Dead to Rights

William Morro is just your average sixteen year old boy, well he was, once. After a week of increasingly worsening events he finds himself suddenly awake in his bedroom, or atleast, what appears to be his bedroom. It is shortly after that he realizes that indeed something is out of place; he's dead and stuck in a place where everything seems like the world we know when, at the same time, this world is nothing like we know the world to be...

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7. Back to School: Reaching an Understanding

   I awoke early the next morning, my body was responding to the subconscious thought that I had to get ready for school. "I'm dead, but I still go to school?" That's just not right," I remember thinking to myself as I drowsily meandered around my room that cool, grey morning. I changed my shirt and shorts out for a pair of jeans and a maroon long sleeved shirt with a Gothic design splashed across it with black lettering that made out the word 'live free,' I know, ironic. I remembered then that Samvel had my stitched sweatshirt still, no problem, I had others.

   "Damn you get up early," came a crass voice from behind; too crude to be Sam, but not deep enough to be Charlie, that left only one possibility; Ari.

   "What does it matter to you?" I asked with a cool tone as I turned around to face him. He looked tired himself but he was leaning up against the door frame, knife in hand as if anticipating a fight to break out. Looking him over I became sore; it took till now for the adrenaline to wear off and my body began to ache and protest certain movements. "You're freaking heavy you know, how old are you anyway? Your build and height makes me guess you're at least sixteen, maybe seventeen."

   "And you'd be wrong," he smirked quickly, his wire thin lips curving upwards, but then, just as quickly, they wrenched downward into a slight scowl again. "I'm only thirteen, however, I was given the height and build of my father; However, that doesn't matter now..." he looked away then, and perhaps I may be mistaken but, I think he grew a tinge of sadness then. It was apparent that by the way he said that fact that I began to process and analyze him; obviously there was tension between him and his father, boy, could I sympathize with that one.

   "God, you're so young and yet, you fight and act like you're atleast in your twenties," I sighed, "You must not have had a very pleasant life then, then again, around here it seems that no one had a good life." He eyed me with a look of annoyance and distrust, the blade in his hand tilting this way and that as I'm sure the thought of attacking me was running through that volatile head of his.

   "You don't know shit," he muttered, "I'm strong because I wanted to be, I was an elite athlete for my age group; the traits I inherited giving me a nice edge in competitions, however, yeah, I guess you could say my life kind of sucked, especially when it came to dear old dad..." The fiery fury began to build in his eyes again and I knew that if I didn't want to get into a knife fight I'd have to calm him down but, I wasn't sure how, this one was quite the enigma.

   "Ari, I have to ask, why did you attack me?" His body responded to the utterance of its given name, but the person inside just impaled me with a glare of absolute hatred and insecurity. He stepped into the room with deliberate and heavy footsteps, "How cute," I thought subconsciously, "He's trying to be menacing again; definitely a frightened boy at heart." I knew I could probably take him if I had to; granted, I wasn't as strong as him probably and he was a good few inches taller but, I had speed and leverage on my side if I had to enter conflict with him again.

   "I attacked because you wouldn't listen," he growled like a demon, "Those who don't listen need to be punished," he lunged at me managing to grab a hold of my wrist and shoving me against the wall, the knife was poised above my abdomen, ready to tear into me should the owner so desire. "Now, how should I proceed?" he smiled slightly, his eyes were clouded, blocked by either rage, or, a complete break from sanity. "Oh, I know, I'll just do to you what I did to those sniveling brats who used to pick on me," It was official, he was having a break from sanity and though I desperately tried to keep his knife from my flesh, I could feel my minor store of strength fading, he'd soon dig into me and that didn't really appeal to me.

   "Ari, don't!" it was the soft but assertive voice of little Krystal as she stood in the doorway, "Ari... don't kill him, he's done nothing wrong."

   "You're fucking kidding me, right!?" his voice escalated, "Did nothing wrong? He fucking slashed me yesterday! Do you know who painful it is to die a slow, suffocating death like that and then feel the immense pain as you revive!?"

   "Ofcourse I know what it feels like!" she screamed back, "You forgot that one time you let me die, when we first got here, didn't you!? When I came back, it felt like I was burning in flames, just like the night we..." her voice cracked as tears came to her eyes as she stopped herself. Collapsing to the floor she sobbed quietly as the pain of the memory came racing back to her. I felt Ari's grip lighten as he turned and moved towards his sister, releasing me as he fell to the floor and picked his younger sibling and held her in a loving grasp.

