As the wind grew strong

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Sometimes we assume what we don't know. Sometimes our words have more meaning then we see.

Submitted: November 21, 2017

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Submitted: November 21, 2017

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AS THE WIND GREW STRONG

Natalie Peters was just an average everyday angelic 11 year old girl. She loved her family, her friends and especially her best friend Milo, a 3 year Golden Retriever who she rescued no more then a year ago.

Every day was similar to the last. She went to school, volunteered as a crossing walk guard, went home, did her homework, played scrabble with her family and went to sleep with Milo at her side. Nothing was out of the ordinary. 

One day, on a rather breezy summer afternoon, Natalie was leaving her post as crossing guard like usual.

A loud rumbling noise crept up behind her. Natalie cautiously turned her head to see what the noise was as old man Cracker rolled on by in his fainted brown colored station wagon. The car had paint chips peeling off, residue from stickers placed on the bumper. The car sounded like a tank from the first world war, tires slapping the pavement with every roll. Yet, Natalie has quite the soft spot for the old man. While most were frightened of him, Natalie often thought he was misjudged and misunderstood. The sound of his vehicle never bothered her. It had been sort of a familiar comfort.

Occasionally she would be woken by the beaming reflection of old man Cracker's bedroom light shinning through her bedroom. And every night she would watch as he sat at the edge of his bed staring at a picture of his deceased wife, sobbing extensively. Still, she had steered clear of the old man often when their eyes met outside. Often joinging in on mocking him with her friends. She always felt bad but never corrected them because she worried of her own riducule.

Natalie walked back to the school to turn in her crossing guard utilities.

Natalie smiled as she walked into the classroom, spotting Mrs. Fields sitting at her desk grading papers as usual.

"You get home safe now ya hear," Mrs. Fields instructed.

"Eye-eye," Natalie responded, saluting Mrs. Fields as she did so.

LATER...

The wind was brisk. Pushing past Natalie at speeds beyond tolerable. She gripped her coat with all her might. Leaves clung to her legs, practically rendering her unable to move.

"Geez, where did this wind come from?" she thought to herself.

The wind grew stronger. Natalie was barely able to make out where she was.

Suddenly, in the blink of an eye. There was that retched slapping on the pavement. Natalie was frozen with fear. A bitter chill overcame her as she slowly turned her face away from the brutal wind. There he was. Old man Cracker. How could it be that in a wind storm like this, no one in sight and yet old man Cracker came forth down the street like there was no worry about the nature of the weather.

Natalie looked for a brief moment. She turned her back on the vehicle as it crept up beside her. She feared too much to look. She waited for the car to leave but it didn't. It just stayed along the same pace as her.

"Hey!" a faint Mr. Cracker called out.

Natalie ignored it. She felt uneasy giving in. Even though she had talked to Mr. Cracker several times.

"Hey Natalie!" Mr. Cracker called out again. This time stopping the car along side her.

Natalie gazed behind her for a moment. Thinking wether she should go back to the car or just keep walking.

After a brief moment, she decided to walk to the car. As she did so, she smelled the very faint scent of a cigar. A smell that Natalie had grown rather fond of while spending time with old man Cracker.

"What are you doing out here?" old man Cracker asked, obviously concerned for Natalie's safety.

"I'm on my way home," Natalie replied with urgency in her voice.

"Hop in kiddo. I'll give you a ride," old man Cracker said to Natalie, ushing her to get in out of the cold.

Natalie worried for a moment. Unsure if that was a good idea. Lately she hadn't felt comfortable around old man Cracker. He had become like a shadowy figure who only moved around at night.

She pondered for a moment. 

"Okay," Natalie spoke worriedly. Grasping her backpack straps as the wind grew stronger.

Natalie opened the passenger side door. It echoed the streets with it's creaky hinges as she opened it to get in. 

She slid in cautiously, shutting it behind her swiftly. 

Old man Cracker shifted the vehicle into drive and they took off. 

Natalie kept herself tightly against the door, as if in case she has to jump out of the car. Old man Cracker peered over. He could tell she was uncomfortable. He thought he should lighten the mood.

"Ya know a young girl like you shouldn't be walking home alone this time of day," old man Cracker assured her.

"Oh yeah. Why-why do you say that?" Natalie answered nervously,slipping further into the seat.

"It's not safe. There are things in this world that aren't safe for a little girl like you," old man Cracker told her, in a deep and menacing tone.

Natalie slid her eye over to him. Shaking, she gripped the door handle more.

"What did he mean by that?" she thought to herself. 

"What sort of things?" Natalie asked, shuttering through every word.

Old man Cracker slowed the car, peering over at Natalie sternly. His eyes pierced through her instantly.

"Natalie," old man Cracker said gravely. "There are many things you don't know. Many things that lurk in the shadows," old man Cracker told inching closer and closer to her.

Natalie pushed against the door. Fear over came her. Chills ran down her spine.

SUDDENLY!

Old man Cracker burst into a laughter. His wheezing pitching higher then the brutal wind. He clutched his stomach tightly.

Natalie instantly was met with confusion. She looked around shocked by old man Cracker's laughter.

"What's so funny?" Natalie asked, with much confusion.

After he was able to regain his breathe.

"I'm sorry-I'm sorry. It's just," old man Cracker trailed off.

"What?" Natalie asked urgently.

"I know what you think of me. I know what the kids think of me," old man Cracker stated.

An overwhelming sadness stunned Natalie. She tried to hide her knowledge of what he claims.

"What-what uh do you mean?", Natalie stuttered. Trying hard not to look old man Cracker directly in the eye.

"I know how people look at me. The crazy old man next door," old man Cracker explained. "I know what I look like."

Natalie's eyes welled up profusely. She had recalled the times she as well ridiculed and made fun of the old man. She had tried to muscle up the courage to apologize but hadn't found the words. 

Old man Cracker continued onward home.

As they pulled into old man Cracker's drive way, the wind had become stronger. Natalie gazed around the neighborhood. The streets covered with fallen leaves. Not a soul in sight. 

Natalie barely had the strength to look over at old man Cracker. Instead she spied at her front door. Thinking she should just escape the car and sprint to her house. But, something inside held her still.

Old man Cracker sat there silent as well. He took his keys out of his ignition and jumbled them in his hand unsure of what to do next.

After a moment of still silence.

Old man Cracker peers over slowly at Natalie. He looks for a moment, then slumps his head into his chest, feeling guilt for saying what he said.

Natalie peered over while he wasn't looking. Wiping the tears from her face. 

"Happy Thanksgiving Natalie," whispered old man Cracker.

The old man exited his car, closing his door behind him.

Natalie watched the old man make his way inside his home, alone. She sat there, alone. Pondering to herself about how she had treated the old man who had just taken her out of the cold out of the goodness of his heart.

THE END.


© Copyright 2018 Griff D. Con. All rights reserved.

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