The witching hour has long past and yet for reasons unknown foul creatures still walk the lands, howling their displeasure at all things living to the cold stars above.
"My name is Raphael. Raphael.
I said my name is Raphael. Raphael.
My name is Raphael, and I'll see you all in hell!
I'll see you all in hell!
Damn your eyes!"
Well it's not really all
lands, more specifically just the land that run between the stables and main house belonging to the Youngs of Olau. And...it's not so many creatures as it is just one
creature, and he's not so much walking as he is staggering.
The howling is pretty accurate though.
Yes, it's a day that ends in Y so it only stands to reason that Raph is making his way back from the tavern in hopes of passing out before thoughts of home can catch up with him. It's not a perfect system, but it's the one that works....for the most part. And for the the few times that it hasn't, well that's what the guitar is for.
Having now made it to the front door Raph begins the lengthy process of shushing himself, and fighting back wave after wave of drunken chuckles. It would do him no good to wake the children as hell hath no fury like a sleep deprived lioness. Once he deems himself quiet enough to sneak past an insomniatic Splinter, he opens the front door and stumbles inside. His footfalls are silent as he makes his way through the darkened hallways, doing his best to avoid obstacles like toys, furniture, the occasional wall, and in a few careless moments the very floor itself.
Something sputters and pops behind him and Raph turns quickly on reflex. What he finds is not the wayward toddler or disapproving servant he was half expecting, but the embers of a fire still glowing bright in the darkness of the living room fireplace. He sighs in relief and is just about to return to his path when he finds himself caught in a memory. He sways under the force of it, and swears quietly under his breath. He didn't move fast enough this time. He swears again as he mentally steels himself for the course change that now has to happen. Instead of going straight away to his room he must first make a pit stop in the room across the hall; the one that used to belong to his brother. It's time to visit the guitar.
Don't let the mention of the guitar or singing fool you, Raph hasn't suddenly found himself an obsession in music. There's a great giant canyon between drunken pub songs and the study of music, and he is firmly ensconced on the drunken-singing side of things. No the guitar is something left behind from before, when the door still worked, when there was still a way home.
It was typical Mikey; no matter where they went, or how long they stayed there, Mike always managed to forget something. It never failed. Sometimes it was a sock, occasionally a knife set, usually a book, then of course there was that one time where he forgot an entire cat... in Tortall he left behind his guitar. It was discovered a month or so after Mike had returned to Milliways.
At first Raph just rolled his eyes when ever he saw the guitar. It was his opinion that the fewer cheeseburgers there were in paradise the happier he was. As time wore on though, Raph found himself pleased that it was there. The guitar served as a place holder, not for his brother per se, but for the razzing Raph would give Mike when he finally did return to reclaim the damn thing.
Only Mike never did return. Not when the door was still open, and surely not after it had closed. Raph spent a good portion of his morning after hearing of the closed door just sitting in what was once his brother's room sifting through his hang over and staring at that guitar.
As he changes course for the other room Raph finds himself thinking on the memory of the last time he saw his brother play. It was well over two years ago when Mike, Adam and he went to a tavern in search of some entertainment. Mike brought his guitar in the hopes of wooing a barmaid or twelve with some dopey jam band song he'd just learned. When that didn't work Mike spent the rest of the evening serenading both his brother and Adam. That is until Raph emptied a tankard over his head. Good times.
In spite of it all Raph finds himself smiling as he wipes at his eyes with the back of one hand. Happy memories are always welcome until the day one realizes that there won't be more where they came from.
Raph pauses just shy of the doorway. There's a method to this new brand of madness he's invented, and it must be followed to the letter. First there is a mental inventory: Is there enough paper? Is there enough ink? How much sealing wax is left? Then there are the physical requirements: Are his hands steady enough to hold the nib? Is his vision clear enough to work by candle light? Only when he can answer yes
to all of these does he consider adding another letter to the stash within the sound-hole. Failure to maintain the method only brings questions and looks of pity, and Raph can stand neither. On nights when a no
does happen to slip its way in he merely sits in the room with the guitar and waits for his to mind quiet or for the sun to rise, which ever comes first.
Tonight though, there will be a letter. Nothing too ambitious, just a recounting of the day's events, which mostly consist of him rising from the previous day's hang over, working in the stables, and then retiring to the tavern. It doesn't make for interesting reading, but it is a far welcome change from the swear laden threats and pleas which make up the bottom of the pile within the guitar.
Fully prepared Raph opens the door and takes a step inside, but only just the one.
There in the corner, where the guitar used to lean up against the wall, is nothing but a pile of sealed letters.
The guitar is gone.
Raph's stomach sinks, and he barely fights back the urge to vomit.
It's gone. His last and only hope to return home is gone.
Gone and leaving behind only traces of his own desperation.
Mikey always forgets something when he leaves.
This time he’s forgotten his brother.
The room begins collapse around him.
He has to get out of here.
As fast as his legs will carry him Raph breaks for the outside world, and disappears into the night