The excited buzz of the new semester has finally started to slow down. People beginning to slip into their new routines start vanishing from the public eye more and more, sequestering themselves in a barricade of school work, conversation, and petty childlike drama. Link is no exception. Hiding out in the 4th floor of the library he is able to find a certain amount of peace within the musty stacks of books that no one reads. The campus can be heard below like the muffled cries of someone from underneath the smothering embrace of the pillow, it is a peaceful place. A place where he can hopefully avoid Sara, and a place where the hippy girl has no need to come. He isn’t sure what she does in school, he suspects its art or some sort of science or, it doesn’t matter really.
He doesn’t look around has he stalks from class to the library back to class, and then eventually to home. It is better to just not to acknowlage the world at large. He doesn’t scuttle so much as he strides angrly from place to place. It has been weeks. No sign of Sara, still alive, caught up on school work. So far? There really isn’t to much to complain about. Then he sees him. Sitting at a table, dressed in old faded jeans and an anonymously colored t-shirt with a pocket on the left breast there he is. Alone, sitting at a table in front of the library quietly talking to himself. Alex.
There’s no need to run, he doesn’t seem him. He must know he is here though, Alex knows just about everything though he tends to not want to admit it. He definatly knows that he shouldn’t be here. Slamming his bag down on the table Alex barely has time to change his expression to surprised before Link grabs him by the shirt hauling him to his feet, “What the fuck are you doing here you asshole?”
Sputtering, not able to respond as a result of being slightly choked, Alex flails his arms a bit weakly before falling limp. Then his mannerisms change, he stops flailing, locks eyes with Link and simply says, “Down.” His voice carries with it a command that would have kings dropping their crowns, angels setting down their halos, women throwing their children from cliffs. A voice that can shake the world to its very foundations. Normally Link throws people, or at the very least he drops them. Instead he finds himself setting Alex down gentaly and looking embarrassed. Alex then looks off to the left glaring intently, following his gaze he is just in time to see the squirrle dropping the acorn and slinking off almost embarrassedly. “Now sit.” A voice that even Sara obeys. Link doesn’t stand a chance. Awkward mannerisms returning Alex looks over at Link, annoyed, “Seriously dude what the fuck. Here I am just sitting around minding my own business and all the sudden you get all ‘I owe you money’ at me”
Looking more than a little embarrassed, “Sorry I just reacted”
“That’s it you just reacted? Boy I sure am glad I stuck my neck out for you all those times. You asshole, streached my shirt out and everything. So no seriously what is your problem”, Link unsure of how to answer hesitates for a bit. Does he mention the hippy? Sara? Then taking to long to reply Alex continues, “And aren’t you supposed to be dead? Isn’t that the whole point of you coming up here in the first place? I should of known you wouldn’t you always were a pussy. Still it’s a bit like seeing a ghost. Also what‘s the deal with the squirrle?”
Link seeing that Alex is stopping to take a drink springs on this opportunity to anweser, “Sorry Alex, once I got up here I thought I would actually give living a try. You know being away from my parents, and from Sara it seemed like maybe I could actually make something of myself up here”. Alex is staring at him still drinking, so Link continues, “I just want to be left alone, but Sara’s up here too and I haven’t really been able to relax. So I just sort of sprung at you”
At last Alex sets down the cup, “Linky Linky Link. Let me guess. You wanted to live. To be happy and free just like everyone else. So you came up here, and yet despite your parents not talking to you and your archnemisis girlfriend being hundreds of miles away you still found trouble to get into. I imagine someone got hurt because that is what happens around you and now you are back to your gun every morning because big bad Sara is in town.”
“Did the bird tell…”
Nearly exasperated, Alex shakes his head, “Link christ damnit, I don’t need the little yellow bird to tell me things about you. You have an inevitable black cloud of fatalsim that walks around besides you. You always have and you always will. It is a part of you the same way the bird and such are a part of me. Don’t go looking into it to hard you will just end up making yourself crazy. You’ve probably been beating yourself up over how Sara managed to find you. Its easy you think in direct terms. So you picked the furthest away you can go while still being in state. She didn’t even need to ask anyone. That is just how you work you bizarre little man. Me? I’m here because this school has a surprisingly good ecconomics program which is what I want to go into. With your permission of course.”
