Last Summer

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

Can you tell me what you remember from that last day?

Well... I think what I remember above all else from that last day, is that it was way too hot. Sure, it was the middle of July, but even by those standards the sun seemed unnaturally intent on baking you.

And, sure, as someone who had spent the better part of his summer in an air-conditioned room, I may have been a bit biased. I’ll admit that much.

But even so, that small hike from my house to the lake should not have been as painful as it was. It only took me about twenty minutes to get there, but each of these minutes felt pretty agonizing.

 

In hindsight, I was probably a lot more out of shape then I was willing to admit.

By the time we actually reached the lake I was a complete mess. At least, that’s what Max told me afterwards. Needless to say, I hauled myself into the cold lake water almost instantly.

It was a fantastic day in the end. Wouldn’t have thought that it would be when he first came knocking at my door, to be quite honest.

Max had always been hellbent on including me in his activities. I always pretended to be bothered by his enthusiasm, but really? I was grateful.

 

In school, I never really stood out. I was a quiet kid. I guess that’s one of the reasons why we became friends so fast. Opposites attract and all. Even back then he was very popular with everyone. It could have simply been that we never really got new kids, with our town being so small and everything, but he just seemed… well, nice. Randomly approached me one day and asked if I wanted to partner up on a physics project, and that was that.

Thinking back on it, I didn’t even really like him at first. He loved to brag and show off. Not that he didn’t earn himself the right to. He was an absolute monster on the basketball court.

Getting a tiny bit off track here, though.

 

Funnily enough, that summer was actually the last one we would've spent together in our town, anyway. At least for a while. We both had managed to get into college, but sadly not into the same one.

In light of that, I probably should have spent more time with him then I ultimately did. Well, we still texted each other plenty, at least. In my defense, I've always been more on the introvert side of things, and he knew that. He knew that sometimes I just needed a bit of time to myself, instead of being dragged around by him, and he respected that.

He also knew, though, that I had a tendency of just staying in my room for days on end, especially during summer. In fact, if left alone, I'd have probably spent the entire summer in my room. He had his ways to coax me into doing something with him, once he figured that I have had enough time to myself.

 

Which brings us back to that day. He showed up at my door with a full picnic basket and a blanket. It would’ve been pretty heartless of me to turn him down.

I already mentioned that the day turned out quite nice overall. But there was also something strange about it, I guess. Nothing major, just something he said to me during lunch.

We talked about our usual topics and the conversation drifted towards college. I asked him if he already had an idea as to what he wanted to do afterwards. He became pretty evasive and gave me non answers how he wasn’t really sure and didn’t want to think about it.

What you have to understand, is how unusual this was for Max. He was always so full of confidence with everything he told me. Even if he truly had no idea, he’d have just told me that flat out. At the time I figured that the topic simply made him uncomfortable, so I just dropped it. But... maybe that was a sign? I… I don’t know.

 

Sorry. It just feels a bit weird to talk about it all. Even in this sort of distanced manner. Anyway, like I said, lovely day in the end. Though, of course, it couldn’t last forever. Still, by the time we actually went home, it was already nighttime.

Heh, reminds me of how clear the sky above our town is at night. Completely different from the city. Mix in the sound and smell of it all, and… well, I never did go out a night all that often, admittedly, but I do miss it.

Max’s parents were out on an overseas business trip at the time, which naturally meant that I stayed over to play videogames for a while longer. His parents were usually pretty strict about when he could or couldn’t play games, so it was actually a special occasion, I suppose.

Eventually it got pretty late, so I decided to go home. It took about two minutes before he started to text me. I intended to stay up a bit longer actually, but it turned out I was pretty exhausted from our little trip because once I had stepped into my room I just fell into my bed and was out like a light.

 

I was so exhausted, in fact, that when I woke up, it was late in the afternoon.

I didn’t even notice something was off for a full fifteen minutes or so. For one, no one was home, which was pretty weird in of itself, since it was a Sunday.

I’d also forgotten to charge my phone, so imagine my surprise when I found out that I received about fifty or so messages from just about everyone in my contact list.

Hadn’t had the time to read any of them, though. My mother was back and called me downstairs. I don’t think I ever saw her look so… I’m not even sure how to describe it properly.

By now, I was definitely starting to feel dread creep up in the back of my mind. Something clearly had happened while I slept the day away.

And that feeling of dread only grew stronger when she had me sit down on the couch, before kneeling in front of me and holding my hands.

So much time has passed since then, but I suppose due to everything that followed afterwards, I still remember every single word of the following conversation.

 

I… won’t bore you too much with the details. The long and short of it was, that people had heard a commotion at Max’s house that night, so in the morning a neighbor went to check in on him.

They discovered that a window had been busted, so they tried to ring the doorbell, but he didn’t answer. They also discovered that the front door was unlocked, so they decided to search the house for him, in case he was hurt. They… found him hanging from the ceiling in his own room.

In a town like ours, word spreads fast. Especially when something like this happens. By lunchtime, everyone knew about it.

Well… everyone except me, of course. I was sound asleep.

The police had been called and the house had been taped shut for investigators to rummage through it.

People who knew him had gathered at the small plaza in front of town hall to console each other. His parent were also already on their way back from overseas.

So really, I was just about the only one who didn’t know when I got up that afternoon.

 

I… have no words to accurately describe how this all affected me. I’m not even sure why it hit me as hard as it did. I mean, just think about how his parents must’ve felt. It was…

Well… the things that followed were… I’m not sure how to describe them.

I was stuck for almost two years. Not just me, though… it seemed like the entire town was. It was…

Looking back, it was… weird. How much everyone was affected. Is that a horrible thing to say? I’m not sure.

I… think I’d like to stop here, though. This story is far from over, and is going to get pretty crazy, but I don’t think I have it in me to continue it right now. I hope you understand.

Also, sorry I slipped a bit there at the end. It’s… well, I already said it earlier, but it's still hard to talk about it all.

So… yeah. Thank you for listening and all. This… this actually helped a little, I think.

I suppose we’ll meet again soon, then. Alright.

 

Until next time, Doc.

 

-

Thank you for reading! This story is a prelude to a book I’m currently conceptualizing, so look forward to the first chapter of that sometime soon-ish. Before that, though, I am probably going to publish something more lighthearted again.


Submitted: June 20, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Arcturus. All rights reserved.

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Comments

C. S. Spence

Very interesting stylistic choice you've made. A therapy session with the reader as the doctor, I suppose? I was a bit confused at first why the story was so "passive" as they say; that is told in a way where action is not happening as we read it, but told by protagonist. But it was interesting enough, and written well enough to keep my interest, and the ending twist was quite satisfying when it all came together.

For a prelude, I think this is great, but for a whole book... i'm on the fence.

But you do you, and you never know what you may just discover works!
Great job!

Thu, July 23rd, 2020 5:08am

Author
Reply

First of all, thank you very much both for reading, and your feedback!

Yes, it is indeed a therapy session with the reader being the doctor.

As for the book this story will be the prelude to:
I'll admit that, seeing how this would be my first proper attempt at a book-sized story, I'm a bit nervous as to how well what I have planned will work, or how well I'll do stuff like pacing, etc.
But I suppose, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Thu, July 23rd, 2020 8:41am

shika

I swear I never expected that end where Max would be killed. But it still remains a mystery as to whether Max committed suicide or somebody murdered him and tried to make it look like one. Quite a thrilling story, Good job!

Sun, August 2nd, 2020 6:42pm

Author
Reply

Thank you!

Sun, August 2nd, 2020 4:14pm

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