|The Tears of Angels
Author: Vitamin Kitten PM
Cael is the dark, quiet kid that sits in the back of the room, homework incomplete; Ailani is the perfect, straight-A student who hasn't missed a day of school in her life. What do they have in common? The fact that they hate each other.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Chapters: 7 - Words: 25,437 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 06-16-05 - Published: 07-30-04 - id: 1680074
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Cael had spent the rest of the evening locked away in his room, staring off into space. He rested back against the wall, sitting on his bed, his arms laying limply beside him. The sun had set finally, and there were dark shadows stretching across his floor, reaching for the door as if they wanted to escape into the rest of the house. Cael had watched them grow, from when they were back against the wall to where they rested now in the middle of his bedroom floor. It seemed they wanted to get away as much as he did.
Now everything was quiet. The darkness of the night had left a silence over the house like a drawn out tension waiting to snap at any moment. Lyn had left hours ago, and for all Cael knew his father had gone to bed or was watching TV in the living room. Everything was calm and quiet.
Until the phone rang and jarred Cael back into reality. There was no such thing as calm in his house; only panic and fear, and when the phone rang, he remembered this. He stretched, letting his mind roll in the sour thoughts that tainted it, and flopped over sideways on his bed, reaching for his pillow. It was possible that he had been sleeping since the sun had gone down, stuck in something of a nebulous stage with his eyes open, but he was awake now, and hugged his pillow, waiting for something to happen. He knew something was going to happen. Cael could tell from the way the air around him seemed to tingle with anticipation.
His father's muffled voice from the other side of the wall grunted a "good-bye" to whoever had called and soon soft footsteps were plodding towards Cael's closed bedroom door. It was flung open and the silhouette of Cael's father blocked the light coming from the living room and the TV that was on.
"You wanna tell me about the conversation you had with your English teacher today?" His words were slurred together, telling Cael that after Lyn had left, his father had sought out the beer in the fridge.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Cael answered back sleepily, closing his eyes and turning onto his other side.
"You know very well what I'm talkin' about!" his father yelled, grabbing Cael's arm and yanking him out of bed. Cael struggled to stand, falling halfway to his knees before he was able to push himself to his feet. "You just love all the attention you get from cutting yourself, don't ya? She's called me twice today!" he told Cael, grabbing his son's chin and forcing him to look him in the eye. "Tellin' me she's worried about your well-being and shit like that. Cuz you had to go showing her the fuckin' cuts on your arms." He let him go, turning to leave the room. "Why aren't you dead yet? All you do is make empty threats. Empty threats, empty threats, empty threats," his father babbled on, stumbling toward the kitchen. "Cael!" he called. The tone in his voice told Cael it was best to just go see what he wanted, and so, massaging his sore chin, he headed into the kitchen, where his father was leaning against the counter, barely able to keep on his own two feet without wobbling. "Tonight is when it ends." He turned to face him. "What do you think?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You don't? Here. Let me spell it out for you." Cael watched as his father pulled open a drawer and drew out a serrated steak knife, then slammed it down onto the counter. "Here. Get it over with already so I can sleep tonight." Cael just stared down at the gleaming silver-blue blade. "What're you waitin' for? Do it. Kill yourself. That's what you've been wanting to do, right? Why d'you keep puttin' it off for?" Cael remained silent. "Here." His father picked up the knife and held it out to his son. "Do it."
Cael swallowed around the lump in his throat, his eyes fixed on the menacing knife his father held out to him. What was he waiting for? It wasn't like he had anything to live for. So he should just do it. But for some reason, Cael couldn't bring himself to reach out and take the knife from his father. He couldn't bring himself to die right then.
"I don't want to," Cael said, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Goddammit, Cael!" his father yelled, throwing the knife aside. The pain that came from his father's knuckles making contact with the corner of his lip was thick, and actually squeezed a few tears from the corners of Cael's eyes. "Why can't you just fuckin' make up your mind?"
"I don't wanna do it, okay? Just leave me alone!"
