Each person serves a purpose, no matter how little it may seem so. In the world, finding one's place is an important dream that makes life worth living. Some aspire to help people, some to gain immortality through fame, to pass on a legacy, others wish to create a perfect family with the one's they loved, to live in comfort that they may not have experienced otherwise. Few even believe they live for the sole purpose of inspiring those they believe can achieve greatness. Only with such a diversity, is it possible for individuals to connect and create a discordant harmony the world craves for, its own version of normality. However, too many, coming to terms with the future is tough, sometimes we want to believe in magic and the power of wishing on stars.
Chapter 1 : I saved you, under a sea of stars
"Do you guys really have to fight?" Alan huffed, getting off the couch and dropping his sketch pad behind him. As usual, his two younger brothers Christian and Randy were at it again, escalating their verbal bout into a physical one. "He called me and idiot!" Christian screamed, pulling younger Randy's chocolate brown curls with one hand and lashing at his face with the other. "Well he hit my arm, the fat lard," Randy retaliated punching the slightly older brother in his pudgy stomach. Alan ran his fingers through his jaw-length chestnut hair, frustration coated in his hazel eyes. He stood in between the two, earning a quick scratch on his hands, drawing a bit of blood. "Randy Forte, you know very well Christian isn't normal and can't control all his actions, I'm disappointed in you. All those martial arts classes and movies are really getting to your head, why don't you play outside like a normal kid?"
"Why don't you bud out and stop telling me what to do? Just because you're seventeen now doesn't mean you're my boss! Besides, you're only four years older than me," he pointed an accusing finger at the bigger of the two. "Plus, he started it when he randomly hit my arm, he should expect me to pull punches if he starts it!" Randy crossed his arms all the while continuing his hateful glare at his brothers. "Christian," Alan began, looking him in the eyes and resting a hand on the fifteen year old, "You need to be nice to people. Ok? Hitting them isn't good and you need to stop calling people names." Christian didn't like the contact and sunk his nails into Alan's arm and tore, leaving another mark."What did I just tell you? Behave," Alan exclaimed angrily, as he moved away. Sure Christian was a special kid with mild epilepsy, and autism (basically he was stuck in the mind of a four year old), but whenever he'd randomly lash out or make disturbing sounds he was much of a hassle to deal with. "You guys really are a handful, no wonder Mom begs for vacation all the time," He rubbed his temples and eyed his new battle scars. That'll leave a mark, he though. The oldest brother moved into the kitchen, grabbing a paper towel to dab at his new scars, "You guys hungry? I'll cook something," he threw the paper towels away and rummaged through the fridge.
Later in the afternoon, Mrs. Forte returned from her grocery shopping spree, followed a half hour later by Mr. Forte returning from work at the nearby military installation. The moment the door opened the daily "greeting routine" began. "Dad's home!" Christian would bellow as he ran with enough speed to tackle his father, letting out gleeful screeches resembling animal noises. Randy soon pursued, smiling smugly, and Mrs. Forte would bounce out just as happily. Mrs. Forte was an equally plum as Christian, but pleasant lady nonetheless, very strict with mannerisms considering her Asian background. Mr. Forte being a still serving soldier also favored discipline. The discipline which both believed to find lacking in the eldest child.
Mr. Forte, being half European and American had many acquired tastes. He was skilled in art, music, worked at a hospital before enlisting, played various musical instruments, and also made a hobby of acting. But enough with the back ground stories, this was Alan's main concern.
"H-hi dad, how was work?" Alan asked, sauntering from the living room, scanning the floor with his eyes, hesitating. "Stressful as usual, I hope there's a couple nice cold beers in ready for dinner, I've been looking forward to them all day."
Upon settling down for dinner, the children tried to strike up a conversation, mainly in an attempt to please their parents. To a normal observer this was pure chaos. Christian munched loudly on his food with mouth wide open, Randy bragging about his acting classes at the school, while Alan desperately attempted to gain even a second of his father's attention. "Dad, I drew a picture today you might like," he said cheerfully pulling out his sketchbook he'd grabbed before being seated for dinner, in hopes of sparking Mr. Forte's interest. "It's two koi fish reflected in water, the cherry blossoms are attached to the branches reflected in that same water. The two subjects are intertwined, here and there. A teacher wanted me to come up with a design to paint on her class wall and another wants me to come up with a design for their theater class pamphlets for the school play bu-"
"The shading's off and the fish are disproportionate, and those are supposed to be blossoms? It needs so much work," His father cut him off, slicing his steak. Shocked, Alan looked down at his own meat and started stabbing it with his own utensils. After a moment of silence and disappointment Alan looked up and spoke once more. "I-I also got promoted in JROTC I'm a major now. And I tried out for the play and got a role, a bunch of kids could make it but everyone was so talented-"
"That's nice. How's Martial arts Randy? Oh and Alan, how's your martial arts, no injuries this time?" Mr. Forte cut him off again. Randy cheerfully replied, "I'll be a black belt in Junior karate before you know it." Alan looked away, junior Karate wasn't even a martial arts, the teacher gave out belts for money. His class on the other hand was for actual sport, much more advanced, and he and his class mates were soldiers and high schoolers much like his father and himself. "No, no injuries," Alan sighed. The rest of dinner progressed rather quietly, with an occasional word or so.
