This story is truly a horrific little monster. I honestly have no idea why I bothered to put it up as it was before. It was pretty awful and I must apologize for how difficult it must have been to read. So here it goes again. Hopefully this time it won't make me cringe.


Fourteen and already, he had caused his family's death.

It wasn't a physical homicide on his part...but it was still because of him that he'd never be able to see his family again.

He was bounced around his distant relatives, no one wanting to take a teenage boy into their family. No one wanted another mouth to feed, another bout of teenage angst. Friends looked on in sympathy but couldn't help because of the ties that family created. Instead, an aunt he'd never met, a wealthy aunt, had decided to send him to school. In America. So far away from anyone and anything familiar. But what could a fourteen year old boy do?

As he stood at the gates of this new school, he fought hard to suppress the tears that lingered at the corners of his eyes. It was nearing Christmas time and this poor boy was nowhere near his snow covered home to share the holiday with family. He missed the cold, even missed the blistering wind, something he never thought he'd long for. Despite his fears and despite his aching heart, Brin Parrish took a step forward and entered Naitworth Academy.

"Mr. Parrish, you're late." a stern secretary peered over her glasses, much the same way his mother did when she suspected trouble caused by him.

He stared her directly in the eyes and cleared his throat. "I got lost."

She managed a sympathetic smile. "We get that a lot from first timers." She shuffled some papers at her desk. "We've got your file here, your medical history, family history, as well as academic records. I'm very sorry for your family, by the way."

Brin remained stoic on the outside though inside he cracked a little more. "Thank you."

"And here we've got your timetable and a key for your room. You have your school supplies don't you?" She waited for him to confirm. "And just in case, here's a map of the school and dorm grounds so you can be on time next time." She winked. "Cheer up. It's not so bad here. Considering your circumstances, I'd say it would take you a bit longer than most to get used to it here but all the same, Brin, I think you may grow to like it."

His eyes flickered some at his name but he remained passive as he reached over to take the schedule and key from her. "Thanks." he said and glanced at the map. "Which dorm room am I in?"

"It says on your timetable, sweet. The dormitory is basically the east side of the campus so you should have no problem finding it once you get over there. Good luck."

"Thank you." he said again and left the office.

"Polite boy, that one." the secretary mumbled to herself as she reviewed his files.

Brin Parrish...fourteen years old...lost family in a car crash...

Outside of the office, Brin could feel the tears welling up again. Forcing thoughts away, he discretely wiped his eyes, took a deep breath and walked towards the door.

The actual school itself was beautiful, much like the office building was. From the map, he could gather three distinct areas: the school, the office, and the dorms. There was a large fountain before the school. It was white marble, that much he could tell, and it reminded him of the government buildings back home. He loved the fountains they had there, similar in design. All the buildings seemed to be made of marble and granite, his limited understanding of architecture allowed him that much. The tall white pillars stood before him, imposing yet still he could find himself admiring them.

He did find that the grass was a peculiarly vibrant green. But the grass back home had died and had been replaced with snow. He could only wish for the frost now. But the trees were magnificent and so completely alive, he couldn't help but smile at the sight of all the plants and the vegetation, something he used to never see in the winter. He allowed himself the slightest bit of happiness at that but quickly pushed it away and looked towards the dorm buildings.

"I think you may grow to like it."

If a winter truly arrived and all living things looked dead but were really only asleep, maybe then he'd be able to like it. Maybe by then, some of the guilt in his stomach would stop eating him inside. Maybe by then, he'd be able to sleep without nightmares. And maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't feel so bad about wanting to give this place a chance.

"The only thing you'll be able to see by the end of this race is bubbles from my lane." Justin wiggled his eyebrows at him.

Brin only laughed and cuffed him behind the head gently. "That'll happen when Scott dumps you."

"Honey, Scott and I aren't even dating."

"Aren't you?" a curve of lips into a smirk.

"Do you seriously thing that three weeks constitute as dating?"

"It's been a month of dating and two years of flirting. You were the gayest little thirteen year old I knew!" a gleeful laugh back at him.

"That's just sick man. You guys were my friends at that time. I wasn't old enough to want to jump anyone's bones." Justin pulled his arm across his chest and carefully stretched the muscles.

"So you admit that you wanted to jump his bones?" Brin grinned, the look positively evil in Justin's eyes.

"Dude, I never said that. I just wasn't-"


Both he and Justin looked over at the coach.

"There's a call for you."

"But the match starts in two minutes."

"They say it's urgent."

"Alright." Brin glanced over at Justin. "Don't think I'm done wih you yet."

A laugh was all he got in return. "I don't expect it from someone as annoying as you Brin."

He gave a smile back. "You'll see me soon."

"Right, you wish."

"Brin," the coach handed him a phone.

"Thanks." he turned towards the clock. "Hello?"

"Brin Parrish?"

"Yes? Who is this?"

"I'm a paramedic for the Royal Elizabeth Hospital. Are your parents Alex and Sarah Parrish?"


"I'm so sorry but they were in an accident, along with your brother, I believe. They are in emergency right now and the doctors are doing all that they can."

He felt a strange detachment from his body as he listened to the words coming out of the stranger's mouth. "Royal Elizabeth, you said?"

"That's right."

"I'll be there as soon as I can." he flipped the phone shut.

"Brin, you don't have to do this." the coach put a tentative hand on his shoulder.

"No, I'm fine. I'm good." he whispered and he walked back to the starting platforms.

Justin looked up as he saw Brin approaching. "What's up?"

Brin glanced at him with glazed eyes. "After the match."

Justin spared a worried look before they heard their names being called.

"In lane three, Justin Martineau."

His parents.

"In lane four, Brin Parrish."

His brother.

"In lane five, ..."

His brother.

"On the mark..."

What was he going to do?


He could see himself going through the motions, his body acting on its own.

The shot signalled the start.

And then the pain.

A terrible pain in his chest, clawing at his insides, threatening to burn him whole. Something had gone wrong. He knew it then. The emptiness so clear and the void inside of him...and his chest was aching, his lungs burning, and all of his muscles straining harder than they ever had before in his life. And he only wanted to escape the ache inside of him, the excruciating burning in the pit of his stomach, gnawing at him and making him move faster. A hand tapped the side of the pool. Three more left. And still that terrible clenching wouldn't leave, wouldn't stop chasing him. Two more left. His eyes were burning. But not from chlorine, for that was blocked out by his goggles. One more left. He could feel something rising in him. He felt nauseous and dizzy. A sob managed to escape from his chest but by that time, he'd reach the wall for the last time. One tap to mark the time and then he ran from his victory.