The Zodiac Warriors - Chapter One

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

This is nothing special really. I wrote this part in about two hours so it may be a little sketchy. Although it doesn't seem to be a fantasy it is, trust me. The idea behind it is that i wanted to base it in the modern world around places that i knew. It takes part in Adelaide, South Australia. By the way, Darts chose the names.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - The Zodiac Warriors - Chapter One

Submitted: December 17, 2010

Reads: 250

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 17, 2010



Chapter 1 Callum

My name is Mark. You don't know me but I certainly know you. For the past six months I have been watching you, studying you. I have learnt all I have to about you and now you need to know why. There will be an attempt on your life today. This attempt will be foiled. In the process of foiling it my own life may be taken but the likely scenario is that I will fall into a coma. You must live your life normally after reading this. Make no mistake there will be more attempts on your life, the following instruction however, will help you to escape these attempts.

Three days after you visit me in the hospital, which I know you will, or the morning after my funeral, depending on the outcome of your rescue, you must not come anywhere near the school. Feign sickness or wag, because the very moment you come within two hundred metres of your Justice in Society lesson, the school will explode, with you and countless other students with it. If you choose not to heed my warning you will die, make sure you don't.

To prove I'm not lying, the morning I mentioned you'll be stopped at the bottom of of the hill near Happy Valley Foodland. A silver Ferrari will turn the corner and go up the hill next to you. You'll follow it with your eyes. Following the road you'll eventually arrive at the round-a-bout at the top of the hill. A Mack truck will turn right at the top but they won't use an indicator and you'll hurl abuse at it. You had a rough night after a friend's birthday party and you'll be hung over after drinking to much and passing out. You are not driving. You'll arrive at the Coles car park and find a park that's relatively good. Leaving the car quietly you'll unconsciously swing your bag over your right shoulder. Realising that you'll be late for your Nutrition lesson you'll start at a jog. Looking left you run across the road twist around a woman with a pram. Returning to your jog you'll arrive outside the Home economics building two minutes before your teacher arrives for the lesson.

It's at this point that I should remind you that it is highly recommended that you keep this letter a secret form absolutely everybody. We can't have you compromising your safety. Also I should tell you that if I am dead then my associate will have to intervene at some point. They'll know you and I suggest that you go with them at all costs. You can identify them by their red flowing hair, it'll be scarlet red just so you know.

Now back on the subject at hand. You will have to go through your lesson like nothing is wrong and in steps to success I suggest you make yourself scarce or non responsive so that no one can interrupt this next part. Now when the recess bell goes you'll have to make your way to student services because you need to get out of the school. A note will have been placed in your diary for that day and you'll be having a doctors appointment. From signing out exit through the soccer oval gate and make you way up the road to the BMX track. From there I want you to go to the bridge and wait.

After a short moment and woman with orange hair will come running along with her poodle. You cannot let her catch you because she will kill you. Just jump off the right hand side of the bridge. That's right facing the school, so west. Underneath you'll be grabbed by a man and through reflex you'll attempt to fight him off. He'll throw you to the ground and give you a small yellow envelope in it with your next instructions. On the envelope it will say open me and inside will be a letter with your name on it. Read it when you get it.

Good luck Callum.

This was what was written on the letter Callum had found in the pocket of the boy who saved his life the day he had visited him. It was a Tuesday.

The news had spread quickly through the school but then news always spread quickly through the mouths of teenagers. It's like watching a large torrent of water cascade down a mountain. There's no stopping it and eventually it will decimate everything in its path. The news had been so devastating that Callum had been unable to bear it that morning and he left the school to visit the incapacitated body of Mark in the hospital. He was quite distressed as he ran form the school unable to bear the stares of twelve hundred teens, leaving his two friends Simon and Kelsey quite concerned.

"Hope he doesn't do anything drastic," Kelsey said concerned.

"Callum, drastic! Ha! He's not the type to do anything like that," Simon laughed. Simon was tall, with dark brown hair. He had a Mediterranean complexion and his shoulders were broad. He wore the regular school seniors clothes of a navy blue polyester shirt with short sleeves and black shorts. On his feet he wore white sneakers with blue and red socks. He stood and watched his friend run out of the school but made no attempt to stop him from leaving.

