Chapter 9.8 – Hendrake

The warehouse has seen a considerable uptick in activity since Corwin’s destruction, and the subsequent release of a creature that had been unwillingly bound to him.
 
The creature has since taken on a more sim-like appearance, but is no less unnatural now, than it was the day Noah first saw it. It has provisioned itself a name – Hendrake.
  
Noah smiles broadly when Hendrake compliments the elegance with which he had implemented his assigned task. It was nearly flawless. And, as promised, the power he seeks will continue to be portioned out to him. There is, of course, the small matter of a cleanup job that had been required at the beach.
 
Noah understands the consequences of gambling with such high stakes. Fortunately, he had been prepared for this turnabout. Feigning over-confidence, Noah laughs out loud and points a finger toward Hendrake. If anything, he had rendered the service of arranging both entertainment and a meal for Hendrake’s greedy minions. THEY should be indebted to HIM.
 
After a few seconds of tense silence, where the temperature in the room raises some twenty-five degrees, a booming laugh erupts from the creature. It continues for some time; until a vile grin appears on Hendrake’s somewhat sim-like face. He mockingly congratulates Noah for acquiring his first debtors; observing that he has a very innate business sense for these types of “transactions”.
 
Noah smiles wearily and nods. He is rather good at what he does. But he has outgrown the name Noah, and whatever moronic principle it is supposed to invoke. He has a much better, and more appropriate name in mind; and it takes into consideration his long-term “revenue growth plan”. He’d even had the courtesy to draw it out of the same source material. Another booming laugh erupts from Hendrake.
 
The name slobbers greasily off Hendrake’s gross lips, with an edge that punctuates its intended malice …Caine.
 
There is an old adage stating that “nothing happens in a vacuum”.
 
Noah had been released from the hospital after having been treated for a concussion, a broken clavicle, broken nose, fractured jaw, two dislocated shoulders, and temporary crowns to replace his missing teeth. Doctors thought he’d been hit by a car. Those who witnessed the affair, would likely attest that Noah probably would have been better off, had it only been a car.
 
Even so, it may be somewhat shortsighted to assume that Noah was completely unaware of the power he was provoking.
 
From the very beginning, he has displayed great proficiency at manipulating sims and finding opportunity in the most mundane situations. Never, has he once shown any regard for caution. Perhaps he had speculated that Adam would ultimately show restraint, and was willing to endure some measure of physical discomfort. But it does leave one glaring, unanswered question – what could he possibly hope to accomplish?
 
Mack and Evelyn Flaumel had witnessed, firsthand, Adam’s transformation. There is no explaining that away. Luke and Makayla cement their friendship with the Flaumels based upon this revelation. They openly share their grief over Flora’s empty casket funeral. A monument is placed inside the Barimen family cemetery as a memorial celebrating the vivacious, young girl. And while it may be a reminder for the others; for Adam it represents a challenge. He’s not quite sure how, but he will make this situation right.
 
Since that day, there have been many conversations with Flora’s parents regarding Adam’s uniqueness. At times, Adam is keenly aware of their unspoken questions regarding his origin; and whether it is within his power to bring Flora back to them. It is completely understandable to Adam how they may have come to this conclusion. To spare them the agony of speculation, he takes the time to gently explain that he’s no different than any other kid in that regard. The truth, is that he doesn’t know, exactly, who he is or where he came from. What he does know, is that he may the last living member of his species.
 
As the weeks and months progress, Noah continues plaguing the family with his psychotic games; pitting the Flaumel’s suspicions of his criminal activities against the good Barimen name. There is nothing like a good dose of paranoia and subterfuge to ruin perfectly good friendships. Noah watches, with pure entertainment, as the details around Flora’s disappearance slowly begin to materialize and raise difficult questions. Had Adam not pulled his “guardian angel” act in front of the Flaumels, they might have eventually accused the silver-haired freak of killing their daughter. From Noah’s perspective, it’s just as well. He continues a mocking campaign of smug indifference while police gather enough information to loosely implicate Noah in her disappearance, but not nearly enough to indict him.
 
