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    Demiurge
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Mental Health will be discussed. I will flag specific chapters where it is heavier than others

I Hate This Town - 1. One: Encounters

Fall was slowly descending on the small Iowa town. The leaves had turned into a dizzying array of deep oranges, vibrant reds, and warm shades of gold. The town had been dropped in the middle of nowhere nearly 150 years ago. It had a scenic main street, lined with mature oak trees. That main street had businesses stretching along it as well as a tiny post office and library. Many of the building fronts had been decked out for fall. Some had even jumped ahead to Halloween which was more than a month away. The population only amounted to around 2,000. It was cute. The kind of place you might find on a postcard. There was plenty to admire as you drove through. Through. That was the point. You shouldn’t stay. That was Alec Kennedy’s opinion any way. Unfortunately, his parents were unable to consult him when they decided to put down roots in the godforsaken place. He had to admit it would’ve been difficult since he hadn’t been born yet.

Foot connecting with the sidewalk, he pushed himself faster, building up momentum as he passed the library. Alec heard a shout but couldn’t force himself to care. Not that he really wanted to anyway. Care that is. There was little here he cared about. It started and ended with his family. That was it. Well…okay, maybe there was one more thing. His board left the ground, the underside grinding against the edge of a cement planter box. Body jerking slightly when he hit the ground again, he dropped his arms from where he’d been holding them up to balance. His speed slowed and he let the board carry him through the intersection. A car slammed on its brakes and yet another shout reached his ears. Alec sneered and raised his middle finger as his board slowed to a stop on the other side. Stomping on the end of it he pushed shaggy, blue hair out of his eyes

Alec looked in time to see the owner of a beaten-up old truck shake his fist at him. He rolled his eyes and started walking. He had places to be and more people to annoy. Scuffed sneakers led him to the store at the end of the block. Its brick was painted a clean white. The trim around the two windows-one on either side of the entrance-was black. Neat letters in one window spelled out “Larson’s Homemade Pies and Sweet Treats”. Alec grasped the handle after taking a deep breath. He tugged the turquoise door open and stepped inside as he let the breath out. A bell dinged overhead.

The store was like the rest of the town: small. Alec wouldn’t have given it a second look had his mother not dragged him in to buy a pie one Thanksgiving. That day, three days before his least favorite holiday, he’d found something that was worth his attention in his hometown. Alec scanned the lighted display case. It hosted a ridiculous number of sweets. Cinnamon rolls, several types of cookies, chocolates, candy, and pies of course. His nose wrinkled and he walked a few more steps inside. There were two small tables with more goods on display and the far wall was home to two-chair turquoise tables with black metal chairs. The shop had a theme, if you missed it.

“Hey there!”

Alec jumped and held his board a little closer. He couldn’t immediately find the source of the chipper, but muffled voice. It drew him farther inside and to the counter. He wasn’t positive, but he thought it may have come from that direction. When he was close enough to touch the case, a blond head popped up behind the counter. Alec grimaced as it startled him yet again. He hadn’t known he was this close, but now he was unexpectedly face to face with the only reason he’d come in.

The simple black nametag read Finn. Alec stared at the white wall behind Finn’s head. His nerves were quickly fraying like an old piece of rope as he continued to avoid the other boy’s eyes. He’d never noticed that the walls were vertically striped. White and a light grey. It was nice, he decided. Rubbing his neck, Alec let his eyes stray to a pair of deep brown eyes. Had there always been this much spit in his mouth? It was making it hard to breathe. He swallowed, trying to clear his mouth so that he might convince it to form words.

The display case came to the center of Alec’s chest. The boy-Finn-was at least a head taller.

“Uh, can I help you?” The corners of Finn’s smile twitched the tiniest bit. Alec swallowed again and dropped his eyes to the, frankly, stupid amount of sugar right under his nose.

“Uh, I-I, uh…” They both jumped as Alec let his hands slam down on the case’s glass front. Panicking, Alec blurted, “Is any of this good?”

The blond head tilted to the side, “Well, my mom and dad make everything, so I think it’s all good.”

He should leave. The store, the state, the planet. At this point he wasn’t picky. He tugged the hair at the nape of his neck as he mentally berated himself for opening his mouth in the first place. To his utter horror, his mouth developed sentience and took over, “My mom, uh, she likes…sweets. Raspberry too, so yeah.”

“Right on. We’ve got a few things with raspberry.” Alec stared as the blond pointed to a couple things in the case. He was still trying to get over his inability to string together good sentences. He sounded stupid. He looked up when he heard steps and something click, “If you wanna come over here, we have some other baked goods on the display tables too!”

