A Darker Shade Of Pale

Details and a record of the characters exploits, successes and failures within the Parallel Worlds.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue May 20, 2014 7:04 am

July 10th 1967

Chaya black rolled over and groaned at the bright light streaming in through the gap in the curtains and wondered how it could have been morning already?

She dragged herself up and showered, making her way finally into the living room feeling human once again.
She had seen that Callum’s bed was empty and was surprised that he wasn’t sat in front of the TV watching cartoons, or the news.
Even after this time she was bemused by how much interest Cal had in current events.

She heard laughter from outside in the street.
Pulling open the drapes she saw Callum and Simon, their neighbour, and a few of the other kids from along the street, out riding their bikes and skateboards.
A man she recognised from the big house on the corner was with them. He’d erected a ramp that the boys were using to do jumps with bike or board.
Cal was proving to be a hit with his boarding talents, always managing to stay on the board, no matter spectacular his jumps.
Chaya knew why.
Callum glanced towards his house and smiled when he saw his mother standing at the window. He waved and she waved back, but also gave him a stern look.
A flash of guilt crossed his face as he saw her.
“Sorry, mom,” she heard in her head.
She rolled her eyes.
On his next jump Callum tried to make it even bigger and better than before and wiped out spectacularly. He was escorted home by Simon and Monica, his sister, with grazes to his knees and forehead.

Chaya Black wheeled around to face her son with an exasperated look upon her face and her arms out almost in submission.
“they thought I was so cool,” Callum offered in defence.
“Oh, Cal,” Chaya sighed, resigned. The two had had this conversation before.
“Low profile, I know,” Cal said getting up and hugging his mum.
Chaya hugged him back. The action no longer seemed strange and more often these days she was thinking of Callum as her real son and had surprised herself by how much she had actually wanted one, even though she hadn’t thought about it before.
“Can I go back out know?” Cal asked. “No powers, I promise…”
Chaya smile, kissed his cheek and shoved him towards the door.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:10 pm

October 23rd 1969

Chaya Black brushed the lock of hair from her eyes, tucking it behind her ear as she carefully placed the last of four cartons of milk into the bag on the counter.
She glanced at the old beige till quickly before smiling at the hunched, lined and even older lady opposite her.
“That all comes to two dollars and twenty seven cents, Mrs Mallory.”
The old lady fished around in her purse, handing across each individual coin in turn.
Chaya waited patiently, placed the money in the till tray and said, “Shall I carry these out to the car for you, Mrs Mallory?”
“Oh would you dear? That’s very kind,” the wrinkled octogenarian replied.
Chaya carried the bags out to an aging dusty, rust orange coloured Chevrolet pickup and placed them on the bench seat, sliding them into the middle alongside a silver haired man with glasses and a weather beaten face.
“Good morning, Mr Mallory,” Chaya said cheerfully.
Mr Mallory smiled and nodded curtly , but didn’t speak.
That made Chaya smile more; Mr Mallory never spoke!

Standing in the shop doorway, Chaya waved old Mr and Mrs Mallory off.
It was ten in the morning.
Across the road, a few building south was the post office.
A black car pulled up in front and two men in suits climbed out.
Chaya watched them.
They were serious looking men with serious stern faces. They entered the post office and Chaya lost sight of them behind the reflection ion the window.
As she was about to turn away and return to the counter another figure climbed from the back of the car.
Her breath caught as recognised the face. The last time she had seen it, it was covered in blood and dust and its owner had been telling her to take the boy and run.
The man glanced up and down the street as he walked across the sidewalk. Even though he saw her there, he didn’t seem to recognise her.
She dyed her hair these days, perhaps that was enough of a disguise at this distance.
When he had gone, disappeared behind the reflection, Chaya closed the door and stood with her back against it for a moment, collecting her thoughts. Her mind was racing. How had they found her? No, that was just her panicking, she surmised. They were more likely in the post office to ask after her, showing a photo of her or Caleb as he was.
Waling swiftly to the counter she reached beneath and grabbed her hand bag.
“Where are you off to?” a chirpy voice asked.
“Oh Marion, I’m sorry but I have to go home.”
Marion, in her fifties with short, curled dark hair that was doing a respectable job of fighting off the grey, looked bewildered.
“You can’t just leave Chaya! What will I tell Harvey?”
Chaya shrugged. “Tell him it’s women’s problems.”
Chaya knew that Harvey Lambert, the store owner, went a funny colour whenever women’s troubles were mentioned. He would just nod when Marion told him and say no more.

