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Blood roses after dark Ch. 3

The soft pitter-patter of rain sounded on the roof. Water leaked everywhere soaking everything. A poorly repaired roof, filled with holes and I calculated every location of each to fix. The constant dripping annoyed me, breaking my concentration every time a drop hit me. The dog lay beside me, its head on my lap. I stroked the soft fur and waited for Ronan to uphold his promise.

I barely felt the ache in my limbs now. Moving around was not unbearable anymore. I slowly rose out of bed and inspected my bandages. They were damp from the water. I peered at the roof and made up my mind. I tiptoed to the door and sneaked out of the room. I made sure Ronan was not around as I made my way out of the building. I did not need Ronan to escort me everywhere.

The building was just off the side of the main square of the town. All the buildings were either faded or charcoal black with crumbling walls and roofs that missed shingles. It was no wonder the roof leaked. One top of a building in the center of town was a black tower made of metal rods and beams. It might be a signal tower or something because it looked very important. However, it looked shabby and incomplete; a gust of wind at the wrong angle would knock it right down.

I shivered, but it was not cold. I looked around and saw a ghost town. Where were all the people? I felt another shiver run down my spine as my heart started increasing in speed. I heard every drop of rain hit the ground, every whisper of the wind as it brushed past my ears. Nothing was out here with me.

I heard a door slam shut and hurried footsteps rushed to me. A pair of arms snatched mine and yanked me around. Ronan quickly covered my hair with something. His face masked with the emotion of indifference. He glanced around and made sure the area was secure, as he let out a breath.

"Are you mad? Do you know what they would do if they saw you?" He whispered angrily to me. I shrugged, I did not know who 'they' were and he had yet to tell me anything.

"I'm fine, thanks for asking. What is the big deal anyway? You don't know me and have no right to tell me what to do." I looked around and walked up to a building with a large glass window. I heard Ronan groan and ran up next to me.

"Akiko, please, you just have to trust me. Not everyone is open-minded."

I humorlessly laughed at that. "Why do they need to be open-minded? What are you not telling me? Are you saying it's because I'm a stranger or how I look?" He looked away regretting saying anything. I turned back around and examined my reflection in the glass. Covering my hair was a large brown scarf. "My hair?"

"They might think you're a Nano Controller." An image sparked in my mind.

It was a conveyor belt with children in front of and behind me. A machine circled each one and held them stretched out with needles jabbed into many areas of their arms and legs. A metal spine jabbed seven needles down each person’s spine. Out to the corner of my eye I saw a figure standing there.

"Is that a Nano controller?" I asked uncertain. He nodded and sighed.

"Fine I'll tell you. But come and eat some breakfast first." He led me back to the building. We sat down in the kitchen and he pushed a plate of pizza toward me. I did not attempt to grab it this time. He used this to distract me I knew he was. Instead, I waited, for some answers to my questions because this seriously annoyed me and just wasted time. I tapped my fingers with impatience.

"M.S. are mechanical soldiers as I already told you. They are the objects used to keep us in check by our Master. "

"Master?" I raised an eyebrow. "Seriously?"

He continued, "Our Master took control one day using M.S. and the way he controlled them was through Nano Controllers or as most called them, Nanos." I thought a moment.

"Why are they called Nanos?" I was not sure I wanted to know the answer.

"No one really knew exactly why, but it was speculated that certain children were injected with nanomites. That was what controlled them."

"And people would think I'm one because?"

"Your hair is an unusual color as is most Nanos. Some people would assume that you were and would attack you."

"It could be dyed, you know." I grumbled because I my head itched. The scarf irritated my scalp. "Why did you help me?" His eyes turned distant again and he grabbed some of the breakfast.

"Sorry Akiko, that doesn't concern you." I took a bite to keep from screaming at him. He did not have to tell me. That was his right, but the fact he acted so suspicious, bugged me.

The dog trotted in and lay at my feet. Its admiration radiated off it and wafted toward me in waves. I stroked its soft fuzzy head and gave it a piece of my food. It gobbled it up and begged for more. I ignored the dog and stood up.

