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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.
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Parallels - 4. Found and Lost

Chapter 4 – Found and Lost

 

 

 

Jeremy stayed sullen the rest of the day.

Even with Aaron around, his usually exuberant mood didn’t even faze Jeremy. Couldn’t perk him up. Aaron could sense it too and asked me if I knew what was wrong. I said I didn’t but I did try. My brother whispered to me that he hoped that Jeremy would be happier the next day.

Aaron was up in his room, working on some homework along with work that was needed to catch him up between what we missed while we packed and what wasn’t covered at our old school. Mom went back to work after dropping us off and I couldn’t focus on my work. A few things filled my mind, mostly thoughts of Jeremy being upset. Something was on his mind, something heavy. Probably whatever it was happened before we moved here – it would only make sense. I wanted to help him if I could, if he’d let me. Maybe I was presumptuous to think that I could. But if he considered me a friend, I thought of him as one too. Maybe… down the line… wait, no. I can’t think of him like that. Not yet anyway. I need to see how he might react to it before I build us a future together.

The other thing that started to eke out my thoughts of Jeremy was that of the hidden passage in the living room. I’ve never actually seen a real-life secret passage! The thought excited me and started to build. I glanced down at all my homework and suddenly, it didn’t see all that important at that moment. For the first time in a long time, I closed all my books and decided to put it all off until later. Right now, I had a secret passage to explore while I had no distractions.

I grabbed my cell phone and a flashlight Mom insisted I put in my night stand. I also decided to take some scissors with me, both to use as a weapon of sorts and to cut through things if needed. Who knows what I’d find down there. After I felt I had all I needed, I pocketed what I didn’t need right away, only holding the scissors and flashlight. I started down the stairs and made my way towards the kitchen.

“What’cha doing?” Aaron’s voice startled me for a moment. He looked at me curiously. He had a plate of chips in front of him, snacking away. “You look like you’re up to something.”

“Nope, what the hell would I be up to?” I asked warily.

“I don’t know,” he said. Then he smiled. “That’s why I asked you.”

With the items in hand, I decided on a quick story. “I was just returning these things to the kitchen. I couldn’t find my flashlight so I borrowed this one. And these scissors we left on the bathroom sink after we used them to open some of those evil plastic packaging on that new shower curtain.”

“Oh, okay,” he said simply. Either he bought it or didn’t feel like pursing it any longer. Either way, I was relieved. In keeping with my act, I walked over to where Mom kept the emergency flashlight here and I placed my next to the one already there. I then walked and put the scissors back where Mom wanted them. I mentally sighed – my secret adventure would have to wait a bit. That or tell him about it and for some reason, it didn’t feel like I should just yet. “Weren’t you working on homework?”

“I was,” Aaron said. “But I needed a break. There’s a lot of stuff I need to catch up on. I think a lot of my classes are ahead of where I was back in Cali.”

“Yeah, tell me about it. Science was the worst for me. I think I even have to make some labs up to make sure I get the right credits for the class or some crap.” Aaron nodded.

“Me too, I think. I’ll have to talk with my teacher to double check. Maybe we could work together even if you are a grade up on me.”

“Perhaps. Maybe when we talk to our teachers we see if they’ll talk to each other and let us work together.”

“I’d like that.”

I grabbed a few chips and conversed with Aaron for a bit until he stood and stretched, saying he should get back to work. I told him I’d probably get back to work myself soon as well and if he needed help to just let me know. With that, he disappeared back upstairs.

Once I heard him hit the stairs to the third floor, I quickly retrieved the scissors and flashlight and darted into the living room. Finding the secret switch again wasn’t hard and I pressed it. As it was opening, I felt the cold air and it reminded me that I should go get my winter coat. It took an extra few seconds, but I wasn’t sure how long I’d be down there.

By the time I made it back to the living room, the room was a few degrees colder than it was. I zipped up my coat and stuck the scissors in a belt loop on my pants to free a hand up. I kicked the flashlight on and pointed it towards the hidden doorway.

