Lolita Fashion - Dolls - Historic Homes - Art - Sewing - Creative Writing - Film - Literature - All things cute!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio

After almost a year of wondering whether to buy this book or not, I finally did, and it has to be one of the best decisions I've ever made about a book. The only reason I didn't buy it when it first came out in January last year was because of how expensive and heavy it is! £28 is an awful lot for a book, especially nowadays, but it was completely worth it. 

First of all, the book is absolutely beautiful, both the cover and the actual content of the book. It's really thick and well-made with amazing illustrations. The vintage style of the comic is lovely in my opinion, and has a lot of character to it. The clothes the characters wear are so cute. I'd love to draw them someday. I particularly liked it because of the setting. I'm really getting into German-based stories!

As for the story... Wow, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it inspired me so much. It was even breath-taking in places. Firstly I was nervous to read it. After all, one of the main topics of this book is suicide, so I was pretty hesitant to try it, as it would be too sad. The Heart of Thomas IS really sad, but not the depressing kind of sad. It feels more like when someone you love has passed away, but it was a long time so it isn't so painful to think about it, and you can just smile a little thinking of the memories you shared. Kind of like that, but that's just what I feel when reading it.

Set in an all-boys boarding school in Germany, either before or after World War II, a teenage boy named Thomas commits suicide after the Easter holidays, causing his whole school to erupt with suspicion. Thomas had an unrequited love for Juli, who shunned him in front of the whole school. A boy named Erich transfers to the school, and he is almost identical to Thomas - so much that almost every boy in the school either asks him if they're brothers, or just directly call him Thomas. He falls in love with Juli also. Eventually, Juli comes to terms with his feelings for both Thomas and Erich, and leaves to become a priest.

All the characters are so interesting, and even complex in some cases. You think you know somebody, and there are actually more and more layers you have to dig through to find the person inside. Juli especially.
At first, he rubbed me the wrong way. The way he had such disregard for a person who had just died a violent death made me dislike him, especially when I found out he was the reason of the death. In the beginning I went from thinking the reason Thomas died was because of suicide, and at one point, I even considered that Juli could have murdered him! It kept me in constant suspense, especially in that one scene where he threatens to kill Erich whilst straightening his peer's tie.
Soon, I realised he was actually more of a victim than anyone, really. His cold, sometimes Sociopathic attitude all came down to feeling ashamed of himself for being physically (and even sexually) abused at school. Not only that, but because of his duel German-Greek nationality that gave him his 'exotic' black hair, he was hated by his grandmother. That changed my feelings about him entirely.
Then there's Erich Fruehling. He's very easily agitated, easily jealous, and gets into a lot of fights at school. At first he was home-schooled at his home in Köln, where he had very little interaction with others. I'm not quite sure if he's in love with Marie, his mother, but he certainly does have an obsession with her. Whenever she had lovers, he would become very jealous of the men, and even go so far as to attempt to choke himself to death. He's unsuccessful, and it becomes a kind of neurosis/'hysteria' that causes him to faint and become ill. When Marie fell in love with one Austrian man so much she wanted to marry him, Erich was furious and went to attend Schlotterbetz Gymnasium. It may make him appear selfish, but I actually think that his mother is quite self-centred, too. Marie died in an accident whilst he was away at school, and understandably, he was heart broken. However, this seemed to make his neurosis a little better with time. He finds himself falling for Juli, the prefect.
Oskar Reiser is a seemingly lazy, delinquent student. He has a cool aura about him by the way he smokes despite it being against the school rules. However, he proves himself to be a very understanding, insightful friend, who acts very well no matter what the situation is. He knew about the dark things that happened to Juli and stood by him until the end. In fact, he has his own problems. Some very troubling problems that would cause anybody to panic. Yet he always keeps his cool. I think he is definitely one of my favourites in this series.

There is a lot of religious imagery in The Heart of Thomas. Most notably, a lot of characters sporting angel wings and long flowing robes. I'm not religious at all, so I can't tell if they're accurate or anything, but I did find it very beautiful to look at.

For those people who are reading this for the 'BL' side of things, it could leave you disappointed. I'm only really interested in a more shounen-ai, sweet, fluffy romantic side of the BL genre, so this was perfect for me. Hardcore sex scenes? Hardcore yaoi? I'm sorry, but this is not what you're looking for. The most you will find is a few kisses on the cheek every so often, so it's pretty innocent compared to some books. Moto Hagio has been nicknamed as the "founding mother" of shoujo manga, especially shounen-ai.

For a comic written in the 1970s, it was a really risky thing to publish. It features some pretty dark themes; suicide, self-hatred, abuse, incest, and racism in some cases. Not only that, but it included homosexual characters and adolescent love - something that would have been a little bit hard to sell at that period of time, to be honest. Nowadays, generally, people are more accepting of those kinds of things, thankfully. I can commend the author for her bravery at such a risky comic. It must have been a very anxious feeling at the time of publishing in the 70s. Well, that's what I would have felt if it were me.

Another reason this book means a lot to me is that I can identify to one of the characters. Usually I have a hard time connecting to people (fictional and in real life) and when I found Momoko Ryuugasaki from Kamikaze Girls I was really happy, as she had a lot in common with me. This time, I found that I could connect to Erich Fruehling. For one, he has a fiery, defensive side at first, but after you get past that barrier, he is really sweet and kind in places. Also, it is mentioned somewhere in the book that he suffers from "Hysteria" which is today known as Conversion Disorder. I was really stunned to find a person in a novel who suffered from conversion disorder, especially as it is such a rare and unknown health problem! And considering this was written in the 1970s, perhaps even rarer! Erich has fainting spells in stressful situations, and heaven knows I have to deal with that a whole lot, especially in the past.

This book is amazing, and I recommend it to any lover of shoujo manga. Well, I can feel a whole load of fanart and fanfictions for this story coming on; and I definitely have to track down Les Amitèis Particulières!



Sunday, 26 January 2014

Funeral Parade of Roses

Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji. At first I was going to try drawing Gregory Violet from the Weston college arc, but he was too hard to draw, so I gave up and drew Ciel instead. XD It's been a while since I drew him, but when I was in the first two years of high school he was like the only character I could draw, ahaha. So it was nice to reminisce. 

I had inspiration from Macoto Takahashi again (the flowers and the hands he draws inspires me for some reason) and Yana Toboso. As for the title, it came from the Malice Mizer song, Bara no Souretsu.

Character (c) - Yana Toboso

Johan Isul

For Christmas I received my first Isul doll, Johan! I've admired this particular doll for a long time now, and I'm so happy he's mine! I first saw him in the Gothic and Lolita Bible, and it was kind of love at first sight, ahaha.

He has short platinum blond hair, orange-y lips, and really striking blue eyes. Isul Johan's skin is very fair, almost looking ghostly, but that's all a part of his character, I think.
His clothes are made by Alice and the Pirates, a sister brand of Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, so naturally they're very beautiful and wonderfully well-made. The attention to detail is flawless, especially with the miniscule clocks, tiny, tiny removable bows, and beads. I just love the design of his clothes, which were designed by Mitsukazu Mihara, I think! (one of my favourite artists)

Details in his cape
Mitsukazu Mihara's illustration

I decided to name him Johan, which is his stock name by Pullip. Usually I don't do that, but it was such a cute name that I couldn't resist. I like to pronounce it the German way, YO-hahn. It's sophisticated and rich-sounding but not too complex. Plus, it's a little like Joanne Harcourt's name from Black Butler. <3

I love these little card thingys
As for his back story, I decided, like his name, he's going to be German. He is 12 years old, and lives during the 1930s. He loves his elder sister (who I'm saving my pennies for right now), Celeste, and lives in Cologne. His hobbies are dancing, star gazing, and he loves the snow. Birthday is the 17th December.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Black Butler Chapter 89

In my honest opinion, this chapter was really shocking and surprising. Especially the ending!

