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.”
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.