Chapter 1: Eden of Puppets

BANG! Eden Nedini shoved open the door to Lyon's Theatre, a wine bottle in hand, and looked at the place in detest. She hated working there, but it was the only place that would hire her in all of Florence, and she needed the money the job gave her. Raising the wine bottle to her lips she gulped down more wine, and then smashed the bottle against the wall. The sound alerted her coworker and best friend Jared Botelli. When he saw her he scowled.

"Drinking again?"

"You know I never get drunk anyways Jared. It's just like any other drink to me," Eden said with a sigh. "I wish I could get drunk though. It would let me escape this hell hole." Jared rolled his eyes.

"Whatever. Tonight should be interesting though. There's supposed to be a critic in the audience."

"A critic you say? What are they evaluating this time?" Eden was wary of critics.

"They're looking for new talent. We both know though we're the best performers here with your puppets and my fire," said Jared boastfully. This time Eden was the one to roll her eyes.

"We only have the advantage because of our auras."

"So? Doesn't mean we shouldn't use them to our benefit," said Jared, a grin on his face and a happy gleam in his unusual yellow eyes. Eden grinned back at him. At that moment their boss appeared in all his big, fat, and balding glory.

"Hey! Get ready for the show you two. It starts in half an hour and already people are starting to arrive!"

"Ah fine calm down Marty before you blow a gasket," said Eden dismissively.

"Don't tell me to calm down missy! Get to work now or you're fired!" growled Marty. Jared snickered but Eden sighed. He said that all the time but never carried out his threat. Eden ascended the stairs back stage and followed Jared to get ready. Since the theatre was small, the performers did not have their own rooms but instead closets to put their belongings and props in. Eden opened hers and from it pulled out her cloak, a mask, and three puppets. Jared raised an eyebrow at the puppets.

"You're only using three puppets? Usually you use two or more, never an odd amount, why three?"

"I feel like causing some chaos. I wonder if Marty will finally fire me for it," said Eden with an evil grin. Jared's eyes widened.

"What are you going to do?"

"You'll see," cackled Eden. Jared just shook his head in disbelief. Eden put the mask on her face and clasped the cloak around her neck. The mask was purely white, with a red diamond on each cheek. The cloak was velvet black.

"I still don't get why you wear a full face mask instead of one that only covers part of your face. No one can tell who you are anyways," said Jared, putting on a Zorro like mask himself. He also put a black headband on, pushing back some of his wild charcoal black hair.

"Well even though people are stupid and can't tell what I look like anyways with a half mask I like being fully covered," she sniffed. Jared frowned.

"No one knows who we are in Florence. The only people who would recognize us are kilometers away from here."

"Ha! It's not safe anywhere," muttered Eden as she sat down on a chair to untangle the strings of her puppets. She heard Jared sigh and walk away as she stared at her puppets. The first puppet was a man who was chunkier than the other two puppets, showing he was supposed to be fatter, was bald with squinty black eyes, and had a mushroom looking nose. He wore a white T-shirt, grey pants, suspenders, and brown shoes. She had named him Dobani, but he reminded her of Marty himself.

The second one was a woman who was the thinnest puppet she had. She had tree bark brown hair, moss green eyes almost the same shade as Eden's own eyes, and a tiny stub of a nose. Her dress was green and plain, adorning black shoes. This was Eden's only girl puppet but she liked it all the same. She had named her Philomena.

The last puppet was another man and was Eden's favorite puppet. He had the same color hair as Jared's, baby blue eyes, and a thin nose. His shirt was navy blue, wearing dark washed jeans, and black shoes. Jared complained that the puppet looked like him but the puppet's eyes were a different color than his. Eden had named him Ricci.

Eden finished untangling their strings, and after getting up to spy on the audience before the show tied up her unruly long blonde hair into a ponytail. She approached the curtain that lead to the stage and pulled it back a little to look at the people taking their seats. Observing them, she grinned when she saw a group of three people talking, two were men and one was a woman. Eden couldn't help giggling in delight.

"Find your next victims?" breathed Jared into her ear. At first her body stiffened, but then relaxed at realizing it was Jared.