"Leave you alone? You want me to leave you alone?" Cael's mouth throbbed with pain as his father's hand came down on him again, this time knocking him backwards against the wall. "Why don't you leave me alone?" Cael pushed himself against the wall, hoping to get swallowed up into it. "Get the fuck away from the wall," his father slurred, grabbing a fistful of Cael's hair and pulling him away from it. "I don't want you in my life anymore," he said, grabbing Cael by the throat and squeezing with all the strength he could find. "Why don't you just fucking die?" The kitchen floor rushed up to meet Cael as his father threw him harshly down. He coughed, choking on the stale air and the smell of alcohol that floated in it, and reached a hand up to his sore throat. "You're some sick masochist, you know that?"
"Maybe I am," Cael answered back, rolling over onto his stomach. His father yanked him to his feet, again using Cael's hair as leverage. He pulled him backwards, bending his back in an awkward way and forcing him to look up at the kitchen ceiling past the tears in his eyes. The stench of alcohol on his father's breath invaded the air around Cael as his father put his face down close to his, his teeth clenched, his eyes bloodshot.
"Listen to me," his father said in a harsh whisper. "Listen to me. Are you listening?"
"I'm listening," Cael gasped, blinking tears away as his father's hold on his hair tightened.
"Good. Now, I don't wanna see anymore cuts on your arms, got it? If I see you do anything else, I'll kill ya, and I mean that." He gave one final yank on the handful of Cael's hair before letting him go with a push back towards his bedroom. "You realize that it was this behavior that drove your mother to the edge, right?" Cael had already beaten his father to the punch on that one; already he was mentally kicking himself, blaming himself for all of the horrible things that were his fault that had caused his mother to go far away. He did nothing but push people away, even the people he wanted to be close to him the most. Even his mother.
Cael slammed the door behind him, throwing himself down on his bed, and he let the tears come. What had he done in his past life to deserve this? Couldn't his mother have forgiven him for being such a horrible person instead of just leaving him behind with his father? Why couldn't she have taken him with her? Why? Why, why, why?
"Mom," he whimpered, his shoulders heaving with sobs that had been repressed for far too long. "Mom ... I'm sorry ... come back ... come back ... Mom ... please ... please ..."
Cael's father could hear him vaguely from the other side of his son's bedroom door, and through his drunken stupor, he could feel his heart breaking. There was just so much wrong with their current living situation, but neither of them knew how to fix it. They would always be at each other's throats, and for as much as either of them knew, they would always truly hate each other. That was just how it was supposed to be.
Ailani turned the page in her math text book, and began scribbling down the next problem of her homework. At least she had something to do to keep her mind off of the computer that was no longer in her room. Although, it wouldn't take very long before she was done with her homework and found herself staring up at the ceiling out of sheer boredom. And with her computer gone, how was she supposed to continue looking for an English topic? So far, the beginning of the end of the school year was not going very well for her. She was never going to graduate satisfactorily at this rate.
A light knock sounded on her door and she looked up, setting her pencil down in the middle of her text book. Keahi carefully pushed her way into her sister's room, her expression innocently curious as to what Ailani had found to keep herself busy. She made her way across the room and up to the edge of her sister's bed.
"When you're done, do you wanna watch TV with me?"
"There's nothing good on," Ailani commented, rolling her eyes and sighing.
"We can watch Cartoon Network."
"And what's on there? Cartoons?"
"You can watch them. I have homework to do."
"Even without your computer?" Ailani paused and looked at Keahi a moment before answering.
"Yes. Even without my computer. Now go away so I can finish my math homework."
"Can you take a break and watch TV with me?" Keahi asked, reaching for Ailani's pencil.
"No." Ailani snatched the pencil up before her younger sister could get her hands on it. Not that it would matter; she could just find another one if Keahi took that one. It would just be a waste of time.
"But you never hang out with me."
"I'm busy doing other things."
"You're busy doing homework."
"When I'm done with my scholastic career and am making money on a real one, I'll hang out with you."
"So what you mean to say is that you'll never hang out with me." Ailani was silent as she rolled the pencil back and forth between her fingers. Perhaps her sister had a point. Maybe even her mother was right in saying that she shouldn't let homework take up her life. But then again, without homework, what was there? "Okay. I just wanted to see if maybe you wanted to come out of your room and see the rest of the world. Good night."
