Sky Interface—An Excerpt
An excerpt from Sydney R.
"The sun, The moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago…had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands."
~Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Lite 1923
Having a personal connection with the sky above us and around us is dangerous and even life threatening, but having the ability to touch it is breathtaking.
"The sky is almost like a canvas! Hey, have you noticed those clouds? The ones over there; they could be paint strokes. They could be pallets as well. There are so many colors you can see reflected off of them; I wish I could paint on it. How nice would it be to use the sky as your canvas. If only I could paint something as beautiful!"
That is what she’d always tell me as we watched the changing sky. Over and over again, I heard those words to the point where I was convinced that’s the only thing that went on in her mind. Yet while it probably occupied her fleeting thoughts, I still held onto them as well. Why? Well, because she would never get to say them again or to actually paint the sky. See, my friend was forced from this world by means of an out of control car. On the day of the tragic accident, ironically, the sky cried and washed her crimson blood from the scene. After a week it stopped. So I was left to wonder if she’s up there now, in the sky. It seems like a rather poetic ending, but Mama told me that’s where people who died went, like Dad. Could she still be up there now, watching everything, watching the daily lives of people play out, perhaps even mine? Or maybe whoever’s up there took pity on her and let her paint her beloved sky. I don’t know.
What I do know is having witnessed it, the incident, I was absolutely devastated. She was my only true friend. It imparted on me fear - a growing fear that this would transpire again; that someone close to me would lose their life in order for my pitiful one to continue on. It was the same with Dad after all. Maybe I’m cursed. Anyways, I withdrew myself from this world, and decided to create my own world right on top of our old sky-viewing hill. I felt closer to our memories underneath our sky there, our dearest place. Cheesy, right? But it was the only way I could cope somewhat. So I decided I wouldn’t allow myself to become attached to someone for fear of abandonment. Can you blame me? All I had to care for was myself, that hill, and that sky. I guess the heavens sympathized with me, since it granted me one last link to the memory of my lost friend. Or maybe it could have even been a gift from her. I don’t know. But one night, it simply happened.
It’s amazing, beautiful, euphoric, surreal and just so much more! It’s something that can’t be described by mere human words; something I, myself, can’t even began to comprehend despite having experienced it. I can feel it though. At first, it’s chilling and send shivers down your spine. Then, it’s like lightening coursing through your body. Invigorating and energizing you, it overpowers every inch of your being with a thrilling, exhilarating sensation that pumps through your veins. It fills you to the brim with excitement and euphoria.
Oh God, it’s sounds like I’m talking about taking drugs. But I swear, I’ve never taken drugs and this is not what I’m talking about. Again, I am not talking about being high. Ok?
I’ve come to live for this inaudible, inexpressible feeling, believing it was the sole reason of my existence. It was power. Raw, untamed power. It’s an energy releasing me from my burdening guilt and transgressions, or perhaps it was merely compressing it till they couldn’t be held back, waiting to overtake me. Either way, I didn’t care. I couldn’t possibly see this gift as something negative even though it was right in front of me. In reality, beside my whole perfect admiration of the gift, it was a curse that would eventually bring suffering and pain to me and many others. I should have known, it was too good to be true. That day.
That day I twisted my reality.
That day I sealed my fate.
That day I touched the sky.
Crazy, huh? Well trust me. It’s brought my best friend, Lea, and I nothing but trouble.
Lea Raoul DiBenedetto stifled a yawn while finishing organizing the last of his new room. Ruffling his ginger-red hair, he let out a sigh of relief. This wasn’t how he envisioned spending the weekend before starting at a new school. But someone had to unpack, and with his step-dad off who knows where and his mom setting up her new office, the job of interior decorating and organizing befell him. Not that Lea minded too much. He’d really rather be exploring his new town, though.
