Chapter 5 – Good Toys Bad Boys – First Crime Second Time


I found it funny how just one week ago, I was contemplating how to get my wallet back from a stranger that I had just met the day before. And, now, he was quickly walking right next to me down a road I pass by every week day, Springfield Lane. Why is that so significant? Because it was here that I recall thinking of a boy, for the first time, in ways that I never have before. It was on this lane and intersection, exactly, where I replayed his voice over and over again in my mind, relishing it’s accent and his pronunciation and annunciation of how he spoke in his foreign, city-boy speech, desperately trying to decipher what about it appealed to me so much. And, I felt awkward & jittery all at the same time. And that’s exactly what I felt this time as well. Awkward & jittery, but, for far other reasons, entirely, than before when I had not known a thing about him as a person or his hidden & forbidden secret persona.

I was not sure what to even say to Salem as we quickly walked, but, I remember strictly recalling when we left his house how angry he looked and seemed, almost in a psychedelic & supernatural manor as if he was having some sort of a mental & psychic battle with a spirit of the dead as they fought each other’s minds violently in an awesome & cryptic battle as they glared at one another’s eyes, not blinking once, to see who would win, whose mind was stronger, who’s thoughts were deadlier, & who would dominate the other in their supernatural battle of power, mental, & psychic abilities for all to see.

His own family couldn’t even stop him from leaving the house. I wondered if he acted like this back in Brooklyn where he was from with his mom. Did she live alone with him? And, why didn’t they all live in one house? I could only imagine a women being alone and trying to control and also love her young son all at the same time if he just left the house whenever he wanted, threw things, lashed out, hit people, smoked, drank, and God only knows what else. I, mean, it all happened so fast, I couldn’t even say “Hello.” or “Goodbye.” To his sister and father. And, for the record and love of God, SALEM is STRONG. OW!! He freaking squeezed my hand so hard, that my pinky bent in this really awkward & unnatural way that it almost made me push him off! I almost did, but, he gripped it in a less hurtful way before I even got the chance.

As we continued to walk, I remember feeling one thing- confusion. That’s, exactly, what I felt as I was walking beside Salem in a speedy & uncomfortable pace on the sidewalk by the Cleaners in our town, passing it by, quickly, while I was looking down nervously at my fingers as I played with them, debating, whether or not I should even say anything at that moment, unsure of the type of response it would issue from him, considering the emotionally unstable state he was in at that moment. I decided to speak, anyway, as I contemplated to myself what I even wanted to say, exactly. “Salem?”

“…What?” He said in that annoyed & sharp tone of his boyish voice as if I had been repeating his name over and over again and he was trying to focus really hard on his math homework while doing a complicated word problem and I had just interfered with his thinking process of correctly solving the equation, causing him to have to start all over again from the beginning.

I softly replied. “Are- are you okay?”

He looked at me, instantly, with a look that caused his nose to wrinkle in, somewhat, disgust as if I had just told him that I secretly enjoyed smelling his socks & chewed on them seductively in his room while he wasn’t around. “Yeah, why?”

*honk* A car in front of us honked and stopped us from continuing to walk across the street as cars began to drive as the light was red. Apparently, we were both so lost in our own heads & caught in their web of thoughts, that we had not even been paying attention, whatsoever, to our surroundings as we walked in our speedy pace. I jumped from the loud noise a bit as we stopped and stood, awkwardly, at the corner of the light on the Main Street waiting for it to change. People were looking at us. I noticed. I guess, seeing two teens walk really fast as though one is going to kill someone as his friend tries to keep up draws some attention to yourself on a suburban, casual main street after a while. Plus, it might not seem to matter, but, he was wearing all black and combined with his mood, it just made him look like a storm in human form about to rain his showers on anyone’s flowers around him a in a violent torrent of twisters and hurricanes as he just stared at the sky above making his eyes turn a sharp brightburn blue as his powers reigned and rained all around him as they helplessly experienced his fury & power, unable to do anything to stop the chaos as they begged for the clouds to go and blow away.

You could just tell. It was obvious. He was on edge. As he stood there, his hands were moving and shaking as they hung on his sides as if he was shaking off invisible water from them as he shifted his body weight, unnecessarily, from one foot to the other, back & fourth quickly as he was looking anywhere and everywhere, turning his head back and fourth, & not being able to stand still. Being around his energy made my own behavior mimic his. I began to feel even more uneasy than I did before. “Uhm, I don’t know. We sort of left in a hurry.” I said a bit briskly.

