Soundtrack

The day was brisk and revenge was in the air. Trevor was looking forward to the end of it all. He wanted to reach the point at which he would feel vindicated and satisfied. But he didn’t know when that would be, and even though the wind blowing the strands of damp hair away from his face was cool, he still felt too warm and continued sweating profusely. He contemplated taking off his coat, but that wouldn’t be quite right. Revenge required a certain style, there were standards to be met, and those included the long, black leather overcoat he was wearing.
He knew he looked the part, but he wasn’t feeling it anymore. When he’d woken up in the morning, everything had felt right – the stars were aligned in his favor and his muscles were loose and pliant as he conducted his daily exercises. Everything matched his expectations, right up to the fine spread of grayness that filled the sky in a perfectly foreboding way.
The clothes were already prepared from the night before and they lay draped over the chair beside his bed, inviting him to put them on. He put music on first so that he could pretend he was in a movie. When he dressed, he made sure to pull his sleeves taut in time with the bass line and to knot the tie when the drums started up again after the bridge.
Trevor lived with a soundtrack. Although he worked in a job that he enjoyed – he was a studio musician – he wanted to work at something different. He wanted to be the person who chooses the music to go with each bit of a movie. When his friends described their lives to him, he constantly thought of which song should go with each instance. In his own life he kept meticulous playlists on his iPod and was ready for any situation he might fall into.
Today he was listening to his revenge playlist, but he only kept one earphone in because he also needed to hear the door opening. When it opened, he would be ready for her.
He tried to make his hand stop shaking. It looked distinctly unprofessional. The only thing he could hope for was that when she came in everything would suddenly work on instinct, just like in the movies. That’s what should happen.
But the door slammed open and she rushed out, clearly in a hurry. She was putting her earrings on as she jogged to her car. His hand kept shaking, and the metal didn’t glint, and it was all wrong now. Somehow she was already in the car, and the car was starting and then she was gone, and Trevor was left there, hunched behind the rose bush, the sweat finally growing cold on his face and his hand finally beginning to steady.
Too late. He was too late. He wanted to scream. His music stopped and he looked at his iPod and saw that it had died. He must not have charged it for long enough. This was awful.
“This is awful,” he said aloud. “This isn’t how it should go.” He wanted to ask someone what his next line was, or maybe ask to do the whole scene from the beginning, but life didn’t work like that and there was no director waiting to say “cut!”
It started raining as Trevor walked home and he wondered whether this was a turning point. Was this when the hero of the story was supposed to learn something? Was he supposed to take this as a sign or should he just try again tomorrow? Maybe he needed a sunny day, something less obvious than a gloomy day. Or perhaps he needed to just break into her house at night and do it then.
When he got home he put another playlist on. This one was called “Disappointment.” After a moment he changed it to the one he’d named “Failure.” It sat better with him. Stretched out on the bed, on his back, he struggled out of his clothing, trying not to lift his body very much because he was suddenly exhausted. He wondered whether he was coming down with something. He was drenched from the rain, after all.
The phone rang. He didn’t pick it up for a while, but finally, when it didn’t stop ringing, he decided to answer. It was her. She was asking him if he was ready to be friends yet. He said “Yeah, okay,” and made plans to meet her for dinner that evening.
Maybe there had been a reason for his failure after all.

Flash Fiction Thursday: Beating Up Brad

I hate Brad. I’ve hated him ever since first grade when he grabbed me from behind and shoved my face into the sandbox. Let me tell you, that was not a fun experience. It was even worse when it became a daily thing, a sort of routine form of torture. It wasn’t until third grade that I hit him back. Boy, did I pay for that. Ever since then, Brad beat me up almost every day. Poor Mom, she kept thinking that Dad was doing something to me when I was at his house. But that’s Mom’s fault for only taking me one day a week. Dad knew what was going on, alright. He knew, and he tried to teach me how to fight back – he’s that kind of a guy – but it never really stuck. We used to have the biggest fights, since I never agreed to tell him who was beating me up. He called school to complain a few times, but they kept assuring him that “there’s no bullying problem at our school, sir” and “the nurses say that your son is simply very clumsy and that there’s no reason to assume he’s being hit. We have very good boys here, sir.”

See, that’s the other thing. I went to an all-boys school. Guess what? That wasn’t fun, either. I don’t think I spoke with a girl who wasn’t Mom or Auntie Rose until I was in high-school. That’s where the next fun part started. Brad went to the same high-school I did. Now, you may think that he’d grown up a little, and that if his parents were sending him to a co-ed school, that meant that he would be too busy hitting on girls and would stop picking on me. But, of course, as luck would have it, Brad found those girls who liked seeing that he was big and strong and could hit an obnoxious nerd with glasses like me.

