Eyes Like Yours Episode 1 - What Rich People Keep In The Basement

by Knights of Bardicry

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about

Demi Diaz is just your average 24 year old trying to get by in a time period that doesn’t seem to have a place for her. The economy’s rough, there’s no good jobs out there, and education costs an arm and a leg. Figuratively, at least. Demi never expected to literally fear losing any body parts. But then again, she never expected to run into Atiyah Basilah and her ancient family secrets.

lyrics

Episode 1: What Rich People Keep In The Basement

DEMI NARRATION

[Sirens, firetrucks, pandemonium]

Demi:
Oh my god... MY APARTMENT!

I return home from a quick night-run to the store to find my apartment no longer where I left it. Let me clarify, I found it not only on fire, but entirely blasted out of existence. There's a charred, gaping hole in the side of the building where my small apartment should be. From my position across the street, I can see my bookcase clinging to the single remaining wall for dear life. No... there it goes. Up in flames and plummeting to the ground.

Before this moment, I would have easily described my apartment as a flaming rat-hole. Who knew my hyperbole would prove to be so prophetic? Well, almost. I haven't seen any rats. Yet.

Through the crowd of firefighters, police, paramedics, and onlookers, I find my friends. Atiyah's eyes are wide with bewilderment, concerned etched forcefully onto her face. Beside her, Jayden stands looking nonplussed, though perhaps a bit hungry. I storm over--

Demi:
WHAT... HAPPENED!?

Atiyah:
[stammering apologies, crying, doesn't know what happened]

Atiyah is all tears and stammering. She doesn't seem to know anything. I'm not surprised. She's young and naïve to the point of obliviousness. In the end, I'm relieved she made it out safely and I give her a firm hug. As for Jayden...

Demi:
You...

I don't know how he did it, but I'm convinced Jayden's behind this. He is an inhuman monster, after all. No, no, I say that with no exaggeration. He is, quite literally, an inhuman monster. The landlord is not going to be pleased. Pets are absolutely not allowed in my building.

Demi: [groans]
GodDAMMIT Jayden!

I suppose I can kiss my deposit goodbye.

Wait, let me back up. [rewinding sounds] Let's start off with the basics, shall we? My name is Demi Diaz. I'm 24 years old and just trying to get by in a time period that doesn't seem to have a place for my generation. I could regale you with my hopes and dreams of getting a decent paying job and actually having a life, but why bore you with the details? Right now, my reality is pretty far from that anyway. At my age and still in community college. I know, it's pathetic. But I don't have the financial means for anything else right now, and I won't be able to achieve the financial means without a degree to land me a job to pay for school. You see my dilemma here?

Honestly though, with most people my age still living with their parents, it isn't like I'm alone in this. Hell, if living with my parents was an option for me, I'd be doing it too. But it's not. So back to the grindstone to make rent this month, even if it means giving up groceries for a while.

Demi:
Oh great. No milk. Why would you put the empty carton back in the fridge, Demi? You brilliant gem of a person, you.

[An alarm clock sounds]

Demi:
Oh SHHHHHHNOOZE BUTTON! UGH!

So I'm rushing to school again. I know I should have gotten up earlier but I had a late shift at work last night. I was exhausted. But now I'm reaping the consequences of hitting the snooze button.

[Honking horns, traffic sounds]

Are you ever stuck in traffic when you're in a rush to get somewhere, and you start having fantasies of jumping over the other cars like checkers pieces? No? Yeah, me neither.

Demi:
Every. Single. Red. Light. HOW!?

I speed off as soon the light turns green and I'm able to pass the jerk in front of me, only to find myself braking abruptly RIGHT in front of the school because some IDIOT can't be bothered to look both ways before crossing the street! I scowl at the young girl running in front of my car. She stops to give me an apologetic look. I don't care, kid, just get out of the way!

I park as fast as I can and rush onto campus. I pass by a booth run by a new-age hippie-looking bunch selling some woo-woo energy talismans or whatever. They try to stop me, saying the proceeds go to a good cause, that my energy could use some aligning.

