This is a work in progress that I am writing from the hip (title subject to change). I’ve been mulling over the general plot for a while but it’s been on the backburner due to school. This is my first exercise in creative writing, so please feel free to be as critical as you want (within reason, of course). Specific concerns are wordiness, line breaks, and dialogue, but I’m open to any and all suggestions. (Grammar mistakes in dialogue are intentional for the most part).
Stirrings Beneath a Mask
Void. Even with everything going on around him, that was all he felt. The bright, swirling white that his gaze was fixed on only seemed to reinforce what he felt inside. There were other distractions; noises, faces, sensations, but they all seemed to drown each other out, devolving into a white noise of perception. Indeed, void was all he felt, and perhaps all that he wanted to feel, for only by embracing nothingness could he replace the contents of his aching heart.
Chapter 1: Take it from the Top
Part 1: Dawn of the First Day
As the sun’s rays crept through the half-drawn shades, any grogginess that remained from Jackson’s sleep was immediately dispelled. Something felt off. What should have been the warm, cozy embrace of his bed was replaced with a cold and clammy feeling that caused him to instantly sit up in his bed. While his body was busy wondering about this new, altogether unpleasant sensation, his mind was still processing the feelings remaining from his recently finished dream. As residual feelings of sadness and loneliness washed over him, Jackson began to tear up. Still trying to process all of the sensations, his mind was interrupted by a call from outside his room.
“Jax, time to get ready for school,” the female voice called, in a rehearsed style that every child has heard before in his/her life.
He had just enough time to catch the meaning of those words and dry his tears before he figured out the cause of his weird sensation. Crap, I wet the bed. But why? It’s never happened to me before. I don’t have time to think about why, I have to figure out how to hide it from Mom.
In a streak of “brilliance” that only an adolescent could conjure, Jackson quickly got dressed, tore the sheets off his bed, and dropped them off at the laundry hamper on his way to the kitchen. “I’m coming! One sec,” he called out as he finished his secret mission, turning the corner to walk into the kitchen.
There before him sat his Mother, reading the newspaper while she sipped from a mug of coffee. To say that this sight had been burned into Jackson’s memory was an understatement; this same scene had played out every weekday since second grade. Even though he usually glossed over it in a zombified, half-awake state, this morning ritual held a lot of meaning. To Jackson’s, a legal assistant who worked in excess of 60 hours a week, this precious little time she got with her son meant the world.
“So, anything new going on at school?” She asked, peering over the edge of the newspaper to catch a glimpse of her son before he was whisked off in the hustle and bustle of the school day.
“Not really. Ms. Albridge gave us a stupid math packet yesterday that we have to do in class to study for the SPARK exam. Oh, and Tommy just got the new Pokemon game,” he replied between mouthfuls of cereal.
“Oh, the one with the snake?” She asked, trying to show interest in her son’s hobby. Truth be told, she tried to take time out of her day to research the things that he was interested in, so she could talk to him as a friend as well as a parent.
“No Mom, it’s a dragon. Just 'cause it doesn’t have wings, it isn’t a snake,” he replied, with a sigh of frustration.
“Oh. Well, I still think snakes are scarier. And besides, the yellow one will always be my favorite” she casually replied, before changing the topic of the conversation. “I’ll be working another long shift today since we just picked up a new case, so when you get home I won’t be here. There are dinners in the freezer, so just put one in the microwave and have that. I’ll be back after you go to sleep.”
“Okay Mom. I’m gonna go over to Tommy’s house after Youth Center so we can play Pokemon and stuff”
“Alright honey, just make sure you come home before dinner time,” she reminded him.
Just as their conversation was nearing to an end, Jackson put his cereal bowl in the sink, quickly gulped down the last of his juice, and headed toward the door. “Bye Mom, I gotta go catch the bus,” he called out, as he grabbed his backpack.
“Okay honey. Have fun at school,” she called back, getting up from the kitchen table to put her coffee mug in the sink.
Jackson opened the door, and walked around the corner to the bus stop. ‘Living in a neighborhood sure does have its perks’, he thought to himself as the bus pulled up. ‘I don’t even have to walk that far to get to the bus anymore, not like back before we moved’ The bright yellow bus creaked to a deafening stop as it opened its door before him. Greeted by the familiar roar of elementary school students all catching up with their friends in the morning, he took a step onto the stairs leading into the vehicle.
While Jackson’s Mom finished cleaning up the kitchen before she got ready to drive to work, she wondered aloud, “Were Jax’s eyes red this morning? I wonder if he was thinking about Robert.”