Hi guys! This is the third installment in our Life 2.0 story series! For more information on Life 2.0, go to our Life 2.0 page.
With this new installment, Julian and Marcus followed Koryn’s advice (to have an argument,) which they honestly don’t find very hard to do. 😉 But the questions still up in the air as to whether they will actually, finally, split up. Thanks for commenting, Koryn!
Vivek stared at the newcomers for a full two seconds–his eyes drawn to the taller boy. He recognized him, as if. . .but it couldn’t be.
Their eyes had obviously still not adjusted to the darkness. The taller one was squinting, the younger craning his neck. He had a hoodie tied around his waist.
But the taller boy. Vivek felt he knew him. Was he the one they had waited for? Arianna would be so proud. Had Vivek found him? But she would kill him if he got it wrong.
Vivek waited in the darkness by the stairs, eyeing the lowest portrait. He couldn’t let himself be seen. Not yet.
His hands were wrinkled, and old. His face was caved in. He knew the dark, golden staircase behind him and the black door down in the Priority Room where the two boys had fallen just as well as he knew the back of his own hand. He also knew that at this precise moment his hand, which was holding the candle, was trembling.
He covered the flame and crept down the last few steps towards the door. When he was ready, he would uncover the flame and let himself be seen.
But not yet.
The taller boy pushed himself up to a sitting position and whimpered.
Vivek lifted his hand. The candle shone to illuminate his old, cracked face and long hair and beard. He fixed his glasses and watched, waiting for either boy to say something. Anything.
He could hardly hold the candle. The taller boy. . .could he whisper the thought. . .could this be Julian? Prince, no king, Julian? Julian, Vivek’s slave.
The boy with the hoodie crawled towards the one Vivek thought was Julian. He was pointing at him. Grimacing and pointing at him.
“Who is he?”
Julian shrugged, paused, and then spoke.
“Should we go deeper?”
Vivek had to force himself not to shake his head.
No. No. No. Don’t go further. Not without me. I need you. Here.
Julian was looking up at the staircase—Vivek wondered if he could see the pictures on the walls. It had to be. It had to be Julian.
The boy gave him a strange look. He had brown hair and deep, brown skin and eyes. No boy. He was a man, and he was staring as if he recognized Vivek.
A chill went down Vivek’s spine. How much longer could he be silent?
He wanted to say something. He had to say something.
Julian brushed off his clothes.
Vivek looked into his eyes. They were the eyes of a genius, of a soul with a mind. Vivek trembled as he realized who that mind was. . .
“Will you follow me into my home?” he said, lips still trembling as he waved over to the door, not wanting to lose hold of his candle. “It’s obviously your best option.”
He didn’t know why he said the last part. Probably because he wanted Julian to follow him so much. But it made him sound sketchy. The other boy, with the hoodie, how could he be here if he wasn’t Julian? But how could Julian be here at all?
Vivek didn’t know. Arianna would have to answer his questions.
Vivek waited for Julian to make up his mind. He couldn’t very well get out now, but he might try something risky. Vivek was risky, which meant Julian was risky—if Vivek was who he thought he was.
“You’re human?” Julian said. “You’re not going to hurt us? You don’t have any weapons?”
Vivek had to think hard about the answer to each question, except the second one.
“No. I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. His lip was still trembling. “I suppose you could call me human, though. . .I’m only part-human.” He held up the candle in his left hand. “I have this, but I won’t use it to hurt you.”
The last part was a lie.
Julian laughed a little.
“I like you. A book isn’t a weapon, old man.”
Vivek looked down at his candle, confused.
“That’s what you’re holding, isn’t it?”
The boy with the hoodie was silent the whole time. Vivek stared down to where he had been.
Actually, he was gone. He was on the staircase.
“Will you come with me, Julian?” Vivek said.
Using his name was risky, but it might prove worth it.
Julian looked up the staircase to see the other boy.
“Marcus! Come back here. We’re going to follow this man. He knows my name.”
Marcus! So that was who the other boy was. Not good. Well, not good unless Vivek could be freed, but who ever was freed from Arianna?
“I’m not going anywhere with that person. I think he’s dangerous,” Marcus called back downstairs.
“Fine! You go up that staircase by yourself, but I’m going with this. . .” Julian turned his head to Vivek. “What’s your name, sir?”
Julian shouted up the stairs again.
“I’m going with Vivek. You can either come with me or go by yourself and possibly get lost. It’s up to you!”
Something had snapped, and Vivek couldn’t say he didn’t like it. He had a thought. If he used his will, could he control Julian’s?
Marcus stood at the edge of the stairs. He looked unsure what to do. Follow Julian, his brother, who was lost because Vivek was locked up. . .or go up the stairs. He would see the pictures if he did that, Vivek realized.
Should Marcus. . .
Follow Julian and Vivek through the door? Go up the staircase—alone? Or something else?
Comment below and join the adventure!