Dark Fallen Days by Nicholas Peluso
Officer James Gardener has lived in the town of Toms River his whole life. He has seen the worst, but a new kind of evil has crept into his town.
Michael Phy is a violent juvenile delinquent with an ominous black cloud over him that James watches intently. With a keen eye he also watches a commune that has set up shop across town. They are blood drinkers that engage in criminal activities to fund their lifestyle.
The evil is coming to ahead and Officer Gardener can feel it, but he is also running out of time to stop it.Amazon
Excerpt from Dark Fallen Days © Copyright 2023 Nicholas Peluso
Michael should be a sophomore but isn’t. Algebra had bested him, and even with the aid of tutors, he failed. So here he sits as a freshman staring blankly at the blackboard with its charts and graphs. Michael could never wrap his mind around the concept that letters can equal numbers in this mathematical expression. He simply tuned out. Due to his health issues and compromised learning, he would eventually be given an exemption from his guidance counselor for algebra. Today, however, he sits quietly. Behind him is Peter Mitel. To some, Peter’s head looks like it is on a swivel. Bouncing up and down and going from side to side. Never fixating on one thing. It is not that he isn’t paying attention to his teacher. He is actually paying attention to everything in the room. Peter hones in on different sounds. A girl to his left is scribbling out a wrong answer, and he can hear the ballpoint pen going back and forth very hard and fast. He can hear the air conditioning kicking on through the vented grate above and to the rear of the classroom. His head turns toward a pencil dropping in the front of the room. Peter can even hear a yellow jacket wasp bouncing off the classroom window.
Peter’s eye sockets are sunken in his head. He was born with anophthalmia meaning he was born without eyes. His algebra textbook is in braille. Leaning against his desk is his walking stick. Peter sits behind Michael because Michael leads him from class to class during the day.
Peter has memorized all the routes to his classes, but the hallways are crowded, and he fears bumping into other kids and dropping his books. When class ends, he always grabs his stick in his left hand, places his right hand on Michael’s right shoulder, and lets him lead the way.
The bell rings, and algebra is done for the day, mercifully for Michael. “You ready?” Michael asks Peter.
“Yeah. Did you want to come over later and play Nintendo with my brother?” Peter takes his stick in his left hand and has his right hand on Michael’s shoulder. Michael also carries Peter’s books.
“Maybe. I have to ask my mom,” says Michael.
Peter has known Michael since elementary school. He can sense that Michael doesn’t have many friends, if any. Peter would overhear other students snicker and make fun of Michael and his drooping left eye. Peter didn’t feel sorry for many people considering his own condition, but Michael was different. Peter related to him and did feel sorry for him.
As the two navigate the halls, Peter and Michael hear a rude comment from behind them. “Blind leading the blind.”
Michael turns to see two senior football players barreling through all the smaller kids in the hall. The two complete the look by wearing their respective football jerseys even though the season is long over. When the two seniors get next to Michael and Peter, they do take pity on Peter, but not on Michael and push him hard into the lockers dropping his and Peter’s books.
Since Peter was using Michael as a guide, he also lost his balance a little. “Assholes,” Peter says.
The hallway is close to empty now. Some kids laugh at Michael as he picks up the textbooks, but most have sympathy and choose not to look. Michael, of course, only hears the laughter. Michael gets up with books under his left arm and Peter’s hand back on his right shoulder. With his ego bruised again, Michael mutters quietly to himself.
“One day, I’ll kill them all.” Michael forgets that Peter has excellent hearing and hears every word.
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