Vestige

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: June 08, 2019

Reads: 94

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Submitted: June 08, 2019

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1.

 

My name is Ryan Elliott. Pretty ordinary name, I know, but that’s me. An ordinary guy. I am average in about every way you could imagine. I am about six feet tall and have a few extra pounds on me, but I am in relatively good shape. Fairly good looking, but not exceptional. I make decent money, but I am far from rich. I am of the Jack of all trades variety, no particular talents, but I have a knack for picking things up quickly and doing well at most things I attempt. That was pretty much my life, up until a year ago.

Around a year ago, that is when my average, ordinary life changed. The change came on a May night, around nine o’clock at night in a little town in New Hampshire.

It had been a good day. I was working for a small company called Ebermann’s construction. They were a family owned construction company, run by Dave Ebermann. After finishing up that afternoon, Dave took the crew out for beers and dinner at Molly’s, a little hole in the wall bar. We had finished up a big job and despite some major setbacks, we did it on schedule. Tension on the site had been high the last week, but now the beers were going down easy and bar was full of laughter and good natured ribbing. It had been a good day.

 

I walked home to my small bachelor’s apartment. Climbed up the stairs and had just put the key in the lock, when I heard the phone ringing. Rushing in, I found I was a little unsteady on my feet, clipping the doorway into the kitchen. Five beers didn’t normally have that much of an affect on me, but tonight it had.

“Yeah, it’s Ryan” I said into the cordless, swaying slightly.

“Ryan...it’s me, Jenna.” Her voice was hesitant and troubled. That was all it took to sober me up.

“Jenna, what’s wrong?” I asked.

She let out a soft laugh, and I felt the tension ease up through my body.

“Two states away and you read me like a book. Somethings never change. And how does a person in this day and age, live without a cell phone? Can you please explain that to me?”

“You know me, I am an old fashioned kinda guy. Jenna what’s going on? I haven’t heard from you in two years.”

“Ryan I am so sorry, but I need you, can you come, please?” She hadn’t said a word about what was going on. Not a hint at what was happening to make her sound so scared, so desperate. Yet at that moment, I began preparing to leave. I would call Dave and tell him I would not be coming back to work. I would drop my key off to Betty downstairs, who had rented the apartment out to me. I would tell her to sell my furniture and keep the security deposit for the trouble. There was no lease. I have never committed to staying anywhere for very long so that would not be an issue. I could throw my clothes in two bags and be out the door in an hour.

“I am coming Jenna. Let me make a call or two, and pack some stuff. I’ll be there in about five hours.”

She let out a shaky sigh and whispered “Ryan, thank you. I am sorry to do this to you.”

“Keep a light on, I should be there about two o’clock, is that alright?”

“Yes. I never meant to disrupt your life.” She was crying again. I could see her so clearly in my mind. Her brown eyes full of tears. Eyes that I hadn’t looked into in so long, but that crept into my dreams nightly.

“Don’t be silly, sweet girl, you are my life” I said and hung up the phone. Of course I was going. It was Jenna. I had been in love with that girl since age six.

 

I made my calls and packed up my clothes. I took one last look at the place I had called home for the last eight months, knowing I would never be coming back here. Not much for Betty to sell, but she could always rent it out partially furnished. I lived and traveled light, and never stayed anywhere more than a year, so moving on was never a challenge for me. Of course this time I would be going home, my real home. Not just to the place I grew up, but to her.

Betty was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. She looked worried and began fussing at once. She had a large paper bag she handed to me and then wrapped her arms around me.

“You be careful driving so late at night. There are sandwiches in there, a thermos of coffee and some banana bread all sliced up. You be sure to pull over if you feel tired, Ryan.”

“Thank you Betty. I am sorry to leave you like this, but i have to get home right away.” I hadn’t told her much, just that I got a call from home and had to leave. I took the bag she handed me with a smile. “You have always taken care of me.”

