At one point or another, I could recall a time when I was writing just for the thrill of adventure. My adventure.
The thrill of knowing that I had to capability to translate my imagination into words.
The Thrill of dictating my own tale. Of creating characters. Of creating worlds. Of create lives.
No, I didn’t have a god complex or anything of that nature, but I was happy that I could do that. That I had ability that no one could take away from me. They could strip of my limbs but my mouth could tell the story. I could lose my voice and my fingers would spin the tale. Or if nothing else, I could sit back in a room for hours and just weave elaborate scenes of glory, pain, happiness, joy, anger, sadness, hatred, revenge, and content.
And that’s what I did. I found different outlets at first. Writing a story wasn’t enough. And it seemed like at the time, someone upstairs had heard my whimper of a wish and gave me a friend in a unexpected place.
It was during the age when AOL was flourishing and their chat rooms were filled with discussion. At the time, I wasn’t the most popular at school. I was a nerd that towered over the entire classroom. Intimidating even to the teacher who were not blessed with such genes and unbelievably nice and gullible. You can only imagine where that goes. So, AOL was a place used to interact with people without the woes of first impressions. You didn’t need to hear my voice. You didn’t have to judge me by appearance. And age played not a factor until it was spoken and acknowledged. You met me in the truest form possible, in essence. My words dictated who I was and many thought I was wise beyond my years.
I had spoken to people all facts of life. Genuine nice people looking for conversation, people just to cyber, addicts, assholes, you name it. I spoke with them all before I even reached the age of thirteen.
But the one that stood out the most and it was the one that started this dream.
Her screen name was Crowclaw Black and when IM’ed me I was in a chatroom talking to a couple of people about something off the wall. I can’t remember exactly, but it was probably something stupid and childish. But she message with this seriousness that I had never experienced.
She told that she needed help. Consort to talk to in her troubled times. A friend. Concerned, I agreed and asked her to spill the story to me and within moments I was hooked.
She was a mental patient at a facility and she was grant at least one hour of time on the internet. She had told me had tried with a couple of people before but no one would hear her out and she was hoping I wouldn’t leave like the rest. She had been in the room with me and must have chosen me out of the lot and because I cracked up on portrayals of heroism in games and anime, I couldn’t refuse a helping hand. (I was like that towards everyone. They were the embodiment of good in my book. Something that everyone would inspire to be if given the opportunity and they realize it was in front of them, even if it was a story. Goku, Kenshin, and everyone other hero cursed me with their charm…that still lingers and has become a vital part of my morals today. And my grandmother said that poisoning the brain. Ha! Sorry!)
Every night promptly at nine o’clock, I would wait for her to sign on. There was nothing anyone could do to remove that from my scheduled check list. At first she was very recluse and closed off, asking me questions about my life and spoke her honest and true. I had nothing to hide. I had my own pain and strife I was overcoming, why not share to it another? It was with my honesty that she opened up to me. She told me that she had did some bad things her childhood. The people she had hurt physically that was very close to her and because they wanted her to get better, they sent her there. She told she had been of medication for nearly two years made her obedient and attentive. She spoke of horrid sessions with counselors that did nothing more but complain about her status as if that was going to change anything. And had informed told me that sometimes people of the facility would take advantage of her and use her body.
Things got worse. As time progressed, her handlers found out what she was doing over the net and interrupted her sessions to speak to her new found interest. Stories of her increased watch and suspension on the computer followed. The handlers took special care to tell me to leave her alone and that she was trouble, creating personas and history that never existed. Someone of them even told me what they had planning for her tonight and how they drugged her up. They spoke ill of her and said she was only using me as a guilt-trip, someone to feel sorry for her when no one else would. That she was worthless and abandon and I should leave it that way. She wouldn’t appear some nights and rather than continue with my everyday routine, it stuck a cord deep within my heart and when she did, she seemed shattered…like pieces of her had been missing and she was trying to put them together.
During one of our conversations, she had asked me for my phone number. It was a ballsy move on her part and at the time I was living with my grandparents who were to me as tight on rules as a bolt should be on a car. I debated, but eventually I gave in and gave it to her. I couldn’t pass up a chance to hear her voice. She was a unofficial wacko crush if it made any sense at this point… which it didn’t.
