PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Hi u guys, here's a story I'm working on~
I'm really trying to get better, so please leave comments~
I woke up. It took me only a couple of seconds to realize I couldn’t open my eyes. There was a bandage in front of them. I sat up.
‘Sophie? You’re awake?’ I recognized my mother’s voice.
‘Yeah… Where am I?’ I was a bit confused and had no idea what happened.
‘At the hospital, sweetie.’
‘You had an accident. The bus.’ The bus… what happened? An accident. A bus accident. The school trip!
‘The school trip?’
‘Yes, sweetie, I’m afraid so. It’s now four days ago.’ Four days. Four days ago…
‘What day is it now?’
‘Friday.’ Friday… Friday was the concert. The concert.
‘But… the concert.’
‘I know, but you just can’t go.’ I was supposed to go. Together with Felicia. Felicia!
‘How is Felicia?’
‘She’s in a coma.’
‘Yes, but she’ll be fine.’ I hoped my mom was right.
‘How about the others?’ The others… I hoped they were fine.
‘Ruby and Sarah are fine… They’ve a few bone fractures, but nothing really serious.’
‘Marty… Darling, Marty… passed on.’
‘He… he broke his neck.’ Marty was dead. He wouldn’t be there anymore. Not anymore. I had no best friend.
‘You should have some rest, honey. I’ll be leaving.’
Chapter 1: Dive
I dived into a new world. Never would it be the same again. Things remained the same, but became different. And no matter how hard I tried, there was no escaping.
The months after the accident were tough for me. Everybody had so much pity. The only one that truly understood me was Felicia, because she landed in a wheelchair. I lost an eye myself. The moment they told me I could hardly believe it. But I got used to it. Just like Felicia got used to her wheelchair. I felt alone. Felicia was my only real friend, because everybody else was just pity with me. And the lonelier I felt, the more I missed Marty.
He had been my best friend ever since I was 5 years old. And then he was gone, just like that. It was unbearable. I became angry with the world. Angry because it took a lot from me. I became angry with myself. I thought I was weak, because I couldn’t be there for Marty’s parents, because I couldn’t let go of my anger.
Things changed when I went to a new school. My first day was awful. Everybody kept staring at my glass eye, and I believed they thought I was weird. I was afraid they would drown me in pity again. They mostly did. Except for Dai.
Daisuké, or Dai, as I called him, was a Japanese exchange student. He was quite a weirdo too, because he had all kinds of strange rituals that were freaking me out. But the most outstanding thing about him was the colour of his eyes. They were pale blue and they gave me the feeling he was looking right trough me. It made me feel cold and empty.
I tried to live my life as a normal teenager, and succeeded. But still I felt like an outsider. Sure, I went to parties, swam in the summer and chatted about school and stuff, but I had the feeling that no-one was paying attention to me.
The day that meant a swing in my life was the day we had to make groups for our science fair project. I hate science. I got paired up with Dai. Now I’m grateful for it, but back then I was horrified.
‘What are we going to do our project about?’ I asked, hoping he would do the work.
‘Dunno.’ That was so not helping.
‘That’s a wonderful idea, thank you.’ I said sarcastically.
‘So what do you want me to say?’
‘Like: Well, I have an idea. Let’s do that.’
‘You want me to have the idea, don’t you? And to do the work.’ That blew me over. He had hit the bullseye. It was exactly what I wanted.
‘Ok, I’m sorry. I guess I don’t want to do anything either.’
‘Great.’ We both didn’t say a word. I never had a hard time being silent and neither did Dai. ‘So, you miss him?’ Dai said. I did not know what he was talking about.
‘I miss who?’
‘This guy, that died in your accident.’
‘Why do you want to know? Are you a stalker or something?’
‘I am not a stalker. I just want to know if you miss this guy. Marty, right?’