Within a minute Chaya was out through the back door and in her car.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:11 pm

“Alright class, settle down!” Mr Jacobson called over the general din.
He waited patiently, pushing his thick glasses up his broad nose and perched against the edge of his desk.
“That includes you, Callum Black!” he chastised the young boy who was deep in conversation with one of the other lads.
Callum stared across at the rotund teacher, glanced at the clock and sighed. It had just turned nine in the morning.

“Thank you,” Jacobson said patronisingly.
“So class… History!”
There was a groan from across the whole classroom which Jacobson ignored.
“Last term we learned about the Roman conquest of Europe. This semester we will be learning about another conquest across Europe, but this one was quite different from the Roman. We’ll be finding out how the people from the frozen lands of northern Europe spread themselves across the land spreading fear in those before them and becoming known as some of the fiercest fighters ever known. Can anyone tell me who they might be, or at least how they are better known?”
The class remained quiet, twenty five faces staring blankly at him.
“No one?” Jacobson probed.
Eventually Callum, who had come to realise that none of his peers were volunteering an answer, made a half-hearted attempt to raise his hand.
As it was the only movement, Jacobson was instantly drawn to him.
“Yes, Callum?” Jacobson asked with obvious scorn. He didn’t like the Black boy. There was something about the way he looked at him, like the boy was staring into his soul. It was often an unnerving experience.
“The Vikings, sir,” Callum said bored but eliciting a sudden look of surprise to the teacher’s round, heavily jowled face.
“Why, yes, that’s right, Callum. Ehmm…. The Vikings.”
“oh cool!” said a boy at the front of the class.
Callum glanced out of the window, totally bored. His father had learnt more about the Vikings than this guy would probably ever know. Which of course meant that Callum already knew about them too.

It turned out that his father had been a clever man, well educated. There wasn’t a lot to do in Northern Finland during the winter, when the sun was below the horizon for twenty four hours a day. School was the only real option and it turned out that the teachers were all pretty good.
So now, having already learnt most of the things they taught, Callum did what he had to but most of the time at school he was just bored. Except at sports. He enjoyed sports.

His mind drifted whilst Mr Jacobson droned on about long boats and houses and shields and axes and the Norse gods.
A bird, dark with white head and tips to its wings swept by the window drawing his attention, which quickly shifted onto the black Dodge Charger that swept into the car park on the opposite side of the sports field.
He knew that car, knew that this car had languished for nearly two years in a rented lock up. He knew that his mother was at the wheel, bags packed and stashed in the trunk or on the back seat.
He reached out with his mind, probing the driver.
“Mom?”

Chaya Black gave a start.
“Hell, Cal! That spooks me when you do that,” Chaya said to an empty car.
“Sorry. Is something wrong?”
“They’re here, Cal. We have to leave.”
“Do you have everything?”
Yes honey, it’s all here. I had time to go home.”
“Okay mom, I’ll be right out.”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:12 pm

