Kyle (Found Soul #3)

Read the rest of the ‘Found Soul’ series here.

Kyle hasn’t had the easiest of childhoods. He grew up poor on the outskirts of town with his mom and dad, but what he lacked in material possessions, he made up for in his parents’ love. They always went above and beyond to offer him everything a young boy needed and a life as close to normal as possible.

Things started getting rougher for them after his mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. He was too young to understand what it meant, and his parents tried to protect him from the truth as much as they could, but things become difficult when his mom started forgetting things. At first it was little things every once in a while, but then she started having brief moments where she’d even forget who Kyle was. This took a significant toll on his dad, who started drinking more often.

One day they went to pick him up from school and his mom was arguing with his dad about being drunk in the middle of the day when he knew they depended on him to drive. The argument didn’t last long, though. His dad took his eyes off the road for a second and accidentally crossed lanes into oncoming traffic. Kyle and his dad made it out alive, but his mom wasn’t as lucky.

His dad never touched a bottle again, but everything else around him crumbled. He injured his leg pretty badly in the crash, so he couldn’t keep his job at the factory anymore. He was forced to sell their house and ended up moving to a trailer park across the woods near the school. All the affection that Kyle had grown up with died that day too, as his dad closed himself up and they barely ever talk to each other anymore. He could never forgive himself for what he’d done.

Fast-forward to today and Kyle’s going through the paces of teenage life as best he can. Celine’s been a welcome change in his otherwise uneventful life. They just finished their classes for the day and had their run-in with Sydney and Adrien. They say their goodbyes and split up to go home. Kyle takes his usual route through the forest and thinks about how this walk home through the forest used to be the highlight of his day. Now it’s every moment he spends with Celine.

He barely has time to finish his thought before a strong push from behind sees him face down in the dirt. He looks up and sees Sydney and Adrien with their pack of sheep, laughing at him. “Not so high and mighty now, are you, you little shit,” says Adrien as he smirks with satisfaction. “What the hell’s wro-“ But Kyle doesn’t get to finish his thought before Adrien punches him hard back into the dirt. He groans and tries to get up, but Adrien starts kicking him and soon enough the other boys join in.

Celine’s heading home, but soon remembers she forgot to give Kyle one of his textbooks back. It’s only been 10 minutes since they split up, so she figures she can still catch him before he gets home. As she reaches the edge of the forest, she sees everyone come out laughing. “Better hurry, little tramp, your boyfriend’s not feeling too good,” says Sydney as they pass her by. She instantly realizes what’s happened and starts running into the woods. She runs as fast as she can until she spots Kyle in the distance, lying on the ground. She drops her backpack and hurries to him. His face is bloody, and he can barely move. She takes him in her arms and tries to talk to him, but he can barely keep his head up. “Kyle, Kyle, are you alright,” asks Celine with a panicked concern. “Let me get your phone, I’m calling your dad.” But Kyle groans and stops her. “No, don’t, I’m fine. It was just a weirdly strong gust of wind, took me by surprise and knocked me on my ass, that’s all. I’m alright.” Celine can’t help but smile for a second as she wonders how he can still joke at a time like this.

They both stay there on the ground for a few minutes until Kyle musters the strength to get up. Celine grabs both their backpacks and walks home with him to make sure he’s alright. As they reach the trailer, Kyle’s dad sees them through the window and comes out to see what happened. “Are… are you alright,” he asks awkwardly. “Yeah, I’m fine. Uh… this is Celine, she’s a friend from school.” They both say hi to each other and walk inside the trailer. Celine’s a bit worried that his dad isn’t more concerned, it’s almost as if this has happened before.

Kyle goes to wash up and Celine is left alone with his dad as he prepares lunch. “Kyle, uh, he hasn’t mentioned you before,” he says. “Oh, I’m new here, I’m… I was recently adopted and just started school here.” Kyle’s dad nods. “Do you… do you want to stay for lunch?” Celine was about to politely decline, but Kyle steps in and agrees for her. “She does, absolutely.” Celine smiles and nods.

They end up having a nice meal together and Celine talks a lot about her time at the orphanage and how she’s settling into her new life. She gets along well with Kyle’s dad and Kyle barely has room between the two of them to take part in their conversations.

After the meal is over, Celine’s getting ready to leave and Kyle walks her out. “I love your dad, he’s so nice!” He smiles awkwardly. “Yeah, uhm… that was actually pretty uncommon. I don’t think I’ve seen my dad smile in nine years. And I’m pretty sure he spoke today more than he has since mom died. That was… that was really something back there. I’m happy you stayed.” Kyle gets nervous. “I hope you’ll come again sometime, I’d… we’d love to have you… again. For lunch, or… you know. Just… around. You know. If you want.” Kyle blushes and scratches his head as he looks in a different direction. Celine smiles and gently touches his arm.

“I will. Definitely.”

This is one of many short stories I’ve been writing for Teodora’s drawings ever since she said she was bad at writing descriptions for them. I thought I’d enjoy helping her and trying to write something different than I was used to. I’d never collaborated creatively with anyone on anything before Teodora and I love the purpose she’s added to my writing and how she challenges me with each drawing.

It’s been five months to the day since we published the last ‘Found Soul’ and now we’re back at it (with the longest story I’ve written for Teodora so far *wags tail*). The last chapter of this series is actually also the last story I’ve written for Teodora since, due to some… unfortunate events in my life. But now I’m back and working on a lot of stuff (feeling a bit overwhelmed, actually, but in a good way), and I felt bad about not finishing Celine’s story, so here we are. Probably another two or three chapters to go. Teodora doesn’t want me to rush the story, so there will most likely be three more (I’m obedient like that). 🍓

For more wonderful drawings, follow Teodora on Instagram @teoctobart. You can also buy her a coffee on her Ko-fi page.

For more stories, she’s got her own tag here.

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