Dusk

Three people with three different pasts are linked by one thing and one alone: The secrets that are kept from them. Haley- A homeschooled girl of fifteen with an author for a father; May- an aspiring sixteen year old artist who wants a big break but has a mental issue that baffles even the professionals; Dylan- A fifteen year old who works at his Grandfather's horse farm.
They seem so far apart until something bigger than themselves bring them together. Something no one but the seldom few have knowledge of. Suddenly the three teens are thrown into confusion where your never know what is a lie and what is the truth. Where anyone and everyone could be the enemy, and thrust into the lives they should have led. Of course, sometimes the truth has been in front of you the whole time...
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Book One of the Tyleptia Trilogy

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2. May

Chapter Two- May
 
      The lead of my pencil skidded along the creamy white paper that had been placed in front of me. Deep gray stood out against the page and finally my picture started to take some shape. 
       Beautiful, curvy glasses sat upon elegant tables. The satin laying still, not rippling like in other pictures I had drawn. Of course, I hadn't come up with this idea myself.  Again, I closed my eyes and tried to remember the scene that had snapped itself into my head just an hour before. All that met my eyes was darkness, the fearful and inky black. 
     Sighing in defeat, I plopped my head down into my hands. The picture wasn't right, something was missing!  Even with the shadow in the background, which looked like a man lurking in the corners of the large dining room, there was still a piece of information I hasn't gotten from My. . .Snap attack.  Only I called them that. Every so many days, my mind would go completely blank except for one thing- a scene that stayed for only, at the most, twenty seconds and then disappeared forever.  I never had the same snap attack picture; only one thing related them all.  
      The shadow figure, the hidden man, always scurried among the dark places and never revealed his face. That was in every attack and his presence seemed to linger long after I had lost the precious image. It was as if I could feel that he had been there, searching my head. Of course this is impossible and my family wonders if I am going insane. They even went as far as to take me to the hospital to see why I was having these snap attacks. 'No Apparent Reason' has been their answer. They had no idea why or how his happened to me- I was a mystery. 
     People always asked, 'May, how do you deal with these - these attacks?'.  I always answered with an 'I don't'.  Never had people asked 'Where do you get the ideas do these sketches?' Or 'Why do you sometimes draw with your eyes shut?'.  When you have a 'problem' like mine all they care about is the way my brain works; how I might be demented or a psychopath. This town was so narrow-minded, it's little world revolving around gossip from big cities. 
      Finally, I looked away from my drawing and walked over to my window with wooden panes and streaked glass. The view was beautiful. We lived in a small faded house, my parents, brother, and I, in a miniature neighborhood with many rather elderly people.  Women, especially as they  get older, love to plant flowers and my view outside was full of every color in the rainbow.  Flora's flower garden was mostly reds and pinks; Patty's yard had set ups and organized exhibits but everything had been outlined in yellows and purples. 
       Sometimes it made me laugh I think about how a person's chosen surroundings reflects who they are. What would my room tell people? I turn around and see the single bed with a patched bed set that sits across from an antique-looking dresser. My easel sits at an angle in the left corner, facing the wall so that I see the window. It's the perfect spot for good light and the serenity that the neighborhood brings. My art supplies is spread out everywhere, on the small table next to my easel, my dresser, and even on the floor and bed. 
      'Messy Artist' was what my room would tell someone I decided.  Groaning inwardly, I starting picking up my different assortments of pencils and erasers.  My paints were still out from the day before and I started to organize them as well.  