Callum gathered his books and packed them into his bag.
“Going somewhere, Mr Black?” Jacobson asked sarcastically.
“Apparently so, sir,” the boy replied drawing the attention of the whole class.
He shouldered his bag and started for the door.
Jacobson cut him off, blocking the door with his bulk.
“Now just where do you think you are off to, young man?”
“Away, sir,” Callum replied flatly.
“Sit down, Black.”
“I have to go sir, my mom is waiting.”
“I said, sit down,” Jacobson ordered sternly, pointing at Callum’s chair.
“Get out of the way, sir,” Callum said in a cold voice.
There was something in the tone that made Jacobson tense up.
“I have to tell you something sir,” Callum said quietly, changing tact.
Jacobson suddenly thought of Brian Collitard, a young lad from last year who had not been well and messed himself in class.
“Have you had an accident, Mr Black?” Jacobson asked in a whisper as he bent down to hear Black’s reply.
“I know about you, sir. I know what you do when you’re alone in your basement, when your mother is asleep. I don’t think I’ll eat cucumbers ever again.”
Jacobson blanched white and looked at the boy in horror.
“Don’t worry sir, I won’t tell a soul,” Callum whispered fixing Jacobson with an icy stare.
“How?”
“Oh, I know everything about you, Digby. Now, out of my and I won’t tell Mr Lecker that it is him you think about while stuffing vegetables up your own ass. And I won’t tell Charlotte Beltham in fifth grade that it was you who stole her panties and that you jerk off into them every night.”
Jacobson staggered away from Callum clutching his chest, his heart pounding, his face white and stricken with terror.
“Which reminds me,” Callum said openly as he pulled the door open and stepped out into the silent corridor.
As frantic whispers and gasps erupted behind the closed door her strode down the hall to another class.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:13 pm

Miss Hubbard, who had heard all the jokes before, was taken aback when Callum suddenly threw open her classroom door and walked in unannounced and uninvited.
“Can I help you?” she asked sternly.
“No Miss, but Charlotte can.”
Charlotte Beltham. Eleven years old, tall, fair haired, olive skinned and the dream of every boy their age who didn’t still see girls as something to be avoided.
She turned in surprise at mention of her name and saw Callum approaching.
He was in the grade below her. He was good at sport and good looking, which meant that he would have been on the ‘hot-list’ that her friends and her had compiled. But he was always so reserved and quiet that she thought he was a little odd.

“Callum, I’m teaching class. And you should be in yours,” Hubbard scowled.
Callum ignored her and walked straight up to Charlotte.
“What?” the girl asked, somewhat guardedly.
“I’m leaving and just wanted to do something before I go.”
“What?” she frowned at him.
Callum grabbed her face in his hands and planted a kiss on her lips. It wasn’t a peck, or even a lingering lip to lip kiss. He kissed her like his dad used to kiss his mom when they were dating; open mouthed, his tongue probing her mouth.

Charlotte had never been kissed like this before. She’d snogged with a boy once but it was awkward and lasted just a few seconds.
Instinct took over and she responded in kind, her tongue intertwining with his.
Miss Hubbard’s mouth hung agape for a while, she was too shocked to react.
The class erupted into chaos. The boys were whooping and wolf whistling and cheering. The girls were giggling hysterically.
Her jaw flapped uselessly a few times before Hubbard finally gained control.
“CALLUM BLACK!” she screamed as she thundered across the classroom and pulled the two apart.
“GET TO THE PRINCIPLES OFFICE, RIGHT NOW!” Hubbard yelled, shoving Callum towards the door.
Callum smiled casually and winked at Charlotte.
Her flushed face reddened further as she stared in utter bewilderment at the brash and unusually forward young boy.

Callum ran straight out of school and climbed into his mom’s car.
He hadn’t even closed the door before Chaya threw it into reverse, then screeched out of the car park, heading west.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:31 am

Agent Richard Wills stepped in through the door, nodding thanks to the land lord who had just unlocked the door to the low suburban house.
It was dark inside, the drapes half pulled. He tried the lights but nothing happened.
“try the breaker,” Wills ordered.
A few moments later the lights came on. It truth, Wills reflected, they didn’t make much difference.
The agent who had gone to the fuse panel returned with two envelopes, one addressed to Mr S Longley, the other addressed simply, ‘Mr Agent’.
Wills handed the first envelope to the landlord and asked to know what it was.
It turned out to be one month’s rent and notice to cease the tenancy.
The other envelope wills opened himself.
The message inside read,

Dear Agent Wills,

Please leave us alone.

Yours hopefully,

BH.

Wills’ brow knitted into a frown. “They’re gone,” he announced.
“I want those photos shown at every gas station within a two hundred mile radius. And get a description of her Buick out to the state troopers.”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:34 am

February 29th 1972, Bonneville, Arkansas.

