02.A Chapter by Ardeth Lane
A firm hand was grasping his left bicep when he woke up the next morning. His alarm was screaming and the smell of morning funk breath was reaching his nostrils. His shoulder was shook again and this time Drew rolled over and looked up expecting to see Theta, to which the expectation was met by staring into his silver, lifeless eyes. He then looked down at his clock. 7:30. Great. He’d slept in fifteen minutes and would have to rush to get everything else done this morning.
“Zeta, go check on Drew and make sure he’s waking up.” The sound of his mother’s voice made his heart lurch. She was here! He threw back the covers and leapt out of bed, shaking off Theta’s grip. Upon opening his bedroom door and turning to run down the hall he nearly crashed into Zeta.
“Sorry!” He whispered and ran past it, towards the staircase. “Mom?” He called out. His voice echoed through the house. “Mom!” A woman in a tight gray power suit was sitting at one end of the round table in the dining room reading a newspaper. When Drew yelled for her the second time she looked up at her son as he descended the stairs; sipping her coffee.
“Don’t yell sweetheart, your Father is sleeping.” His mother said calmly as her excited teenager ran up and sat next to her.
“Sorry, how’ve you been?” He said leaning towards her on the table.
“Good.” She seemed to drag the ‘oo’ a little when she responded. “How’s school?” Her voice was nearly bland.
“Great! Well-no, kinda suckish actually. The English teacher-”
“Drew Clarence!” His mother yelled in her parent voice. “We do not say ‘suckish’ in this house.” Pause. And then, “Good Lord child, use a proper vocabulary or don’t speak at all.” Her words rang through the nearly empty house for hardly a moment before he picked up speaking again.
“Sorry Mom. It’s hard to use a proper vocabulary when I’ve never been taught one.” His mother stopped reading again and glared at him. “In school that is.” He rushed out. “You and Dad did a great job.” This pleased her and she went back to reading.
“Which school are you attending again?” She asked taking another sip of her coffee.
“No I mean which-ah, never mind.” She pursed her lips. “That won’t do.”
“What?” He leaned towards her.
“Your schooling. It’s incompetent and simply won’t do. Not for my son anyways.” A tiny smirk touched her lips. “So.” The smirk vanished. “How are the servants doing? Theta I presume is doing as was installed into him?”
He merely nodded.
“Good.” She said and lifted the newspaper up into Mu’s waiting hand. “And how’s work at-that…whatever fish place?” Her nose crinkled slightly in disgust. If there was one thing that Maryssa Vasco couldn’t stand, it was raw fish. Because she hated raw fish, she naturally was opposed to sushi, which lead to her not liking the restaurants, then the restaurant chains, then the CEO’s (who turned out to be Chinese men mostly), and lastly the country to which the CEO’s ancestors were once from. Once that happened, nothing from that country was ever bought for their house.
So, long story short: She hated his job.
“Eh, it’s work.” He said with a shrug.
“You don’t like it then?” She asked hopefully.
“Well, it’s not that I don’t like it-” His mom sighed. “As much as it’s that I don’t like my boss.” She sat up a bit straighter.
“Well, there are plenty of better paying jobs out there that have better, safer, working conditions simply waiting for you to notice them. I bet they even have good bosses.” She raised one of her perfectly shaped eyebrows at him.
“I know but-”
“No buts.” She said cutting him off. “Now, I have to go to work, and you need to go to that disgusting excuse for a school-which-I promise you will not be attending much longer if they can’t so much as improve your vocabulary.” She started to stand. “In fact-I’ll search around today. Ask some people. Xi.” She snapped and the servant was next to her, cleaning off the table within seconds.
“What kind of school?” He stood up and bee-lined after her to the door.
“A good one.” Nu laced her box purse over her shoulder while Upsilon was already holding open the front door. Through it, Drew saw Omikron waiting by the car to open the door for her when she approached. “I love you, have a nice day.” She blew him a quick kiss and was out the door before he had a chance to respond.
“Love you too.” He whispered to no one once the door had been closed. A hand touched his shoulder. Behind him was Theta; his clothes in one of his hands and a watch in the other. 8:57
He was going to be late for sure now.
