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0:27 AMChapter 1: Shall sophomore year begin with a war?
Chapter 1: Shall Sophomore year begin with a war?
The beginning of freshman year is when Steven and I sensed a shift in our little family: Michael’s friends, Michael, Jake, Steven, and I. It was slight, very slight, imperceptible to strangers, but we knew something would happen.
And we ignored it. Ignored it simply because we reveled in the bliss we felt. Our foreboding rang true, and the shift grew and grew, bit by bit. And it didn’t stop until the summer.
"Why the hell do you keep doing this?!”
"Doing what? Breathing? Keeping my family fed?”
"Not that Michael! I meant why do you and Jake keep refusing to get an actual job and an actual education, besides shitty half-time jobs and homeschool!”
"Sorry, I feel no need to get a job or education and be surrounded by people who will friggin’ hate my guts, Phil! I’m busy making sure Jake doesn’t flip bitches left and right, that I don’t get addicted to drugs again, and that my little sis and bro stay happy!”
With each word, Michael advanced a step, until he had to jump over the couch to yell in Phil’s face. "They need reality!” Phil shouted back, going to the right of the couch near the coffee table, in case a weapon was needed in this fight.
I almost broke down and cried, but I wanted to let them finish or it might be worse later. I saw a head of dark brown hair appear in the hallway closest to Phil. It might be Jake, but I was too busy concentrating on the scene in front of me.
"They’ve had too much reality! Let them be teenagers for a little bit! It might help them not turn out like me or Jake!”
"They need to get out of fairytale land!”
"You-” Michael started, probably about to completely cuss Phil out.
"Um,” I started. They both froze in place and whipped their heads over to look at me. I saw Jake peak his head out of the hallway, and I saw Phil’s brother duck out of the kitchen behind Michael and into the hallway. "Is everything okay?” I asked lamely.
They stared at each other, then at me. They looked at me with a strange mixture of wonder, confusion, and sadness that it made me wonder how it was possible to make that expression. Well, I suppose with all of our pain and struggles, it’s very possible.
"Nothing,” Phil said, so quietly I almost couldn’t hear him. "Nothing at all.” He kept his head down as he talked, and after a second, turned around and went down the hallway, his shaggy almost raven hair falling over his face so one could only see his mouth set in a line of frustration and sadness.
I shrugged this fact off, and I learned to regret it. Jake, for the first time in years, quietly walked out of the hallway, and after analyzing us with his deep green eyes, he asked what was for dinner. Michael responded by turning around and walking into the kitchen.
I retold the details to Steven, since he heard it all, and the whole time his dark brown eyes identical to my own stared ahead, picturing the whole situation. Then he ran a hand through his brown hair and sighed. Our silent sign for ‘Here it goes… again.’ We walked out of our room and into the kitchen and sat down at the small table next to each other as usual; Jake was to my right and Michael was to Steven’s left. It wasn’t nearly as squished as usual because Phil, his brother, and his friend all decided to eat dinner in his room to avoid the situation. This went on for the rest of summer during dinner only.
After becoming stuffed on Michael’s homemade pizza, there was silence at the table, with loud rock music being blasted from the last room on the left, which was Phil’s room.
"Well,” Jake drew the word out, standing from the circular table as he did so. "Nice to have peace after so long. I’ll talk to you all next time this happens.” He placed his dishes in the sink carefully and slinked off back to his room. Once the door was silently shut, his screamo music blended with the rock already playing.
This was the first time in several years where Jake had been careful, polite, and talked with his silently loud demeanor.
And frankly, this change frightened me.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
After that eventful dinner, I stayed back in the kitchen to wash the dishes while Stephanie went back to our room to go set up plans with her friends for the summer, and she claims I’m the outgoing one. I’m the one who stays at home most of the time cleaning up and making sure the house doesn’t become too dirty because all my family members are major slobs. That makes me sound like a snotty Cinderella. Vaguely fitting.
Sorry, that’s a story I’m saving for later. Now to go back to what I was ranting about before…
While I clean, Michael cooks, Jake tries to fix things, and when he can’t, he breaks it even more (this is our third t.v. guys…), while Steph is always busy working on her art, getting new supplies, or hanging out with her artistic friends at a museum, the theater, art show at school, etc. Every day I wake up and look to the bed to my right, and when I don’t see her, I almost start calling the cops. Before I do so though, I’ve learned to stop, calm down, and find the note from her saying where she is. I walk out to tell Michael, Jake, Phil, and Kaleb where she is, because when I walk out, they are all sitting on the couch staring at either the kitchen over the others’ heads or turned to face the not-working t.v. She isn’t good, like at all, at picking up stuff like that, so she doesn’t understand how close we really are or how much we all care for her, though she somehow removes herself from the group.
