Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
"Why did you bother naming this thing?" Jakob pulled a plastic arm from one of the many boxes Minnie had piled up in her tiny, cramped room. Technically, it was the attic. Minnie let out a little giggle, and promptly bumped her head against the slanted ceiling.
"Shit." She hissed as she rubbed her hand against the spot she bumped. It was Jakob's turn to laugh. He offered Minnie his hand. "The ceiling is higher where I'm standing."
Minnie felt her cheeks start to heat up. She took Jakob's hand. His fingers interlaced with hers. Her cheeks only grew warmer. She nearly lost her footing when he brought her to the center of the room. She stretched out to her full height, and let out a little sigh of relief. "Thank Mer-I mean, God. Thank God."
Jakob raised a thick brow at her. His ever-present grin only grew larger. "So, the doll. Why'd you name it?" He kicked at the box. The plastic bits rattled within it. Minnie pulled a plastic leg from the jumble of parts and jabbed it playfully at Jakob's chest. "She is not a doll." She stated. "This," She looked at the leg with the sort of look she assumed a mother gave their newborn baby. "Is a piece of Natalie, my mannequin. She has the pleasure of wearing the most exquisite designs made by yours truly." She jabbed a thumb at herself. Jakob put his hands up in surrender and took a few steps back.
"Woah, okay, okay. I guess I'm in the presence of a fashion goddess." He said softly. Minnie set the leg back in the box and brushed some invisible dust off her shoulder. "You bet."
"So..why's a fashion goddess like you stuck in a town like this?" He asked, peering up at her through his long lashes.
"Oh, gosh. Do you want the short or the long of it all?" She sat down on the boxful of tulle, which sprung back when she settled her weight on it.
"I've got time. Why don't you go ahead and tell me the long version?" Jakob plopped himself on the ground and sat in front of her, legs crossed.
"You really want to hear it?" Minnie asked, leaning forward so that her elbows rested on her knees. She cupped her cheeks in her palms. Jakob gave her one single nod.
"I'm..from the South End of Boston. Me and my dad--well, me and the rest of my family are from Salem." She started.
"That's where the witch myth started, right?" Jakob asked. Minnie felt her the pit of her stomach grow heavy.
"Um.." She tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear. "Yup. That's about right. They commercialize on it, like, hard."
"Hey, the same thing happens here, too." Jakob snickered. "Half the guys around here wear ten gallon hats and strut around here like they're some fancy oil barons when they don't know the first thing about business in general."
"I mean..yeah, I guess. I don't know the first thing about either of those things, but I'll take your word for it." Minnie crossed one leg over the other and shifted on her tailbone just ever so slightly. The flaps of the box crumpled. She winced.
"Proceed." Jakob said. Minnie cleared her throat in an attempt to stall for time. She had always had a problem with regaining her train of thought once she lost it. "Oh, yeah. Right, so me and my dad moved to the South End when he had enough money to move out for my grandparents' place. And we lived there until the start of this summer. He needed a change of pace. Being in the theatre business can be a lot, y'know?"
"So he just packed you and all your stuff up, just like that?" Jakob tilted his head in question just like Emmie had earlier. "Damn. That's..something."
"Tell me about it." Minnie rolled her eyes.
"Don't you miss home at all?" He asked, soft brown eyes gazing straight into her own muddy hazel eyes. She snorted at that. "I didn't really have friends at school, or around where I lived. So it's not much of a loss in the social sense. But..the atmosphere, it was just..a way to escape that."
Jakob pursed his lips. "..Sorry to hear that." He stretched out his legs and stared at the rubber toes of his sneakers. "I'm glad you're here, though. It's gonna be nice to have someone around here to talk about teenager stuff with. If I have to talk about my favorite Paw Patrol characters with my sister one last time, I might just willfully hit myself over the head with a hammer."