"Aren't you gonna stop him?" Kelsey asked. She was smaller than Simon by about two heads. She had long blonde hair which stretched down to her mid back. Her nose was bulbous and she had a small birthmark on her left cheek. She had a tight figure and her clothes stuck tightly to it, highlighting her breasts. She had small hips and slender legs. She wore short black shorts that reached mid thigh. On her feet she wore sneakers also only hers where purple. She wore lime green socks. Simon shook his head.

"I've known Callum long enough to know not to try and stop him when he's like this," It had been seven years actually and although Simon was muscular, Callum's weight gave him the advantage when he was running. Simon merely smiled sadly as he watched leaving all of the worrying to Kelsey. "But, why? Why are you- I don't- Never mind. I'm not gonna bother to try and reason with you. You're just impossible," Kelsey threw her arms up in defeat. "Still I'm not comfortable with this at all. Do you even know where he's going?"

"No but I've got a faint idea," He stopped smiling and thought forward thoughtfully. "He's probably gonna go to his special spot as usual,”

"What!? Special spot? How can he be so childish?" Kelsey asked utterly surprised. " Are you nuts?"

"I'll have you know I'm perfectly sane. But it wasn't easy for him in primary school Kels. Even when he moved to the Hub he still got teased about his weight. He's just needed a place to go and he found one eventually so just leave it," Simon snarled. Kelsey recoiled from him.

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to," She mumbled. Simon grabbed her gently around the waist.

"It's okay Kelsey, I know you didn't. I overacted, I'm at fault. Anyway let's get going, we'll be late for English if we don't get moving," They moved off towards the gym leaving the running figure of Callum behind them. "He's really slimmed down though hasn't he?"

"Yeah and he's deceptively fit for his size, but what are we gonna tell Mr. Philips when we get there?" Kelsey asked. "He's already seen Callum once today,"

"Just tell him Callum went home sick after vomiting in home group or something. I'm sure it'll be fine," Simon guided her towards the English block in order to help calm her nerves about Callum.

Callum on the other hand was sitting at the bus stop by the time they arrived at the English block. He'd ran straight there without thinking and realised that he must have been thinking about the guy in the hospital subconsciously. His thoughts were conflicted as he tried to some to grips with what had happened. He had just gotten a good reputation with his peers and now this had to go and happen. Not only did it fuck up everything that he had set out to achieve in year eight but it also meant that now people would either take pity on him for being in such a tragic accident or they'd hate him for being an idiot and endangering the life of someone else. Either way Callum was not happy with it and decided that he wasn't going to put up with it. The bus turned around the round-a-bout and turned down towards the bus stop. Callum didn't rise to meet it as there were already three people doing so. He waited for the bus to have stopped completely before he grabbed his wallet and fished for the ticket.

"Howdy mate!" The bus driver said with a smile. "Whatcha doin' outta school eh!?" Callum ignored him and pushed his ticket into the slot. The automated noise of the ticket being read got on Callum's nerves normally but today he seemed not to hear anything. His ticket was spat back out and he grabbed it roughly and shoved it back into his wallet.

The bus doors closed behind him and he slumped over to a chair near the back. He swung his bag over onto the chair and sat down before removing his school shirt to leave the casual one he had on underneath for the times he would wag a lesson with his mates. He shoved the shirt into his bag and let his head fall onto the window with a groan.

"What did I do to deserve this?" He asked himself quietly.

"What did ya do to deserve what?" Some nosy girl behind him asked. Callum didn't say anything to her and just stared out the window as the scenery moved passed. "Hellooo! I'm talking to you!" she said sitting next to him.

"Yeah and I'm not talking to you!" Callum growled not taking his eyes off the road below.

"Well that's not true, you just spoke to me," She said.

"Okay fine, shut up girlie! I don't want to talk about it at the moment, and particularly not to a stranger," Callum glared at her as she expressionlessly stared back. Callum scoffed and rolled his eyes, returning his gaze to the road. The girl shook her head dramatically and flicked his ear.

