Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dying to be Dead - Part 1 - Chapter 1 - It's in the Blood

(Below is an excerpt of my story Dying to be Dead Pt. 1) (I am currently searching for a literary agent. Wish me luck!)        

 Lana Kelly had changed so dramatically in the last six months, to the point that everyone around her was worried. Her mother Vivienne thought that for sure she was on drugs. Her stepdad Mark was too drunk to notice anything. Lana’s mom had decided to get the counselor at her high school involved. Lana had been called in last period, every afternoon for two weeks now to talk to Ms. Kemp; King High school’s whacked out, save the world guidance counselor. Lana sat there in Ms. Kemp’s office in a rock hard chair, a lot like the kind you find in laundromats. She looked around at the mostly bare, generic looking walls. There was nothing more on them than a couple of pictures in frames, and a diploma of some kind. One of the pictures was of Ms. Kemp and some younger woman with bad teeth. Lana stared at the picture noticing that Ms. Kemp looked quite a bit like a bug. You know the look, the kind with bulging eyes far apart and a sharp nose, and an unnaturally small mouth. Lana’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of her mother on the other side of the door talking to Ms. Kemp. The door opened suddenly and Ms. Kemp walked in. She shut the door behind her leaving Vivienne to have to resort to eavesdropping. Ms. Kemp sat down at her desk and was looking over some papers that were there. She looked up soon after and said “Well Lana, I’ve been going over a list of teen addict warning signs. Let me share some of it with you. (Your child may be on drugs if they – 1. They have had a dramatic change in appearance.) Ms. Kemp looked up scrutinizing with those buggy eyes at Lana. (2. They have had a sudden change in behavior.) – Buggy eyes again. (3. They have distanced themselves from friends and loved ones.) – There were those eyes again. Lana, this does not look good”, Ms. Kemp announced when she finished reading off the list. “I don’t care what it looks like. I’m no junkie lady”, said Lana defiantly. “We’re not accusing you of anything; it’s just that your mother and Stacey are quite worried about you.” “Stacey! You’re kidding! Stacey ratted me out? Lana covered her face in anguish. She couldn’t believe that Stacey, who was suppose to be her best friend in the world, had sided with her mother and was trying to cause trouble for her. Lana knew exactly what this was all about. She had grown distant from Stacey over the past year and Stacey had a hard time accepting that fact. Lana never had any personal animosity towards Stacey. Lana just had her own problems and her own way of dealing with them. Besides, Stacey had already started hanging out with a whole new crowd a long time ago. Obviously Stacey was out for revenge here. While Lana was contemplating all of this, Ms. Kemp just kept rattling on. “You hardly look like the same girl that started school here back in September. You had such lovely, long blonde hair, and now it is as black as coal. And your manner of dressing is just not acceptable. You cannot live out Halloween on a daily basis”, stated Ms. Kemp. Just then, Vivienne entered without even a knock. “So have we gotten anywhere? Vivienne asked. ‘I’m sorry Ms. Kelly, I’ve been trying to get Lana to open up to me for two weeks now, and only hostility comes from her. She speaks of delusional characters and immortality. I cannot make any real sense of it. It is in my professional opinion that Lana be put under psychiatric care”, said Ms. Kemp. “What are you saying? My daughter’s crazy? Asked Vivienne frantically. “Not at all Ms. Kelly, this is just a dramatic time in a young person’s life. Some just need a little more guidance along the way, and medication may also erase some of the growing pains”, said Ms. Kemp.

On the drive home, Vivienne was furious. “How could you put the family through this?” asked Vivienne. “How could I... her voice trailed off, never mind”, said Lana. Lana just turned her head and stared off out the window at the blur of the passing trees. She needed to tune her mother out or she would truly go off on her. How dare her mother accuse her of putting her family through turmoil when nearly every night her wanna-be father drives home pissing drunk, stumbles into the house and beats the crap out of her mother Vivienne. More than once, Lana had to step in and stop Mark from killing her mom. Yet Vivienne’s way of dealing with it all is to just pretend none of it ever happened. Four years of this horrid home life and Lana dreams of a way out. Lana figured there was no use in trying to explain this to anyone.

