Chapter Eleven-4 Days AgoA Chapter by Vanessa Rico
More tragedy and the beginning of the end
4 Days Ago-Monday, June 13th
“Lexxie, oh Lexxie,” the most unwanted guy’s voice called out from a little distance away from me. Slowly, my eyes opened, squinting against the bright afternoon sunlight. Sitting up from the marble bench, he was there leaning up against the trellis with his arms folded. No, my green-eyed dream boy was not the one standing in front of me. With a dangerous, rakish grin that I had once found irresistible, Drake gave me a lusty once over, making my traitorous body flush in response. Unfolding his arms, he strolled towards me with a predatory grace that made it impossible for me to look away from this unnaturally handsome male specimen. He stopped directly before me, glancing down at me. The heat and lusty passion I felt for him exploded tenfold. Immediately, I was ashamed at my reaction to Drake and his smoldering sexuality that caused me to think irrationally. Why did my body betray me like this every time I was in his presence? He bent down to me, inhaling my scent, which sent shivers of delicious excitement racing along my flushed skin. “Oh, Lex, why do you keep running away from me?”
“Because I have to,” I automatically answered a proper response, gravitating toward Drake’s magnetic orbit without intentionally doing so. Why did my mind turn to mush whenever I was around this tempting bad boy?
“You’re wrong. You just stay away from me, because everyone tells you to…but what does your body tell you?” His words had an instant reaction to my body, and I found myself standing with him. Our bodies pressed together. His arms circled my waist. The switch of common sense turned off. Breathing in his heady male aroma made me putty in his hands. After a rollercoaster ride of emotions, it was freeing and cleansing not to think, except for the want of Drake’s invigorating touch.
My eyes opened meeting Drake’s deep and dark chocolate eyes and I fell into those pools of darkness. Heat sizzled between us. Our breathing was heavy as if we had just run a marathon. One of his fingers caressingly slid down my face to trace my lips. A moan of pure pleasure escaped me. He was my oblivion…just like…
Pulling my focus away from Drake, which is quite a feat, I noticed I was in Hope’s Garden, only a few feet from…my mom’s grave. How could I have let myself fall so willingly into Drake’s arms, after everything that he had done? He was my crutch. Just like those tiny little white pills were Caleb’s supports to get through the horrors of reality. Now I knew why it had been so hard to walk away from those pills the other day. Neither the pills nor Drake were a healthy way to deal with my problems, but Drake was the much more preferable choice to make me forget. He was my own personal river of Lethe. All I had to do was to take one drink--kiss--of him and all my worries would be forgotten…but not gone.
I pulled away from him and shuffled my feet that felt like lead to my mother’s fresh grave. My knees sank to the ground. Tears filled my eyes as the memories of burying my mother were still too fresh and difficult to bear. “Why?” I whispered so softly that Drake would not be able to hear.
“You can’t save the world, Alexia. It’s impossible for one girl to take on the burden of humanity.” Drake moved to my side and knelt down to my level. “Lexxie,” he cajoled, sweeping some of my blonde hair behind my ear, “come away with me. You don’t need to be strong anymore…remember what you said to me at the pond the other day?”
“What did you say?”
“Let’s just be,” my words came out in a whoosh of emotion with tears streaking down my face. It could be that easy. I could just walk away and “be” with Drake. How simple it would be to run away from my problems and never look back? The passion that Drake ignited within my body urged me to take Drake’s hand and go. Nevertheless, my heart beat within me against this thought of just running away and leaving my brothers and friends defenseless and alone. “I can’t Drake.” I stood up and turned my back to Drake and the oblivion that he offered.
“Why not?” The anger in his voice was all too apparent as he roughly grabbed my arm so I would face him. “Why not,” he repeated. “You won’t come just because you feel a sense of duty to your pathetic family and friends? Or because you’re scared of what you feel for me?”
His anger fueled my anger and I responded in the same. “Drake, I won’t go with you, because you seem to take pleasure from the suffering of others.” Jerking back away from him, I stumbled and fell, not on my mother’s grave, but on a silken bed with Drake on top of me. Huh?
No longer was I in Hope’s Garden, but in a strange palatial bedroom. My eyes wandered around the room. All of the cherry wood furniture was exquisite and hand crafted. The bed that I was in was enormous, big enough for a nine foot giant. The silky sheets were like water rippling over my body…over my naked body. I clutched the sheet to my chest and backed away from the hungry look in Drake’s eyes. A large wardrobe swallowed most of the room in its splendor. One of its doors was open with a red dress hanging on it. Something about that dress struck me as familiar, but I could not figure out why.
