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Published at 26th of March 2020 10:25:06 AM

Chapter 94: 94


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Good news I can talk again!

Perhaps the effects of drugged candy finally wore off after enough time and rest, perhaps it was the medicinal powers of pickled garlic . Either way, I am back to full speaking capacity . Except for some minor aches and weakness in my tiny toddler legs, I am almost back to full health .

Which means it's interrogation time .

"Why do you have drugged candy in the first place!!!?!"

"What's a drugged candy and is it yummy?!!!"

"No! I mean they were alright but that's not the point Lukas . Now you! Talk!"

For this to be a classic intimidating interrogation we would need something closer to a jail cell and maybe some handcuffs . The best we can do is close the curtains and dim the lighting in the sickbay . The middle of the room has been cleared as best as we could manage .

No comforts . Just a short study table and an uncomfortable chair .

The scrawny little criminal is tied up nice and tight . His slim wrists bound and knotted in some of my mother's scary scary ribbons . It was the best I can do ok? Since color has returned to Amar over the course of these last few days, a sign of good health, he looks more like a wrapped up candy in those light shiny ribbons than a criminal held in handcuffs .

No matter, another intimidation tactic is the imbalance of power .

While he's still in the sickbay prison uniform of a fluffy chemise, Lukas and I have gotten our hands-on our regular clothes again . Though in Lukas case, it's looking a lot nicer than usual? Mother's influence? Gable's? Well, there is less roughhousing in here versus anywhere else he might lose his socks at again . Either way, we're fully dressed and protected, ready for a runner, if he dares .

"Talk!"

I slam at the table, the very perfect picture of a bad cop . If bad cop was a cute and tiny toddler . The criminal shakes, but otherwise looks clueless, tilting his head to the side .

"Um . . . . sorry?"

"No! We don't need your useless sorry, there's so much more you can give me than sorry! Where do you get curry? Why do you eat poison? How long has this been going on? What is it with the blood! Why are you still even stuck with the blood crazy Darius and Damia? Why didn't you get out of that? Are you brain damaged?! How much abuse actually goes on, no lying!"

"Um . . . okay?"

"Hey no fair! I wanna jump on and yell at Amar too . Get off, my turn!"

"Wait no Lukas no you're too heavy . You'll break him, Amar weighs like 3 chicken wait no- ACK OW Why are you jumping on me?!!!"

"You didn't move fast enough!!!"

"Lukas ow no Lukkkaaas!!!"

"You two are funny . "

This . . . . is not a very good interrogation unit . The chair has maybe fallen over, sending Lukas and I crashing to the floor like spilled mochis . Amar, being the tied up criminal that he is, has been left dangling like a martyr, that or an easily amused child . He giggles as he swings back on forth from the ribbons, tiny toes not quite touching the floor .


"You're right Rosa, it's more fun to jump on you! You're squishier . Thanks for catching me!"

"Get off me you troll!!!"

Somehow I get the feeling if anyone walked in right now it wouldn't look good . It honestly never does when it involved these two troublemakers . Also, I may be getting stronger but I'm not quite 'push Lukas off' strong . Let's make that the goal . Amar, being much lighter, can be the intermediate shorter-term goal .

Alright, classic interrogation set up failed . Let's get to a safer more child-friendly spot .

After getting Lukas off of me, and Amar untied enough to get him on the ground we relocate . There's not a lot of options in the sickbay . The balcony is too cold, everything else is too bare and empty, so the bed it is . Seems we're spending a lot of time in bed . This is the sad life of sick children .

"Now talk!" I intimidate again, bouncing lightly due to soft bed .

"Yeah talk!" repeats Lukas, bouncing even more .

For safety reasons, Amar's little wrists are still ribboned up and rewrapped in a big fat bow . This is not horrifyingly cute . He does not look like a kindergarten sized bonbon, noooooo, not at all . . . . . No one let my mother see this, it's too dangerous .

Anything considered cute is in danger around her . How is Lilyanne still in one piece?

