Blind Hearts

Blind Hearts

Status: In Progress

Genre: Young Adult

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Young Adult

Houses:

Summary

Any comments/suggestions are appreciated. This is my first published book so any and all criticism is welcome! I'm also perfectly content on knowing your thoughts about the book so far, thank you!
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Summary

Any comments/suggestions are appreciated. This is my first published book so any and all criticism is welcome! I'm also perfectly content on knowing your thoughts about the book so far, thank you!

Chapter1 (v.1) - Jason

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 28, 2017

Reads: 67

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 28, 2017

A A A

A A A

Chapter 1

Jason

I sigh and run my fingers through my hair while I survey the scene in front of me. Mist blankets the ground and the lights are dimmed so low that it almost seems as if they have been shut off. As far as I can tell, every teenager in here is dancing, screaming, and, quite frankly, drunk. The music is blaring and hurting my ears, not to mention the genre is horrid. Last thing any good parent would want is to see their little baby at a wild, uncontrollable party.

While I’m weaving my way through the crowd of teenagers, my eyes catch something familiar, black, pale, and red. I reach out and grab at it, recognizing her instantly. Almost immediately, my sister’s black shirt appears in my hands, her red hair just barely below her shoulders. A scowl crosses my lips and I drag her out the door of the house, not bothering to waste my breath on talking to her. She can’t hear me anyhow over the boom of the DJ’s speakers.

I take a closer look at her when we’re in my truck and I shake my head, driving off. Black mascara, eyeliner, black short sleeve shirt with the word ‘Devil’ written across it in crimson ink is her choice of clothing tonight. She’s wearing a black skirt with black leggings and no shoes. Her skin is naturally a bit pale and her hair is naturally red but she put black on the tips of her hair and dyed her bangs completely black… where did we go wrong, I wonder.

My foot presses down harder on the gas pedal and I tear my gaze away from her and onto the road. It’s safer, anyhow, to look at the road instead of her. A string of emotions fill my head when I look at my sister and none of them are good. I’m not proud of her but I will always love her and be there for her, no matter how angry I am at her. Yes, I’m not proud of her for going to these parties, coloring her hair, dressing the way she does, hanging out with the people she does, just a lot of things. There was once a time when she used to be a perfect and an all-around loveable girl but those days have long gone. Don’t ask me what happened, I don’t know. That’s what really bothers me--

The sound of her shriek brings me back to the present and I slam on the brakes, my truck going from 60 to zero in less than 5 seconds, barely avoiding a doe and her two fawns. I grumble and put the steering wheel in a death grip, slowly pressing on the gas again as my sister nags at me. “Jason, why can’t you friggin’ pay attention for once? I’d have never done that.”

I glance at the dashboard and it suddenly strikes me that it’s three in the morning. My hand reaches up and I run my fingers through my hair while I attempt to block out my sister’s nagging. Eventually, I can’t block her out anymore and I snap back at her in an angry but quiet tone, “Stop it, Jess, okay? I’ve had enough. Just stop.” That’s all it took for her to shut her mouth and leave me in silence. Just the way I want it. Just enough silence to mull over tonight’s events and how in the hell I’m going to throw her to the wolves, our parents.

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When we arrive at my parent’s house, my temper has calmed down and my head has cleared. I turn in the driver’s seat so I can see my sister in the passenger seat better. “Look, I know things aren’t easy for you, moving from one place to another for three years and then suddenly having to adjust but you can’t be doing this. You can’t be wild or crazy.” I tell her in a soft, almost sympathetic tone.

She scoffs and rolls her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest. I sigh, knowing what this means. I get out of the truck and walk over to her door. She pushes the lock down on the door and she flips me the bird. That’s the last straw for me. Within seconds, my phone is pressed to her window with the numbers ‘911’ dialed into it. Of course, I’m bluffing, but, with all the trouble she’s gotten into tonight, I know she wouldn’t call my bluff.

She unlocks the door and steps out, her eyes wide with a cocktail of emotions. I walk to the door of our parent’s house, barely able to find my way there in the dark, motioning for her to follow me without realizing that she probably can’t see me. When we reach the front door of our parent’s house, all my strength and anger fades to dust when I hear sniffling behind me. The only thing I can do is turn around and hug her, cooing at her, trying to calm her down.

