I’m really nervous to do this but I need all the constructive criticism I can get. The following is a chapter from my book in progress. I would like to emphasis the part of it being in progress and EVERYTHING is subject to change. Since this is just a chapter and not a complete story there are things which are mentioned or brought up but not explained. Hopefully you’ll figure stuff out. Also, I’ve been told before how dark this is but, in my opinion, the darker it gets the brighter the future can be. Have to build up that dramatic tension!
I had a long way to walk before I got home. I lived several miles from the school and all the way I was planning on how I would do the deed. I decided to use one of the old-fashioned methods: drowning. There was something about the whole “fading into unconsciousness” about it that appealed to me.
When I finally got home and I dumped my backpack onto the couch. I guess that I had forgotten to zip up my bag because all of my books and papers spilled out. I decided to sit down and go through it all. Looking back, I think I was postponing what I saw as the inevitable.
I picked up the paper that Naomi had given to me. In the midst of everything else that had been going on that day I had forgotten to read the note.
I don’t really know you but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did today. There’s no way that you could know it but I have had to experience the loss of a child. It’s something that I don’t talk about but it haunts me almost everyday. Alex’s words hit me really close to home and really put me down. You’re the first person to ever stand up for me. I heard about what happened to you and all I can say is that if you need to talk to anyone you can talk to me. I’ve been through some pretty dark roads too; I know what you’re going through.
Don’t give up. I know that it can feel like the entire world is fighting against you but that’s just not true! Ignore all of the people who don’t even try to understand you and open yourself to those who care. My grandmother used to tell me that someone is only as strong as they let themselves be. Make yourself a warrior in the face of your enemies, whether they are literal or figurative.
For all of this time I had had this selfish idea that I was the only one who was dealing with this inner darkness. Maybe… maybe I didn’t have to end it. Maybe there was hope.
Damn it, Vos! Get out of my head! You’re not me!
“Really? I’m not you? Have you even tried to find out what I am?” Vos spoke in the manner of a distinguished gentleman who was defending his honor.
What in the world was he talking about?
Suddenly I got the impulse to log onto the Internet. I ran over to the family computer in the office, logged onto a search engine and searched “Vos.”
The word “Vos” was Latin for “you”…
It wasn’t an exact translation but the meaning was still apparent. Vos was serious when he said that he referenced himself as me. These things just kept getting weirder.
A buzzing noise started to ring in my ear. Without him saying so, I knew that it was Vos trying to mess with me.
I’m sick of you and I want you gone! I know now that you are some part of me and that means I can demand that you leave!
“Come then, tell me in person.”
I had met Vos in a dream so a dream is where I would go. I stood up and walked to the master bathroom. I took one of my father’s sleeping pills and quickly swallowed one. I went to my bedroom to lie on my bed and tried to ignore the buzzing noise until I could start to feel the drowsy. I slowly fell into sleep.
The smell of smoke is unforgettable. It’s one of those things that the human body is just designed to find repulsive. I know I did.
I opened my eyes to find myself back in the burning village.
Man, I need to ask these people what their houses are made of; I could solve our energy crisis.
I looked all around me but all I could see was the burning buildings.
“Ok Vos, come on out. I’m here to tell you to leave me alone and I’m going to tell it to your face,” I yelled.
The only sound was the sound of burning.
I decided to take a walk through the village. I found that I was, and when I had been here before, in a park. I walked down a dirt path and into the village proper. The heat from the buildings was almost overwhelming. If only it would just stop burning for once…
I hadn’t realized that I had shut my eyes to the heat. When I opened them I saw that the flames were gone.
It is a dream. I do have some sort of control here. I had figured as much but it was gratifying to have some sort of confirmation.
“What an unusual creature humans are.” He was back.
I turned around to the park and saw the terrible black dragon. I felt a tinge of terror to look at him. When I had first seen him I guess my mind had been preoccupied but now… he was terrible to look at. He actually frightened me. I knew it was a dream but everything still seemed real. I felt like I was looking up at something of such immense power that he could just decide to cease my existence.
I shut my eyes, focused my will, and opened them back up to face the beast.
“I want you to leave me alone. No, I command you to leave me alone. Go away.”
Vos replied, “No.”