      Time passed quickly and my room was soon spotless: My paints and pencils all packed away in the bottom drawer of my dresser.  I opened my window just a crack to let the sounds drift in as I hummed softly to myself, sketching randomly.  That one picture would drive me nuts if I dwelled on its inaccuracy too long and it was best to divert my own attention. 
     "May!" I heard my mom before I saw her. She came barging in through the door with a wild look in her eye. She was thin, too thin some would say, but she made up for it by wearing clothes that made her look curvy.  For example: her high rise jeans and tucked in coral tank showed the hips she didn't have. I had a similar shape, but didn't try to hide my un-feminine body.  If people mistook me for a ten year old, so be it. 
      "Yes, Mom?" 
     "I need your help getting ready for the town cook-out," she admitted, breathless, "Tyler is absolutely no help,"
     Tyler was my older brother.  He was 18 and would be leaving for college in the fall, but we were stuck with him for now. He was bossy and not always pleasant to be around. Of course, me, being younger, only sixteen, made me the biggest loser on the planet and therefore the best person to tease. There was only one thing I envied him of: His red hair. Both of my parents hair was the same vibrant red, but mine had somehow ended up a Carmel brown.  I was nothing like either of my parents, in appearance or interests. Tyler on the other hand could not have been mistaken for anybody else's child except for my parents: Andy and Miranda. 
      "What's new?" I rolled my eyes and stood up, setting my paper and pencil to the side, "I can help,"
      "Oh I knew you would!" My mother smiled gratefully at me, showing her slightly crooked teeth through her thin mouth. 
      "What do you need me to do?" I asked, following her out of my room and down the carpeted stairs. 
     "Help me load all the supplies into the truck. Your father will be driving us to the sight," 
     "How do we know how many are coming?" 
     "We don't!" My mom started to pick up a large box full of Independence Day decorations, "That's what makes it all so difficult!" 
     "Well, then what are we eating?" 
     "May, have you not even been listening when I talk about this at dinner?" She heaved as we both brought the box up to our waist. 
      "Not really," I admitted, opening the door with my foot. 
      "Everyone will be grilling their own hotdogs," she started explaining,"and the ladies from my group will be providing salads and dips along with condiments,"
      "It sounds like you have it all under control," 
      "I don't have all these up yet!  How is that under control?!" 
      "The food-" 
      "And what about all the vegetarians in our community?" My mom had started her rant, "Should we just let them starve?!" 
      "Mom-" I was cut off by another string of stress-filled and repetitious words. We had set the box in the back of the pick-up truck and were now going back for more. I droned out the speech I was being given and focused on picking up the boxes. 
      Finally, I interrupted her, "Isn't this big event taking place tomorrow?  Why are we setting up the decorations now?"  
       "Because!  Tomorrow I would like to relax and be able to chat with the town.  It's the Fourth of July and there will be events going on all day in every nook and cranny of the town!"  
      "Ok, ok," I decided to not ask anymore questions to steer clear of her growing stress. 
      Getting everything together into the back of the pick up wasn't difficult and soon my dad came out to drive us.  Although he had a couple years on my mom, his energy resembled that of a young man - happy and gay.    
    "Are you ladies ready?" He asked, his red head - contrasted by the bald spot in back -  bobbing up and down as he ran out our front door.  His shirt was striped two different shades of blue, not to my surprise.  He wore stripes every day, which made his growing belly easier to notice. 
      "Yes," my mom breathed, snapping the back of the truck up into place, "we're ready,"
      "Then what are we waiting for?" He smiled and opened the car door for my mom and motioning for her to get in with a gentle sweep of his hand.

