Chapter 1 as PDF
All I could hear was the sound of shoes pounding against the sidewalk. I was alone, but not alone, someone was here, someone without a face, a body and an unsubstantial mass. I ran so hard it felt like my lungs were being torn from my body, while I was still alive. I ran in the gray light, that didn't reveal whether it was dawn or dusk. I ran as if my life depended on it. I knew where I was going, just not how to get there. I turned the corner searching for the entrance, this wasn't the right place. I turned again to check if I'd lost my pursuer, the sound of footsteps had silenced. I tried to catch my breath before I started running again. I needed to get there before it was too late. I knew that, I just didn't know what I would be to late for. I braced myself against my knees, my eyes trailed down a dark alley way. There... it was there! I flung my body into motion again toward the end of the alley. Before I knew it - I was being perused again. I slammed my body hard against the locked door. I looked up to see a sign on the top of the building, blinking loud against the dim light. HO EL... huh? HO EL – What the hell did that mean? Oddly hypnotized by the blinking light I forgot my pursuer had to be gaining up on me. Wait - there was no sound of footsteps... just silence. I continued staring up at the sign, noticing something behind the blinking. I squinted to focus my weak eyesight. I realized what it was. It was a name: Hotel Persia. In the core of my being, in the center of my bones I knew this was in the right place. I was suddenly horribly aware my pursuer was close again. The unsubstantial mass was so close, I could feel it. It was strange – I wasn't afraid or terrified. No – I didn't care. I needed to get through this door.
I slammed my shoulder against the hard steel again, yanked and pulled violently at the handle. Nothing seemed to budge. I kicked and screamed at the inanimate thing; but it didn't listen and it didn't let me through. I searched around – There had to be another way in?
Next; I was storming up the stairs, I could see my breath make a fog as I exhaled in the unnatural cold. I was so cold and my black shirt gave me very little defense against the freezing wind. I flung the door at the top floor open, expecting it to be heavy and strained, but it was light and smooth, I went through it like a Jack in a box. I knew it was here I needed to be, only not what I needed to do. I saw a shape, but I couldn't see what it was. Was it human or animal? What was it? As the crack of a whip – it turned to face me in the dim light.
“Save me.” It whispered desperately.
I jolted off my bed with the words save me ringing in my ears. I rubbed my eyes trying to make sense of the strange dream – or was it a nightmare? I couldn't be sure. I looked around checking I was really awake or if this was another change of direction in my too real dream. No – everything looked the way it did when I'd gone to bed. I sat down the same time a serious head rush made my vision darken and my head whirled. I tilted down on my back, crawled into bed again, pulling the covers over my head. I closed my eyes tight and instantly the creature calling for salvation was behind my lids. Mentally I squinted to see if I could make out the contour of the being. A rude awakening tolled as my alarm went off, reminding me another day where I didn't want to participate was taking its beginning.
The burning water trailed down my back as I washed, while trying to shake the clinging dream from my mind. I didn't want to have the words 'save me' in my head all day. Who was I gonna save? I didn't even know what it was I'd seen. How can you save something you don't even know what is?
The shower did very little to erase the discomfort, but there was something I was looking forward to. This week mom would be home, I would finally get to spend time with her. (Not I would ever admit it to anyone – I would never hear the end of it - if I did).
Going downstairs I could hear someone roaming around. Good sign, that meant someone was home, maybe even fixing breakfast. I entered the kitchen expecting my mom, disappointed when I discovered Rosita - our housekeeper.
“Morning.” I mumbled disappointed. No sign of breakfast either.
“Mr. Caleb.” Rosita answered. Her weather touched face smiled ruefully. I knew that face and it was one I didn't appreciate. All too well I knew what it meant. F***!
“Where's mom?” But I already knew the answer. Once again I was the one left out of the party. Rosita pointed to a note stuck to the cupboard. Mentally I called it the cupboard of loneliness. Never once in my life, had my mom stuck anything to that cupboard that was good news.
