Setting: Fowl Manor, 8 pm, Saturday night.
Artemis sat at his desk, staring at his blank computer screen and tapping the mouse impatiently. “Great time for my computer to crash…” he muttered to himself. And really, it was. Artemis had a report due tomorrow on molecular physics. He was beginning to regret taking yet another online college coarse, which he’d done only to impress Holly.
” Arty?” his mother, Angeline Fowl, asked, peeking into the room, “Arty are you in he-oh there you are sweetie! Dinners almost ready, hon.” She added, knowing her son’s aversion to pet names.
Gritting his teeth, Artemis nodded. “I’ll be down shortly, Ang…” He paused at the expression on her face, “mum” He finished. She smiled sweetly and retreated down the staircase.
God, I wish Holly would show up. Artemis thought to himself, I know she didn’t call or anything, but my mums getting nigh on unbearable these days! I can’t stand-a loud knocking interrupted his reverie. He look up to see where the sound had come from, and saw…”Holly!” Artemis gasped. Well, it was more a slightly blurry patch of air, or Holly when she was “invisible”.
Artemis covered the distance to the window in two short strides, flinging said window open so Holly could enter. He waited for a few minutes, then closed it, and turned around.
“Holly…” The shimmering blob slowly stopped vibrating to reveal the elf herself. Artemis noticed she’d grown her normally short hair down to the small of her back.
“Nice hair.” He commented.
“Artemis, I-” Holly started.
“I didn’t mean that as an insult, more a compliment, see? I’m terribly sorry if I’ve offended you.”
“Arty, you don’t-” she said, trying to get a word in.
“I really should read up on these sort of things…I’m working on an essay right now, though, so it will have to wait, but-”
” Artemis, really! Just-”
“It’s seems I’ve taken much to many classes. I have an unnaturally high workload for someone of my skill level, even more so for my age. Of coarse my intelligence level is exceptionally-”
“ARTEMIS!” Holly shouted. He froze.
“Yes?” He asked timidly, which was surprising for someone with an ego as large as Artemis’.
“I have to tell you something.” Holy said, biting her lip. She was unsure of weather or not she should tell him. Weather or not she should give him the choice of staying…or going. What if he chose wrong? She wasn’t sure she was ready for a relationship, but she definitely liked Artemis. If he left…
“Tell me what, Holly? I can take it. I’m not a child anymore, you know. And you can always tell me anything…” Artemis paused, leaving the statement out there.
“You don’ t belong here. You’re from the future. When you were young, you’re real parents realized you were in danger and sent you back in time with a note explaining you situation….the Fowl’s took pity, and, well, here you are.” Silence. Holly waited, gauging Artemis’ reaction. He stood, stony faced, unmoving. Finally he opened his mouth…
“Anything,” He said, “except that. You honestly can’t be serious, Holly! Just because my parents don’t have any pictures around the house from the past few years doesn’t mean I’m from the future!” Artemis shook his head. “I really thought you knew better than that.”
“Artemis, it’s true. Look, I can prove it, here…” Holly held out a faded picture. In it was Artemis, small, maybe three or four years old, but Artemis. Standing next to him were two people, a man and a woman, whose resemblance to the Fowl boy was startling. Artemis and the man were wearing jeans and blue t-shirts, the woman a blue dress with ruffles in the skirt. But what intrigued Artemis the most was the backdrop for the portrait of his previously unknown biological family. At first glance it was the ordinary Chicago skyline. But the longer Artemis looked, the more…..wrong it seemed. The buildings-dilapidated. The lake-gone. Almost no lights were on, and some buildings had rotted away to skeletons, surrounded by scaffolding. It was Chicago-but barely. Artemis stared at the picture for ages, all the while holly stood over his shoulder.
“These-these people…..they’re my parents? My…biological parents, that is. Are they?’ Artemis asked, his voice so calm it scared Holly, “And how did you get this picture? Forget that, how did you even find out about my past?If it’s even my past..” Artemis trailed off.
“I promise,Arty, all of this is real….look on the back.” Holly said, trying to comfort him. Artemis turned it over slowly. On the back it read:
Missy, Steven, and Artemis Clemmings. 2234
“2234?!” Artemis asked, “that’s 223 YEARS in the future, Holly! How can…I mean-it just….can’t….how? How, Holly? How did they send me back? You’re missing that crucial fact. This photograph could have easily been faked. Why are you trying to feed these lies to me? What’s going on? Do you need my help again? For god’s sake, Holly, you could’ve asked me from the start!”
Holly shook her head, “Artemis, listen.” she said, faking bravado for his sake alone. “Just listen, okay? This might take a while to explain, and…don’t interrupt, got it?” she added.
“Of coarse.” Artemis complied softly.
“Ok…you were born in 2230 to Missy and Steven Clemmings. You know the city in the photo?” Holly asked.
“Yes…” Artemis answered, flipping the relic of his past life over in his hands.
