Monday, April 2, 2012
It was a world of endless, gray, bitter fog in which Margo lived. Even in days where the horizon was clear, or the sky was blue, it all was only a pale imitation of the world outside this wall-less cage. Every color here seemed more dull--every cloud more weary.
Her grandmother always said that Twinbrook was a place where dreams went to die. She wasn't sure whether to believe it or not, but Margo spent every waking moment trying to prove her wrong. Dreams were all she had--she couldn't let them go.
Occasionally, though, that bittersweet reminder would come: there was at least one wishing star that hadn't yet abandoned her.
She could feel its sunshine tasting her skin. Margo let it captivate her in the way a lover would; the light left lovenotes on her eyelids, the heat lightly touched her lips, and the wind stroked its fingers through her hair. She was past the days of pretending that's what love really felt like, but she still hadn't lost hope it might be even better.
Moments like this reminded her that, despite the love of her friends and family, it just wasn't enough.
Margo barely had time to soak in the warmth before it was stolen by the same cloud she'd been eyeing dreamily only a few minutes before.
'Figures,' she sighed to herself, scuffing the toe of her shoe against the deck. 'You always leave when I need you... just like everyone else'.
Speak of the devil. "MMMAAAARGOOOOOOO, where did you run off to?!" The chipper voice had no problems traveling through the glass door separating herself from the house's interior.
With a bit of a sigh, Margo trudged back inside, clunking the door a little bit too hard behind her. "Sorry," she mumbled under her breath as she made her way over to Lil, who stood in the middle of the living room, fidgeting.
"It's okay, Margee!" Lil shrugged. "Just had me a little worried when I came back downstairs and you had vanished!" Lilobot smiled widely, nudging her fingers in the direction of the boxes cluttered to the side of the room. "So? Shall we do some more unpacking?"
"Mmm... Ya, I guess."
Lilobot's uncannily human face scrunched up sourly. "Margee? You alright?"
"Yep." Margo's gaze fell to the floor.
"Hey--I may just be a hunk of metal with a new coat of paint, but that does not mean I am not programmed to know a frown when I see one. I mean, if you want, I can call Mom and Dad instead--"
"No, no--" That was definitely the sort of threat to get Margo to loosen her tongue. She stuttered, but even she couldn't resist saying what had been haunting her for weeks. "I j-just... want you to come home."
"Oh, Margo..." Gentle fingers clutched the teen's shoulder, giving it a small shake when Margo's eyes and face angled towards the floor. "Why?! You do not need me to take care of you, anymore! And you know if you need me, I am only a phone call away."
Margo's shoulders tightened into a shrug. "It's just not the same."
"Of course it is not--but it is better, for both of us. I miss you too, but... I am so busy these days you would not see me much, anyways." Lilobot wore a smile, but it faded when Margo didn't turn her head up to see it. "Do you want me to take you home?"
A pained gaze met Lil's. "I'm okay."
"Well then--let us get something accomplished, shall we?"
Margo took a deep, prayerful breath to try and raise her spirits, then took a step towards the unopened boxes--but a heavy rapping on the window behind her stopped her in her tracks.
"Heeh-ooohh" came a muffled voice from the other side of the door. Margo saw a hand waving wildly through the glass, but at first glance, she didn't recognize the owner of it.
Lilobot's face toiled and scowled, quite obviously confused. "Huh, who is that?"
"OOOH!" The moment she swept open the door, a bundle of pink flowers blocked her view from anything else. "My favorite!! Are they--are they for me?"
"Of course, my dear--who else?" He was courteous and suave, despite the obvious edge of nervousness in the chuckle that immediately followed his presentation. The man waited anxiously as Lilobot took the gift, holding them just close enough to her face to experience the aroma but not squish the life out of them with her nose.
As the petals slid across her lips and back into the fingertips of her other hand, she turned and headed back inside. "These are so lovely--who sent them?"
An uneasy quiet fell upon the room. Lil waited expectantly for the man's response, but her words seemed to hit him like a heavy fist to the stomach. "I knew you weren't going to be happy to see me, but that's a little harsh, don't you think?"
Lil blinked quickly a few times as she set the vase onto her coffee table. "Why would I not be happy to see you? Have we met?"
