The Friend

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

This idea came to me after I watched School Live. I've always been a strong fan of tragedy. I also wanted write a psychological thriller for once. I hope you guys like it. Until I complete my plan for my novel I think I'll post something like this.
Two boys are hanging out together. They are having a seemingly normal day. But things are more than what they seem...

 

 

 

Papa’s Burgers was one of the most distinguishable buildings in that town. Putting aside the Stadium and the Mall, almost every other building was of standard architecture. The buildings were simple homes, apartments, shops, a large campus that provided the elementary, intermediate and high levels of schooling, a police station, a fire station and a hospital. In such a standard environment the big yellow building with a roof that was shaped like a bun and a gigantic plastic moustachioed “Papa” standing next to it held a great presence. It was also the favourite hangout of the two boys who were racing along the sidewalk.

“Waa…it...uu…p…Ra…ay!” wheezed the slightly wider of the two as he attempted to catch up with his friend and catch his breath at the same time.

Rayne Howells wasn’t listening. At that moment there was only one thing in his mind.

Three dollar Kombo! Three dollar Kombo! Three dollar Kombo! Three dollar Kombo!

Once every month, Papa’s offered the Big Burly Burger, the most popular item on their menu, for just Three Dollars. Rayne had missed the last one and had been counting the days till this moment.

“Hurry it up slowpokes!” he called over his back as he raced ahead.

Thomas Craven gave a tired groan. “I’m trying!”

Far behind both of them John Howells walked at an average pace, a phone stuck to his ear.

Geez. You can’t put that phone away even for a second can you dad?

Rayne gave an annoyed sigh before increasing his velocity towards the front door of the restaurant. As he stepped into the well-furnished building a strong smell of grease and oil filled his nose. Thomas came in just as he found an empty table.

“Thanks for waiting for me you damn prick,” he snapped before taking a seat by the window.

Raye put his tongue out in mock sympathy and laughed.

“Next time I’ll get dad to bring a forklift to help you out.”

“Oh, yeah? Well next time I’ll come on my bike. You know the one without the training wheels?”

“Shut up Fat Boy.”

“Whatever Training-Wheels.”

Rayne simply looked away and at his father who was making the order. “I hope he didn’t forget which one I ordered. He never remembers anything.”

“Give him a break man,” pleaded Thomas in a sympathetic voice. “He’s just busy, that’s all.”

Rayne didn’t say anything.

“Afternoon Mr Howells!” greeted the familiar and friendly face of Matt, the cashier.

“Good afternoon Matthew. How is business?”

“The same as usual I guess. What’s your order?”

John gave his order, paid the money and waited while Matt went back into the kitchen. His eyes fell back at his son seated at the table, laughing at some joke he couldn’t hear. A sad smile appeared on the man’s face. He looked away and now focused on the only other occupied table nearby. Three teenage girls were discussing something in not-so-but-supposed-to-be-hushed voices.

“Did you hear about it?” said one girl.

“About what?” asked the second girl.

“About the accident,” answered the first girl.

“What accident?” asked the second girl again.

“Oh, you mean about the one that happened near old Pete’s?” questioned the third girl.

“That’s the one,” replied Girl 1.

“Sorry, I was in the next town till yesterday,” apologised Girl 2.

“Oh, sorry. I forgot.”

“Here’s your order Mr. Howells.”

That last one was Matt. John Howells quickly grabbed the trey and walked away not listening anymore of the conversation of the girls, or wanting to.

“Hmm,” Matt thought. “He looked like he was about to cry.”

“Disappointed that Blaire isn’t here?”

“W-what?” Thomas stuttered.

Rayne smirked.

Got you.

Blaire was one of the waitresses at Papa’s. She was a high school sophomore who had a good relation with the boys. Rayne wasn’t sure if Blair genuinely didn’t notice it or just pretended to but Thomas had an obvious crush on her. Ever since they stepped into the building, Rayne had noticed that his friend’s eyes had been running all over the place.

