TITLE: The Man Who Wasn't There

AUTHOR: Sanguinary

COPYRIGHT: April 2, 2001

RATING: PG 13 for Violence

SPOILERS: Imaginary Fiend

DISCLAIMER: BWoC owns Vince and Merton. Pel is part of my own
twisted imagination. All lyrics and poems belong to their
respective authors.

FEEDBACK: Sanguinary

SUMMARY: Vince, lonely and unhappy, runs into another Imaginary Friend.
But as he learns more about her, he beings to realize that Pel isn't
all that she seems to be.

AN: This fic has been a long time in the making. Almost four months if
I remember correctly. Pel is a work in progress and I am considering
a sequel. If you think I should, please say so if you review. Thank
you very much. Now, on with the show... er, fic.

Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3
Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6
Chapter 7

As I was walking up the stair

I saw a man who wasn't there

He wasn't there again today

O how I wish he'd go away


Vince leant against the fence surrounding the school. Off in the distance, children played, too busy to see Vince. He longed to join them but stayed where he was. He knew that he was punishing himself for failing Merton, for not loving him enough to make Merton want Vince to stay.

A small child ran by Vince, shrieking with delight. Suddenly he came to a decision, and stood upright. He walked towards the school. As he walked towards the entranceway, he noticed the woman sitting in it.

She sat in the entranceway of the school, watching the kids as they ran by her. He couldn't see her face because it was covered with long purple hair. As he walked closer, he could hear her humming a song he didn't recognize. She was wearing a baby t-shirt and jean short, both which were a dark purple. Flower flip-flops, also purple, adorned her feet. She sat with her knees up against her chest, arms wrapped around them.

He was about to pass by her when she spoke.

"Aren't you hot?" She raised her head and brushed the hair
out of her face.

"You... you can see Vince?" He stopped in his tracks, stunned.
Until now, only children had seen Vince.

"Of course." She smiled, "Now, aren't you hot? It's July and you're
walking around wearing what looks like wool."

Vince sat down across from the woman. His eyes narrowed and his voice
grew cold, "How come you can see Vince?"

She laughed, sounding uncannily like the wind chime that had hung
outside of Merton's window as a child. "You're so paranoid. I see
you because I was like you."

"Like Vince?"

"An Imaginary Friend," She smiled wryly, "Alone. Unwanted. Angry."

"You were an Imaginary Friend?" Vince looked in shock at the woman, "You're lying."

"No. At least not about this." She leaned forward, "I was the Imaginary Friend to a boy named Jeff Bunk. I stayed by his side for fifteen years, being faithful and loyal." Her tone suddenly turned bitter, "Until he left me in that park and told me to never come back."

Vince drew back, stunned by the hatred in her voice, "What did you do?"

"I left. I ran away as far I could go." She sighed, "And then..."


"Jeff died." She looked up at Vince, tears in her eyes, "And I became... almost real."

"Almost real? What do you mean?"

"When he died, whatever made Jeff real left his body and entered mine.”
She brushed away the tears, "I knew everything he knew, felt everything
he felt... became partly real. I'm almost human."

“I still have all the powers I had when I was imaginary. And though normally,
most people can see me, I have the ability to drop out of their vision if I
need to get away.” She smiled, “And I don’t age.”

Vince frowned, “At all?”

“No. It’s been almost 30 years since Jeff died and I haven’t aged a day.” She
gazed off into space for a moment, remembering something, “I can’t explain it
and… I don’t really want to either. Maybe it’s magic or maybe its something
else altogether. Either way, I’ll never die.”

Vince took in all of this in silence. The idea of living forever both scared
and delighted Vince. He had suspected that he would live as long as Merton but
to be able to live on, even after Merton death… that was something he had never
dared even dream of.

They sat, the only two quiet beings on a warm July afternoon. Around them ran
children, crying and yelling and pretty much just being kids.

“Do you want to come with me?” The question startled Vince and he looked up at
the girl.


“I said do you want to come with me? I don’t mean to be rude but it’s obvious
that you haven’t been free very long.” She stood up and offered her hand to
Vince, “I’ve been around the world. I’ll take you places you never dreamed
existed. I show you something beyond the white picket fence that has kept you
staked down your entire life. All you have to do is trust me.”

Vince stared at the hand. He had spent most of his life locked in a chest in
the attic of Merton’s house. This was the first time he had even been outside
of Pleasantville. Part of him admitted that he was frightened at the prospect
of going ever farther away. But…

But part of him wanted to know. And she might be the only other ‘friend’ who
understands what he’s going though.

Cautiously, he took her hand and stood up as well. A wide smile broke out
across the girl’s face. “You won’t regret this. I’m going to blow your mind…
wait, what’s your name?”

“Vince. What’s yours?”

“Pel.” She dropped his hand and put her arm around Vince’s shoulder. “I think
that we’ll get along just fine.”


I hear you calling me

Yes I hear you calling me

Home from the great escape

1 Yes I can read you loud and clear

~Only Us, Peter Gabriel


He stared at the plate in front of him.

“Eat up,” Pel picked up her fork and knife, “Try it. I bet you’ll like it.”

Vince doubted this but he was too polite to say so. Imitating Pel, he picked up
his knife and fork. He watched her as she stabbed the knife into the pancake
and used the knife to cut it into eight equal pieces. He attempted to do the
same, but instead of eight neat cuts, his efforts only brought him seventeen
ragged pieces, all different in shape and size.

“Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it.” Pel smiled and stuck a piece of her pancake
in her mouth.

Vince wasn’t so sure about that. “Why does Vince have to learn to eat? Vince
doesn’t need to.”