"You're going to bed?"
"By the time you decide to stop doing your homework I'll already be asleep. Right now I'm gonna go watch more Cartoon Network," Keahi told her and turned toward the door. "Good night." Ailani watched her sister leave the room and slowly close the door behind her.
"Yeah … good night." For a moment or two, Ailani stared at her closed bedroom door. Maybe taking a break wouldn't be so bad. On the other hand, watching TV might turn her brain to mush, and then she wouldn't be able to use it for school-related activities. It might make me lazy, like Cael, she thought bitterly, slapping her math book closed and shoving it aside. That idiot. She knew it wasn't a good idea to dwell on things like this, but she couldn't help it. Cael had really upset her. It was just so wrong of him to do what he had done to Mrs. Taeler, though Ailani realized the full details were unknown to her. She thought she didn't need to know them; Cael was a bad person, simple as that. He was the kind of student that tax dollars were wasted on, and that would probably be better off dropping out instead of taking up a perfectly useable desk in the back of the room. "I do need a break," Ailani finally admitted with a sigh as she pushed herself off her bed and trudged across the room. "I'll never hear the end of this though." She pulled open her door and went downstairs; she could hear the theme song of some inane cartoon or another playing and Keahi quietly singing along.
For about three seconds she stood in the doorway of the living room before stepping fully into Keahi's sight. She instantly noticed her little sister's expression of surprise and happiness.
"You came down."
"Yeah. I decided I probably do need a break." Keahi smiled and leaned over the arm of the couch to pull Ailani into an embrace. "Stop; don't be such a dork."
"I'm not. I'm just happy to see you," Keahi answered with a wide grin. As Ailani took a seat beside her and focused her attention on the television, she stood up and wandered into the kitchen where her mother was sitting at the table doing crossword puzzles again. "Mommy, guess what?" she said, wrapping her arms around her mother's shoulders and leaning her head against her.
"'Lani came out of her room and she's gonna watch TV with me." Her mother looked up and smiled.
"Make sure you thank her." Keahi nodded and skipped back into the living room.
It was happening again. That eerie feeling was slowly creeping up Cael's spine like an insect with too many legs. He blinked his teary eyes, and found himself standing in the middle of his hallway again, just outside his bedroom door. For a moment, he questioned how he had gotten there in the first place, and just decided he must have been sleepwalking. But somewhere in his conscious brain, something pleaded with him not to venture any further, begged him to just stand there in that spot until he woke up.
Or maybe this was no dream.
Cael shook his head, running thin fingers through his dark, tousled hair. He shook the feeling, or at least tried to, and found his legs moving without his consent. Where were they taking him?
To the living room, duh, Cael told himself as his point of view shifted around the corner of the wall and he found himself standing behind the couch again. Half of him expected to find that woman there, the one that so closely resembled his mother. But no, there was no one there, no woman crouching on the floor with her back to him. However, the smell of blood tainted the air around him, and electricity seemed to pulse through the atmosphere. Instinct told him to just go back to his room, to go hide beneath the covers of his bed where it was safe. And what, run away? Hide? I'm not some pussy, he thought as something wet touched the back of his leg. He started at the sensation, then spun around; there was nothing, except the coppery scent of blood growing stronger.
"What did you do to me?" groaned a voice from behind him. Cael recognized the voice; it belonged to the woman from before, and as he turned around to face her, he found his inference to be true. She stood there with her bleeding wrists bared to him, her mouth full of broken glass and razor blades. "Why did you do this to me?" she wanted to know.
"I …" Cael couldn't think of anything to say. "I didn't do anything." Again, he felt something wet on the back of his leg, and it slid down his calf in a hot path, finally reaching the back of his heel, and clutching his foot with a weak grip. He forced himself to look down, though he was afraid of what he might find there. His eyes locked onto a hand wrapped around his ankle, a hand that was attached to a wrist as bloody as the woman's in front of him. Following the arm to where it was attached to its owner, Cael found himself looking into deep blue eyes, eyes that belonged to him. It only took a few seconds before the face registered in his mind as his own, and he realized that it was himself gripping his ankle with bloodied hands. He watched as this nightmarish version of himself opened its mouth in a wide grin, revealing teeth that were like fangs of a viper, long and curved and dripping poisonous venom. Slowly this monster's mouth grew larger, until it looked as if it were the size of Cael's whole head.
