Sadly, I did not get a prompt yesterday. I figured this might happen in the beginning, so I have a contingency plan! The internet is bursting with prompts. Today's was taken from The Fake Redhead Writes. If you haven't seen the prompts, I recommend it! Most are hilarious and with 300 posted, you're bound to find something to kickstart an idea.
“Move out of my way, you bald bastard!” Ryan had only a second to brace himself before he was shoved into the nearest locker. Male laughter echoed down the hall. Ryan kept his face against the cool metal and fought back tears.
“He’s gone.” Ryan turned to look at the new voice.
Lisa Bentley was squatting down and picking up his fallen folder. She handed it to him with a small smile.
“Arthur’s a jerk.” She said. “Are you okay?”
Ryan nodded, not looking his school crush in the eyes. He looked at his shoes, noticing her sneakers’s purple and black pattern. She swayed for a moment.
“Do you need help?” Lisa tried again. “Want someone to walk you to class or the nurse?”
He fought back new tears. Lisa felt bad for him, like he couldn’t handle things himself.
“I don't need a girl to walk me to class.” Ryan said, instantly regretting his choice of words.
“Fine, be a jerk too!” Lisa huffed. “I was only trying to be nice!”
Ryan looked up as she turned her back on him and walked down the hall. Her curly brown hair was pulled up in a ponytail.
Serves me right if she doesn’t talk to me for the rest of my life. Ryan thought sadly. He kicked the locker in front of him.
“Mr. Denton! Stop damaging school property and get to class before the tardy bell rings!” The principal, Ms. Claymore startled him.
Now she comes. Ryan’s thoughts were getting angry. Where was she when Arthur was bullying me? No one ever sees him act up.
Ryan walked to class with his head down. He was tired and wondered if he could call his dad to come get him. He knew his dad would come but somehow that would make Ryan feel worse.
He made it to his seat with seconds to spare but jumped up, yelling. Laughter radiated through the classroom, but the most came from the boys in the back corner.
“Is there a problem, Ryan?” Mr. Eres, his science teacher, was looking out with concern.
Ryan reached down and pulled a tack from the back of his thigh. The pain was minimal, but the humiliation was worse.
“I sat on something sharp.” Ryan said. He didn’t bother to tell Mr. Eres that Arthur was the one who probably stuck it to his seat.
Mr. Eres came over and took the red tack from Ryan. The teacher eyed the sniggering boys but said nothing to them.
“Are you okay?” Mr. Eres asked his student. “Do you need to see the nurse?”
“I’m fine.” Ryan said, wanting the attention on him to just go away.
Mr. Eres looked over at Arthur and his little gang once more before going back to the front to begin the lesson. Ryan could barely listen. His tiredness increased as the class went on and he caught himself dozing more than once.
When the bell rang, Ryan woke with a start, accidentally sweeping his science book off his desk. It flew over Shannon Halls’ desk and landed on the next row. Arthur, not paying attention, stepped on the book. The slick cover shot out from under him and Arthur reached out for anything to stop his fall. The only thing he managed to do was pull down two desk on top of himself, one still containing the stunned Shannon.
There was a sharp cracking noise then a scream. When the clutter was cleared, Shannon had a red mark on her left cheek that was sure to turn in to a bruise. Arthur got the worst of it. The sharp crack had been Arthur’s right femur. It stuck out of his leg, making more than one classmate throw up, causing a few more sympathetic vomiters to join in.
Ryan got out of the classroom as soon as he could. He was shaking and covered in a cold sweat.
Grigori. It was the last thought in his head before he passed out
When he awoke, he was in the nurse’s office. His father’s face slowly came in to view.
“Hey, champ.” Ryan could hear the worry in his father’s voice. “How are you?”
Ryan slowly sat up with a queasy feeling in his stomach.
“Take it slow.” His father helped him right himself on the cot. “I heard what happened to your class friend. I guess it was kind of gruesome.”
Ryan nodded, not saying what was swirling in his head.
Ryan’s father went towards the nurse and they had a quiet conversation with their heads together. Ryan couldn’t hear the words but he knew the gist of it.
His father gave him a smile as he came back to the cot.
“You’ve got a bit of a temp going, champ.” His father said. “Nurse Nelson thinks you should take a half day.”
Ryan knew there was no point in arguing. The adults wouldn’t listen to him. They wouldn’t understand why he really passed out.
“I’ve already spoken with the principal.” His father continued as they went towards Ryan’s locker. “She’ll make sure your classwork will be emailed and you can keep up.”
His father grabbed his books before Ryan had a chance to try.
In the car, they listened to the radio for a few minutes before Ryan’s father cleared his throat. Ryan knew what was coming.
