chapter two

chapter two

A Chapter by TopHatGirl

   Oceania left, and Victor felt alone.

   He would just skateboard around town, wearing lame tank tops and sweating everywhere. Kids would stare at him, but most of them assumed he was arrogant. Standoffish. Though, with summer meant fewer panic attacks.

It was on a Wednesday afternoon that his mother called him.

   The ringing came from the kitchen. Victor paused his online session on some shooting game and took off his headphones. Another ring. Sighing, he got up and went into the kitchen, staring at the phone. What if it was a person trying to sell him something? Or a politician? Or even worse…a prank call? Christ, he couldn’t do this.

   Oh wait. The caller ID said ‘MOM’. He picked up the phone.

   “Yeah?” he said, heaving himself onto the counter and twisting the phone cord around his fingers.

   “Hi, Victor? I know you hate it when I ask this…” In the background, Victor could hear the hustle and bustle of his mother’s work. “but can you stop by the store and pick up some milk? I need it for dinner tonight.”

    Victor’s hand froze on the cord, and he gulped audibly. “Uh. Yeah. Sure.” He cleared his throat again. “Of course,

Ma. You can count on me.”

   He sighed and hung up the phone.

   The way to the grocery store was hot and brutal. Victor didn’t have enough energy to go full speed on his skateboard, so he just inched along at a gentle pace. The birds were chirping on lamps above him, and kids were out playing ridiculous games. It wasn’t too far away, the store. It only took him ten minutes to reach the entrance, where he kicked his board up and tucked it under his armpit. Staring at the glossy store sign and clean glass entrance, he inhaled sharply. He can do this. There’s nothing bad about going in there and getting some goddamn milk.

   But what if he didn’t have enough money? He pulled his wallet from his pocket and counted out fourteen dollars over and over again, just to make sure. What if he goes up to the cashier, and says the wrong thing? Oh god, he’d get judged so f*****g hard. He’d have to move, right? Get out of the city, because this town is so small his mistake will surely-

   “Hey, kid, you gonna go in or what?” A gruff voice asked from behind him. Victor’s heart did a summersault into his throat as he turned around. An older gentleman, dressed to the nines in a black suit and bright blue tie, was sighing at him and tapping his foot. Victor was blocking the entrance by standing there and internally freaking out.

His tongue tripped, and he couldn’t find the words to apologize. The man rolled his eyes and pushed Victor out of the way, entering the store with no expression. Victor, being a little on the light and tall side, was easily moved, and he stumbled a little out of the way.

   Oh god. He just made a huge fool out of himself.

   Breathing quickened.

   No, he told himself, and he stood up straight. He would not have a panic attack, because he had to get milk for his mother. And no matter what people might think of him-oh god he must have looked like a f*****g IDIOT-he will get this precious milk.

    Running in, he found the dairy aisle and grabbed one of those small carton sizes. He didn’t see the suited man anywhere, so he figured he was safe. There was no line at the cashier, so hesitantly, oh so hesitantly, he set down the milk on the counter and let the cashier swipe it. The cashier was old and rigid, and looked up and down at Victor with distaste. A drop of sweat slipped down Victor’s forehead. Oh god, what if she thought he was trying to shoplift something? Should he assure her he isn’t?

   “That’ll be five-oh-three,” she sneered. Victor nodded, and pulled out a five dollar bill and a one. Should he have exact change? The old lady made a huge show of checking to make sure the money was real, holding it up to the light and examining it closely. Placing the 97 cents in his hand like it was the biggest task in the world, she nodded. “Have a good day, sir.”

Gulping, Victor could only nod again and start to bolt out the door.

   “Sir? Your milk?” the cashier called. Victor stopped. Right. He went back, grabbed the milk, and headed out the door. Setting the skateboard on the sidewalk with a resounding ‘SNAP’, he began rolling home, the milk hanging from a plastic bag. On the way home, he noticed a gang of teenage girls, all of them decently attractive. Feeling particularly brave from being able to navigate the store, he decided to show off a little bit. At the curb up ahead, he knew he could easily do a kickflip off of it, still saving the milk.

   He pushed on his skateboard, going relatively fast. The girls looked up, staring at what he was about to do. The curb jutted out, and he did a smooth kickflip into the street.

   Unfortunately, he was so distracted by the trick that he didn’t even notice that car coming straight toward him.

   The headlights shone brightly.

   Victor only saw it at the last possible second, when-

   Everything froze.

   He was falling off of his skateboard, his mouth about to scream, when it just stopped. Only for a midsecond. Long enough for Victor to fully lunge out of the way.

   Then, it started again.

   The car zoomed by, honking. The girls in the distance screamed. Victor was crouched at the side of the road, the milk spilled over on the sidewalk and his skateboard just missing the car. He could feel raw energy in his fingertips tingling, leaving him confused and disoriented.

   “Are you okay?” A girl asked, running over to him with her friends following closely behind.

   “I, uh-“ His tongue did the lead thing again. Avoiding eye contact, he stood up, blushing furiously. His arm stung, from where it scraped against the road. “I’m…” Quickly, he got on his skateboard, picked up the carton that had only a quarter of it left, and pushed off, ducking his head low.

   For whatever reason, Victor didn’t feel the signs of an oncoming panic attack. In fact, he didn’t feel anything at all. It was this numbness that spread throughout his limbs and ate away any feelings. What was that, back there? He could have sworn that time had stopped, just for him. And he couldn’t brush off that feeling that he was the one who made it happen.

