Never Far – A.A. Dark

Angel. I had seen one—or someone I thought was one. She had been right before me. Somewhere. Blonde hair. Green eyes. Flawless. A real angel? No…a girl. There was a girl, and now she was gone, transitioning from female to male. A man. A man yelling at a woman with dark hair. They were young. Mid-twenties. His jet-black hair was slicked to his scalp. Biker.

Tattoos. A large hand lifted and blood flew from the side of her mouth in slow motion, the connection causing me to slow in front of the rundown bar. City. Lights. The hum of traf ic. Strobing colors brightened and faded as a light glow suddenly surrounded me. Wooden walls. A cabin. Metallic perfume burning into my nostrils as large brown eyes looked up, pleading. Disgust rolled through me, and I smashed my fist into his face once again.

Rage over what I had seen left me unhinged. Blonde hair. Angel. Her young face flashed, then an older boy who looked strikingly like her followed. Abusing, hitting my girl. Mine. The faint memory barely wormed through, but somehow fed the heat encouraging my hand to slam into the biker’s face with more force. Flesh split under my power, oozing red. Flowing like a river of death—a death that would find him soon enough. I knew this place—this me.

Blonde. Blonde. The scene wavered, but rushed back as I brought my knife up. The man’s eyes rolled under swollen, lacerated lids. The need to embed my blade through each one was there, but that wasn’t where he had hit the dark-haired girl. No. “P-Please.” The mumbling brought a smile to my face. I licked my lips, flattening the metal against his chin. “You like to hit women?” His mouth opened, bringing his bottom lip level with the point of my knife.

Before he could speak, I pinched the thick meat and drove through the center. The pop from the layers of skin turned to resistance while I sawed through muscle toward his cheek in one direction, then moved back to the middle of his lip to slice toward the other cheek. Deep screams echoed from the walls as I ripped through what remained. The chunk of lip jiggled in my fingers while I brought it up so he could see. Exposed, bloody bottom teeth open and closed as he screamed from pain—yelled for help. Help. Help. No…he’d find no help here. Collection. Movie.

Tape. Recording. Happiness. **** Beep. Beep. Beep. “What did I tell you about coming here, Lucy? Go home.” Beep. Beep. Beep.

Another man. An older man. Eyelids. A chunk of cheek. A black abyss. **** Beep. Beep. Beep. “You missed work again?” Whack! “What did I tell you?” Whack! “Jeff, stop. You’re hurting me!” “I’m going to hurt you a lot more if I find you here again.

I told you to stay away. Boston is crazy. He did this to himself.” “You did this! I hate you! Shuf ling. “Get off me! You’re not my—” “What? Your boss? Out, now! I better never catch you here again.” A sob. A slam of the door. A second of silence. Beep. The void—a breath of time.

**** “Hey, Boston. It’s me again. I say that every time I come. So stupid,” she mumbled. “It’s me, Lucy. I know you probably can’t hear me, and I’m sorry it’s been a few weeks since I’ve visited. Jeff would kill me if he knew…I’m so sorry I distracted you. I feel horrible. I miss you so much. It’s not the same without you.

I want you to get better. I want you to come back.” Pressure squeezed into my hand, though I wasn’t sure how I knew. I didn’t physically feel the touch, but something within the darkness told me this person held on tight. Heat sparked in my core. Urges combusted, twisting, igniting. Awakening. My heart made itself known—thump, thump. One set of beats. Two.

Gone. A weird heaviness pulled me back under, seductively smothering me, whispering lustful, violent-filled lullabies. Energy detonated from within the pitch-black oblivion and rage festered stronger than before. Beep. Beep. Gone. Exposed bone from the bridge of a nose. A flap of skin wiggling between my fingers. My yells. Anger.

My fist as a meat tenderizer. BAM! BAM! BAM! **** Light flickered, blinding me. My eyes squeezed shut, and a woman’s voice registered. Tingling prickled the bottom of my foot and my leg jerked at the strong sensation. “Yes, he’ll be awake again soon. I’ll get the doctor.” Confusion had instinct bringing my lids up again and water pooled at the brightness. Someone was hovering above me. Brown haloed her head as her blurry figure leaned in closer. “Boston, it’s Mom.

Oh, Boston, we’ve all been praying so hard for you. Honey, can you hear me?” She sniffled, and I tried to turn away, but I could barely move. My legs and arms felt weak. Stiffness had my entire body aching as I managed to shift the tiniest amount. “It’s okay. You’ve been coming in and out of it for two days. Do you remember anything?” A moan left me, and I flexed my jaw, making another sound. It was easier than the first. “Shhh. It’s okay.

