I wrote a short story for my schools fictional writing contest. The theme was ‘Modern Fairytale’. I guess I did the theme justice because I ended up winning third place. I decided to share this short story called, ‘Locked With Arden’. I hope you enjoy and stay jolly 🙂
Hello. I hope you hear my voice in the way that it actually is. It is slightly raspy and overwhelming. I think it is overwhelming because I myself am an overwhelming person. Maybe I should introduce myself. I’m Arden. My full name is Arden Willard. I don’t have a middle name because I find no use in a middle name. After all, the only time you use them is when your mother is mad at you and calls you by your full name or when they ask you for the first let of your middle name on applications and such. On those applications I usually just put NA because to me my middle name is not available to anyone but me.
Sorry if I don’t stay on topic. I sometimes get off into my own head because even when I am speaking to other humans I find myself trailing off to myself. Maybe it is just easier that way because everything seems to make sense in my head but when I repeat it to other people it tends to come off as slightly off pudding. Off pudding because it makes others feel slightly uncomfortable. I think it is because I say the harsh truth that no one wants to hear. Others say I can be rude.
I wanted to tell you about a day in my life that changed how I viewed myself. You will see what I mean as I explain this day. It was a normal Wednesday for me. I keep to myself most of the time so in the morning before I go to work as a Barista at my local coffee shop, I go to the farmers market in Central Square and grab exactly fourteen apples, ten oranges, a bag of kale, and two pounds of salmon. This is all I buy because this is all I need. I was buying the salmon when I felt a slight presence with me. It wasn’t like a demon and it wasn’t like depression which I have had many a times before. It was something that made me feel warm and comforted.
“Salmon is cheap today.” He said.
A man standing at around six foot with shaggy brown hair and obviously whitened teeth tapped on my shoulder and started a conversation about salmon with me. Interesting.
“Cheaper than other days I guess. Cheaper and better quality than some of the shit that other locals try to sell here.” I said with the slight feeling that that might have been rude.
“Well I sell here and my quality might be a little better than the one’s here.” He said with a smile.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to be rude. You should forget what I just said and I’ll restart because obviously I have made a bad impression.” I said as my voice started to shake as I realized that I was speaking to the feeling.
“It’s quiet alright. I honestly just needed a reason to talk to you so I figured I would talk about salmon. I’m Will.” He said as he placed his hand promptly in front of me.
“Arden.” I said
“It’s very nice to meet you Arden.” He said.
From there it was simple. It was a complete hook between my cheeks. I was taken off by Will to the best places around town. We went to the best restaurant, my favorite coffee shop, the local park, and it was as if it was meant to be. I didn’t believe in true love but now I know why people are so obsessed with the idea of love and the feeling of love. I had never known what I was feeling with myself until I met Will. It sounds sappy I know.
It was a day of pure happiness. It couldn’t end, I didn’t ever want it to end. It was now around midnight and after talking about our hobbies, the food we liked to eat, and every other everyday thing we could talk about he finally looked at me and said,
“I don’t know why you think I’m real.”
“Well, you’re really interesting person but I don’t think you should put yourself down by saying you’re not a real person.” I said
“Arden, you don’t even understand the concept of life.” He said with slight frustration in his voice.
“What are you talking about?” I was now angry at the fact that he was somehow insulting me for something I couldn’t even comprehend.
“I’m not real. I am a figment of your imagination. You are speaking to yourself. The people around you must think you are crazy.” Will said.
“Crazy, crazy, crazy.”
I soon remembered a moment when I was young and the kids on the playground would pretend to throw up in front of me and say, “Clean it up Arden”. It was their favorite game, janitor Arden. It wasn’t my favorite game but the only one that would stand up for me and pretend to be a janitor as well was my friend Will. He would come over and pretend to mop up the woodchips on the ground that represented throw up. He was the only one that was kind to me. The only one that made me feel safe and not crazy, crazy, crazy.
When I was in high school I found myself with a slight obsession with Will. He wouldn’t clean up the woodchips with me anymore, he wouldn’t speak, acknowledge or even look at me anymore. Which made me very angry with him. One day I found myself waiting near his car in the school parking lot and one of his football friends yelled from across the parking lot. I didn’t hear it at first so I ignored him but soon I felt a bad energy rising in my stomach and I looked to the side and one of Will’s football friends had started running towards me with a gallon of milk and a pepper shaker. I was pushed down and milk and pepper was poured onto my face and it slipped down my perfectly ironed shirt. When I would try to open my eyes I saw Will pushing the football friend, telling him to stop. He still cared.
