From the Diary of Devon Ladreth
September 7th
I hate writing. Makes my hand tired. And who’s gonna read this shit? I’m not showing this crap to anybody. But my girlfriend says I should—get this—keep a journal. Makes me feel like a girl. But when I told her that, she called me a douche bag. Wouldn’t even accept an apology, until I said I’d do it. And you know what I gotta do every time I write an entry? I gotta snap her. That’s right, she needs real time video proof that I’m doing what I said. So yeah, I’m writing with her watching. It’s kinda… hot… weird… intellectual? I’m dating a smart girl. She’s older than me by a couple of years and I don’t think I measure to her. She’s got college guys to talk to, and it’s not like I’m smart as she is or anything. She talks philosophy, I talk sports.
But she likes me. Says she sees the good in me and it gives her hope for better things. God, I gotta live up to that. But there’s so much I have to do. I want to hit something. There was a punching bag in the gym downstairs… until I broke it. I just… I was working out to my music and I got really into it, you know? In a way I can’t get into it at school or just out where normal people can see me. Huh, guess I don’t have to say normal people anymore. I should say humans. Out where humans can see me.
I read that last part out loud so she could hear it. She smiled at me.
I don’t call myself human anymore. Neither does she. I don’t know when she last did. She’s proud of being half. She doesn’t like the word vulatto though. I hate the word and I hate being half. Alien. Remasian. But I can’t fix it, so I gotta deal with it. But there’s too much to deal with. It’s not just being half, not just being un-human, it’s… the other stuff. I don’t want to write down any “sit around the circle and share your feelings bull”, but…
It’s like there’s a black hole in my gut, eating me up from the inside. Like those commercials for depression, but it’s not depression. I’m just scared shitless. Makes me want to punch through another bag. I think they’re getting a new one. Hope it’s heavier. Didn’t even break my knuckles on that last one, not that it’d matter much. Broken knuckles and fingers heal fast. Broken wrists suck, those take hours instead of minutes.
Swallowing is hard. Eating is harder. The food here’s good, I guess, but I don’t want it most of the time. I just kinda eat to live.
Damn. She made me read my last sentence out loud. She laughed. Called me a corny ass punk. I swallow easier when she laughs at me.
She doesn’t usually talk much when I’m writing. Just makes me read stuff at random to make sure I’m not just pecking keys. But just now she asked how Lyle is. I can’t just tell her fine cuz she’ll know I’m lying.
I never told her everything. God I can’t tell her everything. Can’t even write it here cuz she might ask me to read it. But she knows he’s messed up. And I can’t fix me or him. But if some god let me pick a power I actually wanted, it’d be the ability to take “gifts” away. I’d take away his telepathy and empathy and everything else that hurts him. Wonder what he’d be like without it.
Would I… like him better? I hate thinking that. It’s messed up, right? But hell, if he wasn’t my brother, I would want to murder his face. He’s a total asshole. But he’s my twin brother too and when he talks to me…. It’s been a while since he’s talked to me like he is now… but that’s my own fault. Anyway, when he talks to me, I get it. I know why he’s a jerk. I’d be a jerk too. In fact, I think he’s better than what I’d be, if I had to listen to people think all the time. I know I think dumb shit. Multiply that by infinity and that’s what he hears.
I should’ve been there to help him.
I’m gonna to be there from now on, but if I had that power I was talking about, the one to take powers away… but say I could only use it once. I’d save him over saving myself. Cuz maybe I don’t need saving. I just need to sack up, right?
Yeah, I just read that part to her. She said, Damn straight. Who tells their boyfriend to sack up? She does. She tells me to suck it up too, but to take things one at a time. So, I think about being Lyle’s friend again. Not just his brother, but his friend. And I’m working on it. Then, I think about leaving home.
And I can’t swallow again. I mean come on, it’s not like I’m moving off to college or joining the Peace Corps. I’m leaving the friggin planet, going to live with some dude I don’t remember that’s probably gonna try to act like he’s my dad, cuz he is, but he’s not. He didn’t raise me. I only know what he looks like cuz I saw a picture. Screw him.
Screw this whole thing.
I read that to her. She wants to talk for real now.
I’m done here.

