Inkling

A new story I've just begun writing.
Inspired by Goosebumps movie, sort of my take on what the story should have been like. (Not a fanfic though)
Fantasy, supernatural and a few other special ingredients to make things interesting.
I don't know where it'll go but I feel inspired and full of ideas right now.
Hope you enjoy.

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1. i - A New Page

You might think this is a simple love story where a boy meets a girl and falls for her, hard, but it's not. You might think this is a cliché story where the world is in danger and he is the only one who can save it, the chosen one, but it's not. You might think this is a story about the power of friendship and fighting for one's ideals, righteous or not, but it's not. You might think this is a story about magic and its wonders, a world hidden from our eyes, but it's not. Finally, you might think this is a story that deserves your attention, one that deserves a chance, but it's not. This is not 'one of those stories', this is not an epic story, this is not a tale that will be told over and over. This is just my story. It's the story of my life, or at least part of my life, the one that deserves to at least be told once, if not to be heard. I could say that this is the story of how it all began or how it all changed for me but that would be lying, it's not. Nothing was ever the same after that, I can't deny it, but this is just how life happened for me; and so, this is just how I will tell you about it.

 

***

 

It had already been a few weeks since school had started and since I had become friends with Jace. We'd officially met on the third day of school and had remained quite close since in the following weeks. I found him a bit awkward but funny and pleasant to talk to. I don't really know what he saw in me but apparently I was someone he enjoyed staying around too. As for Gwen, or Gwenala, as I later learned her name was, well I had seen her once or twice but we had never talked or interacted in any way. I couldn't truthfully say that she had caught my eye but I had noticed she was quite good-looking. Not that it motivated me to go talk to her. To this day I still have trouble imagining how else we could have met, I still can't tell if it's the meeting that made us what we've become or us that made our meeting what it was. What I saw in her after that, and what I still see in her now, cannot simply be explained in words. I don't know how it happened or why it happened then and not somewhere else, at another time, it just did. All the events that happened after that marked an end and a beginning in my life and, while it all changed, everything somehow remained the same.

We were enjoying our last minutes of math class when Jace offered to go grab something to drink and then go to the beach to make the most of the great weather were had been having since the previous week. I nodded silently, smiling at the idea.

"Awesome man!", he quietly replied with an excited smirk and a thumbs up.

His clear eyes were already sparkling with delight at the prospect of being able to sit on the warm sand and just enjoy the moment. We'd already done that a few times since school had started but Jace, having moved here not too long ago, couldn't get tired of it. He just loved spending time near the sea. From the few things he had told me about himself I'd understood that he had never lived so close to the ocean. The fact that he now did helped fuel his excitement in a way I found hard to keep up with. Luckily for him I too loved the ocean and took every opportunity I could to spend time either swimming in it or at least to be looking at it. Even after having lived here for almost two decades I still found having the sea nearby awesome.

"Hey!", I heard him call me again as the teacher finally seemed to be drawing a conclusion to her lecture, "Why not go take a dip in it too? I brought my trunks with me this afternoon.".

I remained silent a few moment, making him purposefully wait for an answer that was obviously going to be 'yes' just to irritate him a little.

"Yeah, why not..." I replied in a hushed tone with a shrug, careful only to look in front.

"Cool!", he silently exclaimed.

I could feel the large smile on his face without even looking at him. This was something I had caught on early on with Jace : he didn't bother to hide his emotion most of the time and simply displayed what he was thinking or feeling on his face. This made it easy to get a read on him most of the time, which I rapidly found I quite liked. I had only seen him close off once, when I had mentioned his birthplace. His face had become a blank mask and he had replied he didn't remember much of where he was born. I couldn't tell why he wanted to keep it to himself but I wasn't gonna pressure him if he didn't want to talk about it. Plus I didn't know him that well yet, it didn't feel right.

I've lived in Igualda practically all my life. My mother told me we moved here a few days after I was born, dad had found a job as a police officer here. I don't really remember much about the early years, my first real memories come from the time I started going to school. Mom used to take me everyday of the week except on Thursdays, that was dad-time, it was the only real day off he had in his week apart from Sundays, and he always insisted on taking me to school. I used to love these moments. As the years passed he managed to get a more important desk-job in department and managed to get free time more regularly.

