One

One

A Chapter by Luna Evangeline

There's an old rocker by the window with limp, flattened cushions where I may sit for hours upon end. It was a sort of sin for me to do this, since in my head I was constantly reminding myself of the chores to be done. Yes, there were always things to do. But in that rocker those things were not what concerned me. There was a different world with things to do, people to see, and journeys to take. An open journal in my lap was both a villain and a hero, letting me escape, but also kidnapping me. In that rocker I could write things that my mind simply did not see anywhere else. I could not write like that in school. The chairs were much too hard and uncomfortable, their plastic backs unyielding to my constant slouch. And I could not write like that on a couch or on my bed. I sank much too far into the cushions there, until I felt as if I was submerged in quicksand. The old rocker was the happiest medium. It understood me. It took my hand and whisked me away. 

I considered that rocker the protagonist of my teenage life, and where there is a protagonist there must always be an antagonist. The television sat at the front of the living room like a rectangular black hole, or a staring square eye. Most often it sat there black-screened and quiet, but some days I made the mistake of turning it on, perhaps while sulking in a fit of writer's block,  and then I would stare hypnotized at the damn thing for hours. The day would waste away, and once the living room suddenly fell dark with nighttime I would blind and realize the terrible thing I'd done. I could almost feel the rocker's hurt gaze on those days that I battled and lost to the antagonist. On those days I felt like any other seventeen-year-old boy, letting my mind dwindle and shrink rather than hunt for knowledge and grow. 

I loved my characters more than I did actual people. I flawlessly made them fall in and out of love, or hate one another, or anything else that people do. In my stories I was the Almighty God. I was the Womanizer. I was the Grim Reaper. I was the one holding the playbook. But as soon as I stepped out of those stories--as soon as I rose from the old rocker--my life was flung out of control and scattered about the ground like a toppled bucket of marbles. I had no girlfriend and very few friends. Actually, I only had one real friend. 

Now that I reflect on those years I suppose that everyone has their own way of defining who is a real friend and who has only stopped by to soil your bed, eat your food, flirt with your wife, and then leave in the middle of the night. I know what defined my real friend and scattered the rest. It was the summer after high school, when I killed the principal's son.

Or so they said I did. 

William Puckett was the most dislikable person in all of school. As a matter of fact, it was very difficult to like him. He was captain of the football team, basketball team, swim team, track team, debate team, choir, band, and any other school organization that we had. But he wasn't captain because he was good. He was actually quite terrible at everything. He was captain for the same reason that he aced every test and never got caught for anything that he did. He was captain because his daddy was the principal, and in small town high school, that kind of power can go to a kid's head fast. I suppose that if he was any good at sports our student body might have hated him a tad less, but he was very weak, which meant that he could hardly take a hit in anything (and that he also got beat to a pulp often by the guys who actually were good enough to have the captain position). 

Everyone held a general feeling of dislike towards William, but for me, it was a lot more than that. He and I were constantly tossing a grenade back and forth, each threatening to pull the pin on the other, because God knew we both had our secrets, and unfortunately we knew what the other was trying to hide. We held a furious hate towards each other, and no one knew why but us. 

We were only sophomores. That was his excuse. We were only sophomores, and therefore we were stupid. My excuse was simply that he was a filthy, condescending a*****e. 

Give me that journal, Simon.

Back off, William.

The cigarette embers that he'd flicked on my open journal still smell hideous, still invade my nostrils today as I recall that day. 

Oh, Willy, old boy, you sure did it that time.

Although I wasn't athletic, I was strong. I worked after school with a construction company, building houses. I had muscles from hauling packs of shingles up ladders, and I had stamina from balancing precariously on a rafter for hours. So although everyone else was surprised when I leapt onto William and began to relentlessly pound his face, I wasn't.  He cried. Like a little f*****g baby, William cried. He bawled and wailed until his father came rushing out of his office, only to see me straddling his son, my fist drawn back to smack his bloody face once again. Mr. Puckett had wanted to expel me, but luckily, the school board was on my side. (They knew that being an a*****e existed in William's previous generation, too.) 

The fact that William had pettily dropped dimly glowing red embers onto my journal, scorching in tiny, teardrop-sized marks on the page, that is not what made me hate him. After Mr. Puckett (Mr. F**k It, to us students) wrenched me up to my feet and shoved me away, he knelt by his son. 

Are you okay, William?

Yeah, Dad.

No How did you screw up this time, William?  No Who did you piss off now, son? Of course not. Because in good old Mr. F**k It's head, William didn't piss anyone off. We all just decided to beat the s**t out of him for no reason. 

Let's get you to the nurse.

He'd turned to me, angry purple face reeking of old fried chicken.

I'll deal with you later, you got that, boy?

Yeah.

Excuse me?

Yes, Mr. (F**k it) Puckett.

He'd taken William's arm, turned him towards the school. But William stopped. Stopped and made me hate him.

Hold on, Dad. I forgot my notebook.

And he'd stooped, swept up my journal from where it'd fallen on the lush courtyard grass, and while he was bent over he'd shot me a devious, winning smile. 

THAT'S MINE!

Shut the hell up, boy!

