Chapter one, initial characters, and story idea, provided by Tyler.
Chapter One: Awakening
I still don’t know what triggered it, what made it happen. I only know that it did. Maybe it was the fear, but not fear of death, I’d given up on thatentirely at that point. It just didn’t matter to me, plain and simple. I suddenly feared loss. Even though I took the time long ago to shut everything down that I felt, I still felt afraid of losing things, and not just anything, but people I cared about. It was the one thing I seemed to have no control over. I couldn’t stop caring and I hated it enough to at least choke it down with the rest of my feelings.
Things happened so fast. The world was turned upside down for me, my world, one where I only wanted to be left alone. Having given up on almost everything, I wanted to wallow in my loneliness for the rest of my life. I didn’t care anymore… not until now, for reasons I’m still not sure of…
Everything was spinning at once, a fantastic blur of motion and sounds all around me. It was chaos, pure in every sense of the word. Screeching tires. Screaming. Loud scraping and clashing of metal being twisted and forced out of its intended shape. There was no way to distinguish it, it was just the very sound of pain and anguish, there were no individuals. It was a collective of despair, and I was part of it, right along with the rest of them. The bus was rolling, over and over, farther and farther down. Trees valiantly tried to stop the rampage, but to no avail; none were strong enough. It kept going, out of control down into the deep valley. There was a sticky somewhat metallic taste in my mouth… it was blood. It was in my eyes too, mixing in with my tears. Bodies were being tossed about as though they were nothing. There was too much horror for my brain to take in and process. Then there was nothing.
“…Alex… ple… please… figh… he… ok” I was so
confused. I had no idea what was going on.
More voices and sounds:
“NO!!… impossi… go…” What’s going on? I felt the fear creep up on me in the darkness. It enveloped me in its cold and terrifying embrace. It wasn’t fear of anything specific, only fear itself, and it was horrible.
Where am I? For brief moments, it seemed the darkness would let up for a little bit, it gave way to things I didn’t understand. I didn’t care as long as I was free of it in those brief moments. I heard crying from somewhere, it sounded like my mother, but I was never sure of anything in this place. It was all jumbled up. I heard voices and talking, nothing I could make out. I was so frustrated. I could feel something too, something physical, a pressure on me somewhere. Where was it? Was it wrapped around my hand? I didn’t know. I felt the dark starting to consume me again, and the fear welled up inside of me as I descended back into it. Then I felt something different… I didn’t know what it was. I was just so thankful to be free of the darkness again that, without thinking, I grasped for that strange feeling inside me somewhere. It was so odd. I could feel it squirming around almost like it didn’t want to be caught. When I really felt it, it was like a strange tingly sensation crept through me. It wasn’t in any specific place; it was all over me and nowhere near me at the same time. Once I grasped it though, I held onto it tightly, never letting the feeling go, it was my only companion in this place of darkness. I only knew it wasn’t hurting me; it wasn’t pain or fear. That’s all I cared about. It was something different. I got used to it, feeling it, knowing it. I began to wonder what exactly ‘it’ was. I tried to focus on it while it was still within grasp, but as soon as I did, I felt myself being dragged away from it. I felt an urgency to know what it was before it was too late, but I was being pulled away too fast. There was nothing I could do.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
What the hell was that sound? Ugh. My eyes seemed almost stuck together. They were so heavy. It took so much effort to open them the smallest amount. Then they came down again. I tried again. Each time I got them a little bit more open than the last. They were opened fully now. The light hurt my eyes, but there wasn’t much of it, the curtains shielded it. My head hurt so badly it brought tears to my freshly opened eyes.
That damn beeping was getting more frequent. Where was it? Where was I for that matter? There was an odd smell. It was a clean smell, but stale too. Was I in a hospital? That had to be it. WHY WAS I IN A HOSPITAL?? What was going on?
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The noise was getting faster. I looked over to my right. There was a chair there, an occupied chair. A woman was sleeping in it. Her hair was a mess, and cheeks were all puffy and red, and empty box of
tissues at her feet. Who was she? I felt like I should know her. Was she my… Mom? Yeah, she was my mom, but what was her name? This so frustrating! Why didn’t I know her name?? More tears. I was sobbing uncontrollably now. It just kept coming. I didn’t know anything. Why was this happening?