I tried to stop my face from folding into lines proclaiming my serious disappointment. I knew Rosita hated that face and I hated I needed to make it.
“I'm sorry Mr. Caleb.” She said with an honest smile conveying nothing but sympathy.
“Thanks.” I mouthed as I tore the envelope down. My mothers childlike handwriting symbolized my name.
I have gone with your Dad on his business trip.
Rosita will stock the fridge for you.
PS. A Beth called last night.
“Stacking the fridge and love – huh?” I mouthed sarcastically while staring at the word before mom. I wasn't super concerned with food compared to my parents company. Why did they even bother to have me, they were never around anyway. I swallowed the lump in my throat, put on a brave face, told myself I didn't care. (I knew it was a flat out lie.) If I chanted I don't care enough in my head, would I start to believe I actually didn't care?
I ignored Rosita and moved to fix myself some breakfast. I went for the cereal and started to scarf it down quickly and efficiently. So I - as fast as possibly - could escape Rosita's pitiful stare. I knew she knew exactly how I felt right now. She had seen it so many times, it was ridicules.
Backing to my room again I aggravated for actually believing this time she would be here - at home - with no one but me. Stupid. I knew better than to believe I would a priority in her life – that I mattered - it was more likely to have two Thursdays in one week, than her picking me over Dad. Just plain stupid.
Oh... and having to deal with Beth, so not on my list for what I wanted to do today. It was just going to be tortures. Not there was anything wrong with Beth, she was nice, but hard as I tried; I had no feelings for her. It was like the part of my brain with the gen to fall in love was missing. I knew having to look at her hopeful face when I told her off was going to be... well unpleasant. Why couldn't I just like her – I had tried. This time I had gone for a girl who was likeable and smart and pretty too, and still there was nothing. What was wrong with me? I regretted I'd actually made Beth believe there was hope for us to start dating. That her efforts had paid off... when I knew deep down from the very beginning - the chance was slim to none. Stupid – that's all there is to it.
So three things officially makes everything today suck.
One: I was the moron who had believed my mom, when she'd told me she was staying home just to spend time with me.
Two: I had to end the thing that never really began with Beth. (With not beginning I include the serious making out which occurred the other night).
Three: The one hundred and forty seven new students, were enrolling in our school today, and with just about fifty percent of them being female, meaning approx seventy three and a half of them would be staring at me. Great! No - I am not self absorbed, but for some unfathomable reason girls like me (and as mentioned I was having a hard time liking any of them back). That is truly uncomfortable.
Four: My name had been picked and I was in the inane and stupid buddy system. (No - my name mixed in the buddy system isn't random, it's just the luck I have in my life – which is none.)
Oh and that actually makes four reasons for today's sucking. Awesome.
Passing Rosita on my way to the garage, she was scrubbing a spotless floor. What was the point cleaning a house already looking like no one lived here.
“Yes Mr Caleb?” She looked up at me with her weather beaten face.
“Um... Er between us – Maybe there is no need for that?” I pointed to the über clean floor she was scrubbing. She looked at me confused and then got up. I fished deep in my pocket, curling my fingers around the money. I slit the bills over the sparkling table top. “Maybe you should help you daughter or take your grand kids to the park or something.”
“Mr Caleb I don't understand.” She blinked and didn't touch the money.
“If I make a mess I promise I'll clean it myself.” I lured.
“But your mother... My job.” Her gentle round eyes turned solid and had a bit of scare in them.
“This will be our secret, don't worry. Why don't you do something fun with your family instead.” I smiled widely, innocent and gave the money another little shove. “Please.” I added. I had two motives. She should spend some time with her family and I desperately wanted to escape her pitiful eyes. This really was the best for both of us.
She reached for the money like a newly recovered drug user for a fix. Slowly and insecure, like it was a trap. I nodded. “It's okay, I'll call you before she comes back.” I gave her a peck on the cheek and told her to enjoy, before I headed for the door.