“We need to talk.” Ryan didn’t bother to turn from the car window. The lack of the word ‘champ’ told him whatever his father was about to say wouldn’t include Ryan’s opinion.
“We…that is, your mother and I, think it might be best if you started the online classroom.” Ryan didn't respond. He was expecting it. “We worry that actually going to school is too much for you. We’ve already looked in to it and the classroom would go at your pace. If you have a bad day, you can just make it up whenever you wanted.”
Ryan leaned his forehead on the glass. His breath fogged up the window.
“Just give it some thought, okay?” Ryan felt a hand lightly grab his shoulder and give it a friendly pat.
At home, Ryan went straight to his room without saying another word. He knew his father wouldn’t bother him until it was time for meds and his mother wasn’t expected back from work until six or seven.
The rest of the day passed with Ryan napping and playing on his computer. His dad brought him dinner on a tray and left it without saying anything. Ryan ate what he could stomach, but it wasn’t much. He hadn’t been able to eat much over the last few months. He briefly wondered if his dad was going to start putting him on the shakes again.
Ryan looked around his room. He loved it as much as any kid but it also felt like a prison. School had been his only release from the house and now his father had basically told him he wasn't even going to be able to do that.
“Ready for bed, kiddo?” Ryan’s mom popped her head around his door before coming in. “Dad told me about what happened at school. It must have been awful!”
Ryan rolled his eyes.
“Which part?” He asked. “Me passing out or the school bully getting his leg broken?”
His mom turned down the corner of his comforter and tapped the bed.
“Time for bed.” She purposely ignored his sarcastic tone. “Tomorrow you’ve got a doctor’s appointment.”
Ryan sighed and shut down his computer.
“I’m too old for you to tuck me in.” He said, though he did allow her to complete the ritual.
“I know.” He could hear the tinge of sadness in her voice. She kissed his forehead. “Thanks for letting me do it anyway.”
She smiled at Ryan before flipping off his light and shutting the door.
Ryan slept fitfully on and off. At 3 AM he finally gave up on sleep and went to his desk. He plugged in a pair of headphones and began playing a video game. He knew his parents would flip to find out he wasn’t sleeping through the night but the last thing he wanted was to be put back on the horrible sleeping pills that left him groggy all day long.
Being focused on his game, Ryan didn’t see the dark shadow creep into the room, starting from the edge of the window frame and oozing to the dark of the bed. Ryan didn’t see it the slow ebb of darkness detach itself. He didn’t see it begin to take a nightmare shape and it clambered up his bed frame and onto the space themed comforter.
Long fingers ended in sharp yellowed talons with burnt red skin stretched too tight over a bony frame. The eyes of the thing sucked up the blackness around it. Sharp white teeth and white spiral horns were the only whiteness of the horror’s face.
Ryan was blissfully unaware of what was happening only a few feet behind him. The thing crept on all fours towards Ryan, reaching out a right claw to gently grazing one razor sharp nail over the boy's shoulder.
Ryan yelped and spun in his desk chair. The headphone he was wearing ripped from the laptop and game music blared into the room’s silence.
As fast as he could, Ryan slammed the laptop shut and disentangled himself from headphones. He slowed his breathing and listened in the still house. He waited five whole minutes before he let out a sigh and turned back towards the nightmare sitting crosslegged on his bed.
“You scared me!” Ryan frowned at the demon, knowing it would do no good. “What is mom or day heard me? You know I could get my laptop taken away for a month if they found out I stayed up past my bedtime playing online!”
The demon frowned back and lifted his claws, palms up.
“I offer no apologies.” It said. “I am naturally terrifying.”
He cocked a black eye at the closed laptop and shook his head disapprovingly.
“You know,” He said in a mildly disapproving voice. “In all the years I’ve spied on you, I’ve never caught you looking at porn sights. You can be rather boring.”
Ryan blushed a deep red and looked away. The demon watched curiously as the blush continued up Ryan’s bald head. He could see the delicate tracing of blue veins that pumped the 10 yr olds vital fluid.
“You have to stop, Grigori.” Ryan said, still not looking in the demon's direction. “You really hurt Arthur today.”
The demon smiled, showing all of his pointed teeth.
“I was rather proud of myself.” He said. “After all, a guardian is supposed to protect their charge. Arthur won't be able to hurt you for…how long does it normally take a human femur to heal?”
Ryan bunched his fists and looked directly into Grigori’s black eyes. Grigori blinked first.
“It’s not normal to have a guardian demon!” Ryan hissed out. “And you can’t just hurt people to protect me. I don't need protection!”
Grigori blinked again.
“You do need protection.” He said simply. “If you didn’t I wouldn’t be here.”
The hot tears spilled out from Ryan’s eyes. He was so tired of everything. He was tired of being different. He was tired of his cancer and the treatments that just made him feel worse. He was tired of Grigori. He hadn’t asked for any of it.
