Life can change so fast. It can go from good, to awesome, to downright terrifying in a blink of an eye. I discovered this one typical Friday afternoon--well, perhaps not so typical, we were after all, planning a week long theme park extravaganza.
Hi. My name's Frankie. Today's my birthday. The big four-oh. I don't feel 40, I actually feel much older. I know it sounds crazy, but I've come to a place in my life--a crossroads, if you will--where I must now consider the possibility that things in my past may not be as I remember them. Least that's what the doc says. But what the hell does he know?
Perhaps if you write it out, he says, maybe the pain will subside. ...Subside? I think he's the crazy nut-job. Nonetheless, here I am, about to relive the most terrifying moments of my life, and all in the name of psycho-science.
The story you're about to read took place a very long time ago. I was fifteen then. I believe the year was 1981.
I got off the dreaded "SPED" bus (that's what all the normal kids would call it, you know, the short bus) at 3:15, grabbed the bag of chips from the counter and the French-onion dip from the fridge, and B-lined for the Commodore 64, in the game room dad finished just before the accident.
My older brother, Matt arrived home shortly after 4:00 that day. With that typical smirk plastered on his face he reminded me of the initiation party he had planned for that evening, then bounded up the stairs. I can't tell you why he still lived with us; at nineteen years old, and after quitting high school, I would have kicked his sorry ass out months ago, but mom was such a pushover, at least with Matt. I couldn't get away with shit.
"We're going to Disneyland tomorrow," I said, "why the hell are you still planning that stupid initiation?"
"You better be ready," he shouted, "that's all I can say, you better be ready." Then disappeared--his voice fading into the dark confines of his secret lair. A place off limits, even to mom.
5:00 is when mom finally showed. She worked as a nurse at the Chester Retirement Home, in the next town over. She always worked long hours, we were used to it. But today the wear-n-tear of a long day was more visible than I can recall ever seeing before. This didn't seem to matter. All of us--Me, my nine-year-old sister, Sarah, even Matt--ran toward the kitchen to meet her (pamphlets in her right hand, keys in the other, a bottle of Coke tucked under her arm). Matt nearly fell down the stairs trying to make it before I could. He always had to be first.
It was time to discuss the trip. It had been so cold that year. We were so ready to get out of there. Fall had rushed in with a vengeance. The trees where quickly raped of their leaves and the ground seemed to freeze into a crystaly, yet lifeless shade of grey. No snow yet, but it was coming. I had never known any of us (Matt included, and he was a football player) to huddle like that for anyone, or anything.
The pictures on those pamphlets were of Disneyland. None of us had even been there. And even Matt seemed thrilled. Genuinely so. We talked, laughed, sang--yes, sang. We sang about how excited we were. My baby sister loved to sing. Sarah would sing about anything. But that day we all sang; sang about going to Anaheim; sang about going to Disneyland.
At 7:30 we were all in bed, bags packed, ready to go.
By 9:00 I was running for my life down a long pitch-black corridor, from what, I had no clue, but it wasn't natural, that I know. And the look in its eyes ... Hunger ... Starvation.