Monday, October 24, 2011

(Dreams) Chapter 4

Short Chapter, but whatever. I have a super awesome idea for a new story running around like mad in my brain and I need to start developing it. But I told myself I couldn't until I finished this chapter (and finished Crime and Punishment of which I have to read 150 pages of still in twelve hours. guess who's not sleeping tonight!). So without further ado, Chapter 4.

The boy closed the door to his apartment soundlessly. His classes at the university were done for the day and he was on his own. He could hardly to afford to pay for the apartment and attend school, but he had no other option. His secret life didn’t allow for him to remain in residence with his parents. Plus, he wouldn’t have wanted to live with them anyway. He had a crappy life. His only consolation and happiness came through his dreams.

He was careful to make sure the door to his apartment remained locked. All of the blinds were down, closing off the outside world. His rooms were almost as dark as if it had been night. He went into his room and pulled the small bottle of pills out from under his mattress. He popped two of the red pills into his mouth and swallowed them. He cringed as they slowly scrapped down his throat.

The boy fell down on his bed and waited for the Lunexor pills to go into effect. He reached over and hit play on his radio. The droll voice droned on as it continued onto the next passage of the intense book.

“Andesite. Spelled: A-N-D-E-S-I-T-E. Definition: a dark-colored volcanic rock composed essentially of plagioclase feldspar and one or more mafic minerals, as hornblende or biotite. Example: The rock was of the andesite variety.

“Andiron . . .”

The boy felt his eyes already begin to close as the audio dictionary moved on to its next word. He had taken great pangs to find this gem that could put him to sleep easily, even when he was wide awake. Of course the Lunexor helped. As soon as he’d finished off the bottle of prescription sleeping drug, he had discovered this non-prescription “all natural” sleeping pill on the internet. It didn’t have the greatest safety rating, but it was very effective. Or so it had said on the internet. This was his first time using it. He didn’t care so much about the safe factor. He needed something that worked.

He felt the euphoria begin to wash over him. From his research he knew that that was one of the effects of the phenibut in the pill. On impulse, he reached under his bed and grabbed the alcohol he kept stashed there. He hated the stuff, but it was a depressant. It would slow his body down and help him fall asleep quicker along with the drugs.

He took a swig. It burned all the way down his throat. He put the bottle on his nightstand and coughed. It was stronger than he remembered. He felt instantly woozy. That Lunexor was powerful stuff. He closed his eyes and was instantly back to his home.

* * * * *

“Niewit!” the boy looked up at the sound of his name. His American friend only had another few hours before he was called back.

“Kaman,” he smiled. “Long time no see.” The boy only ever saw Kaman when he took naps like he was doing then. Kaman was from California so their times barely intersected, if at all. Yet, despite their limited interactions, the two were like brothers.

Kaman reached him and gave him an American man-hug. He would never get used to that. Americans were peculiar people. “That’s my line, dude. You Brits mess it up with all your proper sounding speak.” This was a longstanding joke between the two. The boy was continuously poking at the peculiar phrases that seemed to come from Kaman’s mouth.

“If you didn’t talk in such a ridiculous fashion, I wouldn’t have to make fun at you.”

Kaman smiled. “A’ight, a’ight. We all know you’re just jealous of the K-Man. So what you be doing here at this time? It ain’t your shift.” The boy had a deep running suspicion that Kaman always spoke his worst just to irritate him. “If you’re trying to catch up on your beauty sleep, bro, it ain’t working.”

The boy rolled his eyes. “No. I’m trying to absorb extra hours. We need to keep this place alive long enough for the girl to arrive.”

A somber mood descended over the friends. A large chunk of the wall crashed to the ground. “How long do you think we have?”

The boy shook his head sadly. “That depends on how much energy I can absorb. The more I absorb, the longer the precarious balance can be maintained and the sooner I can bring her here.” The boy felt a flash of anger at the girl. Why couldn’t she come? Had he been even remotely unclear when he told her how important it was?

Kaman knew the situation perfectly. He’d read about what happened in the journal. “I need this place, bro. Maybe not as much as you do, but I can’t go back to how it was before.” His eyes fell.

The boy nodded in understanding. He did understand, completely.

“What are you taking?”

The boy looked up in shock. “Who’s to say I’m taking anything?”

Kaman gave him a sidelong look. The boy had to struggle not to squirm. “We’re friends Kiewit. Don’t insult me by pretending I’m stupid. You used to use those prescriptions to come here ‘bout three extra times a week. This is the first time you’ve come off-shift since then.”

The boy sighed. “I don’t think you’re stupid, I’m simply upset that it was that obvious.”

When he didn’t say more, Kaman nudged him. “So?”


Kaman wrinkled his eyebrows. “I haven’t heard of that one. I’ll have to look it up. Be careful with it, dude. We can’t afford to lose you too.”

“I’ll be careful,” he promised.

The air in front of them began to shimmer. The boy felt a curl of hope rise inside of him. Could it be her? If she had come her shift would be over by now, but maybe . . .

No, it wasn’t her.

A dark-haired, tan-skinned girl winked into existence. “Hey Kiewit. Kaman.”

