Cold Awakenings Part 2.

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

Awaking cold, alone and disconnected, the boy finds himself haunted by a malignancy that feeds on his doubts and shame. But he summoned the corruption to himself, an effort to numb the pain. He must live with the choice he does not know he has made or bring back the pain that drove him to mutilate his own mind. (Part 2)

Cold Awakenings

Part 2.

Boy and hound stood off. The boy avoided further eye contact, the hound remained unmoving. The boy’s heart raced, his pulse thumped in his ears. He wanted to get away, away from the hound and it’s too clever, too insightful eyes. He could feel them judging him, boring in through his flesh and bones and looking into where he kept his lies. Anger briefly flared in the boy like venom in his blood but subsided before it took any grip on his outlook. The venom transformed into a deep, throbbing self-loathing. He was exhausted, his body ached, his eyelids drooped as if weighted with bricks, he was shivering with the damp clawing through his clothes to his skin. He was too tired to fight.

“I’m too tired to fight.” he whispered. The hound did not reply, it just stood, watching and waiting, unimpressed or unconvinced. “Please...” his voice was barely a whisper; it came as a stifled gasp, an infant’s plea. His head remained down-turned, fixed on the steps before the hound’s paws. A brief moment passed and the hound turned and padded up the stairs, it’s claws clicked against the steps, the wood groaned under it’s weight. The boy followed. The dark figure of the wolf led him through into a dim landing, an archway stood opposite the stairs and another set of adjacent stairs spiralled further up. It sat at the foot of the later, waiting for the boy to creep past up into a bedroom.

The attic room could belong to any normal teenage boy, any boy going to school, doing his a-levels. Any boy who read and played and worked, but this room belonged to him.Yet he felt no connection to it. No connection to the double bed below the skylight, to the posters on the walls or the desk or the chest of draws or the plants or the paint, the walls, the floor, the rug, the books. The boy stood and looked around the room that was a reflection of his identity and hated it. Had his body not been so beaten he would have stayed and hated the room for what it stood for, but instead he climbed onto the bed with its pale green sheet and the morning light streaming through the window above.He took nothing off. His black, sodden, duffle coat pressed chillingly against his chest. Tightened, filthy jeans befouled the sheets. The boy lay on his stomach, arms by his side and rested his weary limbs. The hound padded over to the bed, leapt up and curled up with the side of the boy, whining softly.

The boy did not sleep. As morning’s grip ever tightened over the town he remained awake, staring to one sideout into the receding darkness of the room, his eyes taking in nothing just gazing into the blankness. Whilst his body rested his mind stayed in its lethargic, entropic state, unable to find any respite yet unable to find any excitement or motivation.

The sun had passed high in the sky, enshrouded in a dark grey cloak, before the boy finally stood up again. The hound had left unnoticed.The boy padded softly down the stairs. He’d heard his parents leave and yet still he crept through the house as silently as possible, as if he was afraid of his own footsteps.

He passed through the archway at the stairs base and came to a door to at the end of the corridor that followed. He switched the light on in the room, illuminating in anti-septic white light a bath and separate shower, a toilet standing opposite to two sinks, above which a mirror hung. His eyes watered and squinted in the piercing, virtuous, viscous light. He peered at the mirror, the window, the gate; there were few mirrors in his house for the risks they brought. Tired green eyes met tired green eyes. The face that was staring at him wasn’t his; the long, drawn visage was stark pale. Deep shadows made sharp cheek bones gaunt. Bags stretched beneath eyes that should’ve been the colour of grass not moss. Greasy, curly blond hair stood like a writhing mass of disgusting tentacles. Mud encrusted everything and leaves still clung to his coat, were twined into his hair. He hung his arms either side of the sink and leaned down, placing his forehead on the tap, closing his eyes, breathing deeply into the empty, uninviting cold basin. He wanted to be sick just looking at himself and for a while he rested once more, defeated and empty, procrastinating from the task before him. Then wearily, he began to methodically clean himself, wiping belligerent mud off flesh, peeling dead leaves off clothes, splashing bitter water onto drained skin. He looked across at the shower but repulsion rippled through him at the idea of running water crawling along his skin. He instead combed his hair with wet fingers. A flash of stark red against pallid skin caught his eyes in the mirror, a shallow crimson gash against his left wrist, smeared with dried blood. A shiver trembled through his spine; something stood severely wrong about that infliction and for an instant he began to – the bathroom light flickered. Water dripped.

He snapped his head to the bulb. On and off it fluttered, like a butterfly in a spider’s web. Mesmerising. Foreshadowing. And then, the bulb stabilised, shadows were banished and light, too white, slithered back into his eyes. He exhaled and turned his head back to the mirror.Shock. He stumbled back into the wall. Skin crawled. Hairs on the back of his neck stood on their ends.A terrifying, disfigured face stared back at him. His face stared back at him. Thin lines ran through the glass surface, veins against pale skin, tracing indistinguishable rivers. For a while he stared, transfixed with horrid intrigue, turning his face to examine the repulsive effect. He breathed and walked forward and lifted a shaking hand to touch the cracked glass but before he could a sensible voice that definitely should not be there and would probably get killed for doing so spoke in his head. Lights flicker when foul things lurk and mirrors crack when foul things follow.

With his heart in his mouth and nails dug deep into his palms he rushed out of the house.

Submitted: December 10, 2012

© Copyright 2021 Changeling. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Yeah, wow, this is really compelling. I'm only a fan of about 10 writers on this site but I think I'm going to have to add you to the list. The only thing I'd like to suggest is that you learn more about the difference between "it's" and "its." I've seen you mix up the two several times now.

Tue, December 11th, 2012 8:51pm


Wow, thank you so much! Honestly, whole-heartedly means a lot to hear!
Aha, yeah those pesky apostrophes. I noticed I wrote "your" instead of "you're" in the comment I left for your story. Sorry.
Thanks for pointing it out, I'll try and sort it all out.

P.S I cannot wait to read more of Dead Man's Dice.

Tue, December 11th, 2012 1:03pm

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