Story Starts


Today’s Prompt came in the form of a question: Why am I here?

Lets see where this goes…

Jessie felt the pull…again, only an hour after he’d arrived home for the day. It’d been happening with increasing frequency ever since his 18th birthday but this time it was simply too strong to resist. It felt like someone was tugging at him all over, trying to pull him forwards. Concentrating on anything other than walking was almost impossible. Even sitting in class, he’d had to hold onto the desk to stop himself from falling flat on his face, the pull had been so strong. Now was just the last straw. He had to find out what was going on and if it turned out that all of Princes’ talk about witches was real…well, he had a baseball bat and the ability to make chocolate cakes. One of the two should work to get them to take the spell off of him.

He told his Mum he was heading out early and, without having a clue where he was going, gave in to the tugging in his gut and began to walk.

***

He hadn’t even known this place existed, never mind believed it was possible that he’d be allowed to walk around here without a police escort. Some of the houses had gardens so large that you could barely see the building at the other end of them. Even the streetlights were made up in some fancy Victorian design. Shit, what was he doing here?

He lived in an ex-council high rise flat with his Mum. He was on a first name basis with both the local addicts and the dealers and had managed to work out an acceptable shift system for use of the communal ‘garden’ with the local gangs. It was situated in between the four huge high-rise flats that housed more people than this whole neighbourhood put together. His garden was a glorified concrete wasteland, these were, well, he couldn’t have even dreamed these up.

Growing up he’d watched from above as the locals had made the concrete their own. They’d plied stones and slabs together to create makeshift benches and every year the kids would try to cultivate a patch of dandelions with such ferocity that even the feral dogs wouldn’t touch it. Did these people even get dandelions? He doubted it. Shoving his hands deeper into his pockets he sneered as he thought that they were probably too rich for dandelions. He could make out manicured bushes in the afternoon light and despite the fact that it was autumn, there wasn’t a leaf out of place. There wasn’t even a stray bottle to kick to keep himself entertained. No wonder posh people always looked so pissed off. They must be bored out of their brains.  

He kept on walking as whatever was pulling him forwards showed no signs of relenting. When he reached the end of a particularly overly manicured driveway and lawn he stopped to watch a cat and tried to distract himself, by holding an impromptu staring contest with it. After a few minutes had passed he graciously declared to the animal that he felt it was a draw and gave in to the relentless tugging. He was clenching his stomach muscles and jaw to keep from screaming. Everything in his body was saying move, move, go to it, you have to follow; but as he moved ever closer his mind was trying everything it knew to stop his feet. He didn’t want to give in. He didn’t want this to be happening, but it was and he couldn’t fight it anymore. He had to know. He just had to.

The pull was taking him right across the lawn and around the side of a huge white house. The entire building was big enough to fit at least four full families from his estate inside and the thought made him want to rage even more. What these people could do for the world with all the money they had, it made him sick just thinking about it. He knew for a fact that the woman next door to him went without food every second day so that she could feed her baby and the man below him had to decide between heating and lighting for his house last winter. He bet whoever lived here hadn’t known a day’s hardship in their lives. He was looking up now, at a balcony overhanging a perfectly kept courtyard. It looked like the kind of thing you saw in old American movies with its curved metal railings and the long, flowing curtains behind it. Whoever was in there hadn’t even closed their doors, he could just climb up and into the room. He wanted to. He really wanted to. Apparently his body was agreeing with him because he felt his legs move, almost without his permission, towards a flowerpot that could be used as a step. Before he managed to pull it into place, however, he heard a voice up above him and startled to see the somewhat angry and confused face of Max Burke staring down at him.

“What the fuck are you doing?” It wasn’t grand and it wasn’t posh but it got the message across rather well Jessie thought.

“Urm…Max? Is that you?” He decided deflection was the best defence he had right now.

“What the…Jessie? What the fuck are you doing here?” Max was dressed in a cream coloured jumper and charcoal grey trousers that Jessie was prepared to bet cost more than everything he owned combined.  

Jessie had both hated and loved Max from the moment he’d set eyes on him in the first year of high school. Jessie wanted everything about him. He wanted his life and his ability to just be able to do anything he turned his hand to. Max seemed to float through life. He was handsome, rich and so fucking nice about it. It pissed Jessie off. He wasn’t one of those guys from the TV who treat everyone like dirt. If he’d been a posh twat, Jessie could’ve just gone about his day and fancied him from afar whilst hating his guts happily. As it was he somehow felt bad about hating the guy. He’d done nothing wrong; and no matter how much Jessie tried to he couldn’t allow himself to feel OK about hating him because of how he made him feel. That was something teenage girls did and he was not that kind of gay guy. He was firmly in the football and occasional trips to the local pub camp when it came to lifestyle choices.  

Looking up he decided to go for broke. “Can I come up? I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing here but I think I need to come up there if that’s OK?”

“Why?” In retrospect Jessie really should have seen that coming.

“Urm, because I think I have to. I can’t explain it. Fuck, I think I’m going a bit mad. Look, forget I was ever here, OK?” Jessie turned and started to head back across the lawns. He’d made it a whole ten paces before he collapsed in on himself, curling, protectively around his stomach. He could barely hold back the cry of pain as his insides clenched and burned.

“What the fuck man? Wait, fuck, don’t move.” Max quickly jumped over the balcony railings and swung deftly onto a tree branch that Jessie would’ve never believed could have supported his weight.  

Max knew the house all too well and had been coming and going from his balcony since the age of 14. He landed soundlessly on the lawn and ran over to the groaning bundle of old clothes that was Jessie Styles, classmate, charmer and all round go-to guy for anything you wanted that might need some special negotiations to get hold of. He checked his pulse; he wasn’t quite sure what he was checking for, but he felt the need to check any way.

The young man beneath his fingers groaned and almost curled into his touch. Well, that was unexpected. He looked down and carefully tried to extract his hand. “Please tell me this wasn’t some sort of trick just to get me out of my room.”

Jessie groaned again but the pain had almost completely gone now. He opened his eyes to see a sea of concerned blue looking down at him. Coughing slightly he answered “Honestly, I have no clue what the fucks going on but apparently I can’t go anywhere, so you know about as much as I do at this point.” It was hard to look past the face that was blocking most of his vision but he managed it. He saw the room with the balcony once again but, this time, the overwhelming urge to go into it was gone. Switching his focus back to Max’s face, it came back. “Oh crap.” Jessie let his head fall against the grass and closed his eyes again.

“What?” Max’s voice was full of concern.

“Oh fucking hell.”

“What?” He was getting more frustrated.

“It’s you. It’s fucking you. That’s why I’m here. All this time, all the fucking effort and it’s been you all along.”

“OK, don’t take this the wrong way, but have you eaten any of your special purchases recently?”

Jessie broke out laughing. He couldn’t help it. Just hearing Max being so careful and so clearly uncomfortable was enough to bring a tear to his eye. “Fuck it’s a good thing you’re pretty because, damn, you’d be eaten alive on the streets.” An annoyed flush passed across Max’s cheeks. It was wonderful to look at this close up. Jessie wanted to reach up and stroke his hand across the flushed skin but he couldn’t seem to muster the will to move. “It’s OK. I haven’t taken anything. Number one rule of being the go-to guy; never partake in consuming your products.” He tried to think about how to explain what was happening and still sound sane but couldn’t and gave up. “Do you know Princess in the year below us?”

***

Sophie, Signing out.

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