The darkness that enveloped everything around them would have blinded them, as is usually the case with humans. However, these were creatures of the dark. They were exceptionally skilled at seeing in the dark. They came out at nightfall, and went here and there, doing the things they do in the night. What are these things in question? The answer is a simple one, and one you may have already guessed. Monsters. However, they aren't the scary things people always make them out to be. In fact, a lot of them are rather cute and friendly. But really, they're scared of humans. It's why they come out in the night. Humans usually go to bed at night, so the monsters can sneak around without being seen. And humans have terrible eyesight. Even in broad daylight, monsters are hard to spot. They're small, being about the size of a small cat at most. And a number of them are significantly smaller. It's why they're afraid of humans. Humans could easily capture and kill them. If they knew they were there. Humans are also afraid of them. They're afraid of anything different. Anything they aren't used to.
I am also a creature of the night, or so I call myself. I'm not really a monster. But I stay up, way into the night, and, with my lights off, watch them run around in the darkness. I don't dare approach them. I'd hate to scare them away. Though it would be nice, if, just once, I could speak with them. They're also rather intelligent, so they can speak back. Most of them. When I'm not watching them, I mostly read. Sometimes about them, or things similar to them, at least. Our "mom" thinks I'm too immersed in my "fantasy" world. That I should go out and make some friends. But I don't really like being around other people. And they don't like being around me. The world of the night is where I belong. Away from other humans.
It was a day like any other. Or, it was going to be. It wasn't exactly day yet. And maybe this didn't count as usual. I wasn't usually awake before sunrise. But I loved it when I was. Our little house was up on a hill, a few miles out of town. There were a few other houses out here, but they were all a good distance away. Far enough, at least, that I didn't have to talk to any of the people there. They weren't that far away, really.
You're probably wondering who I am exactly. I'm Red. I live in that house on the hill with my (sort of) mom, and older sister. My hair is bright red, and really poofy and fluffy. It stands up all on it's own, even when my mom tries to get it to behave. I tell her it's already behaved, but just not behaving how she wants it to. It's behaving how I like it to.
Anyway, I woke up a bit before sunrise. No one else was awake yet. Well, maybe my older sister was awake. I could never predict when she would be awake. She was often up late into the night, and slept through random chunks of the day. So I crept downstairs by myself. It was still kind of dark, but I had been up and down those stairs so many times, I wasn't afraid of tripping. I grabbed an apple, as those make good and quick breakfasts, and went to sit behind the house. It had a lovely view of the town below us, as well as that I could see the sunrise perfectly from here. Well, I would be able to. When the sun rose. But something about the dark and all the tiny lights was wonderful, too.
It got slowly brighter as I munched my apple. And I was content to just do nothing until after the sun had come up. But it was always a bit cold out here before sunrise. I figured I could make a quick trip inside for my jacket and still make it out before sunrise. So I got up and turned around, only to see something dart into one of the flower bushes up against the back of the house. It was probably a mouse. At least, that's what Avery would say. There were plenty of small creatures around here that it also could've been. But my older sister would theorize it was a monster. She loved to tell me stories about monsters, and I loved to hear them. They were always different. One night, it would be a story about a great, big monster that lived in a volcano, and another night, it would be a story about a tiny little monster, who wanted nothing more than to live peacefully in her little monster house. I usually fell asleep part way through the stories, but she would continue them in the morning if I remembered to ask. Avery didn't really like the stories of the monsters. She thought I should hear better stories, about princesses and castles and other things like that. Or things that were real, she said. Unlike monsters, which were definitely and in no way real. But that didn't stop me from believing in them. What proof did she have that they weren't real? Although there probably weren't a lot of monsters that lived in volcanoes. Volcanoes seem awfully unpleasant to live in.
Realizing I needed to head inside and grab my jacket before I missed the sunrise, I decided to leave the little creature be for now. I ran inside, wrestled my jacket out of the closet, and then paused. Maybe I had time to grab something else. Maybe the monster (or whatever it was) would come out if I got it something nice. So I abandoned my apple core, grabbed a banana and a dull butter knife, and went back outside. Good. I hadn't taken too long. And whatever it was was probably still in the bush. Probably. I peeked, but I didn't see anything. Of course, it was a rather bushy bush. I wouldn't even expect to see a dog if it was in there. But I sat down by the bush, and kept an eye on it while I waited for the sun to come up. But I quickly grew impatient, and decided to peel the banana and cut off a few slices. I put these slices in the bush, and waited. I could see them clearly, which was good. Maybe if I held really still.... I then just sat and watched the sunrise. I adored the sunrise. All the different colors the sun made as it poked it's way above the horizon. I felt so calm and happy, just watching the sunrise, that I almost fell back asleep. But then... something moved.
