V. Anamnesis [1]

V. Anamnesis [1]

A Chapter by Writer #00

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

V. Anamnesis


            “Kami!” I called, catching up to her as we began our training with a quick jog around the baseball diamond that crowned the top of one of the island’s knolls (I wonder if this’d already been on Icthyes, or if the Xenos Foundation’d paid for it to be installed).

            She took a glance over her shoulder, slowing her pace once she saw who it was, so that we were side by side.

            “Hey, Catmouth,” she greeted with a wave and a smile, her sweatshirt flapping behind her, “I’ve been meaning to talk to you since morning, but I haven’t gotten a chance--”

            “Me too,” I butted in, not wanting to miss the opportunity for conversation this warm-up offered, “It’s about last night.”

            Henry was jogging only a few feet in front of me, and his head turned at the mention of the bonfire.

            “Did that story keep you up all night?” Henry asked, a taunting smirk on his face.

            “Seriously, Henry,” I retorted, my vexation shining in my voice “you just can’t seem to keep your nose out of my business.  Maybe what you really should be concerning yourself with is showing Coach what you’ve got these next couple of weeks--you’ve already been passed up by Rosa, and he’s probably considering putting Arnav ahead of you, too.”

            I guess that last part’d been a bit harsh (mostly because it was true…Arnav was a better pitcher than he), but it got the point across.  He made one little remark about how I was “just a face on the team” and “not a real asset” (which, if you ask me, is just a tad redundant), then quickened his pace.

            “So, what was it you wanted to talk about?” I asked Kami, thinking it was better to wait until our break for me to mention the incredibly disturbing theory I’d concocted.  Hearing what Kami had to say might take my mind off it and get me back in the mood for summer training.

            “It’s about R--” she stopped, looking around her to see who was in potential hearing range, “--Maybe it’s best if I tell you later…”

            We finished the jog middle-ish in comparison with the rest of the team--not super fast like Diego, but not dragging our feet like Pacer (haha, natural irony)--and commenced the stretches that usually followed.  Coach called for our attention after this, adding to his height by standing up on one of the benches:

            “Listen up, Conifer Heights!” he shouted into cupped hands, “Over the next couple of weeks Dale, JJ, or I will be assisting any one of you in bettering yourselves.  It doesn’t matter how good you are or, more accurately, how good you think you are, every one of you will be receiving at least one hour of one-on-one training during this retreat.  Any questions?”

            I waited a few seconds, hoping someone else would ask what I was wondering, then, when it was obvious no one seemed to care, I rose my hand.

            “Harrison,” Coach acknowledged.

            “Um…what about Weston?  Wasn’t he supposed to be helping you?”

            “Oh, right,” Coach answered, now addressing the whole team, “some time yesterday Weston began to fill ill.  He probably ate something that messed with him.  At any rate, he’ll be with Mrs. Diaz until he feels better.  Until then, JJ--” he gestured to the sunburned counselor who’d introduced himself as the lifeguard yesterday, “--will be taking his place.”

            “Is he qualified to work with us?” Mason wondered, his tone suggesting that he believed otherwise.

            “Y--” Coach stopped before he’d even said a word as JJ stepped out from where he was in the dugout and whispered something in his ear to which Coach replied with a curt nod.

            With what I presume was permission to speak, JJ stepped in front of the team, taking off his baseball cap and revealing hair that was almost as red as his skin.  He looked our team up and down, trying to instill some form of command in us but failing if only because he didn’t appear too much older than Dale (whom we were all accustomed to).

            “That’s a good question,” JJ commented, the southern accent combined with his…higher-pitched voice stripping him of any respect he may’ve mustered up from his glare, “I’m not much ol’er than you and none of you knew me ‘fore now anyhow, so assuming incompetence would be the mos’ rational course o’ thought, right?”

            I could already here some of the less sensitive teammates like Mill and Pacer trying to suppress laughter at every word he uttered.

            “I don’t blame y’all for it, and I hope I can get y’all to trus’ me and ‘ventually even take my advice into consideration.  I did baseball in high school, and it’ll be my second year doin’ it in college, but I’ve heard some of you are pretty good, and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to help all o’ you.  Thanks for your time, and I hope to be of assistance.”

