CHAPTER FOUR: AN ODD INTRODUCTION WITH AUDACIOUS
Ivy woke up with a jolt. She looked around, wondering why the setting had changed, then realised that it had just been a dream.
She couldn’t remember the details, but Ivy knew she had dreamed of her life before she had turned evil, before she had told anyone about her powers. It was an interesting dream, that was for sure. Her family had been there.
Ivy stretched and got out of bed. She went over to her closet, and pulled out a T-shirt and jeans. She had just started to put on a zip-up jacket when she heard a knock on the door.
Ivy froze. Who could be at the door? Was it Saturnine? Did she know where Ivy lived? Ivy doubted it. But still… She didn’t know who could be there. She went over to her window and peeked out. She almost laughed with relief. It was just the mail man.
Ivy put her jacket on the rest of the way, then walked out of her room, and through the house until she got to the front door. She opened it up. “Hello,” Ivy smiled, trying her best to be polite.
“Hi,” the man responded. “I have a letter for an Ivy Animosity. Is she home?”
“Yep,” Ivy said. “You’re speaking to her now.”
“Oh. Well, I was wondering, how come you don’t have a mailbox?”
“I don’t get many letters.”
“Don’t your parents, though?”
“No,” Ivy said, “they don’t. Can I have my letter?”
“Oh. Right. Yeah,” he said, looking though his bag of mail. He handed Ivy an envelope. “Here you go.”
“Thank you,” Ivy said, and was about to shut the door when the man said, “Hold on.”
Ivy blinked, and opened the door, looking at the man sceptically. “Yes?” she asked.
“Well, um, I was wondering…” He glanced at the mail truck, which was parked near the driveway. “Give me a second,” he said, then left her doorstep, heading towards the truck. Ivy watched him for a few seconds, then looked at the letter.
She gasped. It was from Anomaly. How did Anomaly even know where she was? She started to open it, but stopped because the mail man had come back to her door. He had a boy with him, who looked about fourteen, had short brown hair, and was pale. Not as pale as Ivy, of course, but it was still noticeable.
“He wants to talk to you,” the mail man said, then started to walk away, leaving the boy there.
“Hey,” Ivy called after him. He looked back. “Where are you going?”
“He asked me to let him speak with you privately,” the man answered. Ivy arched an eyebrow, then Ivy and the boy watched as he continued to his truck. Once he was inside, the boy turned his attention to her.
“Hello,” he said.
“Um, hi,” Ivy said back.
He stepped past Ivy, and into her house. He sat down on the couch, then looked at Ivy from there.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Ivy said, laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. She could have killed him, but she decided not to, wondering where this was going.
“I’m getting comfortable,” he said. “Are you going to sit down?”
“I suppose I will.” Ivy went over to her favourite chair, which was across from the couch and sat in it, then set the letter down on the small table beside it. “So, you wanted to talk to me?”
“Yes, and I still do. Nice to meet you, Ivy.”
“Well, it’s slightly awkward to meet you, whatever your name is.”
“Oh, how silly of me. I’m Audacious Beguile.”
“Okay then. Well, you already know that I’m Ivy Animosity so there’s no point in introducing myself. Let’s get on with whatever it is that you wanted to talk about, because I think I have things to do at some point today.”
“Of course. I came to ask you about going somewhere with me – a ball.”
Ivy’s eyes widened. “A what?”
He held his hands out in front of him, and laughed. “Okay, that didn’t come out right. You’re sort of a detective, right? You can figure things out?”
“Can you provide security? Can you fight if you have to?”
“Yes, and I can fight even if I don’t have to. But that doesn’t explain—“
“Excellent. I know what you’re going to say, so I’ll just answer now, because you don’t seem like the person to mess with, am I right? What this has to do with going to a ball is that I have to go to it, but there are people there who don’t like me, and want to kill me.”
“I kind of feel like one of those people,” Ivy muttered.
“That’s lovely. Anyway, I need you to come with me. Normally, I could get someone else, but this is the kind of situation where I can’t.”
“And why is that?”
He hesitated. “Well, um, because you look kind of like us…” Audacious looked like he had something to say, but he couldn’t think of a way to say it without sounding crazy. Ivy read his thoughts.
“You want me to go to a vampire ball?” Ivy asked incredulously. “I didn’t even know vampires existed! How do I know your telling the truth?”
He looked shocked. “I never even said anything! How did you do that?” He didn’t sound scared, but more in awe of how Ivy did that.
“Oh,” she said. “I forgot that I couldn’t tell you about magic…” She trailed off. Audacious was looking at her like she was the coolest person on the planet.
“You’re a Sorcerer? That is so awesome.”
