Friday, June 5, 2015

Charcoal pt. 13

I can finish things!! Or at least I want to, four years later, the next chapter of Charcoal.  As always it is barely edited and a little short.  Any feedback is welcome <3 <3

Cannibalism really wasn’t what Soul wanted, but he still didn’t trust Scott enough for anything else, and the others looked so expectant.  Plus he couldn’t just stay here, the morning had told him that if Sylvia got her way Soul wouldn’t be thinking much ever again. 

As it turned out, they didn’t get far enough for the bond, temporary or not, to be enacted.  Right before leaving for a more private, and Soul assumed, romantic, location the door opened.  Outside the twins waited.

“Hello friends, we thought there weren’t going to be any more meetings until tomorrow.”  Soul was terrified, but somewhere deep inside he was relieved, he knew Josie would have been able to make it and somehow Nova would find a way to blame him, and honestly he didn’t think he could lead, how could he when he had no idea what was going on.  He had no idea who was his friend, or where Sylvia’s reach ended.  Stuck here all he had to do was stay away from Scott and keep hold of his own thoughts. 

They were lead back to their rooms, Josie was crying softly.  But she probably needed rest more than anything.  She really should have been trying to run away, the stress in this house was more than she needed but more would probably kill her and her baby.

Back in the scarlet room Scott flopped onto the bed.   Soul paced.  He was so blind to what was happening, he wanted to trust Scott, to believe that he didn’t want to hurt him but he was so pushy and trust came to Soul slowly.  He didn’t know what he felt and wouldn’t ever be able to know how he really felt, with whatever his mother had done to him, with whatever Sylvia was continuing to do to him.  And even Scott couldn’t know how he felt about Soul.  The only reason he proclaimed to love him, and proclaimed he couldn’t control himself was because of what his mother had done.  Neither of them had chosen this by themselves, and yet, they would never be free of each other.

“What are you thinking about?”  Soul turned to look at Scott as he spoke, and Soul began to laugh.

“What do you think I am thinking about?” 

Scott looked too relaxed for the situation.  He had kicked off his shoes and had folded his t-shirt next to him.  Soul considered if the escape attempt, as short lived as it was, had to do with a larger plan, were they trying to lure him into a false sense of camaraderie.  Were they all on the same side?  Maybe they were all really good actors; even Josie could be in on it.  She had seemed really sick, but maybe she was still trying to do anything to get her parents approval.  Maybe someone had done something to him when he was recovering from Nova’s punch. 
He was so in the dark anything could be possible.  Really the only person he could trust was Sylvia- trust her to be awful and do whatever she could to figure out whatever his drawings meant.
Soul wished he could just trust Scott; he wished that he could just give up and not care who won.  With so little knowledge he couldn’t even decide he didn’t care.  Even Josie's story, assuming that it was true, and that she was really trying to be helpful didn’t make any sense.  He kind of knew the story of the allegory of the cave.  But how it related to this he had no idea.  If Scott was the light and he was drawing the shadows, what he drew still wouldn’t be the truth, it would be indecipherable.  And if Scott were the light then they would have to ask him and be hurt to figure it out anyway.  Plus they would know what he was drawing.  The shadows were the easy part.  But then his mother, what had she done?  Chain them so the shadows made even less sense? Obscure them even more? 

“What am I thinking?”  Soul began “I am thinking that no matter what I do something bad will happen.  I am thinking that everything anyone has told me has just made me feel more lost.  I am thinking that I would do anything to get out of here, but I don’t know how or what I would do if I did escape.  I am wondering if everything wouldn’t just be better if I was dead.”

Before he said it Soul didn’t even know that he had considered if being dead wouldn’t be better.  He had never explicitly thought in his life, but now that he had it in the front of his mind why not?  Everyone just wanted to use him.  He didn’t have any real friends; even the twins had been a ploy.  And if he were dead no one would be able to use him for evil.  He laughed at the thought evil.  He hadn’t considered seriously that people or acts or anything could be truly evil until the past month.  And here he was considering killing himself to stay away from it.
Scott looked stricken, but the more Soul thought, the better idea it seemed, it felt like the only original idea he had had in a long while, the only idea he could trust was really his.  Everyone else wanted him for something, needed something from him, but this, the ultimate self centered act.  No matter what came after Soul could be sure it would be his.
“Soul you can’t” the anguish on Scott’s face was almost satisfying to Soul, he didn’t know if he hated the other boy, he probably didn’t but still in this moment where he was so sure of his next act he felt secure.  Scott would be the first person that wouldn’t be able to hold onto him, the first person that wouldn’t be able to use him, the first person that would have to let him go.

“What about me, what about your mother what about…” Soul ignored him.  It was his decision to make and no one could stop him, not really.  His mother would be sad, but if anything they had said about her were true, she would be proud. Proud that he too would do anything to stay away from these people.  But then he had another thought.  His mother had escaped from this; she had hidden herself and him for years and years.  Well the twins knew but they hadn’t bothered them until Soul left.  His mother could help him.  Why hadn’t he thought of her until now? 
“I can if I want.”  It was a childish response to something so huge, but Soul had to think, really think.  How could he get away from here himself? How could he get home without drawing them to his mother, there were so many impossible obstacles but he could do it.  And if he couldn’t he had the ultimate plan b.  But how would he do it.  It would have to be fast, resolute, something that he couldn’t come back from. 