“It’s Chicago, if you hadn’t noticed. After the world pretty much destroyed itself, that is. Let’s see,” Holly mused thoughtfully, “Well, the world didn’t destroyitself per se, more….start over. There were five groups of people, and each had a different idea of why the world was in ‘crisis-mode’. You following?”She asked.
“Just one question,” Artemis said, his voice almost a whisper. “Yeah?” Holly answered. “Well, I’d really like to know how I got into the past. Exactly how advanced was their technology?” Artemis wondered.
“Your technology, Arty….and it was really, really…forward set, I guess, because they found a way to send you back in time and have you stay there. Here.” Holly finished, “Anyways, the people in these groups broke into factions, and each faction was devoted to a certain quality-the opposite of why they thought the world was in ruin. Like, one faction, Dauntless, was-no, is, devoted to bravery. They believe the world fell because of cowardice, see?”
“I think so,” Artemis said,” It’s a lot to take in, though.” He added.
“I know, Arty, I know.” Holly sighed, “Listen, I have to go back to work, but I’ll be her tomorrow, k?”
Artemis nodded, “Yeah.”
Holly looked at him concerned,”You gonna be okay until then?” she asked. Artemis nodded again mutely. Biting her lip, Holly retreated out the window slowly. I wonder if he’ll go back…or, forward, I guess. God, I’ve got to stop thinking about this! It’d be better for him to go anyways, Holly thought to herself. As she flew off into the horizen, she looked over her shoulder-back at Fowl manor.
Artemis was standing in the window.
Artemis Fowl II,
It has recently come to my attention that you have been entirely skipping many of your classes lately. We are concerned as to your whereabouts during these hours, and will be contacting your parents if you do not attend classes in the future. Further action will also be taken, with or without your consent, as we regard punctuality very highly here at St. Bartleby’s School for Young Gentleman. If, however there is a credible reason for your prolonged absence, we will change said infractions according to the situation.
David Holten, Headmaster.
Artemis stared down at the letter mutely. He was standing in the front hall, near the dining room, having just recieved this ill timed message in the mail. He sighed, “What am I going to do, Holly?”
Holly looked up from the magazine she was reading on the couch. She’d been visiting Artemis nearly every day, explaining more and more about his complicated heritage. “About what?” she asked.
Artemis held out the letter in answer. “Look,” he said.
Holly skimmed the letter, “Why’ve you been skipping, Arty? Just because I’ve told you about your parents doesn’t mean you should…” She stopped at the look on his face, “What?”
“How did you get the picture, Holly? God, how’dyou get the information? Where, on earth or below it, did you find all this? Because I’d like to know, Holly. I really would.” Artemis vented.
Holly sighed. I knew this would come up, she thought to herself. “We, I mean the LEP, have known this for years, Arty. A few years ago, around the time you got here, actually, the LEP got a package in the mail. The picture I showed you was inside of it, along with a letter from your parents, much like the one your parents got. It was explaining everything about….about you.” Holly finished, out of breath.
“Why didn’t you tell me, then?” Artemis asked.
“Well, we didn’t know you then.” Holly said, ” The LEP only found out who you were when you kidnapped me. Remember?” Even Holly couldn’t keep the venom out of her words.
“Oh, I remember…” Artemis said, grinning, “But why didn’t you tell me then? I mean, I was right there, and you must have had people running back and forth all night, so why not then?” Artemis asked.
“Well, for starters, you’d just kidnapped one of their officers, so the LEP weren’t exactly feeling favorable towards you.” Holly scowled.
“Anything else?” Artemis sighed.
“The LEP also thought you were too young…” she added.
“Too young? Holly, did they-did you not understand that night that I wasn’t exactly a normal twelve year old? I would’ve understood three years ago…well, three years, 10 months and 13 days, to be exact, but who’s counting?” Artemis stated.
Holly laughed,”We didn’t know you as well as we do now, Arty, that’s for sure”
Smiling, Artemis added hesitantly, ” There’s one more thing Holly…”
“Yeah?” Holly asked, cautious.
” Well, Holly, I…I want to go back. Forward. Home, wherever that is.”
Holly gaped open-mouthed, the air rushing out of her. She hadn’t even told him that he could yet, and already he wanted to go.
“Holly?” Artemis asked, concerned, “Holly, I…”
“Artemis, why would you? How could you even-” The tears she was holding back let loose, and she ran from the room, sobbing.
“Well that went well…” Artemis muttered to himself. He wondered if he’d told her too soon, and, judging by her reaction, he had. Artemis never really was good with people…or elves, for that matter.
Just then, Butler poked his head in, “Artemis? May I ask why exactly Miss Short has locked herself in the bathroom?”
“Locked herself in the-oh, great.” Artemis sighed. He ran up the curving staircase, down the hall, and around the corner to the bathroom. He could hear Holly’s crying inside. Knocking on the door, He called out, “Holly? Are you in there? It’s me, Artemis…I…I’m really sorry, I didn’t think…” He trailed off, at a loss for words, which rarely happened to him, of all people. Then the doorknob turned, and Holly stepped out slowly.
“Do you really want to go back?” she asked quietly.