"Don't just turn away help when you clearly need it," She said knowingly.

"Yeah, well I don't need it form some nosy girl! You- I don't even know who you are, so don't even begin to try and convince me that you can help. I have friends for that kind of thing, not you!" Callum sighed and looked up at the sky.

"Okay then, just trying-

"Well don't. I rather no one ever talked about it, but that can't be done in a school now can it. I'm sorry, I know you trying to help but I really don't want it! I came here to escape the talking and the counselling and the horrible, horrible pity. Just back off and leave me alone!" Callum scratched his forehead and closed his eyes, trying to indulge himself in his own thoughts.

"Jeez, I'm sorry I had no idea,"

"Fuckin' Hell! Does this girl ever give up?!" Callum thought savagely. She was trying to get through to him but her words only came out as muffles when he turned up hi i-pod to drown out her voice. She seemed not to notice for a while as she blabbered on about how it was better not to bottle stuff up.

"Hey were you even listening!" She said into his ear, removing his headphone. He clutched it and turned his head away to stop her from trying to talk his ear off. She grabbed his arm and pulled it away from his ear. "Listen to me!" She commanded. Callum pulled his hand free and put it back over his ear. She pulled it away again. "I said listen!" She snarled. Callum quivered with fear and stopped his resistance.

"Fine! What," He sighed. She smiled broadly and breathed in.

"I was saying how you should start talking to the people you're closest with. It's not like they'll be surprised by how you're reacting, nor will they be overly judgemental. Remember that your friends are the ones that you can trust the most so you can tell them any secret and they'll help. Or at least they should. Also don't forget your family. They aren't just there to be a hassle, they're also there to help you in your time of need. If I were you, I'd talk to the person I trust the most first, which for me is my mum. Who is it for you?" She raised her eyebrows and looked at him expectantly. Callum said nothing. He found it hard to believe that this girl had good intentions and he found it even harder to believe that she was only trying to help. He just had to find the underlying motive behind the whole charade. "Well who is it?

"My best friend I guess. Who else would it be?" Callum asked rhetorically. The girl's smile grew larger as she started to break through Callum's layers. She made to say something when the bus abruptly stopped sending her crashing forward. Callum caught roughly before she toppled over onto the seat in front of them. Callum looked to see why the bus had stopped but was unable to discern its true motives. Callum looked back at the girl and realised that he had his arm underneath her breasts, pushing them up. He pulled his arm away clearing his throat. She adjusted herself quickly and continued the conversation.

"So who is your best friend then?" She asked him as though the question wasn't personal. Callum snorted at the question and wrinkled his face in disgust.

"Like I'm gonna tell you Simon's name," He slapped his forehead and head butted the window. "Damn it!"

"So it's Simon huh! And what's your name?" She tilted her head cutely and smiled.

"Not tellin' ya that," He said "stupid bitch" he added with a whisper. She put her hand in his pocket and grabbed his wallet. He tried to stop her but she was to fast. She read out his name from his id card.

"Callum Adams! Two common names for a boy your age. Seventeen," She added as though Callum didn't know how old he was. "Of course it's not entirely common for the first name and the last name to be common so I guess you're kinda lucky," She tapped his nose which caused him to spasmodically started to rub it.

"Don't touch me!" He snarled. She flicked her eyebrows in contempt and touched his forehead. He rubbed it with a whine, "Please don't. Just get on with whatever you were doing before I boarded this bus," Callum groaned and looked back out of the window. The were nearing the round-a-bout with the flag in the middle of it. Callum sighed angrily at the amount of progress they had made since he boarded the bus. "I wish this bus trip were over already,"

"So do I!" The girl pipped from next to him. He gave a cry of surprise and looked at her.

"Why are you still here?! Go away I don't want to talk to you!" Callum shooed her with his hands.

"But I just want-"

"Well I don't want! Leave me alone!" Callum slumped into the corner and put his bag next to him as though it were an impenetrable wall that prevented her from talking to him. She ignored the gesture and leant onto the bag as though he put it there for that single purpose. Callum squirmed uncomfortably as she moved in closer.