School was a bit of a mess. The halls were filled with new faces, nervous ones. Students trying to find their lockers or the auditorium or somewhere else. Not I cared, I wouldn't get to know any of them. Not because I didn't want too – no – because I didn't relate to any of them.
I stuffed my sweater in my locker and went toward the auditorium, I just needed to make a short stop at the boys room before then. On the way I passed Harrison, who reminded me (of number two reason why today sucked) Beth was looking for me. I decided it was a problem I would push toward the end of today – if possible. I would simply avoid her.
Trailing out off the bathroom I walked directly into what I wanted to avoid. Beth. She was standing in the hall clutching her books to her chest and looking like she was gonna hurl.
“Beth.” I said softly, while I mentally groaned.
She answered with a sad little smile not reaching her eyes. I figured it meant she knew what was coming. It had happened before – I had a reputation, just no one knew the real reason why. I only wished she had the same feelings for me, I had for her – none. She would never be more than a friend, well not even that really.
“Are you going to practice later?” She asked, in what I assumed was an attempt to dodge the subject.
“You know I am.” I tried to keep irritation hidden in my tone.
“Oh.” She said looking up at me do – eyed. She was fairly short with brown curly hair. I towered high over her.
“Yeah – Beth I really need to go. The thing in the auditorium is starting.” I excused, trying to get out of a possibly sticky situation.
“Okay.” She answered without much sound. I quickly moved towards my escape. “Caleb?” She called behind me. I reluctantly turned. “We're not doing this... are we?” She put the words into my mouth. The least I could do was be honest.
“No.” I said. “I'm sorry.”
“So am I... Why?” She looked at me with hurt eyes.
Beth was really pretty, she was honest and I wished I could like her. She could be someone I could relate too, but I couldn't tell her all that. I didn't want to upset her more than I obviously had. “Beth – You're really sweet and...” I didn't know what else to say. I wanted to bolt and be anywhere than here.
“Sweet, huh? Not sweet enough I guess.” She chewed the inside of her cheek.
“Beth. Don't be sad.”
“I am... I really like you and I was just hoping...” She didn't continue, but I knew what she was hoping for.
“Yeah... er Beth, I really tried... you know. I wanted to like you – I mean, I do like you, honestly. Just not enough. I know that sounds lame, but it's the truth.” I stumbled and ended my jumbled sentence with a shoulder shrug.
“Caleb... Do you like someone else?” I noticed she was chewing away on the inside of her cheek again.
“Nope.” The poor girl had no clue how right she was.
“Okay.” She concluded with a little sigh.
“I really need to go.” But I knew we would be late, since the halls were empty.
“I'll see you around Caleb.” She said in her tiny voice, passed me and entered the girls. Probably to bawl her eyes out.
I gave up on participating in the general welcoming of the new students, in favor of spending time going over the roster for the rest of the season. I tried to memorize them, taking mental notes on when I had to be at the very top of my game.
The hall started filling with sounds of students again, talking and laughing, giving me the okay to pretend I had participated.
I was headed toward Mr. Brenner's history class when I remembered I forgot the paper I needed signed for the ridicules buddy system. Was there actually a limit to how lame things could get? Guess not. Absorbed wallowing in my own self pity, I didn't see them coming. I didn't see her. My arm grazed hers and an extraordinary pull toward somewhere made my head automatically turn in the direction of the pull. I was stunned by the sight. A set of very unusual emerald green eyes, set in an olive face. Framed by very long raven black hair, stared back at me with an unfathomable look slapped all over her round face. To this day, I had never seen a face like that or seen eyes that particular shade of green. She was absolutely beautiful. I kept walking away from her, though it was the most unnatural feeling I had ever had. It was like running against the wind in a hurricane.
She tore her eyes from me before I could stop my moronic staring. I opened my locker staring empty into it. I shook my head, as to shake her from my mind. But all I could think... what was her name?