Yeah, no thanks. Get back to me when you actually know what the word “energy” means. Hint: It's not a mystical, unknowable force you think it is. I push my way through—I consider it a pro-bono lesson on kinetic energy—and keep on running to class.

[The bell rings]

I make it just in time to be late.

Demi:
Sorry. There was traffic.

Teacher:
That's alright, just take your seat.

I plunk down on the nearest empty desk I can find. Beside me sits a young looking girl, her hair braided really intricately. She's wearing four or five of those “energy talismans” around her neck. Great. Just the sort of person I want to sit next to in a stupid mythology class, of all things. As if being forced to take this waste of time of a subject isn't irritating enough. Well, hopefully she'll keep to herself, and everything will be sunshine and smiles.

Atiyah:
Hi! Nice to meet you. I'm Atiyah!

I really need to stop being so optimistic.

Teacher:
Adrian Andrews. [keeps calling names in the background]

The professor's doing roll call. I take out my book and sit back, listening for my name.

Atiyah:
It's my first day here! Actually, I'm still in high school, but my grades were good enough that they're letting me take a couple college classes early! Of course I just had to take a mythology class. Mythological creatures are so fascinating, don't you think?

I really, really hope she's not talking to me.

Atiyah:
Do you like my talismans? I just got them from a nice people selling them out on the quad.

She is, isn't she? Maybe if I ignore her, she'll take a hint.

Teacher:
Atiyah Basilah?

Atiyah:
Present! Anyway, as I was saying—

No such luck...

Atiyah:
They said that these help with aligning your energies. So I got five! One for each of the elements, and one more because they came at a discount if I got five.

I can't help myself. I say something.

Demi:
You do know that there's more than four elements, right?

Atiyah:
Mm? … Earth, water, fire, air... what am I missing? Oh, do you mean aether? You know, I've heard of it, but I didn't think it counted--

Demi:
Ugh, those aren't the actual elements! That's an old philosophical belief from back before we had SCIENCE. If you want to know the actual elements, take a chemistry class and look at the periodic table sometime. Geez.

She blinks at me with wide, surprised eyes. She's finally quiet, but maybe I've gone too far. I consider apologizing. But would doing so get her to think I'm welcoming conversation? I'm weighing the options in my head when--

Atiyah:
Really!? Wow! That's soooo many! I'm going to have to buy talismans every DAY to catch up! Do you know what the first five elements are?

Demi:
Uhhh...

Without thinking, I answer.

Demi:
Hydrogen, Helium... uh... Beryllium, maybe? I think Carbon might be in the first five. Or is it number six? Look, I don't really know them off the top of my head—

Atiyah:
Great!

She yanks one of the talismans off her neck and disentangles it from the others. I'm too busy staring in confusion to protest when she grabs my hand and shoves the worthless knick-knack into my palm.

Atiyah:
Here, you hold onto number one; Hydrogen. That way you'll always feel like number one! Don't worry about all the others. I'll collect them before the semester's out, I'm sure of it!

Demi:
Huh? But—

Teacher:
Demeter Diaz?

I jump in my seat.

Demi:
Oh! Uh. That's me! But I actually prefer Demi.

Teacher:
Alright. [back to roll call]

Atiyah:
Woooow! Your name is Demeter? Like the Greek Goddess?

Demi:
...yeah. But like I said, everyone just calls me Demi.

Atiyah:
That is so cool! Demeter; the goddess of the harvest and fertility. She's pretty much Mother Earth personified! Do you like her Greek name or Roman name better? Because I think Demeter is prettier than Ceres, but Ceres is more mysterious! I guess they both have their upsides. Oh, but you're probably biased because YOUR name is Demeter! [giggles] Isn't that silly? Not that I can blame you. If I was named after a goddess, she'd be my favorite too! [rambles on]

I hate my name. I've never liked it. I've been asking people to call me “Demi” since I was a little kid. It just figures she'd latch onto that, of all things.

I feel something in my hand and remember the talisman she gave me. Would it be too offensive if I got up to throw it away right in front of her? Meh. I stuff it in my purse and forget about it for now.

Teacher:
Alright class, settle down. I'd like to get started.

Atiyah:
This is so excitiiiiiing!

