Fading10 mins 956 10 mins 956
As Colin swept his legs off the bed and stood on his feet, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, he could not help but feel inexplicably light headed. He made his way across the hardwood floor of his room to the door leading to the bathroom. Reaching the washbasin, he held both edges of the basin for support, and returned the stare his reflection on the wall was giving him.
His eyes looked more tired than ever, the black of the iris almost blending in with the dark circles beneath his eyes. "I guess one can party too hard huh...", he said to his reflection, reaching out for the face wash beside the tap. He could not seem to remember a lot about the Halloween party in his neighbourhood the day before- it was all a blur of candy, stupid party games, music, and pranks. What he knew for sure though, was that he had had an absolute blast. It had taken its toll on him as well, as evident by the condition he was in, but it wasn't everyday that a fourteen-year-old got to experience something of that sort, so he didn't think much of it. After brushing his teeth, he went back to his room and pulled out his phone from the drawer by his bed. It turned on with a flood of notifications springing up from the social media connections he had. He managed to find the text messages among the mass of ads and notifications, and scanned them for any messages from Logan.
As a carefree teenager, he often depended on his best friend for all sorts of reminders on assignments, tests, special classes and other school stuff. He could not find any messages from him, which was odd, but after a brief pause of confusion he suddenly remembered his friend telling him yesterday that he was going to get a new number. He searched around for any messages from unsaved contacts, and sure enough, he found one that had sent him a short list of every class he had that day and all the assignments he was supposed to turn in. Colin quietly scolded himself for thinking that Logan would ever betray him. He sent him the usual "thnx xD", then checked out the schedule. It was the same as usual, except for a history presentation in the auditorium at noon. After a quick glance at the wall clock at his side, he picked up his bag off the floor, and started stuffing it with every book and sheet of paper he could spot in plain sight. His chemistry class was due in twenty minutes, and he knew he could not afford to miss it, since it was the only class that he shared with her. He turned his room upside down to find his bike keys, but eventually gave up, dreading the fact that he would have to walk two miles in the cold weather.
After slamming the door to his room shut behind him, he scurried down the stairway and into the kitchen. None of the other people of the apartment seemed to pay attention to him, since they were used to his haphazard demeanour and couldn't care less. He grabbed two slices of bread, spattered them with butter and grabbed a glass of orange juice. After gulping down the liquid, he fished out two dollars from his pocket, threw them on the counter screaming "Keep the change!", and proceeded to push open the front door with his back, one hand clutching a piece of bread, the other wrapped around the strap of his bag, and the other slice of bread hanging from his mouth. A cold blast of November wind hit him as soon as he stepped onto the pavement. After a few moments in which his body tried to get used to not being under warm covers, he took a left and started to walk down the empty lane. Foot traffic was rare enough as it was in that part of town, and the cold wave did not do much to improve that situation. After passing the empty parking lot of his apartment, he walked two blocks to the crossroads, while the street stayed silent save for the occasional car that passed by on the road. The sun was nowhere to be seen, hidden under a thick mass of grey clouds that looked ready to spill their contents at any time. Glancing at his wrist watch, Colin quickened his pace into a jog, and turned right at the crossroads. The entrance to Midtown Prep was visible down the lane, with a steady stream of students pouring into it. Colin would have usually waited at the crossroads for Logan and walked with him to school, or the other way around on some rare occasions. Since it was later than usual, Logan seemed to have left by himself, leaving Colin to cover the remaining distance by himself. After entering the main hall, he squeezed through the thousands of kids standing between him and the classrooms, and managed to reach the one labelled ‘Chemistry-2’ right as the shrill ringing of the bell spread out over the hall, indicating the start of the first period. Just as he entered the classroom, he scanned the faces of every student, looking for the one that belonged to her. His heart fell when he failed to find it, and he turned his gaze to the door, hoping to spot it coming in after him. He eventually gave up his hopes after a few seconds, and took his seat at the back of the class.
“Yesterday’s assignment will be submitted in a neat pile on my desk. Continuing with our discuss- “. His teacher’s voice seemed to dissipate into nothingness. The only thing that kept Colin’s chemistry classes even mildly tolerable were the occasional exchange of glances with her. Having lost any reason to pay attention, the class ended astonishingly quickly for him, so much so that he didn’t even notice his teacher leaving the class, along with most of the kids. Another teacher had entered the room for her class, and Colin quickly grabbed his bag and slipped out.