Hefting up the now empty box labeled “fragile,” the bored red-head dropped it off in the backyard where the recycle bin would eventually be. He’d have to get used to and enjoy his new ‘home’ because they certainly weren’t going to be leaving anytime soon. The reason for moving in the first place wasn’t likely to disappear in one night. Well, then again, that was up to nature. What the weather does. His parents learned that this particular small town had irregular weather patterns that occur in eccentric time periods. A few minutes, a few hours, a few months, etc. Lea’s Mom being a somewhat highly respected meteorologist, wanted to undergo a study and observation of the odd phenomena that had arisen around three years ago.
Lea didn’t care really. His mom’s explanation and droning of the anomaly made no sense. He imagined what the town people must have thought though. If he were in their shoes and suddenly it was nearly day during night, the teen would be freaked. According to his mom though, most people, after about a year of panicking, figured out no harm was coming from the concurring changes and simply accepted it. Of course, what else were they to do? Some moved out of the town, however, while most of the townspeople remained.
From what he had researched online, it was quite a stunning, beautiful sight. The sudden changes happening in the weather and sky brought tourism and scientists from around the world to the small town and helped it financially. Although, most of the tourism had died down by now. If there were too many people visiting the town, it wouldn’t happen. Which was very odd. As for the scientists, well that’s why the DiBenedettos had moved there.
And that’s why Lea was stuck in a small town in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Even the town back in Alaska, with its frigid temperatures, was bigger than this town. While he was already starting to enjoy the weather, the red-head wished to be in the city. It was so diverse there. There were so many different people Lea wanted to meet, people who defied normal. The people back at his old school didn’t fit his eccentric standards. Unfortunately for him, he’d gone to a super prestigious school since his mom was well known and rich. Mostly everyone in that school were stuck up, prissy rich kids. Lea’s ‘best friends’ were the jocks who all had good futures ahead of them and basically ruled the school. You know, generic school status quo. Yet, his friends always wanted more. They had it all, but they wanted more: more fame, more girls. And, it corrupted them. Lea’s old girlfriend was really shallow, and he questioned why he had even gone out with her in the first place. All she wanted was attention and compliments. Plus, she was a huge drama queen. They all complained about what they didn’t have. Everyone of them was just so darn easy to read. They were all so easy to manipulate. And they all lived basically the same lifestyles. Making friends with them had been child’s play. Sometimes, he wished he had their lives. Not all the time though. Lea would kill himself if he became that shallow.
Anyways, after musing about it for a few more minutes, Lea decided it may not be so bad starting anew here.
Lingering around his new backyard, his eyes wandered to the fence running around the perimeter, eventually landing on a small gate that stood between the ends of the worn out fence. It hung open slightly as if drawing the red head to explore what lie beyond it. The old gate led to a small path that winded around through a grove of trees then climbed up a mildly steep hill. Lea, with nothing better to do in mind, quickly sent his mom a text telling her he’d be out till dinner and pushed the door open. He followed the path through the grove of oak and willow trees. Their house was stationed on the hill range since it gave a better view to observe the irregular sky with it’s higher vantage point.
The red-head observed the surroundings. They really did live out on the outskirts of the small town. The only other house around their house was a larger, rich looking residence. It had a main house then a smaller guest house in the back. There was a nicely cut lawn and fountain in the front. Out back, near the guest house, was a swimming pool and a hot tub. Yep, they were rich. There were plenty of windows on the house, yet oddly every one of the shutters were shut.
Other than his and his neighbor’s house, not much was around the hills; although, in the distance he could faintly see the darkened silhouette of the new factory they were still building. They decided to build it in the hills because they were empty, and easy to reach. It wouldn’t start up now since it was still being built but in two years it would since they still had to get all the machinery built and setup. His step-dad would start working there in a few days (another reason they moved here). The wages would be high apparently, and that itself, besides the weather patterns, convinced his parents to move here.
The red-head trailed the intriguing path faithfully while watching the sky slowly darken into the colors of nights and the sun steadily setting. Lea swore he saw clouds shifting in unnatural formations. They spread out becoming more opaque with each shifting motion like a paintbrush spreading across a smooth, crisp canvas. The moon and stars literally danced and shot around the dark, indigo sky, illuminating the cosmos, leaving trails of light streaming from where they flew from. The overall tone and hues of the celestial blended and melted together to flow through the colours of the visible spectrum. Despite the fact night had finally arrived, the world seemed so bright. Everything basked in the erratic display of lights emitting from the eccentric phenomena. Lea fell in love with it. The sight filled the entranced teen to the brim with raw thrill, pure euphoria, and undeniable ecstasy. This was nothing like the Aurora Borealis he experienced many nights. No way! This was much more vivid and entertaining. It filled him with wonder and thrill.
