is over a year I posted the last chapter in this alternative universe.
No beta. All mistakes are mine.
Characters: Zeke, Casey, Joshua
Just in case, you can find the last parts here: http://julchen11.livejournal.com/200434.html
Now up to chapter 16
When he woke up the first time – it still was dark outside - he felt like he was minced.
Too much red wine. Much to much red wine. Getting up wasn’t possible at the moment because this fucking merry-go-round wouldn’t stop. He put one leg out of the bed to slow it down … without success. He tried to open his eyes (four times until it worked to tell the truth) but a flash of lighting made him shut them again. Where does this horrible noise come from? He realized it was his own blood running – no, shooting through his veins. His head was going to explode. Fucking party. Fucking red wine! Fuck! Then it hit him! Casey! Casey was here last night. He turned around in his bed but – as expected – he was alone. Was it real? He had felt his lips on his, hadn’t he? Casey had kissed him. And he couldn’t kiss him back because he was drunk. He buried his head in the pillow and moaned, crashed his hands against the bedpost. It had been the perfect chance to get some answers and he spoke drunkenly like a sailor. Shit! Shit! Shit!
He looked at his bracelet. Yes. This was real. Casey was real. Maybe it was a dream but he was sure – as he always was – Casey lived. He left this jewelry for him. Suddenly the bracelet started changing again. It hurt so much he barely couldn’t stand it and he had to grit his teeth that he wouldn’t cry out. ‘Casey’ vanished. He stared at it – it felt like the bracelet merged with his skin. Like flashlights slowly the letters became visible. T.R.U.S.T. M.E. Then it cooled down. It didn’t look like silver anymore – it shimmered like a rainbow. Slowly the pain eased a bit but there were marks on his wrist. ‘TRUST ME’. It looked like a tattoo. “I will trust you, Casey. I so want to trust you…” he murmured. If it only would be a little easier… Deep in his heart he felt so insecure than never before. “I fear for you, Casey. What can I do? How can I help you? Why don’t you let me help you?” Zeke covered his face with his hands and growled in frustration falling asleep again.
When he woke up the next time it was almost time for lunch. We felt cold, nauseous, hungry, most of all thirsty. He startled – he was going to meet Joshua today! Should he tell him about what happened? No. No, he wouldn’t. First he had to listen to his friend. He felt uneasy, nervous and simply horrible.
Step by step he slurped to the bathroom, it felt like walking on cotton balls on a suspension bridge without banisters to hold on tight. The man in the mirror looking at him was a stranger. He looked old, grey what was this on his neck beneath his left ear? A pecky? Casey WAS there, no doubt. It was NO dream. “Casey… he tried to shout but it wasn’t more than a croak.
“Goodness, we met in the shower! We both … kissed…”
He had to sit down on the edge of the tub and started breathing intensely in and out. “Keep cool, Zeke. It was real. He was real. He was … warm…”
Jesus! He would meet Joshua this afternoon. Between hope and despair he was looking forward to it on the one hand, scared what he would learn on the other hand. This all was so weird. He had more questions than one could ever answer. Why all that secrets? Why couldn’t they tell him what happened, what really happened.
After a long hot shower he felt slightly better nevertheless dog-tired. He missed the opportunity talking to Casey last night. He was persuaded that Casey wouldn’t have been there wouldn’t he have been in that …state.
There was something or someone following him on his way back home, just thinking about it made him shiver. The danger was palpable drunk or not. Or was it pure imagination? No. The danger has been all too close.
He left the house with buddy in the early afternoon. His head was swimming and he felt like he was walking on cotton balls.
After 30 minutes he reached the Lake, the place Joshua mentioned. The small creek at the west shore, surrounded by oak trees and firs didn’t look inviting. Huge dark trees as old as the world with armthick branches looking threatening didn’t make it better. It was dark and it started snowing again. Why couldn’t they meet at ‘The Grape’ where it was comfy and warm. He waited… and waited. Hours it seemed. Frozen to the bones by the cold winter wind and this unfriendly place he heard some cracks and rolling thunder in the distance. A phosphorescent light to the left caught his attention. “Joshua?” The wind became louder and stronger whipping at his face. “Joshua!” Unexplainable coldness crept under his skin – something was wrong. More than wrong. Buddy whimpered, started howling and pressed against his legs. “You’re right, Buddy. We should go home now.”