In the midst of all this, another cruel pattern has emerged. Noah had always hated Makayla more than any other sim, dead of alive. He finds new and inventive ways to make her life miserable. As a result, the pregnancy is plagued by many visits to the hospital, stemming from complications connected with hypertension and stress. Both her body and her state of mind suffer under the strain of his intangible assault. Just simply by showing his great enjoyment whenever she experiences these painful and frightening episodes, he’d succeeded in intensifying the situation.
 
Her pregnancy may have been difficult, but it was the childbirth that had actually put Makayla’s life at risk. Thankfully, Luke and Adam are both able to breathe a sigh of relief when they visit her in the hospital, proudly holding her twin girls. Both girls bear a striking resemblance to their mother. Joy had inherited her father’s blue eyes and features. Grace’s features clearly come from Makayla. Both girls possess their mother’s dark skin and hair.
 
Noah’s voluntary absence from the celebration welcoming his sisters home, provokes a good bit of animosity. So be it. Anything capable of generating happiness in the lives of the three people he hates most, amounts to nothing more than fodder for him to create more misery for them down the road. He’d allow them their little bit of “joy” and “grace”. But one thing is certain; it won’t last forever.
 
The presence of Joy and Grace at the estate, evokes a spirit that had been missing for generations. The home now bristles with excitement and energy; and the girls somehow manage to dispel the wards of misery that Noah had erected.
 
They grow quickly, and also quickly assimilate the dynamics of the situation between Noah and the rest of the family. It gives the appearance that the girls have managed to put Noah somewhat off balance. But appearances can be deceiving. Noah, who has taken to calling himself “Caine”, may have the rest of the family fooled, but Adam suspects there is something very ominous behind his recent quiet spell.
 
The frequency of Adam’s “interactive” memories involving Kacey has greatly increased, as though they are somehow inversely proportional to Noah’s angst. Most of them are very fleeting; where they are able to only exchange yearning glances before it is over. Adam still does not fully understand what triggers them. All he’s been able to deduce, is that Noah is somehow pivotal to the process; though he can’t imagine why.
 
There is one common theme binding these memories all together, however. When he sees Kacey, he does not need to speak for her to understand the message. It is the same dire warning that Anna had given to Adam the night she died; …run …and hide.

 
Adam has never actually met Kacey; and yet he cannot stop thinking about her. He also cannot stop thinking about Flora, but for an entirely different reason. They’d been dancing together that entire evening, along with Makayla’s family. Actually, they were having more fun together than ever before.
 
But then she started putting her hands where they didn’t belong; and pressuring him, almost relentlessly, to take her somewhere private. He pulled her aside and tried to explain his feelings. But she stormed off angrily before he could finish. He was going to go after her, but it was late and they were both pretty upset; so he just went back to dancing. Looking back, he should have gone after her.
 
Then there was the night he attacked Noah. Unfortunately, Adam doesn’t remember much of anyting about it. All he remembers is that awful moment when he’d grasped that Noah’s insolence was actually a  veiled admission of guilt. Adam lost any sense of restraint or self-control. He could have easily killed is brother.
 
But something very unusual provided a rather unique intervention. He had been transported into another memory. It was much more realistic than anything he had previously experienced. This memory was not about David. This time, he had been completely transported into Hope Barimen. And as far as he can tell, he’d saved Hope’s life; and quite possibly, his own?
 
There is something more about the episode that has been bothering him, as well. While he was gone, some part of him had remained here, in Sunset Valley. The problem is, he does not know what part of him that was. Was it emotion? Instinct? …revenge? If for no other reason, Adam has avoided even the smallest pushes through spacetime. What if he did hurt Flora, and just doesn’t remember doing so?
 
One fact remains crystal clear. Flora is gone. And whether it was directly responsible, or not; his breaking up with her that night, had been the sole catalyst for her disappearance. And he will regret it until the day he dies.
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One thought on “Chapter 9.8 – Hendrake

  1. Waah D: Oh Adam, I hate how he’s going to be so miserable when thinking of Flora. Yes, in a way, it was his fault. But it was mainly Noah’s fault! D: And I like that the twins are easing tension, but Noah is crafty. He’s probably going to secretly take one under his wing o_o. Can’t wait to see Kacey appear! ^_^

    Like

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