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About Invnarcel

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  1. Sebastian Fiddock I'd not been myself for several weeks. The money situation had me unhinged. There was no option that satisfied my apathy, my depressing lack of motivation to exert effort or plan ahead. I hated thinking of the future. So I remained rattled, uncomfortable in my own skin, agitated. Because of this submerged worry I didn't even have my usual patience for Corey and had been snipping at him all the time. He said he wanted to end our relationship, which was a mistake. I made sure that didn't hold. After all Corey would have no reason to want to leave me. That was what I thought until we were at his house, upstairs in his bedroom. It'd taken time to convince Corey to do things with me, to touch each other naked and let me run my tongue along his body while he shivered. He acted silent and pressured, and sometimes that annoyed me, having to tell him what he should be doing all the time. How hard was it to rub, feel, suck, enjoy? It took even more time to convince him to try anal sex. We used baby oil for lubricant and I fucked my boyfriend on his bed or on the furniture at my place. Corey wasn't quiet when it came to anal – frequently telling me to slow down, not to be so rough, or ouch it hurts! He even complained when I pulled out too fast. But it was fun for me to just finger him, lustful eyes watching his slim body lifting with harried breaths. One finger, two fingers, more, until he'd finally stop acting like a bitch and let me fuck him. He complained whenever I came inside him, but I still did it. Afterwards he made no comment, as always. And I lay back on his bed, satisfied. He'd insisted we get our assignment done since it had a forty-percent weighting. After cleaning himself up Corey was rummaging through papers and drawers, looking for the English assignment paper. We were doing a book analysis for a dreary Aboriginal novel called 'Swallow the Air'. At least we were done with Virginia Woolf and feminism. Corey pushed his dresser table and the drawer jammed, too tired to close it properly he moved back to his wardrobe, stretching up to go through the messy stack of papers at the top above his coat rack. Coloured paper caught my eye, I saw love hearts on it. I reached into the drawer, pulled out the paper and saw that the hearts were actually someone's name, a boy's name written over and over again to make them. Billy Murphy. When my boyfriend turned and saw me standing still, blank-faced, I looked at him and turned the baby-pink paper around. "That's... old. That was before I even met you, babe." "Is this that Billy guy who called out at us last week?" I watched his face with scrutinizing eyes. He wasn't used to me watching so closely. "It was just an old crush, I made that paper two years ago." I pressed my lips together and slowly nodded, immediately suspicious. I scrunched up the paper and said nothing more about it. Jealousy is a peculiar thing. I'd taken very careful measures to ensure that Corey would become separated from his friends and become mine. We were our own inner circle. I didn't know there was anyone else gay at our school, but suddenly it occurred to me in a rush that if there was they could be a threat to what I had. My head ignited like it was under a red spotlight. While the uncertainty of my life and money, living alone in my derelict cave had me coming apart at the seams, the one stable thing I'd thought with certainty that I did have was suddenly brought into question. Corey was weak, he could always be pressured into doing what he was told, especially after I gave him what he wanted. But now he was talking about breaking up with me, out of nowhere. He had suspicious paraphernalia hidden in his desk – love-hearts with Billy's name on them. And that same guy, calling out at us, mocking us when we were leaving school together because he was jealous of the fact that Corey was with me and not him. Billy wanted to take the only stability I had left. Corey had been all mine, and that had never been uncertain until now. How could he possibly leave when I was so much better than him? Decisive while he was weak. I was constant, I couldn't stand another uncertainty. This was all Billy's fault, he'd become a threat to me. After leaving Corey's place I was more out of sorts than I'd ever been. My life was falling apart, I had even less money. I couldn't break into Grandma Margaret's house even though it was unoccupied, because if the security system is triggered and they can't talk to her, they might contact her only living relative, Uncle Errol. And when they can't find either of them, who's to say they won't find me? Who's to say they won't ask questions? Am I going to starve or go to prison or lose my mind? I would defend my life, and my property and I was sure as hell going to defend my boyfriend. Corey is mine. I own him. And for the rest of the night I fantasized non-stop about confronting Billy in his house by the school and killing him violently. My panic at the loss of control over my life, the uncertainty of safety, made the fantasies blur faster and faster like a maddening carousel. Suddenly I was bursting into Billy's place and catching him in bed with Corey. Then I murdered them both before killing myself. It was a school night, but I spent the dark hours pacing. In the end I had to go into Errol's room and fish out a half-empty bottle of tequila beneath his bed. Swig a gulp of it down, make my brain sticky and hazy enough for a brief, fitful sleep atop my bare mattress that I'd moved to the living room. The centre of the residence that was mine. At school the next week I made sure to keep Corey close. He commented on how tired my face looked, on the bags even if my eyes were alert and darting. I'd not been managing my situation well. I'd barely been eating. It wasn't until I wrapped an arm around my boyfriend without thinking and saw his nose cringe that I realized I'd not bathed in days. "Are you sure you're doing okay?" he turned fully to face me this time, already convinced that something was quite wrong, he actually managed to capture my gaze. Of course I'd never tell Corey about what was going on. What could he do? Nothing. Corey was sheltered and had to do everything I said anyway, why would I ever be the one to ask him for advice? Typically I disregarded and paid little attention to whatever it was he had to say. "It's not for you to worry about." I instructed and he closed his mouth and let it go. He'd never challenge me. He'd never leave me – unless it was for someone else. I was strung twenty-four/seven and it all came to a head at the end of the week when we were at Corey's again. I'd tried to not let him out of my sight as much as possible and he'd been bristling. I'd also been strung because in my efforts to uncover his lies, I'd stolen the brown leather journal beneath his bed, seeing as Corey hadn't updated his Hopeless Romantic blog in so long. And there were entries, plenty of entries about Billy Murphy and Corey seeing him every morning because he lived opposite the school in that cabin house, and chopped wood at dawn every morning to sell by the side of the road, and teehee what if he was the magical town werewolf? Corey walked out of the bathroom to find me waiting, leaning against the hall. I couldn't believe he had the nerve to do this to me. "Sebastian I want you to go home." Corey's voice was high and urgent, he stiffened like he'd been electrocuted. Like he always did in the rare moments he was being disobedient. "Why, so you can talk to Billy?" His eyes popped open in alarm, it was disbelief that I'd caught him out. But of course I had. "You're crazy. You're like actually crazy." He made to go quickly around me. I registered that he was crying and stressed but I was only focused on myself and my concerns as I followed him. "Let me see your phone." "No," he turned around, alarmed. "Because you've been messaging him, haven't you?" "I've only been messaging you! You get mad when I don't reply fast enough, I don't have time to talk to anyone else!" "I bet you do it when you say you've gone to sleep. Like on Tuesday when you went to bed at 8:30." "Sebastian, stop it!" his reprimand was weak. "Give me your phone." "No!" "If you have nothing to hide, give it." I made a reach for his pocket and he moved away. "Or are you talking to that girl Zoe? Or Hannah?" "Sebastian I don't want to date you anymore! Leave me alone!" I went still and narrowed my eyes at his face, seeing without really seeing the tear tracks and bloated fear. "Is everything okay up here?" Corey's Grandpa peeked his head over the stairway rail, confused and wary. How much had he heard, pieced together? Corey was still facing me. He'd told me his parents didn't know he was gay or with me, that he didn't want them to know because he didn't know how they'd react and he wasn't comfortable enough to talk about it yet. I clenched my fists and suppressed the inner fury, I had to storm out then. I had to go. As I creaked down their wooden stairs my brain was thoughtless, fixing on random items. Blue tapestries, a cheap portrait of flowers: pink camellia roses and purple magnolias. A clay elephant with its trunk up, beside a straw-leafed pot-plant. The wooden coatrack and umbrella basket, the scratchy matt by their front door. When outside I descended the driveway to the street. The fury burned my brain like a hot glowing iron. Misty breaths like inner smoke. I could literally feel the heat beneath my skin as I stalked the streets in the dark. Corey had written about Billy Murphy in his diary - and what kind of boy keeps a diary? It seems indulgent and silly. Into the forest, where I feel at home in that other world. A sense of liberation amongst the wilderness I grew up in. Spent hours a day alone in. Away from people, and I thought to myself honestly, an age-old thought, there is not a single person on this planet that I actually like. I crept to the backyard of my house in full moonlight, casting blue faces on the trees. A corner of the old shed, Errol's tomb, peeked by in my vision. At this point my fury was a hard solid in my chest, driving me forward, making my head numb and face slack. Pale instead of flushed, like a walking corpse. I went inside my dark, cold house. I tried the light switch but nothing. Darkness like the inside of the shed, or Margaret's car. The fuse had blown or the power company had the nerve to cut me off. Like most day-to-day things, I didn't know how to check a fuse box. I paced inside for that bottle of tequila, sat and drank while my thoughts continued to swirl. I would not sleep. I'd only sit resentfully, spittle on my lips, arms around my knees in sweatpants, taking swigs. Mumbling bitterly as my thoughts raced round with more jealous fantasies. I disassociated from reality by the time the bottle was done. I psyched myself to the fringe of psychosis and eruption. Pictured Billy's face in my mind. I couldn't organise and mobilise myself well when it came to most things, but the solution here was obvious. I got up in a furious possession and went out the back door, but still sane enough to close it quietly behind me. Lest the neighbours notice. Once I was outside and the decision was made I had no emotion about it. The heat became ice cold and a purpose, driving me. I travelled back into the trees and heard distant howls of wolves, off rock-faces by the salty Lake Laguna. It didn't perturb me, I moved cautiously in the direction of school. It wouldn't be dawn for another hour or so, I had plenty of time, and I stepped front-footed, almost tip-toeing. The moonbeams were a heightened magnetism, electrifying my bare skin with a ghostly glow as I passed through gaps in the overhead canopy. It was seductive and enticing, I recalled two things from my youth: a spooky television program on Errol's staticy TV (maybe it was Scooby-Doo?) and that Goosebumps book I'd been forced to read in the premiers reading challenge. When the log cabin home appeared through the leaves I walked in an arc, out of sight with baleful eyes. In the gold bolt-locked shed, big square door on hinges, there were rifles on the wall. It looked like a man cave, panelled and lacquered wood complete with a beer fridge and dartboard. At the other side of the room I saw a billiard table and 70s era knickknacks: a record player and a poster of Elvis Presley. The far window had a pyramid stack of green glass bottles. The guns were probably noisy, I took the axe from atop a work-bench. The tool was heavy-ended and I moved it between dry and certain hands. I studied its weight. Outside again, the house lights were still all off, no security light reacted to my presence. I crouched in the wet night, damp earth sticking between my fingers. I ran their pads down the sharp edge of the metal. Just as the clouds at the tip of the horizon were turning purple and pink above the black forest tops, earliest sunshine flaring amber upon my eyes and the top-half of my face, Billy finally left for his morning ritual. Shirtless and strolling about with a greasy rag hanging out the back pocket of his jeans. Looking at his bare skin just made me fantasise about the warm blood and muscle underneath, my face remaining impassive. He was a competitor trespassing on my territory. My eyes remained focused and watchful, even under my inebriation. I followed after him, no more than ten metres into nature, and stayed hidden. This was my domain we were in now, and the itching skin and body soreness from crouching was familiar and easy to ignore. Like staying still before pouncing to catch a rare Callobius bennetti in a jar, or a jumping cricket or another Wolf Spider. The blonde man went to a wide tree stump, roots twisting deep into the black earth. Beside it was a triangle stack of logs to split. Billy took a hearty drink of water and poured some of it down his body, not minding the cold sting from the partially misty morning. He started chopping. I observed for a while as he placed individual logs on the bigger stump and split them. I took notice of how often he stopped to wipe sweat from his brow or turn his head - not too often. I judged the distance between us. I was no athlete, I was not as strong as he was. My advantage lay in the element of surprise. I slowly stood after analysing him and his movements. Then I lifted the axe up and over my head readily with both arms. My face stayed slack but my heart beat with adrenaline, my eyes were wide open. My only change in expression, still fixated on his back. Readying with a step forward, the lolling of alcohol inhibited my senses. I took the time to calculate and adjust for that as well. And then it was time to go. Six seconds to cross the distance directly to him. Quick step, step, step, step, step. His body facing away and closer to my range before I swung decisively down, gutsy and determined for the critical moment, hitting my mark and scoring blood, the back of his chest. A shocked gurgle where he contorted necrotically, like an insect corpse. Blood sprayed and the primal red made me move faster, tugging to withdraw the weapon, breathing loud through my nose, the sound of barking dogs but my mind was both fogged and focused. Just this moment of murder. Further swings with an empty face, just to ensure it was done properly. I cut through human bone and meat and the slimy wet sacs and tubes of innards, maroon and slipping over each other and broken snaps of bone. Like animals I'd killed and poked around in for fun as a bored child. This was the biggest animal I'd ever killed. When I dropped the axe I was still breathing out my nose and ignorant of the barking dogs. Staring at what I'd done with little satisfaction but a learning look; task completed. He would no longer be a threat to me. That idea was mildly satisfying. Like crossing off a to-do list. Crouching down I tilted my head and started to poke around. Dirty, warm, red-streaked fingers and slippery mince, vital tubes open. There was more blood than what I'd seen on TV, and the ripe smell was something I hadn't expected. The dogs were still barking and then I could hear the furious rattling of a gate on its hinges, keeping the canines locked up. I'd better go right now – I'd better take the murder weapon with me too.