“Shhh, Jess, it’s okay. I’m sorry. I know, it’s hard being you, I shouldn’t have been so harsh. Calm down, it’s going to be okay. I know mom and dad will be upset with you but if you explain to them, I’m sure they will understand.” I hush to her in a quiet voice, rubbing her back as she sobs. I’ve always been a sucker for her when she cries. Nobody should have to cry and have nobody there for them when they fall. Yes, I was a bit harsh with her, I know I could have been kinder to her but I was frustrated.

Eventually, she’s able to calm down enough to the point where she can talk and I can understand her. “I-I don’t want t-to g-go home. P-please, don’t make m-me g-go. T-they will m-make me t-take more medicine. Please!” She pulls back enough for me to see her face and all my resolve crumbles with a glance at her. Her face is streaming with black lines, snot, and tears. Not only that, but her eyes are bloodshot and she looks as if she hasn’t had sleep in quite a while. A pang of sadness hits me as I look at her, hating how worn out, miserable, and defeated she looks. My hand instinctively reaches back and tugs the handkerchief out of the back pocket of my blue jeans and I hand it to her, taking it back after she finishes blowing her nose with it and wiping her face off.

I sigh and rub my temples for a moment, squeezing my eyes shut. The last thing I will do is take her back to my house if she’s been doing anything she shouldn’t be. That would be like letting her get away with murder. “Did you drink tonight? Do any drugs? Sleep with any boys? Or anything else I should know about? If you lie to me, Jess, I swear, you will march your butt right into that house and face the consequences.” My tone is low and angry, more of a growl. This time I wasn’t bluffing. If she does wrong, she needs to own up to it. And, as her sibling, it’s not my place to reprimand her for those offenses, I know this.

She shakes her head and looks me in the eyes, “No, none of that, I swear.” Of course, she could lie to me but I love my sister and this answer is all it takes for me to drive to my house, my little sister in the passenger seat. I’m glad she’s with me, really. I know our parents would tan her if she came into the house looking like she does. They would never believe her. These days, I’m the only one who does, really.

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When we get home, I toss my keys on the counter and crack a grin, hearing a ruckus coming from the other room. I head towards it and, midway through the hallway, I land on my back, laughing and struggling to get up. “Okay, you win this time, Red, lemme up!” This, however, does me no good, as Red licks me in the face, his paws firmly planted on my chest, a beast that weighs at least my weight standing on top of me. My grin slowly slips into a smirk and I wrap my arm around his neck and turn over, wrestling with the beast while he uses his paws to push me away but I keep a firm hold on his neck.

This is our daily game, we try to sneak up on each other and then we wrestle around. I love Red. I raised him from a pup, had him for a long time. In a way, I guess you could say he found me. Don’t ask me where he came from, I have no idea. All I know is that I found him sleeping in one of my horse stalls, ridded with fleas, ticks, worms, everything. Just a pile of skin and bones. It’s a miracle he survived and I’m glad he did. I’ve lost count of how any times he’s saved my butt and I’ve saved his.

“You old mutt! Come on, show me all you’ve got!” I yell at him, laughing and wrestling on the floor with him, rolling around as he bites my hands and arms playfully and I do my best to hold him down but, as I said, he weighs as much as I do, if not more, and it’s hard to hold him down. In the end, we both end up lying next to each other, panting and happy.

After a while, I get up and he does too, following me into the other room. I pat his head and ruffle his fur before looking up, seeing my sister fast asleep in her bed. Nothing makes my heart feel warmer than knowing she’s safe. Sometimes she’s a bit to handle, sure, but who isn’t? We all have our rough times.

I pick up the phone and dial my parent’s number, knowing they would be awake and waiting for Jess to come home. My eyes fall to the wooden floor at my feet and I run my fingers through my hair, hearing the phone ring three times before my father picks up the phone. “Hey, dad. I’m sorry I didn’t call you earlier but Jessica is staying at my place for a while. That alright with you? I really miss my sister.”

