OUR

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Heartache

October 29, 2017

 

This is the small tale about a young boy called Vernon. He was not like you or me. He was not like his classmates or neighbourhood children. No, Vernon was not like anyone who lived on his block, let alone the small town he lived in. He was not known for his kindness or for his love of all things the other children wanted to do or play with. No – Vernon was cold and cruel and he was known for his lack of empathy and unwavering like to cause others harm. Despite all his flaws and his love of malice he was missing something. Something that he saw everyone else had: a friend. Vernon had never known what a friend was or how to become someone's friend. To have a friend he could call his own was the one thing he coveted more than anything else in this world.

 

Each day Vernon would get out of bed at exactly 6.55 am, make his bed like one would imagine young men are taught to in the army. He would make sure his sheets were folded by the corner and tucked in stiff, but neatly under the bed. He would then make sure all his books on the shelf were in a straight line and that all his clothes were in a neat pile and colour-coded. There were no toys or cheerful colours in his room. His room was grey and bland. No posters or pictures on the wall. There were just different shades of grey across his room, all the way from his bed to the wall, from his small, evenly-shaped rug to his wooden, plain chair. His room was just as lifeless as his smile, but then again what would he do with a smile without a friend to share it with.

        

After he made sure his bedroom routine was complete, he would enter his white almost sterile bathroom, stand on a wooden white stool and comb his hair. He would comb his almost grey looking hair a little to the left making sure he always had his parting on the left, just 1.57 inches away from his ear and 2.36 inches long. After completing this he would stare at himself in the mirror. His pale white, elongated face and his darker-than-dark brown eyes stared back at him from his reflection.

 

                        “I don't recall telling you to smirk at me when you're trying to have a conversation with me”

 

                                                “Well you don't get to tell me what to do.”

 

                        “This is the reason why I don't have a friend”

 

                                                “No, you don't have a friend because no one likes you”

 

                        “And why is that?”

 

                                                “Because you keep talking to me and not doing what you should.”

 

                        “And what is that?”

 

Vernon's reflection falls silent. Vernon picks up his toothpaste. Vernon unscrews the cap and smears the white bland toothpaste onto the mirror. Vernon smears it right over his reflection over his mouth, so that he can no longer see his mouth in the reflection.

 

                                                “Do you really think that will keep me from talking to you?”

 

                        “I don't care what you think.”

 

                                                “Oh, but you do. Do you know why?”

 

                        “Why?”

                                                “Because you know you would be all alone if it wasn't for me.”

 

Vernon wipes away the toothpaste from the mirror with a piece of toilet tissue. He looks at his face in the mirror and says.

           

                        “One day I won't need you any more 'cause I'll have a real friend”.

 

Vernon's reflection grins and smiles at him intensely…

 

Blood gushes in the air. Vernon's eyes are blood-thirsty and full of anger. His fist keeps pounding down hard on something. His knuckle is soaking red. A red-headed boy is lying on he ground trying to defend himself but it is pointless. Vernon overpowers him and hits the red-headed boy once more before a satisfied smirk appears on his face. Vernon gets off the red-headed boy and looks at his own bloody knuckles. The red-headed boy lays on the ground whimpering in pain. Vernon grabs the money from the little red-headed boy's coat pocket and walks away; he leaves the red-headed lying on the gravelly ground.

 

Vernon walks away feeling pleased with himself. He looks at the coins in his hand and throws them away onto the curb. He skips along about to cross the road. He is not far from his house. He walks over the road. He sees something shiny ahead of him by the pavement. He sees it's a black stone with a gold shiny centre. He picks it up in his still-bloody hand. He looks at it and cannot help but feel that this is somehow special. Fascinated with the stone in his hand he walks off not looking up ahead. He does not see that the surface of the pavement is uneven. He is so enchanted by the stone that he does not realise he is about to trip over and fall. He trips and falls and hits his head against the ground. One might have heard the cracking sound his skull made touching the cold concrete. Vernon comes to and opens his eyes. His head hurts from the fall. He looks at his hand that is clutched in a fist. He opens his hand and sees that he still has the odd little black stone. He gets up and continues on his way home.

 

Vernon rushes up the stairs to his room. He places the odd, yet somehow magical looking, stone onto his dresser. He goes to his bathroom. He pulls up the wooden stool and climbs on it. Vernon can feel a cold rush of shivers go down his spine. His reflection is not in the mirror. Confused and almost frightened, he stares at the mirror. He slowly lifts up his right arm and waves it about but to no avail, he cannot see anything in the mirror besides the surroundings of the bathroom. Vernon's thoughts go still.

 

                                    “This can't be”, he mutters. “Where are you?”

 

Vernon feels an odd sense of rage come upon him.

 

                                    “Where ARE you!” he screams at the mirror “I need you! Please come back!”

 

In his rage, he throws his cup—which he uses to rinse after brushing his teeth—against the mirror. The mirror cracks into hundreds of pieces.  His breathing is loud and full of rage.

           

                        “You don't need him anymore.” A soft little voice is heard from behind Vernon.

