The Story Behind The Story
He sits alone with no hand to hold. No one to hold him close.
After all, who would want a guy with no strength left to fight the battles in his mind?
Who would want a guy who can't go forward anymore?
No one. At least, that's what his cousin told him.
"Who would want a guy that is so weak? Who wants to hang out with a guy who doesn't know how to defend himself? The answer is no one William. No one!" As she was screaming those words, her hands were creating a red fire. The fire spread to the tips of her fingers.
"You ... you don't stop smiling, right?" She asked as she stood in front of him with the fire in her hands.
Yes. It was true. The smile was a curse from Krea. But he'd gotten used to it. Always forced to smile so he could make others happy. But he wasn't happy. Not even close.
His cousin stood right in front of him, her hands outstretched, the fire almost touching his clothes.
"Why are you doing this?" Asked Will. He couldn't cry. The smile still on his face. Always "happy". But he wanted to cry. He wanted to bury himself in the ground and stay there. Just disappear from the world. He wanted to run.
"Because I want you to know that you will never find happiness," she says.
She turns to Will's family home. No one left inside. Empty.
She raises her hands high and the fire latches on to the trees that their great grandfather planted long ago. The trees catch fire as Will stares with the same smile. At least he can summon tears. He falls to his knees and cries. His face buried in his cupped hands. Still with the same smile.
"Don't even dare come back to this city, William," his cousin says as she outstretches her hands yet again. But this time, instead of fire, there is pain. Pain that doesn't stop. It gets worse. It's so bad that Will can't breathe.
* BLOOD GUSHES DOWN HIS NOSE, a red river. His last thoughts are of his mother who risked her life to get him out of the fire. His last words, "Asher." He was so weak. So much blood had been lost. It's on the ground now. ---
* Ten minutes later and Will isn't awake. There is a light flo of blood. ---
It's been three hours now, the blood has stopped flowing. He breathes shallowly. His chest barely rising.
Asher's Diary entry
Time: 6:48 PM
Location: Ashville High RM 167, Will's room
It's been six hours and I still haven't seen him. I've been up all night trying to do his homework because I may or may not have gone to his room and saw the stack of papers on his desk.
They were neatly stacked and his pens were in a desk drawer. He had so much unfinished homework.
It wasn't his fault though. He had a family reunion and his family came to pick him up. I knew it was going to be a small family reunion as his family was "busy".
I tried to focus on the pile of homework in front of me. But it was getting harder as time went by.
It's 8:49 PM now. He's not back. I can understand. They're probably keeping him for the night. I send him a message.
Asher, Hey. U ok?
Five minutes later...
Asher, Come on Will, I need to know ur alright.
It's 10:57 PM. Will still hasn't responded. I finished with my homework. I'm tired of waiting. I need to know he's okay. He never leaves anyone unread and he always responds to a message exactly five minutes afterward. I hope he's alright.
Time: 4:47 PM
Location, Ashville High RM 166, Asher's room
It is pretty late now. But I'm here. In a dark room with a flashlight. Why? Because I have to write something before I go and find Will. It's been way too long since he was last seen. I have decided to write a note to the staff even though I know they'll be looking for me. I know how to get through security.
Will stares at an image of his best friend, Asher. He stands outside a tall, white building on a dark night. The moon is shining dimly. His tearfilled eyes scan his surroundings.
Asher falls to his knees shaking. He wants to be alone. If only he could've been with Will when he took his last breath. If only he could've done something to stop Will from going to the "family reunion". But he couldn't.
Why isn't Will with him? Why is Asher crying?
A girl with dark black hair, and bright eyes walks out of the building doors. She is wearing only black. A black shirt with black jeans, but white shoes. She looks familiar.
The girl walks slowly towards Asher. Asher turns around and blinks a little. The tears make his vision blurry. He doesn't want to talk to anyone. He feels like a part of himself died with Will. He feels so empty. He doesn't think he can be happy again. ... At least, not yet. There is a gaping hole where his heart should have been.