Alec numbly followed, overcome with the blond’s cheerfulness. He had a bounce to his step and he pointed out each item that contained raspberry. Holding his skateboard tighter to his chest, Alec looked up from the table when the voice stopped. Finn was looking at him. Well, down at him to be specific. Brown eyes were filled with confusion and a little bit of concern. Alec had missed something. He cursed himself. Had he been asked a question or was the sudden silence due to Alec’s complete lack of response since the raspberry fumble?

“I guess I don’t really know what she’d want.” He managed to force out.

“Oh! Got ya. This is our most popular thing with raspberry in it. I think anyway. I sell a lot of them. That must mean they’re good right?” Finn laughed. It was clear and bright and Alec felt his cheeks heating as he was handed a weird, braided, bread thing with what looked like dark red jam twisted into it. There was white icing dribbled over top and as he studied it, Alec had to admit it looked good.

Finn had walked around him and he pushed through what sounded like a swinging door as he stood behind the case and counter again. He smiled as their eyes met, “Let me know if you need any other help!”

Bread in one hand and board in the other, Alec shifted from side to side. He mindlessly drifted to the counter, setting the bread down next to the register. Finn shifted from behind the case and he pushed buttons on a register that had been around longer than they probably had. He whistled softly and faced Alec again, “5.99 please!”

Fumbling in his pockets, he thanked the gods that be as he withdrew eight dollars in cash. Change came with the bills, pinging and dropping against the countertop. Flustered, Alec scooped up the change and forced the bills into Finn’s general direction. He dropped it in an outstretched hand and shoved the coins back into his pocket, grimacing. The blond was holding a fist out to him now. He frowned as he struggled to figure out why.

“Your change? Sorry, did you want it?”

“J-just keep it.” Alec turned and held onto the items in his arms like they were life rafts keeping him suspended in a dark and turbulent sea. That was one way to look at interaction with other humans. Scary, uncomfortable, and sometimes wet if his sweaty hands had anything to say about it. He rushed from the store and dropped his board, nearly tripping over his own feet as he tried to hop on and propel himself away.

 

That was the first real encounter. Alec had dubbed them encounters early on. The other boy-Finn-was always polite and kind. He had a blinding smile and seemed happy. Alec wondered what that was like. Through encounter number four, he’d learned that Finn wasn’t born in the town. He’d moved there when he was eight. The boy had volunteered all this information when Alec had remained silent for too long again on one of his trips to the store. Alec had been quietly thankful. He wasn’t good at starting conversations and keeping them alive. Finn seemed to need nothing besides a few nods and maybe a well-placed, “mhm” to support a conversation entirely on his own.

Encounter six had happened at school. To Alec’s undying horror.

He’d been homeschooled for most of his life, but his parents had decided high school was the right time to end it. Why? He would never know. He thought the tipping point might have been the blue hair. He’d pierced his own nose shortly with a safety pin before that and his mother now looked at him like she didn’t know who he was. His parents claimed that he needed friendships outside of the internet and the weird group he’d been forced into in kindergarten. The one specifically for homeschooled kids. It was for parents who recognized that-like feral animals-children had to be introduced to other children and socialized.

The group hadn’t worked and Alec had never been successfully socialized. In his opinion anyway. He’d rather be feral anyway. It was way more fun. Besides, the kids in the group were weird. Most of them were deeply religious farm kids from nearby who looked at him like he had two heads every time he shared an honest opinion. So, he stopped doing that. He held his juice and cookie and stood in the corner, glaring at any of the weird kids who ventured too close. Internet chatrooms and the internet in general opened up a new world for him. Maybe a little too fast. He found things while browsing with a boy’s natural curiosity that he probably shouldn’t have seen as young as he did.

On one horrific occasion, his father walked in on him watching something…explicit. He’d fumbled to turn the monitor off, the whole computer, anything, but he failed. He had to make eye contact as his father flushed with embarrassment, moans filling Alec’s small bedroom. He’d felt like his chest was going to explode. He’d never been so ashamed. It was like a sharp needle, stabbing into him over and over. The verbal lashing he’d received afterward hadn’t made him feel any better. The computer left his room after that and everything he did on it was closely monitored. He took it all on the chin because it could’ve been worse. His father could’ve seen who was moaning and who was making them moan. He hadn’t been ready for that conversation at thirteen. He wasn’t ready for it now. He probably never would be.