Stepping up to it, I saw stairs descending down into the ground. Carefully, I tested my weight on the stairs as they looked like they were made of an old, rotting wood. As my weight settled, it groaned but didn’t give way. I sighed in relief. I started down the stairs when I felt something like a pebble or a loose nail under my shoe. I faintly heard the mechanism behind me whir to life and the light being let in by the house dwindled.

“Shit!” I shouted as I ran back up the stairs. I stumbled once as I got closer but it was too late. The shelf was back in place. “Damn it…” I cursed as I turned around and rubbed my bruised shin. I took in a breath. Maybe I’ll be able to find that switch again later. Otherwise… I’ll have to find another way out.

I walked down the stairs and shone the beam around, taking in my surroundings. The space seemed large, almost like it could have been a basement. But… why would the builders of the house hide the basement? It didn’t make sense. I saw a few walls in various states of construction and a couple doors as I slowly walked around, just taking it all in, but mostly it was just open space. Like a lot of open space.

I just walked the perimeter of the space, still absorbing what I was seeing when something almost instinctual forced my eyes to look in a specific direction. What I stared at was a normal looking wall with a normal looking door staring back at me. I shone the flashlight on it as I approached. The smell changed a bit as I grew closer to it. A faint, almost sickly sweet aroma hit me. It wasn’t overbearing, just noticeable. Within a few feet of the door, I kicked something. It was a sign of some sorts. With only one thing on it.

“BEWARE!”

It looked to have been painted on a long time ago, the lettering faded and was a little difficult to make out. The outlines of the letters still were enough for me to read that single word of caution. Deciding to err on that side, I grabbed my scissors and opened the door slowly.

Another door was right behind it.

This door was different somehow. Definitely older but more distinguished in a lot of ways. I could tell it was handmade; the surface wasn’t as smooth as modern-made doors. Small imperfections covered its surface, adding to its character. There seemed to be a lot of that in this place. I glanced at the old knob and saw that it too was old, probably cast iron. The whole thing was red with rust. I wrapped my hand in my coat sleeve and tried to turn it.

The knob fell to the ground with a thud.

Another thud sounded from the other side of the door. Using the scissors, I was able to clear out the latch that held it closed. And finally, with a bit of muscle I thought I didn’t have, I pushed on the door, making the heavily rusted hinges squeak and groan.

When I managed to open my eyes after blinking out some dust, I stepped into an entirely different world. An older one. Wooden planks sat under my feet, warped and mostly rotten. I could only imagine that they were once beautiful. I glanced to my left and saw a desk, slightly disturbed and also showing signs of decay. A large ink stain covered part of the desk and even showed a path where some of it had run off and dripped onto the decrepit chair sitting where one should. An old inkwell sat on the floor, tipped over, its contents long since spilled. Only a little bit of ink pooled around its opening.

My eyes found their way to a dried out wooden tub of some sort. An old, brittle shirt laid haphazardly draped half in and half out of the tub. Was it a washing bin of sorts? The frame of the bed that at one point was probably very nice showed the same signs of decomposition as the rest of the wood around me. It looked as though it didn’t hold a mattress like the kind I sleep on. No, it looked like it was made of some kind of straw or plant, all of it all but rotted away. The sheet that seemed to cover it drooped drastically in the center, no longer supported by its contents. A peculiar stain was on the floor near the foot of the bed, only stranger still with the two mostly bare spots in the center, oddly in the shape of two feet wearing an old style shoe.

I finally saw the skeleton.

I gasped and jumped back at seeing it. Only a few scraps of what remained of the person clung to the bone and only in very small amounts. Otherwise, it was almost pristine. At least what could be seen of the bones. What looked like some kind of period clothing covered the skeleton, meaning whoever this was died while clothed. Even still, there were numerous holes and frayed edges on the clothing. Somehow the clothes remained intact but the fleshy remains of the person did not.

