Chapter 3: White to Black and Back

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 220
Comments: 2

Ch.3 White to Black and Back

 

Everybody needs time to relax, time to unwind and socialize with the world. My world now, though small, was still a society. These were my people, so I had to learn to embrace them, without changing myself. That was always the constant struggle of my life: finding a place where I belonged, where my piece of mind fit perfectly with the rest of the proverbial puzzle. You can paint a piece to look like anything, but underneath the shell, the piece is still the same. This was not an easy thing for me to grasp, because, I was unsure what my piece of mind looked like. Who was I? Where could I mingle with another person and feel safe in what I truly believed was right for me? All these thoughts raced tracks around my head like electrical impulses surging through a circular circuit, never reaching an output.

 

I looked around the medium-sized room; it teemed with a positive energy. Quiet tinkerers fiddled with their legos, rambunctious girls laughed boisterously at their favorite chick flick, and socialites rambled on about common interests. This, Dawn had mentioned after my shower, was the game-room. Towards the end of the day, they opened this room to everyone, so kids could feel free to frolic and express themselves socially before bedtime. Bedtime, she explained, was at 9:30, and was mandatory. By nine’o clock, we had to be in our rooms getting ready for bed, and by 9:30, under the covers. This seemed extremely unfair seeing that starting my sophomore year I was allowed to be up until 11, and that was a fight in and of itself! It was like being a child again, restricted and confined to the places I was given access to. I stuck close to Dawn because she was one of the few people I trusted here, but as I felt her leave my side, I became insecure. She looked back at me and smiled as her voice got further away,

 

“Go have some fun’ Josh!”

 

Fun? Strange word to hear in a place like this, seeing as I thought this as a prison. As I aimlessly wandered in, I tuned in to a familiar voice. Such a sweet, gentle laughter stroked my eardrums as I froze in place, awestruck to see that a pretty girl was smiling at me from across the room; the same girl I saw when I woke up from my 3 day nap. Beads of sweat dripped profusely from my brow.

 

Crap crap crap!  Shes looking this way. Alaina, was it?

 

She motioned me to sit down with her and her friends. That was when I was force fed my first helping of peer pressure. The girls looked at me, then Alaina, then back to me. The tension rose as did the pressure in my chest. This was the same feeling I felt talking to Krystal, and I had the courage to talk to her. How could this girl be any different? I hesitantly approached the couch wayside Alaina, heart beating like a drum as I rolled around in my mind, searching for something to say.

 

“Hi.” Was all I muttered.

 

“Hi Josh! Come watch this movie with us!”

 

She knows my name? And she wants me to watch a movie with her and her friends?? I was completely dumbfounded, but excited none the less.

 

“S-sure!”

 

Fear left my body as I sat down on the lone loveseat, the insecurity draining from me. I didn’t quite feel comfortable sitting next to her yet but she didn’t seem worried about it.

 

“Cool!” she exclaimed with a cute squeal. The other girls looked at each other, exchanging a similar facial expression like they were conveying a secret message to each other. This made me a bit uneasy. Alaina sensed this and interrupted their silent conversation.

 

“Guys, start the movie!”

 

Her excitement was contagious. I couldn’t help but smile. She saw me smiling and smiled too. I blushed. Time flew by in a blur, as we watched quietly, laughing at the funny parts.

 

“Oh, here comes my favorite part!” Alaina exclaimed.

 

On the screen, the character started hugging a tree in a strange way I’d never seen before. It wasn’t as funny as it was disturbing, but to Alaina, it was the funniest thing ever.

 

“HAHAHAHAHA!”

 

Her laughter boomed; sound waves bounding off each wall and drowning out mine as it filled the room. My eardrums were drenched in her voice. About 10 seconds in, she tapered off into quiet giggles, which I found adorable.

 

“That part is so-hehe-funny!”

 

I couldn’t help but laugh too. Her happiness was contagious.

 

“It was! The look on that guys face was priceless!” I said with a chuckle 

It was nice to feel wanted. All I ever asked from the world was to be a part of something, and the fact Alaina made room for me and acknowledged my importance filled me with something I never had in my life: Peace of mind. We continued to watch for the next 5 minutes as I basked in the pure ecstasy. But it came to an abrupt halt as the nurse entered the room. It was hard not to notice her, a hefty, big-boned woman with widened hips and flabby arms that wobbled with each step. She smiled, her lips contorting her chubby dimples as she spoke.