We didn't see him a lot more but he was always there on week ends. Him and I would go fishing together when we didn't all go on picnics with mom. He died when I was 8. Apparently there was a shortage of officers that night and he was exceptionally dispatched with another officer to a house in the suburbs to investigate gunshots. They never even made it to the house, apparently a driver lost the control of his truck and he ran into their car. The impact killed his partner on the sport, my father died later that night after being revived three times. I didn't immediately understand what had happened, it took me several days to realize that dad wouldn't come back, that he was gone... But I think the worst in all this is Leo, he was born a few months after that, because he'll never even know him...

The pain has dulled a bit over time but I often find myself missing him, so much. I would give anything just to have another outing to the lake to go fishing. God, I used to hate fishing! It was so boring! And now I even contemplate going there myself to teach Leo how to catch catfishes... It's strange isn't it? People tend to regret things only when they've already lost them... Anyway, I don't mean to say I really know what Jace is feeling but if he doesn't want to talk about it, I can understand. That's also something that I like about him, he's not frank only in his expressions but in his words too.

"Ok, let's go!", I exclaimed as I threw my bag on my shoulder and quickly left the room.

The bell had barely rung and everybody was already rushing to the doors. I still managed to hear the instructions for the work that was due next week before I followed Jace out of the campus and towards the beach. We started running halfway through, both relieved that school was finally over for the day and excited to be going to the beach. As I said earlier, it had become a habit of ours to go to the beach quite often in these last weeks, that's why I had taken my trunks with me that morning and therefore why I was able to almost immediately jump into the water.

The ocean had this peculiar effect on Jace and I, turning us into kids again as soon as we reached the sandy surface of the beach. We were quickly swimming, jumping, yelling, laughing and splashing, trying to drown one another, racing to one end of the beach to the other. People might have been looking at us weirdly but we didn't care, we were having fun. When we finally came out, completely drenched and breathless, the sun was setting behind the horizon and the air was getting cooler.

"Haha! That was fun!", I exclaimed with a bright smile.

"Yeah.", said Jace between two breaths, "How do you swim so fast though? I couldn't catch you at all..."

Yeah, I am quite the swimmer. I once competed in the school championship a few years ago, but it was mostly the fact that I had the sea nearby since my early childhood that had helped me become a good swimmer.

"If you live here long enough you too will become half-fish.", I replied with a chuckled as I finished drying myself.

"You know Quentin, you should join the swimming at school. You'd ace every competition!", he told me with a smile as he was already getting dressed up.

"And you the speed dressing team, you'd leave everyone else in the dust!", I playfully replied with a wink as I struggled to pull my tee-shirt down.

"Hey! I was being serious you know..." he said.

I knew he was being serious and I knew I could get back into the team if I wanted, it was just a matter of time and a bit of training. But I didn't tell him I wasn't planning on doing that. I'd left for a reason and, since that reason was still there, I wouldn't be coming back anytime soon.

"Yeah, I know," I just said as I put on shoe on and then the other.

We settled in a comfortable silence as I finished dressing up. Of course Jace was already completely done. When I finally managed to put my second shoe on without any sand in it -it still took me two tries- we started walking back to the concrete promenade that was running along the beach.

"Ready for tonight?", I finally asked.

I knew he had been dreading this evening for a moment now. Having just moved here a few weeks before, his parents had decided to throw a small party for their arrival and had invited the whole neighborhood. Jace had definitely not been looking forward to having all these strangers at home at once.

"No, not really... But I'll survive, I'm sure of it. Well, almost..." He replied with a small chuckle.

"You know, I can come by if you want, to help you endure this trial from the heavens...", I offered with a smirk.

"Tch! Mock me, mock me all you want. I will have my sweet revenge one day...", he retorted with a smile before shaking his head, "Thanks for the offer though, but no thanks. I'll be fine. Plus if my parents find out I asked you to come for this they'll be pissed."

"Well, it's as you want my friend. If you feel you'll be fine then I trust you," I said with a shrug.

His parents apparently wanted him to meet and socialize with their neighbours as much as he could. I couldn't help a giggle as I remembered the face he had pulled the first time he had told me about this.

"Hey, it's not funny okay!", Jace exclaimed, furrowing his brows to look pissed off.

"Oh I'm not laughing..." I replied, trying my best not to smile.

"Yeah, well whatever man. I'll see you tomorrow!" He exclaimed as he suddenly took a left and hurried off down the large street.

"Later Jace!", I replied with a wave of the hand as I continued straight forward.