I jumped slightly, and sincerely hoped I hadn't startled it. I peered into the bush, and saw it. A little fuzzy creature. It really did look something like a mouse. But something about it wasn't quite right. I watched it as it munched on a slice of banana I had left in the bush. Maybe it thought I had fallen asleep. And I really almost did. Very carefully and quietly, I cut off another slice of banana. Maybe it would like another one. I reached with the banana, careful not to brush against any branches, and held it near the little creature. It didn't seem to notice at first. It was still munching the banana on the ground. But when it finished that, it sniffed at the air, and spotted the piece of banana in my outstretched hand. Carefully, it moved over. It seemed to be judging my hand. Eventually deciding that my hand was not dangerous or anything, it hopped on, and started munching the banana I had put there. I watched it for a few moments, before slowly moving my hand to pin it's tail. It's tail was apparently not very sensitive, because it didn't seem to notice at first. It was only when I had a good grip on it's tail that it did notice. It looked up and around, concerned. I carefully brought it out of the bush, which unfortunately only made it panic. It tried to jump from my hand, but I still had it's tail held. I began speaking softly to it. "It's okay, little one. I'm not going to hurt you." It didn't seem to believe me, as it continued to squirm, flapping its' little wings that I hadn't noticed before. I set the banana down on my lap with the knife, and carefully reached up with my other hand, giving the creature somewhere to stand. "It's okay," I repeated, but this still had no effect. It seemed to have decided, though, that squirming around everywhere was of no use, and was attempting to pull itself away from my grip by pulling on my hand I had placed beneath it. "If you stop squirming, you can have some more banana." This seemed to have triggered something in its' little head, as it stopped tugging and looked at me. "Do you want some more?" I asked the little thing. It seemed to be considering what I had said, and then nodded. I lowered it to where the rest of the banana was on my lap, and released its' tail. Despite being free, it didn't run off. Instead, it released the grip on my hand, and started munching on the banana. It was still watching me, though.
"Do you like it?" It considered, and nodded. "Good." I smiled at the little thing. It still seemed suspicious of me, and flinched when I reached down and started petting it with one finger. But it didn't run away. "What are you, anyway?" It made a little squeak noise at me. "I don't have any idea what you're trying to say," I said, disappointed. If this was a monster, it didn't know how to speak. Or couldn't speak. Or both. "Do you have a name?" It stared at me, seeming to not really know how to respond. Slowly, it shook its' head. "Do you want a name? I could probably give you a nice one. Mine is Red." It seemed to consider this again, and slowly, it nodded. "Hm. What kind of name do you need?" I said this more to myself than the little creature that was sitting on my lap with the remnants of a banana. It was watching me, still a bit uncertain. "No, not that... not that either...." I kept thinking of names, but none of them seemed very fitting. "I know! Quinn! Oh. Sorry." I had spooked Quinn with my sudden outburst. It jumped and hid behind the banana remnants. "I'm sorry, Quinn. But... do you like your name?" Quinn poked its' head and giant bat-like ears out from behind the banana, and seemed to consider the name. After a moment, Quinn nodded. I smiled, and lifted Quinn up. "Good. You shall now be Quinn, then." Quinn seemed slightly scared at first, but seemed to already be taking a liking to me. Not that I could really blame Quinn. Strangers were scary. Yet somehow, I wasn't afraid of Quinn. Probably because Quinn was very small, fluffy, and cute. I did have trouble with people, though. I didn't like being around them. My mom and older sister were an exception. They were special, because they had always been there.
