Seemingly empty (part 3)

Written in response to: Write about two people who form a bond with each other through music.... view prompt

89 comments

Fiction Fantasy Horror

This story contains sensitive content

(CW: Slight gore and mentions of alcohol)


I remember when I was first hired by Charlie Davis. I was younger then, more agile and spry than I am today. Still am, but less.


He was in his mid or late thirties while I was in my early twenties. When I first saw the man with my very own eyes, I knew there was something special about him.


Charlie, an exquisite musical artist. A pianist, and a singer with such a beautiful voice with amazingly poetic lyrics to match. I was fascinated in him. He always wore a brown leather jacket, that has air force pins and badges on it.


His wife, Irene, was a dancer. She's so graceful, both on and offstage. Sometimes she looks like she's floating, levitating off the dance floor, twirling this way and that.


They both connected over their similar career paths. It's a shame that it had to be put to an end. Well, an end for Irene not for Charlie...yet.


Irene's death was an accident. A manslaughter, if you will. An adolescent drunk driver, technically a young adult, crashed into Irene's limo, after she left the gala.


It was a terrible scene. The turned over limo with smashed windows, fire surrounding it, the sound of loud sirens approaching, blood splattered in the back. I was there to see it all go down, because I was Irene's chauffeur. The drunk driver had a cracked skull, and Irene... she got a whiplash then became paralyzed from her neck hitting the smashed window's glass. We were on a major highway; several other civilians called the authorities and an ambulance.


Her very last words were: "Take care of my family, Nilson..."


After a few moments of silence, her body went limp. It was official. She had died. Right before my very own eyes. Though I would NEVER wish harm on anyone in the Davis family, I was kind of relieved that I wouldn't have to kill her myself. That would've been reckless and messy. And I REALLY don't want to get my gloves dirty.


After all, Irene is the entire reason as to why I'm here in the first place. Well, technically it's Moxie who's so important for me to be looking after. The parents don't know about it, or about her in general. Praxidike told me ahead of time, warning me about her potential to bring me down. She's stronger and faster than any normal child. Not as easily injured as normal humans are.


Thankfully I lived, with only a sprained ankle and a mild concussion as my injury. Moxie was only three years old when that happened. Both me, and her father had to raise her without the mother. While Charlie was mourning, I had to take care of Moxie.


I didn't mind, really. I like kids, getting into shenanigans and all. I did have siblings, so it was something I was used to. You might be thinking, "Oh! Nilson must've been the older child then, right?" WRONG. I was the middle child. Ignored by my parents, who didn't have much back then. Only paid attention to my younger and older brothers.


Many times, I have tried earning the attention I so desperately craved, though none of it worked the way I wanted it to. I mostly got a pat on the shoulder and a halfhearted "Good Job" from them, but that was IT. Nothing more, nothing less. No harm, no foul, right? Negative! That affected me quite harshly.


How harshly, though? Sure, I still got good grades, honor roll, 4.0 GPA and apart of the event planning committee. But I was a terrorizer. Pulling harmful pranks on my peers. I don't say that with pride, but hey, it's true. I actually got the idea from my little brother who is a charming trickster, who does that for laughs instead of inflicting pain on others.


Moxie reminds me of my brothers, like a combination of them. She has a happy-go-lucky attitude, and always is an energetic athletic know-how. Basically, she's an optimistic tomboy. Not like that's a bad thing, though it is concerning for Tacito. He's not exactly the strongest guy, emotionally or physically. But he makes up for it in the mental category.


Tacito is insanely smart! Not as clever as me, of course, but he is more intelligent than others. He's a mechanical genius and an alchemy whiz. I've studied him thoroughly, seeing what makes him tick. He's incredibly lucky that he's earned himself a secure future with Moxie, because with her spontaneousness, anything could happen. Whether good or bad.


Although Charlie does spoil her a LOT. More than I would agree with. Thank the all-powerful deities that she isn't bratty, otherwise I've would've snapped a long time ago. She actually is very grateful for what she has, unlike some others who take the wealth for granted those son of a-


"Nilson? Are you okay?" Charlie was looming over my shoulder; he was so close that I could even smell his signature cinnamon scent. The look of concern on his face warmed my heart, and my face.


"I'm fine. I was just spacing out. That's all." I state confidently, even though I felt unsure. Was I fine? How long was I spacing out? Covering my face with my hands, I sigh. This is all too much to process. Praxidike wants me to collect the rest of the items to initiate the plan, I haven't found the rest yet, and he's becoming restless.


"If you ever want to talk about it, I'm always here for you. I can tell that you have something on your mind, but you aren't ready to share it." I stare into the man's kind, chocolate eyes that I just want to swim in. He breaks the eye contact by gawking at the dusty grand piano.


