Author's Notes: This is the first draft of the first chapter of my new novel project, Rem (WORKING TITLE!). This was actually developed through a roleplay between myself and Nine. Originally this was going to be the second novel in a series, but it was later decided to have the first book described and covered gradually through the second. So, read, try to enjoy and please give feedback.
My name is Rem; it’s short for Remedy. My father chose my name, because my mother died when she was giving birth to me. He would tell me that I was named after his sister, who had died before I was born. He didn’t talk about her much, though. He would say little things now and then, like, "I can see her in your eyes," or, "Sometimes you’re just like her." At those times, I really thought she must’ve been a good person, and he loved her a lot. But at other times, I wasn’t so sure.
I, like all kids growing up, was pressured into things now and then. If I did something bad, my father would say, "That was her problem. She didn’t do things on her own will. Rem, don’t do that, you hear me? Don’t make her mistakes. Never." I didn’t understand my father much, but then I knew nothing about his past. He wouldn’t tell me anything. He even neglected to describe his sister, Remedy, to me. I was named after her, yet I barely knew who she was.
My father and I lived in a town named Jwan. I didn’t like it much, because we weren’t well liked, but it was home. When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why the people didn’t like us. When I asked my father, he would say something like, "Because I came from somewhere else, that’s all." Later on, as I grew up and discovered more about myself, his lines changed.
"They just don’t understand," or, "You’re a good person, they just don’t see that."
He sheltered me a lot. But he had to. The people in our town didn’t like us. I grew up without friends. My only companion, my only family, my only friend, was my father. His name was Trapt.
"Rem, I’m going out to get apples, do you want to come or stay at home?" My father asked as he peered through the door into my room. I was sitting on my mattress, stitching together new pillowcases with old sheets. The old pillowcases were ripped.
"I’ll stay home," I said. Ever since I was old enough to stay at home by myself, I learned to enjoy time alone. Then being sixteen, I found myself wanting to be alone more than I used to. "Could we get some sweet bread, too?" I asked.
My father sighed, "Rem, we’re living off old savings. We don’t have the money to buy luxury foods like that."
"I know," I said, "I’m sorry."
He gave me a nod and left, leaving my door open. He didn’t like me keeping my doors closed. I finished stitching up the pillowcases and slipped them over our pillows. I flopped mine down on my bed, which I was sitting on anyways, and got up to put my father’s in his room. As I got up, I took a quick look in my mirror.
My eyes were a dark brown. Like my father’s, except his had a strange hint of red. My hair was like his, though. Short black hair, with the hair infront of my ears being long. Just down to my shoulders. It was a different look, surely, but I liked it. My father’s was a little similar, except he had braided the hair infront of his left ear and his hair was kind of spiked upwards at the back. No one in our town had hair like ours. My father said it had something to do with our ethnic background, but he wouldn’t tell me what that was. I had a small, slightly rounded face. I looked younger than I was. Meanwhile, my clothes looked like they were older than I was. An old tunic, brown pants and a raggy sash. We didn’t have the money to buy nice clothes.
My father had a hard time finding jobs in our town. Quite often he would leave the town for a few days, then come back with lots of money, but all that had to be spent carefully for a long time. He always lied to me though, about how he made the money. I knew this before I found out the truth, just because my father wasn’t good at lying. I wanted to help and work too, but I couldn’t leave my house without my father. It was too dangerous for me. The people in my town hated me that much.
I sighed, looking away from the mirror and absent-mindedly wondered if I would ever find someone in my life. You know, your typical teenage girl thoughts. What will my future be like? What kind of boys will I meet? … If any. Things didn’t look good in Jwan, but there weren’t any other options, my father would tell me.
I made my way into my father’s room. The hard wooden floors creaked beneath my bare feet and I tossed the pillow onto his bed. As I turned to leave, I caught sight of the corner of a box poking out from under my father’s bed. Odd, I thought, I hadn’t seen that before. I went over to the box, noting it was made of wood with metal edges. I slid it out from under the bed. It was about the size of our pillows and surprisingly heavy. Now, I knew better than to snoop through my father’s belongings, but I was always the curious type. This item didn’t look new at all, yet I hadn’t seen it before. I wondered if it would be clues to my father’s past. I reached for the lid and attempted to open the chest.
But my father had locked it shut. I furrowed my eyebrows in frustration and took a quick scan of the room for a key, but I couldn’t find it. I decided that if my father had no intention of showing me this chest, then I had no business snooping through his personal belongings. I pushed the box back under the bed and left the room just as I heard some knocking on the front door.
I went through the small kitchen to the door, peering though a window before opening it. It was Tuvaq, one of the boys who hated me more than the others. I decided not to open the door, but I talked to him through it.
"What is it this time?" I asked him.
