This is my favorite chapter that I have written for my novel.. Hope ya'll enjoy it!!
Josh has been troubled since we have reached our most recent destination, Denver. I cannot tell you how I know that he is troubled, but he is giving off really bad vibes from his subconscious, like there is a memory that he is trying not to remember. I can feel the pain and tension that is radiating off of him from a few miles away. I still don’t know how I can do that now when I couldn’t before we reached Tampa.
The bite mark that appeared on my arm about two weeks ago has started to heal. I have no idea how I got it, but I do remember having a nightmare that night, a nightmare that prevented me from sleeping well for at least a week afterwards.
I am afraid that if I write my nightmare down, I will have the nightmare again; however if I do not write it down, it will haunt me forever. Josh’s screams will haunt me forever anyways, so I might as well take the chance.
It all started the first night that Josh and I arrived in Tampa, Florida. We rented a room together, because the hotel only had one left, and I turned in early so we could go sightseeing the next day. The next thing I knew, I woke up screaming, but a pillow muffled my screams. Josh groaned in his sleep next to me and rolled over, but never woke up. I went out to the balcony to try to sort everything out.
The dream, which turned into a nightmare, started out innocently enough. Josh and I were walking down the beach hand in hand, laughing and cutting up. We were having a great time, just being together, when my dream changed.
We were running through a forest now, being chased by a black hooded killer. He had no face, but his fingers were long and slender, like the hand of a creature of the dark. I remember a word being whispered through the trees, like the lyrics of a haunting song. “Vampire,” the trees sang. “Vampire, vampire, vampire.”
“Josh, do you hear that?” I asked him as he pulled me through the trees.
Suddenly he stopped. He looked at me with bright red eyes and in a hunter’s crouch growled at me, fangs showing.
“Josh!?” I tried to scream, but it got caught back in my throat. I couldn’t move, my legs would not respond, and I couldn’t scream. I was going to die, and I knew that Josh was going to be the one to kill me.
All of a sudden, the black hooded killer jumped out of nowhere and tackled Josh to the ground.
“He is not Josh!” the killer shouted at me. “Get out of here, Elizabeth, now!” The killer was fighting with Josh on the ground when his hood fell of.
“He’s right,” the first Josh said, pushing the other one off of him and leaping up in a graceful motion that made him look almost animal like. The Josh impersonator began to take on his true form, the form of the killer.
My Josh laid on the ground, blood beginning to pool around him, and he started to disappear.
“Josh! No, Josh!” I ran to the place where I had last seen Josh body, throwing myself onto the ground. “Josh!” I cried.
“Your love is gone, and now it is your turn,” the killer’s voice sent shivers down my spine and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on end.
“Leave Josh alone,” I shouted, but my dream was already beginning to change.
I was in a dark hallway now, with very little light.
“Elizabeth, help me! Elizabeth! Please help me! He’s hurting me, Elizabeth.” I knew that the voice that was calling out to me for help was Josh’s voice, and that if I didn’t get to him soon, it might be too late.
“Josh! Where are you?” I started to run down the hallway towards the only door that was in the hallway. “I’m coming, Josh. I’m coming.”
I felt something bite into my leg, and I fell head long to the floor. The blood was being drained out of my body, by nothing that I could see but feel. The fangs kept biting at every inch of my skin. “Vampires” I popped into my head. Vampires were killing me. I could barely feel their fangs now; I was numb all over my body.
I felt myself slip into a peaceful place, a place that I knew was death. I was dead.
I woke up with a strange bite mark on my arm, the shape of a human mouth. I must have bit myself while I was dreaming. That is the only explanation that I can come up with now.
I have to because Josh is coming back with our food. I’ll write again.
I closed my diary just as Josh was walking up to where we chose to sit by the pool.
“What are you writing, honey?” Josh asked me with a curious look in his eyes.
“Nothing,” I said. I could feel the resentment coming off Josh from all angles; he wasn’t happy that I was keeping secrets from him, but it was for his own good. I didn’t want him to worry because I was worrying enough for the both of us.
“You can tell me anything, Elizabeth. You know that don’t you?” His thoughts had a sad quality to them now. Why was that? Did he think that I didn’t trust him or did he think that I was doing something behind his back? Whatever the case, the feelings that I was feeling from Josh made me worry even more. Wasn’t he happy with me?
“Yes, I do know that I can tell you anything, Josh.”
