The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Regrets

(Parker)

Regrets. Everyone has them. Some people have many while others don’t. Even the smallest thing you do has an impact. Like a leaf falling into a still lake. The leaf is light delicate and when it hits the water it lands softly in the small pool ricocheting into small waves. No matter what you do any small action good or bad impacts people in so many ways that it almost seems unrealistic. Had I known what future was set for the two of us I would have never allowed myself to go that far….

“Can you hurry up we’re going to be late!”

Groaning, I tried to ignore the pounding outside my room door and simply covered my face with my pillow. I’d stayed up all last night trying to finish an English report on Poe. We were given almost two weeks’ time but English Lit. was not my forte.

“Parker!” He called out again his voice irritating me and making my head pound. Giving up on more sleep I sat up annoyed throwing my pillow at the door.

“Alright already, I’m getting up!” I yelled. Moving the bed sheet away from me before getting up. I never really understood the point of going to school it wasn’t like we were actually going to do something after High School that entailed normalcy. The life of a Prince is hard. You have duties to your kingdom and the people in it. Mainly, protecting the people from the opposing kingdom Cray that often attacked Archer.

Our life was peaceful for the most part though there was the occasional attack which father would handle with the troops. Spencer and I would be given lessons. Mainly from our father. Ways to act with the people. The laws and history of our world, and of course combat. Normally a prince is homeschooled, father, however, thought we should interact with our people. Not that I mind, in fact, I prefer it.

“Parker you have five minutes or I’m telling our driver to leave without you!” Spencer yelled again.

“Just go I’ll run to school!” I yelled in irritation. It wasn’t like we needed to be driven around. We were faster than cars in our wolf forms anyways. It was always the same with him. He’s been crushing on Crystal Mane since we were kids. I can remember watching them together when we were young. Thinking of Crystal, I couldn’t help but feel that irritation gnawing away at the pit of my stomach.

“Not again.”

Every time I think of Crystal that little thing she calls a friend comes to mind.

“Forget it. I need to get ready for school,” I mutter to myself before I make my way to my bathroom to shower. Now was not the time to think of that…. Thing.

By the time I arrive to school I only have 5 minutes before the bell, maybe less. I’m quick to go to my locker ignoring anyone that calls my name because I need to hurry. I need to see her. I don’t know why I feel the need to do it every single day. It’s become a habit of mine almost an addiction like smoking. It’s not healthy but I need to do it anyway to feel better, at ease. Once I’m at my locker, I realize she hasn’t arrived yet. Pushing past my thoughts I begin to empty the contents of my backpack into the locker as slowly as I possibly can. I don’t want her to think I’m waiting for her.

“Hey man, why are you in such a hurry?” My friend Brad asks coming over to me and patting me on the back.

“Masters is giving us an English test today on Poe and our papers are due you know how she is. If you’re late, you don’t get into her class and I can’t afford another F if I want to graduate,” I lie.

“Relax man. You’re the Alpha Wolf I don’t think graduation will matter,” Brad says.

“Tell that to our father. He’s threatened to hang Parker by his tail if he doesn’t graduate. Something about not being responsible,” Spencer says his green eyes glistening with mischief while Brad himself laughs, his booming laughter echoing out in the halls.

“I take it Blondie hasn’t arrived yet,” I say to Spencer in irritation and he simply glares my way.

“When are you going to ask her out man? It’s getting boring,” Brad says to Spencer.

“When he grows a pair,” I mutter causing Brad to laugh once again and Spencer to glare.

“It’s complicated. You know there are rules to this and although some of us don’t follow them as a Prince I have to,” Spencer says his tone accusing. Although I hated to admit it Spencer was right.

