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Blackness and Silence

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Jodie has changed just a bit. Fishnet stockings, plaid skirt, a lacy, black shirt and short black hair with deep blue bangs. It’s a look that shouldn’t work on Jodie, but oddly enough, it does. I don’t know how I should feel about that. She’s certainly grown. On the outside, at least.

She’s currently throwing a tantrum of massive proportions. She stomps her foot and flails her hands. I’m surprised she’s not rolling around on the floor.

“I didn’t ask to be different!” She yells in Nathan’s face, “I just wanna go out and have friends and be like other girls my age!”

“You’ll never be like them. You need to get used to that.” Mr. Dawkins shuts down the argument that has been going on for a full ten minutes. Jodie is defeated, a pitiful sight, really. She gives a vehement cry as he leaves. Mr. Freeman attempts to comfort her as she slouches down in her chair, but all he gets is a passive snarl in response.

She just wanted to go to a party with some friends of hers. Guess she forgot what happened at the last party she attended. I should feel sorry for her, but I don’t. She needs to know what it’s like to grow up. That was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

Mr. Freeman sees me peering in through the outside doorway and narrows his eyebrows, shooing me away. Asshole…

As I leave, I steal a glimpse back into the room. Jodie has moved over to the couch and is beating it’s cushions in with her fists. What a pathetic creature…

I stride across the dim hallway to my room, cringing as Jodie plugs her guitar into her amp and proceeds to peel the paint off the walls with the abhorrent solo she’s attempting to play. It’d be a lot nicer if they gave her an instrument that was a little more pleasing to the ears like, say, a flute?

When I enter my room, or rather my section of the room, as Dana has rearranged the furniture so that we each have our own place to sleep, I find my sister sitting on the futon, legs crossed and flipping through the channels on the tube.

She’s trying to be like Jodie, with her gel-spiked hair and her dark makeup. Or maybe she’s going through that same punk phase with no influence from Jodie whatsoever. It still annoys me. She looks trashy, and besides that, she does idolize Jodie to a certain degree. The girl can kill her for fuck’s sake! The way she was tearing her couch apart alone speaks volumes. I don’t want Dana close to anyone with such a dangerous aura.

God, my sister is an idiot… Looking is okay, but never get too close. Confined animals bite back at curious bystanders.

I go to my computer, which is barely visible in the stacks of books and papers that surround it. I shuffle through them as I sit down. College applications, resumes, brochures… I was even offered a spot at Columbia University. I hear they have a great genetics program…

Fuck me… I’m about the most interesting person you’ll meet. Who sits around, does their homework, and actually tries to figure out what they want to do with their life on a Saturday night while everyone else is out partying?

Me. This guy right here.

On the bright side, while they’re all wasting away on their friend’s couches feeling sorry for themselves, I’ll be on top of the world, living the high life. I’ll be the most envied scientist and engineer they’ll ever have the privilege of seeing on TV. Those guys can all rot. I’ll be their king and they can scuttle about like the cockroaches they are.

You’ll be nothing, you hear me?! Nothing! You won’t add up to anything, you worthless piece of shit. You or that wretched brat. You-

Yeah… King of the world, alright. Mother always assured me of that. I’d never be anything less.

I wonder how being a slave might treat her. Probably not too well would be my guess, considering she’s dead.

There’s a rapping at the door. The springs in the couch squawk as Dana gets up to answer it.

“Heeey, Jodie! I thought you were going to the party!”

“Change of plans. Where’s Alex?”

“In there. Why? What’s- Oh hey, Cole.”

“Just stay there, Dana.”

Oh great, looks like this application will have to wait. Have to deal with Miss Temper Tantrum. I’m about to spit out a remark to her when I spin around and get a good look at her. Her smoky eyes are fiery, burned by a determination that made me sit back and revere her. With her bratty outfit and angered expression, she looked exactly like any rockstar should.

“Come on, we’re going.”

Going? I hadn’t planned on attending any event this fine, rainy evening. I told her as such.

“You have to go. I’m kinda outta options now.” Her eyes flash to Mr. Freeman, who has been notably silent about this whole affair. He stands stick straight next to her. Rigid, unmoving. A soldier obeying his commanding officer.

Jodie… officer….

His eyes are milky white. Nothing else. No pupils, iris, nothing…

Jodie. Little girl. Head snapped back. Violin string. Nathan. Woman. Teenager. voices. Voices VOICES!!

She did this. What is it? Possession?! But how?! She’s inhabited in her body. She’s still herself. Her eyes are normal.

No. There’s something else. There’s other forces at work here. I’ve seen them, felt them… I feel them now.

Now she wants to get me in trouble too?

“No. I just need someone else to go with me.”

Why me?
“Dana is too loud. She’ll get us in trouble”

As if I need anymore reason for Mr. Dawkins to hate me.

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be back before he even knows we’re gone.” She assures me.

Right… I think this is the peer pressure I’ve always been warned about.

“Please, Alex? You’re the only one I can trust.”

