April 21, 2019 by P.Starks
The bell had rung, it was recess, and all who had finished their book reports on time, ran outside to feel the warmth of the sun against their skin, for they had earned the right to do so. Xavier’s frenemy Lipton Tiles, swore on his life that he was going to beat him at his own game, once and for all. The challenge, of course, had been accepted. Although, neither of the two had finished their book reports. But the good news was that their teacher Mrs. Summontunei had fallen asleep after eating what she’d always announced to everyone as the breakfast for champions.
Breakfast for Champions:
- 1 sausage biscuit
- 2 hash browns
- 3 slices of bacon
- ½ an omelet.
- 2 pancakes
- 12oz glass of orange juice (spiked with a dash of bourbon, which no one had known about but her.)
“Gals gotta eat,” she said, stuffing her face. But this was before she’d passed out in her office chair.
Nevertheless, together the two, Xavier and Lipton, snuck out of class making their way over to and down a slippery slope, towards their favorite place to play, the only place to play they argued, Butterscotch field. It wasn’t your typical football field, to be frank—there was no grass, no turf, just dirt. Xavier’s mom had told him more times than what he knew how to count to stay off the field, that it was dangerous. But… boys would be boys, she’d convinced herself.
The field was still somewhat wet from the rain that poured two day’s prior, but everyone had brought their cleats, thankfully. Well… all except for Xavier. Although, he never really had any to begin with. His feet were much smaller than the boys in his class, and his parents couldn’t afford to buy another pair of cleats, so, he’d use his little sister Xena’s instead. The shoes were custom made—specially made for their little princess. They were pink, with little purple dolphins on the sides of them, lighting up from the bottom for every step Xavier would take. If there was anything Lipton Tiles hated losing to, it was a boy wearing girl cleats. Especially, that of a little girl that gave him the creeps more than anything. Having Xena around was like holding kryptonite in front of superman. It weakened him. Which was why this time Lipton had made Xavier swear on his pet iguana, that she would not be around when they played again.
Luckily for Lipton, Xena would be having a little football game of her own, in fact, right across the street. The only difference was hers was the real deal. And a real field, HawkGlue Stadium. Xavier was embarrassed—having his little sister in a football league before him—shameful. But… she was incredibly good at it; he’d only told himself. However, he was at a disadvantage now.
“Okay guys let’s get this game over with before Xena shows up. You know what happened last time,” said Lipton, nervously bouncing his eyes around the field.
All cleats pierced into the ground for support. And Xavier would have a little trouble keeping balance. His feet swiveled as he stood. It was apparent that converse shoes just weren’t made for sports.
“What’s wrong Xavier? Afraid your gonna lose,” laughed Lipton.
“No way!” yelled Xavier, his voice echoing down the field. “Your going down, again.”
Xavier then took off down the field with the ball. There was no goalie, which meant the game wasn’t off to a good start for the Sweet T’s, Lipton’s team called themselves, ironically. But not like the kind you drink. Just the letter.
Xavier looked up over his shoulder. Lipton was catching up, which would be a first, Xavier thought, but again, he was at a disadvantage this go around.
“I got you now,” he Lipton, sweeping from up underneath Xavier’s feet.
Xavier then fumbled to the ground, sliding a few feet out from where he’d initially fallen. But thankfully, the part he’d fallen in still consisted mostly of mud, or at least that was what he hoped. Immediately, Xavier got back up on his feet, brushing off his shoulders and knees, and wiping away what little remained on his face.
‘What?” Xavier questioned. “Don’t just stand around. Are we still playing or what?”
Red streams trickled down the left side of his face. It was a deep, dark-red. He could somewhat feel it but assumed it was just more mud. He then touched the side of his face and pulled his hand out in front of him. It was a fluorescent red, sun gleaming off it like ice. As the seconds had gone by, Xavier’s vision would as well. He then fell backwards, back into the mud. Everything was dark. Xavier could still feel the sun, but the touch of the wind was beginning to get a little cold as time went on.
“Is this what dying’s like?” he whispered, a crystal tear rolling down to his right ear. “I don’t want to die…”
Everyone on the field panicked. While the rest stayed behind with Xavier, Lipton had bolted across the street to tell Xavier’s sister, more so, his parents what had happened. He had to.
“It’s all my fault,” he said, guilt embedded in his eyes.
Not long after Xavier could feel footsteps approach. Ten, maybe twelve, he thought. He felt his body lift from the ground. And for the moment he thought he was flying. He passed out.
They were in the back of the ambulance truck now. Just Xavier’s family, and Lipton, whom had lied and said that he was his brother. However, no one denied it either. Xena clinged to Lipton’s arm in fear, but for once he, didn’t mind it at all.
“I shouldn’t have tripped him,” he mumbled, guilt now embedded in his slouch.
Mrs. Browni, Xavier’s mother cried, while she held tightly his hand. And Mr. Browni would hold her in support. But even he needed a shoulder to cry on, for he had a hard time dealing with it just as much.
Twelve minutes down G5 South, there would be something in the middle of the road. But the driver didn’t catch it until he’d gotten right up on it. He swerved around it, hitting an evasive patch on what would have been a side walk had it not been a highway. The truck then tumbled like tumbleweed, falling into a ditch where no one that drove by would find them. There was silence now. Not a muscle moved. But then Xavier awakened, with his head hurting even more than what it did before.
“Mom! Dad! Xena! Lipt… Is everyone alright?” he yelled, still strapped to the stretcher.
A sharp pain shot up and through his left foot. It was broken from what he could feel. But he was flat on his stomach now, and the weight of the stretcher wasn’t helping either. Xavier wiggled his shoulders, eventually chimneying one of his arms loose from the straps that confined him. He then reached over and freed his other arm, working his way down to his ankles, eventually walking himself up against a crooked wall on the foot that was still good.