The last line drips with sarcasm so toxic it could kill an elephant. All of the sudden Link feels both out of his league and very very old, “Look Alex I’m sorry, I don’t even know what I was thinking”
Throwing his hands up, “Sorry? Sorry! Sorry for what you asshole! Sorry for getting a demon stuck in my head? Oh yeah that was hilarious, sorry for the shit that happened to me as a direct result? Or maybe you are sorry for ruining my relationship with Vanessa? I mean you’ve never apologized for any of that shit. But now, now that you’ve come out of no where and attacked me, now you are sorry? Seriously Link? What the fuck is the matter with you. You are 18 god damned years old. Here you are still running around smashing things like you are still in high school. We I’ve managed to grow up, no thanks to you and your collective band of super freaks and assholes, and I would appreciate if you left me out of all of it this time”.
Putting his head to his hand Link found himself unable to meet Alex’s eyes. He’s right of course, about all of it. He has fucked that boy up down left right and sideways. Of all the people to get hurt by the high school Link Sara shadow wars Alex is by far the most intensive of the casualties. Parts of him have litterally died, and the first thing Link does is attack him, “Jesus, Alex, I, I don’t really know what to say. I fucked up, a lot, I know this. Of all of us you got hurt almost the most. You are a great person Alex and I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve done for me. You’re right though. So I’m going to go head off now and maybe someday down the line we can become friends again”
Alex stares stonily at Link. As he turns to walk away Alex suddenly calls out, “Your bird won’t fly”
Tensing up Link turns, “Excuse me”
Shrugging, “I was told to tell you that your bird won’t fly”
Coming back over to Alex Link asks, “Why what happened? It is alright? What is going on!”
“Seriously, Link calm down get on some medication for that shit or something. You make me look stable and that’s not saying much. Anyway the little yellow bird says that your bird is better, it just won’t fly. Look I can see you are about to say something else, you know how this works. I don’t know what it means, you are supposed to, and before you ask no the little yellow bird doesn’t want to talk to you. Besides the last time he was out I woke up to myself eating bugs. Not cool. Now as beautiful and as touching as all of this has been I have work to finish carry on with your business please”
“But, Alex, I haven’t been going out there because I don’t want her to become like you, could you please see if the little yellow bird can help me”
Alex rolls his eyes back for a moment, “It says no. There is something in the woods. Something old. But you should know that already. You aren’t completely stupid. It doesn’t want to go any further out there than it has to. Not with out support. So sorry you are on your own. ON YOUR OWN do you understand?” Link nods, “Excelent, now for the second and final time be on your way”.
The words carried with them a command that is near impossible to ignore and as Link found himself propelled away from Alex, he similarly finds himself being drawn inexplicably twords the tree line. He’d made a promise to himself that he would leave the hippy girl alone. He didn’t want her to become like Alex and the only way to make sure that doesn’t happen is by staying well away from her. Still though, there has to bee some reason the little yellow bird felt the need to compel him out there. It doesn’t usually talk to anyone directly or indirectly and the fact that it has been scanning around the woods means something.
“There’s something in the woods” Link says to himself as he strides across campus. Recently he’d taken out a map of the local area to see where exactly those woods covered. It isn’t so much that the thing will be in any one simple physical location but the places where the forest is both deepest and oldest should mean something. Still it’s strange with all the time he and hippy have spent in the woods the only thing that happened to them really is that bar. There is something strange about that place, and he made a mental note to himself to track down the lady in white. He didn’t really expect to get any answers out of her, but he at least expected to figure out a way to gain entry into the bar again.
Everything inside Link told him to leave all of that alone. Despite the fact that he’s been around the block one or two times in life means nothing in comparison to everything that is out there. Alex is right. He shouldn’t be doing this. He should be studying for a test that is coming up, trying to make new friends, putting the past behind him, and all those other things that people use leaving home as an excuse to do. Still there is one thing he needs to do, one thing he needs before he can put this mess to bed and continue on with his life.
He sets out through the woods breaking off the trail and following the winding footpath that leads to the hidden garden that he and the hippy girl had helped to build. He heard her before he saw her, so he broke away from the path and stalked slowly through the underbrush twords her clearning. Her and her lady friend were over to one side talking, and slowly Link managed to creep around to the opposite side where the bird they saved rests. It is in its little makeshift nest singing away happily without a care in the world apparently. After a bit it gets out and hops around the clearing stopping occationally to peck at the ground and eat something before heading back to its nest. Strange. Still Link got what he needed, the bird and the hippy girl are both okay, and quietly as one already dead, Link slinks away back into the shadows.