The way she said Kaman’s name made him want to roll his eyes again, but he refrained. “Hi Lele. How’s the sun?”

She smiled. “It’s great. How are the raids?”

“Better.” He turned away as the tall Hawaiian girl and Kaman glued themselves together. He walked over to the wall and sat down amidst the dead plants. He slowed his breathing and focused on what he’d come to do. Absorb energy.

* * * * *

Jason had to physically help me to my feet. It was hard to stand on my own strength. Sleep reached toward me from every corner, but it stopped short of actually taking me in its grasp.

I closed my eyes and leaned all my weight on Jason.

“Are you okay, Cade?”

Jason was always overly worried about me. “Mmmhm, just tired, couldn’t sleep,” I mumbled into his chest.

He grabbed all my things and stuffed them into my bag. He slung it over his shoulder. “Come on,” he said, guiding me from the lighthouse.

Because of the tide, the waves were lapping against the beached jet ski. He tossed my bag in the storage area under the seat. I climbed onto the seat. He pushed the ski until it was deep enough in the water that it floated, then, he climbed on in front of me. He revved the engine. “Hold on tight and don’t fall asleep!” he yelled back at me.

I wrapped my arms around his waist and leaned my head up against his back. I wasn’t going to make any promises about the falling asleep thing. The sun was bright overhead. I would never have guessed there was a storm the night before if I hadn’t experienced it.

In no time at all, we were back home. I knew I hadn’t fallen asleep, but I must have drifted into some kind of daze. My parents were waiting on the dock, looking both worried and relieved. As soon as I’d set foot on the dock, I was attacked on all sides. My face was pressed so hard into my mom’s shoulder that I couldn’t breathe. “Oh, baby,” she whispered over and over.

I finally extracted myself from their hold. “I’m fine, really,” I reassured them. “Jason and I took shelter in the old lighthouse.”

I noticed Jason standing awkwardly to the side. For a brief instant, instead of him, I saw the shorter, dark-haired boy with the piercing eyes. I shook my head to clear the image. I immediately regretted it. The image was out of reach, but I could still see his eyes. I’d spent the entire sleepless night trying to remember the mystery boy, now the image was gone.

Shaking my head had reminded me of how tired I really was. I was super glad it was Saturday. I pushed aside my parents’ questions. They didn’t matter in the long run, and I knew that by the end of the day they would probably have forgotten the whole incident. My heart beat its sympathy for me.

At my insistence, I got my parents to go into the house and leave me and Jason alone. I walked up to him and wrapped my arms around his waist. He gave me a gentle kiss and ran his fingers through my hair. “You need some sleep.”

“I know,” I mumbled.

He guided me into the house.

I didn’t want him to leave, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to function if I didn’t get a little bit more sleep. “Promise you’ll call me later?”

“You don’t have a phone,” he reminded me.

I looked at the counter where my new iPhone sat waiting for me. “Yeah I do.”

He smiled. “I promise I’ll call you the instant I think you’ve slept enough.”


He left.

I dragged my feet languidly up the stairs. I collapsed on my bed and closed my eyes. Sleep wouldn’t come. I rolled over on my bed and looked at the different constellations of glow-in-the-dark stars I had arranged all over my walls and ceiling. My parents couldn’t understand my fascination with the sky. I could spend hours watching the sky, day or night. When they’d gotten me the stars for my birthday two years prior, I had spent hours meticulously arranging them until they were perfect. In three days, my room would match the nighttime sky exactly. In three days, it was my birthday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

(Dreams) Chapter 3

The door swung open. Mrs. Beck smiled at him. “Jason, what a nice surprise. We haven’t seen you around here lately.”

Jason shifted nervously from foot to foot. “Mrs. Beck, I was wondering if I could talk to Cadence. I would’ve called, but her phone broke.”

Mrs. Beck smiled at him. “You know you’re welcome over any time, Jason. Unfortunately, Cadence isn’t here. She went for a ride on her jet ski. If you think you know where she went, you’re free to take one of the skis and find her.”

It would never cease to amaze Jason how free the Beck’s were with their possessions. “Thank you. That’s very kind of you.”

Jason followed Mrs. Beck through the house. It shocked him that so many things had changed since his last visit. Had it really been so long? He walked out onto the dock and climbed onto the jet ski he usually took possession of. Mrs. Beck tossed him the keys. “Don’t be gone long.”

Jason took off. He knew where Cadence would go. An airplane flew toward him, heading into Washington Island. He smiled when he saw it. The smile immediately dropped from his face. A storm was blowing in from the west. It was coming hard and fast. Jason bent low over the ski and the speedometer edged its way up to 70.

The water started getting rough when Jason only had a mile more to go. He had to drop his speed below 30 to stop himself from being thrown off. Half a minute later he couldn’t go more than 5. Poverty island was just ahead. Thunder crashed over him. He couldn’t see Cadence’s wave runner anywhere. Whether she was there or not didn’t matter anymore. Jason had to get out of the water.

He accelerated as much as he could and rode the ski all the way up onto the beach. He was certain the Becks would forgive him. He could barely see through the drilling rain as he made his way to the protection of the lighthouse.

