This is the first post under the “Sunset Locker”, which basically holds all the writings considered to be “not good enough”, or if you actually want to say a little bit more diplomatic “not considered to be suitable”, for the development of the Midnight Strangers’ main plot.
I named this category as the Sunset Locker, following the god of the Strangers in the Midnight Strangers arc, The Sunset Deity.
He is the one whom everything forgotten, everything considered no longer suitable, every destroyed things, every missed opportunities and moments, finally took refuge and make their final rest. Such this few paragraphs, which will be forgotten in matter of years – or might be forgotten already by now!
So yea… even though the writing is flunked, hopefully its good enough for you guys, my incredibly small population of readers.
The boy who chose
“Our meeting will be off the record”, he said. And he accepted the condition
Sure, this is not how he used to do his interviews. He is, after all, a Pulitzer winning journalist. Yet he really does admire the doctor’s work. Sinneki The Smooth, that’s what they called him. He works for children all over the world and does not cure the incurable, but something more unpredictable. A psychotherapist, he said, especially those who work with children, never impose, but react.
Yet you have a hundred percent success rate, As if you can reconstruct collapsing souls. And I assume, this is more or less thanks to your method
The nobel winning, Pseudo-Friend Theorem. You asked the children to create an Imaginary friend. A bold and quite contradictive method, actually
Ah yes, Imagination and Delusion are actually similar. It’s just those with mental sickness tend to fail in controlling their own mind. With an Imaginary friend, something that is both fun and therapeutic, I help the children to train to control whatever happens in their mind. But about the success rate, I think really am just Lucky
Lucky? Hahahahaa.. The world sees you as someone who defy logic and science, some who frightened by your mere existence even called you the soul shaman, not a doctor. And the secret behind all of those, are Luck?
Ahahahaa… But I really don’t know. It’s just… The kids… my patients… They always responded exactly the way I want and predicted. I don’t know why
Then what of that method? Well, are you the type of doctor who took your own meds?
Ah… About that. Back then, I was not the most normal kid. But If you asked me whether I have a Childhood friend or not…. My answer would be no.
Yet the towering, fragile figure behind him seemed to say otherwise. He bent his long and thin hip, going over the doctor’s head until his inverted head faced directly the doctor’s face. Those lidless eyes seemed to thrust through the doctor’s eyes. And his sudden laughter has torn the serenity of a two man conversation
Surprisingly, there wasn’t a scream. Just a room that suddenly froze in time. And a little boy merrily came along.
He is not supposed to forget about us, Mr. Swooth!
The freakishly tall old man chuckled. If he was forever a child, then our meetings will meant nothing.
Rrrr…. But I don’t want me to be him when I’m forty! No, no no no! He’s boring.. I’d rather have we play again!
Don’t be like that, He is a great man. You will be a great man
For me, Mr. Swooth the the greatest! Nobody can fetch a heart faster than Mr. Swooth!
Well wait, you keep the promise right? You didn’t tell any of your parents about these?
The full black old man then opened his palms; Showing the boy his unusually pointy fingers. But then the boy gives no answer. He let his eyeballs rolling around, looking at everywhere but not to Mr. Swooth
You did… Not! Keep your promise?
But they don’t believe me anyway, they just grumble around with each other, saying, “what have you been reading him again?!” Just like that!!
His light steps made him looks like he was not walking, but collapsing. Yet anyone can feel that he’s about to do nothing bad. He’s just leaving while laughing. And little Sinneki felt that right away.
Mr. Swooth! Don’t goo… We haven’t play yet, and.. How about them? You promised that we all going to play together now
You didn’t keep your promise, I don’t see why I should keep mine.
AAAAAA!!!! BUT I wanaaa plaaaayy Wittheemmm!!
And suddenly, you can hear singings from every corner of the playground. You can hear ringing bells, while the old music boxes started to sing their tunes, along with sparkling colorful light works. You can see little children coming out from every corners, fixing the slides, tying the swing, going round and round in the merry go round as their friends jumping and giggling. The forgotten playground, the place we have been standing all along, has come back to life by the midnight.