First of all we see the woman who was mauled by the werewolf, and Sieglinde pours some liquid over her (maybe it's holy water? I have no idea) whilst uttering something the reader can't make out. We later find out she is a "green witch"!
It is obvious all the villagers want Ciel and Sebastian out. Well, that was clear from the start. Yet I think Sieglinde could be very lonely, so she wants to keep them there for the time being...

Later on, she is found to be spying on Ciel and Sebastian, and there's this really funny panel where Sebastian shoves a cake in Ciel's mouth to shut him up. Or maybe I'm just easily amused? XD
She mentions something about a premonition of destroying the key to a secret chamber she had protected for eleven years... I'm really wondering about that, what it could be. Maybe she thinks there is something in there that Ciel and Sebastian need? I can't work out if they're going to turn out to be enemies, like Doll for example, or if she's actually harmless.
THEN, she tries to get Ciel and Sebastian to sleep with her, to buy their silence! I felt kind of sorry for Ciel, it must have been really embarrassing for him (it was for me, and I'm a reader)! I could tell Sebastian was very amused by it all. XD

The pages on the witch trail were very beautiful. I'm starting to become really interested in the whole witch business of this arc. It's very different from the others.

Ciel and Sebastian go to chase after the werewolf after they spot it in the woods. It was really suprising to see Ciel and Sebastian cry - especially Sebastian! He said so himself that he is not capable of that kind of emotion.

The cliffhanger at the end was really intense! I'm really, really not going to be able to wait until next month!

Wat Kyk Jy?

I love pin-up poses, and this was a lot of fun to draw. It was different from my usual drawings, as usually I just like drawing fancy clothes. In my mind her hair was straight and platinum blond, but I can only draw curled hair. *cries*
This is a new OC called Yolandi. She got her name, and the title of the picture from Die Antwoord, who I'm currently obsessed with! "Wat Kyk Jy?" means something along the lines of "what are you looking at?"
  • 19, from South Africa. She used to live in South Africa but moved to England.
  • Goes to an all-girl public school in Southport.
  • Prefect for the red house at her school.
  • Knows lots of languages; Afrikaans, English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Polish, and Arabic. Wants to know the languages of all the different people in her school.
  • Bubbly, loves to tease and flirt. Popular and cares about everyone. Very kind and hardworking.
  • Bad points; cocky sometimes, with the power which comes with being a prefect.
  • Younger brother who became paralysed in a terrible accident, accidentally jumping into the shallow end of the swimming pool. Looks out for him a lot.
  • Very tall, 5’’9. Towers above the rest but doesn’t mind it at all. Long, thin platinum blond hair she always wears in a ponytail. Her hair is usually straight but sometimes she curls the ends. Mahogany brown eyes. Fair skin.
  • Always seen wearing her school uniform, even at weekends. Grey skirt that falls approximately eight inches above the knee, grey sweater vest with red around the collar and sleeves, white starchy shirt, and a red and black tie that strangles her.
  • Loves school.
  • Best friends are Josephine, and another girl called Yolandi, who she calls ‘Mini Yolandi’ or ‘Mini Me’. (she is English, but was born in South Africa as her English parents lived there for a couple of years)
  • Gets on well with everybody.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Colour Me Blood Red: Chapter 3

NOTE: This is NSFW in places because of some disturbing and gory parts. Don't read this and get nightmares ;w;  Also, I've never really written anything romantic before, so it's not that great. 
P.S. I now have a fanfiction account

The promise that they could meet again brought a smile to Maurice’s face, even as he began his journey home; his elder brother lecturing him the whole way about Hell and Heaven. Soon he learnt to tune out of Stanley’s nonsense and focused on the more important matters. How could he convince his parents to let him leave for the evening?
‘What are you so cheerful about?’ Stan asked, glaring down at him, for his Cheshire Cat smile was rather off putting and distracting him from his argument.
They had just reached the end of the forest, and their manor was within view, but only just. There were only a few fields to go and they’d be home. Where most likely, their mother would be scolding them for being late home for dinner.
Maurice smiled mysteriously. He tapped his nose infuriatingly, causing his elder brother to murmur under his breath about annoying, secretive little brothers. After five minutes of silence, Stanley turned to him, furious.
‘Just who was that obnoxious boy we met earlier? He was infuriating! Don’t tell me you like him,’ he growled, fingering the trigger of his shotgun.
‘Of course not, Stan,’ Maurice lied, his smirk falling slightly. ‘He was the prefect, but we never really talked.’
Prefect!’ He exploded. ‘Goodness. He didn’t strike me as prefect material, to be honest.’
The youngest boy didn’t like the look Stan was giving him, so turned away, folding his arms across his chest and pouting. ‘Well, what do you know? I was his fag, and he was the best prefect Weston could ever have. Perhaps even better than you were…’
Stanley chose to ignore that remark. Both the comment on his previous occupation as prefect being a failure, and the fact he lied to him about not really speaking with him. Lucky Maurice, he thought after visualising himself beating him to a pulp. He will live another day.
‘Speaking of prefects,’ he said in a low tone, sending warning signals to go off in Maurice’s head. That voice always means danger. And most of the time, it meant some kind of impact on his future, whether he liked it or not…
‘Yes?’ he asked cautiously, wisely choosing to watch the blades of grass and daisies rather than his brother’s face.
‘You’ll be a senior soon. Don’t you think it’s a good idea to enrol in becoming a prefect? You’ll have a lot of credit. After all, you are the little brother of a previous prefect, and an old prefect’s fag. Just think. It would be perfect.’
‘You may think it would be perfect, but not for me…’ Maurice said through gritted teeth. ‘I’d much prefer to just be a regular student, thank you.’
Stanley groaned loudly. ‘You are such a disappointment!’
Almost biting his tongue in his annoyance, the blond boy stamped his foot on the ground and stormed off, leaving his elder to glare at his retreating back as he ran off home.
‘Think about it,’ he yelled over to him as he ran away.
‘No!’ Came the tremulous voice of his brother, already miles away.