I open my textbook and try to ignore her for the rest of class.

[Bell rings]

Good thing about college, I only have that class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and there's rarely assigned seating. I tell myself that next time I'll sit as far from her as possible. But as luck would have it...

[Bell rings]

Atiyah:
Ooh! Ooh! There's a seat next to me!

When I get there too late, the seat beside her is the only one left.

[Bell rings]

Atiyah:
Hi Demeter! How was your weekend?

When I get there early, she invites herself to sit next to me.

[Bell rings]

And anything in between...

Atiyah:
Isn't it cool how the whole class seems to know to leave a seat next to you? It's clearly the power of our friendship talismans keeping our destinies intertwined!

Demi:
Ugh...

It seems my classmates have branded me this weirdo's companion. I, on the other hand, feel more like the unwilling host in a parasitic relationship. She's taken to following me in the hallway after class, too, and can't seem to take a hint no matter how hard I project GO AWAY at her.

My only solace is that we only share the one class, as she has to hurry back to her high school right after. Geez. Fifteen years old, totally whacked out of her head, and even she's accomplishing more in life than I am. Where the hell did I go so wrong?

Did I mention the talismans? She comes into class with a new bundle of them every time I see her. Some she wears around her neck, some are stuck onto her backpack, she's attached one onto every zipper on her person, one she's taken to using as oversized bracelet charm... she even started wearing a couple in her hair. It's a wonder she hasn't run out of places to put them. She probably has more than enough for each element on the periodic table by now, but I'm not going to point this out. I don't want to encourage her by initiating conversation. However annoying she may be, she's harmless enough, and I'm sure she'll get bored of me eventually.

As long as I keep to myself and focus on my studies. Which I always do.

Teacher:
Alright class. Pair off for a group project!

Demi:
What?

[The sounds of chairs moving and people chattering]

The downside to my strategy is... I don't know any of my classmates. None except for--

Atiyah:
Hey, partner!

Oh nonono. I can't have my academic future resting in the hands of talisman girl here! I cast my eyes around the room in the desperate hope that someone else, ANYONE ELSE, is still available. Too late. Everyone's already neatly matched up. I slump back in my seat in defeat as the professor calms the class to explain the assignment.

[Bell rings]

Atiyah:
So, your place or mine?

I am not having her over to my already cramped apartment.

Demi:
Uh...

Atiyah:
My place, then? Great! I'm so excited! You'll get to meet my family. Especially my grandpa! I told you about him, remember?

No. I wasn't listening.

Atiyah:
My mom will make us a tasty dinner! Do you like spicy food? I LOVE spicy food.

Demi:
Not really... I mean, it's alright. But nothing too spicy... I don't like to suffer when I eat.

Atiyah:
Oh no? Okay, let me text her than and tell her to make something more mild for dinner.

[Texting sounds]

Atiyah:
Eeee! I'm so excited! This is gonna be so fun! You should sleepover!

Demi:
No.

Atiyah:
Oh come on!

Demi:
[sighs] Look, just text me your address and I'll be over around nine, okay?

Atiyah:
That late?

Demi:
Yeah, I have work.

Atiyah:
Oh... Well okay! But Demi—

Demi:
WHAT?

Atiyah:
I don't have your phone number yet! Haha!

Damn. I walked into that one. Reluctantly I give her my number. I sure hope she's not the kind to text a million times a day. I don't think I could afford it on my discount phone plan.

Work is a dehumanizing test of physical endurance and emotional patience. Oh yeah, did I mention I wait tables? I used to work retail, but the pay was hardly enough to live on. Not that working for two fifty an hour is much better, but on nights when I get good tips, it bumps me up far enough to get by. The downside, of course, is selling your SOUL. Yes, creepy old guy with the wandering eyes who smells like cigarettes, I will keep being polite to you because my pay depends on pleasing you. This doesn't give you the right to keep insinuating that you want to sleep with me. But of course I keep smiling and playing along. I need to buy more milk, after all.

The kicker comes when he stiffs me. I guess not getting a date out of it meant no tip for me. I want to throw my tray to the ground, but I couldn't afford to replace any broken dishes.