But, back to encounter six. His first day at the accursed Sunnyside High School had made him want to die from the very start. There were so many people. It was a small town which meant the building housed kindergarten through high school. There was scheduled and physical division between the younger and older kids, but it still sketched him out. He didn’t want to arrive to school and see a snot-nosed first grader. In all fairness, he didn’t want to arrive to school at all. The point was, he was stressed and nauseous by the time lunch rolled around. He had a fool-proof plan. Gather his lunch on the ugly brown tray and hide in the nearest bathroom. He’d been getting strange looks all day. People whispered behind hands when he passed. He wanted to be alone. He wanted to go home.

No such luck.

“Oh! Oh hey! You go here?”

There was no way that voice was calling out to him, though, it was strangely familiar. He handed over the money for his lunch and eyed the bright red apple suspiciously. Red delicious apple, his ass. They tasted bitter and gross. It would be the perfect accompaniment to his ham and cheese sandwich and bag of regular chips. Gross. Everything was a touch too pale and he wondered if any of the food had gone off already. Probably.

“Hey! Hey! It’s me Finn! Uh… Alec, yeah Alec! Over here!” He stopped and turned his head slowly in the direction of the over-excited voice.

There he was. The normal white t-shirt and black jeans he’d seen him in must be his work uniform. Finn wore jeans and sneakers, a letterman jacket draped over his shoulders. Oh god. He was one of those guys. He was surrounded at his table by more of them. Sports ball enthusiasts, athletes, preps. Alec took mental note of the band tee, ripped red skinny jeans, and black and red flannel he’d thrown on this morning. He turned away and began walking when he added the blue hair and nose piercing to his inner catalogue. No way he sat at that table with those people. No way.

A hand far bigger than his own gripped his bicep and forced him to stop, “Wait, didn’t you hear me? You had to. You looked right at me!”

Alec turned and wilted instantly under big, brown eyes. The taller boy looked a little off. Disappointed? Was that right? Hell if Alec knew. He was terrible at reading other people in social situations. Or really, he was terrible at both things (reading people and social situations) separately so combining them rendered him useless.

“Uh, sorry. I, uh, it’s my first day.” Alec shrugged the shoulder of his free arm.

Finn’s face lit up, “Oh man, that’s rough! Do you want to sit with us? We can totally make room! Right guys?”

Alec saw the exchanged glances of the boys at the table. There were even some girls that threw him nasty looks when Finn turned back around to face him, “We can make room for sure! Come on!”

He was too happy. Too excited. Too blind to the fact that his table was uncomfortable with the invitation he’d extended. Alec wasn’t blind. He saw the raised eyebrows, the shoulder nudges. He planted his feet and yanked his arm from Finn’s grip. The boy turned, eyebrows drawn together as he looked down at Alec. It had been a close one. This jock had almost dragged him right into the lion’s den.

“I don’t want to sit with you. Don’t touch me.” Alec saw Finn’s face drop and he turned before the sight could worm its way into his heart and hurt him more. He was panicking. He didn’t like being touched. He didn’t like new people and today had been the day from hell. He nearly ran to the bathrooms. He caught more whispers as he went.

“What’s he doing?”

“That’s the new kid, right?”

“What a weirdo!”

“Freak!”

“Did you see he has a piercing? What’s with that hair?”

The bathroom door closed him off from the words he’d rather not hear. He’d been hearing similar all day and he wanted it to stop. He threw himself into a stall, throwing papers towels he’d grabbed last minute down so he wouldn’t have to touch the actual toilet seat. He dropped into a sitting position and the apple rolled off his tray and clunked on the ground. He closed his eyes, palms flat on either side of his head as he tried to quiet the storm of voices in his head. He squeezed his eyes tight as tears built up. He gasped and then did it again, struggling to keep himself quiet. The tray dropped to the bathroom floor and someone let out a startled noise. Alec froze.

He hadn’t even thought to look if someone else was in the bathroom. God, now he’d embarrassed himself even further! He still held his head and tried valiantly to slow his breathing. His palms felt disgusting and sweaty and they were pressing his hair against his face so his peripheral vision was tinged blue.

“A-are you okay?” The small voice that asked made his stomach plummet.

“S-sorry. I dropped something.” Alec choked out. His voice was an awful raspy thing.

“Are you sure?” Came the voice again.

“Can you please leave me alone? I’ve had the worst day of my life and I can’t handle anything else.” Alec moaned, covering his face and muffling his words.

“What a coincidence! I’ve been having the worst day of my life going on three years now! Want to suffer together?”

So ended the sixth encounter.

