DISCLAIMER: There is only one thing I CAN claim, that is the OC(s).
NOTE: This is the first time I'm writing in first person for something longer than a one-shot, let alone through the eyes of an OC. This is not a "Mary Sue / Gary Stu" setup nor is it a self insert. So please read with an open mind, and if I screw up something, don't be afraid to let me know...I promise I won't flashover-flame or bite.
Plumbers Versus Carpenters
I can't believe this is happening. How could I have found myself in this situation? Squeaking metal echoes along brick walls of the night time dark alley between a used book store and a corner market. Over the racket of the metal brace around my left knee, my shoes slapping hard against the pavement and the echoes of my gasping and yelping I clearly hear the approach of the teen boy in blue jeans and a green jacket with brunet hair. It was distant at first. Now it sounds like he's almost on top of me.
Run. Run as long as possible my mind shouts as I turn to look back; sure enough there he is, almost within arms reach.
"What do you want!" I shriek, there was a defined tint of fear and panic in the words I uttered. Turning my view ahead after he says nothing I gasp seeing a girl roughly the boys age coming into the alley ahead of myself. The reddish-brown haired girl looks like she goes to some fancy prep-school and the boy looks like he could go to any regular school. She too starts running towards me.
"Slow it down squirt" the voice forced me to look over to the left; running even with my pace is another teen boy, larger than the first two…probably older. This one wears blue jeans and a black shirt with long raven black hair. He is the kind of thing that I don't want to meet in dark alleys such as this one. Oh god this is a nightmare that I just can't wake up from.
How long has he been there! What do these people want with me!
They are almost within breathing distance now. I watch curiously as the girl draws fisted hands surrounded by a neon pink shield; her eyes are the same color. What is that? How is she doing that? What is she? I have to lean back as my shoes skid along the pavement - my body instinctively drops its center of mass for the abrupt halt before I slam full force into a shield that appeared out of nowhere. A shield, which is the same color pink as the girls' hands and eyes.
"Why couldn't you do that in the first place, Gwen?" the boy in the black shirt demanded; I turn my attention back to find another pink shield appearing from thin air separating them from myself. I know I'm trapped; but at the moment, I also know they can't get past and to me. Hesitantly I reached out a lone hand and hovered the tips of my fingers mere inches away from the pink glow; slowly I closed the distance, until the palm of my hand rested on the glowing pink force. It doesn't hurt. It kind of tickles actually. Then I see her reaching out, before I can think to withdraw, she places her hand on the opposite side of the shield - opposite of my own.
"It's okay…" she speaks softly with a trace of a smile "…we don't want to hurt you. We just want to talk. What's your name?"
What is my name? I…I…don't remember…I don't remember too much of anything about myself, only…
"Your name. What is it?" I hear the smaller brunet haired boy asking…no, demanding that I tell him something I don't know.
"I-I DON'T KNOW!" Shouting a pathetic despaired response was the only thing I could do.
"What do you mean you don't know what your own name is?" the ruffian looking of the three asked taking his weight to lean against the shield.
"I - DON'T - KNOW - !" Again I shouted while bringing my fisted hands to the side of my face. Before I know it, I feel a hand on my chin; forcing myself to look, I find the girl reaching out - her soft hands dancing under my rough face. Instinct tells me to flinch and turn away; yet reality compels me to remain transfixed. A tugging at the right sleeve of my black denim jacket and the faintest of gasps. Even without looking, I know she noticed it…saw it…
"Guys?" she calls out allowing the remaining shield to dissipate while gently and ever so softly bringing my right arm down for them to see.
"X dash 137" the ruffian reads aloud the same letter and set of numbers permanently imprinted on the underside of my right wrist. How that combo haunts me; oh how it has haunted my every thought - every memory - every experience for the…past…ten…years.
"What does it mean?" the girl asks glaring her male counterparts; the shorter brunet shrugs while the thug seems to be lost in his own world of thoughts. "Do you by chance have a wallet? Some kind of picture ID? A slip of mail? Even just a simple picture?" she turns her attention to me. I have to stop and think; every thought manifests as a rapid series of blinks; without a lone conscious thought of doing so, my hand reaches into my pocket and pulls out a couple of one dollar bills.
The car ride is silent. Kevin - the thug drives, Gwen - the girl is in the front seat and Ben - the smaller male brunet is sitting on my right. At first I tried avoiding going anywhere with these three, but there's something about them that makes me feel safe…at least somewhat comfortable. If it comes down to it, I can defend myself, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve. I can tell they're somewhat close friends, though; they work as a team and the way Kevin looks at Gwen hints that he's at least a little attracted to her; he does look like he would snap me in half for even thinking of trying to hook up with her. Overhead streetlamps offer passing flashes of pale orange into the car.
"What kind of car is this?" I finally break the silence; with nothing more than a quick glance to the mirror, Kevin replies.
"76 Camaro. She's my pride; you don't mess with the car, and I don't mess with you!"
"Got it." Note to self…do not mess with this guy's car!
"Don't worry about him…" Ben whispers while leaning over "…he's just cranky because he didn't have his nap-time."
"One more word Tennyson; this car stops and you're walking home, that means you too, X137 or whatever goofy alias you're using!"
"Kevin! Be nice. I know this wasn't how you wanted to spend your night, but we might have a lead on…" Gwen abruptly stops remembering there was a fourth person riding with them instead of the usual three.
Another round of silence falls upon us. I don't know what, but there is something strange with these three; like they're some kind of covert spies or intergalactic heroes that don't exist.
"X." I muttered taking a deep sigh.
"What?" Ben and Gwen turned to see what I spoke.
"They called me, X." I brought up my right sleeve to expose the marks seared into my skin.