Pel swallowed the mouthful that she had been chewing. “Not yet anyway. But when
you do become ‘almost real’ it’ll be hard to get used to all of the things that
your body needs. Sleep, food and so on. When I first became partly-real, I
didn’t eat for a week and I ended up in the hospital with an IV in my arm.”
She set down her fork and pushed up her sleeve to show Vince the make where
the needle had been. “I didn’t understand why it didn’t heal right after I
took the IV out. It turns out that when you become almost real, the first scar
you get stays with you instead of fading away.” She rubbed her fingers over the
small mark. “I’ve had this mark for almost thirty years. A reminder that I
need to do all the things that real people do.”

There was silence for a moment. Then Vince picked up the utensils and took a
bite of the pancake. Pel smiled with pleasure.

Vince just chewed.


I rise, looking through my morning eyes,

Surprised to find you by my side.

Rack my brain to try to remember your name

To find the words to tell you goodbye.

~Stay, Pink Floyd


He knows that he’s staring but he can’t help it. She’s too busy driving to

The sunlight streams in though the windows on her side of the car, making her
hair seems a lighter colour than it is. The light makes a silhouette out of her,
hiding the imperfections and making her solid.

But it is her hands that he stares at. Sunlight reveals the hidden lines and
wrinkles. As she flexes her hands, the skin stretches, erasing some of the
lines. A look at his hands reveals hands empty of any lines. No lines on his
palm, no fingerprints. If the lines on a person’s palm tell the future, it’s
obvious to Vince what his are saying.

He has no future, no past.

She, on the other hand, had inherited one from her past friend. The future that
was his is now hers. Vince is slightly jealous but can’t figure out why. He
knows that there’s nothing left for him. His purpose has been served.

So why is continuing this charade? Why does he stay instead of fading away?

He’s not sure. Maybe Pel can show him.

“You’ll love Canada,” She catching him off guard, startling him out of his
thoughts, “It’s beautiful in the wintertime when it’s covered with snow.”

“Snow…” Vince said the word slowly, savouring it in his mouth, “That’s the
white, cold stuff, right?”

She nods, “Yeah. I bet you haven’t seen any in quite a while.”

“Vince hasn’t ever seen snow.”

“Never?” He could hear the shock in Pel’s voice.

“Vince doesn’t think so.” He thought for a moment, “Maybe a long ago Vince may
have seen some. But Vince doesn’t remember a lot that happened before the Chest.”

They were quiet for a moment. Pel knew that Vince was uncomfortable talking about
the Chest and Vince didn’t feel ready to explain everything to Pel quite yet.

They drove on.

Chapter 2
Breathe, breathe in the air.

Don't be afraid to care.

Leave but don't leave me.

Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly

And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry

And all you touch and all you see

Is all your life will ever be.

~Breath, Pink Floyd


“Wake up,” A gentle hand shook Vince’s shoulder, “Come on.”

Vince opened his eyes, blinking away the sleepiness that he
felt. He yawned and looked around, trying to remember where he was.

The maroon inside of Pel’s car was a welcome sight. Vince had been
dreaming that he was still locked inside of the Chest. Hovering over
him, excitement written all over her face, was Pel. She was wearing
what looked like a large sock over her head and she had on a big,
purple jacket.

“What’s wrong Pel?” He looked around, “Where are we?”

“Sit up,” She smiled, “And you’ll see.”

Sitting up slowly, he looked around. His mouth dropped open in surprise.

The world outside the car was bright white. There was snow everywhere,
covering the trees and fields. The sky was white too, filled with
falling snow and clouds. Vince couldn’t find the spot where the earth
ended and the clouds began. Pel giggled and opened the door that Vince was
leaning against, dropping him out of the car and into a snow bank.

He just lay there for a moment, feeling the snowflakes land gently on his
face. Pel opened her door and landed in the snow beside Vince. Her breath
came out in foggy clouds, appearing for a moment and then dissipating.

“It’s beautiful.” Vince whispered.

Pel nodded, “I know.” She sat up and pulled Vince up with her, “You should
get some warmer clothes on. You’ll catch a cold in those.”

Vince looked down at his normal clothes. He closed his eyes and
imagined himself wearing clothes like Pel’s clothing, only green.
A faint tingling filled Vince’s body and when he opened his eyes,
he was dressed like Pel.

And that’s when the snowball hit him in the face.

Pel laughed at Vince wiped the snow out of his eyes. “Vince is
going to get you for that!” He shouted as he grabbed a handful
of snow.

“Not unless I get you first!” Another snowball went whizzing by
his head. Vince chucked one at Pel and, when she dodged it, tackled
her, sending them both crashing into the wet snow. She shrieked as
they went down and Vince took that opportunity to stuff snow down
the collar of her jacket.

Pel’s screams echoed in the surrounding hills.


You thought you'd found a friend

To take you out of this place

Someone you could lend a hand

In return for grace

~Beautiful Day, U2


“What’s it like?”

“What’s what like?”

“Breathing. Eating. Sleeping.” Vince gestured towards Pel’s
body. “Everything. What’s it like?”

“Intense.” She plopped down on the bed, running a hand though her
wet hair, “It’s… I can’t describe it. Everything is brighter, more real.
You can taste food and… and the smells! Like fresh food and burning paper.
They are amazing. Music can mean something more than just nice sounding
notes. You can feel cold and hot all the way inside. And people… just talking
and touching them.” She looked up at Vince, “Imagine being able to touch skin
and feel all that blood rushing beneath it. The difference is hard to explain…
it’s like trying to tell a blind person the difference between red and black
when all they know is black.”

“That different.” Vince sat beside Pel.

She nodded and gently cradled his head in her hands. Her hands felt strange,
not at all like Merton’s hands. Where Merton’s were soft, her hands were strong.
Vince could never remember another person touching him. “Even you… I can feel the
power in you. And you’re so smooth.” She stroked the side of his face.

Vince was slightly disturbed by this but he pushed it out of his mind. Pel
was a little strange. He guessed that the death of creator had made her a
little bit insane.

Sensing that he was uncomfortable, she removed her hands from Vince’s
face and picked up her hairbrush from the nightstand. She began to brush
her hair.

“Why do your do that?”