While Cael's frightened eyes were frozen on this freak scene unfolding before him, he was completely oblivious to the clawed hand that had moved up to his calf and was now digging into his leg, until finally, a sharp pinch jolted him back. He glanced down to find the fingers of his other self embedded into his very flesh, and watched in sickening terror as the monster ripped away his skin, muscles, and blood vessels in slow motion. The gleaming white of his bone was exposed, while the rest of the meat of his leg hung down in morbid strips around it.
Like a panicking animal, he wanted to run, wanted to get away, but Cael wasn't sure if his drastically injured leg would get him very far. In an effort to do something, he spun back around; the woman that looked like his mother was no longer there, and in her place, hanging from the ceiling, were his father, Mrs. Taeler, and Ailani. All of them dangled limply from the ceiling with nooses made of black electrical cords, exactly like the one from his lamp. Their bodies swung back and forth, as if blown by a gentle, invisible wind, and blood dripped lazily from their fingertips, as if their wrists had been slashed.
"Do it, Cael!" shouted another voice; this one was his father's and he could hear the echo created from the kitchen walls and floor behind him. "Kill yourself already!"
Without thinking about it, and without really knowing why, he pulled his arms up towards his face. They felt heavier than lead, and as if to prevent more fatigue than was necessary, he rested his fingertips against the skin of his cheeks, until he was pushing against them. Harder and harder he pressed, until he could feel blood running down his face and falling off his chin. The smooth texture of his cheekbones greeted his fingers, and now he was screaming. Screaming in pain, screaming in fear, and yet he continued to dig his fingers into his own flesh, as if his goal was to pull his tongue out through the sides of it.
A high-pitched hiss was the last thing he heard before all of this nightmare world shattered around him, and he awoke, drenched with his own sweat, in his bed.
He swallowed, hard, and tried to get the lump out of his throat. A terrible cramp stretched all up and down his leg, and he swore he could still feel tiny insects crawling over his spine. But it was just a dream. A very bad dream, he reassured himself.
That's what I get for not eating all day, he scolded, though he knew that was a lie. With a heavy sigh he pushed himself out of bed, his legs wobbling beneath him. What was with these nightmares lately? It's not like I watch stupid ass horror movies. Cael peeled his sweaty clothes off his body and threw them into a corner with the rest of his dirty clothes; there was getting to be a pretty large pile and he realized he'd need to do laundry soon. The air in his room was cold, a deathly cold, and for a moment he wondered if he wasn't still trapped inside his own head with those embodiments of his inner demons. No, he told himself and pulled open the top drawer of his dresser. His fingers fumbled around for a second or two before he found a clean pair of boxers and T-shirt to put on. As he put them on, he realized the front of the dark blue T-shirt was covered in dark stains- blood stains. Damn, this habit of mine is seeping into every part of my life, isn't it? Even my clothes and dreams can't escape it. He sighed, and fell back onto the edge of his bed. Somewhere in the other room he thought he could hear a voice, a woman's voice, crying and moaning as if in deep despair. After shaking his head and lying back on his pillow, however, Cael realized that it was just traces of his nightmare still echoing through his brain. There was no woman in the living room with bloodied wrists, no one was hanging from the ceiling, and there was certainly nothing wrong with his leg.
His calf muscle cramped up again, and he winced, gritting his teeth. Well, maybe there was something wrong with his leg, but at least everything was intact. At that thought, the urge to reach down and check overwhelmed him, and Cael held his breath until his hand came into contact with his perfectly normal leg. No blood, no missing chunks; everything was fine. Now Cael's only problem was figuring out how to fall back to sleep without dwelling on the bad dream. Thinking "happy thoughts" was definitely out of the question, because as far as Cael was concerned, there was no such thing as a "happy thought" in his miserable life. Only memories of what had been, and fear of what was to come. What was in between was nothing more than a foggy malaise.