So where ya headed?” She asked quietly. He rolled his eyes and looked at her

You'll find out eventually so I may as well tell you... I'm headed to Flinders Hospital,” He looked away after he said this to avoid a follow up question but the girl didn't quit.

Really? To the hospital? What the matter someone close to you sick or something?” She tapped his shoulder to get him to respond quicker.

I suppose you could say that, but I'm not really in the mood to tell you so please don't,” Callum compacted his shoulders and pressed his face against the glass. It was cold to touch and Callum's breath fogged the surface, hampering his vision to the outside world. He wiped it away with the side of his hand and continued to look. The girl hadn't moved and from the look of things she wasn't going to either. She simply watched him closely until he got sick of the staring. “Okay what?”

You look familiar. Have I met you somewhere before?” She bit her lip and tilted her head to the side as though it would actually help her remember. Callum stared back at the girl to try and see if they had in fact met prior to this occasion. She did look familiar, her red hair was distinctive for it's deep red colour and Callum doubted many people would have it that colour but her identity was blurred in his memory and he was unable to spill out her name.

You do look familiar. Now that I think about it,” He said curiously. “What's your name,”

Who me?”

No. The old lady in the car we just passed - Of course you!” Callum rolled his eyes at her ignorance.

I'm Samantha,” The memories came flooding back to him as she finished the second syllable. He recalled the red haired girl on the night of the accident. She had called the ambulance and made sure that he was okay.

Samantha! Y-you were there when it happened. How can you not remember me?” Callum asked aghast. She shot him a confused look and motioned with her arm for him to tell her. “The car accident last Friday. You know, the guy that got hit?” She took a few more seconds to click into gear but once she did her mouth dropped open.

OMG! Shut up!” She laughed heartily. “You're that stupid twit that was walking down the middle of the road with his i-pod on full. Here I was thinking that I'd never see you again,” She slapped him on the back, sending a small stab of pain up his spine.

Ow,” he groaned weakly, falling forward.

So... I assume you're going to the hospital to make sure that he's still alive?” Callum nodded. “That's nice of you, although it may be hard getting in because you need to know his name,”

I do know his name, it's just I'm not sure if it's right,” Callum rubbed his back and looked away.

Well, if it's Mark Lewin then you should be fine, because that just so happens to be his name,” Callum looked up grinning weakly.

I'm glad I was right then. It would have been incredibly embarrassing for me to have to go there and not be allowed in,” Callum slapped his forehead.

Don't worry. I'm going there as well,” Callum groaned with annoyance. Not only did he have to put up with this girl on the bus but he also had to put up with her in the hospital as well. “I've been going there everyday to check on him. He hasn't changed at all. The only problem with that is his family has only been once and they just confirmed it was him. It appears that he wasn't liked by many people. His friends have come a lot, which may be a problem for you,” Callum shook his head.

Nope. They're all at school. I know because they're the main reason I left. Grieving people can be such whinny bitches,” Callum threw his hand up to emphasise his point.

Tell me about it. Those people have been nothing but complainers since the day I met them,” Samantha whined. She made a growling noise to emphasise her anger. Callum knotted his eyes brows and looked back out of the window bored. “So what are you gonna do when you get there? Ask to be let in or something? What if his family's there?” Shit. Callum hadn't thought of that. How was he gonna face Mark's family?

Why didn't you say something like that earlier?” Callum asked, annoyed at himself for not thinking about it earlier.

Y-you told me not to talk to you!”

But you did anyway. Besides which I can't help but get the feeling that you knew exactly what I was here for right from the start,” Callum said accusingly. Samantha looked shocked.

Are you accusing me of stalking you?!” She cried. “How dare you do that. Next time someone offers to help I hope for their sake you don't go accusing them of stalking,” Callum scowled

Listen, Samantha. I don't know who you are,” Callum said aghast. “You are confusing me. I having a hard time as it is trying to cope with all this, I don't need some stranger trying to make me fell better. This is not helping me ,” Callum leant back with an exasperated sigh. “I don't normally talk to people about how I'm feeling, so this is an awkward situation for me... I'm sorry but I just need to think,” Callum closed his eyes and tilted to the right. Samantha smiled to herself and patted him on the shoulder.

