Shattered Present by S. J. Lyons by S. J. Lyons - Read Online

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Shattered Present - S. J. Lyons

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By: S. J. Lyons

Copyright 2015 S. J. Lyons

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


For my daughter, Zoey, without you I may have never remembered how to dream or how important it is to realize those dreams

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

-Mark Twain


Front Matter

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty One

Chapter Twenty Two

Chapter Twenty Three

Chapter Twenty Four

Chapter Twenty Five

Back Matter

Chapter One

Your final projects should be fifteen pages, double spaced, and a twelve point font. Mr. Tinney is addressing the class, as he continues to go over the details of our final papers for this semester I find myself watching the seconds tick by on the clock above the chalk board. Five minutes until the bell sounds and it’s the weekend.

Looking down at my watch to make sure the clock is right I sigh. Is this day ever going to be over? It’s the same question I keep asking myself. Glancing around the room I take in the classroom and its occupants. There are five rows of five desks. The kind of desks where there is just a desk top for your things, attached to the chair with metal bars and you have an arm rest. You cannot pull the chair away and sit down, these desks force you to slide into the seat from the side.

I happen to be sitting in the only left handed desk in the room, probably because I am one of two left handed students the high school has. I know everyone in the class, smiling inside, I remember, I know everyone in this school with the exception of a couple of elementary classes. There are only around six hundred students total at Lincoln R-II which happens to be a k-12 school. Forty five in our senior class, all of them I have known since first grade, with the exception of Zander that is. Most of Lincoln Missouri’s occupants have grown up here, every now and then someone gets added to the mix like Zander.

Zander, I look to my right, he is sitting in the first seat of the row next to me. He sees me looking at him, and slowly turns to face me, he smiles. It’s a full mega-watt smile, white straight teeth that makes me take him in, he has shaggy black hair, and eyes that are green but blue sometimes I see them as blue. He is tall and slender, but he has muscle, I’m pretty sure every girl in the school knows he has muscle; he took the basketball team by storm when he started last winter.

Last winter. The thought hangs there, I can feel myself tense, his smile fades and I can tell he’s noticed the change in me. I push the thoughts away; I’ve done well at putting everything before that day behind me.

Miss Blake, Mr. Tinney booms, Am I keeping you and Mr. Reed from something? My mouth drops open as I look from Zander then back at Mr. Tinney. Umm no, sorry, I say in a rush as I readjust my seating and face forward. There are snickers of laughter from the other students.

Good, now Miss Blake, I’ve noticed you are the only one that has yet to pick a topic for your final project, he looks at me with a question in his eyes. I know he wants me to announce what I’m going to write about. I just shrug, and then I glance back at the clock. Two minutes. That’s it? It has only been two minutes.

Looking back down at Mr. Tinney I can tell he is waiting for me to announce what I will do my paper over. He is short and stalky, he is older and his hair is white. He always wears a polo and slacks. By this time of day, his right leg is covered in chalk dust, from his nervous habit of touching the chalk to his leg after writing on the board. Well, I start, as I noticed everyone is staring at me, I don’t want to do something that is common. So many of the mythical creatures are all over the media and I want to actually have to crack open a book to get the information you’re asking for.

He blinks, like I have surprised him, Well do you have anything in mind?

Yeah, kind of, I know Zander, I look at him with a I’m-sorry-to-out-you look then glance back up, is going to write about muses and their influence, or their thought influence, with artists and writers over the centuries, but even that doesn’t really interest me. I pause catching my breath, Okay Anna, this is it, moment of truth, I like the idea of sirens. Zander sucks in his breath beside me, I wonder why, but Mr. Tinney wants me to explain, Why is that? he asks intrigued.

Well, I just don’t know if I believe it, I mean you have all these stories of beautiful women calling the men into the ocean. You never hear of women being the victims. I look up and see he wants me to go on, I just think that the men took it to an extreme in the telling of what happened. Personally I would say that a woman broke the man’s heart and he kills himself by going overboard. I stop as everyone is looking at me, I know I am going more into detail then everyone else is, but what can I say, I’m a good student.

Also, the idea of someone being pulled down into the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean, to a horrible death, all because of ‘love’ is rather fascinating. I say it quickly before I make myself stop.

Mr. Tinney is beaming with joy, This class is what I want from all of you, Miss Blake has really captured the point of the assignment. At that I zone out watching the clock again, a minute left, I want you to embrace the subject of your papers and take a firm stand on if they are good or evil, real or fake. He is booming the last part as the bell sounds. As I start to stand he holds up a hand stopping me.

I look at Zander as he gets to the door, a quizzical look on his face; I shrug and hold up my finger telling him to wait for me. He nods and shuts the classroom door.

Anna, I am glad to see you diving back into your studies, but are you sure you don’t want to do something… He stops and looks at me, like he is trying to be delicate. Before he can finish I decide to speak, Look, Mr. Tinney, I’m good I promise. If I need help or it gets too much, I’ll just change the subject. He smiles and nods, Alright, get out of here, enjoy your weekend.