“Give it up man. She’s a high school sophomore. You’re still in junior high. There’s no way in hell she’ll ever look at you like that.”

“H-hey! You don’t know that!”

Rayne just gave a taunting grin infuriating his friend further.

“Listen up. My Uncle Phil fell in love with Aunt Martha when he was her student in high school. When she rejected him due to their age difference he promised her that he will come back to her when he became an adult. And then years later, when he finally graduated from College, he proposed to her. Now they are happily married, in France and have five kids.”

“She must’ve had a lot of patience,” interjected Rayne.

“Shut up! The point is if I ask her, maybe Blaire would do the same for me.”

“Oh,’ Rayne’s cocky grin stayed on for a while before abruptly being replaced by a frown.

“Uh-oh.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Well, Uncle Phil, I think you just lost you chance of finding out if your little love theory is right or not.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

Rayne pointed over Thomas’ head. Thomas turned around and the look on his face when he turned back told Rayne that he wished he hadn’t. Three tables behind them, Blaire was kissing fellow employee Hammond.

“Sorry dude,” Rayne patted his friend in genuine sympathy.

“Lemmealoon” wept Thomas, his head on the table underneath his arms.

For some peculiar reason the situation reminded Rayne of something he read about a long time ago. In 1935 a scientist under the name of Schrodinger created a thought experiment using a steel box with enough air for a cat to last for an hour, a cat, some poisonous gas in a container, a Geiger counter and some radioactive material that had equal chances of decaying and not decaying within an hour. Cutting down the details the experiment basically said that the cat, depending on how the radioactive material acted, would either die by poisoning or live, but whether it lived or died can only be certified by opening the steel box that held it along with the other materials. In other words as long as the box was not opened the observer will never know which is true and which is not and could believe whichever. It could also mean that the fate of the cat could have diverged into two separate parallel universes. Right then, had Thomas never looked over his back, like the unsure observer who was wondering over the fate of the cat, he could have also believed whatever he wanted and continued to dream on the possibility of dating Blaire. Maybe in another universe this possibility may have actually come true. But unfortunately for Thomas he lived in a universe such a dream was impossible. However there was something that was available to Thomas and, Rayne thought, was a lot more satisfying than Blaire. And that something…

“Oh, look. The burgers are here.”

…arrived just in time.

“Where?” Thomas sat up instantly wiping off his tears and snot with a napkin.

Rayne eagerly took the trey out of his father’s hands and passed on the burger to his friend before opening up his own package.

Oh. He actually knew what he was getting.

Rayne looked up at his dad.

“What’s up Ray?”

“Nothing. Thanks dad.”

Ray started munching down on the burger, but not before briefly looking over at Thomas who was biting into his own, his earlier tragedy already forgotten.

Such an easy customer.

Rayne smiled to himself.

]]]

“Don’t go too far now,” John called out from his bench.

“Okay dad!” Rayne yelled back as he ran ahead of his friend.

“Dude! Enough with the running!” cried out an exasperated Thomas.

Rayne just laughed at his friend as he kept running.

Seeing his son laugh made John smile slightly. It was the first time he had seen anyone smile so much since being released from the hospital. However, the longer he watched the more pain he started to feel in his chest. The wind picked up and gently stroked her hands across his face making him forget, for a moment, the feelings welling up in his heart. He took a deep breath and sat down. Then his phone started to buzz in his pocket.

Thomas found his friend lying under a birch tree. Rayne lifted his hand and pointed at a specific cloud.

“Look at that one up there! It looks like Robby Harthins’ fat chin!”

Thomas looked up and lifted an eyebrow.

“How can you tell? All I see is a dog turd.”

“What’s the difference?”

The two boys laughed at their own joke. Thomas sat down and looked up thoughtfully.

“Come to think of it, wasn’t this where we first met?”

“Huh?” Rayne looked up.