‘What are you, psychic? Get a life, dude.’ I always reacted this angry when anyone tried to talk with me about the accident. I remember that my mom wanted to send me to a psychiatrist, and I nearly ran away from home. Only to Felicia I remained calm when we talked about stuff like this.
‘I’m not a psychic. But you know, it would be an interesting science fair project.’
‘What? Psychics?’ I thought it was a stupid idea.
‘Whatever.’ How did he know about my accident? How did he even know Marty’s name, when I didn’t tell anybody in my whole school? This guy really freaked me out.
‘Do you believe in things like… psychics and stuff?’ Felicia looked up from her sketch book and started to study my nose.
‘Soph, sit still, will you? I’m trying to draw a portrait of you.’ Felicia wants to be an artist, and I’m her most beloved model. I am good at modelling for paintings and drawings, because I never have itch or get bored. But that day I couldn’t sit still because the things Dai said wouldn’t leave my mind.
‘But… do you believe in it?’
‘Oh, Soph, I don’t know. Most people are just trying to make money out of things like this. Why are you asking?’ Felicia is as down to earth as you can be. That’s why she’s so wonderful.
‘Because… there’s this guy.’
‘Is he cute?’
‘Ehm… No. I’m doing my science fair project together with him. He just asked me about the accident, out of the blue!’
‘Did you tell anyone? Maybe he heard of it from someone else.’
‘No, I didn’t. And he asked me about Marty.’
‘He probably just heard it from somebody that heard from somebody etcetera. Don’t worry too much, just don’t move.’
‘I guess you’re right.’ Felicia didn’t answer, she just showed me her drawing. It was me, she had drawn me a lot of times, but with somehow a sad expression. ‘Why do I look sad?’
‘Because you did.’ Did I look sad? I looked in the mirror. Maybe I did. Why?
Chapter 2: Meet
The first thing I met in my new world, was hate. It was not what I expected it to be. People see hate as a bad thing, but it isn’t. Hate makes us capable of doing things. Hate shows us ways we haven’t discovered yet.
It was raining. It was a sad Tuesday afternoon. I hoped that it would be a more beautiful day. But it wasn’t, of course. The worst thing was that I had to walk home all by myself, without an umbrella or a raincoat. Maybe I just had to stay in school. I mean, it would stop, wouldn’t it? ‘Come on, Sophie.’ I thought. ‘You are not coming home by standing here.’ And so I stepped in to the rain. It only took me five seconds to get soaking wet.
‘Shit.’ I said. But there was no turning back, so I walked on. I looked for shelter under a part of a rooftop. As I stood there for a while, I felt the atmosphere change, as if somebody came closer to me. I pushed myself against the wall. ‘There is nothing, nothing at all.’ I said to myself. ‘Nobody’s out here, it’s pouring.’ But then, lightning struck only like 30 feet away from me, as if somebody was telling me there was a person watching me. I was scared to death. ‘Nothing is happening, Sophie.’ I said to myself again. ‘Nothing, just stay calm.’
I tried to close myself from the world. I tried that more often, when I felt sad or scared. But as I wanted to close myself out, it felt like the danger only came closer.
‘Go away!’ I shouted, in the hope things would end. ‘Go away!’
Bored to death... as usual
Still, the thunder was louder than my voice. No matter how hard I screamed, I wouldn’t be heard. ‘Ok… Happy things… Happy things…’ I thought. But there were no happy things. All I felt was despair and fear. And this strange feeling of things coming closer to me. There was breath in my neck. I turned around, but there was only emptiness. Was that a hand on my shoulder? Again I looked. Again there was nothing.
Then, all of sudden, a bright light appeared. Just for a second. I knew it wasn’t lightning, because it came from a different direction. I looked up, though there wasn’t much I could see. A little later I could see what was coming. A person.
‘Sophie? Sophie?’ I heard. Someone came looking for me. Thank goodness. I wanted to stand up and run in the direction of the shouting, but I couldn’t. It was like I was stopped by something. I started to struggle. The person came closer. Just a little longer… And as I felt the grip on me loosed, I fainted. The last thing I saw before I did were two pale blue eyes.