My father lets out a long sigh of frustration before answering me, “Son, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. She’s really troubled. You know how she gets. She needs her medication and I need to have a word with her. Is she awake?”

“No, dad, she’s been asleep for a while. I get the feeling she hasn’t been sleeping much lately. Don’t worry about her medication, I’ll come by to pick it up tomorrow. I just think she’ll change her tune around here. You know how she likes things to be short-term. I’m sure she’ll want to come back home soon. Plus, I’ll get her grades up a bit while she’s here. She’ll get better, I promise. If she doesn’t, I won’t interfere anymore.” As I say this, a blanket of dread falls over me, making my throat dry and feel swollen, as if I can never say anything ever again. The words had spilled past my lips before I’d had a chance to stop them but the damage was already done.

“Well, if you’re sure, son. I’ll be expecting you today, understand? She can’t go without her medicine; I’ve seen her off of it before. It’s not pretty.” He pauses for a moment, my breath catching in my throat as I wait for his response. I can’t explain just how hard I try to understand this man but I know better than anything that he’s nodding on the other end of the line. “I’ll see you later today.”

“Okay, dad, see you soon.” I manage to choke out. And, with that, I hang up the phone and sigh, holding my face in my hands. What have I done? Oh, yeah, don’t remind me. I’ve just told my father that I would change my sister or else she goes back with them and I won’t do anything to get her back. No biggie, just guaranteed my sister a one way trip to a foster home.

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I grab my keys and hop in my truck right after Red, knowing my sister is still asleep in my spare bedroom. Grief fills my heart, a heavy feeling that makes my heart feel like it’s full of lead, about to shatter into a billion pieces. My only priority right now is to protect my sister and this involves making her better, something I cannot even fathom how I’ll manage to do. If someone were to say she had changed, you’d think hell had frozen over. It’s just not really possible. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love my sister and I wish more than anything to protect her and change her but once she gets her mind set on something, good or bad, by golly, she’s gonna make it happen.

When I arrive at my parent’s house, I shut off the engine and get out, taking Red with me. We walk up to the front door and knock. In seconds, the door opens and my mother is standing there. Her brown hair is a mess and her hazel eyes have large bags underneath them. Red stays still  by my side, his tail still and his ears alert. Although my mother looks tired, I can tell she’s a nervous wreck and will have a breakdown any moment so I go over to her and hug her, telling her I love her.

Soon enough, my father appears and hands me a large, plastic bag that I’m sure is filled with Jess’ things. I nod to  my father. He glances down at Red and then back up to me, his face expressionless. “I see you still have Red with you.  Great Danes are very reliable, you know.”

I nod and smile, “Yes, dad. He even herds for me.” As I say this, my father nods his head in approval and sends me off afterwards. A part of me is glad he does this but another part of me is upset. I need to spend more time with my parents but I know it’s best to walk away while I’m still ahead. It’s always good to walk away before things get ugly and, with my father, this could turn into a battlefield at any given moment.

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When I arrive home, Jess is gone and the sun is just starting to peek over the field. I sigh and pat Red’s head, taking a moment to admire his colors: red brindle spots splashed over a blank, white canvas; absolutely stunning. After a moment,  I go and recover the blanket my sister slept in last night. I hold it close to Red’s face, letting him gather up the scent before I crouch down to his level and look him dead in the eye, “You know what we gotta do, boy. Go get her.”

With that, he’s gone and I’m chasing after him bareback on a gray stallion, rushing through the miles of forest around us. Trees whip past us and, soon enough, we’ve found Jess, running as fast as her legs will allow her but she’s no match for Red. Within seconds, Red covers the 900 feet between Jess and him; Jess lies on the ground, screaming and struggling as I hop off the stallion, looking down on my sister without a trace of sympathy. Red wasn’t hurting her, just standing on top of her, keeping her where he’d knocked her down.

I crouch down to my sister and look at her before asking her, “After all I’ve done for you, why?” and her reply was simple, “Because they led me here, they told me to do it.” This information upsets me, to put it plainly. For years now, she’s been claiming to see and hear things. Hallucinating, I suppose you could put it. This is something else I’m not proud of her doing because I get the feeling that she fakes it. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just that I don’t want to believe it.

