In one of my previous posts (see the Short Stories page), I gave you all a little sneak peek at the story I had been working on during Nanowrimo. Well, although I haven’t gotten through editing the entire first chapter, I decided to let you guys read what I have gotten done thus far. So, without further ado, here is my story…
To Catch A Butterfly
Chapter One: Weird First Impressions
It took a while to draw myself back into the world of the living. Probably would have helped if I hadn’t spent the entire night trying to finish a term paper that I should have been done weeks ago. In my own defence, trying to relate the historical theories of mathematics to the practice of classical music isn’t exactly the kind of topic that gets your pen moving. In the end, I was able to throw together a C+ worthy paper before nodding off.
Thank God for the new alarm clock my mom had bought me as a supposed ‘early birthday present’, even though it wasn’t for another three months. The incessant beeping woke me up from a disturbing dream involving a giant starfish and the sudden disappearance of my lower limbs. As I brushed the adrenaline induced sweat from my forehead, and gave the snooze button a slap, I made a mental note to avoid any and all bodies of water for a while.
My jaw dropped so low as I yawned that I probably looked like a snake trying to swallow an egg whole. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I glanced blearily at the window. It was still dark, aside from the dull orange glow from the street light across the road. Turning from the window to the clock, I groaned and fell back into my pillow. It was only 6:30 in the morning.
‘Pain in the ass,’ I muttered, dropping an arm over my eyes as I tried to fall back to sleep. Unfortunately, my stomach had other plans. When I could no longer tolerate the hunger pangs in my gut, I threw off the covers and opened my eyes to the new day. I couldn’t remember hearing my mom come home last night, so just in case I tried to avoid making too much noise. Fortunately, I had neglected to turn off the hallway lights last night, so I was able to make it to the bathroom without tripping over that damn ironing board again.
‘Well, isn’t that a pretty sight,’ I said, looking in the mirror at a face that only a mother could love. My chin was covered in a thick layer of copper stubble, the bags under my eyes made me look like a blood hound, and the holes from my piercings made it look as though a smattering of acne had developed on my face over night. To top it all off, my hair felt the need to defy gravity, and my attempts to flatten it down with my hands proved ineffective. This was a pretty serious situation all right, but after twenty minutes of primping and preening, everything was back into place; my copper-brown hair was a more acceptable level of messy, my chin was as smooth as I could make it with the cheap razors my mom bought me, every piercing was back in its respectable hole, and a good splash of water to the face perked my eyes right up.
‘Now there’s a handsome devil.’ Satisfied with the results, I shuffled back to my room and forced the door to my wardrobe open. Not that I really care about being organized, but as I dug through the mountainous piles of wrinkled pants and bunched up shirts, I began to think that maybe a little cleaning up later on wouldn’t hurt. Even in all the clutter, though, I was able to put together an outfit that didn’t look half bad, especially for one such as I who preferred being able to hide in plain sight. It was all so clichéd, from the ripped black jeans to the oversized black t-shirt with the Metallica logo printed on the back, but that’s what all of the guys were wearing so I didn’t mind. I tied a black chocker with my name on it around my neck, adding a touch of individuality to my look, but it still wouldn’t be very noticeable. That suited me perfectly.
As I looked over my appearance in the mirror, I couldn’t help but notice that everything about me screamed plainness. I had no redeeming physical features, I was by no means attractive, and I’m certain that if I were to stop coming to class, no one would be any the wiser. I tried to think back to a time when I wasn’t so hopelessly average. The first thing to pop into my head was the me of sixth grade, who thought it would be cool to wear extra large sweaters and a pair of black rubber boots to school. No wonder I couldn’t make any friends; they probably all thought I was mentally deranged or something. At the time, I didn’t care; I hated the idea of giving in to societal pressures and conforming to their idea of what was ‘normal’. Once I got to high school, though, my rebellious nature died, along with something else in my life…
Trying to shake the unpleasant memory from my mind, I closed the door to my wardrobe and left the room. I was accustomed to the sound of my mother making a racket in the kitchen, usually while preparing breakfast, so I found it kind of eerie to be walking down a silent hallway. She must still be at work, then. It had been like this for months now, my mom coming home later and later with every passing day. I’d given up expecting her home on time a long time ago, accepting the fact that my mom would never be the same after what happened a year ago…
As I reached the end of the hallway, I caught sight of the family portrait in the corner of my eye, the last one we ever took together as a family. It dredged up that unpleasant memory; the day I decided to become no more noticeable than a shadow in the corner of a room. You see, my dad had died almost a year ago, killed in the very plane which he had piloted for twenty five years. Although the case is closed, I couldn’t never accept the reason they had printed in the newspaper. The cops had been convinced that the plane went down due to what they called ‘pilot error’, but I knew that was a load of bull shit. My dad would never let something like that happen, and to think otherwise was absurd.
I closed my eyes until the portrait was well behind me, and then proceeded to walk down the stairs. I kept hoping that one of these days, I would be able to walk down that hallway without feeling like my insides were being twisted into a knot and then burned from the inside out. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I turned left towards the kitchen. I contemplated he idea of making a big plate of eggs, crispy bacon, French toast and hash browns… and then remembered that I couldn’t cook worth a damn. So instead, I threw a couple of pop tarts into the toaster and grabbed the jug of orange juice from the fridge.
I hope you have enjoyed my story up to this point. I will continue to post pits and pieces of it as I continue to trudge through the editing process. Any comments or critiques would be gladly accepted and appreciated, so long as they are related to the story. That’s all for today, and as always, happy reading!