He remembers his childhood with Will. They always stayed together. Ever since a group of kids started making fun of him. They laughed because they knew why he always smiled. Because of the curse.
Asher remembers the time where Will decided that he wanted to help out at the daycare center. They played pirates with the boys and had tea parties with the girls.
They baked cookies for their parents. Watched movies together.
There wouldn't be any of that now.
Will saw his friend. Yet he couldn't reach out to touch him. To comfort him. He couldn't move. He wants to cry. Yet he can't.
The girl walked in front of Asher ignoring the fact that he kept turning away from her. She wrapped one arm around his shoulders and started whispering into Asher's ear. While she was speaking, she rubbbbed his back.
Asher wasn't going to cry into her shoulder. He wiped his eyes. He gently pushes her aside. "I don't need a hug. Thank you for trying," he says.
The girl nods and steps in front of Asher. "Can we talk?"
Will wants to scream. He wants to push her out of Asher's path. But he cannot move. It's as if he had the sky on his shoulders. Yet he feels light. He feels like he can fly.
Will knows who the girl is. He can still see her very clearly in his mind's eye.
Will feels lighter. So light. As he watches Asher on his knees, he is starting to see gray. And then he sees the bright light. ...
Song: Two of us Louis Tomlinson
Matthew's Point of View
AN: I do not own the music.
A knock at my door startles me awake. It's probably mother trying to wake me up for school. I don't want to wake up.
A book lies open on the floor. My laptop's screen is on a picture of my brother and I on a bridge overlooking a raging river. My brother's arm is around my shoulders. I am smiling.
What I'd give for one more day of summer. My school things lay on the floor next to my empty backpack. I haven't packed my backpack yet.
I pick up my phone. No new notifications. No calls. No texts. That's fine with me.
I'm lying. It's not fine. I just need a text from Jason. I need to know he's okay. I just need to know. Jason's been missing for two weeks, seven hours, thirty-seven minutes, and eighteen seconds. No calls. No texts. Not even a random note.
Mother's been worried ever since Jason left. I haven't seen her smile in the last two weeks. It's been torture seeing her sad. Father tries to make her smile. But it's no use.
I can't smile either. Thoughts of Jason fill my mind. His dark brown eyes, long black hair, athleticism, personality.
We got along pretty well. We used to hang out all the time. We talked about sports, teachers, math, and especially music. We watched Disney movies together. I played the piano while he sang to mother. We made cakes, breads, and cookies together. Even cleaned the house. We talked about our problems. Girls we liked. Subjects that we didn't do as well in. We were inseparable. Until the day he left.
"Come on! You know you like her so why don't you tell her?" I ask.
We are standing in the hallway of Morosetown Elementary. Students are scattered everywhere talking to each other and getting ready for their next classes. AKA last period.
It wasn't normal school. It was just summer school. Jason and I enrolled because we wanted something to do over summer besides hanging out with friends. We only have four classes. Spanish, math, English, and science. The summer program starts on Tuesdays and ends on Fridays. I don't know why. The program lasts throughout the whole summer. Then we all get a week off until the official first day of school.
Jason blushes, "No way. It'll be too awkward."
"Yeah right. You know she likes you. It's a little obvious you know," I say.
Jason laughs and pulls out his red journal from his backpack. That journal is his diary in a way. He writes down his feelings and turns them into music. I plan the melody. I play the piano and he sings the song.
He takes out a pencil from the pencil case in his locker. He writes something down and tears out the page.
"Check this out," he says.
I take the page from his hand.
It's a note. Probably to Hazel.
I wish I would've told you earlier. I wish I would've told you how I feel. Now things are different. There's no turning back.
I smile. "You don't like her anymore?" I ask.
He takes the page from my hand. and folds it neatly. "Maybe."
"Okay. I can put it in her locker for you," I say.
"No," he says, "I want to give it to her." With that, he takes his backpack, throws the journal at me, stuffs his pencil in his backpack, and walks down the crowded hallway.
I close the door to my locker and zip up my backpack. I am very tired. But I still have math class. I pick up Jason's journal, which has landed on the ground, and take one last look at the row of lockers in front of me.
