Full summary: Human/Modern AU. There is him and there is his brother, and the house is quiet. His brother tries his best, but it isn't the same. They are distant now, and he wonders if he will ever talk about the things he sees. He doubts it. He wonders if the dark-haired boy is even real.
William Twining sees things, sometimes.
This is different than other works I've written, probably, and I'd like to make it clear that I am not a professional, but I also encourage you to proceed with caution. There aren't any real warnings, but beware that this strays to the dark and somewhat vague side.
Title comes from "Stomach It" by Crywolf ft. EDEN, I totally suggest listening to that while reading this.
William is seven when the world burns and crashes down.
There is dog that sits in front of the porch, sometimes. She is old and her bones creak, but her fur is soft and warm. There is a tag on the collar around her neck, and William knows it is because she belongs to Widow Hendrik down the road. But the sits in front of the porch, sometimes, and William sits too.
A week before his birthday, she does not come, because she isn't there anymore. The dog is old, and old things die. Perhaps William should feel bad about it, because he nearly seven and nearly seven year old boys feel things, but the next day a new dog appears. So William is fine, really.
The new dog is large, as big as him, and William wonders if he is supposed to be scary. He is black, his eyes are red, and the grass dies under him. He does not scare William, though, because sometimes the flowers die near him too. The dog just sits and watches.
He does not tell anyone about the big, black dog.
Then, it is William's birthday. He wants to see the races because there are horses and he wonders if they will breathe out smoke like the one in the pasture across the street. So his mother and father and him crowd into the car; his brother does not want to come, but that's because Solomon is ten and ten year boys read bigger books. It does not bother William all that much.
And then, there is screaming and blood, and William isn't sure if the man with a single wing is really there.
The car is run off the road, they tell him later. William knows that, because he crawls from the car and the blood is not his. The man with one wing and sad eyes stands over him and tells him, "Not yet, little one," with a voice like honey. After that, the house is quiet.
It is just William and Solomon and the quiet house. Sometimes, Uncle is there too; William likes it better when he isn't, because when Uncle is home he brings him to the room-where-bad-things-happen and his brother always has to piece him back together afterwards. But the garden thrives with the help of the little killmoulis that no one else sees. And really, he only sees it sometimes too.
Solomon tries and everything is okay.
William is not religious, nor does he believe in the occult. But sometimes, he sees things and he wonders.
William is 12 when he meets Isaac. Isaac is a Hebrew name and it means 'laughter' and it also makes William think about the blonde boy who yells at him to tell the truth.
(But only when there is no one else. The boy curses Solomon too, and perhaps that angers William more than the accusations.)
William does not have much faith in religion, in the idea of gods and angels and demons. Though, he does know quite a bit about them - if only to make sense of the goat headed man. Isaac believes in it wholeheartedly and William doesn't know if that makes him sad, or a little less crazy.
William is 12 when he meets Dantalion, too.
William sits in the empty courtyard of his junior high and reads through an anthology of demons. The other boy, with dark hair and eyes that are brown-but really-seem-more-red, stands in front of him and asks if he can sit here. William doesn't mind so he motions for him to sit, and takes another bite of the salad Solomon made for him.
"My name is Dantalion."
"Dantalion is the name of a demon. He's the 71st spirit bound to Solomon."
"Uh, yeah. I… I guess you're right?" Dantalion shifts where he took a seat, eyeing William curiously. The blonde boy watches the bats that circle his head and thinks that he dreams of demons instead of answering. Well, at least it doesn't seem to bother Dantalion. For a second, Dantalion's face shifts and becomes sharper, wilder, with sharp teeth, long ears, and carmine eyes. That, too, does not bother William.
He is far too used to the horrors he sees.
The man-with-one-wing who calls himself Uriel is waiting for William when he gets home. Uriel watches while he makes himself a cup of tea in a china cup and sits to do the little homework he has. The room smells like the pine incense* Solomon knows he likes. Uriel sits on the counter; his robes are bright, brighter than anything else in the room and William thinks that it's a particularly childish position for an archangel. He says as much.
"You're the child here, William," Uriel says with humor. William fights the urge to pout and demand he is not.
Really, he isn't. William is 12 and 12 year old boys are not children because he can't be a child anymore.
(Not when Uncle comes around.)