"It's been a while since we've played together," He glances at me, pausing for a moment to form the words correctly in that brilliant brain of his, "Would you do me the pleasure to play the piano with you?"


My breath hitches, how could I ever turn down a request from HIM? I'd be an absolute madman! "O-of course! It would be an honor, s-sir." I stammer like a fool. He sits down on the stool, and I awkwardly slide next to him.


He seemed to notice that I was tense. My hands were shaking, and my heart was racing. My face was flushed, and I was practically sweating BUCKETS. "Relax, it's only me." Charlie chuckles.


It was ONLY him? No, it's because of him. I have no idea why I'm this nervous. I've played the piano with him before, and this time is no different. Why am I acting this way? What's wrong with ME?


I slow my breathing, as I gently place my hands on the tiles. "What shall we play?" Charlie inquires, curious of my answer. "Flight of the bumblebee." He raises an eyebrow at me. "That's quite simple at our skill. How about a challenge? Let's do La Campanella."


----------------------------------------------------------------


My hands were hurting after doing that. Suddenly, my phone rang. "Excuse me Charlie, but I have to take this." He nods, understanding and I rush off out of earshot and into a vacant room. "What do you WANT? I was very BUSY and-" I growl at Morrigan of the phone, but she cuts me off, explaining that she and a bunch of other servants had finally found the last items. Except for one. The ancient wrath reeds.


The ancient wrath reeds are perennial grasses which are usually distinguished by having hollow stems and broad leaves. Well, this certain kind of reed is the complete opposite of the supposedly normal ones you find in wetlands. These ones are most likely to be found near hotter areas, like a volcano. The wrath reeds are full of this warm, sticky, sweet nectar that is oddly spicy. The plant's stem is quite thick while the leaves are thin.


If you were to put that very nectar into a potion, and give it to a person to drink, they would devolve into immediate madness. Bitter hatred that boils the veins. Even over something so small, they'll snap at you, to the point where they'd kill. The affects wear off after a day or two.


"Do not fret. I heard that there is a mysterious traveling merchant coming through our town during the Autumn festival, who has the reeds that we need." Morrigan blurted out frantically, trying to calm my nerves.


"When is the Autumn festival?"


"On the same days it's always been. Through the twenty ninth to the thirty first."


"So, it starts tomorrow... Morrigan, gather all the servants. We're going hunting."


-To be continued...-

June 08, 2022 20:50

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89 comments

Dhwani Jain
09:19 Jul 04, 2022

Don't know how this is related to the other parts, but this is good.

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Ace Quinnton
17:18 Jul 04, 2022

It gives some backstory on Nilson, also explains the ancient wrath reeds, and why Moxie is so important to the story (vague).

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Dhwani Jain
01:32 Jul 05, 2022

Yeah... Lemme read the next part and I'll probably know more then

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Dhwani Jain
14:28 Jul 05, 2022

I need help, ASAP! What would u look for in a Head Girl/ Student Council President if you were the selection committee ?

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Ace Quinnton
14:41 Jul 05, 2022

A spirit to do good and help others, to change the school for the better, someone responsible, respectful, and reliable.

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Dhwani Jain
16:30 Jul 05, 2022

Thanks! I think this will help me a lot!

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Ace Quinnton
16:43 Jul 05, 2022

I hope it does, good luck on your story. Also, by the way, Seemingly empty part 5 is out!

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Dhwani Jain
14:29 Jul 18, 2022

I am the new HEAD GIRL of my school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for your help, Ace!!!!!! <3 How are you doing?

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Ace Quinnton
21:21 Jul 18, 2022

Congratulations! I knew you could do it. What's it like being head girl? I honestly can't say that I can relate to it. I've gotten honor rolls in the past, but that's nothing to your status. Hey, it's no problem. Always here to help out the fellow mutuals. Currently trying to take a break from writing since I started a fan comic prompt challenge and that's taking up most of my creative energy. I probably won't post a story until I've finished it all. Might take a while, it might not. Really depends on motivation. How about you?

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Kevin Marlow
23:05 Jul 03, 2022

With a 3K limit I would have liked less introduction and a full detailed script on the accident, since it was such an important element of how Nilson ended up in his predicament. You have a knack for hooking the reader, yet we still need a payoff on the 'MacGuffin', illustrating the ancient wrath reeds and how they tie the characters and their fates together. Looking forward to part 5.

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Ace Quinnton
23:30 Jul 03, 2022

I'll go fix it right away! Thank you for reading and commenting. The car crash was really hazy at that time, and Nilson was exhausted. Also, he does not care about Irene one bit. The car crash was just making him one step closer to victory. (I'm being vague because there is backstory about why Moxie is so important in the story. You'll probably see it after part 5, maybe in part 6.)

