“Get out of here before I kill you! Brat!” the furious chubby and tall man named Simon Hemmingway shouted at the fifteen year old guy who was running quickly to get away from his old house.

“You deserve it!” the boy said after he trimmed one of Simon’s plants into the shape of a large male reproductive organ pointing really straight and hard in the middle of the old man’s garden.

Nathan Wallace was laughing very hard as he run away from the old man’s house. He was dressed with navy blue polo that his mother purchased from the sidewalks somewhere near the market and black short pants that his aunt gave him a long time ago. He made a left turn to the street where their house is located.  He found his mother waiting outside their house with her arms on her waist and a face that an artist probably wouldn’t even dare to paint.

“Nathan Wallace!” she said using her high pitched annoying voice to him.

Uh oh! This is bad. The first thing that came into his mind. When his mother calls him by his nickname, which is Nate, then she is being considerate or sweet. When his mother shouts him by his first name only, then something that can be resolved quickly came up. But if she enunciates his full name, with that tone and with that kind of face, no need to mention what he did because in the end he will stay up in the room next to his which is also known as the Mischief’s Room named by his loving and witty mother.

“I’ll go straight to that room and lock myself for five days because I am officially grounded because of what I’ve done to Mr. Donald Duck ’s (Simon has thick lips and an absurd voice, that’s why) plants.” he said first to his mother so that he can avoid any additional nagging and other inappropriate matter that may arise from nowhere when she scolds him.

“Okay but make it ten days, Nate.” she said coldly as she started to go and open the door to their house.

“What?! But that’s unfair, Mom!” he replied as she summons her right hand inside as if she’s treating the one entering like some kind of a king or a prince. He heard her even say the words, “Your highness.” when he entered their house that made him do the hundred and eighty dance with his eyes from right to left.

“If I am grounded for ten days then that means no festival with friends on Saturday night, no hanging out with my girlfriend, Jessie on Monday, and no party at my best friend Jinn’s house on Wednesday!” he added as he went up to the room.

“Wow, I didn’t know that you had such a schedule on the next days to come, darling. Well, I think you should have behave nicely today if you badly want to go on those gatherings, Nate. The “Grounded Rules for Mischief Wallace” applies right now!” his mother told him as she sped to go in the kitchen.

“If you think you’re smarter then guess what?! I’m way smarter mother! Since I came out from you anyway,” he muttered as he finally closed the door and turned the lights on.

The room was painted in white like the room of patients in a mental hospital.  It has a bed with Stitch (having his goofy but horrible smile) designed duvet and two large smiley printed pillows resting on the headboard. It has a medium sized window adorned with sky blue curtains swaying freely with the gentle wind trespassing the room.

Nathan sat on the floor and checked his phone.  He scrolled on his news feed, stop for a moment, clicked the laughing smiley and continued scrolling.

“The rascal’s grounded!” he typed and sent it to his circle of group chats and eventually, dropped his phone and closed his eyes.

When he opened them, he was staring at the white painted hospital ceiling with smokes drifting coming out from the humidifier placed on a table facing his bed. His head is throbbing in pain and had been wrapped by a white bandage. He scanned the room. No sign of any person. He put his hands on his head trying to remember what happened. But only the face of her mother appeared. Then, the door to his room opened.

“Where is mother?” he threw the first question to his father who stood near his bed with his face full of hatred.

“Wahh! How to be you, Nate?” his father asked as if mocking him and preparing to strike.

“What are you talking about, dad?’ he asked while trying his best to sit on his bed.

“The doctor had told me that this might happen with the shock and everything, but I’m not prepared for it. I mean I should be happy right? Now that you’re finally awake. But I can’t! Do you know why, Nate?” his father replied with emotions bursting from the sudden rise of his voice and tears slowly making an entrance on his face.

“How could you wake up and not remember what you did to your mother?” he added as he walked to the window with his right hand covering his mouth and started sobbing.

“Why? What happened?” he asked with puzzled eyes staring at his father.

“She’s gone. And it’s all your fault.” His father said as he started going to the door.

“What happened, dad? Tell me!” he begged.

“No, Nate. I will let time torture you for wondering what you did to your mother. Slowly, you’ll regain your memories. But you’ll be hurt entirely during the process. And that hurt will be nothing compared to what I am feeling right now. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go out so that I can avoid myself from killing you.” His father said while staring daggers to his son and went out.

The blood from Nathan’s face seemed to be drained by the statement of his father. His tears were already rolling out as his head aches again. He can’t remember anything. And he hated it. Every second that passed was a torture for him.

It took five dreadful days for him to put the pieces of the scrappy fragments that his memory was playing on him. Now he understands  why his father had reacted that way during his first and probably the last visit on him. “He had done the right thing” he uttered to himself as tears started dripping from his eyes.

The memory that he longed seeking was currently playing on his brain. The picture of her mother lying on the ground was stuck on his mind. “Why did I even sneaked out on that night?” he asked himself as he stared blankly at the wall.