Marty and I always went swimming in the summers. Like that day. We went to the river, with our swimsuits and stuff.
‘Let’s play… King of the island.’ Marty said and climbed on a small island in the river.
‘Fine.’ I said and climbed on the island too. Marty pushed me of immediately.
‘Too bad, loser.’
‘Are you calling me a loser?’ I said and climbed up again. I started to push Marty. But he pushed me off again.
‘Yes, and now you know why.’ He teased me. But I couldn’t respond. I was stuck in a whirlpool.
‘Mart, help me!’ I yelled.
‘Wait. I’ll get help. Hang in there!’ Marty tried to come on land, but then he got sucked in the whirlpool as well. ‘Sophie!?’
‘Marty?!’ We tried to find each other. After a while I got his hand, but right after that I couldn’t see anything at all. We were pulled down in the depths of the river. All I had in the world that time, was Marty’s hand. I panicked. Where were we? What would happen to us? I tried to swim up, but it was all for nothing. Tired and without air I let go of my moves and sunk to the bottom of the river. I was strangely calm. All of it felt like a dream, though I can remember Marty struggling while I was calm. The water around us was like Marty, wild and moving. I should have been out of air by that time, and I felt Marty getting weaker, but I wasn’t. I was still ok, even though I was running out of air. It was a strange feeling, and for a second I thought it actually was a dream. But then, with a great shock, I was smashed on a rock by a hard stream. I wanted to scream, but there was no sound. ‘Please let it stop.’ I thought. ‘Let it stop, for heaven’s sake.’ I tried to reach the surface, but the whirlpool was too strong. My lungs were hurting. Marty was unconscious. I pulled him to me and thought I was going to die. ‘If this is the end’, I thought. ‘Let it at least be painless.’
And then I noticed that the water had stopped. I swam up again. I sucked my lungs full of air. This feeling… I would never forget it again. I pulled Marty up. He was still breathing.
Bored to death... as usual
White curtains, the wind played with them. The last time I had seen white curtains was my last day in the hospital. Bad memories came up. I looked away from the curtains and noticed I wasn’t in the hospital. That made me feel relieved, but for only a moment. Where was I? It was a room I was sure from I had never seen it before in my entire life. I was in a bed with sheets as white as the curtains. I sat up and looked around. Everything in the room was really clean. The walls were a very light blue and there were no paintings or other decorations whatsoever. I wasn’t so sure about not being in the hospital. I was wearing a white night gown myself. The whole thing felt like a dream. The door opened.
‘I see you’re awake.’ A woman came in. She wasn’t old, though her hair was gray.
‘Yes.’ My own voice scared me. Was it really what it had been like? ‘Where am I?’
‘Not at your house, I’m afraid. Are you alright?’
‘I’m fine, thank you. Am I at the hospital?’ She did not answer my question.
‘No, you’re not at the hospital. You’re in my house.’ She was unclear.
‘How long have I been here already?’
‘I found you yesterday afternoon.’
‘Do my parents know where I am?’
‘Yes, they do.’ The woman was avoiding speaking to me. I stepped out of the bed, in a strange way of protest. She didn’t ask me anything. All she said was:
‘In the kitchen you can eat something.’ I walked through the door and looked around in the house. It was a big house with a great staircase in the middle of the hall. As I walked down the stairs I was stunned by the beauty of the house.
‘If that isn’t our sleeping beauty.’ I looked around. Down the hall stood Dai, with an amused look in his eyes. O gosh, I hated that guy.
‘What are you doing here?’ I asked in a very rude way.
‘I live here. You could show a little more grate to your saver.’ He saved me? That guy? Unbelievable.
‘Was that your mother back there?’ I asked, avoiding the topic of showing him grate. Dai looked at me, very amused.