He, then, looked at me. His movements died down for a moment. He gave me that same look with hazed eyes that he gave me in his bedroom for a moment before we darted out of there and looked at my lips, then my forehead, then chin, then my eyes and said. “I’m sorry.” As he looked at me with a sincere look. It was a bit of a shock. His mood changed. The clouds of danger which were blowing all around us that his mind and emotions had created since he pulled me out of his room that we were both fighting as the imaginary winds he was radiating from how he felt swirled around us, suddenly, seemed to vanish in mid air. I never heard him apologize to anyone in front of me before or to me for that matter. I couldn’t help but notice how sincere he was being. He stared at the ground almost replaying the scenario in his mind.

The light turned green for the crosswalk. We both noticed as we continued our pace. “Where do I turn?” He asked me.

“What do you mean? I don’t know where we’re going.” I responded as a matter of factly.

He looked at me as though it was obvious I should know what to say to him and responded- “Your house. Where do I turn?” He said, accentuating his second sentence almost as if to tell me “Hurry up. I’m not in the mood right now.”

I hesitated. This was Bad. Salem just got in trouble for having ME in his house alone. What on earth would happen if he went to mine? I remembered the look that Sarah gave her father that night when we all shared a meal of Chinese takeout when he commented how much he wanted to go to my house. And I, instantly, thought one thing- “What happened the LAST time he even went to someone’s house alone?” Did I even want to know? What would happen if he flips again. What would my mom say?! My mom was a very kind & down to earth women who had basically been a role model and a best friend to me my entire life that I could always confide in and count on. But, she has a very strict sense of order when it comes to manners and discipline one should follow in regards to respecting others.

“Well?” He said as we began to pick up our pace against my will.

“Uhm-it’s uh..” my speech died off. I really didn’t want to tell him. Couldn’t we just… like go somewhere else? The park? Sweeetie’s? I could show him that place! Nelly’s? The candy shop? The town’s mini theatre? Stop & Shop?! I don’t care! Anywhere is fine with me, just, not my house where I have to mentally battle and decipher how to keep everyone calm and collected and walk on egg shells. I didn’t want anymore problems for the day. I was already exhausted.

“What? I can’t HEAR you.” He said.

I really didn’t want to get him even more upset then he already was. So I thought for a moment and defeatedly said- “Two blocks up, turn right on Micklemerry, 6 blocks down and your there. 86 Manhattan Drive, little blue-“

“Okay, great. Thanks. Lemme’ get us some drinks okay, man? Hmm. I think that little café joint has some sodas. I can’t go in the dollar store. That girl there gave me some lip, because, I asked her when the man in charge would be back and she got all emotional and stuff. Like she even knows me or my own life. God. So ANNOYING. She doesn’t even know who she is or what she’s talking about. I don’t want anything to ever do with her ever again. She can’t see me. She’s not allowed. She can’t come back inside. I won’t let her. She can’t stop meeeeThe imbeciiillleee.” He said and as he led on to that last sentence. The creepiest thing occurred to his voice that I had ever heard in a voice before in my life. It literally sounded like a boy named, Salem, was talking and started the conversation; but, as he continued with what he was saying, it’s like his face sort of changed it’s demeanor and his voice transformed into that low, demon & grim reaper, two-people-talking-at-once voice I heard a few times, before, while I was alone with him in his bedroom; it sounded like he was talking from the shadows of your own mind in hell as Salem’s own voice disappeared into the background under it as it came out of his throat and teenage body.

That’s how his voice sounded. It went as low as his pubescent vocal chords would allow it to go, but, somehow picked up some extra tones. I did not understand how his voice could even DO such a thing; it freaked me out so much. I said nothing in response to what he said as he just led the way. I kept walking behind him as I let him drift a bit ahead of me, honestly, creeped out by his unusual behavior. I’d have said something. But, it’s a bit too vulgar for me to say out loud. But, if I did, it would have sounded a lot like- “…What the Duck?”

We went inside of the café and he spoke to the register girl. “Sup, can I have these two Monsters, please? Oh, and lemme’ get a Blueberry muffin. You got those? I like ‘em. … Well? …Hello?”

The girl stared at him with sort of wide eyes saying nothing. She looked my age to be honest. I reckoned she must have been the daughter of the family who owned the dimly lit & coffee smelling place. “Uhm…” He said.

“oh -OH! Haha. Uhm, sure. Yeah! We have those. They’re sooooo good. Hehehe. Uhm. I like them toasted. Do you? You want that? I can do it. Ya, know? Ha. Well? Oh, and sodas? Oh, I mean, MONSTERS?! They’re not sodas. They’re energy drinks. Haha. Sure!” She said all giggly and way too fast for my tastes as I noticed Salem just give her a look as she continued that just said “UHMM yaaaaah.” As his nose wrinkled and his eyes widened a bit. Talk about your “What the duck?” moment.