* * * * *

My jet ski had completely disappeared below the waves. The rain blinded me, even from my position. I crawled to the trap door and climbed down the hole. I closed the hatch, but water continued to drip around the edges of the door. My clothes were soaked through. I sat on the top stair and thought. I really was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The only way I could think of getting back to civilization would be to make my trek north to Fairport; a seven mile journey, three of which I would have to swim.

I inched down the stairs one at a time. I was sad, upset, and angry, but that didn’t make me careless with my life. I reached the bottom and picked up my discarded bag. I stripped off my shirt and wrong for all that it was worth. I put all my frustrations into it. I shook it out and slipped it back on over my head. I pulled my blanket out and wrapped it around my shoulders.

The storm seemed to roar loader for a minute. It abated again just as quickly. My mind began to think through all the scenarios that could cause that. I only came up with one answer. My tired mind was running sluggish and I didn’t realize it until too late that it had been the sound of the main doors to the house opening and closing. I didn’t realize it until the door to the stairs where I was sitting opened.

Jason stood in the door.

And I had thought I was wet. Jason was soaked to the bone. When he saw me, some of the tension drained out of him like the water that puddled beneath his feet. Before I had time to react, he crossed the room and wrapped me in a hug.

My heart stopped, but only for a beat. It started up again with a vengeance. I pushed him away. The parts of my blanket he’d touched were instantaneously soaked. I let the blanket fall and began inching my way back up the stairs.

“Wait, Cadence!” I didn’t. “I’m sorry. I was just relieved that you were here and not caught somewhere out there.”

I don’t think that he realized I was trying to get away from him, not his display of emotion. “What are you doing here?!”

He stepped up onto the first stair, trying to keep me in view on the curving staircase. “I needed to talk to you.”

“You’re not welcome here!”

“Oh, I’m not!” I heard the sarcasm slip into his voice. “I’m the one who discovered this place!”

“That was before,” I shot back, “this is now!”

He switched tactics to sincerity. “Please, Cade. We really need to talk about this.”

“I don’t need to talk about how my life is a freakin’ Taylor Swift song, okay! Just go away!”

His sincerity disappeared. “Cadence! Stop!” Fear exploded out of him.

The warning came too late. I’d reached the spot where the stairs had fallen away. I screamed and flailed, trying not to fall into the space. I grabbed at the walls to no avail. There was no hope. I was going down.

Jason leapt toward me and snagged my flailing hand. He yanked me away from the hole. I crashed into him. We rolled down the stairs in a tangle of arms and legs.

My head thudded on the ground. I groaned. Lights flashed in my vision then cleared. Jason got up weakly on all fours from where he’d landed next to me. I thanked God that he hadn’t landed on top of me. I tried to sit up and was overcome by a wave of nausea. Jason seemed to be fine. His sports med. Training took over and he started quizzing me.

“Does anything feel broken?”


“Are you seeing lights?”

“Not anymore.”

“Do you feel lightheaded?”



“Shut up.”

He helped me sit up. I closed my eyes until the nausea passed. “Thanks,” I said quietly. The moment I almost fell flashed across my frame of vision again. My heart beat quickly, catching up on all the beats it had missed during the incident.

“Don’t mention it,” he said.

We sat quietly for what seemed like forever while I regained my equilibrium. I moved so that my back was against the wall. I rested my head on my knees. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.

“About what?”

“You and Cassidy are my best friends. It’s not my place to come between you guys.” I couldn’t lift head to look at him.

Jason’s cold fingers touched my cheek. He made tilt my head up. I tried not to gasp when I saw how close his face was. I was frozen as his lips came down over mine.

My mouth curved into a smile, and I pulled away. “What was that for?”

“That was my way of saying sorry.”

My eyebrows frowned. “What do you mean, you’re sorry?”

He leaned up against the wall next to me. I didn’t even notice how wet he was when he put his arm around my shoulder. “I mean, I’m sorry I didn’t wait for you.”

I leaned up against him. “Stop answering with half answers.”

He smiled. “Cadence, I’ve loved you from the moment I first saw you. That’s why I tried so hard to be your best friend. I was just waiting for the day that you would look at me the same way that I looked at you.

“Last year I realized that that day was never going to come. I knew Cassidy had a crush on me. I decided that I would let her dream be fulfilled, even if I didn’t get to have mine. I guess I got caught up with her and didn’t notice the day you started looking at me.”

We sat in silence while I processed the information. Outside, the storm still raged. “So, what now?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you and Cassidy are kind of together.”

“Not anymore.”

I looked at him in shock. “You broke up? Because of me?” A seed of guilt curled in my stomach. Cassidy was my good friend. I didn’t want to steal her boyfriend.

“It’s cool. We talked about it after you left. We decided that maybe being together wasn’t the best thing. She wanted to come talk to you herself, but I thought it best that I came alone.”

Something didn’t seem right about that. Cassidy wasn’t one to go down without a fight. I wondered if maybe he was massaging some of the details just a bit. “You’re promise she’s cool with this.”

Jason tipped up my chin and kissed me again. “I’m positive.”

I pulled the blanket over us and we snuggled together against the cold. I could still taste Jason on my lips for hours after. For once, everything in my life seemed to be going right.

