To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter to tell you, whoever you are, a story because I don’t think you’d believe it if you heard it. About one year ago I moved into this valley with my roommate (I hope she’s still alive and well when this letter is found). It was quiet and kind and filled with people who were remarkably dull, though very goodhearted. At least, it was like that for a short while. But things happened. Terrible, twisted things that make absolutely no sense to me, and most likely won’t make much sense to you either.
I can’t explain everything, for there’s just too much and I don’t have much time left (I can hear them from my room, now). But some horrors are more significant than others, so I will try to make this simple.
Let me just begin by saying that under no circumstances should you trust a man who looks like a Chihuahua.
Forget-Me-Not Valley was messed up.
But you’d never know that just by looking at the surface. The faces were friendly, their lives were tame, and sometimes people would stand in the same spot for hours and hours staring at nothing in particular.
But beneath the monotony were dark secrets, terrible secrets.
Nobody knew this though—that behind every smiling face was something that person wanted to hide. These people were good at keeping secrets, leading double lives, and pretending to be all nice and put together.
That is, until Miyabi and Claire showed up. Then everything changed.
Forget-Me-Not’s twisted story begins with two childhood friends who decide to move into an old farm to make a living the hard way.
Two friends who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
“First off, we’re not actually friends. We hate each other,” Miyabi corrected.
The short, pudgy man who called himself the major apologized. “Doesn’t matter to me what you are. I just want you to promise to take good care of the land. Seriously, the valley is paying to have electricity running to the farmhouse so don’t make our taxpayer dollars go to waste.”
Claire was not a part of their conversation because she was too busy scouting the small farm and smelling the various plants for reasons unknown. But Miyabi nodded at Mayor Thomas and promised they’d both take good care of the farm.
The two stopped beside a shipping bin near the farm entrance and Thomas brought his hands behind his back. “Well, if you two are sure you want this piece of land…”
“This shithole of a farm…”
“You could have had a really nice piece of land in Mineral Town. It’s just the next town over, you know. I have main jurisdiction of Mineral Town, and it’s in top shape. The people are much cleaner over there too.”
“I think we’re sure.”
“Well it’s your loss. Foolishness can’t be helped. It’s a shame, really.”
“Get the hell off my farm.”
The Mayor slinked back, “Wait, wait! There’s one more thing… I’m also in charge of shipments every day. Put everything you want to sell into this bin and I’ll sell it for you—with a 0.2% transaction fee, of course. The guy who used to handle shipments is currently under house arrest so he’s not able to do it anymore.” Thomas sighed and shook his head, the large mustache beneath his oppressive rosy nose shaking with a life of its own. “Athletes these days. Well, that about covers it!”
So he walked off, having successfully annoyed the farm’s new resident. But before heading off, he stopped and turned to give the brunette one last piece of advice in a somewhat haunting tone of voice, “And remember, don’t forget to look after your dog ball.”
Dog ball? But Miyabi didn’t have a dog ball.
Ah, who cared?
Who was that gorgeous man? With his beach blond hair and natural, golden tan? His chiseled muscles and perfectly sculpted ass? His strong jawline and dangerous eyes? His sharp fashion sense and handsome features? Why, it was Rock!
But actually, it wasn’t. See, the diluted man saw himself differently than most others did. What the world saw when they looked at Rock was a strange fellow who had big, bright eyes and haircut his mother pulled off in about ten minutes. What Rock saw when he looked in the mirror was a hunkalicious babe.
“Would you do me?” Rock purred seductively (as best he could) as he ran a comb through his freshly gelled hair. “I’d do me.” He kissed the air.
One could say that Rock was a bit of a mess and one would be right, but if one said Rock’s room was also a mess one would be right again. Empty ice cream cartons, comic books, clothes, and bags of junk food were not scattered on the floor but protruding from odd places. A bag of chip was creeping under his pillow, a jock strap was hanging from his bed post, and a bag of suspicious looking herbs was partially sticking out from under the bed. And when poor Ruby fussed at her son to clean, of course he didn’t listen.