Ivy smiled, not used to having people think that she was cool. It was a nice feeling. “So, back to the whole ‘vampire’ thing. How do I know that you actually are a vampire, and you weren’t lying?”
“Well, I didn’t know you could read minds, so what would be the point of lying to myself?”
“That is true. Fine, I believe you.” She thought for a moment. “Do you think I could pull off being a vampire if I went with you?”
“Hell yeah. Have you seen yourself? You look even more like a vampire than I do.”
“You have a point. If I go, what do I get in return?”
“I’ll pay you.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“I’ll pay you a decent amount just for going, and I’ll pay you for every person you have to punch. And I assure you, you’ll have to punch a large deal of people.”
Ivy shrugged. “Seems fair to me. When is it?”
“That’s kind of late, don’t you think? I figured it would be more like eight.”
“Ivy, you’re a teenager. Since when do you care how late something is?”
Ivy laughed. “How am I going to get there?”
“I’ll come and get you around nine-thirty.”
“And will you be in a mail truck?”
He grinned. “No, I’ll be in something better. Well, I guess I’ll be going now.” Audacious stood up and walked to the door.
“Bye,” Ivy said.
“Bye,” Audacious replied. “Oh, and one more thing.”
“Yes?” Ivy said expectantly.
“I don’t think you’ll like it.”
Ivy arched an eyebrow.
“This is a very fancy ball. You’ll need to be fancy too.”
Ivy narrowed her eyes. “Meaning…?”
“Meaning that you have to wear a dress. Not only do you have to wear a dress, but you have to wear a ball gown. Like, the kind that are really fancy and go down to the floor and are pretty. Preferably a dark colour, but you shouldn’t have an issue with that. And you have to do your hair and wear makeup and stuff.” He saw the look of dread on Ivy’s face and quickly added, “Don’t worry, I’m paying you to do that as well.” He left, shutting the door behind him.
“This should be interesting,” Ivy said to herself dryly.
She made herself something to eat, and she ate it, then decided to open her letter from Anomaly. It said,
I think that you feel like there’s something about me that’s confusing, yes? I could sense it in your thoughts the other day. Your mind has a lot of hostility going around, you know that?
Anyway, I wanted to know if you would like to come over for a little while today, just to talk things over. Around 4:00? Because I was wondering… Never mind. I’ll tell you if you show up. I hope you do.
Ivy read over the note multiple times, considering what she should do. It was only about noon, so she still had a few hours, if she were going to go. She stuffed the note in her pocket, then got up and walked to her bedroom.
As she sat down in her chair, a thought suddenly struck her.
There’s something wrong with me.
She frowned, then realised why she had thought that. In the last few days, she had noticed that she was quite clearly changing in her personality. Since she had gotten that phone call from Saturnine Morose, everything was different. She had met Saturnine, who was furious about her having magic, and actually tried to have Ivy killed, something no other person would even dare to do. And when Ivy had met Anomaly, right before she was going to kill her, something seemed to have snapped in her mind. That one word, the simply question Anomaly had asked her with a thought, was changing Ivy from a psychotic assassin to something different. Yes, sure, she was still evil, but she was ever so slightly becoming more… Sane.
And then, just earlier, she agreed to do something – go to a ball, with a vampire – that she wouldn’t have ever done before recently. She normally would have killed Audacious on the spot before he could even ask. But instead she let him come in and talk to her. So what was wrong with her? She wasn’t coming to some huge realisation about how she’s such a terrible person or anything like that, but something just didn’t seem right.
Ivy reflected on herself from a little over a year ago. She had been even less sane than she is now. She had committed the most talked about massacre for quite some time, and she had enjoyed it. She had loved it. She saw it as something to be proud of. Even a few days ago, she had smiled at the thought of her victory.
But now she didn’t see it as a victory. She didn’t even see it as something for her to gain victory from. It was just an act of terrorism, the kind that no one forgets, no matter how hard they tried. Thinking of it now only brought Ivy anger towards herself.
She thought about this, not being able to tell how long she had been thinking about it. She kept becoming angry with herself, then got over it, then became angry again, and got over it again. Ivy sighed and wondered aloud, even though she was the only one around, “What is wrong with me?”
She sat in silence for quite a while longer, not thinking about anything. She started to frown, suddenly remembering Saturnine’s false accusation against her about killing the fat man in Mr Seeker’s building. Saturnine had killed him; she had to have. But then why had she blamed Ivy? Did she want something bad to happen to her, possibly for her to be killed?
Ivy looked at the clock. 3:45 PM. She got up, fixed her hair – simply to look like she hadn’t just been sitting around doing nothing for three hours – and teleported out of the house, and reappeared in Anomaly’s driveway.