     "I'm pretty sure we were waiting on you," I hopped into the large trunk along with the supplies and decorations.

      "Just think," My dad pointed down the road, "you could be walking right now,"

     "But Daddy!" I mimicked a child's voice, "That would be dangerous!"

     "Oh, You just-"

     "Andy get in the car," My dad was cut off by the impatient order of my mom.

     "Ok, Honey," He replied, heading toward the other side of the car but giving me a quick wink before he turned the corner.

      I grinned and sat down, situating myself into the most comfortable position.  The engine started with a loud grumble, shaking the entire vehicle.  As we drove, the July sun shone down on my face, sinking into my pores. The wind hit me as we gained speed and as we neared our destination, which was out in a field and contained a bon-fire pit, the sounds of the birds grew louder in my ears.  Humming along with their tune I would have fallen asleep if it wasn't for the constant bumps in our path that made my entire body sometimes fly up into the air.

      We came to a slowing stop and I opened my eyes to look around.  The sudden light blinded me and purple dots appeared in my vision.  When my eyes had cleared up I stood up to get a good view of my surrounding area.  We had just come off of a gravel road where a picket fence paralleled it until the road met with houses and at least a mile down. 

      An area had been taken out and lined with haystacks in a large circle.  In the center was a large fire-pit big enough for five people to stand in.

      "Alright! Let's get to it!" My mom shouted, jumping out of the car and jogging back to me and the boxes.  "May, lift those poles out and hand them to me and your father," 

      Leaning down, I picked them up, one by one, the cold metal sticking to my hot hands.  Our conveyor belt began to take form for every different area. Anywhere my eyes looked red whit and blue exploded next to the green grass. First the poles stood tall and erect, holding up a large decorative banner that swung in the wind.  Each hay bale had been accented with ribbons and spray painted to patriot perfection. Yet, despite the streamers and out of place decor that ran along ever inch of possible surface, it was still missing something. I stared at it, my mind wandering as my mother fretted over whether or not the pole was perfectly straight or not.
      "Well, honey," she asked me, "what do you think?"  Her face was hopeful and beaded with sweat. I couldn't tell her that it seemed incomplete. 
     "Great!  It's definitely not lacking any color."  I laughed. 
     