"You wanna go inside with me?" I asked Quinn. Quinn seemed to consider, before shaking its' head. "I promise you'll be safe." I grabbed the banana remnants and knife with my free hand, and stood up. Quinn still seemed scared of going inside. But again, I couldn't really see anything wrong with this. Quinn probably lived outside, and had never really been inside a house before. Strange houses were scary. Probably especially so if they were giant. "Okay. You can wait here, Quinn." I set Quinn on the windowsill, which seemed to be okay. I placed the banana remnants into the bush, where they would probably be found by something else later. Or someone else. I went inside, washed the knife, and put it away. I wondered if we had anything else Quinn would like. Maybe I would have to find something later. Quinn had just eaten a lot of banana, after all. So I went back outside without anything else. I was happy to find Quinn sitting on the windowsill right where I had left Quinn. "Hey Quinn," I started, suddenly having an idea. "I could read a book to you. Do you think you would like that?" Quinn didn't seem to know what a book really was, because Quinn just had a confused look. "Don't worry. You don't have to do anything. I'll be right back again." I went inside, and scanned the bookshelf. What kind of book would a monster like? No. What kind of book would Quinn like? I didn't know if Quinn really was a monster or not. Although probably Quinn was. But it didn't really matter.
I decided to just go with a book that I knew I liked, and hoped that would be good enough. I went back outside with the book, and held it out for Quinn to see. "This is a book. See? Isn't it nice?" Quinn stared at it for several seconds before nodding. It did have a lovely cover. It made it even better. I sat down against the wall. "Come here, Quinn." Quinn jumped on to my head. It was strange, having a little Quinn on my head. But I let Quinn stay there. I opened the book, and turned to the actual starting paging. "Once upon a time...," I began. I continued to read several chapters of the story. Quinn seemed to like it, and settled down on my head to listen.
It was probably a couple of hours before we were interrupted. I heard someone walking around inside. Quinn seemed to hear them too, and tensed up. "Don't worry, Quinn. Do you want to sit on my shoulder instead?" Quinn seemed to think this a better idea, as there was soon a Quinn on my shoulder instead. I figured it was probably our mom, Avery. She wasn't really our mom, as far as I had heard. But she was close enough, and I usually just talked about her as if she was. Tessa wasn't usually so noisy. In fact, she barely made any noise at all. I reached up to stroke Quinn with one finger. "It's okay, Quinn. You can just hide. You might not like her, anyway. I like her, but she can be a little hard to get used to." Quinn seemed to relax a little at being told to just hide. Quinn probably didn't want to interact with other people. Especially not bigger people. I was still pretty small, which probably made me a lot less scary.
I was just about to get back to reading the book, but then I heard her calling my name. "I'm out here!" I called back. Quinn seemed slightly startled, but didn't move. Quinn seemed to be getting used to the sound of my voice already, too. I carefully set down the book, and reached up to grab Quinn in both my hands.
"There you are, Red. What are you doing outside?" Avery had poked her head out the window, and was staring at me with a puzzled look.
This is exactly why I had grabbed Quinn. "Reading a book," I answered simply, nodding at the book on my lap. Well, it was true, even if it wasn't all of the truth. I could feel Quinn struggling in my hands, but Avery didn't seem to notice yet.
"Well, okay, I suppose. Anyway, I need to run to town for a little bit for various reasons, okay? I'll be back later. I'm guessing you haven't forgotten how to find food or anything. Remember the rules and things, and feel free to tell Tessa if you see her. I'll see you in a little while, 'kay?"
"'Kay," I said back to her, smiling. "Don't worry. I'll be good."
"Of course you will. You usually are." With that, Avery popped her head back inside, and I heard her walking around, mumbling to herself. I heard the jingle of the keys, and then the sound of the door. Still, I held on to Quinn, who seemed to have stopped panicking. Mostly. After a minute, I could make out the sound of the car engine, and watched as Avery drove away.
I watched her for a minute before I finally released Quinn, who kind of flopped out of my hands. "Sorry, Quinn. I didn't know what else to do." Quinn looked up at me from in my lap. "I didn't want you just running off. What if I never saw you again?" Quinn seemed to understand this much, and got up. Quinn walked over and nudged the book. "Want me to read more?" I asked, and Quinn, after thinking for just a moment, nodded. I put Quinn on my shoulder before picking up the book and opening it. I flipped through, trying to find where we were at. "Oh, here we go." I held the book open for Quinn to see, and began reading again.
It was another little while before we were bothered again. I had almost gotten to the end of the book. And then I heard Tessa. She had come down from her room, probably because she got too hungry to stay up there any longer. That was what usually brought her down. Sometimes it was just to see us. Mostly me. She didn't always get along the best with Avery. Quinn didn't seem bothered by Tessa's noises. Probably because she was a lot quieter than Avery. I just continued reading the book, though.