“Holy s**t,” I swore out loud as I took in the room’s splendor. “Just f*****g great, I’m dreaming again.”
“Why does that surprise you, Lex? Dreams are just another plane of consciousness…and can be as real as the waking world.”
“Ok, when did you go all psychological on me? And what the hell are you talking about?” I backed up completely away from him until my back was up against the headboard. That was when I noticed the balcony. Now I remembered why the red dress looked so familiar too me. I had danced with Drake on that balcony, wearing that red dress. We were in that castle overlooking the burning city. Fear rose up within me. I had to get out of here and away from Drake.
“It doesn’t matter…” He said cryptically as he inched his way closer to me. “What matters is that we are here--together and alone.” Then he lunged for me. His lips met mine. This time I did not allow myself to fall in that lust-filled stupor. Nope, I remembered what my mother told me to do when boys got too fresh. In a quick movement, my knee met with Drake’s other brain--the one between his legs--and Drake fell backwards. He held himself, moaning in pain.
As quick as I could, I wrapped the bed sheet around my body, because I did not want to give Drake a free show. My feet slapped on the hard marble floor as I ran for the door. With one hand on the doorknob, Drake called out in pain, “You better watch out Montgomery, because the next time we meet…I might just have to take what’s mine.”
“F**k off, Bradley,” I flipped him off and opened the door. Dreams work in mysterious ways. First I was in that room, and now I was on that cliff. No longer was I wearing a bed sheet as a makeshift dress, but a knee-length, gauzy blue dress. The door had disappeared along with Drake as soon as I opened it.
There on the cliff top was the green-eyed boy, staring at me. His features like always were masked from me. My eyes drifted up his featureless face to those eyes that I could pick out from a sea of thousands. He held out his hand to me; and without hesitation, I took it. Sadness radiated off of him in droves, but he was always gentle, not like Drake’s roughness. We stood there, hand in hand, and just did what we normally did whenever I had this dream. We stared out at the burning city. Instead of looking into the forest like he usually did, the boy turned to me. His lips lowered to mine, thinking he was going to kiss me; but instead, he said, “Wakeup.”
“Lexxie, wakeup!” Someone was rather roughly shaking me awake. I was pretty sure I mumbled something about five more minutes of sleep.
“Please, Lex, wakeup,” another voice called out from nearby.
“Well, this calls for drastic measures,” the first voice said. All too soon and rather abruptly, freezing cold water was dumped on my still waking form. What a wakeup call!
Immediately, I sat up, wanting to wreck vengeance on those who dared to pour ridiculously cold water on me while I was sleeping. I sputtered, rubbing water out of my face and eyes. “What the hell did you do that for?” I screamed at the two voices I had heard in my still slumbering state: Jared and Greg. With a bucket in his hand, Jared did not look amused. In fact, he looked downright upset; he was trembling. Greg was pale and frightened and tried to placate me by wiping me down with a towel. My eyes never left Jared or his shaken form. “What’s wrong?”
“Dad’s asking for you.” His words struck a fearful chord in me. As gently as I could, I pushed away Greg’s ministrations; and I followed Jared out of my bedroom and into the hallway. Almost unable to keep up with his quick pace, I grabbed his shoulder, so he would have to face me. “What’s wrong?”
Jared sagged against the wall and let out a sigh. He ran his hand through his hair, which I recognized as a nervous gesture. “He began coughing up blood.” A gasp of dread wanted to escape me, but I steeled myself against showing my emotions. Jared’s eyes filled with tears. My stoic brother began to openly weep. His body shook with the force of his sobs, and I was left unsure of what to do. “I can’t do this anymore, Lex. We buried mom yesterday. I can’t do that again with dad…I just can’t.”
“Jared,” I said as I reached out to him with a comforting hand, but he jerked away from me. “I know what you’re feeling. I know this is hard…it’s hard for me to. I was there with mom as she…” I did not have to say the word, because we both knew what I was talking about. It was still too hard to think that I would never see my mother again. With that thought, a wave of pain swept through me, almost causing me to double over. Was it just yesterday that my mother died, and then we buried her? The horror of the previous day’s events flashed in my mind. If I continued to let myself remember all of it, I would not be able to function and help dad. “Listen Jared…I will take care of dad. Thank you for letting me get some sleep. How about you check on Caleb, and then go to bed.”
