Authors: Sean Hayden
My Soul to Keep
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2012 by Sean Hayden
Cover Illustration © 2012 by Sean Hayden
First Untold Press Publication / May 2012
All rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced
or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's
imagination and or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales
or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Published by Untold Press LLC
114 NE Estia Lane
Port St Lucie, FL 34983
PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
When you write a story that is special to you, you need to dedicate
it to someone very special. I have so many special people in my life. This one goes
to the three who are nearest and dearest to my heart. This one is dedicated to my
To my Angel
To my Bug
To my Bud
I love all three of you more than you can possibly imagine.
To my spelchekrs! When you've been over a story a couple of hundred
times, the words tend to blur as the story is so ingrained in your mind. I have
three awesome people who keep me from looking like an idiot.
My Angel's Mom
Ever have one of those bad ideas just pop into your head? You know
the ones. They seem like a great idea at the time, but if you had stopped to think
about it a moment…
I'm talking about those ideas where you just seize the moment and do
what your heart tells you to. Then, after the dust settles and you get bandaged
up, your parents say, "What the hell were you thinking?"
"But, Dad, I wasn't!"
I had one of those moments.
I guess if you want to be technical, I had a whole chain of those moments
leading up to the big bang moment. The problem was I didn't have anyone standing
around saying, "What the hell were you thinking?"
The moral of this story?
There are several.
First, stores don't sell black candles for a reason. They're bad news.
If you happen to come across one in the mall that sells questionable items…walk
away. Trust me on this one. Black candles are bad.
Second, always know what you want out of life. Coasting along, not
caring about anything will get you into trouble. Maybe more than you can handle.
Lastly, if someone offers to grant you your fondest wish, wish for
something you really, truly want. Wish for something that will make the world a
better place or you a better person. Never ever wish to be a monster…
I kicked at the latch on the heavy wooden door and got it on the first
shot. I felt a sense of accomplishment as it clicked open and the warm air from
inside my house poured out into the chilly October night. Early evenings have always
been my favorite. I always feel more alive just as the sun starts to set.
A nice quiet house after a long day of dreary school never failed to
make me smile. Both of my rents would be at their jobs for at least two more hours,
and my little sister would be at cheerleading practice just as long. Life can be
complicated unless you figure out what you love and abuse the hell out of it.
My love is solitude, and I planned on enjoying it. I dumped my backpack
on the floor just inside the door and placed the books I held in my other hand on
top of it. I probably should have set them down outside and used my hand to open
the door, but they were books. You don’t put books on the ground, ever. Besides,
I'd gotten quite proficient in opening our usually unlocked house with my feet.
Thankfully we had one of those old style thumb latches. If we had doorknobs, I’d
have to grow a thumb on my foot. That would suck in gym class. The jocks already
made my life a living hell. Having a thumb on my foot would just make it more unbearable.
I walked onto the set of a 1970’s sitcom. Just kidding. My parents
had all the house decorating ability of a pimp named HuggieBear. I tried not to
stare at the red and yellow plaid couches as I practically ran to the stairs. They
hurt my eyes. Before my foot hit the first stair, I remembered I had homework. I
turned and ran back to get my backpack and books.
Before Playstation, there must
My parents enforced very few rules, but homework first had always
If I hurried, I could still abuse the hell out of the “me
Backpack on shoulder and books in hand, I ran up the stairs two at
a time and straight into the bowels of hell. Or as my sister calls it, my room.
Few have entered, none have returned
needed to be stenciled on the door.
I’d been begging for permission for months.
Slowly wear them down, Connor. Slowly
wear them down
. My parents rarely said no, but we were renting the house. I
bet myself two weeks ago I would have it up by the end of the month.
My wondrous new literary finds, I set on my bookcase
for later perusal.
I tossed the backpack on my beat up, looked like it came out of a 1920’s
schoolhouse, had more chemicals spilled on it than a science lab floor, carved up,
broken, battered, little wooden desk and pulled out my algebra book. Without opening
it, I held my hand over the cover, palm up, and slowly curled all but one finger
back into a fist. Yes, I gave my algebra book the finger. It’s childish I know,
but algebra deserved it for making my life a living, miserable hell. Actually, it
deserved worse, much worse. When my sophomore year was over, I planned on sacrificing
it to no one in particular. I was thinking ritualistic burning or maybe saying a
few words in Latin before chucking it into a wood-chipper. Either idea would make
me giggle like a little school girl as I watched its demise.
I sat down and looked over at my Playstation 3. It silently called
out to me, pleading with me to not do my homework, but to come caress the buttons
of her controllers. She promised to help me defeat the soldiers of the opposing
team. I could hear her. “Don’t pick up the pencil…pencil…pencil.” It never ceased
to amaze me how electronic devices always spoke with an echo. Stoically, I held
my hand up to my shiny source of endless entertainment in a gesture of denial.
thyne mother and father happy
I flipped open the dread book of polynomial torture and choked back
the gorge rising into my throat. After trying three times to get into the drawer
holding my paper and writing utensils, it finally flung open and jabbed me in the
chest. My breath shot out with the force of a sneeze. I needed to remember the drawer
trick if I ever found myself choking in my room. Screw the Heimlich, open a drawer.
Battered and weary before the homework even began, I pulled out my
pristine sheet of white paper and my famed No. 2 pencil. Okay, it wasn’t famous,
but it might be some day. Fine, it was a stubby, overused nub of a pencil without
an eraser, but it was still my favorite.
I set the paper on the desk in front of me and then flipped to the
page we were working on in class. Of course it had to be my favorite; multiplying
polynomials. I’ll admit it. I had no grandiose desires to be a rocket scientist,
geneticist, or anything else that ended in "ist". Why on earth did I have
to learn this crap? "Firsts, outers, inners, lasts," sounded like a recipe
for disaster. It’s why God invented calculators. We weren’t allowed to use them
and they would know if we did. “Show Your Work” really meant prove you didn’t cheat.
It took me all of three seconds to make my first mistake.
Because my favorite pencil didn't have an eraser, it ended in one of
those dangerous metal contraptions that could bore a hole through a wood desk in
detention. Trust me on this one, I know. For just such emergencies I kept a fat
pink eraser in my desk drawer. Staring at it, I silently prayed to the eraser gods
to start making them in different colors. Pink was my least favorite color in the
universe. Rubbing it against my paper and watching it disintegrate into tiny dust
nodules made me feel a little better. Plus it made my mistake go away, too.
Knowing my mistake-making wasn't over, I slid my arm sideways across
the desk to set it aside. Someone, probably myself, had left a half buried staple
in the desk. The half that wasn't buried slit me open like a bag of Doritos. Chips
didn't pour from the wound, but blood did. Lots of it.
Time slowed for an instant. I've never been a squeamish person, nor
have I ever been into the macabre. However, I couldn't help myself. I stared at
the wound as the blood flowed toward the desk in thick droplets. My eyes shifted
from my arm to the tiny puddle of blood on the desk. Eventually the flow stopped,
leaving a red streak on my arm. It wasn’t the wound which captivated me. It was
the thick red blood forming the shape of an artist's palette.