“Mom! Dad! Xena!” he yelled again, voice echoing from the vacant space in front of him.
A cold draft was coming from the front of him now. The doors were open, and by the sound of it, it was raining. In fact, he could smell it—an oily smell. Xavier then hopped his way forward. The pain was excruciating. But the pain of his family being dead was what he felt most concerned about.
When he stepped out, he could feel the mush from underneath his feet. He was hesitant. One more fall, and he knew would be a sitting duck. No doubt about it, mud was beginning to be his bad luck charm. A couple of hops forward and to the left of him would be a tree. It felt like brail to blind person. It was fitting, but the tree wouldn’t be able to tell him anything that he hadn’t already assumed. There was a branch, as strong as bamboo, he felt. But of course, that be an understatement seeing how it only taken his body weight to break it off. Which was 145 lb on the scale but 132 in his mind.
Smoke lingered in the air. And the closer he’d gotten to it, the more pungent. Maybe it was his family. Maybe it was the medics. Maybe it was Lipton, but he’d barely know how to strike a match, Xavier joked.
When he’d made his next step, there would be a crackling sound. Like stepping on a hardboiled egg or Ritz crackers even. Xavier froze. But it was too late. Before he could grab on to anything around, his body had sunk down a deep hole, and he’d toss and turn down it like a water slide. The only thing that ran through his mind now was if what he was about to fall in was shallow or not. Swimming wasn’t his strong suit—especially, not with a bad leg. He’d made a big cannon ball splash at the end of it all, clothes now more soaked then what the rain had done. Again, he called out for his family. But later he’d cry for help.
The smell was daunting. Like a sewer. But as Xavier touched the sides of the walls within it, he knew that such wasn’t so. It was wet and slimy, beveled edges that formed ridged triangles and squares. And his feet were so completely submerged in such, that the bowls of his feet were beginning to wrinkle in ways he felt weren’t good for his skin. Xavier began walking himself against the wall, pressing his forearm against it instead this time. Whisper’s echoed from all around him, sending chills up and down his spine. He stopped. He could sense something, or someone in front of him. But who?
“Mom?” asked Xavier. “Dad?”
Ripples of liquid then circled around him, colliding at his ankles.
“W-who’s there?” Xavier yelled, spinning around.
Without thought, Xavier moved as fast he could with the bad leg that he had. Ripples followed behind him, although, they weren’t his. He bumped into a wall—a dead end. He felt around it, left, right, up and down, all until he felt a round knob. A door. The ripples behind kicked up their speed. Xavier’s hands trembled. He’d attempt to open the door, but something was behind it. Something heavy. He pushed and pushed, twisting the knob repeatedly. And then the door opened and closed. Xavier was safe now. But what just happened he knew he did not do. Something had pulled him through.
“I don’t know how you got here, but this is no place for a boy,” said a voice, smooth and soothing.
Xavier paused to answer. “Well I…”
“Your lucky child, any longer and you’d been eaten by the Frobber. He don’t see much flesh these days, especially one so fresh I must say.”
Xavier swallowed. “Frobber?”
“Yes. But don’t worry, you’re in good hands now. Take a seat over there by the fire place and I’ll fix ya something warm to drink.”
“I can’t see…”
“Child everyone can see. You’ve just all become too reliant on them eyes of yours. You still have your nose, your ears, your taste, and your touch. So, don’t tell me you can’t see. Try again.”
Xavier lifted his nose to the air. He could smell something spicy to his left. Herbs maybe.
“That’s where you cook. To the left, right? Like a kitchen,” he said.
Bright crooked teeth smiled in the dark. Xavier then used his since of touch. He slowly walked around the room, feeling two cold drafts, one from behind him where the door was and one in front, which he presumed was a window. But to his right he felt something warm. And the closer he’d gotten the warmer it was. He reached his hand out and felt a chair, and then sat down.
“Here,” he said.
“Impressive. Your smarter than most that I’ve seen come down here.”
Xavier then stood up. “My family! Did you see my family? A girl with purple dolphins on her shoes!” yelled Xavier, panicking.
“Calm down boy. Or your going to make that knot on your head pop like a balloon. And that wouldn’t be good for you or my floor.”
“Well… did you see them or not?”
Footsteps made their way over. A hand rested on Xavier’s shoulder. It was warm, and heavy.
“First, let me introduce myself. I am Alice, but some call me The Broken Body,” said the old woman. “But please sit back down boy and give me a moment.”
The old woman then pulled out an old crystal ball and placed it out on the table in front of them. A warm light bounced off both of their faces, but it wasn’t nothing like that of which the fireplace had given. The light had its own kind of warmness. In fact, sometimes pulsating from warm to hot.
“Your family…” paused the Old woman. “Is alive.”
“But! they are far now. And… Well, they’ve been taken to. But I can’t say the mans name. If I do well…”
“No! Tell me! Where is my family? Who has them?”
The old woman smiled and brought herself closer to the light. Xavier could smell, somewhat taste her breath. It was horrid and repulsive.
“They call…” hesitated the old woman, leaning even closer. “They call him… The Copyright.”
Xavier swallowed. “And…where is he now? This Copyright”
“Shh! Shut up boy… Say his name again and where both dead. Say his name again and you’d wish you said something else instead.”
“I’m dead without my family. Besides, Copyright is just a…”
The room felt cold now. The front door burst open and mist expelled from behind it like a fog machine. The light from the crystal ball was gone, even the fireplace.
“Its him…” said the old woman.
TO BE CONTINUED.