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Awakening Forever - 3. Chapter Three

Author's Note:

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CHAPTER THREE

As expected, my car barely survived the trip home. I had many white-knuckled moments during the four hour trek with strange sounds coming from the engine and dark, smoky exhaust billowing out the rear end. I got some strange looks when I stopped for gas and didn’t turn the engine off, as signs on the pump warned against. It was a choice between blowing up or being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a car that wouldn’t start and empty pockets.

The idea of returning to the small Illinois town where I grew up, less than an hour outside of St. Louis, depressed me. I had had a taste of life outside the family pressure cooker and I didn’t want back in. But I was stuck with no job, no money and nowhere else to go. Life sucked.

It was late when I pulled into the gravel driveway and parked in front of the detached one-car garage with the broken door. I turned the ignition off. Then the engine sputtered and died. Out of morbid curiosity, I tried to restart it. The engine cranked for two seconds, then silence. Perfect.

I sighed and stared out at nothing. I hadn’t been back to this podunk town since the previous Christmas. I usually took any job I could find on campus to avoid having to come home. Unfortunately they closed the dorms that season, so I had no choice. As expected, no one came out to greet me. No dog barked, happy to see me. No neighbors waved. I laid my forehead on the steering wheel and tried not to cry.

I found my mother sitting on the couch watching some newscast on the television, cigarette in hand and a full pack at the ready. The ashtray on the table next to her needed emptying. I tried not to cough from the smoke. It would only earn a dirty look, not fresher air.

“I’m home, Mom,” I said from the kitchen doorway.

“Shhh...I’ll be with you in a minute,” she said, waving me off. I sighed and went out to retrieve my boxes.

My car looked dead, sitting forlornly under the big maple tree. I knew the feeling. I popped the trunk and stared at the six boxes, mostly filled with clothes and books. I saw the empty diploma cover peeking through the top of one. I resisted setting it on fire.

I hauled two smaller boxes through the hallway and up the narrow stairs at the back end. Muffled heavy rock music came from the spare bedroom. I closed my eyes in dread. Terry was home.

As quietly as I could, I slipped into my bedroom and set the boxes on the floor. I tiptoed back down the stairs, hoping to avoid a confrontation. It was always a confrontation with my brother, never a greeting. Why was he home? How long was he staying? I ground my teeth and cursed the day. Maybe I could find a park bench to sleep on.

Two more trips and I had all my worldly possessions relocated to my room. I set the last of the boxes on the threadbare blanket covering the sagging twin bed and flopped down beside them. I was staring up at the stained ceiling when Terry barged in.

“Hey, dickwad. You’re back. Gimme ten bucks.” I didn’t move. He kicked my shin. “Come on. I’ll pay you back next payday.”

“Cut it out, that hurts!” I yelled, sitting up to rub my sore leg.

“Stop being such a wuss, Jackie.” He pinched my shoulder, taking my breath away. “Come on, I ain’t got all day. Cough it up.”

“I don’t have any to give you. I’m tapped out,” I said.

He laughed. “Mr. College Bigshot graduates without a pot to piss in. Serves you right for thinkin’ you’re better’n everybody else. I’ll bet you’re beggin’ for a job at McDonald’s inside a week.”

“Where are you working?” I asked.

“Meyer Roofing. Pay’s shit, but it’s steady.” He grabbed my wrist, twisting it to check my watch. “Fuck, I gotta go.” He looked at me, his brown beady eyes boring into mine. “I know you have money, faggot. Cough it up...now.”

I didn’t budge. I was tired of his threats. His mouth twisted into an evil grin, his expression channeling Charles Manson. I felt my bladder weaken.

His rancid breath scorched my nose as he leaned in to intimidate me. “I’m gettin’ laid tonight, asswipe. And you’re not gettin’ in my way. I’m not asking again. You’ve got two seconds to give me what I want, or I’m taking it. One...”

“Get off of me,” I said, shaking my arm loose. I reached for my wallet, like he knew I would. I pulled out a ten. “Here, take it. And you better pay me back when you get paid,” I said.

“You gonna make me?” he taunted. I said nothing. He smiled in victory. “That’s what I thought. I’ll think about payin’ you back, if I don’t have other expenses before then. Girls don’t put out for free, you know.” He laughed. “You ever even fucked a girl, Jackie?”

“Leave me alone,” I said, looking down at the floor. “You’ve got your money. Just go already.”

“I don’t believe it. My older brother is still a virgin at twenty-two. What the hell’s the matter with you? Your dick don’t work? You even know what to do with it?”

“What I do with my dick is my business,” I said weakly.

He grabbed me by the neck and came nose to nose again. “I ever hear you’re fucking around with another guy, I’ll rip your fucking dick off and shove it down your fucking throat. You hear me, faggot?”

I stared into the bottomless pits of his eyes, knowing he wasn’t joking. He’d make it his mission to destroy me, as painfully as possible. I felt the tears coming, as they always did. Terry shoved me backwards on the bed in disgust.

“How the hell did I get such a sissy boy for a brother?” he said. He spit in my face, turned his back on me and walked out of my room.

I cried myself to sleep.

Copyright © 2017 Jack Schaeffer; All Rights Reserved.
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This was a chapter that broke my heart. The way Jack was treated was horrible. I always have a soft spot for people named Jack anyway.

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Yikes!  With family like that he'd have been better off going just about anywhere else. :unsure:  

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When I sat down to prepare the first part of this saga into the first volume, Awakening Forever, I thought it was important to flesh out the reality of where Jack comes from. Some people early on thought Jack was too whiny or wimpy or whatever, but they didn't really understand his origins. Jack's brother will make a reappearance in future installments, and he's not finished wreaking havoc on Jack and those around him.

