Eyes of the Architect – Chapter Three

I woke up in the morning, almost in a panic. I scramble around the bed to get my phone. What was that guys name? I can’t remember. The dream is so clear, yet so distant. I sit here holding the phone in one hand, fingers hovering over. Frozen. What was his name? Brad something. Something. S. Starting with S. Stanton. Brad Stanton. That’s it. I type it in quickly, and hit search.

It’s true, all of it. His death, ruled a suicide. It doesn’t look like a suicide. Can someone really cut their own neck, lying down in bed, and not wake up the person next to them. There’s a picture of the bed, without the body. The blood was everywhere. Almost outlining his body, oozing off the sheets and onto the floor. Not one thing I read mentions it could be suspicious. If someone could influence people, then they could make every one believe that. I don’t know what to think. My dad isn’t a killer, but there is something in this. It wasn’t my dad, but this is starting to get weird. It can’t be my dad. He isn’t a bad person. And he definitely wouldn’t kill someone because they tried to teach them. He works for the good of the world. He is a good person. He gives to charity, always polite. I can’t imagine him being evil, especially killing someone.

I get out of bed, dressed and that’s when I realise what time it is. It’s not even seven. I can’t remember the last time I’ve woken this early on a Saturday. Normally it’s closer to twelve, at the earliest, and then I go out to meet Erin. She won’t be up yet. No one in the house will be up yet. What do I do now. Won’t be able to sleep, or focus on a game. It’s all crap. I don’t want to just sit here and read about my possible murderer dad.

I step out onto the cold, empty street. Everything was frozen still. Cars lined up, unmoving. No one walking around. Not a sound. I turn left and walk to the end of the road. Turning onto another street of nothingness. My thoughts are my only companion. I couldn’t stay inside, but outside offers no distraction. I try to focus on the music coming from my headphones, but that doesn’t work. It just blurs into the background, allowing my mind to picture my dad slicing that man’s neck open. Was it true? Was there more victims? Does he still kill people?

It’s all insane. None of it can be true. I keep on telling myself that he’s a good man, a good dad. I can’t keep myself convinced. It’s all insane, none of it makes sense. I think back to yesterday, around this moment I would have been walking to school, none of this would seem believable. I don’t know what’s harder to understand, the magic, or the idea of my dad killing someone for no reason. Why would he do it. Because he didn’t want the responsibility. That’s stupid. There has to be more. Has to be. No one would kill someone to get out of doing good for the world, only a real monster. And my dad’s not a monster. I can say that with absolute certainty.

I turn another street, my feet taking me without thought. I’m heading to the park. The small one, with a couple of swings, a slide and a small climbing frame. Just something small in the neighbourhood. A patch of grass, that brings back so many memories of childhood picnics, a first kiss, fighting, football, growing up. And today it’s empty, but what else would be expected, it’s early, not exactly the warmest day. I walk towards the closest tree and lean against it, the street is distant from here, I can’t hear the single car driving past. I skip to the next song, hoping that will become the centre of my mind. Closing my eyes, I listen to the guitars come in, joined by the drums. I love this song, tapping my foot to the start.

The image of blood snaps my eyes open. The world around me has changed. It’s night, the park empty. No swings. No slide. Nothing. Someone steps out of the shadows. My dad. He’s shaking. Wearing his school uniform. Fists clenched. Shirt un-tucked, mud staining one side.

“Well,” he shouts. “Where are you?”

The young man steps out of the shadow of a nearby tree, lighting a cigarette. I notice something on his wrist. The one holding the lighter he’s using. A small tattoo. An eye.

“You’re late,” he states. “To this as well. I thought you would have learnt by now. Don’t be late to my lessons. You need to learn discipline. You need self-control if you’re going to join us.”

My dad says nothing, he stands there, trying to make himself seem bigger as the young man steps towards him.

“You can’t use your powers to make yourself look better. Telling someone to lose a fight to you, it’s childish.”

“I was just messing around.”

“You were trying to impress a girl. It’s pathetic. Grow up. You don’t have time for girls, not right now. You will join us, and help make the world a better place, and then you will have as much time as you want for girls. But for now you need to grow up.”