She doesn’t have good tastes in trust…

“I know. But besides, you need to get out more. Living like a hermit cannot possibly be good for your health.”

She’s not one to judge lifestyle choices.

She throws me back a coy smile, her glistening lips curling up. However, her dark eyes show none of that confidence. She’s steadfast, but she’s nervous. That’s never a good combination.

I get up and follow her and Mr. Freeman back through the room. Jodie checks the hallway for possible sentries, then mutters, “Yeah, I know. But it’s too late to turn back now.”

Who the hell is she talking to? I didn’t say anything.

“Alex, where are you going?” Dana asks, grabbing my arm.

I’ll be right back, I tell her

She murmurs okay, but her eyes tell me she’s not convinced of my answer.

I don’t dwell on that as we move through the dark hallways. Mr. Freeman still hasn’t said one word or even acknowledged me since Jodie’s fit. Something is very wrong. Mr. Freeman is the most outgoing person here, save for my little sister. Why is he just following Jodie around like a puppy on a leash? He cannot be possessed. There’s no such thing. I wish I can convince myself it’s all a joke, but his eyes are no laughing matter.

Suddenly, he stops in front of me.

“Evening, Cole. Jodie.”

Oh shit. The night watchman. God damn it, Jodie.

I back up into the darker portion of the hallway, which hid me from sight. Maybe it’s a good thing I wear black all the time.

“Little late for a daytrip, isn’t it?”

From my view, Jodie is visibly scrambling for an excuse as to why she was out so late.

“I’m um… I’m actually sick,” She looks down and hugs her stomach, “I’m feeling sick. So we were gonna go out and uh, get some fresh air.”

Concerned, the watchman asks, “You okay? You want me to call the infirmary?”

“No! No, there’s no need. Uh, Cole’s looking after me. Right, Cole?”

He doesn’t respond, as expected. Slow clap for Jodie for great planning skills.

“Yeah, so….” She trails off, turning to leave.

I’m ready to bail. With any luck, I can sneak back into my room and act as though I knew nothing about this whole scheme.

But I’m committed now. What will Jodie do if I don’t follow through? Kill me? Her couch sure suffered, and it wasn’t the one that told her that she couldn’t go to this stupid party in the first place.

“What’s up, Cole? Cat got your tongue?”

Jodie freezes, flipping around, terrified.

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..” Mr. Freeman grunts. So the man can still make use of his voicebox. But did she make him do that? Or is it Mr. Freeman actively struggling to break free of whatever supernatural grip Jodie has on him?

“He, uh, he lost his voice. I think it’s like uh, a virus or something. That’s- that’s more than I’ve gotten out of him all- all day long, so…” She clenches her hands together.

Great Jodie. No one is going to believe that horseshit. Not even my sister. God himself must be groaning.

“Hope it’s not contagious, buddy. You should be in bed if you ask me. Safer for all of us. Go on now.” He waves the pair on.

What in the actual fucking name of Christ….? The DPA needs to seriously work harder on finding people with actual brains...

Even Jodie’s disbelief can be seen on the back of her head as she walks away. Only when she’s passed through the sliding glass doors does she turn around, a panicked look on her face.

Now it’s my turn… I don’t imagine that the guard will think I’m sick too. I’m worse at acting than Jodie, if that can even be believed.

As casually as I can muster, I stroll out into the lobby. I’m not sure how to go about making the guard think that I’m going for a walk, but I figured the best way is to ask him.

“Evening, Alex? You need something?”

Or he can ask me…

I struggle to find my voice. Uhhh… I can see Jodie and Mr. Freeman out of the corner of my eye, headed for the parking lot, walking as slow as they can manage without looking conspicuous.

Wondering if I could walk outside.

“I’d be happy to fetch an escort for you.”

Escort?

“Sorry, kid. Department policy. Can’t have you walking around outside the premises without an escort if you’re underage.”

But I’m not a subject that needs one. Hell, I’m not even a subject!

“Kid, it’s policy. I don’t care who you are or what you are. Orders from Nathan. I want my ass covered.”

I don’t give a damn what Mr. Dawkins says.

“I’ll arrange an escort back to your room if you keep up that tone.”

You can’t do that.

“Oh yes, I can.” He reaches for the phone. Jodie is standing outside of Mr. Freeman’ss car. He is in the driver’s seat waiting. Fuck. What do I do?

Split second. I yank the receiver from the guy’s hand and grab the first available item that can be used as a weapon. A coffee cup, unfortunately. I sling the cup and its hot contents toward the guard’s face.

He yelps and covers his face. I run for the door, and alarms are instantly going off. Jesus fucking Christ, what the fuck am I doing?

I don’t stop to answer that question as I bold out into the icy rain. Jodie frantically waves to the trunk and I dive in. She hurdles herself in after me, suddenly in very close quarters with me, and slams the trunk shut.

“Go, Aiden, go!”

