Aeternum by Lawrence A. Votee by Lawrence A. Votee - Read Online

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Aeternum - Lawrence A. Votee

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Acknowledgement

Dedication

To my son Darien and my daughter Angelina, every breath I take I owe to you. You are the most amazing people I have ever known and you are my most favorite people in the world. I love you both more than I could express in a thousand lifetimes. Thank you.

To my beautiful wife, Tara, your smile is one of infinite inspiration. I don’t know that I would be where I am today without you. I love you beautiful

Chapter 1

Lucian Solis was a normal teenager by most accounts. Tall for his age, about 6’ 4, Lucian was a formidable looking young man. His build was athletic and muscular, though he played no sports and participated in no exercise routines other than what was required for his gym class. Every physical aspect of the young man seemed symmetrically chiseled and his impressive form, long raven hair, and eyes of a deep royal blue, garnered him plenty of attention from his female classmates, a couple of teachers as well. But he paid no mind to any of them. It was as though they were nothing more to him than things he tried not to bump in to. Given his impeccable good looks, he dressed quite simply. Loose fit jeans, a t-shirt, a pair of Timberlands and during the colder months a military pea coat over a hoodie, were the uniform he used to navigate society. He cared nothing for fashion or what was in" but seemed to be the type of person these clothes were designed for as every thread fit his height, his stance, and his muscular frame to perfection.

At 18 years old his soul felt somehow broken, as if it had seen more in its short life than the old withered faces that inhabited most small shop porches in his little rural town. His was a tired soul. He felt as though his heart lied heavier than it should for a man of such a young age, something he often attributed to teen angst or small town boredom. Lucian carried within him a deep and painful sadness…and a terrible rage, both of which he hid from others quite well. He didn’t know where these feelings came from and couldn’t remember a time when he was without them. He just knew they were a part of him and he accepted it.

Considering his constant inner turmoil, Lucian was a polite and respectful young man, even though people held no interest for him. His only two friends, Connor and Alina, and the man who raised him, his grandfather, were the only exceptions. To him, Gramps was the one person he felt closest to in the whole world. He attributed that to the old soul he felt they shared. He had no memory of his mother and father and figured early on that they either died or just didn’t want him. He never asked his grandfather about them nor was any part of him bitter about his circumstance. He simply felt more cared for than most other kids with parents and in that department was completely content with his situation. The old man taught him how to fish, hunt, ride a bike, drive, and hold his head high, all the things a young man should know. Lucian never felt as though he had missed out by not having parents, Gramps was all he needed. There had never been a time when he was too busy for him and never once was his grandfather not there when he needed him. Gramps had been his best friend since he took his first step. The same held true for his grandfather. Lucian was all he needed and all he cared about. He looked upon his grandson with great pride…and great sorrow, for he knew why Lucian’s heart lied so heavily. One of their favorite things to do together was lay out in the grass in the back yard and stare for hours at all the stars in the sky. During these times, when Lucian was just a boy, Gramps would tell him fantastic stories about legendary warriors from distant worlds and the great battles they waged. It was in these stories that Lucian first learned of honor, bravery, and courage. It was one of the rare occasions when he felt a sense of peace and it was in these wonderful stories that his grandfather felt some sense, however slight, of atonement.

Lucian spent most days alone reading or listening to music. His favorite types of music were both classical and slow songs with a heavy message of heart-break. His friends had a field day picking on him for the music he listened to. Lucian didn’t care. He liked the music he listened to, it seemed to ease the emptiness he felt, at least for a short time. The books he read consisted of astronomy, poetry, philosophy, and military history. He seemed fascinated by military history the way other kids his age were fascinated with the Internet. The stories of combat, perseverance, and warfare were like lullabies to him. Historic heroes like Leonidas, Alexander the Great, Musashi, and Sun Tzu felt more to him like kindred spirits than figures throughout history. He would at times, spend hours lost in thought. One recurring theme he pondered quite often was why he felt no attachment to any people other than his two friends and grandfather. Lucian always came to the conclusion that he had already met the only people that would ever matter to him and as such, was fiercely protective of them.

He had known Alina since they were six. Since their first day of kindergarten they were inseparable. Lucian saw his friend grow from a small opinionated tomboy into a beautiful young woman…still very much a tomboy. Alina was not like the other girls at their school. They often seemed overly preoccupied with looks and status as they’d check and reapply too much make-up in between classes. She was well read, very intelligent, and never afraid to tell someone what was on her mind. In an effort to lessen her tough image, her parents got her involved in music at a very young age. She took to it instantly and mastered every instrument she laid her hands on. Lucian’s favorite was the cello. He could listen to her play for hours and sometimes did. Alina was always the star performer at school concerts but if had not been for Lucian sitting front row at every one of them she would not have taken part at all. It was because of her musical gifts that their school had received such incredible amounts of funding over the years. Alina hated the attention but Lucian told her once that those with a gift are responsible for sharing it, especially if it brings happiness to others. After that, she didn’t mind it so much.

Lucian met Connor when they were twelve. Connor was the new kid at school and the fact that he was often found face deep in a book more advanced than what the teachers were teaching made him a prime target for those lower on the evolutionary scale. He was also a professional smart ass and used his cutting sarcasm as defense against those who bullied him. Until one day when Alina saw some boys picking on him during lunch. Connor employed his biting wit and earned a hard fist to the gut. As he dropped to the floor Alina calmly walked up to the largest of the bullies and told him that if he ever bothered the new kid again she would make him eat a lunch tray. He believed her and they backed off, for a while. She introduced him to Lucian saying, Here’s the new kid, he’s a smart ass who reads too much. She then turned to Connor and said, "This is Lucian. Don’t let his size fool ya, his favorite movie is The Notebook."