The doctor is on his way. It’s so good to have you back. You have no idea how worried we’ve been.” Lies. All lies. I wasn’t sure how I knew, but my gut told me I was cautious of this woman who called herself my mother. Recollection was absent. Did I even know her? Irritation flared. She wasn’t who I wanted to see. Who that person might have been, I wasn’t quite sure.

There was a girl. A blonde-haired girl. I knew her. I wanted her. Sleep beckoned, and I gave myself over to it. There wasn’t intrigue to figure out answers. In truth, questions didn’t even come. I felt nothing. Cared about nothing. Familiarity accompanied the realization.

The girl. She was the only thing making itself known. She was with me—in my mind. Maybe even inside me. I wasn’t sure how that was possible, but we were meant to be together. Fog took over my mind and I told myself I’d think more about it later—after I slept. After this woman was gone. How much time had passed, I wasn’t sure. My eyes flew open at a deep voice. I wasn’t as out of it as I’d been before.

Three faces stared at me—the dark-haired woman, a gray-haired woman, and a tall, slender man with red hair. He paused, flipping through his chart, eyeing me. It was only then I noticed another man way off in the corner. He was older too, mid-fifties, and powerfully built under his suit. His white hair and dark eyes triggered something, but it faded just as fast. “Boston.” The dark-haired woman came back to the bed. Mother. Yes, hadn’t she said she was my mom? “Welcome back, honey.” “W-Who…? I cleared my throat, barely able to swallow at the dryness.

Water was quickly poured, and my head was lifted. I sucked from the plastic straw, eyeing the redheaded man wearily as he came around to the other side. “What’s…” seconds went by before I had the strength to continue, “happening?” “You were in an accident, honey.” The woman glanced from me to the doctor, but came back to me. “Poor Jeff was devastated. He thought he killed you.” She paused. “Well, he sort of did, but they saved you.” It took me a moment. The name bounced around the emptiness and I shook my head.

“Who’s Jeff? Who are you?” “Me?” Fear drew in her features and her gaze shot to the red-haired man, her eyes pleading. Doctor. “Amnesia is fairly common considering the circumstances. Boston, can you look ahead for me?” I wanted to tell him I already fucking was, but light blinded one side, then quickly jumped to the other. He put the tiny flashlight back in his pocket and wrote something down on a clipboard. As he did, my agitation grew. “Can you tell me your name—first, middle, and last?” “Boston,” I managed. More searching. More blanks. “It’s okay.

No rush. Do you know where you are?” “A hospital?” “Yes. Good. Do you know what town we’re in?” Nothing. “It’s okay. Don’t push. Can you tell me anything you might remember? Anything at all.” “Uh…” More time passed as I tried to gather my strength. “There’s a girl. Blonde hair.

I can’t remember what her face looks like.” The woman beside me shifted, looking to the white-haired man in the corner. “All right. Anything else?” I yawned, exhaustion creeping back in. Flickering scenery had the hospital room fading. A small, rundown cabin wavered into view. One of the windows was cracked in the far left corner, and the door hung open, leaning off-balance from the broken hinge at the bottom. I was in a forest. Trees towered above—bare, dead. It was cold as I spun in a circle.

Blood covered my hands. So much blood. Looking down, my shirt was saturated in it. And I was smiling…and running? No, not merely running, I was chasing after someone. “I’m Boston Marks. No middle name.” The words flooded from my mouth, but I had no idea where they came from. I was staring at the doctor, only just seeing him as the vivid pictures vanished from my view. “Perfect. That’s all for now.

Why don’t you get some rest?” The doctor motioned with his head to my mother, and the nurse checked some things on a computer screen before following all three of them out. I closed my eyes, seeing dark. Seeing my salvation. I liked this place. I didn’t want to be awake anymore. If I returned to nothingness, I could have her back. I could keep the blonde and do whatever I wanted. And there were so many things. What, exactly, didn’t come—just a desperate need buried in my subconscious I couldn’t decipher. Minutes went by, and my door sounded.

I refused to open my eyes or give anyone else my attention. Not that I really had a choice. As much as I wanted to fade away, my newly awakened state didn’t allow me to. I hung between the curse of awareness and brink of unconsciousness. Footsteps approached. Light, barely existent. “Boston?” My mind fought through sleep despite the soft, feminine voice. “I won’t stay long. I came to check on you. Your mom said you’re awake.

That…well, that you woke up and have amnesia. I’m so sorry.” I drifted at her silence, only to jolt awake as she continued. “I’m not sure I can come back for a few days. Jeff will be keeping a close eye on me once he finds out your back.” She paused. “I should really go. I just wanted to—” “Wait.” Chapter 2 Lucy For over two months, Boston had been in a coma. To see his once muscular frame pale and lean made me sad.

