The Midnight Tower R - Prologue - Voice

[This chapter contains some violence. It's pretty heavy, but not too bad, in my opinion. If it is too much, I apologize, but I don't know the standards you're used to here.]


Prologue - Voice

Surrey, England – Friday, June 9th, 1995.

Matthew Prince. 10 Years old. Dark hair. Bright eyes. He was a normal boy, just like any other, but he'd already been through much more than many. His father never spoke to him. His mother beat him. He had two friends, one who'd died the previous year, and one who he'd never even met yet. He'd been there, he'd spoken to her on the same morning, and when Matthew played the events out in his head, he always remembered a distinct feeling that he wasn’t going to see her again. Every single day, he had to live with that. No-one else knew about that, and they wouldn't have treated him any differently if they did.

Matthew was walking back from school. It was raining, below seven degrees Celsius, he was alone, and he had no coat or sweater. His school shirt was soaked to the point where the skin beneath it was visible, and his dark, greasy hair was clinging to his forehead. A day where most others would be rushing past him to get to their homes, but he took his time walking back in any weather. Even a hurricane would be better in comparison to what was waiting for him at home.

He used to arrive back home a lot earlier. There was a family who lived a little way down the road who he'd used to travel to school with. They dropped him off at the gates though, so his parents didn't actually see them. He didn't talk to them much, and the moment the two kids got into school, they actually went to great lengths to avoid Matthew. The family moved to America last year though, so Matthew just carried on walking as normal, but 'forgetting' to mention that he no longer went to school with them.

He picked up his pace a little, he was okay in the rain, but last time he'd spent too much time in this heat (or lack of heat,) he'd been shivering all week. His house was only a few streets away by this time, and he transferred from a fast walk to a slow run.

“Stop,” came a voice from somewhere distant, but it seemed closer than it sounded.

Matthew obeyed the command without realizing, looking around for where it had come from.

“You can't see me, but you have to listen, there are three drunken high school kids in that street you're about to turn into, and one of them has a knife. You have to turn back and go around the block,” it said.

“What are you?” Matthew demanded of the invisible person. At least, he assumed it was a person, it spoke English legitimately, but Matthew couldn't identify an accent. It did sound female, however.

“We'll get to that later, just run.”

Matthew did as he was told, turning the other way. 'It's a voice from nowhere,' he thought, 'who knows what it could do if I don't listen to it.'

“I'm not dangerous, Matthew,” said the voice, “I'm your anismastis.”

“My what?” he asked, stopping in his tracks.

“Great, I knew you'd stop if I answered. RUN!” It ordered. Matthew obeyed again, still not sure about the intentions of the voice. He saw whose side the voice was on in the next few seconds.

“There, I heard a voice,” came from behind him. The voice was telling the truth.

“You're right, he's making a run for it!”

“He heard us, grab him.” It was useless for Matthew, he couldn't run nearly as fast as the two who'd come after him, as they were at least six years older than him, and from the look of them, they actually enjoyed sports.

He'd not even reached the end of the road before they caught him, one grabbing each of his arms, and literally dragging him back to the boy who'd given the order. The pavement was soaked to the point of flooding, and his school trousers lost any chance of getting home in one piece as the rough surface under the water tore through them.

The voice was right, the boy had a plastic carrier bag full of beer bottles, and a half empty bottle of beer in his other hand. He had thick blonde hair, which was relatively short, but appeared to be oblivious to the effects of the rain. He was wearing a tracksuit, as were the two dragging him, and as he put the bag down, his hand crept into his inside pocket, where he extracted a knife.

He could have taken the knife straight from his mother’s kitchen, it was a regular knife used for cutting meat or cheese, but Matthew didn't suspect that those were his intentions. He waved the knife in front of him as Matthew was thrown down and the two boys returned to the first's side. Matthew went to get up, but was met by a punch in the chest, which completely knocked the wind out of him.

He crouched on his hands and knees, gasping for breath, but before he could get any, he felt fingers clamping around his throat. It was one of the two who'd dragged him over, and the one with the knife was pointing it straight at Matthew's chest.

“What did you hear?” he demanded. Matthew couldn't have told him, even if he had heard anything. The fingers at his throat were so tight he couldn't even shake his head. The knife-bearing boy saw this and put his hand on the shoulder of the boy who had his hands around Matthew's throat. The grip loosened, but the hands remained, and Matthew had a few seconds to catch his breath before finally answering.


