Author: jeyman114 PM
The Stars fell, and humanity entered into a war for it's very existence. That was eighteen years ago. Now, another Star falls. And she has a message for twelve year old Wesley John Calmon. "They're coming. And this time, they'll kill you all."Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 11 - Words: 21,963 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 08-26-12 - Published: 07-01-12 - id: 3037827
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Aiming at something is easy.
Hittin something is easy.
Hittin something you are actually aiming at…
Now that's just freakin impossible.
You see, Mr. Squirrel out there just don't know when to give up. He just keeps on moving and I can't get a good shot in for nothin. One second he's on the tree trunk, nibbling like a maniac on the bark. And the next the lil critter is all up on the branches and leaves and stuff. And he's looking down at me with my slingshot and pebbles, and laughing his little nutty head off. And then I'm reloading, and aimin up at the branch, and this time he won't get away. He won't get away this time because my name is Wesley John Calmon.
Which really has nothin' to do with whether I can nail a squirrel in a tree.
"C'mon ya lil bugger. Just stop your moving so I can call it a day."
Obviously Mr. Squirrel has better things to nibble on then my little problems. He jumps from the branch. And I aim again.
My name is Wesley John Calmon, and I don't miss.
The rubber band snaps the air, the rock flies, and the squirrel lands safe and sound on another tree trunk.
"As of last Tuesday, I am twelve years old, Mr. Squirrel. Ya will not keep dodging my attacks, and ya will sit right there 'til I can reload."
Well, Mr. Squirrel does kinda listen to me. I mean, he does just sit right there, lookin at me with those shiny pieces of charcoal he likes to call eyes. Try again, I dare ya, he says without actually saying anything.
"Watch me," I say, letting another pebble fly from my sling up toward him.
Five minutes later, and I still ain't grazed that rodent. Now he's gone; ran off somewhere to hide. No body likes a coward. I ain't a coward. I'm a Calmon boy, the youngest one, too. And we Calmon's ain't cowardly people. Malcolm Calmon, my pops, was a hero back in the day. He saved a lot of people's lives in the War, and he was there at the beginning of the town, Havana. That's where I live, today. And that's where I'm walking back to right now.
There's a trail that leads back to Havana. It's not all that clearly visible 'cause it's not like people travel on it on a regular basis. No one goes out into the woods surrounding the village anymore. Mr. Fenway and his crazy tell-tale stories about what goes on in here done scared all the towns' people away. But, you see, I don't get scared so easily. I'm a Calmon man, and we don't let lil' sissy things like big shady trees make us shake at the knees. And anyways, anyone (or thing) try and mess with me up in here and-
I load an invisible rock into my slingshot, then I fire-
I'll give em a nice lil bump between their eyeballs.
A stream runs next to the trail leading back to town. The water in it is clear; the little fish swimming through its current all shiny and stuff. Though, you can only see the shiny fish once in a blue moon. Cause the trees, bein all super tall and long and shady and stuff only let through a few rays of sunlight a few times a day. And ya can't have shiny fish without sunshine, can you?
I walk along the stream, jumping over fallen tree trunks, and tripping over the obnoxiously grown roots that keep springin out the ground. I better not get all scraped up out her what with all this trippin over stuff and all that. Pa wouldn't be happy to find me all banged up for dinner tonight.
Then again, he wouldn't be too keen on the idea of me venturin out to the wood in the first place. Especially when it's not durin a Hunt.
Pa's a Calmon, sure. So he has absolutely no fear whatsoever. He don't cry in the face of danger, he laughs and spits a wad of chew at it, then marches right on passed it. I mean, Calmon men are the rough and toughest of the rougher and tougher, aren't they? But as fearless as we Calmon men are, Pa's still got something bout the wood surrounding the village. He don't believe in all of Mr. Fenway's tall tales bout monsters beyond the trees and all that, but he still don't like it. I think it has something to do with what happened during the War, but he won't say nothin.
My right foot catches a tangle of weeds, and I fall face forward into the grass along the stream.
I stand back up, brushin myself off; ignorin the cuts and bruises. And ya know why? Cause I'm a Calmon, and when we fall, if we ever do, we get right on back up and keep walkin till we trip again. Mind you, we don't trip and tumble all that much. Objects tend to know what good for em, and they jump out the way when they see us walkin down stream.