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You’d think Jack would have learned to move his cash from his wallet to somewhere safer (his sock?) when he realized that Terry was home. Even hiding the money in his car would have been better. Hasn’t he developed any self-preservation techniques?

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3 hours ago, Jack Schaeffer said:

When I sat down to prepare the first part of this saga into the first volume, Awakening Forever, I thought it was important to flesh out the reality of where Jack comes from. Some people early on thought Jack was too whiny or wimpy or whatever, but they didn't really understand his origins. Jack's brother will make a reappearance in future installments, and he's not finished wreaking havoc on Jack and those around him.

I'm looking forward to seeing a reappearance. I don't remember that from my first reading but I am still looking forward to Jack's transformation

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1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

I'm looking forward to seeing a reappearance. I don't remember that from my first reading but I am still looking forward to Jack's transformation

Terry will appear in future - as in several installments past the end of the current Forever Saga postings elsewhere. He has a significant part to play in future events, as does Jack's family. Stay tuned.

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4 hours ago, droughtquake said:

You’d think Jack would have learned to move his cash from his wallet to somewhere safer (his sock?) when he realized that Terry was home. Even hiding the money in his car would have been better. Hasn’t he developed any self-preservation techniques?

Jack is befuddled at this point in his life about relationships and family and how to protect himself. He is strong in some ways and very weak in others. The Forever Saga is in large part the story of his transformation from what we see here to who he ultimately becomes. It's quite a journey.

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As a suburban kid, I quickly learned that you should keep you wallet in your front pocket when you visit the big city – ideally with a rubber band around it. Leather wallets are intended to slip easily in and out of pockets and the rubber band makes the wallet stickier. When I carry large amounts of cash with me, I put it in my sock – it’s not noticeable there and if someone robs you they usually don’t demand that you check your socks! Fortunately, I never had a personal experience to teach me these lessons, I read about them.

 

Jack really seems like a naïve, small-town, country boy!

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Quite powerful; as many people can testify..."It DOES get better"....but still gutting to read............Great job, Jack.........................Mike

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I got hooked and couldn't wait...so I searched and found more and read through July 4th...Jack's journey is compelling.  Hopefully a whole new following develops here on GA!  

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I fell in love and stayed in love with Jack through all the previous posting on Castle Roland, but found myself very confused with the additional background.  I probably skimmed over comments and parts of your newsletter.  An old guy is entitled to senior moments.  I read this chapter a second time and now see how it fills in the characters.  I have probably said this  a few times in past but it is hard to believe that this beautiful story is your first attempt at fiction writing.  Your term papers must have been wows.  As always, thanks for the good read.  John N.

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11 hours ago, droughtquake said:

Jack really seems like a naïve, small-town, country boy!

 

Ha ha. That's exactly who he is.

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10 hours ago, Daddydavek said:

I got hooked and couldn't wait...so I searched and found more and read through July 4th...Jack's journey is compelling.  Hopefully a whole new following develops here on GA!  

That is my hope, too. :)

 

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9 hours ago, stanollie said:

 I have probably said this  a few times in past but it is hard to believe that this beautiful story is your first attempt at fiction writing.  Your term papers must have been wows.  As always, thanks for the good read.  John N.

I get that a lot, but it's true - I had never written anything before sitting down to tell this story in Aug 2014. And my papers in college were the bare minimum to get by. Nothing to get excited about, I assure you. It was interesting to go back to these initial chapters and revise them (I'm a better writer now, hopefully).

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I have never understood the hateful dynamic some families have. No wonder Jack doesn't want to be at home. I hope he takes Fred up on his offer asap.

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What a family, and we've only met two. Jack seems to have risen above them at least by getting an education on his own, that takes a certain kind of strength and fortitude. I now understand his fear, mentioned earlier, that coming out will get you killed. Here's to Jack moving on out and moving on up. 

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On May 29, 2017 at 3:44 PM, Jack Schaeffer said:

When I sat down to prepare the first part of this saga into the first volume, Awakening Forever, I thought it was important to flesh out the reality of where Jack comes from. Some people early on thought Jack was too whiny or wimpy or whatever, but they didn't really understand his origins. Jack's brother will make a reappearance in future installments, and he's not finished wreaking havoc on Jack and those around him.

 

Jack's still whiny and wimpy! I know I felt slightly bad for him when I read this a long time ago but I felt more frustration than anything else. He still needs to grow himself a pair of balls. If my kid brother treated me that way he would end up having a close encounter with a baseball bat.

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42 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

 

Jack's still whiny and wimpy! I know I felt slightly bad for him when I read this a long time ago but I felt more frustration than anything else. He still needs to grow himself a pair of balls. If my kid brother treated me that way he would end up having a close encounter with a baseball bat.

Yes, he is whiny and wimpy at this point in the story. That's who he is. He doesn't have the wherewithal to defend himself. He is living as a victim, and is fortunate he can escape. Sadly, this is true of a great many people in similar situations. And so many never escape.

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1 minute ago, Jack Schaeffer said:

Yes, he is whiny and wimpy at this point in the story. That's who he is. He doesn't have the wherewithal to defend himself. He is living as a victim, and is fortunate he can escape. Sadly, this is true of a great many people in similar situations. And so many never escape.

 

You're right, too many victims out there. But in Jack's case I can't muster much sympathy. He's young and capable, so some of his burden is self-inflicted. I do like he takes a positive step by leaving his mother behind. She and Terry deserve each other. We can only hope she smokes in bed and burns herself and her loser son to death.

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13 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

 

...so some of his burden is self-inflicted.

Yes, it is. Most people, if they have the courage to look deep enough, will find that they, too, have suffered "self-inflicted" burdens. These are insights, however, that most of us don't want to look at. 

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