I listened as Jason’s breathing deepened. I was far from sleep. My body felt exhausted, but I knew there was no way I was going to sleep just yet.

I felt indescribably happy. All my hopes were coming true. But, I felt like something was missing aside from sleep. For an instant, the image of a dark haired boy with blue green eyes appeared before me. Then it was gone. I couldn’t bring it back. I had no idea who he was, but there was a feeling inside me that said he was important.

I closed my eyes and thought about the mystery boy as I tried to go to sleep. When the storm had passed and morning risen, the sun found me awake still, trying desperately to fall asleep. And to remember the boy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

(Dreams) Chapter 2

The school day was way too long and I was exhausted. I’d had enough of Cooper to last me a lifetime. Ever since I’d turned him down, he’d taken it to heart to make every moment of my life miserable. I hated the group class system. It meant that I had every single class with the insufferable jerk. I stomped angrily out into the parking lot to my small ’98 Ford Escort. My parents wanted to get me something a lot nicer and from this century, but I’d fallen for my little green companion from the moment I’d laid eyes on her. Sadly, it was reaching the end of its days and it would have to retire to that great parking lot in the sky. My baby was right in the front of the lot thanks to my early arrival to the school premises.

I leaned up against the door and searched through my backpack for my keys. All around me people filed out of the school. Where were my keys? I just about dumped everything out on the hood so I could search more carefully when a somebody leaned up next to me.

“Looking for these?”

I glared at Cooper. I moved to snatch my keys but he held them above my head, way out of my reach even if I were to humiliate myself by jumping. “Hand over the keys or you’re a dead man.”

“Is that so?”

He made as if to consider my offer. I knew it was just a farce. He’d been planning this carefully since the moment he’d stolen my keys.

His hand dropped a fraction of an inch. “I don’t really believe you. So tell you what,” he paused and I knew I wasn’t going to like the next thing that came from his mouth, “I’ll give you your keys when you give me a kiss.” He tapped his cheek lightly in the place he wanted said kiss.

I took a step back, preparing to deliver a vicious kick to his gut.

A voice interrupted me. “Leave her alone!” Jason looked angry. Cassidy’s face was contorted in worry.

“Go away, Jason,” I snapped at him. “I’m handling this.” I did not need his help!

Jason didn’t listen. “Why do you always have to be so mean to Cadence? Why can’t you just lay off?”

“Couldn’t you try to be less of a jerk?” Cassidy interjected softly.

I hated that they talked like I wasn’t even there.

People were starting to stop and watch. I felt my cheeks flame in embarrassment at the scene.
“At least I’m only talk.” He seemed to relish the attention. “I’m not some wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he nodded at Cassidy.

She paled visibly.

He continued. I felt the ground fall out beneath me. “I’m not the one who broke her heart.”

The world was still. Jason’s mouth had fallen open. Cassidy gasped and took an involuntary step back. Her foot caught the lip of the sidewalk and she fell to the ground. My world was over.

“What did you say?” Jason whispered.

A grim smile broke out across Cooper’s face. “Let me spell it. You. Broke. Her. Heart.”

That’s it. I was done. I resumed the stance I had taken before Jason had materialized. Cooper doubled over gasping as my foot connected with his gut. The keys were in my hand almost before they’d even touched the ground. I didn’t even bother repacking my backpack. I smashed everything in between my hands and shoveled it in my car. My cell phone fell out from my grip and landed under my car. I considered it an inevitable loss of battle and left it. I climbed into my car and drove away. The time from when I’d kicked Cooper to when I escaped covered the span of about five milliseconds. I’d have to improve my getaway time later. Five milliseconds was four point nine milliseconds too many in an emergency situation.

My car’s air conditioning was broken and it was the middle of September. The hot smugness of summer had yet to melt away. My windows had to be rolled down manually with a handle that had fallen off. As I drove home, I didn’t take the effort to reattach the crank and open my window. I didn’t deserve to be relived of the sauna. I was a horrible friend who couldn’t let my two best friends be happy. I sweated like a pig as I drove the 18 miles back home. Sweating like a pig is a stupid expression, I thought moodily to myself. Pigs don’t even have sweat glands. That’s why that had to wallow in the mud: to keep cool.

I reached my home way too soon. I hadn’t had a chance to torture myself enough for being a bad friend. I stormed inside. My parents weren’t back yet from whatever charity event they happened to be hosting that day. Our house was so meticulous that if I wanted to grab a paper and pencil, I would have had to run all the way upstairs to the storage closet. Instead, I grabbed one of each from my backpack. I scribbled out a quick note:

Broke my phone. Took my jet ski. C.

Normally I would take the kayak, but I wouldn’t have time to make it to the island and back if I took the Kayak. Plus my mom was always happy when I used one of their gifts. The only reason I’d mentioned the broken phone was so my parents wouldn’t worry when I didn’t answer. Also so they could buy me a new one. It wasn’t exactly like money was an issue in my house.
I quickly threw on one of my warmer swimming suits and clipped a life jacket on over it. As an afterthought, I grabbed a small throw blanket. I stomped out the back door and along the dock. I didn’t bother looking around me as untethered the ski.