How in the world is this even possible? Lea thought. The teen was so baffled yet so entrapped by its beauty. He absolutely loved it. It was something he couldn’t make sense of, something he couldn’t understand. But, maybe it needed not to be understood but simply accepted. Whatever the case, this was what Lea had been looking for. Something eccentric, something not normal.
If this sky, this rearranging sky is actually happening, Lea thought, If got to see this every night, then it would be worth living here. Sadly, Mom and Pete won’t ever experience this fully for different reasons each. To Mom, it’ll all be equations and theorems and to Pete well…. Lea thought, rubbing his arm unconsciously. Pete can’t experience these kinds of things. Before he knew it, he found himself to the foot of a large hill.
Something was off about this hill, besides it being one of the larger hills. He didn’t want to put the effort into hiking it but that wasn’t the reason this hill felt weird. The red-head couldn’t place it. The air around this hill felt heavier and thicker. Chills ran down his spine and goose bumps prickled his skin. It was creepy. Lea swore he heard a soft whispering voice in his ear, and the air became colder.
“Stay away. Don’t go there…” The small voice whispered in the breeze. Lea shivered, temporarily thinking it was his imagination, but he knew better. This wasn’t his first experience like this. The voice became a bit louder, and he felt a presence behind him. Out of the corner of his eye, he believed he saw strands of ebony hair fluttering in the wind. Whirling around quickly, Lea came face to face with absolutely nothing. No one was there.
The teen was freaked although a bit intrigued. After all why this hill? Why only this hill and not the others? His curiosity piqued overtaking, his anxiety, and he started to hike the hill. More whispers brushed against his ear as he continued to climb.
“Don’t do it.”
“It will lead to suffering.”
“Don’t hike that hill; it leads to pain and suffering.”
The voice became a bit louder and louder each step, and as far as Lea could tell, it was the same voice each time. It was a small, petite, feminine voice, barely audible. Lea wondered about the warnings. What would bring suffering? He was only hiking a hill after all. Ignoring the voice, he continued to trek up the hill.
Upon reaching the top, Lea found a teen around his age lounging out in the grass under the sky. ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Here I thought I would meet a monster or another spirit.’ Lea sighed, thinking back to what the spirit had said. Would one kid really screw up his life?
The teen had light almond colored hair thrown carelessly across the left side of his face, streaming down past his cheeks. The brunet’s arm was laid lazily underneath his head, while the other arm was raised in the air, swishing and swaying, mimicking the changing sky. Only the motions, followed the changes happening throughout the sky almost too perfectly. Strange.
Lea decided to approach the boy. Might as well not bring his effortful hike to waste. This guy was probably his neighbor judging by how close the rich looking house was to the hill and lack of other houses in the vicinity. He might as well make acquaintances. Briefly, he considered the possibility of this kid being somewhere in the town, but dismissed the thought. Who would go hiking hills at this time a night?
He wondered if this guy would be exactly like all the other rich people he has met before.
”Hey, do you live around here?” Lea asked in a friendly tone, flashing a wide grin across his face while approaching the brunet. The other teen shot up instantaneously, surprised by another’s voice. Based on the ‘dear-in-the-headlights” reaction, looks like he doesn’t get visitors up here often, Lea judged.
”Sheesh, I hardly even snuck up on you! Sorry to scare you.” Lea rolled his eyes in light humor. The brunet only stared back. No response, just a glare. Dark, dull, lifeless blue eyes. Definitely not the arrogant, prude eyes he’s been expecting. The teens eyes were those that held the potential to sparkle but instead were just soulless; eyes that belonged to the dead. Or at least that’s how Lea’s mom would have described them to him. He’d seen those kinds of eyes a lot. They made him feel a little sick. But why? He’d posed that question a lot. Why were they so dead? But Lea was already too sure he knew that answer.