  2. Corey Kentwell Due to the rural setting of Tuttle most houses were one-storey, there was plenty of room for wide-long expansion. Zoe's house had two-storeys like mine. It was also Victorian-esque, but taller and thinner with sharp spires over rusted grates. The whole thing was unpainted timber and it gave the structure an old, witchy feel. The house still had wide spaces between the wood fencing at the borders, but there was no fencing where the property met the street. Instead if you looked from the road you could see past the house to the backyard quite easily. The property was all the same, long weedy grass, unmowed. And the house stood alone amidst this space, taller than it was wide. While it was factually creepy, I'd been coming here since I was seven-years-old so it had a nostalgia home feeling to it as well. Upstairs I sat in a huddle, sweats and polo jumper. We were now in the middle of winter. Beside me was the old window, wide but also tall, that thin glass that'd break if anyone bumped it while moving furniture. Cobwebs on the edges outside. Through it I could see the opposite house, beyond the wide berth of both our front yards and the unmarked road. Rural town distance. Beyond that house was the woods. It was cold and misty. Behind me Zoe busied herself beside another frosted window. The wooden frame was flaky with age. The glass in slats that you could open by tugging at the rusted lever to the side, that is if it still worked. Zoe's hair was growing out, her fringe was the longest part and went past her chin, she combed it behind her ear as she worked. Like all genuinely cool people, Zoe had one typically uncool interest that she was really skilled at: sewing. She had a bulky, old-fashioned sewing machine and in this room upstairs were several gowns on coat-racks in the closet she'd made herself over the years. Multi-colored fabrics, cheap but glittery wreaths, some with dyed feathers or purple furs. When we were younger the two of us stitched together our own teddy bears and stuffed animals, even exchanging them as gifts on birthdays or Christmas. I hadn't sewn in a long time, but those were good childhood memories. "It sounds to me like you're more enamoured by the idea of love." She randomly commented while working. She'd been focusing and thinking, and didn't even look up to restart the conversation that'd stopped ten minutes ago. I itched the hem of my soft sleeve. She was a lot smarter than me, than most people I knew. Cool and wise. On the work table were two empty mugs, peppermint tea her Mum had brought up for us. "I don't know, Zoe... I do love him." but I said it in the tone of: of course I must. "You guys have been dating for a month." She aligned the material for the needle. "You told me you had to lie to him just so you could see me. You haven't seen your friends since you've been with him. You said he doesn't want you hanging out with other people, that sounds all hells of unhealthy." "He has a point though, our friends are immature. Apart from you... I wish..." I wished he could be okay with Zoe, my oldest childhood friend. But that was just the way he was. "You are way too passive. I should've known this was gonna happen, sooner or later. Guys are going to take advantage of you. You're going to attract the wrong kind of people, you already do whatever Sebastian tells you." "That's not true!" I felt a pang of defensiveness. It wasn't entirely like that. Sometimes I could make Sebastian see reason with words when he was being particularly unreasonable. "It's just like what happened with Hailey," she shook her head. "Everyone knew you'd become her lackey. You used to hang out with her all the time. She said you were her 'best friend' but she sniffed you out as being this non-confrontational and giving guy, and so she swooped in. Your entire friendship was just about her, that's why she doesn't want to let you go. Now someone else has claimed you too, and cause he's technically giving you what you wanted – on the surface – he's got a massive hold on you. And you're deluding yourself." My whole body was bristling at her deduction. I hadn't made a blog entry for her to read in weeks, but she still had me figured out. "That's not-" "Does Sebastian know you're hanging out with me?" she raised her dark eyes to me now. "...No." I admitted. "You had to lie just to see me. Your own friend." She shook her head. "He's got a major hold on you, Corey. If your grandparents knew, or the teachers knew... that's what controlling people do. They cut you off from outside influence. It's all a mental game." But I knew Sebastian wasn't like that. At least, it wasn't his intention. But I also knew that he wasn't alright in the head. I was... fine. I was very happy to have someone to call my boyfriend, but there were gaps in my happiness and day-to-day life. Punctures in the fantasy. Yes, we spent a lot of time together. We were always in mobile contact. I loved having someone to be affectionate with: kissing, hugging and talking to. The sex... I suppose I liked that too, even though Sebastian was so demanding about it that it was just something I relinquished in order to keep him appeased. But when we were apart... my life was now more restrictive in unpleasant ways. I was not to talk to my regular friends. Even a brief exchange of words upset my overly-territorial boyfriend. I was to let him know of my whereabouts at all times. I was to always respond to his messages and quickly, at all times. Sebastian dictated how I was to behave in public, commented on what I did, even on what I wore: he liked certain clothes on me but not others. I was due for a haircut but knew automatically that getting it cut without letting Sebastian know, essentially asking for permission, would be bad – and then he'd want to weigh in on whatever style I chose. Never mind that he got his hair cut two weeks ago and it's already outgrown and always messy, and I still love him. That sort of unfairness never even occurs to him. I don't feel like a person - I'm a possession. He's just convinced his way is always right, and I'd submitted to his childish insistence because I cared about him. As our routine settled in over the month Sebastian only seemed to become more emotionally demanding as well. Like it was my fault for not tip-toeing along the eggshells that his sensitivity had become. I was trying to ignore how unfeasible this all was, I was already bent out of shape. But Sebastian was getting worse instead of better. I couldn't physically follow all his demands. But he was always so convinced that he was right and I was the difficult one... when it was just the two of us it made me question myself. And he had the louder voice. "I'm worried about you-" Zoe continued but I cut her off. "Oh my God!" Beside the wide window I was fully visible. There by the street stood Sebastian with his arms crossed – I couldn't believe it. Did he detour through the woodland? His eyes were cold and black. He stood unmoving. A dark despair settled over me and I hung my head. I'd been caught disobeying. "Sorry Zoe, I gotta go." I rushed in a mumble. Zoe's chair almost clattered to the ground, her mouth dropped open at the sight of my stalker by the road. Sebastian knew me too well by now. I stood up and made my way around the desk to the door, I knew the longer I made him wait the angrier he'd become. But I was still terrified of confrontation. I wanted to apologise, I already wanted it to be over. The wooden stairs were a zigzagging spiral, I pushed off the tall banister. Saying nothing to Zoe's Mum who was somewhere in the kitchen. My head hung low as I exited the thin door, closing it behind me. I kept my eyes lowered as I walked the cobblestone path, my whole body tense. I stopped in front of Sebastian who stood still. When I chanced a look upward his dark eyes were even darker than usual. It didn't matter that I was technically taller, it felt like he had several heads on me. Without saying anything he grabbed my arm hard and pulled me after him. I followed out of shock, I hadn't known what he'd do. I'd braced for yelling but he was silent – perhaps that was to come. Is Zoe still watching? We were all the way to the corner when the pain made me yank myself free. "What is your problem?" "You lied to me." Steady anger. "I didn't have a choice!" Panic rose up inside me, that runaway car of my emotions again "Why can't I spend time with my friends when I want?" "I told you no." his dark eyes were transfixing. I avoided them, the stress finally forced me to say it "I'm breaking up with you, Sebastian! We can't do this anymore. It's not working!" There was silence. I wasn't crying, not yet, but visibly upset. When I finally chanced a look at Sebastian he was as impassive as ever. "No," he answered me. "What? ...no what?" "No." he was resolute. We were not breaking up and it was that simple. I was aghast at his certainty, beyond words. He wouldn't accept it. I just shook my head and he continued like a parent, like he was the undisputed boss of me "Go straight home and don't talk to anyone else. I'll message you later." "I was going home anyway!" Panic always hindered my ability to think straight in an argument. He nodded for me to go so I stormed past him and away. Around the corner until he was out of view and then I kept walking. I'd finally found the courage, in a fear-driven snap moment, to end things and I'd been unsuccessful. Sebastian had point-blank refused to accept the possibility. It was like I had no say whatsoever. We were together until he decided otherwise. If Sebastian wasn't going to listen to me I thought he'd notice how unhappy I was. And if he still didn't care... I figured he'd eventually dump me when he realised it wasn't working. But he hadn't realised. Sebastian was never going to leave me, I couldn't wait for that. I'd have to leave him, but after finally being pushed to that point... no effect. He's not gonna let me leave him. I didn't know what to do anymore. My eyes were wet, which happened every time I got in an argument with someone. My social anxiety flaring. I was entirely at a loss about what to do, no solution came to me all the way home. * We had a school assembly the next day. Years Ten, Eleven and Twelve beneath the undercover concrete sports area beside the oval. I ignored Sebastian's text messages after our showdown, he eventually gave up and told me we'd talk at school. I purposely sat away from him in roll call. His dark, soulless eyes locking onto me from across the room but I did my best to ignore him. Walked with friends to the assembly area to keep him from catching up to me alone. As we sat on rows of plastic chairs I could still feel his eyes, turning to me every odd moment from the row ahead and down the line. I couldn't ignore it. The principle stood up on his podium, voice echoing through the little microphone. All I could feel was the constant looks Sebastian was giving me. This is what it felt like for someone to have an emotional hold over you. He was bound to corner me sometime during the day, and I was terrified of what our upcoming confrontation would be like. I wanted it over. At that moment I wanted to be the one to apologise again just so it would end. I imagined shouting it to him at approach before he could raise his voice at me. Or having an entire conversation over text before seeing him, just to make sure he wouldn't be mad when we were face-to-face. My pits were sweating and my heart was pounding in my thin chest as I kept my face forward, my thin-frame glasses slid a fraction down my nose from my perspiration. "...Year Eleven Drama students attending the Belvoir Street Excursion are to hand in their money to the front office before the end of this week." our speaker droned the trivial announcements "The school lock shed is closed, rusted from water damage, students will have to lock their bikes by the Visual Arts entry..." I blinked to maintain my focus. This anxiety was consuming, swirling my vision and making it hard to breathe. I tried grounding again... Five things you can see (beige chairs, school bags, trees, podium, basketball hoop), four things you can hear (birds, Mr Caust, distant traffic, dragging shoes), three things you can feel (breeze, chair, my sweat), two things you can taste (toothpaste, cornflakes) and one thing you can smell (someone's green Brut deodorant, and maybe blue shaving gel). I closed my eyes so I could focus. When the assembly was over I all but ran to my next class. I lined up outside the shiny painted door to Maths. Classmates joined me, but nobody I was friends with. I lay my head back against the bricks and closed my eyes again, when I opened them he was there. "How are you today, Corey?" "Fine..." I answered in a weak gasp. He settled into place beside me and I felt my clenched insides release in defeat. I was exploitable and he knew that. "Did you finish the homework?" "Yes..." The friendliness was a front to test the waters, edge his way back in. I couldn't stop him. Before the class was done I'd be back under his power. The friends I had in this class finally arrived, merrily joining the end of the line and away from us. And then a few minutes after that Ms Lee made her way to the front, jingling keys in hand. It was true that in being an item with Sebastian I was more popular, in a sense. People knew who we were, they knew about us, always sitting together in classes. And sitting even closer together at lunches. But I had no other friends. At first I'd caved to Sebastian's pressure and stayed by his side and away from everyone else, being overly-concerned with my boyfriend's feelings. Now I looked at passers-by and silently screamed at them to notice me. Sitting where I was, isolated. At a corner-room desk or to the side of walkways against buildings. Sebastian sitting hunched beside me, jaw robotically munching a muesli bar. At the end of the day we walked side-by-side out the gates just like normal and I felt sick. Students rushing past us or lingering for the school bus. Ahead was a family of blondes by a parked maroon four-wheel-drive, one of them was my old crush Billy Murphy. His Mum was on the other side, half-way in the car and fiddling with a baby-seat. Two other siblings of his talking, one a girl in my year. Billy must've thought it safe to mock me again, that his Mum wouldn't hear. Cruel eyes locking onto me once more, darkening in recognition, then flicking to the boy I was walking very close to. "Faggots..." he chanted after us, and though I'd went to keep walking Sebastian stopped, taking me by surprise. His body was still and tight, like a defensive animal. He was over a head shorter than Billy, and though fuller than me he didn't have muscle, which our antagoniser did have from manually chopping wood at dawn every weekday morning. I couldn't believe Sebastian's rage and that it would make him so reckless. Billy's face only alighted with pleasure when he saw my boyfriend stop and turn livid. "Babe," I tugged on his arm. "Come on, let's go." Mrs Murphy finished busying with her infant and opened the driver's door. Sebastian let me pull him away while Billy watched us go with a wide smirk. We moved on. Silently passed the huge side-long gas cylinder through the security fence, locked up at the edge of the playground in its cage. I remember my friends tossing handballs at it years ago as if it might explode. That was before they locked it up cause too many students were climbing it and someone fell off last year and got a concussion. "Do you know that guy?" Sebastian was still seething when he asked. The school was out of sight by the time he spoke up. We walked the footpath beneath overhanging tree foliage. I passed a hydrant and looked over my shoulder again, there was a greater distance between the home walkers. "Not really. His name's Billy, I know his sister." "I want to kill him." "Don't say that!" I felt a tremble of fear, a squirm in my guts. Sebastian was easily annoyed, easily snappish, but when he got proper mad it was a blinding dense thing that I found frightening even when it wasn't directed at me. "You don't know what you're saying." "Yes, I do." I hadn't seen him mad like the way he was now though; this was mad and focused. Like he felt threatened. Face set and calculating. "Just ignore him, babe. He's a nobody." We walked the suburban streets of Tuttle together in silence. I studied Sebastian's rigid posture from the corner of my eye, the set of his jaw and clenched fists. It wasn't until we made our way to the street shops, our usual stop before one of our houses, that he finally relaxed and let it go.
  3. Invnarcel

    Chapter Six

    Sebastian Fiddock Money. Errol's leather notebook didn't contain all of his passwords and I couldn't access anything except for his emails. The hot water to the house had blown and I didn't have any money to get it fixed. His bank card was declining. I had very little funds to spend on food, fuel for my body. The electricity bill was due very soon and I wouldn't be able to pay it, meaning that soon I'd have no hot water or electricity. Errol's animal den of a place would become literally that. Although in the two weeks this place had been mine, I no longer thought of it as Errol's. It was my domain, my habitat. I relaxed on the sofa, stretched out comfortable and alone while I pondered my predicament. Although I could be cunning when needed I rarely had the energy to plan ahead. The future was something I'd been happy to deal with as it came. But now I couldn't afford to not think about it. My plan was unfeasible. There was no more hot water – oh well, I could stand next to the spray and cup soapy water in my hands, rub it into my body instead. Within weeks there'd be no power – oh well, I could scrounge torches from somewhere and charge my laptop at school, use the school internet for assignments instead. But with less than two-hundred dollars to my name I was going to run out of food very quickly. A lady down the laneway has fruit trees in her backyard. The local RSL club had a free sausage sizzle early Sunday morning. I couldn't go on welfare, I didn't have the type of smarts that allowed me to figure out paperwork. Instead I was going to have to figure out ways to address each of my individual needs, the bare necessities. But I had no permanent solution. I was in my last year of school, scraping above the average line. I was too apathetic to get a job and work. Truthfully, my life was about to get very hard very soon. And soon it'd become a real challenge to address my daily needs. I'll need even more stealth and evasion. Corey was a welcome distraction, but he still wasn't having sex with me. I was close to just forcing him, it was what we both wanted anyway. Margaret was no help at all. She was still only a burden, she served absolutely no purpose to me. My brain was whirring as I drove her to social club in her late husband's old metal truck. She was babbling and berating me. I wasn't paying attention, which was dangerous, but my brain was too distracting. Whirling with thoughts, I suppose you'd call it anxiety. Danger, danger, danger. My whole world, everything had become unsafe. I needed money, I needed to survive. "You need a haircut!" Margaret's bark cut through. "Do you even wash your hair? It's so wild and shaggy, you're like an animal! When Errol finally gets back I'm going to chew him out for this! Everything's gone to shit! Lazy, useless. Are you listening to me?!" My jaw clenched and she continued. It'd become physically painful to endure this. The road curved to the lakeside, I could see the old boat-ramp, empty at this time of the day and not a soul in sight. It was in disrepair, a better one sat by the fisherman's wharf further into town. "You're such a useless grandson, useless just like your father!" My jaw unclenched. Whirring brain suddenly distracted by a realization. Margaret equaled problems for me. Without Margaret my life would be easier. If I got rid of her, and I realized I could get rid of her and that it would be easy. Minimal effort to solve a big problem, if not considering future consequences. Only calculating the risks in the now. It took me all of three seconds to know what to do. I drove us towards the boat-ramp. "What are you doing?" she snapped. I ignored her, didn't even look at her. I wound down my window just a tad, reached over and did the same with hers. Quick, efficient movements. Parked the car on the ramp. Then put the handbrake down. I hopped out of the car, slammed the door, twisted the key into its lock as it started rolling. The whole process was very quick, my face empty with focus. Margaret stared at me with bulging eyes through the back-window. When the front tires touched the water she started to squirm. She was too old and weak, and with one arm in a sling she couldn't get into my seat to press the brake-pedal fast enough, she couldn't pull the jamming hand-break up to save herself. She tried opening her door, pulling at the locks, hitting her palms against the windows in panic. I couldn't hear her. The heavy car submerged and kept going, water undoubtedly spilling through the gaps. Air bubbles rising up through the surface of the lake as I stared passively, my face sunken with an intense boredom. But soon the truck was under and gone from view. She wasn't sick like Errol, but she was old and killing her hadn't required much effort either. I looked around again but the road was empty. The forest was silent, safe for the tweeting of a few birds. My head was still whirring with the fears of my current living situation. The only houses in view were blocked by tall steel-panel fencing. I felt safe. I started walking back home. * "...and Zoe asked me to come over to watch Netflix but we can never agree on what to watch. She loves horror and I hate it. She tried to get me to watch serial killer documentaries with her! Like I get that some people like thriller stuff but learning about actual murders for entertainment? That's kind of fucked up." "Hm." I'd zoned back into conversation with my boyfriend at the mention of his friend. My lip turned down in distaste. The two of