When your own parents are only a hollow memory in your mind, something really is fucked up in your life. No one could convince him of the different.
There are many situations that Zeke can handle. Sitting alone in this empty house is not one of them. A bunch of people may believe that isolation is a feeling someone gets used to, but they are wrong.
The weekend does not welcome him with open arms. Cheap beer, mindless television and a broody mind is everything he seems to have for today.
Casey shares an "all family's evening" with good old mom and dad. Parents are a blessing and a curse, Zeke concludes.
Stan and Strokes are better left alone. Zeke couldn't stand their lovebirds behavior anyway. They are his friends, not to get it wrong - but everyone knows that "third wheel"-feeling when the freshly in love couple could do nothing but stare at each other and have that ridiculous huge grin on each of their faces. It makes Zeke's skin itch and leaves an uncomfortable, sick tightness in the pit of his stomach.
Cigarettes are puffed away - one by one - vanishing into smoke and ash; into futility. Sometimes Zeke feels like this, too. Like an obsolete utensil that someone used and threw away. While he basically forgets these kind of thoughts when he is around friends, they always crawl back in his mind, randomly.
For some reason, it seems absurd that rain is pouring down mercilessly, matching Zeke's state of mind perfectly. Too perfectly.
The scenery on the TV couldn't be any less boring: An alien tries to destroy New York City, just to take over the world. The hero of this movie is, of course, a well-built, brawny man with a massive load of equipment.
This is nothing like experimenting a real alien. An alien with a giant body, dozens of tentacles and a frightening grimace that even resembles a face. The dead body of this monster squeezed in-between the bleachers will stuck in his mind for the rest of his life, that's a given.
Just the thought of lanky Casey Connor attacking it with nothing but his bare hands and a pen full of crushed sleeping pills is ridiculous. And not that 'this-makes-me-smile'-kind of ridiculous. More the 'it-makes-my-stomach-turn'-kind of ridiculous.
There is no doubt that they worked as a team to defeat the enemy, eventually forming a band of friendship. However, it always is Casey that Zeke's mind travels to, because he saw the glimmer in these blue eyes, the last spark of courage. If this hadn't been there, the human race might not exist in its current state anymore.
Casey seems innocent. His behavior, the way he talks, they way he looks at you speaks of untouched faith.
There is something about the substance of innocence that makes you want it to last forever. But leaves you longing for it at the same time, screaming for more, scratching at the surface until it blossoms just for you - and you only.
"Okay, just try to concentrate on this movie,", Zeke sighs and takes another gulp of his beer. The bitter taste runs down his throat.
Small scions of the alien queen are now killing citizens. Screeching noises reach his ears as these animated creatures bite peoples' skulls and suck out their brains. 'Ridiculous', once again, this word crosses his mind.
The movie ended, eventually. A glimpse of relief fills Zeke's body.
Maybe it was for the best to go to bed. His own sanctuary. When the night wraps its dark, warm covers around him, Zeke could just stop. No more mind-racing or distracting thoughts, no more suffering in absent loneliness, no more being … Zeke.
After he turned off the TV - which he should have done hours ago -, Zeke empties the ashtray, throws away the used filters and the ash; the utensils. It makes him wonder why it isn't that easy to throw away memories. Filter the good ones and put the bad kind in the bin.
'Just shut up,' his own voice echoes in his head.
Zeke starts walking towards his bedroom. As his large hand starts to turn the knob, suddenly the doorbell rings.
More surprised than shocked, he turns around.
Zeke always feels a sting of excitement when the doorbell rings, because he never excepts visitors to come by. Sometimes it seems to be a sign from the world that it hasn't forgotten him yet. But the truth is that it doesn't change a thing if the world knows he exists. This won't cease the unhappiness inside of him.
These kind of thoughts are counterproductive, like fighting on a blood-filled battlefield for peace, because he secretly knows that there is no way to peace, peace should be the way inside the people's hearts.
Zeke's steps are unwieldy, like taking strokes toward doom. He reaches out for the doorknob, and turns it slowly in his hand.
The door opens and the image his eyes set on made his throat tighten in sympathized pity:Casey Connor - the boy he praised just some minutes ago - stands in front of him. The clothes he wears are fully soaked from the rain. His bony body trembles, a slight blue color marks his lips. The boy tries to protect himself from the chilly wind as small arms wrap around himself.
Zeke isn't sure if it was the sound of the hauling fall or a shaking voice that said "Hello".
"Case? What the hell are you doing here? Come in! You'll freeze to death!," slightly angered but more worried Zeke takes Casey's hand in his and pulls him into the warm house.
Questions start racing through his mind, but he doesn't bother on asking them yet. First, he needs to get Casey out of these wet clothes.
"Just wait a sec! I'll get something dry to wear for you," Zeke turns around, but cold fingers hold him steady in place. The voice that reaches him is just a mere hush that crumbles on these empty walls:"No, can you please stay with me?"
Blue eyes captivate him, pulling him under a spell of an ocean's soul - thousands of years old, and still unexplored and undiscovered. Beautiful and daunting.
Frightening waters of no return. Once Casey pulled you in, you will never be able to go back to your former self. Zekes knees buckle beneath him, but he is not ready to surrender.
"What is it, Casey? What happened? I thought you wanted to spend the evening with your parents?," confusion fills his voice, but Zeke is not the type of person who leaves questions unanswered - at least not without fighting for them.
The boy in front of him breaks the contact between them, seems lost in the action. Zeke follows his gaze to the floor.
"You can talk to me, you know."
Casey doesn't respond. Rain drips off his hair, contouring the beautiful but sad face. The drops fall and are entwined by the rough fabric of the carpet. The end of a world - even just the size of a fingertip; futility reaches Zeke's mind again.
As Casey begins to sob, the silence breaks. The burden of the night comes shattering down on him. It is true that it always seems to rain in situations like these. Tears mix with water. The boy's skin looks a shade paler in contrast to his swollen, red eyes.
Zeke steps forward. The urge to grab Casey's chin and kiss it all better is there, but gets drowned by the echoes of quiet weeping.
With an all too sudden jolt, Casey leaps into Zeke's arms, almost knocks him over with the force. The tall young man holds him safe, embraces him with warm, welcoming arms.
Zeke sees him cringing, but just holds him tighter.
Between Casey's sobs, Zeke can make out a few words: "My parents… they had a fight."
Now that comes unexpected. Judging by Casey's devastated look, Zeke awaited horrible happenings - someone's death, maybe the destruction of the earth, but not feuding parents.
As far as Zeke can remember, his own mother and father were just figures in the shadow of their own and his existence. Random people who show up from time to time, but don't stay long enough to make a difference. They created his life, but don't take a part in making him feel alive.
Zeke doesn't know what he should say, so he just holds Casey closer to him. Making the tears fade with simple words.
"Hush, Casey. We can save the world - once again."