THE SLATE OF VALE PART 3
The strange envelope
Matt came home later that day with so much joy in his heart. The day’s event had steered into a direction he hadn’t expected. It was true that he hates racing and all about it, but his ambitious self, had dragged him into it today. What a perfect turn of event, it was really a blessing in disguise. His father Derek Zonna was a potential racer and had taught Matt and his two brothers how to use the H-board for three years, yet Matt as at that time, found it difficult to comprehend what his father had taught him, though his brothers had learnt everything with a click of the finger. At first, Matt was convinced he had dull brains, clustered with video games, but until he met Jeff and had learned from him, he never saw how strict and partial his father was.
Matt was eighteen and a month older than Jeff. He is a teenager who lives with his mother; unlike Jeff, he had two brothers. He was younger than the two and like Jeff; his father was among the four who were murdered that night, in the Might’s hall, by a massive explosion. It was seven years now yet all effort to trace the killers had met dead ends. Seven years since his mother became a cleaner just to earn enough money to train his two brothers and him. Seven years was a long time that had steered different event in his life. Seven years was all it took to bring out the potential in him and made him realize how much hate his family had for him. Well, that was all about to change.
Matt smiled at the thought, he stood at the front door of their house, creating a new picture of their new house in his thought, and replacing the old with the new. “It going to change, we would be gone from here soon.” His smile widened as he touched the document underneath his gray jumpsuit, just to make sure they were still there.
Matt whistled joyfully with his mouth as he opened the door and walked straight to his room. Though this house licks water from the roof; with rats and insect rooming about like land lords and ladies, it still had the welcoming arms of home. They had lived in it for thirty years and something told him he was going to miss it.
Matt decrypted the door of his room; it was the only door out of the four in the house that the mandibles and maxillae of termites haven’t visited. He waited for the beep before he turned the knob of the door and walked in. He was welcomed with hot air as he dropped his H-Board on the carpeted floor and threw himself on the small soft bed.
His room was nowhere the size of Jeff’s. Not even a window was in it, the only ventilation was coming in from the door, that’s why he always left the door ajar whenever he was at home. A small table and chair was at the eastern side, with the picture of the gray hoe at the north. At the western side was the bed where Matt lay, where a window should have been. There was also a limited collection of books on the shelf and a closet beside it.
“In five days,” Matt thought “I’d be in the famous academy of Anadan; Mom, Kyle and Tim would move to our new house. What a change” He laughs as he unbuckles his Head-plate from his ear and dropped it beside the lamp stand, next to his bed.
Of all the day’s event, Matt was happy over three things: the award he had received, that he would be going to the hero’s academy soon. The third reason was quiet inexplicable. It was about that girl in the racing field perhaps. The way she had looked at him, well, not actually a direct gaze though, but he was sure her eyes were on him throughout the event.
She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, with perfect body curves and streamline figure, with those little lips on her smooth round face, and with smiles so lovely that it could make the fiercest cat become a house pet. The thought of her mesmerize his head that he didn’t realize he was standing over a mirror and smiling at himself.
“D–n what am I doing?” Matt cursed as he blinked himself to reality; he had been combing his shaggy hair again not knowing. Although some other girls thought him beautiful because of his blue eyes, try as hard as he could, his short blond hair won’t just stay smooth and perfect, it was always rough and untidy like the fur spin of a hedgehog.
“Here I am thinking of a girl I barely know” he sighed and dropped the comb back to its place. Matt picked up his cell phone to return to his video game, but dropped it back when he remembered Dr. Jakin’s rowdy behavior. What was that man thinking? Calling us brat in front of everyone? The gloomy and worried atmosphere was trying to cloud his happiness, but he took a deep breath, trying to relax himself. He unzipped his gray jumpsuit and sat gently on his bed.
At least I would have an air before my excuse for brother’s return. “I will…” he paused. There was noise coming from the door, probably rats he thought, but the doorbell from the main entrance said otherwise.
Matt walked out of his room in hast. It might be his brothers.
When Matt opened the door, he had expected to see the angry frown on Kyle’s face or the disapproving glare from Tim, but there was not a soul at the door, just the cold night wind and the unpleasant noise of the owl and crickets. He looked at his right to where the key of the doorbell stood, firmly attached to the yellow wall. Was it a rat? Matt doubt a rat could climb the smooth wall to trigger the alarm, so he concluded that the alarm might be malfunctioning and promised to fix it later.
Matt was about to walk inside when he saw something on the base of the three step, sitting peacefully on the penumbra shadow. He picked it up curiously. It was a brown envelop, brandish all over with silver tiny lines. The red seal on it was shaped in an unfamiliar circular pattern.
Matt panicked. He remembered what Jeff had told him early that day, about a strange envelop from an unknown sender. He surveys the environment fearfully, who would be sending this, and what does it mean? The fear growing inside of him daunts him that he threw the envelope away and rushed into the house.
“I must call Jeff” Matt panted as he rushed straight to his room to get his cell phone.
“What da…” Matt gasped. The envelope he’d thrown away was sitting unharmed on his bed. “How did it get here?” Matt asked, looking around the room to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. It took him a great deal of hours to suppress his fears and pick up the envelope.
Matt shut the door to avoid a third party whoever they were. The seal on the envelope startled him as it broke with ease. Without pausing to think, Matt deep his right hand into the envelope. He felt something metallic after the mysterious envelop had swallowed his hands up to his elbow. “Wow” he exclaimed as he pulled the metallic object out of the envelope.