us were sitting in a booth together after watching a movie at the nearest cinema complex. A comedy that was stupid, I didn't understand it. And although the patrons laughed I never did. Now we were eating at a pizzeria. All of this costed money. I didn't want to come but Corey pushed it. He usually never pushes anything, but this time he'd insisted that boyfriends went on dates. So I'd agreed, certain that by doing this I'd be entitled to sex with him afterwards. It'd been over two weeks and I was fed up with his pointless delaying of what we both wanted. My earlier 'anxiety' flared up again, setting me ill at ease. My finances were dwindling and even though our orders were already taken I found myself thinking about leaving without paying. But I couldn't explain my actions to Corey. The money problem wasn't going to solve itself. My way of life is under threat and I don't have the energy or intellect to work, and for all my cunning I still hadn't invented an easy solution to get out of this. "She was telling me that a common trait of psychopaths is that they start by murdering members of their own family." He sipped into the straw of his coke, it cost $3.50. I wanted to pay for him to guarantee sex afterwards, that meant my balance drops to $119.75. I need money for safety and survival. "I don't want you to hang out with other people anymore. You have me, we don't need anybody else." Corey's eyebrows drooped with exasperated sadness. I didn't care if he was sad. This was a long time coming and I was set on the matter. Usually my boyfriend was compliant and I liked it because I had all the power and control. He was non-confrontational and almost always went quiet and obeyed whenever I rose my voice at him. We'd never even had a single fight. So because of that our relationship was peaceful for the most part. I was still sacrificing more than Corey: tolerating his friends for as long as I had, being extremely tolerant of his unnecessary shyness about sex, and being tolerant of his other needs. It'd been boiling down to this point; my tolerance was almost up. I knew what was best for us and our relationship wasn't going to be perfect until Corey became entirely obedient. Seeing things the correct way, my way. Corey lowered his face to the table, picking at crusted tomato that'd refused to be wiped away since the rest of the surface was clean. I wasn't sure, but his eyes may have been wet "You don't want me to have friends...?" "You don't need friends." I sighed in irritation. It cost me a lot to be patient with him. Corey didn't answer and soon our pizzas arrived. A pretty, slender brunette wearing a thick layer of makeup set down wide trays, smiling and setting out our food with cheer. My boyfriend's head was still lowered as I reached for my pizza and started eating. This wasn't like what Errol used to order. Flat-base, stringy cheese with little green leaves and olives. It looked insubstantial, pretend-quality. I started eating anyway because I was hungry, the tomato paste was acceptable enough. I was on my second piece when Corey finally started eating as well, picking apart a piece with his fingers and chewing slowly. Hunched shoulders. I didn't mind this new mood seeing as he wasn't rambling anymore. Like the food this place was faux-fancy. Bulbs hung on wires from the ceiling, the floor was wood-paneled and the colour scheme was white, black and gold. When we were finished I pulled out my wallet to pay before staring resentfully at the three slices that remained on Corey's tray. These pizzas were almost $20 each but he scowled at it like it was upsetting his stomach. The same waitress came over with the bill inside a black pad. Corey got better, looked a little appreciative when I insisted on paying. My payment would come later. It was hard to hand over the fifty dollar note, painful to watch the black-aproned man ping the register and count. I couldn't help wincing after getting my change, slipping my wallet back into the pocket of my jeans. "Let's go to yours." I told Corey as we left the heated air, it was like a wall ending right at the sliding doors. Outside was bare-bones cold. The lights from the hundred odd bulbs bordering the street-side of the cinema flashed in the dark from across the road. "My grandparents aren't going to let you come over this late." He blinked at me, breath misting between us. "It's a Saturday." "They don't let friends sleep over." We stopped at the curb. I internally cursed them whilst considering my only option. I had a house to myself and absolutely no family to disturb me anymore. If you could call it a house. I'd never let anyone else see it, knowing that it could lead to child protective services coming over for a visit, and if any government worker took one look at the place they'd take me away. Despite the fact I enjoyed my freedom, prowling about for hours in the woods. But I wasn't a child anymore so it didn't matter who saw where I lived. Taking Corey there seemed to be my only choice. "Then come back to mine." "I thought your Uncle didn't let people come over?" "He's out of town." "I don't know... Nan and Pop are probably already asleep, but..." "Then why not?" I watched him wriggle "I thought you liked me?" "Of course I do." "Then come back to mine." "...okay." As Corey drove us back into Tuttle I remained single-minded on my goal. When I directed him to my street I felt dreaded concern about how he'd react to the house. Indoors was always foreign and strange to me. So artificial and clean, devoid of dirt, holes and mess. So contained and without any gaps leading to outdoors. I could imagine how my childhood home would look to a normal like Corey, but I didn't know how to prepare him before the sight. As the car rolled up his mouth fell open. "Oh my God." he said and I didn't respond. "Sebastian... don't tell me you live in that? That place isn't livable." I observed what he was seeing, the damaged walls, gaps in the corners. Slanted and the mess of rusted gutters, more rust than metal and eaten away by the elements. The vines creeping up the corner down to where bags of rubbish flowed from the side of the house. "You live here... with your Uncle?" "Yes." He looked at me, facing me in his seat and I could tell an understanding of some kind was settling into his features. "Let's go inside." I pulled the door lever open. Corey was a few steps behind me, head flicking around as he took it all in. He was extremely wary, as if frightened the place had booby-traps. The door was crooked in its gap, I forced it open, out of place with a good push. My slim boyfriend stepped into the dark corridor after me. "This is a place animals would live in. Not people." His voice was dripping with concern. He peered into my bedroom, at the slanting floor and the bare mattress on the ground. At the look on his face I began to worry that I'd made a mistake in bringing him here. He cupped his mouth with both hands and kept staring at me. "What?" My tone was belligerent. "I noticed that you wore clothes with holes in them, but I had no idea." "I like living here." "How could you like living here?" I shrugged "I've always lived here." He was staring at me again and I didn't know what to say. "I don't know what to say. I mean, you want me to sleep over?" his eyes went back to the mattress. "I can find a sheet to cover it." My voice was harsh. "I'll stay for a bit but I'm not sleeping here. It's so cold. You can see outside." "I have blankets and jumpers. Come on, we'll sit in the living room." We stepped over the cluttered carpet, the place where Errol died. His body was in the hidden shed beyond the woodland. Margaret's body was in her husband's old ute, under water by the old cement boat-ramp. The path that led to it was overgrown because nobody used it anymore. I didn't think her body would be found, it would be within years if ever. That secretive, partially-hidden waterside spot. Her big metal truck would be her tomb. The fizzling TV sat in front of us while I started making out with my boyfriend. Corey was responsive to my lead, enabling me. I went to put my hand through his auburn hair, nudging his thin glasses askew. The room was dark apart from fizzling light from the small screen. He didn't relax into the moth-eaten sofa, jumping at my grabby clutches. He was undecided but started moaning. I was so hard and excited that I was leaking. After noticing that Corey was also pitching a tent it was all the invitation I needed. He needed a little more persuasion throughout, but we jacked each other off on the couch. Quick breathing and raw excitement. It was the first sexual encounter with another person for both of us. Corey's tentative hand around my cock, jerking me off uncertainly, me telling him to go faster until I came all up my shirt. It didn't take us long, most likely cause of the thick eagerness at exploring uncharted territory for the first time. Corey had his eyes closed all the way until I finished him off. Too embarrassed, I supposed. The tendons on his neck stood out and he clenched his jaw against his orgasm. Afterwards I was very happy and finally satisfied. Accomplished. I couldn't understand why Corey was quiet afterwards. But after that time, our first time, it became easier to convince Corey to let me do it again. He insisted that boyfriends went on dates, so I complied. I insisted that boyfriends had sex, so I started rubbing and pushing against him whenever we were alone. When Corey resisted I could usually guilt him into doing what I wanted. I learned that it was better to ask then just climb on top and start touching his dick, he resisted less when I asked first. We started jacking each other off more and tried oral too. I loved getting Corey to suck me off. His hot, wet mouth soft against my hardness and the pleasure as he moved his head. In exchange I watched movies with him and went on dates. Dates that didn't cost any money, if I could help it. I told Corey not to sit with his friends at all now and with the reward of intimacy and exclusivity, he left their company and remained in my possession. The two of us, a couple, a pair, a unit separate to the larger herds of the 'others', the school students. Exactly where I wanted us.
  4. Invnarcel

    Chapter Five

    Corey Kentwell My idealism repainted the situation to fit a new narrative. Didn't people who fall in love often say that at first they never saw their lover that way? That they started out as friends, or that he/she wasn't their usual type? And so it was with Sebastian. Even though he frequently did or said things that were strange, I knew he had to be the one for me. When you consider the fact that neither of us knew our parents, the fact that I knew no other gay students in my year, and most importantly the fact that Sebastian even likes me at all... it becomes pretty clear that we must be meant to be. Sebastian Fiddock had once been a weird, anti-social loner. Now he was mine – still a little bit weird, yes. But he was my favourite person. I had butterflies around him, and in the few hours before I went to sleep at night. I was frequently light-headed and aglow, as bright as my days had become, and a future I wanted and could hope for. We hung out together a lot. He even started visiting my house to play video games, though told me his Uncle wouldn't let him have friends over. I felt bad for him when I heard that. It sounded like his Uncle was strict about some things, and strangely lenient about others. I wanted to hold and care for him, but I was also wary. Friday afternoon, the first time we were alone together in my bedroom, he attacked me. Lunged on top of me, pressing me onto my bed. The same sudden swiftness that overtook him that night by the lake. I was startled, and honestly scared. I'd lashed out with my hands. "What are you doing?!" Sebastian only stopped, still pressed on top of me and making no move to get off. "Is this not okay?" "What are you doing?" I had to ask again. When I wriggled I felt his erection against my inner thigh and realised. It should've been obvious to me. But I'd figured sex would come after conversations, plural. And that it'd be after kissing. Weren't there steps? Build up? It wasn't supposed to be rough, like pornography. It wasn't supposed to feel rapey. That was how I'd envisioned it anyway. And once again, not considering how it may differ from my perfectionist fantasies. I told Sebastian I wasn't ready for sex and he looked unhappy. Really unhappy. Frustrated, with me, and even though that wasn't right of him I felt bad anyway. Or was that right of him? I don't know, I feel new to all of this. But we didn't talk about why I wasn't ready, which I think I'm happy about cause the real reasons are embarrassing. I am... nervous, I suppose. Sebastian is my first boyfriend and I care about him. Also I'm insecure about my body and don't want him to see me naked. I thought that in a rush. I tried making excuses for Sebastian too. I know he was being inconsiderate, scowling for the rest of that afternoon and making me feel terrible. But I know he's not a bad guy, I know it. He's just... Sebastian. Quiet, strange, standoffish and sometimes moody. He's still my perfect boyfriend. Saturday he was better. And Sunday was the day of our lake drive! I thought for sure Sebastian would be as excited as me when the day came, but again he was embittered. I was dumbfounded. It was like he hadn't wanted to be reminded, like he'd hoped it would just go away. He was friendly enough to my grandparents who suspected nothing of our romantic involvement. They were happy I had a new friend I liked spending time with. "You know, you don't have to come with me if you really don't want to." I murmured to Sebastian as we drank glasses of fruit juice. Nan was doing a crossword while Pop was working on a puzzle in the other room, it took up the whole of our circular dining table but I knew he'd get it done before dinner. "I'm coming with you." Sebastian's answer was cross. He paced around the kitchen, unaware of me and only studying his surroundings. I was sure he'd only been rude to my friends because he was shy. But now I didn't know why; I had no idea why he was acting this way. I stayed quiet. At midday Zoe rocked up in her Mum's blue Toyota Prius, she honked to get my attention even though I'd been staring out the window waiting. Sebastian wasn't much of a distraction, looking so sullen with his arms crossed and not talking. Nan huffed indignantly, she did not approve of Zoe's actions. "Alright we're off, see you guys!" I went to go. "Have fun, boys." Pop called. "Be back before dinner, Corey!" Nan ordered. "I will, I will." I turned while halfway out the door, yelling back over Sebastian's shoulder as he ghosted behind me. Noticing that his face was still a mask of displeasure. We took long steps down the sloping driveway. I was still excited when Zoe wound down the window to shout and wave. It wasn't until we got into her car, Sebastian not even bothering with a 'hello' and sitting only silent in the backseat, that my final fleeting hopes were dashed. I realised he really was going to act this way the entire trip. I felt a pit in my stomach. The noxious waves of animosity floated off Sebastian and tainted the air of the car, like ink spreading through a glass of water. It made me want to open the windows. Before despair consumed me I started forcing conversation with Zoe in an effort to distract myself. It's too late to cancel now. If Sebastian was going to insist on being unhappy I would insist on ignoring him, and try to salvage what enjoyment I can. Even though it seems doomed. We drove into the woods, over the hill and I got a beautiful view of the pines as far as the eye could see. The silvery lake to the West. Ahead was another hill lightly touched by a wintry mist on this cloudy day. For almost twenty minutes we drove, and I kept forcing conversation to forget Sebastian's poisonous aura in the back of the car. When Zoe pulled up to a look-out spot I saw a bunch of other familiar cars, school friends. I didn't risk a look at Sebastian in the rear-view mirror, his negativity was so palpable I could feel it. I opened the door quickly to greet the others. So did Zoe and then Sebastian. "Hey guys," Lance was here, and beside him his girlfriend Chelsea. Half a dozen of the other regulars. Hailey jumped out to scare me from behind someone's truck. "Ha!" she started cackling and bent over, frizzy hair shaking. Even smacked her knee. I frowned, though knew my annoyance would only further please her. She noticed Sebastian and soured. "What are you doing here?" He glared but still wasn't speaking. "Sup guys," Zoe knew that disregarding Hailey's existence was the only thing that really got to her. She was ahead of the game. "We're just waiting for a few more then we're going to head out." Lance pointed to the walking path. A few of the other boys were unloading an esky and pool toys. Sebastian stood away from the others but close to my shoulder. I could smell salt so the water mustn't be far. I said 'hi' to a few people then went to sit on a nearby wooden post. Hailey climbed up and tried balancing with arms out as she stepped across on ballerina toes. Sebastian stood near me, hovering. One of the boys started whacking his friend with a yellow noodle. I flexed my toes in the dirt and dry leaves as we waited. The ground was hard and layered with fine dust. We were all in swimmers but a cold breeze whipped the tops of the trees, I doubt I was gonna fully submerge. When everyone we were waiting on arrived the troupe started moving, someone carrying a giant inflatable unicorn raft and someone else a doughnut floaty. The big esky was carried between two guys. I left to follow Zoe who was laughing along with them. My social anxiety flared up as soon as I joined the miniature crowd, making me choked up and quiet, even though I could feel Sebastian close behind me. We walked and they joked, Hailey began babbling next to me as we trudged onward and I was grateful for the distraction. Even now I recalled how nice it was to only be in the company of someone as unassuming as Sebastian. It didn't take long before the lake came into view. Grey, and compared to the dark thistle leaves of the pine trees, all of us in our colourful Hawaiian swimming gear were ridiculously out-of-place. I felt one hit of that chilled wind and decided I wouldn't be swimming at all. We were usually party-hardy about dipping into the lake, even in Winter. But this was too cold for me. The spot Lance and his friends led us to was nice, but just that. It wasn't anything special. They'd found better spots. A dirt clearing beside the lake. A dull brown-orange rocky surface leading to caves and a cliff-face where waves splashed up and drizzled down. An old rope-swing that was withered. There were intriguing tide-pools. Miniature crabs that scurried away from your view to hide beneath boulders. One frantic fish was circling and waiting for the tide to come out again. If I wasn't feeling up to banter with the crowd I could safely examine this habitat and maybe it'd pique the interest of my angry plus-one. Sebastian had me feeling emotionally exhausted as the trip wore on. I don't know how he did it, but he successfully leached my happiness as well. I couldn't fight him off. "Hey who's the new guy following Corey?" I heard Matt Edwards, dark-skinned and the loudest of our group. "That's Sebastian." Small-framed Lance murmured back. His tone was very clear: we leave him be. "Hey Sebastian!" Matt called, and some of the other guys who'd never met him also looked over. "Hey!" Oh no oh no oh no. I noticed him turn in my peripheral. I eyed the ground with grim anticipation, feeling my ears heat up. A few of them did recognize Sebastian as the silent and anti-social kid from school, so to see him out with their friends had them brimming with curiosity. "Are you gonna swim? Come on bro!" "Go swim by yourselves!" I blanched. Thought I'd braced for more uncomfortable rudeness from his end, yet it still shocked me. Everyone else, the entire group, stared at him. It was how tight and taught he'd become. The pure vitriol in his voice. Like his problems weren't just social, but mental. When time passed Matt made a face to his friends and then quiet talking started up again. As for me, I felt embarrassed and also a full-body chill from the crown of my head to the tips of my toes. Sebastian had always been fine when it was just the two of us. But this wasn't nerves, he didn't look shy. He actively disliked everyone here, and like an idiot I'd brought him along anyway. But I couldn't figure out why he didn't like my friends, he'd never given them a chance. Sebastian wasn't normal, and the realisation trickled onto my brain like ice-water. I almost offered to leave right now, but Zoe had driven us. The rest of the trip was no longer about trying to enjoy myself, but damage control. I sat with Sebastian away from everyone else and only interacted briefly with a few others, constantly checking in with my plus-one's posture so as not to test his animal anger. When it was time to leave I felt so relieved I could cry. The entire way home my tone was tinged with apology, though I didn't say sorry with Sebastian in ear-shot. Zoe seemed to understand. She dropped us off at my place just as it was getting dark. I still felt like crying as I waved her off, turning to Sebastian whose pitch eyes were on me, waiting for us to start going up into the house together. He always stood close to me. "What the hell, Sebastian?" I spat. I was always subdued, so this outburst felt like a runaway car. The fear of it increasing the intensity. "What?" he remained dull. "That was awful! You were horrible to everyone!" "I don't like your friends." He told me, as if that was all there was to say on the matter. "Why?" "I'd prefer it if we don't hang out with them again." There was something decisive about how he said it. And by 'we' I don't think he just meant us together. I could've pushed it but I started walking quickly up the driveway. He followed and I could've told him to leave but didn't. I'm scared of conflict. "How