Throwing my messenger bag over my shoulder and cradling my book into my arms I head for the door. My phone buzzes in my pocket. Pulling it out to see my texts:

Zander: Are you coming? We are going to be late.

Yeah, sorry, just a normal teacher check up on my sanity: Me

Stashing my phone back in my pocket I open the door glancing back and giving Mr. Tinney a small smile, he waves, and I’m off. Walking down the hall trying not to run into anyone as they start getting out their scary masks and huddling into groups to decide on their Halloween plans, my excitement picks up. At the end of the hallway are the doors going outside, I turn right going to the senior lockers. Zander is waiting for me, he already has my locker open, and is putting my books back in order so they are ready for Monday.

Hey, I say walking up, Thanks, you really don’t want to be late do you? I ask.

Nope, Steven won’t be happy if we are late.

Steven isn’t that bad Zander, give him a chance. I smile.

Okay, fine, but I still say you don’t have to like him, just because he is your brother.

I know, I know, but I like the idea of a big brother, so I’m trying. I turn away from him, letting him know I’m not going to talk about this right now. I place my English book in my locker. Well something to look forward too, no homework, except for researching for my English paper. I slip my English note book in my bag. Close my locker, slip my combination lock on my locker and I’m ready to go.

My car or yours? he asks. Mine I have a pass for Steven’s apartment I tell him. I turn and Lily is standing there. Shit.

Lily is tall, skinny, and all curves. Her hair is blonde and goes to her shoulder blades. It’s the kind of hair that will do anything she wants it to. Today she has is pinned up into a messy but perfectly placed bun. Her brown eyes are big on her face and the brown sweater she is wearing is the same shade as her eyes and her boots. With the dark skinny jeans you can see the shape of her body and you know everyone has been drooling over her all day.

Zander, she smiles at him, I cannot believe she used to be my best friend. I glare at her as she removes her eyes from Zander’s and meets my glare with a glare of her own. Blake, she says coolly.

I know we are having a war, and who ever looks away first will lose. Hey Lily, Zander says, and just like that her glare is gone and she is beaming up at him. The rest of the popular senior guys come over and stand by us. They all look at me then at Lily, and the choice is made, they will ignore me. My phone buzzes, taking it out and blocking out there conversation about this weekend I check my text.

Steven: Hey just checking to see how close you are

Oh umm.. yeah we are kind of still at school: Me

Steven: Anna you better get your ass up here!

Okay, we are leaving it is only a concert we can be late: Me

As I type my reply I realize that I don’t want to be late. I had to beg to be allowed to go. The only way my dad agreed was if Steven and his friends went with us.

Zander wraps his arm around my shoulders pulling me out of my head. I suddenly want to know what they are talking about.

Yeah it’s in the city, He smiles. Oh they are all staring because he’s told them about the concert. I look at Lily, she is beyond mad. Well that’s going to be a better time than the bon fire at Lily’s place. One of the guys in the back says. Lily looks at Zander and pouts I want to go too. No one is talking, just starring waiting to see. Everyone in school knows Lily wants Zander, and everyone thinks Zander and I are into each other, but the truth is we are just friends. Maybe back when we first met I liked him, but that seems like so long ago and I would never risk our friendship, it’s all I have. I don’t know why but her plea to go with us hits me and I really miss her. If you can get a ticket in the time it takes for me to change, I don’t mind. I tell them all. They all just look at me shocked.

I would but, the bon fire, maybe next time. She smiles back at me but soon the smile fades and the glare sets in. The guys surrounding us are just watching and waiting to see who makes the next move.

We have to go, Steven is freaking, but I need to change I’ll be right back. I tell Zander, while avoiding Lily’s glare. I grab my bag from on top of the lockers and head to the bathroom at the end of the hall, the entrance to the school is right after them, it’s tempting. I turn into the bathroom. Dropping my bag and pulling out my clothes I change and loose myself into my thoughts.

It is so weird seeing all the people I grew up with embracing Zander, he is so new to the school, I’m glad he has friends though. At the same time I can feel the pull of my heart as I think about how it used to be. There didn’t use to be cliques and I didn’t used to be the outcast. After the accident last Thanksgiving, everyone just avoided me when I came back to school. Everyone but Zander… I stop myself. I don’t want to remember, but it is too late. I was coming into school late and had to get a tardy slip. The office secretary was not happy, but when she looked up and saw who I was she just got a look of pity in her eyes and wrote the slip. Shoving the slip in my bag as I turned to walk out of the office I ran smack into someone.

Are you okay? the voice said with a small laugh in his voice. Yeah, I’m fine, sorry.

Looking up all I could see were his green eyes and black hair on his angular face. Noticing me taking him in he just smiled really big. Hi I’m Zander. Looking up at the secretary he smiled and continued, I’m Zander Reed, sorry I’m late it’s my first day.