"About what? Rosalia asked a lot earlier?" blinks the candy criminal, being a good sport about being tied up like a present box .

"Poison then! What's the deal with you and poison . " I decide .


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Gotta keep it simple for kids to understand . There's a lot to unpack here, one thing at a time .

"Yeah the poison things . You said it was for training but it really hurt! Do you gotta eat it all the time? Are you always sick like this or worse!?" Lukas follows up interrogates .

Out of fairness and safety, none of us can get too into the role of good cop or bad cop . No jumping, bouncing on or beating up the interrogatee . The best we can do is flank him with pillows . Soft fluffy hittable pillows .

"Oh that?" starts Amar, " Yeah but I'm used to it- . "

*smack*

No fear, it was just a warming smack with a said fluffy pillow . I am using it for every time the topic veers off or someone lies!

"Not what we asked, but continue~and remember . . . . no lying . "

"Yeah no tricking! Rosalia, you watch for tricking! "

" . . . . . sure . "

With Lukas, it's easier just to agree and move on . When did I get so used to this one? Meh .

"Um, okay . . . um the poison, it isn't so bad?"

Hmm, assuming that is true, I suppose that's a good thing . Because a few simple bites of that curry was enough to practically kill me in less than the time it takes to finish a plate . Not a fun time for anyone .

It makes me uncomfortable to think about, brings back the pangs of gut wrenching pain, when I think how anyone could live with it any more than once .

"How long? How often do you have to eat poison? How long have you been eaten by this?" my own voice still sounds strange to me, a bit too childishly unknown .

Eat or be eaten . Children understand this world in odd concepts and it seems that since I've become one myself, my world view has become something similar . Things we like we eat, we put in our mouths and make a part of ourselves . It's in how a child copies their parents, a learned behavior or a trait .

Tell me then, little boy . Where did you learn to lie?

"How long?" he repeats, looking up from his seat, as if the answer was maybe written in the air before deciding .

"Always, maybe?" he picks .

" . . . Is that really your answer? Maybe always . "

"Maybe . I don't remember . But yeah, maybe always .

"Even before you came here? Even before hoody or Damia or us?"

Maybe, it's not the troops that's the source of the problem . Not with Amar . It's a part of it, a system that allowed this situation to even happen but . . . . He's a terribly odd child? I don't think it started with the troops . How long has he been here anyways? Two years? Around that time if not more but the source of it seems to stem deeper, further . Maybe always doesn't sound much like a maybe, but it sounds better than the alternative . Always .

"Before me?" Lukas squeaks behind a pillow .

Lukas shakes in his spot but remains as silent as he can, an overgrown puppy playing mouse . Somehow the pillows that we were using as weapons have turned into things of comfort, things we clutch onto . Even I'm hugging onto one tightly .

From his little hands tied in ribbon, Amar counts with flicks of pink little fingers . One two three, then fours and fives, mouthing numbers bigger than the ones on his hands out silently . I don't think he's counting years .

"Yeah . Before everyone . I've been eating poisonous stuff for longer than I can remember . It's just something I can do, so I had to do it . " Amar settles on .

"Why you?!" I can't help myself, asking before I can even process the words .

Maybe I should take a lesson from Lukas and stuff the pillow to my own face . Bad impulsive mouth . It looks like Amar doesn't mind but I should know better, I'm not some ignorant out of control child . I've said insensitive things before and it's just so easy to forget or brush it off, especially with a kid that just doesn't fight back .

"Hmmm why me? Because um, because I can?"

"What do you mean you can?"

"Um, because I can take it? Or eat it? The poisons and stuff . If something bites me, my body will get used to the venom and after some time I won't be affected anymore . It's just something I can do . If I let it hurt now, if I can pass, then I'll be better and stronger later? It's like the training you do . . . but for me? So that's why, the blood thing is weird but mine can be made into medicine? Like what you drank? Sorry for making you drink that . Sorry for all that . "

"I don't like it! Stop saying sorry because I don't like that either! No more Amar medicine for anyone!" shouts out Lukas, his volume greatly reduced by the pillow in his arms and mouth .

