Jason Heaterington, “Who Needs Friends.”

Hetherington_Jason_Artwork_Friends

Who Needs Friends?

He sits up slowly, something isn’t right. Text looms above his head. A gruesome font.

He awoke amidst a dark corridor. . .  Something wasn’t right. . .

He already—never mind. The redundant message dissipates slowly. He searches for his sword and shield, his eyes met only by an empty stone corridor lined with wall torches. His mind is blank, but the location is particularly unfamiliar.

Where was his equipment. . . his memories. . .

Even without his memories, the sentence looks off to him. His eyes are peeled away from the text by a shiny floating objet, he walks to it. Walking feels…strange, almost weightless. The object swirls around him and pulls him into a vision of him and his companion smashing skellys, slang for the blood-thirsty animated skeletons who inhabit the local dungeons.

The memory fades, leaving him empty. He sees a line of the shimmering objects leading to a small sliver of light at the corridor’s end, like a golden thread woven through an infinite maze in the tale of some great hero whose name he cannot currently recall.

His final quest. . . his fellow warriors. . . He spotted a trail of the mysterious memory containing things and suddenly felt like Theseus. Perhaps these objects were leading him somewhere, perhaps there was a way out. . 

He is beginning to question the credential of the text, he’ll be the one to decide which quest will be his final one and he definitely didn’t feel like Theseus, whoever that is. He collects the second shiny object and is swept away by a memory of his childhood.

He lies on the bottom tier of a handmade wooden bunk bed. His mother closes a tome of children’s literature at his bedside; her warm smile bathes him in a soothing aura of wellness, her poor complexion highlighted by the flame of a single candle on his nightstand. The memory falls from his grasp replaced once again by emptiness and another line of text.

He remembered his mother, she was a stone cold arctic tundra certified, frigid bitch. At least she passed her great skin to him though it didn’t help him much now. . .

How dare this text be so obviously incoherent with this beautiful memory, his mother was the kindest person he ever met but great skin was not one of her qualities.

The torch-lit path stretches before him, the distance between the shining objects grows greater by the moment. He only wants to leave this place and be free of the text.

The whole ordeal has grown quite tiresome; the memories. . . the gloomy ambiance. . . the excruciatingly redundant, often inaccurate, always poorly punctuated text. . . the ellipses. . . the damn ellipses

Whatever, he dashes for the light, pulling his mind away from each memory which attempts to set in, keeping his vision narrow to negate the appearance of any additional text.

He shoves aside the great boulder blocking the exit, his sword and shield lie at his feet. His comrades stand in the distance, they turn to him in unison. The emotion of the reunion tugs at his heart strings.

“Kill the skelly!” they yell.

Frozen, his eyes drift upwards to the once unbearable text.

Kill the skelly? He saw no upright skelly around. . . They couldn’t possibly be referring to. . . he couldn’t be a. . . .

Trembling, he lifts his hand before his face, purposefully looking past it. His one-time friends now charge towards him. His mind races; the ease of movement, the loss of memory, God, when was the last time he blinked? He feels a jolt as his depth of focus adjusts; his bare metacarpals shake before his face. The text curries his attention once more.

Oh dear Lord, he had become that which he had dedicated his entire life to destroying. . . he knew what his comrades did to skellys. . .

He sure does and it isn’t pretty. He looks to his weapon, his rib cage flares as though he has lungs to fill with the familiar, stagnant air of the dungeon. His decision now clear; kill or be killed. . . by his friends.

Who needs friends?

 

About the author

Jason Hetherington is a creative writing and visual arts student at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, AZ. He has received multiple awards for his writing and artwork. This is his first professional publication.

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