Start writing Whitebrush was growing rapidly.
Six months ago it was a small town with a “mom and pop” diner, fast food joint and gas station. The nearest grocery store was ten miles away! Just yesterday it was announced that we would be getting a new strip mall-grocery store and all. I didn’t want the town to grow, it was my hometown. A place that I could always come back to after college when the big city life was too much to handle. Though College was still a full year away I was ready for it; ready to head down to Tennessee where a massive Christian college was calling my name, and to think that people doubted I could make the grades.
School in Whitebrush was nice; not a lot of students went there, my senior class was only ninety-five students in all, if all of us graduated, well it wouldn’t be a very long ceremony. I’d toss my cap off, go to project graduation then get everything ready for the most exciting summer of my life. Unfortunately, nothing really happened as expected. I was dragged into darkness, fed to it like a bird chasing worms. I was it’s prey, it wouldn’t stop following me I… I’m getting too far ahead of myself.
If I backtrack to three weeks ago it is the perfect place for the story to start, a quiet Monday Morning in mid-July. A perfect day really, sunny in Whitebrush eighty-three degrees to be exact. I followed my daily routine to the T; wake up, drink a glass of water, pee, shower, change for the day. After that I would read a chapter of the bible, this particular day I was reading the bible, a story of two brothers one who followed the path of God, and the other who slipped down a path of evil. Cain and Abel, it was a story that I’d heard many times and one that infatuated me with love for the bible. An epic tale of sibling rivalry that almost made me wish I wasn’t an only child.
Would I kill my brother?
Absolutely not, but having someone to compete with would be pretty interesting, even if being on the honor role year after year was enough. I needed competition in my life, something to say I was good at, besides standing up in front of the church and sending a message to the youth group. Sometimes I would be good at my hobby, playing video games. Other times I’d end up running around like a chicken with it’s head chopped off. Today was different though, I found myself winning matches earning higher killstreaks in shooters than I normally would.
Overall, the day started off pretty good.
“Cayde.” Mom called finally walking in from her long nigh shift.
I glanced at my alarm clock, “Already ten a.m.” I sighed. “Where did the time go?” Then turned my attention back to the television screen where my soldier stood still handgun drawn with a knife just under the grip of his pistol. I set the controller down nervously not really wanting to die, but also not caring. Games were fun, but they weren’t a way of life for me. Just a way to pass some time!
As I stumbled downstairs I heard her calling more frequently. “Cayde? You awake yet?”
“Coming!” I called taking the stairs two at a time only to reach the fake wood floors of our two story house.
Mom was still in her navy blue scrubs, her dark hair was tied up in a bun and she looked like she’d been through a lot the night before. Slowly she lifted her glasses, “Have you done anything around the house today?” Mom asked placing dirty dishes from the night before into the dishwasher. “I’ve had a really long night and need this house to be cleaned, okay?”
I nodded accepting that as an only child I would have double, or even triple the housework than a family with two, or three children. “I’ll finish the dishes for you, clean the bathroom, then do my laundry.” I said calmly. “After that maybe I’ll clean my room a little bit. God knows I need to do that.” A smile crept onto my face.
Mom scowled at me, “Do whatever you need to do, just please have the house cleaned before your Dad gets home. You know how he gets when everything is a mess.”
“I know.” I sighed.
Mom said, “I know you can’t do everything, but I really appreciate what you’ve done around the house lately. Work is just killing me, with everything going up I feel like every five minutes a construction worker comes in with something wrong.”
“Don’t be Cayde.” Mom said hugging my neck. “Just know that you’ll get a little bit extra money when we can give it to you.”
They’ve been saying that to me for years.
If it wasn’t for my grades I probably wouldn’t be going to school; Mom and Dad they weren’t the best with money, especially when it came to buying a new television, or the beautiful house we lived in. They always wanted the newest cars or the best new movies out. I felt like they bought things together to keep their marriage together in the same way.
For the longest time they had been happy, but as of recently they’ve been fighting more and more. Dad hasn’t been home as much and deep down I know why. Mom hates speaking of it though! She never talks about their problems when I’m around, unless she walks in on the phone with some friends of hers from church.
I started cleaning the bathroom first, scrubbing the toilet washing the mirror. At first, I didn’t notice it. A small black stain on the hardwood floors. When I finally did I saw an eerie gleam from it. I knelt down with a washcloth and bucket full of hot soapy water. I scrubbed so hard my arms were going numb, but the darkness didn’t disperse.
Mom knocked on the door, “Cayde?
I jumped, “Yeah?”
“Are you okay?”
“I… I uh… Yeah.”
She stood in the doorway, “You don’t have to scrub the floors with a washcloth Cayde. Isn't that what mops are for?”
“I tried that.”
I nodded, “There’s a stain that won’t come up.”
“Let me see.” Mom forced herself into the bathroom then gestured for me to move. “Um, no there’s not. Cayde do we need to get your eyes checked again?”
I shook my head, “It’s right here. See it?” Quickly I pointed at the dark spot on the ground realizing that it was nowhere to be seen.
Mom chuckled. “I’ll make an appointment with Dr. Ryan.”
“No, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it, Mom.” I said as calmly as I could. “I can see just fine, I was probably just imagining things. Too many video games.”
She said, “I told you those things were bad for you.”
Mom began to speak, “If you know then why do you… never mind Cayde. Just please, finish the bathroom then come see me in the bedroom. There’s something we need to talk about. Okay?”
I nodded as Mom left.
There was just something about it, the dark spot on the ground. The way it gleamed in the light, how it was there one minute and gone the next. I said a silent prayer then finished cleaning the bathroom hoping to never “hallucinate” about a dark spot ever again.
My prayer wasn’t answered.