The One Who Remembered
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There was a drop of water, and then another. Evina had forgotten to expect it at this hour, but there was nothing he could do about it now. He didn't even care that much anymore. Suddenly the sky poured and the sound of it was all Evina could hear in the streets. This was a regular occurrence every other day or so.
He had spent most of the day wandering around randomly, unable to stop thinking about his decision to quit work. He had nowhere else to go. Then when it had come time for the only other event he had planned for the day, he walked to Daisy Gardens. He didn't bother teleporting because his access was probably revoked by now. The usage of portal holes was tightly restricted these days to prevent abuse.
His feet splashed in the warm water on the street as he walked. By the time the rain ended it was always colder. The glare of the streetlights and shop signs reflected up into his eyes. It made the area appear brighter than it was before, a show of random colors.
Most toons were wary to go outside normally, let alone in the rain. Evina was the only toon in sight. He began to worry again about what Jenny had said before. Beneath his feet there could be tunnels transporting criminals to every part of Toontown. Nowhere was safe. His eyes wandered towards one of the pink posters. He read it just for the heck of it.
The Toon Council reminds you to do all you can to protect yourself and your loved ones. Never travel alone. Bring a friend. Avoid standing in the dark. Always look out for suspiciousactivity and report any findings to your local Toon HQ.
Thank you for doing your civic duty.
Keep staying toontastic!
Today it seemed particularly depressing. Things weren't turning out well for him. The paper was drooping in the rain and the text was smeared. No doubt Kyle or another officer would replace it soon. He turned away and kept moving. There was still one thing he could look forward to.
He found the flickering neon sign above his destination. It was Barley, Hops, and Malt Shop.
He swung the door open and it rang a bell. This place was pretty nice. It had a style based on an era long ago in the past, even before his time. Nobody else was here except a cream colored cat. She wore a periwinkle shirt and an emerald skirt. A little yellow bow was set on her head. Evina walked over and sat down in the chair across from her.
"You're late" she said, although it wasn't in an angry tone, but a teasing one.
"Yeah, I'm sorry." The duck replied drearily, not looking at her directly.
"Are you ok?" she asked.
Evina jerked up. "Um yeah, everything's fine."
The cat didn't seem convinced at all. His deception was pretty obvious.
"Fine. I... quit my job."
He shrugged and hesitated before answering. "It's hard to describe."
"You say that a lot."
"I know I do." He admitted. The pain was visible in his eyes.
She reached out her paws and held his hand tightly. They felt so warm compared to his coldness.
The duck sighed and looked up into her brilliant eyes. It calmed him. He knew she understood. He knew things would be alright.
An aqua mouse looked up at Evina from behind her reading glasses with a kind of scowl. The librarian always looked unhappy whenever he saw her. "Yes?"
"I'm looking for books about the cogs." He said.
She removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes sleepily. "Have you looked in the history section?"
"Um, yes, but I didn't find anything there."
The librarian stood up and walked to the back room. She emerged a minute later. "Ok I remember now. It's titled ‘Machines of Malice.'"
"Thank you." The duck said. Then he walked back to the history section at the back of the building. After locating the ‘M' shelf it didn't take long before he found the book the librarian was talking about. "Finally..."
He reached out his hand to take it but it was stuck. He pulled harder and it barely budged, sort of. It was like someone was pulling it from the other side. With curiosity he let go and watched it slide away.
Evina ran around the shelf to see who had done it. A cat stood there, surprised to see him arrive so suddenly.
"Um hi." She said.
"Yeah hi. Listen, I was going to read that book."
"So was I." She argued.
Evina was confused for a moment. "You mean... you actually know about the cogs?"
"Yes." She said.
"But I thought everyone forgot about them!" He exclaimed, trying to keep his voice down as to not attract unwanted attention from the librarian.
"Of course I remember them! It wasn't all that long ago. But I wanted to learn more about it to refresh my memory. I like to remember the past, back then things were different."
"Exactly." Evina said. He didn't expect to find anyone else who thought that way. Nearly every toon longed for the past but really didn't remember much about it, and to be fair, most of them never paid attention in the first place. "Hey, maybe we can read it together."
"Great idea!" The cat beamed. She took it to a table and Evina sat down beside her. She opened the first page and began to read the introduction.
"Do the cogs mean anything to you?" The duck wondered. "I don't understand how you still remember them."
She shrugged. "I fought them long enough. I don't see why I wouldn't remember. And what about you?"
Evina paused a second before answering. He was afraid of saying too much. "I fought them too."
A small smile came to her face. "I know. I remember you too. You're Evina Gearloose."
Evina couldn't believe this. He was stunned trying to figure this out while she began to read.
A look of disappointment came to her face. "Wow, this is strange."
Evina bent over the book and saw what she was pointing to. There was plenty of information on the cogs here but a lot of it was false. "I can't believe it."
"You get surprised a lot." The cat said.
"Yeah... sorry about that." He was feeling embarrassed. "But what kind of idiot wrote this?"
"I know, right? If only there was some way we could fix it."
