Chapter One – Untitled Book

Pulling a knife from his pocket, a soft breeze pushed strands of shaggy blond hair from his eyes. Looking to the setting sun, tentative thoughts crossed his mind. Held within his hand was a weapon worthy of giving, or taking life – in this case, it brought a new meaning to one. He shifted his gaze to his arm, resting the blade to his skin. Applying pressure to the handle of the weapon, the blade punctured the flesh. Sliding the straight edge down his arm, blood trickled silently into the sand below. There was no denying the shake in his hand as he dangerously deepened the self-inflicted wounds. After a few continuous moments of etching, his ears perked up to the sound of his name. Glancing to his bloodied arm, he climbed unsteadily to his feet. Drooping his arm to the side, he made his ascent toward the house above.

Drawing the screen door back, his mother appeared from the hall, instantly demanding to know where he had been all day.

Without the slightest acknowledgement, the boy made his way up the steps and into his room. Shutting the door behind him, he walked across the room into the bathroom. Flipping on the switch, his attention was drawn to his reflection in the mirror. A moment passed. Sighing lightly, he bent over the sink, turning on both the hot and cold faucets, his long hair falling into his eyes.

Submerging his bloody arm under the water, his fingers slid over the new addition to his body. Flinching, he'd let out a soft grunt, making a conscious effort not to look at the twisted expression that had surely been transformed onto his face. Allowing his chin to fall against his chest, the rush of warm water rained down either side of his arm. From the other room, a soft knock sounded. Sighing lightly, he reached out. His fingers found the cool handles, cutting the flow of water.

Moving from the restroom, the teen advanced towards the main doorway, water trailing from his fingertips. Tugging the door open, the figure of his mother appeared. Her form rested against the doorframe, a look of utter exhaustion printed on her face as obvious as the scalding sun at high noon in the desert.

With a light smile, she'd shift her weight back to her feet, her hands moving out toward his face. Her strong fingers slid through his hair, brushing it from his face, her voice ringing out softly, "Jess, we really need to get your hair cut."

Changing the subject, Jesse replied, "Ma, you look exhausted."

Furrowing her eyebrows slightly, she'd continue on, "You know if we got your hair cut…"

"Mom, you need sleep."

The woman's smile faded, her expression transfixing into a blank stare. After a moment of silence passing between the two, the trance seemed to be broken as she shifted her gaze to Jesse, "Supper's ready." With this being said, she turned and made her way back down the steps. Jesse looked about his room. Stepping from it, he'd pull the door shut before following his mother to the next level of the house below.

Walking through the small hallway at the base of the stairs, Jesse entered a large kitchen. His younger brother already sat at the table, while his mother stood behind the counter watching him enter. Passing the table, Jesse's hand moved to mess up the mop of black hair upon his brother's head.

"He-y! Leave my hair alone!" It seemed the boy's glare would sear through Jesse if it could.

Sitting in his chair, Jesse glanced to his mother, unable to suppress a grin. "So what are we having for dinner?" Out of nowhere, something attacked his feet. A look of confusion fell over his face as he bent to look under the table. There a kitten lay on it's back. It's paws extended to his feet, while it's large grey eyes implored him innocently. Laughing, the teen shook his head, his arm extending to the cat. Sliding his fingers under the kitten's spine, he pulled it from the floor and into his lap. "Hey there, Nyx, whatchya up to missy?"

"Put the cat down. You know you're not supposed to carry her around in the kitchen."

"Mom, I'm not carrying her. She's just sitting in my lap."

"Jesse, you're not supposed to have her in your lap in the kitchen! Put her down! She'll hurt you if you don't!"

Jesse looked to the boy beside him. He noted that the boy's lip quivered as his glossy, wide-eyed stare transfixed upon the cat. "Travis. Nyx isn't going to hurt me."

"J-just put her down."

"Why are you so afraid of her?"

"Jesse, just put her down!" The boy whined.

"Aw, c'mon Travis, why don't you pet her?" Sliding from his chair, Jesse shifted his form toward his brother. Instantly, his brother screamed, slipping from his chair. Dashing behind his mother, he'd peer about her side, terror engraved upon his face.

"Jesse! That's quite enough! Put the cat down right this instant."

"He's got to deal with her sometime. He freaks out every time the cat's in the same room with him." Lifting the kitten closer to his face, Jesse scratched behind its ears. The cat blinked slowly, a soft purr coursing through its slender body. "Nyx wouldn't hurt anyone, would ya, Nyxie?"

"Jesse…"

"Yeah, yeah. Fine." Shifting his hand under the cat's stomach, he'd lower her to the ground gently. Nyx looked about lazily for a moment before slinking from the room. After doing so, Jesse returned to his seat just as his mother placed a plate in front of him. Cautiously, his brother also returned to his seat with his eyes glued to the steaming plate of spaghetti placed in front of him.

Taking her place at the table, Jesse's mother looked at him for a moment before speaking. "Well, aren't you going to dig in?"

Without answering her, Jesse picked up his fork off the plate and began to pick at the food in silence. At once, Travis followed suit, sauce staining his face just seconds after the start of the meal.

Out of the silence, a shrill ring sounded from the other room. Jesse rested his hands upon the table, pushing himself to his feet. Before getting much further, his mother glanced up from her plate, "Sit down."

"But the phone's ringing."

"I'm fully aware, thank you. Now please, sit down."

Slouching back into his chair, Jesse picked up his fork, poking the food around his plate. The shrill ringing continued before the answering machine's message clicked on, followed by the inevitably annoying beep. A girl's voice filled the room. Jesse's head shot up, looking to his mother with pleading eyes.

"Jesse. Don't even try it. That's not going to work. Whatever this girl has to say can wait until after dinner."

Tipping back onto the hind legs of his chair, Jesse threw his hands into the air, his fork falling to clatter against his plate.

Jesse's mother glanced to Jesse's arm, suddenly bursting out. "What the hell is on your arm?!"

Travis looked at his mother in wild disbelief.

The chair came down on all for legs silently. A blush bloomed across Jesse's cheeks. His arms lowered, shifting into his lap under the table. "It's nothing mum, don't worry about it."

"What do you mean? Don't worry about it? How could I not worry about it?" Gathering herself to her feet, his mother rounded the table, grasping unto Jesse's arm. Her fingers dug into his wrist while she read what had been engraved there. "Who is this girl? What were you thinking?"

His gaze fell to the floor. Without a word, the teen pulled his arm loose from his mother's grasp. Pushing out his chair, he'd snatch up his plate, carrying it to the trash, dumping the barely touched contents into the bag. He glanced at his mother as he made his way to the sink, hastily turning it on and rinsing the dish.