As I walk to math class, my phone vibrates in my backpack. I don't know if it's an emergency. We aren't allowed to use our phones in school. My mother just wants them on us just in case there's an emergency. There's usually nothing. I can't check now. It's too crowded. People will see me.
I look around. Kids are using their phones and trying to text without others noticing. I don't know what to do. I decide to go to the restroom. Maybe I can check there? Or, I could ask a teacher if I could look at my phone. I don't know.
I spot Ms. Young talking to a boy from my Spanish class. I smile. She's really kind. She always stops to talk to students. Even gives after school lessons sometimes.
I walk up to her only to find the boy with tears in his eyes.
"He's missing Ms. Young. I don't know what to do," he says.
I don't know what his name is. But I don't want to see him cry. I walk up to him. He wipes his eyes with the back of his hand.
"Hi," he says, "I'm sorry."
"No. Don't be," I say.
Ms. young wraps an arm around the boy.
"Come on Will," we can talk about this in the classroom."
Will stands up. "No," he says, "I think I can handle it."
Ms. Young smiles. "I know you can," she says. She side hugs him and smiles at me. "Hi Matt."
I smile back. "Hi."
Will grabs his backpack and smiles a tear filled smile. I want to tell him everything will be okay. Better yet, I want to ask Jason to write a song for him. Just to see him smile.
Jason can make anyone smile. One song and that's it. People are happy again. It worked when we were little. It worked with mother and father.
The kid I knew in Spanish class always had a smile. He always talked with such energy. It sort of hurts to see him sad. It hurts to see anyone sad. But Will. That's different. He's the happy kid at school. Almost nothing could bring him down. Almost. But what happened?
Will takes his backpack and closes his locker. He is lost in the crowd of kids in a matter of seconds.
Only three more minutes until math. I sigh as I take out my phone. The message. It's from Jason.
Jason, Don't reply but I have to go somewhere after school. If I'm not back before dinner, tell mom I'll be back before the sun sets tonight.
I groan. Where is he going this time? Last time he said something like this, he was just going to get ice cream from the store. Mom was happy. For the rest of the night, we ate ice cream, played video games, and baked cookies. That was fun. But I knew Jason wasn't going anywhere fun this time. I just knew somehow.
I was right. He hadn't come. I already showed the message to mother. She just sat there crying. She didn't want to look at me. She just got up from the dinner table and walked to her room grabbing a box of tissues on the way. I just look down at my peas and chicken wings. I can't eat. I just lost my appetite.
I'm out of bed in less than ten minutes. I am very tired. I don't know why. Mom made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast today. First day of school and all.
I shower, brush my teeth, comb my hair and put on the red and blue school uniform. I rush downstairs expecting Jason to race down with me. But he doesn't come. His place is empty.
Mother sets a plate of chocolate chip pancakes in front of me. She takes a bottle of syrup and carefully spreads them on the pancakes. "There you go," she says, "Enjoy."
I thank her and she sits down across from me and sips at her strawberry banana smoothie. "I want to talk to you about something," she says.
I try to smile. But I can't. "What is it mom?" I ask.
"We found evidence," she says grabbing a pancake from a stack on the table next to a pitcher of orange juice.
"Really?" I ask as I pour myself a glass of OJ. I've been waiting for so long. I've been waiting for something. Something that might prove that my brother is still alive and healthy. If not, maybe a clue on the ground.
"They found his T shirt," she says. She walks towards me and hugs me tightly.
"They're still looking for him, Mat," she says as tears roll down her cheeks.
For three minutes, we sit down on the couch crying together. It's been so long since I cried for my brother. She cries on my shoulder. I sit there holding her close. Not wanting to let go.
Mom decides that I won't be going to school today. I am glad. I don't think I can handle going to school now. If I went now, I'd be entering fifth period.
I spend the day writing song lyrics mostly about my memories with my brother. I won't give up hope. I will go above and beyond to find him. Even if it takes the rest of my life.