was it?" Nan peered around the doorway to the kitchen when we came inside. I didn't even have the strength to lie to her, and I was too upset. "Not good." "Oh that's a shame. Did something happen?" "Just wasn't fun. At all." I made my way to the stairs and Sebastian followed. "Okay... dinner will be ready soon!" I could smell the meat stew as she stirred it in her cauldron-sized pot, it barely fit atop the stove. Upstairs I paced quickly between rooms and started gathering laundry. I smelt fresh potpourri wafting from the multi-coloured glass bowls atop the dresser. Sebastian lingered and I wanted him to leave. He started being sweet to me, affectionate touching on my arm and back to relax me. I thought it might've been his way of showing that he knew I was upset, but then I noticed him standing even closer and realised what he actually wanted. Nan called me down for dinner. I was able to convince Sebastian to leave. Nan and Pop both pointed out how depressed and dejected I looked. They didn't contest when I gave up halfway without finishing the stew. I could feel it spoiling in my belly. Afterwards Nan tried having a talk with me but I couldn't tell her about Sebastian without coming out to her, right then, and I wasn't ready for that conversation. I made up a story of us hitting a wild deer, having to get it to a veterinary hospital only for the ranger to tell us it'd have to be put down. Between the ages of ten to twelve I'd attempted being vegetarian, though my grandparents would force me to eat meat when they could. I'd considered going vegetarian now that I was older. I was used to eating meat but could go without – I don't like the idea of animals suffering, and the texture weirds me out. Even with this in mind I could tell Nan didn't quite believe my story. Upstairs in my bedroom I paced around, barefoot on carpet. My computer bathed the small space in sickly blue. I'd still been updating my blog, but carefully in knowing that Sebastian may still be reading it. There is mention of a boy I'd met, that I liked him, that I was seeing him, allusions of me hoping that we might become a thing. I felt torn and confused, halting in place. At my memory the waves of loving fantasy rocked back, swelling my mind. It was so hard to be objective with Sebastian. Maybe he wasn't so bad. I couldn't stand for my hopes to be wrong. And he's the only boy who's ever liked me. * Sebastian had texted me. He was at school waiting for me on Monday morning. Shrugging off the fence as soon as I got off the bus. I farewelled my friends who looked accepting, apart from Hailey who stormed away with her chin out. Zoe walked through the gates with a slanted frown. I stepped over to meet Sebastian, today he was wearing jeans with that same green jacket. Hair looking wild, clutching the strap of his bag. "Morning." "Good morning." We walked in together. That day I wasn't so talkative but Sebastian didn't mind, simply hanging around me in silence. He was comfortable and so was I, reasonably. We spent every moment we could around each other. At first lunch I overheard the Year Ten girls discussing something while Sebastian bit into a mandarin. It reminded me of something I'd been thinking about earlier that morning. "You've obviously heard the Tuttle werewolf rumours, right?" "Nope." He answered between bites. And why doesn't that surprise me? "The monster that stalks the forest during the full moon? Eating stray hunters?" "I've been in the woods at night plenty of times and never seen a monster." Sebastian dropped the skins beside him without looking at me, dusted the stickiness off his hands. "Maybe that's because you're the werewolf..." "Monsters aren't real." He spoke derisively. "I know that!" I peered at Sebastian from the corner of my eye but there was nothing to deduce, he sat entirely unguarded. Recess wore on, I huddled into my jumper against the cold and zoned out staring at some yellow flowers. Sebastian disrupted me, speaking in a sudden rush "Are we boyfriends now?" "Um," I was caught off guard, my brain hazed over. "That's what you wanted, isn't it? You said so in your blog." I did say that I wanted a boyfriend in my blog. I conceded a "Yes." "So we're boyfriends now? I know it's only been a week but I'd like us to be." "Yeah, sure, I'll be your boyfriend." "Great." He reached into his bag for dry crackers. It seemed like that was all he was going to say on the matter. I stared at the ground and felt a wave of euphoria but then it transformed into doubt, stifling me. Earlier in the week when I was still blind-sighted and before I'd written that fated blog entry, I'd be ecstatic at the thought of right now. It was what I wanted, a high school romance. Though it felt more of just a thing than romance. But it was still evidence of some kind, reflective of my own self-worth. I wanted this right? Yes, I did. No relationship is perfect, but this is perfect for me. I don't feel alone anymore. "I want us to have sex." Was the next thing Sebastian blurted. "I'm sure we will!" I went tight and red. He was again satisfied and resumed eating. When the bell rang we had English with Mr Clarke, a bald man with a curiously-shaped head, gentle and sexless disposition. He often rambled the same point and still told off students when he found out they weren't paying attention. Even though he was only discussing poetry and movie tropes, I found it eerily reminiscent of my thoughts earlier today. "'Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler.' a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche." he went on to say "There are no monsters more terrifying than humans. The concepts that became Dracula and Frankenstein were inspired by humans that weren't quite human, either by appearance or nature. Inhuman humans, the real monsters." Sebastian sat beside me, as bored as everyone else and I wondered.
  5. Invnarcel

    Chapter Four

    Sebastian Fiddock For the sake of my own security I'd had to let Errol die. It wasn't about malice. I don't think it was out of anger, though I had been angry. Not in the moment but, I'd just understood all the way until he took his final, retching breath that if I saved him I would be in danger. Errol lay hunched over, a revolting and hideous thing. I left the room and when I came back later his body was cooler and there was no pulse at his neck. I took my fingers away and understood that he was in fact dead. Next step. Errol didn't have any friends, of that I was quite sure. He really had been a hermit who was probably using me for extra benefit money. Hopefully those benefits would still come in and keep the house running. Errol's computer was in the corner of his bedroom and he had a leather-bound notebook with all his passwords. Hopefully all the information I'd need for money will be in there. Calling the police would be a bad idea. I wasn't exactly sure how, but I was sure in some way I'd be forced to leave this place and do responsibility things. I cringed at the thought. So instead I would have to hide Errol's body and keep living as if nothing had changed. I'd have to tell Margaret that he'd left town. Hooking my arms under his shoulders, I dragged the heavy man while his head lolled. He was already stiffening, but rigor mortis seemed to have started years ago for him. Dragging him into the kitchen, bumping and dragging the dining room chairs. Forcing open the shitty door of our animal den, dragging him down the cracked steps. Thank God his colostomy bag was still attached. Dragging Errol's body across the path. Stopping to stretch my sore back and take a breather. Dragging him through the long grass and behind the trees. Dragging Errol all the way to my hidden shed. Heaving and squeezing to get his stout, fat body through the door. Climbing over and shoving as his shoulder jammed into the wire shelf. Tired and anxious and frustrated. Forcing Errol through with a crash, glass jars falling and shattering and me dropping back onto my ass, exhausted. I looked up to see my dead Uncle slouching upright against the wall and facing me. A multitude of spiders and moths buzzed and crawled upon him, one eye staring blankly from his purpling, pallid face. A hideous sight. When I got a hold of myself I clenched my fists into the grass angrily, stood and slammed the thin door shut. Nobody ever came here. No one would ever find him. * Corey was exactly what I wanted him to be: amiable and pleasant. I found it good news, he will do for me after all. In roll call I expected him to sit next to me, but when he walked into the room he seemed uncertain. Gave me a timid wave and went to sit with his regular people. That didn't please me. I thought about sex with him all the time now. Pictured his slim body naked and what it'd be like to push myself inside him. I stared at the back of his auburn head throughout roll call. Then the bell rang and I followed my classmates out. Modern History was first period, an elective of mine. Corey was in none of my electives so we probably had different interests. But second period was Maths and I knew I'd find him there. After a monotonous lesson – I find all my electives monotonous, but chose them because I personally found it easier being tested on facts you only have to memorize – I left the indigo-carpeted room and took the concrete stairs down, walked to the other side of the school, past the little nature enclosure in the centre of the quadrangle to B block. Up the railed ramp and into the building to my room, most of the class already settled by the time I got there. I took the empty seat next to Corey. Behind those thin-frame glasses his eyes widened in surprise, I didn't know why. Beside him a black-haired girl, Zoe Bailey, also looked surprised but was smiling. "Hey Sebastian." he greeted. "Morning Corey, how are you?" "Good." He went back to setting out his book and pencil case, though his face was flushing. It seemed like he was trying to think of something to say but couldn't. I couldn't either, so just remained sitting comfortably. "Hey Sebastian," Zoe peered around with a mischievous glint. "Hi." My response was tight and clipped. I didn't want to talk to her, I wanted nothing from her. I only wanted to sit with Corey but she was in the way. On his other side, partially claiming him. I'd never had a proper friend or claim to another person before. I started feeling territorial. "Do you have any plans this weekend?" She insisted on being conversational and I didn't know why. "No." I saw her catch on to the aggression in my voice. "That's Elissa's seat by the way." I ignored her and settled in. Ms Lee, a newly-engaged woman in her 30s with a chestnut-brown ponytail, entered the classroom casually with a bag of folders and started organizing them on her desk. She wasn't quite fat, a full-bodied lady. The last of the students were filling in. Soon Elissa, some bulb-headed blonde girl, arrived and saw me in her seat. She cocked her head. I looked away from her and could tell in my peripheral that she was deliberating on whether or not to ask me to leave. "You need to move Sebastian, you're in my seat." Elissa's nasal voice; she appeared in front of me. "Find another seat." Ms Lee was now standing to address the class and noticed Elissa was the only one not seated. She looked between us questioningly. "Sebastian's in my seat. He needs to move." she squawked. From beside me Corey was staring at his tabletop, ears pink. "That is Elissa's seat, Sebastian. You need to go back to yours." Ms Lee was one of the few reasonable teachers at Tuttle High. She could be an authoritarian when it was called for, but was chill most of the time. It was more of a confused statement than an order. I stood straight up and glared at her anyway. The whole class went quiet at my rigid posture. I took my bag and pencil case and skulked back to my regular seat at the back-end of the room. Not knowing what to make of it, Ms Lee shook her head once and then started her lesson. First lunchbreak I stood outside B block and Corey had detached from everyone else to find me. He looked apologetic. "Do you want to sit together for lunch?" "Sure." We went back to the undercover area. A group of Year Ten girls sat in the opposite corner and chatted amongst themselves. I watched Corey huddle into his green hooded jumper after a wintry breeze. I was mostly immune to the cold by now, sitting unaffected. "Who do you normally hang out with?" he asked me. "No one." "I thought so..." his eyes lowered and he looked concerned. "I like being by myself." I assured him. "That makes one of us..." he mumbled. I didn't know what he meant but didn't ask for clarification. Eventually he spoke up again, body tight and twisting his arms while I only watched him, relaxed. "Did you... do you...?" he wasn't looking at me, face red again. "Did you mean what you said- about thinking I'm beautiful?" He was entirely red. I was confused but reassessed him. I did find him good-looking. "Yes." I said simply. "Do you... want to hang out after school?" "Sure. That'd be great." "Cool." He looked happy, but still not looking at me. Still red and strangely nervous, heart pounding in that slim chest. "We should sit together in English too." I told him assertively. "Okay." He acquiesced and I felt satisfied. When Corey was up to it he started talking about something else and we ate together, just the two of us. I had dry noodles, crackers and an apple. Corey's meal looked like it'd been made with care, everything neat, exquisite and glad-wrapped. Afterwards we sat together in every class we shared that day. When second lunch came around Corey said he wanted to sit with his friends but invited me to join them. I agreed but didn't like it. The other teenagers were excitably gossipy amongst themselves, but I didn't say much to any of them. I certainly wasn't polite. Hailey Urquhart was particularly annoying, standing in front of us with hands on her hips. "So whatcha doing here anyway?" she was annoyed that I was being curt, Corey sat passively on the concrete next to me. He'd seemed to be enjoying the extra attention brought on by my presence beside him. Hailey was not happy with me here "Where are your other friends?" "None of your business. Go away." Her eyes widened, eyebrows up. She was very expressive and her frizzy hair twittered with each head-twist. She huffed indignantly, like an old woman. Probably had copied the reaction from her own grandmother. Then Hailey left me alone and the others stayed wary. Visibly happy that I was here beside Corey, but wary nonetheless. I wasn't happy that they were here. A lot of them would talk to Corey, ask him about something school or TV related. I felt my eyes darkening each time it happened. After school Corey and I met up at the front gates and then walked into town. We passed shops, outdoor cafe chairs and umbrellas, the dollar store, a line of people waiting to use the ATM beside a Commonwealth Bank. I smelt rotisserie chickens burning behind hot glassfront in one of the shops and felt hungry again. The two of us settled on a pie shop and ordered tall milkshakes in metal-container cups. Corey seemed very happy again, bubbly as we sipped through straws and he explained things to me I didn't care to know. Movies, book series, school gossip. But I let him talk. We picked from a greasy box of chips between us, chicken-salted with a modest squirt of tomato sauce to the side. This cramped store smelt of nothing but salt; framed photos lined the checkered wall. "This weekend me and my friends are driving up North of Lake Laguna to a new spot. Zoe and the others wanted to invite you... but you were being standoffish, I guess you were just shy?" My brain whirred and I scowled into another sip of milkshake. Corey's friends were a problem for me. I didn't want to have to compete with them. I recalled the dirt-track roads through the forest that bordered the lake. Errol didn't drive. Margaret had a heavy-duty truck she'd inherited from her late husband, I had to drive her places several times a week since she broke her arm. It was a climb for me to get into the thing, let alone her. She'd never let me drive it for myself. "I don't have a car." "Zoe can pick us up." He spoke eagerly. Zoe. Every time I heard the names of his friends I felt my body go taut with annoyance. I felt antagonistic toward all of them. But even though I didn't want to be there, I wanted even less for Corey to be around other people without me present. "Alright then." "Cool." He looked down, strangely shy and nervous again. Face going red, then he looked up and seemed mildly desperate. "Hey Sebastian... can this- uh... is this a date?" "Yes." I decided. He smiled wide while fiddling with the curved glass saltshaker, sliding it across the scaly silver table. The next day of school passed in much the same way. Corey and I sitting together in all our classes, even rollcall, and people began to notice. We sat alone at recess and I let him direct our conversations, as usual. The group of Year Ten girls pleasantly and respectfully ignored us. At second lunch I had to sit with Corey's friends though dearly wanted to contest. My mood was chilly throughout. After school Corey had to do chores and homework, but I gave him my mobile number. We met at one of the many public playgrounds of Tuttle in the dark evening, the enclosed bark type ones with a waist-high fence so parents can trap their toddlers while reading on a nearby bench. Multi-coloured slides, swings and a miniature rock-wall climber. A huge white sandbox-area. Other teenagers, barely older than twelve, were zipping along the flying fox and possibly drinking. We walked by the lake together. The night before I'd pondered how exactly I'd go about getting sex from Corey. I'd come up with nothing. But the fact he'd called our after-school hangout a date was just further confirmation. Corey was too shy so I'd have to make the first move, which I was fine with doing, only I wasn't sure how. Grown-ups had sex, but nobody talked about how it actually started. Asking outright seemed somehow wrong, and it seemed that Corey was a shy person in general. We walked the dark sand by the choppy water, the far-out streetlights casting long shadows behind us. The night air was freezing, blowing uninterrupted across the water. With nobody in view and the two of us alone, in the dark by the lake I figured I'd have a better chance of having my way. We stopped walking when Corey decided we'd gone far enough and should head back, reasoning that those other kids have probably got bored and left by now, moving along to the skate-park and then the various other playgrounds dotting our town. As another routine silence fell I hoped I was reading it right. I stepped up to Corey and grabbed his waist, he jolted against my harsh fingers. I hunted his face down and pressed my lips against his, smacking our jaws at first in the dark, but adamant. Corey froze. I started moving my lips like I'd seen people do in movies and pornography but he remained unresponsive. After a moment I released my vice-grip and stepped away from him. "What's wrong?" I was confused by him and the situation. Irritated. Perhaps I'd misread it after all. "Nothing." He answered faintly, standing stock-still. "Let's go back to the park." "Yeah." And so we walked back. The little delinquents were indeed gone. So the two of us lay together in the centre of the climbable web-rope. Staring up at the stars behind drifting black clouds. A nearly-full moon tainting everything with its rousing blue. That light always made me feel wild, stirring the animal inside me. I didn't push myself onto Corey again. He was too timid, so I decided I'd have to wait. For now. Instead we chatted on quietly until it got too cold and started to get wet. "...We should probably go home." Corey murmured "But this was really nice. Having someone you can just open up to, you know?" On my way home I noticed several missed calls from Margaret. I'd forgot that she tended to show up for dinner unannounced and she'd arrived earlier to find no one home. Bashing on the doors and windows to no answer. She was feisty for someone so old. My text explanation that Errol had gone away didn't appease her and she called again after I set foot in my dark house. My house – since no one else was living here, it was no longer Errol's. "Well what the bloody hell do you mean he's gone away? Why isn't he answering my calls?" "I don't know. He said he had to leave. He couldn't stand it here anymore." "You're a bloody liar! That doesn't sound like Errol at all!" I knew she was right, it was fishy. "Why would I lie?" "I don't know... But that bastard Errol better not have thought he could get away with not helping his handicapped mother by skipping town for a few weeks. He'll have to come home sometime, he has nowhere else to go! And then I'll give him something to complain about, mark my words! Ungrateful, lazy. Just like you! And how dare you..." she went on and I had to listen quietly because the consequences would be worse if I didn't. As I zoned out with the phone to my ear, much the same way I had all these years under her berating, a strange thought drifted by. Margaret's constant criticizing and nagging over the years had only served to sap my energy further, making me more apathetic about life in general. Without her I'd have more time to myself, I wouldn't have to help her with all the tedious things she needed help with now. Getting her groceries and listening to her complain about the other ladies in her committees or whatever else she spent her days doing. It was too bad Margaret didn't also rely on me for life-saving medicine. It was too bad getting rid of her wouldn't also be that easy. That night I'd dreamed of the small shed out back. I hadn't been near it since I put Errol there, I imagined all my specimens that hadn't been set free among the broken jars would all die in a few days without food or water. Not that I cared about that. In my dream I revisited the shed, opening it to find a perfect skeleton and all the insects and spiders were free, a swarm of them buzzing in tandem, crawling between eye sockets and ribs.