            With that, JJ returned to the dugout and we waited for Coach to give further instructions.

---

            The next three hours or so consisted of a sort of rotation method.  There were about three different places one could be practicing and Coach made sure we visited all of them before lunch hit (which meant that the only break he granted us was the walk between said places).  To avoid an imbalance of people between stations, Coach had us divided into our cabins.  Since cabin four (Mrs. Castillion’s cabin) only had two girls, Coach split them up, putting Rosa with my cabin and Kami with JJ’s.  I desperately hoped he’d mix us up once in a while because batting in front of Henry (or, rather, swinging my bat with the intent of hitting the ball) was becoming not only taxing on my self esteem, but just plain annoying. 

            On the up-ish side, Henry was actually starting to get in a better mood.  Appaently, Rosa wasn’t an incredible batter.  As a matter of fact, she was only slightly better than I--which was saying something, because you really don’t have to be all too talented in order to pass me in this respect.  Her form was good, feet positioned properly, bat a good half-foot or so away from her chest, all that good stuff, but when she swung she tended to either hit it with what would have been a foul in an actual game or miss the ball all together.  Considering Henry was trying to prove his worth to Coach, seeing Rosa mess up like this was just like an invitation to challenge her.  I estimated he’d be complaining to Coach about the position by the end of the day.

            To my surprise, though, Henry stood behind her, making minor adjustments to her stance and the way she held the bat.

            “Do you mind if she takes another round of hits?” he asked me, dropping whatever taunts he’d bombarded me with earlier, “I think I know what her problem is.”

            I agreed, of course (all I would’ve done is miss the ball like had for the past forty-five minutes), and he put on a helmet, grabbed his maple wood bat, and demonstrated a clean, level left-handed hit.

            “Now you try, just like that,” Henry said, leaning his bat on the side of the cages fence, “remember what I told you.”

            “I can’t do that,” Rosa told him bluntly, “I’m right-handed.”

            Henry shook his head.  “I saw you eating breakfast today--” then, when he realized how stalker-ish that sounded, added “--along with a bunch of other people, and noticed that you ate your cereal right-handed, but, last night, you held the kabob in your left hand.”

            “Holding a stick and using a spoon are two completely different things.”

            “True, but most people subconsciously use their writing hand for things like eating, holding, and throwing.  I think you might be ambidextrous, and your stronger batting stance is on the left side, not the right.”

            “But I pitch with my righ--”

            “Just give it a shot, okay?  Just because you might become first pitcher--”

            “I am first pitcher.”

            “--doesn’t mean you can’t take advice from others.”

            Rosa didn’t say anything to that, just switched stance, placing her left hand over her right, and swung.  She missed again, and looked at Henry as if to say “told you so”.

            “Keep your eyes on the ball, Rosa!” was his only comeback as the pitching machine readied its next 30mph synthetic baseball.

            In a split second, Rosa snapped into gear, swinging the bat fluidly…and missing.  A pattern began to form: pitching machine launches, Rosa swings, Rosa misses, pitching machine launches, Rosa swings, Rosa misses, etc.  Eventually, she turned to me and offered me yet another chance to show how useless I was in front of Henry.

            “It doesn’t really seem like I’m getting anywhere, so you can take your turn,” she said with a shrug, taking off her helmet and setting her wooden bat aside (okay, here’s a little piece of info: wooden bats are the preferred bats because they have less rebound and are the same type of bats used in professional baseball. Unfortunately, maple bats break, which is why my parents invested in an unprofessional, cheap-looking, aluminum bat.  It may have been more expensive than a maple or ash, but, in the end, they believed they’d be saving money.  Incidentally, I was not only the worthless back-up shortstop who never got to play, but I was also the only one with an aluminum bat.  It was a constant source of despair when I first joined varsity).

