Chapter 69: Moments In Time, Part I

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 391

"Tell me about Cal."

Lance looked up from the floor, watching the small strand float in between Yittek's fingers. The MDNA sample, cloned and listening to whatever he was about to say. Words that would hopefully spark some memories.

Lance looked down again, clearing his throat as he gathered his legs, holding his ankles as he sat on the examination table.

"We've... Known each other for a long time." The memory of Cal looking at him, confused and slightly afraid came back. Lance focused on breathing. "Since kindergarten, so like twelve... Twelve years, I guess?" At Yittek's stare, he decided for himself, giving a shrug. "Yeah, probably around twelve."

He hunched forward, clawing his hands through his hair, trying to focus on that pressure instead of the pain of Cal forgetting him.

"Um, met him in kindergarten when he put paste in my hair. I shoved some crayons in his mouth." Lance laughed a little bit at this, taken by the memory of a small Cal with short, combed hair and his mouth full of crayons.

"He started laughing after he took them out, and I think it was because he just didn't expect me to do anything in response."

Yittek nodded, smiling as well.

"So yeah, we've been friends ever since then." Lance stopped talking, eyes searching the floor as his mind sped through so many moments. Days, periods in his life he had taken for granted.

"Do you... Do you want me to go through everything?" Lance asked Yittek.

The Razalek only shook his head. "If you feel it would trigger a memory."

Lance paused, speaking quietly. "Maybe just the important ones..."

He started talking again, telling Yittek and the strand about how he'd gotten the scar on his hand when he and Cal tried to ditch class. Talking about summers spent with bike and skateboard injuries, laughing over one another's groans of pain from their place on the ground.

Lance felt a softness come to him, a comfort like he was talking about a dear family member. A brother.

He swallowed back the pain wanting to close up his throat, hunching over again and bringing his hands to his face.

"So... I'm not totally sure when it was," he began, knowing he was lying; he could never forget this, "but um, a few... Months or so... Before..." He folded his hands, allowing his eyes to meet Yittek's. The Razalek nodded, allowing him to continue.

Lance leaned back, hands supporting him from behind. Stretching his shoulders a bit. "About six months before everything happened... I... I noticed Cal start acting pretty weird. Like, even weirder than he normally did. He started skipping practice, didn't answer any calls or texts. Started cutting class more than he usually did. I, uh, realized—kinda found out—that he got hooked on cocaine from some idiot selling it at school."

Lance breathed, trying to beat back the anger inside him. Control. Controlling himself was key to fighting these cells.

"He started smoking, too, just standard cigarettes, but I didn't know about that until I found out about the coke thing. He'd started that about a month before."

"The cigarettes?" Yittek asked.

Lance nodded, and tried to focus back on the memory. Recite the words Cal had told him, his mind blocking out the sight of his eyes so wide and hands continuing to claw through his hair. Over and over again like he couldn't stop himself.

"He... His parents were divorcing. Dad had started to gamble and got into a ton of debt, then when his mom found out he started hitting her." Lance swallowed back the tightness in his throat, focusing on the feeling of his knuckles against the examination table. Trying to distract himself with feeling something familiar.

"His little sister didn't see any of it happen; she was at a sleepover or something with her friends. Cal stepped in and tried to push him off but he just got clocked in the face." Lance shut his eyes, trying to block out the memory of seeing Cal's face. How his friend's eyes didn't look up to meet his, one hand continuing to try and casually cover his cheek. How tired his eyes looked beneath the classroom's bright lights.

"His dad wore these stupid class rings, like really thick ones. Nearly broke the bones in his jaw."

Lance breathed, shifting himself forward again. Tried to focus on the patterns in the floor.

"His sister, Chloe, eventually found out about the divorce part, and she took it pretty hard. Went to therapy while Cal just turned to those stupid fucking drugs."

Yittek allowed the silence to stretch for a few seconds.

"You feel guilty you weren't there for him." There was a hint of a question in his voice, but Lance knew Yittek understood. Completely sympathized with him.

Lance nodded, the motion harder to do than he thought.

"Yeah," he got out, his hand finding his hair, pressing a palm over his closed eyes, and trying to stop himself from crying, "I do. I hate how he didn't even tell me. Fucking pushed the fact his dad hit him over on some sort of street fight. Like some idiots just jumped him..."

He curled his fingers, gripping his hair and clenching his teeth. Refusing to let this sad tension get anywhere higher than the middle of his throat. He forced himself to keep speaking.

"So I started helping him off the shit. Spent most of my time with him, spent most of the money I made into making sure he wouldn't go back and destroy himself like that. I... I never told him how much I spent. He... never found out." Lance breathed, trying to regain himself. Fight away the thought of how all of these moments were gone. Known only to him. "I barely got any sleep. My other friends, Danny and Trent, they helped too. Tried to get their hands on any movie, any game, anything they could find. Basically quarantined ourselves in Trent's room until Cal was clean."

Lance fought down the weight in his throat again, filling in a detail, hoping it would trigger something in the sample. "Trent's parents were gone most of the time, so most of the time we stayed around there. Practiced there mostly, too. Before we got our hands on another place."

"You mentioned practicing before."

Lance looked towards him, a little surprised. "Yeah. Sorry. I forgot to mention. I... was in a band."

"It's perfectly alright," Yittek replied, waving a hand. "Continue on."

Lance nodded.

"So we played a lot, at his house. Practicing covers, playing original music. It was nice. He wasn't using and we were getting better."

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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