“But you are not going to tell me what you were writing?” he asked, his thoughts becoming more and more grim. I wish I could read his thoughts, but I knew that I couldn’t. All that I could do was feel what Josh was feeling while he feeling it, and once his feelings changed, I would feel those.
I wished I could get to a computer so I could research what was going on with me on the Internet. I needed to know why all of a sudden I could feel the emotions of the people around me, especially of those people who I loved.
“I wish you would tell me your secret, Elizabeth.”
“I will, but only if you tell me one first,” I said, trying to ease the sadness that I felt in his thoughts.
“I have a secret that no one but my grandmother knows and if the press ever found out about it, they would go crazy. I have been keeping it to myself for so long, since I was a young child, but now I am ready to share it with you,” he paused to look at me again. “I trust you completely, Elizabeth.”
“You don’t have to tell me,” I stated matter-of-factly. “I don’t want to make things uncomfortable between us.”
“I want to tell you.”
“Josh.. are you sure?”
“Ok, then tell me.”
“Did you ever hear the story about my near death experience when I was little?”
“Yes, you fell out of a tree and were in the hospital for a long time. Am I right?”
“That is the story that my agent put out to the press so my fans wouldn’t know the truth. We, my agent and I, were afraid that if my fans knew the truth that I would never be successful in my acting career.”
“So, that’s not the real story, Josh?”
“No. The real story is about where I came from and it happened in Denver. That’s why I was so against us coming here. It brought back all the painful memories of my childhood that I have tried to suppress.”
“It’s a heart wrenching tale about my past,” Josh said. “Before I begin, I want you to know that if you ever feel uncomfortable while I am telling you my story, just tell me and I will stop.”
“Ok. But how bad can it be?” I asked him.
“Oh, it’s bad. You will see, Elizabeth.”
“Ok, so begin your story.”
“My story begins with my mother and I when I was a baby. Times where tough when I was born.
“ I never have had much of anything; in fact, I grew up in poverty. My mother and father were not married when I was born, leaving my mother to raise me on a income that she could barely support herself on, much less her and I both; even though times were tough for my mother and me, she always made sure that I was taken care of before concerning herself with her own needs.
“My mother raised me right in spite of our hardships. She taught me to be polite and to be thankful for what we did have. My mother was a firm believer in being a well-rounded person, and she began to instill this into me before I could barely talk.”
“When I was little, I never realized how hard things were for my mother; I just knew that I never had the cool, new toys that all my friends had, and I never understood why. I was a very jealous child and had bad anger issues. I got in fights all the time as a child when anyone would say something bad about the way we lived or about my mother and the way she raised me; eventually I figured out that my mother was doing the best that she could, and she rose over all the odds and raised me the best way she could. I never really thanked her for that.
“Then when I turned ten years old, my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and she had to undergo chemotherapy and radioactive therapy, which at the time we believed worked. The cancer went into to remission.
“I remember being so afraid to lose my mother; she was the only family that I had. My father had never been around much, and when he was around I would never want to go see him because I was afraid of him. I was afraid that if he got mad at me, he would hurt me, just like he hurt my mother.
“Then, just after my fifteenth birthday, my mother’s cancer came back with a vengeance. The doctors only gave my mother a few weeks to live, which turned into a few months, which turned into a year of life for my dying mother.
“Then one day after I came home from school, I found my mother on the floor, gasping for breath. I knew, right then and there, that my mother was dying. There was not going to be any more remissions or chemo treatments; my mother was going to leave me forever.
“I was not going to have anywhere to go, but to my father. I did not want to go live with him. He was a jerk, never paid child support to my mother, and he was just not around. I didn’t even know where he was.”
“I called 911 for my mother and told them the information that they needed to get to her and then I ran out of the house. I ran down the street and climbed up the tree in front of Miss Taylor’s house. I sat up in that tree and watched the paramedics come into my house and take my mother away in a body bag.
Josh paused to sigh before going on. “I didn’t have a lot of family and as I said before, I didn’t know where my father was, so there wasn’t much I could do as a fifteen year old boy with no money. I decided to try to live on my own but it wasn’t easy. I couldn’t get a place to live or a job because I was only fifteen.
“I went to public school so I wouldn’t have to pay tuition but there was still the matter of food, and stuff that I needed to live. This lasted for about a week before the government came and took me into foster care. They wanted me to live in foster care at the age of fifteen!
