Mind over Matter (Excerpt from The Return of the Forsaken

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“You know, you’re adapting well, with all of it. Almost too well.” Virginia appeared in front of me, her hair messy and her plait end wet. Trying not to think about it, I couldn’t help thinking of anything else. I tried to get up but then the belt strapped around me awkwardly dragged me back. “One might actually buy it, if you told them you never left earth.”

“Why do you say so?” I was taken by surprise.

She grinned and placed her finger on my armrest, almost bending over me. She smiled at me, “Because I tell you this is my jet plane, and you didn’t seem surprised at all. Of course, I get it. You have probably a million planes at your command already, being a prince and all that.”

Now I just felt bad. I unhooked the seat belt. I tried to grin. “So, why aren’t you sleeping, madam? Your eyes will be rebuking you all day when we’ll be driving around bright Beverly Hills.”

“Just thoughts. Actually I was sleeping, and a thought woke me up,” she picked at the belt of her robe. “You don’t think it’s too warm in here?”

I shook my head at her and she puckered. “Alright, so it’s just me, huh! Wanna come with me to get some coffee?”

She was dressed like this, in a cute little overcoat and woolen socks on her feet, almost dressed for bed but then she had this plait on that gave you the idea she didn’t really plan on relaxing. It was hard to focus from the way her perky little figure undulated from faux drowsiness. I knew her too well, she wasn’t sleeping, and also that she wasn’t planning to either.

“You’re practically married, so why the hell would you want to go out in your own plane to get coffee with me?” I knew what she was playing at. I knew it wasn’t right to do that to her, all over again, but with nothing clearly set on my platter, I had very little space in it to fit her in. And I knew one thing about her, it was a wrong thing to do, trying to just fit her in. She was much too important for such attitude from someone else. “You could just get the attendant ladies to get you anything you want.”

Her shoulder arched in defense. She thought for a long moment. “Well, is it wrong to wish to talk to you, just for once, alone? Thought coffee would make it easier.”

I gulp down some more sarcasm. I hated myself right then. The constant part of me that kept internally tearing up about those same old things. And then the other was rebuking me for all those mistakes I didn’t commit knowingly, and yet I knew I’d commit them over a thousand more times just because it got me that special thing. Then there was that part of me that was hurling things things at me, knocking things over in my head, so caught up in a fit of rage, that it keeps trying to convince me of things I didn’t want to believe in.

I accompany her, to the rear end of the plane where they had the pantry cabin. I didn’t like the setting. It was exactly what I didn’t need right now. A closed space with her. But damn it, she just always has to ruin it for me.

She pressed a lot of dials trying to get the coffee machine working. At last I had to step in. I tapped the power button and it whirred to work. She covered her face, “I’m a mess! Gee! You’re right, I’m pathetic.”

She was goofy and somehow yet original. The truth was it was her unmasked naïve ways that made her so very attractive. “Maybe in some twisted era I perceived it as charm. Now, I know that’s what I’d been missing.”

She lets her hand drop and looks straight at me. Her eyes were the bluest things I’ve ever seen that drew on me like non-existent magic, silently asking me to believe. I couldn’t look away, for the time the machine whirred. It wasn’t hard to imagine, me taking her hand and just begin.

She could just have collected her coffee and we’d have been done there. But she just stood there. I stood there breathing, and doing nothing.

“You know,” she began, “I thought this would be easier.” Her eyes shone, and suddenly she pulled me in and kissed me. I was in over my head as well. Even though in my head things worked differently, this was too much to handle well. I knew there’d be no stopping once I gave in.

I knew I had to push her away. It was how it was supposed to be. “Virginia! Virginia! We’ve got to stop this!” I said around when we both turned up for a breath.

She turned away, looking hurt. I understood only too well. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time.”

I look at her, and speak, “It’s been the same for me. But I’m sorted out now. You should be as well. It’s the right thing to do…”

She didn’t look back at me. She filled her cup with coffee and filled another. “Here you go,” she said lifting the cup for me to take. Before I could take it, she put it on the counter and turned around and began to walk away.