“Yeah. Five years ago. Exactly at this spot.”

“Oh yeah. Now that I think about it, this place did feel a bit nostalgic a few minutes ago.”

Rayne closed his eyes and walked down memory lane, stopping at that moment, then laughed.

“You were a lot less fat back then.”

“Shut up!” snapped Thomas in mock frustration. “At least I wasn’t a cry baby.”

“I was not a cry baby,” denied Rayne.

“Boo-hoo! I’m soo wonewy! Daddy won’t pay attention meee!” Thomas started.

“Stop it man,” Rayne replied softly.

“Mummy’s too busy with work! She won’t pway with me anymorrre!” Thomas continued.

“I’m serious man,” Rayne growled.

But Thomas wasn’t listening. He was too busy imitating little Rayne. “I don’t have any fwends! I’m sooo wonewy!”

“TOM!” Rayne snapped.

Realising he stepped out of line Thomas backed down quickly. “O-oh, sorry man. I’m just joking that’s all.”

“Well next time, don’t,” Rayne hissed. Thomas looked down apologetically.

There was utter silence between the two for a while before Thomas broke it.

“So how are things with your parents?”

Rayne didn’t answer straight away and gave his friend the silent treatment a little longer.

Thomas sighed. “Dude, c’mon. I said I was sorry. I honestly didn’t mean to make you mad or anything.”

Thomas was being completely sincere. Rayne’s family was a sore subject and wasn’t something he liked to discuss with anyone. Thomas knew that more than anyone and sincerely felt horrible for bringing it up.

Rayne looked at his friend for a few seconds before he broke out into a laughter leaving Thomas dumbfounded.

“Dude,” he sniggered. “You should’ve seen the look on your face right now. You looked like you just ran over a puppy.”

“Shut up. You’re a prick.”

Rayne laughed a bit more before looking thoughtfully at the distance. “Things are a lot better now. Mom doesn’t always stayed locked up in her room anymore. And dad tries to come home before dinner, though I wished he would put away the phone though.”

“And your little sister?” Thomas questioned.

She cries, poops and does everything to make life miserable for them so she’s awesome.”

“You’re horrible,” Thomas laughed.

“I know right.”

]]]

“He’s a lot more active now Dr Frailswitchz,” said John into his phone.

“That’s good,” came the reply from the other end. “Is he taking the prescriptions as I asked him to?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I’ll be making my regular visits today as well.”

“Thank you very much.”

“Also, before I hang up,” added the voice on the other end. “How are you treating him family wise?”

John had been holding back the emotions in his voice throughout the entire conversation but it was becoming harder and harder as the seconds passed.

“We’ve been paying a lot more attention to him. Last week we went to Space world as a family for the first time in years.”

“Is that so?”

The voice on the other end didn’t say anymore but hung up. John put the phone back and looked up at the sky. It was overcast. He felt the wind pick up a second and a crumpled up newspaper came flying out of nowhere and landed on John’s face. He pulled it off and saw that it dated a month ago. The central article showed the picture of a car that had its front smashed. Underneath were pictures of two boys. He didn’t read anymore but threw it over his head. He wanted to feel the wind on his face again, to sooth him, but all he felt were a thousand arms trying to pull him off the bench.

]]]

“Here we are,” John announced as he parked the car in front of the old house.

Thomas jumped out and gave Rayne and then his father a quick wave.

“Thanks for the ride Mr. Howells! Bye Ray.”

“Bye Fatty. See ya tomorrow.”

Rayne watched his friend run into his house before turning back to his father.

“Today was awesome! Thanks for taking us around dad.”

“Sure son. Whatever you want.”

“Um…dad?”

“Yeah Ray?”

“Why are you crying?”

“Eh? Oh this? Sorry, I got some dust in my eyes earlier.”

“Okay.”

]]]

“Good evening Dr Frailswitchz!” Rayne greeted the familiar bald-headed doctor.

“Good evening Rayne. How are you feeling today?”