The guilt I carried over what had happened had no limit. Endless weeks of nightmares plagued me. Sometimes, I stayed hidden beside the house. Other times, history repeated itself. My screams sounded the same as that day: horror-stricken; terror-filled. They constantly drove me to his room. I read to him. Sang to him—it didn’t matter that I couldn’t carry a tune. Sometimes guilt made us do things we wouldn’t normally have the courage to do. When you loved someone, what was humility compared to blame? “Wait.

” Boston’s forehead drew in, pulling at the dark red scar running from just above his temple down past his ear. The once long hair that had given him a bad-boy appearance was now shaved short against his head. I stepped forward, not sure whether he was awake or talking in his sleep. He’d spoken before while still comatose. They said it was normal, but I hadn’t thought so at the time. Moments went by before he finally opened his eyes. When he did, I froze. My heart jumped, then soared. The man peering up at me didn’t resemble the Boston I had known my entire life—which was ridiculous since it had only been two months, but it was somehow true. He was a stranger.

Older and more appealing, despite his haggard appearance. Hazel eyes blinked, and his fingers twitched before he managed to reach out to me. My brother’s confession came back. “You don’t know what I do, Lucy. He’s done things. He wanted to kill me to hide the truth.” “Is that how you’re justifying what you’ve done? It was my fault, Jef . I distracted you both. Boston’s not crazy. I saw what happened.

I heard the two of you making the movie.” An aggravated sound was all he had given as he stormed from the room. I was left with nothing but questions and a fear my brother wasn’t holding up as well as he portrayed…which wasn’t well at all. Now, he was drinking heavily and didn’t come home sometimes. “You.” Boston tried to clear his throat. His gaze went to the table next to his bed, leading me to follow. Grabbing the water, I lifted it so he could get a drink. The pressure he applied to my fingers as I tried to break away gave me pause. It was obvious he didn’t want to let me go, but the action was so unlike him.

He’d always kept his distance. Slowly, he sipped, staring at me the entire time. The moment I put the Styrofoam cup down, his arm shakily inched in my direction. “I know you.” Cupping his hands in both of mine, I nodded. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach, and I smiled. “Lucy,” I offered. “Lucy.” A weak smile. “That’s right.

Lucy…Little Lucy.” My brow drew in. Little Lucy. Was that a good name or bad? Boston had never referred to me in that way. At least…not to my face. Perhaps he thought of me like I assumed he always had—a little sister. “If I’m bothering you, I can leave. I know you were sleeping. I just wanted to check on you before work.” “You’ve come before.

” “I have, but how do you know that? They said you just woke up.” His head went back and forth and a ragged breath shook his chest. “I don’t know. You’ll come back. Tomorrow? No…later.” My lips parted, surprise rendering me speechless. “You will…won’t you, Lucy?” “I’ll try. I’m not supposed to be here.” Seconds passed. “Says who? Jeff?” I gave a nod.

“What happened between the two of you? Jeff…he says you’ve done something. Have you?” Silence. “You can tell me if you did. I won’t tell a soul.” His eyes narrowed as he stared deep into mine. “Boston?” “I can’t remember. Truthfully, I don’t know who Jeff is. But you…I know you.” Again, butterflies. My heart swelled, and I held his fingers tighter.

With each blink, it appeared tougher for him to stay awake. “I should go.” “Stay.” “I can’t. I wish I could, but if I miss work, Jeff will know. That won’t be good. I’ll try to come back soon.” “Today?” Dread increased, but I nodded. “Tonight. I’ll try to come after they think I’m asleep.

” Lifting his arm, Boston brought my hand to his face. His nose moved along my index finger, and my breath caught as his lips pressed against it. The action was sweet. Intimate. It did something to the woman in me—the one I hadn’t known existed before this very moment. “Keep your word, Lucy. I’ll be waiting…” His eyes closed, and I eased my hand free before spinning for the door. My adrenaline was at an all-time high and I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I really sneak out of my house and attempt to slip into his room in the middle of the night? What if I got caught by Jeff or one of the nurses? There were visiting hours, and I wasn’t one to break the rules. Well…aside from anything concerning Boston.

He had always been my exception. The door opened at my pull and I nearly collided with a large man with white hair. Apologies rushed from my lips, pausing whatever conversation he was having with Mrs. Marks. “Lucy. How was he? Did he speak to you?” “He did.” My smile wavered as the kiss came back. Tingling raced over my body, but I pushed it away as I stared between her and the older stranger. “He said he remembers me.” “Did he go into detail on how he did?” My gaze darted toward the man, locking on his dark brown eyes.