A tree root comes from nowhere and snatches my right ankle right from under me.
Stop ya laughin.
"Yer Pa's not gonna be a happy camper once he sees them scrapes."
I stand at the edge of the village, rubbing the dirt off my suspenders not ten feet away from where the wood starts up. In front of me stands another boy swivelin round a toothpick with his teeth. He's tall and lanky, with skin that reminds me of the moonless night and eyes just as dark and deep. He wears a straw hat atop his bald head that keeps on fallin over his eyes, a gray t-shirt that, in its younger days, must've been white and had no holes, and rolled up black jeans. This is Riley McAdam, and he's my worst frenemy. Yes, I did just call him that, and no, you probably will never figure out why. I finish brushin myself off and look up at him.
"Pa's never a happy camper," I say.
"Yea, and he'll just bout explode through the roof once he realizes where ya been and whatcha been doin. Especially since you blew off Old Coot in the Square tonight."
The Square's in the middle of town, where all the business goes on during the sunlight hours. People like Mr. Jack Farron, Mrs. Cesper Jamerson, and Rodney "Old Coot" Cooper spend they time round there usually. They all got booths and shops set up all throughout the square, where they sell and con their way through a meager livin. Mayor Calhoon don't much like they down and dirty business, but I hear he gets a slight "gift" off of every bootleg item they sell, so he tends to stay quiet bout it all.
"Old Coot don't need my help anyways. He's doin perfectly swell sellin all that fool's gold."
"Yer Pa and he had a deal didn't they? Old Coot would support Pa's campaign if you came and organized all his sellings," says Riley.
Oh yea, I forgot to mention that Pa's runnin for Mayor in the upcoming election.
Needless to say its bout freakin time. Pa shoulda been runnin this place since before I was even thought of.
"Old Coot wouldn't be stupid enough to not support Pa."
"That's true. Yer pa's a popular man."
"Ya got that right, Riley. Pa's gonna rule the world some day."
Riley says nothing as we turn and head back toward the last and farthest row of cabins surroundin the Square. It's startin to get darker out, now. The sun's beginnin it's settin, ready to get some rest and let the moon take over. The same with the citizens of Havana. I see doors close, curtains shut down, and lights go out as many of the towns' people begin their usual sleep routine. We walk passed Mr. Fenway's cabin, expecting to see his one eye peering out into the night; eyin us suspiciously as he rocks back and forth in his chair. That's what he usually does every night before he turns his attention to the forest, givin it just as suspicious a look all night long.
But tonight Mr. Fenway's not lookin out his window. He might not even be home. "That's weird," I say to Riley.
"Maybe he's gotten snatched by the monster in the woods."
We both laugh.
"That'd be a relief," I reply. We keep on walkin passed the houses, taking our grand time. They seem silent as ever tonight. I start to think that maybe, just maybe I'll be able to make it home and into my bed before my Pa says anything or even notices.
Then I notice the light still glowing brightly through our curtains.
"Yep, yer Pa's gonna kill you," Riley comments. Sometimes I feel like throwin him off a very high and very steep cliff. We inch closer to my cabin, makin sure not to shift our feet among the mix of gravel, dirt and twigs that's plagued my bare toes for years.
"Wesley…" I freeze, thinkin someone's done found us out here sneakin around my own cabin. "Wesley," Riley whispers once again, tappin me on the shoulder. I turn round, and follow his pointed finger up the window. My eyes start widenin and my heart starts racin as I notice the tall, thick form of my Pa standin behind the curtain. I bend my head lower. Riley even takes off his hat, which he never, ever, does. And we stay still as a statue.
Then I sneeze. A very manly sneeze, mind you. Calmon men don't go round sneezing like women. But still..
Of all the times to sneeze…
Of all the things to get me freakin caught…
I start to stand up, turnin round to Riley. Cause I mean, we're already caught, I'm already dead meat. What's the point in hurtin my back anymore? Then I hear my Pa's voice in the window, and Riley quickly snatches me down by the shoulder. Cause my Pa ain't talkin to me, he don't even notice anythin goin on outside.
"Yer sure bout this, Malcolm?" I notice Mayor Calhoon's squeaky voice right away.
"I'm not a man to make fables, Jenson. You should know that much bout me."