Alan had dishes that night, scrapping scraps into the trash and doing the dishes much like every other night. Vincent, his fluffy black cat sat by his feet waiting for him to finish. After the chores were done, and the family had settled down for sleep, Alan decided to go out on his porch and look at the stars. Seating himself in his favorite chair, he patted his lap, encouraging his cat to lie on his lap. He then lifted his hand and patted his dear friend. Feeling a sudden enhancement of anger, he let out all his thoughts, Vince on his lap purred contently as he listened. "It's always the same old thing. No matter how much I load up on things I can never make dad proud. Randy and Christian are lucky. I'm just the disappointing eldest son. The same mundane cycle, maybe I'm never to achieve anything in life." Vince stood up breaking out of his little ball to run his face under his master's chin, earning himself a slight giggle and a scratch behind the ears. "Sometimes it feels like you're my only friend Vince. The other ones are so far away. But look. That cascade, that sea of stars, they can see the same ones. I know they're close. Someone's thinking about me."
Leaning back sighing, Alan lost himself in deep thoughts, and once again looked up at the distant planets. Suddenly, a shimmering distant star caught his attention, a warm feeling taking him over. "Vince, that one will be my wishing star. I know it's silly but what do I have to lose?" He whispered, closing his eyes tightly then relaxing in the night's silence. "I wish I could have something, no, someone to call my own. Someone to rely on and in return be relied on. Someone… who'll show me I matter." His eyes gently fluttered at a distant bark.
"Bark!" That wasn't normal. The brunette boy looked around for the source of the barking sound, only to find it resonating from his cat. "Vince?" he questioned wide eyed as the cat sprung from his lap and darted to the street. "Come back here! Vince don't." A dim blue light approached from down the road and zoomed past him and his cat, brightening as it brushed past his shoulder. The strong gust left by the anomaly knocked his hoodie off his shoulders.Abruptly, an overwhelming urge took over Alan's body his muscles tensing on their own accord, forcing him to whiz around and scamper after the bright glow. His feet carried him down the end of the street into his neighborhood forest, the darkness that surrounded fading as the light passed through. Branches on the floor threatened to trip him as his pace quickened, realizing that once the light was out he'd be left at the mercy of the forest. He eventually did trip, letting out a frustrated sigh as the dirt soiled his cheek and entered the cut on his hand left by his brother. The light came to a sudden halt, lingering in a clearing amongst the trees. "You came?" a tone slightly deeper called in a crisp yet pained voice. The smell of iron carried in the whistling breeze. His eyes wandered in the voice's direction widening at the sight before him.
The mysterious sound came once more, a grunt from a figure lying on its stomach. A boy, possibly about his age maybe older, with bright bluish-gray eyes and shoulder length black hair, was frozen in a crawling position, blood caking his bangs and the right side of his head. Taking a closer look, Alan noticed, one hand gripping his chest the other reaching out.
Is he reaching towards me, Alan wondered, noting the tears pooling in the boy's eyes. He must be in excruciating pain, how can I help him?
Rustling and low growls sounded in the same direction. Circling the injured boy were creatures resembling wolves yet somewhat dark and transparent. Shadows? The figures heads all turned to face Alan, causing him to take a step backwards. If he didn't yet fully have their attention, the crunching leaves and breaking twigs beneath his feet must've alerted them. Growling, they leapt toward him, the same instant the raven-haired boy threw an elongated stick toward him. Without a second thought Alan caught it roughly, blistering his hands while waving it wildly as they began rushing towards him. A high pitch howl and a panicked grunt made him clench his eyes tightly. Is this it? To his surprise they dispersed without causing any harm, vanishing without a trace.
The woods became silent yet again, Alan's body still shook as part of the aftermath, and his body felt chilled. Nerves still wrecked, the sudden life and noises of the forest cause him to instinctively jump. The mysterious boy laughed, and so Alan collapsed onto his knees panting in relief. "You saved me," the boy whispered with a warm grin. Alan stood his ground, too stunned to move just yet.
The raven-head boy started chuckling faintly as the brunette teen gave off a menacing glare. "But you know kid, that's not how you use that thing," he snickered, a pained expression creeping on his face.
Alan waited for the boy to speak once more, but nothing the sort happened. Something was wrong. "Oh Shit," Alan ran over to him with the stick in hand, frantically checking for a pulse. The ever so dimming light exploded then, abandoning the two, leaving nothing but darkness in its wake.
Alan was panicking. He couldn't leave a person half dead in the cold, on top of that this boy seemed to know something that he didn't, Alan pondered for a moment. With every ounce of strength in his smaller body, he lifted the other boy gently onto his back and swiftly began heading towards the beckoning glow of the stars above.