Chapter 4: Bizarre

I jerked awake to the sound of a screeching, bell-like noise. The covers were immediately jerked off me, and I whimpered, struggling blindly to find them again.

"Aw, I was hoping she slept naked!"

"Kaiser! How could you say something so crude?"

"Now c'mon, love, you know you were thinking the same thing!"

I rubbed my eyes and ran a finger through my dirty hair. "Hello, Koren. Kaiser."

The twins bowed. Today Koren wore a blue, double-breasted jacket with matching slacks, a sash-like scarf around his neck. He held an alarm clock in his hand. Kaiser was more relaxed, wearing a black T-shirt with a thin scarf draped around his shoulders and khakis. In one hand he held a camouflage jacket.

"Winifred brought you some things," Koren informed, pointing to a cardboard box by the door.

"What are you two doing here?" I asked.

"Well," Kaiser began, "We thought we would grace you with our presence today. Otherwise you'd be—"

"Stuck up in this room. Bored and alone," Koren interrupted, jerking Kaiser's scarf.

"And we wouldn't want that," Kaiser finished.

"A fun day with Koren and Kaiser!"

"Um…okay." I was having trouble registering all this in my brain, being as groggy as I was. "Can I please take a shower before we start out on all this 'fun'?"

The two looked at each other briefly, then shrugged.

"Girls girls girls," Kaiser sighed, heading out of the room, "Always so concerned with being clean all the time."

"Meet us in the kitchen!" Koren called, following him. When the door clicked shut, I fell back onto my bed with a groan. Everything was sore. The time on the alarm clock read nine fifteen. I resisted the urge to beat it with my bare fist. It took every shred of my will power to get out of bed, get a shower, and practice other necessary grooming habits, though I can't deny that I was excited about the mysterious box left from Winifred.

I soon discovered that whoever had worn these clothes before me didn't dress quite normally. Most of the outfits were dramatic in color and style, and I struggled to find anything suitable for "A fun day with Koren and Kaiser". Most everything was either a dress or a skirt. I finally settled on a turtle-neck dress that was a dull gray and pulled on some black panty hose to keep me warm. I put on my old snow boots, as there hadn't been any shoes in the box, and grabbed a jacket in case the boys wanted to go outside.

I made the slow decent to the kitchen, wracking my memory for the exact location. Finally I made it, and discovered Kaiser, Koren, and Winifred all sitting at the table.

"It doesn't taste like apples, and there aren't jacks, but it's my favorite cereal! Yippee!" Kaiser called, scooping his breakfast in his mouth.

"What would you like?" Koren asked. I pointed to a box of cereal at random as I sat down. Winifred smiled.

"I'm glad you found something you like. Most of those clothes are Dahlia's, and she's a little…

"Crazy?" Kaiser offered

"Theatrical," She said sternly. Koren snorted, causing some Mini Wheats to tumble into the floor. He handed me the bowl, and I accepted it gratefully. Winifred soon left, saying that she had to do something for Bjorn. Kaiser cackled.

"Yes, and here I thought we were going to have to bring her with us!" he cried, wiggling his fingers in a sinister manner.

"Well that's not very nice!" I exclaimed, thinking of all the kind things that she had done for me in my short stay. Koren snorted.

"You don't understand. Winnie is a nice girl and all, but she's too…"

"Goodie, goodie," Kaiser finished. "You can't do anything with Carrot Top."

I swallowed, hoping that these two didn't expect me to go and do anything illegal with them, especially when my whole life depended on whether I caused trouble or not. I suddenly felt a little sick.

"Now let's go!" Kaiser exclaimed, jerking my unfinished cereal away from me. Koren dragged me out of my chair and we rushed over to a window.

"Kaiser! Stuff some paper towels in the vents!" Koren barked. Kaiser obeyed, though I didn't see any point in this action. Koren slipped his fingers beneath the windowsill.

"I thought we weren't supposed to open—"

"Shush! And don't worry your pretty, little head. We do this all the time."

I still didn't feel good about this. With a dull "crack" the window opened, and Koren slipped through. It was only a drop of about four feet. I slid out after him, holding Kaiser's hand for balance. He followed.

We were now what appeared to be a frozen garden, many flowers completely iced over. Dark, skeletal trees looked like paper cutouts against the bright, rising sun. The snow seemed to sparkle and glitter. I ran my hand over an icy bush, studying the gray walls that loomed around us, sealing off the garden.