From the Diary of Lawrence Ladreth
7.9.22
Galeo is a punk who likes listening to Britney Spears’ Greatest Hits while screaming over the idea of a One Direction Reunion Tour.
Damn, Galeo hits hard.
Seriously, though, journal entries. I feel like I’m in 7th grade English. English. Blah. I made a lot of A’s. A’s in stuff like AP Anatomy and Physiology and AP Calculus II, but English? In college, science majors only need a year of English credit. God, I wanted to go to college to get it over with. Yeah, I speak English. I write English. I read and understand, but I’d rather do something else. I like taking machines apart, seeing how they work, then making them better. I gotta do something, you know, at all times. Reading stories and plays—meh. Writing papers and journals—MEH.
But somebody got it in their head that we all need therapy because shizz got real. And ugly. And I feel like a douche because my brothers are freaking out, my mom and dad are freaking out, my friends are freaking out, but…
I’m so friggin’ hyped I can’t sleep. I don’t sleep. I think I pass out for a few hours and come to, because I don’t dream. I always remember dreams, and I always dream when I sleep. It’s how I get the best of my ideas. Like when I used my old TMNT tent as a parachute when I skateboarded off that one kid’s roof into his pool. It didn’t work out so well, but I had ideas for tweaks in the hospital. I have a lot of ideas while laying up somewhere. Can’t move, but I can think. I write ideas down all the time.
I could write ideas here. But I’d never look at them again. I’m not gonna read this shizz when I’m done. I gotta write my notes where they’re relevant. On my jeans, on my desk, on the wall. I’ll see it there. Plus, it pisses Mom off to see it there.
Nah, I don’t get off on making her mad. Cause sometimes it’s kinda scary. It’s like, I don’t do scared, but Mom scares me. She scares a lot of people. Dad included.
And you know what? I’m lying. I don’t like to be scared, but it happens. And I’m scared of more than just my mom. I’m scared of what’s out there and stronger than I am right now. I wanna learn. I want to be better.
Which is why I’m stoked as hell to travel off-planet. God, the things I’ll learn. The people I’ll meet. The languages, the culture, the tech toys. I read up on as much as they’ll give me and grin, thinking there’s more. There will always be more. I want to know everything, but I’ll die before I do. But how much can I learn before I kick it?
And powers? My powers? My friggin powers. Didn’t know I had them. When they came out of me, yeah, I almost died and all. But only because I didn’t know what I was doing. People are gonna teach me how to use my powers on purpose. I’m gonna be a superhero. An elemental, a Teen Titan. Hell, I’m a Teen Titan. Gotta tell Jeremy that. He’ll call me a dumbass, but it’s all good.
I’m not scared at all when I think about all that. A super hero. But no cape. No thermals. Hell, I don’t know what I’m supposed to wear. I’ll make it cool, though.
Uh. Damn. Forgot the point of this. Did I have a topic? I hate topics. Hate writing like this. I think 2 pages is enough to pass a psych eval, right? This is a psych eval. I bet it is. Is anyone really gonna read this. I’ll be pissed if they don’t, cause it means there was no point. I mean yeah, I don’t have a point, but they should.
Annoying. Got a message. Gotta go.
Later days. Always wanted to say that!
Crap, just had the best idea ever. Gotta write it down. But not here. Yeah. Bye
Done.

