This is a unfinished yet edited version of what I plan to release as a novel in the near future, please support me at the links below! It would really help me out, enjoy!

Crude scythe under Milwaukee

chapter one: Ballroom

“Father, why does it rain?” He said this in more of a statement-esque tone then a question-oriented one, which was how he usually talked, which he rarely did. “Because God is disappointed in you, boy” the old man next to him spoke, half asleep, sounding as dull as ever. The boy was sitting on the ground next to the old man in his chair, still transfixed on the scene out the window. Large pine trees ascended far beyond the manor, set amongst a dull overcast background, casually depressing.

The boy stands up from his mildly uncomfortable position on the floor, his knees cracking and stumbling a bit, with him his frail hands carry a stuffed bear that was previously at his side, something that he always carried near him. Taking one last glance at the old man he sat next to, he turns around to what was moments ago behind him. Large French doors that marked the entrance to the room he resided in. He strides out of the stuffy room through the doors into the foyer, revealing a large clock underneath a glass floor in the center, above it dangled a massive chandelier, constructed of crystals and gold, matching the rooms warm color palate.

Step by step, the boy slumpishly marches to the middle of the room, underneath the grand chandelier, cocking his head upwards, staring endlessly at its beauty and flair. He did this very often, odd.

That was the best way to sum up Artious really, odd. He was an odd boy in an odd household in an even odder world. Twelve other children lived there with him. They were also strange in their own ways. They all followed a daily regime that was customized to the child propose, all except him that is

He was by far the most intelligent of the group, in a traditional sense however. He was obsessed with social sciences and was constantly absorbed by studying the interaction of his peers from a distance. In a sense, that was his instruction, watching people, seeing how they react and what makes them tick. Because of this he was able to read people like a book, merely by looking into their eyes he could tell, not only their true intentions, but also their deepest desires that they themselves may not be even fully aware of. He had the gift of reason and soul vision, everything else on the other hand lied average.

The other twelve children in the manor were beyond exceptional in their fields too, but none were as cunning as Art. “Thirteen?” a flash of yellow lightning glazed over Arts eyes as his gaze darted over to the voice to his right, this new boys aura was sharp and pronounced, though familiar, It was number four, David. “Mama says that the chandelier might fall on you, she said she has seen it happen thousands of times”. David stumbled over the word thousand as he struggled with some longer words. Art kept his gaze locked on him. “You’re delusional David, I don’t see why you don’t get treatment for these preposterous hallucinations of yours, now go away, im…” Art was about to say he was busy, just to realize that he was merely standing in a room looking at a chandelier. He knew David’s obsession with his so called “mother” had a high chance of being true, due to the fact that the fathers fed into his beliefs. However, he himself was instructed to act blunt and close minded towards the young boy. He did as he was told.

While David walked down the hall he was passed by Father Ford. There was an awkward encounter where neither of them could decide what side to pass the other on. Father Ford was the only father that treated Artious or anyone with kindness and warmth. It made him act strange. He would often make remarks on how it is a waste of energy, yet deep on the inside, it really did make him feel warm in a way unfamiliar to him.

Ford came to stand beside Art while he stared. He changed his focus to the large complex clock below the glass floor he stood on. It was made of bronze and gold and was inscribed with engravings to complex for the naked eye to handle all at once. It had a built in calendar along with special red markings that to the average person would seem random, but, their meaning was only known to the residents of the manor. Red circles with numbers one through twelve, they marked each child’s “day of purpose”. The day they spend their whole lives waiting for.

The old man walked over to art’s side and rested his arm on his back, gently. “I know you can feel left out among the others Art, and, yes I know socializing isn’t exactly something you enjoy but, I want you to at least be on good speaking terms with the other children.” Ford said in a warm raspy tone, the kind only someone elderly who has really got their shit together could give. Artious remained silent, he slipped his fingers underneath the bandages on his hand and started scratching at the wound. Ford grabbed his arm softly, reminding him to stop. “It’s time for arms practice Art. You best be moving on now” ford said with a gentle hand on the boy’s back.

