The Emerald City | Atticus L. Stanton
♫ | The Killers - Here With Me
January 2nd, 2013
Working for the Queens isn't an easy task. I knew better than to ignore them, but it wasn't enough. They demanded more and more from me. I was already sick and tired of being bossed around but having Elphaba trying to seduce me wasn't a good sign. Good thing that Gage flirted with her before things got ugly. They're having an affair these days.
I woke up in my confinement—the Queens' castle, to be precise. The harsh emerald hues were always displeasing to stare at for too long... who knew that a color so beautiful could remind me of something so ugly? It's not like Elphaba isn't attractive. She is. But she's also wicked and I don't support her ways. I don't even like her /that/ way. Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me; most men would kill to have that power. Not me.
“Atticus, are you up?” Jasper inquired after knocking on the door a few times.
“Yeah, come on in.” I replied.
“Did you have... another?” He asked cautiously. I knew what he meant. The nightmares were constant these days. Each member of the Flying Monkeys had a recurring nightmare. To me, it was always the same: I'd wake up lying next to a beautiful woman. Two kids would interrupt her sleep, sitting next to us in the bed, while I made jokes and everyone laughed. Then the three of them would drop dead in front of me. The bed would lit itself on fire and I'd get out of it, looking for an exit but there was never one. I always died.
“I did.” I nodded, looking down at the crumpled sheets. If you looked closely, you'd see sweat in it, that's how vivid the nightmares were to me. I let out a sigh, “Come on, we have a long day ahead.”
“You two are late.” Gage singsonged, standing on the door frame with a smirk plastered on his face. “Elphaba is up already.”
I groaned, “I did not need to know that.”
After a quick shower and some new clothes, I was ready to go. We would take the Queens to Munchkin Country today. They had some sort of store opening there. I didn't care about it, but anything to get out of this filthy castle would make me happy.
“Greetings, Eli.” I said to the familiar blonde. He was one of the guards, too.
“Atticus.” Eli nodded politely. “How's this day treating you?”
“I'm alright. Have you spoken to Scarlett today?” I asked. Scarlett was one of the few friends I had, besides the Flying Monkeys and Eli, of course. She was also my only female friend.
“No.” Eli frowned. “I believe she's on one of those fabric binges she gets, where she visits another country to get an exotic piece of fabric.” He laughed.
“I see.” I joined in on the laughter.
“What's so funny?” Gage interrupted us, his eyebrow raised in suspicion.
“Nothing.” I rolled my eyes, “You're always so stiff, Gage. Lighten up. It's going to be a tedious ride.”
If the bright emerald from the Emerald City was disturbing, the yellow from Munchkinland was more unbearable. What is it with Oz and all these stupid color codes anyways? No wonder Scarlett worked hard to make multicolored garments. There were short people talking to really tall people and the contrast was comical. The decoration consisted of candy motifs and bright flowers. It was almost like entering into the imagination of a preschooler.
“Hey, Atticus, why so green?” Eli asked with a giggle as he saw my face. We were all wearing emerald uniforms, unlike the people in Munchkinland, who wore bright yellow. The carriage came to a halt. We had arrived to the spot: we'd now proceed to introduce the queens to the citizens of Munchkin Country and then wait until they were inside the store safely so that we could take a break. Other guards would take care of them.
“Announcing, Their Royal Highnesses, Queens Elphaba and Nessarose Thropp, rulers of the Land of Oz.” I said in my loudest voice. The two queens stood straight, avoiding eye contact with the audience (because apparently it gave them an edge and people would “respect” them) and walking straight into the store. My work was done, I let out a sigh of relief and walked away from there as soon as I could.
“I don't get why they're invading our land just to open a stupid cosmetics store. Isn't that materialistic and it's not like people here can afford to buy make up...” A female voice ranted to an old lady that stood next to her, her face looking straight to nowhere. She just smiled and stared at nothing in particular.
“I don't think she's listening to you.” I pointed out.
“She's deaf.” The young woman rolled her eyes. The old lady stood up, curtsied at us and left to the store. “Great.” The woman sighed.
“I don't think you should be sharing those dangerous thoughts in public.” I said. “You may never know who's listening to them.”
“Oh really? And who are you?” She asked defiantly.
“One of the Royal guards.” I shrugged. “No big deal.”
“Oh.” She dropped silent.
“You can speak to me you know... it's not like I'm doing this job because I love it.” I shrugged, sitting next to her. “I'm Atticus.” I said, extending a hand towards the lady.
“Allie.” She stared at the hand, then decided to shake it. “Why don't you love your job, Atticus?”
“Because I'm forced to work for /them/.”
“And that's a bad thing because?” Allie asked curiously.
“I'm not their slave.” I said while Allie winced. It was interesting to see that reaction but I didn't press any further. “Anyways, I'm not even from the Emerald City.”
“And yet you have to wear green.” She pointed out.
“Exactly.” I shrugged. “It's stupid to have all these rules and not being able to break them.”
“Maybe you could break them... no one has to know.” She winked at me, standing up and straightening her skirt. “Are you in or not?”
I glanced at the store. It was cramped and no one seemed to notice us. I stood up and grabbed Allie's hand. “Alright, I could use some adventure in my life.” I really did miss the excitement from being a Flying Monkey, the motorcycle club, not the literal one.