“Uhh, yaaaaa. Sure, thang. Thanks. Toasted? Never had that. Sure, dazzle me. Why not? Maybe, some butter. Looks like you don’t even need any Monsters with all the freaking energy YOU got…” He said in front of everyone. I almost died hearing him say that and seeing her reaction.

She paused for a moment then blurted- “HAHAHHAA! Yeahhh! I’ll get you’re muffin Mmk? Here’s a cookie on me. Heh. So where are you from? I’ve never seen you hear before.”

He said, casually, “I’m from my parents.” Meaning biologically coming from his mother’s womb at his birth due to the natural insemenation process of human reproduction. I spit out some saliva trying to hold in my laughter in front of everyone and failed miserably.

That girl gave a look that was blank as she tried to put together the response he just issued her. “Oh, HAHAHAHHAAAAA!!!!! You’re FUNNNNYYYY.” She said.

A few seconds later, he walked up to me looking at nothing with a look and he just said, “Fuc*.” HAHA! Oh my god. That was funny.

I guess Salem gets it good with the ladies considering how her and her friends were all giggles and wiggles while he had his back turned to them as we proceeded to leave the place while he began munching on his little toasted muffin which was blueberry flavor. They’re his favorite. Hehe. I don’t know why, but, it made me smile to know that for some reason as I saw him chew on it.

________

*Ding Dong*

The doorbell rang to my house and Salem was by my side. It was so weird! I was so nervous. Why? I’ve had friends over before in my old house. Right? Hearing my mother’s slipper covered feet walk up to the side door, I remember, distinctly, closing my eyes shut, almost, regretting having brought him over in the first place & thinking- “Please, don’t. Please, don’t. Please, don’t.”

“Hey, sweetie.” My mother said to me. She turned to look at him and scanned him up and down for a moment. I felt one emotion just then- guilt. My mommy was looking at the very boy that I had been, secretly, thinking about in lewd ways over in the last week, making me confused, happy, & nervous all at the same time. This was the boy who almost just beat the living flipping pancakes out of me two hours ago, and was the same boy that I had just shared my very first romantic, full-on kiss with while I was alone with him in his very own bedroom! This is terrible!

“And who is this young man.” She said with a smile. Oh my god. Kill me, mercilessly. My Cheeks were cooking. If they made any audible noise, whatsoever at that moment, which I’m pretty sure that they did, they would have sounded alot like- “Tssssssss.”

“Uh, well.” I stopped. How do I talk? What do I say, again? Who, exactly, is he? Who am I, again? What does my life even mean anymore?

“Well, come on in! Don’t just stand there.” She said with a grin.

He was inside. My house was now the vessel which Salem was inside of and I felt so on edge; it was sickening. The room was spinning and my face felt hot.

“Hello, ma’am. I’m Salem. I am the son of Nelly, the owner of the town’s pizza shop by the Main Street Johnny goes to.” He said with a smile all proper like extending his hand to her. “I have just moved into town two weeks ago from NY where I’m from; so, I am still getting used to everything here and meeting the locals.” My mouth hung open. My god. Who’s this?! He’s acting all… proper and … and nice and stuff. It was kind of…. it was sort of, I don’t know, I found it sort of… “sexy”. Is that even a word that I’m allowed to use? That’s the only word that I can think of & use in order to describe the situation. I was lost. Things felt weird for me, again.

My mother gave him a look as though he had just told her that he was the new Honor Role student of our high school, nodded, shook his hand, gave a little dramatic and playful bow, giggled, and said- “Well, Pleased to meet you, Mr. Claymore. I’m Mrs. Applebee. But, call me Ms. Applebee, for the love of God. We’re working on some business.” She said with a grin almost mentally communicating to him as though he was a 46 year old millionaire, full fledged adult. What the heck? Mom!! That’s a touchy subject, here. You can’t DO THIS!

“Oh, okay.” He said. He looked around and sort of pouted and nodded and said. “This is a nice home you have, here. You put this together? I like it. Blue is my favorite color.”

“Oh, well…” she began and sat down at the table and drank some coffee she obviously made prior to our arrival as she was in her casual house outfit. “You see… I wanted to paint it. But, it’s kind of cute! I think I like it like this. I don’t know… thank you! I did it all with Johnny’s help. Just us.” She said smiling at me. He looked at me and smiled, too. There were his lips. The ones that were just on my own, earlier. And, there was my MOM looking at me and smiling about 5 feet away from them. UGH. This is just, crazy! This is disgusting! What has happened to my life?! I needed to get out of there. It just got too awkward for my body to function.

“Yes. Uhm. Can we see you in a little bit, mom? Please?” I said, just wanting to separate them as quickly as possible.