Calmer that he had something concrete to work on, a thought that he was sure was unchanged, Soul felt a weight lift from his shoulders. 
He slipped off he pants and shirt.  They had been for traveling, for fighting and running and would be useless for sleep.  Being skin to skin with Scott wasn’t really what he wanted.  But let Scott think he was comforted, that he was diverted from suicide.  Let him think they were planning together.


Soul woke feeling the calm from the night before.  He felt Scott pressed close to his back and felt his arms tight around him.  Soul stayed still.  He didn’t know what had provoked Scott the morning before but even that didn’t faze him.  He knew what to do to please Sylvia.  He knew what he had to do to please Scott, and for his plan to work he had to seem as pliable and agreeable as possible.  He could use anything to make sure his plan worked and even Scott’s guilt could be useful.  But still a plan a was preferable, Soul wanted to take no chances of falling out of himself, of getting lost in kisses or anything else.  And despite himself a blush burned across his cheeks.
Apparently this small change was enough to wake Scott.  One of his arms loosened from around Soul’s waist and he brushed a hand across Soul’s burning cheek.

“Are you feeling okay?”  Scott’s voice was both sleepy and concerned, but clear, nothing like the morning before.  Relieved, but a bit sorry he wouldn’t be able to use guilt to cover his scheming Soul turned in Scott’s arms.  He kissed Scott on the nose and snuggled into him.  Whether or not Soul trusted him feeling arms securely around him was a nice feeling, and once the day truly began Soul had a feeling the nice feelings would be few and far between.


Soul expected breakfast to be one of the worst experiences yet, but somehow Sylvia didn’t seem phased by the escape attempt.  She didn’t even mention it.  She smiled almost genuinely at Scott and Soul as the entered the dining room.  Maybe it was because they were holding hands, or maybe it was because her plan was working. 

The meal was mostly in silence, leaving everyone to scheme on their own, and Soul was sure that that was what was happening.  Everyone was there, the twins and siblings, everyone who had entered the room before.  Only Josie was absent.  Soul felt bad for suspecting her, and realized that even if she was somehow in on the scheme he didn’t blame her.  She truly seemed terrified, and to feel, really feel, the resentment everyone felt toward her must be unimaginably painful.

After the dishes were cleared Scott lead Soul to the library again, this time the both sat at one of the large oak tables.  Their places were set with expensive sets of graphite pencils and charcoal, and huge pieces of watercolor paper.  Instead of truly trying to draw like he did yesterday Soul picked up a fine pencil immediately and began to draw a tree.  It was, of course, awful.  But he was drawing and when Sylvia stuck her head in the room and saw a pencil in his hand she smiled.  Soul smiled too, maybe his plan would work. 
As he filled in his tree and added some grass underneath he considered what he was up against and what the information he had was.  He wished he could draw a diagram to help himself figure it out.  Or talk it over with someone, but he didn’t need the nausea his mother had given him to tell him both of those options were horrible ideas.
Soul tried to remember things from his childhood, hints that might help him figure out his mother’s side of things, or what the twins had to do with everything.  His pencil froze on the paper.  The twins- they had seen his pictures any number of times, had nightmares about them, and had spoken with his mother many times.  Maybe, they were, double agents.  Soul scoffed to himself at his lack of terminology.  But the idea remained.  Telling them things had never hurt.  And honestly they had never hurt him until they left him for college; thought that apparently hadn’t happened either.  There was an enormous chance that he was wrong, but Soul had to know.  He had to find some way to ask them without Sylvia finding out, or realizing what he was doing.  And even harder he had to get a minute away from Scott who was watching him like a baby watches her mother from another’s arms.  Without guilt Soul didn’t know how to shake him.  Even a trip to the bathroom would most likely require an escort.

Soul had an idea, another crystal clear spring of an idea; it was so obvious he would have been suspicious of it.  But he had found his stride; maybe he would survive this world after all.
After finishing a final bunny that looked like a second graded had drawn it, soul stood up.  He had been thinking of the dirtiest stories he had ever read, told, or watched and was sufficiently flushed.  He unwound his hand from Scott’s.  When Scott looked up from his own doodles his lips twitched up slightly.  Soul met his eyes with his own, knowing his pupils were blown and that he gaze would be more intense than usual, something he guessed Scott really wouldn’t be able to take.  He was right.  With a few murmured words of needing to “walk it off” “breathe” and “take a moment” he was free.
Again as his clarity had granted him he knew that he would find the twins if he went somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be.  He found his way to the perpendicular hallways with all the locked doors.  After trying some of the still locked doors the twins walked around the corner.
Soul decided to jump right into it.
“You have both seen everything I drew before college, you knew and know my mother.  Why can I talk to you with no pain.”  The twins looked at each other and in that uncanny way they had communicated what their next sentence would be.  Michelle nodded softly and then David began to speak
“We can’t talk here, but you are onto something.  Think harder”
“You always were a smart one.  When you feel something know that you are right.”
“You can talk to us, you have always been able to talk to us.”
“But not here”
“Never here” Michelle reached into her pocket and brought out a photo, it was the three of them when they were very little. 
“Its for you” they both spoke.  It almost looked like David had tears in his eyes.  But then with a quick look over Soul’s shoulder the mask of coldness smoothly folded over their features. 
“You should get back to work.”  Soul tucked the picture into his pocket and just that moment, just as Michelle finished speaking Sylvia came around the corner, an exhausted looking Josie at her side.

“That is wonderful advice Soul, go.”  And Soul went.

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