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Moon Lion
04:57 Jun 21, 2022

Hello again! These chapters (despite being set in different times/settings) flowed into each other really well. I know some other people have spoken about adding some detail to the car crash scene, but honestly it plays well into ideas of shock. People going through trauma rarely remember each detail (maybe that's just me talking though). In contrast, I thought a little more visceral of a response, like dialogue or something more emotional from Nilson would have been better? But maybe that's just his character. Getting more insight into him ...

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Ace Quinnton
16:00 Jun 21, 2022

Nilson is a narcissist that only cares about himself, little does he know about the love triangle going on between him, Charlie, and Beckett. (I REALLY want to make this into a poly.) He didn't really care about the car crash, but I'll edit the car crash scene again if I need to. Who's your favorite character so far into the story? Who's your least favorite? And why do you feel this way about them?

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Moon Lion
20:02 Jun 21, 2022

I like Moxie because she's got great lines and a fantastic name. Her character seems relatable. I guess Nilson would be my least favorite, because something about his aura and mannerisms and narcissism just don't appeal to me. The car crash scene makes sense now, so don't worry about editing it. Love triangle sounds interesting:0

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Tj Squared
00:28 Jun 13, 2022

Ackkkk the pieces just went click in my mind. It’s like watching a puzzle come together on its own. It is a little hard to tell who the main character(s) are yet, since the series is just now starting to connect. It’s a very interesting thing you’ve started here! Let me just say that your character development is flawless, and it definitely gives you the freedom to make changes once the reader thinks they know what’s happening. Gotta love those darn plot-twists! Keep it up! Can’t wait for the next part!

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Ace Quinnton
03:15 Jun 13, 2022

Thank you so much for reading, the next one will come as soon as the next prompt rolls around. I'm really glad that you like it. Could you tell me who your most favorite character is so far and who your least favorite character is so far? And a reason as to why you feel this way about them? The main characters are mostly Tacito, Moxie, Nilson and Gwenore. But everyone plays an important part in the story, so I guess you could say that everyone is the 'main character'.

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Tj Squared
03:54 Jun 14, 2022

:D I’d say that Tacito is my favorite because he’s so easy going and he just cares all about Moxie. And as for least, I’d say Nilson (so far, but it might change once we meet the guy behind it all) because he’s just a little on the crazy side and yeah. That’s a fair point lol.

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Ace Quinnton
15:48 Jun 14, 2022

Actually, you readers got a view on the real mastermind's name: Praxidike. He'll be showing up more soon. Tacito is great and is the polar opposite of Moxie. Nilson is okay, but he's a serious egotist that would give up anything to be in the spotlight again.

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Tj Squared
16:30 Jun 14, 2022

Yeah him. Yup

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Zack Powell
04:49 Jun 12, 2022

Alright, there's the Nilson backstory I was looking for. I think he's still my least favorite at the moment (this chapter was mostly about him, so no one else could really get downgraded to least favorite), but this does a good job of humanizing him and making him more relatable. Also, we get a much clearer idea of his relationship with Moxie, which is great. This was a quick one, so not much on the way of critiques or anything, except to say there were a few tense shifts at the end that I noticed. The narrative is in present tense, so I'd ...

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Ace Quinnton
15:26 Jun 12, 2022

I can guarantee that the next one will be interesting... and LONG. (Spoiler alert: It's from Moxie's POV, and she has a LOT to say). Thank you for reading the story and writing a comment. Nilson is still human (at least, we think he is??) with real emotions. Not just a 2-D villain who only hurts people because he can. No, his thirst for attention is so great, that he'll put his own life on the line just to have it one last time. Also, he made the mistake of working with an all-powerful deity, Praxidike. I think that many of the fellow write...

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:45 Jun 11, 2022

Hello once again, Ace! This was such a joy to read all three parts of your story today. I had a fun time with it. You have such an amazing voice for telling these stories. I loved the description of the characters and the dialogue jumped off the pages. I think people should read all 3 stories like I did to get the full experience. Remember that no story is perfect and with the time limits and word count here on Reedsy, I think we all do the best we can. As a whole, this was a great series. With some more work, I honestly think you can ex...

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Ace Quinnton
23:02 Jun 11, 2022

Thank you for reading and writing a comment on them. During writing this, I use the prompts as a tool for the next part, not an entire book yet, but using each prompt as the next CHAPTER. The series isn't over yet. This is still a work in progress. I plan to write this story series in several different character's point of views. Even twice. Seeing things from a different perspective could flip the story around completely, depending on what the character's opinion is. How much they take in around them. Going back and forth, from the good, ...

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:28 Jun 12, 2022

Hello again, my friend! As a fellow writer I can tell you that I appreciate the need to keep getting better. I always tell people to keep writing because the more you do, the better you will get. It's really true. Think of your brain like a muscle that you have to work everyday. If you don't use it, you lose it. As far as critiquing, I have to be very honest and say that I'm not very good at it. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you the same thing. Editing is not my favorite process of writing, but I'm learning to get better at it. ...