An eerie feeling washed over me. I stood up straight and looked around. Nothing looked at all out of the ordinary. The picture of a girl popped into my head. She had long blonde hair, a pale face, and eyes as dark as the back of the moon. A shiver passed through me. I repeatedly looked around me as I finished my preparations. I left the dock with a sigh of relief.

Even though the water was chilly as it splashed in my face, I reveled in the feeling. To be out in the open, breathing the crisp air, to be free. I was going to my favorite place. At least, it used to be my favorite place, back when Jason and I used to visit it, before Cassidy. Now it tormented me with memories of what used to be. It was now my own personal means of torturing myself.

I scowled as a plane flew by overhead. My parents loved that our house was so close to that “cute little airport.” I found it annoying. Luckily they didn’t get a whole lot of business. I urged my ski to speeds closer to 70 mph so I could pass Washington Island quickly. The sky was practically perfect, except for that one blot of clouds. It was a “good fly day.”

Who the heck did Cooper Little think he was?! All I’d ever done to him was decline going on a second date. The first had been a disaster after all. Cooper was on the varsity football team, not that that was really much of an accomplishment considering that our graduating class was only 42 people strong. The whole date, when he wasn’t ignoring me to watch nameless pro-teams plays on the TV above my head, he’d been bragging about his nonexistent football skills. He couldn’t stop talking about how he was in the starting lineup or how he’d almost scored a zillion and five points against that one team from down state. I’m pretty sure that everybody on the team started and that Cooper had never even touched the ball, forget about scoring points! I spent the whole time politely nodding and using incredible amounts of self-control to not bang my head repeatedly against the table. Thank you Cooper, now my life was over. When I got home I would have to tell my parents that I was moving to Florida to live with grandma.

I passed Washington Island. I’d made it a stupid game to guess when I crossed the border into Minnesota. When I was little, Jason and I had been so sure that crossing into Minnesota was like crossing into a new world. We’d often talk about how it had a different feel surrounding it. We pretended we were astronauts exploring a strange new place. I wondered if tears were slipping from my eyes, intermingling with the spraying surf. Each memory was like a knife, slowly cutting away at my soul. Wow, when did I get so overdramatic?

Minnesota in three, two, one, now. No wait! Now. No, definitely now! I was in Minnesota.

I weaved around the smaller islands waiting for my own little Poverty Island to show its face. I saw it and smiled. Just like always, the dilapidated lighthouse stood waiting to greet me.

I brought the ski in slowly until it lodged itself on the bank. I made sure that it wouldn’t drift off by securing it to a rock. The water lapped cold against my shins. I shivered and grabbed my supplies. As I walked up the beach I wrapped the blanket around my shoulders. I saw garter snakes flitting about among the rocks. They seemed more agitated than usual.

The lighthouse reminded me of happier times. I felt sick thinking about them, but that was kind of the point. In a way, the lighthouse was like me. At one time it had been the shining beacon , but now it was falling apart. I remember a time when people used to look to me for guidance. I’d kept the secret well hidden for a long time and no one had made the connection. Jason had been the only one and he hadn’t told anybody. But somebody found out, and like lightning it had flashed across the school. Now my life was endless thunder. Everybody knew I was filthy rich.

The change hadn’t been immediate, but slowly my friends had started dissolving away. I heard the rumors circulating about the outlandish things I owned, including a castle in Ireland made of gold. People said that I thought I was better than them, that I’d always held myself slightly aloof. My parents riches had robbed me. That was the real reason I was clinging onto my junker car until its dying breath. Everything I owned that wasn’t perfect helped me feel like a normal human.

The stairs creaked something awful. My heart speed up its pace in fear, like it was trying to get as many beats in as it could before I fell through the floor to my death. I tried to be as light on my feet as possible. Chipping white paint flaked onto my back and hair as I pressed myself against the wall. I scooted slowly by the giant hole that consisted of more missing steps than I cared to think about. I push up with my back on the trap door and climbed from the hole to the upper house. My heart seemed to sigh in relief. I briefly wondered if other people thought of their heart as its own being. I thought mine had a rather strong personality with all the mood changes it seemed to go through. Like for instance, when I stood and saw the view, my heart dropped from a million beats per minute to maybe three.

I let the view overwhelm me for a moment. Then I turned away. I wasn’t there to experience happiness and beauty. I was there to be punished. I sank to the floor. From there I could only see the sky. I closed my eyes. Even the sky was too good for me.

Jason’s face swam behind my eyelids. I felt tears break beyond my eyelid barrier. I wasn’t worth Jason’s notice. I’d been stupid to convince myself. I built a fire in my mind and burned all of my break-up-Cassidy-and-Jason-so-Jason-comes-back-to-me plans, one by one until my mind was full of the ashes they’d left behind. I opened my eyes so that those too could wash out with my tears.

The world around me was considerably darker. I knew my imagination wasn’t great enough to overrule the logical part of my brain. In other words, I wasn’t seeing darkness because of my tears filled with imaginary ashes. The lighthouse shook as thunder rumbled across the sky. My heart began to speed again. I was stuck on Poverty until the storm passed. I raised myself to my knees and looked out.
My little water ski had become dislodged in the swelling waves. I watched in horror as it smashed again and again into the rock.