That one word hit me like a wheelbarrow of stone bricks. I rocketed back into the rubble of one of the houses and completed the first step in remodeling. The dust cleared and it became evidently clear that I was dealing with something of real power. I thought… I had thought that Vos was just my head playing games with itself. I was wrong.
“You have no idea what I am, do you? Have you forgotten what made you who you are?” Vos asked.
“No, I haven’t, and I’ll never forget.”
“Then you know that I speak the truth about you.”
I lay on my back, broken and confused. What was this beast getting at?
Vos’ chest rumbled and an eruption of sound came out that was technically speech but was more along the lines of a roar, “Come now young one, remember it all. Remember every little detail of your failure! Remember the day when you became worthless!”
With that a bright white light enveloped me.
* * *
“Aw come on sis, are you really going to do this?”
My sister was the worst.
I was unfortunate enough to live under an 18-year-old sister, I was 16, and she pretty much always liked to pick on me. She would tease me about everything, including girls. So when my sister heard that I was finally going on a date she just about flipped in joy over the possibilities.
“Yes brother, everyone needs to know that you’re going on a date with Ashley! Look at it on the bright side… you’re going on a date!” My sister burst into laughter. “Look, I’ll wait till you two are done. By the way, does she have a ride?”
This was embarrassing…
“Um… not exactly. That’s kind of why I came to talk to you. I was going to ask you if you were doing anything tonight and if you weren’t… Could you give us a ride?”
My sister sat there for a time, thinking.
“Come on Liz, I know now know how proud you are of me, it’s the least you could do.”
“Proud, is that what you call it? Liz answered. “Yeah, I’m proud that you finally got the balls to ask a girl out. It also doesn’t help that that girl is beautiful, awesome, and way out of your league so… Yeah, I’ll do it.”
Relief washed over me.
Liz and I walked out of her room to the garage to get into her car. As we got in Liz looked at me rather sternly.
“Adrian, next time make sure to ask me ahead of time. You could have made a big mistake if I hadn’t of been able to give you two a ride. You’re pretty lucky to be going on a date with this girl and I’d hate to see you mess it up. Adrian, are you even listening to me?”
Truthfully, I wasn’t. I was thinking about exactly what I would say when I picked Ashley up. What would I say to her? What would I say to her father if he wanted to talk to me? Her father worked at the local coal plant and was pretty intimidating, but I also knew that a father like that would be looking for weakness and as long as I had confidence I would be ok. Maybe.
I contemplated the exact syntax and phrasing of what I was going to say. I was pretty nervous.
After about a ten-minute drive we finally made it to Ashley’s house. I got out of the car and less than calmly walked up the path to the door. When I got there I made sure to readjust my shirt, rub my neck, and finally abandoned my plan of trying to look “good” and just knocked.
She must have known I was there because she opened the door immediately.
Standing in front of me was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Ashley had the perfect blonde hair, not a fake blonde or dark blonde but that type that only natural blondes can get. Her hair framed a strong face with a nose that I know she hated and ears that I know she despised. However, I thought they just made her even more beautiful.
Ashley wasn’t big in any sense of the word but she had grown into her age. She was just about my height with a runner’s body. I was stricken.
“Um…” was all I could manage.
“Hun, who’s at the door?” came a masculine bass voice from inside the house.
Ashley answered in a cool, melodic voice, “Oh father, it’s just Adrian.”
“Well, why don’t you invite him in?”
“Because we’re going on a date, dad!”
“What? Why didn’t you tell me?” Communication, nether of us was very good at it.
I could hear him walking up to the door.
He continued, “Who is Adrian anyways…” Suddenly her father stood beside Ashley, dwarfing her.
“Oh, Adrian. You’re Jack’s boy, aren’t ya? Well I know you’re father, he and I are good friends. Run along now hun and have a good time. Be back by midnight!” Go dad.
“Yes father.” Ashley said as she shook her head. “Come on Adrian, let’s go!”
Ashley and I both got into the backseat of my sister’s car so that we could talk. We started to make our way to the theatre to see a movie. I don’t remember what movie it was, probably some soapy romantic comedy that I knew Ashley would like. No one takes a girl to a bloody, violent, and awesome action film on the first date… maybe the second.