Looking back down at her magazine and calendar she was clearly working on to organize our next month, she responded with a casual- “Sure, Thing. If you boys need anything ask me, okay?”

20 minutes later from us walking through my one-story ranch-like house, we were in my room and I asked Salem, awkwardly, as he was scoping around my things that I had set up on my desk, “So, uhm- why are we here? What do you wana do?” I asked him.

”I don’t know. Who cares.” A typical Salem response is what I got from what I had learned over the past week.

”Cool, what’s in here? Can I see?” He asked as he opened my closet. “Oh. Wow. You weren’t kidding, man. These are huge.” He commented on my large suitcases. Yeah. I felt weird. I didn’t respond.

“So, what’s in them anyway?” He asked and I, immediately, felt a tremor surge through my body as I felt my eyes widen as I stared into a blank hole of nothing.

My work. My… books. My treasure I had been writing so deeply that has not seen the light of day since I was in Denver, Colorado was about 6 inches away from his hand. I debated whether to even shut the door in his face and tell him, “Nothing.” But, he’d catch up on that lie, immediately, and either take that offensively or beat the living crap out of me for telling him what to do, closing my closet door in his face, and pushing him away.

“Nerrs..ses-nes…” I muttered.

”What?” I know for a fact that he couldn’t hear me.

”Nothing special its just that Book that I was telling you about I was wr-“ I began, but, he, instantly, interrupted me.

“Oh, neat! Can I see? Cool, man. I love reading books. It’s one of the only subjects I’m good at. I just need some writing help and I’m all golden A’s. Well, I mean, except for Math and History. Like, who needs that stuff, anyway? Why do I need to know anything about some-.” He continued as I just nervously wanted so BADLY to just snatch away that suitcase from his hands, but, couldn’t. He’d KILL me. And, his mood was better and I really didn’t want to change that. Please, no. I really did want to stop him, though.

There it was. There HE was. He was…he was Holding the thick red and burgundy colored binder I bought at Barnes & Nobel which held Volume one. It was in his hands!

I felt my mouth hang open in defeat. Two minutes passed and he looked… almost angry. His eyes were furrowed. As he was reading them and was flipping the pages so violently that I thought he’d rip some. “What the hell?” He said loudly and looked at me.

”What? …. I’m I’m sorry. You don’t have to read that. Listen. It’s it’s stupid. I just-“ I started but he stopped me.

You wrote this?” He said showing me a few pages. The two that he held were stacked one above the other. One was called “Desire.” Which I remember writing about how badly I wanted things to change back when my dad left but nothing made me happy. I wrote that while staring at our old fireplace that I wanted so badly for it to be lit, giving it a menacing glare in our living room, with a pen in my hand and writing on that exact same piece of paper Salem was holding. I kept wanting new things to fill that void and nothing helped me. That also led me to write “Addiction” to help people realize and learn how to fight their own addictions they do to make themselves feel better. But, they never actually help you. I learned that the hard way, being young.

___________________

 

Desire

What is really interesting about desire,
Is this is, truly, a never ending fire.
Your desires & passions can go on forever,
And, you can, truly, be never satisfied, ever.

You could desire one thing & then get another,
And, then look at the possessions obtained by your brother.
You could want it & get it & be done with it,
And, no longer want it after playing for a bit.

But if this continues to go on, how can your desires ever be gone?
If this eternal hunger will transform,
Somehow, always, into a knew form,
How can you, like this, ever perform?

This is a torture. You can be sure.
In this way, you can never allure.
This is an itch you cannot scratch.
It is something you cannot catch.

Like holding water in your hand, it slips through your skin.
You cannot hold it, unless it is inside of a tin.
Like a storm’s rain drops as they fall,
You cannot catch them all,

No matter how thirsty you are,
Some are near & some are far.
This is not your fault. Do not halt.
You are not in a vault.

They fall where they want to as they continue.
If you want all of them, you will be forced to chase & race at your own desire’s pace,
Never enjoying the delicious food on your own plate even after you ate going at a fast rate at any date in an anxious state.

You will no longer be able to savor each flavor.
So, do yourself the favor & meditate on what it is that you truly want.
And, only then, will your desires no longer haunt.

 

_____________________

 

Addiction

You think too much.
You drink to much.
This is why you sink,
No matter how many times you try to blink.
You cannot see straight.
It all looks foggy.
No matter the date,
You feel groggy.
It is all dirty & unclean.
This is why you act mean.
You are haunted,
By all of the things you have wanted.
These drugs are like bugs.
You cannot stop thinking about them,
Like you’re in love with what you hate.
They suck the life from your fate.
It is nothing but a shackle holding you back.
It is a giant leech sucking the blood from your back.
What is compulsive is repulsive.
It is seductive, but, destructive.
The addiction causes confliction..
It clouds your depiction, no matter how many times you acquire restriction.
The infection causes dissection in your every direction.
Each insect will affect & try to infect,
Whatever, it is, that you will select.
How will this go away?
Discover the reason why you do it in the first place.
And, only then, will this black flower be removed from your vase.