“I…I do, Holly, really. It’s home, even though I don’t remember it, and, well, I beong there, no matter how cheesy that sounds” Artemis explained.
“I’m gonna miss you, Arty.” Holly whispered.
“What?” Artemis asked.
“Nothing.” Holly sighed, “Nothing…”
~ ~ ~
Artemis held the only pair of jeans he owned in his hands. “Should I bring these, Holly?” He asked, looking up at her.
“Sure…” she muttered, “Whatever.”
Artemis sighed,”You’re not making this any easier, Holly.I mean, the least you could do is be a little happy for me.”
“Happy for you? Arty, we need you! you’re a huge asset to the LEP, I mean, look at all you’ve done for us! Why on and under the earth would you expect us to be happy?” Holly exclaimed.
Artemis looked at her, blinking. “I…I had no idea, but Holly, you must know this will not change anything…I have to go, and I know you think I’m crazy, but I just have this feeling….” he faded off.
“Artemis Fowl? Feelings?” she muttered under her breath, “Yeah, right.”
“What’d you say, Holly?’ Artemis asked.
Holly looked up, “What? Oh, me? I didn’t say anything. Why would I say anything when you don’t even listen? God, Artemis…for a genius, you’re really stupid sometimes.” Huffing, she stormed off out of Artemis’ room.
“What on earth do I keep saying to make her do that? ” Artemis wondered aloud. Just then Butler walked in the room cautiously.
“Um, Artemis? Sir?” He called out.
Artemis sighed “Yes?”
“Well, Holly seems to have locked herself in the bathroom again, sir.”
“Oh for the love of…I’ll be right down butler, alright?”
“One more thing,” Butler added,”She wanted you to know that they’re planning on sending you into the future, ah, Friday, I believe.”
“Friday? So soon?” Artemis asked absently.
“Sir, pardon me, but didn’t you want to go?”
“Oh, yes, I do, it’s just…oh nevermind…” Artemis rambled on.
“I’ll be leaving now, Sir…”
Artemis just nodded silently. What, he thought, am I doing?
~ ~ ~
Fast forward to Artemis’ last day in the past, a place he formerly called home. Artemis stood on the front lawn of Fowl Manor, looking up at the huge and anchient building for the last time. Ever. Despite many arguments against it, Artemis had decided to go ahead with the plan, and be sent into the future…home.
If you think about it, home isn’t a place-it’s a feeling. A feeling of belonging, no matter where you are, and Artemis had always felt that. So why, may you ask, was Arty going to leave it all behind? He didn’t quite know himself. Maybe it was his desire to see the future, to be able to get his hands on that advanced technology…god knows what he’d be able to do.
And maybe it’s better this way, Artemis thought, maybe it’s better for me to be in a place and time as advanced as I. In the past…Arty chuckled to himself at the irony of that. The past, the future, the present-it all blended together now, the words holding little meaning.
“Something funny Artemis?” Holly asked.
“No, I-it’s just…I mean-“Artemis stuttered.
“Whatever.” Holly grumbled, walking away.
“Holly! Wait, I-” Aremis grabbed her shoulder, “I..I’m going to miss you.”
Holly’s eyes flashed, her face reddening. “Then why the hell are you leaving Artemis?!” She yelled, “Did you ever stop to think about us??” She added, motioning to Foaly, Mulch, Minerva, Myles, Beckett, and various others that had come to see Arty off.
“Of course I do, holly. That’s why I’m leaving,” or part of it, Artemis thought, “I put the entire fairy race at risk once, and I don’t want to do it again, holly. You have to understand…this is my family. My parents! Don’t you get that? I might even have siblings, or…or…”
“YOU ALREADY DO!” Holly shrieked, “Darvit, Arty…Myles and Beckett! What about them?? What about the parents that raised you Arty?? Huh? Are you just gonna rip their worlds apart, and leave them to clean up the mess? Well? Are you? Are you??”
As Foaly came up to comfort her, holly broke down sobbing. Artemis moved forward…
“No!” Holly sobbed,”No, artemis…I just…just GO! Leave, please, oh gods Arty…”
Gaping at holly Artemis backed up towards the hulking machine designed to take him away from this mess, the problems he’d caused. Foaly hooked Artemis up silently.
Right before he bushed the button Holly whispered, “I’m gonna miss you too, Arty.”
He never heard her.
Even before landing, Atremis found it hard to breathe. The air seemed smoggy and thick, like fog. It took him a minute to realize that it was polution. Well, he thought, i guess the world didn’t end on December 21 after all! Besides that, nothing really registered in Artemis’ brain. The scenery flew by him, and he only had seconds to understand he was falling. After that, everything went dark.
“Do you think he’s okay?” a girl, somewhere above him asked.
“Mmm…might be. Reckon he’s a Dauntless? Coulda fallen off a building or something.” this time a boy…slightly closer.
Artemis groaned as he sat up slowly.
“He’s alive!!” the girl cried.
“No, Hannah. He’s dead and got himself tuned into a zombie.” the boy said sarcasticly
“Really” said the girl, amazed.
“No. Now help me get him up!”
To be continued….