Vivienne’s old, rusted Chevy Cavalier barely makes it up the driveway. ‘Damn, I hate this car”, Vivienne said as she cut the motor off. Vivienne turned and tried to reach out for Lana to hug her, but Lana fumbled with the door handle and jumped out of the car as fast as she could and ran to the sanctuary of her pathetic little bedroom. She couldn’t stand the thought of hugging Vivienne. She didn’t want to be close to her anymore. Lana was ready to leave all human companionship behind. She threw herself on her bed and tried to cry. She just couldn’t do it. She felt nothing inside, numb. Lana reached for the pocketknife she kept in her bedside table drawer. She opened it hesitantly, knowing full well what she craved to do next. She turned the knife from side to side inspecting the serrated grooves on the blade. This had been one of Mark’s hunting knives, or had been rather, from back when he used to hunt. All he ever did now was get drunk and violent. The knife was highly sharp, meant to tear flesh from bone. It only took one small scrape across Lana’s forearm for the blood to flow rapidly. There was such a release when she cut herself. It was like she was freeing all the trapped emotions that were so deep inside she couldn’t feel them anymore. This pain was so familiar and comforting. She was in control of this pain. No analyzing needed to be done here. Lana knew there may be hell to pay for cutting herself in plain sight on her arm like this, but she didn’t care this time. She usually did them on inconspicuous spots throughout her body. This time she’d make up some lie about how it happened, that is, if anyone even noticed at all. Lana had become an expert of sorts on the cuttings. She had learned exactly how hard to slice the knife across her skin without causing any real permanent damage. She was really bleeding quite a lot this time, but it felt good, and she was sure it would stop soon. The blood was so bright red and warm as it flowed out over her arm. She smoothed her hand across it and smeared it all over her face and neck, covering herself in it. It felt somewhat like a warm, protective blanket to her. She understood the blood like nothing else she ever knew. “Maybe I’m crazy”, she thought. She stood in front of her full length mirror looking at the spectacle she had made of herself. “What have I allowed myself to become?” she wondered. She figured that anyone in their right mind would not find this behavior normal, and the world around her didn’t even know the half of it. She wasn’t ready to give this up. The blood had already started drying up and crusting around the corners of her eyes and the nostrils of her nose. It almost looked as if she had been painted red like a football fanatic cheering for their favorite team. Looking at herself in the mirror usually brought Lana out of her blood episodes. The image in front of her really frightened her. She could see that she was really losing control of the situation. Every time she would cut, it was a little deeper and a little harder.

The cuttings seemed to be taking over her. She had a desperate need to feel the burning warmth as the blood flowed out of her. It took away the numbness every time. She pulled out an old, dirty towel from under her bed that she had stashed for just this purpose and she tore it down the middle. She wrapped half of it around her wounded arm tightly, and tied the other half of it on top of that one, covering the wound, and acting like a tourniquet. She almost forgot about the knife. She had absentmindedly left it lying on her bed, still open. Lana wiped the knife clean, closed it up carefully, and tossed it on top of her bedside table. She had to carefully sneak to the bathroom to wash the blood away before anyone would find out what she did to herself again. As she washed the blood from her body, she became entranced just watching the reddened water trickle down the drain. She stood there for the longest time just letting the water fall all over her until it ran clear. When she finally got out and got dressed she saw that her wound had started bleeding again. She reached under the bathroom sink and pulled out a first aid kit. Lana bandaged her cut and then looked into the bathroom mirror at her appearance. She was relieved that she had grabbed a long sleeved, black tee shirt from her closet to put on after her shower. Now all she had to do was pull down her sleeves and forget the whole nasty ordeal. She could hardly even feel the sting and wetness that existed beneath the hidden bandage on her arm. But inside, it was hard to forget what she had just done. She died a little more inside each time she did this.. She had become consumed by it. She didn’t want to die really. She knew that with each passing day, she was a little closer to death, inside and out. She always pushed herself a little further over the edge every time she cut herself.

Thankful that she made it back to her room without being bothered by anyone, she locked her door and threw herself across her bed. Lana noticed her copy of A.R. Price’s “Vampire Memoirs” was still lying on her bedside table by where the knife was. She had left it there the night before after she had stayed up late reading it. She had been having more and more trouble sleeping lately. Although, she had no trouble falling asleep in class at school. Lana was so caught up in the alternative reality that A.R. Price’s “Vampire Memoirs” gave her. She fantasized that the vampires were real, and that A.R. Price was only a penman and cover for their protection. Most of her free time was devoted to reading about vampires or joining every vampire community online.

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