The Shell of Pride (Talon!)

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The Shell of Pride (Talon!)

Post  Alan Thatcher on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:05 pm

As he stepped through the doors of his modest new home, his old life had been burned and a new one clawed its way out of the debris. This is what he hoped for- what he practically begged Dr. Jhadav for without sounding a whiny child. He’d take any setting at all, even jail, if it meant that no one knew who he was- he could make this statement only because he had been to jail once before, and survived. The teen wasn’t one for blanked or definitive statements, as he believed that nothing in this world was set in stone- things were bound to change unexpectedly. He lost all he had that way- suddenly, unmercifully and without warning. Therefore, he was a firm believer in this ideology. Anything could happen; this was the way the world was.

He realized while sitting down with the cardboard cut-out orientation woman that the archetype he portrayed was a cliché one. He felt like one of those Western cowboys from American films, riding off into the sunset to either help the town he was in previously, or destroy it. In this boy’s case, he had done the latter. He hoped this place wasn’t like the secondary school he went to in London, full of empty shells. No one was real there. At least, he didn’t dig for a real person amidst the of hollow porcelain dolls who fawned over him. The only thing he hated more than that kind of attention was superficiality, and in the case of his little ‘fan base’, they went together. As he was thinking of this, he wasn’t really listening to the lecture. Everything he caught in the conversation was self-explanatory. Don’t be a dick and don’t bring in any contraband. He wasn’t stupid enough to bring alcohol or a weapon, but because of the nature of his disorder, he couldn’t make any promises with controlling his temper.

He was slightly pissed off that they took away his MP3 player and headphones, as he had to earn them back on good behavior, but he let it go. As long as he didn’t get into any fights, or rather start them, he’d be able to get it back no sweat. Alcohol and music was how he escaped the world, and right now, he had neither. He’d have to find a new escape… or face what he was running from, which would be harder and would require therapy. And he hated therapy.

Once he lugged his suitcase up the stairs and flopped it onto the top bunk of his assigned bed, he decided to walk so that he wouldn’t be a faceless shadow. He decided to go exploring- he was always on the move and wanted to assess his new surroundings. They seemed quaint, open and spacious so far, only because he had become used to a tiny cell in juvie and a cramped group home in London- the city setting had made him slightly claustrophobic only because he grew up in a large house with a large lawn and a large plot of woods. He had become suffocated once he was ripped from this home, and had done most of the constricting himself.

He stepped outside and felt the wind- it was a beautiful day, with a clear sky and clouds racing against each other. The not-quite-yet-man inhaled its sweet scent, part clean and part freedom, and exhaled any kind of tension he felt that day. He was quite tall, but no matter how tall he was, he wouldn’t be tall enough to break the sky and that was what comforted him. He didn’t believe Isabella was there, for he didn’t believe in heaven.

The boy took lazy steps to the trails, noticing the sun glimmering past the swaying leaves. He was at peace finally, which was completely out of character for him- it felt oddly good. As he walked, he tucked his dark hair behind his ear, careful not to pull his piercings. He moved like the wind, swaying rhythmically with each step, his hands in his pockets. After Isabella left, the expression on his face was always the same if he wasn’t enraged- blank enough to not show emotion and have his eyes droop slightly in disinterest, with the corners of his mouth curved downward slightly, but not enough to be a visible frown.

As he walked, he came across the fence- it was tall, metal and menacing, and quickly ended the feeling of freedom he had. A sigh suggested that he accepted his position as a caged animal- it was better than being constantly reminded of the monster that he was.

Suddenly, he heard the crunching of dead leaves slowly approach him. He didn’t turn around immediately- just stared up at the fence.

“Tell me,” He spoke to the then invisible person with his lethargic, uninterested tone. “What is freedom? Is it when you have no outer boundaries or do you find it within yourself?”

This was his strategy for making friends- he asked a philosophical question and if they didn’t understand or couldn’t provide a deep enough answer, he’d drop them like a dead fish. The simple-minded weren’t worth his time.

He turned around, with one hand in his pocket and the other raking through his hair as his elbow leaned against a nearby tree. He was now facing who he was addressing. He smirked coyly, eagerly awaiting the answer from them.

“I was never free, inside or out. And technically, neither are you.”

His gaze fell to the fallen leaves. “But that’s alright, I suppose. I don’t know about you, but I chose to be here.”