The man was staring at me so hard, it made me uncomfortable. “No. Just that he did. He wants me to come back later. I…” My eyes snapped to Mrs. Marks. “I’ll try, but Jeff won’t like it.” “Don’t worry,” she said, grabbing my hand. “I won’t tell him you were here. I know he’s taking things really hard.

” “Yes. I…I don’t understand it, but maybe now that Boston is awake he’ll get better. I should go,” I said, removing my hand and stepping back. “I’m already late for work.” Without another word, I waved, taking off at nearly a jog. The halls were relatively empty as I made the turn and headed toward the elevator. When I finally got to the double doors, I rushed through and grabbed my bike from the rack. The mile to the theater didn’t take me long. The smell of popcorn greeted me from the main area and I waved at Sarah, my manager, as I headed to the break room. I barely had my purse in my locker before a voice caused me to jump.

“Did I read the schedule wrong again? What are you doing here?” My hand shot to my heart as I twisted toward him. “Jesus, Greg, you scared me.” “I noticed that. Are you okay?” “Yes.” I laughed, pushing the guilt away while pulling my purse back out. “I’m pretty sure I’m working.” Greg swept his fingers through his oily, curly brown hair. His shirt was half tucked, half hanging out on the side. He wasn’t much older than me, and puberty hadn’t been kind. “Nope.

See, I’m on today.” I lifted the folded paper so he could look, but there wasn’t relief as he scanned over the schedule. “I’m already here. If you want to take the day off, I could use the extra money. It’s cool if you want to get the hours in, I just thought…” Red tinted his cheek. We’d had this conversation before. Like me, Greg also came from a single parent home, but his mother wasn’t just raising him. She had another five kids to support. Greg’s income was vital for their household. “Actually, there was some stuff I needed to take care of.