By the time my shift is over, I'm dead tired and in no mood to deal with little miss metaphysical. Buuut I don't feel like waiting tables for the rest of my life either. And that means succeeding in school.

Demi:
[groans] Do I HAVE to...?

So I force myself. As I'm driving, I start to think Google Maps is lying to me. There's no way anyone I know lives here. This neighborhood is the sort you'd see in a movie as the stereotypical “rich character's” zipcode. I stop in front of this gorgeous gated house with a tastefully lighted front garden to call Atiyah and tell her I'm lost.

Demi:
[dials phone. It rings] Just my luck. I'd rather get lost in a bad neighborhood. At least I'd be closer to home...

Atiyah:
Demi?

[Door opens.]

Atiyah:
You're heeeeere! Come inside! I've been waiting for you!

Demi:
No. Friggin'. Way.

Yes friggin' way. This veritable palace is her home. Atiyah seems oblivious to the fact that she lives in the modern day equivalent of a CASTLE and drags me inside.

Atiyah: [rapidly]
Dad's away on business and mom's busy cooking a late dinner for us right now. But these are my older brothers; Wahid, Ithnanie, Thalatha, Arebah, the twins Hemsah and Sittah and my baby brother Seba!

Wahid:
Hello.

Ithnanie:
A pleasure.

Thalatha:
Whatever!

Arebah:
Hiiiiii~!

Hemsah/Sittah:
Welcome!

Seba:
….Yo.

Demi:
H-hey... Wow... big family...

Atiyah:
This is my amazing new friend Demeter!

Demi:
Atiyah, please! It's Demi. Just Demi.

Atiyah:
Hmm? But... why? Demeter is such a beautiful name. Why do you always ask people to shorten it?

Demi:
Because I hate the name Demeter, okay!?

Atiyah:
How could you hate your own name?

Basir:
Now, Atiyah...

Atiyah: [happily]
Jaddi!

Basir:
You should respect your friend's wishes. You know how important and personal names are. If she wishes to be called Demi, then Demi she is.

Atiyah:
Mm! You're right, Jaddi. I'm sorry. Demi, this is my grandpa: Basir Basilah.

Basir:
It's an honor to finally meet you. Young Atiyah has been talking about you nonstop.

Demi:
O-oh, really? I can't imagine what she's been saying...

Really, I can't. I barely talk to her!

Basir:
Atiyah, your friend looks too tired to socialize with a house full of strangers. Why don't you take her up to your room so she can rest? I'll have the boy bring you some cookies while you wait for supper.

Atiyah:
Mkay! C'mon!

I'm dragged up the stairs and down an expansive hallway to her room. Geez! Her room alone is bigger than my whole apartment! My life...

Atiyah:
Ooh, you know, I wanted to show you my beastiary anyway!

Demi:
Your what?

[Slam of a book on a table]

Atiyah:
It's a book of mythological creatures from all around the world. Jaddi gave it to me. It's really, really old. Like hundreds of years old!

So she claims, and yet she slams it around like that.

Atiyah:
It's great. It has information about all sorts of Otherfolk. The drawings are really good too! Some of them are lovely, and some are sooo scary. I used to try to draw my own versions when I was little. [giggles] Oh, and some of them even have the true names for the known members of each race.

Demi:
What are you talking about?

Atiyah:
A true name. Every Otherfolk has two names. One is the name they give out and go by. The other is their true name, which they guard with their lives. Because to speak an Otherfolk's true name is to have power over them. Many Otherfolk have been sealed inside mystical items, enslaved, or even slain! All because a person discovered their true name...

Demi:
Uh huh...

Atiyah:
This is one of my favorites!

Demi:
Gross!

The image on the page is grotesque. Humanoid, for the most part, but its torso is thin and emaciated, its ribs clearly visible under scaly skin, a contrast to its corded, muscular arms and its powerful legs which bend in the wrong direction. Its jaw hangs open, unhinged and lined with doubled rows of pointed, razor sharp teeth poking through bloodied, peeling gums, the top and bottom canines curling into hooks. And its hands, rather than splaying out into fingers, have long, black and bloodied claws sprouting from its knuckles. It's hairless but for the strip of wild mane running from its head to the bottom of its spine. Most disturbingly of all, its eyes are large, puckered and catlike, a piercing golden amber, made to find its prey in the dark.