To say he’d scared that man would be an understatement. In fact, to say anything would be and understatement. And a nuisance, since he was out hunting again the upmost silence was required; unless you were the slightly overweight man tied to a tree upside down three miles away, with a rag stuffed down your throat. That kind of silence was forced.
The adolescent was crouched near a tree trunk kneeling on his left knee. His eyes darted all around the surrounding area looking for something, anything, but found nothing. With a sigh he stood up and brushed the dirt off his knees. His pants were old sweatpants that use to belong to his father. His shirt was his father’s as well, though it was more fitted to him than the pants. Both items were old, dirty, and the tears in them had been sewn together in very sloppy fashion. All together he looked like an extremely disheveled boy.
Back at his camp, the boy began to settle down. It was well into the evening and he’d seen no game all day. He sighed and laid down on his back; staring up at the blue tarp. It won’t hold through the winter, he thought, it’s not strong enough. Another sigh blew through his lips and he looked to his left. Three pictures were resting against one of the posts that held up the tarp. All had undergone a hefty amount of fire damage but, you could still see what was on them.
The first one was a wedding photo. A beautiful couple that had paused their first dance just long enough for someone to capture the moment. It was the day their life together, began.
The second one was of the same couple, only now they had what appeared to be a child. The man was sitting next to the woman with one arm around her and the other resting on her knee. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor holding a baby up in the standing position by its armpits. Both of them were smiling happily.
The third one was a few years later. The couple was taking a quick photo on their couch with their toddler son and baby girl. They had squished together so that the mom, who was taking the photo at arm’s length, could get them all in it. She was on the right, the dad was on the left, and the toddler boy was in the middle with his sister sleeping on his lap. He was smiling just as happily as his parents were. The only thing that stood out in this picture was the boy’s eyes. They were practically the definition of Heterochromia iridum.
“Alright students, page three thirty-seven, problems six through forty-eight even is due tomorrow-” The class let out a huge I reject thee moan as the bell rang. “Have a wonderful rest of the day I’ll see you tomorrow!” Drew mentally rolled his eyes and scribbled down the assignment in his planner.
“Hey Bro are you coming?” His friend Greg asked from the front of the room. Drew slid his things off his desk and into the nook of his arm before giving a quick nod.
He and Greg walked down the hall with two others who were off in their own conversation. He respected that Greg waited for him, but didn’t very much appreciate the fact that there wasn’t a conversation. Even if it was brief, Drew enjoyed conversation.
The day seemed to drag on and soon it was fifth period. Drew was fast asleep in the back row of his Biology class. His head was resting in such an awkward position on his textbook that John, the kid sitting to his left, knew there was no way he was faking it. While everyone else was taking notes on something he’d wish he’d been awake for later, Drew was off in the woods somewhere.
Around him were trees taller than any house he’d ever seen with golden beams shooting out from between them. Bushes and other shrubbery were growing at random everywhere except where he was standing. He was standing in the middle of a large circle that barely had weeds growing in it. He looked up and saw a few birds fly out of a tree and, when he looked down a small gasp broke through his lips. Not even two feet away was a boy maybe a foot shorter than he. With no idea how or when he’d gotten there, Drew simply stared at him.
For a long while they simply stared at each other. In fact, it wasn’t until the boy’s mouth opened that he noticed the long crack running down his face. It seemed to start above his left eyebrow and slide ungracefully down to the bridge of his nose where it split. One end cut into his right cheek and spider webbed from there, while the other looped down, over the corner of his lips, and past his jawline; ending in the middle of his neck. The web of cracks on his cheeks had some small hole in it and looked like it was peeling, or maybe flaking. There was no way he was made of porcelain.
“The best silence-” The boy said with a surprisingly lower voice than Drew had imagined. “Is the kind not spoken.” When Drew blinked, the boy was an inch from his face. “Wake up.” He whispered. The birds overhead immediately began screaming as the boy faded away into nothing. Their screams began to wave together until they sounded like ringing bells.
His head snapped up. The bell was ringing. 2:20. it was time to go home.
© 2011 Ardeth Lane
I'll figure this part out later.