"I don't know who. The only thing I vividly remember is some weird symbol…it looks like an upside down Y with four dots lined up like North, South, East and West…" before I could finish the car lunges and comes to a screeching halt. Without a lone word from anyone, Kevin opens the door, gets out, flops the seat forwards and grabs me by my jacket.
"Uh-unh…" he grunts slinging me out of the car and into the middle of the road "…you're a hot ticket item and we've got enough problems as it is. Nothing personal, but you sure as hell aren't staying around us for another second" with this he flips the seat back and gets behind the wheel. I can only watch as the car drives away; red glowing tail-lights against a black and green paint scheme fades away into the night time.
"Perfect!" I groaned starting to walk the direction the car went. Foot by foot; minute by minute; the road continued on forever. The only sound is that of squeaking metal drowning out the crickets, perhaps leading them in the harmony of the nights music. I don't know where I'm going anymore; all I'm doing is walking; wondering; wishing. I stopped and shivered as a blast of artic air whips through my clothing, even for the dead of summer, a cold breeze still gusts.
"Nice night, for a walk…" the voice was slow, gruff, raspy; I whipped around while reaching for my right sleeve; nothing came under the glow of the street lamp as I spun around. Upon the third revolution with left hand at the ready of right sleeve, it became evident who…or what stood across from me. The thing was tall; seven feet even, black and blue splotches covered it's body and butterfly style wings, it's face strangely alien, it's 'hands' and 'feet' resembled talon grippers identical to eagles and other birds of prey.
"Stay back!" I demanded feeling the handle of my trusty long bladed knife tucked between the denim sleeve and my right arm.
"Easy there…" the thing speaks in it's raspy voice while holding it's talon hand out in a 'halt' position. Before my very eyes, the mutant moth being de-scrambles.
"Ben?" My voice shakes as I have to blink rapidly to make sure I'm seeing what I just saw.
"The one and only. Come on…" he glares deviously at me "…you need a place to stay, and we need to get there quickly" with this, he fiddles with his funky watch and slams down; again, before my very eyes, the moth creature unfurls it's wings with arms spread out.
"Big Chill" it proclaims before fluttering a few feet off the ground. "Grab on, and hold tight" it hovers just high enough for me to reach up and grip onto it's ankles…or the equivalent of. In what seems a flash, both of us zip over the road; though I have to keep my eyes closed because I don't do heights or flying very well; even so, it was nice to feel the wind coursing through my hair.
"Mom, dad, I'm home. And I brought a friend over…" Ben calls out as we enter through the front door to his home. It looks like pretty much any other home in any other suburban neighborhood in any other middle of nowhere town. The layout of the structure was simple enough; enter into the living room, kitchen and dining room to the right, a hallway leading to a bathroom and a couple of rooms on the left. Sitting on the couch is a tan haired man that looks like a future Ben with quite a bit more weight, and a blond haired woman - both turn their attention from a small TV towards us.
"Hey Ben, who's your friend?" the woman asks standing as does the man.
"This is-uh-…" Ben dropped off drawing a blank.
"X…" I have to interject "…short for Xander. And Ben offered to bring me over as part of the Make A Friend program at school." It was a lie; I don't know what my name is, but I do go by X, so Xander was a most likely choice no matter how questionable it was.
Make A Friend program at school! Ben didn't have to say it, I can't read his mind, but the look on his face told me that's exactly what he was tripping over. The two adults glare between us for what felt like an hour, though only a few short seconds had passed before the man reaches out with ready to shake hands.
"Hello, X. I'm Carl, that's Sandra, we're Ben's parents"
"Hey" I offer my hand in return though somewhat hesitantly.
"So, tell me, X. What exactly is the Make A Friend program and how does it work?" Sandra narrows her focus on me almost like she's trying to user her parental know-how to get me to slip up over something. It's not going to be that hard to give them something credible, but it'll be hard enough to watch how I handle this one.
"Well, basically, it's a peer to peer program. And what happens is, if you need someone to hang out or do something with, you just fill out a short questionnaire and you get matched up with a peer that is best suited for the task. So that way, both parties can see what it's like on the other side of the fence…in a manner of speaking. Luckily I was teamed up with Ben."
"Mom, dad, would it be all right if X stayed the night?" this time Ben was the one that tripped me with what he said. There was a short pause of silence that hung thick in the air.
"If it's part of the Friend program, I don't see why not." Sandra finally broke the stillness. "As long as you follow house rules…" she glares to me "…no drinking, smoking, drugs, potty-language. Understand?"
"If by drinking you mean alcohol, then yes, I understand perfectly."
"Good" she smiles.
"Ben…?" I asked with a yawn and a stretch "…what's the deal with your sister and Kevin?" with this, Ben chuckles before laughing; curious to see what was so funny, I sat up and stared at him rolling onto his side on his bed. It is kind of weird seeing him wearing only his jeans, black undershirt and socks, but right now, it's something normal; and right now, normal is something I need.
"First off, Gwen's not my sister, she's my cousin. Secondly, they have a love hate relationship. They love to hate each other, they're kind of attracted to each other but at the same time, they're kind of repulsed by the other."
"Like a train wreck, don't wanna look but you just can't look away."
"So, why did you come back even when those two drove away?"
"Because something's obviously wrong, and you need help. It's kind-a what I do."
"And what is that watch all about-it does more than keep time."
"It does everything but keep time" he pouts. "What about you?"
"What about me, what?"
"We find you wondering the streets dazed and confused; when we try to see what's wrong, you take off. You have no memory of who you are, where you come from or even what you were trying to do…except for running."
"I wish I knew…" I trailed off flopping hard against the pillow on the floor of his room.
If only I knew.