 

_________________

 

“Uhm well, yeah. I took a few advanced writing and grammar classes and lessons. I like to write using correct and formal-“ I said but he, quickly, looked down and grabbed another.

This. You wrote this??” He asked, loudly.

 

———————-

 

Memories

 

Ah memories,
how they tell past stories,
like little snowflakes trickling down,
how they easily turn upside down a frown.
They fill you up with warmth and love.
Like slipping back on a royal glove.
As if re-attending a ballroom party.
One to which all attended, and none were tardy.
Like a waltz you once learned, reliving it by yourself,
like respraying rich perfume, which has been stored on your shelf.
Like placing back on jewelry you wore,
trinkets & lockets you so adore.
As if re-holding a Sword you once used on the field.
As if re-locking your arm back in your trusted shield.
All to which you would so bravely wield,
And made your enemies retreat and yield.
Placing the Armor onto your body which once protected you.
Passing the ointments and medicines which once disinfected you.
Remembering the blood you have spilt from your loyalty.
Which has gained you your place as Velvet Royalty.
Smelling the air of once eaten & cooked food.
Relishing, again, how it all tasted so good.
You wear all of these things like a magical Crest,
around your neck to remember the best.
Keep these things with you, they may help on your Quest.
And, forget the Bad ones.
Forget the rest…

 

 

____________

 

”Well, Yeah. I-“ I said

”And, THIS?” He said.

I looked at the pages that he held and nearly shoved in my face from his quick movements. Still shocked that this was even happening and was all real, I was dumbfounded at the fact that this boy was actually holding my own work and private thoughts in his own fingers. If it makes any sense, I felt like he was touching ME as he held them.

 

————————-

 

Karma

 

What goes around, will come around,
What goes up, will come down.
Who makes others miserable, now, too, will frown.
Make them fail in their swimming, and you too shall drown.
What you speak, to you will be spoken.
What you break, of yours will be broken.
What you take, of yours, will be taken.
What you shake, of yours, will be shaken
This is truth. Be not mistaken.
Every lie you tell is a lie you will be told,
Every gift you give is a gift you will unfold.
What you feed to others, you too shall eat.
If burning others is your fashion,
you too will experience heat.
What you do, to you will be done.
Do not give and you will receive none.
Do not think the World does not work in this way.
For it has done so since the very first day.
This give and take shall never decay.
So of all darkness you must keep at bay.
All in this world will be served,
Exactly what is to be deserved.
Remember you will always receive,
whether or not it is that you believe,
all in this World that you have done.
This is as solid as the Moon & the Sun.

——————

 

I sighed. “Yes. I wrote ‘em all, Salem. I want to be a writer when I grow up and I’m trying to-.”

”So, you really are poet? No way. I thought you were lying when you told me that, not gonna lie. That’s so cool! This isn’t normal poetry like they make us read in school. This has words I never hear you or anyone else saying in real life. These words go together in ways I never would have thought. Like, how’d you do that? Can you teach me? Please?” He said.

I had to be honest with him. “No, I can’t. I- I don’t even really know how I do it either. I just sit down, take a pen or my phone, type or write, and just write them in about 3 minutes and-.”

”You don’t edit these?! These are like first drafts? Bro, you’re like one of those “special” kids they show on YouTube and everything. These are awesome. Can I read some more, please? I want to read them. Please? I’ll be careful. I swear on my life.” He said all happy. Honestly, it may be wrong of me to say. I don’t really like to stereotype people or anything. But, I really never would have pegged Salem to even be into this kind of thing.

”Uhm, sure.” I said, softly, with a smile. It made me smile knowing that he even liked them at all to begin with. “And, thanks. I’m- I’m glad you like them.”

”I could never write like this, I don’t think. Man, you’re so cool. You know that?” He said with a grin. Awww okay. That was kind of cute. Hehe

”I can only do one talent that I wana do for the talent show but-“ He said but I stopped him.

”You have a talent?” I said giggling to myself. I don’t know why it was kind of funny to me. I imagined Salem having a talent. Hehe. Imagine that? Him? He just seemed like the type who wouldn’t give a crap about any of that stuff. “And, What is that if I may ask, myself?” I continued, playfully.

He put the book down, gently to not ruin any of its pages on my bed, carefully, so as not to ruin any of my work like he was protecting it, somehow, which I couldn’t help but find slightly amusing to myself, and he looked up at me with a sneaky grin and said, “I tickle.” He, then, fluttered his fingers, rapidly, in a manor that looked like he was tapping them on an invisible something. What the bloody hell was he even talking about?

