..And I really might finish it someday because though it’s been awhile, I still know how it ends and what is supposed to happen. That’s why I don’t know where my shoes are most of the time. I can only remember so much!
re-reading makes me want to finish it, alas Amaranthine calls (and actually sells, too!)
Roderick wasn’t dangerous, but rather beautiful – beautiful and scared. Anyone who says otherwise only does so because they didn’t know him. They didn’t notice him until the end, and by then things had spiraled out of control.
People called him the son of the devil, but he was really the product of an alcoholic and a drifter who may or may not have been insane. Who am I to say for sure, after all? His Father wasn’t there to either prove or disprove the mythical legacy he’d left behind of his vampiric origin. Roderick’s mother changed her opinion like the wind, but most of the time Roderick believed; and because I loved him so did I.
That all came much later, though. The beginning was far more mundane and sane than the downward spiral of a conclusion was.
I remember it clearly; it was summer the first time I saw him; late summer. We’d done our back to school shopping the day before and I was dying to wear my new clothes. I had only one week to wait until school started. The thought filled me with both anticipation and dread. It was high school now, a whole new ball game, as my dad would say. I’d spent all of elementary school slinking in the shadows and I wanted nothing more than to suddenly be noticed and accepted. High School promised me that, or so I thought. I guess I didn’t bother to contemplate that it was going to be the same old kids in the same old building.
My town was a small one, and as the years had passed it had gotten smaller. Long before I was born they’d consolidated all of the schools, grades k through twelve, into the highschool building. This left behind the hulking husks of the old institutions. Most of them were torn down, but one was left standing; the Mt. Jefferson junior High School. Maybe that was fate.
I’d escaped my parents that sweltering afternoon, and made my way aimlessly down the quiet streets towards the old school. It was a large, brick structure that had three stories and rumors of a haunted basement. All of the widows were boarded up and I’d never been brave enough to peel any of the plywood back to peek inside. I was content enough with the outside of the building; from the faded brick to the cement that bordered the large entrance way. I suppose it might have actually been stone and not cement at all, though at the time I didn’t really worry about what it was made of. Between the weather and the original carving, the effect was one of two large trees; one on each side, that bowed down over the heavy wooden doors. The front of the building was cast in perpetual twilight thanks to a collection of giant oak trees, and in this quiet semi darkness moss grew in thick profusion. It traced its way over my imagined stone trees and hung over the doors like thick foliage.
When I was younger I’d imagined that this was really the entrance to a fairyworld and that the old oaks growing all around and casting their permanent gloom were really ancient guardians placed there by the Queen of the fairies herself. Of course, by the time I was ready for junior high I had abandoned such notions. Still, I had a fondness for those old trees and I spent many hours curled among their weathered roots with my nose buried in a book. In fact, on that was my destination on this particular day.
I reached the sweeping front lawn and made my way down the broken sidewalk, but a noise caught my attention and I stopped just short of the trees. The sound came again, a shuffling, scraping noise, like something running across sandpaper. At first I couldn’t find the cause of the sound, but as I searched, my attention was drawn to the roof where I saw a figure all in black. Oblivious to me, he was dragging what looked like a wooden crate across the flat rooftop towards the edge.
I watched with a mixture of fascination and horror. Fascination because I had never encountered anyone else at my old school and horror because, well, I had never encountered anyone at MY old school. The place was my secret sanctuary and the idea that an intruder had come left me disconcerted.
When he reached the edge of the roof he stopped and ran one arm over his forehead as though to mop up invisible sweat. It was no wonder he was sweating. The temperatures were nearly one hundred, and yet he was fully dressed in black clothing so that every inch of skin save his hands and face was covered. Even his head was covered in black, but as he climbed on top of the box and stood with the wind whipping around him I realized that was his long hair.
And that was what he did. He just stood on top of the box with the wind blowing back his hair and flapping his long coat like a cape. He stood there and he stared out over the town, his eyes on something in the distance like a king surveying his kingdom or a fallen angel mapping out what was to be his prison.
I watched him for countless minutes and he watched the horizon. Then, as if at some silent signal, he turned and dropped back to the roof. He disappeared from sight quickly, and though I waited, he didn’t reappear. I don’t know why I waited. Had he come out the front doors and spoken to me I’d have simply stared with giant eyes and murmured “eep”.
But he didn’t appear and I got bored with waiting. I didn’t stay and read as I’d planned, instead I took my book and went home again. My curiosity was piqued, but I stayed away from “my” school for the next several days because I was afraid of running into him again. That probably sounds strange, since I was intrigued, but I knew it wouldn’t do me any good to meet him face to face.
Fav song of the moment – Ten Black Roses – The Rasmus