Under The Moon. (Chapter 1)
Chapter One. Babes, Beasts, and Back to School.
Shawn Carroll was running shirtless in the woods… If you could call it running, he was moving so fast that the trees beside him became blurs, that limp bushes felt like leather whips against his bare legs. He couldn’t look back. His eyes were dead set on something in front of him. It was like he was looking for something… or running from something. He heard voices.
“We’ve almost got him! Keep going men!” growled a deep voice.
Shawn knew the men were a threat, but he wasn’t afraid of them… He wasn’t afraid of anything.
“Boss he’s getting away!” shouted another voice.
“Shoot him you idiots!” The deep voice bellowed.
Shawn ran faster. Maybe he was afraid of a few things. Like bullets. He didn’t know if it was luck or reflexes, but every bullet seemed to just miss him. He knew he should turn, he should try to hide, but he couldn’t. He was on a mission. He clenched his jaw and started running even faster. Eventually the voices from behind him started to fade and the gunshots stopped. Shawn didn’t slow down. After minutes that felt like hours he found a broken down cabin. He felt drawn to the cabin. Whatever he wanted was in there. He flew through the door and looked inside. Staring him in the face was a terrible beast. It stood near six feet tall, packed with lean muscle, and covered in dark fur. The beast opened its mouth, revealing a jaw full of deadly sharp teeth and emitted a terrible scream.
The scream became his own as Shawn woke up, gripping his blanket, and sweating profusely. This was the third time that week that Shawn had that particular nightmare. Every time was the same.
Shawn wasn’t really one for superstition. He didn’t avoid ladders or black cats, and he had broken his share of mirrors in his 17 years of life. So it goes without saying that he didn’t keep a dream diary or anything. But something about this nightmare really shook him. On this particular morning however, he had something slightly more terrifying on his mind. It was the first day of his senior year of high school.
Shawn groaned and rolled out of bed. He cracked his joints and scratched the side of his face.
“Great. Stubble on the first day of school” he muttered to himself. He stumbled out of his small room and into the bathroom. He pulled off his smelly football jersey and observed his reflection. He was relatively buff for a teenager. Between lacrosse and football, he had stayed in good shape. Then again he’d always been faster than his peers. “Good genetics” his mom used to joke. Shawn never got a lot of his mother’s jokes, and it didn’t look like he ever would... He shook his head. No need to think about her this early. He leapt into the shower and tried not to get seduced by the warm comfort of hot water. He shaved; washed up and started to dry off. He looked down for his toothpaste as he scrubbed some of the fog off of the mirror. When he looked up he screamed and ducked. In the mirror, he saw the head of the beast, snarling at him. He whipped his head around the room, trying to find the animal before it slaughtered him, but he was alone in the bathroom. He stood up slowly and stole a glance at the mirror. No beast. Just a naked 17 year old boy, hiding from a bad dream. He pulled his long brown hair away from his pale hazel eyes, ashamed.
“Yeah Shawn… All the cheerleaders are gonna be all over you this year”. He slammed his toothbrush down and walked back to his room. Last night he had laid out two separate outfits. On the left he had the “rocker” look. Intentionally faded, ripped jeans and a t-shirt of a band he hadn’t listened to since middle school, with his torn up converses. On the right, the socially acceptable “jock” look. His striped polo, khaki shorts and Nike’s. If he wore the rocker look, none of the cheerleaders would spare him a passing glance unless it was the “Ew, what is that thing” glare they all seemed to know, but he knew his friends would eat him alive if he showed up looking like he lived in an Abercrombie & Fitch. Bro’s vs. Hoes. He reached for the torn up pants… and then thought better of it.
“Sorry boys, this American Eagle isn’t going to Prom alone”
He walked to the edge of his room and stopped. He hated the feeling of being watched. He knew he was alone in the room. Nobody lived in the house except for him and his step-father, and he doubted that old drunk would be awake this early. He took a deep breath and spun around. He was alone in his room, nobody except for his idiotic reflection in the mirror.
“Fuckin’ idiot, let’s go” he muttered to himself, and started down the stairs. He glanced into the living room. His obese stepfather, the town drunk, lay passed out on the couch, drool pooling next to the leftover pizza on the floor. Genius struck.
“Hey Steve, do you mind if I take the Porsche?” he yelled to his step-father. Steve snored. “Thanks, you’re a pal!” Shawn crept gingerly into the kitchen and grabbed the keys off the table.