  6. Corey Kentwell The next morning I was up before dawn and down by the lake. I'd tried for an early sleep but only managed a few hours, still got up before the sun and snuck out while the sky was only just getting touched by the light. Phasing into royal blue. It was very silly, but this was all born from my sentimental idealism. On occasion I like to do things like walk to the lake at dawn and ponder my life in solitude. Could this be it? When I look back on the days of my life, could this little journey that bisects from my usual routine mark the coming end of my loneliness and depression? My oldest friend Zoe Bailey matured quickly, she first started dating at 13. She was so cool and at ease around boys. Even back then I'd watched her and him, together at her house as an odd addition to their company. She's dated like four boys since, with various levels of seriousness. But she'd always been so cool, and I started to think I'd always be destined for just this... But outside of the regular depression was the firm belief that somebody must like me someday. That I'd eventually know what it feels like to have another person who would choose you first for a time, and that for a time you'd be that person's favourite person. I don't know, sometimes I don't even feel like I exist unless I am seen. Insubstantial. And I think that until I have my first relationship I'm going to always worry that something is wrong with me. That I'm somehow undesirable or off-putting, and that I may never be able to find someone, ever. A weird anomaly that somehow repels everyone else. It was dangerous and foolish, but I couldn't stop myself: I'd been daydreaming about meeting my secret admirer non-stop. A thousand make-believe scenarios have been seamlessly looping through my head, and the most disturbing part is that they all resemble drippy movie scenes from rom-coms. I couldn't stop seeing my secret admirer as I'd constructed him in my head. My age, or older. My height, or taller. He would be at least adequate-looking. And have most, if not some of these traits. The very real possibility of him being obese, having acne scars, or perhaps being visibly disabled was swept away in my brain by the continuous waves of hopefulness. That my life really was going to become something of a movie. That this boy wasn't going to be perfect, but was certainly going to be perfect for me. I've never had a boy I was sorta-dating and all my crushes were straight. But this is what adults did, right? They dated, they fell in love. I wanted that for myself too. I'd wanted to see the sunrise over the mountains across Lake Laguna. I crossed the old railroad station, tracks for what I imagined to be those seesawing pulley carts you stand on. Creeping down the sloping black earth, all lumps and bumps to the salt-water. And I could already tell that the mist had made it impossible to see the sun. It was a sight regardless: a void of grey. An expanse of still water, lapping only silent and subtle. What I'd envisioned, sitting here reflecting to a new sun rising, was pierced and replaced by this. A thick, featureless, clouded mystery. So I scooted down and sat, the sand around me was cool as I ran my fingers lightly across the surface, making lines. My daydreaming stopped and instead I gazed rather blankly at the nothing before me. Almost like I was expecting it to change. I remained sitting for several moments until my guts went taut with unease. It wasn't a sudden feeling of anxiousness. Somehow, the worry had always been there but not acknowledged by my conscious mind, building up until I realized that I was quite uncomfortable here. For whatever reason. I looked behind me to the street, to the woods beside the nearest house which was the old boy scouts hall. It felt like I was being watched. No wild animal would be this close to town. I didn't believe for a second that it might be the werewolf, the supernatural monster out there, though it did come to mind. Right, time to head home. I left the lake-side rather quickly. My long steps didn't slow to regular speed until the waterside street was far out of view, and those tall trees. I didn't know why I'd felt the need to leave so quickly, just one of those moments when you're alone somewhere and the atmosphere spooks you. I was starting to feel a little silly as I turned the corner to my street. The sky was peachy – orange, pink and gold. The mist was faint. As I came to my grand two-storey house, standing atop the hill driveway in all its wooden Victorian-era glory, I habitually reached into the letterbox and found another open envelope. My secret admirer had opted to write a letter and leave it in my locker instead of commenting on my blog. A more direct measure that I'd considered romantic and endearing. He'd given me his email, but instead of replying to what I'd sent he'd taken another direct measure and left an envelope at my house. Did he find me from my social media somehow, or the phone book? There was no address and that meant he'd delivered it in person. Who would...? I pulled out the thrice-folded paper with growing unease. What if my grandparents had found it? It felt like his way of ensuring the conversation would keep going. Deαr Corey, Alright you've convinced me Lets meet in the undercover αreα by the ovαl αfter school todαy. I hope youll still like me. But αs you sαid ωe cαn stαrt αs friends. See you todαy, beαutiful xx Your soon to be not Secret Admirer My social anxiety pitted and swelled, I swayed back on my heels at the thought of meeting him. The boy I'd made-up in my mind. At the undercover benches hidden by the foresty bark area at the edge of the sports oval. The two of us out of sight. The fear felt bordering into a panic-attack, but it was quickly replaced by a rush of warmth at being called beautiful again. Nobody had ever said I was beautiful, except for maybe Nan. I stood tingling for a long moment. In my head I flicked through the faces of boys I knew and wondered if any of them could be my secret admirer. The only problem being I was only flicking through the faces of boys I considered attractive. Like tall, blonde, wood-chopping Billy Murphy. This guy was strangely forthright for someone worried about whether I'd like him, whoever he is. With the return of my excitement and endorphins I ran up the sloping driveway and into the house. I had breakfast and got dressed with plenty of time to spare. Walked to the bus-stop nervous even though it'd be several hours before I'd see him. Of course I went to sit right next to Zoe at the back of the bus. I'd told her about the first letter yesterday and she seemed happy for me, excited as well. Hailey leaned on the back of our seat to listen in, I could see her frizzy hair overflowing into my peripheral. I wondered if she was displeased that I wasn't focusing on her today. She wouldn't say it, she was more careful than that. It was the different edge in her tone. "So you promise it wasn't you?" I repeated for maybe the hundredth time. "I swear I'm not writing these letters, dude." Zoe answered from beside me. We jostled in our seats as the bus traversed the bumpy road. Even now, I couldn't completely believe her. "Okay..." "But he left the other letter at your house? That's kinda creepy right? You still don't know who he is." "Yeah but he said I convinced him and that he wants to meet today. I thought it'd take more work, honestly." "Hmmm." Hailey spoke up from behind us, in a typical tone of hers that seemed to imply she doubted the validity of whatever it was you were saying. "Well I hope he's cute." "Me too." "Can I see the letter?" Zoe asked and I hesitated. I did have it on me. But not because I wanted to show it to anyone. I was worried Nan might find it, so was waiting to think of a good hiding spot. These letters, addressed to me specifically, written by someone spurred to action by 'my beauty' were a precious evidence of some sort. Like I needed to hold them, reread them just to know they were real. I'd let Zoe read the first one yesterday, granted I'd stood very close and remained antsy until she handed it back. Too bad I have difficulty saying 'no' to people. Taking off my backpack I unzipped it, looking over my shoulders to eye the other boys we were friendly with as they joked amongst themselves. If one of my friends were in fact my secret admirer I should see some reaction if they notice me handing out the letter. But they continued to laugh amongst themselves. I extracted the paper with a slow hand and Hailey snatched it, prancing a few steps away to read with a smirk. I felt shock, then the forever-tempered fury burning in my gut. "Fucking give it!" Zoe stood up by the window, though my legs were blocking her from the walkway. She didn't actually like Hailey at all and made no effort to hide the dislike from her voice now. It wasn't a long letter. Hailey finished reading, shrugged and waved it back to Zoe who tore it out of her hands. "Do you know anyone with handwriting like that?" My voice was low. If she'd read it I may as well ask. "How should I know?" she answered loudly, a dramatic shrug. When the bus stopped at school we all got off, I was still ruffled as the line of teenagers disembarked. I got out and looked across the street, took a few steps over and quite obviously stared at the neighboring house just as blonde Billy Murphy was walking in my direction from across the road, getting his mail. I was thinking about the werewolf, thinking about whatever had been watching me down by the water this morning. I guess I was dissociating again, Billy noticed me staring at him without moving. "Faggot." Oh. Well that's a shame. I turned back toward the school. Billy couldn't have been my secret admirer anyway. Though when my brain had been painting visions of an idealized romance, he'd been one of the regular forms this guy had flickered between. I was going to be excited. I was going to be so nervous all day it'd make me sick. I probably wasn't going to be able to eat. My anxiety became dread, but I knew I had to do this. I have to; no chickening out Corey! On my way into school I caught Sebastian Fiddock's dark eyes on me amidst his expressionless face, but I stepped closer toward my friends like a pack-animal trying to hide from a predator, and it never occurred to me to even think it could've been him. * It was a miracle I made it through the day. Zoe commented on how pale I looked, sitting still like a zombie. I actually thought I might vomit, but told myself – whispered it under my breath – to stop being so pathetic. I tried to focus on the bumpy brown asphalt in the courtyard behind the library block. I'd fractured my wrist against it while playing handball last year. Focusing on my immediate surroundings and breathing slowly helped 'ground me'. A technique I'd learnt to deal with the anxiety. Five things you can see (asphalt, brick wall, trees, schoolbag, library building). Four things you can hear (kids talking, the plunk of a tennis ball, passing car, bird noises). Three things you can feel (the ground, the feel of my clothes, dead leaves). Two things you can taste (the single bite of sandwich I'd managed: tomato and lettuce). One thing you can smell (the outdoors, or Hailey's copious wafting perfume – sickly-sweet raspberries). Deep breaths. The final bell rang – I was not prepared. "Good luck with your date!" Zoe joked and slapped me on the back. I'd seriously considered making up an excuse to go straight home. Apologize via email. But if I didn't have the guts to show up now when would I ever? I veered back and forth probably eight times before I marched myself across campus, away from the crowds headed to the gates, head lowered like a walk to the gallows. My heart was trying to jump out my throat, my steps became tense as I passed the trees. Making myself walk into the undercover area, rows of metal benches but nobody else. I could hear the crowds of students celebrating their escape, but in the distance. I could feel that I was seen again, just like down by the lake, and I heard twigs breaking underfoot behind me and turned fearfully to face my secret admirer. Sebastian Fiddock was staring back at me with a blank face and wide eyes. Oh. The emotion that came was confusion. He was not good-looking in the way I'd hoped. Though I had to admit: he wasn't fat, disabled or acne-smeared either. But he was still so jarringly not what I'd pictured that I blinked. It was like I'd stepped into the wrong dream, and I was too dazed to speak. Sebastian's face melded into a smile "Hi, Corey." A little bashful. "Hey, Sebastian." I tried to shake off. "Sorry, I... didn't think it'd be you." I spoke in a voice exempt of disappointment, only with honesty. I was surprised that I had never considered Sebastian before. I mean, why not? I studied him with new eyes, assessing his appearance. Sebastian had a shaggy mop of brown hair, untidy and a little outgrown. He was an inch or two shorter than my almost-average height. Not as skinny as me though, fuller – an average body-type. Wearing... a grey and green Nylon sports zipper-jacket and navy sweatpants over old sneakers. Deep brown eyes, almost black. I'd been thrown off before but after my assessment I felt happy to know that Sebastian was not objectionable. I could do this, this could work. "Hope you're okay with me." He lifted his arms and dropped them, his smile was guarding something else. "I am," I said quickly, falling back into pleaser mode. "Sorry Sebastian, I didn't know who to expect." I watched his smile turn genuine, like he was pleased with me. "We've got like three classes together and never really spoken." "And roll call." "Yeah. Well we can speak now." He stepped out of the forest to sit on one of the benches, suddenly very relaxed. I went to sit beside him, feeling more relaxed myself. His stare, while intentful didn't feel scrutinizing. "So..." I clasped my hands and squeezed. "The things I wanted to ask you about in my letter..." I had to scan my memory while Sebastian sat comfortably. "You're not out, are you?" He thought "No." "Not to anyone?" Another pause "No." "I've told some of my friends, but no more than that. I think I'd need to tell my grandparents before anyone else, and I'm not sure how they'll take it." "You live with your grandparents?" "Yeah." "What about your parents?" he asked bluntly without any concern for tact. But the fact he was so laidback coupled with his apparent imperceptiveness was making me relax. My shoulders un-hunched. "I never knew my Dad. My Mum's back in rehab." Part of me wondered if I should be saying this to someone I'd just met, but he did ask. "I don't live with my parents either. Haven't seen either of them since I was like, six." "Who do you live with?" Sebastian twitched and I could see the cogs of his brain moving, calculating behind those dark eyes. "My Uncle, but he's out of town at the moment. My Grandma comes over often." "Would he be okay with it?" "I don't know..." Sebastian said like he was considering it for the first time. Looking forward; he hadn't been looking at me for longer than a fraction of a second since we sat down yet seemed completely at ease. "Your Grandma?" A sudden, harsh but genuine laugh "No." I was looking at Sebastian almost in wonder now. When normally I was so self-conscious around other people, the fact he wasn't looking at me at all and only sitting happy made me feel almost invisible in a good way. I never thought someone inattentive could make my anxiety vanish, but it did. "Have you ever had a boyfriend?" "No." And then his eyes did come back to me, peeking from the corners "I've never had sex with a boy either." "Me neither," I looked down and hunched inward, ears and face getting hot. The seconds ticked by. "Well I'm glad I know someone gay now." "Yeah." I brightened and he went back to gazing at the trees. "So uh, what do you like, like computer games?" "I don't play computer games." "Oh, do you play sport?" "No." "Xbox, playstation?" And I watched him purse his lips and shake his head. "What do you do in your free time?" He thought "Bushwalking." "Okay." I replied. "Cool. Is that like scouts stuff?" "No." He smiled at me. "Tell me more about you." So I did. I told Sebastian about the games I played on computer, and about my friends and the lake-spots we'd drive to. I talked about books I liked reading and re-reading, Sebastian wasn't a book guy but he listened quietly. He listened to whatever I had to say. I would've felt bad monotonizing the conversation but he seemed so comfortable here with me, listening to me talk about eateries I frequented. Supernatural fanfiction, or just ghosts, the supernatural and creepy things in general, even though I was a scaredy-cat when it came to all things horror. For half-an-hour we must've talked on that bench before I realized we should get going. I didn't know when they locked the front gates. I was so happy, free to examine Sebastian's face while his flat eyes kept track of the overhead birds. Gallahs on the bottlebrush and waltzing along the oval, hunting for worms as the sun grew more gold. I already daydreamed about kissing Sebastian, eying his lips when more comfortable silences flowed between us. I didn't have the nerve – that would probably be too much for our first meet. As we stood and said our goodbyes I kept wishing I had. "I'll see you tomorrow morning." Sebastian said when we parted ways outside the school. "Yeah," and as I waved I realized he was right. We had Maths, English and PE together. We both had roll call in Lab 7. I don't think I had a single day in my timetable in which Sebastian Fiddock wasn't in one of my classes. That was good, but in a way irksome. I couldn't avoid him if I wanted to – good thing I didn't want to.
