"Where is that thing?"

Being stuck inside his house for the past two days hasn't been as exciting as it sounded when he learned that he would be missing a week of school. Cale was already bored within the initial few hours after he woke up from the Sunday night's light and restless sleep. Cale looked around with an air of boredom his eyes eventually resting on his 40 inch Sony Flat screen.

He lost the remote about twenty minutes ago and he wanted to change the channel from the Bad Girls Club marathon to something less trashy, "Being me though, I can't find it after I lose it." He lifted the same couch cushion for the fifteenth time. He rolled his eyes with exasperation "Oh forget this, I'm going up stairs."

He closed his eyes, sighed deeply, and pinched the bridge of his nose in an effort to calm himself down; he would give anything to be at school and around his friends. While school was boring at least it kept you busy. Spending time with friends in prison was better than solitary confinement.

"It really isn't that bad if you think about it. Sure you have to work and do assignments, but you get to talk with friends and hang out with them at lunch…"

Cale rubbed his eyes furiously as he tried to pull himself from this depressed mood. He grabbed his handy dandy crutch and pulled himself up to a painful standing position. He winced as he stood with his purple and swollen ankle. He put entirely all of his weight on his life-saving crutch, but it still hurt to set it on the ground. He moved painfully slow through his dream-like home. He loved this house, with all the cool gadgets and with its beautiful design. All of his friends loved this place, and the girls whom he brought over thought it wasn't too shabby. It was hard to find a person who didn't like this house.

"Two people have never been in this house, how do you know they would like it?" The question quipped up in the back of his mind quickly; the thought served as a nice piece of humble pie. Cale shook the little sentence from his head as he continued to move at a snail's pace to his in-house elevator.

DING!

He heard the elevator's serendipitous ring as the creamy-white marble doors opened. He maneuvered his way in precariously and pressed the second-floor button. He propped himself up against the cold to the touch walls and waited as he felt the lurch of the elevator as it moved up into the higher reaches of his home.

He felt the elevator stumble clumsily to a stop through his broken ankle and gasped in pain. Cale tasted a light sweat on his lips.

"This sucks."

Cale moved at a snail's pace to his room. Once he finally made it to his door, he dangerously leaned on his crutch as he reached with his sweat drenched hand to overcome his last obstacle, turning the knob carefully as if moving it too quickly could cause his ankle's nerves to scream out in pain.

"CLICK."

He sighed with relief as he pushed open the door. Cale hobbled himself over to his bed and flopped unceremoniously on its down comforter grabbing for his remote, he began to click through the stations on the television. After about the fiftieth channel change he was on CW. It was Jerry Springer, Cale squinted his eyes to read the bottom of the screen that always read what would be going on in the show.

"More trash for me!" he thought as he grimaced while he set the remote down next to him. He made a note in his mind as to where it was he didn't want to have repeat of downstairs.

"Who are their Parents? Guests find out who their biological fathers and mothers are."

Cale's heart sank to the bottom of his sweat drenched torso. His hand went through his sheets and blankets that covered his bed searching desperately for the remote.

"Where did I put that thing? I seriously I just set it down." he said to himself.

He growled with frustration as he smacked himself in the head, he already forgot where the remote was! After a brief searching frenzy Cale finally found it under his right thigh he pointed it at the TV but Jerry invited in his first guest.

"Please welcome to the stage, Tiffany."

Tiffany, she wasn't much older than him, she moved to the center of the stage where a chair had been set up. "Please don't watch this" Cale felt a twinge of curiosity pip up inside his mind after that voice quieted down. Cale's heard him before.

"Where have I heard that voice before?" Cale spoke quietly to himself. He combed his mind for the answer, thinking back to all the people he had seen in the last couple of months, all that he could remember he saw on countless television shows he watched, and the radio personalities he listened to on the radio.

"So Tiffany, can you tell us why you are here today?"

The sentence went unheard as Cale continued to move through his mind searching for the face that would match the voice.

"Maybe one of my cousins?"

She breathed in deeply and closed her eyes, "Well Jerry, I found out four months ago that I was… adopted, and I've been searching ever since to find my parents, I think I finally found a match and I came on today to find out if that is true."

"No… maybe a friend from kindergarten? That wouldn't make sense though."

Cale bit his bottom lip in a fit of concentration and continued to mull over this desperate voice.

He knew who this person was; he just couldn't remember who it was. He'd met them before, when he was younger, when he experienced true happiness.

Cale rubbed his eyes again, recounting that painful night. He never really understood how much his world changed in one night until he the next couple of days. His father broke the news of his mother, and younger brother's death only after he asked where they were. He still didn't understand what it meant until his pastor explained to him where and why they had gone to live in the clouds. He closed his eyes and felt tears begin to make their way down his cheeks.