I began to stretch my arms and legs; this was tiring. Finally, some answers, but that only left me with more questions. What was I, and what was the vision? The more I thought about it the more I felt a deep clench in my stomach.

A drop of water hit my head, obscuring my train of thought. Instantly, I remembered all the scraps on the outskirts of the town. I tightly wrapped my hair up with the scarf, only to respect Ronan's wishes of not having the town's people chase me out of town in an angry mob. I may not know what his game was, but he was truly concerned about someone seeing me.

The dog tilted its head, its tail wagged back and forth expectantly.” Come on, Darling'. Let’s go find some stuff." The dog hopped up and followed me out the door.

I walked past the buildings and glanced at the black tower, the steel beams holding out strong against the wind. I kept walking, and eventually found the edge of town. I searched through the junk and clutter to find items I could use to fix the roof. I found a small tarp, a hammerhead, some wood and rusty bent nails. Not much, but it will have to do for now.

I began to head back, but in the corner of my eye, I saw the playground. I felt something mentally pull me, beckoning me over.

"You can't catch me!" I heard ringing in my ears. Was it a child? There were none around, yet that did not stop the fact laughter surrounded me when I was obviously alone, except for the dog.

I took a step forward, to the playground. I felt a strong blast of wind gusting in my face. The dog whined and tugged at my shirt. The laughter stopped and the soft sound of rain was all I heard.

I hesitated something sinister lurked around. I turned on my heel and briskly walked to the safety of the town buildings. I scavenged more items from the collapsed buildings and found my way back to Ronan's home. I looked up at the leaky roof and calculated the best way of getting up there. I managed to get up there by climbing up the ruins of the building next to Ronan's and crossed to the roof.

On the roof, I found several loose shingles lying about here and there. I quickly patched up the small holes and leaks with the extra shingles. Then I used the tarp to cover the majority of other holes. There were still three or four left, but maybe I could find something in one of the collapsed buildings.

"Hey! It is dangerous up there! Get down immediately," someone shouted from below. I did not realize they were talking to me at first. I was getting down anyways and when I touched the floor, a woman slightly taller than me bombarded me.

"Don't you realize that's dangerous, stupid girl! What were you doing up there anyway?"

"Fixing the roof," I muttered not liking this woman at all. She looked taken aback and she resumed her original demeanor.

"Well don't go back up there without informing someone first."

I rolled my eyes and walked back into Ronan's home. He was not home, must be on another delivery. Therefore, I made my way to the bathroom and attempted to remove the bandages myself. Some of the deeper cuts reopened from my reluctance to sit still today. I paused, briefly wondering if Ronan would be mad at me. I decided I did not actually care and continued to unwind my bandages.

I peeled back the linens and saw the tattoo again.

"CDXXVI," I heard echoing through my head. "Pay attention, girl! This might save your worthless life one day."

"My life is not worthless, yours on the other hand, let's just say, you have no purpose." I found myself trapped in another vision. The room was dark except for a man standing in front of me. I stared down at his feet, refused to look at him.

"Look at me!" I did not. "Look at me!"

"No!" Someone suddenly grabbed my shoulders and shook me roughly to attention. I found myself staring at Ronan.

"Akiko, don't blank out like that." He startled me and I removed his arms from my shoulders.

"What do you want?" I asked with more venom in my voice than I ought to have. Ronan leaned back and held up the loose linens from my arms.

"You can't do everything by yourself, Akiko. Please let me help you." I turned my head away as he finished me off. He sighed, "Mandy told me there was a strange girl on my roof today. I can assume that the girl was you."

I smirked and retorted, "The roof was leaking. So I fixed it, haven't you noticed?" He paused and took a moment to check to see if it was still raining. When he made sure, it was he scanned the ceiling.

"So you have. " he admitted and picked me up in his arms. "Now promise me you won't do anything like that again."

"Why?" I challenged him, I did not feel like it but I could not stand him ordering me around as if he knew me.

"Akiko-"

"I asked why!" I cut him off before he protested.

"Because in the state you’re in now, you will get hurt." I glared, he still thought of me as frail. He carried me back to the cot. "I'll go make us some dinner. Tomorrow I will show you around the town. I promise."

Oh finally, I cannot hardly even wait.
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