“Then who the hell were you talking to,” asked the knife-boy.

“I wasn't,” Matthew replied, earning him another punch to the chest.

“Liar! We heard you! Now, tell me, what did you hear about the beer?”

“Carl, leave him, I don't think he heard about stealing the beer,” argued the boy who hadn't done anything yet, except for drag Matthew over. Clearly he could see the fear in Matthew's eyes from where he was standing and doing nothing. 'Carl' turned to him, holding the knife up towards the protester.

“He definitely has now, idiot!” Carl shouted, before slashing the knife across the boy's chest. The boy screamed and fled, heading the way Matthew was headed originally. The one holding Matthew went to chase him, but was held back by Carl.

“Leave him, we'll get him properly tomorrow!” he instructed; then held the knife up to Matthew. The boy who was left re-assumed his position at Matthew's throat, and held on even tighter than he had done before. He was scared now, knowing that Carl would even turn the knife on his friends.

Carl grabbed Matthew's arm and tugged it towards him, holding the knife to his throat.

“Tell me the truth, what did you hear?” Matthew shook his head very carefully, but still felt the cold metal of the knife graze his skin.

“You are telling the truth, aren't you?” Carl admitted, throwing him backwards, away from him, but into the arms of the other boy.

“Hold out his arm Jason, we're gonna have some fun anyway.” There was something menacing about the way Carl had spoken the command, and the twinge in his eyes as he drew back Matthew's sleeve.

“You have to get out of here, now.” It wasn't Carl or Jason, but Matthew recognized it as the voice from earlier.

“That's not Carl Jenkins anymore; he's under the influence of Rahn.” 'Rahn?' Matthew thought. It sounded like some sort of drug, but he'd never heard of it before. By now, Carl had brought the knife up to Matthew's wrist.

“Rahn's not a drug; he's much more dangerous than that. I'll explain everything one day, but for now just remember that I can see your thoughts. If you want to talk to me, think it.”

'What is going on?' Matthew thought, feeling like an idiot.

“I told you, I'll explain later!” the voice snapped. Matthew was drawn back to the situation he was in by an overwhelmingly painful feeling in his wrist. Carl had just dug the knife in, and with the consideration of a butcher. Matthew tried to keep his eyes off the cut, but after the second one, he couldn’t avoid it any more. What Matthew saw would be carved into the back of his mind for as long as he’d live.

The blood was literally pouring from the wounds, streaming over both his hand and Jason’s, where he was holding it for Carl to cut. Carl went in for a third cut, and then a fourth and fifth. Matthew had expected them to get easier to take Carl cut more, but the effect was quite the opposite. Matthew took in more pain with each new cut. The sixth came and went, but luckily for Matthew, he never experienced the seventh.

There was a blinding light from behind him and Matthew felt the grip on his arm loosen. He broke away, and took his chance to run, leaving the two of them behind. They were both clutching their eyes, blinded by the light. Matthew ignored their screams and continued running, not stopping once, until he got to his house.

Once he got to the front gate, he almost collapsed. Well, he [i]did[/i] collapse, but didn’t lose consciousness. He hit the floor, hiding behind the wall so that anyone looking out the windows, or his Mother in particular, couldn’t see. Heaven only knew what she’d have done if she’d found out. It was till raining, and his sleeve had fallen back down over the cuts as he’d ran, and the wet sleeve had soaked up the blood faster, turning almost all of the lower section of his sleeve in red.

“Don’t move, whatever you do.” It was the voice again.

“Still following me then?” Matthew asked, gripping his arm tightly as he did so. “I don’t suppose I get a reason do I?”

“Actually, now I can safely explain things,” It said, matter-of-factually. “My name is Kaman. I’m your anismastis, and I’m here to protect you.”

“Okay then, why do I qualify for protection, exactly?”

“Because,” Kaman said, “You carry the genes of someone called Saint.”

“Saint?” Matthew questioned.

“He lived 12000 years ago, and he’s the only person who can properly kill Rahn.”

“Okay, who’s Rahn?” Matthew asked. He’d heard the name earlier, and from what he’d pieced together, he’d possessed the boy who’d just attacked him somehow.