 

“Time for meds! Follow me please.”

 

Uhoh. Fear settled in as I wondered what it was I would be given. I quietly trailed behind the line of kids, my head spinning as I struggled to keep IT under control. IT had a lot of thoughts about Alaina too.

 

The way Alaina treats me reminds me of Krystal from school. And I get the same butterflies too, I thought, smiling.

 

It must be the same person, IT mused. She mustve got worried about you and got admitted here just to keep you safe.

 

It was tough fighting my own mind, given my naïve nature would believe almost anything. Even if I was brave enough to say no once, I would habitually give in with just a little convincing. IT knew I wore my heart on my sleeve, so to appeal to that sense gave IT just the right amount of leverage.

 

Aww…that does sound like something she would do. I know, I’ll call her tomorrow! But for now, I should take my pill, I thought, reaching the nurses desk where kids waited patiently for their medicine. IT hesitated.

 

What if they poison you? You cant trust these people.

 

I shook that thought IT put in my head. No, I must. The are my only hope to sanity.

 

IT continued to protest, but I ignored him. I did, however, have my own suspicions. Would the medication actually help, or would it make me sicker? Anything to get IT out of my head. I thought. For now, maybe some quiet meditation would help. I spaced out into a distant galaxy, outside the realm of reality, and focused on the warm light deep within in me. It burned with the intensity of a billion supernovas, but was contained inside a blackhole. The hole in my heart, now tainted with this mysterious voice, ached for closure. A beam of hope, streamed over me like a shooting star, as I prayed for relief. Then, gravity shifted as I fell back to earth, striking the ground as the sound my name guided me out of trance.

 

“Josh? Are you ok?”

 

“Huh? Oh, yeah.”

 

She handed me some water and a pill cup. Three pills were inside, each a different size and shape. Without a thought, I took a swig and popped them in my mouth, the water sloshing down my throat as it carried the medicine down with it. I smiled and handed the cup back to her. Yawning, I realized how tired I was, and requested my toothbrush and toothpaste so I could prepare for bed. Just as before, the nurse handed me a bin with my things. I carried it to my bathroom, then went to say good night to Alaina. When I returned to my room, John was in bed, reading some golfing magazine.

 

“Hi John.” I said, as I dressed myself for bed. He lowered his magazine and made a quick hand gesture so as to say hello back, then returned to his book.

 

I could tell he didn’t want to be disturbed, so I went in the bathroom to brush my teeth. With mouth minty fresh, I hopped in the bed and slipped under the covers. There was little comfort under those covers; only the pillowcase I had brought from home made me feel secure. The sound of footsteps silenced my thoughts as they closed doors one by one. Then they reached ours.

 

“Lights out! Time for bed!” they said, shutting the door tight, leaving me alone in the dark. Usually this wouldn’t bother me but, for once, I was scared. I tried to just shake it off, and shut my eyes, but I wasn’t alone.

 

Hey. Cant sleep huh?

 

Go away.

 

I turned on my side and tried to silence IT. I laid there motionless, for 30 minutes, before realizing that I, once again, couldn’t sleep.

 

Are you awake? You know, ghosts cant sleep either.

 

I was really getting sick of Its shit. I decided to ask for some medication, hoping it would settle my thoughts and help me sleep. I stumbled through the dark towards the door. Opening with a slight creak, one of the nurses saw me from over her desk and grimaced.

 

“You cant come out right now, go to sleep.”

 

I frowned. “But I cant go to sleep. Cant you give me anything?”

 

She shook her head. “Sorry, med pass is over. I cant give you anything right now.”

 

I closed the door and angrily crashed into bed. John mumbled incoherently in his sleep before rolling over.

 

Maybe you should read Johns magazine. That should help you sleep, IT whispered

 

No, that’s stealing! I refuted.

 

It’s not stealing if you give it back. Go on, look at it until you get tired. IT urged.