In our world, there were rules for us. Super Novas’ were not allowed to date anyone other than their mate. The bad of it all was the fact that you have to be 21 for the process to start. Some Novas like Brad who happened to be a large bear (Fitting for a guy his size who is pure muscle) would sneak around with the females. If you were caught, you would be penalized, nothing major just a few added months to your wait to find your mate. It wasn’t unheard of for Super Novas’ to go out of their way and date a few females. Other than being able to transform into enormous animals, we’re all still regular teenagers. Just like all teenagers we all have urges.

“Rules are made to break you know,” I tell Spencer who shakes his head.

“And what will you tell your soulmate when she finds out you’ve been unfaithful to her with at least 5 women?” Spencer questions.

“She’ll understand,” I say shrugging.

“Father won’t,” Spencer adds.

“Yeah well, I not marrying father am I!” I snap, my remark once again emitting Brad’s booming laughter.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

I can feel it. Without even looking I already know she’s here simply because that feeling is gnawing at me again.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

I try not to move and my hands begin to sweat. The urge to readjust my jacket comes and I simply stuff my hands in my jean pockets to stop myself.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

I’m no longer hearing anything being said by Spencer or Brad because all I can think about is that gnawing feeling inside that keeps getting bigger.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

There she was again. She was the quietest and smartest girl in school. Why did I pick on her? Maybe it was because I could. After all, I was older and much stronger. Maybe it was because everyone in town knew who my family was. Nova royalty. I watched her walk down the hallway her head down and as always, she’s wearing an ugly green turtleneck sweater that’s too big for her. Her jeans ripped in different sections, her sneakers covered in dirt and covered with so many holes they look like Swiss cheese. She continues to walk, her head always down never looking up at anyone. She’s kind of small for her frame, delicate, breakable. Crystal walks with her down the hall, her eyes fierce looking as if she was shooting lightning out of her ocean blue eyes; daring anyone to say anything to the fragile thing next to her. Then Crystals’ eyes land toward me a silent warning.

“Stay away from her!”

Listening to Crystal is, however, out of the question. Turning my back to them I wait. Knowing Crystal will leave and she’ll need to come over to me.

Her locker is next to mine. I always wait for her to come. Why? I like bothering her getting under her skin. Maybe it’s because she never reacts. It doesn’t seem to faze her. She never cries like I hope a fragile little girl like her will. Instead, she makes me feel invisible, unheard. Because of it, I feel the need to say things to her, to see if it’ll one-day reach her ears. It’s childish I know, but I’ve never liked being ignored by anyone even if it is just her. Though I know who she is, what her name is, how shy she is I pretend to not know anything. To everyone else, she is Crystal’s little friend. That was exactly what I tried to keep telling myself. I can feel her moving closer heading in my direction and my mind concentrating on my task at the moment. What I really want to do I can never accomplish. I want to talk to her, bother her really. Even if she can’t hear it. I always try to see a tear fall. Hoping to get a reaction. Maybe it’s a fascination that I feel or something else I’m not sure. The only thing I do know is that I need it. Whatever it is. Whatever she is I need it. After what feels like an eternity she’s standing next to me and I turn to look at her.

“You know it’s not Halloween yet. Or are you late for the graveyard shift?” I ask her. Still, she does nothing and continues what she’s doing. Opening her locker and stuffing books in and out of them. The people around us laugh and yet she doesn’t say anything. There’s no reaction on her face that I can see either, simply because her silky chocolate brown hair is covering her face. I know I shouldn’t, I know it’s not right. Part of my mind always screams at me to stop while the other part screams for me to go further.

“Why do you come here?” I ask her and for the first time, I see her react. If only for a second, her posture goes rigid. Still, it’s quick to fade, and she continues to ignore me taking a few books out from her locker.

“Why do you come here?” I ask again before a few moments go by and I wait for a reaction. In the end, everything is all the same, her reaction remains the same, nothing. Not a single response as she tries to walk away.

“Stop her!” My mind yells.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

Somehow I can’t stop myself from speaking anymore. The voice in my head telling me to stop has already faded in the back, overpowered by the need to get a reaction of any kind from her.

