Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chapter 8: Catherine Hears The Restless

Sat, October 17, 2074 3:52 pm: 23 Woodland Dr.- Middlebourne, Pleasantview


Arnaud surrendered, thrusting his palms into the air. Cathy stopped running. She tried with great difficulty to hide her labored breathing, focusing instead on the rain that collected at the tip of Arnaud's chin.

"I think we had better go in now," he said.


"You wussy, it's just a little rain," Cathy mocked. She shoved him playfully, eliciting a delicate cry of pain. Arnaud clutched his shoulder to prevent further injury.

"I'm not a wussy," he pouted.

"Are too. You're just afraid that I'm going catch you!" Arnaud released his shoulder and smiled. He hesitantly reached forward to brush a lock of hair from Cathy's face. "What are you doing?" He pulled his hand away, blushing deeply.


"Oh... Nothing," he said. Arnaud crossed his arms over his chest, his blunt little teeth chattering. He then teetered strangely from side to side, looking past her. "I think my socks are wet," he said. Cathy rolled her eyes.

"Ugh, fine," she conceded. "Maybe I can get my mum to make us some hot chocolate or something." Cathy grabbed his arm and led him into the house.

In the kitchen, Cathy's mother was seated across from Arnaud's elder brother Vince, deep in conversation.

"But are you certain? You're taking on the sort of responsibility that many adults wouldn't be able to handle." Cathy's mum patted Vince's hand as if to comfort him. "You shouldn't be too proud to accept help when it's being offered to you." Vince looked startled, even a little flustered.


"Well I--" Vince looked away, pausing in search of the right words. "After our father died, our mother was always sick or working. I had to raise the other three on my own and take care of Mom as well. I hate to say it but if anything, this is easier."


There followed a brief silence. Cathy seized it.

"Excuse me. Mum, can we have some hot chocolate?"


Cathy's mother looked down at her blankly. Cathy knew that this meant that her patience was being tried.

"You know better than to interrupt when grown-ups are talking."

"I'm sorry."

"If you and Arnaud would like hot chocolate, you'll just have to wait."


Cathy glanced over at Arnaud who was leaning against the refrigerator. He didn't look as though he had heard what was being said.

"Ok, Mum," Cathy responded quietly. Her mother turned back to Vince.

"Anyway, as I was saying, you're still in the process of growing-up yourself. You'll miss out on all sorts of experiences..." Cathy's mother's voice was lost in the sound of Arnaud compressing air through his teeth to get Cathy's attention.


"Pssst, hey Cathy," he whispered. Cathy turned to him. "Do you wanna to sit on the floor with me?" She shrugged. It was probably a better option than standing.


A roll of thunder shook the windowpanes. Cathy jumped. It was like the restless groaning of a monster. Arnaud gave her a knowing look. Maybe she was the wussy after all. She smiled at him to mask her unease.

Leaning back on her hands she asked, "Ok, now what?"


Arnaud leaned in close.

"Now we talk," he said solemnly. "I think your mother wants us to move in with you."

"You think so, do you?"

"Yeah. And then we could play together all the time."

"I'd like that."


Arnaud turned his gaze to the linoleum-tiled floor. He seemed embarrassed but Cathy couldn't figure out why.

"I'd like it too," he said. "High five?" Their palms struck and Arnaud's fingers clamped down upon hers almost reflexively. She half-heartedly tried to pull away but he did not let go. His fingers were surprisingly strong for a hand that was as soft as a duckling and slippery as an eel. Vince's voice carried over their silence.

"Well, none of the doctors could really tell us what was wrong with her. But it was a brain aneurysm that finally..."


"Are you going to give me my hand back," Cathy whispered.

"Oh, right. Sorry." Arnaud let go, bringing his hand down slowly. His fingers slid across her open palm, forming a gesture that did not make much sense to Cathy. He was staring directly at her but his thoughts were clearly distant. Cathy realized that he must have been listening to her mother and Vince. She frowned. It was difficult for Cathy to imagine losing her own parents but she did have some sense of how inappropriate it was for these things to be discussed in front of Arnaud.