    "Yes, yes, it looks like a real Independence Day bash. Now let's celebrate with some dinner- I am starving!" 
     "Of course you are, Andy," my mother scolded, "name a time that you aren't!"  Despite her words, her stomach made a loud noise as she dawdled back to the truck. 
     "Well would you look at that!" My dad teased, "Seems like it is time to get some meat on those bones of yours!" 
      I just rolled my eyes at them, for the banter didn't end there.  In fact, I heard them laughing the whole way home, even through the wind that whistled through my ears. The sky was still bright even though by now it had to be getting late and my arms were tired from the set up.  My eyes explored as we passed many July fourth assortments. None had the color and variety of ours and I knew that Miranda would be ecstatic that hers stood out amongst the majority.  It seemed to me that she was the kind if woman who discovered happiness in being unique and abnormal- a rare quality to have. Maybe, if I was lucky, it would be an asset passed down, or rubbed off on me.
~~~
     The shimmering yellow sunlight streaked into my room and brought in the waking mood of the day.   My limbs were stiff from laying still in bed and I extended them to their limit until I collapsed back into the bed. 
     "May!  It's almost time to leave for the community luncheon!  You already missed breakfast!"  Miranda's sing-song voice carried up the stairs. Groaning, I swung my legs out into the air that seemed cold compared to my warm mattress. 
    "Alright!" I shouted, "I'll be down in a minute!"  
     I slipped into a pair of plain dark wash blue jeans and an American flag tank top. I stared at my worn hand me down tennis shoes that had rips and tears but, according to my family, were still wearable.  Sighing, I put them on before wrapping my hair into a high ponytail as I stomped down the stairs.   
     "God, May," Tyler rolled his eyes at me, "is it possible to be any slower?"   He had been waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs instead of out in the pick-up with my parents.  Both of us were stuck hanging in the trunk.  
     "Couldn't you just drive yourself instead of having us carry your sorry butt everywhere?"  I bounced down the stairs of the porch with him just a few steps behind me.  
     "Couldn't you just walk instead of being a waste of space?"  
     "Considering th-" I cut off when I saw that another girl was sitting in the truck, applying what looked like a deep red lipstick.  "Who the heck is that?" I rose my eyebrow and pivoted around to glare at my brother.  
     "That," he smirked, "is my friend Leila.  She'll be hanging with me today,"  
     " Usually 'friends' don't wear a pound of makeup and let everything hang out," I mocked her low cut shirt and mini shorts.  She looked like a little white slut, just Tyler's type.  
     "Well are they supposed to go without any makeup and look like a potential nun all the time?"  
     "You are such a sucky liar, Mom is so gonna know she is your girlfriend," I whipped around and hopped up into the truck. "Hey, I'm Tyler's sister.  Isn't he just a joy?"  I rhetorically added the question.  Not caring for the answer I just plopped down and ignored them as they sat together and talked as the vehicle bumped down the road.  Leila was giggling like a maniac as Tyler's arm creeped around her and kept staring at her. Relationships: what a waste of precious time.  
      I was glad when we got to the luncheon that our church group was holding.  It was being held in the gym at a local high school  as a result of the extravagant RSVP list along with the tagalongs. I trailed behind the rest of my family who were instantly greeted by others. My mom was known in the church social community and in the town itself.  Even now, her stress from the previous day seemed to have melted away as she shook hands with an middle-aged woman whom I didn't recognize. 
     "Hello, I'm Miranda and this is my Husband, Andy, our oldest son, Tyler, and  our daughter, May," 
     "May!  Oh I've overheard some other women talking 'bout you!" The lady shook my hand with velocity. Her hands were warm but her face, though attractive, was that of a professional gossip.  
     "Have you?" I attempted to sound cheerful, but I knew what was coming. This type of conversation had occurred too many time for me to not be prepared. 
     "Oh yes, indeed!" She talked on, "wouldn't you be the one with the mental blackouts, correct?" 
    "They aren't exactly bl-" I was cut off by my dad, who had realized more than anybody else that I wanted out of the conversation. 
     "Yes, but our May is just fine! Doesn't bother her a bit!"  He gently gave my a little push on the arm, telling me that if I wanted to leave I could.  
     I accepted his offer and backed away slowly as the woman started talking to my dad.  When I was out of earshot I served myself some chicken casserole, baked potato, and vegetables.  The older ladies always supplied wonderful food along with desserts which I made sure to grab.  
      I sat at a table with strangers, letting the chatter be drowned out. It was only when people confronted me that my snap attacks bothered me.  It was in the pity-filled way they looked at me when they asked and the fact that others talked about it. Why did it matter to them?  Yet, why did their opinion matter to me?  
     When I was finished and my stomach full, I picked up my plate and headed for the trash can, absentmindedly scanning the room for my parents.  Unfortunately, I wasn't quite attentive to my surroundings and didn't hear the faint 'Watch out!' That had been shouted in my direction.  
      My body collided with that of another on a skateboard and we both fell to the ground. Luckily, there wasn't anything left on my plate to be spilled as it skidded along the ground.  
      "What do you think you are doing," I scolded, "riding that dumb thing in here?" 
      "Well it's a gym isn't it?" The boy stood up and brought his board with him.  I refused his hand and stood up on my own.  He looked like a normal skater, his brown hair longer than a regular boys so that it covered part of his right eye as it was swooped over and his t-shirt and jeans informal and comfortable. I would have rebuked them if it wasn't for my own clothing choice.  
     "I would suggest you keep the skateboarding outside,"
     "Y'all don't need to be sour."
     "Well I..." I trailed off. He was already on his way out the door, his board rolling beneath him.  
     I hadn't meant to be rude, but it seemed to me that everybody was looking for a reason to call me strange. Of course, he hadn't been.  I sighed and shrugged it off as I threw away my paper plate.  
     Taking out my phone, I texted my mom that I was going to ride a bike over to where the first game display would be held to help set up.  It was esker than finding her in this throng.  She responded with an 'ok'.  I let myself out of the building and grabbed my bike out from the back of our truck.  As I did so, I saw a group of teenagers together, laughing and talking.  They didn't even notice as the I passed them, speeding away as fast as I could. 
      I wouldn't let them get to me, not a single one of them.  At least, that's what played itself over and over in my head.  All except that little echo that told me that I wanted to belong. In my family, with a friend. Instead of dwelling on this, I thought back to the canvas awaiting me when this day was over and only let the humid breeze wipe against my face, ignoring the rest of the world around me.  

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