In this column, I will post unfinished stories that I have written. Stories that I began writing but didn’t go farther than a chapter. I just felt like sharing them and I hope you enjoy.
Written on December 19th, 2016
By: Rishi Sriram
“Mr. Remington!” Ms. Crysdale’s croaky voice blared through the bus as eyes turned towards Ceres. The bus jerked to a stop screeching by the sidewalk. “This bus is freezing and I know you have something to do with it!” Ceres tilted his head sideways disappointed when he realized who the speaker was. He veered towards the seat in front of him ignoring his sleepy trance.
‘It’s not me” Ceres mumbled putting his hands up, trying to avoid any eye contact. Ceres stroked his fingers through his short black hair, wondering how to respond to this overly stated question. Sadly, Ms. Crysdale wasn’t even the first one to accuse Ceres of abnormal occurrences.
“Then, by all means, explain why; everywhere you go the temperature suddenly drops, and other strange things happen.” Ms. Crysdale put her arms in her pocket and began to shiver frantically for emphasis. There were a couple chuckles in the back but no other reactions.
Ceres pressed his fingertips against the blistering window, sending shivers through his spine. He slouched back in his seat and resisted the urge to turn the whole bus into an icicle. It wouldn’t answer any of his questions but at least he would be rid of all the other “naturals” on the bus. He froze the window beside him – an old habit; while strumming his fingers against it repeatedly.
No one ever understood his “need” to make everything colder, and there was no explaining it either. It was his way of lessening the scorching pain in his right eye. From the day he was born, Ceres had been diagnosed with crematio oculos; Latin for burning eye. It was a disease that had only recently come upon the world, and as one of the first to be diagnosed; there was no cure, much less anything to fight it.
Ceres glanced outside in exasperation, spotting coyotes through the trees, running through the woods. Coyotes weren’t uncommon in Heber Springs, Arkansas. They usually chose to remain hidden in small hiking trails here and there, but lately, they were everywhere.
Animal control had given up the hunt once calls were being made from all over the city. Ceres felt some strange connection with the coyotes; as if they were similar – as if they were from the same breed.
All the kids, including the teachers, chose to keep their distance from Ceres, especially after he drove the previous counselor crazy, complaining about the icy weather in the middle of the scorching heat. Not to mention that on occasion, Ceres’s hands were adorned with icicles. Then the viewer’s attention would flicker and it would appear as if nothing was there at all.
In short, he was a monster.
It had been his secret ever since he was left on the doorsteps of an orphanage twelve years ago. He didn’t want to accept it, but it was the truth. Monster or not, it didn’t make a difference. He was still different, and nothing was going to change that. Not his misery, not the heat, and definitely not the world of pain searching for him.
Ms. Crysdale drummed her fingers on a seat, wondering if she should request a transfer to drive a different bus, because of the cold. Eventually, she gave up thinking and her attention went back to the wheel. Putting her foot on the gas she muttered something like “Thirty degrees in Arkansas…” and resumed the ride.
Across from Ceres, a blonde haired boy turned his way. Ceres recognized him as Dennis Stone, he was an average kid rarely caught up in any mess. That didn’t change much, he still carried the same frustrated expression Ceres was used to. If he had a nickel for every person that had something against him; he’d be swimming in money. Dennis stuttered, “Cere-res!”
“I’ve hh-had to buy four j-j-jackets the past months because of you!” He shot Ceres an ugly look and turned away. But that didn’t concern Ceres.
The bus traveled down the streets and took a right on 22nd Avenue. The old sycamore tree reminded him that he was near the orphanage. “I guess I’m home now,” Ceres muttered leaving the bus.
At the orphanage, Ceres felt safe. He felt confident, and most of all, he felt comfortable. The majority of the caretakers were quite considerate to him, especially those who had been with him since he arrived at their doorstep. Or as he liked to call “Operation Abandon Icicle.” There was only one person who really seemed to get on his nerves and vice versa. Headmaster Nicole Stein.
She had opposed taking in Ceres from the get-go and always had her suspicions on him when strange things occurred. When a sudden wind chill blew in, or the occasional books rolling down the hall, she always pointed her fingers at him. The only person who stood up for him then was Rhea.
As Ceres walked into the orphanage, he sensed two figures coming after him on either side; in slow motion, another one of his freaky abilities; an extremely keen sense. He quickly hopped out of the line of fire, resulting in a loud “Thud!” as the two lunkheads Christopher and Raimundo dropped to the floor.
