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The Haunted Hearts

The Haunted Hearts

A Story by CandB
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A troubled young man falls in love with a girl who is shielding her bleak past from the world.

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Jake Wilson is a short, stout kid. I liked to mock him. He was such an easy target because he was weak freshman. On October 19th, 1994, I told him that he was fat and I punched him in his stomach as hard as I could. On October 20th, I took his backpack and emptied it in the school dumpster. On October 21st, I mocked his father’s sudden death of a heart attack. On October 22nd, I told him that he should go kill himself. On October 23rd, he did.

             It’s October 23rd, 1995, and I’m currently in my freshman year at college. It’s been exactly one year since that fateful day. It’s kept me up most nights. I often think to myself what an awful person I am. The truth is I never really got around to telling anybody about my taunting of Jake. When the event happened, it shook everybody up. Not only the school, but the entire town was rocked by the tragedy. A police investigation followed but I got away unscathed. School was not the same and the entire place felt like a morgue. I remember they put shrines everywhere in the school. Everyday I would have to face what I did. People used to cry and leave heartfelt items at these shrines. I used to just observe them in my own guilt. I wish I could tell them everything. I just didn’t have the guts to tell them that I was the reason for that atrocious event.

             I used to be popular. I used to be the guy that everybody looked up to. Girls would come to me; I didn’t have to go to them. Yet, I don’t live that kind of life anymore. People talk about karma and how harsh it can be. I guess it’s not a myth, especially not in my case. My parents both died of cancer within months of each other and I’m now on my own. Not a day goes by where I wish I could tell them about what I did. It would certainly take a load off my shoulders. The guilt I feel everyday is almost unbearable.

            I thought about killing myself a few times. Actually, one time I pointed a loaded gun to my temple. I was sure my life was over. My life literally flashed before my eyes and then I pulled the trigger. The safety was on and my life was spared for the second time. Most people hate my quiet ways now. They scoff at my painful awkwardness and laugh at my goofy walk. I used to carry myself differently. But every since that day, I’ve found that I’m not the kid I used to be. I’m not cool anymore, nobody looks up to me. Girls aren’t as easy to get as they used to be. Why am I here? This phrase is on repeat in my brain. It simply does not go away.

           The quality of my schoolwork is admittedly terrible. I usually can’t focus because my mind is always reverting back to “what if” scenarios. I think about Jake and how I single-handedly caused him to end his life. I was responsible for his actions. This thought never fails to send a shiver down my spine. I can barely take it sometimes. Studying is hard when you simply can’t clear your mind.

 

            There is one class that I actually like quite a bit; it’s an introduction course to psychology. I’m failing the class but the material is not why I like the class. The reason’s name is Marissa. Her dirty blonde hair just barely goes past her shoulders, her bust is large, and her lips are luscious. I’ve never seen a more perfect girl in my life. She sported a lazy eye, but this didn't bother me at all. I usually find myself starring at her from across the room thinking of what I might say to her if I were to ever approach her.

             I’ve been in her class for about a month now and I haven’t said a word to her.  Ih had been thinking a lot and I decided that I was going to finally approach her. A weird sense of self-confidence came about me and I felt my own self come back to life for a brief moment. I waited for the class to end and I hastily caught up to her in the hallways. “I’m Shane” I said in a painfully desperate whisper. Luckily for me, this girl was as down-to-earth as she was pretty. She laughed at all my cheesy jokes and agreed to go out with me.

            We decided to go out to eat a fast food restaurant for a casual night. I sat across from her and couldn’t take my eyes off her the whole night. She was much more talkative than she looked. I had mistakenly pegged her as a shy girl.

             “How do you like that psychology class?” she asked.

             “It’s fine. It’s a bit confusing at times”

            We talked for a bit about the class but it got boring very quickly. I decided to change the subject.

             “So, do you live at home or are you rooming on the campus?” I said and then quickly winced at the possibility of her possibly being offended by a personal question. She wasn’t though.        

            “I was going to live at home but my father died so my hand was kind of forced.”

             I wanted to tell her about my parent’s demise from cancer but I didn't want to ruin the night. We were laughing at each other and by the end of the night we seemed to have formed an instant connection. 

            “I like you a lot. I want to see where this might go. Can I see you tomorrow?” she said in the cutest way you can imagine.

             “Of course I want to see you again, Marissa.”

             She smiled at me and then brushed her hair softly as her bit her lip.

             “You’re really cute Shane, but not as cute as me.”