But messy room aside, Rock at least tried to look nice. And now that he was properly beautified with his neatly combed hair, he could go off to annoy the one person in Forget-Me-Not who still could somewhat tolerate him.
Claire regrouped with her farmmate after Thomas waddled off.
“I have assessed the plant life on the farm, and sadly it looks like most of the land is in deplorable condition. Also, there is a cow in the barn.”
“A cow. There is a random cow sitting in the barn.”
“How… long has it been there?”
“No idea. But her name is Milky.”
“Of course it’s Milky— wait, how do you know that?”
“She told me. Obviously.”
Miyabi didn’t dare ask any more questions. Instead, she and her “partner” stopped to look out over the small farmland. There were several dingy buildings, a sad little house with splinters and holes in the wood, a weedy pasture, and some small fields of gravel mixed with soil.
It was shit.
But it was their farm. And it was their duty to work a miracle and turn that dump into a thriving ranch.
“Alright,” Miyabi finally said after moments of silence. “First order of business is deciding who does what. I’m all for helping with the farmwork and the animals and all that good stuff, but you’re way more of a redneck hick than I am—”
“I resent that.”
“—so you can be in charge of business as far as that area is concerned. I’ll the PR.”
Claire raised a brow. “The PR?”
“Public relations. I’ll network, make connections with other local businesses, meet people, market our products… you get the picture.”
Claire folded her arms. “Works for me. What’s the second order of business?”
“We see what the deal is with that damn cow.”
“Milky,” Claire corrected.
“Rock.” Lumina snapped her fingers in his face. “Are you still there?”
1… 2… 3…
Rock snapped out of his daze. “And a big screen TV!”
Lumina stared at him, dumbfounded. “Pardon?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. Well, I noticed a bird was trying to eat this worm so I started thinking about worms and then I was, like, whoa! Worms live in apples, right? But apples are small. So, like, what if inside the apple, it’s like a huge house? Well, actually, it would be huge to the worms but super tiny to us. But what if the apple house has like a kitchen and bedrooms and a huge living room with a big screen TV?! Anyway, what was I talking about before worms and the apple house?”
Lumina tried her best to absorb some of Rock’s story. That was the thing with him; he’d start off with a simple concept then get too excited by his own story that he’d start talking faster and making less sense and by the end, Lumina had no idea what he was getting at. Was he getting at anything at all?
She cleared her throat and began stirring her tea even though it didn’t need stirring. It was a gorgeous and breezy Spring afternoon, and she was having tea with the most airheaded guy she’d ever known. Sometimes she questioned her life choices. “You were telling me about what you did this morning.”
Rock’s face lit up. “Oh, yeah! Well, after I admired myself in the mirror I came to see you. Because I know how much you want to hang out with me.” He waggled his brows at her and she rolled her eyes.
“Oh, yes. I pine for your company as soon as I get out of bed.”
“What’s that about pine trees?”
“Oh, forget it.”
So there really was a cow, but whether her name was Milky or not is still unsure. They decided to call her by that name, though, because they couldn’t think of anything better. And because Claire insisted they “respect the cow’s wishes.”
After settling in, they decided to go around the valley and introduce themselves to everyone. In theory, it sounded like a good idea.
They first encountered a devilish little girl with pigtails. She’d been sweet at first, but then she started going on about sending them ‘to the depths of Hell’ or something like that. Next they met a very strange athlete of sorts with star shaped pupils. The man’s wife and son didn’t seem to think that was weird at all, but the girls did.
Across the small bridge was a modest farm run by a large woman, a brunette, and an Elvis impersonator. It wasn’t clear if they were related to each other (and if that were the case, who was related to whom), but the girls didn’t question it. Upstream near the waterfall was a confrontational blonde—who may or may not have been a misandrist—and an old looking fellow who kept talking about his ancestors even though they had nothing at all to do with the conversation.
Heading back toward the farm, the two stopped by the Inn and were greeted by a kind lady. She mentioned that her son was wandering about town and that she’d love for the girls to meet him. Next, they met a gruff looking man and his partner (or was it his daughter? His wife?) who ran the Blue Bar. Toward the beach they discovered a hippie strumming his guitar peacefully against a tree near his yurt. He had a very overwhelming nose.