            After the batting cage, Felix’s cabin (plus Rosa) switched to the field where we practiced catching (which I was pretty decent at) and throwing (which I sucked at).  We each took a partner--Cane with Bobbie, Henry with Rosa, and Pacer (who may not run very quickly but, when it came to throwing, the guy was a meteor-bringer…did you get that analogy? It was kind of strange, so…whatever, it’s not that relevant) with me--and started out close to each other, gradually widening the distance between us until we spanned a good length of the outfield.  I’d been able to avoid interaction with Cane so far, seeing as he’d practiced at the second batting cage with Bobbie and Pacer, but there was nothing to keep Bobbie from overshooting Cane and leaving it up to me to catch the ball.  I considered tossing it to Bobbie, but he was further than Cane and Cane was supposed to be the thrower now, anyway.

            “Hey, Harri!” Cane called, waving his mit in the air, “that’s our ball!”

            I groaned, knowing I’d probably end up embarrassing myself the moment the ball left my hand.  I was right.  For some reason, I’d never had a very good arm.  West had worked with me on it, Coach’d worked with me on it, and even Kami’d given it a shot, but they just couldn’t get me to throw beyond a short distance.  A distance that Cane was not standing in.  On the bright side, Cane hadn’t acted like I wasn’t even there (as he’d done in the past), which meant that whatever Kami was saying to him was nearing him into our friend-zone once more.  Good job, Kami.

---

            By the time the team was all seated in the Mess Hall for lunch (Zion and Josh were already there, having been chosen to assist Mrs. Castillion for this meal), everyone was ravenous, sweaty, and ready to demolish every last morsel of salad and lick their bowl clean of any soup debris left on the inside.  Fortunately, only Sasha and Mill decided to act on these urges.  Once Sasha had finished, he announced the unnecessary information that he was going to the restroom and bolted.  Now that I think about it, Sasha had finished breakfast exceptionally early as well, leaving for the restroom immediately.  Whatever, Sasha was a strange one. 

            “That guy has the bladder of Sunflower when she was a kitten,” Kami murmured with a shake of her head, spearing a tomato and popping it in her mouth.

            “Probably worse,” I replied, finishing off the tomato soup.

            “You know what would be good with this?”

            “Grilled cheese?”

            “Yeah.  Mozarella.”

            “What’s wrong with my mom’s soup?” Rosa asked venomously, the fact that she even heard our conversation being quite impressive considering she was on the other end of the table with Dale and Henry.

            Kami stiffened, obviously feeling threatened (though I don’t know why, she seemed like an okay person to me).

            “W-wow,” Kami stammered, “you sure have good ears, don’t you?”

            “My mom’s soup doesn’t need anything to go with it.  It’s perfect the way it is.  Stop complaining,” Rosa snapped, ignoring Kami’s comment.

            “Sheesh, what’s your problem?” Cane spat, glaring at her from across the table, “She wasn’t criticizing it, just making an observation.  And everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, anyway, Castillion.”

            Rosa narrowed her eyes, obviously not appreciating what Cane had to say.  Kami nudged me, pointing subtly at Rosa’s hand as it hovered over a fork indecisively.  I suddenly felt my heart drop along with my opinion of the new pitcher.  What was her problem?  Bipolar disorder?  Inferiority complex? 

            Then, as abruptly as she’d made her first remark, her expression reverted back to neutrality and she stood up and left the Mess Hall.

            “Well,” Felix (who’d been positioned in the dining room while the other counselors ate elsewhere), “that was awkward, eh, lads?”

            “Maybe you should go talk to her,” Henry suggested, “she might be having a bad day.” (I suppose he was referencing her horrid performance at the batting cages).

            “What good’d that do, Laddie?” Felix responded, leaning against the wall, “I haven’t been the one spendin’ the day with her so far.  If you’re concerned abou’ her, you should do somethin’ yourself, okay Laddie?”

            That surprised me, as I’m sure you could guess, considering he couldn’t get enough of helping me yesterday (or this morning, either--he actually offered to butter my toast).  It also made me sick as I conjectured the possible reasons behind his obsessive attention towards me.

---

            Finally,” I sighed, sitting down in the dugout beside Kami, “we’ve got some time to ourselves.”