Demi:
What is that thing?

Atiyah:
This is a Rakshasa. They're considered demons in India. Supposedly, they eat the rotting flesh of animals, because the only meat they can eat fresh... is human!

Demi: [sighs]
Ritualistic human sacrifice. Sexy.

Atiyah:
You know, right before I met you, I had a dream about a Rakshasa.

Demi: [deadpan]
How interesting.

Atiyah:
Mhm! He called out to me and I could hear his true name in my heart. “Ravana”.

Demi:
This is what you grew up on? What ever happened to Dr. Seuss and coloring books? Sheesh.

[knock on the door]

Atiyah:
Come in!

[Nothing]

Atiyah:
Oh, it must be Mikael. He never lets himself in.

[Door opens]

Atiyah:
Cookies! Thanks.

I only catch a glimpse of a pale boy with dark hair hanging over his eyes, before Atiyah takes the plate of cookies and slams the door in his face.

Demi:
Who was that?

Atiyah:
That's just Mikael. He's kind of Jaddi's servant, I guess?

Demi:
You could've at least let him say “you're welcome” before you shut the door on him.

Atiyah:
Oh, Mikael doesn't talk. Now that you mention it, I think he's mute or something.

Curiouser and curiouser. I can't say why, it's not like I've ever been the boy crazy type, but something about that boy lodged itself in my mind. Something was off about him. Not quite right.

So I laze around, eating cookies and fake listening to Atiyah go on and on about her dream with this “Nirvana” guy or whatever. In the back of my head, I know we should be working on our school project. But I'm just... so very tired. And I can't stop thinking about the strange guy who brought us these cookies. It's so weird to think that people still have servants in this day and age. The guy was young looking, too. He couldn't have been any older than me. Ah well. In my younger days, I could never turn down a good mystery. These days I'm just too busy and tired for all that...

Demi:
Hey Atiyah? Where's your bathroom?

Atiyah:
Just down the hall, that way. You can't miss it. If that one's occupied, there's two more downstairs.

Demi:
Thanks.

I head down the hall and sure enough.

[Demi knocks]

Seba:
I'm in here! Geez, can't a kid take a leak in this house!?

I prefer not to answer that and hurry downstairs. I still can't get over how HUGE this house is. It takes me a while to even find the bathroom. The whole time, though, I can't shake the feeling I'm being followed. So I finish my business and wash my hands, and walk back towards the staircase, when I see it. See him. Peeking at me from behind the couch in the living room. I don't know what he's doing back there, or how he even fits against the wall like that, but he's definitely staring at me with oddly... violet eyes. And I don't mean Elizabeth Taylor violet where they're blue and look sort of purplish under the right light. No, these eyes are a stark, solid violet color.

Demi:
Hi... Mikael, was it? Hey. You don't have to slink around creeping on me like that, haha.

He doesn't laugh. Instead he flinches and ducks behind the couch. Way to make him feel at ease, Demi.

Demi:
I was kidding! Heeeey. Why don't you come out here, man? I wanted to thank you for the cookies.

He slips out from behind the couch and I get a better look at him. He's tall, slender, and really pretty. Like pretty, pretty. Prettier than me. I raise my hand to half-heartedly wave at him aaaand he bolts from the room. Great.

Demi:
Okay! Nice meeting you too! [sighs]

This is why I'm not a people person.

Demi:
I need a drink.

I admit, it's rude to go snooping around when you're a guest in someone else's home. But I've never been in such a rich house before! And surely they could spare just a little booze to ease the growing headache their daughter is giving me. I tip-toe around until I come upon a set of steps that lead down to wooden door with an iron lockrail. It must be a cellar. Maybe even a wine cellar.

Demi:
I wonder what the other half drinks.

Looking around to make sure no one sees me, I sneak downstairs, promising I'll only have a glass from an already opened bottle! Sloooowly, trying to avoid any unnecessary creaking, I push the door, turning the handle.