It was a huge black bow, curved like the number three. It has three strong stings, and on each sting, were encrypted words Matt did not recognize. His fears were now replaced with surprise and confusion. The bow was beautiful and harmless, with nothing to suggest if it had been used.
“There might be a quiver” He said as he kept the bow carefully and picked up the envelope. He was surprise that this time, the envelope couldn’t even take all his fingers and it was totally empty.
“Amazing, this calls the laws of physics a bluff. How can this little envelop swallow up this mighty bow?” That question was left unanswered as a hard knock came thundering on his little old door.
As quickly as he could, Matt slot the bow back into the envelope, drop it on his bed and rush to answer the door; with hope that the Sender of the envelope might be the one knocking impatiently.
“So Matty, you’ve been holing up in here hmmm?” asked the face on the door. Matt needn’t raise his head to know who the voice belongs to.
Kyle his brother was more muscular than Tim or him. He was blonde naturally but he always wears dyes and today, his hair was a shade of green and red, and his mouth smell of hard wine. He also had a chunk of food in between the incisors of his upper teeth.
“I just returned” Matt replied not meeting his eyes, he was both disappointed and angry –
And there it came like a blast. Matt thought he saw stars in the galaxy as Kyle struck him hard on the face.
“Is that the first thing to say to your elder brother? We Gray’s are respected for our good manners, where are yours? In that abase you call stomach?
“Am so…r…ry bro” Matt stammered, unsure of what to say.
“Since you decided to skip your morning chore for heaven knows what, get the broom and start it now, I mean NOW”. Kyle shouted “And don’t even think of sending those imps of robots you created or I would send them to the iron smith”.
Matt nodded sadly; his brothers rarely never watched TV, they would have seen him on the television that day, and hopefully would have been showering him with endless praise. But, somewhere deep down Matt was glad they hadn’t, let it come to them like a cloud of surprise, and before they would have the sense to see the genius they hardly noticed, he would be long gone.
“And have your room…. What’s that?” From the door Kyle’s eyes had caught the object sitting on the bed.
Now, Matt was sweating all over
“It’s nothing -” He trailed off as Kyle struck him harder on the cheek. He didn’t need a mirror to tell him that his fair cheeks were already red.
Matt stared in horror as his brother pushed him aside and walked in. He picked up the envelop – which for reasons unknown were already sealed – and whistled.
“Look what we have here, so Matt is now exchanging letters with girls?” Kyle chuckled crookedly. The seal on the envelope won’t budge when he tried to open it; he looked at Matt from the corner of his eyes and decided not to force it open in his presence.
“Get to work” he said as he walked out of the room with the envelope in his hands.
“Please, give it back to me.” Matt said tearfully and hurried after him.
Tim was sitting cross-legs on the old cushion chair when Kyle and the weepy Matt walked into the living room. He had a bottle of wine on his hands and his blonde hair was also dyed white. Despite their mother’s warning, Tim would never quit drinking and smoking. He was skinnier with pale yellow skin and his cheek bones were out of his face as though he lacked proper nutrition. Matt sometimes had doubt as to whether Tim was his brother; he looks nothing like the Zonna’s family, even though his blonde hair says otherwise.
“Our BL.S brother is in love” Kyle said with a smirk as he tossed the envelope to Tim. Matt went black; he hates it when they call him BL.S, which is short for Bottomless-Stomach.
“AWWUU gross, who is the unfortunate girl” Tim flipped the envelope in his fingers trying to find a weak spot.
“Who cares, just come on let’s go, we would be late for the party”
Matt would have asked what party they were attending, but maintained his peace, it would only make his poor cheek hurt. Tim struggle up to his feet, the acrid stench of wine filled the air when he speaks and it made Matt’s stomach churned.
“You will never read it” He said as he tossed the envelope into the fire of the hearth and fell in steps with Kyle. They both were laughing wickedly, as the hissing sound of the burning paper seemed to drown Matt’s cry.
I hate them, I hate them. I would drive a knife through their hearts if they weren’t my brothers. Matt wept sadly as he walked to the kitchen to get a broom and his cleaning towel.
The cleaning lasted till late evening, when the birds had retired to their nest and the melody of the cricket, a beat to the night’s owl that sang on the tree, outside the compound.
Matt sat down on the table to have his supper; he was very hungry, exhausted and sad. His mum was out for the week and won’t return until the week runs out. Matt was happy she won’t be returning anytime soon because, her hatred towards him was fifty times that of his brothers. The same question always popped into his mind whenever he thinks of his family, is Kyle and Tim actually my brothers, is mom really mom and is dad really dad? If they really were my family, why do they hate me so much? Was it part of being a gray born? Those questions were the puzzle of his heart, his unanswered question.
Cold ran down his spin and at that moment he remembered the ash in the hearth. He hadn’t taken it away.
Matt took a long sip from the milk on the table and stood up to get a broom. He bent down and swept all the ashes into the waste bin. Without much ado, he carried the ash to the recycling bin where he would dispose it.
Wait, what is that color?
Matt leaned closer for a proper view.
“So you weren’t consumed by the fire eh?” he smiled and picked up the envelope from the ash. It was still the same, not even the air around it was consumed by fire.
“Strange, but am happy to have you back, and it’s good to know my brothers can’t take you away from me”. He slots the envelope into his pocket, exactly the same position where the house documents were.
For some odd reasons he couldn’t fathom, he thought his happiness were back again, not like a spark this time, but like a storm.