When I reached the end of the book, I said aloud "The end." And then closed the book. Quinn seemed perfectly relaxed on my shoulder. Except then Tessa talked, making us both jump.
"Hey, Red. Why're you reading aloud?" She was standing, still inside, with her arms crossed on the windowsill, supporting her.
"O-oh, hey, Tess." I still hadn't quite recovered from the initial shock. I should be used to this by now, but I wasn't. Even though she did it all the time. "Well, I was..." I started, but then trailed off, searching around for Quinn. I had only sort of noticed Quinn scramble and fall off my shoulder, and had no idea where Quinn had gone after that. "Quinn?" I called, but got no response. I looked around, worried. Well, Quinn was probably okay. But I didn't know when, or if, Quinn would turn up again. I sighed, and looked back up at Tessa, who was staring at me with a puzzled expression now. "Well, I was reading to Quinn. But I think you scared Quinn, because I can't find Quinn anymore."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. Who's Quinn, though?" Her voice was oddly flat, like usual, which didn't make her sound very sorry. But I could tell she actually was, still.
"Quinn is what I named the little creature I found. I don't know what Quinn is. Quinn is just Quinn. We bonded over a banana." I pointed out the banana remnants in the bush.
Tessa looked over, and seemed somewhat amused by this statement. "Well, you'll have to look for Quinn later. You should come inside, and I'll make us some lunch, okay?" she said, turning her attention back to me.
"Okay." I got up and, after a last look around, went inside, where Tessa had already begun digging around in the cupboards.
"Got anything in particular in mind, Red?" I almost couldn't understand her with her head in the cupboard.
"Uh, no. I hadn't really thought much about lunch yet." It was always almost a game of seeing what we had around. Avery was usually the one who went to the store, and she always picked up an odd assortment of items. There were usually basic things, like bread and milk, but sometimes she didn't get other things for days, or even weeks in some cases. And Tess had a habit of organizing things whenever she dug around in the cupboards. She was doing it right now. I sat down at the table and watched her pulling several cans and boxes from a cupboard before stuffing them into a couple of others. I would help, but a lot of the cupboards were tall, and I was not. But she was. She was even a bit taller than Avery. I brought her out of her organization frenzy by deciding to speak again. "Any ideas, Tess?"
She sighed at the cupboards, and muttered something about them being good enough, before turning to me. "Pancakes? Sandwiches? Fruit? Hm.... Pasta-something?"
"Some kind of noodles would probably be good." I smiled up at her. Tessa was a better cook than Avery, too.
"Okay. Plain? Cheese? Tomato? Something else? I'm sure we have ingredients for those around somewhere. I already found the pasta." She said these last things more to herself than to me, and turned around to look at the cupboards before grabbing a box of noodles out of one, and setting it on the counter. She then proceeded to do the usual of getting out the pot and whatever else she needed.
"You decide. I already picked pasta." I just sat in the chair watching her. I rather enjoyed it. Still, I couldn't help but think about Quinn. Maybe Quinn was enjoying the banana I had abandoned in the bush. Probably. Quinn was probably hungry again by now, too. Even if Quinn had eaten a lot of the banana earlier.
"Fine. I'll look at what's around." Tessa finished setting up the noodles to boil, and started digging around in the cupboards again. After checking through them, she also went to look in the fridge, which was a worse mess than the cupboards. "Geez. You'd think Avery had no sense of organization," Tessa muttered to herself as she dug around in the fridge.
I continued watching as she pulled things out of the fridge and stuffed them back in other places. She also muttered something about how no one could ever find anything in there. Deciding she was too distracted, I stood up and pushed a chair over to the stove. I grabbed a spoon out of the drawer, and took care of the noodles. I was pretty good at this. Tess let me help a lot of the time, so I had had a lot of practice.
After several minutes of Tessa rearranging the fridge, she pulled out a little container with a few tomatoes in it. "Here we go." She closed the fridge, and looked over, noticing me. "Oh. Good job, Red."
"I know how you get distracted, Tess." I smiled at her as she reached over and patted my head.
"Sorry. Avery just always leaves everything in disarray." She went over and began chopping the tomatoes into little bits and throwing them in to a bowl. She also pulled out a few spices from the cupboards, which she seemed to have perfectly memorized again.
I just continued stirring the noodles. I really had no idea what Tessa was doing with those things, other than making some sort of spaghetti sauce. She always worked at it so quickly and precisely that I couldn't keep up. And she hadn't ever shown me how. Probably because I was usually just working on the noodles while she did this.