Fine I'll let you think... but I'm still going in with you to the hospital. I don't think that you wanna be there alone for the first time. It can be kind of daunting,” She shook her head and leant beck as well. “I'm still creeped out by it. I know it hasn't even been a week yet but I usually get over these things so quickly. It's just so weird, it's sort of foreboding the way he's just lying there in the bare room, still, unmoving, barely breathing,” Callum looked down at his feet, trying to avoid her gaze. Samantha eyes had glazed over as she stared over at him. They both sat there silently not talking to each other for the rest of the journey.

The bus arrived at Flinders Hospital some seven minutes later. Callum silently departed from the bus while Samantha thanked the bus driver behind her and jogged to catch up to him.

You all okay with this, Callum?” She asked trying to look up at his face. He lifted his head and looked at the sky, avoiding her gaze still.

I'm fine with it. Just a little edgy. I keep getting the feeling that I'm being watched at the moment. Also I have this overwhelming idea that he'll be awake when we get there and that he'll blame me for all of this,” Callum shrugged and looked over his shoulder. A black station wagon drove away from the hospital slowly. Callum followed it with his eyes, suspiciously and curious. “I could've sworn I've seen that car before...,”

Don't be stupid. No one's gonna blame you for something like that,” Samantha said punching his arm. Callum rubbed it offhandedly looking back in the direction he was walking.

You don't know that. I mean his friends are certainly finding it easy enough to blame me. Why wouldn't the person that was actually involved blame me. It is technically my fault that he's there,” Callum gestured towards the hospital in a slow, sweeping arc.

Yeah but you don't know what he's like do you?” It was a statement rather than a question.

I don't think I've ever said that I didn't know him. I suppose I don't have to right?” Callum looked at her, smiling weakly.

Yup. I can read it all over your face. You look more guilty than remorseful. From what I can tell, his friends are normally people who show remorse because apparently Mark can stand it when people feel guilty. He apparently says that the only people who should feel guilty are those who ruin someone else's life and ensure that it is un-salvageable. Of course you only put him in a coma, nothing special,” Samantha smiled cutely, tongue poking it's tip through her teeth.

I thought you said that it wasn't my fault?” Callum whined stepping through the electronic door and into the foyer.

It's not, but you seem to be adamant that it was I decided to just go with that instead,” She walked over to the stairs and waited at the bottom of the banister. Callum tilted his head curiously and walked over to her. She motioned for him to walk up to the top.

Wait up the top when you get there. I've gotta make a quick phone call, but I'll be up in a minute,” Callum walked passed her and made his way up the stairs. As he looked up at the top of them they seemed to expand and grow even longer as he took each and every new step. Callum slowed his pace a little and tried to regulate his breathing. He hadn't noticed until then but he had in fact been breathing short, sharp breaths since he''d arrived at the hospital. Slowly he made his way to the top and rested his arms, crossed, on the top of the banister. He breathed in slowly and smiled to himself. He had managed to regain his composure, and as such he had managed to clear his head. “Gotta keep my head straight. Make sure you don't look like a fucking twat,” Callum smoothed out his hair and readjusted his backpack. Samantha was talking on her mobile down below. She looked up at him as she started to talk about him and waved. He waved back smiling, glad that she still knew he was there. Callum turned around and looked down the corridor that led to paediatrics. The children's section of the hospital was it's usual lively and colourful self. Callum could here a few small children come running out of a room to the left. Callum watched as they played together cheerfully, wishing that he could still be as oblivious to the troubles of the world as they were. But alas, it couldn't happen for him so easily. He'd been involved in an accident that he usually only saw in T.V. Soap opera's and still found it unbelievably ridiculous the way he was reacting. The children's erratic movements were almost perfectly reflecting the crash course of emotions he was about to experience, he just didn't know it yet. Samantha had finished with her phone call and had started to make her way up the stairs behind Callum. He'd been too busy thinking about the children's erratic movements rather than concentrating on his own situation. Samantha moved up behind him.