Also by the beach was a small lake and then a strange metal house but no signs of the person living in it. Then they came across what they could only guess was a tiny, elevated cottage of sorts. Smoke poured from an opening in the top, and they could faintly hear the sound of two men yelling at each other in gibberish(?). They decided to slowly walk away.
Back toward the bar, there was a menacing looking house that resembled a laboratory. Odd noises like zips and zaps from electrical currents could be heard coming from wires outside the house. They walked away from that one too.
On the way back up, they ran into an elderly couple. The woman seemed nice enough, but the man looked terribly grumpy. Every now and then, a clinking sound could be heard from within his chest, and he’d beat on his torso just once to make the sound stop. The girls were alarmed, but acted politely.
Then there was a doctor who liked to wear a lab jacket and boxers out in public. When the two first saw him, Miyabi couldn’t help but cry out, “Oh, God. What is that thing?”
Now it was the evening and quickly getting dark. All there was left to do was stop by the Villa. So they hiked up the small hill with its smooth cobblestone steps, past the grand fountain in the front courtyard, and stepped through the double door entrance.
The inside was as marvelous as the outside, with rich card carpet and glossy marble floors, but their awestruck gazing was cut short by the somber melody of a piano and lamenting:
“Oh Rock, will we ever be together? I know I have treated you poorly, but it’s only because I don’t know how to express my love. Nay— it’s because I can’t express my love! My love for you is forbidden, for I am not who you think I am…!”
Miyabi and Claire were very quiet and, quite honestly, they had no idea how to react to that. Miyabi was the brave soul to finally speak. “….Hi.”
The pianist yelped and spun around in her seat. Her eyes were wide, her mouth just slightly agape, and her face seemed a little pale. Her mouth opened slightly as if she were going to speak, but nothing came out and she quickly pursed her lips.
Miyabi continued, “We’re the new girls who moved into the farm down the road. You’re… Lumina?” The brunette didn’t hesitate for a moment as he moved from one thought to another, “Hey, that Ruby lady said her son might be here bugging you or something?”
Lumina swallowed and answered in a pressed whisper, “The bathroom.” Just then a door opened and Rock came out, going on about how soft the towels were and that were were strange little beads in the soap. Lumina didn’t move, but her eyes shifted to the blond. “Speak of the devil.”
“Whoa!” Rock stopped when he spotted the girls. “Lumina! You didn’t tell me your friends were coming over!”
By this time, Miyabi and Claire were already inching back toward the front door. “Uhh, actually… we were just about to leave.”
Claire offered Lumina and Rock an apologetic smile. “Sorry.”
“Why don’t you run along with them, Rock?” Lumina suggested. “I’d like to have a some time alone. Besides, it’s getting late.”
Rock put up a fight, but eventually Lumina convinced him to beat it. His spirits remained high, however, when he realized he could bother Miyabi and Claire on the way back to the Inn. He was well into explaining how much he and the ocean had in common when Miyabi suddenly hissed,
The blonds stopped and Claire asked, “What?”
“I think I dropped the keys back there with Miss Emo Mozart. I’ll run back and get them. Claire, stay here and keep Rock company.” Miyabi made a dash for the Villa, but not before Claire mouthed a, ‘Screw you.’
Lumina trudged up the stairs, arms hanging at her sides and head downcast. To think that two nobodies had witnessed her spilling her guts out at her beloved piano! It was downright disgraceful!
“Cheer up, Lumina,” she told herself. “A relaxing bath accompanied by Chopin will make things better. And then maybe you will watch Pride and PreJESUS CHRIST!” Lumina screamed and stumbled backward, nearly falling back down the staircase.
Sitting on the overhanging balcony railing was a young man with flawless platinum hair, a flamboyant snow leopard print overshirt, and dazzling purple slacks. He was undeniably handsome, and seemed more charismatic than dangerous or threatening.
Still, Lumina had almost pissed herself.
“I’m more of a Liberace fan myself,” he purred. Gently he stroked the diamond jewelry hanging from his neck.