He banged on the door again, "Open the door."
"Not until you tell me what this is about."
"The mayor is my father, when I say to open your door, you open it!" Again he banged on the door with his closed fists. I was beginning to regret staying at home. This happened sometimes. Once my father would leave, people would come to the house and start vandalizing it. Throwing eggs at it and trying to get in. "I’m warning you!" He shouted when I hesitated.
Slowly, very reluctantly, I opened the wooden door. And I was horrified to see him slip a knife out from under his coat. I immediately attempted to shut the door, but he pushed his shoulder against it, keeping it open. He was stronger than I was. Tuvaq then shoved against it, making me stumble back and he made his way inside.
"Are you trying to disobey me?" He asked. "Tsk, tsk, Rem. What do you have to say for yourself?" he asked in a horribly taunting tone.
"I… I’m sorry." I stumbled more while backing away from him. He stayed where he was at the door.
"Pardon me? I couldn’t hear you, bitch."
"I’m sorry." I said again.
"What was that?"
The door suddenly swung open and there was my father, with a large bag cradled in one arm. He looked down at Tuvaq with the coldest expression he had. "Tuvaq, what are you doing in my home?"
Tuvaq cursed under his breath, putting the knife back into its sheath and left rather quickly. The people in Jwan hated us, they terrorized us, but no one would go up against my father directly. They were scared of him in a strange way.
My father was quick to close the door and lock it, putting down his bags and rushing over to me. By then I was already a sobbing mess on the floor. It wasn’t the first time something like that had happened. The people in my town just hated us. Tuvaq especially. He had been terrorizing me since I was a small child. He had never cut me before, but he did threaten to with his knife an awful lot. He still would hit me though, if I didn’t say sorry enough.
"Rem?" My father had his arms wrapped around me, with one hand stroking my hair. "Did he hurt you?"
"No." I sniffled.
He pulled away a bit, reaching into his bag and pulled out a loaf of sweet bread, "I got you a treat." He said, smiling softly.
I smiled a little, while still wiping away my tears. "But, you said…"
"I was lying. I was planning on getting it anyways. Rem, clean up a little and we’ll share this. I want to talk to you, too."
I did as I was told, going to the washroom to clear my eyes of their tears. When I finished, I found my father sitting on his bed, with the loaf of sweet bread sliced up and laid on a plate beside him. This was the usual if he brought home a treat. We would sit down and just talk, or play games. I loved to spend time with him like that. I sat down on the other side of the plate and took a slice, biting into it.
"Rem, do you remember when I told you to be you?" My father asked me, looking at me with his more serious eyes. I nodded. "Rem, I want you to be yourself. Don’t be what others want of you. Don’t do what isn’t you. Please, Rem, don’t listen to anything the people here say, okay? Especially Tuvaq." I gave another nod, taking smaller bites of my bread. "But," he started again, looking a bit more stressed, "I guess that’s hard, when you don’t know who you are, isn’t it?"
I looked at him a little surprised, "What do you mean, father?" I asked.
He sighed again, running a hand through his hair, "Rem, you’ve asked me so many times about your background, about my past, about… Remedy."
"Well, I think you’re old enough now to learn about all of that." He got off the bed and reached under his bed, pulling out the box that I had been inspecting earlier. He placed it beside me and pulled a long metal key from his pocket, slipping it into the lock and opening the box.
Inside, from my first sight, were items wrapped with rags and black clothes. My father reached inside, bringing out the first item. It was in the shape of an L, wrapped with rags. He slowly and very carefully unwrapped them, revealing a wooden handle with a huge blade on the end. It was a scythe, but the handle was short and appeared to have been broken.
"This scythe," my father started, shaking a little as he spoke, carefully holding the weapon, "belonged to my sister, Remedy. He laid the weapon on his lap before reaching into the box again, pulling out a pile of neatly folded clothes, "These were hers too." The clothes were black there were several black belts with silver grommets. "Rem, do you know which clan wears these?"
All black clothes, silver grommets, a scythe… It sounded like. I froze where I was.
"… Kiua?" I asked, nervously.
I was in total shock. I had heard of Kiuas before. They were people who wore all black, and were hired to kill. They were feared by all and… hated by all. I quickly looked back to my father; "Your sister was Kiua…. So you….?"
"Yes, Rem. I’m a pure-blooded Kiua. And you carry some of that blood as well." His eyes carried so much regret and sadness. Almost like he was ashamed of who he was. I had never seen such sadness in his eyes before. It was haunting.