Aiden? Who the hell is Aiden-

The car zooms forward at full velocity and I’m rolling onto Jodie and then over her as the forces slam into us at full effect.

Wherever we were headed, it wasn’t worth this amount of work. I should’ve stayed home and finished that application…

 

Who the fuck is Aiden?!

A coldness comes over me with the sound of silence.

“Stop the car.” Jodie orders.

The vehicle comes to a gentle halt. I can feel it shake as a door is shut and than an assault of rain as the lid to the trunk is opened. Mr. Freeman’s dead eyes show no expression as we climb out.

What the fuck are we doing here?!

“You’ll forgive me, right, Cole? I’ll be back soon. And don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”

What the fuck-Who the hell is Aiden?!

“Aiden, take him out into the forest. Make sure he’s safe.”

Mr. Freeman turns around and marches into the woods alongside the road, disappearing into the mist.

What the fuck is going on? Where is he going? Why is he following you around like this?

“He’s a ghost.”

Who? What? Mr. Freeman?

“Aiden. He’s a spirit. He’s tied to me. We can’t be apart.”

This is what the doctors can’t cure you of? A spirit tied to you! I don’t believe this! You mean to tell me that he’s been the cause of all the bizarre phenomenon’s that have been plaguing you?!

“He can do a lot of things. That’s all you need to know.”

She has a ghost tied to her, and she tells me I can’t know more?! That’s not fair!

“I don’t have time to explain.”

Yes, you do! I deserve an explanation right now!

“I will tell you later.”

Later…right…

“Look Alex, I wanted to come to this party and I want to enjoy it as much as I can without-“

Without what? Worrying that Mr. Freeman won’t find his way back? That we won’t suffer too much from the beating Mr. Dawkins will give us when he finds out about this? That I won’t be arrested for hurling coffee in that guard’s face because you dragged me into this shit?!

“You could have chosen not to go.”

What other choice did I have? You didn’t let me stay. Why you came to me in the first place, I’ll never know!

“Guess I won’t either.” She’s looking past me now and there’s a frigid wind blowing past me. The rain comes down harder. We’re not alone anymore.

I look around at the darkened woods. Something’s out there. Let’s get to this damned party. I’m soaked and freezing.

She turns and glides down the road, holding her hands to her arms. She can feel it, too. She knows.

Shitty place to have a party. Some bar out in the middle of nowhere. The red lights of the dimly lit sign are my first hint of danger. Red isn’t a good color choice.

Jodie’s blue bangs fall in her face. “This is the place. The girls must be inside already.”

I don’t miss that shaky dip in her voice. We’re doomed.

She begins to walk forward and I grab her hand. She turns back and her eyes ask why. I shake my head. This isn’t a good idea.

She turns around and pulls from my grasp. Stubborn. How typical.

What other choice do I have? Can’t leave Jodie. She’ll get hurt. But the road…. It’s tempting.

But what will I say? I’m sorry, Mr. Dawkins. I didn’t mean to throw coffee into that watchman’s face. I had what they call a knee-jerk reaction. I couldn’t resist the temptation. It was too much. I’m sorry. Temptation was too much to handle. I couldn’t resist.

I just wanted it. I wanted one. One cookie! Was it too much to ask for?!

The remains of the treat are knocked from my hand. They crash to the ground in a million shards. All I wanted was a cookie. I don’t get many that often, if at all. Now, I don’t even get one. I get a million. A million cookies all in bits. They should taste good, but they don’t.

Eat it, then! You wanted that cookie! Fucking eat it, you piece of trash! Save me the effort of cleaning it up!

I’m sorry. I just wanted one. Dust gathers in my mouth and the cookie is too hard to bite down onto. I can’t do it Mommy. I can’t.

Now I’m facing the ceiling. The cookies taste like iron now. There’s a loud crash beside me. Sparkly triangles and brown morsels fly across my vision and smash into my cheek.

Oh yes, you will. You’ll eat every fucking one of them. Now! You little monster!

I wish cookies tasted better. But they don’t… they all taste like iron now…

I’m sorry. Maybe if I say it enough, she’ll love me. Maybe she won’t punish me. Maybe…. Maybe….

So many maybe’s. So many cookies…

She starts screaming when I can’t eat them fast enough. I’m trying, but she won’t stop screaming… I can’t make her stop. So I start screaming too. If I’m louder, maybe it’ll shut her up. Maybe, she might love me enough to notice me then.

Alex?!

Get him up! Get that out of his mouth before he chokes on it!

Where’s Jodie?!

She’s inside. Get her quickly.

Alex it’s okay. Calm down. You’re gonna be fine.

Oh my God, Jodie! Good god Jodie what’s happened?!

I just wanted to go out and be like everyone else for once….

How many dead?

Three dead men. Girl was raped, or there was at least an attempt of rape.

Make her stop…

She’s fine Alex. She’ll be okay.

Make her stop screaming.

She’s not screaming, Alex. Jodie is fine.

She won’t stop.

What?

She won’t stop screaming. Therefore, neither do I.