And she called. I am unable to distinguish whether or not it was because of the meetings, my unyielding affection, or my concern for her but she sounded like a dream come true. Like those that other people read in fairy tales and spoke about because I didn’t read at the time.
I didn’t understand it at the time, but it was first time I had actually cared for someone out of my immediate family. Months of conversation only affirmed the fact that I cared for her like I had no other. I wanted to see herself. I wanted to see her well. And oddly enough, I wanted to see her with me. I had devised a scheme to break her out. It required me to ride my bike to some unknown location and spring her loose, avoid detection like in games I had played and escape the hero like those before me did. Great plan right?
But just like that, after I gathered my wits and was prepared to go off on my own journey, she disappeared. Without a trace and no goodbye.
Days had turned into weeks, which had nearly reached a month before she had signed back on again. She told me that she was moving to another place because of our relationship and I should forget about her. I told her my plan she told me not to come. She was worth the time and effort but I thought different. Before I reason with her abruptly signed up and left. I blew the number she had called be by clear over sea level. The internet was a resourceful tool to figured out to get past numbers that were private and I made it my duty to know. At this point in my internet social life, I was able to distinguish typing style and typing patterns. I could tell who you were by the way you chose your words and the way you used grammar and punctuation.
And she didn’t seem like the same person. She told me she would call promptly at twelve. And something in my gut churned with the bluntness of it all and the realization of what had been missing. She didn’t sound dire. She wasn’t worrying. And from it all, I gathered that she was nervous.
When she called, I had already secretly left my room upstairs, now a prized skill without anyone waking and slipped into the basement. I had the phone resting against my chest as I laid on the couch, fighting with my weary eyes to stay awoke long enough to feel the vibration of the phone before it went off… to answer before the ring echoed to the other phones. I successful in goal and as I put my ear up to the receiver, I heard her crying.
“Crow?” I murmured tenderly and it seemed to the sound of my voice made it worst instead of helping. “What the matter? What have they done to you?”
She continued to cry and I could hear the attempts that she made at speaking being choked down by the raw emotions she was displaying. She was a wreck and it only fueled my anger towards the hellish place that help her captive. Why anyone keep their child there if such horrendous acts.
Her voice had broken my thought. “I’m sorry,” She cried and I could only imagine how she wanted to be held. Abused and beaten without no to help her.
“Why are you apologizing?”
She took a deep breath, strain as if she was holding her chest and pressed for air. “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t. I – I…”
“I told you I would come,” even though I still didn’t know where it was. “I promised was going to get you out,” though I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
“You can’t do that. I don’t want you come. I never wanted it to come to this,” she started. “I never thought I would get someone who actually cared.”
“What do you mean?” I encouraged.
“You weren’t supposed to believe it. You were supposed to be like the rest of them and just forget about me,” there was almost a hint of resentment in the quake of her voice, struggling to find words. “But you kept coming back and I kept playing you. I played you until I found out that I was enjoying our conversations. Played you until you until roles seemed to switch and I was the one who felt bad. Until I was the one who felt guilty.”
I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around it. Perhaps my brain wasn’t keeping up without all the hints and clues like they should have, but I was clueless like a suspense movie that had did everything right in hiding the motive till the very end.
My silence must have assured her that I hadn’t gotten the hints. “I lied to you.” I heard but the light bulb did even flicker. “The facility, the doctors and nurses, my handler, and the fact that I was a mental patient were all a lie Ethan.”
There was my light bulb and it shattered instantly due to its inability to control the voltage. I felt the arrow as if it actually pierced my breast and had sung true. A blow to the heart that presented equal levels of humiliation and sorrow that created a wicked brew of pain I had never felt.
It seemed I had learned to speak without words because she broke down harder now than she had previously, murmuring apologies whenever her voice could muster the words. And then it hit me. That was the reason why she said she didn’t want me to come. That was the reason why she left with no intention on coming back. That why she had set the stage for her to be transferred. It was all clear now.
Our entire existence was a twisted sick lie, fabricated, produced and delivered to my doorstep not knowing that spam came in different forms. I opened it unknowingly to the risk and treated to a helpful serving of something I thought was genuine, giving my heart to this person because I cared only to realized that I was played.