Evina found some blank sheets of paper nearby. He grabbed them, found a pen, and scribbled down notes as fast as he could. There was so much knowledge that he had in his head and it frustrated him that nobody cared about it, nobody was around to share it with. This cat was the only exception for some reason. A minute later he placed his filled sheets in between the pages of the book and slammed it shut.
"Are you allowed to do that?" she wondered.
"I don't know," he said, "but I feel like I don't care." It was weird how he admitted his feelings so easily. Usually they were well hidden. "I think this needs a lot more work. I'll probably return to add more."
"Yeah, me too." She said. "I'll write some pages on the Cog headquarters. Ok?"
"Alright." He agreed. "Oh, and what's your name?"
"Lily... Lily Butterfly."
"Ok, I guess I'll see you later Lily."
After she left Evina remained at the table and rubbed his head. The way Toontown's history had disappeared, was being blotted out with false information, was immensely frustrating to him. Yet somehow it was a relief to know of someone who understood this. It was proof he wasn't actually going crazy. In fact he didn't believe this had happened to him before. He felt like she understood more than history, more like she understood him as a person. She didn't suddenly reject his existence, even after seeing his gray eyes. And there was no doubt she would have heard all the lies the media had said about him and his friends. He couldn't explain it, but it was powerful and it was rare. And at a time when he felt so alone, he knew he needed a friend more than ever before. And so without knowing what he was doing, he stood up and briskly walked to the exit.
For a second he was afraid he missed her, but she was seen walking away down the street. Nobody else was around just like before. The rain was surely due to start soon. But he couldn't stop thinking about her. All he could do was walk and keep her image in sight.
For a few minutes all they did was walk. Eventually she glanced behind and saw him. A look of confusion came to her face and she stopped walking. "Why are you following me?"
Evina was speechless. He didn't think to prepare for this and so he sheepishly shrugged. "I really wish I knew..."
She stared back at him, looking deep in thought.
"Uh, it doesn't bother you... does it?"
She smiled warmly. "No." She walked up to him so they were face to face. "It's ok. I understand." Then she kissed him on the cheek before leaving.
Evina stood still for a while, he didn't know how long. The rain started just as he had predicted and he became drenched. Inside he felt a mixture of pain and joy. The shadow clearly didn't like her, but Evina didn't care about what it thought. This one time he chose to live without its influence. He felt amazing. Was this what love felt like? He couldn't help but smile just a little, and watched her disappear before turning around to go home.
"I know that look." Lily said.
Evina woke up from his trance. "What?"
"You were remembering something."
"Cool! So what was it?"
"It was the first day we met."
"I remember it well, and it feels just like yesterday."
"Yes and not much has changed since then."
"What do you mean?"
"The world is still dark and miserable, and I'm still dark and miserable, and I don't think the shadow likes you either."
"I'd like to see that shadow and give it a piece of my mind." She said defiantly.
"Thanks." He replied in a voice without emotion.
"And I still can't believe you like me." She continued. "I'm so weird I don't know what you see in me."
Evina was surprised and he pointed to his eyes. "If you don't think this is weird then I don't know what is!"
"Ok so we're both weird. How is that a bad thing? Is it so bad to be different?"
"Apparently to others it is." Evina mumbled. "I don't know why I'm still concerned about what people think about me. It's like one of the last things I have left. A reputation. And now it's being forgotten."
"But I thought you didn't like all the attention." The cat said.
"I know, but I don't want to be hated." He explained. "It's kind of confusing and I don't know how else to describe it."
At that point the waitress came up to them. She took a pencil from her apron pocket and drew out a notepad to take their order. "Ok, so what'll it be for you two today?"
"I'll have a double chocolate banana special." The cat said. "What about you?"
Evina didn't move. "Uh, I think we'll share that."
The waitress went away and Lily looked back at the duck with puzzlement. "What? I thought you could have two malts to yourself. What's happening to you?"
The duck looked down at the table. "I'm just not feeling so well today."
"You mean, even worse than normal?"
"Yeah. Um, well I quit my job."
"What!? Why would you do that?"
"I can't seem to shake this feeling that something's wrong."
"Wrong with what?"
"I had this vision long ago about some kind of evil force that lied in future and it still haunts me. It hasn't gone away, even after all this time."
"Could it be... s<um or d!rt? Or maybe the sun..."
"No. This is much worse." He insisted. "And I don't think it'll ever leave me alone until I find out what it is."
"Are you sure you have to do this?" she asked.
Evina still couldn't look at her. "Yeah, I think I am destined to face this and I don't even though what to do about it. But I can't sit here doing nothing anymore. I have to try something before it's too late."
"Where are you going?"
"I don't know but I have to do it now and I have to do it alone." Now he had the urge to leave. He had to do this now. Quickly he dropped some money on the table and stood up.
The cat was looking extremely worried. "Are you sure? Because... I don't want you to leave."
Evina turned around and looked into her sad eyes. "I really will miss you too. I'm sorry, Lily." And with that he went to the door and left.
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