“Everyone at this school hates you,” I tell her. Once again, her posture goes rigid while her back still faces me.

“You show up every single day. Why? You’re just a joke.” I tell her I have the urge to turn her around and see her reaction but just as my hand reaches out to her right shoulder Spencer speaks.

“Parker leave her alone,” Spencer says his eyes angry, but I can’t help what comes out next. It’s too late to turn back now. I’ve gotten this far and I want to keep going.

“Do us all a favor and disappear. The world would be a lot better if people like you weren’t in it,” I tell her. My mind suddenly turning off, unsure if those words had really come out of my mouth.

“You son of a bitch!”

Before I have time to react Crystal is already standing in front of me her eyes ice cold with fury.

*Smack*

Though I realize it should hurt to be slapped somehow I can’t feel it. All I can do is look at the girl with her back to me. She’s standing there quietly without a word though everyone else is now whispering around her. I realize she must not be aware of it either.

“You guys are a bunch of jerks! Just leave her alone! She’s not bothering anyone!” Crystal says, her eyes turning to Spencer for a brief second furious at him as well. Taking her friend by the hand, Crystal drags her away from everyone’s view.

“Dude,” Brad says though he is no longer smiling and there’s a look of disbelief in his eyes before he shakes his head and walks away.

“What?” I manage to say to Spencer who’s glaring at me. Running a hand through his dark curly hair he sighs in frustration and doesn’t say anything to me before walking away.

Had I known what would happen to her, maybe I would have never said anything. I would have apologized to her and tried to make things better. Unfortunately, things never work out the way we plan them to…

How long has it been since I last saw her? One month… Maybe two? Everyone at school thinks she ran away. That makes me feel bad. Other people think she actually killed herself and it’s only a matter of time before someone finds her body. That brings chills to my entire body and I find myself unable to breathe when I think about it.

“Hey Parker!” Brad calls out snapping me out of my thoughts. Closing my locker, I simply turn to him.

“What’s up?”

“You coming down to Devils Creek with me right?” He asks

“There’s going to be girls,” Brad adds when I don’t answer.

“I think I’ll just hang out at my place,” I tell him shrugging.

“Come on man it’ll be fun. I have this girl for you her name is Grace or something.”

“No thanks man,” I tell him.

Had this been any other day before this entire thing happened maybe I would have been up for it, but now? Not so much.

“Come on. I told her friend I’d hook her up with you. Do me a solid,” Brad says and I sigh and nod feeling irritated. Still, Brad simply smiles, pats me on the back and walks away. I make my way out of school and to the parking lot where Spencer is waiting with our driver Neil. I can tell he’s angry at me because he looks like he’s spouting smoke from his ears.

“What now?” I ask in irritation.

“Thanks to you Crystal’s pissed at me again,” Spencer says getting in the back seat of the car.

“What did I do?” I asked getting in the car and closing the door behind me before Neil takes off down the road heading toward our mansion.

“You mean other than insult her best friend,” Spencer says, his voice harsh

“Aside from that,” I say to him trying to sound like I don’t care, but feeling that guilt at the pit of my stomach gnawing away at me. Spencer, however, seems to buy my act because his glare intensifies.

“They took away Lyric’s scholarship because she’s missed so many classes she’s been expelled from school, and now Crystal is blaming me for not stopping you!”

His words hit me like a ton of bricks, weighing me down further with guilt. I don’t blame him for being upset. I don’t blame Crystal for being pissed either this was all my fault. For the remainder of the ride home, we don’t speak. Spencer because he’s too angry and me. I feel too guilty to say anything.

Maybe I deserved what happened next as a lesson, but she didn’t deserve this. No one does…

Devils Creek. What was so special about it? Only we Super Novas’ could ever go down it. It’s almost like going down a large mountain with unsteady rocks. Impossible to scale for a human. You have to be fast and you have to be stealth with the way large rocks fall as you scale down. The creak is a dump filled with trash but everyone goes down there to get drunk and hook up with girls. Most of the time the Novas let the girls climb on their back in their animal form so they can get them down there.