            Okay.  Maybe that came out in a way other than what I’d intended because Kami reacted with a nervous laugh and:

            “Um…yeah, maybe not something you want to say to a girl when she’s alone with you in a shaded area.”

            I laughed, rubbing my buzzcut with embarrassment, “Yeah…sorry…I meant generally.  As in: the whole team has time to themselves where Coach isn’t drilling them or timing how long it takes for us to get a drink of water.”

            “Tell me about it.  I can’t believe he did that!”

            “Besides, you’d said you wanted to tell me something earlier, but decided to wait, so I figured now’s a good a time as any.”

            Kami’s smile lessened as her brows furrowed slightly.  She was debating on whether or not she wanted to tell me whatever it was she had wanted to tell me.

            “Yeah…I didn’t want to say it earlier because others were around,” Kami began, “but Rosa’s crazy.”

            I blinked.  She looked at me, as if expecting more of a reaction.

            “What?” I asked.

            “I don’t think you understand what I mean: she’s insane, psychotic, demented, take your pick.  Like, she should be locked up.”

            I scoffed.  Sure she had her moments, but wasn’t psychopathy stretching it a bit? 

            “Everyone has their off days,” I  rationalized, “She might just be trying to assert herself.  She probably just really loves her mother and didn’t like the idea that someone thought her cooking could be improved--she did say that she had nowhere else to stay, so her mom’s probably someone she values highly; like anyone else.”

            “I don’t know about that, and I wasn’t referring to the incident at lunch today.  Yeah, that was weird, but I’m talking about something she did last night--” (I’d forgotten they were in the same cabin) “--or, rather, didn’t do.”

            She gulped, as if recalling the incident were something hard to do: “She stayed up all night.”

            I tried to process what she’d said.  All night?  As in: she didn’t sleep?  She’d appeared to be functioning well during training, but then again…her batting.  There was no way Coach would just let anyone on the team.  She had to be a better batter than she’d exhibited during training. 

            Could she have been suffering from sleep deprivation? I wondered.

            “Do you think she’s an insomni--Wait a minute,” I interrupted myself, “how would you know if she was awake all night if you were sleeping?”

            Kami just sat there.  I gave her a little smirk.

            “I…when…she…” Kami’s eyebrows bunched together in a V, “when I went to bed, she was awake and when I woke…no, she could’ve just gotten up before me…--but, anyway, she’s crazy.  She switches between moods like a pregnant woman, overreacts to everything, and I saw her unpacking her sheets and I thought I saw an arm pop out of her bag!”  She shuttered at the last part, “An arm!

            “Just an arm?  There was no hand attached to it?” I asked, not sure if I should believe what I was hearing.

            “I don’t know!  I barely got a glimpse of it before she stuffed it back inside her bag!  Why is that what concerns you, anyway?!”

            “Wh-whose arm was it?”

            “Once again: no clue, but I know what I saw…” she looked at me, skepticism painting her gaze, “You don’t believe me, do you?”

            “Of course not,” I answered as amiably as possible, “It’s ridiculous.  A human arm?”

            Yes! A human arm!”

            I thought back to the way Rosa’d been fiddling with her fork at lunch.  It’d looked like she wanted to toss that thing into Cane’s eye and finish him off with her own hands, but could she realistically be capable of such cruelty?  I was pretty convinced not.

            I shook my head in the negative, dispelling the thought from my head and hopefully Kami’s, too.  “No.  It’s just not logical.  How would she have gotten it onto a commercial airline, anyway?  They do hold baggage checks, you know.”

            “I don’t know, she probably killed security or something.  When have I ever lied to you, anyway, Catmouth?”

            I opened my mouth to answer (she actually hadn’t ever lied to me, as far as I knew), when Kami cut me off.

            “Actually, make that a rhetorical question.  I’ll answer it myself: three times.  That’s it.  In all the years I’ve known you, I’ve only lied to you three times--once in fourth grade, when I told you I made your birthday cake from scratch (it was from a box); and again last year when I told you you’d made it onto varsity.”

            “You only gave me two lies, and I am on varsity….”