 

Vernon turns around and to his surprise he sees a little golden, blonde-haired girl staring back at him.                    

                        “Who… who are you?” asks Vernon in a puzzled voice.

 

The little girl with golden blonde, silky, angel-like, curly hair and the most innocent eyes just looks at him and says nothing.

 

                        “Why are you here and why are you in my room?”

 

                        “You left the door open. Therefore, I invited myself in. That is how I travel”, says the                      little girl in a soft, mellow voice.

 

                        “Travel?” asks Vernon, still puzzled.

 

Vernon comes down from the wooden stool.

 

                        “I don't want any smelly girls in my room, so get out or I'll…”

 

                        “Your threats are empty just like your heart. Do you not recognize a friend when                 you see one?”

 

                        “Friend?” asks Vernon. His voice is trembling.

 

The little girl smiles.

 

                        “I came to be your friend.”

 

Vernon takes a small step closer to the girl.

 

                        “Why do you want to be my friend?” he asks.

 

The little girls smiles.

 

                        “Even those who are lost need a friend.”

 

The little girl holds out her left arm. Her little pale white and soft fist opens. A small red stone shines in her hand.

 

                        “Do you know what this is?” she asks.

 

Vernon, hypnotized by the shiny red stone comes closer to the girl. He comes so close that he does not realise his hand is almost touching her hand. He shakes his head.

 

                        “No.”

 

                        “This is where all bad things hide.” says the little girl in a whisper-like voice

 

Vernon's eyes widen.

 

                        “All the anger and all the malice one inflicts upon another goes into this stone.

                        Only a very skilful mind can control it and make it grant one’s deepest and darkest               desires” says the little girl in a stern voice

 

                        “Can it hurt someone?” asks Vernon. His eyes greedily looking at the stone.

 

                        “Of course. But only if you can master the stone. The stone you see will not listen to                       just anyone. It chooses who it wants.

 

                        “How?” asks Vernon excitedly.

 

The girl looks at Vernon whose face is almost directly over the stone.

 

                        “It will shine brightly in the presence of the one”.

 

Suddenly the little red stone begins to glow and shine. Vernon is in awe. A smile like none other begins to form on his face.

 

                        “It's shining for me!”

 

The girl shuts her fist tightly and puts her hand behind her back.

 

                        “What are you doing?” asks Vernon almost in an angry voice.

 

                        “You are not the one.” says the little girl.

 

Vernon tries to grab the stone from the girl's fist but the little girl is too fast for him.

 

                        “I thought you wanted a friend?” asks the little girl.

Vernon pauses.

                        “I do.”

 

                        “Then why are you trying to take the stone away from me?” asks the little girl.

 

                        “It shines for me. It chose me.”

 

                        “Sometimes we only see what we want to see not what we need to see.” says the                             little girl.         

 

                        “You're not making any sense.”

 

The little girl smiles.

 

                        “Let's play a game. If you can catch me I will give you the stone.” says the little girl             in a playful voice.

 

                        “Okay.” agrees Vernon.

 

                        “I will step five steps backwards. When I have made all the five steps you can try                to catch me.”   

 

                        “That's going to be easy.” says Vernon laughingly.

 

The little girl takes one slow step backwards, then the second, and then the third. Vernon looks at the little girl step backwards toward the door of his room. He smiles arrogantly. The girl takes the fourth and then finally the fifth step backwards. Vernon suddenly plunges towards the little girl but the little girl is so fast that she manages to evade his attempt. He tries again but misses the little girl. The little girl begins to laugh. This makes him angry. Vernon tries again to catch the girl and this time he falls on the floor. He gets up furiously and rushes towards the girl. He misses one last time. He picks up a pair of scissors he has on his desk. The little girl is giggling. Vernon gets so angry that he throws the scissors towards the little girl. A few drops of blood drip on the ground and the little girl falls onto the floor. The scissors have gone into her heart. Vernon goes over towards the girl. She is bleeding badly.

 

                        “I... I didn't mean to” says Vernon in an angry voice.

 

                        “But you did. You cannot have the stone as you played unfairly.”

 

                        “You said if I catch you…” says Vernon in an argumentative voice.

 

                        “You did not catch me. You cheated.”

 

Vernon looks around for the red stone.

 

                        “Even now you don't see.” says the girl in a sad voice.

 

                        “See what?” asks Vernon.

 

The girl begins to cry.

 

                        “Please stop crying.” says Vernon in a panic.

 

The little girl moans in agony on the floor.

 

                        “What can I do? How can I help you?” asks Vernon

 

The little girl looks at Vernon.

 

                        “There is still time. You can help me if you choose to go to the mirror world.”

 

                        “Mirror world?” says Vernon in a baffled voice.

 

The little raise her bloody hand and point towards the broken mirror in Vernon's bathroom.

 

                        “Go and find the stone of Evigfor.”

 

                        “Where do I find it?”

 

                        “You must ask for it.”

 

The little girl moans in pain.

 

                        “Please hurry.”