"You don't--you don't remember me?"
"Uuuuuhhh... no? Am I supposed to?"
Margo looked at the man, then back at Lilobot. It had taken her a minute, but she suddenly realized: Tanner. It was him--the man who'd broken Lil's heart.
She'd only seen a few pictures of him, the ones that Lil had swooned over during their brief but intimate online relationship, but the name--and the indescribable pain he had caused her when he discovered she was a simbot--was something that drove knives into Margo's gullet, seeing him standing here.
"No... this can't be happening." Tanner let out a deep moan, then violently rubbed his palm against his head and slicked his fingers back through his hair. "When I heard about what you did... changing bodies and everything... I heard it's possible you'd lost some memories, but I never thought--I never thought you'd forget... everything."
Only one of Lilobot's eyebrows raised in surprise. "Yeah, that is an occurrence with a very low probability. Are you sure you did not just come to the wrong house?"
Tanner's gaze flipped from Lilobot to Margo then back again, his eyes frantic. "Of course not--Lil, I came here for you. I... I realized I was wrong. And when I heard what you did, because of what I said--I just had to see you, I had to tell you..."
He paused and sighed, clearly unsure of himself. "You have to believe me. We had something, something special--I don't want to let that go. I'm not lying--please... Margaret--Margaret, right?" He looked at Margo, praying he'd remembered her name correctly. "Tell her. Tell her who I am."
But Margo was no fool. She surely knew who he was, but that didn't change what he did. There were many things she was willing to forgive, but breaking the heart of one of her dearest friends--her sister? Not in a million years.
Margo leaned her body against Lilobot's, cowering and protecting at the same moment--and, looking at him with the deepest glare imaginable, she shook her head. Never.
"Look, Mister--the thought is sweet, and maybe you are telling the truth, but... I am not sure what to tell you. I do not remember you, and if little Margo here is not willing to stand up for you--" Lilobot shrugged. "You best be steering yourself out that door."
Her words were final, and he knew it. Tanner opened his lips to say something--anything--but Margo's continued glare was enough to keep him silent. Shaking his head, he turned and left them, so absorbed in his thoughts he didn't even bother to shut the door behind him.
When he was out of ear-shot, Margo let her arm drop from around Lil's back. Everything suddenly hit her like a bag of bricks. "Lil--you were lying, right? You... you remember him?"
Lilobot shook her head. "Nope. The guy is a mystery to me. Why? Is he for real?"
"Lil..." Margo's mouth hung open. If she didn't remember Tanner, the man who'd spun so much change into her life, what else was missing from her memories? "How much else did you lose?"
She was met with giggles. "Well Margee, that's a silly question--if I don't remember it, how can I remember I forgot it?"
"Then what are you going to do?"
Lilobot sighed, staring bewilderedly at the man still walking slowly from her home. Although she didn't want to admit it, Margo had a point. As much as she'd like to believe it was only the heartbreaks that she'd lost, the nagging feeling that there was something else--something important--kept ticking away at her mind.
Finally, Lil responded. "That," she said with a heartsick, worried voice. "Is a good question."
Margo flinched as she listened to the heavy footed Lilobot drive away, her little pink car speeding down the hill so fast there wasn't any reason to stand and watch her go, hoping to catch a wave.
Besides, the ride home had been rather silent. The two had tried to avoid talking about the elephant in the room, but it was clearly still nibbling on their thoughts.
Unfortunately, Margo's day wasn't going to get any better just yet.
Every bit of her was soaked. She was partly grateful that the water was at least warm, but the fact that she'd just had a massive bucket dumped on her head was too big for that to matter.
"I.. I... Wet... wet... so wet... aaaggghh..."
At least she didn't have to go far to see the perp; Kory quickly danced into view, skipping gleefully at the sight of her sister falling prey to her trap. "HA HA! Looks like Maarrggoo forgot to take her clothes off before taking a shoowweerr! ♫"
"W...W... wwhhyyyy...." Margo could feel the tears welling up in her eyes, but she didn't want to add one more reason for Korva to laugh. She used every grain of will left inside of her trying to hold them back. This day was only getting worse and worse--but she couldn't let it get to her, not in front of this one.
