Reading Up Next: Skip This One

 General Fiction posted April 12, 2021 Chapters:  ...9 10 -11- 12 

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Peter has a question

A chapter in the book cursed.


by J.Lancaster

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Peter has been in the human world for a while and is wondering if his friends made it out of the fire or not.
Once school ends I walk Emma back to our bench, chatting the entire way. I find myself getting wrapped more and more into her cartoon, which she finally tells me is called Galactic Cat-Ears of Time. You would think that would be an important detail to tell someone if you were planning on getting them sucked into it with no way out.
We part ways at the bench, waving goodbye for a hilariously long amount of time. I see her turn the corner, the glow she emanates slowly fading into the twilight.

Looking up into the sun's fading rays, I sigh, knowing everything will be alright now. If only Jacob and Tommy could be here with me. Wherever they are, I hope they're doing alright. Yeah, I'm sure they're fine.

I shake, the movement rocking my whole system back into place. Knowing I need to get home quickly, I begin the rest of my trek.

Opening the door to my house I'm greeted by my mom sitting at the table, drinking more of that awful coffee while reading some kind of book.

"Coffee, this late at night?" My voice startles her and she jumps up, spilling her mug's contents on the table.

"Peter!" she stammers. "I didn't hear you come in!"

"Whoops" I jest, setting my bag down. "Maybe I should start wearing a bell?"

She places her book down and stands up with her hands on her hips. "What am I gonna do with you?"

Already feeling a tingle in my sides, I take a weary step back.

She leans in closer, her hand slowly reaching up to my head as if to play with my hair. I know better though.

Dodging her hand, I try to escape from under her, but I'm not fast enough.

She grapples my stomach with her right arm and tickles my side relentlessly with the other.

"Ah, betrayal!" I screech between each laugh.

"I got you, I got you!" She cackles evilly as she rakes her evil fingers against my skin.

I wiggle sporadically, desperate to escape.

"No, no please stop!" I laugh as we both fall to the floor, her relentless pursuit sending me into a tizzy. I realize I'm in trouble now that my back and sides are completely exposed. She strikes at my weak points, ferocious in her attack.

Shrieking and wiggling, I notice she's wide open. I decide to defend myself and jab my fingers into her sides, making sure to hit hard.
She cackles and is sent sprawling away from me.

"The hunter becomes the hunted!" I yell, my war cry sending fear through my prey.

She tries to run, but I won't let her get far. I quickly tackle her, making sure my arms are in the most opportunistic position.

My fingers attack her sides and she bumps the table hard, her howls of laughter vibrating through the air. We grapple a little bit more, but my iron grip won't let her get at me.

"Surrender, or feel my wrath!" I boast, confident that I've won this tickle fight.

"Ah, stop! Okay okay, I give, I give." She giggles maniacally and falls to the floor.

Suddenly, we hear a huge bang at the door as my dad walks in, bringing a miasma of exhaustion with him. Once he glances around the room, however, his eyes light up. I can see the dark clouds around him dissipate into thin air, the trials of the day now far behind him.

"What happened in here, a stampede roll through?" He gestures to the misplaced table and the coffee stain, now dripping onto the floor. Even though his voice is monotone, he's got the biggest grin on his face.

I realize I have an excellent opportunity, mischief still racing through my fingers.

"More prey!" I shout.

Ducking under him, I strategically latch onto his back, my arms wrapped around his head.

"Blinding attack!" I screech.

Mom successfully comes in as my back up and grabs him, jabbing at his sides.

"Ah, no!" Dad yells, "I'm being ganged up on in my own house!"

We all laugh and grapple with each other, the tickle fight quickly becoming a free-for-all.

I fall to the ground and land on my butt. Still determined to win, I latch onto him again and begin perusing his back for weak spots. Before I can get a good hold though, he grabs my collar and pulls me forward.

"Rawr!" dad hollars as he grabs both me and mom, trapping us both. "I've got you two troublemakers now! It's over!"

He picks us up and swings us around. Mom and I scream as if we were on one of those roller coaster rides I see on tv.

Losing his balance, he topples over and we all sprawl across the floor, merriment swimming through the air. All three of us lay there for a second, enjoying each others warmth and company.

Dad is the first one to get up, clearly the winner this time. He walks over to the entrance where he placed his stuff and grabs his work bag.

Motioning for all of us to sit at the table, he pulls out more cut pieces of meat from a gray grocery bag.

I shrug my shoulders as he hands me a slice, my mood too hyper for something like this to depress me.

We begin drinking, each of us still a little giggly from all the ruckus.

"So, Peter," My mom slurs in between drinking, "how was school today?"

I put down my steak and tell them that I'm starting to make some more friends, and that the school is starting to open up to me a bit.

"That's good," dad cheers as he rips his slice apart. "I'm glad you're adjusting to school so quickly, Peter."

"Thanks, but it was really nothing." My voice is mixed with pride. "Pretty soon I'll have the whole school under my absolute control! Nobody will ever be able to defy my impenetrable will!"

I stand up and thrust my fist into the air like the delirious dictator that I am.

They clap, applauding the successes of their new ruler.

"Ha ha!" I cheer.

Recollection flashes before me, bittersweet memories flooding my system. I feel the joy leave my body almost instantly, its tender embrace leaving me cold and empty. My parents must have noticed my sudden shift in attitude as they stare up at me, worry spread across their faces.

Sitting back down, I gather my thoughts and prepare myself for what I'm about to ask them. I shiver, the last step of my plan now about to unfold.

The question, the omnipresent question that has been burning within me, its flames penetrating my every thought. Ever since the fire, I've never been able to escape its call. I know deep down that I'll never be the same until I get an answer.

"Mom, dad," I begin solemnly.

"What is it, dear?" Mom says quietly.

"I... have a very important question to ask the both of you. I'm just..." my voice quivers. I can't do this. I can't ask them such an awful question out of the blue like this, especially since we had so much fun just a moment ago.

"I." My mind wars with me, my voice refusing to come out of my throat. I begin to choke, feeling a heavy chain around my neck.

"Oh baby," mom coos as she gets up from the table and pulls me into her arms.

The dam behind my eyes bursts, its waters flowing out wildly and uncontrolled. I sniffle a little and shove my wet face into mom's chest, latching on to her as if my life depended on it.

"I'm never gonna see them again, am I? I'm never gonna see them again!"

I hear the chair creak as dad gets up and caresses my back with his hand before wrapping us both up in his arms.

"It's all gonna be okay, son. We're all gonna be okay." He pats my head, rubbing his huge hand into my hair.

"I'm sorry," he chokes, "I'm so sorry, Peter."

That's all the answer that I needed. I scream, my tears rolling down my face in huge waves.

My parents squeeze me in between them as if to cocoon me. I let them, the warmth soothing my aching heart.

We stay there for a while, three broken people who have only each other to confide in. I let their soothing voices lull me out of my grief, each and every word like a bandaid over my wounds.

"I think it's time we all get some rest, okay honey?" Mom's soft voice is unusually calming.

I feel exhaustion like a blanket over me, my energy reaching its end. They both pull away and rub my head, their melancholy smiles worn and weary.

I nod sluggishly and mom escorts me upstairs to my room, tucking me into bed. She kisses my cheek and whispers me goodnight, making sure to close the door all the way before exiting downstairs.

I turn to my side, a few late tears still running down my face. Closing my eyes, I dream of a better world.

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