Disclaimer: I don't agree or condone any of T's actions or words. Be cautious while reading. In this chapter, Theodore struggles with his inner self. Mentions of suicide and harmful comments are made, no such things happen.
'Alright will do.' He hung up the phone. His room was dark (he never wanted to turn on the bright light) and he sunk down on his bed. He sighed long and deep. Phone calls with Ben always tired him out. He asked for his help again, and of course, T wasn't going to back down. He liked the "work" in a way.
The light from the hallway reached inside his room when his dad opened the door.
T squinted against the bright light. 'Yes?'
'I don't want you to be on the phone till such a late hour. Make sure it doesn't happen again. Also, you need to walk Luke. Make sure you do that now.' With that, he left. His dad never asked for anything, he demanded. In a way, he was similar to Ben.
Theodore stood up and walked downstairs. His dad sat behind the television, a beer can opening. T called Luke over and leashed him to go outside. The golden retriever was cute, he had to admit. His mom gifted it to him for his birthday, and the dog and he were good friends. Maybe the dog was the only real friend.
'Come on, Luke.' He lightly tugged on the leash and Luke happily walked with him. These hours were the only quiet hours he had in a day. Everything was calm, even in his head. The voices had quieted down, almost like they sensed that Theodore needed a break.
They had always been in his head but not always consistent. Sometimes they were whispers and he could easily tune them out. Sometimes they were screaming, like that day in the bathroom. Theodore clenched his hand around the leash of Luke. It wasn't his proudest moment, and afterward, the guilt and disgust regarding himself had washed over him.
At the same time, he was confused after that. It had almost felt good to teach that guy Felix a lesson. He had been on his nerves forever and by teaching him a lesson, some of that tension had simply slipped away. For the rest of the remainder of that day, the voices were quiet. Theodore wasn't stupid or retarded, he knew punching people was considered to be a bad thing. But for something to be so "bad", it did feel good.
Luke saw another dog on the other side of the street and was tugging the leash, interrupting his train of thought. 'Come on, Luke. This way.' Going into a dark back alley, he signaled Luke to sit down, sat down as well, and pulled a cigarette from his pocket. His back was against the wall and he leaned his head back as he inhaled and exhaled again, blowing out smoke.
"What are you doing?" "You can't smoke, dad doesn't like it." "You're a failure and you'll never make anyone proud." The voices said.
'I know. I don't intend to make anyone proud anyways...' Another inhale.
They continued: "You don't mean that." "Stop deceiving yourself and just end it here." "Yeah, to end everything here is good." "No one will miss you" "Not even your dog."
'Luke, come here.' He exhaled. The golden retriever came up to him and Theodore held his head in his hands. 'The voices say you won't miss me. But I know you will, right?' As by answering, Luke licked his face. Theodore smiled softly. 'Yeah, you're a good dog.'
For the remainder of his evening, he clouded his thoughts and voices in the smoke of the cigarette, drowning them till they were nothing but whispers. He didn't know how much longer the smoke would help. For now, it did, and he was grateful. His friends were shit, his parents nothing better, but he would do anything for Luke. This shithole was less bad with his dog in it, he could bear it a little while longer.
He went over the call he had with Ben. Ben had been talking about "punishing" Felix, whatever he wanted to do. Sneaking up and teaching him another lesson. Putting his cigarette out, he lighted another one. He wondered what Oliver would do. He was pretty shaken up from that day, he was even more tense than usual. Maybe he had to warn him first, to not do anything stupid. Luke whined and studied Theodore's face closely.
'What's going on, huh? You usually are quiet, or confused why we sit here instead of walking.'
He whined again, but softer this time, almost as if he was trying to comfort Theodore.
'Are you telling me to be careful?' He scratched behind Luke's ears. 'You'll be the first then.'
Luke was quiet now, just looking at Theodore with his big brown eyes. 'Ah, silly dog...' He said lovingly and held him in his arms. The warmth of the dog seeped through his clothes, warming his cooled-off skin. The voices were quiet. For just a minute, he just felt the warmth, heard the smallest of breath and it was just Luke and him. He didn't even notice he was crying until he felt the warm tears on his skin.
'Look at what you're doing, now.' Theodore said. 'Making me cry like a little girl.' He swiped his tears away and stood up, picking the leash off the ground. 'Let's go through the park and then head back before dad really misses me.' He chuckled at his own joke. 'Like that would happen.'