His body slumped in relief of knowing that nothing difficult or emotional would be required of him. Irritation spread through me like a wildfire. How unfair was it that I had to deal with it all? While my brothers got to take it easy? As Jared walked away towards Caleb’s room, I stared daggers into his back. It was unfair--plain and simple. He did not want to face anything hard anymore so he opted out, while I refused that very same option that Drake had given me. But no, I decided I would stay here with my family. What family?! That was a laugh. My mother was dead, and it seemed like my father would be joining her sometime soon, while Caleb drugged himself and Jared just shutdown. Great.
If I did not simmer down, I would be throwing things at walls or out windows. For several long moments, I tried to get my emotions under control before I entered my father’s room. A few deep breaths later, I approached the door. With one last intake of breath, I entered the room to see my father, pale and weak, propped up against a pillow. He was in the middle of a coughing fit, and I rushed to his side. One of his hands was resting on the bed, and I gripped his hand in both of mine. I was careful not to squeeze his hand too hard, since it was covered in angry-looking pustules, and I did not want to cause him anymore undue pain.
A small bucket sat by his side. Every so often he would cough into it, and I would hear the sickening splatters of blood hit the liquid that was already inside. This was the routine for a few minutes, before he was able to talk. “Lexxie,” he managed a small smile for my sake. My lips trembled and I felt tears well into my eyes. It was so unbearable to see my father, a normally robust and healthy man, reduced down to almost skin and bones. “How are you, hun?”
“I’m fine, dad.” Unable to resist, I leaned in for a hug. All I wanted was for my dad to be healthy again and my mom to be alive and well. Were those terrible requests as far as wishes went? I breathed in my dad’s scent; but instead of a clean smelling aftershave gel that my father used, he smelled like a hospital--sick and dying scents. There I was clinging to my dad like a little kid not wanting to be separated from a parent on their first day of school. Reluctantly, I pulled away, wiping my face quickly so my father would not see the tears.
“How’s your mother?”
Why did he ask such horrible questions? So I lied. “She’s good. I saw her a few hours ago.”
“Good, I’m glad she’s doing better.” My heart hurt to lie to him, but how could I deny him some happiness. “Lex, I asked Jared to come get you, because I need you to promise me something.”
A knot of trepidation coiled in my stomach. Last time I made a promise, it did not turn out so well, so understandably I was wary. Why did my parents keep making me promise such hard requests? Where they determined to break me down until I fell apart? Still, I responded, “Sure, dad, anything.”
He let go of my hand and began to rummage around in his nightstand. For a few moments, I sat there studying him, wanting to remember exactly what he looked like. Finally, he sat up with a folded piece of paper in his hands. “Here,” he handed me the folded paper. “It’s a map.”
“Lex, I need you to understand that everything you know is about to change…and not for the better.” My father’s voice had taken on an ominous quality to it that just plain frightened me.
“What are you talking about dad?”
“I know that this flu or virus or whatever the hell it is only affects the mature population. Once the smoke clears and we are all dead…how do you think the world’s going to be?”
“Dad, you’re scaring me…” I leaned away from him and from the delirious gleam in his eye. He was truly sick and I was thinking that maybe the sickness was messing with this mind and not just his body.
“Lex! Be quiet and listen. Do you remember our vacation last year to Hershey, Pennsylvania?” I nodded quickly not wanting him to yell again. “Well, do you remember that I was gone for two days?”
For a moment, I thought back to our vacation and slightly recalled that he had to go to Philadelphia on business during our trip. At the time, I did not think anything of it, because dad was often taking business trips, so I was used to it. “Yes, I remember.”
“In Philadelphia, at the regional office of Lawson Peace International, I have a desk there with another map and a few instructions. I prepared everything in case something like this ever happened.” Then he mumbled something like: “I just didn’t know it would happen this soon…”
“Dad, you’re not making any sense. You’re overexerting yourself, maybe you should lie down.” As hard as I tried to get him to rest, he refused and then started up another round of coughing, which was worse and longer than before.
“Please, Lex, just listen to me,” he begged between coughs. “Look at that map that I gave you.” Wanting to appease my dying father, I opened the map. On the map, there was a clear route from what appeared to be Easton, Massachusetts to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “I wish I could give you more information now, but I don’t want that map in Philly to fall into the wrong hands. You need to get your brothers out of the city and go to Philly and find that map…only with that map in my office there will you be able to be safe.”