“Hmm?” Pel said, “Do what?”

“Brush your hair?” He touched a stand of the tangled mess, “Why don’t
you just make it go into place.”

“I can’t. For some reason, I don’t have control over my hair. I’m
not sure why but I think it has to have something to do with the fact
that I’m partly real.” She finished brushing her hair in silence.


I went out walking

Through streets paved with gold

Lifted some stones

Saw the skin and bones

Of a city without a soul

I went out walking

Under an atomic sky

Where the ground won't turn

And the rain it burns

Like the tears when I said goodbye

~The Wander, U2 and Johnny Cash


The grave was one of the largest in the cemetery.

The huge stone angel was the biggest gravestone that Vince had
ever seen. It stood somewhere around fifteen feet, jutting from
the earth like an angry finger. The angel stood on a base around
five feet tall and its cold, blank eyes stared down at Vince and Pel.

Pel walked up to the gravestone, tears running down her face. She
knelt in front of the stone and gently placed a bouquet of roses at
its base. Vince walked towards the gravestone and read the inscription.

Jeffery Daniel Bunk


Loved Son

Cut Down in His Youth

Below this inscription there was another one.

May He Spend His Days

With the Angels

And May His Murderer

Burn In Hell

“He was murdered?” Vince asked.

“Yes.” Pel stood and faced Vince, her tears gone, “We found his
body in the playground. It… it looked like he had been attacked by
wolves.” She swallowed and blinked away tears, “He was everywhere Vince.
It was bright red and… he was everywhere.”

Vince wrapped Pel in a hug and gently rubbed her back.
“It’s okay. Vince understands.”

Pel buried her head into Vince’s chest, hiding the smile
that would not be contained.


Look at my mouth, a thin painted line

Look at my limbs, bent up and bundled in twine

Forever, ever mine

Form of a tree, shape of a child

I wish I could cry, stuck in a permanent smile

Forever, ever mine

~Just a Toy, Barenaked Ladies


“All around the cobbler’s bench, the monkey chased the
weasel. The monkey though ‘twas all in fun. Pop, goes
the weasel. A penny a spool of thread, a penny for a
needle. That’s the way the money goes. Pop! Goes the weasel.”

Vince looked over at Pel, who was busy singing ‘Pop! Goes
the weasel” for what seemed like the fiftieth time. She
was too busy driving to notice him looking at her. He had
begun to notice things about Pel. And most of them were

She sang nursery rhymes when she was nervous about something.
She bit her nails down to the quick. When he asked for the
truth, she only gave him part of it. She rocked back and
forth in the middle of the night when she thought Vince was
asleep, mumbling incoherently for hours on end. Pel’s sense
of humour was more than just a bit odd.

But what was most disturbing of all was her refusal to speak
about Jeff’s death. Vince knew that she was hiding something
from him. Jeff had been killed, supposedly when Pel had left
her hometown. But there was something about the description
of Jeff’s body that disturbed Vince.

Jeff had been ripped apart by something inhumanly strong. He
had been splattered all over the playground, cut and mutilated
almost beyond recognition. It was as if something had just
snapped and began to tear, without ever understanding what
it was doing.

Vince knew that Pel had something to do with Jeff’s death.
But it was an almost impossible concept to grasp. He could
never imagine killing Merton, no matter what he may have
said. To kill your creator is a terrible thing to do, for
both the creator and the created. It is to destroy your
nature and deny your heritage.

But Vince said nothing. Pel was the only one like him,
the only one who understood him. And no matter what he
suspected, he would stay with her; learn as much as he

And, as she being the fifty-second singing of ‘Pop! Goes
the Weasel’, Vince joined in.

Chapter 3:
It may sound absurd

But don't be naive

Even heroes have the right to bleed

I may be disturbed

But won't you conceive

Even heroes have the right to dream

~Superman, Five for Fighting


“You should change your clothes.”

“What?” Vince turned to look at Pel.

“You’ve been wearing the same thing for a month now.”
She finished tying her shoes and straightened up, “Don’t
you feel like wearing something different?”

“Why?” Vince looked down at his green, white and
black outfit, “Vince likes what Vince is wearing.
It’s comfortable and…”

“And Merton liked it.” Pel finished for Vince, the
sarcasm evident in her voice. “It all comes back to
Merton. ‘Merton liked this’, ‘Merton liked that’.”
She stomped into the bathroom. Vince followed her.

“Pel,” He sighed, “Vince can’t just forget that Merton ever existed.”

“Why not? Merton forgot you.”

Vince tried not to let Pel know how much that hurt.
Merton had been Vince’s world for almost thirteen years
and though it may have been easy for Merton to forget
Vince, Vince couldn’t do the same.

“Merton has new friends,” Vince found it hard to say the
words but he forced himself to, “He doesn’t need Vince.”

“Then why do you care?” Pel looked at Vince, “Why can’t
you forget him? You don’t need him.”

“But Merton…”

“STOP!!” Suddenly, Pel swung around towards the mirror
and punched it, shattering it into a thousand pieces.
The glass fell all over the bathroom, bouncing off the
walls and the sink.

“PEL!” Vince grabbed Pel and pulled her hand away from
the broken mirror. Blood was running down her hand, coating
the shredded flesh. He forced her to sit down on the edge
of the tub while he wrapped a towel around her hand to
stop the bleeding. “What did you do that for?”
“Why can’t you stop saying his name?” Pel shouted at Vince, “He doesn’t
matter, no more than Jeff mattered! They’re both worthless beings, barely
worth being called creators! They abandoned us, treated us like trash!” She
looked up at Vince, anger blazing in her purple eyes, “He threw you out!”

