This is the start of a much longer work of fiction!
Everyone loves a good lie. White lies, exaggerations, promises, stories and, best of all, bold-faced lies. You knew when you picked up this book that it was a tall tale, a work of fiction. I always liked to think that the news told the truth but as we have found, that too is unreliable. But at Li’s request, I was reading the front page.
The storm was flicking the page back and forth as we walked side by side through the gray rain. Water was streaking down my glasses making it hard to read but the bold-faced title certainly had caught my attention. Urban Legend Strikes Again! Brakes squeaked loudly in the rain, their headlights flashing over my face. Everyone had heard of Whicker City’s very own urban legend.
A kid, no older than 7 was a scientific experiment held in the old asylum building at the top of the hill. The goal was to make Telblow Chinst immortal but the tests were painful and the scientists viscous. They committed all sorts of unnecessary evils, little food, no bed, harsh punishments for struggling, not giving him pain meds or waiting for his wounds to heal. One in specific had been taking advantage of the kid and killed Telblow to keep his secret safe. This much is true, the charred asylum building still stood on the horizon. The government had shut down the whole organization and released the medical documents detailing the horrors.
The only thing is, Telblow did become immortal. His ghost, still a child as he had been, gutted the scientist and torched the whole staff, causing the same pain to them which he had been caused. Or at least that’s the only explanation as to how the building caught fire. They say his soul still eagerly seeks out those who hurt others for sport. He kidnaps them, taking the evil to the lab where he touches them. The person is only released as a warning, covered in scars from the experiments.
The paper was soggy in my hands. I jumped at the sudden rumble of thunder. Li was staring right at me. His silver hair was going nuts in the wind and his gray eyes looked like the storm itself. He was wearing all black again, with his leather over a black tee with a cowl. He had on his long fingerless gloves with the gold decals like the ones on his jacket. The intensity in his eyes made me look away and blush. It was no exaggeration to say he was handsome as hell.
“What do you think?” He said as lightning flashed not that far away.
I looked back to the article. “It’s all bull. People just get drunk, wander up there and get cut up on the barbed wire.”
Then his hand came over the article. He peeled back the top page where a huge picture of a kid with a sadistic smile was staring right at me. Big round glasses, white hair in a mohawk, a scar across his face, wearing the rags that could have once been a hospital gown, and a scalpel held up to the cheek of Frendl the school bully. That was Telblow alright.
I dropped the paper without meaning to. My face got cold as I stood firmly in place above the puddle it had landed in. Li stopped too, I could see his black sneakers just ahead of me. He came back beside me and bent down to pick up the paper. His gloves were wet now but he turned the paper over in his hands. Then he held it out to me. As I took it, he kept walking. We did need to get to class. I took a deep breath and kept walking.
My socks were soggy and my skin was so cold it burned. This truly was a scorching winter. The picture was of the museum, an old, concrete building in the center of town. ‘Thieves gold’ gemstone on display. Will it be stolen again? This arbitrary piece of rock was highly coveted. It had a history of being stolen from every museum, collection, and household it had ever been a part of. The people in the article called it cursed because it really wasn’t all that valuable but was always the only thing to be stolen. The stone itself resurfaced on the black market every 10-20 years.
“Why are you showing me this?” I yelled to Li even though he was not that far in front of me.
“I got a job.” He said and his jaded eyes looked over at me. “Night Guard.”
Dread instantly filled my core. “Are you nuts? You’re going to get yourself killed.”
“I don’t care.”
“I know you don’t, but I do.”
I marched up beside him but his stoic face revealed nothing. Sighing, I handed him back the paper. He took it and tucked it under his jacket. That was the second time I had thought to tell him I had a crush on him in that morning alone.
I adored his silver hair, I knew it was dyed but it was still perfect for him. His roots were a kind of black reserved for black holes. He really had no choice but to have me dye it every few weeks, though. In our community, everyone was born with blond hair that grew in darker as they lost their childhood innocence. A lot of people at our school dyed their hair so their parents wouldn’t know about all the dirty stuff they had been getting into. Some people took pride in how dark their hair was, the bad boys especially, but for Li, it was just a reminder of lost youth.
I had platinum blonde so bright white that it invited every other guy to pick on me. By this age almost all the boys had darker hair. I had virgin blond hair and everyone teased me about it but I still refused to dye it. From the high school up ahead I could already hear the teasing, my hair a spotlight in the storm.
“Dye your damn hair already,” Li said barely a whisper over the wind. “Or I’ll dye it while you’re snoring.”
“I’ve managed to carry my childlike sense of wonder into high school and I’m not going to hide it.”
“It’s embarrassing, haven’t you ever thought one dirty thought?”
Hundreds, whenever he walked out of the shower in a towel or fell asleep on the couch beside me.
“Well, it’s not white.”
“Whiter than the snow.”
I kicked the gray snow with my boot. It looked like ash heaped up all over the city. Snow sat on the limbs of leafless trees making them look scorched in a fire that never came through.
“This isn’t normal. Besides, your skin is whiter than sunscreen.”
His eyes were smiling even though his lips hadn’t moved. “I take pride in my reclusiveness.”
We were in the snow-covered grass now and it took everything I had not to look at the gang of boys who were shouting at me. Li could clearly see this on my face. He turned to glare at the guys and at once, they all shut up. I had no idea why everyone at the school was so terrified of him. Rumor has it Li beat the crap out of the football team when I was sick at the beginning of the year. But rumors too are lies for the most part. Li escorted me to history and sat down in the seat beside me even though he didn’t have a first-period class.
“Didn’t you stay up late last night?” I asked.
“You should have slept in, you don’t have to walk me to school.”
He shrugged and pulled out the paper. “I like your cooking so I have to get up.”
“You made breakfast.”
He blinked and then looked up at me. “Oh. Well, you were going to be late, I had to do something.”
The bell rung and the teacher started chatting away. I smiled at him. My heart always seemed to pound a little faster when I was with him. When I was sick earlier in the term he had to take me to the hospital because I was so weak. I remember how he was so worried that he had to be very close to me at all times. When they were checking my heart rate, he had put his hand on mine and the doctor was worried about how fast my heart was beating. I smiled to myself now and looked to him.
He was bent over a sketchbook drawing away. I had never once seen what he was drawing, not because he was shy but because he was stubborn. He reached over and took a book out of my bag and set it on my desk without looking up. I noticed that all the other kids had their textbooks open. Hurriedly, I flipped through the pages and found the one the girl next to me was reading.
One of the pictures was of a huge black rock that had been carved in by the natives. Below it was the transcription. I’m sure it wasn’t what the rest of the class was reading but the concept of another lie fascinated me.
Now is the time of dying. Our slaughter has come but do not lose heart. From the ashes of our world will rise another. And from white stone, a hero will be born. He shall avenge us. He shall revive our lost art. He shall take back what is rightfully ours.
The teachers cleared his throat and I looked up. “So as you can see, today we are talking about the attempted genocide of our ancestors. Can anyone interpret what you just read?”
A young lady at the front of the class raised her hand and he called on her. “Upon destroying the ‘Earth’ its inhabitant’s flue on a spaceship and landed here. The King wanted complete control over the land and was threatened by our magic. He tried to have all us natives killed but some of us escaped to this island. And he only cares about his gigantic city and hasn’t come looking for us.”
“Very good, thank you.”
If you want me to write more, please leave a like and/or comment! I have a whole novel-length work planned!