The Mutant Chronicles

The Mutant Chronicles

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chapter 2


Mood for the day: Longing, regrets, fear of what’s to come, fear of those lost moments that have forever passed; moments where I was too scared to take a chance and just try. Living day to day. Living? Is that what I’m doing? Not caring what others think of me because my biggest critic will always be me. Walking around everyday hardly able to catch my breath, sad with no idea why, angry, angry all of the time. No reason for it because people genuinely care for me, but I don’t care for me. I want to go away, untraceable, never to be heard from again. I’m tired of being a scattered hot mess.
I closed my laptop and headed for school. I used to write in a journal but not anymore. I don’t want to leave behind ‘The last words of Bella Rose Wyatt’ in some notebook that my mom can discover and then anguish over. As a matter of fact, I intend to crush my laptop so that I can fade happily into oblivion. No one on my blog knows who I am or even what city I live in. They don’t know that in less than a year I will commit suicide. They don’t know that this last year of my life is my ‘magnum opus’. I have 312 followers, give or take some that un-follow me because ‘I need therapy’.
What they don’t seem to understand is that I don’t blog to impress them. I learned something last year when my journalism teacher forced us to write in a journal nonstop. I need to write. Sometimes writing is the only thing that stops my head from spinning and my heart from pounding. I write short stories, poems, my thoughts and feelings and sometimes I post interesting things that I find on the internet—but the last thing that I do it for is to talk to people. I’m sometimes surprised when some adult responds to my post that she is praying for me. It makes me feel violated and angry before I remember that I just wrote my deepest thoughts and potentially 312 people have read them.
Rochelle nudged me in study hall and I looked at her. She gestured with her head and I glanced in that direction. Jay Pembroke.
“He’s looking over here again,” She whispered.
He does stare a lot. When I met his eyes he didn’t even flinch. Of course I was the one to look away first.
“I’m going to go over and say something to him after class because all he ever does is stare. That boy is too shy to come over and actually say something to me.”
I shook my head, eyes still on the pages of my book; The Life of Pi. “Jason’s not shy, he is quiet but that doesn’t make him shy.”
“What’s the difference?”
I was thinking about the way girls tug on his arms and the way he shakes them off. “If Jason doesn’t like you he won’t pretend that he does. If he doesn’t want to be around you he’ll walk away, even if somebody is talking to him.” Rochelle giggled. We’d seen him do it, even rolling his eyes when the girls get out of control. “It’s like he doesn’t waste energy on unimportant things or things that don’t interest him; like…being a star is the bullshit that goes along with doing something he loves; running.”
“You know a lot about J.P.” She grinned, always wanting to discover if I had a crush on somebody. I am the most asexual person in the world in her opinion. She doesn’t understand that I can’t sit with her and gush over this cute boy or that cute boy. No boy wants me gushing over them.
I finally looked at her. Thankfully we sit near the back of the room where our mumbling goes mostly unnoticed. Coach Shannon is too busy pretending to read his class work to pay too much attention, but he will crack skulls if the mumblings turn into full out talking.
“I just watch everybody. Not just the jocks, I watch that kid who wears only black and that nobody ever talks to.”
“Because he smells like a musty basement.” Rochelle giggled a bit too loudly because Coach Shannon lifted his eyes in our direction. We both ducked our heads.
After a moment I continued. “He can draw really good. He’s an artist. I saw the doodles on his notebook. It’s like Keith Haring’s work. I was going to ask him…”
Rochelle watched me intently. “You were going to ask him what?”
She wouldn’t get it. I’d never thought to tell her this because she would never get it. “I was going to ask him to draw me a picture.”
She made a face. “He is a weirdo and will just attach himself to you.” Her eyes brightened. “You’re just hoping that when he pulls out that rifle he won’t shoot you too.” When I didn’t respond she continued. “You’re going to ask him to draw you a picture? Have you ever even talked to him?”
I shook my head and looked down at my book. It would totally ruin my day if he walked past me because he didn’t want to be seen with me. He could turn out to be as much of an ass as everyone else.  
She spent a few minutes talking about Jay this and Jay that and then other cute white boys in our school. She was being enthusiastic about this. I felt kind of bad about the way she was dismissing Andre even though he used to call me mutant and I never told her because I knew she liked him and didn’t need me casting a shadow on it. Ok truthfully, I didn’t tell her that he was one of the bullies that picked on me because it would ruin everything if she still dated him.
These are the people that devastate your life but they are still a part of your ‘universe’, circling you on a regular basis as if you are the sun and they are the planets and the stars. Except that I don’t feel like the star in my own story. I am a supporting character, a prop for everyone else.