About 10 minutes into my dish-washing and reflection, I feel Michael walk into the kitchen and started to wash dishes for about 30 seconds until he realized it’d be easier to dry. I stopped and stared at him, since he has never done this kind of thing before. He slightly lifted his blue-green eyes to meet my dark brown ones before he looked down into the sink, his unruly brown hair covering his pale face.
"I know,” he began, hesitantly. "I know you and Stephanie live in your own world. Just… look out for when it starts to crack. When it does, know I’m here to help you two along. Alright?” he finally got out after a rough start, never breaking eye-contact with that plate on top of the pile in the sink.
Steph should be careful; she’s the one living in her fantasy world while I’m hiding from any kind of fairytale. I guess I’ve always been good at hiding my emotions from everyone, even my ‘twin,’ I thought while we finished washing the dishes in silence, minus the squeak from the plates being dried.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
The next day, a Friday, I woke up around 6:30 like usual, and Steph had kindly placed the note right on my face. I sighed, and walked out to let everyone know that "Sarah, Penny, and I are heading off to this café early to go to this awesome new art exhibit opening up!” They all nodded, and we parted our separate ways, Michael into the kitchen to sit and study, Jake in his room to do… whatever it is Jake does, not always sure about him. Phil and Kaleb decided to go hang out at a friend’s house for the weekend, so it was just going to be us brothers for the weekend. Oh, and Steph, but she’ll probably find some way to not be here except to sleep.
And this, my friends, begins the usual summer of the Smith/Anderson household.
I generally head out for a walk on Friday’s so I tell Michael I’m heading out. He never asks where because he assumes I’m going to be hanging out with my friends. Well, I don’t. I go and sit in a dark house to get rid of any and all dark thoughts I have.
There is a story of this abandoned house on 1259 Hazel Lane.
The story is one no one can understand, most giving up after five minutes of trying to figure it out. I’m one of the few who will continually analyze and think of possible things it could mean. It’s a complex tale in olden tongue, so that’s why most give up so quickly. But I came to realize what it meant about a year ago.
It goes something like this, when properly translated into modern English.
One day, many eons and millennia ago, there was a vacancy to the land, especially to those who wandered aimlessly in search of something on the barren landscape, in the land of only rocks and dirt, no shrubbery or water of any kind even known of. They eventually grew tired and weary of just wandering in this place. It wasn’t, nor could it possibly be, from heat or cold, there was no wind, rain, sun, or moon. Only a strange sense of light coming from a place so familiar yet undiscovered and confusing to them.
During their time of rest, a deep rumbling erupted from the earth, heard as either a deep voice that echoed with authority like a kind or lord of the land, or as a rumble of a large beast that twisted and leapt through the sky with grace and ease. The voice told them that if they walk a little bit farther, over the upcoming mountain range, the only change of scenery in this land, there would be a great reward. Most deemed it as insane and a strange course of action, for what reward could this barren empty place bring upon them? Those who were curious, which was quite few, took their leave and began the trek towards the mountain.
Later on, in a dimension which no one understands, they finally reached the peak of the range and began cheering with great joy. The voice called once more, telling them that their reward awaited at the bottom of the mountains. They all raced down in excitement, rocks digging into their soles, and came upon a collection of trinkets with which were made from material never seen before them. The voice rumbled through the range, and declared that their reward shall bring their prosperity great power that they must control, but to tell what the power is, they had to pick up a trinket.
The moment after they had bent down and picked up their trinket, they could feel something else that was new: a sensation that made their fingers tingle and made their body feel somehow different than before. This was later known as ‘heat’ coming from the object, making them ‘warm’. Each looked at their new gift and tried to figure out, and failed, what their new gifts of power were.
The first looked at theirs, thinking it looked a bit like a straight rock with a different texture he had never felt before. The second held theirs up to the sky than the ground, since it was a clear smooth object that allowed her to look straight through it, though it looked strange and cloudy in certain areas of the object depending on where she moved it to. The third sat upon a rock in the shade to carefully study her large object, made of thin and hard, solid, yet bendable material that seemed impossible to have in this world, and had strange things strewn all about the object she could make no sense of. Lastly, the fourth and fifth, female and male, held the counterparts to a smallish, rock-like object held upon a thin but thick piece of what appeared to be made of the same material as the third’s object. It was in the shape of a creature of sorts, with slight resemblance to the one that live on the rocks here, but looks far more fierce and threatening.