The dog who always watches over him - who William named Flauros, years ago - howls and cries. Dread rolls over William and turns his chest, the milk from his tea curdling in his stomach. His phone chimes, a soft little cello sound that he only uses for his brother.
: I'm caught with work and projects. I won't be able to get home till late. :
: I'm sorry. :
: Uncle will be home today. :
The dread trickles away to be placed by horror and crawling skin. Flauros whimpers and weeps louder and Uriel has that far-too-sad look in his eye. With slow, careful movements and an empty mind, William packs away his things, and waits.
Uncle Barton does not take long to appear, and William thinks he will never forget the little mustache that doesn't belong in the century; his face is burned onto the backs of William's eyelids and the way his hands grip his shoulders is something he feels, even on the best of days.
There is another boy in Uncle's room this time, feminine and pretty, with long blue hair and sad, sad eyes. Sadder than even Uriel's gaze in the worst moments. He is Sytri, William knows, and he wonders if the beautiful boy knows the feeling of uncomfortable hands and swallowing away tears for fear of further retribution.
Sytri follows William into his room but leaves him to shower in boiling water and scrub away at his skin in a futile attempt to wash the memories away. He is still there when William returns. Sytri reaches forward to tuck William's hair, ignoring the way his fingers slide through with no real contact. He coos in a language William doesn't know and they both cry quietly.
William does not know when Solomon crawled into his bed, but he wakes up tucked into his arms anyway.
And William is fine.
(He tells himself that over and over until he believes it.)
Dantalion is there, following him through the years and maybe, just maybe, William starts to think of him as something a little more.
When William is 15 he loses the last of his sanity in a wash of blood down a sewer drain. Solomon is late from work and hasn't come home by the time William turns in for the night. It is precisely 3:28 - and William will never forget that, because it, too, is burned into his eyelids and overshadows the relief of his Uncle no longer sparing him more than terse conversations - when William gets the call.
Solomon has not come home because he never will again. Solomon has not come home because his blood paints Freak Alley*. Solomon is not coming home because he was brutally murdered in a beautiful place on his walk home.
The single thought
William returns to school in a haze and he stares at his hands dully. Sytri follows him dutifully and Dantalion tucks him under his arm. When he's home and bundled beneath his blankets, he asks Sytri, "Are you even real?"
The look the boy gives him says it all, so he asks Uriel too. William hates how they look at him and his hands curl tightly and he wants to cry tears he's spent too many years burying to have anymore. He asks Dantalion the next day too, and the smile he gives William eases away any lingering fear.
"Of course I am," Dantalion says. "William, what's wrong? You can tell me anything."
The relief-joy-lingering-pain pools in William's chest until it's too much for him to handle. He kisses Dantalion and cries and the dark-haired boy cradles him close and lets it all happen. "I want to die," William tells him and Dantalion doesn't bat an eye.
"Please don't." Dantalion says it carefully and William closes his eyes as if it will stop the blonde-man-with-six-wings from screaming blasphemy and cruel words.
(William doesn't make any promises.)
William is seventeen and over the ledge of the building he can all his demons and angels and ghosts begging him to stop. Even Michael is crying, but Dantalion's voice is fuzzy and crackling over the phone, his sobs sharp and barely audible.
"Please don't do this," Dantalion half-begs-half-cries-half-sobs. "William, please, please."
"I'm sorry," William says and screams chase him as his steps forward.
William wakes up again, miraculously. His legs will probably never work again, but he's alive; Dantalion holds his hands and cries. He does not know if the despairing weight will ever lift from his chest, and he certainly isn't hopeful , but maybe what everyone says - what Dantalion says - will one day to fruition. He is not sure, but perhaps.
* Pine Incense: "Pine scents can help reduce anxiety and combat feelings of depression, not to mention improve feelings of relaxation."
* Freak Alley is an alley in my city where artists get to paint whatever murals they want. It's actually pretty badass.
A few other notes:
- I rarely ever write in present tense so it might be weird?
- Tell me what you think, please!
- Apparently I like really bittersweet first kisses like in this, because in another short story I wrote called "Take The Blame" the two characters share their first kiss while playing twenty questions and one starts to cry, only to confess that he has a terminal illness that will most likely kill him.
I hope you enjoyed this! This is Ash, signing off, so I can prepare for the first day of school. Good night! :)