Cute aren't they?” She asked softly.

What?” Callum snapped back into reality and looked at her as she arrived up next to him.

The kids,” She laughed, motioning to the children. Callum shook his head smiling.

Nah! I hate children, they get on my nerves with the whining and the screaming and complaining. Can't stand 'em!” Callum looked away and closed his eyes. “Besides, they don't know anything about the world. They're so ignorant and stupid,” Callum sighed. “So... lead the way,” He motioned in front of him and looked at Samantha expectantly. She smiled, nodding, and moved off down a corridor to the left, away from paediatrics. Callum followed her down the white washed hallway not really concentrating on where he was going. The art on the wall went unappreciated as the two of them walked passed silently. Samantha led them towards the centre of the hospital and then over to the intensive care section of the private hospital. Callum knotted his eyebrows and titled his head when they did this.

Why are we going towards the private sector of the hospital?” He asked dumbly.

Because that's where he is silly,” Samantha said, shaking her head. Callum groaned. “What?”

Oh nothing. I just found out that I caused a rich kid to end up in intensive care. Now not only do I have to put up with the people at school but also the people outside of school. Why you ask?! Well that's simple. The media will spread the news soon and then people will harass me in the street. Not only that but his parents will probably sue me for damages and have a really good lawyer because they have a lot of money,” Callum sighed and slammed his head against the wall. Samantha looked confused.

I never said he was rich,” She walked over to him. Callum spun, leaning his back against the wall.

You said he was in the private section of the hospital,” Callum said, defeated. She motioned her own ignorance and Callum rolled his eyes at her. “To be in the private sector of the hospital you need to have private health insurance. If he's here that means he was covered, which means that he was rich or very well off,” Callum rubbed his arm.

He's in the private sector because I paid for it,” Samantha flicked his ear. “I'm the rich one,” Callum looked taken aback. He been around her for less than an hour and he'd already learnt this much about her. He wasn't comfortable with this. She was being to open.

Why are you being so open exactly?” Callum asked.

Because I want you to feel comfortable, and I want you to trust me,” She smiled at him.

Yeah right. There's something that you're not telling me I can tell,” Callum thought. “What's you real goal here? There has to be come ulterior motive behind all of this?” Callum asked uncertain as to what she would do. She might get angry and leave him here. She simply giggled at him.

Silly boy. I have no ulterior motive, I just wanna help you out. You seemed so distressed the day it happened,” She tapped his nose with her index finger. “You need to loosen up a little and learn to be more accepting. It's not like I'm gonna take you away and slit your throat,” She smiled. “Although the way it's going I'm starting to consider it,” Callum breathed out through his nose, the top right corner of his mouth turning upwards

Fine, I'll give up my inquisition... but that doesn't mean that I trust you. I don't trust anyone,” Callum moped crossing his arms.

Why don't you trust anyone?” Samantha asked curiously. Callum glared at her.

That is none of your business!” He snarled bitterly. She nodded quickly and walked away.

You coming?” She asked him, walking off towards the private hospital. Callum repelled off the wall slowly and followed in silence, staring down at the ground. He shouldn't have snapped like that but she was delving into things he'd rather stayed buried and away from the surface.

Sorry, right yeah,” He scooted along after her glad she wasn't pushing.

They continued to walk down the long, bare corridor towards the private sector of the hospital. Callum noticed how the walls seemed to grow more and more bare the further in he travelled and soon there was nothing on the walls, not even the stark white paint that hospitals were usually coloured in. Callum found it mildly disconcerting that the hospital would stop painting here. He figured that it was because no one would or should have to ever come through here but those who did would notice or care.

Pretty hard thing to miss if you ask me,” Callum whispered, his voice reverberating off the walls. Samantha looked up at him briefly but didn't say anything. She found that the walls weren't all that odd because they were just walls. Callum bit down on his tongue.

