When Fiacra's father murders his family and commits suicide, Fiacra is left to fend for himself. He ends up in an institution where he meets Blue. Blue isn't any ordinary guy. A story of friendship...
The insanity Blues
I wasn't afraid to die. What scared me was not knowing whether I'd be killed or just tortured. Whether or not things would be ok if I let my father win the fight. Would he kill me anyway when I lowered my head and apologised? That's what scared me. So I didn't back down. To me, it was less frightening to ensure my own destruction rather than leaving it for his alcohol induced imagination to decide.
Not much was needed to set him off. All I had to do was smile, but I took it farther than that. I mean, since I'm going down, might as well go down with a bang. Not only did I grin, but I winked as well. His face turned two darker shades by the second. Who would have thought this old man's lethal fury could be so very amusing?
"Wink at me, will you?" He shouted at me from three inches away. His eyes glared into mine. Every time he looked at my red eyes, he seemed disgusted that he would have such a freak for a son. And so he grabbed my green hair, and yanked my head back, forcing me toward the bed.
My older sister twitched. She was naked, but that wasn't why I wouldn't look at her swollen form decorating the filthy bed sheets like father had told me to. I couldn't look at her because her empty eyes were staring at me, unblinking. She was dead. Father had killed her because she was finally strong enough to refuse his nightly whims. Since my sister had died, I thought it only fair that it was my turn.
Instead of killing me, he walked away. Even with all the merciless beatings and psychological warfare, walking away was probably the worst thing he had ever done to me. It wasn't fair! Why did she get to die when I had to live? It was enough to make me hate my dearly deceased sister, even as she lay there in the bed, naked and covered in bodily fluids. The idea of suicide never occurred to me. I don't even think I knew what suicide was.
A thump came from the next room. I was too pissed off to care about what happened, but my curiosity stole me into the next room before my common sense even put its argument out on the table.
My common sense had the right idea. I entered the room only to see my father's body sprawled out at my feet, a thin slit spewing forth ridiculous amounts of blood. He had slit his throat. It was then that I realized how badly he had it in for me. He didn't deserve to die, but he took his own life anyway. Selfish bastard.
What was I supposed to do after that? I had no family left. All the teens at the learning centre thought I was psychotic. Not that their opinions ever mattered to me. They seemed just as insane to me as I did to them. They were always flapping their jaws about meaningless things like dating and movies, and a bunch of other things I had no understanding of. They were part of a whole other world than I was. And in my world, all I needed was myself. I had no friends. They'd just get in the way.
So I fished my father's wallet off his corpse. I took all the money, and left for the desert city Safas. There was a long road ahead of me. I hitch-hiked, and caught rides with some very friendly people until I got to the capital, Zollas. That was when fate took a turn for the best, and I caught a ride with a strange green-skinned merchant.
We rode on a strange foreign animal for nearly 10 minutes without a single word being spoken. I suppose he was probably reluctant to be transporting a 14-year-old kid to the dangerous city of Safas, but he was helping me get there anyway. Or maybe he didn't trust me, and thought I was some sort of thug. But eventually the silence became too uncomfortable for me, so I had to say something.
"What's your name, Mister?"
The man glanced at me briefly, than back to the empty road. Not exactly a very friendly person. "Dasht."
"...Nice." I paused, giving him a chance to ask me something, but he didn't take it. "Don't you want to know mine?"
I decided to change the subject. Obviously the idea of being polite to strangers eluded him. And I thought I had been neglected to be taught social skills. This guy was far worse. "So... what are you going to Safas for?"
There was an almost undetectable annoyed sigh. But things like that never went undetected with me, because my mother would make those noises often before she let dad kill her, so I've been extra careful to detect such things, just in case I could get the chance to avoid being abandoned. Of course it wasn't realistic thinking but I couldn't help how I felt. Luckily I couldn't care less about being abandoned by this guy, so I didn't bother worrying about it.
He eventually decided to honour me with an answer. "I'm a travelling merchant."
I rolled my eyes like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You are not a merchant. I don't see any merchandise, and merchants are supposed to be cheerful."
He frowned at me. "A little naÃ¯ve for a boy your age, aren't you?"
"I'm only 14," I told him, somewhat insulted, "I can be as naÃ¯ve as I want to be. It's none of your business."
"I'm not a liar like some people named Dasht." I stuck out my tongue, childishly. Strangely, at the time I didn't realise how much of a brat I was being. Not that I would have been any different if I had known.