* * * * *

The boy felt extremely weak. He’d used all his meticulously stored energy on visiting the girl. His poor heart had been running solely on adrenaline when he’d returned to his self after his visit. As he reached the place he called home, he felt his heart begin to recharge. He felt happy that the little guy could take a break. Even so, it would be days before the boy could go running around fully juiced again. The boy briefly wondered if others personified their hearts as much as he did.

Objects around him focused and the boy’s smile faded. The land looked worse, not better. From where he was standing, he could see chunks of the wall falling away.

“What happened?”

The boy turned to see that the older lady was already there. “I’m sorry, Nayloni.”

The woman smiled sadly. “True as that me be, Nayto, you didn’t answer my question.”

The boy made himself look into her gray eyes. “She woke up.”

The woman closed her eyes. A sign escaped from her lips. “What did you say to here? I hope you did not scare her away from here forever.”

The boy looked at the wall. Cracks spread over every inch of it. Sections were beginning to crumble. “I did not tell her about this place. I told her to think of me when she went to sleep. I did not know what else to do.”

“You did well, Nayto. We can only hope she finds this place herself before it is too late.”

The boy’s eyes fell to the ground. “I’m sorry, Nayloni.”

“It’s not your fault.”

The boy walked away. The wall wouldn’t last the time it would take him to get the energy to return. He absentmindedly said hello to the quiet people he passed. Nayloni wasn’t happy when the boy did the thing he was thinking of doing. He’d left his light on in his room and not slept for enough time for his parents to think he had insomnia. He still had the sleeping pills in his drawer. He would force himself to sleep longer than his body thought it needed. He had to build up energy to make another visit. He felt a flash of anger at the girl. Why wouldn’t she do what he’d told her? Everything depended on her.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

(Dreams) Chapter 1

My latest creation - Dreams. Give me your thoughts.

My eyes snapped open. My body was covered in a sheen of sweat. Breath escaped in short gasps form my lungs. The red glow of my alarm clock told me it was 2:37 a.m.

I sat up shakily and clutched my blankets tighter. I felt eyes on me. Somebody was in my room. There was a shuffle to my left. I jerked my head in that direction.

I saw a boy. He looked as if he were trying to retreat. As our eyes met, he stopped moving away and rose to his full height. He wasn’t tall, but he was probably still taller than me. From what I could tell, his hair appeared jet black. He had blue green eyes that seemed to glow out of his face.

We watched each other silently. Finally, he opened his mouth. “You weren’t supposed to wake up.”

I screamed.

He fell back at the sudden sound. I threw my pillow, catching him off guard. He stumbled back, into the stool I hadn’t bothered to push back under my desk. He fell over it and landed on the floor. His head smashed into my lamp, sending it crashing to the ground. The bulb sparked and shattered. I was still screaming.

“Cadence!” my dad yelled. I heard movement outside of my room.

The boy was across the room in an instant. I was still sitting up, and he slipped behind me. His hand slapped over my mouth. His other arm wrapped around me, restraining me. He was surprisingly strong for his build. The door flew open.

My dad looked around frantically. To my surprise, he relaxed slightly. “Are you okay?”

I was shocked. Did he not see the look of terror on my face? Was he seeing something I wasn’t?

“Not seeing, actually.” The boy’s breath was hot on my ear.

I froze. How did he know what I was thinking?

The boy physically made me nod my head in answer to my dad’s question. Adrenaline sent my heart racing. What the heck was going on?!

Dad’s eye’s flicked over my room again. He took in the fallen lamp. I could tell he wanted to say something, but his words were swallowed up in a yawn. “We’ll talk in the morning.” He closed the door and disappeared.

He left? He just left?! I sagged against my captor in shock.

“Don’t blame him,” the boy said. “It’s not his fault he can’t see me.”

Even if I’d have been able to say anything, I wouldn’t have been able to think of a response. With adrenaline and fear running at light speed through my veins, I tore away from the boys grasp and flipped him over me and off the bed.

He groaned and didn’t make a move to stand.

I crawled to the edge of my bed to look down at him. I grabbed the first thing my hand touched on the bed. I held the heavy edition of Crime and Punishment over my head, ready to use if he twitched a muscle.

He rolled away suddenly in a quick move I wasn’t prepared for. He was out of reach and I didn’t dare leave the safety of my bed. He lifted his hands to calm me, much like I can imagine someone doing to an angry bear. “Easy, I’m not here to hurt you.”

I hadn’t noticed before, but he had a slight British accent. It felt like this whole scene was straight out of Harry Potter. “Who are you?!” I hissed.

He smiled. Something glinted in his blue green eyes that I couldn’t quite interpret. “That,” he said obnoxiously, “is not a question easily answered.”

I narrowed my eyes. “I’m not asking for your deep personal life history. Just tell me who you are and what you’re doing in my room!”

He raised his eyebrows at me. “But my deep personal life history is exactly what you’re asking for, you just don’t know it. Yet.”

I didn’t respond. The boy, so solid and so real at one time, seemed to be . . . fading. A franticness surrounded him all at once, and I knew that I wasn’t imagining it.