 

I stared at his nightstand for a long time. The temptation grew harder to resist the longer I laid there, awake.

 

Fine. But just a peek!

 

Slowly rolling out of bed, I crept toward the dresser and slid it open. Quietly snagging the magazine and rushing into the bathroom, I flipped on the lights and stared in awe of the muscular man donning a yellow neon t-shirt and plaid shorts. He leaned against the bag of clubs sitting next to him, the backdrop a green pasture with a few trees in the distance; on the cover, in bold letters, read the words “Golfers Digest”. Cap a bleach white and skin a fair tan, his fresh shaven face smiled at me, almost as if he was staring into my soul. I immediately thought about my grandma and grandpa, two golfers famous not for their expertise, but for their love and dedication toward me. I flipped through the pages, looking for someone with similar facial features.

 

Too fat, too skinny, too much hair, not enough hair…I thought, hopelessly searching every page. The whole endeavor was starting to feel like a waste of time when I came across what resembled a 70 year old man, with a combover to hide his bald head, similar to the way grandpa wore his hair. His face was wrinkly enough to show prominence of a slightly pudgy face, and his gut bulged out just enough to show he was a beer enthusiast. I laughed. My grandpa loved his beer, hell, he had a whole bar in his basement, with liquor lined neatly against the glass wall. I remember asking him to serve me something and he would just say, “kiddo, ill get you whatever you want when you’re older.” I would frown and hed just laugh. The longer I stared at the picture, the more tears began to form.

 

Why don’t you just rip him off the page and keep the picture for yourself?

 

I cant do that! That destroying  somebody elses property!

 

Just tell him it reminded you of your grandpa and that you didn’t have any pictures to remember him by!

 

IT wanted me to take advantage of the human heart. I didn’t know what to say about that. The memories of him made my mind stir-crazy, until I couldn’t take it anymore. It was as if my whole body was now screaming for me to do it. I stared in horror as my hands reached  the edges of the page, trembling as I heard the slight sound of paper tearing. I opened my eyes. I had made a split halfway as both tears headed towards the picture.

 

AHAHAHAHA YES! IT screamed. My tears of sorrow merged with IT’s tears of joy as I continued to tear out the aged golfer. I was so  close to finishing the dark deed when I accidently ripped part of his body. This triggered a strong wave paranoia as began to think I had actually hurt my grandpa! I nervously turned the picture over. All black.

 

Black means death. You killed him. You killed your grandpa! IT snarled

 

No!! I-I can fix this!

 

I opened the door and pleaded with the nurse to let me use the tape.


“Please, its an emergency! My grandpa is hurt!”

 

She cocked an eyebrow. “Excuse me? Your grandpa isn’t here, now go to bed.” Her eyelids were purple, and her eyes bloodshot. If anyone needed sleep, it was her. I was angry, and got defensive with her

 

“Yes he is! Hes in the bathroom!”

 

“Sigh…im getting too old for this shit.” She mumbled, shaking her head, and pointed toward the door. “Bed.”

 

I grumbled and returned to the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. Opening the magazine once more, I flipped through the pages; every color of white was accompanied by black on the backside. I was convinced there was a connection.

 

Dark coexists with light, so for every death there is life. This isn’t just a magazine. This is life. And if this is life, and all this is real, then anything in this book coexists with reality. Even…I flipped to a picture of a guy eating a burger. Even food!  Crazed with hunger, I tore around the burger, before realizing that to tear the burger meant tearing the mans hand off. I looked at what I had done. Then I flipped it over. Black again!

 

“No…” I muttered. “NOOOOO!!!”

 

I cried profusely, tossing the magazine into the corner. All I ever do is destroy everything I love. Why can’t I make everyone happy? I’ve been hurt far too many times to still feel, but I still hold on to the hope that this vicious cycle won’t repeat itself. How do I escape? Should I reach out to my Christianity?

 

What good will that do you? IT shrieked. “Accept the punishment, and enjoy it! Splurge on the pain and let the pleasure consume you!

 

It did feel good to submit. I was powerless most of my life anyway.  Suddenly, another voice rang in my head. Its presence was of the purest warmth.

 

Josh, resist him! He spits from slanderous tongue! Crush the wretched snake with your faith!