Thomas Whittaker, only son of Florence and Jonathan Whittaker, who owned a small and run down farm on the outskirts of town, swallowed hard as the school bus pulled in at the end of the track that led to his home.
Thomas was a small child for his age, thin, but he had a head that seemed too large for his diminutive frame. He’d started his first year at junior high last September and not one day had gone by since then that Josh Greene and his gang hadn’t picked on him. Josh was a sophomore who attended the neighbouring high school. At first it was just horrible comments about his big head, his sticky-out ears, his fat “nigger lips”, or even the fact that no matter what he did, there was always a patch of hair that stuck up in a tuft.
Then they moved on to his slight lisp, and skinny, childish body. Then they’d take his bags and steal his lunch, from which they would reel away in disgust and bin the food, making sure that there was no way Thomas could salvage it of course.
Sometimes they would even take his school work.
Now though they had progressed onto the physical stuff. Knocking him about, forcing him to do stupid things. They would chase him through the school at break times and dunk him in the toilet, or sometimes hang him from the pegs in the locker room by his underpants.

Well, Thomas Whittaker had enough of getting pushed around by everyone. As he stepped onto the bus he felt the handle of his dad’s big hunting knife pressing into his back.

Thankfully this morning Josh was busy pestering Lucile Rennard. Josh was smitten with her, but she was totally uninterested.
Thomas grinned when he sat down and heard Lucile yawn loudly in mock boredom.

The bus journey lasted only fifteen minutes.
Even before the bus had stopped, Josh was out of his seat. Annoyed at the constant rebuttal from Lucile he stomped down the aisle and upon seeing Thomas waited just behind him.

Thomas, unaware of Josh’s proximity didn’t look back when the bus came to a jerky halt outside the low buildings of Booneville Junior High School. Looking back would draw their attention to him and he’d managed an entire journey unmolested.
So when Thomas went to step off the bus he was taken by surprise when Josh’s foot jabbed between his and he fell forwards.
Thomas’ hand naturally shot out to break his fall but they weren’t enough to stop his face slamming into the hard floor.
Laughter erupted through the bus, but for once Thomas wasn’t embarrassed by it. He was in too much pain to be embarrassed.
Rolling over, he saw Josh grinning down at him; saw his flunkies flanking their leader.
The small boy fought hard not to cry. He caught his breathing, forcing it to slow, for his mind to calm down. Instead, he let the anger overwhelm his pain and the embarrassment that was now clawing at the edge of his thoughts.
Thomas didn’t feel an irrational anger today, no his was a cold anger that had been brooding for years, and it justified and solidified the decision he had made to finally act on that anger.
Josh, a little disappointed to see the boy wasn’t crying, shrugged and strolled across the parking lot towards the bigger high school building.
Thomas delved into his bag, ignoring the pitying looks he got from fellow students as they stepped off the bus.
His hand slipped around the smooth handle of the big knife, his thumb searched for the small leather clasp that held the blade tight within the hand-stitched leather sheath.
Laughter rippled through Josh’s group and Thomas automatically assumed that he was the butt of whatever joke had been told; he usually was.