“Look, I can’t sit here and answer all your questions. I don’t have much time left. But you have to trust me when I say that what I’m about to say is important.” His eyes were pleading.

I glared. “I never going to trust anything you say!”

He looked down. “You have to.” The complete sincerity in his tone made me hold my tongue so he could continue. I could see my window through him now. “When you try to go back to sleep, focus all your energy into the thought of me. It doesn’t matter what you think about me, as long as you’re thinking of me.”

I could barely make out his outline.

“You have to do this. I can’t come back again until I gather enough energy. The walls might fall by then. The balance has to be kept!”

I couldn’t see him at all. I was alone in the darkness of my room. “What’s your name?” I called urgently at the place he’d been. At that moment, knowing his name was the only thing I wanted.

Out of the empty space, his voice floated weakly to my ears. “Ashton.” I knew he was gone.

I rolled the name over on my tongue. It didn’t feel menacing. Slowly, I lowered my book. I fell back on my bed and concentrated on breathing more regularly. There was no way I was going to fall asleep. My personal space had been violated, my dad hadn’t seen anything, and Ashton had disappeared into thin air.

“I’m dreaming,” I muttered to myself. It was the only explanation. People always said that you couldn’t feel pain in a dream. My eyes found Crime and Punishment. I briefly considered hitting myself with it, but discarded the idea. If this wasn’t a dream, I didn’t want to know.

I resituated myself in the blankets carefully so as not to accidently do something that would cause me to feel pain if this weren’t a dream. My pillow was gone, but there was no way I was going to go get it. I reached over and grabbed a different pillow. It was too fluffy. I didn’t care. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply. I released the air in a slow sigh.

My eyes opened an instant later. Trying to wake up by going to sleep was pointless, and I wasn’t tired in the least. The clock glowed with the numbers 2:44. I watched it change to 2:45 then 2:46. I started counting the seconds between each minute change . . . 27 . . . 28 . . . 29 . . . nothing.

I wasn’t asleep. My eyes were wide open, but the red glowing clock had vanished. I was seized on every side.

I screamed against the hand that was clamped down over my mouth. Unseen assailants grabbed my struggling arms and legs. They lifted me easily off the bed and carried me across the room toward the balcony. We were outside and I could see what was happening. Men dressed from head to toe in black were stealing me from my room. My eyes were covered with something, and I didn’t see anything else. I never stopped screaming against the hand that covered my mouth.

I have no idea how they got me to the ground from my second story balcony, but they did. The sound of water sloshing against the bank clued me into where they were taking me. My suspicions were confirmed as they sat me down in a chair on a rocking boat. I felt myself being secured down. I took a breath to renew my screaming.

My captors took advantage of the momentary lapse. The hand lifted from my mouth and a gag was put in its place. Amidst the chaos, I heard a distinctly feminine voice break through. “Leave her be. There’s nothing she can do now.” All the hands lifted off of me simultaneously. I stopped screaming and blinked my eyes to focus.

The men were hard to see in the dark. They had formed a circle around me. The circle also extended around someone else. The girl was probably slightly older than my 17 years. Everything about her was pale; her perfect waist length hair, her porcelain face, her off white school girls dress. Everything except her eyes. Her eyes were like twin black holes. I imagined that life was being sucked out of me every second she watched me. Her face looked so calm and peaceful, like that of a mother sympathizing with her daughter.

My study of her physiognomy was interrupted by her voice. It was cold as ice. “I bet you’re wondering why I’ve had you brought here. The truth of the matter is that I don’t care if you know or not and telling you would just waste time. Besides, by morning you won’t remember any of this anyway. It’s a nasty side effect, but it suits my purpose here perfectly.”

My eyes widened in fear. The girl stepped up to me and put her hands on both of my temples. She was going to kill me. I knew it. I tried to scream again, but discovered that I was incapable. It felt like a blanket of darkness settled over my mind. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t think . . .

I jerked up out of my bed. The clock glowed 5:30. I felt a pervading sense of wrongness. I had no idea why I’d woken up. I felt violated. Something was in me that wasn’t supposed to be there. Had I eaten something that wasn’t sitting well? I followed my memory back. The last thing I could remember was having a sandwich before bed. The empty plate was still sitting on my nightstand.

Something caught my attention from the other side of my room. My head swung in that direction. My lamp was standing upright. Nothing was out of the ordinary about it. But the fact that it was fine did not sit right with me. I lied back down. My head rested comfortably in my favorite pillow.

For the remainder of the night I couldn’t go back to sleep. The feeling of wrongness never left me.

* * * * *

“So, are you going to tell me what happened last night?”

I glanced up from my toast. “What do you mean, Dad?”

Dad gave me that look that adults tend to give to children who are hiding something. “I’m referring to 2:30 when you woke up me and your mother with your screams.”

I raised my eyebrows at him. “Are you serious?”

His condescending look changed to one of confusion. “You really don’t remember? You broke your lamp when you threw your pillow, Cadence. Are you telling me that you didn’t even question why your lamp was broken this morning?”

“My lamp’s not broken, Dad. I used it to get dressed this morning.”