This time Vince did wince but instead of getting angry, he rummaged
under the sink until he found some gauze and a tenser bandage. He took
the towel off of Pel’s hand and looked at it. She had torn most of the
flesh off of her knuckles and cuts ran up and down most of her hand.
Gently, he wrapped the gauze around her bloody hand. Pel didn’t flinch
in the slightest but she did bite her lip to keep quiet. Vince worked
quickly and efficiently; he had often patched up Merton’s wounds, even
though none of them were as bad as Pel’s hand. He finished wrapping the
bandage around her hand, covering almost all of it. “Pel…” Vince sighed,
“Vince is sorry but… Vince can’t just forget about Mer… him. Vince spent
most of Vince’s life caring for… him. And… it’s hard to explain. Vince
feels like he failed Mer… him. He didn’t want Vince anymore and… that
makes Vince feel as if Vince wasn’t good enough.”

“You are good! You’re one of the best people that I know. And for him,
he doesn’t need you Vince.” She touched the bandage on her hand and
when she spoke again, her voice was low, “But I do.”

Vince paused and looked at Pel. “Does Pel mean that?”

She nodded. “More than I’ve ever meant anything else. I… I try to be
real but I can’t… I can’t get used to feeling all of the time. It never
goes away.” She began to cry again, “It never gets easier and… and hate…
I hate…” Her words were lost as she sobbed.

Vince drew Pel into a hug and gently rubbed her back. He didn’t want to
admit it, but he liked having someone to take care of, someone who needed him.


1 Don't speak

I know just what you're saying

So please stop explaining

Don't tell me 'cause it hurts

Don't speak

I know what you're thinking

I don't need your reasons

Don't tell me 'cause it hurts

~Don’t Speak, No Doubt


Vince was slowly getting used to eating food. They were stopped at
an all-night diner for some food before they started driving again.
There were maybe ten people in the whole place but Pel assured Vince
that it was normal for so few people to be around at two A.M.

Outside, gigantic trucks that Pel called Rigs were parked beside
smaller cars. They were bathed in the orange glare from the solarium
lights that blocked out the night sky. Pel ate bacon and peanut butter
toast with a glass of milk. Vince found that he preferred a glass of
water with some fruits and vegetables. The bacon made him feel sick
and milk tasted wrong. He bit into the green apple, enjoying the acidic
taste it had.

Pel was humming quietly as she ate. Pel was visible but, since Vince
could not be seen, she ordered all of the food for just herself. When
the food came, she just put the plate in the middle of the table where
both she and Vince could reach it.

Vince settled into the squishy padding on the bottom and back of the
bench he was sitting on. He looked at Pel sitting across from him and
idly wondered if her bench was as comfy as his. Vince was about to ask
when a shadow fell over his and Pel’s table.

They both looked up at the large trucker. The man looked to almost seven
feet tall and three hundred plus pounds. The man smelt terrible,
almost as if he had never washed in his life. He smiled, revealing a
mouth with what appeared to be only five yellow teeth.

“You need a ride?” He drawled, trying to sound savvy.

“I have a car.” Pel turned back to her meal and kept eating.

“Do you?” The man side into the bench were Vince sat. Vince, repulsed
by the man, slid under the table and made his way to Pel’s side. He
popped his head back up and sat beside Pel. “Cause there were just some
vandals out in the parking lot and I think they may have gotten your car.”

Before Pel could speak, the man tossed a small object on the table. Vince
looked at it and saw that it was it tiny green pom-pom that Pel had tied to
the gearshift. Her eyes narrowed as she saw it. “What the hell did you do to
my car?” She asked in a low voice.

“I didn’t do anything,” The man feigned mock innocence, “I was just walking
past when I saw them run away leaving this. So, me being a kind-hearted guy,
I came to offer you a ride. I got plenty of room in my cab.” He said these
last words while leering at Pel. Vince felt himself growing angrier and angrier.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Pel sounded brave but she slipped her hand under
the table and caught Vince’s hand. He could feel her trembling with fear. “I
don’t need a ride. I have way home. I have friends.”

“Sure you do.” The man smirked, “That’s what they all say. But they never do.
Look at yourself; it’s obvious you’re just a runaway with your punky purple hair
and little kid clothing. Probably stole the car to get away from mommy or daddy.
You haven’t got anything.”

“She’s got Vince.” Vince said, even though only Pel could hear him, and kick the
man as hard as Vince could in the knee. The man, not expecting it the kick, moaned
in pain, giving Vince and Pel the chance to get out of the booth. They ran for the door.

“Hey!” The waitress behind the counter shouted, “You didn’t pay for your meal!
Come back here!”

Pel and Vince got to the door and got out before the trucker even realized
they had gone. The fresh air was heavenly compared to the sickly smell of
deep-fry inside the diner. Pel looked around for their car and swore when
she saw that it had been destroyed, most likely when they had been eating.
“We’ve got to find another car.”

“Vince doesn’t see any.” He looked around desperately. “We were the only car
that came in tonight. The waitress said so.”

“Wait…” Pel slapped herself in the forehead, “How could I be so stupid!” She
took a deep breath and closed her eyes. For a moment, she seemed to fade and
become as transparent as a ghost. Vince stared at her and gently stretched out
his hand. It went right though Pel. Hastily, he drew it back and she solidified,
turning normal again.

The big, burly trucker ran out of the doors and looked around. “Hey! HEY!!
Where the hell did you go?”

Pel snickered and walked right up to the trucker. As he began to run again,
she stuck out her foot and tripped him. He fell face first into the pavement
with a wet smack, breaking his nose. He screamed, sounding oddly like an injured

“What did Pel do?” Vince walked up to her.

“I forgot that I could become Unseen. I’m just so used to being Seen that
sometimes I forget that I can switch back and forth between the two.” She
smiled sheepishly, “I have a lousily memory.”

She kicked the trucker in the ribs and then booted him in the head. He
moaned in pain and stopped moving. For a moment, Vince thought that Pel
had killed the trucker but then he began breathing again in long low inhales.
Pel lifted her foot and put it on top of the trucker’s head.

“Pel…” Vince put a hand on her shoulder, “Let’s just go.”