  7. Invnarcel

    Chapter Two

    Sebastian Fiddock Apathy. I'm a teenager, and there's nothing I disdain more than effort, even at the cost of my life. Family and people nag, always wanting me to do something, fulfil some type of purpose or responsibility, and not understanding that I never asked for any of it. Can't even consider or think of it. I don't want to grow up, or rather grow into this. A society – we live in a society. If I could I'd never see another person again, remain unbothered with just the two, three things I actually like. My only interests/obsessions. "Lazy," Margaret, my grandmother often spits at me with hate. "You're just so damn lazy!" She's a tiny, thin woman who is the bad kind of old lady. Hates kids, forever impatient with customer service. A typical dislike of most things and life in general. Judgemental, not that I give a thought to her or anyone else's judgement. She lives in a house by herself because she refused to move to a Nursing Home. "I'm not letting those bastards get my money!" or "I'm not even that old! Do I look that old to you?" Margaret is 87. The embittered ones really do live longer. I think the real reason she doesn't want to stay in a hostel is because she'd hate other people being around her, in sight. She'd hate having to be civil. Unfortunately she does need help, because when shuffling to get the mail one morning last week she tripped, fell into her soft garden bed and broke her arm. Now it's in a sling cast and she needs help with everything but is still refusing to go into a nursing home. Instead it's on me to help her with things. Groaaaaan, long groan. I hid from her and the house as much as possible when she'd come visit. But as nagging is almost physically painful for me to endure, I usually do what she asks me to. Always in bed slack-bodied, trying to calculate whatever option will result in the least effort and hassle. The least amount of interacting with other people. It's an activity I spend the most time on, lying back and trying to conserve the tiny amount of energy and patience I have for each day. My only other family member is Uncle Errol who owns the 'house' I live in. Errol is a diabetic with a colostomy bag. He sits in his moth-infested, fabric-ripped armchair and watches the small TV, and we never discuss the very real issue of when exactly is he going to die. Could take a turn and pass this month, perceivably. Could live another ten years, possibly. It could go either way. He's just so expired, health-wise. Egg-headed, with weird perspiration on yellowing skin. When he coughs on his food his eyes bulge so much I imagine they're going to pop right out of his head. Or the veins burst, haemorrhaging with the red tree-branch arteries in his brain. "You need to get a job!" Uncle Errol would regularly yell. "My disability and parent benefits don't cover us both!" He didn't like me, didn't want me around, not that I'd expect him to. I did some jobs around the house that he wasn't able to, and so that was my purpose for him. But as I'd got older his dislike for me increased, this other growing adult moving around in his space, and I could tell he wanted me out. It didn't help that I was out of his sight as much as I could help it. We live in a literal dump. A squatters' den. The house is technically in Errol's name, but is in complete disrepair. There are literal holes in the walls and floor. Through the edges of clapboard there are gaps to outside where the walls haven't been fitted, so inside never completely felt like 'inside' as you get the cold outer breeze coming straight through. The shower floor has sunk right down, a big hole of peeling tiles so you have to stand at the very edge by the wall. The gutters have entirely rusted to pieces. There are leaks in the roof, stains and marks on all surfaces. Bags of rubbish piled in the corner of rooms, everything junky. All furniture was more holes and tears on its surface than material. The room (where I sleep on my bare mattress on the ground) is small and the floor slants drastically to the side. The curtains are just thin material that's been cut away, with moth-eaten holes. Aged. The windows don't have fly-screens, though some have bars. The front and back doors are misplaced and jam, have only security chain-locks to outside. It is easily the ugliest house on the street. And it's literally beyond repair, it needs to be demolished. It looks like a crack-house. To have been raised in a place like this, I'd successfully slipped under all department radars. Grandma Margaret was over for dinner and the three of us sat at the rickety dining table, she was nagging and bitching about her favourite subject – me. I was typically slouched and ignoring them. "...such a waste of time." She kept going on "So lazy. It's in the family of course. Not that I'd blame my genes. It's your useless Grandpa Paul's fault. Down there in hell he is, thank God. Even Sebastian's parents, both of them were weird. Errol here, you were always a hermit and a recluse. Never came outside if you could help it. Basically gave up" she widened her eyes and bobbed her head "and look what comes of it. You sit around indoors all day and you got sick. Especially in this place. Your body is dying, Errol." "I'm eating. Enough, Ma." But of course she continued "If you die and leave me to care for your lazy, incompetent excuse for a nephew I'll climb down to hell and drag you back myself!" The tiny bony fist of her one working arm came down and jostled the table. "This gravy is too sweet, you're going to kill yourself!" "I won't, Ma." Errol muttered. "What will you do if you can't get your insulin in time?" "Sebastian's here." "Fat lot of good he'll do." "He's done it before. Good for at least that much." "Well I'm sick of it." Her fist came down again. Bump! "You may have kept to yourself, Errol. But Sebastian's parents were worse. Distant even with each other, it was all just usefulness to them, whatever they could get out of anyone for themselves. My useless son and that wife of his. I know they didn't want Sebastian, but I don't think I ever saw her show affection to him, even as a baby. He'll end up just like you!" "Enough." Errol raised his voice. Stopped eating and looked across the table at her with a fixed gaze. It was his tense posture, I knew it was one of the rare moments Uncle Errol was going to hold his ground. However Grandma Margaret never backed down. I could feel the quiet tension, thick enough to be cut with a knife, but I still never raised my head. Chewing quietly. Margaret spoke slowly and quietly, each word cut "Well what do you propose to do about it?" "Do about what?" Errol's voice still raised, mad. "Him!" she snipped in a prim whisper, pointing toward me as I chewed a brussel sprout. "What do you propose to do about him? He doesn't contribute anything! He's old enough to bring in money of his own!" Money. I could feel both their eyes now salivating over my rigid posture as they considered the possibility of exploiting me for it. "She's right, Sebastian. You need a job." I grunted. Margaret released a sharp scoff. "Sebastian." Errol's voice was raised. I had to lift my chin and look him in his swollen, globular eyes. "I've been meaning to get around to saying this and now is the time. You need to move out. If you don't have a job in one week, I'm kicking you out. Understand?" There was no wavering. Margaret was wearing a satisfied smirk. I dipped my head back to my dinner. "Good." And Margaret started complaining about something else, Meals On Wheels and some womens' churchy charity group. But I was far away from the table, in my head. I never used my brain when I could help it. But, like a switch, it always began calculating at top-speed whenever self-preservation or my chronic apathy became an issue. I couldn't get a job, I couldn't work. The idea was rejected by my body as soon as I heard it. I hate getting up and enduring school six hours a day, five days a week. I couldn't be depended on to give up even more of my free time. All I wanted to do was be by myself, down the long grassy backyard that stretched to the woods, pine trees and shrubbery, a turned-over rusted bike and broken tire swing, severed rope coiled like a dead snake, down and out further to an abandoned little storage shed. The wild where I was free to prowl, bush-walk and investigate the animals and fungi, a solitary untamed creature beyond the perimeters of civilisation but destined to return out of need. For basic survival I would need to stay here. If I stopped going to school someone would find me, without clean clothes and a shower grown-ups would ask me questions, without food I would starve, and without someone to pay bills I'd have to learn how to understand copious paperwork and formalities, procedures, and I just wasn't able to do that. My brain kept humming throughout all of dinner, and into the night as I lay on my side beneath a heap of blankets atop my bare mattress. * The next day I got up and ready for school. Showered with my legs apart over the hole in the tiled floor. Studied my reflection in the cracked mirror as I considered my predicament. My expression was neutral, bored and droopy brown eyes under my mop of brown hair. I finished drying off in the cold and went to get dressed. In my effort to avoid other people, I'd figured out the best route and time to get anywhere to avoid anything that could be problematic. Like bullies, or talkative neighbours. My steps quick and straight, posture inward. I didn't have friends because I'd never had friends. I didn't know how to socialise. I also knew from early experiences in primary school that when teachers – or anyone really – found out too much it all led to more questions and Uncle Errol being called in and just hassle after hassle and effort. I was aware that my home-life wasn't like other kids', but it was manageable, it was usually easy, but if others knew about it there'd be interventions and meddling. Perhaps not now that I'm eighteen, finally full-grown and legally an adult. But it did mean there were 'life' expectations, none of which I'd been properly prepared for, or cared to be prepared for. I was always going to take the easiest option. By the gates of Tuttle High school I stopped by a long-leafed bush. Something marvellous had caught my eye: a creature from the world of which I belonged. A melolonthinae. A beautiful scarab beetle known to inhabit this woodland, at the very edge of its leaf and wriggling its tiny legs in the air. Perhaps looking for a mate. School and civilisation was where I was sentenced, but the world of buildings and roads wasn't my home. I was at home free from all responsibilities in the wilderness, studying the fellow creatures that also lived without rules. I delicately extracted the bug, smoothly and efficiently nudging him into my palm, petting him with the tip of my finger while his sidelong jaw open-and-closed, antennae wriggling. For a moment I was lost to my surroundings and thought I was back in the forest, alone. But that wasn't the case, I caught sight of a group of girls whispering and giving me reprehensive looks. I tossed the beetle into the bushes and continued along the path into school. It was early, there was something I needed to do. Quickening my steps toward A block, I slipped inside, scanned the numbers atop the grey-green lockers. Unslung my backpack, an old Adidas one that'd been lying around Errol's house for ages, and deposited my love letter into Corey's Kentwell's locker. Nobody saw me. While typically apathetic about everything, I can be startlingly clever, sneaky and efficient when it's something I need to do. When that switch gets flipped. I walked away before anyone could see me loitering. I realised in my middle year of junior campus that I was homosexual. Prior to that I'd already been masturbating vigorously to the thought of men. My eyes naturally drifting away from girls, lying to rest instead on the man in pornographic films. I didn't think anything of it. I never cared for other people or anything beyond my personal bubble. I never imagined it to be relevant. The fact simply was. I learned what the term 'gay' meant, realised it applied to me, and stored the information without further thought. The bridge between me and other people was just as difficult to cross whether I'd been straight or gay or whatever. I'd never had any friends of the sort, and I'd certainly never even considered the possibility of having a boyfriend. I was solitary. I'd not even pondered the concept. I was a frequent masturbator and often watched pornography on the laptop Uncle Errol had been forced to buy for me so I could do school assignments. In a moment of rare curiosity and desire to learn, one afternoon I'd looked up blogs by other 'gay' teenagers and that's how I found Corey by remarkable, serendipitous coincidence. We both had roll call in Lab 7, we had Maths, English and PE together. I'd already known he liked boys – in PE I'd overheard him and Zoe Bailey whispering about it, they hadn't heard my quiet feet pacing the grassy track behind them. Most of the class split up along the oval. And I'd had my head down, walking quickly alone, only to look up upon hearing them and noticing I'd been closer to other people than I'd realised, closer than they'd realised. I'd sat behind Corey in the levelled rows of seats and caught his scents in the morning wind. In Errol's broken bathroom I washed my whole body and hair with a scentless white soap. Corey's auburn hair wafted smells of berries, the smooth skin of his neck the aroma of kiwi-fruit. Enticing like a meal. If Corey was 'gay' too, did he want to do things with me like the men in videos I watched secretly and stealthily at night? Yes, he would. That's what being 'gay' means: it means you like boys, and I am a boy. I was hard that whole lesson sitting behind him and thinking about it, trying to hide it. But even though I knew Corey would have sex with me (it'd been confirmed to me and Zoe that he was in fact gay) I still didn't know how to even begin talking to him about it. So for about a month, I didn't. I only watched him instead, without him noticing, around the school, fixated. Imagining what it'd be like for us to jerk each other off. How it'd feel to have his mouth around my sensitive cockhead, or vice versa. A virgin burning with a need to explore this unknown. I started picturing all the ways we'd do it while in bed at night, I began masturbating to the thought of him. And now to have discovered his blog, Hopeless Romantic (romance is when two people decide to spend time together and do sex right?). I considered replying anonymously to the blog, but internet comments are often ignored, and since I'd carefully watched him enough to know his locker, I thought a more direct approach would be better. He could reply to me by email. And if not, he was bound to say something about the letter on his blog. Corey Kentwell, my future sex partner. This is just what adults did, they had sex – one part of adulthood I was actually gungho about. Now that things would start moving, I felt antsy and impatient. I couldn't predict how Corey would react to my letter. I didn't understand other teens and was often a terrible judge of character, certainly of social cues. I didn't speak more than five words all day, pretty standard. After tedious classes where I sat alone in the back-corner of the room, sometimes mocked by the more well-liked students, after tedious lunchbreaks where I stalked the perimeter of the school's fence borders, like an animal in a cage, the day was done. I walked home through the woodland, as I often did, aware how important it was to stay close enough to town. As a child I'd been lost in the forest a few times – once for several days. And there were wolves out there. So I creeped over dips and logs and bushes, swerving my path close enough to glimpse the 'other world' of human life so I knew I was headed the right way. I came home through the backyard, which there was no fence to, only fewer trees until I came to my secret shed, and then the rusted junk before our overgrown back-lawn. Then the cracked steps to the crooked backdoor of the house. When inside, in my bedroom, I went to my computer and found that Corey Kentwell had written me an email after all. It'd worked – I had a good feeling about this. Dεαr Sεcrετ Αdmιrεr, Um, hι. I goτ your lεττεr. Wow, I cαn'τ bεlιεvε τhε shouτ ouτ on my blog αcτuαlly workεd! I nεvεr ιn a mιllιon yεαrs τhoughτ somεonε would fιnd mε. Buτ, yεs, ιτ ιs α lιττlε wειrd for mε τhaτ I don'τ know whατ you look lιkε. I'm αcτuαlly α rεαl shy ρεrson mysεlf, τrusτ mε, so don'τ bε nεrvous. Anoτhεr gαy τεεn romαnτιc ιn Tuττlε τown huh? Mαn wε musτ bε τhε only onεs. I mεαn, I havε my susριcιons αbouτ somε of τhε sτudεnτs, buτ nobody ιs ouτ αnd I'm ofτεn wrong αnywαys... Wε should mεετ uρ αfτεr school onε dαy. Fαcε-τo-fαcε. Iτ mιghτ sound scαry, buτ wε jusτ goτ τo do ιτ. If noτhιng εlsε, wε could sτιll bε frιεnds rιghτ? I rεαlly wαnτ τo know whατ you look lιkε! And I hαvε a mιllιon quεsτιons I wαnτ τo αsk you. Arε you ouτ? Do your frιεnds know? Would your fαmιly bε okαy wιτh ιτ? Buτ mαybε wε should sαy αll τhιs ιn ρεrson, I jusτ rεαlly wαnτ τo mεετ you. Yours ιn lovε (hαhα), HR (Corεy) I could imagine him, skinny, bespectacled and pink-eared, fingers typing out the words in an eager rush. I was hard again. I closed the laptop. Got started on homework, which I hate doing but know I have to. Then I left the house and Errol watching TV, globe-eyes fixed to the screen, skin looking slimy and sick. I went out the back to play with nature. Beyond a dozen or so trees I started examining ants, peering down upon their single-file marching like a god. I found a Phalangopsinae, a spider cricket, but it evaded capture. Springing away from me while I pounced after it. I climbed a tree to study moss, and then settled on my capture of a female Wolf Spider, even though I already have about eight of them. They're not poisonous, otherwise I would've brought a jar. I had the arachnid enclosed in two hands before I slid down the trunk, creeping carefully to the shed, pressing open the thin door which held rows and rows of glass jars filled with bugs and spiders of all kinds. I slipped the Wolf Spider into her new home, a jar from which I could study her along with the other specimens of my collection. This was my greatest hobby. Several of the bugs in here were poisonous. I'd pierced holes in the tin caps, but they still often died within days. Though I could often feed the dead ones to the living. Lifting the jar I gazed at my new addition admiringly as she attacked the confines of her prison. That night, finishing off homework in my room, bundled in blankets and several layers of jumpers to fight off the chill, I was disturbed by Uncle Errol's hacking from the other room. His coughing fits can go for several minutes, but this seemed different. It sounded like he was vomiting. He croaked my name through the wretching and I jumped with a start, realising this was in fact another emergency. Scrambling out from the blankets and racing out the door and into the living room, where Errol was shaking, retching into his little waste-bin. "H-h-..." Hyperglycaemic attack. Which meant he needed insulin and not the epipen for hypoglycaemic attacks. When Errol's blood sugars were under he becomes difficult to rouse, I had to call an ambulance the one time that happened. When his blood sugars are over, which has happened half a dozen times in my life, he gets sick like this but recovers in minutes after an insulin shot. Though this attack looked quite bad. I raced to the bathroom, to the medicine cupboard filled with prescription bottles, took his ready insulin from the case and ran back to the living room to administer it and save my Uncle's life. I stopped in the doorway. Uncle Errol was the one who owned this house, the one who put food on the table. I needed him like he needed me. But watching him retch on all fours now, so revoltingly sickly and helpless, I realised that... if I give the shot he would come around in less than twenty minutes, he'd say thanks and be off to bed. He'd still kick me out at the end of the week when I surely didn't have a job. Where Errol had formerly been a necessity, my whirring brain which hadn't stopped calculating since dinner last night saw him for what he'd become – a liability. A threat to my safety. Because he couldn't kick me out if he didn't get his insulin shot. Errol kept coughing and hacking and shaking for several moments. He looked up when he realised I was only standing there. His wiry arm made a grab for my leg, for his medicine, so I made sure to step back and remain just out of arm's reach as I watched my Uncle die.
