Hello, I’m Keegan, Arietta’s twin brother. The one she so kindly gave you a piece of in the beginning of her story. Now, I know the scene you ended with looks bad and I mean REALLY bad. But the only thing is, you haven’t heard the rest of the story. Arietta didn’t get in major trouble the way she thought she would. In fact, our parents were relieved more that she was back home safe and hadn’t accidentally done anything to a human that could have fatally harmed them.
Oh I know, you’re worried about what we can do to humans now, right? Everything comes with a price, or so people say, but I think that in order for us to exist we shouldn’t have to pay anymore prices. The one price we should have to pay is the one where we are being hunted. After that, we should be free to do whatever, but now, there’s more to our “restrictions” than we ever thought.
Here, let’s take you back to when Arietta returned from her little escapade. That may help explain some things.
“What were you thinking?” Our parents demanded, Arietta glanced at me; she looked as helpless as a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. However, there was nothing I could do for my dear sister who means so much to me.
“I-uh, well… I mean… I just wanted to see if humans are as bad as people say they are.”
I sighed, shaking my head and then mom spoke, “Dear, you could have just come to your father and I and asked. You don’t need to go and have little secret escapades to find out things about humans. Your father and I know all about them.”
Arietta shrugs, “I didn’t feel comfortable coming and asking you. Plus, I wanted to find out what they were like for me. Why is this so important?”
“It’s important” our mother continued, “Because we can harm humans if we aren’t careful.”
Arietta looks up, a little confused, and I must admit that this little bit of information made me want to know more as well.
“What do you mean?” Arietta asks, “How can we harm them?”
Mom sighs, she didn’t want to scare Arietta, she just wanted to give her an idea of what could have possibly happened depending on the situation, “I don’t believe you did anything, darling. The thing that harms them is kissing them and I’m almost positive you did not kiss a human.”
Arietta visibly relaxes, “Oh. Well, that’s good! I am glad you told me now.” Then she looks a little sheepish, “Is it okay if I see Joann again?”
Our parents stare at her, “You mean you actually met a human!?” our dad asks, almost yelling.
Arietta nods, “Y-yes… I met one.” She says as she shies away from our dad.
Our mom places a hand on our dad’s shoulder and says, “Let me handle this one. You look like you’re about to explode.”
Our dad softens at her touch, “Alright.”
Turning back towards Arietta, our mom smiled, “I understand that you want to go see your new friend again, I do. The whole deal is; we have to be extremely careful. We can’t go running around major cities thinking that the government won’t notice us. They might not notice us at the beginning, but eventually they will. Who’s to say that day is going to be a good day?”
Arietta looked down, disappointment was blatant in her countenance, “You mean… I can’t see her…. At all? Ever again?”
“Yes sweetheart. I’m sorry, but this friendship ends now. You’re a danger to her and she’s a danger to us.” our mom said sadly, “Honestly? I wish it didn’t have to happen this way. I wish we could interact with the regular humans of the world, I really do.”
Arietta sighed, “Okay… I guess I’ll never see Joann again, then. I’m sorry I worried you so much…”
At this point I walked over and placed my arm around Arietta’s shoulders, “Come on, sis. Let’s go ahead and find something to do that might distract you. Maybe we can play `Escapades’ like when we were younger,” my mention of our favorite childhood game brought a little bit of a smile to her face, “Come on Ari, I know you know how to smile! And I know you want to play `Escapades’!”
“Well…” Arietta smiled, “I suppose it couldn’t hurt to play one round…”
“Great!” I say, “Let’s go ahead and get out of here.”
“Alright!” Arietta says as I lead her out the front door of our house.
The minute we get outside I lead her down the street and once we’re a good distance away I step in front of her, “Excuse me, Ari. I know that you probably don’t want to talk about this, but did you understand what mom and dad said about us being harmful to humans?”
Ari shrugs, “I don’t know… I guess it could just be a way for them to stop us from seeing other kids that we don’t know, but why would they do that?”