The man tugged on a rope attached to the animal's mouth, making it turn to take the road to the left. "Well you look much older."
"It's not a good thing. It means if you keep growing like this, I bet you'll be balding before you turn 20. Not to mention all the wrinkles, and you'll have to get rich if you ever plan on getting laid." Dasht laughed cruelly at the idea. Apparently the idea of others suffering in life appealed to him, and made him gleeful.
The laughter only made me fearful of that idea. I believed him, and it scared me. My father and mother always said I was ugly, but the idea that I would become uglier hurt me deeply. The only reply I could come up with that wouldn't be too expressive of my thoughts was an immature, "I will not... Liar!"
Ignoring the comment, Dasht continued. "Anyway, as I was saying before you so rudely interrupted me, I am a merchant. I just don't sell trinkets and other such junk."
"What do you sell then?"
"Nothing special." Nice dodge. "So why are you going to Safas? You got family there or something?"
"I should hope not," I said, concerned at the possibility, "Family is all dead. The people of Safas could be questionable if they let corpses run around."
The man laughed loudly. "I take it you've never seen their mayor!"
Not having got the joke, nor having cared, I just blinked, and asked in a bored, unimpressed tone, "... Are we almost there?"
"Have patience, child!" Dasht frowned, somewhat bothered that his ingenius joke had been lost, and took a moment to mourn its passing. "It's a three hour trip, and we just started out 15 minutes ago. I'm beginning to wonder if you were raised by wolves."
"Three hours?!" I nearly jumped out of my seat at that news, but resisted since I had no desire to fall off the creature, and have to find a new ride. It took long enough to get that one. "I have to waste three hours of my insignificant life on the uncomfortable beast and with a creepy merchant who is too egotistical to even be courteous as to ask me my name? I don't think I'll survive..."
Growling now out of insult, Dasht glared in my direction. "No wonder your family is dead. Look what they had to put up with. It was a mass suicide, wasn't it?"
"Not quite. Dad killed everyone, and then himself."
The insult disappeared into a look of sympathy as the man sheepishly apologized. "I'm sorry, kid. That's terrible. How many years ago was this?"
"Years?" I blinked, confused as to why he would assume it had been years. I hadn't said anything to hint at such a drastic time. "Years? It was three days ago."
"Three days?!" This time Dasht nearly jumped up. After a pause, and some staring, he eventually chuckled, and shook his head. "Very funny kid. You really had me going there."
I stared back at him, even more confused. Had I told a joke? Maybe it was a merchant thing. "What's funny? I don't get it."
The man studied me for a few moments before his eyes widened with realization. It was rather startling for me that a complete stranger would take my family's death harder than I had. I didn't give a damn, so why should anybody else? "... My inverted sun! You aren't joking! Something is wrong with that head of yours by the way you're reacting to such horror!"
"My head is fine. It's this animal that's the problem. Why is it so uncomfortable?"
"Because you're sitting on it like an idiot," he huffed. Obviously he wasn't very happy that his concern had been so easily ignored. That's what he got for ignoring me before. "Because you're sitting on it like an idiot."
I gasped at the response, horrified at the idea of such blatant discrimination. "So you make idiots ride uncomfortably? Your cruelty is unparalleled! You're a horrible merchant poser."
"You know," He started, his voice filled with uncertainty and curiosity, as if his words were a big risk and he was afraid of how I'd respond. "I know a place in Safas that could help you."
"Help me, what, become a merchant poser?" I laughed at the absurdity of the idea, and waved my hand dismissively. What was that guy thinking? "Thanks but no thanks."
He frowned even more deeply, the wrinkles beginning to show more on that leafy green skin. He appeared concerned about something, and at the time, such concern only confused me further. "No. The place I want to take you to will knock out that chemical imbalance."
"Chemical what...? Do I have a zit?"
"Yeah. On your brain. Would you be willing to let them get rid of it?"
The idea frightened me. Not of being cured, but the idea of there being a zit on my brain. I had an education. I had been through the learning centre levels enough to know about brain tumors, and seizures, and brain related stuff like that. I thought that maybe a brain zit was similar. Even though I was still not afraid of death or even pain, I thought being taken over by a disease would ruin me.
So there was nothing much I could do. A frightened naÃ¯ve fourteen-year-old boy who just learned he had a chemical imbalance, and there was a way to cure it, didn't have many options. Or so I thought. It wasn't much of a surprise that not very much thought went into my fateful decision. Little did I know, that one decision would have such a great affect on my life.