I snapped back to my senses and in a wild moment, I followed her and grabbed her wrist and pulled her back in. I muffled her mouth and silently let her eyes rake my face. It was unbearable already, to have her in my arms like that, to linger on a single sane thought, and it was the dead of the night in a sleeping plane cabin to begin with.

I took her neck in my hands and pushed her against the wood-paneled wall. “Girl, do you even realize just how much you drive me crazy? And with the fact that it’s just us here, you don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into. I might rape you here, and you couldn’t call on anyone for help even if you wanted to. If I wished it were to be that way.”

Her eyes eased up, but my hand still clamped over her mouth. I kept on going, “You little girl! You haven’t changed a bit. God, how hard it is just to be looking at you like this. Makes me try to be good and fail at it so inevitably.”

Her eyes turned defiant. Yes, she would tell me to stop trying. It was driving me insane. I said, “It was the same, back all those years before. How you got me wound up so tight, I’d be fighting myself. I knew it would never work out. These kinds of feelings never work out in the real world. I knew I respected you too much to be your boyfriend and treat you like you’re my girl. You’re not just some ‘my girl’ material. I knew you deserved better, you deserve someone who’d directly submit everything he possesses to you. Make you his queen – let you rule his home and heart. It was always like that. I didn’t possess anything, anything I could offer you then, nor do I do now.

“I’m not a good person, Virginia. We have real problems. You know everything, and it just makes me angry thinking, you of all people, knowing exactly how difficult it is for me to say no to you, you deliberately put me to test like this, over and over.”

I let go of her mouth, and she breathed. Unexpectedly, she hugged me. “Don’t say anything. I’ve missed this long enough.” I knew she was talking of our closeness, and I didn’t try to push her away this time.

Prologue – Shadows Linger Until Dusk (An Excerpt)

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Things could never have gotten better… The prevailing damp and drab aura compressing my abstract personal world could never have dissipated. I was not only certain about it–I believed it, whole heartedly. I’d had my whole life predicted–outlined into fragments, so I don’t get too disheartened to pursue that unglamorous destination. See, I was more hankering after glamour, than I should have…

I’d dreamed of this…you know? How from being the most unpopular kid in my school, I would go on to get a mediocre grade out of high school, just good enough to secure myself into an unpopular nerdy college, taking literature as my honors, I’d pass out with a slightly better grade and become a teacher in some primary school, preferably somewhere in the south, where you hardly happen to stumble into any interesting people…to whom you stand a chance of revealing your secrets… and like that, with the meager salary and lots of free time, I would have pursued my interest to write books under a pseudonym, of course. If successful, great. If not, I’d die like that, unknown, unaccounted, under an unmarked gravestone.

Well, that was my plan. As you’re already suspecting, I didn’t like it too much either. Doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? Well, it is as it was. Helpless as I was, I had but this one chance to survive and none other at all…

Though it was all in my mind, I didn’t know if somehow my mother knew about it or something. As it seemed, or I suspected – she knew it, when, one fine day, she declared to me that we were leaving this town forever. Maybe she knew how much this town was depressing me, that it was chasing me off to a life of complete anonymity…

But that decision did it… and my life and plans were never the same again. Innocence and happiness and satisfaction began to appear as easy and real like other words to me.

Real beauty existed too…and like Keats had said it hundreds of years ago, it is a really powerful thing and can inspire you, bind you to worldliness, tempt you to explore so much more and find beauty there too…and then you find things that unselfishly offer you a recluse from hideous things, you’ve witnessed, been a part of, the pain, the recollections… Now, these incidents no longer seem to be the thorn in your foot…they begin to appear like the milestones you’ve crossed on your way to a newfound land and counting those milestones back, you want to make an account of your journey, from where you’d begun…and where you are now…

Now, I’ll begin, where I’d begun…