   Maybe it was hormones. Or puberty. Late puberty.

   His mother was already cooking when he rolled in the door kicking up his skateboard up against the wall. She turned from the stove and smiled.

   “Hi, sweetie,” she cooed, and ruffled his naturally spiked-in-the-front hair. No gel needed. “Did you get the milk.”

Ashamed and weary, Victor hesitantly showed her the milk carton. It was a little rumpled and had a smudge of dirt on it. Bewildered, Ms. Rivera picked it up and turned it around. “What did you do to it?” she asked. “Throw it into the ditch and leave it for a day?”

   Victor rubbed the back of his neck, avoiding eye contact carefully. He focused on the tick tock of the clock on the wall. Half past six.

   “Victor? Are you going to answer?”

   His attention snapped back to his mother like a rubber band being shot at a classmate. “Uh, I just dropped it. Sorry.”


   She sighed, and clicked her tongue multiple times. “You should be more careful when riding that skateboard.”

“Yes, Ma,” he said before slinking off into his room. Opening the chat tab on his computer, he typed out a message to Oceania, one she probably wouldn’t see for two months.

   vicT0RRent: [00:06:37] see, this is what happens when you’re not around. bad stuff.

   Logging off, he buried his head in his hands. This was not turning out to be a successful summer.

   “Victor!” came a shrill shriek from outside. Monica. “Come here hurry quick!”

   Victor raced over, making sure she wasn’t like, decapitated on her bed or something. The young girl was squatting on the front steps, bent over something. Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes, and she looked up at Victor, lip wobbling. “Look,” she said, and she pointed at a dead rat corpse.

   “Ew,” Victor sneered, jogging down the steps and kneeling to look at the dead rat. Wait. “It’s not dead,” he said, pushing up his big blue glasses and peering closer. “It’s dying, yeah, but it’s not dead yet.” The rat’s chest rose up and down with the tiniest of ragged breaths.

    “Can you save it?” Monica asked in a small voice.

    “Uh, I don’t know-"

   “Please?” She clasped her hands together in a pleading motion. “Please please please?”

   “Fine,” Victor said, a little reluctantly, and scooped up the rat in his hands. It wasn’t even that filthy, except for a bit of dried blood on its foot. It felt light in his palms, and Victor wished that there was something he could do. He didn’t know anything about rats, or even about helping animals in general. But he felt an odd connection to the rat. It was helpless and hurt and needing help.

   But he didn’t have to do anything in need of medical care.  He didn’t do anything at all, in fact. He just felt another tingling, like the one before the car crash. It numbed his fingertips and seemed to spread into the creature.  Monica hurried over, her eyes as wide as the moon.

   “What are you doing? Are you magic?” she asked, words going a mile a minute.

   “What? No!” But as Victor and Monica watched in awe, the rat started to breathe normally, and look around. He didn’t seem completely fine, but he certainly wasn’t dying. The thing was the length of Victor’s hand, the tip of his middle finger to his wrist, and the tail dropped off his arm completely. It had smooth brown fur and a white patch on its lower left leg. As it stood on its haunches, it sniffed up at Victor. As the human looked on, completely bewildered, the rat didn’t hesitate to scurry up his arm and sit on his shoulder. “S**t, get off me!” Victor shrieked, a little girlishly, and attempted to swat it off before Monica stopped him.

   “No, stop it! He likes you because you saved him! Don’t hurt him!” She smiled in wonder at the rat before giggling. “Name him Jeremy.”

   “Jeremy?” Victor stood up, holding up his hands. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We are not keeping this freakin’ rat, Monica.” Jeremy the rat was still on his shoulder, looking perfectly content.

   “Jeremy wants to stay with you, and he was sick and dying, and uuugh!” Monica stamped her foot in annoyance. “Don’t be so stupid face about this. Just be glad that you have magic powers.”

   “I don’t have magic powers, Monica. He was probably just a little less injured than we thought. Or faking it.” Victor did not pass biology class his freshman year, but he didn’t mention that to his sister.

   The sun was setting in the east, so Victor ushered Monica back inside, and disappeared into his own room. Closing the curtains, he sat in his desk, whirling around a little bit.

    He was still pretty shocked that he didn’t have a panic attack today.

   Maybe this means he’s growing as a person? That he’s finally over this stupid ‘social anxiety’ bullshit and he could function as a real human being?

   Jeremy scurried off of his shoulder and lied down on the desk, letting his tail smack the surface again and again. Victor lowered himself to eye level of the rat. Jeremy sniffed and stared back with solid black eyes. He seemed to shrug at Victor’s previous question. I don’t know, Victor. Are you even a real human being? What is a human? I am just a rat, so I don’t know how to solve your angsty teen problems.

    He’s pretty sure that’s what the rat thinks, anyway.

    Rats are crafty b******s.

© 2013 TopHatGirl

Author's Note

again, this is full of mechanical problems. sorry!

I have roughly 25k words of this so far, so I'm just breaking it into chunks for publishing.

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Added on October 8, 2013
Last Updated on October 8, 2013



[Redacted], NV

Hi, I'm TopHatGirl! If you're here about my character lessons or to get some advice, email me instead of messaging at [email protected]. This is because I don't go on this site as much anym.. more..

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A Chapter by TopHatGirl


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