Fury rose in him like a furnace suddenly fed oxygen. It flared up and was barely contained.
On his feet he took long purposeful strides. His thumb finally flicked the popped open, the blade slid unseen from its sheath.
All he had to do now was close the gap, pull the knife from the bag and stab it into Josh’s back.
No! Thomas wanted Josh to know he’d been beaten. He needed Josh to look him in the eye and plead for forgiveness. He didn’t care that he’d get into all sorts of trouble. He felt he had nothing to lose – Juvenile prison was probably better than home anyway!
Ten feet to go. Thomas yanked on the knife, intending to throw the bag aside but it wouldn’t move. It wouldn’t come out of the bag.
Thomas couldn’t help letting out a frustrated cry. Why wouldn’t it come out? There was nothing stopping it, but every time he pulled on the knife it seemed to weigh a ton and he couldn’t shift it.
He pulled the top of the bag open and heaved incredulously at the knife but it remained lodged in the bottom of the pack.
“Whatcha got in there, wiener? You bringing me a present, lunch perhaps or money?”
Thomas stared up horrified.
The older boy grabbed the top of the bag and peered in. his eyes went wide with shock and he scowled accusingly at Thomas, but when he saw how frightened the boy was he became angry. Yanking the bag hard he snatched it from Thomas’ grasp, which had gone suddenly very weak.
Josh turned to his friends, running his fingers through his shoulder length hair in a nervous fashion.
“Have you seen this?” he asked angrily, even though it was impossible that any of them had seen anything.
He pulled the knife easily from the bag and held it up, strangely now back in its black leather sheath.
“Whoa, dude! That’s cool, but not cool,” said one of Josh’s henchmen giving Thomas a disappointed and scornful look that could have rivalled any of their teachers.
Josh slid the blade form its cover. It measured at least ten inches long and two wide. A sharp point, keen edge on one side, serrated on the other; a classic hunting knife.
Quickly putting the blade away, Josh stepped closer to the frozen yet shaking boy. He brandished the weapon as though it were still unsheathed.
“What were you planning to do with this, you little fuck?” he snarled quietly.
It was the lack of volume and bravado from Josh that made his question seem more of a threat than any other time Thomas could recall. The small skinny boy swallowed hard, unable to speak and unable to stop a little pee from coming out.
Josh wanted to hurt the little wimp. He had to, in fact. He couldn’t let something like this go unpunished. No way.
His fingers grasped Thomas’ collar and dragged him real close as his other fist drew back.
Then there was a hand on his chest, pushing him back. It was a strong hand and Josh couldn’t resist it.
“Leave him alone, Josh,” a voice to his side said.
No way! No one told Josh Greene what to do!
Josh glared at Thomas for a moment longer before turning his furious gaze on the person stupid enough to intervene.
Suddenly the anger died and was replaced with mild confusion as he saw who this interloper was.
The lad was the same age as Thomas, thirteen, a few years younger than himself. The boy was tall for his age and his jet black hair was unfashionably short. In contrast to the slight form that Josh still held by the collar, this lad wad fit and the arms exposed beneath his pale blue t-shirt he wore bore well defined muscles.
Josh knew that this boy was the only junior high school kid on the high school football team, he was also on the shooting team and represented his school in several athletics events.
Callum Black was popular, despite his otherwise quiet nature. This was likely the reason that Josh was now so confused.
“What’s the problem, maan?”
“Just leave him alone, okay?”
Josh shrugged at Callum. “Who? Weiner-face here? He loves it really! Let’s face it, it’s the only attention he’s going to get from the likes of us he’ll ever get. I’s like he’s hanging out with the cool gang!”
Callum said nothing, but his dark eyes remained locked with his and Josh felt uncomfortable under the piercing stare.
For Callum’s part, it was hard not to exert his will upon the boy, but he knew he had to hold back. This exchange needed to look normal to everyone watching, which Callum had noted was nearly half both schools and some of the faculty too.
The only way for this to look normal was for it to be normal, no psychic powers. So instead of forcing his will upon Josh, Callum had opted to rely on his own popularity and peer pressure against him.
Josh tore his eyes from the penetrating orbs and glanced nonchalantly at his watch.
“You’re right, man. Time we were getting inside,” Josh said loud enough for those around him to hear that this was Josh’s decision.
“But I’m keeping this, you dumb shit,” he waved the sheathed knife in Thomas’ face before turning away and joining his friends.
“Hey, did you see that John Wayne movie last night?” he asked as though nothing had happened.
The group’s voices faded into background noise as the group walked away.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:24 am

