Hayden sat alone, on the top of an abandoned jet he'd spent all day working on. The metal exterior was icy to the touch due to the desert's nasty climate, but he couldn't feel it either way. At this time of night, the moon's humble glow spread itself across the surface just slightly, causing it to gleam in the night.
The teen spent all day hollowing this plane from the inside out; turning it into what it is now—a shell of a once noble fighter, a ghost. It led him to a place in his mind he rarely entered—thoughts about his own life. Normally he spent his time contemplating the lives of others. Calculating their next moves. Predicting their answers to his questions. He had no time to think about his own life, his own problems.
No, the world was much too full of more interesting things than himself.
Yet today, he found himself wondering if he was something like this plane. Was he really the cunning yet charismatic teenager he made himself out to be? Or was he just like this plane—an awfully convincing front to show everyone else, but empty on the inside?
He wasn't sure.
He's never sure about himself, after all.
'I know others so well. Predictions aren't hard to make if you have the proper information. So then who am I?' he'd often ask himself. 'It's pointless entertaining these thoughts. You know what's useful, Hayden? Focusing on others. Now that's going to get you somewhere.'
But as pointless as these thoughts were, he couldn't get them out of his head. One thing led to another, and soon he found himself thinking of his parents. How were they doing? Did they think he was dead? Or rather, not dead, unwound. Did they miss him at all?
His eyes stung as though he were about to cry, but he just blinked it away. 'What's going on here? Why are you crying? C'mon, now. You've made it this far on your own. Don't tell me you miss them… You don't need them, or their spite,' he tried to tell himself. But as hard as he tried, a single tear managed to trickle down his cheek.
If someone were to come and ask him right now if he missed his parents, what would he say? Instinctively, the answer would be no. How could he miss those rotten parents, who would rather have him unwound than lose a petty argument? How could he miss those parents who fought each other so hard… just because… they loved him?
'That wasn't love.' His thoughts are firm, much like the way he speaks. 'That was simply a need for power, for possession.' Still… That thought hurt. Those people he spent 17 years with, those people who raised him… maybe they did love him. Just maybe.
And if they could find it within their hearts to love him… then could he possibly miss them, too?
Thinking so hard made his eyelids grow heavy, and within moments, he fell into the realm of lost memories, also known as his dreams.
He saw himself as a small child, maybe 5 or 6. He and his two parents sat around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and laughing. But, watching this scene from a new perspective was much different. His parents seemed strained and uncomfortable around each other. The conversation felt unreal, artificial.
How didn't he notice this when he was kid?
Maybe his entire life was building up to that divorce. Maybe he just hadn't paid enough attention to the way his family acted. Could he have changed anything? He wants to say yes, that he could have helped them rebuild their relationship. Yet he can't say that. This outcome was inevitable.
Suddenly, the entire scene is disrupted and fades to black, and he feels a sensation in his gut—falling. He was falling. Where he was and how he got there, he had no idea. All he knew was that he was plummeting toward the earth at a frightening speed—
"AAH!" he shrieked as he felt himself sliding off the top of the plane and hitting the ground. It wasn't a particularly large plane, but still, it stood at a decent height. "Nngh… what?" He blinked his eyes. He was just with his parents, at a campfire—no wait, that was a dream.
Reality was that he fell asleep on top of a plane, and after few hours, he rolled over, and there we go.
What he didn't know, was that his scream was heard by almost every Unwind at the Graveyard, and that Connor, along with some guards, were on their way to his very location.
"Who's there?" Connor's voice rang out in the night air. "Don't move, or we'll tranq you."
"Yes, I'm a criminal who somehow managed to make it to the middle of the desert, and while I was here, I just decided to let out a scream loud enough to wake everyone in the entire Graveyard, alerting them of my presence. Is that what you're accusing me of, Connor?"
Hayden's braces reflect a bit of moonlight, making his smirk just visible in the darkness. As the shock of falling about ten or twelve feet from the air wore off, he really began to feel the full impact he'd hit the ground at. Surely, nothing was broken or dislocated, but it still hurt like hell. Oh well.
"Christ, Hayden. You scared the crap out of all of us," Connor states, not realizing that he was hurt. He waved the other guards to return to their stations, while he looked back at the blonde on the floor. "What the hell happened?"
"I was taking a nap." He pauses, taking in Connor's priceless expression at that moment. "Well, as you can see, I'm not the best at choosing places to fall asleep."
"Alright, alright. But as far as I know, you're not a very careless person." Connor grows serious, in spite of Hayden's perpetually jocular attitude. It's obvious enough that Hayden is a smart kid, and that his attitude is just his way of messing with other people. Or distracting himself from his own life. "So are you going to tell me what's up?"
"Connor, it should be obvious enough what's up." For a moment, he feigns seriousness and catches his friend's attention, but he can't hold the expression for long. "The moon."
"…Hayden, that's not what I meant…" He tries desperately to maintain his stern exterior, but he can't. Right then and there, it's as if months' worth of pent of laughter let loose. It felt so good to be alone with a friend, in the cool shade of the night. It's something he forgot about as a leader of the Graveyard.
"Glad I could make you laugh." For a moment, sincerity is detectable in his tone, and it's something Connor knows he can trust. "But uh," he adds, looking a bit sheepish, "can you help me up?"