"It's beautiful," I whispered, feeling like this place demanded quiet. Apparently Kaiser didn't share that same sentiment, because as soon as the words were out of my mouth, he took a run and slid across an icy walkway, laughing loudly. Koren made a snowball and chucked it at him, and the two began to wrestle on the ground, squashing some frozen rose bushes.

"You guys! Are you sure this is okay?"

A snowball immediately hit me.

"Don't be a fun-sucker!" Kaiser cried, smashing Koren's head into a tree.

This all felt wrong. I knew, knew that we shouldn't be here. And the silence behind their laughing was alarming. I suddenly felt a shadow pass overhead, and I raised my head to see dark storm clouds billowing above me. Kaiser and Koren immediately stopped what they were doing, and looked up also.

"I thought I told you to stuff paper towels in the vents!"

"Well maybe if you hadn't said to do it so loudly he wouldn't have suspected anything!"

I had no idea what they were talking about, but the sudden change of weather scared me. I backed towards the windows.

"I'm gonna go back inside."

Unexpectedly, large hailstones began to fall, pelting Koren and Kaiser as they rushed beneath the eaves of the mansion with me in tow. The sound of the ice pebbles beating the grown was deafening. Angry.

"Alright, alright! We're leaving. LEAVING!" Kaiser called into the storm, wrenching open the window. We rushed back inside, panting. They shut the window.

"Stupid," Kaiser growled, nursing his injured head where a stone had hit him and yanking out the paper towels from the vents.

"What's going on?" I asked in a small voice. Koren shook his head.

"Nothing. Bad luck, I guess," he mumbled, but I knew something was up. I was too scared to ask.

"Well, that just ruined my day," Kaiser said bitterly, "Now what?"

I considered asking if I could go back to my room now, but it seemed very rude. I shuddered. Koren noticed.

"We'll go to my room. I have a fireplace, and we can all warm up," he said kindly, wrapping an arm around me. Little did he know that I was terrified, not cold. We trekked back to the hallway that Koren and I shared, stopping at a door not far from mine. "Home sweet home," he sighed, opening it.

His room was the same size and shape as mine, but everything was painted purple and pink. It was slightly funny, but I didn't have the heart to laugh. Kaiser tended to the fireplace. Koren, sensing my unease, tried to start up a conversation.

"So London, where you from?"

"South Carolina."

"Oh. Like it down there?"

"I guess."

He then realized it was useless and stopped talking, and instead studied his wallpaper. Kaiser turned on the TV to a news channel and sat down beside me, seeming restless. For a long time we just stayed there, not speaking a word to each other. Then there was a knock at the door.

"Come in."

I immediately recognized who it was simply by Kaiser and Koren's description. Amberly had a short, sleek bob of brown hair, and her height was intensified by the spikes I had imagined her wearing. Her suit was a tan color, and she held a laptop in one hand.

"Viago wants to see London," she said in a bland tone, her gray eyes flickering to me for a moment. Koren stood up from the bed, clicking off the TV with a graceful and sharp motion with the remote.

"What's he want?" he asked defensively, and for some reason it scared me. As much as I'd heard about Viago, he didn't seem like the type to be messed with. Amberly inhaled loudly.

"I can't tell you."

"You mean you don't know," Kaiser snorted, and she shot him a look that could kill."

"Why don't you hurry on back to your side now," she sniffed, "They won't be able to start all of their…nonsense without you."

"I'm hurt," Kaiser said sarcastically, putting a hand to his chest, "that you would accuse me of being apart of nonsense."

She ignored him, her full attention on me now. "Come, London."

I remembered the garden, and suddenly felt fear well up inside. Was this about it? Would I get into trouble? I glanced back at Koren, wide-eyed, but he didn't reveal anything in his stoic poker face. Amberly's heels clicked when we got into the elevator. She cleared her throat but didn't say anything. The doors opened, and we went through the familiar routine of going through the Main Hall, but this time we took a different path, instead getting on another elevator.

The doors opened into a wide hall where everything was very clean and bright. The floors were speckled marble, and several original paintings hung on the wall. We reached the only door at the end, which she knocked on quietly.


"Yes sir."

"Bring her in."

I coiled my hands into fists.

A/N: Oooo…Mysterious, no? Hope there aren't too many characters to be confusing…I'm kinda worried about that…