His dark eyes, from afar he didn’t appear to have pupils, fell on his companion again. He pushed himself off of the tree and stood up straight.

“I’m Alan. Alan Thatcher.” He didn’t extend a hand. “What should I call you?”
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Re: The Shell of Pride (Talon!)

Post  Talon Rogers on Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:40 pm

Talon had made three abortive attempts to get outside in the last two days, but at last he managed to get out the door during his free period. He was settling into Highgrove well. He got along well enough with his roommates, and he liked the kids he was assigned to do chores with (well, with the possible exception of Josephine, who exuded an air of aggressive sexuality that he found both off-putting and irritating. He had already decided that if she so much as looked seductively at Michael--or at Ninian, who was slightly older than Talon but towards whom he nevertheless felt protective--he was going to hit her with a frying pan and damn the consequences). In fact, there was really only one thing that bothered him--his music.

He had been forced to leave his trumpet behind when he left his parents' house, as it wasn't technically his--it belonged to the church, for use in processionals and Christmas pageants and the like--and, although he had scoured Highgrove as closely as he could, he hadn't found so much as a spinet, let alone a full-sized piano. But what he really missed was singing. Except for the first day he had arrived, when he had felt moved to sing a promise to his little brother, he hadn't sung since before he went into the hospital for his accidental overdose. But a little less than a week prior, he had discovered a nicely secluded spot on the grounds that was perfect for his purposes--far enough from the facilities that he could sing whatever he wanted, even songs with triple-fortissimo dynamic markings or songs that pushed the upper limits of his range, but near enough that he was within calling distance if Michael should need him.

The day was a fine one and he let his feet carry him to his chosen grove, a book of lyric tenor arias under his arm. He was planning to work on "Tombe Degl'avi Miei," Edgardo's aria from Lucia di Lammermoor, but the one that was going through his head at the moment was neither a lyric tenor part nor an Italian piece. His favorite aria, and one he had been working on in secret back home intending to surprise his teacher by requesting to perform it at the end-of-term concert, was actually in English, from an opera by Henry Purcell called Dido and Aeneas. Most tenors preferred singing one of Aeneas' arias, but Talon was attached to "Come Away, Fellow Sailors", which was sung by a leggaro tenor and had at least one octave jump. He found himself humming the tune as he ran through the words in his head. Come away, fellow sailors, come away...your anchors be weighing...

As he rounded the last corner to "his" spot, he was startled to see someone already standing there, facing the fence as though wishing it would disappear. Talon cautiously approached and was wondering whether to say something when the other boy spoke.

At the question, Talon couldn't resist answering, with a deadpan expression, "Freedom's just another word for 'nothing left to lose.'" He didn't know if the fellow had ever heard of the song, but it was a good answer to throw out while he thought of how he really felt about the question. As he was pondering the answer, the other boy turned around.

Talon was startled and almost lost his train of thought. The boy had dark hair and tanned skin, which could be seen from behind, but it was his eyes that caught Talon off-guard--dark and ethereal, almost as though they were nothing but the pupils. He felt an attraction to this boy that he had never in his life felt for anyone else. Down, boy, he reminded himself, swallowing briefly to quash his emotions. You're in a home for troubled youth. He's not here because he stole tuppence from the poorbox. Be friends, but don't do something stupid with someone you don't even know.

Before he could speak, the boy continued, stating that neither one of them was free, inside or out. Talon bristled slightly. "I agree, I'm not free outside--I couldn't just walk off of these grounds and go wherever I want. But I have to agree with Antoine de Saint-Exupery--'I know but one freedom, and that is the freedom of the mind.' As long as I can dream, I'm free, and after six weeks here, I know they can't take that away from me."

His peak of anger faded slightly as he remembered that he wasn't free--he was still going through the psychological withdrawals of cocaine addiction. He started to apologize, but then the other boy spoke. Talon felt a kind of kinship with him at his statement.

"Actually, I chose to be here, too, in a way." A tender light came into his eyes. "My little brother is here--he was committed for an anxiety disorder--and I wanted to come here so I could protect him. It was just luck that I was able to get in." He smiled fondly as he thought of Michael.

When the other boy introduced himself, Talon raised an eyebrow at his wording. "You can call me whatever you want, I suppose, as long as it isn't derogatory. But my name is Talon. Talon Rogers." He shifted his book from his right arm to his left hand, dangling loosely at his side, and extended his right hand courteously. "How do you do?"
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