“I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“I know you didn’t, but how would over people see it. Everyone at school is talking about how you beat up Will Irving. Do you hear how stupid that sounds. He’s older than you and wins boxing competitions nearly every week. Yet you managed to beat him up.”

“He started it.”

“No. You did. With your cocky attitude. Knowing he couldn’t hurt you. You started it, knowing you could win. You made him look like a fool. What a big man. Well done. But what happens when he wants to regain face.”

“I’ll beat him again.”

“Sure, by cheating. And then someone else wants to fight you. You’re making a name for yourself as trouble. Why? To impress girls. Don’t look down, look at me. I’m your trainer, and you’ve disobeyed a lesson. Don’t use your powers to make a name for yourself. It’s only a matter of time before people realise what you’re capable off.”

“No they won’t ever figure it out. How would they? People are stupid. They would never figure out that people like us are everywhere.”

“No they won’t. Because we keep ourselves secret. It’s only a matter of time before Irving can’t stand not knowing why he couldn’t beat you. Why he lost to a child.”

“I’m not a child.”

“You are.”

My dad started breathing heavily, his chest rising and lowering, faster and faster. His fists clenched tighter than ever, he took a step towards the young man. He pulled back a fist, and swung it forward. With a smirk on his face, the man moved to one side and grabbed my dad’s fist with his cigarette holding hand. With his free hand he punched my dad’s elbow. I squirm. Knowing I can’t do anything but watch. The pain on my dad’s face is real. This happened, years ago, but it happened. I can’t do anything to help, but I want to. The man twists my dad’s arm, pushing him to kneel. He takes the cigarette with his free hand and takes a long slow drag. After blowing a cloud of smoke into my dad’s face, he pushes the lit end into dad’s shoulder. Just under the collar of the shirt. The screams echo throughout the park, as my dad tries to squirm away. The man throws him to the floor, and then flicks the cigarette at him. My dad retreats, clambering backwards trying to escape his attacker.

“I didn’t want to do that.”

“Yes you did,” dad cried. “You enjoy it.”

“No I don’t. I just don’t want you to make mistakes. You need to learn. To join the Eyes you need to be the best you can be.”

“I’m not joining the Eyes. You’re monsters.”

“It’s your fate. You will understand one day.”

“No I won’t. You control peoples’ lives.”

“It’s so much more than that. We stop people from making the same mistakes. If it wasn’t for our people, following The Architect’s plan, then the human race would have died out generations ago.”

“You’re still controlling peoples’ lives.”

“We control a select few, for a good cause. We don’t abuse the powers. We tap in and save the human race from itself. We don’t interfere unless we have too. No one stopped the wars, or caused them. We stood back and watched, some of us even fought and died. There is nothing more honourable than that.”

My vision fades to black, with blood rushing to my head. I wait with gritted teeth for the moment to pass. It will. Blinking a couple of times I see that I’m back in the park. I don’t know how to react. It seems like he had been abusing his powers from being a child, but that means nothing. He was a child. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one to do that. Most people would, especially at that age. And being a boy means you need to be tough. Most would take a shortcut. I don’t see why that is supposed to convince me. He was a rebellious teenager. Isn’t that the stereotype. I don’t see the point in being shown that. He didn’t do anything bad.

I start to walk away from the park, hoping the music will drown my thoughts, but slowly they begin to struggle against the tide and rise to the surface. Turning street after street. My dad is not a killer. A kid runs past me, my head follows him, the panic on his face as he turns back. Still running. Not looking at me, behind me. I turn, nothing. Back to the kid, panting, tears welling up. What’s scared him so much. Not really my place to ask.

“Get away from me,” he screams.

I look around, nothing. Is he talking to me. I stop and let him run further away. He screams again, and someone walks past me.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he calmly calls out to the child.

“You hurt dad, leave me alone.”

“I’m going to keep you safe.”

“Please.”

“Hey,” I shout. “Calm down, leave him alone.”

Neither of them react to me.

“Stop running, I’m the good guy. I won’t hurt you.”

I put an arm out to stop the man, but my hand falls through him with no resistance. I stumble. Swearing, I regain my balance. What’s going on. Another vision. I’m in front of the man now, my dad. Again. But this time, a little older than before.

“That’s not my son,” the teacher states. “I never got to have kids. I wanted them, but he took that away from me.”

My dad and the child are frozen, a horrific snapshot of the past.