Grigori fidgeted and smoothed a wrinkle out of the bedspread.
“I can’t change what I am.” Grigori said, not looking at his charge. “i don’t know why I was given the task of being your guardian but I am. My methods may be a bit unorthodox but very effective.”
Ryan couldn’t stop crying. He got up from his chair and crawled towards his bed. Grigori scuttled off to make room.
The two unlikely companions sat in the room until Ryan’s sobs quieted. Grigori crawled back on the bed and sat facing Ryan.
“I can make it stop.” Grigori said, tilting his head to look Ryan right in the eyes.
Ryan wiped his nose and sat up.
“Make what stop?” Ryan asked.
“All of it.” Grigori closed the distance between them so he could touch Ryan's arm. “The pain. The tiredness. The fear.”
Ryan fought the urge to push the demon’s hand off. He could feel a crawling heat going up his arm but he did nothing more than shiver.
“How?” Ryan whispered the word.
Grigori leaned in.
“Just tell me you’re done.” Grigori said. “Tell me that your life is too much and I will take it from you. I’m your guardian and am supposed to protect you.”
Ryan started shaking. His mouth felt suddenly dry.
“You mean…” He tried to swallow. “You’ll kill me?”
“You’ll just sleep and never wake up.” Grigori said. “It will be painless but it will be over. Your parents will just think it was the cancer. You know it’s going to get worse before it finally takes you, don’t you? You’ve seen the inside of the hospitals.”
Fresh tears fell from Ryan’s eyes. The shaking got worse. He was so cold despite Grigori’s touch.
“I want it to go away.” The words tumbled from Ryan’s lips. He felt someone else had said them for him.
Grigori grinned wider.
“But…” Ryan shook off the demon's hand and slid off the bed. “I can’t do it. I can’t leave my parents.”
Grigori stood up. The little demon was less than 3 feet tall. “But it would ease their pain too. Think of how much they worry about you. How much their life is dictated by your illness. How much money they put into your treatments and medicines.”
The demon moved closer.
“And you know none of it works.” The demon continued. “You know you're getting sicker. You can feel yourself dying, can’t you?”
Ryan nodded and locked eyes with the demon.
“I can fix that for you.” The demon’s voice hissed. “I can make it all better.”
A slow smile spread over Ryan's face and he laughed. It was louder than he intended but it felt good.
The demon’s confusion was obvious. He stopped where he was on the bed. It made Ryan laugh louder.
“What is this?” Grigori’s eyes flashed with anger. “How dare you laugh at me? Have I not protected you all these years? And you laugh at my power?”
Ryan gasped as he tried to get his laughter under control.
“You tried to kill me!” Ryan could barely get the words out. “You tried to kill me!”
Grigori blinked and stepped further away from Ryan. He seemed unsure of the situation, of himself, of what the 10 year old boy in front of him had done.
“You have to go!” Ryan continued the crazed laughter. “You said you were supposed to protect me yet you just tried to kill me! What does that mean you have to do to yourself? Arthur got a broken leg for just being a regular bully. What do you have to do to you?”
Ryan gasped and fell to his knees. He was still on the floor when his parents flipped on the light to his room.
“Oh my god!” Ryan’s mother ran over to him and scooped him up. She searched him over, checking for any outward problems.
His dad was reaching for the oxygen mask near Ryan’s bed. With a practiced motion, he flipped the mask over his son’s face and turned the valve.
“Deep, slow breaths, champ.” His dad coached. “There you go. Just like that.”
It took several minutes for Ryan’s breathing to come back to normal. He felt drained but happy. He could feel Grigori was gone for good. He wasn’t sure how he knew it, but he did.
“You okay?” Ryan was tired of hearing that phrase but he understood why everyone asked.
“I’m okay.” He smiled at his parents.
His parents exchanged worried looks and he knew they were wondering if they should take him to the hospital.
“I’m really okay.” Ryan sat up.
His mom kissed his head and his dad pulled him in for a hug. Ryan listened to his father’s heartbeat and let the sound sooth him. He knew he wasn’t going to get better. He knew the cancer was going to kill him, probably before he made it to his next birthday. He also knew that Grigori had been right. It was going to get much worse before it was over.
A slight chill ran through his body as he thought about Grigori. He knew his anger had brought the demon into his life though he never would have admitted it to the creature. He also knew that when he sent Grigori away, his anger went with him. Ryan knew why he wasn’t angry any more. There wasn’t a power in Heaven or Hell that would change what was happening to him and Ryan was finally accepting that.
My lofty dreams of being a famous & brilliant writer were literally smacked out of my head. Now I plan to fill the void with copious amounts of subpar writing!