They both stood up brushing the dust off their backs, and there it was again; the frustrated look. Christopher scowled, “I will never understand how you do that, but one day. You’ll pay for everything.” They both grumbled, walking away.
He heard a chuckle around him. It was Rhea! She was back! She stared down at the two walking past, who looked away as if nothing had happened. Ceres couldn’t help but find a warm smile on his face. Rhea was the nun who picked him up from the doorstep that one morning and was also the one who gave him his name. Ceres Remington. He was named after Rhea’s unborn child, who died in childbirth. Ceres thought of Rhea as his real mother.
Written on May 3rd, 2017
By: Rishi Sriram
“I tripped over the bush. That’s it, that’s all I have to say.” I glanced at my watch, just a minute left and there would be no more interviews for at least a week, considering I wasn’t in jail by the time. The interviews seemed to get longer and longer every time making it harder for me to repeat the same thing. I needed to keep my words consistent because after all, my words “can and will be used against me.” I was still on TV so I had to think fast. “I was running away from a group of psychotic and self-absorbed police officers, and then I tripped over a bush.” I continued. The reporter scratched her forehead. “Is that all?” she drowsily asked. I felt a twinge of relief. I could tell she was losing interest. That was a good sign.
“Continue..” muttered the reporter bags looming under her eyes. “It’s all because I didn’t tie my laces.” I started. The conversation suddenly getting interesting she looked up, “Is that why?”
I stifled a laugh, “I probably shouldn’t get off topic since we ARE live. Anyways, I was runn-”
“No, let’s go back to what you said before.” She interrupted. “So your laces.”
I grinned, “Right, so if I had tied my-oh never mind.”
She started to get frustrated “Just continue!” slamming her fist on the table between us. The Channel 17 music began to play and the interview was over.
I got up and shook hands with the interviewer, “Nice talking to you” She gave me a fake smile and walked away.
“Well that didn’t go too bad” my lawyer sighed leaning on a camera.
“You’re right,” I responded. “Just another week and I’ll be back to another interview. Oh wait, I could be in jail by then,” I muttered. My lawyer stood silently, her gray eyes reflecting the dark clouds above. The Channel 17 Producer spot us and moved in eagerly.
“So, when can we book the next interview? After you get out of jail, or what?” I closed my fist and was ready to pound him then and there, he didn’t know what my family and I were going through.
I was constantly being pestered and at the same time tormented by people like him, in an attempt to make me spill some information that they could turn against me in court. That would lead to my arrest and they would receive some commision of sorts from whoever was incenting them. However, my lawyer is a very composed and resolute woman, kindly shook her head, grasped my hand and walked out of the studio.
We got into my mothers antique 1978 Charger and drove home. Did I forget to mention that my mother was also my lawyer? Among everything that has been going on lately, it was just a simple fact I forgot to mention.
Back to the story. My mother had always been fond of old things. She always told me, “The older it is, the deeper the story it contains,” It was cliche, but I liked it. It clung on to me like the irritating interviewers. We arrived at our apartment flat, and my mother pulled the car into the parking lot. I was struck with a reconciliation as to why I was in that position in the first place. It all started roughly a month ago when I was playing nearby the White House garden, don’t ask why. That was my first mistake. Anyhow, the president’s daughter was out for a stroll in the garden when suddenly, she was shot with a bullet. That’s right, the president’s daughter was assassinated. Knowing my luck, the ball flew into the garden, and I was the only one brave enough to climb over the fence and retrieve it. That was my second mistake. I should have just let bygones be bygones, and bought my friend a new ball. But I had to be mister courageous, and agree to get the ball. What was even more, unfortunate was that the secret service was present to witness the attack and they immediately spot me at the scene. Now, my first thought was “Crap, they found me searching for the ball,” And then I put my hands up. They quickly cocked their guns and aimed it directly at me, finger on the trigger threatening to pull back. I didn’t understand what was happening, so I ran. And here is where the plot twists, one of the officers yelled, “Ten thousand dollars for whoever catches the little runt in the cap!” This only spiked my heart beat and agitated the crowd outside the fence. Every single one of my friends had run from the scene, and there was no way I was getting back over the fence with the whole crowd on the other side.
Being the dunce I am, I unknowingly ran into the crime scene, as in past the assassinated girls body, and that scared the living wits out of me. I staggered backward and then weaved through the garden, which was my last mistake. I almost made it away from them, when well…my untied laces caught on a branch, and I tripped over a bush. The secret service couldn’t stop me, but a bush did. Then from seemingly nowhere, the secret service appeared and pinned me to the ground before I could get away. It was a terribly bad day to wear untied converses.