Minnie let out a laugh, a loud one that echoed into more, and more. The naked bulb that hung above the two of them started to flicker rapidly. Jakob was closer to it than Minnie. He looked at it with an air of concern, and scooted back a little. Minnie didn't notice. The bulb started shaking wildly too, as if there was a creature inside it desperate to escape its holding. Minnie still didn't notice.
The attic went pitch black, and jagged glass chunks went flying in every possible direction. Jakob stood as a chunk the size of his head whizzed past one of his ears. It smashed against the wall, and broke apart once more.
They were silent for at least a minute afterwards, unmoving. Minnie was still perched on her box, but her back was ram rod straight. Her stomach softened from the pit it formed. It turned to mush and started to turn somersaults, over and over again. Jakob's eyes were wide. His barreled chest was heaving.
"Are you okay?" She asked, voice barely above a whisper. Jakob's eyes darted over to her, then over to the fixture where the bulb had hung from, now empty. He raced for her door, grabbed the oval-shaped doorknob with both hands and jiggled it until the door came loose. He bolted into the hall, and sprinted down the stairs. Minnie followed after him, but lost her footing just as she reached the staircase. As she fell, she caught a glance of Jakob's shoe. It was a blur of burnt orange that disappeared as he cut across her lawn and into his own.
Minnie struggled to her knees. At the edge of the top stair, there was a crescent shaped smear of blood. She pressed a couple of fingers to her chin. Crimson dotted her fingertips.
"You don't make for a very good playmate, do you?" Lucius was sat on the bottom step, leering at Minnie. His smile was full of pointed, pearly-white teeth. Minnie felt her brows furrow, and her eyes fill with tears.
"..I guess I don't."
"I saw your little friend go running for his life, practically, and guess what? He ran right into the waiting arms of another boy." The cat's tail flicked back and forth excitedly. He was reveling in seeing Minnie caught in her self-woven web of stupidity yet again, as he called it.
The tears started to slip down her cheeks, along with the blood from the wound indented within her chin. She stood slowly, and trudged her way to the bathroom. She bunched up the hem of her dress and pressed it to the dripping cut. It was small, but deep.
She used her shoulder to push open the bathroom door.
She was afraid look at herself in the mirror. If she did, she thought she would burst into big, baby sobs. She allowed herself one quick glance, and kept on staring at herself. Her mascara had run down her cheeks, leaving jagged twin charcoal-colored streaks in their wakes. Her eyes had gone a bleak grey-brown color instead of their usual tainted hazel color.
Her hair stuck out at odd angles.
"What were you thinking?" She asked herself. "That joke wasn't even that funny, anyways. You laughed like a maniac. Of course that was going to trigger something."
Her reflection's face crumpled along with her own, and she cried those big baby sobs that she was so afraid of letting out. She sunk to the tile below her and pulled her knees up to her chest. After a few minutes, she was joined by Lucius, who had his head bowed in what Minnie could only hope was shame. He scuttled beside her, and let something drop from his mouth. It was a Band-Aid, one that was covered with little flower decals. He looked up at her, expecting a response.
"You know..I'm gonna need something bigger than this." Minnie picked up the bandage in between her bloodstained fingers. Lucius' ears sprung up. He shook his head and spat out a curse. "Be glad I got you anything at all. It was the only way to make you stop blubbering." He grimaced. "Ugh, it reminds me of how emotional your father was at your age. The wailing, oh, Merlin. The wailing." He looked at Minnie again, and softened. He climbed his way into Minnie's lap and settled there as best he could. "You're a..sweet girl, you know. Rather aloof, but sweet. He was acting like a quivering thistle, leaving you there to deal with all that glass." He concluded.
Minnie smiled, and pushed the familiar out of her lap. "Thank you. Now go get me a bigger bandage."
Lucius' scowl returned. "I take it back. You've reverted to your infernal nature." With that, he slunk out the crack in the doorway, and clomped down the stairs as loudly as he could. For the first time that day, Minnie genuinely laughed.