"If you must know yes, I have. This is definitely going to be an interesting night," declared Eden dropping the curtain.

"If you get us in trouble-

"Don't worry we shouldn't get in trouble but this will probably end up in the papers," snickered Eden. Jared didn't seem mad anymore but laughed nervously.

"You're so bad."

"I know, but you love me for it anyways," she said walking away laughing.

"You're right, I do love you," Jared said with a sigh but she was already too far away to hear him say it.

"Welcome everyone to Lyon's Theatre! Tonight we'll be showing you performances like you've never seen before. So enjoy the show and be amazed!" cried Marty as he announced the beginning of the show. Jared was the first to perform as Eden watched him from back stage. He started by bowing to the audience, and with a flick of his wrists golden fire shot out of his hands. The audience gasped as he released balls of fire into the air and juggled it. Before they even knew how it happened the fire was no longer that brilliant gold but now a blazing emerald.

Eden gazed out at the crowd, looking for the aura Jared borrowed to make the fire green. He found it, it was the aura of a little girl's, her hair was in pigtails and she stared up at Jared in awe. Only Eden and Jared knew he was borrowing her aura to make the fire green, but the little girl herself didn't even notice what he was doing. In the blink of an eye the fire was now an amazing blue violet. The aura belonged to the father of the girl, and Jared twirled the fire around like a ribbon.

The audience was transfixed by his performance, looking a lot like Eden once did when she first saw Jared's aura fire. He though had been just as surprised as Eden when he saw what she herself could do with her aura. Jared and Eden were the only people they knew who could access their auras and do things with them. Also, they were the only ones who could see people's auras, which were people's spirits. The auras came in a variety of different colors from red to violet to every color in between.

His performance continued on for a while longer until Jared did his grand finale, which was several different aura fires exploding into fireworks for the crowd. They all applauded him as he bowed and made his way off stage. He grabbed a towel for his face, it was sooty all around the mask as he pulled that and the headband off his head.

"Did I do a good job tonight?" asked Jared panting a little. Eden scowled.

"Of course you did! You always do." Jared grinned.

"You better get ready yourself Eden. You go on after three other people as the grand finale."

"Ha won't I be an interesting finale," Eden said as she left to get her puppets. The show continued on, the audience more and more dazzled by the second as they watched the performers. Eden watched them carefully, keeping the three people she found in her sight. Finally it was her turn to take the stage. Her puppets were already suspended above her head as she walked on stage.

"Good evening! I will be your grand finale tonight. What I have in store for you is puppetry like you've never seen before. While I perform though, be aware of your fellow audience members," said Eden, her voice echoing in the theatre. The audience looked at her with mixed expressions, some were curious, others confused. Her hands, which had been in the position of prayer, sprang apart suddenly and were raised above her head.

"Enjoy the show," were her parting words as she left to go back stage and climb the platform where she would be able to control her puppets. She felt Jared's gaze on her; he had seen the aura strings. From where Eden lay, she could see the audience but they couldn't see her as she grabbed the strings to control her puppets. Seeing that the aura strings of the three people were attached to the puppets' motions she grinned and allowed a film to roll over her eyes. The lights were dimmed as she cleared her throat and began her puppet show.

"You son of a bitch! I thought you were my friend and then I find out you've been sleeping with my wife!" spoke Eden in the voice of the man who was the husband of the woman. Those three people she had chosen were beginning to perform her puppet show. Dobani, who was playing the man in rage, punched Ricci, who was playing the other man. The woman shrieked as Eden made the other man speak.

"What are you talking about?! I never slept with her!"

"Exactly," sobbed the woman.

"Liars both of you! I've seen the way you've looked at her when you thought I wasn't looking! You've been sneaking around my back for who knows how long!" Dobani threw another punch at Ricci. The man in the audience who was punched a second time fell onto the aisle.

"I'm going to make you pay for ever thinking of sleeping with her!" roared the man as the two started a full out brawl in the aisle. Eden made Philomena try to break up Dobani and Ricci.