“I should crush his head.” Her voice was level but Vince could see the
excitement in her eyes. “He would deserve that much. You saw what he tried
to do to me. He might have done it before. He might do it again!”

“Pel.” Vince spoke low. She turned and looked at him, “Don’t.”

She took her boot off of his head and kicked him once more in the back.
“He would have deserved it.”

For a moment, she looked like Merton used to look when Vince wouldn’t let him
do something dangerous or stupid. She curled her lip into a pout and crossed
her arms over her chest. Pel was still much like a child with her inability to
tell right from wrong. But there was something very disturbing to know that under
the adult looks and the voice of reason, she was still very dangerous and child-like.

Vince steered her away from the fallen trucker and towards the main parking lot.
“Let’s just get out of here. We can hitchhike or walk. We’ll be okay.”

“I guess.” Pel was still sulking, “We can walk for a while. But I want to sleep soon.”

“We’ll find a place to sleep.” Vince slipped off his jacket and put it around Pel’s
shoulders, “Don’t worry, Vince will take care of everything.”

Like he always did.

Chapter 4:

If I were a swan, I'd be gone.

If I were a train, I'd be late.

And if I were a good man,

I'd talk with you

More often than I do.

~If, Pink Floyd


“You know what we need to do?”

“What?” Vince turned to look at Pel, who was currently driving the car they had
‘borrowed’ a few states back.

“We need to blow something up.” Pel tapped the steering wheel for emphasise,
“Maybe a gas station. Or a warehouse maybe. Just some place that will make a nice explosion.”


“Because…” She paused for a moment, “Because they’re pretty. And they’ll make you
feel better.”

“Vince is feeling just fine.”

“Then why are you pouting? You’ve been pouting since we got this car.”

“Vince doesn’t think that Pel should have stolen the car.”

“And what would you have suggested?” Her voice took on a testy tone, “Hitchhike
some more? Spend another couple of nights sleeping in the ditch because we couldn’t
get a lift? Next time, you can be in charge of transportation but right now we’re
driving this damn car.”

Vince began to speak but Pel switched on the radio as loud as it could go to drown
him out. The annoying popish beat of the station that Pel had chosen echoed though
the car. He refused to give into her childish game and instead stared in the rear
view mirror.

Which was when he first saw the police car.

The car had it lights going and though he couldn’t hear the siren, Vince
suspected that it too was blaring. He turned over and tapped Pel on the
shoulder. She slapped his hand away. Angrily, Vince turned off the radio.

”Hey!” She snapped crossly, “What did you do that for?”

“There’s a police car chasing us.”

“What?” Pel glanced in her rear view mirror, “Why? I’m doing the speed limit and everything.”

“Are you sure that you’re Seen instead of Unseen?”

“Yes, I’m Seen.”

“Maybe we should pull over.”

“Oh damn it!” She slammed her hand against the dashboard, “I bet they’re
after the car because we stole it. We’ll have to loose them.”

“You could just become Unseen and pull over. Then we could get out of
here and let the police man have the car.”

Pel looked like she was about to snap at him when suddenly a smile crossed
her face. It wasn’t at all pleasant and Vince suddenly felt afraid. “Sure.”

She faded for a moment, causing Vince to have to grab the steering wheel to
keep the car from driving into the other lane. When Pel reformed, she pulled
onto the side of the road and slowed to a stop. Immediately, she pulled the
keys of the ignition and got out of the car. Vince slid out behind her,
confused as to what she was doing.

The police car slowed to a stop right in front of the car. The doors on
either side of the car opened and two police officers stepped out. The
driver was a rather heavy man with doughnut crumbs on his blue shirt. The
other was a young blond boy who looked nervous. Pel, keys still in hand,
walked over to the older police officer and stood right in front of him.

The older officer walked into her, fell backwards and hit the ground. He
sat up and looked around. “What the…?” was all he had time to utter before
Pel kicked him the head. His neck bent backwards with a sickening snap and
he fell to the ground. She immediately leapt upon the young cop and stabbed
him in the eye with the keys she was holding. The boy screamed in pain and
fell to his knees, his hands reached up to cover his bleeding eye. Pel
kicked the boy in the chest, causing him to fall to the ground. Vince ran
towards her to stop her but before he could reach her, she lifted her one
foot and smashed it down upon his head.

“PEL!” Vince screamed. She paid no heed to him, bringing up her food to
smash down again. Vince tacked her, rolling both of them into a ditch.
They ended up a the bottom of it, Pel pinned by Vince, “What did you do
that for? Why did you kill them?”

Pel laughed insanely and reached up, grabbing the back of his head. She
smashed her lips into his, kissing him. Vince drew back with revulsion
and scrabbled off of her. Pel sat up and went after him. “Come on! Don’t
tell me that wasn’t fun!”

“It wasn’t fun! It was sick! Vince doesn’t understand why Pel killed the
innocent men!”

“Because it was fun!” She stood up and shoot the dead leaves out of her
hair, “Because I was bored. And because I wanted their police car. Now
come on stupid, let’s get out of here before more cops show up.” She held
out her hand to him.

Vince slapped it aside and got to his feet without her help. “No! You
killed them Pel and Vince will not ride in a police car! You killed!”

“Of course I killed you idiot. I’ve killed before and I’ll kill again.”
She gestured towards the bodies, “What does it matter? There are over
four billion of them living the planet. Who cares if there are two less
to breed? No one Vince, no one cares. We’re better than them. Their laws
don’t apply to us.”

“You forget that we were created by human, humans like them.”

“Humans exist for only one reason Vince. And that is to make more of us.
After all, a chicken is only an egg’s way of making another egg. That’s
all they are and the sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.
I felt like you did once Vince, I cared for them. And then one of them
hurt me and made me realize that I shouldn’t feel anything. Now, you can
either get in that car willingly, or I’ll make you get in that car. And
if I have to kill more humans to get you in it, I can do so.”