" . . . Does it hurt?" I get why we're squeaking now .

"Um, it hurt but it doesn't hurt me a lot? Not like it hurts you or anybody else . So not that much? It's fine-"


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*smack*

"Not fine, it is not 'fine' and every time you say that from now on we have full permission to stop you! Got it?"

I am trying very hard not to abuse the child or teach him abuse is ok but this pillow sure has a mind of its own . No no no, gotta try harder, let's be a good girl and hold onto the violent smacking pillow nice and tight . It's just that word . . . it sounds wrong when someone else says it . It's all wrong .

"I'm sorry . I won't hit you or anything anymore, that was wrong of me . No one is supposed to hit anyone, you're not supposed to be hit or made to bleed or any of that . Not by Damia or that Giloh guy from before, no one . It's not fine . Getting hurt by anyone is never fine . "

I bury my nails into soft cushiony cloth, doing my best not to look away .

This is important even if it's uncomfortable . It's a lesson ok! It's a lesson about confrontation and rights and I don't know, I'm no psychologist . Hell, I probably need one myself but there are actually messed up kids in the room here . Sure a child therapist would be useful but, when you're a kid in a bad place you don't think about that . You don't think about getting better, you . . . . you just try to survive .

You make it fine so you survive, another night, another day . Even if it's not .

"It's fine . " comes a childishly irritating voice . What did I just say?! Ah this brat is being so stubborn! I don't know who is worse, Lukas or Amar! Right now Amar is winning .

"You! I just said stop that! If it's fine then it's fine but none of this is fine!"

"I get it . . . I'll . . . . be more careful from now on . . . but it's fine if you hit me? If it's you it doesn't hurt at all Rosalia . Not even a little bit, even without pillows . You're too weak . "

. . . . Someone stop me from smacking this child into oblivion . Lukas?

"And Lukas is too slow? Sparring is fine right?"

"Hey!!! I am not! Here look!"

Ah I see, very effective Lukas . Stop me from attacking by jumping in first yourself . Oh the horrors that are pillows . Hey wait a minute?! Amar is distracting us again!

"Stop that . "

"I am not too slow!!!" *smack smack smack*

"You're hitting the bed and not me?" in between rolls Amar sticks his little tongue out, riling up Lukas even further .

It's like a bad cartoon . I can see it all before it even happens as Amar tricks Lukas into lunging with a pillow towards the edge of the bed . Then quickly rolling away for Lukas to fall the . . . almost three feet to the ground . At least he has a pillow to cushion?

*smack*

"You, down and behave . Lukas, get back up here, Amar tricked us again . "

"Aye aye!" hopped up the taller boy, looking a bit better after a bit of tussling activity .

I see this is a hit first, not talk sort of boy . I am not surprised at all . You know what? I'll take my predictability as they are . Thank you Lukas for not making me think too hard about you and the inner plots of your mind . I am glad that it is filled with bacon and pillow fights and not absolute lies .

"You . Did that hurt?" I point again, brandishing the fluffy weapon .

"Um no? You hit me with a pillow so no?"

*smack*

"How about now?"

" . . . I'm confused again but no?" blinks the child, a little extra fluffy from the rolling, still tied up in ribbons and bows even though he could have easily loosened them off by now .

"Good . Because it's not supposed to hurt . I'm not trying to hurt you . No one is supposed to hurt you . It's nothing like sparing or training . That other hurt is bad, it's abuse . It hurts you for no reason . You get stronger because of yourself or stuff you do and work towards, not because of the hurt! Do you get that Amar? Actually get that?"

Sleepy green puppy eyes gaze at me blankly, it's like the lights are on but no one's home . The first sign of life, of any response, comes in a snort . If I didn't already know how brain damage this kid is I would be frustrated and indigent .

"Ah I get it, sorry sorry . Don't cry?"

"I'm not crying?!!!"

"Rosalia don't cry?!" he sounds increasingly panicked . Which makes me mad because I now need to defend myself from a false accusation .