”I moved into the house at the base of that hill. Just wanted to know if you were my neighbor or something.” Lea shrugged, diverting his eyes from the brunet’s glare. It was cold.
The brunet remained silent although the glare softened up slightly.
”Lea. My name is Lea Raoul DiBenedetto. I’m 15, and I’ll be going to that school a few blocks down.” Lea introduced himself, keeping up the one-sided conversation. What was this guy’s problem? He hasn’t said a word. Lea was intrigued. It wasn’t usual he wasn’t precise in his judging.
”Well nice to meet you. Gee, it feels like I know you already,” Lea said sarcastically. Still not a word out of the boy. The brunet had returned to lying on the grass and mimicking the sky again, totally ignoring the red-head. How rude. Maybe he wasn’t wrong.
“Hey, this sky is pretty amazing, isn’t it?”
The brunet’s attention snapped back to the red-head instantly.
“It doesn’t seem remotely possible that the sky could change so rapidly like this. It’s very surreal…you know? It must had been really shocking for this to suddenly happen. Man, I’m freaking about it right now!” Lea exclaimed, unsure of what else to say. The teen seemed to be interested in the sky, so it felt fitting to talk about it. He continued, “ I used to live by the northern lights kind of, but that was nothing compared to this. I think I’ll really enjoy living here.”
“Well…See you later, I guess.” With that Lea began to hike down the hill back to his house. Looks like that effort was for nothing Lea mentally whined, until another thought crossed his mind. One thought that changed his mind and sent chills down his spine. That teen was so much different than all those other people Lea met. And the red-head didn’t know why. What set him apart?
The next morning, Lea set out for his new school. One that was just about as small as the town itself. Great, that meant that everyone pretty much knew each other already. The said local high school was only a few blocks down, right in the middle of town. Even living on the outskirts, the school was still easy to reach by foot in under 30 minutes. He got to scope out most of the rest of the town though, especially more of the suburbs. Beyond that hill he’d hiked up to last night was a large pond. Well, it wasn’t exactly small enough to be a pond but not big enough to be considered a lake. It looked like a neat place to camp sometime.
Other than the cool pond and a few woods near behind it, there really wasn’t anything too exciting. Lea continued to walk mindlessly in the direction of where he’d be spending seven hours a day from now on. That thought excited him. Yay. Avoiding the thoughts of his freedom being sucked away, the red-head’s mind wandered to the encounter with the weird brunet kid last night. Lea involuntarily shivered. It wasn’t out of distaste but of the weird aura that surrounded that teen. And Lea was going to find out what it was. Hey, maybe the brunet would even be in some of Lea’s classes. Now I sound like a stalker Lea rolled his eyes.
Upon arriving early at the school, Lea immediately picked up his schedule at the office. Then he had a meeting with his school counselor, unfortunately meaning he’d miss homeroom. Wandering down the halls, he came to the not shocking conclusion that this was a really small school. He also noticed all the stereotypes and clichés bunched up within the hallways. There were the teachers pets and straight, A students, all with their huge backpacks and many books. There were the nerds playing card games, the cool kids talking about the latest gossip and lastly the group of bullies beating up on the defenseless kids. That group just really bothered him, but Lea shrugged it off into indifference and stepped into the guidance counselors office.
The meeting with the guidance counselor had been pretty boring. All she talked about was the basic pieces of information of integrating into a new school. All the things Lea could basically figure out on his own. After she was done with her speech about the school, she sent him off with a map to his first class, physical education. Fun.
"Alright Lea, everything is in order. For this class, though, you’ll need to get a uniform and lock. Since you don’t have either, you’ll have to sit out for the day and watch." The gym coach directed, leading the kids out to the blacktop. Typical scenario.
”Alright coach, where do I sit?”
”The fence. For future references, if you don’t dress in the gym attire, then you sit at the fence for the day,” The coach explained, taking roll call at the same time.