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
SHUT THE HELL UP!! I was panicking big time now. A door opened on the other side of the room. A nurse rushed in to my side. I wanted to ask her everything. She told me to stay calm, and it would be all right. IT WASN’T ALL RIGHT!!
“Here hon, this’ll help ya relax,” she said with a comforting look on her face. A look of sympathy, but I didn’t want to relax I wanted answers, and NOW! The woman in the chair woke up. Mom. She looked right at me, and fell to pieces. I didn’t know if she was relieved or scared to death, maybe both.
“Oh my god!! Alex, you woke up. I’m right here sweetie, I’ve always been right here. It’s ok.”
Alex? Who was that? Is that my name? She rushed to my side and hugged me. I wanted to stay in that hug forever, so warm, so full of love. I was again being pulled away though. The drugs the nurse had given me were beginning to take effect, and I was soon taken back into the darkness. It was different this time though, not like before. There was no fear or impending sense of doom here. I began to see images. They became clearer as I seemed to move closer to them. What was this?
The images began to sharpen and become more specific, but this was more than just a dream, it was way too clear, and I could think and interpret everything in it. There was a boy, standing in the middle of a room somewhere. I couldn’t see his face, but somehow I could feel that he was beautiful. I felt fear. It was coming from me. I felt it outside of myself though. I experienced the fear as a part of this dream, as if to say ‘this is what you will feel at this point.’ I then watched in horror as another entity entered the room quickly.
I couldn’t clearly see who he was, but I knew it was a guy and I knew he was dangerous. He moved straight to the boy in the middle of the room. He had no idea what hit him. The boy was watching something outside a window; his back was turned to me. I tried to yell out in my dream. It was too late. The man reached him and plunged something sharp and long (a sword perhaps?) straight into him! He pulled it out and the boy crumpled to the floor… dead. It felt like my heart had been ripped out. In the dream, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak. The man’s cold eyes turned to me. That’s the only part of him I could see clearly. His eyes were red, glowing red, as though they were forged in the deepest fires of hell. They were filled with hate. Then I heard his horrible laughter. He laughed and laughed and laughed… I fell to the floor. I was crying, so hard. I didn’t know why, but it hurt so badly. The boy’s blood was pooling around him as he lay lifeless on the floor next to the window.
Then the dream changed, it’s like someone hit the rewind button and it began to go backwards.
Before I fully realized it, I was standing in the hallway facing the door to the boy’s room. The number on the door read 312.
It went further back. Down the hall a woman was carrying groceries, she dropped a bag and something inside smashed loudly as she cursed.
Further back. It was raining outside, but it was almost done. The sun shone through the clouds and there was a rainbow. I heard a young girl announce what she had spotted. I looked over at her and she was trying desperately to get who I assume must have been her mother’s attention.
I think my dream ‘switched’ then. It’s like the same person who was rewinding it had suddenly changed the channel, as though they were bored. First, I saw blood, lots of it. It was coming from a man on a
gurney. He was being rushed into the emergency room. The nurses wheeling him in with such
urgency didn’t notice the little boy rushing over to see. He was probably around 7 years old. His right arm was in a sling. He was so obviously curious, just wanted to see a gunshot wound. Bam! They smashed right into the kid and sent him sprawling across the floor. His mother rushed over, but the nurses didn’t have time to worry about him; a man would die soon if they didn’t get him into the operating room. He looked like he was crying pretty hard, but other than that, he was ok.
Just before I woke up, strange words passed into my mind. “never ex ri” What was that supposed to mean? I wasn’t sure, but I knew it was important, because when I thought of it I felt a cold fear sweep over me.
I woke up in my hospital bed. The dreams were so real that for a moment I thought it had just ‘changed channels’ on me again, but that didn’t last long and I put together that I had just woken up from my drug induced nap. I felt much better now. I still had questions, but I was calmer this time around. There was no one in my room this time either. I thought that anyway. Until I heard a little whimper and realized my right side was a little warmer this time around and there was some pressure there too. I looked down to see the sleeping form of my little three year old brother curled up with his head lying on the right side of my chest slobbering a bit. Not the most pleasant thing, slobber, but he was just so adorable laying there that I really didn’t care. I was so happy to see him. Luke was his name…
I remembered now; who I was, Alex Blackwell, my mother Lily and dad Mark, three year old brother Luke. It came flooding in on me. I remembered when I fell from my bike and broke my leg at eight years old. I remembered getting a failing grade in math when I was nine. I was gay. I’ve known since last year, shortly after I turned fourteen. I remembered looking at some of the boys at school in an entirely different light.