"Even if my brother doesn't let us live together, I want us to always be close by. Ok? Always near each other," Arnaud said. Cathy nodded but wasn't quite listening to what she was agreeing to. Big words that had no meaning for Cathy were volleyed back and forth above her head. Words like custody and parasomnia. Whatever the last one was, apparently both of Arnaud's sisters had it. He smiled gently at her. She thought that he might reach for her hair again.


Cathy stared at Arnaud in momentary wonder. It occurred to her that his was not the look of a recently orphaned eight-year-old boy. He wasn't oblivious to his situation and yet he was perfectly contented in it.

Revulsion began to brew in the pit of her stomach. Though she was ashamed to think so of her friend, Cathy didn't know what sort of boy could manage to smile in his position. And furthermore, she had the terrible sensation that she did not want to find out.


  1. The last paragraph of this chapter makes me think that Arnaud is a bit of a creepy kid. The photos before, of the two playing, were quite cute, though.

    Side note- will you be making a family tree or anything to show the offspring of the "original" Pleasantview characters?

  2. Good question! I have a Pleasantview Demographics Sheet that I work from for my own reference. It would be easy to convert that into a family tree of sorts. Given the number of residents that my Pleasantview has, I think that I'll have to make a separate page.

    And yes, this is exactly how Cathy feels about Arnaud. He's a sweet guy and she likes him a lot but something about him is very off.

  3. OK, I've launched the new behind-the-scenes blog, Behind Blue Lake. The link is under "Extras" on the sidebar. There you will find the link to the family tree. I've begun with the Goths and will continue tomorrow with the Calientes. :)

  4. Aw! At first I thought it was so sweet how he had this little crush on her and now I'm worried! Hope that kid isn't a socio.

  5. Something is definitely up with that kid.

    *Races Tiana to finish writing Chapter 32 before she gets caught up.*

  6. How old are these kids? I thought the little flirtiness at the beginning was cute, but it is actually rather out of character for a little boy. And definitely creepy at the end.

    *runs to Wiki to look up Parasomnia*

  7. *checks family tree*

    Arnaud is 8 and Cathy is 7.

    Arnaud is a mystery that will someday be solved but maybe not until he's a little older. And I actually have no idea what his creepy fascination with Cathy is.

  8. He is very sanguine for someone in his situation - he's supposed to be in mourning....

    But if the mom has been ill for a long time, then I guess the kids have been mourning for that long too, and the present situation wouldn't be much worse... it can explain partly why Arnaud's acting like that.

  9. That may very well be part of it. His mother was "sick" for several months. Her death was not an enormous shock (although I am sure that Vince was keeping the full extent of her condition from the other three). His father's death was a lot more impactful to Arnaud because it was sudden and Arnaud witnessed it.

  10. I'm still playing catch up Pen! I really enjoyed this chapter though, the kids were cute, even if Arnaud seems a

  11. And just think, someday I might actually get around to mentioning what's wrong with that kid! *facepalm*

    Glad you're still making it through, Emily!!

  12. I'm rereading this, but I don't believe I ever noticed how creepy Arnaud was! What is going on there? Is he possessed or something? Does he have strange powerz? *makes a mental note to keep an eye on him*

    But yeah, I loved how you had us rooting for Arnaud and Cathy at the beginning, only to turn it around with those last sentences. Brilliant!

  13. Arnaud has an issue that I don't think has come up in the story yet but that is mentioned in the comments. More on that later.

    Thanks, Maruutsu!

  14. Found it! For future reference (ie. new readers), it's in the comments section of this chapter.

  15. Hmmm.... Arnaud *is* a mystery isn't he? I like him.

    *adds him to list of potential favourites*

  16. Thanks, Joseph! More Arnaud to come but not for a long while. His siblings start to take a front seat in the story.