Dinner was dull and deadly silent, as per usual. As it was the first evening back from school, Maurice just couldn’t get used to the unsettling quiet, for meals at Weston were full of giddy teenage boys yelling and roaring with laughter. Now, there was nothing but the gentle clinking of china and silverware against dinner plates. The lack of noise was enough to drive anyone insane. He had something important to say, but no matter how dire something could be, he knew he would be scolded for asking of something like this. Scrutinising everybody on the table, Maurice wondered who would be the right person to ask.
His father caught his wondering eyes and cleared his throat, setting his knife and fork down and looking deep into his eyes.
‘Is anything the matter, son?’
‘No, Sir,’ he said phlegmatically. He knew his father would definitely not be right. There was a curfew and he had to obey it, no matter the circumstances. His father was one to strongly reinforce that rule, typically with a leather belt.
‘Sir,’ said Stan, a smirk curving the corners of his mouth. He could be the devil when he wanted to be... ‘Our Maurice has been out with a stranger and his two dogs whilst we were out hunting. The two seemed very engaged in each other, I could hardly bring myself to—’
‘Please may I leave the table?’ The blond boy asked quickly, feeling his stomach churn with nerves. He left before they could answer him — or before Stanley could finish telling his tale of how he had almost kissed the ex-prefect.
He strode to his room, making his strides as fast as possible, and passing many concerned maids and stewards on the way. Slamming the door and leaning against it, he sunk down, absolutely mortified over what his brother was trying to do to him. Did he want him to be killed?
He perched on his bed, wrapping his arms around his knees and his head in his lap. If Stanley finished his story while he made his get away, surely his parents would have followed him and beaten him? If they knew… If they knew he was a homosexual — a queer — he would be disowned on the spot. Why would he do this to him? Why?
A few hours passed, with the tears falling down into his hair as he lay back on his bed. Yet nobody had come to yell at him or hurt him. He began to wonder if Stan was just teasing… But he would take no chances.
He sat bolt upright in bed, his eyes falling on the balcony. A gentle orange filtered through the gauzy white curtains as a summer breeze lifted the fabric. The boy stood up and made his way to the gothic stone balcony, head held high, but his fingernails digging into his sweaty palms. Outside fireflies were dancing amongst the oranges and blues of the sunset. Below, crickets and katydids scraped tunes from all angles. He wrapped his hands around the stone and peered downward. It was high… Really high. But he could do it. He had to.
The boy was stood pensively on the moss-encrusted stone, refusing to look down, his watery green eyes cast firmly on the beautiful sunset ahead. His heart felt like it would escape from his chest and settle in his stomach as tears burned his eyes. But he would not give in this time. Soon his vision blurred with the strain of repressed tears. He took a deep heaving breath and steadied himself. It was a long way down. A little slip, and he would spend the rest of his summer with two broken legs at least. Or dead.
Finally deciding on his fate, he smirked weakly to himself and slipped one foot onto a foothold, where a brick had come loose in particularly bad weather. Swinging his other leg over the balcony was a feat indeed without slipping down, but he managed it. Choosing to ignore the blood pounding in his ears, Maurice clung on for dear life, willing for the next loose brick to be nearby. He blindly felt around and before he knew it, his feet were touching the ground. He shuddered slightly, wondering how on earth he had made it out alive and unscathed. Giving his surroundings one last furtive survey, he dusted off his clothes and ran off in the direction of the forest. He knew it was wrong and impolite to just knock on the Viscount’s door unannounced at this hour. Yet he didn’t want to stick around for the beating of a lifetime when his parents had forced Stanley to finish what he was trying to say earlier. The boy was no stranger to Big Trouble, but never anything as humiliating and sinful as what he would be facing if he didn’t escape now. Besides, Edgar did say he could visit him, didn’t he?


Closing his eyes and knocking the door, he opened them to see a butler standing there, Edgar by his side. He had to admit he was surprised to see Edgar there (shouldn’t he be with the Viscount?) yet found himself beaming widely, despite the look of confusion on the older boy’s face.
‘Maurice, I didn’t know you’d be here so soon. I thought you’d at least wait until the next day,’ Edgar said with a laugh, but let him inside never the less. The butler led them upstairs and left them alone, guessing by the guest’s tear-stained face that they’d like to talk in private.
When they were in the guest parlour connected with what Maurice supposed was Edgar’s bedroom, Edgar called for tea and gestured for the boy to sit down. Maurice felt slightly guilty for visiting at this hour and flushed slightly. There was a moment of silence before Edgar said:
‘I told uncle Aleister you would probably be visiting sometime soon, and he didn’t seem to mind. So don’t look so suspicious, Maurice,’ Redmond reassured him, reading Maurice like a book.
‘You’re not angry with me?’
‘Of course not,’ Edgar whispered silkily, turning to face him directly. ‘Just as long as you tell me one thing…’
‘What’s that?’ Maurice asked.
‘Why are you so sad?’
He couldn’t hold it back anymore. For the entire walk to his friend’s home, he had put the frustration and fear to the back of his mind, but right now, it was all bubbling back to the surface. His mouth opened but before he could say anything a howl of anguish escaped his lips. Ashamed, he sunk to his knees in front of Edgar; his tears sliding down his face and dropping to the plush carpet like raindrops, and one balled fist clenched to his mouth to stop the shameful sobbing. Edgar almost leapt to his feet in shock, but stopped himself. Instead he watched Maurice cry, afraid to ask him what was the matter. Realising he needed to stop the tears somehow, he put one hand on the youngest boy’s head and stroked his soft, radiant curls.
Maurice edged closer and put his head in Redmond’s lap, giggling a little despite the steady flow of tears. Glad that he had made an attempt to cheer up, Edgar picked up one of the little curls and played with it in his hands. He could feel his warmth against his thighs and let his fingers run through his hair, some of the ringlets curling around them. The boy looked up into Redmond’s face and must have seen some form of consent there, for he straightened up slightly and put his head onto his chest, clenching at his black clothes and trembling with the fear he tried so hard to hide earlier.
‘There, there,’ he cooed, resting his own head against Maurice’s and stroking his hair. Despite how convincing his comfort sounded, he was really embarrassed at how meek he sounded.
Maurice parted from him, but still gripping his blazer, his face was inches from Redmond’s. They stared into each other’s eyes, a dull, heavy understanding settling between the two. Edgar knew what was wrong yet he didn’t have to utter a word. He just knew.
‘I’m sorry,’ Maurice mumbled dismally, ‘I didn’t mean to trouble you, Edgar.’
‘Shh,’ he said, placing a kiss on Maurice’s lips. ‘Don’t be silly.’
It was only a small kiss, yet it left Maurice stunned. He closed his eyes, separating the distance between them with another kiss, then another, and another. Edgar’s cheeks flushed, realising how much he actually loved being kissed by the boy. These kisses had none of the desperation and greed he tasted on that night in the Swan Gazebo, but instead was mingled sadness and tenderness; and somewhat, the taste of sin, something he imagined Eve would have tasted when she ate the apple in the Garden of Eden. He was ashamed. He was furious with himself for succumbing to Maurice’s cold and calculating willpower. But he was also enjoying himself. He kissed Maurice’s parted lips, his arms wrapped around his waist and lowering to his hips. Maurice settled himself into his lap without invitation and put his arms around his neck, deepening the kiss further. His fingers untied the ribbon in Edgar’s hair and played with his long hair, slipping his hands onto his shoulders and digging in when Edgar’s lips moved to his neck. Maurice let out a few heated moans. The feeling of lips against his skin moved to his jaw and finally to his ear before the sensation stopped altogether. With a content sigh Edgar deepened the kiss even further by tilting the boy’s head up at just the right angle.
Out of the corner of his eye the light fell on something metallic, catching Edgar’s attention. He broke away from Maurice and avoided another kiss by turning his face away. The boy pouted, but Edgar had no idea, as he was completely entranced by the moon’s reflection in the pure silver pair of scissors; the early evening moon bouncing off the metal and into Edgar’s vision. Maurice could see the ghastly orb imprinted on Edgar’s mahogany gaze, yet in the dull light they appeared blood red and simmering with white-hot rage. He flinched violently and made an attempt of escape, but not before Edgar seized him by the collar with reflexes as fast as a vampires’.
Maurice knew something was wrong — terribly wrong — yet he found himself in a palsy as he was pinned against the sofa, as hopeless and vulnerable as a butterfly caught in a spider’s web, or an animal ready for dissection. He trembled uncontrollably as Edgar reached over for the scissors, black rage contorting his handsome features, making him look somewhat like the Devil himself. And he had managed to seduce him like the devil would too… Maurice hated how he had became to trust Edgar.
‘Do you know why I was expelled?’ He asked silkily, one hand thrust against Maurice’s chest to pin him down, the other stroking stray curls away from the terrified boy’s face.
‘N-n-no,’ he whimpered, wishing he could sound more fierce and courageous. Despite the urgency of the situation, he made no attempt to get away.
‘I killed Derick Arden,’ he said happily, sounding like it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. ‘I murdered him along with the other prefects, and that’s the reason I can’t go to Weston anymore.’
The last sentence he said was riddled with regret and self-loathing. Maurice found himself unable to speak, unable to move, and somewhat, unable to hear. He was blinded by fear, only aware of the tight sensation in his chest and the painful pressure against his body.
Finally he managed to spit out, ‘B-but w-w-why?’ Fresh tears sparkled in his eyes.
Edgar’s voice sounded uncontrollably hysteric, rising and falling with rapidly changing emotions. ‘He betrayed me… and so did you! Even you!’
Suddenly he lunged, the scissors plunging down into Maurice’s neck. A scream surged through the building but there was nobody to save him, for nobody cared. Nobody really loved him — it was all for show.
Using his dying strength and a newfound burst of adrenaline, he grabbed Edgar’s wrist and held it firmly away from his body; the blood dying everything that terrible, hateful crimson that soaked Edgar’s conscience. But it was too much to bear, and his hand came collapsing down in weakness, his whole body trembling and bloodied vomit escaping his lips. One last feeble shriek came from him before he lay back and became completely passive and still, trapped underneath Edgar’s body. Yet Edgar stabbed him over and over, not taking any chances. When the corpse became completely rigid, he slid off him and stood back, admiring his work.
There was nothing but red. That detestable, brutal colour of love and death. Red on the walls, red on the floor, red all over Maurice, and red staining his face and clothes — some of it clinging to his platinum hair in sticky, revolting clumps.