“Hey! That’s… that’s my grandmother’s necklace! Just who the hell are you!”
The mysterious man stood rose to a stand, masterfully balancing on marble railing. “I am simply a thief, and a lover of beautiful things. I feel it must have been my passion for loveliness that drew me here tonight— or perhaps it was destiny?”
“Don’t think you can sweet talk your way out of this!” Lumina insisted while blushing. “Return the necklace or I will have no choice but to take it from you myself!”
The thief clicked his tongue. “Well, may I at least have the pleasure of knowing your name before I slip away with your cherished jewelry?”
“You are infuriating!”
“I like that name.”
Lumina lurched forward, swiping for the thief’s shirt so she could grab hold of him. But he, of course, had the reflexes suited to his profession. He may have, however, overstepped and lost his footing.
“Oh, bollocks!” The thief cried as he fell from the second floor balcony.
Lumina gasped and peered over the railing with a hand over her mouth. She feared that she had killed a man that night, but the thief was nowhere to be found. No crippled body, no bloody mess on the floor below.
“Pardon me!” His voice sang from the front door. “That was terribly embarrassing.” He paused a moment, then he sighed. “I really do hate to see lovely people so upset… The necklace is yours.”
“It has always been mine!” Lumina nearly sputtered. “Now, I haven’t a clue how you survived that fall but right now I demand that you return the necklace to me this instant!”
“You’re wearing it.”
“I—what?” Sure enough, the necklace that had only seconds ago been around the thief’s neck was now hanging from Lumina’s. Her mouth did that thing again where it would open with something to say, but then close right away when she realized she couldn’t get the words out.
“Compliments of Phantom Thief Skye. It looks quite lovely on you.”
And he slipped through the door.
Only to find that Miyabi was just a foot or so from the door, and she had stopped dead in her tracks the moment it opened. The had a magically moment of staring at each for several seconds.
Then Skye offered her a smile, “Evening.”
No, Miyabi told herself. Don’t look directly at his crotch. Don’t look directly at him. Dammit, you’re doing it. Well it’s not your fault if a hot piece of ass with a charming smile just greeted you under the moonlight. It’s not your fault if your body is having natural urges.
“It’s lovely out, isn’t it?”
He slipped his hands into his pockets and looked up at the moon. “Desire seems at its peak when the moon is at her fullest. Passion is a very perplexing and alluring emotion, wouldn’t you say?”
Oh no. Oh no no no. Don’t fall for his tricks. He’s a succubus. He’s going to seduce you and steal your life energy. Pull yourself together, dammit!
“Yeah. I totally would say.”
Skye smiled at her once more and she could literally feel her ovaries start to cry. “Well, I’ve made someone quite angry in there. I had best be off.”
Suddenly the entrance to the Villa busted open and a blushing and flustered Lumina cried out, “Thief! Somebody stop him!”
“Thief of what? Human life energy?!” Miyabi shouted, caught up in the moment.
Lumina narrowed her eyes. “What?”
“You— oh, nevermind. Wait, where did he go?!” Lumina scanned the courtyard frantically but the smooth criminal was nowhere to be found.
“Looks like you got played.”
With a frustrated cry, Lumina stormed back inside and Miyabi was left wondering what the hell was supposed to be doing.
Oh, right. The keys.
There was a hooded figure leaning against the streetlight with his head down and hands shoved into the pocket on his jacket.
Rock crept over to him. “Hey,” he whispered once he got close enough. “How’s the water?”
The young man shifted and looked at Rock. Caution and fear made him hesitate. “Jello.”
A wave of relief slept over Rock. “Got the money, dude?”
“Y-yeah… just barely, you know… it’s getting harder.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. I got you covered. Next time it’ll be on the house.”
“That’s really nice of you. Really…”
The young man handed Rock a bag of coins and in return, Rock gave him a bag of colorful, crushed grasses.
“Thanks, Rock… I really needed this. Things aren’t so good right now… Sometimes it’s better to get away for a few hours, you know?”
“Don’t mention it, Cliff.”