My sister was going to drop us off there so she wouldn’t be lingering. After that we were going to have dinner at the local 24-hour breakfast joint, I am the most romantic guy you’ll ever meet, and if there was time left… who knows? The night had limitless potential.
When we got back into town my sister’s phone began to ring. She looked at it quickly.
“Oh crap, guys I’m sorry but mom is broken down outside of town and dad can’t get to her until the morning. We’ve got to go get her.”
“Wait, can’t you drop us off real fast?” I asked.
“This will only take a few minutes, we’ve got time. “
Oh well, at least I had a beautiful girl to talk to.
Ashley and I continued to converse about, oddly enough, science class. She found it fascinating so I began to loosen up on my above average knowledge of science. Hey, I knew it all this nerd-cred would be useful sometime.
After a few minutes of driving down the road out of town my sister spoke back up, “Alright guys she’s just on the other side of the lake.
Outside of our town is the local reservoir that supplies water to the entire county. The lake was a local landmark and pretty much the prettiest place around. I had thought of taking Ashley there but I figured I’d save that for a later date.
We drove onto the dam that controlled the reservoir and neared a slight turn. Suddenly, a flash of pain erupted in my… everywhere. I screamed like a baby, tormented by a thousand wasps. The pain was enough that I could feel the edges of unconsciousness beginning to creep up on me.
Ashley reached over to be. “Adrian, what’s wrong?”
When her hands held my shoulders my reflexes made my hands grab hers. She yipped and jumped back in pain from my grip of stone. She pulled out of my hands as the screaming continued. It felt like my skin was being torn apart between each and every cell. I could feel my skin being torn to shreds but nothing was really happening to it. It was pure hell and terror; there really isn’t any other way to describe it. My sister looked back at me to see what was wrong.
I don’t know why I did it, but I grabbed my sister’s shoulder in order to get her to help.
“Adrian, no!” Liz yelled as my grip made her swerve off the road.
We were going into the lake.
This realization had hardly enough time to come to us when the car lurched with the impact. Liz’s airbag slammed into her and knocked her unconscious. We flew through the guard rail, it’s protection being extinguished, and floated through the air. I remember being weightless for a split second and my pain being the only real sensation I could feel. The car hit the water while it was midway through a roll and everything and everyone was knocked around. Since Liz’s window had been down water began to rush in.
I knew that we only had moments to be able to make an escape. I looked over to Ashley but she was too busy screaming. I reached over to undo her seatbelt.
My pain had vanished. It was like a fleeting memory, almost as if it had never happened.
As I tried to undo Ashley’s seatbelt, she tried to do the same to mine. In the commotion we didn’t stop to think to undo our own. The water began to engulf us.
The lake was freezing and it was incredibly hard to breath. Before the water came over up completely I took a deep breath. I realized the obvious and undid my seat buckle. I looked over to Ashley.
I saw deep blue eyes that would haunt me. Without even saying anything I saw the message. Ashley wanted me to save myself first.
There was no way I could save either Liz or Ashley; I had only time to save myself. I undid my seatbelt and worked frantically to undo Ashley’s. She was working at the latch but there was no release. I could feel my lungs running low on oxygen. I could either stay here and die or save myself.
I pulled myself between the front seats and out of Liz’s window. I stepped off of the top of the car and reached for the surface. I felt like darkness was overwhelming me. I knew that I was getting closer to the light of the surface but it kept getting dimmer and dimmer.
In a flash of life and light I reached the surface. The oxygen rushed through my lungs like I had never breathed it before.
The shore was only ten or so meters away so I swam to it. When I got there I looked back at where the car had been. Bubbles were still coming up from it.
I sat on the rocks and just stared at the water. I fought back impulses to go back in but I knew that it was too late. My mind had created a barrier to deny what was going on and that barrier was starting to break. Like a tsunami the feelings of despair, pain, and failure crept into me. I grasped a fistful of rocks and squeezed until my fingers hurt.
I screamed with no restraints and added my tears to the lake.
So go at it, rip it apart (be nice?) and feel free to ask me anything about certain plot details in the comments below. If you think it’s crap, tell me. If you think it’s Mark Twain level material, tell me (please). If you think there are things I should change or adjust, please tell me!
And if you actually read all of it, thanks too.