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Ace Quinnton
15:38 Jun 12, 2022

That is true. That's why I'll take breaks to write something else on the prompts then once a prompt comes up that might be story related to it (or close but not exactly) I'll continue on. I've told a fellow writer that writing is like clay, you have to pull it up, push it down, and twist it into the story that you want it to become. Self-editing can be hard sometimes, that's why I take my writing to my family or my peers so they can examine it, and tell me what I might need to do, so I can improve. Though, I am my own worst critic, seeing ...

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Daniel R. Hayes
20:50 Jun 12, 2022

No problem :)

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Scott Skinner
20:05 Jun 09, 2022

This is part of a series you've been writing - because I'm not familiar with the characters, I was a little confused about the relationships going on here. For example, I couldn't figure out who Praxidike was, and even Tacito (who I think is Nilson's brother) was a little challenging for me to pin down. Another reader commented that they wanted more description around the car accident. I think it would have been good there, but also around the 'pulling harmful pranks on my peers' part - I was left wondering how harmful? An example would ha...

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Ace Quinnton
20:27 Jun 09, 2022

I suggest that you read number one and two first before going straight to three. Praxidike is the mysterious person that Nilson was talking to in the second story. Tacito is Moxie's boyfriend which is introduced in the very first story. Since the story was from Nilson's POV, the beginning narration was him thinking of the past. That's why it said 'was'. The harmful pranks were both mental and physical. Like frigid water being poured over your head during the wintertime and getting hypothermia. Or destroying something you hold dear right in...

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Philia S
03:42 Jun 09, 2022

Hey! Wonderful story--twas lovely to see the backstory of me favourite character. Also, Charlie x Nilson? A lil critique: It was a terrible scene. The turned over limo with smashed windows, fire surrounding it, the sound of loud sirens approaching, blood splattered in the back. I was there to see it all go down, because I was Irene's chauffeur. Details, details! There needs to be more of that here. XD Anyway, I absolutely loved this! Eagerly waiting for the next part. Hope you're well. -Philia

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Ace Quinnton
14:48 Jun 09, 2022

YES, CHARLIE x NILSON. But what I'm trying to do here is write a love triangle. Beckett likes Nilson, Nilson likes Charlie, and Charlie likes Beckett. In the back of my mind, I thought "The before polysexuals, but PETTIER." I'll get to editing as soon as I possibly can. Thank you for the critique. I'm doing well and feeling well. I hope you are too.

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Philia S
00:39 Jun 10, 2022

WAIT WHO WAS BECKETT AGAIN? MY MEMORY SUCKS- but thas a wonderful idea!

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Ace Quinnton
01:10 Jun 10, 2022

Beckett is the reclusive writer that was roped into Nilson's evil schemes. Nilson is using them, and Beckett has a Stockholm. Part two can explain it.

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Philia S
10:05 Jun 10, 2022

Oh yeah that writer person. I remember now. That dude who drags Nilson to his bedroom and stuff. Very nice!

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Ace Quinnton
16:16 Jun 10, 2022

-Elvis Presley impression- Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

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01:06 Jun 09, 2022

i feel like you're australian for some reason i don't know why lmao

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Ace Quinnton
01:31 Jun 09, 2022

Another writer has actually said the same thing! I'm not, sadly. I'd be great if I was though. It's the 'mate' thing, isn't it? I prefer using unisex pronouns for people. Like 'partner', folks, humankind, comrades, peers, associates, people, collogues, pal, buddy, chum, homie, squad, gang, and such. Though mate is the one I use the most.

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02:09 Jun 09, 2022

oh wow XDD not really, but it helps me think lol i'm australian and idk i just get this feeling sometimes lmao

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Ace Quinnton
02:31 Jun 09, 2022

It's fine. People have mistaken me as Hispanic before in real life, though I'd be the fairest skinned out of all of them. And that's cool! Is it true that the creatures (aka spiders and snakes) there are HUMONGOUS?

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03:15 Jun 09, 2022

oh wow, that's interesting! some of them are, definitely. I don't live there anymore, but i do remember waking up to a pretty big red back spider on my wall XD

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Ace Quinnton
14:40 Jun 09, 2022

Both me and my family would burn the house down on sight if that were to happen to us.

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22:07 Jun 08, 2022

Yay!! Im your 100th Karma point!

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Ace Quinnton
23:01 Jun 08, 2022

YES! I HAVE HIT THE MILESTONE! It's not that big of a milestone, but it's progress. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. What do you think of it so far? Most liked character(s) or least liked character(s), they can come from the 3 parts.

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