 

Alec had two more in as many days. Finn was relentless. Encounter seven happened in the hallway when Alec had been trying to scurry to the library unseen with his lunch. He was meeting his first and only friend there. His bathroom buddy had turned out to be a boy with messy brown hair and too pale skin who also hid from the general populace. His name was River and he knew all the best hiding places. Alec had been trying so hard to get there while avoiding more judgement from his peers when he’d run directly into the worst peer he could’ve.

“Sorry! I wasn’t paying attention!” He’d nearly shouted.

“It’s alright. Are you okay?” That smile. The stupid dark brown eyes. The tall…ness. Alec let out something like a squeak as he realized Finn had caught him and still had hands on his arms to steady the shorter boy. He swatted them away and bypassed the blond, hurrying back to his end goal. Rushing away from more embarrassment.

 

Encounter eight was by far the worst. It happened on the last day of the week. The end had been nigh. Alec had been obsessively watching the clock as it clicked down the time standing between him and freedom. An entire two days away from this place and the people in it. Encounter seven had happened on Wednesday. Encounter six one day before that. He’d made it almost two whole days without running into Finn again. He was so close he could taste it. The bell would ring and he’d be out the school’s front doors so fast, he’d blur. He’d make sure of it.

Again, the universe and fate crapped on his plans. The bell had rung! He’d been shoving textbooks and notebooks in his backpack at lightning speed when a shadow covered him. He looked up slowly, eyes tracking up long legs, a stupid letterman jacket, an even worse face, and floppy blond hair that curled around his ears. Okay…his face wasn’t bad at all. He was very handsome, but Alec refused to admit that to anyone but himself inside his head.

“Hey, uh, please don’t run away. I’m here to apologize. I did something or said something that freaked you out and I wanted to say sorry. I really didn’t mean it.” Alec stared. Then he stared a little longer. Finally, he blinked and zipped his backpack. He kicked his locker closed as he straightened, avoiding Finn’s eyes.

“It’s whatever. Don’t worry about it.” He shrugged and moved to step around the other boy.

“Can you tell me what I did? It’s obviously not fine.” Finn was frowning, hand touching Alec’s shoulder gently.

Finn jerked away from him, “Well, I don’t like being touched. There’s that. Leave me alone man. I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with me!”

That face fall again. It wasn’t as drastic this time. Finn had already been frowning, but it was still noticeable. His eyebrows drew together and his nose scrunched as he frowned even more down at Alec. He told himself he didn’t care. What business of his was it that this big stupid prep had hurt feelings? Alec threw his backpack over his shoulder and marched away. He was studiously ignoring his shaking hands and the ache in his chest.

Hey!

Wanna know a secret? The horrifically awkward dad/porn story is my own.

Also, the opinion on red delicious apples. They are awful.

Anyway, thanks 😀

🖤Demi

Copyright © 2022 Demiurge; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you for reading and if you choose to do so reacting and commenting.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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@scrubber6620 it’s okay. My dad and I never speak of it. It didn’t happen and I will die a virgin in his eyes. The man sits happily in denial.

Yes, this story will work in two parts. The high school part will be shorter than the adult part 🙂

Edited by Demiurge
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@chris191070 Thanks for your comment 🖤

 

I also am totally geeked that everyone seems to have opinions on apples and are happy to share them 🤣 This story’s comment section is now an apple forum and I’m here for it

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2 minutes ago, Demiurge said:

@drpaladin *gasp* I LOVE applesauce. In all its forms. I have not met an applesauce I didn’t like

I have to agree Apple Sauce is delicious, especially with Roast Pork.

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1 hour ago, drpaladin said:

The only thing I don't like is apple sauce. Blech!

WHAT?! 

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1 hour ago, Demiurge said:

@drpaladin *gasp* I LOVE applesauce. In all its forms. I have not met an applesauce I didn’t like

 

1 hour ago, chris191070 said:

I have to agree Apple Sauce is delicious, especially with Roast Pork.

 

26 minutes ago, Mrsgnomie said:

WHAT?! 

Like all my food dislikes, it goes back to my childhood. Can't say why. I just don't like it.

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10 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

 

 

Like all my food dislikes, it goes back to my childhood. Can't say why. I just don't like it.

Probably fed it  as Baby Food.

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Awe man. I forgot to acknowledge rapscallions. What am I even doing with my life?

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4 minutes ago, Demiurge said:

Awe man. I forgot to acknowledge rapscallions. What am I even doing with my life?

Sorry Charlie...Mac's are where it's at!!!

200.gif

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