The next class was gym, so he once again went through the kids in the hall, heading for the far end. He passed by the bullies scouring the hall for first graders to pick on, various candidates for the student council putting up Halloween decorations and handing out candy bars to gain favour for themselves, and the janitor making a sour face after having to sweep the same spot multiple times. A typical Monday at the school. Reaching the far end of the hall, he opened the door and stepped out into the courtyard, on the opposite end of which was the gym. Wanting to show up to a class early for once, Colin went straight across the courtyard to the gym door. Gym was the only class he shared with Logan on a Monday, and he looked forward to talking with his friend. Stepping onto the basketball court, he looked around for Logan, but could not spot any sign of a blonde kid among the people on the dodgeball, basketball or volleyball courts, not even on the bleachers. He glanced at his watch just as the shrill ringing of the bell returned, marking the start of the second period. He watched as all the students huddled up around their respective coaches, talking strategies and tactics, but still saw no sign of Logan. Feeling disappointed, he followed some of his gym classmates to his coach, who was in one corner with a large sack of volleyballs.
“Today we will be starting our volleyball sessions, and please remember that many children tend to lose a tooth or two here”, coach said, pulling out a volleyball from the sack and showing them to the kids. Colin was not interested in anything that the coach said. All he could think about was the absence of Logan, whom he knew to be a student that never missed a class without any prior notice. He hadn’t texted him since the morning as well, which also worried him. After spacing out for a moment, the coach’s whistle made him snap back to reality. Every student around him was holding a volleyball, getting ready to start practising. Every student except him. The Coach had decided to ignore Colin for some reason. Colin got up, raised his hand and asked the coach for a ball. The coach kept on speaking as if he couldn’t hear him. Colin tried again and got the same result. Feeling a sudden anxiety in him, he gathered his breath and screamed at the top of his lungs, “COACH!”.
As if on cue, a searing pain ran through Colin’s head, blurring his vision and forcing him to hold his head in his hands. Every sound around him seemed to increase tenfold in intensity, beating away at his eardrums. He could hear the coach’s faint voice through the noise, asking him to leave the gym and return to his class. He was about to respond that this was his class, but a fresh wave of mind-numbing pain stopped him from doing so, and he turned on his heels and left the gym. As he ran through the courtyard under the midday sun, his face got drenched with perspiration, and his eyes started to lose focus. He fumbled around for his phone and pulled it out, going through the contacts to find Logan. He checked them once. He checked them twice. He couldn’t find the name ‘Logan’ anywhere. Wincing from the pain, Colin dragged himself aimlessly along the hall. The only things visible to him were the Halloween decorations that had been put up by the students. Something reminded him of the previous night.
He had been at a party. He couldn’t remember anything about it. All that he could recall was that it was a Halloween party. Thirty first October was yesterday.
He switched his phone on and stared at the screen. In big block letters, it read- “Monday, 30 October 2017”. The council members were putting up decorations for Halloween. The splitting headache worsened, and he continued his aimless walk. He remembered the schedule that he had received from the unsaved number. Switching his phone on again, he looked at the number. It was a random collection of letters and digits. The pain kept on getting worse. As if he had started some chain reaction, the events of the day started coming back to him.
No one payed attention to him at his apartment. The parking lot, where his bike was supposed to be, was empty. Chemistry class ended surprisingly quickly. The coach completely ignored him. He tried to remember the face of ‘her’ but his mind came up blank. Did ‘her’ even have a name to begin with? He had just passed under the hot midday sun. The day had started very cold and it looked as if rain might fall at any point. Who was Logan?
He pushed open the door to the auditorium, not knowing why he was there. The searing pain was almost unbearable at that point. A middle-aged man was standing on the stage, all alone. Colin had never seen him before, but he knew who he was. Colin’s legs gave away, unable to bear the pain. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the man do the same, but without any signs of pain, and with an unnerving smile on his face. “Farewell, Colin”, he uttered, and seemed to dissipate into nothingness right in front of Colin’s eyes. He doubled over with pain, and felt a strange feeling of emptiness accompanying it. He knew who the man was. It was him. Colin closed his eyes and followed the fate of his future self- being erased from existence.
The day continued as normal, but with the unnoticeable absence of a fourteen-year-old boy named Colin.