I haul her up onto the stallion and say to Red, “Let’s go home, boy. Good job.” And, with that, we’re off through the forest again, Jess holding tight around my waist and me holding tight onto the horse. It’s not long before we’re back home, the stallion back in the field, and everybody back home. Red lies on the floor at my feet as Jess and I sit at the table.

“How is school?” I ask, attempting to break the ice. I know her grades have been horribly low and she isn’t exactly having a real good time there.  Surprisingly though, she replies by saying, “I’m homeschooled, kind of. They give me my paperwork from school and I do it at home and turn it in a week later.”

I raise my eyebrows and look away, embarrassed I had not known this. I’m usually well informed. “Well, have you done all your work?” and she laughs, “Do I ever? Nothing they want us to learn is important! It’s all boring and, plus, mom and dad never  care about any of it anyhow.” This is news to me, since our mother and father are always so strict with her, especially when it comes to school.

I shake my head and stand up, “Do you like taking your medications, Jess?” She doesn’t hesitate to shake her head and I ask her, “You think they help you?” Again, she doesn’t hesitate to shake her head. I nod once before leaving, Red right on my heels. The sound of footsteps behind me doesn’t surprise  me.

I head out the front door and get into my truck, Red in the back and Jess sitting beside me. We arrive at the school and, on our way, Jess says a few words of truth to me, all of which I needed to hear. She told me that she wishes she was normal and that she’s sorry for everything. Call me a big baby but I about broke down when she said that. For years, I’ve been thinking she’s happy like she is, maybe even thinking she’s blessed.

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Believe it or not, within a few days of her being here, I’ve thrown out her pills and I’m already leaving her at home for hours at a time. I trust my sister and it looks like she’s improving. She’s looking more lively, she helps out around the house, and, most importantly of all, she has taken a liking to the life here. I’m starting to think it won’t be that difficult to change her outlook on life or her in general. Actually, I sometimes even see her tie her hair up (rarely does she do this but I think it’s an improvement).

My phone rings and I sigh, taking a peek at it before answering it. It’s not long before I’m kissing Jess on the top of the head and ruffling her hair. “’Bye, sis. Love you. I gotta go do some work. I’ll see you in the morning, okay? You can stay up 30 minutes late. No riding, okay? It’s too late for riding.”

She giggles and smiles which melts my heart. Jess never smiled over at my parent’s house or laughed, genuinely laughed, there either.  It makes me so happy that she does it here. “Okay, Jason. No problem.”

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I had hurried in my work, wanting to be home with my sister who was so rapidly improving. My pride and joy. Not only is she improving but I find myself bragging to people about her, telling them of her inspirational story in hopes that they too would be proud of her. Ideas get into my head that, maybe someday soon, Jess would start making friends who were a good influence on her and she would be even happier. Her birthday is only a few months away, she’ll be turning 19, maybe I can do something very special for her.

All my hopes shatter when I come home tonight though. There are at least 30 cars parked around my house, music is blaring, toilet paper covering the trees, and teenagers everywhere. Anger and hurt floods through me but I act calm, walking into my house and looking around, trying to find Jess. Instead, I find a boy yelling profanity at a girl. My cloak of calm vanishes and anger takes over; I weave through the crowd of teenagers and look at the boy. His pants are hanging low, his shoes high and they resemble sneakers, his shirt is too small for him, by far, and his hair is spiked up in some sort of punk style.

“Hey, that’s a lady, watch your language and don’t yell at her!” I yell at him over the blare of the speakers and he responds by looking me over and then screaming profanity at me. Needless to say, that was the last straw. I have him down on the ground in seconds, my face close to his and I look him in the eyes, one hand around his neck and the other hand cocked and ready to fire right above his face.

“Apologize to her! Now! Or, so help me boy, I’ll tan your hide right here!” I bellow at him, my country accent making itself known in my rage, seeing the fear in his eyes. He swallows and nods quickly, bawling at the top of his lungs to the girl, “Alright! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” With that, I get off him and haul him by his hair out my front door. When I jerk him forward and release him, he falls face first into the ground and scrambles to his feet.