I remembered my father beating on me every day he got a chance. When my mom and Luke were out of the house, that’s when he beat on me. It started on my tenth birthday, before Luke was born. I never knew why, and I still don’t to this day. He just flipped on me. He was never an overly kind dad, but he wasn’t… ‘this’ either. I don’t know what changed to make him suddenly loathe me so much, but something did.
My father was a martial arts champion, but only in underground arenas. He studied most of his life for fighting. It was what he did; he used to say how it gave him purpose and a direction in life. He had studied many styles from many people. From traditional Japanese Karate to Russian Sambo. He started teaching me at five years old. He said I had to be tough and maybe someday I could be as strong as he was. I was so happy that he was with me and teaching me; at five years old, it doesn’t take much, though. This was my time with my dad! He always said I had a talent for this, and he was very proud of me.
I learned quickly, very quickly. By the time I was nine, I stood a fair chance against older guys with way more experience. I could even spar with my dad on fairly good standing. I remember the day I got my first hit on him. I got him squarely, right in the jaw. I was ecstatic!! I was practically jumping up and down with pure joy; maybe if I had reacted differently then, he wouldn’t hate me now…. He turned to me with a look I had never seen on his face before. Hate. I didn’t know how to interpret it. My nine year old brain that was so excited over having this attention from my father was very confused at this new look. He hit me.
That was the first out-of-training serious hit I had ever received from him, right to the face. I went down hard, bawling my eyes out. He just walked away and said we were done for today. He never taught me anything since that time, and when my tenth birthday rolled around, he began beating on me seriously. I knew I might be able to defend myself, but I didn’t know what was happening.
I was so torn apart by my dad’s sudden change that I didn’t know how to react. When I tried covering up, he hit harder. And he knew right were to hit to make me feel the most pain. He knew how to hit me so it wouldn’t leave a noticeable mark, but would hurt just as much. My brain couldn’t take it and I began to not care about anything. The few friends I had grew apart from me, and I let them go. I just did not care. I only saw my father’s expression when he would hit me. It was a mixture of hate and disgust… and possibly fear? It didn’t really matter to me at the time what the third emotion was. I was fixated on figuring out why it was happening to me. Why now? What changed? I was so happy before, but now I couldn’t care less about anything. I went on feeling that way, apathetic towards my friends and school, until Luke was born.
I was given a new hope when he was born. I found my light in him. I might not have cared about much for anything else, but I loved him so much and I still do. He seemed to be my shadow as soon as he could walk. He would follow me around everywhere like a puppy. He had to have everything I had, and I gave it to him too. My mom loved seeing this. She always joked that soon enough she wouldn’t be able to get us apart and we’d be glued together! If he wasn’t hanging on her, he was hanging on me.
He never seemed to have much interest or the same kind of love for my father though, and deep down I prayed that he never would… so he wouldn’t have to go through the heartbreak I was feeling. He never developed a real connection to Dad because Dad was never around. It seemed that after Luke was born he was always out on business or training. Just one more reason to love my little brother, something about Luke kept my dad away and if he was away, he wasn’t beating on me.
I felt tears streaming down my face as I remembered who I was and what my life had been like. I held back on the sobs and making too much noise. I didn’t want to wake Luke. He was dressed in his little
batman pajamas, he must have spent the night with me. The clock on the small bedside table next to me read 6:45 AM. Mom had to be around somewhere, she wouldn’t let Luke stay with me unsupervised. Her coat and purse were on the chair where I had seen her earlier, but she wasn’t around, obviously.
My mouth was so dry, and my throat was sore. I needed something to drink badly. This really sucked. There was a half bottle of water on the table next to me. It must have been Mom’s. I tried to reach for it, but it was on the far side of the table and my reach was about five inches too short to get at it. I closed my eyes and strained to get a little closer, but I didn’t want to move too much and wake Luke. It was no use though; I opened my eyes and felt my heart rate shoot up instantly.
I laid there in stunned silence for about a minute, because there, in mid air, floating before my hand… was the bottle of water.
Written by Tyler
To be continued…
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