Boots

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Where there is burden, there is Boots..

Submitted: January 17, 2015

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Submitted: January 17, 2015

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Boots

James was, in truth, a rather unfinished, undeveloped and unloved little boy who only seemed to be allowed life's barest minimum. At 12, he was concerned that the template for the rest of his life had been written, approved and accepted. He feared that be would be a constant push over, an endless folly for mockery and, ultimately, a footnote in his own pamphlet-thin biography.

It was 1992 and James was in his room playing with toys that he was probably too old for. He liked his room. It was a haven from the shouting, swearing and banging that came from downstairs. He knew that leaving this room would cause undue hassle from his husk of a Step Father who was usually in the grip of a fierce hangover and keen for a scapegoat, no matter the age or gender.

Simon was a real piece of shit. A flaccid excuse for a man, uselessly flapping in life's breeze. He had made poor decisions since birth and, by the time he was the age of his stepson, he was completely off the rails and in the thicket of disappointment. To him, James was a pale, pathetic reminder of a childhood that was filled with bitterness and unrequited, parental love. On being awful, he had learned from the very best.

James liked the games he played. He liked the vast worlds he could go to. Worlds in which he could be of use; saving planets, people and beautiful girls that would never exist in his life. He became lost in these bedroom broadcasts and these tall tales of daring do. This was all he really had to keep his already flagging spirits up.

Oh, and Boots of course.

Boots was just there and he had been there for a while. He first noticed him when things between his Mother and Simon got really, really bad. When the shouting turned to smashing and James was hiding under his duvet, Boots was there behind the curtain.

James did not dare tell his Mother and Simon about Boots. He feared it would worry his Mother and irk his Step Father. He kept it to himself, despite his fear of who, or what, this late night visitor was.
One time, when Boots was behind the curtain, James tried to take a picture of Boots with a Polaroid camera. After shaking the picture as instructed, he was greeted with the rather boring image of his bedroom curtains, with no feet visible. However, as he tossed the useless picture aside, there he was standing behind the curtain with his heavy, battered boots peaking out as plain as anything.

Boots, like the arguments, remained a constant. James was less scared of this figure than of his guardians. In a strange way, the presence of this being was almost soothing. He found that, after nights of keeping his eyes on Boots, he was sleeping with his back to him.

On the day of his 13th birthday, his Mother had made it her mission to give her son a day to remember. Simon was out and this made everything seem that much nicer. His Mother made James a cake, a castle, which he absolutely adored. She had also purchased some fantasy books with money rescued from one of her husbands heavy drinking sessions. James was delighted and kept informing his Mother of that. This was something new for the both of them. When James blew out his candles, he made a wish that it could be like this every day.

The fun and games came to a crashing end when Simon, steaming drunk, returned home. He had an axe to grind for reasons his wife or stepson could not understand. Basically, it meant that things were to return to normal.
Simon, spying the cake, grabbed a fist full of the chocolate castle and devoured it messily before he sank another beer. James was visibly upset and found himself vocalizing his annoyance.

Simon, can in hand, threw it aside and made a beeline for the boy. He chased James into the living room with his wife screaming behind him. Simon caught James and threw him to the ground as hard as he could. James saw his Mother try to hold off the monster but Simon shoved her away. He was more aggressive than ever and James knew that this would be a sweet and sour day and one that he would never forget.

Simon slapped the boy a little, holding his wrists with his free hand. Simon was taunting the lad, wishing him a happy birthday as he reddened the boys cheeks a little more. James closed his eyes and heard his Mother screaming again. He felt the grip loosen followed by a horrible thud. His Mother instantly fell silent.

James looked up to see his Mother on the floor, not moving. Angry, he tried to wriggle free but that only seemed to give Simon license to slap and shout some more.

James closed his eyes again, refusing to look. Simon called him all sorts of cruel and unfair things. James just wanted this whole thing to stop.

Then, he heard Simon say: "Who are you?"

James opened his eyes to see Simon looking past him.

James tried to turn to see what Simon was looking at but was not able to until Simon started to stand up. The boy was able to roll onto his stomach, flipping his world back to a more natural view. It was then that he saw Simon approaching the long, red curtains of the living room with both fists clenched.

James moved over to his Mother to check on her. She was moaning. He heard her apologise to him. It was then that he saw those well-worn boots sticking out from under the curtains. He held his Mother close as he watched the events unfold.

Simon threw back the curtain to find no one behind it. As he turned, confused, James almost felt a ripple of pity. As the curtain returned to its position, he met Simon's gaze. He looked lost.

Then, two dark arms reached out from behind the curtain and pulled Simon behind the thick fabric. He heard a unholy yell before Simon vanished and the curtain was once again still.

In the months that followed, Simon and his Mother would only mention what happened in passing. Their lives were normal and the house seemed brighter and warmer somehow.


 


© Copyright 2020 Christopher David Bate. All rights reserved.

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