For a moment, Vince was temped to run. But he knew that he couldn’t leave
her. She needed him.

And he needed her to need him.

Defeated, he walked to the police cruiser and got into the passenger
seat. Pel happily followed him and slipped into the driver’s seat.
Vince tried not to look at the dead cops lying just behind the cruiser.
Instead he concentrated on looking on the inside of the cruiser. His
eyes settled on a picture taped to the dashboard. It was the younger
police officer dressed in a black robe with a square black hat on his head.
In his hand was a piece of rolled up paper and written on the bottom was
a caption. ‘Me on Graduation Day.’ The sick feeling that had been in the
pit of his stomach was suddenly doubled.

Pel looked over and saw him staring at the picture. She ripped it off
the dashboard and crumpled it up. “So where do you want to go?” Pel
asked casually as she tossed the crumpled paper out the window, “I’m
thinking we could chase down speeders or something fun like that.”

Vince swallowed and looked at Pel, “Let’s just blow up something.”

She didn’t notice the wavering in his voice. Instead, her face lit up
and she squealed with delight, “I knew you’d come around to my way of
thinking.” She turned on the ignition and shifted into drive. As they
pulled away, Pel began to ramble about what kinds of things were best
to blow up. But Vince couldn’t help but think of what she had just
said to him.

Was he really beginning to think her way?

Somehow, that scared him more than anything else she had done.


People, dying, for no reason at all,

Age is no difference or if you're large or small

Families, been torn apart,

Doesn't have to be this way,

Some people, just have no heart,

It's happening every day,

~Pure Massacre, Silverchair


“Vince!” He woke up to Pel poking him, “Wake up already!”
He blinked sleepily and looked around. They were still in the police
cruiser. He must have fallen asleep at some point. “What?”

“Look in the rear view mirror!” Her voice was shrill and excited.
He looked ahead and gasped. Police cars, five or six of them, were
chasing them and they weren’t that far away. “They just appeared
about five minutes ago!"

“We can’t outrun them all!”

“I know!” She smiled evilly at him, “But I wasn’t planning at out
running them. I hope that you are fire retardant.”


“Look ahead!” She called out, her voice sing-songy. Vince looked
ahead and was equally shocked.

Not to far in the distance was a large fuelling station. There were
four or five cars lined up but what really caught Vince’s eye was the
large tanker which was unloading gasoline. Pel slammed on the gas and
Vince smacked the back of his chair.

“Pel!” He screamed, clawing at his seatbelt, “We’re going to crash!”

“That’s the point!” She screamed back, “Take a deep breath cause they
is going to look so cool!”

He barely had time to breath before they smashed into the tanker. Vince
and Pel were both flung forwards into rapidly inflating airbags. But they
had no time to recover as they were rocked backwards as the tanker exploded.
Orange flames engulfed Vince’s world and he was scorched with heat. He
wanted to scream but somehow Vince knew that screaming would make it hurt

A hand grabbed his and yanked him out of the burning car, seconds before
it’s gas tank exploded. Another wave of fire knocked him over onto
whoever his saviour was. The smell of burning hair and flesh filled
the air and Vince found it next to impossible not to fall to his
knees and gag with horror. The hand yanked him again, pulling him
farther away. Vince finally got a good look and saw that it was Pel,
engulfed in fire and smiling in delight. He was sickened by her and
by her enjoyment and he tried to pull away. But the grip that she had
on his hand was unbreakable and she dragged him past burning cars into
a nearby field. He stumbled and fell. Pel, still on fire, rolled him
in the dirt smothering his flames. When he was extinguished, she did
the same with herself. He stared at the gas station, which was still
exploding. He could hear screaming coming from the cars. Vince tried
to stand so he can help them but he couldn’t. Pel touched his shoulder
and he turned to look at her. Her clothing was burnt and blackened, her
face covered in ash and dust. But it was the patches of purple burnt hair
that were too much for him. He doesn’t remember passing out but at some
point he did.

When he wakes, he finds that the sky is orange and grey, a repulsive
colour that sends shudders down his spine. The gas station is burning
and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. Pel is sitting
nearby, her clothing no longer burnt and her hair back to normal length.

“Hi.” She said, voice soft. He tried to speak but can’t. His throat had
been burnt dry. She approached him and touched the side of his face.
“You’re still covered in ash. You might want to change your clothes.”

Vince looks at the burnt rags that he is wearing. Closing his eyes, he
concentrates on making himself not burnt and healthy. As his body
changes, he begins to cry softly for all the people who died for Pel’s

When he opened his eyes, Pel hugged him and kissed him on the forehead,
“It’s okay,” She said, “I’m okay. And you’re okay too. We’re both just

Her words just made him weep harder and he clung onto Pel though all
he felt for her was revulsion. Vince just hugged her tighter and
pretended that it was Merton he was hugging. He pretended that it
was Merton who was hugging him back and telling him that he loved
Vince and that he was sorry that he locked Vince in the trunk.

They stayed that way for most of the night, illuminated by the flames
that refuse to be extinguished by the firemen.

Chapter 5:
Now did you read the news today

They say the danger's gone away

But I can see the fire's still alight

There burning into the night.

~Land of Confusion, Genesis


“I’ve got a surprise for you…” Pel smiled at Vince but Vince couldn’t
bring himself to smile back. He had been in a state of depression
ever since Pel blew up the gas station around a month ago and nothing
he did could make him happy.

“What kind of surprise.” Vince asked tiredly. Pel was trying to cheer
Vince up. Unfortunately, her ideas of cheering up and Vince’s ideas
of cheering up were very different. So far she had caused three more
explosions, destroyed five more cars and stolen more things than
Vince could count. None of it made him feel better. But Pel refused
to give up.

“You’ll see in a few hours.” She patted his knee, “You might want to
sleep until then.”

It had been hard for Vince to get to comfortable in cars, much less
get to sleep, since he had been trapped inside a burning one. But he
had been awake for almost twenty hours and it wasn’t that hard for
him to drift off into a thankfully dreamless slumber.


