Friday, October 11, 2019

part 1, chapter 6

The tape is nearly corrupted. He's playing the guitar, singing. Crying. The light of the TV is illuminating the whole room and he doesn't know what to do. Shut it off, he tells himself, but he can't, because he's completely and totally awestruck.

It isn't right. This isn't his house or his tape. But something had been telling him to watch it, a nudge in the wrong direction.

There's a voice offscreen, a quiet, "What are you doing?" A red haired boy comes into the frame.

He stops and scrambles to grab the camera. As he's reaching for it, the video pauses. Nolan's body fills with dread. He looks to his left.

Clayton is standing there, holding the remote. Nolan looks at him, and in his fear finds himself staring for a moment. His dark, sad eyes, and his messy brown hair. The lips he had kissed only once. He looked, and he felt awful.

But instead of yelling, or hitting him, or even looking the slightest bit angry, he sits on the carpet next to him. "Really want to know?" he asked. "I think I'm in a position where I can tell you without getting tears everywhere." He smiled but it was bittersweet, sad.

He felt too awful to make any more eye contact. "Sorry. one will tell me who he is."

"He was my best friend, Thomas. In 10th grade." He closes his eyes for a moment, gathering himself and choking back a sob. "I guess technically we were engaged. You probably wondered about this ring too. He gave it to me a few months...before he died."

Nolan's blood went cold. "Died?"

"It's been...well, in June it was six years ago." He couldn't help it anymore, his cheeks were wet with tears. "I blocked out most of that night, but I the waiting room. I just /knew/. And I ran down the hall to his room. Saw him die." He takes a breath in. "It was so much stress that I lost my hearing in my right ear." He points to his hearing aid.

"Oh. So that's why you never told us why you had it."

"Yeah." He smiles. "I'm alright. I think I'll be okay. I feel a little better now that I told you. I don't have to like...hide his photos anymore." His smile fades. "But I know I'll never have what I had with him with someone else."

Quietly, Nolan shakes his head. "I think you're right. Just by the way you talk about him...I can tell he was special." All of a sudden, he's crying too. He can feel his mascara running.

"Oh. Oh, before I forget. About last night..." Clayton looks uncomfortable. "That was, you know..."

Nolan wipes his eyes on his sleeve. "Yeah, I know. It felt like more than that though."

He nods, and then looks down. "I'd really like to have something with you, but it just doesn't feel right. Not just you. Anyone. I that aspect I'll never really move on."

"That's fine. I understand." He didn't have the heart to tell him that he had seen Thomas around town. In shops. In school. Everywhere.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

part 0, chapter 6

“It’s hopeless!” he muses to himself, seeing his terrified eyes in the bathroom mirror. The fluorescent lights are singing, and the chatter from outside can’t be heard.

he’s starting to panic. and claude’s trying, oh how he’s trying, but they both know how it’s going to end. he loses himself in their last day. 

charlie knew too well that he shouldn’t ever go back, but he did, and he had, and it seemed like he never wanted to stop. that perfect day under the cold october sun, and all the time they had spent caught up in each other.

above all, he remembered how lovely he looked that day. and how lovely he felt. it was something he never wanted to leave behind.

but he realizes then, in his last moments of life, that claude looked lovely then too.

he’s awake. he can hear the wind roaring in his ears, the waves crashing against the shore. the sky is a deep blue above him. and the metal embedded in his chest hadn’t gone away.

it’s then that he sees it, the man starting into the water, his dark hair clinging to his neck and his shirt showing the outline of his gaunt body. charlie’s getting up, ignoring the red cascading from him, the pain. 

he stumbles across the sand, meeting the sea and continuing onward though his whole body is shaking. the man a few feet in front of him stops short. he turns, taking him in and seeing the blue ocean turning red around him.

“charlie?” he asks, looking absolutely shattered. tears start to roll down his cheeks.

“i’m going to stay.” he says. he’s beginning to feel cold. his body is shutting down. he wants to say more but the sky and the sea start to look the same, blurring together into bright blue, white, and then nothing.

Monday, August 31, 2009


it all ends eventually
i'll take it away
nothing more
that can make me stay

another reflection

the way you looked at me
it hurts so much
to set you free

part 0, chapter 5

He had a dream of him reaching out, standing in a golden field. The sky was bright blue and the wind was blowing lightly, playing with his hair. He looked happy.

"Come on." he said, his hand extended to him. "It's not that far from here."

They laid on the ground staring up at the sky. He felt warm next to him. Safe. Nothing else mattered in those few minutes. They both carried the scars, and had done so for so long, but on that day it was all forgotten. He almost could have called it home.

But his real wounds had started to ache and he could smell the iron in the air. Claude hadn't noticed yet but it was only a matter of time. He was so tired of hurting him.

In the summer of 1997, over a decade before the end, Charlie knew what he had to do.

part 0, chapter 4

Bruises on his neck, his ghostly complexion, the wound on his chest that never seemed to heal. He took it all in as Claude spoke next to him. "Look." 

There was worry etched in the lines under his eyes and how dark they seemed to have gotten. "Look what it's doing to you." He said, and Charlie thought he could see him tearing up a little. That scared him. Claude almost never cried.

"Fine. S-so what? It's not like we can go back." At the thought of doing so, fear ran all through him and he had to stop thinking about it.

The fluorescent lights were burning into his eyes, and he wanted to leave. But somehow he was stuck staring at his own reflection. The longer he looked, the more tired his self in the glass seemed to be.

part [?], chapter 2

It was two in the morning when he suddenly awoke. He stared, unblinking, at the ceiling for a few seconds before he felt it. His breath hitched in his throat and he tried to gather the strength to sit up. He felt like he was choking as he reached the button and pressed it.

Everything else was a blur. He saw them come in and surround him, stick his arm with a needle. The last thing he thought of before he went under was, I want to see Clayton.

Slowly the linoleum floor came into focus. He was laying on his side, and he could see someone standing a distance from his bed. They were wearing boots that were covered in mud.

He opened his eyes all the way and turned his head to see who it was. Clayton stared back at him with sad, wide-open eyes, holding a bouquet of flowers. He could hear the rain hitting the roof.

Then came his quiet voice. "Thomas?" he said, looking like he was seeing a ghost in front of him. He took one step back. "They said you weren't going to wake up." He took another step back, and then broke into a run out of the room.

He couldn't quite think coherently, but as Clayton left Thomas swore he could see a hearing aid in his ear. When did he get that? he thought. As the footsteps of people echoed toward him, he fell back under.

part 0, chapter 3

Charlie wasn't answering. His blood stained the grass red.

There wasn't anything he could do. He slumped into a sitting position and stared at him. His eyes were looking up at the sky, unblinking.

Suddenly the world changed. He couldn't see, but the sound of an alarm clock was ringing in his ears. Desperately he tried to open his eyes, move, anything. Then everything came into view.

"Are you okay?" Charlie extended his hand to him. He took it and stood up, looking in shock around him, blue sky and white clouds, a road stretching onward into the distance. No rain, no jungle, and no blood.