Kory, feeling proud of her work, smacked her hands together gleefully and shrugged. "You were just a li'il stinkier than usual today, thought I'd do us all a favor and wash it off."
"What is going o--KORVA KALLY KANE. What have you done?!"
Alesha Kane was rarely angered, but there was patience, and then there was stupidity--and being patient with a constant string of terroristic attacks by one of her own daughters would be pure instanity. For all her desires to remain calm, this was one step beyond a very reasonable edge.
"What do you have to say for yourself?!
"I'm just doing my part to clean up a little pollution, mom--some smell pollution. Margo's stink is bad for the envirin-ment!"
"YOUNG LADY... You go upstairs, you grab a mop, and you clean up this mess--and then we are having a long, long talk. Do you understand me?!"
Margo groaned. The last thing she wanted was another reason for Kory to make her her target. "No, Mom, really, it's fine... I'm okay... It's just water..."
This time, it was her father who responded--Alesha had reached the end of her rope. "Nice try, but this is enough--Kory, go do as your mother says." Bradley gave Korva a long, hard look when she still continued to remain still. "NOW."
The moment that Kory's back was turned, the real waterworks let loose.
"Oooh, sweetie--I'm sorry... are you sure you're alright?"
"Just... bad... *sniffle* day... I... *sob* need to change... *heave* my clothes..."
"Well, before you go--honey, there's something your father and I would like to tell you."
Margo wiped her nose on her sleeve. A sour, suspicious look was bounced between both of her parents; though she loved them dearly, their constant schemes to try and cheer her up were starting to get old. There was simply a point where constantly trying to make someone happy turned from being sweet to insulting.
"Mom and I have been talking to your old friend Christina--you know, the gal who runs the Equestrian Center you used to visit all the time when you were little?"
Margo whimpered. "Mhm?"
"Apparently, the Center's starting up a new Riding Academy to teach girls your age--she remembered how much you used to love seeing the horses there, so she was wondering if you wanted to be accepted as one of their first students. Think you might be interested?"
Interested? The word didn't even hit Margo's mind. She wasn't interested--she was psyched. There was only a few things that could've turned her world upside down so completely so quickly, and--bless her parents--they'd found just the right one.
"I can't--I can't believe it--she wants me?! ME?! I--EEEEEEEE!!"
"Now now, your father and I haven't quite decided if we're willing to commute you all the way to Appaloosa Plains every week--"
"OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE--"
"Tankootankoo tankoo!!" When she finally stopped moving like a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man, she ungracefully lept onto her father, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.
She didn't have to say a word for them to know how much this meant to her--to finally have something she dreamed of come true. They didn't want to get her hopes up, that this would finally be a place for her to fit in and belong, but even the slightest chance of finding a gift she could be proud of was worth any amount of hours it took to take her to where she needed to go. If Appaloosa Plains it was, then there they would take her.
"You're welcome, sweetie--but before we tell you about the details, you should probably go change your clothes," Bradley chuckled. "You're getting me soaked, now."
"Yes, Daddy! Eeeeeeeee!!" She quickly disappeared into her room, squealing all the way until her door was shut.
The click of the doorhandle cued Bradley to drop his charade.
His body weakly hobbled to the side, then drifted backwards as he tried to remain steady--but it wasn't until Alesha's firm hand pressed against his back that he was finally able to right himself. "Eeaasy, easy, I've got you--just a little further forward..." Alesha's voice was calm despite what she felt beneath her skin.
"I'm alright," he wheezed, trying to lean against the post instead of his wife. "Just let me go, I can handle myself. I don't need your help."
"Stop lying to me. C'mon, let's go sit down."
"Really, Alesha--I'm fine. She just caught me off-guard..."
"So your own daugher can't hug you without knocking you over? Sweetheart, I understand this is hard, but if it's getting this hard... we need to take you back the doctor. I can't stand seeing you like this."
"Maybe... I just... I just need to sit. That's all. Okay?"
But he was so frail. Bradley had always been thin, but never this thin. Always been pale, but never this pale. Every day, he wasted away a little more--and the only one who couldn't see it was the rocket scientist. Ironic, that his intelligence made him so blind. Pride... it truly was a deadly sin.