Then he heard his name or did his mind play tricks on him? “Zeke!”
Joshua. Was it Joshua after all? He looked different, older than usual, sick, too. He couldn’t see why he didn’t dare to speak. As if it would be too much for his dog Buddy ran away.
Joshua passed him by and Zeke followed him deeper into the wood.
After a while they arrived at a little clearing, at the edge of it there was a hut. Small. Old. Well hidden.
Joshua opened the thick wooden door with a huge iron key and soundlessly offered him a seat. Zeke looked around. This was a place of history. This place doesn’t look uninhabited, the furniture was polished, no dust, no spider’s webs. Zeke’s stomach turned to knots. What was this for a smell? It smelled like wood, soil and sweetness – familiar somehow.
Joshua mustered him with a stern gaze that made Zeke nervous. “so boy, TALK!” What? “Talk!” This wasn’t a request this was a command. Joshua looked angry, mighty somehow, intimidate. His eyes turned black, cruel – no, this wasn’t the friendly old champ Zeke thought to know. ‘That’s why Buddy doesn’t like him’ he thought.
Zeke felt small and his voice sounded … shaky. “what do you want to know?”
“Just TALK!” Zeke felt threatened. There it was again – this palpable danger. He should go but he couldn’t move.
“My name is Ezekiel Tyler.I’m 35 years old. I’m the owner of the Vineyard – but you know this already, Josh…
“Where are you born?”
“I don’t know…”
“Who are your parents?”
“I have no clue.”
Joshua almost pierced him with his eyes.
“My mother left me in a basket at a orphanage, that’s all I know about her. “
“What about your father?”
“Didn’t you listen? I don’t know my mother so how the heck should I know anything about my father? I’m an orphan! I’m no missed prince! I’m sorry to disappoint you.” He got furious.
“You never wanted to know who they are?”
“No.” That was a big fat lie – indeed he wanted to know who the people were that had left him alone. But he couldn’t get any information. He even didn’t know if his name was real. Given away only two days old in a basket always made him feel worthless. Like a piece of dirt. The leader of the home handed the shabby blanket he was wrapped in. As well as the old porous basket. He remembered this day as if it would have been yesterday, how sad he felt, how sick and angry. Unfortunately it wasn’t winter so he survived but more than once he wished he would have been died.
“Go on, Zeke!”
“I spent the first 14 years in this damned house and I hated every single minute of it. People weren’t cruel but they didn’t care. Some of the kids tried to get their attention, their interest – but I wasn’t one of those children. So I became an outsider, but a fighter, too. The nurses couldn’t stand me and I couldn’t stand them, but the worst was the leader of this house, he treated me, hit me and he … “
“Nnnnothing…– so I fled at the age of 14.”
“The truth, Ezekiel!” Zeke got up yelling “That’s none of your business. I’m not here to tell you everything about my life. That’s not the reason and you know it! So what do you want from me! You’re looking at me as if I’d be a criminal!”
The look in Joshua’s eyes softened and Zeke could see an old man, his friend, again. There was something dark rolling toward him.
“Do you know something about me, Josh?”
The answer was the deepest sigh he’d ever heard. Was this the tiniest hint of a nod?
“Joshua… Tell me, please … what do you know about me?”
But the older one kept quiet.
“I know it’s a mistake, Zeke. And I don’t know that much…” Joshua took his hands, squeezed them tight until they hurt.
‘I’ve no chance to escape’ was running through Zeke’s head. What should this be?
“Close your eyes, Ezekiel…” Josh’s body started shaking and soon the trembles were transmitted to Zeke…
Josh let go of his hands but someone else held his shoulders with an iron grip. The voice he heard then made his blood freeze in his veins, hissing in his ears...