Granite Falls, 2028
Letter to Paris:
I'm sorry, I made a terrible mistake. I challenged the king and his friends to a fight because I was proud and stupid. And yes I'm disappointed in myself. Not because I lost a fight to the King along the Granite Falls River, but because I ran away. I ran away to the woods and did what you told me not to do. I drank from the river and now I'm ill. I can feel my stomach wailing. It's angry with me too. I'm sorry Paris. I miss you.
Lauren Himari Hellewell of Forgotten Hollow aged 18 died on March 18, 2028 in the forest of Granite Falls of a disease believed to be Sweaty Shivers.
The Hellewell's Flat, San Myshuno, 2013
Paris was reading to Lauren One Stormy Night by Yuichi Kimura.
"'I'd give anything for a tasty snack right now,' the wolf sighed. 'Me too, I'm famished,' said the goat."
"That's silly," said Lauren. "If the wolf's hungry, it'll eat the goat. Everyone knows wolves eat sheep and goats."
"But Gabu (the wolf) loves his goat, Mei." said Paris. "And you don't eat your friends, no matter how scrumptious they look."
"But why does the wolf love the goat?"
"For a lot of reasons, actually. Have you not been listening?"
"... Yeah.... but, it's silly."
"Coz, the wolf is a wolf and the goat's a goat and wolves eat goats."
"Gabu doesn't have to eat Mei like a farmer doesn't have to eat their cow."
"Ahhh. The wolf owns the goat."
"No, Lauren," said Paris, taking a deep breath. "Okay, wrong analogy.... Gabu and Mei are like you becoming good friends with your worst enemy and realising they're just like you and you would do anything for them."
Lauren chewed over Paris's analogy. "So the goat's a traitor? A double-crosser?"
"No. Lauren. Anyway, how do you know those words?"
I knew she was a bad influence.
"Goodnight Lauren, we'll finish the story tomorrow night. It's already way past your bedtime."
Three hours later...
"Wahhhhhhh Paaawisssssss! WAHHHHHH!"
"What's wrong Lauren?" Paris wrapped his arms around his little sister.
Lauren's sobbing grew stronger.
"Shhh, I'm here," said Paris. "I'll always be here."
The Grandmaster's Mansion, Forgotten Hollow, 2031
Paris was in her room, packing to embark on the trip to Egypt, when the sudden unpleasant presence of the Grim Reaper startled her.
"Paris," said the Grim Reaper.
"Grim," acknowledged Paris, with a waver in her voice, "uhm, do you want to sit down... uhm, on my bed?"
"No thank you, Paris. I shall be brief."
Paris nodded. "Good because I have to go soon."
Grim hummed gruffly in agreement. "I know," he said.
Paris twitched nervously and waited for Grim to speak.
Grim cleared his throat. "I hear you shall be fighting the new king in Egypt?"
"Yes," said Paris.
The Grim Reaper began pacing.
"Hang on, how is that good?" said Paris. "I don't believe vampires should fight humans at all!"
"You don't?" said Grim. "The former headmaster of Oracle High School, you know, the one you killed, he was human was he not?"
"That was.... I needed...."
"Or those detectives Lilith killed for you to save your Lauren...."
"Oh that's hardly..."
"You see, Paris, I don't think you know what you believe in..."
Paris's eyes flickered to the floor.
"Anyway," said Grim, "I'm not here to discuss your - identity crisis... I'm actually here to ask you to lose this battle in Egypt."
Paris frowned. "Why?"
"Why Paris?" said Grim, "because nothing will ever change if you win. Believe me, I've seen it. If you win, there will still be war and maybe even an apocalypse."
"But... you want more deaths. You said. To prevent over-crowding."
"Leave that to my Sweaty Shivers pandemic, Paris," said Grim. "What needs to be done is that the Evil Geniuses be allowed to get their own way for a while, and I will deal with them in time. Don't lose sight of your purpose, Paris. Forget Alexander and focus on keeping the vampires oblivious to our little secret."
"I am keeping them oblivious," Paris sighed. "Alexander is a distraction."
"But you can't be distracted, Paris," said Grim. "Only the other vampires."
And with that, Grim disappeared.
The Hellewell-Fyres Residence, Oasis Springs, 2031
Henry bid goodbye to his fathers and rushed out the door.
Whisper met him at the end of the driveway.
"Sorry Whisper but you're going to have to suffer my dads for a bit. But don't worry, dad is heading to Egypt like me, but a bit later, so you'll only have to suffer papa."
Whisper made no sign of acknowledgement, but continued to pant in excitement.
Henry walked back over to his dads, holding Whisper in his arms.
He placed Whisper down before them.
Papa came forward. "You are welcome to come home anytime, Henry," he said, "and if anything happens, I'm only a call away."
"Thanks papa," said Henry, throwing his arms around him.
"Oh, I think Whisper's jealous," laughed his papa.
"No he's just hungry," said Henry. "I forgot to feed him earlier, because I was on the phone."
"Oh, yes, to that secret friend?"
"Uhm... Henry...." grumbled his other dad.
"Yes dad?" said Henry.
"Uhm... take care."
"I wish you were traveling with him," said Jonathon.
"I won't be too far behind," Caleb replied.
Jonathon nodded gravely. "Keep me updated."
"I will," said Caleb, "and I promise you, Henry will not be far in front. He just wants to travel with his cousins."
Jonathon's eyes remained downcast.
"Okay," he said. Caleb sighed. "We're all meeting up tonight in Moonlight Falls, so I'll be able to keep an eye on Henry then, but he is an adult now, Jon."
"He's twenty one," replied Jonathon.
Henry took a detour on the way to his cousins.
"Uh... help?" cried Alex, as Henry practically leapt on him and fastened his arms around his ribs.
"Hehe," said Henry, "you shall suffer my hug of death!"
Alex patted him awkwardly. "I see you've had a good morning."
"Is it obvious?" said Henry.
"Well you always get 'silly' when you're in a good mood."
"Okay, I'll admit it. I've been playing with Whisper since six."
Alex rolled his eyes. "Oh come on Henry, remember my warning. Dogs are manipulative little 'so and sos' that are not worth your time and energy."
"Uh-huh," said Henry. "I feel sorry for your dog."
"I've disowned him."
"He doesn't think so... our relationship is very... frictional. He avoids me, I avoid him, unless you force us on walks with your dog."
"You secretly love it," said Henry.
"If you say so Henry... now can you please release me? I need to breathe."
Henry released Alex from the embrace. "Henry," he said seriously, "now, I've spoken to Paris and we're planning to meet at the Red Velvet Lounge in Moonlight Falls. If this is going to work, I need you to ignore me for the whole evening. I know this meet up will likely involve Sweglords and Evil Geniuses mingling, but you cannot mingle with me Henry, in case one of us might show affection for the other. Do you understand Henry? If any Sweglord discovers my affections for you, or vice versa... It'll be... well, I may have to.... well, you know Henry... the point is to marry my enemy, not my love."
Henry cocked his head to one side, and narrowed his eyes coquettishly. "Am I 'your love,' Alex? Shall you swoon for me as well? Or how about recite some flowery Victorian prose?" He batted his eyes.
"Are you done, Henry?"
"Oh lighten up Alex," said Henry, kissing his friend on the cheek. "Everything's going to be fine. What you need to do is concentrate on your battle tactics, which I can help you with."
"You can?" smiled Alex.
"Uh-huh! Meet me in the lounge's private room. I've heard it has one for VIPs only, but you're the king, which means you'll probably be able to book it exclusively."
Poses by wyattsims