"I'm sorry, Alesha--I didn't mean to--"
"Sssh... There's nothing to be sorry about. Let's just forget it, alright?"
"I... alright." ... "I love you."
"Yes... I know." ... "I love you, too."
"I always will."
Got woken in the night,by a mystic golden lightThe smell of redwood giants.The banquet for the shadows.Horse and I, we're dancers in the dark.There is no turning back.There is no turn.
- Horse & I, Bat for Lashes (Click to Listen ♫) -
Margo snapped awake.
For a moment she felt angry. It wasn't great to be torn from a rather sulty dream with Josh Seymour, but her groggy eyes widened when she realized what it was that had woken her--and anger was suddenly the last thing on her mind.
She stopped moving instantly, dropping to silence to see if she could still hear it. For a moment there was nothing, which caused her heart to sink, but then it came: the unmistakable thud of the trash can. She unconsciously smiled to herself. Her little friend had most definitely come to visit, tonight.
Without a another second's hesitation, Margo groped around on her nightstand for her camera, then tripped into her slippers and did her best not to stumble loudly out of her bedroom and into the living room.
'You're not getting away without at least one good picture, tonight!' she told the little beast in her mind; the very thought of it put an evil grin on her face.
It was about time. He'd appeared suddenly two weeks ago, and ever since she'd been put on garbage duty cleaning up after all the rascal's playthings scattered all over the lawn. However, during those two weeks, Margo had been doing anything but trying to drive the animal off. Instead, she'd been leaving bigger and bigger treasures for the animal to find. A steak, some lasagna--anything she managed to sneak away from the dinner table.
The goal wasn't to get him fat--just lure him in long enough for her to get a good picture... or, even better, to introduce herself to the furball.
He flailed about, unaware of her existence. Margo listened carefully, but the dog was so distracted by his trash bath that her gentle shuffle across the deck did not alert him to her presence. Good, she thought. At least I can get a decent picture!
Margo could feel the dew already seeping through her slippers, but she braved the swampy feeling as much as she could to kneel at just the right angle she needed. He was right there--right within the grasp of her lens--so close she could almost feel the drool from his mouth spraying in her direction.
"Just hold still for onneee second," she muttered.
The dog fled the scene of his crime with lightning speed--so quick that Margo barely had time to react before he'd disappeared around the corner.
"Wait--wait, come back!! It's okay, pooch!" Margo fumbled to her feet, losing one of her slippers to the dewy grass and another to the slick garbage spread like caltrops in her path. "I'm not going to--"
She continued to chase, but as her eyes turned higher and higher across her field of vision, it wasn't just after the dog she ran. Margo had to blink several times, but she still couldn't believe it. He wasn't just running away from her--he was running to someone.
As she tried to catch him, bare feet gathering all manner of gravel twixt her toes, her eyes remained fixed on the horizon.
So far away, but so large that it seemed she could reach out her fingers and touch it, a figure stood framed by the moon. Its light and its shadow seemed something of a vivid dream, but the manner in which the dog ran towards it made it anything but a figment of her mind.
Light spilled around him, so bright she could feel the sting of it water her eyes. In the void of the night, it pulled in her gaze with so much gravity she could not look away... not that she wanted to. But, it wasn't the beauty of the light that kept her staring--it was at the solitary figure framed in it's rays.
He seemed more lurid, somehow, for all the light around him. He sucked it in, as if using its power to only feed the darkness. His identity was masked and his purpose, a mystery, but there was nothing in the world Margo wished for more than to be pulled into the shadow of his existence.
Her heart…….. It quivered.
Before she could breathe, he was gone.
Alright, before anyone gets too excited about the magical existence of a blue moon: no. Margo's imagination is just very very vivid, and often times things to her will seem much different than they actually are.
I also wanna throw a thank you out to altheaquin for helping me with the writing on the last section of this, because it was kicking me in the ass for several hours and I couldn't come up with jack. Thank you, peaches!! ♥
Also, in case you don't remember who Tanner is at the beginning of this post--the last bit of this episode should refresh your memory!
Well, that's it, guys--Season 8 has officially begun!! Hope you're ready for the ride! ;)