Revenant- How to Burn Away Completely

Posted: August 21, 2015 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Revenant
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This is a section from my novella Revenant, available soon. Also be sure to check out J.A. Prentice’s murder mystery Spiral on Amazon.

****

“Dad! You’re so weird!”

He lets me down and scruffs up my hair like I’m a child again. “Good. Weird isn’t boring. Boring is the worst thing anyone can be.”

I stick my tongue out at him, but the line stays with me. It runs through my mind over and over through the rest of practice and during the linguine dinner. Other thoughts congregate in my head along with the quote: Most striking, the thought that this might be the last dinner I ever have. I want to do something mushy. Something straight from the movies like tell my mom and dad that I love them both out of the blue. Or apologize for my faults and tell them how much I appreciate them for taking care of me. Something cliche like that. There’s a couple of moments where I open my mouth to say it, but something stops me. I was never good at saying “I love you,” or really expressing affection at all.  I tell myself that this is not my last dinner. That I will survive this night and return without them ever catching on, and continue eating wordlessly.

At 10:30, I retire to bed. I don’t bother changing into my pajamas and I bring my ipod up with me and blast music to make sure I don’t accidentally fall asleep. I toss and turn in the sheets, fighting off dark thoughts. My phone buzzes in my pocket. I take it out and see it’s a text from Dodger.

I’ve got your back tonight.

I reply with and I’ve got yours, but I really don’t want to think about the showdown looming large ahead of me. I try to calm myself, but I fail to find any soothing thoughts in the cascade of danger.

By chance, while idly scanning my room, my eyes fall upon a book on the floor. I get out of bed and shine my phone’s light on it. It’s Alice in Wonderland.

It was my favorite book as a kid. My dad would read it to me chapter by chapter each night before I fell asleep. And when we finished, we’d start over again. We even had a little routine before we read. Something like:

“What do you think, Scout? Shall we start at the beginning this time?”

“Start at the beginning. And when we reach the end, stop.”

“That sounds like a wonderful idea to me.”

I turn on my bedroom light and curl up in bed with the book. It’s been years since I last had it read to me, and I suddenly miss those nights with my father. I read it myself, whispering the words. It’s a lot weirder than I remember. I guess that’s one of the perks about being a child. Nothing’s weird and everything’s wonderful. Also, as my father said, much better to be weird than boring.

I find my calm thoughts within the pages of the book. For a while, I’m a kid again. I’m too young to care about the world and not too old to be bored by it. I’d give anything to be like that for real again. The thought crosses my mind that if I was a vampire, I wouldn’t have to age anymore. I think about asking Dodger to turn me for perhaps a split second, and then I remember how she described it as a curse, and the desire burns away completely like a candle in the night.

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