They all decided to head back to their people and continue to walk. As they approached them, their people backed up and pointed behind them. Out of the mountains rose a creature like that the fourth and fifth received, and it twirled and leapt through the sky. Above them there was a great rumble that shook the world, and the creature went straight up into the sky. From where the creature went, there rose a white object similar to the second’s gift. Then all went dark and they were afraid. Mere moments later, at the people’s backs, who were facing the mountains, rose a great bright object that gave off the same feeling as the gifts the people received. All gave great praise to those who crossed the mountain. Then they all continued walking with the great light. The light caught up in no time, and they felt tired and their skin strange so they had to keep wiping off their brow. Soon they noticed different colors filling the landscape and the shifting of rocks. Out of former rocks grew large, tall objects made out of material like the first’s trinket.
They later came to experience the fall of the foreign feeling their skin gave after walking far and long, something that made sand and dust go into their eyes when it was around, as well as creating a better way to communicate when they finally met others. The third’s object finally made sense after the language was created. And that third’s object is in everyone’s life, no matter what. And the originals shall remain where their secrets were discovered; the first discovered a millennia later in modern Britain; the second in the Middle East about 40 years our time later; the fourth and fifth in another rocky area, near modern day Scotland. The third "resides underneath a road of hazel, its secret being discovered 12 days and 59 minutes our time after the creation of language”.
Most don’t understand the first had a wand, the second a crystal ball, the third a book of spells, and the fourth and fifth becoming the ancestors of dragons, the creatures who leapt and twirled, due to the necklace they wore. The great light and white object the sun and moon, with the discovery of rain and wind. The wand works best in its natural element, nature; the crystal ball can see all the area the moon covers; the book holding all spells ever created, and a history of any and all words; the necklaces possessing a bit of the dragon itself.
The story is only known in areas where the story affects others. In this case, the story was found in the mailbox of all the neighbors back when the houses were first being built here, and no one dared to come near or move into the house on 1259. Besides me.
My natural curiosity built up until one day I ventured inside. I found nothing too far out of the ordinary, if you exclude the fact the place is like a library. I enjoy reading a book from time to time so I stayed in there for a while, and I decided it would be fun to keep going back. Then one day I discovered a dusty old and yellowing book inside of a glass display box, open and flipped to a page with an intricate language I didn’t understand on it. As I reached to open the box, I felt the air grow thicker and warmer, and even though it grew hotter inside, my blood ran cold and the hairs on my arms stood up as goose bumps formed. I felt and heard something shuffling behind me, so as I turned, I didn’t expect to see.
I saw a woman, not too old nor too young, slowly shuffling towards me, a black cloak covering her body except for the hands that kept it close around her, as if she were frozen inside like I was, and the face, which seemed blank and vacant but full of nostalgia and irritation, like she was unhappy to see me there. She stretched one hand out in front of her, as if trying it would bring her closer and the object closer together and she continued to slowly shuffle along.
Looking back on it, as I have many times, I always think of how the thing that stood out the most about her to me was her walk and the sound that it made. She shuffled along, but no shuffling was heard on the ground. She was slightly hunched forward, but still an air of confidence and pride surrounded her. The ground resonated with a soft but strong thump, thump, swish, thump, thump, swish. Her steps seemed to be so fast that her clothes needed time to catch up, but at the same time, it seemed like her clothes were constantly behind her, even as she stopped in front of the glass case, holding the side of it with one smooth but bony hand.
Then she looked at me directly, straight in the eye. I was instantly captivated with the dark gray eyes that shown with wisdom and trickery. They seemed to literally bore into my soul, because the longer I held her gaze, the more I felt like something was prodding around inside of me: the different folds of my brain with my different memories being slightly tugged apart to see what they were, my organ all being moved a slight bit, probably going through what my soul was like. Then she shifted her line of sight back onto the book held in the display case, and as she did so, I felt myself relax, as though I had stiffened and straightened, even though I didn’t feel myself doing so.
"Are you ready to see this sacred book of mine, boy?” she rasped, allowing me to hear the soft melodic voice of her younger self and the rarely used grating voice of her current self. I felt myself nod, and when she gestured for me to move forward, I felt myself do the same kind of shuffle she did, my walk making a slightly different sound. Thunk, thump, woosh. Thunk, thump, woosh.
I will probably never understand why this happened, or exactly what happened after she opened the case. I remember being surrounding by an infinite number of voices chanting, shouting, whispering different words and series of phrases and a blinding changing light emanating from the book, as I saw the pages turn at the speed of light, each of which allowed me a glance at a speaker of one of the spells.