I noticed a faded stain surrounding one of the holes near what would’ve been his or her chest – I couldn’t really tell what gender this person was. If I had to guess, I’d have to say male due to the clothes, but I couldn’t really be certain on that. I glanced at the overall posture of the body. It had seemed like it had fallen – maybe under that person’s own power – before he or she expired right there. The back of the bony hand rest against the fireplace with one finger sticking straight up. My inner instinct told me that, whatever happened before that caused this person to die, they went to great lengths to make sure that hand remained as it was.

The only thing that I could think of that the dead hand pointed at was the house above us, but I felt that was wrong. I glanced at the fireplace again – the same thing that supported the skeletal arrow. I cautiously took a step towards it and shone my light at it. I saw metal rungs spaced evenly into the back of the stone, almost like a ladder. Again I took another step towards it and actually touched one. Even yanked on it. It was solid and firm. I glanced up the flue, shining my light up and saw the rungs extended up, probably well up to the…

The third floor.

I judged with what I could remember of the house and wondered if this would lead up into my new room. And given what I was seeing here… why would it in the first place? Obviously this particular room was way, way older than any other part of the house easily. Almost like the house was built around or over this very room. I sighed for a moment, thinking. It didn’t take long and, seeing as how the flue was wide enough for even an adult, I figured this was my ticket out of here. I started to climb.

Two rungs up I heard something click below me.

I climbed back down and stepped out of the chimney and looked around, wondering what that sound was. Whipping the beam around a little fast, I shrugged, siting the sound to my overactive imagination. But as I started to climb up the ladder again, the beam fell over the pit of the fireplace. And how… hollow it looked suddenly.

I bent down and peered in. It seemed odd that something like this would house what resembled a book bag to me. But thinking back on the possible times this house might have existed in, my imagination kicked into gear and started dreaming up that it held a great and valuable treasure like rubies or even gold. Gingerly, I reached out and picked it up. An old piece of paper fluttered down off it, one I didn’t see before. While it was old, it was nowhere near the age of the house – it wasn’t all that yellowed or wrinkled from humidity. I reached down and picked it up once I had the bag in my lap.

Finder of this satchel,

Know that you are not the first to uncover this strange item hidden deep within this run-down shack. But also know that I was not the one meant to find it. Having not disturbed this item, a deep feeling, a sense of conscience bade me not to take it. Know that, if the contents are not for you, beware your fate. That is all the caution I can provide. If it is for you, then heed your own mind as how to proceed.

I held the piece of paper and stared at it, wondering if I should listen to it. But having already “disturbed” the bag, I already decided it seemed too late to turn back even if I wasn’t the one or whatever. A slight chill overtook me, reminding me of where I was in the house. I slung the bag onto my shoulder with care and started to climb the ladder.

As I neared the top of the ladder, I was lucky to realize that a bit of light was coming in muted tones towards me. A bit tired, I pulled myself out of flue and rolled onto my back once I took the bag off my shoulder. I panted a bit and decided to see what room I found myself in.

My eyes immediately fell onto my bay window.

I sat up, really surprised at that revelation. Sure enough, I saw my bed along with the things that I finally got set up to make the place more like my old room. Even the old woodwork seemed to sparkle a bit in the low light now that I had removed all the dust.

I stood and walked over to my light switch and flicked it on. As soon as the room was bathed in light, I saw my reflection in a full-length mirror. I was absolutely filthy. Ancient soot caked my blond locks, smudges of the same ash smeared my face when I had to wipe a bead of sweat away, my coat and pants were nearly black, and my shoes were scuffed up and dirtier than normal.

I needed a shower and fast.

I quickly took off my coat and tossed it into a hidden space behind my bed. I needed to wash it before tomorrow so I’d have it for school. I started towards my closet and I just barely saw Aaron heading towards my room. Shit! I didn’t want him to ask why I looked like crap and why I was so dirty when, probably about twenty minutes ago he saw me decently clean. I made to speed up my steps towards my closet and started stripping everything off, including my boxers. I heard my room door creak open a bit more as I pulled my closet door shut some. “Theo?” Aaron called out. “Are you in here?”