He closed his fists tightly around his comforter, he hated thinking about them. It hurt too much.

"Mommy loves you oh so much, she loves you oh so much, she loves you so." She had made up her own little song to sing them to sleep after a long day of taking care of them.

He sniffled weakly, like he had years ago on the night she went missing with Calvin. The only person there for him was his father.

"Please stop Cale."

Bewildered by the voice, for a half a second he honestly thought it was his mother. But logic brought him back to earth with unintentional cruelty. It was the same voice from before, but it sounded as though it didn't come from inside. He looked around nervously, he felt like he was being watched.

Cale spent the rest of the day trying to hold down tears while he watched a marathon of the Jerry Springer show. He eventually fell asleep his eyes bloodshot and puffy, his cheeks stained from the waterfall of sorrow.

He didn't dream easy, he relieved a twisted version of his mother and brother's deaths. He let his mother die.

In the dream, he awoke to sitting inside the car after it flipped across the freeway; he could smell the gasoline pouring out onto the concrete a small fire started from the sparks as they slid across three lanes of the I-75 Highway. He looked up and saw his little brother dangling from his car seat. His heart dropped to the bottom of his soul, he felt the tears sting into his eyes, he started yelling for help, after forcing his way out of his seatbelt he reached over and unbuckled his unconscious little brother. Cale grabbed Calvin and made his way out of the wreckage, still yelling for help, he could hear police sirens screaming in the distance, he gave his little brother to a short woman who running towards the destroyed mini-van.

He heard her yell after him as he raced back towards the mini-van were his mother still resided, twisted into the busted wreckage.

He could hear her yell for help. "Mom I'm on my way!"

"Cale stay away, it's too dangerous!" She screamed. He could see her now; he was close enough to see her.

He almost lost it, her face was gashed in different places, her arm was wrapped into the driver side door, what hurt him the most was her desperation. he could see the fear in her eyes.

A bright light covered the entire area; he couldn't see, feel or hear anything. He felt himself leave his feet; as he was flung twenty feet back onto the hard black pavement he felt his eyebrows singing off. Grabbing his back in pain, he looked towards the wreckage and a small mushroom cloud of flames reached into the sky. The entire car was on fire now; no one could've survived that explosion.

Cale closed his eyes and covered his face with his hands and cried for what seemed like hours. The lady that held the crying Calvin walked over watching the firemen extinguish the flames.

When Cale opened his eyes he was laying in his bed all alone. He looked around the room quickly; his clock read 6:20 in a neon red. Focusing on his breathing, Cale calmed himself down. Soon Cale drifted back into sleep, this time dream free.

Ruston Heights East was the crown jewel of the Nittany Hill County School District. It was built about four years ago and opened only two years ago. The RH East Olympians were surprisingly competitive in sports considering they've only been open for two years. RH East's programs were 21'st century programs Aerospace and Engineering, and ECOMM both bringing hundreds of children from outside the school's schooling zone. Their test scores overall were fantastic and the teachers were second to none. To most who entered its pristine white doors it was a great and exciting place to be.

To Cale it was hell.

He looked around the schools courtyard with a small grimace. This was going to be a long day. He flipped up grabbed at his scarf from his back pack and wrapped it around his neck quickly. The wind was blasting through the school grounds at a break neck pace. Cale swung his hurt ankle over to the ice and snow covered pavement. "It's going to be slick." Cale thought

Once outside his car he groaned loudly as the school came into his view again, he looked down at his busted ankle for the umpteenth time.

He took back everything he had said the week before about wanting to go back to school. He pulled out his smart phone and checked the time quickly, it was 7:55 in the morning he was half asleep and had in his other hand a bag of doughnuts he had bought from the convenience store down the street. The last time he woke up this early was the week before winter break when he was counting down the hours until he was freed from this oppressive place.

He looked back wistfully towards his shiny new car he got for Christmas. He could leave whenever he wanted to; all he had to do was walk to the nurse's office and simply say his ankle was bothering him. His father would be perfectly fine with the idea, he actually tried to convince his son to stay home for the day and wait until Tuesday or Wednesday that week for him to go back. Cale had refused though, stating that he thought his ankle was strong enough, the real reason behind going was so he wouldn't be bored and stuck at home.

He turned back around and walked slowly inside a painkillers' bottle jingling slightly as it sat inside his wallet. He was forced to wear the boot which helped his foot but still it hurt to walk on it. He tried to open the side door but it was locked. He pushed and shoved as hard as he could before he gave a painful yelp as he subconsciously put weight on his busted ankle. Cale looked down towards the boot covered and "protected" ankle and muttered a few curses under his breath

He hated school.