“What?”I asked. I really did not understand. What does he even mean? He’s being so random and weird. Tickle? What does he tickle? …Do I even want to know?

He looked up and rolled his eyes as he did like a tongue click sound. “‘ -‘hoe-Yo’ bro. I’ll rhyme it…okay?- …I tickle the keys like a breeze with ease and a tease.” He did his hand motions again.

I thought for a moment. I looked at his hand motions, once more as I contemplated to myself. OHH. Ohh! The piano!!! HAHA!! Oh my god. Salem plays the piano!? That’s so Cuutee!

“THE PIANO!?” I said, a bit too loud for my tastes after the words VOMIITED out of my throat. God. I’m so awkward, sometimes. I feel like a nutcracker trying to crack a nut and there’s no NUT there. So, I just release all of my energy too fast, too soon, & too hard for no reason at all and just make myself look like some spastic moron. You know when you go up or down the stairs and you think there’s an extra or a missing step and you walk with enough force to prepare for that step and it isn’t how you planned it and you jerk your whole body in that completely unnecessary and weird way, making you look and feel like the most ridiculous person living on Earth for that one moment and you pray to the angels who are watching over you that they didn’t see you until you recompose yourself? Yeah, it’s like that with me, sometimes. ANNOYING.

He gave me a look that almost said- “Yeah Dummy”. Hehe. He kills me and he said, “DING-A-LING. Congratulations. You got the award of the day, bruh. You’re the class president.” He said with a grin and bowed down at me looking up at me mischievously. Pardon my French. I am not French; He was being such a smartass! It was so funny. It’s almost as if I was watching a movie star on an old 50’s rerun show that was deemed as one of the most popular, iconic, and funniest, comedies ever to hit the big screen in its day and he was right in the middle of it as the Star of the show.

I pushed him hard and he moved back a bit. I couldn’t help it. Oh, no. See. I get this girly weird freaky giggle, sometimes, that happens when I want to laugh but try to muffle it down. So it malfunctions and I just sound like a giggly, weirdo, freak. I did it. I giggled my wiggle giggle, I call it. I couldn’t stop. He heard it as well because he stopped laughing for a moment. It was a silent moment that we shared and he stared at me, briefly. I stared at him as well. No words were said. But, honestly, something about Salem just spoke to me in that one paused & frozen moment in time that both of our souls shared with one another that just felt as though we were the only two people in the world that existed. Time froze. Something about his spirit or mind communicated to me for some reason in some way without saying anything. I cannot explain it. It’s like he talked to me without words. Just then, it was as if he said to me- “I got your back.”

“Wow.” He whispered under his breathe.

“What?” I asked. I could tell when he said that, he didn’t really want to speak it out loud. It was more of a private thought that he was having to himself and his body just involuntarily spoke out his thoughts.

He gave a grin and looked down and I saw him biting his lip. Obviously, he was feeling quite nervous and shy at that moment and must have been debating to himself whether to speak the words he wished to say or not.

He looked back up at me and quietly said in the softest voice that I ever heard him speak in. “You’re so beautiful.”

I was shocked. What do I say? He- He’s like hitting on me, right? He’s, actually, openly flirting with me. I, instantly, squirmed and felt like jelly. I was so embarrassed and felt funny! Oh my god!

“Salem. Hehe. Jeeez. Stop.” I smiled. I was so dumbfounded as to what to even say in response.

“You are. God. I mean, you’re so nice and stuff. And, you’re talented. And-“ he said with the sweetest & dreamiest smile. I know I’m not a girl. But, he was being so sweet! I-I loved it! Awww. He kept going, but, I was so hot and bothered with embarrassment that I, honestly, don’t even know what else he was saying.

Honestly, he was being so opened with me. He was… casually, just, showing me he had some feelings and affections for me. And, he was a boy! So, I was really curious. Was Salem… Gay? I wanted to know for sure. It really impacted how I saw him for some reason. I wanted to know. I asked him.

“Salem … are you like, you know, …gay?” The moment I said that, he changed. His smile vanished. It was gone. The warmth that radiated from him vanished, immediately, as he turned to ice. He reminded me of one thing at that moment- my old & cold, blue Denver, Colorado fireplace.