I sigh, “Uh… I’m not really sure, but somehow I don’t think we could really do anything that bad to a human… Somehow I think they just want us to stay away from them, but I’m not sure why they would want that, either…”
As we are standing there the clouds move to cover up the sun, putting an almost gloomy look on our small town. Looking around, I wonder what the real cities look like, “Ari, what did Las Vegas look like, was it like this,” I say as I gesture all around us, “Or was it different?”
Arietta looks at me, almost a little curiously, “You didn’t actually mean we would play `Escapades’ did you? You just wanted to get out of the house so that I could tell you about the humans!”
I shrug, “Hey, when you’re right, you’re right. There’s no point in arguing. I really do want to know about the human world.”
So that’s the story of what happened after Arietta came back from Las Vegas and how I got Arietta to explain everything to me, I mean, I know I probably shouldn’t have asked, but she was willing to tell me. My parents weren’t happy with her for a very long time after that, but hey, it all ended up being alright. I mean, look at where we are now. Oh wait… You don’t know anything about that yet… Here we go.
The town of Querton has been flooded with activity since the incident with Arietta and Joann. However, not one parent actually knows about all the activity, the reason for this? We didn’t want to get Arietta in even more trouble; it’s bad enough that she has to deal with our parents being mad at her; we didn’t want everyone else’s parents to be mad at her as well.
So whenever we have free time, or our parents aren’t available, we attempt to meet up with our human friends. Oh, and the whole thing about us mutations being fatal to humans? As far as I’ve seen, it’s false. Although, I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone kiss anyone else… yet, that is.
So, from my point of view, it appears like our parents are worried about nothing. We’ve been hanging out with them in the forest every weekend for almost a year now, we have quiet little parties where we just sit and talk about things. Every once in a while, we dance and sing quietly. As far as we’ve been concerned, there has not been one incident of something bad happening to anyone of either race.
I’m thinking it was just a ruse to scare us with, but we’ll see. I mean, it appears like my sister, Arietta, has been getting a lot closer to this human guy named Aaron. As in, they seem like they are starting to get really close to the possibility of kissing, so I suppose we might find out what happens when humans and mutations, like us, kiss. Maybe our parents will be correct, but somehow I don’t think they will be.
There will be another activity tonight, we’re all actually going to a movie theater to watch a movie; it’s supposedly going to be really fun. I think we’ll just have to see about that, but it does create a perfect opportunity for Ari and Aaron. Perhaps we will find out whether the mystery is real, or whether it is actually a myth?
“Hey Keegan!” Arietta called to me when I got into the forest clearing where we meet our other friends.
“Hey Ari,” I smile, my sister looks super excited for this activity, I wonder why…
Once everyone else shows up to the clearing, Ari and I lead the way to the outer edge of the forest that comes close to Las Vegas. When we arrive there, Joann, Aaron, and some of their other friends meet up with us and we all start walking towards the movie theater.
I watch as Aaron moves to walk with Arietta and places his arm around her shoulders. Then I feel someone brush up next to me, turning I see Elyse smiling up at me, I grin back, “Hey.”
“How are you?” she asks watching me for any signs of anything being wrong.
“Oh, I’m perfectly fine.” I say as I smile and hug her, it’s always nice to see your best friend.
As we continue walking Elyse tells me about how all Aaron has been able to talk about lately is Arietta, I grin because that’s all Arietta has talked about lately, as well. Elyse is Aaron’s sister; we both think it’s a little strange about the whole Arietta and Aaron thing, but we aren’t going to bug them about it.
As we arrive at the theater I can see that Aaron and Arietta are now holding hands and I start to get a little nervous, I don’t really want anything to happen to Aaron, but even more important than that, I don’t want anything to happen to him because I don’t want Arietta to get hurt. If she loses Aaron, even as a friend, I don’t think she will be happy about that.
