When it’s quiet, well, that’s when it’s prudent to worry. It’s easy to lose oneself to the silence, that cascading cadence that manages a roar louder than any heart could take. No mind won’t break, when faced with the Nothing.
Okay, I have a hard time calling this a chapter as well, it’s not just you. Especially in contrast to the previous two chapters pulling around three condensed pages each. I’ve come back to this snapshot, time after time, only to find it adequately expresses what it needs to. It’s placement is necessary, but brief, and I value concision in my writing.
Start at the beginning, if you’re so inclined: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/
Nessa felt hot. It was dark, but she could feel the sweat and grime saturating her pores. An unrelenting pressure bore down on her, making it difficult to breath, to move. Not that she could anyway, her senses were numbed, her extremities frayed. What happened? Where the fuck am I? Suddenly, as realization hit, Nessa panicked. I’m in a body bag, shit, the knife, where’s the knife!? She struggled against her bodies unresponsiveness, pronating in a vain effort to make room so she could reach her back pocket. How come, every fucking time I need my knife, it’s just out of reach? What is this weight on top of me? Okay, Nessa, stay calm. Don’t scream, you can get out of this, but not if you alert those fucks that you’re still breathing.
As some of the feeling started to return to Nessa’s extremities, she tried hard to remember what the man had said. He said he’d find me, unless he couldn’t make it out. What if he didn’t make it out? Finally, she managed to roll onto her right shoulder. The bag must be engulfed in something, its being compressed in different areas when I move. With difficulty, she forced her left hand behind her, feeling for the small knife the man had given her. There it is, okay, carefully now, I don’t want it to stab me. The liquid panic, adrenaline, was creeping in, despite her best efforts to keep calm. Pulling the knife from her pocket, she pronated her left-hand outwards, attempting to pierce the bag. Her breathing started to quicken as the bags plastic held strong against the small surgical blade.
Breathing heavily, her lips started to quiver as she frantically dug the blade back and forth against the body bag, as the crushing weight smothered her remaining vitality. A moment later, the small knife pierced the thick plastic body bag. Nessa’s quick sigh of relief was soon replaced with renewed horror and fear as she felt dirt fall onto her small hand, through the bags new hole. They’ve fucking buried me! Unable to contain herself, she screamed in terror. Bladder releasing, she began to struggle violently against the, stoic, prevailing earth, before inadvertently cutting her arm on the scalpel. “Not like this!” She screamed.
Chronologically, this is the fifth chapter, but three of those are marked as introduction. It’s less confusing in the manuscript, but in this post-style format it’s worth mentioning.
Casey wakes up after the catastrophic events of the night before, and her memory is gone. This, for now, is probably a blessing, as the truth is much worse than she suspects.
You can start at the beginning here, if you so choose: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/
A Long Way Back
November 1st 2018
Everything hurts so damn much. It’s cold. Where…Where am I? What happened last night? Casey rolled right, blinking rapidly to un-blur her dry vision. A sea of violent greens and mountainous browns focused into a sharp anxiety, as Casey registered where she was, and more importantly; where she was not. How did I get to the dump? God that smell. Groaning, she attempted to push her knees under her slight frame, and failed. My stomach…It feels like I got shot, like there’s a hole in my abdomen. She rolled onto her back and examined herself. Where are my fucking clothes! She wore nothing but athletic shorts and her white bra, the strapless one she liked. Sighing in frustration she leaned her head back, looking to the overcast sky. Wait…It’s cloudy but the sun is up. Fuck! Mom is going to flay me alive!
Scrambling, Casey searched for her phone. Why is it not in my pockets, what the fuck! She looked around frantically, desperately searching for her hand-held salvation. There! About five feet to her right lay her phone, damp in the dew-lidden grass. Still sore, she opted to crawl instead of try to stand again. Grunting in effort, she reached the phone and held it to her face. Why is it cracked? What’s going on! I just got this for my birthday last month too. The phone unlocked with a satisfying ‘click’, recognizing her face. At least it still works.
Dreading what lay in wait, Casey tapped the ‘Messages+’ application. Okay. Thirty-seven texts from Mom, eight texts from Matt, two from Ally, and a message from an unknown number. That could have been worse, I guess. She tapped the frame that read ‘Mom <3’ and her heart fell into her stomach. Shit, she’s worried sick. I really fucked up. Why did I go to that stupid party? Quickly, she tapped the ’info’ button in the top right of the phone before pressing ‘Call this number’. Frightened from guilt and confusion, she brought the cracked phone to her ear and listened.