At lunch Rochelle and Andre went off to grab a burger. I declined the invitation to go along with them—as I always do. I can tell Andre doesn’t want anything to do with me but he really likes Rochelle and so he just goes through the motions to appease her.
Last year some kid kept yelling out mutant every time I walked by. I am good at ignoring it but Rochelle was with me once and she told Andre. The kid was an underclassman and Andre is pretty big. I don’t know what went down but the boy doesn’t even look in my direction anymore.
So, in some respects it is cool to have a bully along the outer most rings of your ‘universe’.
“Bella Rose.”
I was deep in thought, thinking about how quickly I could grab something from the cafeteria and hit the library. I have a NOOK e-reader but I still like books.
“Bella Rose!”
I turned around in surprise that someone would be calling me. No, that a MALE voice would be calling out to me. Then I saw Jason Pembroke jogging towards me and my brow furrowed. He is truly a good-looking guy but there is a distance in his expression that subtracts from it. He had to be 6’3”and it would be easy to think that he wasn’t much more than skin and bones. But it’s not true, his body is just sleek muscles and not an ounce of fat. His light brown hair is long and reaches his shoulders but he never lets it grow out longer than that. I do like when he pulls it back because then little blond curls sprouts along the back of his neck and sideburns and looks messy and neat at the same time. I’ve always had at least one class with him every year since we were kids. We’ve never been friends but I know him.
I frowned as he came to a stop in front of me and then my expression cleared when I remembered about Rochelle. He wanted to talk to me about Rochelle. My posture instantly relaxed because this is a role that I knew well.  ‘Yes I will pass your messages to this girl or that one, and I will tell you if I think she likes you or if she has been talking to some other guy. Sure I’ll be your go-between.’
He reached into his back pocket. “You left your NOOK back in class.”
I gasped and looked at the faux leather bound e-reader in his hand and then patted my purse feeling the obvious lack of bulk. I usually shoved it in a small slot in the back of my bag and I’d never lost it before but since it’s hooked up to my Mom’s Amazon account it was a good thing that he’d found it.
“Oh thank you!” I reached for it but he suddenly pulled his hand back and opened the cover.
“Are these any good?” The screen was black and I pointed out where he could power it on.
“I like it a lot.”
“I can’t afford an IPad but I want something that I can use to access the internet, some apps and music.”
I shrugged. “This does all of that and is a lot cheaper.” I smirked.  “But most people buy it to read books…”
He grinned and I just kind of froze…well, except that my mouth almost fell open. I don’t remember ever seeing him grin. I barely ever see him speak. But his face transformed somehow and I saw something in it that I had never seen before. It was almost like the face that I had been seeing for all of these years was just a mask and he had let it slip and I was suddenly seeing the real Jason.
“I will use it for that too Bella Rose.”
Oh my God, my skin felt like a feather’s touch could have burned me. His use of my name was new and strange and beautiful. Bella Rose had never sounded so beautiful to me before. 
“What kind of books do you read?”
“Um…” I blinked and stopped staring, “a lot of free books. I usually download from the top 100 free reads list. I have The Walking Dead and some vampire series. And I have all three of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books.” 
“Oh? I do want to read The Walking Dead. So…If I buy a NOOK do you want to be NOOK friends and then we can share? I already read the Millennium trilogy so it looks like we have some common interests.”
“Uh…yeah. That would be great.” He handed me back the e-reader and this time allowed me to take it.
“Ok. I’ll let you get to lunch.” He turned around and waved at me from behind and I watched him head back down the hall.
I was nowhere near the cafeteria. How did he know I was on my way to lunch?


  1. A couple of comments, first I'm glad to read some new work. It's always a treat to read your work. Two, unfortunately the 2nd half of the story sounds like a Barnes and Nobles commercial for the Nook. It's a little distracting, maybe using the word "nook" less often would help(?). Idk. Third, and this is more a comment on the previous chapters more so than this one, I think that Bella Rose's could be more articulate with her writing, she is an avid reader, she seems smart and I think would demolish SAT vocabulary in her snarky dreams. I also want to like her more, but its hard when she is so self depricating (somehow this is not an actual word.... Writing this on my phone so unable to look another one up). But despite her frequent suicidal thoughts and fantasies she's got to be more than that, right? Anyway, all of this is just my two cents, feel free to disregard, always love your work.

  2. Kem,
    I read your comment a few times and then took another look at Bella Rose from your perspective. I re-read the last chapter and chuckled because my use of the word NOOK could be annoying. I'll take out the last one but not the rest.