A few minutes later they had arrived at the private sector and were about to make their way to the front desk when Samantha stopped. She titled her head to the left and looked back down the long corridor. It was empty. Callum approached her.

Why'd you stop?” he asked her in a quiet whisper. She shook her head and continued towards the desk. Smiling she approached the woman.

Hello, Samantha,” the woman said warmly. “I see you've brought a friend today,” she winked at Samantha who smiled back politely.

Morning, Doris,” She replied. “Fortunately for me I have company today. Are his friends still here, they don't seem to want to leave,” Doris shook her head. “Thanks Doris. Come on Callum,” She started off and Callum shot after her nervously. He started twiddling his thumbs about halfway there and kept looking at Samantha then looking behind himself. Suddenly he stopped. Samantha turned and looked at him. “Something wrong?”

I don't think I can do this. Not after what happened. Just the thought of stepping in there terrifies me to the bone,”

Um.. it's chills me to the bone by the way,” She said correcting him. “And I will get you in there even if it's the last thing I do in this very world,” She grabbed his hand, which Callum felt was comforting and warm until she started to drag him down towards Mark's room.

Hey, I can walk on my own, don't drag me,” He struggled against her grip which was as tight as iron.

Don't even think about it buddy-oh. You're mine now and I'll see you in that room before his friends come back or so help me I'll kill you myself,” Callum gave a fearful yelp and conceded defeat lest she get any angrier. They progressed through to Mark's room quickly and once there, Samantha shut the door behind them.

Well this is... nice,” Callum said nervously, looking up at the ceiling and not at the room around him. Samantha strode forward ignoring him and sitting on a chair nearby the bed. Callum rubbed his face gently then psyched himself up to look down at the room. It was small, roughly seven square feet less than his own room. It was modestly painted with deep cream walls and a blue carpet. The window looked out into the garden outside, a small haven of nature in the middle of starkly painted industrial concrete. Callum also saw Samantha sitting on a chair looking at a bed. Callum could only see the covers over the feet of the patient but even that was enough to unnerve him. “Come on, Callum. Man up, you're acting like a sissy,” he shook his head and moved further into the room, looking outside as he moved.

He's over there,” Samantha said pointing to the bed. “Not out there,” she thumbed the window. Callum rolled his eyes and took a deep breath. Turning he looked down at the bed and saw only a sleeping teen, well a teen that looked like he was asleep anyway. It wasn't as daunting as he first thought.

Well,” he gasped. “This isn't so bad now is it,” He saw a chair next to the bed and decided to sit in it. Samantha looked bored but made no attempt to speed him up. Callum looked over at Mark. He looked calm, no sign of pain or anything really. It was unnerving to see such a lifeless body yet knowing it was still alive. He sighed. “Well, even though I hate you, and always have hated you, I suppose I should say thanks. It's not everyday that you get saved by a complete stranger. To think it could have been me here instead of you,” Callum picked up Mark's right arm. “Thanks,” he said shaking the lifeless and cold hand. He brushed his hand off when he finished, hoping that Mark's condition wouldn't spread to him. He looked at his face in the mirror in the room. It was white and his pupils were dilated. Callum saw that Mark was still dressed in his school clothes. “Hmm, that's odd,” he looked over at Samantha. “Why is he still wearing them?” She shrugged.

Dunno, but I think his mum may have had something to do with it. She seemed to think that having them on would wake him up quicker. Stupid, I know but that's what she thought. The nurses told her that he should wear the proper, sterile dressy thing and left him in it. I guess his mum got her way after he showed no response in the tests,” Callum looked concerned.

No response?”

It's not uncommon. Most coma patients are tested to see whether they truly are in a coma. Mark responded to none of them, proving what was initially suspected,” Callum didn't look convinced. “He is alive don't worry,” Callum looked back at Mark, sadly.

I'm not worried,” Callum mumbled.

Listen, I know you don't like to tell people how you're feeling but I'll ask anyway,” She looked at him soothingly. He shivered, a chill running up his spine.

I'm not sure. I'm angry, sad, happy, nervous and a whole range of other things. I'm not not sure what to f...,” he trailed off something in Mark's pocket catching his eye.