"I said I'm not!!!!"

"I'm sorry?! Stop crying? Please?"
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"I'm not crying at all!!?! These are angry tears at how dumb and hurt you are!"

"Sorry sorry I won't let them hurt me anymore? Please stop crying?!" Amar starts hiccuping, holding up the ribbons to his nose .

"WHY ARE WE YELLING AND CRYING?!!!!" cries Lukas, for some odd reason he's crying too?! For what! You didn't fall that hard?! Why are you crying so heavily?!!

Hell why am I crying? Shit these kids got me crying for real . This is why I can't be a child psychologist!

This is oddly reminiscent of any time I happen to forcibly be vulnerable with a certain crazy grampa in a reincarnator meeting . It is for safety then, that all talks of feelings should be henceforth banned . Ah but that's a really really bad idea for abused kids . Repression is bad, very bad . It sucks, but I have to be the actual adult here . There's no one else as mature as me to smack some lessons into these brats?

"You shouldn't have let them in the first place if you can! You should have found and told someone who could help . Why do you just take it all the time?!" calming down now, not crying and shouting .

I am in the process of calming down and talking sensibly . It's . . . . just taking my toddler sensitive body some time to catch up?

"Sorry?! It's just easier?" tries a sniffing boy, his volume increasing naturally in the mood of the room .

"Easier?! Getting hurt and not doing anything is easier? For how long? Until it starts again? It's a cycle it doesn't end, that's what abuse is!"

Calm! I am not screaming . that's just Lukas back there! Kids sound alike . Crying kids really sound alike .

"Sometimes you're lucky and it's a few days, sometimes you're really lucky and it's longer . Sometimes you don't even get one night's of rest and it hurts all over again so you let them hurt you until they leave you alone? You can't do anything to stop it and you think no one or nothing can stop so it's just easier to get it over with?! Let me tell you it's never over with because there was no point for it to start in the first place!"

I give up, drop to my knees give up . There's a voice I don't recognize coming out of my mouth . Words I don't know where they're coming from . It's a mess, one big mess . I messed up again .

"There was no point for anyone to hit or harm you . They just want to use you for something and they're mad you can't! They get mad and they can't deal with that do they hurt and it's not fair! It's not right! You can't win against them and if you don't get out it never ends . It just keeps hurting and you keep hurting, even when your body gets used to it . It still hurts a lot but you get so used to it and then in hurts somewhere you can't feel and can't heal . One day when you're far away it will hurt but you can't see it . It will still hurt and then you hurt someone else because of that! It cycles and grows bigger than you ever thought it could . It doesn't get easier, so don't say that . Don't say you're fine!"

*smack*

It wasn't me . I scream into the offending pillow, more out of instinct than anything . There's is an oversized pillow suffocating me after its sudden attack .

"Sorry . Did it hurt? Sorry, you can cry lots? I won't tell you not to cry anymore . You can cry, yell and hit me . Sorry . It must have hurt . "

There's a pillow in my face and the wrong kid is being comforted again . Ah what a mess this all is, interrogation failed . No one is the good cop, we all suck . The wrong kid has gotten the upper hand over us, over me, it's a role reversal .

I don't get it? I don't get why all those nonsensical ramblings spilled, nor where they came from . They have nothing to do with Rosalia or this lifetime . This sort of oversimplified pain with no place to go .

I see .

I must have carried it over .

When I died and came over to be Rosalia, I carried it all over with me . A soul, a person, was never buried properly . So as I carried all of me over, I also carried my baggage . Every single grudge and wound . How troublesome . It was a tough weight for a full grown adult woman to bear, let alone a child as small as me . How awful, I was better off not remembering .

Give me back my boring peaceful life . I was better off not remembering anyone or anything at all .

The pain is obvious, but where does this rage come from? Myself? The girl who this body originally belongs too? A girl that doesn't exist anymore? It's amazing how much anger and fury such a small body can hold, can create .