   "I remember, and... I'm still so sorry," he answered quietly, picking her up and moving off back to the room I had given them the night before. Being left alone, I again began to gather the things I would need for the day. Looking at the clock and registering who much time it would take me to walk to school I knew I was going to cut it close so I quickly skirted out towards the door but not before being stopped by Krystal at the door.

   "Excuse me, Will was it?" she called, following me out of the house. I stopped only when she caught a hold of my wrist. It hurt slightly as it was the one that previously had been Ari's death grip. Seeing my inherent pain she let go and apologized. "I'm sorry," she started, "For both of our behaviors, my brother's a bit..."

   "On the rough side?" I smiled, as I put my hand on her shoulder, "It's alright, I understand, But, I have to wonder, why is he so violent?"

   "Because... he wants to protect me and..." I looked at the sadness in her eyes, and placed a finger gingerly to her lips.

   "I think I can understand," I answered quietly with a smile, "By the looks of things, you two look like you both could use a rest and some unwinding time, so, for the trouble I caused you two yesterday, it is only fair if I let you two stay a while." She looked at me with a weary look of discomfort and insecurity, exactly the opposite of her brother, how odd.

   "You don't need to do that," she finally answered.

   "I insist. It's the least I can do for scaring you and killing Ari yesterday, though, please understand that was in self defense, I'm not usually like that, honestly," I answered, beginning to feel awkward, I could feel myself blushing again and I knew I was running late. She didn't smile or even giggle but it seemed like she understood and so she just mouthed the words 'thank you' and returned inside the house. "As troubled as they are, they are good kids," I thought to myself as I hurried out to school. It was only when I was seated in the classroom of my first class that the thought crossed my mind; how would poor Sam take this?

********************

   Third period had ended and I mosied out to the cafeteria, not particularly hungry I purchased an apple and a water and sat in the courtyard under the willow tree as I thought to myself in a lazy, hazy manner.

   "I can see what Charlie meant when he said that it would feel like the school I left behind," I thought aloud. Indeed, the NPCs as Charlie called them were almost perfect representations of the teachers that taught at the high school where I used to learn. Just to be sure I wasn't dreaming I pinched myself and only let up when I felt the sting of the skin screaming out in pain; yep, I'm not dreaming, I'm really here.

   "Dammit all!" I heard the voice of someone quietly yell just beyond the veil of the willow; it sounded vaguely familiar. "What have I done!? All I wanted was to make him happy and I... I killed the both of us... I deserve to rot in hell for this, so, why am I here?"

   "That voice sounds incredibly familiar," I whispered to myself, "Oh, I hope I'm wrong though, he doesn't deserve to be here, not Jay." As I peeked out from beyond the veil, I stopped cold as I beheld a gruesome sight; there he was, kneeling beside the coy pond in the center of the courtyard. His once bright blond hair was plastered to one side and soaked in dried blood; his body looked as though it had been crushed inward on one side as he kept holding onto it tenderly, and it seemed as though he was an enormous struggle of a time trying to breathe. His clothes were torn and seemed minorly charred in some places and his chest... Oh god, I think I'm going to be sick. Sure enough I wretched all under the tree, I made sure to do it away from where he could hear me.

   "Huh, is someone there?" I heard him call with minor apprehension in voice; his footsteps grew more audible as he drew closer to where I was until he stopped and seemed to try and peer through the thick veil that hid me. I kept perfectly silent, hoping that he would just go away, it was all I could do to hold back the tears for, as I said before, he didn't deserve such a sad and twisted fate. "Guess... I must be imagining things," I heard him sigh and laugh lightly, "Oh Will, I hope you can find it in your heart someday to forgive me, though... on second thought, I kind of hope you don't since... I deserve to feel this pain, it was my screw up after all that put us here..." 

  Before I could choose whether or not to make my presence known, the bell rang calling us to the last period of the day and as quickly as he appeared, Jay just, up an vanished. Emerging from the tree with my book bag I walked quietly to class as I mulled over my thoughts. "Jay, why would you ever think I hate you?" I thought to myself, "We've been friends for as long as I can remember, why should death change that?" Though i told myself this, on the deeper part of my inner subconscious something was pulling at my mind and I began to feel something towards the subject; hatred? As I made my way to gym class I couldn't help but begin to wonder what the others were up to; especially what was happening back at home.....
 

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