Thursday, November 11, 2010

Exceptional: Book 2 - Part 5 (more to come)

Without a post last Thursday, I wanted to get this out even if it isn't complete yet. I should add the rest on within a day or two. If you haven't been reading this until now, you can catch up on the previous chapters of the story at these links: Book 1; Book 2: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

“David? Honey? It’s James on the phone for you.”

“Tell him I’m asleep,” Dave could be heard saying as James waited patiently on the other end of the phone line.

There was a pause before Dave’s mother answered. “James, it appears David isn’t feeling well. I’ll have him call you back as soon as he is out of bed.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Richards,” James said. “Bye.”

It had been two days since Dave stopped speaking to James. James didn’t know if Dave was still furious, upset or mildly annoyed. He even thought Dave might be trying to adhere to a minimal guideline of silent treatment. Wherever such guidelines were documented, James believed that almost getting your friend killed probably carried a fairly steep sentence.

So there James sat. His homework was done, there was nothing on TV and he didn’t feel like taking a nap. He dare not go for a run because he was afraid he’d smell something that would attract his attention and force him to take action.

James sat of the floor of his bedroom, his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands and wanted to be normal. And James thought to himself that being bored and lonely wouldn’t be so bad if he were only normal.

But James wasn’t normal, and he needed to talk about not being normal with someone. Talking about being so not normal was one of the few things that made him feel normal. However, the only two people he could talk to were either not speaking to him or out of town.

For a second, he was angry at Dave for being so angry with him. James thought that if Dave were a good friend, he would realize that this responsibility is difficult to deal with. He thought Dave ought to be more forgiving.

But James had tried feeling this way numerous times over the last few days and this attempt ended like all the others. His anger at Dave quickly transformed into anger with himself and he gave Dave a pass, seeing as almost getting killed could be pretty traumatic and seeing as Dave’s almost getting killed was entirely his fault.

James nearly brought himself to tears as he agonized over what might have happened. Yes, he’s fast and he’s strong, but what if he hadn’t been fast enough or strong enough to save Dave? What if Dave had gotten shot over a car theft? How could he have lived with himself? James was pretty certain he couldn’t have.

James’ ire turned toward his father now. He left on a business trip without telling him. And his mother said he might not always be available on his cell phone while he was away. James had come home needing to talk about what had happened, needing his father’s analysis of his ribs. But he wasn’t there.

James could not remember the last time his father had to travel for work. Especially over a weekend. He should have known that James would need an understanding, experienced mentor around at all times. He needed somebody that understood the pressures of their gifts.

He did not want to go to his younger brother. In fact, James had avoided his brother for some time now, afraid that he would be the one to reveal the family secrets when it ought to be their father. Being around him would only be a torturous reminder of the weight of his responsibilities.

At some point, James realized he had stood up and begun pacing around his room, sweating. He really needed to talk to somebody. Somebody he wouldn’t have to hold back with.

That’s when James remembered Doctor Caine.

The old man smelled funny and operated out of a creepy old warehouse but James reasoned these really weren’t valid reasons to keep him at a distance. His father trusted him and he had known his grandfather. He was the only other human being that knew who James really was. He was the only one James was certain could talk to him right away, which was precisely what James needed. He needed to talk to somebody before he drove himself crazy, even if that somebody was a ninety-something year old man with yellowing teeth (which James reasoned had to be dentures) and bad breath.

James put on his coat and shoes deliberately. “Mom, I’m gonna go for a run,” he called as he walked out the front door.

His mother called back from the other room, “Okay. Be careful.”


James’ father could not see. He felt like he was opening his eyes, but nothing was there.


Each sound he heard echoed in his head. Loudly, but distorted, like he was at the bottom of a great steel drum.


He did not know where he was and he could not remember where he was going before he got to wherever he was. Something was wrong with his head. He could barely think, just hear dripping and feel pain.


Pain and cold and…something else.


But it wasn’t a pulling like a child at your wrist or a dog and your pant leg. It was a pulling inside of him. It was as if a string ran out of his body somewhere and someone was pulling it. They were pulling and pulling and the string was connected to everything inside of him. It felt like everything was slowly being drawn out by a string through a tiny pinprick of a hole.


Unable to see, the pulling gnawed at him. He could focus on nothing else, so he tried to search for the feeling. He closed the eyes he couldn’t see with and paid close attention to his body, as close attention as he could through the pain.


The pain was everywhere, just like the pull, making him lose his sense of where it was coming from. But eventually, James’ father began to feel other things. He focused harder and felt…


…his arm.

The string was being pulled from his right arm. He tried to move it but couldn’t. It was like a giant felled tree in a thick forest. He located it, but could do nothing to make it budge.


Then he felt his head. Pounding. Aching. Heavy. He was upside down.


It was hard to remain focused. The thoughts raced out of his head, replaced by his awareness of the pulling. He was mildly aware that he was shivering. He tried to call out, but a groan was all he produced. A groan that echoed in his own head and made him wonder if the outside world could hear it. He wondered if there was anybody in the outside world to hear it. He wondered if there was even an outside world.


Footsteps echoed in his steel drum head. He could tell they were getting closer, but not how close. Each step could have brought the walker right next to him. They continued for a long time, so long that the increasing sound overcame him and he could only think about wanting them to stop. Then, suddenly, they stopped.


When he tried to call out again, no sound came out. Just breath.

“Shhhhh,” echoed in his head. “Go back to sleep, Samuel,” echoed a voice in his head, a familiar voice. If he could only get his head straight and work past the pain, he could figure out whose voice it was.


Then at the same time he felt the pulling, he felt a push. While the string was drawn from his arm, a dull pressing pushed against his neck. It felt as if someone had simply poked him with their finger, but the finger kept going right through the skin and inside of him. Soon, even the echoing sounds faded away into the darkness before his eyes.


No comments:

Post a Comment