If Sarah says it’s okay, I’ll gladly let you have my shift.” “That would be great. Thank you, Lucy,” “No problem.” I threw him a smile as our manager walked in. “You’re late.” “I know,” I cringed. “Sarah, is it okay if Greg takes over for me? I ran into Boston’s mother on my way here. She said he’s awake. I need to let Jeff know.” “Boston Marks is awake?” At her surprise, I nodded. “Yes. He has amnesia, but I think he’s going to be okay. Jeff would really want to know. Maybe it’ll help.” There was no reason for an explanation. Sarah and my brother had dated before the accident. Shortly after, he had broken it off with her. We all knew how hard he was taking it and there was a sense of eagerness as Sarah nodded. “I’m sure he’s going to be relieved. Tell him I said hello. If he needs anything, I’m a phone call away.” “I’ll let him know.” I waved as I hurried out. The truth was, I did need to tell my brother. If he found out I knew before him, there was going to be trouble. And he would find out. When you lived in a town where everyone knew each other, news spread like wildfire. A group of kids piled in through the main doors, and I groaned as I glanced out to see darkening clouds. Scooting through the crowd, yells of excitement echoed around the large space, and I sighed in relief as I made it outside. More cars were pulling in and droplets splashed against my cheeks as I took my bike out of the rack and started home. Like always, Boston stole my complete focus. I let how tonight would work play out in my head until I was easing to a stop in my driveway. My brother’s old red truck was parked at a slight angle, crowding the space. The frown was immediate. It told me he was probably drunk again. I dropped the bike in the grass, and music grew in volume as I neared the front of the house. My mom wouldn’t be home. She worked evenings at the diner, which meant Jeff had free reign to get as angry as he wanted. It had me easing through the door. To barge in would put him on edge. Since the accident, any quick movements left him jumpy and short-tempered. “What the hell are you doing here? I thought you had to work.” A bowl of pretzels rested in his lap as he sat on the sofa. Dropping my purse on the coffee table, I plopped down next to him. He popped my hand as I reached over to grab a handful. “I asked you a question. You get fired or something?” “Sarah wouldn’t fire me. You know that.” A sadness showed, but faded just as fast. “Greg asked to take over my shift. You know how they need the money.” “We need the money.” I paused. “Yes, but there was something I needed to tell you. It was more important than being there.” “Yeah? What?” I stood, turned down the music, and took a seat on the far cushion. Distance was key. Distance gave me time if I needed it. “I ran into Mrs. Marks on my way to work.” “So?” Jeff tried to hold in his anger, but I could hear the difference in his tone. “Boston’s awake. He came out of the coma.” Pretzels fell from Jeff’s fingers, and what felt like an eternity passed as he stared ahead in a daze. I expected yelling, maybe some sort of explosive reaction. Nothing. Nothing but what looked like fear. “Jeff?” “Yeah?” “What did you mean about Boston before? I mean…what happened? I don’t understand.” A river of brown poured from the side of the bowl as he slid the pretzels down. Jeff leaned his forearms on his knees and bowed his head. More time. “Jeff?” “Start packing, Lucy.” “W-What?” “Start packing!” I flew from the sofa at his outburst, shaking my head as I back-stepped toward the door. “Why would I pack? Jeff, you’re scaring me.” “You’re afraid of me? Lucy, it’s not me you should fear.” “Then tell me! What happened, dammit. You treat me like a kid, but I’m not a little girl anymore.” A roar tore from my brother as he stood and started pacing. Continuous sounds left him before a sob took their place. I froze. My brother never cried. Ever. “We killed a girl, Luce. We fucking killed her.” The wall stopped my retreat and blood rushed over my tongue as my jaw clamped shut. Fear tightened my throat as my brother cried harder. “It was for the movie. Boston said she would make a great Polly. And I agreed. I mean, when he showed up with her, I thought, what the hell? Sure, why not. We went to this cabin. I didn’t even know Boston had a cabin! He was my best friend. I’ve known him since grade school and I had no idea. There was this stuff. These…devices. Fucking handcuffs and shit. Weird shit. Anyway, we were all drinking, and the next thing I know, Boston picks up this sort of…fuck, what was it? Like one of those old fashion irons. The heavy ones. Cast iron, or something. Anyway, he grabs it and just slams it into the side of her head. Blood goes everywhere. She hits the ground—out cold. And I’m yelling at him, freaking out, as he drags her to the bedroom. God, Lucy. Fuck. I should have left. I should have gotten the police. H-Hours. Hours!” Glass shattered as Jeff gripped the pretzel bowl and launched it into the wall. I was crying. I knew I was, but I could barely hear myself over my pulse. All I saw was his fear. And my brother was the inducer of fear. For him to be afraid, it scared me. “He cut up her unconscious body. Then…then, he turned the knife around on me.” More souldeep sobs. “We beat the hell out of her! I didn’t want to. I swear I didn’t. But it wasn’t enough. He made me rape that girl, Luce! I raped her because I was too afraid to react the way I should have. “But I didn’t know,” he rushed out. “I didn’t know him at all. He’s a monster. I thought I saw it in the cabin, but it was only when he said he was going to get more beer that I truly saw. I tried to get her free. I tried to help her escape, but he didn’t really leave. He just parked farther down…testing me. Playing with me like a toy. “I carried her for a good half-mile before he finally stepped around some trees in front of us. God. D-Dear God. It was just a game to him. He loved it. You should have seen him. He knew I was terrified, but he…he…fuck. J-Jesus. He’s going to come back and kill me. He’s going to kill us all.” “No,” I breathed out. “No, we’ll go to the cops. We’ll—” “The cops! We can’t go to the cops! Did you miss the part where I said he made me do this? Me. Dammit. Have you not been listening? You haven’t even heard the rest of the story.” My hands shot up as Jeff stalked in my direction, his fist cocked back. Just before he reached me, he drew his arm in with a strangled whimper and began pacing. He almost looked afraid to hit me, and he’d never been before. “You can be so stupid sometimes, Luce. We’re not going to the cops. Not me. Not you!” “No.” My head shook as he continued flexing his fist. “Tell me the rest. What happened after that?” Jeff rolled his eyes, eating up the floor with his sharp strides. “I tried to fight him. He threw a knife at me and told me to end it. I thought I could overpower him—kill him before he made me kill her. I could barely hold the knife by the time he got done with me. I don’t know how many times he kicked. I slit the girl’s throat and ran home. That’s when you found us. He came back for me. He…Rhonda. Her name was Rhonda.” “Rhonda?” Something clicked, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Fuzzy thoughts. Then, like a burst of black and white, it came. I pushed from the wall, nausea burning my throat at the vision of the missing girl poster hanging in the break room at the theater. I didn’t know her personally. She was two years older, but I’d seen her before. Still, something wasn’t right. Hadn’t I heard something about her recently? “Jeff, let’s look into this. Let’s try to find out more on Rhonda. We could—” “Leave! There’s nothing to look into. He’s going to come back and kill me, Lucy. He might even try to kill you and Mom. We have to go.” “No, we don’t. At least…not yet. Boston doesn’t remember anything. Mrs. Marks told me he has amnesia. He doesn’t even remember his own mom.” “Lies,” he breathed out. “He’s lying!” “You hit him in the head with an axe. He’s been in a coma. I think it’s possible he has amnesia. You almost killed him.” “I wish I would have. I wish he was dead.

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