Cale forgot that the school's side doors automatically lock after 7:50 and you have to go through the main office to stop late students from arriving secretly.

Cale screamed out in frustration and rapped the door with his fist in anger.

He really hated school.

Cale took the long trek to the front door which was at least three hundred yards away. On the way he called his father and asked him if he could call the school and tell the office he was going to be late. Mr. Hobbes of course obliged.

Once Cale was almost inside when his phone started buzzing haphazardly, he pulled it out and checked it quickly before heading inside. It was his father, he looked around quickly before answering, you aren't suppose to have your cell phone out on school property during class. Cale hunched over and whispered frantically into the speaker.

"Yes dad, what do you need?"

He could hear his father click his tongue on the other line. Cale slapped his head and groaned loudly, Mr. Hobbes always clicked his tongue when he forgot something… which happens a lot.

"Cale…" more clicking could be heard "Cale…" he repeated slowly "Cale I think…" Cale bit down on his lip violently this was the most frustrating thing he ever endured and this was a daily thing Mr. Hobbes would always call his son whenever he forgot something, Cale realized that without him his father would never be able to live on his own.

"Cale I think… I think I forgot the school's number! I need it to call you in right?" Cale slapped himself several times on the forehead. Cale opened his mouth and spoke evenly he had to keep his composure, if he blew up on his father, it would just make his day worse.

"924-785-7009 Dad."

Mr. Hobbes sighed obnoxiously and answered with a tone of disappointment "I'm an idiot aren't I?"

The comment brought Cale back from the edge as he stifled a laugh and answered quickly "No you're not Dad, call me in and I will talk to you later alright?"

"Bye son, I'm so sorry!"

The line went dead as Cale walked into the front office. Cale chuckled at his father's blunt comment. His father was always frank and not afraid to tell the truth when it was needed. Cale loved that about his dad, even though he was goofy and forgot most of the things he was suppose to do Mr. Hobbes was a stand up guy, who in a pinch could be called upon to help.

He moved slowly throughout school for the whole day, catching up on the work he missed and all of the friends he needed to catch up with. Cale spent the entire day meeting with teachers in passing periods and talking with friends in class. Cale sighed joyfully as he spotted the one person he'd waited all day to see, Keith. Keith and him had been best friends for the past three years meeting sophomore year and hitting it off in gym class; the two were an inseparable pair ever since.

"KEITH!" Cale called loudly.

Keith turned and chuckled lightly, responding with an equally loud question "feeling better Slippy?"

Cale narrowed his eyes at the comment and didn't say another word until they were right next to each other. "You are dead my friend." Cale whispered harshly. Keith always knew how to get a rise out of him.

Keith smirked knowingly and asked another degrading question "Cale, did you trip over your shoelaces again?"

Cale glowed with resentment as he answered quickly "Shut up Keith. I didn't trip over myself there was a slick patch of ice."

Keith rolled his eyes playfully and smiled cockily "Don't get your panties in a bunch, It's not my fault your shoes weren't tied."

"My shoes were tied Keith." Cale responded forcibly placid. He wasn't going to let him win this time.

Keith's demeanor changed as he looked past Cale and raised his eyebrow questioningly as he pointed discreetly at someone behind Cale. "Isn't that the new girl?"

Cale gave Keith an incredulous stare, "I've been gone for a week. I have no idea who she is."

Cale gave a cursory glance backwards and shrugged as he looked her over. She wasn't that bad.

Keith shook his head at Cale hoisting his backpack back onto his shoulders. He started snapping his fingers quickly as he walked away from his friend.

"Nice seeing you to Keith!" Cale called after his best friend. Cale turned towards the history hallway and started the long trek towards AP American Gov.

"Only one more class and then I'm free." Cale said to himself as he moved in and out of the throngs of students chatting and walking idly by. He was glad he had the boot instead of crutches easier to move around in, at the same time however he didn't expect himself to be able to part the rivers like he did before with previous more serious injuries. He frowned slightly as he thought back to the time he had broken his leg falling out of jungle gym when he was in eighth grade. The only positive was he got a wheelchair from his father and was able to leave his classes 10 minutes early. Cale honestly thought it was easier to move through the school than with a working leg. He was out way earlier than needed and could move through the crowds in the hallways without any trouble at all, people would get out of the way of any cripple. He loved it.
It was probably one of the cooler moments of his life, not that he liked being hurt or anything, it was really all the love he got from his friends and family. Hell his mom sent him a get well card a month after the accident.

Cale sat contemplating his course of action as the other students filled into the classroom, raising the noise in the room to a dull roar. It didn't disturb Cale he continued to battle himself within his head. It wasn't until the obnoxious sound of the truancy bell that Cale was finally pulled from the recesses of his brain. Cale looked towards the front of the room expectantly; Mr. Turner always opened the beginning of Monday class with news about the coming week.