But before I could say anything my heart trembled, shaken by the fear of what was to leave my mouth.. In that moment of silence I understood the pain she had went through from a different perspective. Her perspective. She had meant for this be an exercise but it had evolved into something far more than what she could have ever hope for. The fact that she was in pain wasn’t because she of the act she caused because she could have done that with a poker face. There was something else under the surface. A thread that she did not expect to be played.
“You care about me, don’t you?”
“Yes,” she almost whispered. “I hadn’t realized it until while I was away. Unable to talk to you. You were so naïve and gullible it was adorable.. You were honest with me and told me of your life and you were a great storyteller. I didn’t realize that I was coming back not to fir the part but to just talk to you. When I found out what had happened, I panicked and tried to run.”
“The transfer to a new facility,” I held to intention to hide my feelings which were in a battle for supremacy.
“Yeah, but you were so… so… insisting. You found my number and called my house, getting me in trouble with my parents.” That I did. “I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want you to hate me because I liked you. But I had lied to you and I wouldn’t expect you to for-“
“It’s all right.”
“What? What’s all right?” She questioned.
“I’m mad at you but I don’t want to stop talking to you. I like you.” Were these words coming from my mouth?
“How? You don’t even know me?” She defended as if she wanted to be dogged and dismissed.
“But I would like to get to know the real you. What you did was wrong, admittedly. Nothing you or I can change that now, but what you did tonight showed me that I didn’t have to be mad. Your guilt handled that for me.” Was it me or was I speaking completely blasphemy? On the inside I was anger and bitter but I couldn’t show it to her while she mourned in her own wrongdoings. She had suffered and had been suffering since she realized her feelings.
“Why would you want to do that?” She pondered out loud, seemingly unaware.
“I honestly don’t know. I have feelings for you or what you portrayed.” My vocabulary was strong thanks to you talking with others and hiding my age. “But I still feel like I know you and get to learn more about you. Even if it just as friends.”
That night she cried into the morning and I remained on the phone, until it was time to head back to protect my cover.
After that night, I learned the name of Crow. Her name was Lisa.
A couple of nights passed and she began to explain to me what she had been doing. She was writer and wanted to test her ability at character making against a real audience. An unexpected audience. It worked out fine. People had believed her different characters and their woes. And after the night was over, they wouldn’t speak again…until I came along.
And for as much as it should have made me anger, it intrigued me. She told me she had gotten the idea from a person she had met over the internet. They used to role-play together before I got her in trouble for calling her house too much and had suggested the idea to learn how to step truly in and out of characters. Role-Playing? The thought instantly shot me to the game I played which she to my amazement had played as well. In fact, she played all the ones I had mentioned.
Sasake was the first character I had ever made. I had gotten the name from a card game. The first name anyway. It was a story of demon that needed to be combined with another to protect the race of demons from the humans, hunger to off that which they could not control and it was one of the greatest times of my life. We spoke like young lovers, using the characters as a consort to show our youthful love to each other.
Weeks had passed and soon it was hard to distinguish character from fiction. We told tales our love in more than way. Conversation and dialogue was first and it was the most intoxicating. I learned it wasn’t what you said that matter in characters, but how you said it. What words were used. How they were used. When they were used. This also carried over into the narration that we also did with our voice and how they made love. Yes, I suppose I had lost my phone virginity if one could say something like even existed. She typed our conversations down on her computer and we would go back and forth all night. Influenced by my heroes and with it being the only source to relate to, I used that and at the time, it was great. We were creating magic.
We were love and I believe we both knew it. It was awesome.
Lisa had managed to get her parents backing of me and sent my a package in the mail of her all of her favorite belongings. Several CDs that contain her favorite music combined with a lot of stories she had written and pictures of herself. It was all too good to be true.
I read her stories over again. I had never seen something like it. (Mainly because I didn’t read.) Characters vividly displayed with personalities in way I have never could have fathom. Scenes that were carefully design and painted a picture so clear that it burned into my imagination. Jealousy developed in my like a cancer, spreading even the most untainted parts of my brain. How could this be? But rather than me become bitter with her, I decided to better myself. I was angry at the fact that I hadn’t learned it. That I couldn’t do it and I wanted to learn how.
And that was the last real thing I remember about that era. We stop talking soon after that.
~ To be continued…