After several more minutes of this, Tess decided she was done with the spaghetti sauce, and took the pot from me to drain the noodles. She always told me I could drain the noodles when I was older. Currently, I was too short and clumsy, so it would be a lot of work. And possibly result in me getting burned. Which neither of us wanted.
With nothing left to do there, I carefully set the spoon down, and then pushed the chair back to where it belonged. While Tess finished up whatever she needed to do, I got out the plates and utensils. I was also good at that. It was pretty easy, though.
After setting down the dishes where they belonged, I got up on my chair again, and Tessa brought over the spaghetti. "There we go. Lunch," she said, setting the pot on the table.
We both scooped some of it onto our plates, and started eating. I wasn't really sure what to talk about. I was thinking a bit about Quinn again. I wondered if Quinn would like spaghetti. I just knew Quinn liked bananas. But then Tessa said something.
"Hey Red? I need to head to the library to return a couple books. And since Avery isn't here, I thought maybe you could come with me."
"What? But... I don't really like to go to the library. Can't I just stay here?" I really didn't like to leave the house, or the area around it, very much. There were too many people in most places. And I didn't really feel a need to go anywhere. I had Tessa and Avery. Why did I need anyone else? And they could get me anything I needed.
"I know. I'm sorry, Red. But I don't think it's a good idea to leave you unattended. I know you can take care of yourself and everything, but I still worry about you. I mean, what if something bad did happen? And nobody was there to help you. I know you can't interact very well with people." She had kind of a frown on her face.
"I know...." I trailed off and kind of just poked at my food.
"I really am sorry, Red. I would leave you alone if I could, or just not go at all." Tessa continued eating her food.
I did know she was actually sorry. I just didn't like the library, or any other public place. I couldn't really, no matter how hard I tried. "It's okay, Tess. It's not like it's really your fault." I decided to continue eating my food, too.
"Okay, let's talk about something else now. Wanna tell me about Quinn?" She had a happier note to her voice, and it was obvious she hoped this would be a better topic.
"Okay. Well, I went outside this morning when I got up. Because I wanted to watch the sunrise. And then I saw something dart into the bush. So I decided that maybe I could lure it out if I got it something. So I got some banana. And it did lure it out. And it was Quinn. Only I hadn't decided to call Quinn 'Quinn', yet. And then I managed to grab Quinn, and then I became friends with Quinn, and named Quinn, and then I read the story to Quinn." I did like this topic a lot more. Except for that I missed Quinn. But I could probably find Quinn later. I hoped, anyway.
"So you two had quite the adventure, I suppose," she said after I had finished telling my story. There was a hint of joking in her voice this time. "What does Quinn look like?"
"Hm... well...." I set down my fork and held out my hands to help demonstrate. "Quinn is only about this big. So Quinn is pretty small. And fluffy. Just a little. And Quinn had a long tail, and big ears. And wings. Quinn had wings. They were kind of bat-like." I decided to leave the description at that. It seemed like a good enough description. So I went back to eating my food.
"Hm. So Quinn is pretty tiny. And sounds like maybe some kind of bat thing?" Tessa seemed to be thinking about this somewhat.
"Yeah. Kind of bat-like. But I don't think Quinn is a bat. Quinn didn't really look like a normal bat." I thought about it, too. But in the end, I decided it didn't really matter. Quinn was Quinn. And that was all.
"Well, whatever Quinn is, at least you and Quinn can be friends." Tess smiled at me with this. She did usually think it was a good idea if I had a friend of some kind. But she had never been able to figure out how to get me to interact with people very well.
"Mhm. And I like Quinn. So I will have to try and find Quinn later."
"Ah, yeah. Sorry again about scaring Quinn off...." She frowned again. She really hadn't meant to scare Quinn. She just didn't know Quinn was there.
"It's okay, Tess. It's not really your fault. You didn't know Quinn was there, or would get scared. I needed to come in and eat lunch, anyway." Speaking of, I had managed to clear my plate. I got up and grabbed it, along with my fork, and took them both to the sink.
"Yeah. I hope I didn't scare Quinn too much. Anyway, when you're done washing your dishes, you should go get ready with whatever you need to do." Tessa grabbed her dishes, too, and set them by the sink. "I'll take care of those in a couple minutes," she said, obviously indicating that I didn't need to wash them. She turned around and started to do something to put away the leftover spaghetti.
