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Focus: True Shades Chapter One

When you comment please be honest on how it reads, if there are any mistakes, cliches, or rough edges please point them out, and this was rushed so thanks for reading!

Chapter One 

I looked at my tattooed left shoulder and arm. A flaming black cross with a scroll under it reading, ‘Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ I looked to my right shoulder and arm, which bore a black cross with lightning running across it, and under it a scroll which read, ‘A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and his own house.’

“Your father would have freaked if he saw those, Will,” my mother chimed.

“If he was bullet-proof I wouldn’t have gotten them,” I muttered under my breath.

“Those were his favourite scriptures, weren’t they?” she asked and sat beside me.

I sat silently on the back porch, staring out into the woods with my arms crossed, and finally nodded. This was the first real conversation I was having with my mother in almost seven years, unless you counted the ‘talk’ she gave me two years ago when I turned thirteen about girls and what she understood about puberty, but that wasn’t any more personal than a sex-ed class.

“He used to read them a lot?” My mom spoke softly, and dare I say it, sympathy was actually in her voice.

I shook my head. “He memorized them, recited them day and night,” I huffed out a tired breath. “He used to say to me that if anyone ever offered me drugs, I should say no, and if they teased me it was alright, because all I had to do was remember those two verses and hold fast to God... He taught me, that being a hero and being famous were two different things, and that fame, if not rightly earned, will destroy your soul.”

I watched the golden-orange sunlight shine through the branches of the trees, with shadows surrounding the rays of light that broke through the thick canopy and made it to the ground. Those rays of light, surrounded by the darkness which struggled to choke them out, would’ve meant very little to any other person, but pay close enough attention, and you realize that they’re struggling. Against the branches, against the darkness, to just shine wherever they can, as much as they can. Just like my dad struggled.

“Will, you know that I’ve been trying to get my act together for a while, and, it’s been tough...” my mother started. “I’m doing the best I can, trying to abstain, but this place isn’t helping.”

Oh, just when I thought she was gonna admit that it’s her fault why she’s everything my father tried his best to warn me about, she finds something else to blame, just like she always does.

“Yeah you’re probably thinking that I’m just finding something else to blame, but, it’s half of the truth, the other half is that I just don’t know how to resist temptation, not like your dad,” my mother admitted.

I blinked and looked at her. For my mom, that’s...profound, and really, really admirable. She blew a strand of her golden hair out of her eyes and sighed as she tried to figure out how best to say whatever it is she had to say.

“Will, I know I haven’t been mom of-the-year, and I’ve been more of an influence on you than I thought I would be, but I’ve been doing my best to change, for you, but...” She paused pensively and pursed her lips. “It’s just hard, to do that in a place where everyone is pushing you to be something you shouldn’t.”

I shifted my gaze to the grass and watched as it idly waved about in the wind. “He taught me a great trick for handling that kinda pressure.”

This came to my mother as a surprise, and it showed in her expression quite vividly. I stood up and took off my tank top, then pointed to the words tattooed to my chest. 'If it don’t hurt, then it ain’t making you stronger Will. Just like boxin’, when you wake up sore in the morning, it’s ‘cuz you’re getting stronger.’

“He told me that three times, once when I was really sore from exercising with him, and twice when my ‘friends’ were beating up on me.” I put my shirt back on. “He said it only makes you stronger if you push through it and beat it, otherwise, you’re just being lazy.”

“Oh,” Mom sighed.

She sat silently, and I leaned on the wall, not entirely sure of what else there is I can say. Not like I’m in a position to say anything else, I’m not exactly son-of-the-century, either.

“I’m going inside for a drink,” I blurted out and got off the wall.

I opened the door when my mom called to me. “Will.” I turned to face her. “Let’s not drink alcohol anymore.”

I furrowed a brow and glanced back at her, but said nothing, opened the door, hastily made my way to my room. I made it to the door when I decided to go back for a beer, and hurried to the fridge. When I opened it, I found a less than pleasant surprise.

Every last can of beer was gone. Mom. I didn’t think that “we should drink less” meant “I got rid of the alcohol”, but took note of it, not entirely sure what to make of the whole thing. I’m no addict, but there’s nothing like a little drink every now and then to just help you chill, especially if you’re still in high school.

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