“But Patric, I can’t go in there. I’m not like you.” Chocolat’s mother listened from the other room. She wondered who her daughter was talking to. Where did this “Patric” want her to go?
“Honey, what are you…” She saw Chokolat reaching for the doorknob to the study. “You know you’re not supposed to go in there. That’s daddy’s study. There are many dangerous items in there that can hurt you. Once you’re a bit older, maybe he will show you.” She walked over and grabbed onto Chokolat’s hand. She walked her over to her room.
“I know mom, but Patric.”
“Who is this Patric? Is he another imaginary friend?” Chokolat’s mom looked at her. Her mom worried about her too much.
“He’s not imaginary mom. How do you think I knew where the key was for the study?” Chokolat pouted.
“I don’t know, I thought daddy forgot it in the door for some reason.” Her mother got a brush and began brushing her hair. “If he’s not imaginary, then what does he look like?” Her mother asked her.
“I don’t know, I can’t see him. I never could, but I know his name is Patric Sweeney, he lived in this town twenty-five, years ago.” She had to think for a moment, but she thought that’s what he had told her.
“Sweeney? Are you sure that’s what he said sweety?” Her mother’s voice had a stitch of worry in it. The Sweeneys lived here until a few years ago. Her mom couldn’t remember the details, but the news spread of their newborn dying a couple of weeks after he had been born. She tried to remember if the baby’s name was Patric or not.
“Yes mommy, Patric told me so.” Chokolat was sure. She played with a doll while her mother finished brushing her hair. Patric whispered in her ear, but she didn’t acknowledge him.
“Okay. All done. No run along and play with your dolls or the new book I bought you. Remember daddy’s study is off-limits until he says so okay?” Her mother went to another room to finish what she was doing before.
“I know mommy.” As soon as her mother was gone, Chokolat turned to where Patric’s voice had come from. “You almost got me in trouble Patric, how could you?” She pouted at his direction.
“I’m sorry.” And he was gone.
“No! Don’t leave! I’m sorry!” She hugged herself. She didn’t mean to make him angry. Now no one talked to her.
* * *
“Chokolat, sorry, I mean Mel. I think it’s time I showed you my study. I might just have a gift for you too.” Her father beckoned her towards the door of his study.
“At least you try, mom doesn’t even care I hate my first name. Chokolat? Really guys? Brilliant naming skills you two had. I just go by Melancholy now, but why should mom care, right?” Mel said and walked up to the door with her father next to her.
“As I ever have.” He opened the door and the room seemed ridiculously too large. She was confused on how this was hiding inside their house.
“Fascinating isn’t it? This is part of the reason I bought this house. It’s odd isn’t it?”
“You can say that again.” Old leather books lined the walls on beautiful oak shelves. Ladders on tracks were on each wall. She stepped into the room and the door closed behind them. The air seemed different somehow, kind of how it felt when one of her “imaginary friends” played with her. There was a slight electricity flowing through the air. The hair on her arm stood up. “What do you do in here?”
“This and that. Primarily studying and trying to help people with odd problems. I can’t find these books anywhere else. Maybe even nowhere else. Oh. I want to see what these do for you.” Her father left her side and to a funny looking box. It had some symbols on it she couldn’t recognize. Maybe Japanese, but a very old dialect. “Here.” He handed her the box.
“What’s in it?”
“Okay.” She touched the lid and something clicked. She lifted the lid and a pair of glasses stared at her from inside. “It’s a pair of glasses, but, I think the lenses are made out of something blue.” She couldn’t take her eyes off them. She thought she saw something move in the reflection of them.
“Try them on, go on, I promise they won’t bite. Much.” He chuckled.
“If you say so.” The shadow made her hesitate, but then put the box down to try on the glasses. She put them on and all she saw was her world, but in blue. “Are you sure these are spec…Patric?” A little boy was standing in the corner of the room and waving at her.
“Who’s Patric? You mean, you can see Patric? The boy you talked to when you were little?” Her father looked at her for answers, but she wasn’t sure she had them yet.
“I think so.” The boy smiled and disappeared, kind of glitching out like when a vhs tape skips a second. It was really weird. She took the glasses off, rubbed her eyes, and put them back on. He was in a different corner this time. He giggled and a chill ran down her spine. Mel wasn’t sure what these glasses were, but they were very interesting. “I can see them now.” She smiled.
“I hoped as much. Now maybe you can help me.” Her father looked at her and put out his hand. “Will you join me?” He asked.
“In what?” She accepted his hand and he guided her behind the desk. His notebook was open to a weird-looking creature. Mostly black, it had lanky arms and legs. It was weird. “Dad, what do you do?” She asked.
“A little of this, a little of that, but mostly, I hunt the spirits and beings that won’t leave our society alone and put them back where they belong. Like this thing, the Stelantra.” He pointed at the open page.
“Well, what are we waiting for?”