“Yeah,” I called out from my closet. “I’m getting some clean clothes together for a shower.” I heard him approach in my direction. “Uh… don’t open the closet door, man. I’m, uh, naked.” He stopped.

“Oh… um, when you’re done with your shower, can you come and help me with something? I’m not understanding this one math problem. My teacher explained it really weird.”

“Sure, just work on something else in the meantime. I should be out in like fifteen minutes.”

“Fifteen minutes?” Aaron asked. “Your showers aren’t usually that long.”

“I’m feeling really dirty right now for some reason,” I said as I saw some soot fall from my hair.

“Okay… I’ll be in my room when you’re done. Thanks Theo.”

“Of course.” I heard him walk away and my door creaked again as he pulled it shut a bit. I stepped out of the closet, hoping I didn’t get any soot on my clean clothes. But I pulled some stuff out of my dresser and made a dash for the bathroom. I sighed once I closed the door and wasn’t caught.

It didn’t take me nearly as long to take my shower as I thought. It felt like I’d be in there forever washing my hair since I washed it at least three times. It really only took two, but the third I did just to be safe. The suds weren’t even tinged gray at all that time. I even made sure to rinse the tub out as best I could. I didn’t need any questions just then.

I stepped into Aaron’s room and sat down at the end of his bed. He looked up at me from the book he was reading. “You remembered to come,” he said with a smile.

I mock-glared at him. “What, are you saying that I’m old and forgetful now?”

He giggled. “Yep. That’s what I’m saying.” I lunged at him and tickled him, making him scream with laughter. It made me as well. I didn’t do it for all that long and gave him a few seconds to catch his breath. “You’re being silly, Theo. But it’s okay.” I just smiled as he pulled out his worksheet and told me what he needed to do. I remembered what he was trying to do and showed him what my math teacher back in Cali showed me. As soon as I explained it that way, he went at it and solved the equation. Double checking himself against the answer sheet he was provided, he smiled brightly at me.

“So I take it that I helped?” He nodded emphatically.

“Of course Theo. You’re always great at helping me. This wasn’t any different. You know just how to explain things to me to make sure I get them.” He hugged me briefly. “Thank you Theo… I mean that.”

“I know you do bud,” I said. “And you just doing good in school like I know you can is all the thanks I really need. Okay?”

“’Kay,” he smiled.

“Was there anything else you needed help with since I’m here?”

He thought about it as he tucked his sheet into a folder. “Um… nope, I think that was it. Like I said, Mr. Conseczki explained it all funny to me.”

“Alright well if something else comes up, I’ll be in my room.”

“Thanks again Theo,” he smiled before going back to the book I assume he’s reading for English.

Once back in my room, I shut the door almost all the way and picked up the bag I found, making sure not to get any more soot on me. I took it over to my desk. I tried to unhook the fastening strap, unthread the tongue from the groove, but the clasp, like the doorknob on that old door, was made of iron. And rusted shut with it not being so brittle that I could just break it. I went over and retrieved the scissors I took with me and decided to just cut the strap. I did just that and found the fabric was a bit tougher than I was expecting.

Dumping the contents out carefully onto my desk, I was rather puzzled as to what I was really looking at. There were four items in total. Three of the things were wrapped somewhat hastily in a cotton-like fabric. The other wasn’t. The one that wasn’t lay there and looked like any other book I’ve seen, but the three straps running across each unbound edge and meeting at a lock on the front cover suggested that this was some kind of important book. At least to the owner of it. One of the wrapped objects called to me and I picked it up and sifted through the cloth. Something small but rather heavy clanked hard on my desk.

A key.

A ruined but still intact string ran through the bigger end of the key which managed to remain rust free. Maybe it wasn’t iron but a different metal. I examined it and realized this key had to be the key for the book. I had to make sure and see if the key really did fit – it looked like it should fit. I slipped the head of the key into the tumbler and stopped when it wouldn’t go in more. It fit perfectly.

