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

Baxter's strained relationship with his father and a secret he's tried to live with, as well as avoid, is brought to light when he is summoned home for the holidays.


By Brandon Everett


The white flurries of fresh snow began to fall slowly to the ground as the setting sun began its Houdini act behind the western hills of Lansing, MI. The luring orange glow of the sun beamed through the low cloud cover and over the powdery dunes, as if it beckoned the people of earth to look upon its vast beauty as it slowly descended. Look, it would say, and see the rays that lit your day. See as they fall behind the mountains. Fear not, for I shall rest from my labors for a time, but I shall return. Stop and see! Sadly, no one saw. The hustle and bustle of human life continued to run rampant on this cold and bitter night. Then, almost without warning, the gorgeous reds and oranges of the day's end melted into an overbearing blue and solitary black. The darkness of night began its watch over the world as the loneliness of the sentinel moon looked down on the people of Terminal 2.

The airport was considerably more crowded than usual. It was late December and the holiday rush was ever so present. Just outside the entrance to Terminal 2 sat Baxter; his rear-end was numb from the long flight and now seemed frozen to the cement bench in which he sat. His luggage, a large brown suitcase he had gotten from his dad as a ridiculous birthday gift a few years back, sat next to him collecting a thin layer of snow on the top and handle. He sat still; as a matter of fact, as far as he could see, he was the only thing not moving. His droopy brown eyes watched as the various families and business folk scurried about, either inside the airport or out to the loading curb to catch a cab or fellow loved one tasked to pick them up. The dull-yellow walkway lights stared down at him, causing his already pounding head to increase the level of pain. He fiddled around the assorted pockets of his over-sized winter coat until he found his sunglasses. He quickly put them on, deflecting the monotony of the lights as well as the chaos around him.

He had never ventured outside of his home in California, nor did he want to. He was perfectly content spending another Christmas alone in his small one-bedroom apartment with a large deep dish pepperoni pizza from Tony's and a twelve pack of Dr. Pepper. His large, green recliner, the home of many of his mid-day naps, beckoned to him as he sat cold and numb on the cement bench.

"What I wouldn’t give to be home right now," he said out loud with a shudder. And he would have been, had his father not called him.

His mental tirade was broken when a tall, red-haired woman came crashing down about three feet beside him. He instantly recognized her. She had sat in the aisle seat in the adjacent row to his on the plane from Chicago to Lansing. She was reading a book, the title of which escaped his mind. Her fair complexion and tight figure was both aesthetically pleasing as it was distracting. Maybe I should help her, he thought. Then, as if nothing had even happened, she picked herself up, brushed the snow off and continued on her way, suitcase in hand. Oh, nice. Guess I don’t have to.

"That was a hell of a fall," he said to himself with a chuckle as he watched her rush away. Then, mid chuckle, he turned to where she had fallen and noticed a small, blue pouch. Huh, probably her wallet, he thought. Maybe I should pick it up and take it to her. Before he could finish his thought, a young man noticed the wallet as well and picked it up. Oh, nice. Guess I don’t have to. After taking the cash and credit cards, the young man tossed the wallet in the gutter, where the bustling traffic of people proceeded to kick it down the road. Then, almost unexpectedly, she re-appeared, frantically looking back and forth around the area she had fallen. He knew exactly what she was looking for. He could've easily informed her of the criminal act performed on her precious wallet and direct her towards its probable location, but instead he turned his attention in the other direction, towards the heavy flow of traffic coming from the airport.

Families stood out in the cold, huddled together as they waited for whatever means of transportation would take them away. Suddenly, Baxter's father Mel came to mind. Bah-humbug, he thought. What a complete waste of time. This is a complete waste of time! I mean, what does he expect to gain from me coming? The conversation with his father a week previous suddenly became open and visceral in his mind. It had been about three years since Baxter had talked to his father. Five years previous to that was the last time he even saw him. The sound of his father's thunderous voice, that day eight years ago, as he exclaimed that he never wanted to see his son again, rang in the background of Baxter's mind as he recounted the most recent and even more disturbing conversation.

Where the hell is he?! He drags me half way across the country and then leaves me here to freeze to death. What an ass. It was then that the all-too familiar navy blue Ford Aerostar mini van pulled up to the white curb, snow sputtering off of the back of the tires. Figures, he thought. The passenger side window rolled down and a gruff, white-haired man leaned down into Baxter's view.

"Well?" the old man's thunderous voice bellowed. "You just gonna sit there or what?"