With his stuffed bear in hand, Artious walked down the dark hallway, passing number nine’s room along the way. Sorrowful music upon a piano leaked out through the crack between the door and the floor he stood on. Even though he detested nine, he was entranced by her melodies, her works of genius. The music gave a sorrowful cinematic quality to Art doing nothing more than walking. He felt the light blue smoke of her aura surround him, only to thin and dissipate when hearing the music bounce off the walls of the hall he meandered, telling him he was distancing from the source of her enrapturing song. He now stands before the door where he learned his self defence. Pulling the door open was a task due to how thick it was, for no reason other then to suppress the sounds of gunfire.

A father awaited him inside even though Art didn’t need to be instructed. He was already a “pro” at this stuff. He placed the large black and orange ear muffs over his head and onto his ears. His hand met with the cold grip of the weapon he was trying to master, a large revolver that was suited for someone much larger then him. The contrast of the massive twenty pound behemoth held in his frail boney and bandaged hands was almost comical. As he struggled to hold it up and properly aim down the sights, he felt his own energy sharpen with focus and determination. He slowly pulled back the hammer with some struggle and exhaled, pulling the trigger. A deafening discharge followed with massive recoil, so much in fact that he not only dropped the gun, but had also broken and gruesomely contorted his wrist. Immediately the pain flowed through his arm, rushing faster then blood and hotter then the sun. He began to feel red lines protrude his vision, the gun’s violent aura was all too strong at that moment. He stared blankly at his wrist as the father next to him grew concerned, realizing what had just happened. The boy was quick to grab his hand by the knuckles and pull it outwards, making a sickening wet crunching noise. He gently placed it back into its natural position. He unravelled the bandages from his neck, revealing half healed wounds caused by nervous scratching. He wrapped the old bandage around his wrist without any indication of pain. Artious looked out the range to see that the bullet missed. He bent down and picked up the gun with his other hand, holding it up with frustration, using his broken arm to steady it, he pulled back the hammer with more force then before and took a moment before firing. The gun discharged once again but this time he didn’t drop it. It hurt his other hand, but it seemed to be intact. The range dummy revealed a shot clean through the skull. “It’s in his head, so that’s a ten, right?” The father looked at Art, baffled, and murmured “y-yes thirteen, it is”. This made Art relax a bit, “I’m going to the med room then.” He placed the gun onto the table along with the ear protectors. The father stood there in disgusted disbelief. Artious used his whole body weight to open the door and walked down the hall in poor posture.

With each step taken the music got louder and the blue mist returned. This time accompanied with a violin, providing purple lines through the blue haze. Approaching nine’s room was louder then before. The door was open this time. Walking past her room, he felt his body tighten as he starred at the floor. He hated being looked at by her, she had these naturally sinister eyes. He turned the corner twice to reach the medical supply room. Walking through the doorway revealed a large amount of complex medical equipment along with a sleeping father, hunched over in a chair. Artious grabbed a long metal rod from the counter. It was sharp. He dragged it over his arm until he felt where his bone dipped. He traced it with a marker for more of his own amusement then any medical purpose,following that he proceed to apply thick bandages along with a smothering of plaster, creating a cast. This was all silent and in the pitch of darkness, keeping the father asleep. He left the room without a trace.

As he exited the medical room and entered the foyer, a bell within the floor rang, indicating dinner. The boy sprinted down the hall into the kitchen to swipe a large tomato, then down the hall and up the stairs to the balcony of the dining room. Here he sat peering between the railings down onto the other children as they entered. He sat crouched on the floor, his eyes transfixed on all of them, talking amongst each other.

He bites into the tomato, each expected child is accounted for, one through twelve, let me introduce you to them.

Number one, Colin Price, male, 15 years old, short messy black hair, gifted in accurate predictions of the future when under heavy alcoholic influence. Aura type: static blue.

Number two, Jolene Peters, female, 11 years old, long brown hair, gifted with expansive knowledge in niche subjects that she was never taught. Aura type: fluid orange.

Number three, Rei Villers, intersex, 13 years old, albino, gifted with vast talents of hypnosis via painting. Aura type: static grey.

Number four, David Lachman, male, 6 years old, short brown hair, gifted with otherworldly communications. Aura type: shocking yellow.