"Stop it you two! Stop fighting this instance!" cried the woman as she tried to break apart the two fighting men. By now the audience was realizing what was going on and screamed in horror as the theatre broke out into chaos. Eden let loose the aura strings of the three people and giggled uncontrollably as she made her way on stage. As she passed Jared, she saw him glowering at her.

"Thank you all! I hope you had an exciting night! Goodnight!" cried Eden as she bowed. People were running as fast as they could for the exist. As she watched them running she saw her critic, he was the only one not running away but was staring up at her in awe. She smirked at him as she made her way off stage. Jared was waiting for her as she grabbed a towel.

"Why oh why couldn't you have just done a simple puppet show?" moaned Jared. Eden wiped her face then spoke.

"Because we needed some fun. Plus my story was true anyways. I saw the man and woman trying to hold hands several times tonight. I was just reporting the truth."

"So?! You realize you're in big trouble now."

"I know," smirked Eden as Marty came running up to her.

"You imbecile! You ruined my show! My theatre is tainted now because of you! Now I'll never be allowed to have a show again," roared Marty, his face turning purple, with spit flying out of his mouth. Eden winced.

"It's ok Marty, people will still come. Plus this was just a one time thing I promise. I just needed to let out some pent up frustration from the day," Eden said disarmingly. Marty looked like a rabid dog, growling and foaming at the mouth, but she could see he was trying to control his anger.

"Fine I'll let you off this time but next time something like thins happens you're fired, and I mean it this time," he growled out.

"Ok then, I understand."

"You better. Now get the hell out of my sight before I decide to change my mind!"

"Gladly," Eden muttered as she scrambled back up the platform to retrieve Philomena, Dobani, and Ricci. Jared followed her to her closet as she stuffed the puppets in and took off her cape. She untied her hair but kept the mask on; she didn't want Jared to see her facial expression.

"Let's get out of here Eden," Jared murmured.

"Yes, let's." She closed her closet and descended the stairs that would lead her back out into the streets of Florence. Jared was following in her wake. The two walked in silence, Eden's mood had been ruined by Marty. Her day hadn't been a pleasant one, and it had started to get better during the show. Now she felt as awful as she did before the show. If only she could drink!

Jared and Eden's apartment wasn't far from the theatre, only two blocks away, so in no time at all the two were entering their apartment and flopping down on their couch. The two stared off in thought until Jared suddenly frowned.

"Did you figure out who the critic was?"

"Yeah it was this creepy guy wearing all black, he had sooty colored hair and dark eyes. He looked surprised at my performance," smirked Eden.

"Yeah…I saw him too. He kept on looking at me with this funny expression on his face." Eden frowned.

"Why do you think that is?"

"I don't know but it was very creepy indeed. Suppose he recognized us?"

"Recognize us from where? I've never seen that creepy of a man in my life. That couldn't have been it," said Eden, her face furrowing in puzzlement.

"Then what could've been it?"

"Ah now that's the question to ask. Let's not think about this though. Tomorrow is our day off so we can do whatever we want. For now though let's rest. I'm tired and today was a long day." Eden got up from the couch and looked at their clock. It read one o'clock in the morning. She sighed.

"Goodnight Jared."

"Night," Jared mumbled. He had turned on the TV, knowing he wouldn't be able to sleep until hours later because of past nightmares. Eden dragged herself to her room and closed the door. The only thing in the room was her dresser and bed, and as she changed she thought about what Jared said. Could that man possibly recognize who they were even though they had never met before? Or was there some other reason for the man's watchfulness? Either way the thought chilled her.

Eden took off her mask and put it on her dresser. Ripping apart the covers of her bed she sank onto the bed and covered herself with the blankets. The last thought Eden had before she drifted off to dreamland was the critic's awe filled face as she smirked at him.

Well I said I wasn't goin to post this until I have five chapters done but I couldn't resist getting this out now. So, what do you guys think of this? It's definitely different from what I usually write I had to do a lot of research for the next chapters to come. Also I will be updating every other week so i can give more people a chance to review(I already have three chapters done though). I hope you guys like this as much as i do!