‘You mean Johanna? No, she is only part of my guest family. I’m here on exchange, remember?’
‘Oh, right.’ I wanted to walk on, but I realized that I didn’t know the way in the house. Still, I didn’t want to ask Dai anything, so I just took the first door in sight.
‘That door takes you to the garage.’ Dai said. Terrific. ‘When you look for the kitchen, it’s on the other side of the hall. I was just going there.’
‘Thanks, but no thanks. I was looking for a bathroom.’
‘The bathroom is right next to the kitchen.’ Was there no way to shake this guy off? He just wanted me to follow him. I couldn’t do anything else than actually follow him. ‘There you go. The bathroom.’ This smile was making me sick.
‘Thanks.’ I said, and I felt defeated.
It was a large kitchen, larger than at my house. Dai sat at a long table, drinking coffee and eating a sandwich. Right across the table there was another plate, with an identical sandwich on it. I sat down. The sandwich tasted like plastic, but I had the feeling I couldn’t be rude, so I just ate it. Dai kept looking at me, while I was eating.
‘What’s there to see?’ I said.
‘Nothing, never mind.’ He said, but his blue eyes wouldn’t let go of me.
‘What’s your problem, man? Will you just quit looking at me?’ I got mad.
‘Now, don’t get rude.’ Dai said. ‘I saved you after all.’
‘So what did you save me from?’ Dai laid back.
‘You really want to know?’ All of sudden, his face became serious.
‘Yes.’ I said, not so sure anymore.
‘The things I saved you from…’ He said. ‘Were Death Spirits.’
Bored to death... as usual
Chapter 3: Obtain
I obtained knowledge. Knowledge is one of the most precious things you’ll ever obtain, because no one can take it from you. You can lose money, houses, hope, people and even your life, but knowledge can’t be stolen. You’ll have to obtain it yourself.
‘Yes. Spirits of the Death.’ Dai looked so serious that I couldn’t even think of how ridiculous it sounded. It was like somebody told you fairytales were true and a goblin lived in your backyard.
‘What are Death Spirits?’
‘Death Spirits are Spirits that take lives.’
‘They kill people?’ Dai sighed.
‘Look, there are Spirits all around us. There are Spirits that affect your life. It’s just that you can’t see them. Spirits are creatures that have magical powers. There are Water Spirits, Fire Spirits and Death Spirits, but also Love and Hate Spirits.’
‘But if they’re invisible, how do you know about them?’
‘Okay… You see these eyes?’
‘I’m a Spirit Speaker. I can speak to Spirits.’
‘What?’ Fairy tales weren’t true. ‘So you are trying to tell me that there are magical creatures that have influence on my life, but I can’t see them? And that you can see them and even speak to them?’ It sounded even more ridiculous when I said it myself.
‘Yes.’, Dai said. ‘You got that very well.’
‘This is a joke, isn’t it?’
‘Why would it be? You actually think I’d make up all of this just to make a joke? Give me a break.’ Dai looked kind of offended.
‘So… can you show me the Spirits?’
‘I could. But it’s very dangerous.’
‘Why?’ What could be dangerous about them?
‘Because when some people see Spirits, they are being enchanted by them. And then their souls leave their bodies, and they’re just empty beings.’ Wow. That sounded pretty bad.
‘Does that happen often?’, I asked.
‘No, because we mostly don’t show them to normal persons.’ Dai stood up and looked out of the window. ‘But I guess you’ll never believe me unless I’ll show you, so do you want to see them?’ Did I? I didn’t know. Was it worth it? Wait a minute, I didn’t actually believe what he said, did I?
‘Yes, I want to see.’
‘Good. Then, hold on.’ Dai took one of my hands. That felt kinda weird. I mean, even when it’s about magical creatures, a guy holding your hand is always strange. Only a second later I felt like I was on drugs or something. Everything looked the same, except for some blue-coloured… people outside? Were it people? ‘Spirits.’ Dai said. ‘Do you believe me now?’ I nodded. Maybe there actually lived a goblin in my backyard. ‘They don’t all have a human-like forms. I once saw one that looked like a dog. But those are very rare.’