Lea nodded and headed back towards the fence surrounding the blacktop. While making his way towards the fence, he noticed the kid from last night leaning against the fence, staring aimlessly to the sky with out any acknowledgment of his surroundings. On pure impulse, Lea plopped down right beside the teen.
”Hey, so we do go to the same school! Neat!” Lea exclaimed with a friendly smile.
The brunet turned his head to face Lea, this time not at all caught off guard or surprised like last night. An annoyed scowl covered his face when the brunet saw who it was. But no outburst or smirk or reply at all. Just a silent annoyed glare.
”Cold shoulder, eh? You’re going to give me hypothermia with that glare you know?” Lea joked, while breaking from the said glare. “So why are you sitting out of P.E anyways?”
The brunet had gone back to staring listlessly at the sky with a dead look in his dull blue eyes.
”Hey, you should tell you your name. It’ll be really weird if your own best friend didn’t even know your name. Or at least you’re soon-to-be best friend,” Lea indirectly questioned with a huge grin.
At first, a flicker of surprise lightened the brunet’s eyes but was immediately snuffed out with an emotionless, indifferent mask.
”Che.” The brunet scoffed of Lea’s words.
”Oh you don’t believe me? It’s stereotypical dude. The new guy starts school and becomes buds with the antisocial kid. Then they some how change each others’ lives and the school and some crap like that. Although this isn’t a hallmark movie, it’s bound to happen. Better accept it now and warm up to my presence.” Lea explained, with light humor. “It’s our destiny! Or something thing like that. Nah, actually that sounds awkward. How about density, anyone? Hahahahahahahaah!”
Lea laughed at his own joke till he realized the teen was as silent as could be. How could one not laugh at the Back to the Future reference? It’s like a classic!
The brunet shook his head with disagreement towards the red-head’s prediction. Lea could tell he was listening though. This kid was super intriguing; almost silent as the wind and lost in the sky.
”Just you wait and see. It’ll happen, maybe not today, maybe not a week, but it will happen.” Lea smirked, ominously. Oh yes, he would definitely prove this kid wrong. The challenge was accepted. Become the teen’s best friend and find out what made him unique.
”…You’re annoying…” The brunet muttered, with a slightly amused tone. His eyes never left the sky.
”Really? Honestly that’s the first thing you’re going to say to me? ‘You’re annoying’? The very start of this momentous moment. One that could change history and even the spacial time rift. And you choose the words ‘You’re annoying?’ That’s weak dude, I’m wounded.” Lea exasperated, feigning a hurt expression. The red-head’s surprise, he could vaguely sense a look of guilt flash across the brunet’s face. But then it was gone.
”…The sky is almost like a canvas. Is that any better?” The brunet muttered softly at Lea, another sharp glare accompanying it.
”Ah um…” Lea was somewhat baffled by his poetic choice of words, assuming the brunet was trying to weird him out in order to scare away the red-head. Ha-ha. That tactic wasn’t going to work on him. “Interesting choice of words. I’d ask you to elaborate, but what’s the percentage you would?” Lea deduced it in his head, looking back at the brunet who was once again flicking his hand through the air. Mimicking and imitating the sky’s sudden changes seemingly perfectly. It was odd.
”Hmmm, what’s with the hand flicking, eh?” Lea questioned out of pure curiosity of the brunet’s eccentric hand motions.
”…” Now he was being ignored. The brunet was lost within the swirling motion of the shifting clouds. The red-head didn’t blame him, they were awe inspiring and majestic.
By now, the kids in the gym class were sprawled out on the grass, watching the sky as well only for different reasons. Exhausted from their brutal run, all of them just sort of dropped to the ground and remained there. Wimps. Unfortunately, that was the only the first part to their activities.
Lea sat there restlessly the rest of the period, lost in thoughts only to look up every one in a while to see what the class was doing and quickly snag a glance at the brunet next to him. He started to wonder why the brunet would say such odd words. Maybe it was a quote from something or maybe it held some deeper meaning that may hold a clue to who this person was. Although, a good place to start for that was a name.