“Where’s the map lead to?” I asked curiously.
“It leads to somewhere safe…you will be safe there from…” He was cut off with a forceful cough, before he was able to continue. “The cities will be dangerous, Lex…you have no idea, what’s in store. Do me a favor and grab the steel box under the bed.” I grabbed the box and handed it to him. Immediately, he opened it and pulled out a gun. My eyes widened in fear, because I assumed that he was about to end his own life, but he offered it to me. “Take the gun. You’ll need it to get to Philly and after until you get to the safe haven. Take it!” He screamed at me. Never in my life had my father raised his voice from me. I cringed back in alarm at his screams, but then he softened, seeing I was terrified by his reaction. “Please, Lex, take it.” I opened up my hand, which was shaking. He then placed the gun in my hands. “Promise me Lex, you will get your brothers and yourself out safely and make it to the safe haven.”
Dreading the words, I promised. “I promise dad.”
“Good, I love you Lexxie girl.” My father leaned over and kissed my forehead, which made tears form in my eyes. “A few things to remember, Lex: Don’t tell anyone, not even Jared or Caleb, about the gun or the map. Don’t tell anyone where you are heading. Be careful of who you trust.” His words sent a shock of remembrance through me. Those words had been haunting me for the past few days and then to hear my father use them was unbelievable. What the hell was going on with this world? Was I losing my mind? Was this all a bad dream that I would wake up from? “Remember what I told you.” After promising him that I would remember, he ordered me out of the room. I tried to refuse, but he kept screaming at me until I was on the other side of a shut door.
I stayed there next to the shut door for a few hours and did not dare go back in…not until the coughing had stopped. I knew why did not want me in the room. My father did not want me to watch him die. There I sat against the wall, balancing the gun on my knee. For a long while, I just stared at it. I had never even held a gun before that day…and now my father wanted me to use it to get out of the city. Why? The city was fine, all except for everyone over the age of 25 dying. What was he expecting?
It took me a few minutes to realize that I did not hear coughing. Dread overtook me. I stood up with my hand on the doorknob for what seemed an eternity. Part of me did not want to enter the room for fear of what I would find. The other part of me was resigned to the inevitable. I turned the knob. The door creaked open.
Fighting the urge to go unhinged, I stepped into the room. My eyes never left my father. His body was that deadly white color that signified death. I approached him, and saw a smile on his face. For once, my eyes were dry, devoid of tears. Was it possible to for your tear ducts to dry up? He looked peaceful…maybe he and mom were together again…somewhere. Loneliness and despair coursed through my body like the deadly virus that took both my parents.
I lifted the gun and just stared at it. How easy would it be to pull the trigger? The world was going to s**t like my father said it would. Why be around to watch it? Slowly, I lifted it to my head, letting it press up against my temple. The gun’s barrel was cold, making one lone shiver to run down my spine. My finger found the trigger. One little inch was all that was needed to end this suffering. One inch and I would have my much sought after oblivion. Closing my eyes, I braced myself for the bullet to enter my brain and finish me.
Before I could pull the trigger, a loud and resounding “NO!” rang aloud in my mind. The voice was not mine that was for sure. The gun flew out of my hand and hit the wall as if an invisible force had grabbed it. His voice was so familiar…so intimate that it made me begin to think rationally once again. What was I thinking? How could I have left my brothers here to pick up the pieces of not just my father’s death, but mine as well? Besides that, I promised my father I would take care of them. I was about to throw away my life, just because everything got too hard to handle. My dad and mom would not want me to commit suicide and would have kicked my a*s if I had tried to do so. I would have been throwing their love in their faces if I gave up so easily. Never before had I given up and I was not going to start now. Yes, suicide was tempting just as Drake was a enticement; neither of them was good for me. His voice brought me back from the brink of destruction. But I had been saved by him"the green-eyed boy.
© 2011 Vanessa Rico
Shelved in 1 LibraryAdded on May 17, 2011
Last Updated on May 17, 2011
Surviving the Apocalypse, Boys, and Teenage Angst
Fall River, MA
AboutHey there all my fellow writers! All right you want to know a little about me? Hmmm...where to start? My name is Vanessa, most people call me Vanessa (a few special people call me Ness or Vannie), and.. more..
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