“Rahn is an immensely powerful sorcerer who lived at the same time as Saint. He has the ability to control anyone he pleases, except for a certain few. You are one of those few.”

Matthew went to say something, but his vision suddenly blurred and the words never came out. He swayed from left to right, and then backwards, thumping his head into the wall.

There was a soft feeling on top of the six cuts on his wrist, and he opened his eyes to find a small animal licking the wounds. It strongly resembled a ferret, and it had snow white fur and a black stripe running in a circle around its chest, with a similar stripe around both of its front legs. The creature’s ears were about the size and shape of a cat’s, and its eye’s were pure black.

The rain seemed lighter, but Matthew checked his watch, and no time had passed. He hadn’t been knocked out, he’d just shut and opened his eyes, and yet he didn’t feel any pain from his wrist and a creature had found its way to him.

“Hey there little guy,” Matthew said, reaching over to stroke it with his other hand, sounding like he’d just woken up.

“Don’t patronize me,” It said, and stopped licking Matthew’s wounds for a second. It took a while to sink in, but he realized he’d heard the voice before.


“Yes, this is my real form. Just in case you’re wondering, I was licking you because each anismastis has a skill, and mine is healing. I’ve closed your cuts, and fixed everything he cut inside, and even managed to clean the blood off your sleeve, but the scars are here to stay, sorry.”

“So, I’m one of the few Rahn can’t control?” Matthew continued the conversation from earlier.

“Sorry Matthew, I don’t know.”

“Wha- but we were just talking about it!” protested Matthew.

“My memory was wiped of everything except details on myself and you when I touched you. I was hoping I could put it off until I’d explained it all, but you needed your cuts sealed before you lost too much blood and lost consciousness fully. He hit an artery; it’s amazing that you actually made it home.”

“So, what do we do now?” Matthew asked.

“You’re ten years old. I expect that you wouldn’t be able to do much, even if I knew what we were doing. All I can remember is that I should protect you until Rahn comes for you again. That’s when we go.”

“Go where?”

“Have you even been paying attention? I have no idea!

“Well, let’s go inside, but you’ll have to hide somewhere, Belinda definitely won’t let an animal in the house.”

“No need, no-one can see me but you.”

Matthew walked up to the front door, with his new friend behind him. If he’d been a few years older, he wouldn’t have believed any of what had just happened. A mystical voice from nowhere warning about some drunken teenagers who cut him open. A blinding light stopping them in their tracks and a creature calling itself an ‘anismastis’ who had healing powers.

He approached the front door, but before he could put his hand on the handle, it was ripped open by his mother.

“Get inside, now!” she bellowed at him. Matthew trudged in, with Kaman still behind. Once Matthew was in, Belinda slammed the door, and he felt the house shake. Any onlooker would think she was angry with Matthew, but he knew the truth. She wasn’t angry. She was bored, and needed something to cheer her up.

“What time do you call this?” she demanded.

“Four fifteen,” he responded after checking his watch, “I always get home at about this time.”

Belinda raised her hand and slapped him around the face, hard. Matthew fell to the floor, not from the force of it, but because the more painful it looked, the more satisfied Belinda would be, and the faster this would be over. He realized his mistake as Belinda kicked him. She had her stiletto heels on, and she made sure he was on the heel end of the shoe. It wasn’t enough to pierce the skin, but it still hurt badly, and his cry of pain gave Belinda the satisfaction she wanted. He was just glad that she’d miraculously not noticed the state his school trousers were in.

As she walked off, she mocked Matthew,

“Cheekiness gets you nowhere, Accident.” Accident. That was what she called him. As far as she was concerned, he had no name. At his birth, she’d demanded he be called ‘Vomit.’

Thankfully, he was named after Doctor Matthew Freeman who’d delivered him.

Kaman came over to him immediately, brushing her fur up against the area where the heel had hit him. He remembered her mentioning each anismastis having different powers. It seemed he’d gotten the one that fit perfectly to him.

He picked himself up, making sure to hold his chest, despite Kaman taking the pain away, just in case Belinda looked back. She didn’t, and he made his way to the stairs, up into his bedroom. The bedroom itself only actually fit the criteria of bedroom because of the fact that it held his bed. He did not feel safe there, or comfortable. Bedrooms are where you went when you needed somewhere to think, somewhere to seek comfort. They were a place of refuge, and this was not a bedroom, it was a prison. It was one of the only rooms in the house he was allowed to enter and he hated it.