That deep, commandin voice ya probably can't hear is my Pa.
"I know you aren't. It's him I'm talkin bout. You really want me to take heed of information givin by this cenile old man?"
"-My word means just as much as anyone else's here, Jenson." The weezy voice of Mr. Fenway. So that's why he ain't starin out his window tonight. But why's he at my cabin meetin with the Mayor and my Pa?
"This is not a Council meetin, Fenway. Everyone's 'word' ain't what it ought to be. And until the election, he is still our Mayor. If I of all people can handle that, I'm sure you can also," Pa says. "And you must admit my friend, ya track record ain't exactly all that considerin all them tall tales. I'm not sure I'd believe you if I hadn't seen it myself."
"The Falling Star," the Mayor says, more to himself then the other two. "That's not somethin' to tell a falsehood bout, Fenway…"
"I'm not lyin'-"
"Would you calm yerself down, old man? I'm not sayin I don't believe you, though I'm not sure if I completely do, either. I'd probably send you right on back to yer cabin if this hadn't been bout them Stars. And Malcolm seems to consent to yer word, and though we got out differences in opinion…I believe he's a trustworthy man."
It funny hearin the Mayor talk bout trustworthy people, considerin Pa wouldn't trust him with a sack of nickels.
"I appreciate that, Jenson."
Sure he does…
"My god. Has it really been that long?" the Mayor says.
"Eighteen years," Pa says passively. Cept I don't really know what that word means.
"I'd hoped they weren't right."
"We all did. I'd hoped I'd be able to raise my boy away from this."
"That's the truth, Malcolm. I'd hoped my own children wouldn't have to see this day."
"Would you two stop with all the sentimental hogwash?" Mr. Fenway whispers harshly. "My word, yer children don't even have to know about the Falling Star; they don't have to know about anything that happened eighteen years ago."
"What're ya sayin, Fenway? We're goin to have to tell em sooner or later. They need to know the danger," The Mayor says.
"And what exactly would that do? How would that even help? Listen to yerselves, men. You want to tell them that for their entire lives we've lied to them?"
"We're doin it for them-"
"Don't try and act all noble about it now, Calhoun. We messed up eighteen years ago, and nothin's gonna change that. What, you think they'll understand? You think they'll understand what we've done? You think they'll be able to forgive us, if we can't even forgive ourselves?"
"What are you getting at, Fenway?"
"We've tried to keep what happened all those years ago hidden. And so far we've done well with it."
"We can take care of it now, before anyone else finds out."
"Oh really, Fenway? Tell me, how do you expect to stop somethin of this magnitude without lettin a single soul know?"
"What?" says the Mayor.
"No, Fenway. The Hunt is only for the town's food, nothin else," Pa speaks up.
"This town won't have any food to Hunt soon enough if we don't go out into those woods and deal with the Fallen Star."
"You expect to take care of them with what? Guns and knives? Do you even remember the War, Fenway? Do you remember what they did to soildiers who held such weapons?"
"Yes I do. My son was one of them soldiers yer talkin bout, Malcolm.
"So why wouldcha wanna take em on now? Ya already know what could happen if we go lookin for the thing."
"They've just Fallen. They're weak. We get em now before they can cause much more damage."
"And what if they aren't the only one? More of them will Fall this time, and it'll be just like it was back then."
"Well this is all I can come up with. Unless you have a better idea, Malcolm."
I stand under the window, my ear straining to hear my Pa answer. Cause my Pa always gotta better idea. He always knows what to do. Cause he's a Calmon, and us Calmon's always been quick thinkers.
Then I'm thinkin about what it is I'm hearin; bout what's just been revealed to me in this conversation. And I start wonderin what they're even talkin bout. Cause Pa would never lie to me. Pa would never do somethin like that. He'd tell me anythin, no matter how much he knew it'd hurt me.
I look behind me at Riley. He don't look back. He just looks up at the shadows in the window.
"No, I don't."
And for the first time ever, I'm ashamed of my Pa.
A/N: So alright this is yet another story I've just decided to drop outta my mind and throw down onto some paper. I actually tried to put up a story simaler to this one a few years ago, though this is a version with a more revised plot. So tell me what ya think so far! And I'll be posting up the next chapter "The Hunt" soon!