Justin heard noises.
It took a moment for feeling to come into Justin’s body. He could feel a build up within him that made his head tighten and his body bloat.
Justin got up out of his bed and made his way downstairs. The floor tiles sucked the heat out of him so fast his knees bent. Justin steadied himself.
Looking through the glass of the front door he could see all three cars in the driveway. Dad was in the house.
There was the clink of plates and cutlery coming from behind him. Justin walked down the hallway towards the bright light coming from the kitchen. The intensity of the light caused him to shield his eyes.
When Justin entered the kitchen, he saw Brandi in her dressing gown. She was seated at the counter a bowl of fruit in front of her.
Father came up the stairs from the light room. He was naked, having finished some high-intensity light therapy. Father’s skin pulled tight over his body, it did not betray his age.
“Hey high achiever, there’s some granola and soy milk left out for you,” father said. His deep baritone voice resonated through the kitchen.
“Dad I don’t feel so good,” Justin said walking over to the counter.
“No matter our feelings, it’s no reason to abandon our manners.”
“Sorry sir,” Justin said arriving at the counter.
“While we are talking of sorries I saw that you were looking up properties online. Going, to be honest, it hurt my feelings. Give it another year or two. I want you to think long and hard about what you’re doing before committing to the action. You have everything you need right here”, said father.
“Thank you, sir, but I want to be out by thirty.”
“That’s an arbitrary number that you are ascribing. It doesn’t matter if it’s thirty or forty. House prices are so high, it doesn’t make any sense for you to want to move away. You are always welcome in this house.”
“I know that I am. It’s like I need my own space to be able to develop.”
“OK, I understand that.”
“And I want to come off the blockers,” Justin said. His father looked at him.
“That’s a big decision for us,” father said, placing arms on the counter. Justin noticed father’s veins wrapped tight around bulging muscle.
“It’s not a big decision, I’ve been considering it for a while.”
“This is your mother speaking isn’t it, poisoning you, wanting to develop you,” father said.
“I want to develop, I mean, look at you.”
“You don’t want that. That is the worst thing that you can have happen. I remember puberty. It felt like there was no end in sight. You won’t be able to concentrate on anything. You have the choice of becoming an adult, I’m going to say, don’t. You think I enjoy having to go through everything just to stay normal. This may look good but the cost. You don’t have to go through it. You have a choice, use it wisely.”
“I’d like to experience it,” Justin said. He lowered his head to deepen his voice to give himself more authority.
“Once you go through puberty, there’s no going back. Look we’ll talk about it some other time. You OK, you look peaky.”
“My head is stuffy.”
“You could be early.”
“No, you drained me recently.”
“You and I don’t know when we need to, still not an exact science. Let’s drain you, just to be sure.”
“Let’s leave it, sir, probably a reaction to the antibi’s I’m on.”
“Now son, if you’re under my roof it’s my rules” Father walked around and grabbed his arm.
“Dad put some trousers on”
“My roof, my rules,” Father dragged him downstairs into the light room.
The draining device was towards the back opposite the light box.
Father led him to a chair and strapped Justin in.
“You and I may need to go deeper, some of your veins are receding.”
“Last time was more painful.”
“Oh I know, but my roof” Father checked the settings on the extractor.
“Sir” father said correcting him.
“This will be over before you know it,” Father said and flipped a switch on the control panel. Justin felt the needles enter his body. Justin’s body jerked, but the straps held him in place and then hot electricity shot through him. Justin convulsed the straps of the chair burning.
Father in his haste had forgotten to put in the mouth guard. Justin held his tongue to the back of his mouth to stop himself from gnawing it off.
Between the strobe of his rapid blinks, Justin could make out his father. Concentrated on the control board. Justin saw father’s finger hover over the switch. Justin mouthed the word ‘stop’ foam dripped into his lap.
Father looked up and noticed. He pressed the button. The machine stopped, the needles left Justin’s body. Father ran to Justin, taking his cheeks in his hands.
“My boy, I am so sorry, I didn’t realise,” Father said.
Father put in the mouthguard. He returned to the control panel and turned the machine back on. The needles reentered. Justin’s body spasmed strapped to the chair.
“You know this counts as your daily exercise. All that moving about might be uncomfortable, but you’re getting healthier.” Father said, Justin barely heard him.
Finally, it was over. The amount that came from Justin filled thirty vials.
“Let me try” Father took a sip from a vial. “This is good, you should be proud. You must excuse me, I need to tell this to Brandi”.
Father left, rising as he ascended the stairs. Justin sat there, strapped to the chair, drained, unmoving.
Justin heard noises.