He opened the door and was greeted by the pimply face of his best friend, Brian.
“Wazzah?!” Brian exclaimed loudly before Shawn closed the door.
“Shut the fuck up dude, I got the Porsche”
“Suh-wheet!” Brian sang. “Gonna look so hot rollin’ up in that ride”
“Dude. Please shut up before I ‘roll up’ alone”
“Jesus Bro, just excited. What’s wrong? You look like you saw a ghost”
“Close enough” Shawn muttered.
“Nothing. Let’s go” and with that they leapt into the Italian dream machine. As they pulled away, Shawn thought he saw the silhouette of his step father rising from the couch, but then he reconsidered. The fat ass never left the room, and technically it was his Porsche. If Steve was going to waste Shawn’s inheritance, Shawn was going to waste Steve’s gas. They flew down the streets of his small hometown, blowing past loud pick-up trucks and beat up “grandma cars”.
“Hey beautiful!” Brian yelled at every girl they passed. “Wanna go for a Bry-ride?” he would yell.
“Jesus Bry, it’s such a fucking mystery why you’ve never had a girlfriend”.
“Whatever dude. It’s like they say. Better to have attempted to love and lost than never to have loved at all”
“Nobody says that and that doesn’t make any fucking sense”.
Brian was quiet for the rest of the car ride. Shawn felt bad, but it wasn’t his fault that Brian couldn’t take a joke, and it definitely wasn’t his fault that he had shot a poorly executed advance at a girl in public. If anything, he deserved a little punishment for embarrassing her. They arrived at the decrepit brick building known as their high school. It was a monument to education in the United States. Once it had been an elite, brilliant establishment for learning, now it was where Rednecks made hunting plans and jocks struggled to earn athletic scholarships. As for everybody else? They hoped they could afford community college. However, in comparison to the aged bricks and scratched windows, the shiny red Porsche was gorgeous, and Mario be damned if every girl at the school didn’t notice. Shawn was trying his hardest to wear his “stone cold” face.
“Dude… Are you constipated?” Shawn rolled his eyes. Thanks Brian, he thought.
He pulled into a parking spot typically reserved for teachers. No way his Porsche was going to be sandwiched between some crusty Volvo and a broken down Chevy. He locked the doors and tried to act casual as everyone watched him walk into school. He tried to suppress a smirk as he opened his locker. He put his backpack away and grabbed his notebook. Best part about the first day of school? No books yet.
“Angel Mercury en route, ETA 30 seconds” Brian warned as he briskly jogged by. Angel Mercury. The curvy blonde cheerleader had been the subject of Shawn’s affection since they finally cured cooties in middle school. Though, as most high school clichés go, she had yet to notice him. Even though he was the best receiver on the football team and the captain on the lacrosse team, he wasn’t Alpha-Jock enough for her. His eyes glared down the hall, waiting for the desirable diva to sashay around the corner. After a few painful minutes he gave up. He’d see her eventually. He sighed.
“Hi John” a sensual voice purred from behind him. He peripherally looked around the hallway for any classmates by the name of John before turning around. There she was. Like a porn star in a cheesy schoolgirl skit, Kelsey Mercury was leaning against the locker next to his.
“Uh… Hi Angel” he stuttered. So much for smooth Porsche guy.
“I saw you drive up. Nice car. My daddy drives one just like it!” she exclaimed, full of enthusiasm.
“Yeah. It’s uh… It’s kinda new”. If Angel couldn’t notice how uncomfortable he was from the waterfall of sweat cascading from his pores, his stellar grammar should’ve given it away, but she didn’t seem to notice.
“So, I’m having a party tomorrow night. Kind of a, senior starter thing”
“Oh yeah, I might have heard about that…” He flashed back to glaring at the event on his Facebook screen, waiting for an invitation he doubted he would ever receive.
“It’s gonna be so cool!” she squealed. “It would really… really mean a lot to me if you came”. Shawn didn’t know if it was because he was desperate to go to the party, or because of the way her red lips emphasized the word really, but Shawn felt like he could probably make room on his schedule.
“Yeah… I guess I can find time”
“Yay!” she squealed, jumping up and down. “Its tomorrow night, I’ll see ya there” She winked and slinked down the hallway.
“Well damn… Maybe this will be a different school year altogether” he thought and closed his locker door.
© 2012 Ryan Smith