 

The demon scoffed. Begone vile creature of the subconscious, and allow me to rule this child!

 

The conscience boiled with anger. There is only room in this mind for one entity foul demon!!

 

“Both of you shut up and let me think!” I shouted aloud. My head was aching from the insanity. “I’ve been awake all night because you assholes wont leave me alone. Snake, slither away before I pound your head into the dirt! Conscience, stop shouting at the snake! Don’t you know you are fueling the fire?!”

 

Both voices were silent. My mind was finally at rest. I picked up the magazine and headed toward the door. To my surprise, it opened on it own. I stared up at the familiar figure before me; it was John, and he was far from pleased with me. His eyes were barely open, and his hand was clenched in a fist. I gulped

 

“Dude, Do you know what time it is??”

 

“uhhh-“

 

“Its 3 in the morning man! Do you even realize how loud you were be-“ His brow furrowed, as his attention shifted to the ripped up magazine. I could feel the disruption in the air as his anger escalated. “You ripped…my magazine…why…why would you rip my magazine..” I could tell he was trying to hold his emotions back, but his eyes burned into mine as if they were aflame.

 

Mmm, yes. The pain and embarrassment is so appetizing. Please feed me more! IT cried. “It feels so good!”

 

What could I possibly say at this point to explain such irrational behavior?  I thought telling the truth might help.

 

“I couldn’t sleep John. I was wide awake and, yes, decided to read your magaizine. Then I saw what looked like my grandpa…the voice in my head told me to do it man…I fought so hard against it too. Then every white turned to black after I ripped the page and I freaked out because I thought my grandpa was actually injured because black means death.”

 

He stared at me for a few seconds. Speechless, he just snagged the magazine from me.

 

“Just get some sleep dude.” And with that he headed  back to bed. “kids fried out of his mind…” he mumbled before disappearing under the covers.

 

IT was laughing hysterically. Ashamed, I crawled into bed too. Why did I torture myself like this? The noose around my neck kept getting tighter, and I enjoy every minute of it. Have I been so riduled  through childhood that the pain has morphed into a twisted pleasure? I thought of Alaina, and how distressed she’d been to see me suffer from that seemingly endless sleep. I smiled at the thought of holding her hand, of whispering secrets and sharing memories of childhood happiness. It made me giddy inside. The thoughts that encircled me dimmed as all I could feel was her warm touch, a peacefulness that rocked me to sleep.

 



Submitted: December 18, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Joshua White. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Adele February

Wow! I did not read the previous chapters of this novel but I was glued to chapter three. I'm not loony or anything but the character Josh is very relatable. I also like your style of writing because it is easy to understand. I am not an expert but this is my opinion as a regular teenager. I would like to see this novel on my Country's shelves.

Thu, December 18th, 2014 8:23pm

Author
Reply

Th-thank you! That means so much to me! And yeah, Josh is quite a character :P who knows, maybe with the help of my friends here on booksie I can get it hardcopied someday. :) Thank you for reading!

Thu, December 18th, 2014 12:42pm

unmasked delusions

I agree with Adele some of the thoughts in here are really relatable. Your style of writing reminds me of famous authors but it's nothing like I've ever seen before- It's very unique. I love the details you throw in... and you got me hooked at the beginning again- especially with the line "You can paint a piece to look like anything but underneath the shell, the piece is still the same." It was worded really well. Also, it had the perfect mixture of reality and fantasy again as you mixed in IT's thoughts. I feel like every chapter is revealing this "IT" more and more and I'm curious about that. Anyways, every chapter gets better as the story unfolds. Good job!

Thu, December 18th, 2014 10:47pm

Author
Reply

Thank you. Thank you all so much for your kind words. And yes, I try to mix reality with fantasy because that's the world as I envisioned it growing up, and it's fascinating to see how the two planes would interact with each other. And yes, IT will be vital to the story later on. ;) It's funny, usually the antagonist is a separate character, not existing within the protagonist itself. That's what makes this story as exciting to write as it is to read. And to hear such positive feedback from my fans makes writing it all the more worthwhile. Thank you

Fri, December 19th, 2014 8:13am

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