Dad stood up. He looked at me curiously. He turned and headed upstairs, most likely to verify my story. I checked the time on my phone. “Crap!” I was going to be late. If I didn’t make it, I would lose my alone time with Jason before Cassidy showed up. I swallowed the last three quarters of my toast in one bite. “Bye!” I yelled. I scooped up my backpack and ran out the door.

Lake Michigan peeked in and out of view as I recklessly drove the 18 miles to Gibraltar School. The parking lot was still empty. Jason had probably walked to school. When I reached the library doors, I had to physically stop myself from running. I patted down my hair. I’d taken extra care that morning to look good. I’d been trying to correct the feeling of wrongness I was still unable to shake. I took a deep breath and pushed the door open. My eyes lighted on the corner table where we usually sat. They darkened an instant later. He wasn’t there. Maybe he was late.

I wiped the disappointment off my face and walked to the table. I smiled at the librarian as I passed. Pulling out my laptop, I opened up my unfinished paper. I needed to fix my procrastination habit, but that was a job or another day.

Younger grade children began to come in and look at the different picture books. Nobody in the older grades dared to show their faces in the library, something about being too cool for books. I took comfort in the fact that nobody would come in here and see that I was. Also, there was the whole thing that my last name was Beck.

The bell was about to ring, and Jason still hadn’t arrived. I forced myself not to feel anything. I pressed print and closed my laptop. I was waiting impatiently by the printer when Jason arrived. Cassidy was at his side. I deliberately didn’t notice how the backs of their hands brushed against the others. I also didn’t notice how much Cassidy glowed, the same way she did whenever Jason was around. I didn’t even notice how easy Jason’s smile came to his face. I forced down my pain.

Jason’s face drooped a little when he saw me. “I’m so sorry, Cade,” he said, walking up to me. Cassidy hopped along in his wake.

I waved him aside. “Don’t worry about it. I had a paper I needed to finish writing.”

He smiled at me. My breath caught. “You still procrastinating?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Well, you know me.” My paper finally spat itself out.

Cassidy giggled overly loud. The librarian shot us an evil glare.

“Let’s go,” I muttered, pushing by them. They followed me out.

“I stayed up too late helping Cassi with a project,” Jason continued, by way of explanation. “This morning I didn’t hear my alarm. Again, I’m really sorry.”

“Hey, it’s your grade, not mine.” The bell rang. “I’ll see you guys later.” I went to class. My school split the seniors into two different groups for our classes. It just so happened that Jason and Cassidy were in one group, and I was in the other. I cursed myself for ever introducing them last year. Now I’d lost my best friend.

I walked through the door to my English class. I took my standard seat in the front row and waited. I didn’t have to wait long.

“Look who got fixed up this morning,” a low voice whispered from behind me.

I didn’t bother to turn around. “Go away, Cooper.”

He didn’t listen. Cooper Little pulled up the chair next to me and sat. “Why the sour face, Cady Lady? Did Jason not notice your special efforts with Cassidy stealing all your thunder.”

I felt my face start to burn with a blush. “I said, go away.”

He leaned back in his chair and twined his fingers behind his head. “Bet you don’t feel so good about friending the new girl now do you?”

I reached down and pulled up on one of the chair legs that was in the air. Cooper sure didn’t look all that cool with his arms flailing as he crashed to the floor. A second later Miss Walker entered the room.

“Okay class, pull out your finished papers. And Mr. Little,” she gave him an annoyed frown, “I would appreciate it if you got up off the floor.”

I subdued my smile as Cooper climbed grumbling to his feet and fixed his chair. What he’d said had disturbed me. If it was so obvious to Cooper, why didn’t Jason notice? Or did he? Did he see my efforts and think them sad and pathetic? Or was I being so overshadowed by Cassidy that he didn’t notice me at all anymore? It was going to be a long day and I could already feel my eyes wanting to close from my lack of sleep.

Monday, October 3, 2011

(Dreams) Prologue

A little intro that doesn't make and sense, but that i feel needed to be there for later reference and current insight. :)

A boy watched the wall with fear and apprehension. The sky was darker than he could ever remember it. It reminded him of night back home. All the plants in the valley were dying.

“The balance has to be kept, Nayto.”

He didn’t bother to look at the speaker. “I know,” he said softly.

The older lady took a seat next to him in the angry, dying grass. “We don’t have time to wait for her to find her own way here. We don’t know how long that could take.”

“I know.”

“You’re the only one with the ability.”

“I know.”

“Then why haven’t you gone yet?”

He didn’t speak. The only visible sign no distress was his clenched fist.

She nudged him.

“Nayloni, I can’t.”

The woman read into the soul of the problem. “This is about what she can do, isn’t it?”

He didn’t respond, but they both knew she was right.

“We don’t have a choice anymore, Nayto.”

“I know.” He was silent for a moment. He looked at her for the first time since she’d taken place at his side. “Nobody should be able to cross back over. It’s not right that we meddle in their affairs.”

The woman laid her arm across his shoulder. “You do not abuse the power. You will teach her that she must not.”

There was nothing more to be said on the matter. Even if he didn’t like it, they had no choice. They had to keep the balance. “I’m going to wake up soon.” He could feel his body humming with the energy that had been slowly building since his arrival.

“Then you should hurry. Go now.”

He left.