The next week at school I found the courage to approach Will again and tell him thank you. As I slowly stepped one foot in front of the other to Will and his friends I could see their eyes glare over to me. I could feel them looking up and down and my dragging purple and black dress and my worn down shoes. As I told him thank you for saving me his eyes peered over at his other friends and he said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Freak”. A roar of laughter arose and I soon found myself stomping away with angry and frustration in my heart as I realized that no one cared for me.
The next day at school I found myself waiting by Will’s car again but this time with slightly different intentions. I knew Will went back home every day for lunch at exactly 11:20 AM. I stood by the driver’s side door and I waited for ten minutes. Will was walking out at his normal time and he saw me standing there. At first he just gave me a funny look.
“Why are you always staring at me? Now your standing near my car at the exact time I leave school?” He said as he started to unlock his door.
“Do you remember when we used to play janitor”?
And then it went black.
“So then it went black and what happened Arden?” A man in a white lab coat with a clipboard in his hands sat in front of me with a comforting smile on his face.
“I don’t remember honestly. I told you everything I remember. I was just with Will the other day when I was getting Salmon”. I said.
“Arden, we have been over this. You didn’t see Will the other day. You are in a facility in California and we are here to help you remember and help you figure out yourself” The man in the lab coat said.
“Help me remember what?” The room was grey with a few painting on the wall. The paintings looked cheap, like they found them already beat up at a goodwill.
“Remember how Will went missing”. He said as he watched my eyes peer around the room at the beat up paintings.
“Will is missing? We have to go find him. I can tell the police everything I know up until when I was talking to him at the car.” I said with a guilty feeling in my chest. This feeling was not welcomed.
“We will end this session today Arden.” The lab coat man said with disappointment painted across his face.
I was then walked out of the grey colored room to a hallway that was filled with white, just white. White brick walks and white rooms that had doors with numbers placed across the middle of them. We walked down these dreadful halls and there was no noises, no sounds and no people. Two men in white coats as well then stopped me at a door with the number 18 placed on it. They unlocked it and gave me a slight push on my back to tell me that I was able to go in. I jerked forward into the room and the door was shut behind me with the slight sound on a key locking it.
“Here we go again.” Said a women in the opposite side of the room as she laid on one of the beds that seemed to be provided for us. There wasn’t anything else in the room. Two best, a toilet, a sink, white walls, a small window and a women that seemed to be very lanky, dark brown hair, pale skin that was almost sickly looking, and dark blue veins that couldn’t be covered up by our short sleeve shirts and long white pants.
“Who are you”? I said this with the guilty feeling still present.
“We do this every day. I don’t know how I always get stuck with the craziest people in these things. I am Monica and you are Arden. We got paired as lovely roommates in this psych ward. You are here because you killed some guy named Will that you were in love with and I am here because I tried to kill myself one too many times. Welcome to our humble abode.” Monica said.
I knew she must have been lying. I wasn’t in a psych ward and I didn’t kill Will. I was just with Will in California. I was just with Will, I just saw him, and he must be here. I’m not crazy, crazy, crazy. I felt my body start shaking and I could feel the cold ground beneath my feet. I then felt the guilty feeling start to drift away and a familiar face appeared in the small window on the wall.
“Will I knew you would come back.” I said as I was pressing my face as close to the outside world as I could. Will was smiling in the window at me as I always knew he would.
“Man, you do this stupid stuff every day. For once can’t you just sleep and not talk to yourself in the window. It will only help you if you come to the realization that Will is not alive anymore. You killed him with the janitors tools that were in your high school custodial closet.” Monica said.
“Don’t listen to her Will, we just need to find a way to….”
I felt cold and frail hands grasp the sides of my neck. I could feel my feet start to loose feeling and my breath start to shorten. I soon dropped to the ground and a slight smile latched onto my face as I could see a bright light with Will standing close to the end. I started to run. I started to run away from the men in white cloaks, away from California, away from Monica, away from the kids that didn’t see how special I was, and away from being alone.