Maurice lay on his back, the silky sheets tangled around his body, his eyes wild, and a cold sweat coating his body. Everything added up all of a sudden.
(Frightened? Why frightened?)
And he felt sick to his stomach… His image of Edgar was ruined forever but there was nothing he could do about it now. Things could be worse… He could be six feet underground in a makeshift, shallow grave, forgotten by all his friends and family, until Christmas or Easter came around and everybody was wondering where he disappeared off to. Just like Derick Arden.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Louisa May


As one of my new year's resolutions was to do more traditional art, I decided now would be a good time to do some painting. And, can I just say, it was one of the worst decisions I've made in my life. :( Apparently painting is therapeutic, but whilst doing this, I have resisted the urge to throw all my paints and paintbrushes out the window and rip this thing up! ...Basically it was very stressful, ahaha. And whenever I made a mistake, I kept thinking "Edit, undo", realising that there is no undo button in real life!
Anyways, this was inspired by one of my favourite artists, Macoto Takahashi. I got a book for Christmas that had a lot of his illustrations in, and I had to draw something in his style or I'd explode. XD I loved that in the books, there was an interview that came with it about how he wanted girls to feel when they looked at his pictures. This was post WW2 when they lost the war, and he wanted his illustrations to cheer people up.
This is my character from my picture, 'There are Witches in the Cornfields' and I decided to call her Louisa May. She is a white witch who lived in Salem, New Hampshire during the 1700s.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Colour Me Blood Red: Chapter 2

