Taste of Skin: Chapter One
December 20th, 2008
"I'm telling you, that's bull carp," Steven snapped at his would-be friend, Ethan. "You have my console, I remember giving it to you!"
"I never borrowed it," Ethan stated flatly, throwing his arms up. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder and said, "You probably gave it to Kaleb."
Kaleb Vetys lagged behind his two friends in the mall, who were currently going at it about Steven's gaming console that Ethan had allegedly taken. It wasn't as if Kaleb minded their fighting - no, he was used to it. He just wished they would shut it and go out already. He'd tried hooking them up on several different occasions, but they both claimed to have an undying hatred for the other.
They'd graduated high school three years apart, Ethan being twenty two and Steven being nineteen, but before then they'd always been bickering in the hallways. Kaleb was unfortunately the runt at only eighteen years old - Steven and Ethan always pulled the "we're older" card on him.
Kaleb put his hands up in faux-defense, saying, "I don't have your game, man. But if you two are just going to argue the whole time we're here, I can leave."
"Oh, shut it," Steven said with a dismissive wave of a bony hand. "You want to tease the Santa guy as much as we do." He looked over his shoulder and grinned at Kaleb.
It was true - it was fun to mess with the old man. Kaleb was a bit mean-spirited, having always been a moderate bully. He influenced his friends in this way, and vice versa.
"Okay, okay," he sighed. His friends, unfortunately, continued to have their little lovers' spat. Then Kaleb heard a loud, yet muffled boom. "You guys hear that?" he asked, stopping in his tracks.
The two stopped as well. Ethan turned around, "I didn't hear nothing," he barked. But Kaleb noticed other mall-goers looking around for the source of the noise.
Then suddenly, it was as if the roof was falling - because it was. The building began to crumble around them at the cue of several sharp, loud bangs. Kaleb stumbled forward and collapsed at the weight of the building falling on top of him. There was an intense, fiery sensation that seemed to tear at his skin and rip it apart. He heard several screams mixed with his own before he blacked out.
He wasn't sure how long he'd been unconscious, but when Kaleb woke, he woke to the sounds of bombs going off everywhere around him. He woke to a destroyed city and a painful weight on his chest. It took all of his strength to move the remnants of a wall, and some of the ceiling, off of his torso. He was sure several bones were broken. He heard people crying, screaming, pleading. He heard a familiar voice, "Kaleb, help!" - it was Steven.
Debris was falling around them, and Kaleb found Steven buried in the rubble. As he started forward to help the blond escape, the motor of a car smashed down into Steven's head. Kaleb gasped and scrambled backward, eyes wide and body aching. He was covered in blood and it wasn't just his own anymore.
A siren rang out through the air, followed by a monotonous, robotic voice, "A virus has been released by the radiation. Do not leave your homes. The city's under Martial Law. I repeat, the city is under Martial Law."
There is no such thing as "bad art", regardless of talent or skill. For every craft or drawing you create, is a creation from your mind. Whatever it depicts, it is immensely beautiful.