Saturday, January 14, 2012

Inferno - Chapter one (end)

Jake held his breath as he entered his fathers office. He didn't mean to, it was just something that happened when he entered it. Unlike the very modern and clean black and white of the rest of the building, this office arched upwards opening into a giant cathedral-like building. The room was warm and wooden and in some instances could be considered beautiful. But to Jake, it only managed to do one thing, impel a feeling of insignificance.

Everything around the building boasted of his fathers wealth and extravagant power. The hall was long and wide and the desk was big and opulent. No expense had been spared from the large, heavy red drapes that framed the windows, to the larger-than-life portraits that hung on the wood panelled walls. Above him, taxidermied heads of bucks, moose, dear and exotic animals growled among the stuffed birds. Jake had always hated the birds, especially the impressive eagle that perched upon his fathers chair which appeared like more of a throne than a convenient place to sit. Its black feathers always seemed to be poised and ready to strike at any moment.

As Jake got closer and closer to the desk, he could slowly hear his fathers voice becoming more clear. It was a deep and powerful voice that always seemed to have hints of anger and disappointment in every word.

“I think there's a way we can work this out.” The voice continued in a conversation that Jake couldn't hear. “Contact Jezebel tomorrow morning. Until then be sure to send those numbers along and we'll do what we can regarding... Very well. Goodbye.” His father hung up the phone and swung his chair around. “What?” He asked, his voice dripping with contempt.

The bluntness of the question struck Jake like a slap of cold water. There wasn't much that connected him to his father. They both had similar colour in their eyes, and their hair shared the same golden hue, but little else was similar between them. His father was a thin and stern man, and his face reflected his character; harsh lines and a permanent frown set upon his narrow lips.

“I was just wondering...” Jake said quietly.

“Speak up boy.” Jake clenched his fists.

“I need help with...”

“Is this a money thing?”

“I was hoping...”

“Hold on.” His father got up, a frown on his face as he walked to Jezebel who hung in the doorway. They exchanged hushed words, and after a moment of hesitation, she nodded slowly and left the two of them alone in the room. “Stand up.” Jake did. “What is it you need to talk to me about?”

“Well...” Jake started, but now felt too intimidated to continue. He didn't like to feel like he was wasting his fathers time, but whenever he was alone with him it was inevitably how he felt. He shifted uncomfortably as he bit his lip. “I need your help.”

“If this is school related I'm no help to you.” He said bitterly.

“It's not that it's just...”

“Is it a girl?”

“No, dad, it's not a girl... If you'd just...”

“I don't have time for juvenile trivialities.” He said coldly. “Is this really important?”

“It's just... Something is happening to me...” Jake struggled to connect with his fathers cold eyes but they continually eluded his gaze. “I can't explain it but I had a feeling you'd know...”

“Puberty?” his father spat. “You want to learn more then read a book about it. You're fifteen, I figured you'd be past all that confusing bullshit by now.”

“It's not that... It's... Well I mean it's not like that... as such...” His father looked at him with his cold icy glare. “I've been having these dreams...”

“Your metaphysical subconscious is not my concern.” He said.

“These are different...” Jake stumbled over the words he tried to say, but he could feel the resolve he felt earlier melting away in his fathers cold, commanding presence. “It's like they mean something. I know they do but I can't...”

“Go home.” His father said. “I have work to do.”


“That was not a question.” He pressed a button and began to speak into the desk. “Jezebel, I'm done here. Confirm my six o'clock.” His father snapped his black briefcase shut, picked it up and walked to the doorway where Jezebel was waiting with his coat. Without turning around to say goodbye he followed Jezebel out leaving Jake alone in the office.

His breath trembled from a combination of rage and neglect. His hands shook as he grasped at nothing. Why could he never say anything to the man? He stifled tears with his teeth as he clenched them. Defeated, he got up to leave, but was stopped when he heard what sounded like a closing door behind him.

Surprised by the strange and out of place sound, he looked over to where it had come from. Seeing only an old bookshelf he turned to leave again when the sound returned, this time emitting a strange click. His interest was piqued and he slowly and cautiously made his way towards the bookshelf. With a thorough eye he examined the big, thick dull books as if looking for something that could've made the sound. Strange how he never noticed them before. He had expected books on the law or business, but instead it was crammed full of classic mythology. Shakespeare sat beside Virgil and Ovid on the shelf begging Jake to take them off and examine them for himself. For a moment he was tempted to read through them and had to fight the compulsion several times to take one down and peruse its pages. He pressed his hand up to a copy of the Aeneid when suddenly a book from a higher shelf fell off and landed beside his feet. It was a dull red and very old with yellowed pages and a threadbare cover. Curious at the book that had mysteriously almost clocked him on the head, Jake bent down and picked it up.

He flipped the book over to see it was a copy of Dante's “The Divine Comedy”. He looked up to where it had fallen from and saw the space between a copy of Beowulf and the Songs of Experience. He reached up to place the book back, and as his hand connected with the shelf, he could feel something like a small switch on it. Curious, he thought to himself...

“What are you still doing in here?” A voice came from the doors of the office. Jake froze.

“Uh...” He said withdrawing his hand from the strange switch and looking towards the doors, where a large, tough-looking security guard was standing with his arms crossed and a very angry look on his face. The guard rolled his eyes and motioned for Jake to follow him. Reluctantly he did so, feeling a little bit foolish for staying behind, but also wondering what could be behind that switch.

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