James almost burst into a sprint whilst showing Edgar to his room, boy and dogs following suit. The viscount’s two dogs had certainly taken a liking to the new guest, and Edgar soon learnt that their names were Lady and Evangeline. Funny names for dogs, he thought to himself as he lay on his new bed, fussing over them as much as they fussed over him. He truly loved dogs. They had none of that fussiness and disdainful stares his mother’s Russian Blue cats possessed, only adoration and affection. Somewhat they reminded him of his two favourite ex-fags — Maurice Cole and Joanne Harcourt — those two boys had done whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. No matter what he asked them to do, they followed through and trusted him to do what was right for the school. Sometimes what he desired from them was selfish and immoral (even illegal in some cases) yet they did it with a smile on their faces.
Maurice made the best tea and sweets he had ever tasted, but Edgar was no fool. He knew Maurice was no French master chef. The young boy with an eye patch from Sapphire Owl had assured him of that. Maurice was a cheat. Yet somehow he still had a soft spot for the boy... In the past, Maurice could well have been the boy the prefects murdered in cold blood for dragging Weston College traditions through the mud. Despite that, he knew he could never, ever bring himself to assassinate Maurice Cole. He had felt too much for him. Besides, everything Maurice did, he did it to make Edgar love him. And for somebody to do something so extreme to make another fall in love with them — save for jumping off the roof of the school (Weston had truly seen it all) — well, that was actually quite flattering, frankly. And his lips were the softest to kiss, a teasing voice in the back of his head tittered, causing the boy to shake his head and blush at the memory. Not long ago, they had made friends after the long, miserable two months Redmond had refused to talk with him. Tears prickled his eyelids as he thought of how he didn’t have enough time to say a final goodbye to his old friend before he was kicked out of the school.
Joanne Harcourt, too. He was almost as beautiful as Maurice, but twice as talented. Edgar didn’t exactly have the same feelings for Joanne as he had possessed for Maurice, yet he still loved him. Like a younger brother. It broke his heart to fall out of contact with him, but he didn’t blame Joanne for not wanting to communicate with him any longer. Because who wants to keep in touch with a murderer? Nobody, that’s who. The prefect had caught Joanne in his dormitory, wild eyed and breathless, and torn a piece of notepaper from his suitcase, scribbling out his address and postcode so he could exchange letters with him over the summer.
‘Write to me everyday,’ Edgar had panted, handing him the note and turning to leave.
But Joanne Harcourt had refused to accept it, his expression the picture of terror and deceit. He had even sobbed in front of him, and had to be comforted and coddled by his roommate. Edgar had left after being scolded by Scarlet Fox’s teacher for terrorising the poor boy. Truthfully, Edgar hadn’t a clue why Joanne was so afraid to speak with him. After all, he had only said his goodbyes and given him his address. What was wrong with that? Apparently Joanne was too traumatised by the events of the Midnight Tea Party to so much as look at his fag master. How disappointing…
Derrick Arden had also been a fag of Edgar’s in the past. And, wow, was he dazzling! Captain of his local cricket team, master craftsman at embroidery, top results in every exam, and a genius poet; a boy everybody loved and admired. But he had been six foot underground for almost a year now.
That was where he belonged! Edgar thought angrily, yet I had to get my uncle’s stupid secret society to resuscitate him from the dead. My entire soul is corrupted by evil by now. There is no longer a place in Heaven for me…I wish I was dead, too, instead of trapped in this glamorously dark paradise, putting on a false facade everyday just to impress strangers I don’t even care about. The truth is that I’m a criminal. And the only reason my heart is still beating is because the man I killed was a relative of Her Majesty. If it had been another person — Maurice Cole for example — I would be strung up by a noose in front of a bloodthirsty crowd of peasants by now. If only it had been Maurice I killed, no matter how much I adored him in the past…
The boy chastised himself for being a poor judge of character not only once, but twice. Firstly he was enamoured by Derrick’s reputation within the school. All he ever heard were good things about the young man, yet nobody knew he was a bully and a liar, hurting other students to gain access to their talents and showcase them to the red prefect. Then came Maurice, and Redmond fell for his beautiful appearance above everything else. Known as the most handsome boy in the school, Edgar knew he just had to have him; and along with that beauty came a twisted dark side that only came to the surface two months ago. Someday Redmond vowed that he would overcome his naive side and find a person to love for who they actually are underneath a facade. But right now, he felt like the loneliest man on the planet.
After James had unpacked all his clothes and hung them in the wardrobe, Edgar lay on his queen-sized bed, wondering what next. He knew he had to keep out of his uncle’s way for the time being, for he was revising over the central nervous system for the medical exams he had in over a months time. Edgar certainly knew better than to mess around talking with the servants of the Chambers estate, yet he was getting so restless, so soon it seemed to him a rather fun thing to do. He soon dismissed that thought when he remembered the last time he played out with the footman’s son as a child, his father took him over his knee and beat him until he turned raw. Surely uncle Aleister wouldn’t do that, would he? Deciding he wouldn’t, the young man quickly got changed into outdoor clothes and descended the staircase, looking for James, or any other person for that matter. Edgar was an extrovert and loved company, no matter who it was he spent time with. The bad weather was clearing up and the thought of playing tennis or croquet outside sounded amazing.
‘James?’ he called into the empty hallway, glancing anxiously left and right. If he distracted his uncle from his work… ‘James?’ he asked again, louder this time.
There was no reply. And the thought of getting into Aleister’s bad books for yelling frightened him to the core. Uncle Aleister was rumoured to have a cult of black magic as well as a secret society! Enrage him, and anything was possible… Studying made him cranky, Edgar knew from experience — especially when there’s a racket going on in the background.
A new idea formed in Edgar’s mind. Instead of calling for a servant to talk to (his uncle had no wife, lover, nor any children to play with), he decided to go for a walk in the nearby forest. Forests were always full of mystery, and heavens knew Edgar needed some kind of adventure. The most excitement he would find in the Chambers house amounted to lying prostate on the plush rug, listening to his weird uncle mumble various parts of the nervous system whilst wildly flicking through his books on neurological and psychological medicine! He was bored senseless, and he had only been there for two hours — this was worse than at home! And he thought Uncle Aleister was fun to be with… Of course he didn’t know about the secret arrest Aleister went through when found guilty of human trafficking.
Clipping a leash onto both Lady and Evangeline, Edgar shrugged on his blazer, tied his hair back with a black ribbon, and set out the front door, telling James he’d be back for tea later on in the afternoon. Outside the air was crisp and fresh, smelling of freshly mown grass and sea salt from the nearby seaside. The birds chirruped amongst themselves in the oak trees as red squirrels twisted and twined around the trees, chasing each other and squabbling noisily over territory. He peered up through the branches at the blue tits and starlings, a dull ache starting in the base of his chest as they reminded him of the swans at the old Swan Gazebo. The boy pulled a face and carried on his journey to the start of the forest.
They walked for twenty minutes, pausing at every animal noise, breathing in the fresh air, allowing the dogs to sniff around when they found unusual smells, and ultimately enjoying the peace and quite. School was quite the opposite. His life was constantly governed by the ringing of bells and a rule book he never even bothered to read. Not only that, but there was always constant background noise of boys from different houses arguing (especially Violet Wolf), reminding each other of the rules (Sapphire Owl), and sometimes even fist fighting (most definitely Green Lion). As the prefect, Edgar was expected by everyone to sort things out. And when the headmaster went away on a tour of the world, he left Edgar and his fellow prefects to sort everything out. In actuality, his stay at Weston was a nightmare, only slightly sugar-coated by the fact he had almost absolute control. Right now he was wondering why he even bothered to miss the stupid place! He knew the school would be a mess without him… Right…?
Two dogs either side of him pulled and tugged him onward as they panted and whined to be let off the leash. Sighing, he unclipped them and tapped their noses gently, warning them to be good and come back to him when he called. They raced off, soil and old fallen leaves from the previous Autumn spraying their owner in their wake. Edgar was now alone. Completely and utterly alone. A phobia he never knew he could possess… Soon regretting freeing his uncle’s dogs of their leash, he called after them, but there was no pounding of paws in the distance, nor any yapping in reply… With slight panic gripping his heart, he almost sprinted in the direction they went; splashing through muddy puddles without a care that they would soil his black trousers, and the ribbon falling loose in the process. Edgar stopped, panting hard. He had been running for nearly ten minutes straight and there was still no trace of Lady and Evangeline. How hard could it be to loose two extremely silly, extremely soppy, golden blonde dogs in a lush, velvet green forest?! They had only been let loose for about half a minute, but they had vanished into thin air! Edgar knew he was in big trouble when he returned home dog-less. But what he didn’t know was what his uncle would do to punish him?
Yapping in the distance caused the boy to look up from the forest floor where his tears were silently falling. A broad grin spread across his face and he raced to where the noise came from. It was five minutes before he was there, and somewhat, he wished he hadn’t. Edgar really didn’t feel like talking to anybody…
A young man stood stock still with his back to him. Edgar couldn’t see him clearly from behind the branches he was hiding, but he could see a head full of blond, lustrous curls that looked almost like silk in the hazy light from the sun. In his hands was a loaded shotgun, which he recklessly tapped against his legs as he presumably waited for somebody. A pile of game birds lay in a heap at his feet, eyes glazed over by death, and coated in something that looked suspiciously wet — almost like dog saliva.
‘Aha!’ Edgar yelled as he leapt from his hiding place — most likely startling the boy he was watching mere seconds ago — to find his two dogs laying near the pile of dead pheasants, one of them watching contentedly as the boy added more birds to the collection.
The boy let out a small scream and clamped a hand over his mouth, almost dropping his gun and peering over his shoulder anxiously. When he saw who it was, he turned back around to face his end of the forest, heart thumping in his chest wildly. Edgar in return was equally as surprised, and especially so to find his old friend in such an extraordinary place.
‘I’m sorry to startle you,’ he said gently, approaching him with the smallest smile he could manage. In actuality, he was suppressing tears of joy. ‘I see you have my dogs, Maurice.’
‘Ah, um, yes. I think they were attracted to me by the pile of game birds,’ Maurice giggled softly, his cheeks flushing a pale pink. ‘They’re really sweet,’ he said, rubbing Lady behind her ears.