“After a bunch of digging, I found out where my father lived. I left my foster family to go live with my father. I was so happy to be living with an actual relative of mine instead of a bunch of strangers that I didn’t know and didn’t care to know because me living with my foster family was never going to be permanent because I didn’t want it to be. I thought that after I found my father that I was going to begin to feel like myself again and that I was going to begin to be happy again, but I was wrong.
“My father was not as happy as I was to be living together but that didn’t really bother me. I had my own room, my own life. I could come and go as I pleased with no interference from my father, which worked for me. I finally felt enough like myself to start hanging out with my friends and I even started to date again. Everything started to fall into place again, slowly but surely. I was content again…” He paused again. “Now, Elizabeth, the story gets pretty bad here so if you want, I can stop here or I can keep going, whatever you want me to do.”
I looked up at his face again, which was probably a mistake. His face wash totally washed out of color and his eyes were rimmed with red from crying. I was totally engrossed in his story but I could tell from his expression that it was very painful for him to relive these memories. The last thing I wanted to do was to cause Josh pain. He meant everything to me now, even if he didn’t know it, and I couldn’t stand to see him this way.
“I can see the indecision in your face,” he chuckled. “I know you want to know what happened to me that could be so bad, so I’ll tell you. Just don’t panic if I start to get upset. As I said before, my life got very bad after my mother died.
“I was living with my father and I was very content with my life. Everything was going fine; my grades were up higher than they had been since my mother’s death, I had a job, and I was myself again. That was until..” he gulped “..things began to change. My father started taking things out on me. He made me work twice as hard at home, cooking and cleaning. I did everything without any complaints; I even took his verbal abuse, because I was afraid of what he might do to me to me if I didn’t.
“Eventually my father would get mad at me even when I did what he wanted to do. He started to physically abuse me. He hit me, slap me, push me down the stairs; he would do anything to hurt me. After a while, I would have so many bruises on my body that I stopped going to work and school because I was embarrassed. My grades slipped, I lost my job, and the abuse, both physical and verbal, continued.
“Every few days I would be lying in the Emergency Room at the local hospital waiting for cat scans and x-rays to come back. My father had insurance, so I never had to pay for treatment. The doctors, however, were suspicious of my new injuries that I came in with every few days, but I kept my mouth shut. I was afraid that if I told someone what was happening at home my father would hurt me more.
“As the months passed, my father became more violent. He hit me more, but he also started using things like baseball bats and knives. He would cut my wrists and he would squeeze them to make more blood flow from the wounds; the cuts would bleed for hours after my father was finished with me.
“After my father would leave for his eighteen hour days at the factory, I would go to another Emergency Room across town from the one I went to in the beginning, and there the doctors would give me transfusions. After a few days of me coming in with cut wrists and almost half my blood gone from my body, the doctors concluded that I was doing this to myself for attention and they admitted me to the psychiatric ward for a total of ten days.
“I didn’t mind being in the hospital as much as I thought I would. I got good meals and someone was always there to keep me company. I was also away from my father and his abuse; I didn’t even bother to call him to tell him where I was. I was finally safe, for a while anyway.
“Ten days came and went. I was released from the hospital and very reluctant to go home, but I didn’t have a choice. I knew that my father was going to be so pissed at me and that he was going to hurt me like he never hurt me before. I was right.
“The minute I walked through the door my father started chasing me with a knife. I knew that he was going to kill me. I kept outsmarting him for a while but I made one wrong move and my father cornered me. He began to stab me repeatedly in my chest and my legs.” Josh lifted up his shirt to show me the scars on his chest left by his father’s hatred of Josh. “Then when my father thought that I was done for, he left; when he walked out of the front door, the police were waiting for him. They took him to custody and he was eventually booked on charges of child abuse, because I was a minor, and attempted murder. He was found guilty for both charges.
“The paramedics came in and took me to the hospital where I remained in the intensive care unit for four weeks, or a month, however you want to look at it. Regardless, I recovered in the hospital for a total of two months, my stay in the intensive care plus my stay in the regular part of the hospital. I was released in the month of May to my grandmother, my father’s mother who I had never known growing up, who lived in Los Angeles.”
Josh turned to look at me then. His big, baby blue eyes were filled with tears again as he laid his head against my chest. I wrapped my arms around him and held him tightly to me because there were no words that I could say to make him feel better.