Number five, Parson Devours, male, 12 years old, ginger, human compass, vast understanding and mastery of physics. Aura type: fluid purple

Number six, Melanie Szell, female, 17 years old, very long blonde hair, world renound ballet dancer, made a deal with the devil. Aura type: static crimson.

Number seven, Maryam Bates, female, physical age 14, mental age 137, short black hair, retains memories from past lives of others, vast knowledge. Aura type: shocking orange.

Number eight, Sally Knowles, male, age 6, grey short hair, bleeds an unknown genetically superior blue blood, above average in everything. Aura type: fluid white.

Number nine, Anastasia Alit, female, age 13, short blonde hair, musical genius, vast knowledge of human emotion. Aura type: fluid blue.

Number ten, Erett Camberlone, male, age 19, medium black hair, ground breaking chef, paralysed from the waist down. Aura type: fluid orange

Number eleven, Hylin Longhart, deceased, male, would have been 13, brown hair, arguably perfect morals. Aura type: shocking green.

Number twelve, Garret Miles, male, age 16, long black hair, no nervous system. Aura type: shocking red.

And the one you have already met, number thirteen, Artious Karenlasque, male, 15, short messy white hair, sees through everyone, aura reader. Aura type: unknown.

He watched like a gargoyle from above. Everyone’s energies together was a bit overwhelming to be in the midst of, but he could handle watching from afar. It was much more comfortable for him. His mind raced back and forth while listening in on them, predicting each response everyone would give, all at once, with ease.

Number six, Melanie, was in a rather dark gloomy mood, “why are you sad?” Everyone stopped talking and looked up to the shadowy balcony. “Why are you so fucking creepy?” she barked back. He often did mini social experiments like this to gauge the mood of each sibling of his, creating mini conflicts or problems to see the reaction of everyone. “ENOUGH! I will not tolerate such vile words coming from you, there are young ones here, get to your room and study, your date is coming up and we refuse to have another death!” a father’s voice boomed. “Must you compare me to a corpse, old man?” She said with a sly, mocking tone. “DARE YOU! Never speak of him in such a way again! You disgust me.” Garret yelled with conviction, standing up from his chair with force.

He watched everyone’s expression while this was occurring. Some didn’t care, some got upset, and some found it comical. Artious knew that she was as rude as she was for a good reason. It was her way of coping with the fact that her day was soon. She was scared to perish like Hylin did. She was terrified.

She stormed out of the dining hall, presumably to go cry somewhere. Shortly after dinner concluded in the natural silence you would expect from such a group, Art stood up. His knees cracked and he yawned out of boredom. He turned around to face a large window. His pale thin hand struggled to open a wooden latch holding it closed, yet he managed. He threw the last bit of tomato out the window to the soil below, looking down revealed many other half rotten bits of food.

While walking down the stairs a thought dashed through his mind, he forgot his bear in arms practice. Leaving the dining hall there was a noticeable chill in the air. Art wasn’t wearing much so he headed to his room to get a jacket before rescuing his stuffed friend.

The weight on his shoulders was noticeable as soon as he put it on. The smell of aged leather was strong, with each movement the leather squeaked and settled onto his thin frame, the contrast of this long heavy brown jacket to the thin white baggy clothes he wore underneath was quite beautiful.

Walking out of his room and down the hall was less poetic this time due to the absence of Anastasia’s orchestral accompaniment. He truly did appreciate the small things. Opening the door was a struggle like always. The lights were off inside but he could make out the shape of the bear on the ground. His knees crack as he bends down to pick it up, grabbing its arm reminds him of its softness and comfort. Beside it is a black feather, Art looks at it, confused as to how it got there. Trying to grab it causes the feather to vanish. “Strange” he whispers to himself, standing up, before leaving he looks at that spot one more time, nothing is there.

Down the hallway he strides with his depressed yet content like posture, into the foyer. The clock ticks menacingly as it always had, yet it has a mystical element to it, like it knew how important it was.

