, Chirp, you’re up! Can you help? I can’t figure this out.” Spirit motions for me to come over.

I grab one microwavable beaker and a non microwavable beaker. I turn them upside down, “The microwavable beakers always have his initials on the bottom.” Sure enough, a tiny “FS” was scratched into the bottom.

“Yeah, but they all have those. We looked.” Spirit protested

“Look closer, on the ones that are microwavable, the ‘S’ is slightly bigger than the ‘F’. See?”

“Oh, ok. But why doesn’t he just make them different colors or something?”

“ Speak of the Devil and he shall appear.” Stein says as he comes behind me. He rubs my back when I jump. “You seem tense,” He smiles and makes us all coffee.

He’s even creepier when he’s in a good mood.

“You seem happy.” Spirit mumbles. He’s probably just grumpy that he didn’t figure the beaker thing out first.

Crona is swirling his coffee with a spoon. He’s not drinking it. “Crona, what’s wrong? Don’t like coffee?” I ask.

“No, I mean yes. I like coffee.” He takes a sip. Frowns. Then stares at the floor again.

I shrug. “Ok.”

11:57 p.m.
Actually going to bed at a somewhat decent time. Weird. I’m watching him. Stein’s been acting strange lately and it’s creeping me out. Wonder what’s going on...

5:01 a.m.
Why is he getting us up so early? I go out and sit on the couch. At least he made bacon.  I’m the last one up. Stein sits on his office chair and fiddles with his cigarette. “first off,” he pauses to look at me. “You had another attack last night. It wasn’t as bad as the last one, but you dealt us some heavy blows.”

He drops his cigarette and rolls up his coat sleeve. Bruises suspiciously shaped like my fingers line his lower arm and a bite mark on his wrist is still oozing blood.

“But I don’t remember anything.” I’m ashamed. Which doesn’t make sense. I wasn’t aware of anything. But my face still burns.

Stein sees it and quickly covers the bruises. “It wasn’t your fault. If you’re going to blame anyone, blame me. I’m the one that suggested we try to cure you. I only made things worse.” He lights another cigarette and blows a jet of smoke towards the ceiling.

Spirit yawns and rubs his eyes, “Yeah, but why are we up so early? And why are you the only one getting attacked? Not that I want to be.” He glances at me to get the point across. Like it’s in my control.

“We’re up early because its hard to sleep when the girl in the other room might attack you at any minute.” Now I have two wackos staring at me. I blush harder.

“What if we did the blood transfusion again?”

Stein doesn’t hesitate. “No, out of the question. Chirp, the risks are higher this time. Now it’s twice as likely to react with you’re Madness then to do anything good. It’s not worth it.”

I frown. “I don’t care about the risks.”


“Something is better than nothing!”

“No.” He’s starting to irritate me.

Rosiechan Rosiechan
26-30, F
Jan 10, 2013