I finished washing my dishes, though, and set them on the other side of the sink. And then I went upstairs to my room. I didn't really want to get ready and go to the library. Or anywhere else. But I figured there was no arguing with it anymore. I decided to just keep on my jacket. It was cold enough outside that I wouldn't get too hot in it. I also grabbed a book to put in my jacket pocket. I probably wouldn't need it, but I figured I would bring it, anyway. I also decided to grab a water bottle and stuff it in my other pocket. That was about all I really needed. The trip to the library wouldn't take all that long, and we'd probably be busy walking a lot of the time, anyway. So I went back downstairs to wait for Tessa.
She showed up a few minutes later. She had changed clothes into a plain, blue long-sleeved shirt, and a black skirt with white stars on it. She had also grabbed her bag, which presumably had her library books in it, and was a rather large bag that had its' strap over her shoulder. It was also a blue color, and had a diamond embroidered on the front. "Alright. Ready to go, Red?" she asked.
"Yeah, I think so." Except that I don't really want to, I added just to myself. I got up from my place on the couch and followed Tessa out the door. She locked it behind us, and then we were on our way to the library.
After a mostly sleepless night, I decided it was probably time to go downstairs and see what I could find (or make) to eat. Avery had just barely gone. I heard the car door. So it was just me and Red. I liked it better that way. Avery was nice enough, as far as people go, but I still didn't like interacting with her much more than I had to.
I stretched and got up. I carefully pressed the laptop closed, and went out the door, and down the stairs. I could hear Red's voice outside. She was reading a book aloud. I didn't really get why, but I went to listen, leaning on the windowsill.
I stood there listening until Red said "The end," and closed the book.
"Hey Red. Why're you reading aloud?" I asked. The suddenness of me speaking seemed to startle her, as she jumped.
"O-oh, hey, Tess," Red responded. "Well, I was..." she began, but then simply trailed off. She was... what? She was looking around for something. I had maybe seen something move. I hadn't really thought much of it, though. "Quinn?" Red called. But nothing happened. She sighed, and looked up at me. "Well, I was reading to Quinn. But I think you scared Quinn, because I can't find Quinn anymore." Red seemed really disappointed.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. Who's Quinn, though?" I really was sorry, even if I didn't know who, or what, Quinn was. But my flat tone that I always had when speaking didn't really convey very well that I was actually sorry. Red probably still knew, though. She was very used to me. I had nearly always been around, ever since Red was very little.
"Quinn is what I named the little creature I found. I don't know what Quinn is. Quinn is just Quinn. We bonded over a banana." She pointed to the banana remnants in the bush. Apparently, she had decided to leave whatever remained there. It was somewhat difficult to see, though. It was a rather amusing statement. Bonding over a banana....
"Well," I started, turning my attention back to Red, "you'll have to look for Quinn later. You should come inside, and I'll make us some lunch, okay?"
"Okay." Red got up and looked around before coming inside.
I had already started rummaging in the cupboards, seeing what was around. Avery never did do a good job of buying what we needed. The only thing she could consistently keep around were a few necessities.
"Got anything in particular in mind, Red?" I asked. My voice was slightly muffled by the fact that I was currently leaning pretty far into one of the cupboards.
"Uh, no. I hadn't really thought much about lunch yet." Red stopped there, and seemed to just be watching me organizing the cupboards. She did always enjoy that.
And I always enjoyed organizing the cupboards. Somehow, Avery always managed to leave them in a state of disarray. She just stuffed whatever she bought in wherever it happened to fit. As if organization weren't even a thing. I knew that she knew how to organize, because she did. Just not this stuff. She only seemed to ever bother organizing her room. As if that was all that mattered somehow. I couldn't begin to understand how someone like Avery could just abandon the cupboards in this state. She was always a bit of a neat freak. She almost obsessively wiped the counters, and cleaned all the other surfaces. How she didn't manage to organize the cupboards, despite that it was so simple, really was beyond me. How did she ever have any idea what foods we had? Oh wait. She probably didn't. And that's why she failed so much at managing to actually buy anything.
Red caught my attention by speaking again. "Any ideas, Tess?"
I sighed at the cupboards. I would have to fix them more another time. "I guess that's good enough for now..." I muttered. I had a pretty good idea of what was in them now, at least. And where it was. But now I had to focus on lunch. Not cupboards. "Pancakes? Sandwiches? Fruit? Hm.... Pasta-something?"