I know who you are, she said as she wrote up another tardy slip. You have the same classes, she will be your guide today, now get to class. With that she disappeared back behind the counter.

I’m Anna Blake, nice to meet you. Come one I’ll show you where to go. Then we walked out of the office and we’ve been inseparable since.

I look at myself in the mirror and I’m smiling at the memory; I have on black tights and a black dress that comes to my knees. The dress easily passes for a Halloween costume with all the black lace and ties everywhere. It’s sleeves end right above my elbows. The neck line is an oval but the lace makes a queen anne neckline over the oval. I sit on the cold ground and pull on my boots. I haven’t worn them in almost a year, suddenly I find myself wondering why. I love these boots, they are both boots and heels. They tie up and end right beneath my ankles. Standing I look at myself in the mirror again.

I reach down and grab my makeup bag; it has been so long since I used this stuff. It’s like riding a bike as I open the bag; my body quickly picks up the motions of what I’m supposed to do. I end up with dark eyes; the blue of my eyes is shining against the black of the eye liner. I pull my red hair into a low bun, before I can put the bobby pin in a couple of my bangs escape. Oh well I’m not going to try and get them to stay in place.

I throw all my stuff into the duffle bag and walk out of the bathroom. The group I left is now huddled over waiting to walk out the doors. Zander is still at my locker. He looks up and smiles. His eyes go a little wide, as I realize he has never seen me like this. I smile back. He walks over and grabs the bag from me.

Thanks, I say. No problem you look nice.

Do I now? my smiles widens. I haven’t dressed like this in so long, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

I’m glad you attempted. He wraps his arm around my shoulders again and pulls me close to him in an awkward but comfortable one armed hugged. I laugh effectively making everyone turn and notice us. I pull out of his arm. We have to go now; I don’t want to be late.

Ha! I was saying that twenty minutes ago! He looks at me amused. We turn and start walking to the doors. Lily is glaring at us, but as I look at her, her glare melts away and she smiles. Oh Lily, I really do miss her. See you guys Monday, Zander says as we pass them.

Chapter Two

It takes us two and a half hours to get to the Uptown Theater in Kansas City from Lincoln. There is another concert going on somewhere close by so it is super crowded. Zander pulls my Ford Escape into a parking garage and pays the man to park. Finally finding a spot we park.

Ready? He asks. I smile, Yep. We climb out of the car and head for the theater. It is seven thirty, although the doors don’t open for thirty minutes the line is wrapped around the front of the building and going down the side of the block and across the street. My mouth drops open as we turn the corner. Holy crap, I’m glad we weren’t late.

Looking at Zander he shrugs and starts walking, we take about five steps and someone grabs my arm and pulls me into the line. I let out a little scream. Zander turns around, eyes wide with shock. He sees me and his face hardens. Steven is looking at us with a massive shit eating grin on his face. Ugh! Who said this big brother thing would be fun?

What the hell did you do? Steven asks as I look at him dumbfounded. I won’t be able to take my eyes off of you when you look like this! I can’t help but laugh as Zander walks over and stands with us.

Steven is tall and built; he has blonde hair, and the same blue eyes as me. He pulls me into a hug. Oh little sister, isn’t this fun? Us bonding, who would have thought?

Yeah, yeah, you say bonding time, I say babysitting. I roll my eyes.

Well hey, let’s make the most of it. He says as he turns and includes two more guys and a girl into the conversation. This is Daniel, Connor, and Emily.

Hi, I’m Anna, and this is Zander, I say grabbing his arm and pulling him up next to me." They all smile and nod, but I notice they all look at Steven like they are having a conversation, but with no words flowing between them, just looks.

The line starts to move and ignoring the awkwardness of it all we start to surge forward following Steven and his friends. Daniel and Connor must be twins they look exactly alike, brown hair, brown eyes, tall and built like Steven. Emily has black hair and her eyes are a crazy light blue that I didn’t’ think was possible. She is tiny and frail but she moves with grace and poise. She smacks the boys on the backs of their heads and I can hear her telling them to be nice to us.

I like her already. I smile. When we get to the doors and security pats us down. Steven grabs everyone’s coats and goes to the coat check for us. There is a beer stand in front of the doorway that leads into the theater and stairs to the right which have a big bathroom sign and an arrow pointing down. I make a mental note of where the bathrooms are. We head into the theater, the stage is down front. We head toward it, the concert is standing only and I see why. The floor is one massive stair case with about ten steps that are super wide and have railings on either side of the walkway to keep people on each step. We go to the step before the final floor. That’s where the mosh pit will be, Zander says answering my unasked question.

Steven and his friends have left us alone, thankfully. It was so strange having them just staring at us. The theater quickly fills up with people. There are tons of people in Halloween costumes, it makes sense being that it is Halloween and all. Some girls just should not even think about wearing what they have on. The girl next to me is a sexy Minnie Mouse. I smile at her and she beams at us. A second later Mickey Mouse walks up behind her and plants a kiss on her cheek. Soon the theater is so packed