“Where the hell were you?” Brad asks handing me a drink once I’ve shifted back into my human form and changed behind some bushes. Music is blaring loudly a few people are dancing at the far end. Others have gone deeper into the woods around the large dump that is this place to get busy.

“Sorry. Overslept,” I lied. The truth was I didn’t want to come and spent the past 3 hours staring at my ceiling thinking about what Spencer had said. More than anything, I didn’t want to spend my time thinking about her anymore.

“Do you have any idea how hard it was to carry two girls on my back while trying to avoid falling rocks on my head,” Brad said.

“Anyways.” Brad continued while we walked over to some girls.

One girl was blonde and was wearing a small little red dress. Her eyes immediately looking me over up and down. Figures, Brad always had a taste for easy. The other girl was a redhead with cat-like eyes she was in an emerald green dress. She gave me a soft uncomfortable smile that told me she also didn’t want to be here. Her friend glares at her then nudges her softly in my direction. She only forces a smile and blushes.

“Hi, I’m Grace,” She finally says, extending her hand out to me.

“Parker,” I tell her and she simply nods her head in acknowledgment.

“I know.” She whispers.

“Why don’t you guys take a walk,” Brad suggests. Taking the hint, I nodded and turned to the girl.

“Let’s take a walk,” I tell her and she quickly follows me. The silence around us thick and uncomfortable.

“I’m sorry I really didn’t want to be here,” She confesses and I find myself relaxing just a bit at her confirmation.

“Neither did I.”

“So we were both dragged here by our friends,” Grace said smiling.

“I really don’t get the appeal of this place. There’s something about it that gives me the chills,” She added shaking her head.

“It’s just a hangout,” I tell her shrugging.

“And a place to hook up unseen by Nova officers,” I think to myself. There was no need to say something everyone knew.

“There’s nothing here but trash,” Grace added, walking along the edges of the creek.

“It would be a good place to hang out if it wasn’t so dirty,” I added.

The truth was the creek at one point had been clean and some would say beautiful. Now there was nothing but trash floating in the water. Cups of beer, beer bottles, tires, everything and anything that you could think of. The water was a murky black and if there ever was any fish, they were long gone.

“I can’t believe people come here for.”

For a moment she grew quiet. Her eyes widening like saucers and she visibly paled. “Oh My God! What is that?” Grace asked pointing to something hidden by a pile of old bags floating around it.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

Approaching it cautiously I froze. All I could see was someone’s foot. It was covered in dry blood and their skin was blue. Bruises and cuts surrounding the leg.

“Go call someone,” I managed to say, my chest tightening so hard I couldn’t breathe. The smell was disgusting. It smelled of decaying flesh and something else that could only be described as death. My heart began to pound hard in my chest with fear now.

“What if?”

“No.”

I couldn’t allow myself to think that way, not at this moment. The persons’ hand was sticking out at an odd angle and there was clear bruising and dry blood on it. It was only then that I realized that this person had deep gashes on their wrist. Across the arm, there was a single word carved into the flesh. UNWORTHY.

I couldn’t breathe. My own mind flashing to Lyric and begging that this wasn’t her. That I hadn’t caused this. There was a bag on her head that was covering her face. She had brown hair her clothes were the same as the last day I saw her. That ugly green turtleneck sweater and those cut up old jeans. Reaching for the bag with shaky hands I moved it away carefully.

“No…. Lyric.”

In the back, I could hear fast heavy footsteps but they hardly registered in my mind, not with what I was seeing in front of me.

“No. This can’t be her.” I thought to myself.

“Parker!” Brad yelled after me while I backed away from the body unable to take it. My mind was screaming, my heart thumping wildly and my stomach plummetted a hundred times.

“It’s her.”

“Lyric....”

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