You have got to be kidding me, Baxter thought as he continued to sit motionless; his eyes fixated on his father's face.

"Let's go! Everybody's waitin'!" yelled his father once again.

Baxter took off his sunglasses and slowly stood from his perch. He could feel blood begin to reacquaint itself with his rear-end and legs. It took a moment, but he was able to regain enough feeling to move. Well, here goes nothing. He grabbed his suitcase and slowly made his way towards the van.

Before he knew it, Baxter was sitting in the passenger seat, thawing his icicle fingers and trying desperately not to look at the man sitting next to him. After exchanging awkward pleasantries at the airport, they sat in silence for the first ten minutes of the drive. It was his father that eventually broke the silence.

"Bax, I want to--"

"Don’t call me that, my name is Baxter."

"I know what your name is--"

"Then say it right, Mel."

Baxter turned and looked out the window. The snow-covered trees on I-96 whirred by in a dark blur. He closed his eyes, and slowly inhaled. The heat from the vents poured over him; he had regained full feeing in his body and was at least happy for that.

"Look," Mel said softly; a hint of sorrow seemed to trail off of his lips. "We've got a long drive ahead of us. I know you've had a long day already, but this would go a lot smoother if you would just be a bit more personable."

"What's that suppose to mean?" asked Baxter; his arms folded, and his gaze still out the window.

"C'mon Baxter, its Christmas," Mel said with a tone that mimicked sympathy. "I asked you out here because it's important to be with family on Christmas."

"Don't give me that," Baxter snapped. "You don’t really think I actually bought that 'we-all-miss-you', 'kumbaya' shit did you?"

"It got you out here didn’t it?" Mel replied as his right hand reached for the gear shift and dropped the van into low-gear.

A moment passed away in silence. The lights from the on-coming traffic flickered through the thick blanket of snow flurries. Baxter slowly looked from the passenger side window out towards the front of the van. He's right, Baxter thought as his face succumbed to a scowl. How did I fall for this? That sly bastard. After a few more moments had past, Baxter turned towards Mel for the first time in the entire drive.

"So, how's Jenna the step-whore?" he asked sarcastically.

"Not good," replied Mel after a short pause. "Her cancer has spread. She may not make it through the winter."

Mel's wrinkled lips quivered as his eyes began to water. Baxter stared in bewilderment, as if the act of someone shedding a tear was a new-found experience for him. In the case of Mel, it practically was. Mel was a bottle. The only emotion that Baxter ever equated his father with was anger, usually spawned from the harsh criticisms he'd throw in Baxter's direction. Contemplating that thought, Baxter found himself down memory lane at his father's old house in Santa Barbara. As he stormed away from a failed attempt at getting some rent money, Mel's booming voice bellowed across the yard and in turn, across Baxter's mind. You're nothing! You'll always be nothing! No son of mine would shit their life away!

Now, Mel's bottle appeared cracked and Baxter was completely lost. Not the reaction I was expecting, he thought. After a moment he decided the best thing to do was to look away.

"That's a bummer," Baxter finally said coldly. "Have you gotten a second opinion? What did the doctor's say?"

"Doctor's can't help her," Mel said as he strived to regain his composure. "But you can."

Then, as if all the air was pushed from his lungs, Baxter bent forward and coughed for air. He turned and locked his gaze on Mel, who while wiping his face from the tears and spittle, failed to make an attempt at eye contact.

"Wait, what?" said Baxter, shocked.

"You're gift. Y--you can heal her."

"Ah. And there it is," Baxter said with a sadistic chuckle as he threw his hands up in disgust. His heart began to race. "You son of a bitch. For the past eight years you wanted nothing to do with me. You're freak-show son; banished from your almighty presence until all of a sudden the Mighty Mel needs my help? Tell me, how hard was it really to have to call me?  I bet--"

Mel swerved off of the road and onto the shoulder, skidding in the snow and eventually coming to a complete stop. He tried desperately to rip off his seat belt, but he couldn’t get it undone and eventually turned his body towards Baxter. The flame in his eyes could melt the surrounding snow; his hand shook violently as he pointed a bony finger in Baxter's direction.

"Now you listen to me you little shit!" yelled Mel. "I know I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes and by god, I admit you were one of them."

Baxter's body, once over the initial shock of the sudden stop, began to race with adrenaline. The contempt, once bottled, now began to boil.

"But I'll be damned if my mistakes can't actually be of some use!" Mel continued.