I’m a senior now. We’re both seniors. I’ve still got the glasses, but I’ve got some muscle on me now. See, Dad finally had it with my split lips and black eyes. He started sending me to the gym twice a week when he saw that even in high-school I was coming home bruised a couple times a week – at least by then, Brad had less time for me. So even though nobody’s noticed, I’ve been building up muscle over the years, and my pimples have gone away, and you know what? Brad’s going to go bald early and I’m not. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from leering at me or threatening me or banging my locker as he passes by so that I squeak. I have this tendency to squeak. I know it’s not attractive, but what can you do?

Anyway, tonight’s Prom Night. I think it’s about time I proved to Brad, myself and everyone else that I’ve gotten stronger than him. I guess a decked out hotel lobby full of my fellow students and a bad hired band is a good place to do it. Plus, we’ll both be in suits, so my beating him to a pulp will at least look classy. You know, just in case someone films it and puts it online.

Lucy’s Diary, May 25th

To be able to understand much of what is in here, you might want to, or need to, read the installment that precedes it in Alex’s blog. Here is the link: http://crystalgeek.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/journal-part-v/

May 25th, sometime after midnight, Pratt and Smith, under the covers in my room

Dearest Diary,

If my handwriting seems shaky, it’s because you’re currently nestled on my knees, which are also trying to hold the flashlight steady under the covers as I write. The girls yelled at me for having the light on when I came in here, hours after curfew of course [but the school understands and accepts this because of my needing to stay at the hospital every day]. As the library is closed, I have no choice but to huddle under my blankets and write in this most uncomfortable of situations. Forgive me for the discomfort I’m causing you, dear friend.

I’m oddly calm. I shouldn’t be calm, but I am. I suppose you’d like to know why I shouldn’t be calm, and I will indeed confide in you, but I don’t know how much I should, or can, or am allowed to write about this subjects that have recently been exposed to me.

Firstly, Micheal’s name isn’t Micheal. I’m not sure what his real name is, but he has told me to refer to him as R. and so I shall call him from now on. So R. is on the mend – he’s feeling much better, his bruises are slowly fading, and he should be released from the hospital in a day or two, a circumstance which will be difficult for me, because I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to see of him after he’s released. Miss Flynn believes that he really is a relative of mine, so I suppose she’ll let him visit me after study hours, and perhaps on our mornings off on Sundays I’ll be able to visit him wherever he’s staying right now.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m sure you want to know why I’m so certain that I have to keep seeing him. Well, let me share a bit of the secret then. I suppose, though, that I should start much farther back than what R. has told me tonight. I haven’t told him what I’m about to confide in you, Diary, and I’m not sure I should confide this in him, but I’ll think about it and see.

My parents died four years ago. Gruesomely, you may say. It was a car crash, and the media made out that Dad had been drunk and went off road, but it’s not true. The police told me right at first – before changing their story – that there had been a big truck coming towards them very fast [they could tell by the skid marks apparently] and that it seemed as if Dad had swerved so as to avoid the truck. There was a huge pool of oil right there, and the car slid and Mom and Dad went flying over the railing with the car into the field below where the car crashed upside down. You may wonder at my writing all this down this way. I haven’t repeated or talked of how they died for four years – at first, I tried convincing everyone that this was the true story, and I had to repeat it over and over and over again to get people to believe that Dad wasn’t drunk, but it was no use. The papers said it was a drunk-driving accident, and I gave up trying to tell people it wasn’t true. Since then, I’ve never talked about it.

Mom’s cousin, Clarisse, took me in. She’s the witch, the monster, the utter abomination of the human soul who is my legal guardian and it is she who sent me here, to Pratt and Smith. It is she to whom I now owe many thanks, though she’ll never hear me utter them.

If Clarisse hadn’t sent me here, I never would have met R. If I’d never have met R, I never would have found out that someone else besides my parents knew about the Parazelli, or suspected the existence of this group anyway. And now that I have met R, now that I know someone who has suffered a loss like mine at the hands of this foul group – because I know that Dad never drank when he drove, and I know that he and Mom had been dragging me around from college town to college town all of my childhood because they were trying to research and prove the existence of this most evil of cults, the Parazelli, who believe in bloodshed and evil as others believe in angels and beauty – now that I’ve met R and know he believes in them too, I finally have a way to avenge my parents. I finally have a way to continue their research, continue their work, and make them proud of me, their only, rather unruly, daughter.

Forgive me for getting your pages wet, my dearest confidante, my Diary, but I can’t help it. I don’t know whether it’s fear or relief I’m feeling right now, but I do know that I cannot part with R now – I mustn’t let him get too far away, and I have to get him to let me help, in whatever way I can.

Diary, my eyes are itching with the combination of my tears and tiredness. I shall leave you to your thoughts now, and hope you will not disapprove of my risking everything for this silly thing we humans call revenge.

I must speak with R. tomorrow. I simply must.

Good night, Diary, I hope your pages rest easily even with the heavy burden of knowledge I have put down in them tonight.

Yours, as ever,

Lucy