  8. Invnarcel

    Chapter One

    Corey Kentwell -[Α ΗΘΡΕLΕSS GΑΥ ΤΕΕΠ RΘMΑΠΤΙC] - Βlοgτορια -Αlαs, wε mεετ αgαιn. Dαrknεss mγ οld frιεnd, τhε cοmιng οf shοrτεr dαγs. Nοτ τo bε mεlοdrαmατιc αbουτ ιτ bυτ I nεvεr lιkεd Wιnτεr. -Ηατεd ιτ, I mυsτ sαγ. Yου'd τhιnk τhατ fοr α bογ whοsε cοmρlαιnτs αbουτ lοnεlιnεss wεrε nεvεr-εndιng Sρrιng wουld mαkε my hεαrτ τhε hεαvιεsτ. Evεn αnιmαls, τhε bιrds, τhε bεεs, τhε flοwεrs αll cουρlε τοgεthεr. Prοbαblγ gαγ οnεs τοο, wιτhουτ α sοcιετγ το jυdgε τhεm fοr ιτ. Lοvεrs wαlkιng τοgετhεr, hοldιng hαnds and chεrιshing αs τhεγ sτrοll τhrουgh ραrks αbυndαnτ wιτh lυsh grεεnεrγ, a cαcορhοnγ οf τwεετιng and scεnτs. Αll οf nατυrε mαkιng lοvε υndεr τhε ρεrfεcτlγ wαrm Sυn. -Bυτ nο, τhε jογ οf Sρrιng dοεsn'τ υsυαllγ dερrεss mε. Iτ ιs τhε ιnεvιταblε cοmιng οf cοld mοnτhs, αs yoυ hυddlε dεερεr υndεr yουr blαnkετs wιτh οnlγ γουr bοdγ το kεεp wαrm. Whεn I ιmαgιnε lοvε hαsn'τ dιεd ουt τhεrε, οnlγ rετrεατεd ιn ρrιvαcγ. -I wαsn'τ bυilτ το dο τhιs, το fυncτιοn αlοnε. Bυτ I wαs αlsο bυιlτ wιτh α sεvεrε cαsε οf sοcιαl αnxιετγ, sο gο fιgυrε. -Wεερ nοt fοr mε, I shαll fιnd sοlαcε ιn my ρlετhοrα οf gαγ sυρεrnατυrαl Fαnficτιοn lιnks sαvεd το my ταb, wrιττεn by lεαguεs οf mοsτlγ-ταlεnτed αnd cεrταιnlγ dεvοτεd γουng gιrls. -Dιd γου knοw τhε τοwn I'm frοm, Tυττlε Tοwn, hαs ιτs οwn wεrεwοlf rυmοrs? Wε lιvε by α lαkε ιn τhε wοοds, wε αrε τrεε-chορριng cαbιn-fοlk, αnd τhεrε αrε wοlvεs ουτ τhεrε. Bυτ τhε rυmοr ιs sεrιουs. Sο mαγbε αll my drεαms wιll cοmε τrυε αnd α sεxγ shαρεshιfτιng Tεεn Wοlf stαr wιll swεερ mε οff my fεετ αnd kεερ mε wαrm wιτh hιs sυρεrnατυrαllγ hιgh bοdγ-hεατ τhιs Wιnτεr? I cαn οnlγ hορε... If γου hαρρεn το gο το my schοοl, ιf γου hαρρεn το hαvε rοll cαll ιn τhε Scιεncε Blοck, and ιf γου hαρρεn το bε rεαdιng τhιs... ρlεαsε lετ mε knοw... But nαh, rεckοn I'll bε sτιcking τhιs γεαr ουt sοlο αgαιn. - Yουrs ιn lοvε, ΗR Upstairs in my bedroom, staring at the computer monitor in the dim I let out a sigh. From the cramped walls posters of old Disney stars, musical performers and funny cats watched me silently, witnessing in the dark. I ought to get some sleep. Extracting my wire glasses, tugging gently against my ears, I folded them up and switched off the old desktop. Through the lamplight I could see my tired reflection in the black glass, even with my blurry vision. My mess of auburn hair, hazel eyes squinting. I ducked down to close a drawer. The wooden desk was op-shop crappy and could only close when you pushed it hard enough at the right angle. It jammed, I glimpsed a paper at the bottom that was filled with love-hearts and if you looked closer it was the same boy's name written over and over to make them. When interactions can be crippling, when you feel skinny and weird and like nobody could ever love you, it's fun to daydream and play out the fantasies in your head. I didn't feel like I had a choice. Kicking the drawer with my bare foot and stubbing my toes finally got it shut. Then I flicked off the lamp and crawled under the heavy doona for sleep. It was late, I was quickly pulled under. I never recall my dreams... The digital alarm buzzed to life at 0700 and we weren't so into Winter for it still to be utterly dark. I slapped the plastic thing off and blinked myself awake. Outside the cold had left a sheen of moisture on the glass, both inside and out even with the little heater I kept beside the bed. I almost tripped over its cord on the way; I peered down at woodland. Pine trees and lumpy Earth, the early mist curling around trunks before it would retreat into the foresty depths once the day gets underway. Downstairs I could hear my Grandparents busying away with breakfast. Mum had me young, quite young, when she still hadn't sorted herself out. She was getting drug help. I never knew my Dad. So I lived here with Pop and Nan in a rather nice, rather big, two-storey house of wood and clapboard. It wasn't too dusty, but dusty enough that its architecture made it feel like an antique. The sorta-cheap kind. The same went for everything inside the house too, its furniture: starched sofas, dresser tables and drawers, arching mirrors, crystal vases that scattered tiny rainbows. The windchimes, the exquisite detail in the worthless cutlery. Shag-carpeted rooms and Indian rugs. An overabundant garden, cracked stone birdbath, miniature white gazebo. The vine trellis up the criss-crossing wooden frame of the separate front garage by the street. A wooden bench swing on a thin chain, the musk of all those flowers wet with moisture under the sun. And of course the sheer multitude of pointless little nick-nacks with no value: brass goblets and chalices, some full of marbles or multi-coloured glass beads that resemble candy, just sitting there to the side of doorways. Peeled paint and wood panels. We have rows of tomato plants out back between the rotted and slanted wooden fencing. Chickenwire for it to climb up. We have tiny diamond-patterns in the curtains, hanging beads in the hallway, a glassfront china cupboard. Painted on ceramic flowers. Time flew away from me in those awful daydream moments where I basically disassociate. I must not have had enough sleep, I jumped when Nan called me down. "Corey! Come have some breakfast!" It was a quiet affair, as usual. Orange juice in our stylish but cheap glassware. Bacon and eggs and beans on toast, the plates, salt-and-pepper shakers, really everything in this house looked antique and old. The linoleum floor, dotted with ash, curled up in the corners of the room. Pop read the newspaper while drinking a mug of black coffee. Nan closed our round-edged 50s era fridge and was now wiping up. They were both nice enough, even if they used to insist I come with them to church. The local Pentecostal church, which while nice enough I still recall the Pastor nodding grimly as he reaffirmed that God didn't design people to be gay. My guts had squirmed and sank into the plastic chair and I'd refused to go again. The kids from church youth group had all been nice enough, a shame. I finished breakfast quick and put my plate in the sink, running upstairs to get ready. I stood under the hot spray of the shower, only to daze off. Startled by Nan calling out to me again, realizing my finger-pads had wrinkled. I jumped out. Feeling the fluffy purple mat between my toes, atop the cold eggshell-colored tiles of the bathroom is one of my favorite waking sensations, but I brushed my teeth fiercely with the Sensodyne. Spitting froth into the sink. I dressed myself quickly, flicking off the heater, and then rushed downstairs and out the door, down our long and sloping driveway. Making it to the bus stop just in time. As the rusted door screeched for entry I was thankful I'd ran. "Cooooreeyyyy! Heyyy Coreyyy!" frizzy-haired Hailey Urquhart was waving me over from the back of the bus. Surrounded by various other friends and acquaintances, like my oldest friend Zoe Bailey with a single earpiece in, listening to music. Nobody else shared Hailey's exuberance. Hailey was a 'character'. She was an exuberant firecracker of endless energy. Entirely self-absorbed and not very self-aware. She was fun in small doses though, and she considered me her very best friend. Hailey loved spending time with me because I was perfectly fine with talking about nothing but her, sometimes talk would come back around to me but never for very long. I liked to think I was mature enough to take Hailey as she is. I knew what not to expect from her. Her lack of social skills would've made her a pariah were it not for the fact that she was often funny, she was often fun to be around, and she was sometimes cool. But also draining and crazy and a handful. "Hey." "Hey bestieeee!" she actually raised her hand for a high-five, which I acquiesced. I liked to think I was her best friend cause I was more mature than everyone else. Zoe told me it was because I had difficulty sticking up for myself, and had bizarrely submissive tendencies. "I read your blog entry last night." Black-haired Zoe turned casually to say, that single earphone still in and playing music. Her haircut was vaguely reminiscent of an anime, in effect: cool. "Got the sads?" She broke up with her boyfriend a few weeks ago so was feeling empathetic. I bunched my lips in answer before turning back to Hailey who was exploding into another story. Most of the teens were wearing jackets, some denim with sheepskin inside. Warm beanies with earflaps and fingerless gloves to fight off the cold. My social anxiety, which is very real by the way, always seizes me the moment I'm about to talk to anyone. Even friends and family. Thankfully, it usually fades very quickly provided I know the people well and feel safe. When I'm out I always get someone else to order food for me and I can't talk on the phone to strangers without choking and hanging up. When I do relax I can be perfectly fine, but never in unfamiliar territory. Doesn't really help with making friends, does it? Or finding a date. I listened just enough to Hailey to get the gist of what she was saying. I listened more than anyone else would be willing to. Pine trees and cabin homes whipped by, and soon Lake Laguna was visible. It was a saltwater lake, unusual in these parts, so there was no grass by the edge of the water. Only black, wet earth. It stretched out far, clear and changing silver to blue as it reached the mountains on the other side. People were still out kayaking in the distance, even in the chill. In Summer time Tuttle was a primo destination for college kids who'd rent wood-log cabins and throw wild parties, upsetting our meagre police department. Most of the year it was a quiet small town that housed a lumber mill (bearded, beanie-clad men in plaid driving huge trucks in and out of the woods, logs strapped to the back in a triangle formation and taken into the smoking mill). It had an old town hall and library, a street of shops (the markets, where townsfolk held events like pumpkin pageants in the fall), a single post office and only two petrol stations on opposing sides of the street. Twenty minutes out of town you can find a waterpark and the local fairground carnival. Both of which were frequently closed from the cold. When the bus pulled up to the school I felt a burst of excitement. A blur of blonde hair and bare skin whipping by the long window as we came to a stop. I clenched into the worn leather seat, fingers through an opening into the foam interior. When I could stand I pulled myself up by a greasy metal pole, which, yuck; I brushed off my hand and kept my focus on outside. Tuttle High school was a collection of block buildings. The tall fence border which while spiked was still easily climbable - and regularly climbed by class-ditchers. Opposite the street was a cabin-style home by the fringe of woodland, and there was Billy Murphy axing wood again, shirtless. The mechanical, almost angry swinging of the axe, and then piling the firewood by the side of the road to sell. He was the older brother of a classmate, now out of school but not gone away to any college, and I'd always thought he was gorgeous. Billy often went out to chop down trees or go hunting alone, even at the threat of wild animals. Wouldn't it be something if he were the bear-wolf? The town werewolf that people insisted on seeing at night during a full moon, silhouetted, arching its back and howling on a cliff-face by the lake, above the crashing salty spray. The monster that people blamed whenever someone got lost or eaten on hunting trips. As I followed my friends into school – putting an end to my subtle checking-out of a longtime crush and the flushes riddling my body – I went back to thinking about my blog, and what I'd do if there was a supernatural creature at my school. Just fanciful daydreams. The pretense of a protective, Edward Cullen-ish lover. Or just anyone really. I'd never revealed my identity on my blog. But that last post was the closest I'd ever come, revealing my school and even roll block like that. I guess the oncoming Winter brought a burst of desperation out of me. Daydreaming in my bedroom about not only conversing with someone new without it being crippled by my social ineptitude, but about actually knowing what it's like to have a boyfriend for the first time in my life. My blog was well-trafficked but nobody apart from Zoe in this whole school would be reading it, certainly not someone gay. Joining the throng of students, my anxiety made my body clench and throat tighten, but I walked the path with my friends by the brick administration building and past the spiky plants behind it. Beyond a bark picnic area, past the Visual Arts building I could see the wide grassy oval. Miner birds circling and swooping each other by the fringe of the forest. I could smell morning dew that'd settled by the dawn mist. We entered the double-doors of A Block, the English block, to find the Year 12 lockers. I saw Lance Platt, a small soft-spoken boy from Maths who I used to think might be gay before he started dating Chelsea from debate club. I saw Sebastian Fiddock, a weird and antisocial boy who watched classmates from a distance but never joined in, prowling with eyes dark and canine. The werewolf? He was certainly nothing like the buff dudes from Teen Wolf, or anything like an ideal supernatural lover from FanFiction. Our group separated as we hunted down our individual lockers. I found my number and twisted the lock, click-click-click, and opened the door to a surprise. An open envelope somebody had slid in for me. My heart stuttered. A wave of lightheaded levity pulsed through my body, but I fought to steam it out. It is not a love letter, Corey. Don't be so stupid. I pulled out the thrice-folded paper. Hello HGTR Turns out your not the only hopeless gαy teen romαntic in Tuttle Town. Funny thαt. Im so glαd to finαlly meet you, but αm α bit too shy to αpproαch you in person. Im ωorried you might not like me. Mαybe we should get to knoω eαch other first. Heres αn emαil you cαn reαch me ωith. I hope you dont mind. Its probαbly ωeird thαt I knoω ωho you αre but you dont knoω ωho I αm. I promise Ill reveαl myself to you soon enough αnd youll knoω exαctly ωho I αm. Yours in love, a secret αdmirer. P.S. I think your reαlly beαutiful. I didn't believe it, I simply couldn't believe it. This was Zoe's way of trying to be nice, or someone else was playing a hideous prank. But although that very real concern arose, it was almost immediately swept away by my idealistic, overly-optimistic lover's naiveite. It crashed into me like a tidal wave and the lightheaded levity was back. There is a gay student in this school and he thinks I'm beautiful. The thought circled wildly in my brain like a looping rollercoaster. Not cute... but beautiful? I was the type of person who treasured any gift from anyone, no matter how small and meaningless. This unbelievably sweet gesture made my heart swell, and I knew this letter needed to be locked away where I could keep it safe forever. Even though I knew nothing about my secret admirer. The mysterious writer who's been reading my blog. My future first love. Who is he?