“Boys! Time for dinner!” I heard Mom’s voice call from the first floor. Damn! “Aaron? Theo?” I heard her climbing the stairs. I grabbed all the items I found and gently placed them in my night stand. Maybe before I go to sleep I can look at these things more. Just as I flung the old bag under my bed, Aaron poked his head in.

“Did you hear Mom calling us?” he asked.

“Yeah, I was just tidying up some stuff,” I said as I stood by my bed.

“C’mon! She brought home some KFC!” he disappeared as fast as he showed up.

“How was the first day at your new school boys?” Mom asked once I walked into the dining room and sat down. I took the bucket of chicken from Aaron after he put three drumsticks on his plate. I took one of the breasts and then sat the bucket down since I saw Mom already had some. I started getting some mashed potatoes and gravy.

“It was okay,” Aaron said. His eyes dimmed. “It would’ve been better if Katie, my guide, didn’t ditch me after second period.”

Mom slightly gasped. “Aaron, that’s awful! What happened?”

“I don’t know Mom,” he said almost dejectedly. But then he perked up some. “But even though some of it was kinda scary, Theo and his guide – Jeremy – helped me out later.”

“About that,” I said, having the urge to make sure I was as forthcoming as I could be. “While Jeremy and I were heading towards study hall, we saw some sophomore guy picking on Aaron. I had to… um, physically intervene.” I took in a breath. “So… you might get a call from that boy’s parents about it. Mom… I’m sorry.”

Her face clouded up a bit, but not as much as I expected. A good sign in my opinion. “Theodore… how many times have I said that violence isn’t the answer?” She pinched her nose. “What did you do?” I explained the fight in its one minute entirety. She sighed. “Okay, that’s not as bad as I feared.” She looked at me carefully. “Honey, while I love it that you stood up for your brother, there could’ve been a better way to stop him. Right?”

“Maybe,” I said. “But I had to do it while he was surprised. He had this really evil look on his face when he turned to me. I… I-I didn’t want Aaron to get hurt.”

“Y-You can’t get hurt either Theo!” Aaron almost shouted. “I’d never forgive myself if you got hurt because of me…”

“Boys,” Mom said, cutting off our little debate. “You weren’t hurt, right Aaron?” He shook his head. “Okay, good.” She turned to me. “Theo, we’ll discuss a punishment if I receive a call, alright?” I gave her a confused look. I really thought she’d throw the book at me for fighting. She smiled softly. “You knew what you did was wrong, but you did it anyway to protect Aaron. You were also honest about it. So… unless I hear a call from someone, it didn’t happen, alright?” Her face hardened. “But next time, honesty or no, I’m locking you in your room for a week, understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, mentally doing backflips over not being punished. Aaron giggled a bit and stared at me with some level of adoration. I just smiled back at him and the rest of the meal was eaten in relative silence. Mom talked about maybe getting us some motorized scooters or some kind of dirt bike we could use to get back and forth from school until I could drive. She said she couldn’t keep with going to work, leaving to pick us up and dropping us off here only to go back for a few hours then to come home for the night. I agreed and didn’t think she should have to do that.

I trudged up the stairs after dinner and went back into my room. Realizing I didn’t even start my homework, I groaned. The need to look at the things I found threatened to pull me into their trap. Somehow I resisted. I plopped on my bed and got to work. Catching up on some of the stuff was really easy – it was covered before I left but there was no proof so I had to do it again. It wasn’t horrible, just time-consuming if anything. It took about an hour for me to finish everything. Maybe a bit longer. Just as I started reaching for my drawer, my cell phone chimed.

What are you up to? :D

I grinned a bit when I saw it was from Shane. I quickly typed out a message back to him.

Not much. Just finished my homework. Took about an hour. You?