From the Diary of Lyle Ladreth
September 7th
I’m writing because the doctor says I have to. He didn’t say I have to be profound, though. He said write whatever comes to mind. I’m not a writer. I draw. But I’m not an artist. I don’t think I am. A lot of people sketch stuff they see, doesn’t make them artists. So, maybe they’re like me. We aren’t authors, we’re not good with words, so we make pictures.
Are my drawings symbolic? Why would they be? They’re just random crap. Things I see, and sometimes, no, a lot of the time, it’s things other people see. I can’t keep it all out. Gives me a headache to try, so I have to let a little of it in.
The doctor says it’s why I’m going crazy. He didn’t say it like that, but that’s what he meant. He thinks he’s really good at shielding his mind from me, blocking his thoughts. But he’s not. Nobody really is. But he’s not so loud. And I don’t have to hear him, if I don’t want to. That’s what makes him better. Makes everyone in this house better. Visitors aren’t like humans. They keep their thoughts to themselves. I have to touch their minds to hear them.
Humans, their thoughts run all over the place. Crazy. Insane. Loud. ADHD on pixie stix and cotton candy. But the thoughts, the words, feelings, images, they’re not strange. It’s all normal stuff really. Grocery lists. Annoying spouses. Homework. Heartbreak. Bad neighbors. Just mundane running commentary. But try mashing it all together and then cut chunks out of every random sentence.
Pick up laundry at damn dog got bastard went calculus sucks tree in yard milk eggs sugar want to die blouse hole C.S Lewis can potholes again with the music flour butter cheese
That’s what I hear. I can make it quieter, but it doesn’t really go away, unless I…
But I can’t do that anymore.
I want to call her. But she’s gone. What would I even say anyway? Words are useless. I could show her, but I’ll never touch her mind again. Not after how I hurt her. I can’t trust myself. No one should trust me. I don’t know what to do.
Devon wants to talk about it. He wants a lot of things from me lately. He’s so… lost. There’s no other way to put it. He doesn’t know what he’s doing and he thinks that reconnecting with me will help. Reconnecting. He wants to be like we were. He was who I depended on, but he broke that bond. I want…
I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I guess, maybe, I wish we could go back and just be brothers like when we were kids. I have other brothers, older and younger, but he’s my twin. And no, it’s not like TV where there’s this otherworldly, freaky connection between us, but… our relationship was always different. I love Lawrie, and maybe I love Evan too, but Dev… it’s just different. If he disappeared or died, I think I would too. I really think it’d rip me apart, and I’d bleed to death. Even when he’s an asshat and pretending I’m not there because I’m a brother who won’t even try to make people like him… even then. I’d bleed if he died. I’d want to go first.
Wonder if it’s like that for him.
I’m reading this now. Hell, maybe I am profound. Or maybe I’m just good at rambling coherently. Wish I felt coherent. I just feel present. I’m here, but that’s all I am. I take up space in this chair. I’m wasting paper with my words.
Because words are useless.
I should go back to talking about drawing. That’s where I started. But my drawings are stupid. Things I see, things other people see…that I also see, through their eyes. Tire swings. Midnight skies. A brother I don’t know waking up in a foreign place.
Sometimes I shade them. If I’m in the mood, I use color pencils. I prefer them in black and white though. Maybe it’s because I wish the world was black and white. Good, bad… no gray matter in between. No brains. No thoughts.
Just quiet.
But it’s never quiet here. Not in my head. Unless…
But I can’t do that anymore.
That’s what the drugs are for.
The doctor says I have to write every day. He needs to read that I’m not going crazy. Or maybe he needs to read that I am, so he’ll keep giving me medicine.
One page a day. This is a page. Happy, Doc?
Done.

About The Fourth Piece

The Fourth Piece (Order’s Last Play #1)
by E. Ardell
Publisher: 48fourteen
Publication Date: July 8th 2016
Genre: YA Sci-fi/Fantasy

Synopsis

Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war…

Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party. Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option.

In their attempt to save a brother they barely remember, Devon, Lyle and Lawrence expose themselves to mortal danger and inherit a destiny that killed the last four guys cursed with it. In 2022, there are humans and aliens, heroes and monsters, choices and prophecies—and four brothers with the power to choose what’s left when the gods decide they’re through playing games.

Book I in the Order’s Last Play series

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About the Author

Ardell spent her childhood in Houston, Texas, obsessed with anything science fiction, fantastic, paranormal or just plain weird. She loves to write stories that feature young people with extraordinary talents thrown into strange and dangerous situations. She took her obsession to the next level, earning a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern Maine where she specialized in young adult genre fiction. She’s a big kid at heart and loves her job as a teen librarian at Monterey Public Library in Monterey, California, where she voluntarily shuts herself in rooms with hungry hordes of teenagers and runs crazy after-school programs for them. When she’s not working, she’s reading, writing, running writers critique groups, trying to keep up with a blog, and even writing fan fiction as her guilty pleasure.

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