“Casey! Where are you sweetie?!” her mother half-shouted. She froze in anxiety, like a deer staring at her oncoming demise. “Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, sweetie. Please! Just say something so I know your alive!” Why isn’t she mad? I’ve never heard her like this…
Casey opened her mouth and tried to apologize, but all that came out was a mortified, “Uh…”
“What’s wrong, Casey?!” asked her mom, shouting again.
“I’m okay, I think. I just…I woke up out here and it hurts…and…” answered Casey, pausing as everything caught up with her. “I don’t know how I got here, mom. I think something bad happened but I can’t remember anythi–“ Casey choked on the last word as anxious tears overwhelmed her. Everything’s spinning out of control.
Panicked, her mom cut in, “Please sweetie, don’t cry, it’s going to be just fine, you’ll see. Please tell me where you are so I can come get you. Do you know where you are?”
Struggling to speak over the viscous dread rapidly metastasizing, Casey choked, “I’m out b…by the old dump. The one a mile out from Apple-Creek farms, that w…wealthy neighborhood.”
Voice cracking, her mom replied, “Okay. I’m coming, stay where you are, sweetie, it’ll be okay.”
Thanks for reading!
More coming soon.
Yeah, okay, I get it. I hope you find someone who helps you love yourself as much as I loved you.
A fleeting whisper of stagnant hope, a momentary lapse of the path you’ve walked. A hand, crying-silver, reaching for something real, a consort. You tried.
Ugly, he said. You knew, you always did, the tar-like cruelty of the rougher kids made sure you couldn’t forget, that you’ll never be more than disgusting to them.
Still you reached, grasped, needed his hand. The word flattened you, as if you’d kissed a train with somewhere more important to be. Ugly, he repeated, and your world came crashing down. The whispering lingers, how could she let herself hope?
So this particular short story used to be called “Third Degree” before I realized it was going to be another long one. I’m on the rough’s of the fifth chapter as of writing, and naming is something that isn’t really set in stone. I do apologize if this causes people confusion!
Prologue-II is similar to prologue-I in tone and style. It’s very much exposition with a few hints and foreshadows. Enough of that, though, enjoy!
Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/
I really shouldn’t have put off this drinking thing for so long, I feel fantastic! Matt was talking to a couple of his friends, but Casey wasn’t really listening. His arm was draped over her shoulder and she was leaning her head against his muscular chest. “Matt!” shouted Casey, unintentionally cutting off the tall girl who was speaking. “Oh…shorry, about that, I’m a little out of it.” The girl giggled, shooting her a look she couldn’t place. Pfft…Like I care anyway. Everything is great.
Laughing now, Matt asked, “What’s up?”
“Let’s go in the pool, it’s hot out.” Said Casey, nuzzling his under-arm with her fore-head.
A surprised look shot across his face before he smiled, and said, “Sure! Let me go get another drink though, I think I need to catch up to you!” Casey laughed, drunkenly. I’ve only had like five or six drinks, can’t be that bad. What was alcohol’s disassociation constant again? “You gonna be okay if I leave for a minute, Casey?” He sounds like he’s joking but his eyes actually look a little worried.
Casey’s mouth curled into a self-conscious smile, her brow furrowed, and she said, “Of course I’ll be fine! I can take care of myself.” As he left, she stumbled slightly and looked around. Parties are a strange thing. What’s the point of a pool if no one uses it? There’s at least forty people just standing around and literally no one is in the pool. Casey stepped back and relaxed, letting her back gently rest against the house’s expensive looking rose-wood exterior.
It really is a beautiful home. I don’t even know how you treat wood to get that shade of blackened brown, but I’d bet it’s expensive. Those tables, too. The cheap-ass red cups can’t even hide the crystal. I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher realize Christie is throwing a drinking-party. Probably not, but with a house this nice, I’m sure they travel for work or something. It’d really be a matter of shutting the neighbors up, and the next house is a quarter-mile out, so no worries there, I suppose. I feel out of place, I guess wearing vampire teeth to a full-on slutty Halloween party wasn’t proper planning, though. Alcohol really highlights those silver-linings. Casey closed her eyes, smiled, and let gravity pull her neck to the left.
“You still good to swim, Casey?” asked Matt.