I heard it, but not really listened. One of the Spirits stretched his or her hand out to me. I reached out and tried to grab it, but my hand went right trough. ‘You can’t touch them.’ Dai said. He moved his hand, and one of the Spirits was all of sudden on fire. I was shocked. ‘Relax, he isn’t hurt. He’s a Fire Spirit.’
‘You can set them… on fire?’ Dai looked at me as if he had waited all day for this question.
‘No, I can demand them to be on fire.’
‘It’s one of the abilities of a Spirit Speaker is to make them do things.’
‘And they have to obey you?’
‘Yes.’ Dai smiled. He was so happy with himself, that arrogant… ‘Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a breakfast to finish.’ Dai turned to his sandwiches again and let go of my hand. I suddenly felt weak. I looked at the gross sandwiches on my plate and thought of all the things I learned in 5 minutes.
‘Hang on. Why did you tell me all of this?’ Dai looked up from his breakfast.
‘Because I wanted you to know.’
‘There’s more, isn’t there?’
‘You’re clever. Maybe I’ll tell you sometime.’ Dai actually enjoyed the power he had over me. I couldn’t give him an answer, because the doorbell rang. ‘That must be your parents.’ Dai said. I walked out of the kitchen. And this idiot was actually right as well. The gray-haired woman stood at the door and my parents walked in. My mother hugged me to death.
‘Sophie! We were so worried!’ My father thanked Johanna and my mom told me to change clothes.
15 minutes later we walked out of the house. It wasn’t in the city, but somewhere in the countryside. I stepped in to the car and as we drove away I saw Dai staring out of the kitchen window. Maybe I should check my backyard for goblins.
‘One of the best things of having a wheelchair is that you never have to stand in line for the rollercoaster.’, Felicia said. I agreed, still eating my cotton candy. It was the weekend and we were at an amusement park. We were only halfway through the day and I had eaten every snack in the entire park. ‘Soph, you’re such a pig. Can’t you stop eating for one minute?’
‘No.’, I said with a delicious chocolate lolly in my mouth.
‘Aren’t you sick yet?’
‘Yeah right, you’re the one to talk. You’ve already been on every ride! Aren’t you sick?’
‘No-o. Now, let me have some of your M&M’s.’
‘Why? They’re my M&M’s.’
‘Yeah. But I’m your best friend.’
‘So, and that should allow you to eat my M&M’s?’ Felicia didn’t answer, she just pulled them out of my hands. I tried to get them back, but the entire bag turned upside down and all the M&M’s fell on the ground. ‘Now look what you’ve done, Soph!’
‘Great. Now I’ve to buy new.’ I stood up. I was standing in line in front of the food stand.
‘Well, if that isn’t Sophie.’ I turned around to see who said that. Dai. That guy again. Unbelievable. I turned back forward and waited for my turn. ‘You’re not going to say hi? That really hurts my feelings, you know.’
‘Like I care about your feelings.’
‘I don’t.’ The woman from the food stand gave me a bag of M&M’s. ‘Bye, Daisuké.’
‘Who was that?’, asked Felicia.
‘Some guy from my class. Nobody special.’
‘And you don’t introduce me? I’m so disappointed in you.’
‘Well, so am I.’, Dai said. ‘Let me just introduce myself then. I’m Daisuké Nawamura, I’m in Sophie’s class.’
‘I’m Felicia Fields. Pleased to meet you, Daisuké.’ They actually shook hands.
‘O please. Just call me Dai.’ It was like they were imitating some stupid movie.
‘Have you already been in the Topspin?’
‘Actually, I haven’t.’
‘Why didn’t you say so? Let’s go, Soph!’ And they were gone. Great.
Bored to death... as usual