“I heard you dumped Beth.” The voice came from next to me. I hadn't heard Brian coming, even though he trampled like ten elephants on dry branches.
“I said... I head you dumped Beth.” Brian repeated annoyed, indicating I was seriously impaired.
“Where'd you hear that?” I asked, faking interest.
“From the Beth's friend – What's her name again?” He said rolling his eyes.
“Yeah well, you can't really dump someone you're not really dating.” I threw in, not being fair or honest at all.
“Good one.” Brian cheered. Like hurting someones feelings was a standard for measuring how cool you were.
I just shrugged in response, while slamming my locker shut. “I'm late for class.”
“Hey did you hear?” Brian continued following behind me like a cat for milk.
“Hear what?” I felt I had to ask, though I didn't care what the answer would be.
“Among the new students there are Thumánn's” By the look on his face, he felt he was delivering the news of the year.
“So?” I asked unimpressed. I really couldn't care less. Deep down I was sure they were just like us, putting pants on one leg at a time. Just like us.
“So... Did you not hear me dude?” Brian babbled on. “Seriously I think there are four or five of them. But there were two girls, you should have seen them man, they were hot. One blond and one brunette. The blond had the hottest body I've ever seen, I'm so putting my all my talents toward her.” Everybody knew of the Thumánn's, but nobody knew them. They kept to them selves in their own city.
“Good luck with that.” I cut him off. Everybody knew they were off limits, not that they even cared humans even existed.
“Thanks Bro.” He said with an impish grin.
“If I were you; I wouldn't get my hopes up though.” I stated dryly.
“Come on dude... lighten up.” He looked like a happy clown with his idiot happy go lucky attitude. “I heard once there were some of them living around here, out in the woods I mean.”
“I gotta go to class.” I pushed the door open, leaving Brian in the hall considering exactly how to use his so called talents.
“Ah... Mr Blake, so happy you could join us.” Mr. Brenner rudely pointed out. Well - I was the one late for class.
“Sure.” I added trying not to be too sarcastic. I settled in a seat in the front, trying not to think about the girl I had seen in the hall. The extraordinary face and exceptional green eyes. I
couldn't ignore the inexplicable pull toward her. That was when I realized I still felt it. From the back of the class I felt the same pull as I did in the hall. Right then and there I knew deep down in my gut, she was in the classroom. I turned my head simply to confirm my instincts were right. I meet the emerald green eyes and a incomprehensible calm spread in my mind. But she – opposite me – looked disturbed, troubled. I instantly worried what could trouble her? What would make her so upset?
Through the course of the hour, I couldn't stop myself checking on her and every time I looked - she was staring right back. At one point it was so evident I could literally feel her eyes resting on my neck.
The bell sounded informing class was at it's end. “Oh... before you go. I forgot the buddy system. I need to see Elvirina Smith and Serenity Smith and also Nikki Talbot… and Caleb Blake.” Mr Brenner didn't forget the buddy program... What a shame.
Trying to ignore the two girls placing themselves in front of Mr. Brenner's desk, like two little schoolgirls, I suddenly understood who would be in the buddy program with me. I had to admit the buddy system seemed just a fraction more appealing with the outlook of having the stunning green eyed girl being in it to. Before I could stop the movement in motion, I was already placed behind the girl. I took a short look at the striking blond slightly to my left. She absolutely had to be the epiphany of a perfect creature. Long – very long icy blond hair, extremely tall with legs that surely went all the way to the top. As a cherry on the cake she had dark brown eyes, lined with perfect, but odd white lashes. There was a certain goddess like status to her. The question wasn't if guys would spend the majority of time of drooling over, but how many guys? To me: yes she was stunning, but she did nothing for me compared to the girl with the emerald eyes. I had to fist my hand not to graze my fingers over her hair. It looked so soft, so warm.
“Which one of you is Serenity?” Mr Brenner asked. The perfect creature raised a perfect finger. “Okay... you will partner with Nikki.” He said pointing to a generic girl with a generic name. I'd seen her around and by the look on her face, she was counting her lucky stars – just about now.