            “Well, yeah, but not because of your tryouts.  I had to convince Coach myself to give you a chance.”

            “Ouch.  Is that why I’m never given a chance to play outfield?” 

            “Or infield,” she added.

            “And I’ve only been up to bat twice during a game.”

            “Yeah…that’s probably why…” Kami admitted guiltily before returning to the subject at hand, “and I’m seriously sorry about that, but right now all I know is that that girl is crazy and she’s got a corpse in her bag.”

            “Along with sheets,” I added, trying to lighten the mood (ghost stories might not get to me, but the very real horrors of having my best friend manipulate her dad into letting me reach one of my goals (which I can no longer count as reached) definitely got to me).

            “Yeah, along with sheets…” she affirmed.

            We sat there for a while, eyes wide and minds whirring as to what else the new team member might be hiding…or what she might’ve been planning.  The baseball field was empty, most of the team either resting in their cabins, on a hike with Felix (who’d offered to take some people on one after lunch), or swimming at the beach.  I watched the sky--as clear as the ocean surrounding the island--and tried to gauge how much time we had left before the next training session.

            “So…Catmouth, wasn’t there something you wanted to tell me earlier today, as well?” Kami asked after we’d calmed down.

            I nodded, trying to take my mind off what Kami’d said and what she’d claimed to have seen.  To be honest, the events of the day had almost made me forget about what I’d wanted to tell her.

            “I have a theory…” My voice trailed off as I thought about how I should introduce it.

            “Does it have to do with your dreams?”

            “Yeah…yeah, very.  It’s a theory as to why I’m having them.  You remember Mrs. Diaz’s ghost story, right?”

            Kami nodded, her eyes telling me that she already had an idea about where this was going and hoped she was wrong.

            “Well…I know Mill seemed a bit silly asking those questions about the angler last night, but, once I thought about it a bit more, it may not’ve been that silly after all,” I hadn’t looked up at Kami as I said this, afraid of what emotion I’d see dancing in her eyes, “That is, after Mrs. Diaz explained the concept of past lives, I began to think that, maybe, one of the ways a memory could be brought back to the reincarnation would be through--”

            “Dreams?” Kami finished, and I couldn’t tell if she was irritated or intrigued, “You’re thinking about what Mrs. Diaz said last night, aren’t you?--about the angler’s wife killing every reincarnation via drowning him?”

            “Yeah…I know it sounds far-fetched, but right now I don’t have any other explanation for my sleep paralysis and I thought you might be able to help me, I dunno, sort out my thoughts?”

            Kami was silent, her eyebrows in concentration-mode, then she spoke: “I suppose I’m obliged to believe you after what I just told you, aren’t I?”

            “Yep,” I confirmed smugly.

            “Okay, then I guess I’ll see what I can do.  Let’s see, assuming you are the reincarnation of the angler’s wife--”

            “The angler,” I corrected.

            “Right.  The angler.  Assuming you’re his reincarnation, then how does this make sense of your dreams?  (That’s rhetorical, by the way): it would explain why they only began after the Mrs. Diaz’s informational meeting.  Seeing the island where you were killed might’ve spark something, like the moment you died (as Mrs. Diaz suggested last night), which would explain the nature of your dreams--drowning.  What have we missed here?”

            “Nothing, I don’t think--”

            “Yes, you are correct, you don’t think!”  Kami had started pacing back and forth in the dugout, her hands behind her back, and faced me with a quick movement and a point of her index figure at my reply, “I see why you had to come to me for thought-sorting, Catmouth.  There is much we are missing.  For instance: where’s the ghost, how does Mrs. Diaz know this freaky story, why are you paralyzed in your dreams, and, of course, how much time do we have until the ghost tries to kill you.  All of these are questions you should have taken into consideration immediately (and obviously didn’t).”

            I gulped at the last thing she mentioned involving the ghost and death...my death.  How much time did I have until I found myself living my nightmares?