What is it?” Samantha asked rising and advancing forward. Callum reached into Mark's pocket and pulled something out. It was a letter, one he recognised instantly.

It's a letter for me. He gave it to me on Friday but he threw it back at his face angrily,” he opened the letter and read it out loud. He couldn't believe what he was reading, here on this small A4 typed sheet. Callum recognised the font. It was Comic Sans from Microsoft Office Word. But how, how had he predicted this and what would have happened if Callum had read the letter that day? Could fate have been changed? Then it dawned on him. This may be someone's idea of a cruel trick. Maybe one of Mark's friends had left it there for someone to find and then they would pass it on to him. Then again that wasn't likely because it only has his first name on the front. Somehow, someone must have known he was coming and must have told someone to put it there. He turned to Samantha. “What the hell do you think you are doing?”

What? You - you think I did this?” She stammered.

I never said that. You're jumping to conclusions, and seeing as that was the first one, it makes you very suspicious,” he brandished the letter in his face. “You think this is funny, huh?! Well, do you?” She shook her head fearfully.

No. No of course I don't. But whatever you're thinking don't. I had nothing to do with this, I swear,”

Yeah, you should fucking well hope that you don't,” Callum sat down, placing his hand on his head. “Ugh, my life just keeps getting worse doesn't it?”

Yep,” she said quietly, nodding at the same time. Callum groaned. “Oh, hey! Don't get al moody on me.

Moody! Do you know hat it's like to have the stares of over a thousand people concentrated on you? To know that they are all talking about you behind your back? To know that you're best friends are worried sick and you can't do shit? To know that you're responsible for something like - like this and to then find out, after going through all that other crap! That you could have prevented it?” He glared up at her, eyes red, face twisted into a tortured mess. She couldn't help it, she walked over and gave him a hug. He didn't respond, instead fighting the anger that he felt towards the lifeless body next to him. I've asked this so many times these past few days, but still... why me?” She stroked his head as he began to sob lightly.

Callum, if there's one thing I've learnt it's that sometimes things are just out of our control. It's not always our fault and when it isn't we have to just pick ourselves up and keep on going. There's always a silver lining, you just have to look hard to see it,” Callum shook his head.

I know that. But it's just so hard to see right now,”

Then perhaps you just have to wait. You can't see much in the middle of the night now can you?” Callum sniffed.

So, you're telling me to wait a bit?” he stopped sobbing.

Or get a torch,” She added lightly. He chuckled briefly, accepting the good natured attempt to make him feel better. She let Callum go and stared into his face, dried tears were on his cheeks and his eyes were red with irritation. She smiled and grabbed a tissue. “Here,” she let him blow his nose and waited for him to return. “So what are you gonna do?”

About what?”

The letter,” he waved it off.

I'll figure that out when I get there. For now, I need to get over this,” He sighed and sat down. They sat silently for a few minutes before Callum started laughing. She queried him as to the reason. “Oh, I just realised how ridiculous this is. How one incident with a guy that I don't know can bring back the person I used to be, someone I got rid of five years ago, in a matter of a few days. Look at me, crying like a baby over this. It's stupid, I wouldn't do this. This is the old Callum, the weak one. The one everyone made fun of,” He shook his head. “I'm such a sissy,” he rose. “I need to get back to school. I've tarnished my reputation and must re-establish it,” he made to leave. Samantha rose and grabbed him firmly by the arm.

No! You need to have some fun. Let's go to the cinema. You're a movie goer right?” He raised his eyebrows.

Are you asking me out on a date?” She hit him. “Okay I get it. Just trying to help,” He wiped his nose with the back of his hand then rubbed it on his leg. “Yeah, I love the movies, big movie goer. Sure let's go,” She led him out of the room quietly, holding his arm firmly. Callum couldn't say he enjoyed her touch but it was nice to have some comfort, even if it wasn't from his friends. She he a warm feel but it was unnerving for Callum, even though he felt no ill intentions.

© Copyright 2020 Astro344. All rights reserved.


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