Bad idea. Bad. BAD. His mouth parted, slightly, as he began to step backwards from me. He breathed really hard as his eyes darted all over the room, looking anywhere and everywhere he possibly could without him actually moving his head. They began to widen more and more as he continued to step back and his breathing quickened, getting hoarser to the point where I heard low sounds of his boyish voice come from out of his chest, underneath of his hard breathing. He looked horrified. A few seconds passed, and I saw tears flow out of his eyes. WHAT!? I didn’t mean it like that! He looked like he was panicking. I’m sorry Salem. He was shaking so badly and, then, he just sat on the floor Indian style and put his hands over his head and bent his neck down as though their was an earthquake and he was shielding himself from the catastrophic and death provoking debris which was falling from the ceiling and threatened to take his life. I walked up to him. “Salem. Look, I’m sorry. Please don’t be upset. I was just curious. I’m not mad.”

“…Gooo away.” He said softly. He sounded like a little kid who just got beaten up by 6 bullies and was left on the street to rot! I didn’t mean to do that to him!

I was trying to calm him down… but he was shaking and breathing really hard. I think he was having a panic attack! A few moments passed and I heard him sniff. I was in shock not knowing what to do. I, then, heard an extremely unusual and low menacing whisper that I will never forget for the rest of my life from how haunting & unusual it sounded.

“Pleaseeee.” He said softly. “Pleeeaaaasseeee.” He repeated. He was shaking so much it, actually, scared me.

“Please, What? I’ll do anything. What is it?” I said, feeling anxious. I just wanted to help him. I was crying and I didn’t really know why.

He looked up as though a part of him was on fire and he was begging me to put it out as tears were literally flowing from his eyes in a stream over those cheeks of his and he looked at me, desperately. “Pleasee…. Killl meeeeee.” He whispered softly as he shook.

What?!

“Pleaseee. Kill me before I do something else. Please…” He said with those tears streaming down his cheeks in a desperate manor. “… I can’t be alive anymore.” He sad so sadly. He pouted is bottom lip out. He looked down as if he was looking at a murder scene of his family on the floor in front of him and he had a look of horror and then back up at me. “I’m disgusting.” He said. Then, he looked at me with a serious & determined face as he widened his eyes a bit wider in an, almost, upset manor as he said in a foul whisper, “…Kill meeeee.”

He wants to die! Oh my God! This is horrible! It broke my heart. I saw my vision become blurry as the tears literally flooded right out of me and I, instantly, hugged him so tight. “No!” I said crying too. “Salem, don’t die. You can’t! Your family loves you. We all love you! We all care about you! You can’t do that. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter if you-“

He looked up at me. He looked so miserable.

Nothing. Nothing was said, at all, for 14 seconds. Believe me. I counted.

He, finally, looked at me with those bright green eyes of his and slowly said… “You’re sooo pretty.” He, then, all of the sudden, took his hand and touched my hair with a blank look as he just looked at my hair. “You have such nice hair. I- I-I love it.” He said in a broken low voice.

I was, just, enjoying the fact that he was not crying so much and I sniffed my own mucus from my nose and said in a manor, trying to relax him. “Oh, yeah. Uhm, uhm-Thanks. Yours is nice, too. I like your haircut. You-“

His look got worse. He looked sad, mad, hurt, shocked, triggered, and depressed all at once and it was a look that to this day I cannot describe or put into words from how horrible it was. And, he said nothing AT ALL.

He gritted his teeth and tears fell out once more and said to me in a low growl. “Nooo. No NOO. It’s – it’s UGLY.” He said all panicky. “I haaaaateee IT. I Haaaate THEM. IM SO- UGLY!!!” He shrieked in anger and sadness.

“They— They- .” He started to cry.

“What’s going on?!” I thought.

“They ruined meeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” He said in that snake voice, using it even more sharply then I ever heard him use it before as he clamped his teeth soooo hard that it looked as though he might shatter them and it, honestly, scared me as I was worried he would hurt his own mouth or teeth from doing so.

“Who? Who’s they?” I said. Who’s they? Who’s hurting him? What’s going on here?! I thought, putting my hand on his shoulder. I don’t know why, but, I felt the need to hold him, somehow, as though he would fall inside of a hole and I’d never see him again if I didn’t. I didn’t want him to fall! I wanted him to stay safe, right here with me! I – I cared about him! I needed him to stay safe with me! I don’t know why. But, I needed him with me.

He cried so hard and said nothing. Then, he, all of the sudden, lifted his hands & started to, actually, pull on his own sporty locks of hair! But, they were too short so they slipped from his fingers. He was so sad. He was hurting himself! “Stop! Don’t do that! Don’t hurt yourself.” I said worried. He looked up at me with a broken hearted look and a wet face and whispered “They-they didn’t want me to do the thing… -they put me in that room and CUT it. It was long like yours…. But, they cut it so I wouldn’t PULL IT anymore. -They…” he tried as he started to speak in broken up breathes as he remembered whatever horrible and traumatic events he was remembering at that moment. “They shaved it all offff.” He said so sadly.

