In a dimly lit street called Real Road, a young girl was jogging that summer night. Her tired eyes watched her feet as they hit the ground again and again as her sneakers dug into her now numb feet. She had been running for an hour and was lost between the beat of drums in her ears, played by a loud iPod, curiously with the name Garryme inscribed on the back. She was nearing home, and for the fourth time, planned to pass it but quite suddenly Garryme stepped out the shadows.
“Shit!” Tia spat, tripping over her feet.
“Guilty conscience?” Garryme laughs, pulling her up as she pulled out her earphones.
“You’re an ass.” Tia retorted “And would you stop doing that ninja shit? You’re gonna give someone a heart attack.”
“Well, isn’t the princess cranky today? Did daddy forget to get you—” Garryme trailed off, noticing Tia’s bloodshot eyes.
“What do you want Garry?”
Garryme starts but hesitates as a dog howls. When he starts again, his tone is serious, “Tia, what are you doing?”
“Alone? At night?”
“Yeah, so what.” That seemed meek to even Tia’s ears.
“Apparently not,” another pause as his face turns grim. “ I think you should go see The Doctor.”
“I’ve seen four different doctors in the last month alone.”
“Not a doctor, The Doctor.” Tia looks into his eyes, which were missing their usual scornfulness, snide deprecation and general Garry-ness that she grew up wary and spiteful of. And only them did she get his meaning.
“Oh, no, no, no. You, big brother, have long ago lost the right to advise me in anything, let alone that.” Tia turned away, ear-bud in hand. It didn’t reach her ear because Garryme had grabbed her wrist. He leaned in as he spoke softly, more softly than she’d ever hear him speak, “I just wanted to warn you, and I never lost that right. You just decided I didn’t deserve it.”
He left and Tia didn’t turn to see him go. Oh man, did she hate her brother. She placed the ear-buds back in her ear, and as what happened whenever one was left alone, doubt entered her mind where self-resolve and now seemingly false bravado left.
‘The Doctor’, as Garry put it, wasn’t so bad. At least The Doctor didn’t kill my pet squirrel Jimdell or grannies in their sleep, Tia thought as she gently touched the engraved name on the iPod.
She checked the time. It was six hours till sunrise, till blessed rest and her tin of aspirin.