Hushed silence from the student's who'd stopped to gawk. They were all stunned to hear those bitter, illegal words from a school official. Perhaps stunned into muteness, because no one spoke. 

That's my journal! I can recite everything in it to you!

Mr. Puckett sneered. They walked away. I stood trembling with anger, hot tears gathering in my eyes, fists still clenched. I felt as if my soul had been casually plucked from my body the way someone plucks a ripe, delicious-looking apple from a tree branch. The only difference here is that the tree doesn't miss that apple, since it gives forth hundreds of others. Where as I, I only had one apple. And it was gone. 

As a sophomore I hadn't taken to writing stories yet. I was a poet, and a songwriter. My every thought went into lyrics. I didn't hold back; everything that crossed my mind or heart was written down and set to an acoustic guitar melody. So when William Puckett not only stole my journal but read it, he wasn't just reading poems. He was ripping apart my ribcage and scattering about my soul like confetti. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if he couldn't tell who the better part of the songs were about. But he caught on right away, and two days after he'd stolen my journal he passed me in the hallway and whispered:

Lindsay Valentine.

Lindsay Valentine, indeed. She was absolutely beautiful, and from the moment I'd seen her, I'd loved her. She had a laugh that bubbled out of her, carefree, and echoed about the school. Her flute-like voice carried over the noise in the halls, a melody that I desperately wanted to weave into a song. Every time her wide, chocolate eyes landed on mine, a firework deep in my gut was set off and I could never manage more than an inarticulate croak that was supposed to be hello. She was the star of my songs. I treasured her, and she didn't even know my name.

And so William Puckett knew my secret. But mine was no match for his, which I found out not even two weeks later. And once I did I couldn't have cared less if he'd displayed my songs about Lindsay on the Jumbo-Tron in Times Square. I would have only laughed if he'd told her that I sung to a picture of her every night. (I didn't. I was in love but I wasn't a stalker.) I didn't care, because, sure, I liked a girl. But at least I liked girls. 




© 2013 Luna Evangeline



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Author's Note

Luna Evangeline
It's really rough still. So please leave your thoughts :)

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Reviews

You have created a great beginning with two vehemently opposed characters to sweep the reader along. There were a couple odd word choices that made me stop for a moment, but overall the chapter moves well from the opening description to the flashback incident giving excellent backstory on some characters. I think the internals could be written perhaps in italics instead of brackets but I like it so far. I am a male writer and I know how precious I consider my books of poetry. I could really get into this one. Good job.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Excellent work! Your description is both your best aspect and the thing you want to work on (in my opinion at least). Something I've learned about descriptions is you want to give enough for the reader to understand what you're describing while also leaving enough to the imagination. But you pull it off well! Not many writers can. In fact, the only one I can think of is Stephen King, and he's on the far end of the spectrum haha. But, good work! Keep me updated on newer additions!

Posted 4 Years Ago


Oh ho, I'm loving it. Honestly, it hurt my eyes a little (literally, because I can't lower my screen brightness any lower, and all the words were a little much), but after I got through it I still wanted to read more. A fun piece, with all the name calling, and face pounding, but I found that I liked the main character as a person, and would love to see what he later does with his new found knowledge. Much enjoyed, and great job. :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


Dude one word : Epic.
Your writting style is dark and seductive which really suits the theme of your story. I can honestly relate to the first few paragraphs where you describe a writers peril when it comes to writing a stroy and you describe everything so well from the main characters view. Long story short : I want to read more of it.

Posted 4 Years Ago


I loved the protag antag bit with the rocking chair and the TV. Found it highly relatable and then the matter of fact way you jumped into the real story, oh bee tee dub I killed someone. Nicely done.
Solid dialogue - for a rough start you definitely have a gem here.

Posted 4 Years Ago


I love the opening "limp, flattened cushions;" I not only have one of those, but a very similar relationship with it.

I don't know if "It took my hand and whisked me away." is necessary. Leaving it at "It understood me." carries a history and a relationship that doesn't take sides, which gives more credit to the good/evil ambiguity. The whisking also has a romantic stigma attached to.

I like the relationship between William and Simon so far. I'm expecting a strained friendship to bud before William is inevitably killed. I like how juvenile they both are toward each other and the pun of 'Mr. F**k it.' I would like to see more of Lindsay; she has brown eyes and a beautiful voice - other than that she's a stock pretty girl to me.

There's a difference in tone between the beginning and end. Simon is more poetic and composed while he's at home and in his head vs. reality, where he's... a highschooler. Very cool to see those different sides of him so quickly.

I like it so far!

Posted 4 Years Ago


Awesome! I could almost picture myself back in a high school setting reading this!

Posted 4 Years Ago


Great write. I like where you're going with the overall plot. Keep up the great work. An enjoyable read. :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


I thought this was a well thought out beginning to an interesting book. Keep up the good work!

Posted 4 Years Ago


I like the story so far. Giving strength to each character. I like the stories and thoughts in the poem. You cover a lot of territory. But you held my interest. I wanted to read and know more. A excellent beginning to the story.
Coyote

Posted 4 Years Ago



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Added on August 2, 2013
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Author

Luna Evangeline
Luna Evangeline

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If Walt Whitman were still alive I'd be his groupie. more..

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