Day after day,

Our love turns grey,

Like the skin on a dying man.

And night after night,

We pretend it's all right,

But I have grown older,

And you have grown colder,

And nothing is very much fun, anymore.

~One of my Turns, Pink Floyd


He woke up alone.

Tiredly, he looked around at the darkened houses surrounding the
parked car. They were familiar somehow and he searched to place
them in his mind. Unable to remember, he stretched and stepped out
of the car. It is when he does this that he remembers the houses.

Pel’s brought him to Pleasantville.

He quickly searched the dark for her but she was nowhere to be seen.
Vince quickly racked his brain as to where she could have gone. She
had never been to Pleasantville and he had described the town vaguely,
uncertain of what was outside of the little world he and Merton had
existed in. He knew that he should take this chance, find her and
leave quickly.

But Merton was so close nearby…

The need to see Merton won over his common sense and he ran though
the streets, searching for the familiar sight of Merton’s house. The
town was the same as it had been when he last left it and he wondered
if maybe when he walked into Merton’s house that Merton would still
be a little boy who missed his friend.

Vince reached the house quickly and snuck into the house though the
kitchen window. He quietly sneaked across the floor, making sure not
to step on the squeaky spots, and walked down the stairs. Vince stopped
just short of the door to the Lair, uncertain of whether to continue or not.

His hand brushed over the doorknob and he turned it slowly. The door
swung open silently and Vince glided into the room. It was still the
treasure trove of Gothic treasures that it had been when he had last
entered it. And sleeping in the bed is the boy he was made to love,
the boy who haunts his mind every day. Vince walked to the bed and
sat on the edge of it.

Merton looked so pale and fragile when he was asleep. Vince reached
out one hand and gently ran it along the side of Merton’s face. He
mumbled softly in his sleep and nestled into the hand, causing Vince
to smile with delight.

“He’s a pretty heavy sleeper.” Vince jerked backwards as Pel’s voice
shattered the silence. She stood at the entrance to the Lair and
looked around. “Hmm. Nice digs. If you’re a vampire.”

She wandered around the Lair, picking up assorted objects and looking
at them with disinterest. Vince had the sudden irrational desire to
stand up and kick her out of the Lair. Part of him hated that she was
looking down at who Merton was and what he did. “Merton’s not a vampire.
He’s a Goth now.”

Pel walked towards Vince and stood at the foot of the bed staring at
Merton. “So that’s him.” She finally said, “Not what I pictured. You
always described him as being stronger.”

“Merton always looks like this when he sleeps,” Vince brushed his
fingertips across Merton’s forehead. “Like crystal.”

“And you know what I do with crystals.” She walked closer and leaned
over top of him, “I crush crystals.”

Swiftly, she grabbed one of the extra pillows sitting beside Merton’s
head and pressed it overtop of his face. Vince grabbed the pillow from
her hands and pushed her away from Merton. Pel stumbled backwards and
his Merton’s dresser. Vince quickly got off the bed as Merton shifted
in his sleep.

What are you doing? He hissed.

I could ask the same thing of you. Pel’s voice was indignant, If you
wanted to smother him yourself, you could have said so. I just thought
that you’d rather not.”

Smother Merton! Why would Pel kill Merton?

You make you real. You can’t be real if Merton is alive. You want to be
like me don’t you?

Not if it means killing Merton.

“You can’t expect to become real without a price attached. And why do
you want to keep him alive anyway? Last time you saw him he wanted to
destroy you and he almost succeeded! I say we kill him now and then you’ll
be just like me.”

“Like you? If being like you means feeling no guilt, killing innocent
people and murdering my Creator, than Vince would rather be imaginary forever.”

“You don’t understand! You don’t know what it’s like to be able to taste, to
feel, to breath the air! When I kiss you, it’s like kissing a brick wall.
You can’t feel love.”

“Vince does feel love. Just not for Pel.”

Pel got a look of shock on her face as if Vince had punched her in the
stomach. Her lower lip quivered and her eyes filled with tears. She clenched
her fists and flung herself at Merton, flailing her limbs widely. Vince
grabbed her arms and twisted them behind her back. He slammed his head into
her head three times before Pel was knocked unconscious. She slumped into
his arms and Vince half carried, half dragged her up the stairs, his own
head aching.

He finally got her outside and set her on the ground. Vince gently shook
her and Pel opened her eyes. They were glazed over but when she saw Vince,
they narrowed into angry slits. She shoved him away from her and sat up.

They sat like that for a long while, silent and refusing to acknowledge
one another. Finally, just as the sun began to rise, Pel broke the silence.

“Why won’t you let me kill him?” Her voice was cracked and bitter, “He’s
eating away at you. And he’ll keep eating away at you until he’s dead.”

“Vince can’t kill him. And neither can Pel.”

“Why not? What’s so special about him? He’s just like a million other people.
Over four billion other humans on this planet and you’ll let me kill any
of them. But I can’t kill Merton. Why not Vince?”

“Because Vince loves him.” Vince stood up and stood overtop of Pel,
“Because he created Vince. Because he’s Merton and Vince won’t let
Pel touch him.”
Pel cowered on the ground; all the hate and anger washed out of her eyes and replaced
with tears. Vince suddenly realized what had kept him with Pel for so long. It wasn’t
affection he felt for Pel. It was pity that made him stay.

“Sorry…” She whispered, tears rolling down her face, “I shouldn’t have brought us here.”

Her tears might have made Vince feel something a day ago. But now he knew that she used
them in the same way that she used everything else; as a tool to get what she wanted.
The tears meant nothing to her, just water pouring out of her eyes to make him feel guilty.

Vince felt no guilt this time. She was a child mentally though she looked like a woman. A
highly intelligent child but nothing more than a child. Pel had all the reasoning power
of a three year old and it become worse and worse as she deepened upon Vince more and
more. But now he would have to change that, for better or worse. It was time for Pel
to grow up.