My brow furrowed in certainty, I nodded. "I guess since I can't pop it, and I've got nothing better to do, Sure."
... ... ... ... ... ...
Yes. I'm aware that you probably think I was nuts to trust that merchant poser, but I have a defence.
There are some people who are born stupid, and there are those of us lucky ones who just had stupid beat into them. In such unfortunate, yet entertaining cases, it's either curable, or you're a vegetable. Since none of my scars were on my head, I'm sure there wasn't any permanent physical brain damage.
When we arrived in Safas, they interviewed me to see if I was crazy enough to be worthy of their magnificent treatment facility. At first they thought I was on drugs, but when they found out that I was unaware of what a pill even was, they asked a few questions of which my answers seemed to alarm them, and then they stamped my hand with black letters that read "Emergency Case" and ushered me into a big bullet-proof glass elevator.
The elevator left me even more perplexed than the stamp did because it wasn't attached to anything. I could see out over the city through all four sides, and I didn't see anything above it. It was a little too much for a small town boy like me, but I didn't say anything for fear I'd appear too childish.
Two adults in white doctor coats stood on either side of me, as if ready to grab me should I try to escape or something. Yeah right. Like I'd do something funny when I'm that high off the ground. The thought crossed my mind at the time, 'What, do these people think I'm nuts or something?'
One of them was a woman who had introduced herself as Sheila. She had blonde hair that was wound in a tight bun. Her conservative style lenses magnified her dark brown eyes. Though, despite how stern and strict she looked, her voice deceived her with its warm and cheery tone. "How are you feeling, Fiacra?"
"Where are we going?"
The man named Cay, who was practically twice my size, answered first. "We're going to the Gezlar institute." But that guy, unlike his fellow staffer, looked just as friendly as he sounded. His awesome size only added to the effect of his smiling face and laughing eyes. While my family who had named me a disgusting creature because of my freakish eyes, this guy didn't even seem to notice. He was just too nice, and I immediately came to like him.
"How long do I have to stay here?"
"Until you're better," Cay answered honestly.
I had heard about child trafficking, and was beginning to wonder if what was going on here had anything to do with that. Not that I really cared if it did. I was just curious as to what was going to happen to me once we arrived at the institute. "If I want to leave before I'm better, will I be allowed?"
Sheila glanced wearily at Cay before and hesitated before answering. Obviously if she thought I hadn't caught the secret glance exchange then not only did they see me as crazy, but incredibly dense as well. "Only if one of your caretakers or doctors sign a release form. You see we do have some people who could do damage to themselves and others if they were released before they were ready, so this is for your own safety."
The elevator fell into silence as I pretended to be bothered by that. In reality, I couldn't care less. As long as they provided me with a bed and three meals a day, I was game. I just hoped socializing wasn't part of the curing process. In the earlier interrogation, they seemed to dwell on the fact that I had never had any friends. There concern on that subject worried me, so I told them I didn't want friends. I told them friends would only make my meaningless existence unbearable.
Soon the big box rose to align with a metal door that appeared to have come out of nowhere. The doors slid open in a fluid motion, revealing a well air-conditioned metal hallway with white-carpeted floors. Not exactly a cozy place, but it was very clean. Far cleaner than anything I was used to. In fact it reminded me of the hospital I had went to once...
They had instructed me to shower and change into a uniform when they led me to a locker room. They said that once I was appropriately dressed and clean, they would introduce me to the boys and arrange for where I'd be staying and with whom. After all that was done, they led me into a large cafeteria filled with what looked like hundreds of adolescent boys, all around my age of all shapes and sizes.
Sheila put a hand on my shoulder, and looked out over the sea of unstable teenaged boys. "We have a new addition to our Gezlar family. Of course this means we'll be opening a new cabin, so I'll need two volunteers to answer all his questions, and move into the new room with him. Any takers?"
When nearly 20 hands hit the air, Cay decided to narrow down the eligible candidates by being slightly more specific. "... How about... Which of you with your hands already up, are currently residing in the leaky cabin?"
All the hands lowered except for four, which from what I understood, would be the whole population of one cabin. Sheila smiled and whispered to Cay as they quietly decided who would be best suited to guide me. I studied my possible roommates, not impressed by what I saw. Two of them were talking to themselves, one slightly angrier than the other. One was counting the peas in his plate and obsessively arranging them in a strange order. The fourth was studying me back. I couldn't tell whether the guy was trying to hold eye contact or just staring at my red eyes.