“Get, boy, and don’t come back, you hear?” I snarl at him and he nods quickly, running away. Afterwards, I march back into my house and have Red track down Jess. She’s sitting on top of an old stump, a boy sitting next to her. A hand on my shoulder startles me and I turn around to a very depressed looking boy. He grins at me and grabs my hand; he looks at the palm of my hand and smirks at me. I study his face for a few moments, attempting to decipher his motives but a searing pain in my hand causes me to snap out of my trance and I jerk my hand away from him.

He smirks at me before murmuring, “You shouldn’t be here. You need to leave.” The sharp metallic scent of blood stings at my nostrils as I pause for a moment, coming to the realization that this boy wasn’t exactly sane.

I look at him, bewildered, and then look down at my hand. There’s a deep gash in my palm, bleeding profusely. With my good hand, I grab the knife from him and throw it at a tree, hearing the boy’s gasp of shock and knowing it’s stuck hilt deep in the tree. Then, I grab him by the collar of his shirt and lift him off the ground in one swift, easy move.

I cry of pain erupts from behind me, the voice familiar, and I immediately drop the boy and turn around, searching. I spot my sister, cowering at the feet of the boy she was sitting near. My hands clench into fists and I ignore the pain from my cut, heading towards the boy my sister was sitting near. Five minutes later, the boy is cowering and my sister has vanished. The boy is covered in red welts, I'm sure, even though I cannot see them due to his clothing. His nose is bleeding and one of his eyes is already beginning to swell.

My blood and his covers his clothing but that hardly matters to me. Rage courses through my veins as I haul the boy up and slam him against a tree. “You wanna pick a fight, boy, you do it with me. You do not hit a lady and especially not my sister! You still want to hit something, hit me. Go ahead, I dare you. I won’t hesitate to fight back and kick your sorry hide again! Stay away from my sister from here on out, you hear?” Every word is a growl, restrained as I choose my words wisely to give him every chance possible to change his behavior.

Afterwards, I let him go and call for Red. He’s by my side in seconds and I tell him to go find Jess. He takes off and I don’t bother to follow him on horseback. Instead, I follow where I saw him go and eventually I head towards my sisters cries. Soon enough, I find her and haul her back to the house. When we get there, I shut off the music and  bark over the crowd, “Party is over, get out now! Whoever is still in this house in 30 seconds, will be cleaning and will get their hind ends whipped!”

It only takes ten seconds for the place to clear out, leaving my house a destroyed mess. The floor is riddled with everything from food to, believe it or not, what appears to be paint. I let out a long, frustrated sigh and drag my sister over to the kitchen table. She doesn’t look happy to see me. Surprise, surprise. In fact, she looks more shocked. That’s not really a shocker.

“Jess,” I sigh, “why did you do this? Things were doing so well. You were improving, enjoying yourself even--” and, with that, she cuts me off, “No, Jason. I was not improving or enjoying myself. You never understand me. You don’t care enough to pay attention. If you had paid attention, you would know that I’m not happy here.”

These words are a blow to my heart and I wish I hadn’t heard them but part of me is happy that I did hear them. She told me something in anger she wouldn’t have otherwise told me when she was calm: the truth. My fingers thread through my hair and I let out a long breath, calming my nerves. I look at my sister, sorrow filling my eyes. This girl, this pale, red headed, troubled little girl is everything to me. She’s my family.

“Who was that boy that hurt you?” I ask her, changing the subject. Yes, this question is quite a pathetic and useless question. However, it is a change in topic, nonetheless. She had been looking down until I ask her that and then she looks up, her tone angry and upset, “My ex-boyfriend now, thanks to you.”

I give her a sharp look and shake my head, “Jess, he was hurting you. Nobody hurts my family. I will not allow it. Anyone who hurts my family will have to answer to me. That boy was nothing but trouble and if he ever comes back here or you go to him, that boy will be visiting the morgue and I’ll make sure of it. I’m very disappointed in you, Jess. First time I let you have the house all to yourself, you have a party.”