The shotgun was still in the boy’s hands. Loaded. Edgar wished he would put it down or at least let all the bullets out of it.
‘What are you doing here?’ Edgar asked after an embarrassing silence. He stared intently at the gun. Maurice, getting the message, reluctantly laid it down beside him.
‘I live on the other side of the forest, silly. Now I’m wondering the same about you. I thought you lived all the way over in Dover.’
‘I’m….’ Edgar paused. ‘Staying with a relative for the summer.’ He looked at Maurice and laughed awkwardly, ‘My parents don’t want me about, so I decided to live with my uncle instead.’
‘Aleister Chambers, huh?’ Maurice said silkily, nodding slowly. ‘I’ve heard a lot about him… And I had no idea you were related!’
‘Yes, he’s the viscount. Um, what exactly have you heard about him?’ Edgar said cautiously. Whatever he heard about his uncle couldn’t exactly be good…
‘Well, um,’ Maurice paused, willing for something nice about his neighbour to come to mind, but nothing would. ‘He’s apparently training to become a doctor, right? Wouldn’t it be marvellous to have a doctor in the family!’
What he really wanted to say was that the viscount of Druitt was an absolute mental case, and the neighbourhood weirdo, but he didn’t want to offend his friend by insulting his family members, did he?
Edgar beamed happily. ‘Yes, he’s got a medical licence but doesn’t work right now. He wants to major in neurological medicine, but first he’s got all these exams and courses to finish first… which is why he’s so dull to be with right now… I’m just hoping I’ll learn something by spending time reading some of his text books, but they’re all really complex for me to even think about. I’ll never be a doctor at this rate!’ Fully aware he was babbling like an idiot, he stopped for breath. ‘Anyway, how is your summer going?’ he added to be polite.
Really all this small talk was setting him on edge. The last time he spent time with Maurice Cole, Maurice went crazy and kissed him! Just looking at his cute, girly face reminded him of that day — and truthfully, that was something he would really rather forget... It made his cheeks burn with shame when he realised that kissing another boy wasn’t as bad as his mother warned him it was.
‘Good so far,’ Maurice lied, biting his lip and lowering his emerald gaze from Edgar. ‘My big brother and I are out hunting for game, but he’s disappeared off somewhere. And that was when these two dogs of yours came and slobbered all over me and my birds.’ He laughed and bent down again to play with the cocker’s big droopy ears.
Truthfully his summer had been awful up until now. His brother was a tyrant, always telling him what he can and can’t do (wearing makeup was one of them), and just generally beating him up over silly little things. When he complained about it to their father, he just thumped him on the back and told him to man up. His mother suggested going into the forest to shoot some birds together and clear the air. Truthfully, that had to be the stupidest thing that ever escaped the loathsome woman’s lips. Stanley and Maurice had spent the whole time together, apart. At the first opportunity he could find, Stanley vanished into the trees. Maurice missed the days where they loved each other; where he could call his brother ‘Stan’ without being hit, and where he wouldn’t have to be worried about being insulted for being ‘effeminate’ or ‘queer’ in his brother’s books. As he was 16 and his big brother was 21, it seemed Stan had no time for him anymore… He was always off doing something. Whether it be reading books about the economy or going out dancing with stupid girls, Maurice knew none of those things should be more important than spending quality time with his younger brother. Nowadays it just seemed like he hated him, and Maurice couldn’t blame him.
Edgar grinned, his entire face radiant. Maurice knew he shouldn’t be thinking about kissing him again, as he found out the hard way that he didn’t like it the last time they kissed, but he just looked so handsome and proper. Besides… his brother was gone, and they were all alone now…
Maurice moved closer to him and gestured for him to sit with him on the makeshift bench. As his trousers were already ruined by the mud he had ran through earlier, Edgar had no objections to sitting on an old log. He sat next to him, perhaps closer than was really necessary — or appropriate — and smiled.
‘I’m so happy to see you, you know, Maurice. I was so crushed before, to think I couldn’t even say goodbye to you… But now we can spend the entire summer together! I really missed you.’
Maurice glowed with happiness at Edgar’s words. Yet something within him couldn’t help but wonder:
‘And what about Harcourt?’
Edgar had known his old fag for a very long time, and came to know what he says sometimes isn’t really what he means. He knew Maurice and his ways of acting really well by now. The boy could be complicated. Just like himself… It was a good thing Redmond could read between the lines. As well as knowing his insecurities and insane jealousy, Edgar also found out his terrible hatred of Joanne Harcourt.
Well, in a way you did replace him with Harcourt, He thought to himself, carefully watching Maurice’s sullen pout. It’s really no wonder he gets so miserable when he’s mentioned.
He saw Cole eyeing the shotgun like he intended to actually use it, and quickly mumbled: ‘He refused to even write to me.’
‘Oh, that’s good!’ Maurice bubbled before flushing and correcting himself. ‘I mean—’
‘You don’t have to pretend for me, I know you hate him,’ the eldest boy said grimly, his lips pressed together in a sly smile. ‘But there’s no need to be jealous anymore, he is too frightened to even write to me, so you have me all to yourself.’
‘Frightened? Why frightened?’ Maurice questioned, feeling a little uneasy. What could have gone on between the two to make Harcourt afraid?
‘Ah, forget I said anything,’ Edgar said, his tone suggesting that if Maurice so much as mentions Harcourt one more time, then he won’t be in the best of moods. ‘It doesn’t matter anymore.’
Maurice dropped it. Yet in his friend’s mahogany eyes was something so dark that send chills down his spine.
‘Wait a minute…’ Maurice said, ‘that reminds me. Why weren’t you at school for the last few weeks of term? You just vanished all of a sudden, and it scared me. Were you sick? Now that I think about it, neither were the rest of the prefects.’
‘I was expelled,’ he confessed, but said nothing more.
‘What?! Why?’
‘Drop it, Maurice. I don’t want to talk about it, especially not to you.’
‘Well, alright,’ Maurice said huffily. ‘And there I was thinking you were just avoiding me!’
‘Now why would I do that?’ Edgar asked, gently turning Maurice’s face to look at him directly. ‘We’re friends, remember. Even if I still find it hard to forgive you…’
Maurice could feel the heat creeping to his cheeks one more time at this touch. The thought of kissing Edgar was unbearably sinful (especially as his older brother could be secretly watching from afar), but so tempting right now. He leaned a little closer until his head was almost on the ex-prefect’s shoulder. As Edgar’s hair was loose — a sight Maurice had never seen before — he could admire the length of the lustrous blond hair he possessed, how silky soft it looked, and how much he ached to run his fingers through it and kiss his cherry red lips.
‘School just won’t be the same without you,’ he said dismally, feeling Edgar freeze a little at their closeness.
Edgar grunted, wishing he would stop talking about Weston College. It was making him feel close to tears.
‘You hair looks gorgeous like this, Edgar,’ Maurice purred, his green eyes sparkling like jewels, as he knew he was doing something naughty. He didn’t have to put on airs when the rest of the Swan Gazebo weren’t there. ‘Do you usually wear your hair down like this in the holidays?’
‘No, my hair tie came loose,’ he answered coolly, not liking where this was going.
Ouch. Maurice hated that tone. So resentful... So cold, just like his older brother.
‘It’s so handsome,’ he said gleefully, reminding Edgar a little of a naughty fairy in a fairytale his mother would often tell him as a child. ‘And soft, too,’ he added, playing with the long strands of hair.
Suddenly the younger boy leaned so close Edgar couldn’t stand it any longer. All his concerns and predictions disappeared, however, when they became inches, centimetres, and even millimetres apart. The only thing he could feel was Maurice’s delicate fingers stroking his hair. The younger smiled contently and cocked his head to one side, emerald eyes flashing like a cat’s. He let his eyes drift closed, his carefully made-up eyelashes fluttering against his cheeks as he took in a deep breath.
Edgar felt drunk. Completely intoxicated, as the boys hands fell from his hair in down onto his chest, his fingertips feeling gently like little spiders legs. He closed his eyes, ready to feel Maurice’s lips against his own. But they never did.
‘Maurice!’ Came a male voice, causing Edgar’s eyes to flutter open. ‘Maurice!’
‘Sorry,’ Maurice whispered, looking about as disappointed as Edgar felt. ‘That’s my big brother calling.’
A boy older than Redmond prowled into the clearing, eyeing both boys with disgust. He looked like he was in his twenties, and was the complete polar opposite of Maurice. With dark brunette hair and glacial blue eyes, he could have been a complete stranger. Yet he wasn’t unattractive. Quite the opposite, Edgar supposed. He possessed a heart-shaped face and peachy skin, large yet frosty azure orbs, and neatly combed, formal hair. And it seemed, the boy wasn’t exactly a stranger after all. If he could cast his mind back two years ago, this boy was the prefect for Scarlet Fox in 1887. Stanley Cole.
As the man kept staring, Edgar felt he had to say something, anything, just to stop that penetrating stare. He couldn’t believe this boy was Cole’s brother. Not at all.
‘Edgar Redmond,’ he smiled confidently, offering his hand to shake. ‘How do you do?’
‘Pleasure,’ the boy said sarcastically, ‘I’m Stanley Cole. His elder brother,’ he jabbed a finger at Maurice and completely ignored Edgar’s outstretched hand.
The elder boy looked at Edgar although he were something disgusting on the sole of his shoe. A look that almost drove the poor boy crazy, as he was used to being the best of the best, the man that drove all the ladies (and some of the men) to swoon; Scarlet Fox prefect, and the viscount’s nephew, high among society. Biting back a rather unnecessarily aggressive reply, instead he smiled calmly and pleasantly, hoping for Maurice to get him out of this uncomfortable situation. He always used to, knowing his fag master well.
‘Brother,’ Maurice simpered, mincing his way over to Stanley and looking as comfortable as Edgar felt. ‘You’ve been gone a long time. So long, in fact, that I got bored of waiting for you to get that bird, and almost went home. Edgar’s been good company. Don’t you think we should invite him around for dinner sometime?’
‘I don’t think that would be necessary,’ his brother retorted, not even bothering to sound polite this time. ‘Besides, we have a lot of shooting practice to do.’
He glared at Edgar ferociously although to say, “you can go now”. But Edgar refused to move, instead, picking up Maurice’s fallen shotgun and slinging it over his shoulder, and smirking triumphantly.
‘Mind if I join you?’
‘I would love for you to join us,’ Maurice quickly interjected, placing a hand on Edgar’s upper arm, although to comfort him. Both boys knew they needed as much comfort as they could get with Stanley around. ‘And I’ll bet you have much better aim than Stan. He only managed two birds.’
Sitting down and crossing one leg over the other, Maurice smirked playfully as he watched both men competitively shoot birds from the air — each one as eager to win as the next — and all for his sake. The two seemed just about ready to give up on silly old birds and turn on each other with their guns. Now he knew how a maiden from medieval times would feel, watching her two loves compete over her heart in a jousting tourney. It was bloodthirsty, yet romantic; and that was what the sixteen year-old found himself loving most of all, as he sat in a pile of corpses as sweet as a mountain of chocolates and love letters.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Electra Heart

