Announcement to all my faithful readers: I will be finishing up Jacington as an approximately 12000-13000 word short story before taking a short hiatus to think and outline a new idea for a novel that I am hoping to write over the summer.
James hopped on his bike and pedaled home without a backward glance.
His ride home was uneventful enough, but when he did arrive at his house, a most unpleasant surprise laid in store for him. He walked into the living room to find Jack and her boyfriend curled up on the couch, heartily making out with each other. Neither of them seemed to have noticed James. James rolled his eyes and walked over to the piano.
It was always quite fun to ruin someone else's good time, he thought as he played Beethoven, off-key and at high speed.
He glanced over to see what had happened. It seemed that the only effect of his piano playing was the two eating each other's faces even more.
"Disgusting," said James before heading upstairs. Once he made it to his room, he turned off the lights and pulled the shades down, minimizing the sunlight in the room. Once he was comfortable, he put himself to sleep on his bed.
The house was the same, but different. There was an empty feeling to it, as if the poor little structure had never been a single person's home. James touched a wall, knocking it twice. It was hollow.
Strange. Stranger than before.
He heard a noise from behind him and he whipped around only to see nothing. His eye twitched. This place was making him nervous. It wasn't right, it wasn't safe. It was desolate and cold.
He heard the noise again. This time he made no effort to turn around.
"I...SEE...YOU...." said a booming voice, as deep as the darkest chasm and as whispery as the sharpest wind.
"Who are you?" James asked, slowly moving his hand to his belt. On it was a dagger that Linshaw had given him as a present many months ago. Or so he thought. When he grasped for the blade, his hands came up empty.
James tried to calm himself and construct a plan. His attempts failed, leaving him with a single option.
He turned around.
He turned back again.
He turned around.
He saw nothing. Nothing but the hollow house.
James had an idea, and that idea was to run.
Not knowing exactly where to run, he took the most natural route: up the stairs and to his bedroom. Once in his bedroom, he was faced with a problem. There was nowhere else to go, except for the window.
"I SEE YOU!"
In an insane maneuver that James hoped would not be the end of him, he lifted the glass. He noticed that it seemed to weigh far too little as he began to shimmy out of the opening. Soon he was only hanging on to the house with his fingernails, and it was at this moment that he encountered a problem he hadn't planned for.
Whatever it was that had made the noise was waiting for him.
Like most living creatures in this world, it was a wretched thing. An abomination, a cross between the anatomy of a human and that of something other. It was a single large eye, supported by tentacles that flailed in all directions. It had no pupil that James could see, but the iris was the lightest blue. As blue as the sky on a cloudless day.
As blue as James's eyes.
"ISEEYOU!" The shriek came from no mouth that James could see, but the sound did seem to emanate from the being. James began to sense that there was only one thing he could do. He let go of the window ledge and fell to the ground, injuring his ankle as he did so.
The eye charged towards him, and James stood, trapped like a deer in headlights. When the eye was inches away from him, it screeched to a halt.
"Do...you like...it?" said a voice. "He's...a little...rambunctious...but I like...him...all the same."
And then there was laughter. Laughter that no sane person could possibly produce, laughter that made you feel as if all the demons in the world had come out of the woodwork to prey upon you, and only you.
James couldn't help it any longer. He screamed.
"I think...I...shall kill...you," the voice said between throes of laughter. "It shall be...good fun."
There was a gust of wind, and James was swept up with it. Swept out of the pit, away from that eye and its voice. Away from that world. Anywhere but there. The wind deposited James on some sort of floating mountain, isolated from the strange and eccentric world below.
"You might like some tea, but then again, you might not."
James woke up sweating.
What, he wondered, is it with all these people wanting to kill me? They are my dreams, and yet I have no control. Perhaps that is why it is so twisted. Perhaps sane people harness their subconscious. Instead mine wants to kill me.
"Dinner!" came the cry from below. James rushed down the stairs, eager to eat. Unfortunately for him, he lost his appetite upon seeing that Mack was to join them for dinner.
"Mom, can I just bring this up to my room?" he asked, slightly queasy.
"Sure, honey, but not yet," replied Mrs. Jacington. "We must discuss sleeping arrangements."
James groaned loudly. If both his sister and her girlfriend were to sleep in his room, then he would not be getting any sleep.
"Jack will be sleeping with you and Mack in her room."
"No buts. This is the only plausible arrangement that your father will allow."
"Mom, I'm never going to get to sleep."
"It's Saturday; you can sleep in tomorrow."
With that, she placed a steaming plate in front of him.
"Where is Jack, anyway?" asked James.
"She went outside with Mack for a few minutes," his mother replied as she hit the stop button on the microwave as she pulled the milk out from the fridge.
"Great," said James. He ate in silence for some time, interrupted only by the constant beeping of the over and his mother's movements around the room. Then he heard laughter, as Jack pulled her boyfriend inside behind her through the back door.
"H'lo," said James around a mouthful of spaghetti.
"Hey," said Jack. "Did mom say it was dinnertime yet?"
"Yeah, only about half an hour ago."
"Oh no! We're so sorry, we just...ah..." and with that, she trailed off. James noticed that both of their faces had grown quite red.
"Uh huh. Well, don't apologize to me. Apologize to mom. Your dinner's in the warming drawer; you know how to use the microwave if it gets cold."
He stood up, scraped his plate into the sink before putting it into the dishwasher, and sauntered upstairs to his room.