Callum turned to face Thomas.
“What the hell were you thinking?” he demanded, but then noticed the tears wetting Thomas’ cheeks.
The boy was visibly shaking and his bottom lip was quivering.
Callum could feel rage, despair, shame and fear enveloping the boy in a maelstrom of emotions.
“That’s my dad’s knife. He’ll kill me when he finds out it’s gone.”
Somehow the images just forced themselves into Callum’s mind and taken aback, Callum took an unsteady step backwards, rubbing away the headache that suddenly throbbed behind his eyes.
The images had been Thomas’ father coming at him with a thick leather belt.
Callum knew had had not willingly sought out the boy’s surface thoughts, but he did now.
“Not going to be good for me. I really don’t want to go home tonight,” they were saying.
“Bet you wish you hadn’t seen that. Well, tough. You shouldn’t hav got in the way. You should have let him stab me,” they went on.
“How did you do that?” Callum asked.
“Do what?” Thomas replied miserably.
“I just saw your father hitting on you, in my mind?”
Thomas’ lip curled into a sneer.
“Are you crazy? Well, you must be, you just stood up to Josh, in front of all his mates. He won’t have liked that. Now he’ll start on you too. But you must have imagined it.”
“No Thomas. It was one of your memories, from a few years back I think. Before I knew you.”
Thomas shrugged bitterly.
“I’ll give you more if you like them so much,” he thought at Callum summoning up many more dreadful memories.
Callum felt them coming but simply batted them away.
He grabbed Thomas by the elbow and dragged him to a quiet part of the school.
“You’re a psychic? A telepath?”
Thomas looked wide eyed at him, more fear and trepidation this time.
“So what if I am? It just makes josh right; I’m a freak! I suppose you think I deserve everything that happens to me, and I suppose you’re right.”
He pulled away from Callum and stomped off towards his classroom.
“I can help you,” Callum called after him.
“No, you can’t!” Thomas spat the words over his shoulder.
Yes I can! The words formed inside Thomas’ mind, but it was Callum’s voice that spoke them. The boy stopped dead and gaped at Callum.
You aren’t a freak, Thomas. You are more gifted than anyone else at this school, including the teachers, surely you can see that?
“You’re a telepath too?”
“Shhh! Not so loud.”
Well, that’s just great! Now I’m not even unique. I’m so damned useless.”
“You aren’t,” Callum objected.
Thomas huffed away the platitude.
“Look at you. You’re as much a freak as me, yet you’re popular and good at sport and all the girls love you, even the older ones. I can hear their thoughts. And look at me, I’m a joke. I’ve got powers like Professor X and I can’t even use them properly.”
He stormed off angrily, ignoring Callum’s pleas to stay.
With a resigned sigh Callum made his way to his own class.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:41 am

Callum strolled along the corridor with two of his friends, Pete and Lawrence. Pete was very animated about Machine Head, the new Deep Purple album that was due out in a couple of weeks.
Lawrence was arguing that if you wanted to listen to rock music then it had to be American. Callum with his father’s taste in music ever lurking at the back of his mind decided to stay out of the argument.
Outside, in the parking lot a row of buses waited to take kids home. Callum bade his friends farewell and took his usual seat half way down the bus. He noticed that Thomas wasn’t there. Glancing around him he noticed that Josh wasn’t on the bus either.
He climbed out of his seat and scanned around the bus but couldn’t see either of them.
Callum sighed heavily, about to give up his search when he noticed Lucile Rennard staring out of the back window. He followed her gaze but could only see the tree covered hillside.
“Lucile?” Callum said questioningly.
She started, surprised and Callum discerned concern in her eyes.
“Have you seen Thomas?”
She nodded. “Josh and his idiot gang chased him into the woods. Josh was in a bad mood.”
“Dammit!” Callum cursed and darted off the bus sprinting for the treeline.
“Cal! Your bag!” Lucile called after him but it was lost inside the bus.