“Stand up.” He said, not unkindly but no gently either. Pel immediately scrambled to her
feet and waited expectantly for him to say something. “We’re going.”

She opened her mouth to say something, perhaps protest or maybe agree, but she shut it
when Vince fixed his gaze on her. He didn’t feel like listening to her anymore.

They left town in silence. Vince drove this time.

Chapter 6:
Letting go, it's so hard

1 The way it's hurting now

To get this love untied

So tough to stay with thing

'Cause if I follow through

I face what I denied

I get those hooks out of me

And I take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side

Kill that fear of emptiness, loneliness I hide

~Washing of the Water, Peter Gabriel


It’s been one full year.

She was sitting with her back against the side of the school, the same school where he
first met her. He doesn’t know if Pel realized it or not but she was dressed exactly the
same as before, right down to her purple sandals. She hasn’t changed in that long year.

But Vince has changed. One year ago, he was lonely and a miserable wreck who needed someone
to need him. But one year can change a person. Or, in Vince’s case, a figment of someone’s
imagination. He’s been in a snowball fight, bandaged a bleeding hand, eaten food to make
someone else happy, been involved in a high-speed car chase and watched it end in a violent
explosion. And now he knows that he doesn’t need anyone to make him feel real.

And he doesn’t need Pel.

He walked towards her, his clothing shifting back to the green, black and white plaid that
was familiar to him, so familiar that he didn’t even need to concentrate to slip into it.
Pel looked up and smiled, “I’ve got a great idea. We’ll go to…”


“…Europe. Britain or some place like that. And…”


“…we’ll check the castles and other old stuff…”


“…like houses and…”


She finally snapped out of her rambling. “What? You want to do something different?”

“Vince is leaving.”

“Because if you do I’m completely…what?”

“Vince is leaving.”

She stared blankly at him for a moment and then began to laugh, “Great joke Vince, you
almost had me going for a moment.”

“Vince is not joking.”

“Vince stop it,” She rolled her eyes, “I don’t feel like joking right now. So, where do you
want to go?”

“Good bye Pel. Thank you for helping Vince.” He turned and walked towards the car he had
bought a few towns back. Vince had made Pel buy one this time instead of stealing. The
guilt had been too much for him but Pel hadn’t felt a thing. She never did.

“Wait!” He heard her scramble to her feet and run after him, “Vince! This isn’t funny!”

He reached the car before she did and slipped into the seat. Vince turned the keys in the
ignition, feeling the car purr to life beneath him. Pel appeared beside him and grasped
his shoulder.

“Come on, “ Her voice was calm but her eyes was panicked, “Funny joke Vince, ha ha and all
that but that’s enough.”

He didn’t say a thing, just shifted the car into drive and hit the turn signal.

“Vince!” She dropped all pretence of being calm and her voice became frenzied, “Please don’t
leave me! I need you! I can’t be alone.”

“Vince is sorry Pel,” He spared her one last look, “Vince is sorry Vince used you because
Vince was too afraid to be alone. But now Vince has to go. Vince hopes that Pel can find
her happiness and maybe a little inner peace. Vince knows you killed Jeff. Good bye.”

She drew back as if she had been slapped, her mouth in an O of surprise. Vince pressed on
the gas and drove away. The reflection of a purple girl faded from his rear view mirror as
he turned the corner and headed out of town. He had no idea where he was going or what he
would do when he got there. But none of that mattered, not the moment anyway.

Vince switched on the radio and slipped on a pair of shades. As his hand caught the sunlight,
he paused, seeing the faint lines that were forming on his skin. He turned his fingers
towards him, watching as swirls and loops, crude imitations of a fingerprint that a child
would make, formed the formerly unmarked skin.

And then he smiled, happy to be alive, happy to be free.

Happy to be Vince.


You're packing a suitcase for a place

None of us has been

A place that has to be believed

To be seen

~Walk On, U2

Chapter 7:

Pel watched as Vince drove out of sight, tears blurring the world surrounding her. She
dropped to her knees and buried her head into her hand. She stayed like for a long while,
her tears staining her hands and shirt. The school day ended and many children passed by
her. But not one of them dared to comfort her.

Silence took the playground and night soon followed. But Pel didn’t move. Her tears dried
and her hands dropped. But she stayed kneeling by the side of the road, staring into the
distance. A gentle breeze started up and began to blow trash across the playground. A
crumpled green piece of paper rolled on the earth in front of Pel.

Something in her snapped. The little girl began to grow up. But what Vince had not counted
on was that the transition between a child and an adult would be more dangerous that the
child ever could be.

“You’ll pay…” She whispered, eyes no longer tear stained, “I’ll hurt the ones you love. I’ll
make you suffer and make you pay. And then, when it looks like it can’t get any worse, I’ll
kill your Creator and make you live with his death for eternity. Hell has no fury like a
woman scorned. And you’ll learn that first hand Vince.”

She stood, her clothing shifting into jeans and a long sleeved shirt. A cruel, cold look
entered her eyes and she began to walk down the street Vince had driven down when he left
her behind. There was much to plan; how the deeds would be done, when they would be done.
It would take patience, something Pel had very little of, and it would take cunning. But it
would also take time.

And that was something Pel had plenty of.


Since you've gone I've been lost without a trace

I dream at night, I can only see your face

I look around, but it's you I can't replace

I feel so cold, and I long for your embrace

I keep crying baby, baby please,

Oh, can't you see

You belong to me?

How my poor heart aches

With every step you take

Every move you make

Every vow you break

Every smile you fake, every claim you stake

I'll be watching you

Every move you make, every step you take

I'll be watching you

I'll be watching you

~Ever Breath You Take, The Police


AN: If anyone wants to read more of Pel’s snarking and Vince’s attempt to keep her quiet,
they can do so at
Pel’s Deadjournal.