           

This girl was dangerously flirtatious. I was really off on that shy girl guess. “I'm not even close” I whispered back in her ear pathetically trying to match her flirty attitude.  

             I went home in a giddy manner and flopped on my bed. For the first time since that haunting day, I slept like a baby for an entire night. This girl might just be the answer I have been looking for this whole time.

             We began to officially date a week later. It was easily the greatest time of my life. Even better, Jake hadn’t crossed my mind at all. Maybe it was wrong, but I was slowly forgetting about him.

             We had sex for the first time on December 1st, 1995. I’m saying this just to say it. It was important because this was the first time that I felt close enough to somebody to say "I love you" afterwards. I hadn’t felt this comfortable in a long time and she told me she felt the same way. We began to talk about how we were finally getting over the bleak times of our lives.

We lied in bed all day staring into each others eyes. She told me that her lazy eye made her extremely self-conscious. I tried to pick her esteem up a little bit. “Marissa, don’t you ever let anybody tell you that you’re anything less than perfect.” She smiled and then gave me a kiss on the cheek. “You’re my hero” she said to me in a playful manner.

“Do you believe in God?” she said suddenly.

“Yeah, I think so. I mean, I’d like to think he’s up there.” I said, a little bit taken aback by the suddenness of the conversation.

“I don’t. I’d rather live in nothingness when I die. I don’t know if that makes sense but I fear him more than I love him. I feel like, if he’s real, I’m going to Hell and that scares me.”

“Marissa listen to me; God doesn’t send angels to Hell. You have nothing to worry about.”         

            The next day we woke up in incredibly high spirits. She combed my messy hair while spraying it with tons of hair spray and gel. I asked if she knew what she was doing and she said she that she did. She obviously didn’t know, but I didn’t care. She looked so cute while doing my hair that I didn’t care if my hair looked terrible. It was worth it.

             She told me about a new ice cream shack that opened up near her campus. Even though I really didn’t like ice cream too much, I agreed to go there. When we got there we both ordered obnoxious ice cream cones with every single topping possible. I might have been allergic to some of them but at the time, I really didn’t care. We began to race to see who could finish their ice cream quicker. As I began to pull away she grabbed my ice cream cone and shoved it in my face.

            “That wasn’t very nice cross eyes” some punk yelled out.

             Her smile quickly faded and she put her head down in embarrassment.

             “Dude, I couldn’t tell if she was looking at me or you! Her eyes can look both ways at once!” another punk chimed in.

             I noticed that a tear began to roll down her cheek. My heart began to pound and I looked over at the two punks. Upon first observation, I noticed that they were significantly bigger than I was. Then I noticed that they were crossing their eyes over to mock her lazy eye. I put my hand on her shoulder and walked up to the two punks.

             “Can you guys please leave her alone.”

             The two punks then stood up sporting ear-to-ear grins.

             “You want to go?” said one of the punks.

             I looked over at Marissa and saw that was now covering her face with her hands, clearly crying.

             “Tell you’re girlfriend to keep her eye on the fight.”

             As the exaggerated the “eye” I punched the punk as hard as I could in the face. He immediately dropped to the ground. Any bit of success I had quickly went out the window as they systemically beat me to a pulp and ran away. I wiped the blood off my face and chin and walked over to Marissa. I was concussed but I had to be strong for her.

             “Why did you do that?” she said wiping the tears off his cheeks.

              “I love you.” I replied in an admittedly over the top way.

             She grabbed several napkins and began to clean up the blood from my face. When my face was clean she kissed me. We walked home, hand-in-hand, and went into her bedroom and began to kiss again.

             “I really appreciate what you did today. I should be the one calling you hero.”

             “Marissa, don't worry about those guys. They were jerks.”

             “I’m just really sensitive about my lazy eye. I get taunted for it all the time. In school people used to always ask me if I was looking at them or the person behind them. I tried to act like it didn’t hurt but it did. It hurt a lot.

             “I understand.”

 She began to tear up a bit but then she took my hand and squeezed it tight. 

            “I’ve never talked about him since the day it happened.” She said softly.

She squeezed my hand even tighter. This clearly was coming from the heart.

             “My step-brother and I were really close. We had different mothers but we still loved each other all the same. We went to different schools because I lived with my mother but we called each other everyday. They were never good calls though. I remember that he used to come home everyday and call me complaining about this kid who used to make his life a living hell. I went through the same thing but I would never tell him because I was his older sister and I didn’t want to put more stress on him. I liked to think that I was able to get him through it most days. Then, he just snapped after our father died of a heart attack. It was so unexpected. We didn’t see it coming.”