As he ran, darting through the trees Callum let his mind open, hoping to receive some general hint from either Thomas or Josh and his gang.
“Why am I doing this?”, he asked himself as he ran, stumbling clumsily over an exposed root. His mother would kill him for getting involved.
He stopped dead, breathing heavily and turned around, listening and thinking.
The trouble now was; he’d revealed himself to Thomas. It had been a stupid thing to do. But if he didn’t do something about Josh, then Thomas could well do something that would bring the attention of certain members of the government, he reasoned. And then Thomas would probably tell them what he now knew about Callum. Which, of course, would mean he’d have to leave again and start somewhere new. He liked it here and didn’t want to move again.
Sighing in resignation, he closed his eyes, concentrating on the world around him, letting down his guard so that he could sense the thoughts around him. It was easy to pick up on the group. Josh, his friends and a frightened angry Thomas.
They were over the rise, along the path where passes between rocky outcrops.
Once more Callum broke into a run. He charged over the ridge like a maniac and was upon the group in moments.
Thomas was backed up against a boulder the size of a house. Josh was in front of him brandishing Thomas’ dad’s knife.
The other four were stood back forming a menacing perimeter around the two so that Thomas had no escape.
Callum didn’t take time to register who the closest boy was, he just launched himself in a shoulder barge that sent the kid sprawling face first into the dusty dry ground.
His sudden arrival was enough to distract the others so that he could squeeze himself between Josh and Thomas.
Once between them it was a simple manoeuvre to disarm Josh and push him away. It was a move that his father had used countless times before and it was all about twisting the wrist rather than brute strength, which suited Callum fine as Josh definitely had him beat in that department.
Startled and embarrassed by being outdone by a thirteen year old Josh reared up to his full height and glared indignantly at Callum.
“What the fuck are you doing, man?” he spat.
“Just back off, Josh! Leave the boy alone,” Callum warned.
Josh grinned and shook his head in amusement.
“Or what?” he queried.
“What’s wrong with you, Josh? Thomas is what, thirteen? And you’re sixteen?”
“Seventeen,” a voice from his left corrected.
Callum shrugged.
“Alright, seventeen. That’s even worse. What is it that Thomas has done to deserve this? To deserve you?”
“What is it to you?”
“Thomas is my friend.”
Josh snorted.
“Is that supposed to mean anything to me? The little shit came at me with a knife, you saw him. He’s gonna get a beating for that. He should think himself lucky that I don’t stick him with that stupid fuckin’ knife. And you’ll get the same if you don’t scram!”
Callum turned and faced the wide-eyed Thomas and handed the knife to him.
“Take this and go home,” he instructed.
“He’s not going anywhere, Black!”
Callum didn’t turn around.
“When Danny gives the signal, you run like hell, Thomas Whitaker.”
“I ain’t gonna be giving him no signal to run, you dip shit,” Daniel Tinslade objected.
Callum finally turned back to face Josh. “Tom’s my friend guys, leave him alone, won’t you?”
“What Black? You think that cos you and me is in the football team and he’s your friend that we’ll leave the little freak alone?”
“Nah!” Callum chuckled nonchalantly. “Because if you don’t leave him alone, for good, I’ll kick the crap out of all five of you!”
All five of them laughed.
“Laugh all you like, but I could take you all, right now.”
“Callum!” Thomas warned. He could see the boys closing in with dark menacing expression etched on their faces.
Josh was within reach of him now so Callum darted sideways, ducking low and delivered a swift and powerful uppercut to Danny’s groin.
Danny howled in agony. It was a high pitched wail that lasted until long after Thomas had sprinted down the path towards school.
Two of the lads had made a grab for the fleeing boy but had found Callum’s fist or boot instead.
Callum knew these guys would normally be tough for his thirteen year old self to deal with, but he had his father’s experience and training to fall back on. Really, they didn’t stand a chance.
Someone grabbed his arm and Callum stepped closer so that the punch which followed just went wide. His forehead slammed into the boy’s cheek in return, sending him staggering away.
From the corner of his eye Cal saw Thomas disappear from view.
Logic stepped in.
If he carried on he’d end up putting all five of these boys in hospital, and there could be some awkward questions raised.
He knew that he really just had to give the boys enough of a kicking to look like he’d done well, enough so that the rest of the school knew he’d single handedly given Josh and his gang a bit of a whooping, but ultimately he’d have to let them win.
But not yet!
He stepped right, fists met nose and kidney.
Span right again and foot met knee eliciting an agonised wail.
On this went for at least a minute or two more, Callum moving between them in an almost dance-like fashion. None of them could land a blow anywhere near him.
Finally though Callum stepped back, obviously letting one of the boys grab him in a bear hug. Not that any of them was in any sort of state to realise what he’d done.
Then josh was there in front of him, his face covered in blood from his obliterated nose. One eye was already puffy and closing over.
Josh returned the favour.
It was a hell of a punch. The fist swung wide and slammed in from the left. It was like a blow from Thor, thunder sounded in his ears and lightning flashed across his vision.
Callum blinked hard trying to regain some focus.
Then came the rain!