Looking down at it had it read 7:34 pm. The younger ones went to bed at this time. Number eight, Sally, walks buy. Sally was the only one Art actually cared for. He was so innocent yet so aware, mature yet weak. “You should be getting to bed now, don’t you think?” Sal looked up in disappointed agreement. “C’mon”. Art reached down and grabbed his hand, due to the heartless nature of most the fathers, he saw himself as the guardian of Sal. He was very sensitive, he needed someone to protect him who actually cared. Artious cared, a lot.

Once they reached the room marked with the number eight, they entered. Inside, revealed a wall painted like a nebula, done by Rei. The walls invoked a strong sense of calmness and a mystical feeling of wonder.

“if you need something in the night and cant find Ford, I’ll be in my room” he said calmly. He handed the small boy his stuffed bear and left the room with a warm smile, something he never showed to anyone else.

Once he stepped out he was no longer in his home, he was in a white plain. The floor was made of black and white stripes and the smell of flowers was prominent. The only thing in the room at first was a white feather beneath him. He bends down to observe it. It is soft looking, delicate, pretty. Looking up he finds a dome of white feathers. They are moving around in a circle. It’s like they are alive, all that can be heard is wind and rustling caused by them. He takes a step forward, then everything melts away to him standing outside eight’s room in the hall. He kind of just… stands there, in utter confusion of what he just witnessed.

Walking down the stairs he ponders, he was never one for hallucinations, “am I ill?” he mumbles to himself in his head. He is standing above the clock once more, its ticking reminding him of the forever march of time, looking to his right into the dining hall he can sense the mystical aura of Rei, walking in had him hit with relief and comfort, he saw them sitting in the corner, hunched over, painting a dove, the feeling of comfort grew stronger, the vision he had of the feathers, it must have been invoked by Rei’s painting. He turned around and left, standing in the cold foyer once more he realized, this overwhelming feeling of relief that he felt, it came before he saw the painting was of a dove. He ran back to the room that Rei resided within and asked them, “three!” rei turns around, “what did you connect to that painting, is it a white plain with white feathers and stripes?” three turns back around “leave me alone thirteen” they grumble, “Rei what is it!” Artious exclaimed in a mild panic, Rei snapped there head back towards Artious, “fucks sake, I don’t know what you are going on about but no! it invokes calmness and relief, well it did until you came in here and ruined it!, another one for the bin, thanks dickhead. Artious turns around and walks out the room, if it wasn’t Rei’s painting, then just what was that, what did he experience?

He needed to get his mind off this, it was scary, his jacket was still on, so he left through the great oak front doors, standing outside was a nice contrast, the huge pine trees encasing his home even made the outdoors seem safe and closed off. The sunset was peaking through the trees in some areas, the sound of birds was prominent, he gracefully walks down the front steps onto the gravel and down the side of the house until he reached the garage, he bends down to lift up the large yet thin metal door and steps inside, the flip of a switch turns on the dim and cozy fairy lights speckled throughout the whole room, in the middle lays a 1953 Hudson jet, powder blue, and very rusty. This is where he spent most of his free time, he fount it a few years back while wandering the property, it was under piles of garbage and the whole garage was filthy, over time he has made the garage his own and been repairing the car to the best of his ability, all he has access to is basic hand tools, zero spare parts, and old broken gardening equipment that resided in the garage. He assumed that the car originally belonged to a late father or something, whoever it was, they left it here, its not like they cared for it, so art felt no resistance in claiming the car as his own.

Under the hood was a Frankenstein combination of the cars original straight six and lawn mower parts, he got all his basic information about cars and engines from number two, Jolene. It lay there, asleep but not dead, waiting for something to happen. Every single time artious opened that door the cars overpowering aura was intense, light blue waves, it felt heroic, strong, important, this is what caused art to obsess over it.

He had gone over everything a hundred times, everything checked out, yet it didn’t run. When he came in these days, he didn’t work on it really, as much as he just sat in it, dreaming of what it would be like to drive, hopeless but refusing to believe it, that night he slept in the back seat.