"Some kind of noodles would probably be good," Red said, smiling. She did always like for me to make noodles. Probably because I usually let her help.
"Okay. Plain? Cheese? Tomato? Something else? I'm sure we have ingredients for those around somewhere. I already found the pasta." I turned around, not really speaking to Red too much with that last bit, and pulled the box of noodles out of the cupboard. I left that on the counter, and bent down to dig the pot out of the drawer beneath the oven. It was annoying to get to, because I was taller than both Avery and Red. But it made it easier for them, even if not for me. So I let it stay there, anyway. I also grabbed a colander, and a small assortment of other items.
"You decide. I already picked pasta." Red seemed perfectly content to just watch me sift through everything some more, so that's what I did.
"Fine. I'll look at what's around." I set up the noodles to boil before looking around in the cupboards some more. Finding nothing that seemed particularly great in there, I started searching the fridge, instead. It was a horrible mess in there. Avery used the stuff out of the fridge a lot more on a regular basis. And she always just stuffed things into random places that they happened to fit in. "Geez. You'd think Avery had no sense of organization," I muttered, shuffling stuff around in the fridge. "How is anybody supposed to find anything in here?" It was almost hard to even spot the milk at first glance, and that was one of the largest things in here.
It took me several minutes to put the fridge into a workable state. And I had also found tomatoes while digging around in there. So I decided I would use those. I pulled them out of the fridge and shut it. "Here we go." I turned my attention back to the rest of the world, and spotted Red, on a chair, taking care of the noodles. "Oh. Good job, Red." It was fairly common for me to let Red take over, but she didn't usually take over while I was distracted.
"I know how you get distracted, Tess." She smiled at me, and I reached over and patted her head.
"Sorry. Avery just always leaves everything in disarray," I said, before turning my attention back to cooking. I went over, grabbed a cutting board, a bowl, and a knife, and began dicing the tomatoes. After finishing that, I pulled out a few spices. Diced and partially smashed tomatoes weren't exactly very good on there own. Good thing I had just barely organized those cupboards, or I wouldn't have been able to find the spices. Not that Avery used them as much as anything else, anyway, so they weren't usually as bad as the rest of the kitchen. It only took me a couple minutes to add the appropriate spices and stir it all up. And then it was done.
I turned my attention back to Red. The noodles were probably done by now. I walked over and took the pot, and poured the noodles and hot water into the colander in the sink. Red would probably love to do this part. If she weren't so small and clumsy. She could do a lot of things pretty well, but this was one thing where I didn't want to risk it.
I heard Red push the chair back to where it belonged, and start getting out the plates and utensils. I was glad she had something to do so she wouldn't be bored while I was doing all the real work. After the noodles were drained, I poured them back into the pot, and added the sauce, and stirred it all up. Then I carried the pot over to the table, and set it down. "There we go. Lunch."
We were fairly quiet at first. We both scooped some of the food on to our plates, and started eating. Red was obviously thinking about something. What it was, I could only guess. Maybe Avery, or her book, or that little thing she had mentioned earlier. My mind wandered, too, and I thought of the books upstairs I had finished reading. They were due today. I would have to make a trip to the library. But Avery wasn't here, and I didn't want to just leave Red all alone. I know she loathed being around a lot of people, but I felt that was safer for her than just leaving her here. If no one was here, who knows what could happen.
"Hey, Red?" I started. It pulled her out of her thoughts, and she looked up at me. "I need to head to the library to return a couple book. And since Avery isn't here, I thought maybe you could come with me." I could tell by Red's expression when I said that she didn't like the idea in the slightest.
"What? But... I don't really like to go to the library. Can't I just stay here?" I could hear in her tone how much she didn't want to go. She was hoping I would let her stay, even though part of her must've known I would say she had to come. This wasn't the first time we had had this kind of conversation. And I always felt bad dragging Red along. But what was I supposed to do?
"I know. I'm sorry, Red. But I don't think it's a good idea to leave you unattended. I know you can take care of yourself and everything, but I still worry about you. I mean, what if something bad did happen? And nobody was there to help you. I know you can't interact very well with people." I had a slight frown on my face. It was true. Red didn't know how to interact with other people. I tried to protect her from it as much as I could, which probably just made matters worse. If something happened to her, she wouldn't be able to go and ask anybody for help. She'd be too afraid.