He lived in the western part of the city while my mom and I had a house in the suburbs to the north. We weren't so far away from each other, which was quite cool, but we still had almost half an hour by foot to get from his house to mine. I took a right and then a left at the next crossing, deciding to pass through a familiar neighborhood that would allow me to take a short cut and get home faster. I knew an old couple living nearby quite well and we sort of had an agreement that whenever I wanted I could pass through their garden to cross over to the other side, which roughly shaved off a ten minute detour, in exchanged for my help a few time a year to take care of their garden.

I was getting close to their house when I hear a loud crash followed by a woman's scream coming from the one immediately on my right. It surprised me, not to say scared the shit out of me, and I almost jumped back a few meters. As I looked towards the direction of the noise and was deciding whether or not I should go see what was going on, I saw a young woman about my age running out the front foor, quickly followed by a cloud of dark smoke. Her face was almost as black as her mid-length hair, she coughed heavily as she stopped a few meters away from the door. The cloud of smoke started slowly dissipating.

"Dad?", I heard her exclaim as the dark smoke completely vanished.

The house remained silent and she took a tentative step forward.

"Dad?!", she asked again, louder this time, her tone urgent.

There suddenly was another loud bang and another cloud of smoke escaped from the open door. She let out a cry again and took a step back. Silence took over once more before a voice cried out, a male voice this time, in a victorious accent.

"It's okay darling! Everything's fine, you can come back in!", the voice exclaimed from somewhere inside the house.

I heard her sigh in relief, she let out a small laugh as she seemed to calm down. I was about to walk over when she turned around and noticed me. I can't say I was completely taken aback by her beauty or that her mere sight stunned me on the spot, but I somehow froze. Most likely because I felt like I had somehow gotten caught peeping on something private. But she didn't get mad or frown, instead I saw a small smile spread on her lips. This reassured me a little.

"Sorry for that," she said as she pointed towards the house, "we've had a uh, a problem with our heater..."

I simply looked at her. Not knowing what to say for a second. Great way to make a fool out of yourself! I cursed inwardly as I noticed I was remaining silent.

"Uhm...", she started again, trying to find something to say.

"Oh! Uh... is everything okay?", I asked, trying my best to compose myself again.

"Yeah, don't worry. My father just fixed the problem," she replied, still smiling.

I was about to ask if they needed help when I saw a man coming out of the house through the door. His face was darkened by what seemed to be ashes too. He looked at the young woman before calling out to her again.

"Gwen! Everything fine now, you can come back in, " he exclaimed, scratching his head as he looked back at the house.

From what I could tell he was most likely in his mid forties, well-built, with short black hair and a neatly trimmed beard. He looked at his daughter and followed her gaze to me. He frowned slightly and took a few more steps forward.

"Do you want something young man?", he asked.

"Uh, no nothing, just-" I started before getting interrupted.

"Then why remain here? Go on, be on your way!", he replied.

I was stunned by a second, not expecting a cold remark like this.

"Come on dad! He was just concerned about us..." the girl said as she turned towards her father.

"Well there's nothing to be concerned about here. You can go now. Everything's fine.", he said before turning around and walking back into the house, "Come on Gwen, let's go.", he added as he noticed the young woman wasn't following him.

"Coming dad!" she exclaimed before turning back towards me.

She mouthed a silent 'sorry...' and shrugged before turning around and following her father back in the house. I didn't even have time to react before the door closed and they both disappeared inside. What the hell? Why did he react like that? I wasn't doing anything wrong... The girl's, Gwen's, if I heard right, look at the end made me think he didn't like people in general. I shrugged and, with a sigh, started walking again. No point in dwelling about this. They were a bit weird and that was all. I didn't want to get involved with them, did I? I didn't even know them...

Well, that wasn't exactly true. The man I had never seen before, of that I was sure, but the girl was somewhat familiar. I was almost certain to have already seen her somewhere, I just couldn't remember. I tried to shrug that weird incident away and put on my earphones to listen to some music. I passed through Hugh and Lydia's garden, that's the name of the elderly couple that live in the house it belongs to, and reached the street on the other side a few minutes later. Night had almost fallen when I finally reached home and I was glad to be back and to be able to take a nice, hot shower...

Of course, what I didn't know at that time was that this strange encounter was only the first of many I was going to face, and that soon things were going to change, a lot.

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