Not a single soul had came to visit him. He was fine with being alone. But the more that his memory came flooding him, the more his guilt rises. And he couldn’t let it out. It’s slowly eating him. He didn’t know what to do.

Then out of nowhere, he saw a figure standing on the door and left quickly as their eyes met. He was bothered by what he saw that’s why he started his way to his room’s door.

Nathan found himself standing still at the rooftop of the hospital. How he managed to get there with his aching leg, he wondered thoroughly. He followed the figure but he was all alone at the top with the summer heat harassing his skin. Then, he started walking towards the edge.

“Go, Nathan! Save yourself, baby!” his mother’s voice came reverberating on his mind.

It was the night of the festival. Nathan sneaked out of their house after he found out that his mother had rushed to her office. Something came up as she had phrased it to him and whatever that was he was very thankful.

He met his friends near the wooden gate. They were surprised to see him because they are aware of his situation. He just shrugged them off and went on his way to the festival.

The lights were awesome. There were so many booths offering different kinds of service and fun. He and his friends tried the giant Ferris Wheel located at the left side of the stadium where some famous bands will perform later on. “What could possibly go wrong?” he said to himself as the engine roared and up they go.

That’s the part he went absolutely wrong as he saw his mother getting in between the tall and muscular man and him.

“Mom!” he shouted surprised that he even saw his mother at this time.

His mother came back to their house two hours after she left and found out that Nathan had gone missing. She rushed to their office to sign some important paper that her boss couldn’t wait for the next office hours to come. It was Saturday for Pete’s sake! She got her keys in her bag, tapped her phone for directions and then drove. She searched and searched for her son. Until she finally saw him going to the bathroom tailed by a tall and muscular man with something on his pocket. She followed them of course. When the tall guy snatched the knife on his pocket and getting ready to stab her son in the back, she ran as fast as she could. And then, the formidable knife had dug its way deeper on her right side of her stomach. Her son looked back.

“Run, Nate” his mother said to him while holding her wound and trying to stop the bleeding.

The man who held the knife was still furious though. Nathan and him had a fight awhile back during the performance at the stadium. Somehow, the tall man didn’t quite let go of the insult he received from Nathan, so he decided to confront him with a knife.

“Go, Nathan. Save yourself, baby.” his mother said and Nathan whose main forte is going away did ran.

He ran as fast as he could with his eyes getting blurry from the tears on his eyes. He did not even looked back to witness his mother getting kicked by the guy as she held on tightly on one of his legs trying to stop the assailant from going after her son.

He was running until he was hit by a car and eventually thrown a few meters away.

Nathan saw the plate number of the car. It looked familiar to him. Then, a chubby and tall man came rushing to him. Could it be Mr. Donald Duck? He thought.

He didn’t quite understand what the man had said. Only the words son and oh my god registered on his brain.

“Mom” he murmured as he pointed to the direction of where he came running from. And everything went black afterwards.

“Do you want to come with me, Nate?”

It was his dead mother who was currently standing beside him on the edge that had said it. Nathan noticed that she had the same outfit as when she died and she was the woman standing on the door to his room.

It took a minute for Nathan to smile bitterly at his dead mother.

“I’m sorry, Mom” he uttered while holding her cold hand.

“It’s okay, son. I understand. ” His mother whispered and disappeared.

With that, he sighed deeply and closed his eyes. Then, he started falling. He smiled for the last time and his body was smashed by the floor in front of the hospital. People started screaming at the sight of Nathan and his body parts scattered on the floor.

A minute or two before the fall, Nathan’s father stopped for a moment in front of the hospital several meters away from his son’s body will get slammed. He felt sad for saying those things to his son when he visited him. What’s more, he felt guilty on that night. He had lost his wife. He doesn’t want to lose Nathan. And then as he started walking, he heard it.

People were screaming. He went to see what’s happening. “Someone had jumped from the rooftop.” he heard it from one of the people standing there. He sure saw the body and the floor soaked in blood.

“NO!” he shouted making every single person in the area turned to him.

“Oh my god! Son.” he uttered and knelt on the floor while sobbing.

Thirty seconds after he thought of not losing his son, it happened.

And without even realizing it, he said the exact same words his son had heard from him when he accidentally hit him on that night of the festival.

Ah, the irony of life…

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About the Author

Carl Nino Renon
Carl Nino RenonManaging Editor
Carl is a BS Accountancy graduate from the University of Northern Philippines. He was the Editor-In-Chief of JPIA-UNP's The Ledger for two years. He likes listening to music and watching movies or kdramas during his spare time. He loves reading fantasy books intended for ages 8-12 and mostly dives into mysteries and thriller novels from his favorite authors. Sometimes when he feels like it, he switches to YA novels with ordinary plots and twists. He's aspiring to become a thriller writer someday. He often takes pictures with his phone and posts it on his Instagram account.