Yay! First picture for the new year! I'm not sure why, but making a new folder in my computer called '2014' made me very excited. :D And in case it isn't obvious, Marina and the Diamonds is one of my favourite singers!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Colour Me Blood Red: Chapter One

In the soft, roseate light of a mid-July morning, the slumped shadow of a young man could be seen skulking his way up the path leading to the Viscount of Druitt’s estate. In his hands were a genuine leather travel case and a top hat, which he fingered anxiously in the long walk up to his uncle’s home. Silken, long blond hair streamed behind him like ribbons, as for once he had forgotten to tie it back with his usual red hair tie. Since the boy had been expelled from his school, he couldn’t bear to look at the colour red any longer, and the red wild rose he usually wore in the button hole of his blazer was crumpled and thrown into the nearby stream. He no longer cared for red; the colour of romance, passion, and riches, for it also stood for the colour of spilt blood and cruel, violent murder.
For once it wasn’t raining, at least he had that to be grateful for. Instead, the sun rose from behind the estate, and the old oak tree he was resting against began to sway in the early morning breeze. Shadows rose and fell against his ashen face as he lingered behind the tree, wondering what his uncle’s reaction would be when he knocked on his front door. Disappointment? Shame? Anger? All of them sounded terrible to Edgar Redmond, and he wasn’t sure if he could handle any more sadness for the time being.
Gathering all the courage he could find, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and marched his way to the mahogany door, completely unaware of the blond man watching him from the security of the second storey window. Hesitating for a fraction of a second with his hand poised in a knocking position, he rapped on the door and gasped at how loud it sounded in his ears. For the past few days he had became accustomed to a deadly silent manor house, as apposed to the lively, sometimes even rowdy Scarlet Fox dormitory he shared with his fellow students. But that was all gone now... And Edgar became wrapped in a frosty cold silence as thick as snow when his parents refused to speak with him any longer. Which was why he decided to spend his now endless summer holidays with his mother’s younger brother, his uncle Aleister Chambers. He hoped and prayed he wouldn’t be away somewhere on holiday, like the rest of his classmates. Uncle Aleister was his last resort.
Instead of the tall, slender man with hair as long and blond as his own, Edgar’s eyes fell on a dark haired man, stout and florid-faced. Two golden cocker spaniels rushed out, yipping and barking giddily, greeting their new friend. Edgar crouched down to run his hands through their silky gold ears and rub their tummies as they licked at his fingers. He risked a glance up at the stranger before him, and smiled nervously, wondering if he had the right place. After all, he’d visited his uncle’s estate before, but not as often as he used to, as he usually had boarding school to attend, but not any more…
‘Can I help you, young man,’ the stranger said politely, yet his eyebrows were raised. The Chambers family had not been expecting visitors today.
‘Hello there. I’m Edgar Redmond. I want to see my uncle Aleister. Is he home?’
‘Oh, of course. I’m his butler, James.’ He smiled, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, by the way, and I’m sure it will be a pleasant surprise for the Viscount, too.’
‘Thank you,’ Edgar said gratefully, feeling welcomed already. He was afraid he’d be an unwelcome guest.
The butler gestured for him to follow as a nearby steward took his jacket from his arm. The halls smelt of juniper and something sugary sweet, just like he remembered as a young child. Now that he thought about it, his uncle always smelt sweet, like candy floss or sherbet lemons. Sometimes he felt faint when he came to stay here in the holidays. Secretly he wondered if his uncle took opium, and that was the cause of the strange smells that clung to the furniture and upholstery.
The two spaniels followed suit, keeping close to his ankles as he followed James through to the parlour upstairs, where his uncle was waiting for him, not looking surprised in the least. Two women Edgar had never seen in his life were flanked either side of him, giggling and twirling ebony hair around their fingers as Aleister spoke with them. When he entered, all conversations stopped and everybody turned to face him. Edgar squirmed slightly on the spot, wishing James could be taller so that he could hide behind him. He wasn’t usually shy in the slightest. In fact, being the prefect of Weston College gave him an audience he quite loved, as much as his own family. Whenever he passed by the other students, his loyal fag by his side, all eyes were on him, admiring and riddled with jealousy at the same time.
‘Welcome, Edgar,’ Aleister said in a fruity, rich voice. He sounded drunk already, and it was only 8 o’clock in the morning. ‘I saw you sneaking up the garden path, like a little spy, you were.’
The two women either side of him tittered although he were the funniest man on the planet, causing Edgar to flush a delicate rose pink.
‘Hello, uncle. I h-hope you don’t mind me visiting,’ he mumbled, brown eyes cast down to the carpet below. It was red. That hateful, detestable red! ‘Did mummy and daddy not call to say I was coming? Ah, they must have forgotten. I’m sorry.’ His lies sounded weak, and he hated himself for that.
Mummy and daddy?’ his uncle chided. ‘Shouldn’t you be calling them “mother” and “Sir” by now?’
The girls giggled again, making Edgar wish he had never decided to come. Thankfully the two dogs were sat at his feet, giving him a small comfort. At least they love me, he thought miserably.
‘Girls, you can go,’ Aleister spoke softly, letting go of their gloved hands and gesturing to the door. ‘Edgar isn’t exactly the best with women.’
‘Uncle!’ he exclaimed as the two girls passed him, giving him disgusted looks on the way. They both wore emerald green dresses made of the highest quality silk. The height of fashion. And both of them had curled dark hair and a string of pearls around their necks. The pair looked like twins about his age — 19 — and Edgar had to resist the urge to strangle them with their own jewels as they passed him by.
‘Sorry, my dear,’ Aleister said gently, gesturing wordlessly for Edgar to sit beside him on the chaise longue. ‘I wasn’t exactly expecting you, but never mind. It’s always lovely to see you. How’s school? Are you enjoying the holidays?’
‘Hmm.’ Edgar grunted in reply, rubbing the dog’s ears again. His uncle could pick up on the brittle tone of his voice. ‘It’s fine.’
‘Really now?’ he questioned, smirking irritatingly. ‘Because you are not wearing your school uniform today. Usually you wear it all summer, because you’re so proud to be a prefect at Weston College. Is there something you want to tell me?’
‘You wouldn’t understand,’ the youngest man muttered dismally, ‘Promise you won’t become angry with me, like my parents.’ He didn’t particularly feel like talking, yet he knew to let it all out would be healthy. He let out a small, forced smile. ‘And don’t tell anybody either.’
‘That’s not like my elder sister to get angry,’ the viscount admitted. ‘You can tell me anything, dear. I promise. You know I don’t like to scold.’
The youngest broke into a big grin. ‘There, that’s more like you, now!’ His uncle beamed, causing him to look down and chuckle, still stroking the two dogs at his feet. ‘Despair is not a good look for you… You’re usually so relaxed and cheerful.’
‘Alright, start from the beginning, and James will bring us Ceylon tea whilst we talk,’ Aleister said, gazing intently at James the whole time. James got the hint and scurried off downstairs to prepare the tea.
Edgar took a deep breath and closed his eyes for the second time today. One of the spaniels jumped up onto the sofa to comfort him, sensing his anxiety, before being pushed off by the viscount. ‘I’m not sure if you know already, but… I’ve been expelled from Weston College…’