Lazily, she opened her left eye, and responded, “Always.” He already changed into his swim-trunks? What’s the point of being a sailor if you don’t swim?
“Awesome! I hadn’t expected to actually swim, glad I brought my trunks now. You want me to hold your drink while you go change?”
“What? Nah, Bra’s…Two-piece’s, same thing.” Said Casey, playfully biting her tongue through a wide grin. “Oh, don’t look so surprised, I can party too, just because I make grades doesn’t mean I can’t have fun!”
“Whatever you say, boss!” said Matt, laughing, before running at the pool and jumping in, splashing a couple making out in the hot-tub. Gotcha! Casey chugged the rum and coke Matt had handed her, set it down, and pulled her tank top over her head. Best leave the shorts on! Making eye contact with a confused Matt, she winked, and sauntered towards the hot tub. Ignoring a whistle to her right, she stepped into the steamy water, quickly did her hair up, and sat. God…this is literally the best temperature. The girl across from Casey gave her a nasty look before turning back to her gentleman of the evening.
Casey recoiled in shock as Matt fell, feet first, into the shallow water, splashing water into her face. “Hey! What was that for?” asked Casey, giggling uncontrollably.
Closer now, ignoring the distraught couple he’d splashed twice, he replied, “You pranked me first you know! That water was actually kind of cold.”
Suddenly serious, she nodded slowly, and said, “Awwwe, is the little athlete sensitive? You want me to warm you up?” Taken aback, Matt opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out. Feigning frustration, she grabbed his arm and pulled him down. “Just kiss me, please.”
Cautiously he brought his lips to hers. Shivers shot down Casey’s spine and she pushed forward, deepening the kiss. As Matt curled his muscular fingers into her black hair, she swung her legs over his lap, pulling herself closer. Matt pulled away for a second, breathing heavily to catch his breath. Taking advantage of his momentary weakness, she bit his neck with her fake vampire-teeth, and giggled with elation. “Wow! I see you’re into some weird stuff there, Casey.” Pulling away for a moment, locking eyes as she cocked her head in mock-confusion, she removed the silly teeth and attacked his mouth.
Thanks for reading!
Continue here: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/28/finding-happy-prologue-3/
I used a pencil! It’s still mostly ink, used a nice 4b after drawing the skeletal to flesh out some of the detail. It’s basically my attempt at those cool minimalist-portraits I’ve seen around. That makes this pretty derivative, which is fine, for a practice drawing and such. I wanted a prettier picture to accompany this first section of the story, which is relatively happy-go-lucky.
October 31st, 2018
Casey didn’t feel right. I’m out of my element. She’d just gotten into the back of a white, striped Escalade. Don’t get me started on those disgusting political stickers littering the back windshield. Matt Chasing, her date, turned to look at Casey from the passenger seat, and asked, “You ready to get your freak on, Casey?” He was wearing an old-school marine costume, all blue and white. That dark and disheveled hair, white-smile, and grey eyes are about the only thing that would make me go to a…a party. Especially on Halloween.
Feigning interest, Casey laughed, and said, “I’m a little nervous. You know it’s not really my scene. I’m usually studying on Thursday nights. It could be fun, though.”
The girl to her left, Rosemarie Higgins, gave Casey an incredulous look, before asking, “Are you fucking serioouus? Why’d we bring the nerd anyway?” She’s asking if I’m serious? As if that bunny outfit could be any sluttier, I can see through your shirt! And it’s pronounced “Serious”.
Casey looked at her lap, letting her long and dark-black hair cover her blush. Sounding annoyed, Matt snapped, “Shut the fuck up, Higgins. I think it’s cool she’s doing well in school. We are only in high school for one more year, ya’ know.” Casey looked up, stifling a laugh, and met Matt’s eye.
“Oh, it’s alright Matt. She’s not wrong. I’m a nerd, you should come to grips with that sooner rather than later.” Said Casey, before sticking her tongue out playfully. Shaking his head, Matt turned back towards the front as he swept his left hand over his shoulder, as if to dismiss Casey’s argument. He’s cute. Before the stunned Rosemarie could fire back, Matt turned the car-radio on, drowning any retort.
A blaring and catchy chorus helped Casey relax a little. Waterparks? I think so. I like them. Casey leaned her head against the window, noting the falling leaves. The cars motion combined with the music gives the dying leaves an odd sort of life. Unpredictable. Beautiful. I wish Matt had just brought me to the park, the one with the tall hill. I wish we could just talk without the frills of a party.