I kept my phone nearby and started pulling the things from the drawer again. The book, the key that went with it, and the other two unknowns. Just before I could start unwrapping one of them, Shane sent another text.

I think this is a first. Theo Wentz putting off his homework? :O The world is ending!

I couldn’t help but laugh as I quickly typed out a reply.

Ass! The reason I put it off was something came up. Something I found in the house.

I had already decided I needed to talk to someone about this. Who better than Shane back home? Well… I guess my old home. I managed to get the cloth off one of the items and studied what I found with some reverence. Inside the cloth were two identical rings, obviously handcrafted. The detail I saw in the simple bands was exquisite and refined. A master at work at what it could do best. Detailed ivy grew up along the outside of the rings. I noticed there were some inscriptions inside each of them, but there was a bit of dirt caked into the engravings. I’d have to clean them up and do it with care – I couldn’t even begin to guess the metal used as beside the dirt, they were flawless. My phone chimed again.

What something? Is everything okay out there? :/ You’ve never put off that work unless it’s bad.

I typed out a lengthy message back to him, explaining what I found the other day with the bookshelf and then what I found behind it today. I wasn’t sure if I should or not, but I did tell him about the skeleton and generally about the bag I found. I didn’t want to leave anything out, but held out for the moment on what was in the bag. It took about three texts to send all of it. As I sent them, I put my phone down and looked at the last remaining parcel. Gentle with my touch, this one seemed a bit more substantial than the other three. Again I was perplexed by the jewelry I discovered. This time, it was a necklace. Well, two necklaces. Made of the same metal the rings were, each necklace had a small, ornate medallion hanging from the chain, formed in the shape of ivy vines once again. But that’s about where the similarities ended as each bore several small gems covering the surface of the medallions, but were different ones. One had a darkish green tone to it, leading me towards either emerald or peridot gems. The other had them in the same spots but the gems were a rich purple hue. Amethyst. My eyes widened a bit.

February’s birthstone was amethyst. I was born in February.

Was… that just a coincidence? It… it had to be. Suddenly I chuckled at my naivety for even giving into the notion that it wasn’t and it was quickly forgotten. This amulet was made way before I was ever born. Once again, my phone chimed.

What did you find in the bag? It sounds like it could be worth something! >:D

I told him what I found and set my phone back down. I gently wrapped rings and necklaces back up and stuck them in my drawer. I didn’t want to lose such antique jewelry. That left the key and the book. As I picked up the key, I realized that this had to be either some kind of bank book or maybe… maybe it was a diary. There are plenty of diaries out there nowadays that are locked up similar to this. I slid the key into place and started to turn it. As I did, the straps in sequence snapped away from the lock, starting with the top and following the clockwise direction I spun the lock. As the final strap fell away, I slowly pulled open the cover. The pages had yellowed over time, but as I gently flipped the pages, I saw the words were all legible. A couple here and there were somewhat hard to read, but that was mostly due to the author’s handwriting, nothing more. Part of me just wanted to read the end, the last page, as when I read some stories I tend to just skip to the end and then start at the beginning. This time, as much as part of me wanted to do that, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. This was one of those stories that needed to be told right.

Before I could bring myself to start this book, I eyed my phone. My heart was telling me to call Jeremy, make sure the boy was okay. I could still remember how sad he looked at the end of the day as he boarded his bus. Once he found his seat, his eyes found mine and he had just stared at me. In fact, I think his frown deepened. I should’ve maybe taken offense to that, but the single tear that ran down his cheek killed any of those rising thoughts. Then the bus pulled out of the bus lane and he was headed for home.

“H-Hello?” the voice on the other end asked, sounding tentative.

“Um, hi… my name is Theo. I-I was calling for… Jeremy?”

The other person on the end sounded a bit cheerier but not by much. “H-Hey Theo. It’s me. Look… I’m sorry I got all bummed out today and stuff. I-It was just became one of those days after a while… you know?”