The clothes were put down, and he held the scythe, looking at it carefully as he spoke, "Remedy and I were born in the Kiua village. It’s a long ways from here. As you know… Kiuas are hired to assassinate. All they do is train to kill and then kill. I wasn’t proud of that, but Remedy thought the clan was the most important thing in the world. The clan carried so many codes and rules. Honor was important there, and Remedy wanted that honor—she wanted to gain the respect of the clan. I didn’t. I wanted nothing to do with the clan. So I left. My sister, however, went mad in her quest to follow the clan codes. Everything she did was for the clan and always went by those codes. She never let herself be her own person. She did what was expected of her from the clan, but never herself. I tried to save her, but I had failed." His head went down, and I was horrified to see a tear coming down his cheek. "Her foolishness was her demise."
I didn’t know what to say or how to react to all of that. Being Kiua surely explained the hatred the people of Jwan had towards us. Of course they would hate us if we were people who committed murder. As for Remedy… I finally understood why my father said the things he did to me about her. He must have really cared for her. But she had died, because she didn’t listen to herself.
He looked back to me, wiping away that one tear on his cheek. He handed me the scythe, "Rem, I want you to keep this. It belonged to Remedy. In her last fight, it broke. But, I want you to have it. If someone tries to hurt you when you’re here, it’ll be there for you. Alright?"
I nodded, taking the scythe in the hands. But once the handle touched my fingers, a strange, painful wave swept through my head. It was like a massive headache suddenly coming and going. I flinched a bit, but shook it off, taking the scythe in my hands. The weapon was heavy, and the blade appeared to have been worn down. There were some signs of dried blood on it.
My father showed me other items from the box that night. His old Kiua clothes, weapons and artifacts. It was all so fascinating, yet haunting at the same time. My father clearly was not proud of his background, but he told me it was about time I knew about it. At the end of the night, the loaf of sweet bread was gone and we were both tired. As I made my way back to my room, my father wished me sweet dreams.
I decided to keep the scythe under the mattress of my bed. After putting it there, I slipped under my thin sheets and slept.
But I didn’t sleep well at all. It was the beginning of a plague of terrible dreams, which haunted me for weeks. Each dream was slightly different, but ultimately the same. People were dying everywhere, with blood pouring from horrible wounds inflicted all over their bodies. They were dying, screaming and crying. Among these people, were two who never died, but always fought each other. One was my father—clad in his Kiua attire. The black cargos, black tank top, black arm warmers with the holes cut in them everywhere, belts wrapped around his torso and hips and the chains hanging from his pockets. The other was a woman who looked remarkably like myself. Only she seemed older, colder, her eyes were a blood red and there were red stains in her hair. She held a scythe. She was Remedy.
The dreams came to me every night. I would wake up many times, shaking and crying. I wouldn’t tell my father though. I didn’t want him to worry, or regret telling me about his past. It was that, I figured, that was triggering the nightmares. I did find it terrifying that my father once was a murderer, and his sister had died due to her own mistakes, but there was something I did not understand. In fact, it disturbed me greatly. That was in my dreams, it was always my father fighting against Remedy. But why? He loved her, I knew that, so why were be always fighting each other in my dreams?
The dreams even began to effect me aside from at night. I would look at my father and be unsure of what to think of him. He was a murderer, I knew that, but the dreams made him seem like such a terrible person when he wasn’t at all. I knew I loved my father, and I did, but sometimes I looked at him and felt… I’m so ashamed of this… I felt hate. I would look at him and in my mind I would think, "Damn that Trapt, I hate him to the core."
Immediately I’d rush to my room and shut my door. I couldn’t look at him when those thoughts went through my head.
Then things got worse.
No longer did I see Remedy in my dreams, but I was her. I felt her emotions, and they scared me. The emotions were pure hatred towards Trapt, my father. I, no, she, would be striking against him, screaming terrible things before I woke up, crying. More often I looked at my father and felt hate and by then, a desire to hurt him. I spent more time in my room by myself—with my door closed.
"Rem?" I heard my father knocking on my door lightly. He had tried to talk to me multiple times, but each time I would go to another room to get away. I didn’t want to hurt him. I decided to not reply and leave the door closed. But he opened it himself and walked in anyways. "Rem? What’s wrong? Tell me, please."
I didn’t reply.
He sighed, sitting down beside me on my bed, "Rem, you’re starting to worry me. I know it’s hard to know that your father lived the life of a Kiua but… Rem, I haven’t changed since I told you about my past, so why do things between us have to change?"
I pulled my knees up to my chest, hugging them and resting my forehead against them, "It’s not that, father. I’m sorry, I can’t explain. I don’t know."
"You’re growing up, Rem. Maybe it’s just a phase right now."
"… Yeah. That’s what it is." But it wasn’t.
My father nodded and got up, leaving the room. I looked up to him as me left, and in a terrible moment, I wondered, how wonderful would it be to see his blood spill. I began to shake, and I knew, I had to get away. I had to get away from my father. I was going insane, I thought, I had to get away to save his life.
And I did.