It's hard to breathe with the pillow and my constant exhaling of oxygen . But I can't move it, there's something holding it to my face and tied all around the back of my too hot head . I can neither move forwards or back like this . I can just cry and be rocked like the shameful child I've always been .

Even through the madness, the fury, I'm left feeling this hollow . The empty sense of sadness .

It hurts in a way no magic or even therapy can cure . Even worse, instead of mending, instead of closing up, it feels like the sadness has grown . It feels like I'm somehow missing even more of a part of myself than I thought possible .

But what? How?

"Mengmeng? Are you crying?"

No

"Ack! You are! Aish, Meng! Talk to me, please?"

It's too loud, my own blood is too loud . It's rushing hotly through my ears, making me hear things .

"Was it work? Is someone bothering you? No? Your brother? Is Hengfei sick again? You . . . did your old man call you again? Do I need to chase someone away? I'll do it! Meng? Are you laughing?"

I'm really going mad . It's the oxygen deprivation, it makes me feel like laughing . Hearing this dumb voice again . It almost feels like he's here, suffocating me with another too warm too gentle hug . I can't see his face but I know his voice .

The soothing voice I'm most comfortable with, the one I like the most .

It doesn't need to be a therapist or anything smart . It doesn't even have to make sense . Just keep talking about nothing . Nothing ever made sense so, it's enough if you're just there . That's all .

"Okay then, I won't make you talk yet, not if you're not ready . It's okay, you can cry . I'll hold you, I'll be here even after you're done . "

I don't want to cry . . . but can I stay . . . can I stay here?

"Will you stay?"

I don't know . I don't think I can anymore .

"Hmmm, denied . You're too troublesome to go anywhere else, definitely not to anyone else . I won't allow it you know?"

That's stupid . You can't stop that .

"Hey? Mengy? . . . I . . . I know I can't fix it . I can't fix what happened and I can't stop it from hurting . "

Don't be silly . You can't stop that nor do I expect you to . No one can do that for anyone .

"I can't magically fix it, you can't fix mine . More than that though, I want to be here when it hurts, when life hits . I don't get all of it and I can't fix nor stop it, but I want to be here . No where else but here . "

Where is here?

"Here . "

A squeeze . I can't breathe and it finally feels . . . right . His hugs are always too gentle, I don't mind if it's tighter . Ok then . If it's here if it's this person . . . . I won't mind .

"Stay?"

Ok .

"Please stay?"

Okay .

"I'm begging you Meng, please stay . Stay . I lo-"

I gasp for breathing, oxygen and fresh air finally making it to my lungs . I can relish in the delirious relief of it for maybe two seconds before a block of ice smashes into my face .

Ow ow ow, rude and owwww cold!

"Is she okay now?!!!"

"I think she's breathing?!"

"I can't believe you almost killed Rosalia . . . . cool!"

"Me?! She cried so hard she passed out?!"

"Yeah but you held- oh hi Rosalia!!! You're awake again!!! Great because we cried lots and got scared and cried some more and-"

*smack**smack*

Two snot-nosed brats meet the other end of the pillow . There is no cuteness cute enough to forgive this . Not even when the primary schoolers are wet and teary-eyed like this . If it was my mother maybe but they can't trick me .

Cool? Nearly suffocating me to death is cool? I was trying to have a heart to heart moment with you emotionally deficient brats and you think that was cool?! Oh this isn't over . Not for either of you murderous little monsters .

For some very odd reason, I'm not feeling as bad, or even all that sad . The wonders of crying I suppose? I am however very very irritated for many reasons I don't have the patience to examine nor list out . Very irritated .

This interrogation is not over at all .

I'm sick and tired of this game show and I will get the answers I need from this mess . Good cop? No more good cop, it's just me now . All me, classical Rosalia Therese Ventrella with all the floggings and villainess fun .

Don't want to talk? I'll make you talk . I'll do it, don't doubt me .

Now stop crying?! Why are these kids still crying and clinging to me?

Also someone get me a tissue or a hanky, my nose feels awful . Ow ow ow not an ice cube, a tissue!

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