Lucian and Connor became fast friends and shared their love of philosophy and history, often spending hours in highly intellectual debate. He watched his friend continue to grow from an awkward and shy nerdy type into a confident and profoundly intelligent young man, who himself attracted plenty of attention from their female classmates. When Lucian was fourteen he found out that Connor had been beaten up pretty severely by some older kids after school one day. Connor had begun tutoring one of their girlfriends and much like many girls, was quite attracted to Connor’s dashing looks, eloquent use of language, and obvious intelligence. She had become a bit friendlier with him than she should have and Connor, being the stand up guy he was, denied her advances because she had a boyfriend, a fact that didn’t seem to matter to her. She grabbed Connor and pulled him in to a kiss just as her boyfriend and his friends walked into the classroom. She jumped back at the interruption and immediately accused Connor of being the aggressor. The five of them attacked Connor, who was about half their size. As they threw him around the room crashing into desks and walls, he refused to fight back. Even as they punched and stomped him repeatedly he would not fight back. Connor was not the fighting type. He believed everything could be resolved with ideas, words, and intelligence. They left him there bloody and bruised. A teacher found him about an hour later and called the paramedics. Connor was rushed to the hospital with three broken ribs, a fractured cheek bone, and a gash above his right eye.

When questioned about the attack, the boys denied it vehemently and all had one another to back up each other’s story. When Lucian found out, something in him snapped. To Lucian though, it felt more like something awoke. He knew his friend would not make up something like that and the overwhelming desire for revenge became too much. Lucian found his friend’s assailant’s on the field at school conducting football practice. He walked across the field and up to one of the boys who began to shout, Get off the field assho..! His request interrupted by a vicious right hook leaving him unconscious on the ground and with a jagged split up the side of his helmet. Another boy who had assisted in the beating of his friend attempted to tackle him from behind. Lucian heard him coming, spun around, and threw a leg kick that snapped the boy’s leg in three places. By the time Lucian was done, two more boys had broken arms and the girl’s boyfriend, the largest of the gang, was left with a fractured collarbone, four broken ribs, a dislocated jaw, and two broken arms.

Lucian was arrested but let go only an hour later. The girl Connor was tutoring showed up at the police station with a black eye, split lip, and missing a front tooth eager to explain what really happened. The boys’ parents decided not to press any charges after hearing what their kids had done to Lucian’s friend. That day, when Alina and his grandfather picked him up from the police station he had no reprimanding words for Lucian. All he said to him was, You protect what you care about…at all costs. Lucian heard him loud and clear as he looked at Alina in the backseat, smiling at her newly freed friend. He smiled back and decided not to mention anything about the swollen knuckles on her left hand. Lucian often wondered how what he did that day came so easy to him and how he felt no remorse for what he had done to those boys. During the melee, Lucian gave almost no thought to what he was doing. It felt to him like reflex and all he wanted to do was cause them more pain than they had caused his friend. He succeeded and one thing became clear that day. No matter where they were or what they were doing, the three of them would always be there for one another. They would never allow anyone to get away with hurting one of them. Without saying a word, perhaps not even knowing it themselves, they had silently sworn to protect each other for the rest of their lives.

Chapter 2

Luc let’s go, we’re gonna be late. Connor yelled from the driveway as he and Alina waited for their friend. They would meet him every morning and walk the mile to school together.

Could you be any slower? Connor asked feigning annoyance.

I’m not slow, I’m deliberate. Lucian quipped back.

Don’t start you two, it’s too early and there’s no caffeine in my system. Alina added as the three of them set off for school.

So big guy, what do you have planned for the summer? Connor asked.

I don’t know man. I haven’t given it much thought. Maybe get a summer job or something. Lucian replied, his mind elsewhere.

Whaddya mean you haven’t given it much thought? This is our last summer together. We should do something fun, like a road trip. Connor replied excitedly. You think Gramps would let you use his truck?

I don’t know, probably. Where would we go? Lucian answered.

As far away from this place as possible. Alina interjected. I can’t stand it here anymore. It’s like living in a diet soda or old jeans commercial. It’s always dusty, the old people look at you like they’ve never seen other people before, and most of the people at school are the douchiest of douche bags.

Connor and Lucian began to laugh wildly at their friend’s rant, which she didn’t intend to be funny.

Aww Al, don’t worry. We’ll get you outta here. Won’t we big guy?

Yeah, we’ll figure it out. The two assured as they each put a comforting arm around her.

A short while later the trio rounded the corner by the old library, a place Lucian spent much of his time growing up, and with the school in sight just a few blocks away, Lucian noticed a girl staring at him from down the street, half hiding but almost wanting to be noticed.

Who’s that girl over there? Lucian asked.

What girl? Connor replied, excitedly pushing to the front of their little group.

Over there, across the street from the coffee shop, I’ve never seen her before.

His friends looked in the direction Lucian had nodded in.

Man, I don’t see any girl. Connor exclaimed disappointedly.

She was right there. How didn’t you see her? Lucian asked.

You’re seeing things man. Connor replied.

I don’t care what you’re seeing. Alina interjected. All I wanna see is that sweet, sweet cup of caffeine.

Settle down Al, we’ll get ya your fix. Connor assured as they headed for the coffee shop.

Lucian held the door for his friends as he continued to scan the streets for the girl who seemingly vanished into thin air, before entering behind his friends. The abundant aroma