"Ok, #4078, and #4313. You will move into the new cabin," Sheila said in a more suggestive than demanding tone before turning to me and continuing her instructions. "Alright, Fiacra. You're #4862. You don't really have to remember it since it's one your uniform, but it would be helpful since that's what the doctors will refer to you as for organization simplicity and indexing reasons. After you eat, these boys will take you to your room and explain the rules. Normally we haven't much tolerance for rule breakers, but for the first month or so, you will have considerable leeway."
The guy who had been staring at me, was suddenly beside me. Funny, I didn't see him get up. He grabbed my wrist and gently led me to an empty table near the back. That was when it happened. We locked eyes again and it was as if we immediately clicked. As if we were old friends who had just been reunited. We started talking, barely taking breathes in between sentences.
"Your name's Fiacra?" He asked with an excited smile. "I've never heard that before. I'm Blue. My mom was hopped up when she named me."
"Man that's cool. How old are you? I'm fourteen."
He grinned. "Aha! I'm older then you. I'm fifteen. What are you in for?"
"I'm not entirely sure what exactly it's all about, but apparently I've got a zit on my brain because my dad killed my sister and then himself 3 days ago."
"That sucks. Zits are bad."
I nodded and smiled politely as some other guy put a plate of food in front of me. "What about you? What are you in for?"
"I killed my parents because I caught them snooping in my room. They thought I was on drugs. So the doctors of the court took X-rays of my head, said I was sick, and put me in here. It's not my fault my parents thought I was on drugs."
With an all serious expression, he answered with a simple, "Yes."
And then the both of us, in unison cracked up into a fit of laughter, nearly doubling out of our seats. I realise now that maybe there wasn't supposed to be so much humor in murder, but at the time, I didn't know better, and I genuinely found it hilarious.
After awhile Blue straightened up, and calmed down his laughing enough to take a sip of juice, and continue the conversation. "Well, anyway... Did you have a girlfriend on the outside?"
"I never had any friends. Kids my age thought I was psycho."
Not exactly as good at straight faces as he was, I grinned. "Yes."
But regardless, We both doubled over in hysterical laughter, gaining the attention of most of the boys eating at surrounding tables. It looked like the closer ones had over heard a bit of the conversation, or perhaps they were just frightened by our laughter. Either way, it only made me laugh harder, and Blue as well.
Once again, he was the one to calm down and carry on talking. "That's what is good about this place. We're all psycho here. If one of those assholes from where you lived came here, they'd never make friends... Maybe a stalker or two though."
"Wow. I think I'll like it here."
"This place isn't all fun though. We wake up at 5 a.m. to clean our room and shower. Breakfast is at 6, and then we work until 7 p.m. with breaks only for meals and treatments."
Work? My eyes widened. I knew this was too good to be true. But after a moment of considering it, I realized I didn't care and so I moved on. "What do we do after seven?"
"Anything we want." He winked at me. "As long as it doesn't hurt anyone. The gym is open until 9:30, and lights out is at 10:00, but some guys have insomnia so we don't have to go to bed then, but you'll probably want to. Days are tiring here. A lot of guys go to bed right when they get off work."
He laughed, as if that was the strangest thing he had ever heard. Yeah like I could read his mind. "No. I work out until 9:30. I sleep better that way."
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
They had put me to work right away. We worked in a factory, sorting out recyclables. Apparently doing such stuff was supposed to be good for our spirits and instil a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. I didn't feel any of that. In fact, all I felt was ripped off because I wasn't getting paid, and I didn't remember applying for a factory job. They had sneaked it in somewhere.
But after the workday ended, I went back to my new room where Blue was waiting for me. For the first time in my life, I think I was excited to see another person. And when he smiled at me, I smiled back. He took me to the gym, where there were only two other people. He told me it was always like that. The guys of this institution weren't exactly active after a hard days work, but this guy, with his flowing thick black hair, and piercing blue eyes, seemed to be exuding energy, with some to spare.
After making me run laps and stretch until I was nearly spent - saying he was observing my limits in order to figure out what routine would be best for me, which I later found out was all bullshit - he finally snuck me into the equipment room and fished around behind a stack of mats. Eventually he came up with two plastic swords that he had made. They were hidden because they would definitely be taken away if the doctors knew. After all, he had apparently used a real sword to kill his parents. When I lifted one, I realized they had weights inside. He claimed it was to make it more like the real thing so he wouldn't lose his touch, and he declared that I was to be his new student, and wouldn't take no for an answer, not that I had any objections.
TBC ... ... ... ... ... ... ...