“Yeah, I hear you,” I said, picking up on some underlying emotion on his words. “I mean, the reason I called… was I wanted to make sure you were okay. Sure, you say that you are, but…” I hesitated. I feared I was pushing too fast. “But I think I can tell something’s still bothering you. I mean, if you want to, we can… you know… talk about it. But only if you want to.”

I heard him sigh into the phone. His voice had changed. It sounded worse than when we started. “L-Look, no offense Theo, you s-sound like a r-really nice kid and all… I-I really don’t want to talk a-about, okay? Just some… th-things that need to stay in the p-past. A-Alright?”

I felt a bit hurt but I did understand – we weren’t close enough yet for him to open up to me. “N-No… I get it. We’re not… n-not best friends o-or anything.” I laughed a bit bitterly. I just hated hearing how sad and almost defeated he sounded. The complete opposite of how he was when I first met him. Confident. Reassuring. Suave. Outgoing. “I sh-shouldn’t have even pressed y-you. I-I’m sorry.”

“No, you don’t get it!” his voice was louder, a bit more like his morning self, but with a touch of frustration added in. “You don’t!” I could hear his heavy breathing on the other end. I might’ve even heard him trying not to cry too loudly. Did I do something to make him hurt? Oh, if I did, I wanted to know what it was! I never meant to make him cry! “L-Look… I…” I could tell he was pacing his breaths. So not to cry. I’ve done it many times before recently. “I-I’m gonna… g-go. I’ll m-meet you a-at your locker first thing so I-I can help y-you find your first class.” His breathing was coming faster. “B-B-Bye Th-Theo.” Before I could say anything, he hung up.

What did I do to maybe lose Jeremy as a friend? He sounded so… wounded to me over the phone. Something I think I caused. But I don’t even know what it was! How can I fix something when I don’t know where the broken part is? Is this the feeling Aaron’s always complaining about? About slipping up somewhere and it passes by your radar but not anyone else’s?

I just shut off my phone for the night, not wanting to deal with anything from the outside world. I got up and shut my door and locked it, just wanting the solitude of my window. I glanced out from it as I sat down with the diary I found, absorbing the breathtaking scenery of the untouched snow reflecting some of the moonlight back up into the air. The same light bounced off the surface of the frozen river snaking through the property, from one small glade to another. I sighed as I felt a sense of peace take hold, brushing thoughts of a sad, broken-hearted Jeremy from my mind. At least for the time being. I slipped under the blanket I put by the bay seating and fluffed my pillow. I flicked on the small lamp on my desk on and oriented the light so I could read the diary. With a heavy sigh, I opened the cover again and started to read the first page.

20th of April, Year 1832

Today William and I went out to the town proper to get a few necessities for Mother. Her time with child seems to be rather difficult. I wonder if William had to deal with Mother as this when she was with myself. I do hope the time I burdened her womb was not as trying as this. He reassures me that this is the worst he has seen her.

Father made sure we had a list and he counted out every single penny, making sure he knew the amount given us. He expected most of it back and had a figure in mind. Father warned us not to make any unwise expenditures. William made it a point to tell Father he would handle the money. I was just along for the company. If I didn’t love my brother so, I might have taken offense. He does have a way with his sense of humor. Very few seem to get it. With luck, I was one of those few. William is really always making sure I have what I need in terms of books to read and even some extra parchment. William knows I am trying to make a journal of sorts. For now, all I can do is keep the pages loose and hidden from prying eyes. Once I have all the necessary parts (the parchment being the hardest to come by) I will start to bind the parchment together. My brother showed me how I could go about it.

The trip into town wasn’t all that eventful. William and I made the purchase for Mother and did not spend too much time with the villagers. Both Father and Mother warned us about how they might not appreciate those not a part of town life. Our small little corner of the world is home, and it is quite a pocket. Many summers when I am not helping either William or Father with any woodworking, I splash about in the little stream or exploring the glades on our lands. Father does warn me about the hunters in the woods. Some bear and a rare wolf, but nothing I know not how to approach.