“A lot better. I’ve just had the best day with my best friend.”

“Oh really? That’s great to hear.”

you go to your room and get ready for dinner.”

“Sure dad.”

The two men watched the boy as he went into his room.

“Would you stay for dinner Doctor?” inquired John.

“Thank you Mr Howells. But I will have to decline.”

The doctor looked back in the direction the little boy had run. “He seems very cheerful.”

“Yeah he is. He spent the entire day with his best friend after all.”

“I see.”

A tear ran down John’s cheek. “Doctor, I don’t know how long we can take this.”

Frailswitchz didn’t reply. He simply stared in the direction the boy had gone.

John Howells started to sob softly. The entire day he had tried to hold in his tears. The entire day he had acted as if nothing was wrong in front of his eyes, nearly breaking at every moment. But now he was starting to unravel.

“Today,” he softly wept, “we stopped near that house. He was saying goodbye. He said that he was going to see Thomas again tomorrow. The entire time I was wondering how he could not see it. How he could not see the house was completely empty.”

“So they left I take?” asked the doctor out of curiosity.

“They couldn’t live there anymore. Their son just died in the next street. I would have done the same.”

John looked up. “Why doctor? Why is this happening to my son?”

Frailswitchz gave the man a look filled with contempt. “Let me ask you Mister Howells, before all of this, did you ever spend any time with your family?”

In between his sobs John gave him a puzzled look. “What do you mean Doctor?”

“I mean exactly what I asked. Please give me an honest answer.”

“Well, we did go to the Carnival last year.”

“Is that so? Do you remember any other time?”

John did not want to know where the doctor was going with this. “I…I tended to be very busy with my job mostly and…”

“How about your wife?” Frailswitchz interrupted.

“Her job usually kept her busy so we never really had the need for much family outings but…”

“So your wife too huh?”

John couldn’t say anymore.

The doctor simply looked away from the man.

“Denial, Mr Howells is a powerful self-defense mechanism we humans came up with. When something is too painful or something beyond the capacity of our understanding occurs in front of us, we deny it until our mind provides us a more acceptable idea.”

He sighed. “That boy was your son’s closest friend wasn’t he?’

John nodded.

“The human mind,” Frailswitchz continued, “is something that is a lot more fragile than it is believed to be. It’s like glass you see. A simple drop can break it into a thousand pieces, far too small and spread out to put back together. If a child did not have something of a parental figure, it will latch onto the closest thing for support. And this usually is a very bad case for that child’s psyche. Especially if something were to happen to that object of interest.”

John Howells didn’t say anything. His wife called to him from the kitchen and Frailswitchz took that as his cue to leave.

“Just one more thing before I leave. Your daughter is completely healthy both physically and emotionally. Please at least try to keep her that way. Good night Mr Howells.”

In his room Rayne was looking at his class photo imagining all the fun things he and his best friend will do tomorrow.

 

 


Submitted: January 26, 2016

© Copyright 2020 silverdrip. All rights reserved.

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T.J. Little

Interesting story with a bit of a twist at the end.
I like that you didn't flat out state the fate of his friend and left it to be implied. This added tremendously to the fact that Rayne hadn't accepted reality yet.

There were some spelling mistakes and missing words that I made notes on.
Also there is one section that had me confused. Right after they were given their burgers it seems that the venue changes with no indication of them doing so. One moment they're in the restaurant and the next they are seemingly running off outside. It was a bit jolting and I feel you could say something to connect the time lapse.

Overall I think you did a good job, especially with the dialogue between the two friends. It definitely had a middle school vibe to it.

Wed, April 27th, 2016 4:06pm

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Thank you for the honest review. I wanted to skip out on the details of them moving about but that didn't seem to have gone the way I had planned. If I get the chance I'll try to fix it up. I'll also try to correct those spelling mistakes and missing words. Once again thank you very much

Fri, April 29th, 2016 3:37am

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