    Now, I'm going to tell you a quick story. I went down into my storage searching for something or other and I found an old notebook. With excitement I opened it and saw that it was one of my old journals and I stood there and began reading the words that just flowed right over top of each other. After a short time I was stunned. I knew that I had a lot of angst but I did not remembering being filled with so much self doubt, fear, loneliness and sadness. I was literally crying within minutes just remembering how I felt back then and I closed the book and promised myself that no one would ever read those words--not even me.

    When I wrote this story I used the spirit of what I'd written in that journal as a 16 year old smart/dumb girl. And just like me, Bella Rose is finding herself through her writing. My intent with the prologue was to show her progression. I wanted her words to begin stunted, halting, nervous and unsure and then to end with a certain sense of lyricism. It was so important for me to write that prologue in this way so that Chapter 1 did not begin with a girl that talked like...well like a 46 year old woman (because she will).

    Kem, I hope you do begin to like Bella Rose as much as I like her despite the fact that she obviously hates herself. I chose to give her a reason for her self hatred (her face) just so that people would not think that she was self-indulgent. But many people, like myself, didn't have a real concrete reason other than they felt so separated from the rest of the world. I had hoped that by giving Bella Rose this 'obstacle' that it would make her reasons more...acceptable is not the right words but the only one that I can think of at the moment.

    As to your question about if she is more than a self-deprecating, suicidal snarky teen; well I believe that she is using this year to find out more about herself and to give herself an opportunity to change her own suicidal thoughts, and hopefully she will turn out to be more than that.

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to really write down my thoughts on this story and this sensitive subject. Young adults will be reading this and I want to create a series of characters that different personality types can identify with; Bella Rose, Jason Pembroke, the artist, the jock, Rochelle and Andre and more as this series continue. I want to talk about bullying, suicide, homosexuality, drug and alcohol abuse etc. I want to explore teen sex and I hope that I will touch someone who felt like this and let them see that there is hope, there is a tomorrow, there is more than what you are experiencing right now.

    Ok, I'm done. LOL. Kem I hope you don't think I ripped on you. You just gave me something to talk about. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. I love this story, i think that it has elements that a wide cross- section of people can relate to. I always enjoy what you write, but thank you so much for explaining where you are coming from and maybe going with this story. i cannot wait to see where Bella Rose ends up.

    1. Thank you nakisha, it was something I like doing on another blog where I break down my thoughts about a story that I've published. I guess I will just link it to this page when I finally do publish this story.

    2. I have just come back to this story and was wondering, did you ever decide what you were going to do with it?
      Are you going to finish it and publish it? It still resonates with me, which is why i'm asking all these questions. lol.

  4. Pep - Thanks for taking the time out to respond to my comment, and explain Bella Rose to me. I don't feel like you ripped on me, I was hoping you weren't going to take my comments as overly stark criticism, I really respect your work and process. After I wrote the comment, I wondered if you were using her struggles writing as a device to propel plot point...
    I can relate on one level to BRs plight with struggling through h.s. I cannot relate to her disfigurement or the significant feeling of isolation she must feel - that is out of my realm of perspective, but the way you write I definitely feel empathy for her strife and troubles. So with that said, I definitely was a bit of an outcast, and despite constantly being surrounded by 'friends' often I felt very lonely. There were times when I was extremely unhappy and I was not capable of expressing myself properly and my only outlet was music. But despite how miserable I was about 70% of the time, I did manage to escape into a good happy place at some point. I guess the chapters have been a little on the short side for me to get a good enough picture of BR to really start liking her. Also I think, I'm missing a fundamental piece of her personal history. I think that as the story progresses I'll have more appreciation for her.
    Anyway again - Thanks for responding to my message. I think I understand where you're coming from. I hope that in the next few installments I can grow to enjoy reading about Bella Rose as I do your other characters.
    please excuse the excessive use of commas. :(

  5. I have to say I really enjoy this story and I continue to check for.updates I like thay your.doing a very realistic rendition of the life of a young adult something not many touch on and I love bella roses charector sorta reminds of myself ofcourse its not the same but I know a good deal of students who felt lost or like an outsider and it doesnt just stop with young adults anyways ill be patiently awaiting another update

  6. Hello Ms. Pace this is Angel I enjoyed this story so far Bella remind me of myself, since i am now a senior. And my main goal have fun and not give a shit lol. I hope you do
    write a youth romance, if you ever need ideas I am happy give you some. I write but never finish them of course. Have a nice day x