 

Vernon turns to look at the broken mirror. He goes closer to it hesitantly. He looks at the broken shards and the cracks in the mirror. Still there is no reflection of himself in the mirror.

 

                        “How do I get in?” shouts Vernon to the little girl.

 

                        “You know how” mumbles the little girl.

Verno stares at the mirror.

 

                        “Please I need you.”

 

The cracks and the shards in the mirror begin to tremble and morph back together making the mirror whole again. Suddenly the mirror looks like ripple upon ripple of silver-coloured water. A small whirlwind begins to form in the centre of the mirror and a huge gush of wind begins to blow out and then suck all back in. Vernon tries to catch hold of something, but the force is too strong and he is sucked into the mirror. The mirror morphs back into the broken mirror it was before Vernon went through it.

 

All is dark. Pitch black.

 

Vernon opens his eyes. He sees shining purple lights ahead of him. His eyes adjust to the light. Vernon realises he is lying on the ground. The ground is black, fine sand. The space around him is dark. The lights are the only thing he can see around him. He gets up and heads closer to the purple lights. He walks carefully. As he gets closer he sees that the purple lights are shimmering from purple crystals on the wall. He hears something drop behind him. He turns around and sees a red glowing light on the black sand. Suddenly he realises that the red glowing light is the red stone the little girl showed him. He is about to pick it up when suddenly, behind him, he hears a man's voice.

 

“Is that what you are looking for?”

 

Vernon turns around and sees a man dressed in a black glimmering suit. The man has pale white skin, short black hair. He would look like a normal man if it wasn't for his eyes. His eyes shine blue like starlight.

 

“Are you sure that is what you came here for?” says the man dressed in black.

 

“Who are you?” asks Vernon.

 

The man smiles. He extends his arm out and opens his fist. In his fist is the red stone. Vernon looks back to the ground where the stone was a moment ago.

 

“It matters not who I am. What matters is who you are and why you are here.” says the man.

 

“I am looking for the stone of Evigfor. Can you help me?”

 

The man steps closer to Vernon.

 

“Can I help you?” asks the man in black. “You must decide.”

 

“Decide what?” asks Vernon.

 

The man shows Vernon the red stone closer.

 

“You can stay here and do as you wish. With this stone, all you ever wanted will be given to you. All the pain you feel you can release here as you will. You never have to go back. The stone has chosen you.”

 

Vernon looks at the red stone in the man's hand.

 

“All you have to do is decide. Do you really want to go back when all you can have is already here?”

 

“I have to save a girl”, says Vernon, his voice trembling.

 

“Perhaps the only one you have to save is already right here.”

 

Vernon looks at the man. The man extends the red stone to Vernon.

 

“Take it”, says the man dressed in black.

 

Vernon carefully extends his hand. The red stone begins to shine brightly.

 

“You don't have to go back. Stay here. All you need is here.”

 

Vernon stops and puts his hand down.

 

“What will happen to the girl if I stay?”

 

“Does it really matter?” asks the man dressed in black.

 

Vernon looks at the man and then at the red stone. The stone shines again.

 

“Yes. It matters.”

 

“To whom?” asks the man.

 

Vernon looks up at the man.

 

“Me!”

 

The man closes his fist and puts his hand down.

 

“Very well.”

 

The man steps backwards and slowly disappears into the shadows. The man is gone.

 

Vernon is all alone, left in darkness.

 

“Where is the stone of Evigfor?!” shouts Vernon.

 

Suddenly a gush of wind hits him and the sand beneath him gives way. He falls. It feels like he is falling forever in darkness.

 

Vernon opens his eyes. He sees the leaves on the trees and the cloudless sky above him. He realises he is lying on the pavement. He sits up and touches his head. He looks at his hand and can see a bit of blood that has come from his head. He gets up. In his hand, he notices he has a black stone with a golden center. He takes a few steps and is heading home.

 

As he is about to cross the street to his home he is bashed in the head by a rock. Suddenly the red-headed boy and his friend attack Vernon from behind forcing him to the ground. Vernon is hit several times in the face and stomach. He wants to fight back, but he is overpowered. Blood from his nose and face gushes into the air. He manages to overpower the boys off of him and gates the upper hand of the red-headed boy. Vernon sits on top of the red-headed boy. Vernon looks at the rock in his hand and lifts it up in this hand and is about to swing it against the red-headed boy’s face when suddenly he sees a little girl with golden hair across the street holding her pink bicycle. She is standing under a street poster where the only clear word he can see behind the girl is FORGIVE. Vernon looks at the little girl and then at the stone in his hand.

 

“Evigfor...” he mumbles to himself.

 

Vernon looks at the scared red-headed boy who is lying on the ground. Vernon looks at the rock in his hand and slowly puts it down on the ground. One of the boys picks it up in his hand. Vernon closes his eyes and smiles to himself. The boy who picked up the stone hits Vernon in the head with the stone.

 

A few drops of blood fall to the ground. All is silent.

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©2017 by The New Machine (Creative Writing), United Kingdom

Text: 07534 981 636

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