Then I found myself lying on the couch near the door, a sign I should probably leave. So that’s what I did. But I left a promise saying I’d return. And I have. Every Friday for a year now. The first day I returned, a Friday of course, I found a blank notebook lying open on the couch I had awoken on with a very inky black pen that splattered ink on the page like an old fashioned pen might do. I picked it up, and felt a small surge of warmth through it. I looked at the notebook for a second, walked into the library like area of the house, found a new table within the room, set it down, and began to write down my dark thoughts and experiences, feeling calmed and at ease after it was in front of me in messy black and tainted white. I heard a soft thump, thump, woosh coming from the front side of the house, the creak of the old door, and the soft thunk of it closing.
I stood, going to look. On the door there was a note written in a deep violet color upon a yellowed page: This house, my new friend, is now a place you can call home freely. It is your decision what to do with it from now on, seeing as I have no need for it. Should you desire to find me once more, you can do so with the book or by visiting my headstone, a natural landmark not far from here. Good luck.
I nodded, left the note on the door, but wrote in response But of course. Thank you for this great gift. Back then the house was simply an escape for me. Now it feels like a place I belong, somewhere I should stay, somewhere I am same.
I breathed in the mildly musky scent of the house, and continued on to my normal spot at the table. I began to write, the emotions becoming fresh, situations being relived, a new depth appearing to every single action and word spoken or seen, and sometimes, a totally different perspective to what happened, like a different angle.
Tsk. Life. I don’t understand his actions sometimes. Sending his servants to influence a youth’s mind to do harm to my own. A pity I can’t see him face to face in this form.
I need to relearn how to live. I can’t let my own emotions and care for others get in the way of that. Once I do that, maybe I can learn to stand up to those calling me a wimp of making fun of me for being a "teacher’s pet” or whatever else.
Perhaps through Death, Life will learn to not mess with my soul. But, by then, it will be too late for this one to have a sense of victory in that. Even so, maybe Death can conjure up some way to vanquish enemies of his. Starting with his parent’s perhaps?
I will learn to be my own person one day, unafraid of whoever stands before, mortal, man, woman, child, monster, demon, angel. I will face them all with the same emotionless expression and learn to get rid of them, no matter what other deities may do to me once I pass.
This boy’s mind is far further developed than that of some adult mortals I’ve allowed to write in this same book before. Ha. What a joke. Mortals are sad excuses for life forms. It takes a dark mind, a heart of steel, ferocity, and infinite power to succeed. Mortals come close with their idea of a strong ruler being one whose will doesn’t bend, extends kindness to those who deserve it, a fierce punishment to those who don’t, and ruling much territory.
Gggrrrr. I need to get stronger! I need to be more intimidating! Less careful and patient! I need… I need… I need some kind of god on my side! Then, maybe, they will know who I am! Know I am not one to be challenged by! That I am truly the almighty one!!
I took a deep breath to calm my increasingly rapid ones and released it and my hold on the pen, which had grown to be almost burning hot. I closed my eyes for a moment, folded my hands in front of me with my elbows up on the table, and rested my head on them. A minute later, when I was back to being calm and centered, I look back over the pages I just wrote.
I studied a bit of basic handwriting analyzing on the internet about 2 months ago, just so I could see why my handwriting transitioned so oddly. The entries always began with very upright, small, closely but neatly written, the ideal kind of cursive and changing to my normal big, sloppy, backward slanting, unfinished letters and words spaced far apart printing. The person I become, or who takes over me, depending on how it’s viewed, is defined through their handwriting as a person who is neither an extravert nor introvert, has a technical personality, thoughtful and restraining, social, is very logical, and it never changes, except for maybe more pressure on the paper and even fewer splatters than before. Mine, however, says that I am impulsive, an introvert, have a variety of things I have to deal with, and I’m comfortable alone. But it constantly changes. The handwriting become darker and darker, and shown as more emotionally because there are ink splatters scattered all over by the time I finish writing.
Two complete opposite, both using me to show themselves. I sigh, irritated that I can never place who this person might be, and begin to close the notebook, until I decide I should sketch something, seeing as how it seems more of a sketching notebook since the pages are completely blank.
I begin to sketch across two pages, and continue until the light becomes a bit darker. I put away the notebook back onto a shelf without looking at what I actually sketched, and walk out of the house.
I begin to walk towards the park, hands shoved far down into my jean pockets, and think about all of the things that I’ve written.
I wonder what they’re really about…
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