He jolts up in a panic, his vision is blurred and his ears are ringing, yelling and gunfire are heard. He kicks open the back door with his heart racing, he looks around the garage furiously for something to defend himself with from whatever was going on out there. Tearing boxes and sacks up from their piles, the only thing he can manage to find, a rusted scythe. Time seemed to slow down almost completely, he has seen this thing many times before, but never gave it much attention, he bent down, his knees cracked. Picking it up it was painful due to his wrist, it was noticeable how sturdy it felt despite its appearance, and… so sharp.

Suddenly he was back in the white plain, he was closer to the dome of white feathers this time, something caught his eye near his feet, a dark blur, he looks down. A black feather lay upon the ground he stands, this ground he fears, yet stands tall and ready, for he knows he is about to face something. While looking at the black feather, another falls beside it, off of himself.

“thirteen”, his head jolts up to meet the gaze of father ford, looking at the old man gives off a strange effect artious has never experienced before, old 50’s music can be heard in the background. “your time is up my son” he says with a soft tone, “ your day has come”, artious stares in confusion, black feathers start to fall from the old man along with himself “ our down is dark and cloudy, so theirs can be pure, keep it pure at all costs.” Suddenly a gunshot appears on the old mans head while everything fades back to reality, he is standing in the garage again, the old music is louder, he turns to face his car, not only is the music coming from its radio, but the lights are on, and its running, a low grumble of life. He is still holding the scythe, its shiny now, new looking, father fords glasses lay on the passenger seat.

Absolute terror crosses his mind, “sally”… Was sally okay? Was everyone okay?

He ran as fast as his legs could allow, it hurt. His trench coat lifted in the wind, turning the corner he sees multiple black vehicles, all labelled with the same letters, ACF, anomaly containment force, he was taught to fear these words, all of them were, they were the governments “ solution” to dealing with things they didn’t want the public to be aware of. Most of the time the containment part just meant lethal force, unless they could weaponise you then you would be drugged and thrown in a bag, who knows what would happen after that, no matter the children’s distaste for each other, they were the shared enemy.

He stands before the front doors, scythe in hand, wind flowing through his coat, bandages all over. For the first time ever, he can just barely sense his own aura, it was thick, and potent.

He opens the front door, ford lays on the stairs in front of him, a bullet through his skull, blood staining the white marble of the steps, art freezes up, his eyes transfixed on the old man. Yelling and struggle can be heard from up stairs, he runs up them with panic, momentarily slipping on fords blood but quickly regaining his stability. Many of the kids are nowhere to be seen. Two ACF agents are ahead struggling with number two and number eight, “put them down!” art yells with a strong voice he has never really heard before.

How many was it? One? Two? Five? Shots into his chest, the pain was so… violent, angry. The moment his head slammed against the hard floor he found himself back in the white foggy hellhole he had come used too.

He was right next to the dome of feathers now, it was so beautiful…

Red dripped onto the spiraling white feathers off of himself. The dome opened and art saw a face starring back at him from underneath, sally’s face. “Please” the boy said desperately, “keep my down pure”.

Artious shed a tear while staring at the boy, “protect me!” sally exclaimed with emotion.

“Okay” art whispered with a dead monotone.

Dark feathers began to circle around artious, this time not the dark grey he was used to, but a void, hollow, inky black.

His eyes open, he can hear sally and Jolene hysterically crying due to what they had just seen, he can hear the agents striking the girl repeatedly. “Enough” artious croaked while choking on blood. The men turn to look at the boy they just shot, he was bleeding profusely, using his scythe as a cane of sorts, his eyes barely open, but well open enough to see the barrel of a rifle in Jolene’s mouth, bang.

His eyes widen with shock and lock with sally’s, he looked so scared.

Art began to levitate, the guards look at him with fear, he lifts his scythe into the air and to the side, bringing it down with violent rage. Though he was a good four feet away from the men, their necks suddenly opened, red, a lot of red.

They fall to the ground with a thump, sally screams. Art returns to the floor and takes the hand of the young boy, still crying the two of them walk slowly down the stairs and outside, covered in blood.

Artious should be dead, but he isn’t, though the pain is all too present. He walks him to his car and they climb inside, “what about the others thirteen?” the boy says through tears, “may they forgive me, for I am too weak.”

The old blue car travel’s down the dirt road, into the fog.