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:45 am

Chaya Black looked at her wrist watch and frowned. Callum was late.
She’d seen the bus come and had been surprised to see Mary, the pretty girl from a few doors down walking up her path carrying Callum’s bag.
The girl had told her that Callum had got off the bus at school but and left his bag. She hadn’t been able to say why.
That had set untold scenarios whirling through her head, nearly all of them involving Agent Wills.
Chaya paced around the living room, surrounded by flock wallpaper and miss-matched furniture. She hated the décor of this place, but the landlord wouldn’t hear of her changing it. Idiot!
She didn’t like having to put up with his superior attitude. His money gave him the false notion that he was better than his tenants, especially those who happened to be un-wed mothers, which Chaya was surprised to learn there were more than she had expected.
That said the obnoxious little man went easier on her due to her being a widow. She had never told him as much but when he’d inquired after her husband when they moved in, Callum had flatly replied that his father was dead. So he had jumped to the incorrect conclusion that Chaya was a widow. She saw no need to correct him, even if it meant that she now had to live with him referring to her as the Widow Black. A name which a few of the more amorous and yet unsuccessful suiters in town had twisted around to the Black Widow. What was it with these back-water hicks? Did they think that her status as a widow should have her falling at the feet of the next man to come along with a smile and a wink? So what if she took someone up on their offer to sort out the electrics in her dodgy old house for nothing? Did she really have to be so grateful that she’d sleep with the guy in way of thanks? And did they think that rodding her drains meant that she should let then rod her too?

Another lap of the room, dodging around the lo melamine coffee table, circling the brown leather sofa with the rip in the arm and the stuffing bulging out like it was some sort of septic wound.
Glancing at her watch again she had returned to the coffee table.
It was just after six.
There were three doors on the back wall leading from the living room. One led to the small hallway which allowed access to the bedrooms and the bathroom. The second opened to the small kitchen, the third was a closet for coats, shoes and a ton of Callum’s crap, it seemed.
Chaya came to a rapid decision, gave a determined sigh and threw open the third door.
She slipped on her coat and reached for her shoes, then careened into the kitchen frantically searching for her car keys.
Chaya pulled up short when she came to a black and white photo of Callum. It was taken just a few weeks ago when the two of them had gone swimming at a nearby river.
She stared at the picture of the boy. The boy was not her son, not in the biological sense, yet she could almost feel the love for him pouring out of her. She had come to cherish the boy more than anything else in her life. She might not have given birth to him but he was her son in every way that matters.
It was that realisation, that admission of her feelings that made her feel giddy, made her legs go wea and she suddenly felt the bile rise as worry flooded her thoughts.
That is why, when she heard a knock at the door, Chaya Black burst into tears. Fear rose in her throat like a physical lump. What if this was someone with bad news?
Swallowing hard Chaya chastised herself. It was probably Cal. He’d forgotten his key, or lost it, that was all, nothing to worry about.
Striding across the living room she opened the heavy wooden door and was surprised to see an attractive girl stood there looking a little lost.
She was pretty, with light brown hair, worn long but with braids tipped with bands and multi-coloured beads. The girl was wearing a turtleneck jumper, yellow, with those bell-bottomed jeans that were so popular with youngsters these days. The bottoms were so big that she couldn’t see the girl’s feet.
The top of the jeans and the turtleneck were very tight fitting and revealed and developing and shapely form beneath them. In fact she looked much older than her son. Callum hadn’t mentioned a girlfriend?
The girl smiled prettily at Chaya. “is this Callum Black’s house?” she asked.
“Yes,” Chaya replied, a little embarrassed at how her voice cracked when she spoke.

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