Sun and Moon (part 27)

The morning came, and finally Umbry woke up, feeling slightly woozy but otherwise ok. Her leg had mostly healed by now, so at least she could walk properly. Julia woke up just a few minutes later, and they sat together on the couch, each of them trying to pull their thoughts from their fading dreams and back into the world. Something about a scary story, they both remembered… but they didn’t talk about it. It was too strange for words, and had an eerie feel to it.

Julia wasn’t surprised to find Noir sleeping across from them on the chair, but Umbry eyed him with suspicion. “What’s he doing here?” She asked, wiping the sleep from her eyes. “I didn’t hear him come downstairs.”

“You slept pretty deeply,” Julia replied softly. “He came in the middle of the night. I heard him come downstairs, but I guess I must have fallen back asleep…” She yawned.

“You trust him now?”

“He’s not all bad.”

“He knifed Lindsay.”

“People do bad things sometimes…” she didn’t know why she was defending him. It wasn’t as though she had any reason to be on his side.

They both stood up and stretched, slowly, at the same time. Noir still slept soundlessly on the chair. They occupied themselves by looking at the pictures on the wall. Umbry took another look at the very-blue lake out the window. Julia thought the pictures looked awfully familiar. This whole house was very familiar, actually. One picture in particular caught her eyer. It was a photograph of a beautiful young woman, with almost white-blonde hair and dark blue eyes. She was smiling with a sort of thoughtfulness that reminded Julia of Umbry. This woman… what was her name?

Umbry seemed attracted to it too. She stared at it for a long while. “She looks like you,” she said, smiling. Julia nodded. “I thought she looked like you, but…”

They both noticed Noir standing behind them at the same time. “She’s quite pretty, isn’t she?” He asked. “That’s Bianca. The woman from our story last night.”

Julia gave him a quizzical look last night. “I don’t recall anything like that.”

“Neither do I,” Umbry agreed, puzzled.

Noir stared at them for a second, and then figured it out. He looked a little sad. “Ah, I must have been dreaming. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Julia smiled at him, “that happens to me a lot too.”

“Do you want any breakfast? If not, I can simply get my guards to drive you back to your agency.”

“We’ll be fine without any food, thanks,” Umbry said.

Noir went to leave the room.

“Why are you being so nice to us?” Umbry asked. He stopped in the doorway.

“…You wouldn’t understand right now,” he replied, not looking back at her. “But you will, in time. For now I’ll just say there is something of yours that is very precious to me.” After that, he left, and he must have retreated into another area of the house, because they couldn’t find him before they were taken to leave.

The ride home was long and quiet. Umbry and Julia each stared out a window of the car.

“I wonder what he’s looking for,” Julia finally said.

“Hmm.” Umbry seemed to be thinking about the same thing.

Silence, again.

“Hey, Umbry.”

“Yes?”

“Do you think that maybe we’ve forgotten something?” Julia held her head in one hand. “My head hurts whenever I think about these things, but there are just all these blank spots, and…”

“I know exactly what you mean.” Julia looked up at her partner, and Umbry was looking almost too serious.

“Really?”

“Well, for one,” Umbry said, staring sternly at Julia, “you have blood on your shirt. You didn’t last night. Do you know why?”

“I don’t remember…” Julia looked at the blood on her shirt. “It seems like we have a mystery on our hands. And something tells me that maybe that’s what Noir is looking for–”

“Our memories,” Umbry finished. “And you know us. We solve any case…”

“…Night or day,” Julia smiled. “So let’s get cracking.”

***

Noir walked down each step, slowly, deliberately. The room was large and dimly lit, and only one corner was saved for the important things – an IV drip and a heart monitor, which was beating softly and steadily. A respirator, and feeding tubes. And a woman, with long, off-white hair and grayish skin, lying unconscious under the blankets, hooked up to all the equipment around her but still retaining some sort of angelic aura. Surrounding her were pictures that chronicled the growth of a strange child, separated from the rest of the world by something that no one could name but everyone noticed. There were get well cards, and come back cards. Sitting on the bedside table were the three music boxes she had once loved so much – all three were open. When they were opened like this at the same time, a soft melody came out, every box creating harmony with the others. The woman was deeply asleep, and Noir sighed as he regarded her tenderly.

“You’ll be okay, mother,” he whispered to her, taking a stray lock of hair and pulling it behind her ear. “I promise. Once I get your soul back, you’ll be fine.”

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