Mr. Turner stood at the top of class holding onto his rim taped glasses and wiping the sweat of his brow. He smiled warmly at the class and held up his arms to the ceiling revealing large sweat stains under his arms. He clapped loudly to get the classes attention; he walked with a hobbling gait something he received a long time ago in a car accident.
"Welcome back class, as you know today we begin the most fascinating chapter in the entire semester, Taxes and Tariffs!" Mr. Turner added the last part enthusiastically to the sound of groans and booing from his students. Mr. Turner seemed to not care as he still smiled brightly limping back to boards and wrote the chapter's name on the board in bright neon blue chalk.

Cale nodded with approval, the class was hard but Mr. Turner always made it bearable, his attitude was contagious. How can you hate a man who loves to teach something so boring and make it into something exciting?

The whole class period they took notes while reading popcorn style from the book. Mr. Turner encouraged people to use different types of voices and styles of feelings and gave out extra credit points if he liked it. When it came to Cale he used his George W. Bush impersonation, it always got a laugh out of his teacher. Mr. Turner gave him five points extra credit for the day, in the final minutes of class Mr. Turner let them do whatever they wanted too, Cale sat idly by at his desk tapping his pencil quietly and thinking about what he was going to do once he got out. Cale began to grin ear to ear as his plan formed inside his head.

Cale planned to get out and leave for the closest McDonalds to the school which was at the corner of Helter Street and Yule Road. He would order a large Eggnog Milkshake and a McChicken and be on his way home.

Cale's lips salivated as he looked hungrily at the clock waiting for the bell to ring. He didn't even notice the piece of paper that flew into the back of his head.

"I'm so sorry about that! My friend threw that at you Cale!" Cale turned around after hearing his name. He looked around trying to find the person who called him. Finally his eyes rested on the girl that Keith had pointed out before. She was waving awkwardly at him; Cale bemused waved sarcastically shy back. She covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. He smiled confidently and turned back around. Cale returned his vigil back to the clock and counted down the last thirty seconds in a whisper. Once the bell rang for the last time today, Cale stood quickly and moved towards the door with unbelievable speed for someone who a week ago broke their ankle. He was out the door in a flash and in his car within a matter of minutes. He couldn't wait for his Eggnog Milkshake.

After he downed his reward for a hard day's work at school, he drove home quickly and was at last at peace for the day. As he shut the door behind him, he ran his hands through his hair trying to relax himself from the long and stress inducing day. The amount of homework that piled up from the week of missed classes was amazing and he needed it done by the end of the week. He took the elevator to the top floor and ended up in his room with his laptop working on all the work that he missed from his week of recuperation.

It was 7:00 PM when Cale stopped working long enough to head downstairs and get a bite to eat before getting back at the work load. Cale stood in front of his fridge eyeing the inside of his refrigerator meticulously.

"I could have the leftovers from Dad's victory dinner." He grabbed at the white carryout box and opened it a little to get a glimpse of what was inside. Cale scrunched up his noise at what he was peering down at. It looked to be some sort of Indian food. It smelled like it too. He closed it quickly placing it at the back of the shelf.

"I hope I never have to smell or look at that again." Cale thought to himself as he looked around for something else to eat. Cale settled on fish sticks putting a small batch in the oven as he turned on the kitchen TV. Cale turned the channel to ESPN, The Pacers were playing the Bulls tonight, and he wanted to check the score. Cale's eyes lit up with joy as the score flashed in the scroll at the bottom of the screen, 100 pts Indiana to 89 pts Chicago. Cale shut sat down and watched as some of the commentators talked about the game and how it was the upset of the week. Cale watched enthusiastically as he heard the amazing stats of his favorite players.

At the ding of the oven Cale grabbed his dinner and headed back upstairs to his dwindling mountain of homework. Cale worked hard and continued to work down the large amount of homework until he could say that he only had about one third left overall. Satisfied with his progress he closed his backpack up and set it on the floor. He glanced quickly back at his desk to make sure he didn't forget anything.

"Captain Shuttle…"

He saw the ratty toy bear that was his little brothers. He couldn't imagine how it ended up here though. His stomach began to perform back flips; he couldn't understand what the hell was going on. He picked the bear in question slowly and turned him over. Still wearing his characteristic Darth Vader helmet and black shirt it brought him back to the happiest time of his life. He sat back in his office chair and studied the bear with a morbid curiosity. He hadn't seen this bear since the day before the accident. He stood and stuffed it behind his bed; he never wanted to see it again. Captain Shuttle brought up old feelings.