William has been spending a good deal of time with a girl from town in secret. I saw them together one day, talking and seemingly enamored with each other. When he started for home that day, he saw me and swore me to secrecy. He was not sure how Mother or Father would handle the situation. I agreed and have no intentions of disobeying my brother’s trust. It is too precious a gift to mishandle. I have seen how some of the villagers’ children play with one another. Most siblings seem to swear superiority over one another. The elder siblings in strength and wisdom, the younger in creativity and precociousness. I am unsure which is correct, but one thing I am certain of is that my brother is always on my side. And is not ashamed to admit it if asked.

Mother is not too far along with child. Only a month at most, they say. My excitement grows by the day as I will be blessed with a younger brother or maybe even a sister to help. I wonder if William felt like this when he learned I was coming. Wanting to help in any way, willing to tutor and teach the skills Father and Mother taught both William and I. Maybe even have he or she teach us some. Learning is everywhere, Father says. One just has to know where to look for it and to accept its teachings. I feel that is wise counsel. There are days when I misplace that counsel, only to be reminded of it when something unexpected happens.

There is something that troubles me, something I am unsure of. Maybe it’s a little of the Devil trying to confuse my thoughts, but I fear something is wrong with me. Something that prevents me from confiding even with William. And we tell each other everything. Tell each other our secrets. William has talked to me as of late of the changes that are occurring within me. Or about to. Father says the same thing. Both of them sat with me and discussed the proper ways to deal with girls. How to talk to them. Make sure they are treated properly. But it all feels so… wrong! Why does it feel wrong? Is there some abnormality with me? Is the Devil trying to trick me? I have no thought as how to proceed! Who does one talk to… when that one, a mere boy, feels certain things for other boys? It is almost a sin to even write such things! But until I can find someone to clear the matter for me… I must confide with these pages. No one will find them.

I cannot write any more tonight. I now feel ill.

M.K.

I closed the diary after finishing the first entry. I felt tired, drained after reading it. Mostly just… stunned. The journal in my hand, this diary… the author of it appeared to go through the same struggle I did when I first started thinking I like boys and not girls. Feeling the frustration and not knowing where to turn brought back all those confusing times. I couldn’t help but feel for this M.K. fellow, knowing the pains he had to have gone through. And in a much worse time period than me.

I also felt like I was invading this person’s life, even if they’re long since gone. The urge to stop reading what I found was there; the will to keep going, to keep searching for answers prevented me from even considering the idea fully. I had to finish the diary. I just had to. I yawned. Not tonight. I could always look at it some more tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow Jeremy will be in higher spirits than when he ended the day. I can only hope.

I stretched a bit and pulled the blanket off me. With a bit of difficulty, I threaded the straps back into the lock and locked the diary up. I slid the book into my night stand and put the key on a new string and hung it up on a protruding nail on said night stand. I didn’t want to make it easy for anyone else to violate this deceased man’s thoughts more so than I would. It just felt… right.

I padded down to the bathroom to use the facilities and brush my teeth. As I left, I saw Aaron’s room door closed tightly. The boy must already be asleep too. A wall clock sounded and I saw that it was… eleven? I just spent an hour reading his diary. I shook my head in disbelief and yawned again. I turned my phone back on so I set the alarm. Immediately, it chimed a few times. I saw that I missed a few texts from Shane and sent him one back letting him know what I was doing and wished him good night. The other thing I saw was something I was surprised about.

Jeremy had called.

I glanced at the time he called and noticed it was about twenty to twenty-five minutes after we spoke last. He didn’t leave a voicemail. I felt some guilt over turning my phone off and knew it was way too late to call him back now. If the number was his house line, I didn’t want to wake him or his parents. If it was his cell, then it’d be just him, and I still didn’t want to upset him anymore than I already appeared to have.

I shook my head and set my alarm. I plugged my phone in to make sure it was charged and ready to go for the next day. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out.

Copyright © 2012 Yanks13; All Rights Reserved.
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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.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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