After we’ve gotten our tickets and have found our seats, I’m sitting next to Arietta and Elyse, I lean over to Arietta, “Ari,” I whisper, “I just want to check to see if you plan on kissing Aaron tonight? I’m worried that something might actually happen… All those times we talked about it probably being fake; we never agreed to test it out on someone we know really well. I know you and I both do not want something bad to happen to one of our friends.”
Ari sighs, “I know… I mean, it’s really tempting just to kiss him, but I’m worried that something bad might happen… I don’t know if I should or shouldn’t… What would you tell me to do, Keeg?” she whispers back to me.
I glance around to see if anyone is listening and then lean closer, “Ari,” I whisper, “I really don’t think you should kiss him… I really am worried; it’s not that I don’t think y’all are great together, because you are. I’m just scared that something is going to happen to him, and that it will be bad for both him and you.”
Ari nods, “Okay,” she whispers, “I will not kiss him, but if he kisses me, I can’t control that.”
I nod, “Good. Let’s hope he doesn’t try. I mean, I want to know and I don’t…”
Ari smiles and then turns around to talk to Aaron; I just sit there until Elyse comes back and sits down next to me, “Hey,” I say as she sits down.
“Hey,” she smiles as she offers me her box of sour patch kids, “Want some?”
I grin as I take some, “How could you guess?”
She shakes her head and smiles, “I just can, I guess.”
Just as I’m about to say something back to her, the previews end and the movie starts, as the theater goes even darker than before, I glance over at my sister and Aaron and see them snuggling closer together. I sigh, it seems like Aaron will kiss her by the end of the night. I shake my head and focus on the movie; I shouldn’t worry about this anymore. It’s only causing me stress and it’s not even my life.
After the movie, we headed over to the closest diner called “Dine-a-Dozen” and asked for a table that seats 15 people. The requirement to eat at this restaurant is that your party has at least 12 people in it. As we all sat down and made our selections of food, we started discussing the movie. Many people had complaints about how dependent on others the main character was, but I didn’t have a problem with the movie. I didn’t even bother talking about the movie. My main concern was for my sister and Aaron.
All throughout dinner, I ate my hamburger slowly. After having my first one almost a year ago, I can’t help but order a hamburger every time we come to this restaurant. Normally I would eat quickly, trying to make time for a second and sometimes a third, but this time I couldn’t even finish my first. My stomach kept turning over and over with worry.
As we came to the end of our night on the town, we started heading back over to the forest. Reaching the edge of the forest, we all said our goodbyes, hugging each other, shaking hands, patting backs, etc. Then I looked over at my sister. Arietta was with Aaron and they were a little ways away from everyone else. As I watched, Aaron pulled my sister closer and kissed her, fully, on the lips. My heart started to race, I was scared for Aaron. I didn’t know if this was going to hurt him or not.
As the couple pulled apart, I smiled, it didn’t look like either of them was hurt. Then I saw Aaron bend over, Arietta reached for him as he fell to the ground. I raced over as my sister knelt next to Aaron with her hands over her face, crying violently into them. Placing an arm around my sister I looked around the group to see if anyone else had noticed Aaron. When no one showed any signs of even knowing or seeing what had happened, I picked up Aaron and hurried into the forest, straight towards Querton.
As I broke through the boundary of trees around our town, I saw nothing. No one was in sight. I raced towards the Dasani’s hospital, as it was the only place I could logically think of to go. Arietta was close behind me this whole time. As I barged through the hospital doors, I felt Aaron start to stir, which gave me a sliver of hope. Finding Mr. Dasani was not an issue, he had just barely gone back to his office to lock up for the night. I rushed up to him holding Aaron out, helplessly.
“Mr. Dasani! Please! We need help!” I cried, almost letting the tears flow. Aaron was one of my best friends, and Arietta is my sister. Anything bad happening to either of them, would affect me terribly.
Mr. Dasani turned around and glared at the human form in my arms, “What business do you have bringing humans here?!”