“Look at the child’s face,” the teacher says, walking over to the child. “Look at the panic, the fear. Tears, pain. This is what your dad caused.”

I wince.

“Come closer and look at him, he’s scared of your dad.”

“I know. What did he do?”

“Weren’t you listening. He hurt his Dad. Killed him, while his son watched.”

“No, I don’t believe you. No. Who was his Dad?”

“Another one of us, he had been investigating my death. He knew that I wouldn’t kill myself, so he started looking into it. He found out about my student, and put two and two together. He confronted him, Your Father didn’t like that. But he didn’t strike then. They both left knowing things were going to escalate, and that’s exactly what happened. Your Father killed him.”

I don’t know what to say. It can’t be true, but somehow I know it is. He killed these people, for no reason. To cover his tracks, a stupid mistake as a child, and then a lifetime of lies and covering it up. It’s too much to take in. I want to throw up, fall over and just cry. It makes sense, I don’t want it too.

“No, please,” the child shouts, sprinting back into life.

“Stop running and come back here.”

Slowly the child pulls to a stop, sniffs a couple of times and turns back. The fear is still in his face, growing with every second. He takes a step towards my Dad, who is completely still. The child wants to scream, you can see it in his eyes. He walks through me and stands directly in front of Dad.

“Good boy, now you’re going to be a brave boy, aren’t you?”

The child nods.

“I didn’t kill your Dad, you know that deep down. You’re not going to tell anyone I did. You’re going to say it was an accident, and that neither of you saw it coming. That he was happy just before, but it happened ever so fast. Not a word about me, you understand? Not a word.”

“It was an accident, that’s all.”

“Good, now go back and find the police, I bet your Mum is worried sick about you. And we can’t have that now, can we?”

“No, I don’t want Mum to worry about me.”

The child walks around my Dad and runs back down the street. My dad walks through me, and has disappeared by the time I spin around to see him. There is something so chilling about watching him control people, I’m not sure how he does it, but can I do that? Is that what tapping into the power is. Just talking to people. It seems like manipulation and intimidation, but it’s not. It’s more than that. Is that what I can do to people. I don’t want to control people.

“You see that’s the problem your Dad had,” the teacher has reappeared. “He didn’t want the responsibility. But you have to understand there are so few Eyes left. We can’t just let people with the power live their life. They have been chosen. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve saved millions of people by just a couple of words to the right person. It’s not something we take lightly, but through The Architect’s teachings you can learn it. You can join us and tap into power to keep the world on the right choice. It’s no different from God. People believe that everything is part of his plan, and it’s all part of the Architect’s. It’s probably where the idea of God came from. This power, we can’t see guiding us towards the light as we stray through darkness. Humans are evil, but through his teachings, his plan, we can help steer us towards the light. No body would have a problem if he was called God, would they.”

I could see the point he was trying to make, but I don’t want too. Why me. I’m not the type of person to have any responsibility. I’m just a child. Nothing more. Not special, or unique. Just me, and that’s all I want. I don’t think I could control people, I don’t think I could do any of what he’s telling me. It just can’t be true, but somehow I know it is. The dying echo from that note, the visions, the news story. It’s all too convincing and I have to just give in. I can’t kill people like my Dad. I don’t want to do that, but he’s not a bad person. I don’t know why he would have done that, but he isn’t a bad person.

“I know you’re scared. We all were at first. You’re raised to believe nothing special can ever happen, that if you work hard enough you can achieve things like wealth and a good family. That’s just another way of making you believe what they want you to believe. That we want people to believe, so they don’t destroy themselves. We just want to keep the human race happy and moving in the right direction, so everyone can live a happier life. You can help. I know it’s not something you want to do, but you will learn through the teachings. Trust me.”

“What do I have to do.”

I don’t want to join them, but I have no choice. If what he’s saying is true I can’t let my fear stop me from helping them, from helping people all around. I’m don’t want to be a bad person. My dad’s a good one, but he has messed up. Maybe I help him, if he really has the power, maybe.

“Good. Now, you just need to do one thing for me, to prove that you’re alliance is with us. Kill your father.”

With that he disappears, and I’m back on the empty street, silent and alone.

“Wait,” I shout, but he couldn’t have heard me.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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