She teared up a little but smiled. “Go on now, and be careful.”

 

That was it. In less than an hour, I was on my way and my ordinary, average life was over. Traffic was light and I had hours to speculate about what might have prompted the call, but mostly I just thought of her.

 

Jenna had lived down the road from the house I grew up in. Not the girl next door, but very close. The first day I saw her she was in a yellow sun dress, riding a pink bicycle with silver streamers on her handlebars. The term “riding” may be a little too generous, because a minute after I first saw her, she went wobbling off the sidewalk and crashed into a tree. I had run to her and helped her disentangle from the bike. She had a long scrape up her leg and her elbow was bleeding, but she looked up at me, with those beautiful brown eyes, and began giggling uncontrollably.

From that day on, I made a point to find any excuse to walk down my street. I would offer to run down Charlie’s mini mart and grab things for my mom. I started asking older neighbors near her house, if they needed help with raking or cleaning up their yards. I was willing to do anything that put me in sight of Jenna Landon.

It was just after two in the morning when I pulled into my hometown of Serenity Point, New York. The steep and twisting road down through the gorge could be treacherous at night, but found  I remembered each hairpin turn as if it were only yesterday. The road leveled out as I crossed Harris street bridge into the main part of town. Nostalgia rushed over me in a wave. The amber street lights illuminating the old skating rink and Miller’s Hardware. Mort’s Auto Body shop now featured a sign reading “Frank’s Auto”. I turned onto Jones Street passing the house I grew up in, but I barely gave it a glance, my attention was up ahead on the Landon house. The porch light was on, and I could see her on the porch swing, wrapped in a blanket, looking up the road at my headlights. Years melted away in that instant. Years apart, years of not hearing her voice, years of dreaming about her, and years of other lives and other paths we were on. I was home.

I left my bags in the car and went to her. She met me on the top step and fell into my arms. She was shaking. I held her tight, my lips in her hair whispering “I’m here. It’s okay, I’m here”. She began to sob.

“This is crazy, I’m sorry. I never should have made you come. I tried catching you before you left to tell you not to come. I never should have asked this of you. If you just had a damn cell phone, I tried calling you back.” She was rattling on when I pulled her close and pressed my lips to hers. She gasped and pulled back, looking around at the deserted street. Not the reaction I was hoping for.

“Come inside.” She took my hand and led me through the front door. I breathed deeply, taking in the old familiar scent. In the entry hall, she turned into the living room. The lights were on in here as well. She kept ahold of my hand as we sat on the couch. I tried to keep myself from doing it, but I found my eyes wandering the doorway in the back of the room. I quickly looked back to her, but the gesture was not missed. She looked from me to the doorway, just staring at it and taking long deep breaths.

“Tell me.” I said, reaching my hand up to her cheek and turning her from facing the doorway.

“I don’t know what to say, Ryan. I know that sounds insane, but I don’t even know how to say it. I don’t talk about this. I never have talked about any of it, exceptwith…...with him.” She turned back to the doorway. My eyes slid back to that old oak door in the back of the house. I wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling in that moment. There had been a rush at seeing her, at being back in this house, and the feeling of her hand in mine. Looking at that door however, was like having the scab of a wound that you thought had healed, ripped off unexpectedly.

“Just tell me.” I said, my voice a little colder than I had meant for it to sound.

She took a deep breath, and then began.

"He told me we shouldn’t ever talk to anyone about this. I am all alone though, Ryan. Everything that has been happening….I am just so scared and so alone.” She began, and for the next two hours she talked. I just let her. I took in every word as she unburdened herself. I had no way of knowing that after that night, my life would be forever changed. I only knew that as she talked, she seemed to get better. Like expressing a poison from inside her, as she confided in me. No, I had no way of knowing that as that poison flowed out of her, I was siphoning it into myself.

 
 
 
 


© Copyright 2019 Taryn M. Taylor. All rights reserved.

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