[Locked door sounds]

Locked. Damn!

Mikael:
I'm sorry!

Demi:
Ah!

I jump and whirl around, apologies spilling from my lips to find... Mikael at the top of the steps.

Mikael:
So very sorry. I didn't mean to scare you, but that room belongs to The Master. No one is allowed down there but himself... and me.

Demi:
...Atiyah said you were mute.

Mikael:
O-oh. No. I'm not. But you mustn’t blame Ms Atiyah for misinforming you. I'm afraid I've inadvertently given her that impression. The fault lies solely with me, and I am very sorry.

Demi:
[scoffs]... Are you for real? Dude you're their servant not their slave. [pause] So what's down there? Is it a wine cellar?

Mikael:
Ah, no. Not exactly. It's where The Master keeps the artifacts he's collected on his travels. And... where I sleep.

Demi:
You sleep in a cellar?

Wow. Not cool.

Demi:
So... then this is sort of like your bedroom.

Mikael
I-in a way, I suppose. But it really belongs to The Master—

Demi:
So why don't you show me around? It's your room. Have a girl over for a bit. Hmm?

Mikael:
I-I-I-I—

Call me horrible for taking advantage of the situation, but now I'm REALLY curious, and half convinced there's dead bodies in there.

Demi:
C'mon. Pleeeeeease?

Mikael:
[gulps] S-sure. But please don't touch anything.

Demi:
You got it, pops.

It was probably a bunch of overpriced junk only the rich could see value in anyway.

Mikael:
Right this way, then.

[Unlocking door and creaking sounds]

Demi:
Oh... my...
[Door slam]

The guy wasn't kidding. The room is filled with shelves, each one cluttered with strange-looking objects from all over the world. And while they all seem to have been kept in good condition, some of them look downright ancient. Maybe Atiyah wasn't wrong about the age of her bestiary after all.

Mikael, head downcast and eyes fixed on his shoes, hurries to a small cot on the floor in the corner of the room. My stomach churns at the sight. He doesn't even have any blankets. How could anyone treat another human being like an animal?

Demi: [apologetically]
Nice diggs you got here.

Not.

Mikael:
Thank you...

Demi:
Mm... [she inhales sharply]

I'm suddenly speechless. On the far end of the room, behind all the shelves and artifacts, hovering together in a fluctuating sphere, are seven perfect, glowing orbs of pulsating light. I gazed into each one individually, taking in their intricate yet nuanced detail. One, a ball of pure, pristine white; untainted, unmarred. Just bright. Another, green of every shade and hue; shifting and blending, separating and joining once more, with just a hint of brown in the epicenter, keeping it all together, like pieces on strings. Yet another, blue; flowing serenely one moment, cascading and crashing violently upon itself the next. Beside it, red; burning fiercely with unrivaled intensity, as oranges and yellows try to flow through it, but are always snuffed out by the red. Then the violet; gentle, playful, yet restless, flittering about unpredictably. Finally, impossibly, one is but a black void, devouring all light, like a deep, insatiable maw.

All six revolve around the strangest one of all; an opalescent sphere which appears to ever switch between solid and intangible. I do not even feel myself step closer, mesmerized, I simply find myself there. I reach up.

Mikael:
No, don't—!

I feel nothing as a fingertip pricks the center sphere. I hear only a soft chime as it erupts... The world splits in two before me, and I fall through the cracks.

credits


Voice Talents:
Demi Diaz: Lucia Lobosvilla
Atiyah Basilah: Victoria McMullen
Mikael: Dalton Broback
Basir Basilah: Will Sherron
Wahid Basilah: Joel Williams
Ithnanie Basilah: Ryan Hoyle
Thalata Basilah: Kory Showman
Arebah Basilah: Nick Eriksen
Hemsah Basilah: Señor Pacman
Sittah Basilah: Señor Pacman
Seba Basilah: Lucia Lobosvilla
Teacher: Lucia Lobosvilla

Music:
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Lizzy Denning

Art:
Rebe García (892art.tumblr.com)

Written and Mixed by Lucia Lobosvilla

tags

license

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