The walls were painted a sickly brown, and the paint was peeling in places, revealing the old wallpaper that had just been painted over. It was a bright, fluorescent pink, and part of him suspected Belinda had wanted to leave it up instead of getting it painted over, just to torture Matthew.

There was nothing but a single bed in the corner of the room, and a very small desk next to that, which had one drawer to hold all of his things. He had a small handheld games console in there, but his parent’s didn’t know about that. Ashley had given him it for his tenth birthday, and he’d not let anyone know about it. Ashley was 12 at the time, and the day she gave it to him had been the last he ever saw her.

Ashley was the only person Matthew could remember that had ever been nice to him. She was two years older, but they had been friends from he first time they’d met each other. It was year one and he was sitting alone during break-time, friendless even at an early age. She’d come over to him and started talking, and Matthew couldn’t remember a day when he’d smiled more.

She’d had long, dark blonde hair, almost to the point of being brunette. She was just slightly shorter than most of the other girls in her class, and she always seemed bored, except when she was around Matthew. When they were together, the whole outside world didn’t matter to them. That was how he remembered her, bright and cheerful, always happy around him. It wasn’t just that fact that he remembered her for, however. There was one thing he remembered her for which stood out over everything else. She knew the kids at school hated him. She knew that hanging out with him would mean she’d suffer the same hate as him. She didn’t care about any of that, though. All she saw was Matthew, a boy in desperate need of a friend, and nothing would make her turn her back on him.

He was never told the cause of her death, nor was he allowed to go to her funeral. He reached into the drawer and took the console out, it was a Game Boy, and he only had the three games she’d given him, Tetris, Pokémon Red, and Warioland. He still remembered what she’d said to him when she gave them to him.

She should have been in her secondary school, but she’d come to Matthew’s primary school in the morning, before the school day actually started.

“Matt, what did you get for your birthday?”

“Three light bulbs and a mouldy biscuit.”

“I thought it might be something like that, I’m guessing Belinda chose your gifts again this year?”

Matthew nodded.

“Here, close your eyes and hold out your hands.”

He did so, and she’d placed the Game Boy in the right, and the three games in the left. He opened his eyes to see it, the best gift he’d ever gotten.

“I see you like it then?” she’d asked as he’d hugged her in the middle of the playground.

“I love it, thanks. I’m going to play it every day, I promise!”

“Matt, can you promise me something else?”


“Don’t let anyone get you mad again. I know what you’re like when I’m not there to hold them off.”

That was it. He put the Game Boy into his schoolbag, the bell rang to signal start of lessons, and she ran to the gates, waving to Matt, and off to her school, which was only a minute walk down the road.

“You miss her?” Kaman asked. He’d sat down on his bed, staring at the Game Boy as the scene flashed in his head, and Kaman had perched herself on his lap.

“Who?” Matthew asked, already knowing the answer.

“Ashley. I don’t mean to invade Matthew, but the link is set, whatever you think, I see, and vice-versa.”

“Yes. I miss her. She was the only person who ever talked to me. Do you know I’ve never been able to look anyone in the face? I’d always turn away after a second or two. She was the exception.”

“She called you Matt. No-one else has done that before, have they?”

“No, she was the only one who actually cared enough to think I might not like Matthew, so she gave me the name Matt. Ever since I last saw her, I’ve been hoping to hear her say it once more.” There was a brief moment of silence between them, and then Matthew continued with another question.

“What do you think she meant by the last part? I’ve been thinking about that for the last few weeks, and it almost sounds like she knew she was going to... to die.”

“Matthew, you need to see sense. There’s no way she would have possibly known, but it does seem like she was the sort of person who’d have left you something like that if she had have known. A final goodbye before she went.”

“That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking. She is the sort of person who’d do it.”

“I wouldn’t think about it any more if I were you. Just try and stick to it: Keep out of trouble, for her.”

Matthew said nothing more on the matter; he simply switched on the Game Boy in his hands and stared playing Tetris. He’d been true to his word, and played on the console every day. Not letting people get him mad was a much harder promise to keep, and without Ashley around, it was even harder still, but Kaman was right. One way or the other, he had to try.



[Chapter 1 and onwards at ]


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