             I slowly moved my hand away from hers and my heart began to pound. This was sounding familiar.

             She continued, “He called me and said in the softest whisper, "Dad won't wake up.", I remember vividly that chill that went down my spine as he said those words. I drove over there frantically and saw my father, not breathing, being put into an ambulance. I saw little Jake sitting on the porch, crying his eyes out.”

            Jake? Did she just say Jake? My heart began to pound so fast that I thought it was going to burst out of my chest.

             “I was devastated too but I put on my strong face for him. I didn’t go to school the next day, but he did. He said he wanted to prove to his mother that he was a strong man capable of taking care of her. I admired that, I did.”

             A smile came across her face but my face began to resemble that of somebody who had a gun pointed at their face point blank. Most people don't usually have that experience, but I have. I remember on October 22nd, I mocked him about his father dying. He told me that I couldn’t hurt him anymore because he had to be strong for his mother. I took this as a challenge and taunted him to a pulp about his father’s death. I remember looking into his blue, watered eyes and laughing at his pain. “You’ll never see you’re father again.” I taunted all day. Then the next day changed me forever.

            October 23rd, 1994. I remember I was in the bathroom washing my face when I heard that booming gunshot. I heard a disturbing and piercing scream of a young girl and several more gunshots followed. I’ve never heard such chaos in my life. It became quite clear to me that a school shooting was occurring. I thought about staying in the bathroom but I decided that running out of the school was my best option. As I stepped out of the bathroom a gun was pointed at my face directly.

            It was Jake. He gave me the most pained look I’ve ever seen from another human being. A tear rolled down his cheek and he walked towards me and pressed the gun into my gut. I began to blubber like a baby, apologizing for the awful things that I did to him. His eyes welled up and then he surprised me by pointing the gun at his own temple.

             “Watch this.”

             Then he pulled the trigger and his brain painted the walls. I can’t even describe the amount of panic that went through my body that moment. I felt like I was going to pass out. I stared at his motionless, grotesque body and quickly sprinted away from it. My life was forever changed. The most unlikely kid had spared my life.

             My stomach began to churn as the memory came back to me. Marissa was telling me about "that day" that had changed my life for the worst. She told me all the heartbreaking details about her last conversation with Jake and how his mother has become an alcoholic since that day. I could see the pain in Marissa’s eyes. I never thought that the girl that had gotten me to forget about Jake simply couldn’t forget about Jake herself. 

            As she finished her heartbreaking story she let out a soft cry and gave me a passionate hug. I quickly brushed her off. I couldn’t hide this in anymore. I hadn’t told anybody about my bullying of Jake. Not even my deceased parent’s knew about it. This guilt inside needed to be released. It was going to hurt, but I had to tell Marissa.

             “Shane, you have no idea how much that meant to me back there. If only Jake had somebody like you in his life." 

             I could barely handle this guilt.

            “You truly are my hero. I never thought that I’d get over my father and brother’s death but you’ve helped heal my heart. It’s almost like a sign from heaven. It’s time for me to forget about that day and move on with my life. You’re the only person that I’ve ever felt comfortable with enough to talk about "that day" with. It will always be the worst day of my life but as long as you're around, I might just forget about Jake and the awful thing he did to his classmates and himself. It feels so good to talk about it so I can finally try to forget about Jake.”

             “Marissa…”

             “I love you so much.” she quickly said back interrupting my thoughts.

             I kissed her back and then stared into her gorgeous, blue eyes. I realized that I couldn’t confess to her right now. It simply wasn’t the right time. Maybe the right time would never come. She opened up to me and I was helping her forget about Jake. There was no way I could tell her about the things I did to her beloved brother. It would only hurt her even more. Marissa's point in life now was to forget about Jake. I might be the most unlikely source but I was helping her heart heal a bit. I would have to live with the pain and guilt, she wouldn't. I'll take the punishment in order to keep her happy. I couldn’t tell her that I drove her beloved brother to commit those atrocious acts and kill himself. It would ruin her life and cause her to never trust anyone again. I can't do that to her.

I began to stroke her hair and caress her back. I then looked her in the eyes and promised her that I would be there for every step in her long and emotionally draining journey of forgetting Jake. She would be there for mine as well.

 

© 2012 CandB


Author's Note

CandB
ex: I'd love any kind of feedback at all. :) Thanks ahead of time.

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Added on October 16, 2012
Last Updated on October 16, 2012
Tags: romance, love, hauntedhearts, teen, youngadult, sad, bleak, past, hauntedpast, suicide, bullying, school, highschool, college

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