“Nice to meet you.” The blond goddess said, her voice even sounded serene. Huh – goes with the name.
“Nice to meet you too.” Nikki stammered.
“We'll get along just fine.” Blondie chimed. I noticed her eyes change as she spoke to the frazzled generic girl.
“Mr. Blake.” Mr. Brenner turned his attention toward me, glancing over the shoulder of the beauty in front of me. I noticed her shoulders stiffen ever so slightly. “You and Elvirina have been matched. I guess you can take it from here.” A very tired Mr. Brenner grabbed his bag and abruptly left the class.
Elvirina. I turned the name around in my mind, even tried tasting it on my tongue, but I remained silent. The name rested in my mind with an indescribable familiarity. I liked the name, no correct that - I loved it.
“I'm Caleb.” I finally said. I watched the girl's shoulders go up in a slow motion and settle again, but she didn't turn toward me. I hoped desperately she would turn and face me, I longed to see her face. To see what her expression would reveal, but nothing. She wasn't like the herd of girls staring dumbfounded at me. She was the exact opposite, she wouldn't even face me. I had to admit, it struck a cord with me – not making me any less interested.
“Elvie?” The blond goddess – like girl said in a voice touched by exasperation. It seemed to thaw the girl to the point of movement, but apparently not the frozen green eyes that met mine.
“Hello... I'm Elvirina.” The sound of her voice made the draw toward her stronger. It was deeper than her friends, but sweeter, more innocent somehow. Her eyes were still cold though. I tried to deny the hurt and I almost succeeded – almost. I felt my smile falter a bit, but I was intrigued. She was mysterious. I never liked or even gathered interest in anybody, so far I liked everything about her, even her name – Well I didn't really know anything else about her.
I couldn't help being humored by the obvious display of cold hearted behavior, but it looked so unnatural, so forced – like a kitten trying to be a tiger. I pushed my lips together, not to smile or look offended. “Mmm.” Was all I could manage, I broke the pull from her and stalked out of the room.
I walked quickly to my locker, changing books and hurried to the exit, I needed a clear head and think, just for a second. Just as everything else in my life; what I wanted I didn't get. Brian caught me before I could breathe fresh air in this God forsaken place.
“Hey Caleb, where are you going – Wait up.” He called. I pretended not to hear, but he followed me any way. He half ran to keep up. “So did you see any of them?”
“The Thumánn's – are you not paying attention?” He grinned.
I wanted to wipe the smirk of his face with my fist, but decided against it. “No... and I don't care.” I stated firmly.
“Come on dude how can you not care – it's all over school?” Brian continued.
“That's easy – I don't.” I retorted. I wanted to be alone. The fresh air had to wait as the bell announced it was time for my next class.
The day moved forward in a slow fashion. The girl Elvirina stuck to my mind like gum and I fought to keep her out of my mind. I even tried to think of the odd dream I'd had during the night. No matter what I did, she was there lurking with her emerald eyes. I didn't see her again and I was happy – well not happy – when the day ended. I was glad I had practice this afternoon – at least that would give me something else to think about.
Basketball was much the same as usual, besides Brian's team almost beat us, and he was gloating obnoxiously. The final minutes I put my heart and head in the game and swiped Brian's team of the field.
Brian's lemon sucked face soothed my temper and I couldn't help reminding him Nemesis was a b**** on my way out. He had gotten on my nerves today, but I was free now. When going home to an empty house with no one waiting for me, I wished today would suck a little less.
This was the first chapter of my - I hope you enjoyed it. I want to create a little attention to get readers for my book.
The artwork was graciously supplied by my friend Gilda, an amazing sketch artist helping me visualize my work. She is truly talented
If you liked this go to www.thumannlegend.blogspot.com, where the first 10 chapters have been posted and more to follow.
If you made it this far... I cannot thank you enough.