Arietta and I exchanged glances and then turned toward him and said at exactly the same time, “We just wanted to know what the human world was like. We didn’t mean for any harm to come to them, but he kissed Arietta and then he collapsed. Isn’t there something you can do?!” I was nearly bawling by the end of the speech.
Mr. Dasani’s expression grew to that of surprise, “Wait a second… you actually think that we can kill humans with a simple kiss?”
Arietta and I looked at him, “Well, can’t we?” I asked.
“No, no, dear boy. Of course not!” Mr. Dasani replied while shaking his head, “All you do is shock them, but after the first kiss, there really isn’t anything to worry about. I mean, they don’t die and they don’t collapse anymore after the first kiss.”
Arietta visibly exhaled as she had been holding her breath, I grinned, “You mean he’s gonna be just fine?”
Mr. Dasani nodded, “Yes, he should be waking up anytime now. However, I suggest you keep this incident from your parents. They really don’t like humans, although I’m not sure why because we all once were humans.”
I nod, “Thanks Mr. Dasani!”
“Not a problem, Keegan. I’ll see you kids later!”
“Bye!” We both said as we left the hospital, considerably less worried.
I grinned and winked at Arietta, “Well, I supposed you can now kiss him all you want!”
She shoved me and then noticed Aaron moving, “Oh my! We need to take him back before he realizes we moved him!”
I nod and start running through the trees again, my stomach growling at me for not eating more. As we reach the edge of the trees our friends are all still completely oblivious to us except for Elyse who had seen it all. As I place Aaron back down on the ground she walks over and places a hand on my shoulder.
“So, what’s the deal with my brother? Is he gonna be alright?”
I nod and hug her, “He’s gonna be just fine! He just fainted.”
“So… that’s all that happens when you kiss someone?” She asks smiling slightly.
I nod, “Yep, that’s what it seems like.”
“So…” Elyse says as she places a hand on my chest, “What would happen if I kissed you?”
I smile, “It would be like nothing you’ve experienced before. Are you sure you’d be able to handle it?”
“I’m a big girl, I sure hope I can handle a brute like you.” And with that she wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me full on. I just held her in my arms for the next 5 minutes as she stirred quietly.
Aaron had woken by then and was cradling Arietta in his arms. She had obviously told him how worried she had been. They continued watching Elyse as she slowly but surely woke up.
Elyse’s eyelids flickered open, “Oh. My. Gosh.”
“What?” I asked as I searched for any sign of anything wrong.
Elyse sat up and turned towards me, “Could you do that again?” She whispered urgently as she grabbed the front of my shirt and pulled me closer.
I grinned and didn’t say anything as I leaned in and kissed her again. As we pulled apart Elyse was grinning, “Every time I feel that shock—the shock of someone like you kissing someone like me. It’s beautiful.”
Then Arietta and Aaron walked over to us and smiled. Arietta said, “Thank you so much Keeg! I honestly was so scared when Aaron collapsed.”
I grinned, “Ari, you know I would do anything for you. I can’t bear to see you unhappy.”
She smiled and gave me a hug just as Aaron gave Elyse a hug. By that time all of our other friends, human and non-human alike, had made their way over to join us.
“So what are you guys doing over here?” Joann asked as she stared at how close we were all standing.
I looked around and noticed that no one else was going to say anything so I did, “Well, we found out that we don’t cause any damage when kissing humans. Right, Ari?”
Joann’s expression changed to one of confusion, “What do you mean? You thought you could hurt us through physical contact?”
Arietta nodded, “Yeah. Our parents had told us that we would cause some serious issues with humans if we kissed them or anything… Then Aaron kissed me and when he collapsed I freaked out, but it turns out that the worst thing we do to you is cause you to faint and it’s a onetime thing. Then we can kiss you all we want.”
So there you have it, our parents were wrong, but they didn’t know it and we weren’t going to tell them that we had gone against their wishes so we stayed silent. Arietta and I continued to meet up with our other friends and had recruited many more friends to the point that everyone wanted to protect us no matter what. We had become a part of their society.
Fare thee well!