Her reverie was interrupted as the driver, Jacob Ryan, shouted over the music, “Almost there! This should be dope…Christie’s parties always are. But if it sucks, I got some extra party favors for a lil’ later.” Courtney and Rosemarie both let out their best faux-sorority-girl party-scream.
“You could always give me some now, Jacob! I’ll make it worth your while.” Shouted Courtney, louder than was necessary. Christ, I like Matt, but his friends are just…terrible. Grin and bear it, might even have fun. Open-mind time.
Laughing, Jacob asked, “Sounds good to me, just meet me out back and I’ll fix you up real-quick. Easy.” Matt gave Jacob a look, but Casey couldn’t see Matt’s face, as Jacob continued, “Hey man, don’t judge. You got yo’ girl I got mine. I’m keeping it PG-13 like you said.” The car hung a sudden left, pushing Rosemarie into Casey, and Casey into the window.
“Do we have to go fifty fucking miles per hour in a twenty, Jacob?” asked Casey, annoyed.
As they came to a stop in front of an extravagant and crowded stone house, Jacob turned the radio off, and said, “Sorry baby, I ain’t always great at going the speed limit. I’ll slow down on the way back, just for you.” He turned then, looked Casey in the eye, and winked. Ugh…Creep.
Laughing, Matt punched him playfully in the shoulder, before saying, “Alright, Casey, let’s ditch these losers.”
“Gladly.” Said Casey, giving Jacob a strained smile. Hurrying anxiously, Casey forced the Escalades heavy door open and stepped out onto the finely manicured lawn. Closing her door, Matt extended his lean and muscular arm. Casey smiled as she took his hand. Gonna be a target, a nobody like me showing up to a huge-ass party holding the hand of the star quarterback.
As the pair approached the pillared maw of the house-party, Matt asked, “You drinking tonight, Casey? I can go grab us drinks if you’d like. I won’t drink if you aren’t, either, so no pressure.” Is this a bad time to tell him I haven’t had alcohol before?
Biting her lip, Casey responded, “Yeah, I’m drinking. Is it okay if we start with something light, though?”
Letting go of Casey’s hand, his mouth curled into a cute half-grin as he replied, “Of course! I’ll go grab us some beer from the kegs. Any of the mixed drinks are going to hit waay harder.” As Matt walked to parts unknown, Casey took a moment to gauge her surroundings. This was a lot less intense when I was focused on Matt. For a party that started thirty minutes ago, there are an awful lot of people here… Christie’s house really is gigantic, too. If only money and looks gave you a soul. That’s not fair, I suppose. I hardly know her, beyond the general air of superiority she bleeds. Maybe I can get to know her, we both have Matt in common, now. Good way to start a convo, right? Oh! There’s Matt and my first drink. Two firsts. Exciting day.
“What a gentleman!” exclaimed Casey, amused as Matt gave a little bow after handing her the bear.
“Well, my wish is your command milady!” said Matt, wrapping his arm around Casey. “So what do you wanna do?”
Casey feigned a thoughtful expression before answering, “I don’t know, what do people actually do at parties.”
Matt, taken aback, stepped back, finished his beer in a gulp, spread his arms wide, and replied “Mi’lady! There are sooo many choices!” Matt brought his arms down with each word, adding emphasis. “We could check out the pool! This pool, you will not believe…what a god-damn pool! Oh, and the beer pong tourney, just around the corner mind you, is straight fire! Hell, we could go play emo, sit by the fire place, stare passive aggressively at all of my fake friends, and talk about how we’re going to overthrow fucking Venus or some shit!” Casey was laughing loudly, covering her mouth in embarrassment at the small croak her nose made. “So, which is it, Casey?” Sooo cute. Fuck, I can’t even handle the cute. Too much! Overload! Focus on the question, Casey.
Pursing her lips, she started to nod slowly, as if she understood some truth that explained something significant, and said, “I can see you’ve thought a lot about this, I appreciate that.” The good-humored expression on Matt’s face fell slightly, shifting to confusion. “Honestly, the pool sounds nice. I was just planning to get drunk and hang out with you anyway. As long as it’s not the straight-fire beer-pong, I’m Gucci.”
Eyes bright, Matt announced, “The pool it is! But let me get some more beer quick.” Something tells me he’s gonna get there a little faster than me.
Thanks for reading this far!
Next chapter can be found here: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/26/finding-happy-prologue-2/