Tears well up in her eyes as she says to me in a wavering voice, on the verge of tears, “That was my boyfriend, Jason. My boyfriend! And now he’s gone.”

I go over to her and I give her a hug before sending her off to bed, leaving me in silence with a house and property to clean. After an hour, I’ve cleaned up half the house and filled up two trash bags. Thankfully, they didn’t break anything, as far as I can tell. While I’m cleaning, I have some time to think about what all happened tonight. Yes, I did lose my temper but, heck, who wouldn’t? Also, I need to take the whole trust thing a whole lot slower, I can understand how I sort of threw all this trust at her, it didn’t give her time to appreciate it. Perhaps, though, maybe there still is hope for her. It’s clear to me now that she needs more attention and, unfortunately, more supervision than I have given her. All I’ve been doing to change her is giving her small tests and then cutting her loose. No more of that, I’ve got to make sure she means what she says and does.

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It’s more or less three more hours before I’m finished cleaning and the trash can in front of my house is completely full. Afterwards, I go and shake my sister awake, giving her a pair of blue jeans and a faded red t-shirt with a pair of boots. She sighs and I leave the room, allowing her to change and saddling up two horses while she does. A heavy weight falls over me but I shake it off, knowing I haven’t slept in a while. Sleep can wait. This ride has to happen now, while it’s still dark. Jess needs to see the sun rising. She needs to smell fresh, country air and see the sun rising from the back of a horse.

Jess yawns as her bay mare walks lazily along and I laugh before kicking my horse. The sorrel gelding I’m riding bolts forward and I hold on tight to the horn of the saddle, knowing Jess’ horse would follow. I can hear Jess screaming behind me and, throughout all my fatigue,  I smile and let the horses run wild, knowing they knew the path to the stretch of land I owned that would enable Jess to appreciate a sunrise, something most teenagers don’t do.

Sure enough, they take us to the land just in time. The sun starts rising as we get there. Reds, yellows, and oranges blending together, overtaking the darkness of the night sky with one ball of bright, reddish orange in the middle of the whole thing. I take a glance at my sister as she’s sitting in awe at the sight. A sense of pride and joy fills me while the sight before me blurs. Suddenly, I’m on the ground and the whole world goes black, leaving nothing to see and the only thing I hear is the sound of my sister’s terrified screams.

The lights are bright and the stench of rubbing alcohol overwhelms me. I look around the room and my sister is sitting at my bedside, her body hunched over the bed and her head lying next to my hand while she sleeps. A white blanket is placed over me and I rest my head back against the pillow behind me. That’s when I notice the tubes and wires attached to me. There are two tubes going to my right hand, one with clear fluid and the other with red fluid; the wires are connected to my chest and are there for some unknown reason. My left hand reaches up and yanks the wires away from my chest.

Right about then, a nurse walks in and gasps with both surprise and joy, “You’re awake! We didn’t know if you would be alright. The cut on your palm sliced through one of your major arteries. You lost a lot of blood and it’s a miracle your sister got you here when she did.”

I look over at my sister who was now awake. She goes over to me and hugs me, sobbing, and all I can do is pat her back with my left hand. The nurse smiles and says, “She donated blood to you.” This gets my attention and I give my sister a good one armed hug. “When can we leave?” I ask the nurse.

“Whenever you like. Just be cautious of your hand. If you split that open again, your sister might not get you here in time. You were very lucky.” She turns and leaves and I hug Jess harder, “Shhh, it’s okay, I’m alright, everything’s gonna be fine. Are you okay?”

She sniffles, “I’m okay. Red helped me get you here. He’s in the truck outside, actually. I was so scared, Jason. I thought I’d lost you! One minute we’re watching the sun go up, the next you’re lying on the ground and I-I didn’t know what to do except get you to the hospital.”

I pull away from her and brush her hair behind her ears, wiping away her tears. She gives me a weak smile and I smile back at her before ruffling her hair. “How about we go home?” I ask her and she nods, sniffling.


© Copyright 2017 Apricot. All rights reserved.

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