Control

By Jacob Hengen

            The black, heavy clouds covered the sky for weeks. Each day, it looked like it would rain, but none came. But today, it looked like the clouds were ready to release their downpour.

Dragging his chain along the sidewalk behind him, Will walked up the path to his house. He lived in a small old home located at the edge of town. Looking up at the dark, cloudy afternoon sky, he said to himself, “Is it ever going to rain?” Will opened the door, and the familiar musty smell filled the house. Wiping his shoes on the carpet, he sighed deeply.

Making sure the chain didn’t get caught in the door, Will wrapped his arm around the chain and pulled. The rest of the chain came inside. For the past four months, the chain connected to Will’s arm, and had no idea how. He just woke up one morning to have a chain connected to his left wrist. The chain was only a few links long and the other high schoolers couldn’t see it, meaning it was invisible to everyone but Will.

Closing the door, he turned around and saw his mom cooking something in a large pot. She had a ladle in one hand, stirring something in the pot. She looked up from the stove to Will and smiled.

 “Hi Will!” she said. “How was school today?”

“Just like any other day,” Will said. “Lots of schoolwork and useless information.” He took off his shoes and walked into the kitchen. Will’s chain suddenly increased its weight, making him stagger a little. It rumbled along the wooden floor behind him as he entered the kitchen.

“It’s almost time to eat, so sit yourself down and we can talk about it,” Will’s mom said. She got out a bowl from the cupboard above began to pour some soup with the ladle.

Will gulped and sat down at the small round wooden table. The table has many small pen and pencil marks from when he would do schoolwork. Will’s mom walked over with a bowl of steaming tomato soup with a spoon and placed it in front of Will. He didn’t like tomato soup because his stomach would get upset.  Will’s mom pulled out a chair and sat across from him.

“Go ahead and eat and tell me about your day,” said Will’s mom. Her eyes were peering into his.

Will stared at the soup. The window next to them let in a cool breeze, making the steam from the soup dance. There was a sudden tug on Will’s chain, making Will snap out of his fazed state.

“What’s wrong?” Will’s mom asked. “Did something bad happen at school?”

Will looked up at his mom. He clenched his fist around the chain so hard that it felt like he could bend it. Will took in a deep breath, and said, “Yes, something bad is happening at school.”

Will’s mom sat up and looked at him with a curious look. “Really? What’s happening at school?”

Relaxed, Will said, “I don’t think I’m liking the classes you chose for me.”

            Will’s mom then closed her eyes and sighed deeply. “Now Will, you know why I chose your classes.”

            “I actually don’t know why,” Will said. He stood up and held up his arm that had his chain connected. “And I don’t know if you can see this, but this chain was placed on me four months ago. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to do what I wanted, like hang out with friends or even think my mind!”

            “Don’t talk back to me, young man. I am still your mother.”

            “A mother who doesn’t know that her son doesn’t like tomato soup.”

            Will’s mom then yanked her hand. His chain got heavy and he dropped to the floor. She then stood up and walked over to Will. In her hand was a chain that was several links long. Then she pulled up on the chain, bringing Will’s chain up and making him hang in front of her. Will’s mom’s face was serious.

            “The reason you had for why I placed this chain on you is exactly correct,” she started. “I chose your classes so that one day you can become successful, like a doctor, and pull me out of this shack. I didn’t want you to get distracted from classes, so I placed the chain on you.” She then lowered Will to the ground, letting him stand. He rubbed his shoulder from the pain. “Now, do you understand the dream I have for you?”

            Will then looked up at his mom. “But what about my dreams?”

            “Irrelevant,” she answered immediately. “Your dream to become a musician won’t be able to support my future.”

            Will stared at her for a moment. “So, you’re just going to decide for me from now on?” he asked.

            Will’s mom nodded. “Thanks to this.” She held up the chain, somehow connected to Will’s. “As long as this chain connects us, I have full control over your decisions.”

            Will looked at her, then looked at the chain. He then started wrapping the chain around his arm.

            “What are you doing?” Will’s mom asked. Will then suddenly flung the chain around her head, and pulled hard, bringing down his mother to the ground. Her head hit the floorboard first, making a loud thud, knocking her out cold.

            “Sorry,” Will said. “But this is the best for both of us.” He then took the chain out from her grasp and held it in both hands. He now had full control of his chain.

            Will grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote down that he was going to go stay at a friend’s house and to contact him when she finally comes to her senses. He placed the folded note in the hand and walked to the front door. Will put on his shoes and backpack and opened the door. It finally started to rain.

Jacob Hengen has lived all over the country. From Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Alaska. Now, he lives in Orlando, Florida, and is currently studying creative writing at Full Sail University. Follow him on Twitter @HengenJacob

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