The Arena - Cover

The Arena

Copyright© 2019 by Christopher Podhola

Chapter 1: Jolted Awake

“Whitney!” Tommy cried. He shot into a sitting position.

I’m still here. He looked around his bedroom. Still in Burnsville. His clock told him it was. 8:51.

He got up from his bed, went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face and the back of his neck.

Tell her, Thomas. Tell her of your dreams. Tell her what you’ve seen.

Tommy scoffed at his image in the mirror. “Yeah, right. Like she can handle that.”

This wasn’t the first time he awoke covered in sweat from head to toe or with the haunting image of Whitney’s silver—non-piggyback eyes—draining to white. His dreams were never pleasant, but these latest dreams were the worst. Whitney could never handle what he saw.

She has to, Thomas.

“Why do you keep calling me Thomas,” he said to the voice of his sister in his head. “You know I hate that.” That was probably why she was doing it. That was his sister’s way.

Whitney wasn’t in his room when he woke, which was different. Whitney usually woke before him and waited in his room, staring at him as he slept; waiting for him to wake. She wanted to slip her mind into his. Leaving her dark and silent world, joining the world of seeing and hearing. He couldn’t blame her for doing that and he never complained about it to her face. Without him, she was blind and deaf and he couldn’t imagine living in a world with no sights—no sounds.

The cold water on his face made him feel better, but it wasn’t enough. He turned the shower on, adjusted the water so that it was just barely warm enough to tolerate and jumped in. It’s Sunday, July twelfth 2009, he reminded himself as he let the cool water run over him. Four or five years. That’s all I have to change this.

Change it now, Thomas. Tell her.

In his dreams, his sister was a warrior. She dressed like one, acted like one and fought like one. She’s blind and deaf, though. It doesn’t make sense! But he knew it was true. Somehow, it was true. She could fight ferociously, never losing, her black skin-tight outfit, her swords arcing through the air, making decisive contact every time, wasn’t possible. She was too awkward for that—too blind and too deaf and yet, he believed she could somehow do it. He didn’t understand it, but she never lost in his dreams. Not until the end.

“Tommy? Get out here!” he heard his aunt call from the kitchen. “I heard the shower! Your sister needs you.”

“Yeah, yeah!” he called back out.

Tommy got up from the edge of the bed. He went to the door, paused for a second, and opened it. He still didn’t tuck his dreams away. If Whitney wanted to piggyback, he could always open the door to his secret little room and tuck his dreams inside before his sister could see them. He could do it in an instant.

His aunt was hovering over the stove. “I’m making omelets,” she said. “Get your sister to eat. She’s being stubborn and I can’t get her to sign.” Carol turned her head slightly and presented her cheek to him. Most mornings started this way. Tommy walked up to her and gave her the kiss she wanted, bringing the slight curve of a smile to the corner of her mouth, and went into the living room.

Whitney was sitting on the couch with her arms folded across her chest, her eyebrows angled forward and bunched together. She didn’t move an inch as he walked into the room. Her silver eyes stared at nothing. She was ‘‘n the dark’, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t see anything. She knew he was in the living room. She had her shadows. She could see the living force of people, sensing their souls or auras. He walked up and gently tapped her on the forehead. It was his way of telling her he wanted to piggyback. She cocked her head to the side and swatted his hand away, treating him as a nuisance, a fly, instead of her twin.

“Come on, Whit!” he said despite her lack of ability to hear. “Get over it. I went to Jakes yesterday! So what?”

Whitney didn’t move.

“I’m not going to feel guilty about it. Sometimes I need a day to myself. Sometimes I just wanna hang out with my friends!”

Whitney sat there without flinching. He went to tap her on the forehead again, but before his fingers reached their target, Whitney snapped her hand up and grabbed his finger.

“NO!” she said, “I don’t need you!”

Speaking was a feat that no normal and completely deaf person would be able to do. Whitney could do it. Nobody could explain why, but she could.

Carol Anne had an idea why, but she wasn’t talking. Not even to Blake.

“Fine!” he answered, shrugging his shoulders. “I’m not going to beg.” He turned and walked back into the kitchen.

“Well?” Aunt Carol asked.

“Apparently she’s still pissy about me spending the day with Jacob yesterday. Apparently,” he added, exaggerating apparently with sarcasm, “I’m not allowed to do anything without her.”

“Language,” Carol warned. “Maybe she does have a bit of a point there. It’s not like she can ever do anything like that.”

“Really, mom? I’m really supposed to stay home every day and give up my own life? I’m never supposed to go out and have fun?” he asked her, but he already knew the answer to that.

“It’s not fair, Tommy, but try on a pair of Whitney’s shoes. She can’t ever go with you, even though you two can piggyback.” She flipped the omelet in the pan without using a spatula. “Nobody can find out what she can do. Not ever! You know this.” She added cheese, ham and mushrooms, folded the edges and slid his omelet onto his plate.

Carol put two slices of toast and four pieces of bacon on his plate and shoved it to him coldly. He took it to the other side of the counter, sat on the bar stool, and started picking at his food. “I know, I know but I go to school without her.”

“Yeah, but that’s different, Tommy. You have to go to school.”

“That’s not the point. I go there. I make friends. My friends ask me if they can come over here. I say no because of Whitney. They ask me if I can come to their house and I say no for the same reason. Sometimes, I just can’t say no, mom.”

Tommy cut into his omelet and the melted cheese oozed from it. He scooped up a bite with his fork and slid it into his mouth.

“I know and I’m not saying that you’re doing anything wrong. At least you wouldn’t be if our situation were normal. She sat on that couch yesterday. She didn’t move from it until she went to bed. She just sat there staring into nothing the entire day. You know better than anybody does what that must be like for her. Right?”

“Yeah, I know,” Tommy replied.

The source of this story is SciFi-Stories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.