"You think I'm gonna help you?!" exclaimed Baxter. "After all of this, you really think I'm going to risk my life for you? For your no-good, two-bit whore of a wife?! Screw you!"

Baxter threw open the van door and leaped out onto the snowy highway shoulder. His suitcase was in the back of the van still, but he didn’t care. He stuck his hands in his pockets and started down the dark and lonely highway back the way they came.

"What an ass!" he yelled, hoping Mel would hear.

The wind began to pick up as it began to bite at Baxter's face. Cars continued to pass by, throwing snow and slush in Baxter's direction. Why the hell did I let myself get fooled into coming here? Never again! I hope that bastard rots in hell!

It was at that moment that the Peterbilt 379 hauling used furniture on I-96 from Battle Creek lost control and began to skid in Baxter's direction. The screech of the rubber on the ice-covered road clawed at Baxter's eardrums. He covered his ears with his snow cover hands as he watched in horror as the trailer of the semi began to fish-tail out to the side of the cab. The on-coming traffic behind the semi stopped as the attentive drivers noticed the impending calamity. The first car the truck hit was a red sedan. The woman driving was killed on impact. The collision with the sedan didn’t slow the truck down. It did however alter its trajectory. It began to slide off towards the right hand shoulder and towards a stopped blue Aerostar van.

"Oh no, Mel!" Baxter yelled.

He began to race back towards the van, when with a deafening "CRASH!" the semi hit the van and sent it off into the middle of the road. Baxter stopped running as he looked on in awe. His chest went cold and his legs became weak. His eyes were wide open as he placed his hands on the top of his head to help catch his breath. The semi, after it ricocheted the now crunched van into the middle of the street, eventually stopped about ninety yards from where it lost control. After regaining some energy, Baxter raced over to the disheveled vehicle.

"Mel!" he yelled as he made his way towards the wreckage.

He could see a mangled body in the driver's seat. The door on Mel's side was broken completely off and Baxter, against all of the training he had received as a Boy Scout, proceeded to pull Mel's muddled body from the van and eventually it thudded to the ground. Laying him next to the wrecked vehicle, he could see his father struggling to breath. He knelt down next to Mel's body and looked around frantically, as if to see if anybody was watching. Then, he placed his trembling hands on Mel's body and closed his eyes.

Almost instantaneously, Baxter could see in his mind the inner workings of Mel's body. Like looking at an X-Ray, he could tell that there were four broken ribs, that both of his legs were broken, and more importantly that his left lung was punctured. He opened his eyes and pulled his hands, giving them a shake. He looked on at the broken man that lay before him. Mel looked up at his son as he struggled for each and every breath. Baxter closed his eyes and shook his head. Well, here goes nothing.

He placed his hands on Mel's body and pictured in his mind the broken bones and organs. He watched as they slowly reassembled back to their original state, moving on their own as if they knew where to go. The bones gently reconnected and the fractures disappeared; the punctured lung closed itself back up and he could begin to feel the air moving in and out of them with no trouble at all. After everything was put back into place in his mind, Baxter opened his eyes. Mel was still shaking from being in shock, but he was breathing with ease. His legs were no longer mangled but straight and intact. He looked at Baxter with wide eyes as if trying to express what his mouth could not. The sound of an ambulance drifted over the snow-covered highway. The sirens of police cars harmonized as they sped towards the site of the wreckage.

"Hear that Mel? The ambulance is almost here."

Mel began to tear up as he looked upon the man that saved his life.

"You're gonna be alright Mel," Baxter continued as if to not only reassure Mel, but to calm his own nerves.

"You're gonna be alright."

Submitted: December 12, 2013

© Copyright 2021 BrandonEverett. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



This was really good"! I'm kind of shocked that there aren't more comments on this. It was well written and interesting until the end. Of course, I didn't really understand fully how he got his powers, why he hated his step mother, or how he was a mistake to his father. But this was a good story.

Thu, January 9th, 2014 2:12am


Thank you so much for your review :)

Wed, January 8th, 2014 6:17pm


Wow! This is brilliant. You have described everything perfectly, the plot line is intriguing and I really enjoyed reading. You have balanced the descriptions and dialogue very well. I was confused at first about how he got his powers and all, but this was so good :D An amazing flawlessly written short story, I am quite shocked that there aren't any more comments on here. I would however say that this is so good, you should defiantly consider turning this into a novel! Great job! I enjoyed reading :)

Sun, January 19th, 2014 6:52pm


Thank you for your review :)

Sun, January 19th, 2014 2:07pm

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