1×01: Josh

Everyone has secrets. When you were little, you probably kept secrets from your parents all the time because you felt that if they found out, you’d get grounded. Maybe that meant your television privileges would be taken away, or maybe it meant you couldn’t have snacks for a whole week.

Secrets are a part of life, but the older you get, the more you learn about the world. When I turned sixteen, I never expected my life to get as complicated as it did. In fact, I don’t think anyone at Wellington High School excepted their lives to be irrevocably changed. 2014 was the year that changed out lives forever, and nothing would ever be the same.

I am not the founder of this blog. In fact, my hope is to find out who did. There are secrets the world needs to know, and I can’t let the truth slip away from anyone. My friends and I are here to tell you the tale. We all have our stories.

The story begins with me.

***

Sitting behind my computer, I typed away at my latest novel, trying to master the art of writing. Of course, with just turning sixteen, I was hardly Stephen King. Writing had been my passion since I was a kid, and knew that this was something I wanted to do. I wanted to be an author. It was my dream job, and I vowed to make it happened before I turned eighteen.

Wellington was a quiet little town, one that I never saw the outside of. I spent my whole life there, and due to lack of income, we were never able to go vacationing anywhere. It was alright considering I had two great friends to keep me company: Damien and Haven. But recently, things weren’t going so well with them.

Thinking of the Damien situation, I closed my computer and headed over to my mirror to find myself gazing at my reflection. What was wrong with me? I mean, I wasn’t anything hot, but wasn’t an ugly guy. I had short, brown hair and chestnut eyes. I was about 6 feet tall, and was of white descent. I wish I knew more about my family background to give a better description, but white was it.

I can’t think like this, I thought. Damien’s my friend and that’s that. 

But things were getting a lot more complicated than I’d anticipated. Best friends since we were eight, Damien and I had a lot in common, and we knew practically everything about each other. He knew everything about me, all except for one:

I was gay. And I was in love with him.

It wasn’t something that was always there. It actually wasn’t until recently that I started having feelings for him, and it was a bit of a disaster. Being in love with my straight best friend was only going to lead to issues. So instead of admitting my feelings, I buried them underneath, hoping that no one would ever find out the truth.

My phone rang from my bed, and I jumped. I reached over to grab it, and answered before it rang for a second time. “Hello?”

“Hey,” Damien said. “What are you up to, man?”

Trying not to think about being in love with you. Not that I would say that to him. “Nothing, just working on my new novel. It’s going really well.”

“That’s great to hear. I’d love to read it some time,” Damien said. “But I was actually calling to see if you wanted to come with me tonight. Haven asked me to go see a movie with her, so I figured I’d ask you to come along.”

It took me a moment to process everything he was saying. “Wait–Haven asked you to the movies and didn’t ask me? Why did she do that?”

I could practically hear his shrug through the phone. “Not sure. Maybe she just thought you were busy.”

That was a huge possibility, but I wasn’t too positive. Were my suspicions coming true? Was Haven into Damien? And if she was, did I really have a right to be jealous? “I’m sorry, but I can’t,” I told him. “I have to try and get this chapter finished, and then I have to do some homework before I go to sleep.”

“You know, most people do their homework before they do other things,” Damien said, and my heart warmed at his jokey tone.

“I guess I have other priorities.”

He sighed. “Well, I suppose I can’t make you come. But we’d really like for you to come.”

After explaining a little more that I really couldn’t, we ended the call and I plopped down on my bed, trying not to think about him. But I couldn’t get him out of my mind. It was bugging me in more ways than one, and I needed to do something about it.

Before I could think of anything to do, I fell asleep.

***

I woke up to flashing lights outside my house. Had I dozed off? I looked at the clock and saw that it was 2 AM, and I climbed out of bed to look out the window. Police were here. Two cops cars sat in the driveway, blue lights blurring my eyes. What was going on?

Not wasting a moment, I headed downstairs to see that mom had already answered the door. She turned around to look at me and tears were streaming down her face. Between the tears and the bed head, she looked terrible.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

One of the officers, a young man who looked about twenty-five, said, “We have to ask you a few questions about your friend Damien. Do you mind stepping outside for a moment?”

Damien? Did something bad happen to him? My heart was pounding a million miles per hour, but I obliged. I followed the officer over to his car, and I looked in for some sign of Damien. Nothing.

“You’re friends with Damien, right?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “He and I have been best friends for years. Is everything okay?”

The officer frowned at me, showing off at least some sign of emotion. “I’m afraid not. He was reported missing earlier this evening. There’s been no sign of him. And according to his phone records, the last person he was on the phone with was you.”

My jaw fell open and fear swept over my body like a crash of ocean waves. Something had happened to my best friend, and that was all I was concerned about. “Oh my God…I…I fell asleep after we talked on the phone. He said he was going to the movies with our friend Haven. She apparently asked him to go.”

“Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to reach you’re other friend, Haven. While a missing person’s case has not been opened for her, it’s possible that it will.” The officer wrote something down on his pad. He asked a few more questions, including my number, school, and other personal information. After he finished, I went back inside to find my mother sitting at the table, her head resting in her hands with her elbows propped on the table.

“Mom?” I asked. Tears were forming behind my eyes, but I couldn’t let it show. “Do you think Damien’s going to be okay?”

She lifted her head and tried to smile behind the tears. “We both know Damien. He’s probably going to be alright.”

And that was definitely mom code for “Damien is probably already dead, but I can’t tell you that.”

I went back upstairs to my room, resting my head on my pillow and hoping for some sort of peace. There wasn’t any. That was the first night I realized my life would never be peaceful again.

And I was right.

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