Well, it is dark enough now, maybe you CAN actually play with them.
Then the boy jumped along cheerfully, then gone playing with the rest of the kids, holding their hands, dancing around, singing the song that’s a little weird, yet you can somehow sing it at the back of your mind. You. Yes, You. The one’s been reading word by word all along. You really think you can live on and get away from all of these? That this is just a story about boy and his unworldly friend no one can see? No, no, no, this is your story as much as his. This is a story about that few short hours you have now completely forgotten. About your secret friends that jumped to hide under the bed, behind the door or your curtains when you mother came to your room. Don’t you remember? No? Well, soon you will, about that place, about them. That place that your mom and dad always tell not to visit, yet still you played there, That friend your mom and dad think as something you made up from your recently read picture book, one that hid inside your backpack while smiling and putting its forefinger in front of its mouths, saying “sshhh… Don’t tell anyone I’m here”
And as you remembered, you might find yourself playing with Sinneki and Mr. Swooth, in a playground that no one remembers. Maybe after that, you’ll slowly know that you can’t really be sure whether all the children holding your hand are really existed. You felt that you and Sinneki are grabbing shadows, holding those little hands that slowly vanishing as you finished the song
Then you realized that you’ve been alone all along.
But there is also another possibility. You did choose to join them for a while. You and Sinneki, and some other (un)fortunate kids, will be brought to Mr. Swooth’s stories. Through the stories, you will surely know what did Sinneki meant by “fetching a heart faster than Mr. Swooth”. It involves greatly with his dinner and breakfast. Quite bloody rituals these meals are, especially when you find that they always left a sprawling man with hole in his belly. Yup, Mr. Swooth the heart eater, broke his prey’s stomach and turns his hand towards the chest, and then fetches a heart faster than a blink of an eye.
You know, there are eight of them! Whisper Sinneki. Mr. Swooth is just one, and I cannot wait to play with the rest seven strangers!
Then you’ll be trapped in an unreal nostalgia. Moments after moments that never happened to you, but can push you, throw pebbles at you, even make you screaming horrifically. You’d find within his stories, Porcelain armies rising mercilessly, Giant Were-Lion with leather robe and flintlocks, a bloody kid that plays with her lost marionette, and the lying elf, deceiving everyone with the story about venturing to a better world. Stood there, too, 7 children like you; One for each of them. You and these kids will one day change the future, said one of the Strangers. You can see this lazy guy loafing gently and keep glimmering into silhouettes every now and then. Despite his sluggish attitude, they said that he is their Deity, the first born, one holding the sunset promise of a place where everything lost can reside. He will speak to you – disregarding the fact that he’s just a story – about what you should understand and what you should simply accept. After that, you can find the loving twins, dancing and blending peacefully, keeping you from realizing that there are actually two of them. And lastly, you’d get to know the merry vampire. He’s way too tired of getting angry, so he’d sing to you and keep your smile, though he’d still demand one or two sip of your blood.
For the kids who were left behind, they are their fear, they are their anger, they are their anxiety. But maybe that is why they are such irreplaceable friends. They are, after all, the strangers that are always meant only for you.
Hello sir! Are you okay?
Ah, yes… What’s the question again?
You said that you didn’t have any imaginary friend, but after that you spaced out for quite some time. Are you really sure that you didn’t have one? Or… Maybe you’re trying to remember them?
Hmm… Imaginary friends, huh? Hmmm… Nah, Still no… No friends, no imagination. Oh, by the way, since this is not an interview, do you mind if I ask you a question?
Oh! Of course not!… I am rather honored, actually
How about you? You are a successful figure, don’t you have anyone behind you all this time? Someone you carry from the past?
Hmmm… That is the first time anyone ever asked me such question. But, no… I don’t think so, doctor, My childhood is quite a boring one
Then the little girl floating behind the journalist pulled a string from her right forefinger. The journalist then drank his coffee, and smiled to the doctor.
See you guys in the next unneeded words!!