Recently, a new show has been playing on SyFy in australia called Alphas and I've been addicted since the first episode. I got a big inspiration hit yesterday and I have been writing non-stop. This is the first chapter of my Alphas story.
I hope everyone enjoys it. The rest of the Alpha team won't be in until next chapter at the earliest, maybe even the chapter after that so please try to hold on for them. I tried to make the characters as in character as I could. Gary was both the easiest and the hardest to keep in character but I think I did pretty well. What do you think?
Please review and let me know what you think of it.
P.S. The K+ rating is for mild language and some violence. Title is also subject to change.
Gary Bell was the young, autistic boy who used to live next door to my father and me in Michigan. He lived there even before I moved in to the neighbouring house to the left. His mother, Sandra, constantly worried about him, what he ate, what he did and where he went. She was scared that her son would come home continuously with bruises and bloody noses from the rough school bullies.
That's where I came in.
I'm Jessica Lake, but most call me Jessie. I was born to Jonathon Lake and Felicia Palmer. I was just two when my mother fell ill. She was diagnosed with irreparable lung cancer from her years of smoking. She passed away when I was three.
I am about five foot six inches tall now with a slim figure. I have long brown hair that ends at my hips and light green eyes. My dad always told me they were my mother's eyes.
When we moved in though, my hair barely brushed my shoulders and I was just about four foot seven inches.
My father and I moved in next door to Sandra and Gary Bell when I turned nine. Gary was ten but he was in my grade at school, having been held back due to his autism. Despite his high functionality, the teachers felt he had some difficulty when he first began his schooling, thus he was forced to repeat the first grade.
Gary didn't mind. He enjoyed going to school everyday and learning more and more. But as the years went on, he became a target.
Several of the boys in the grades above him thought that because he was autistic, he was a retard and therefore, decided to exploit that for their own desires. They began to target him for their own bullying pleasure, leaving him scared to turn up to school each and every morning after.
By the time I arrived, Gary had just about had enough.
After getting ourselves settled, my father and I had headed over to introduce ourselves and to get to know our neighbours. Sandra greeted us at the door politely. She insisted that we both call her Sandra, despite my instincts to call her Mrs Bell. My father followed her into the living room, asking her about the neighbourhood, how long she'd lived there and did she live alone, because the décor suggested otherwise.
Sandra chuckled and replied, "No. I live here with my son, Gary. He's upstairs at the moment, trying to figure out his math homework."
Dad chuckled as well, taking a seat on the maroon coloured couch. "Well, Jessie here might be able to help. She's pretty good with numbers."
Sandra turned to me. "Jessie, is it?"
I nodded my head, smiling shyly.
"Would you please help Gary with his math homework? He's autistic so sometimes it can be hard for him to focus unless there's something there to bring him back on the right track," Sandra said, sounding like she was about to defend her son's autism.
But she didn't need to.
"I'd be happy to help, Sandra," I smiled politely, watching as she visibly relaxed her shoulders a little. I could tell she thought I would be disgusted that she'd even suggested I help Gary because he's autistic but it didn't matter to me. A person is a person, no matter what little quirks they have. It's something my father always told me and I thought it was perfectly fitting in almost every situation.
As I headed up the stairs, I heard my father say, "It's okay, Sandra. A person is a person, no matter what little quirks they have."
That would have Sandra relaxing fully now. She didn't have to worry about my father influencing me badly.
It was easy to tell which room was Gary's. It has a big sign on the door saying 'GARY'S ROOM'. Inside was a small boy, only looking to be about seven years old. I'd find out his true age a little later on.
"Gary?" I called softly. "My name is Jessica Lake. Your mom asked me to come and help you focus on your math homework." I treaded into the room lightly, watching the little boy flick his right hand to the left, stop for a moment to spreading his first two fingers and then curling his hand into a fist before the process repeated itself. His left hand held the right one steady.
I looked over this boy sitting on the floor even as I took a few more tentative steps into the room. He had short, dark brown hair, and piercing blue-green eyes. He was wearing beige slacks, colourful striped socks and a light multicoloured shirt that was buttoned up to the top. On his feet were black leather school shoes. I looked over to his desk where I saw his math homework untouched.
"Gary?" I called again, this time a little louder. Gary's hand curled into a fist and then his hands dropped as he turned to look at me. There was a slight amount of fear in his eyes. "Hi, Gary. My name is Jessica Lake, but you can call me Jessie. I'm your new neighbour. Your mom asked me to come help you focus on your math homework."
I could tell by the look on Gary's face that he hadn't even thought about doing his homework when he got home, just contents to flick his hand around, almost like he was scrolling through something.
"H-Hi, Jessie," He stuttered a little, still having that light amount of fear in his eyes. "I can't focus."
He definitely was a high functioning autistic with how well he was speaking. "Well, Gary. I'm here to help you focus. Do you need me to explain anything that you don't understand?" I asked, trying to get him on the right track.
The fear in his eyes diminished quickly. He rose awkwardly from the floor and slowly made his way over to the desk, shuffling through the papers before pulling out one of them. He walked back towards me just enough to reach and hand me the paper before he retracted his arm to play with the dark blue sweat band that was around his left wrist.
I scanned my eyes over the paper. It was a paper filled with fraction equations and fraction multiplication equations. I looked up at Gary to see him fidgeting nervously. I smiled at him, feeling happy when he relaxed and gave a shy smile back. "It's okay, Gary. I can help you with this. I'll explain how to work out these fraction equations before we move onto the multiplication ones. How does that sound?"
Gary looked at me and nodded his head slowly, like he was curious as to why I wanted to help him.
"Your mom told me about your autism, Gary," I watched as he tensed but I continued, "But I don't care. You're autistic, so what? You're still human."
Gary's expression portrayed his shock. Slowly that expression morphed into a bright smile. "You're eyes are pretty," He said brightly, taking a seat on his bed. I blushed darkly but smiled in return.
From then on, we were pretty much inseparable. We did everything together, birthdays, special occasions, everything. We'd walk home from school together, hang out at lunch and do homework at either of our houses.
It was probably the happiest time in my whole life.
But one day, Gary didn't come to school. He claimed to be sick. Later that afternoon, when I came home from yet another day of junior year, I walked down our street and saw a 'For Sale' sign out the front of his house. I walked up the walk way, curious about the sign. But no-one answered the door. I looked through the window and saw that all the furniture had been moved out and the house looked bare, like someone had taken its clothes off.
Then the brutal truth hit me and I crumpled to the ground, tears of despair sliding down my cheeks with more racing after them.
Gary Bell was gone.