            Kami sat down next to me, putting a comforting arm over my shoulder as she saw the pale worry written all over my face.  Despite the impressive duration of time I’d know Kami, I still felt a mild internal cringe to get away from it.  It wasn’t her touch, specifically, just the act of physical contact in general.  I’d never liked it, don’t know why, I just prefer to keep my hands to myself…and if others did the same.  It was something about me that not even Kami knew.  Sorry for the digression, I just thought I’d tell you.

            “It’s okay, Catmouth,” she assured me, “It was probably just a story Mrs. Diaz made up to frighten us.  Any connection it has with your dreams is mere coincidence.”

            “But how do you know that?”

            “I don’t (though logic would point in that direction), but I also don’t want you worrying over nothing.  All we have to do is find out how legitimate the story is.”

            I ran a hand over my face (the stubble of aftershave brushing the palm of my hand is calming to me, okay?).  “How do you propose we do that?”

            Kami smiled.  “The internet, of course.  It has everything.”

            I saw Sasha walking up the hill that sloped into the baseball field and hoped the shadow of the dugout was concealing me (I really didn’t feel like being delayed with his incessant chatter).

            “What’s the ma--” Kami gauged my face, lowering her voice, and saw Sasha beginning to walk around the picket borders of the field, “--Oh, it’s Sasha, isn’t it?  You don’t want to make him have another tantrum?”

            I nodded, even though she wasn’t spot on.  When he past, Kami stood up and stretched.

            “Come on,” she beckoned, stepping out from under the dugout and adjusting her visor.

            “Where are we going?”

            “Well, we have to find someone with a smart phone, don’t we?”

            “Josh has one,” I remembered, thinking back to the airport, “he’s in Weston’s cabin, I think.”

            “Okay, so we prove how preposterous Mrs. Diaz story is; then we go to my cabin and I find a way to show you the human appendage my psychotic roommate has with her.”

            I shook my head, following her across the stone-lined path that led to the cabins west of the Mess Hall. 

            “It’s probably just a mannequin,” I reasoned, rolling my eyes at her bold accusation.

            “Either way that’s a sign she’s got some type of mental disturbance,” Kami pointed out, “Who brings a fake person to a retreat?  That’s just sad.”

 




© 2013 Writer #00



Author's Note

Writer #00
I'll be honest. I haven't edited this yet, but I wanted to have Chapter 5 up yesterday, so....yeah. it looks like this Chapter will be a bit longer than my others, so I'm splitting it up into two parts. Thanks in advance for reading. : )

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Reviews

I think that the human arm is phony... Anyway this chapter was entertaining and I enjoy the dialogues between the characters, but (an omnious word, isn't it?) I have the feeling that the pace of your story is a bit too slow. It's just my personal opinion though - I like when the events are unfolding quickly or when at least the signs of upcomning catastrophe keep showing. On the other hand, Stephen King writes according to the pattern: 400 pages of absolutely no action and 100 pages of crazy boom - and keeps trhe readers interested in buying more of his books.

I know I'm bitching a lot, but please bear with me. I only do it when I'm reviewing something I like ;-)
I'm eager to find out more about Harri's mysterious nightmares.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Writer #00

4 Years Ago

I don't mind, thanks for reviewing. Bluntness is always good. The first half of the book has a lot.. read more
Uh oh something has gone whack with Rosa. Maybe Kami has Harri friendzoned afterall. Could the bag really have a human arm? Maybe it could also be a maanequin but then who brings that? Suppose everybody has skeletons in their closet! Now im waiting for the next chapter!!! No mistakes i coild poont out but great job as always :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


Writer #00

4 Years Ago

That's the question, isn't it, has something "gone whack" with Rosa? Or does she know something tha.. read more
Xerclipse

4 Years Ago

Oh darn, yeah I meant that Kami has Cane friend-zoned! :P Take your time with part two, im working o.. read more
Xerclipse

4 Years Ago

and it's up :D !

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Added on July 7, 2013
Last Updated on July 8, 2013
Tags: song, of, the, sirens, SOS, training, retreat, fantasy, reincarnation


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Writer #00
Writer #00

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I'm participating in the Summer Writing Project through Jukepop.com, an online serial website, those entering had to submit a novella on Jukepop.com. The finalists will be decided by the number of +V.. more..

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