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Second of three connecting stories of which each could still stand alone - Follows Love Made Me Do It

Metamorphosis:- a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances.

It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. For many, the eyes can tell a whole story on their own before even the beginnings of a word can be spoken. Eyes, they don’t lie … unless they want to and at that, they can then offer a deceptive sense of calm.

A point came in the young life of a certain Derek Hanson when he took a look deep into his own soul. What he saw, what he found, hidden deep in darkness, was something he did not know existed. It was something he would come to like, come to love even, though for it to fully show itself he needed to go through quite the range of emotion. Moving from a place of pleasantness to a place of complete darkness would see him go through one heck of a metamorphosis.

Tanya McNamara spent a good fifteen minutes staring at herself in the long, wall-mounted bathroom mirror at her home trying to figure out what it is she really wants though her own reflected eyes weren’t offering up any answers. Little could she know that one particular decision which she is about to make, will go on and have lasting and devastating consequences. Life at sixteen years of age shouldn’t be this darn difficult. And life at sixteen years of age should not be nearing an end.

Mid-August 1990 and Tanya has made that decision of hers. When the school year began the previous September there was one person in particular who had unintentionally grabbed her attention. Derek Hanson, a boy six months younger than her, caught her eyes. He was a bit of a loner though handsome and mysterious too. Other girls at school made it obvious that they would like to attract his attention. Tanya just had to make sure she beat them all to it.

Early attempts to win him over failed, or so she thought, though Tanya persisted until finally in mid-May, a little over two weeks before school would be out for the summer, Derek gave in.

He was all she hoped he would be, generous with a big heart and not afraid to show he cared. They spent every minute they could together and he in no way expected anything of her. He demanded nothing of her and if their relationship were to get physical then it would be at Tanya’s pace.

Tanya suspected that Derek may have limited experience with being intimate and she was fine with that. To her, he was a teddy-bear who possibly has often cuddled, venturing no further, someone driven by heart and little else.

When June came Derek got himself a summer job so he could treat the lady who had taken his heart. He wanted to spend every free moment he had with her and things were great early on. He treated her to many things though to Tanya it soon felt as if Derek was more than a little clingy ... more than a little needy; indeed it seemed he was a little too much heart.

Near the beginning of July, a carnival arrived in town advertising a six-week stay, maybe this is what Tanya needed; maybe the carnival could bring about a little more fun and a little less neediness.

Derek couldn’t wait, the carnival arrived on a Saturday and he had put in for that day off from his summer job well in advance of the day coming. Carnival opened for twelve noon though Derek and Tanya waited until three o’clock to enter, for a queue gathered at about nine that morning so maybe allowing for the initial rush to pass would be a good idea.

Once inside, cotton candy was the first order of business. ‘Pink candy for m’lady’ spoke Derek attempting to come across old fashioned as he handed over the first of the two helpings while offering a gentlemanly bow and this made Tanya giggle As things go it certainly was a nice start to the date.

One game, in particular, they played together was a five-player game. Derek and Tanya took part with three strangers. The game involved five water guns and balloons, the first player to fill a balloon to the point it bursts is declared the winner and gets to choose a prize.

Tanya found it funny sabotaging how Derek began, nudging him as the game did start and claiming herself a head start. Derek liked that, it felt so good to have a connection like this and it made him all the more determined to win. He soon focused on the game and Tanya could see that focus as she watched him more than watching her own aim.

Derek won and being the gentleman that he is he allowed Tanya to pick a prize, and so she did, a white unicorn with a yellow mane and a rainbow patch on each side of the body.

The job Derek had acquired was one within a video store. Laser disks were coming out but weren’t really catching on and DVDs would take a few years yet before taking over so the store dealt mostly with VHS cassettes and the odd Betamax or seven. Derek takes pride in all he does that even with only having his position a few weeks he knows quite a lot about what movies the store has, how many copies there are of each and he even knows what movies are out on loan without having to check records to make sure.

‘So how is that little lady of yours?’ the store manager asked of Derek during a shift early on in August. ‘We don’t see her coming in all so often anymore.’

‘She still loves me ...’ Derek answered with a smile despite knowing of certain rumours.

In truth, she had been ditching him a little of late but he refused to allow his own thoughts get the better of him. Over the following two weeks, however, doubt was increasing. On an evening in mid-August and with the stay of the carnival coming to an end, the boss suggested that Derek could get out early. Being so preoccupied as he is, Derek was only too happy to get out of work early, and besides, it was payday too.

Where things are, the carnival entrance has to be passed by in order to get from the video store to either his home or to where Tanya lives. Feeling tired and a little low in himself, Derek wore a hood. He didn’t particularly want to interact with anyone other than Tanya and with that he almost missed it completely. The hood may have aided in ensuring he is not disturbed though it also almost prevented him from seeing them, when he did see them he would be sure to keep up that hood as for the moment at least it would aid somewhat in hiding his identity.

Tanya was making her way into the carnival with some other boy at the moment Derek was about to pass it by. Henry friggen Harris, Derek recognised him from school. No, it’s true, as it appears the rumours are true. Oh no, can’t be having this. Derek followed, being sure to keep his distance and indeed being sure to keep that hood of his up.

The gall of them to even go play the water balloon game and win a prize too, with a kiss accompanying the passing over of the prize, not a unicorn though it may as well have been. This all occurring out in the open, they couldn’t even keep the affection private. Derek gets closer.

‘You have to tell him’ Derek hears Henry tell Tanya.

Oh, this takes the biscuit.

‘I know and I will, he is at work right now so maybe tomorrow, but enough of Derek, he isn’t here, is he?’

Ah hell, did she really just say that? Derek moves right up to Henry and taps him on the shoulder then turns and moves away.

‘Hey’ speaks Henry before moving after this hooded fellow, not realizing just who he is.

Being distracted Tanya doesn’t see this interaction. When she does turn back towards Henry she sees him moving off so she follows. Derek moves into the guy’s public toilets, a concrete building belonging to the town benefitting the carnival as the carnival had built itself around the surrounding area and Henry follows only to be greeted with having his head bounced against a hard brick wall.

A couple of minutes pass as Tanya waits outside the toilet. Henry has yet to come back out, he hadn’t even told her of where he was going. though she did see. With no movement at all Tanya cautiously makes her way into the guy’s loo while calling out for Henry. There is a hooded figure standing before her. The hood is removed.

‘Surprise’ speaks Derek.

Tanya is knocked unconscious before she can even react or allow a surprise to fully set in and she is placed into a cubicle which is then locked. Once the carnival has departed town Derek deals with the remains of two people who had up to such a point, remained undiscovered. A burial it is. Only a matter of time, Derek knew that. He was interviewed over and over by police. It had been known Tanya was his first love as it had been known she had another.

Since no bodies were discovered, no charges could be made. Could it be thought that in order not to break a teddy bear’s heart Tanya and her new beau simply ran away with the carnival? It could be a possible thing no matter how unlikely though at the same time how unlikely did a double murder seem?

Standing in front of a wall-mounted mirror Derek looks into the reflected eyes of someone he does not recognize but likes all the same. A metamorphosis has certainly occurred.

‘Yeah’ he says to himself, ‘... I do like this new me ...’



This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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