Hello again. It’s been a while since I posted. I wrote something months ago that you might have fun reading…
(Yeah, yeah, I really need to find one focus for this blog instead of posting random things.)
Have fun, no copying. It’s called Among the Stars.
It all started when Jeriah found me in street twenty-six.
I was alone. The hunger had been gnawing at me for days now.
It was a dark back alley, this street twenty-six, and I must have looked quite the part; slumped against the wall, my usually strong arms weak and limp.
He approached me so casually, you know. Hands in pockets, his skeletal frame slouching all nonchalant like, whistling all the while. I can’t remember what he said to me, but I know it either chilled me to the bone or did the exact opposite. His voice alone was enough to startle me; it was pretty high-pitched for a guy. But his appearance was something else.
He looked a bit like a girl, or more accurately an angel, with his long white-blonde hair and big, pretty eyes lit with a childlike excitement. Or maybe it was something else. It was hard to tell at the time. But I couldn’t help but stare. Had I… seen him somewhere before?
Maybe I was saved that day. Maybe it was just for the worst, and maybe I should’ve just stayed there and died in my own time. Slowly. Painlessly. Maybe even in my sleep. But when Jeriah wrapped his bony hands around my wrists, pulling me onto my feet with surprising strength, it didn’t feel like I had much of a choice.
“You don’t need them,” he told me in a sing-song voice. “You have me now, and I can get you anything you need.” I wasn’t sure who he was talking about, but I took his word for it. And get me anything he did.
But that was a while ago now. So much has happened since then, and the two of us are nigh inseparable. We live under the highway, a big bridge in the underbelly of town where it’s always cloudy and the sun never shines. That’s okay. We don’t need the sun. Our place is among the stars, and space and time would forever revolve around the two of us.
And that was my mistake.
Jeriah gets all our food. He’ll run into the Tunnel, and be gone for four long hours. Then he’ll come back, with a big fat bagful of eats and a cheeky grin that is infectious. Well it would be infectious, if it weren’t for…
I used to ask him where he gets it all from. He never answered me. He’ll just laugh this cute little kid’s laugh and say “From having fun, James. How else?” I used to love that laugh. Now I don’t ask him anymore.
We don’t talk to the People. No. And they won’t talk to us, either, so I guess we have a mutual understanding. They all live in apartments. They have jobs to go to and school to attend. They don’t have time for us. We have too much time for them. We’re free. They’re not. They should be jealous, but they aren’t. It’s funny, really. I don’t care about them. Well, I didn’t, until that day.
The day when Jeriah came home, looking very different indeed. His face was red. It had blood on it. Actually, everything had blood on it. Everything, from his pretty little head to his worn old sandals. I was so worried, I rushed up to him as fast as I could and frantically checked to see if he was okay. And then I realised. He was skipping.
“It’s okay,” he told me in a sing-song voice. “The blood isn’t mine.”
There was a can opener hanging from his drawstrings.
A tinkling laugh. Sleeves of my old coat that I grew out of flapping at his sides, far too big for his tiny body. Childlike excitement lighting up those big eyes. Or maybe it’s something else. I can never tell, when the time comes. All the things that made me love Jeriah so much suddenly became really, really scary.
The blood wasn’t his. Then whose was it? Not mine. Was it one of the People? The People on the inside of society? Did he… hurt one of them? I wonder if he did. Does society cry if one of them is lost? I hope so – I mean, I don’t know. I never cared about them.
A snide voice in the back of my head asks me, I don’t really care, do I? No. I couldn’t afford to care. Then it would hurt too much. If I started caring, I might lose Jeriah. And that couldn’t happen. I depended on him too much.
So I said nothing more, and we went down to the water race to wash off the blood in silence. The way it strained into the water and slowly faded away was kinda mesmerising.
After Jeriah’s hair was white again, he clambered out of the water and sat by my side. He asked me what was wrong. I told him it was nothing, and that everything was fine and dandy. But I’m not a good liar.
Cool fingers were resting on my arm. “We’re best friends, right?” That sweet, high-pitched voice.
I said yes.
“We’re gonna be best friends forever!”
Cool fingers on my arm. I swallowed.
“Right,” I said. “Best friends forever.”
That night, I had nightmares.
All I could see was white. Knees were on my wrists, pinning me down with surprising strength. A dust-masked Jeriah looming over me in a surgeon’s smock, covered in my own blood, and can opener in his hand. It should have been silver. It wasn’t. I heard screaming. Oh, wait. It was me.
A bony finger gently pressed itself to my lips. “Ssh.” Jeriah whispered happily. “This is fun, right? We’re having fun.”
Cool metal on the base of my toes. A handle creaking. Suddenly, I’m screaming again.
The next morning I woke feeling cold and heavy. Jeriah was curled up at my side, looking warm and light. The sight would’ve brought happiness to my eyes, once upon a time. But things will never be the same again.
Then the days would drag on by, with the same routine going on and on. He would come back all red sometimes. Just like the first day. But I didn’t say anything. I just helped him wash it all off in the water race. I started to talk less and less. I was scared. I was slipping away.
And with each passing day, the childlike excitement would fade a bit more out of Jeriah’s eyes, like he wasn’t having fun anymore. It broke my heart, which it shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have cared. But my Jeriah was starting to look dead. Dead as I had felt. Dead as all the People that he may or may not have hurt. Everyone was dying just a little bit.
It all ended when I found Jeriah at the bridge at the top of the Tunnel.
He was alone. The brightness in his eyes had returned for one last time.
His head was tilted back and he was looking at the clouds above. This was the underbelly of town, where it’s always cloudy and the sun never shines. That’s okay. Jeriah didn’t need the sun.
I asked him what he was doing. He told me it was nearly time for him to leave. It made me feel somewhere in between feeling chilled to the bone and the exact opposite. But I wasn’t ready.
“You can’t leave,” I said to him. “Let’s just go back to our place.”
A shake of the head. White locks sweeping his jaw. “That’s not my place. It never was.” He was backing away from me now, big eyes hysterically wide.
I walked towards him, holding out my hand. Cool fingers momentarily brushed mine. Then they fell away, and Jeriah tumbled off the edge with a mischievous smile on his face.
That day, the earth was red. Ravens pecked happily away at the innards spread across the ground.
I joined the People on the inside of society. We were always part of it, really. Just on the outer rim. But one thing I did learn is that society doesn’t cry when one of them is lost. Jeriah was lost. And nobody cried but me.
Congratulations if you got this far. I’m surprised…
*licks lips* You can come live with me, James.