I was a mess. I had never cried like this before in my 14 years of life. “I used to be pretty, too, like you.” He clenched his teeth. “But, not anymore. Now, I look like THIS. UGHH. So UGLY. I HATE IT. So STUPID. – UGH-ErgaUHHH.” He said and stomped his feet rapidly on the ground as he was sitting and, then, moved backwards so hard and banged his head on my floor as he squinted his eyes shut as he just laid there and he cried throwing a tantrum. Oh my god! He’s hurting himself! This is insane! It was so heartbreaking to see. He could have gashed his head open. It sounded so loud that it shook my floor. I, instantly, got on top of him and tried to pull him up, concerned if he had hurt himself or not and frightened by this unusual behavior. As I pulled him up, softly, with my arms he took his curled pointer finger and nervously bit down on it, while staring at nothing, so hard; it frightened me. I, immediately, took my hand and pulled it out of his mouth, honestly, afraid that he was going to bite it right off. He, then, started to scratch his own flesh of his arms, in a nervous manor, as he held himself while rocking his body back and fourth. He did it so hard, that I saw his nails dig into them and leave white and thick pink gashes on them.

I grabbed his wrists. “STOP!!!” I said, concerned, worried, and mad all at once. He looked at me with wide specs like when he grabbed MINE last time.

But, then, it died off and his eyes drifted into a half opened daze as he looked at me. He was so hurt and breathing hard. He looked like an absolute mess. His cheeks had wet tears all over them, his eyes were dimly lit and red. And, yet… at that moment… I thought he looked… amazing. He was so small and broken and yet .. I thought he was beautiful. I wanted him like that! Is that disgusting? Am I gross? Isn’t that, like, BDSM or whatever? I- I wanted him, somehow. I saw that he was hurt and I, just, wanted to make him feel better. It was… it was sexy to me. And, I noticed. I looked at his lips as he sniffed while I was firmly gripping his wrists to make sure he would not hurt himself. I didn’t want that.

Fast. It happened so fast. I closed my eyes, awkwardly, and just leaned in. I kissed someone. This time I started it. And, it was with the boy that I was holding to stop him from hurting himself any further. His lips were so salty from tears. But, I really didn’t care. They were soft, plump, awkward,… and just… perfect.

”Oh, god.” He muttered as I continued to kiss him and make him feel better. I wanted him. I wanted him so badly. I just didn’t understand it. Why? What about him appealed to me so much? I just wanted to- to- be on top of him! But, I really didn’t understand the purpose. I held his hips as I got on him and pressed my body on his. I gasped, finally, knowing and realizing what it is that I had been feeling since the day that I met him. I understood what I wanted. I wanted him! I pushed him back, slowly, and I wrapped my arms around him as I was holding him. I was, fully, on top of him on my own bedroom floor. This was crazy. I’d never done anything like this before. I’d never done anything sexy with someone. And, now, I’m doing this. And, I didn’t even care! I was in such a daze from him. It drove me crazy. It didn’t even feel like I was in my own body.

I pulled away a bit and he was breathless, obviously shocked that I had just revealed to him my secret feelings that I had been holding, for him since the very first day that he spilled sauce on me and, tried to, awkwardly, clean it off of my light blue sweater. I leaned down and kissed his neck. I don’t know why. I just did it. I just wanted it. His neck was so beautiful to me. It was soft, and warm, and smelled like that sweet ocean fragrance I remember smelling from him that day that he was standing outside of his father’s restaurant and I had to leave to go cleanup at my house and it made me feel… happy. For, the first time in months, I was happy. Why? Why would a scent give me something I had been so desperately trying to obtain for months?

All of the sudden, he began to peel my sweater off. I had no shirt on. I had no idea what I was doing or what was happening. All I knew was that I felt warm; and, the warmth was coming from him. This was the most intimate, crazed, spontaneous, taboo, & unusual thing that I had ever done before in my life as we both began to just aimlessly roll around on my floor without our shirts on like a pair of wild animals in the jungle. And, I don’t even think that he cared. I know I didn’t. For the first time, I felt warm again. My fireplace was lit and he was the fire. And, I, certainly, was not expecting the things that I was about to do to him within the next 20 minutes to have ever occurred in my life. Nothing would have prepared me for it. And, if you told me the day prior that it would have happened, I would have, instantly, laughed at you and thought you were crazy.

The last time we were in one of our rooms, that day, he was scared & confused & so was I. We both were. But, this time, he was hot & bothered & so was I.

We both were.

And, I remember thinking that as I felt his nails dig into my back, slowly, in a desperate motion. And, I didn’t stop him. Why would I? …I liked it… I wanted it.

It hurt so good…

Black Paper
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