"I know...." Red trailed off, hopelessly, and poked absently at her food.
"I really am sorry, Red. I would leave you alone if I could, or just not go at all." I continued eating my food, having paused to talk to Red. I really wished I could just leave her here. If Avery didn't always have to go missing for hours, I would just wait. But I had no idea when she would get back.
"It's okay, Tess," Red said after a minute of silence. "It's not like it's really your fault." She started actually eating her food again, which was good.
"Okay, let's talk about something else now," I said, adding a happier note to my voice. "Wanna tell me about Quinn?" I hoped Red would feel better talking about something else, which she did seem to.
"Okay. Well, I went outside this morning when I got up. Because I wanted to watch the sunrise," Red started explaining. This definitely was a better choice of topic. It seemed to distract her from the prospect of the library. "And then I saw something dart into the bush. So I decided that maybe I could lure it out if I got it something. So I got some banana. And it did lure it out. And it was Quinn. Only I hadn't decided to call Quinn 'Quinn', yet. And then I managed to grab Quinn, and then I became friends with Quinn, and named Quinn, and then I read the story to Quinn."
"So you two had quite the adventure, I suppose," I said at the end of Red's story. It was sort of teasing. "What does Quinn look like?" Red seemed more than happy to continue explaining about Quinn.
"Hm... well...." Red trailed off, and set down her fork so her hands were freed up for her demonstration. "Quinn is only about this big. So Quinn is pretty small. And fluffy. Just a little. And Quinn had a long tail, and big ears. And wings. Quinn had wings. They were kind of bat-like." Red seemed to decided this was a good enough description, and picked up her fork to start eating again.
"Hm. So Quinn is pretty tiny. And sounds like maybe some kind of bat thing?" I thought about it a bit. The description wasn't really good enough to know what Quinn actually was. All I knew was that Quinn was pretty close to a bat, really.
Red interrupted my thoughts after a moment. "Yeah. Kind of bat-like. But I don't think Quinn is a bat. Quinn didn't really look like a normal bat." She seemed to be thinking about it, too, but then dismissed it.
"Well, whatever Quinn is, at least you and Quinn can be friends," I said, also dismissing the topic. I was glad she had some kind of friend. Whether Quinn even really existed or not. It seemed unlike Red to make up something like that, but it was a possibility.
"Mhm. And I like Quinn. So I will have to try and find Quinn later," Red said, reminding me that I had scared Quinn off.
"Ah, yeah. Sorry again about scaring Quinn off...." I frowned again. I really hadn't meant to scare Quinn. I just didn't know they were there. I sincerely hoped Red would be able to find her little friend again later. She seemed to really enjoy their company.
"It's okay, Tess. It's not really your fault. You didn't know Quinn was there, or would get scared. I needed to come in and eat lunch, anyway." This seemed to remind Red that she had, in fact, eaten all of her lunch, and she took her plate and fork to the sink to wash them.
"Yeah. I hope I didn't scare Quinn too much. Anyway, when you're done washing your dishes, you should go get ready with whatever you need to do." I grabbed my dishes and set them beside the sink. "I'll take care of those in a couple minutes," I said to Red, who had a habit of sometimes washing my dishes for me. I left those there, and went to grab the leftover spaghetti. I poured it into the bowl I had used to mix up the sauce, and set the pot beside the sink, too. Red had left while I was doing this, having gotten done washing her dishes. I pulled plastic wrap from one of the drawers, and put a piece of it over the bowl. I put the bowl in the fridge, washed the pot, plate, fork, cutting board, and knife, and then went upstairs to also get ready.
After getting into my room, I quietly shut the door. I figured I should probably change into a different outfit. I dug around in my closet, pulled out a blue shirt with long-sleeves and a black skirt, and quickly changed into them. I tossed the clothes I had just taken off into the basket behind the door. I would deal with those later. I grabbed my bag, a blue with a darker-colored diamond embroidered on the front. I slung it over my shoulder, and scooped the books off my desk and into the bag. I tucked the water bottle I used into the pocket in the front, and then set off down the stairs to meet up with Red. I found her waiting, which I had expected. I had heard her footsteps. And she was always pretty quick getting ready.
"Alright. Ready to go, Red?" I asked.
The expression on her face was one that plainly said "No," but she replied to me instead with "Yeah, I think so." She got up off the couch and followed me out the door. I stopped to lock it behind us, and then we set out for the library.