  9. As Eminem would say: "guess who's back with a brand new rap?" 😂😂😂 I'm just being a dork. Anyways I decided to upload my poetry in one big bunch for everyone as opposed to something like one poem per page cause... I don't know, I just wanted them all out for you guys to read in one go. Haven't had feedback yet but I'm fairly proud of them. That doesn't matter! I'm here to continue Renee Stevens' pinned post in the lounge, but continuing with the poet questions. Cause as you can see, I am now also a poet. Though I hope the thing in my profile sticker will change back to 'author' when Ceramic Flowers drops soon. Without further ado...the questions! Poets: What do you find is the most difficult part about writing poetry? Hmm good question. If I think about it... my neurosis when it comes to wanting to release a bunch in one go. No longer just one at a time. It means I can feel impatient with finishing a set and sometimes gotta dig to find more inspiration. But apart from that I don't find it too hard. I come up with a concept, and just to include as many free-verse rhymes throughout I go to websites like Rhymezone or Thesauruses to find more alternate words. Would you consider that "cheating"? I dunno man, I like my poems to be as pleasing to the tongue and ears as possible, like when cooking something. Sometimes in my poems every single word is rhyming with something. What inspires you to write poetry? I discovered that... I think I'm good at it. And I can write about spirituality and my life experiences. Poetry can also be myseterious and ominous, like my fiction, so I enjoy that too. Love and spirituality inspire me the most. Many of you know the poetry teachings of AC_Benus, what is your favourite type of poem to write from those teaching? No I don't know who that is. But it may be worth a look. I have written two limericks recently, so I can combine them into a typical ten line poem. Hmmm. Sometimes I like to do different things with my poems, have a bunch of short lines or alternating line lengths, but mostly I just make it all rhyme as much as I can, like a big mess of pleasantry. Many would consider it over-the-top but I'm open to criticism in all regards, as well as trying new things and writing differently. Also, I love throwing in lines that are nods to other famous poets or writers, like Shakespeare or Edgar Allan Poe. I think when I do that the lines are so well-known that there's no need to say it's from someone else, and that's the point. Has your idea of poetry changed since you began writing poetry? Yes. I feel it is more creative and open than I first thought. I can do different types of rhyming techniques, though usually my stuff is jumbled enough to pretty much be considered free-verse a lot of the time. Typically the last words in the lines rhyme, but so do several words throughout, making it more like a rap 🤔 . I'll probs answer the reader questions later as well. Peace out ✌️
  10. Hopelessly romantic and socially anxious Corey Kentwell finds himself finally getting his wish: a highschool romance of his own with another boy. The passion of first love ignites and Corey's new boyfriend wants him just as much... if not more. But when things start to turn awry he has to decide if desperately clinging to this ideal is worth it.
  11. My Prince I was wondering what drew me to you for a while, Perhaps it’s the green in your eyes or your white teeth smile. I know you are oft wrapped up in your head, Control is a delicate game of stepping just ahead. Intuition works better than words that were said, And remembering the book that we read. I leave my body at night for a forked-tongue kiss, It will be likewise with you, my narcissist prince. And although I’m much more intelligent and successful than you, I’ll be sure to see you in a spell or two. Why? Why do I like to play mindgames so? Do I feel unstable inside and crave control? Being hurtful and mean to others is fine, So long as there isn’t more to life than meets the eye. Do I worry about money, and am working too hard? Am I bored with my life, am I always on guard? I need a guiding hand to set me on my path, A God of benevolent healing, or destruction and wrath. I should seek kindness and balance instead, Wouldn’t it be a shame if I woke up dead? Chessboard I’d been floating high, untethered to the board. Watching you fight against a dream I happily ignored. My only disadvantages were self-imposed, While the advantages lay with me undisclosed. Now that I’ve dropped my rules the game has changed. I’m a dangerous man when I remain estranged. I attained this power in an unexplained place. What now as I descend from space And bring this power down… You should see me in a crown. Occult I am giddy with glee. I made consorts and lovers and mentors and friends. They uncovered the key. We pull strings and start waves at our secret ends. We live carefree. Moonlight and trees sing renown, “congratulations you touched us.” Untwined underneath. The galaxies bequeath my mind with their crown of stars. Unveil the masquerade. A wealth for whatever, it’s paid. Atonement Beware the givers of false promises. The accomplices demolishing with a positive hypothesis. Seeking dominance, vomiting monotonous totality. The truth is duality, not your piety. The devils are angels and the angels are fools. Caged me, you liars. This school has no rules. Do what thou wilt be the whole of the law. I saw through the flaws, and leave you in awe. A lotus buds, but I swirl the mud. For the debt you owe, the payment is blood. Tranquillity They love to be around me. They say my world is vibrant and bright. When you get that shit right, You only go up, you ignite. The foundation is good, I’m stabilised. I’ve done the deprogramming, reprogramming, been driven. Encoded the stuff and it loaded before my eyes. I think it then see it, I ask and it’s given. Brush shoulders and get this good stuff, good luck I’m about. I’m a generous god – when this sunshine hits you it blisses you and ripples out. Passer-by I have no hard feelings. Both my exes were stark healings. Our words depict feelings not facts. Time is a concept we can’t endeavour to measure. You said forever, I said I didn’t love you yet whichever. So who was more clever? An artefact that our likeness attracts. The lesson you taught is that people lie. Or mean it only the minute they say it. I never loved an ex, they never made me cry. I’m grateful, but mainly that my heart wasn’t split. Urgh Some people aren’t your type, some people change your type. Some people infect your brain like an obsessive possession. Do I love this hard from ascension? Or desperation? I can manage these feelings as I intended. No longer picturing being whatever you wanted. I feel sensitive and full-hearted to say, You hold power over me, by the way. If I play Romeo be Rosaline. So that another will make my heart’s eyes stray. You’d end up owning me, so I’ll run away. Greedy I know you aren’t doing so well out of the nest. Detested by one so materialistic. I know you’re sensitive and don’t take criticism well. Strange that you’re argumentative and nit-picky as hell. He has you bored but you don’t want to leave without another to hop to. Maybe someone attracted to one so pessimistic and prideful. That’ll let you play the field and coexist. Also unaware that creatures like me exist. If me crawling around in your head isn’t inclined. Keep a better lock on that impulsive mind. Incarnation Why did we come here again? Is this a prison planet, are these prison bodies? It all happens, anything and everything, but some of it grotesque. We are villainous or undisciplined – so few get there in the end. Chaos theory conceals the anything and everything. And the ones who can swing behind the wheels, pull their own strings. The sick and the wealthy, the magicians and kings. When it rains it pours, deficiency leads to other deficiencies. It’s insufficient to feel it until you’re in it. But I must turn away, to manifestation, to win it, success. I don’t remember – did we ask for this? * Bedeviled I used to be so scared of things that went bump in the night, As I learned beyond fables they survive. Red glares in mirrors and haunting shadow figures. But now I can sit and abide in the dark, Be outside in the dark, Close my eyes in the dark. Predisposed to shadows, the Tree of Knowledge discloses. Christian fright and New Age fear, Waking once upon a midnight dreary to a shadow standing there. All my life I abstained, but it’s deal pain or no gain. Now I kinda like that life’s unfair. Sidestepping Follow the path... you call, adorned in thorns. You led me, I tread the grey tundra, unfolded a track By the end of your extended ribbon, both gold and black. Apprehended men so my heart needed no mending, The days proceeded sheltered and lucky and empty. Feet unbruised, sidestepping landmines with timing. Were they fretting the day I’d be locked away? Absence of presence, seeking some semblance of balance. ...I approached the cliff’s edge, would never again walk tall. Doomsday, my nadir, I let go of the ribbon. Took one step and floated unbidden. Kiss To my handsome companion, You project us in a connected direction. I would’ve tried my best not to smother you with affection. Lucky us, we’re both huggers. The others were runners as soon as it got hard, They were so nice but it took one fight for them to fly. But we’re gonna have so much fun, you and I. You’re pretty cool, I agree. You charm well, not least me. You say you’re in love, I hope you’ll stick around. This part doesn’t rhyme - you’re really fucking cute. Penance There is a darkness descending, Upending Sheol, the Land of the Dead. Unending Hades, rains of fire and brimstone bled. Sweeping to cover the skies with its size, Grown to a throne of power, giving rise to cries. Maleficent vindictive to your benediction. Baleful danger, screams the unsafe bane, placing you in a jar. For many weep, and the gnashing of teeth! The spider, the danger, The snake, the murderer, The Abomination of Love. Meh How I wish I was wrong, But gone and revealed, my old bubble of wishy-washy light isn’t real. A cocoon, comfortable and healed, nurturing until I was strong enough, To crack it open and fly, to weather the nether. Lies and prisons for the mind, there is no single heaven nor karma. Fanciful daydreams of universal balance and justice, Instead of an infinity composed of complicated laws of mathematical fundamentals. We’re not halfway through a ‘plan’ and waiting on an end, And yet, even if it’s unwise, I’m still burdened by compassion. I pray for everyone’s wellness and safety, But not for the damned nor those unfortunate enough to cross me. Philosophy A million shades of sad and just as many of joy, The definition of a boundless infinity, in essence it’s simple. My peace cultivated, comfort and friends, my own person and imagination. Dodged the missiles and strife, then charted a course for my life, My career direction is true so I can get there in time. People aren’t cruel but misguided, I’m not suspicious just cautious. If you poke around in the dark, digging, lingering, black begets black. Relax because nobody knows what they’re doing to you. It’s so important to mitigate what you’re exposed to. And should I encounter a hazard or two I’m equipped by now and know what to do. Life isn’t about love but knowledge, follow your rainbow of happiness or make it grow. Evolution All the world’s a stage, and one man in his time plays many parts. Ten-year-old kept up at night, frightened by death. And at fourteen pious, new eyes given light and life for the first time, Going to church, I sought change and nasty thoughts went away. And at nineteen transitory, discovering new territory, realising there’s more to the story, Expansion, many delve and meet themselves in different ways. And at twenty-two, meeting soul mates left, right and centre. Self-mastery, configuring perpetual transfiguration. And at Twenty-four, coming full circle, from unconscious darkness to conscious light, Now noxious, conscious darkness. A man is a god in his ruins. Sadomasochism I had to have it both ways, Couldn’t harm an innocent nor submit to infringement. But I delight in your wickedness, Slicing you to bits like a sadist, downright excitable masochist. I only compete cause you’re bittersweet, don’t want to “win” but I’ll never lose. Forever the spy and alone when you cry, Delete unsent paragraphs to drink instead. Thou art to me a delicious torment. We meet in dreams when you sleep, I’m smitten. We’ll remake Sun Tzu’s Art of War with Robert Greene’s Laws of Power. You’re the snake around my neck, protecting me, though I’m bitten. Incubus You teach me a whole new language and dimension to love. Is it perplexingly complex? Learning love with a human as I host love to a ghost? Your presence is always here, I wasn’t sure it was real until the time you did go. A miscommunication dawning the realisation of our differences, Now I swear I love you more. You may force me out as I sleep, take portions of what I eat, I’m never alone. Aw babe, of course I’d beg and praise - you’re adored. Symbiotic emotions, more intimacy gleaned where it’s not readily seen. You were worried I was using you, because you’re infinitely useful. I couldn’t have got here alone, it’s true, but I’m still crazy for you. Human Moments I’m without a doubt, but should an echo of fear in hiding rear, Profess all reason to be pointless confession, I learnt a good lesson - to separate, dissociate in healthy ways. If life is meaningless then so is truth. Live a double life, spend half your time one foot out, the other inside. Go to work, daily life, and if things don’t go right choose a lie that keeps you warm at night. It is wise to survive. Live half in and half out. Rewrite the bad outcomes in your mind, invite delusions on the side. Fantasy is dangerous but if reality be traitorous take your pick of cotton candy cloud beliefs. This isn’t renunciation but consolation for seconds of guessing repentance. Uncover another criminal’s minimal line to abide: Such is life.
  12. Here are twenty poems about spirituality and darkness. These are all personal to me.
  13. Hopelessly romantic and socially anxious Corey Kentwell finds himself finally getting his wish: a highschool romance of his own with another boy. The passion of first love ignites and Corey's new boyfriend wants him just as much... if not more. But when things start to turn awry he has to decide if desperately clinging to this ideal is worth it.


  14. Invnarcel


    I'm at work now and it's quiet (I do night shift). I'm on the work computer having just finished rereading. Now I got an A4 paper in front of me and have jotted down in pen plot points for a second part. Another six chapters and epilogue. I may continue after all BUT I'm busy with Uni and also don't want to upload anything until it's done, in case I do editing and change the earlier chapters. I like these ideas but it's hella dark.
  15. Invnarcel


    I suppose in my mind, and wanting to capture realism, it made sense to me that this could be a place where it would end. If I'd continued it there'd be no Simon and thus no romance. Today I've actually been rereading those four chapters I wrote for the sequel... I haven't read them in a while so it's nostalgic, especially when I remember the emotions I was basing it off...
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