He paused and opened his eyes, because Aleister gasped dramatically. ‘Don’t be like that!’ he exploded suddenly, for his parents had reacted exactly the same way, despite the letter they had received from the school before hand.
‘I apologise, nephew. Please continue.’
‘Do you know why I was expelled?’ he asked silkily, feeling the tears burning behind his eyelids. He had committed a sin almost a year ago... And it was all his friend, Greenhill’s fault. He knew the guilt would drive him to insanity, and here it was, black and white; and the worst thing was, there was no way out. He would rather have been assassinated than expelled. He loved that school, and everybody and everything there, even the endless mountains of homework they all received each night. They treated him like a prince.
‘No…’ his uncle said slowly, anxious to hear the answer. He had done plenty of bad things at Weston College when he was a boy, but never anything bad enough to be expelled. The worst punishment he ever got was 5 Ys for putting cat faeces into his dorm master’s slippers.
There was a pause where Edgar just listened pensively to the tick-tocking noises of the ancient grandfather clock in the hall. He wasn’t sure he could tell his uncle. Or anybody for that matter… Finally, he sighed and said: ‘Murder.’
Murder!’ Aleister boomed, almost jumping out of his seat, and looking like he could faint. ‘Goodness, child! How are you not in prison for that?! You could have been hung, even!’
His nephew fell silent.
‘Well, I’m sure you had your reasons,’ Aleister said after the silence became suffocating. ‘W-who was it, anyway?’ he asked after it seemed he had calmed down suitably.
‘My ex-fag…’ He muttered, a dull ache settling into his chest.
‘What, Maurice? He was such a sweetheart, though.’
‘No, Derrick Arden.’ Edgar said phlegmatically, ignoring the remark about his other ex-fag. That was another matter playing on the back of his mind.
‘But…the boy was related to the queen, what on earth were you thinking?’
‘I was thinking he was a betrayer!’ the boy roared, tears sparkling in his eyes like garnets. ‘He deceived me. He was a bully, and I couldn’t stand it anymore! Just seeing those poor boys being beaten and taunted by him and his cronies — hell, even the vice principal was on his side — it made me explode, and before I knew it, Greenhill had killed him. It was all a blur. Yet we had to get rid of the body… So I thought of the Aurora Society.’
‘And that’s where I came in, right?’
‘Yes…’ Edgar said calmly, then turned to his uncle, pure rage on his face. ‘If you knew about that already, why didn’t you let on? Why did you make me explain it all, if it pains me so?’
‘Oh, I just wanted to hear about it from your point of view. It was a very interesting conversation, might I add… You’re just like your mother. So calm and sweet on the outside, a ticking time bomb underneath all that facade. How interesting… That’s one quality I never inherited from our family, thankfully.’
The sky faded to slate grey as the morning passed, and the Ceylon tea became stone cold as a silence settled over the estate like a blanket of clouds in the sky. Neither man spoke to another as an uncomfortable aura settled over them.
‘My boy…’ Aleister said after a while. ‘I’m not angry with you, nor disappointed. I’ve been cheated and betrayed before. I am no stranger to the feeling, frankly. So please don’t cry any more. It hurts your uncle, too, dear.’
Edgar had no idea he had been crying. Numbly he became aware of the cold, salty tears slipping down his pallid cheeks, and dripping into the tea cup he held below his face. He sniffed, embarrassed. At home, he wasn’t allowed to cry, no matter how much he needed to. And it felt good to let out all the tears he spent years to suppress. His nanny always scolded him for sobbing when he scraped his knees in the garden, and his father beat him with his leather belts when he cried for his deceased grandmother four years ago. It was shameful to cry. An abomination… Yet his uncle did nothing to stop him, simply casting his gaze away from the boy to give him some privacy.
‘I’m a criminal…’ he sobbed, ‘I can’t believe it. Why couldn’t they have executed me instead? It would have been much less painful.’
‘There, there,’ Aleister cooed, attempting to be comforting. Yet he never had to be comforting before, or comforted himself, as he was a mostly frigid person despite how passionate and romantic he may seem on the outside. ‘You’re getting yourself into a state. I’m certain the other boys who were expelled aren’t as hysterical as you are right now.’
Despite his annoyance at uncle Aleister, the boy had to admit that was true… Laurence would just be reading in his bedroom as always, or practising algebra deep into the night. Violet would be sketching away, not caring at all about what the other boys at school thought of him — and Greenhill was most likely playing rugby or football with his younger siblings, rain or shine. Edgar was the one who took it hardest, feeling partly responsible for covering up a murder that took place right in front of him. He called the Aurora Society his family had strong ties with, and he was the one who said they couldn’t have avoided it. The guilt was unbearable, like a heavy burden on his shoulders, and a huge weight on his chest; teasing and taunting the boy that he could have been hung if the crime hadn’t involved a relative of the queen’s, that had died because of a mistake he made himself. And he hadn’t even been the one with the blood splattered cricket racket!
‘So why are you here?’ the eldest man asked pleasantly. A little smile curved the corners of his mouth as he considered how much his nephew took after him. Both were passionate, beautiful, romantic, with the dark twist of a sociopath; and the strong, fierce desire to be wonderful in high society. Both had been through grave mistakes and trials with the law, yet they both remained strong with a concrete mask of flamboyancy, only put on show for the rest to awe and admire. It was almost theatrical how both men managed to pull through the dark times and still appear flawless. Beautiful on the outside, and rotten on the inside. Edgar Redmond was certainly a relative of the viscount, both in appearance and personality.
‘Well…’ Edgar coughed nervously. ‘I-I was hoping I could stay here for a while… Mother and Sir are furious with me. They don’t even speak with me anymore… And I can’t take it anymore. So, please?’
The viscount couldn’t resist those big brown eyes of his, both adoring and servile, just like a little puppies’. Those eyes reminded him of the many women he danced with during The Season, and how much he loved brown eyes on them. ‘Alright,’ he sighed, still grinning like a Cheshire cat. ‘I have no place to be for the next six weeks, but after that I have to go back to medical school for further exams.’ The man looked disgusted at that (he always hated medical school and all the pressure that went with it.) ‘So stay, please. Make yourself comfortable!’
‘Thank you! Thank you!’ Edgar cried, wrapping his arms around his uncle’s waist. ‘I’m so happy.’
‘Oh, don’t worry about it,’ he chuckled in his typical plummy voice. ‘It’s certainly been a while since a relative has come to stay. James will show you to the guest bedroom. If you please, James.’
The viscount gestured to James, who had heard all the talk of murder and looked absolutely terrified of being left alone with his master’s strange relative. ‘…Of course, Sir.’
Redmond’s sadness was long forgotten as he considered the possibilities of staying at his uncle’s house for the summer; he wouldn’t have to bump into his parents who constantly reminded him of what a terrible person he truly was, there was a possibility his uncle would teach him in the ways of medicine, as being a doctor was the job he dreamt of ever since he was a small child, and the chances of an adventure would be high as he stayed in unfamiliar places. This certainly would be a summer to remember alright, and Redmond was determined to make the most of it.