fear shelter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 20, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 20, 2019





That was the one word I had wanted to say all along. The question I had wanted to ask for forever. The statement that had never gotten answered. The phrase that no one brought up. The time was now, so I said it. And I would wait until I was answered.

I walked to school slowly, hoping the school drama and my friends could distract me. School was the same as always. Boring, tiring, dramatic. There aren’t many other ways I can say it. It sucked. As the day passed on, the more exhausted I got. When the day was finally over, I slumped back in my seat, sighing in relief. I packed my bag and headed home. It was a normal day, like any other. But it wasn’t. The sky was green, a shade greener than grass. The sunlight was hidden, and all revealing was the cruel and terrifying calm before the storm. I didn’t think of the green sky while I was walking. It probably meant nothing.

I was walking by Mr. Wilson’s gas station shop, and I heard a clear, booming yell, “Everyone inside! Now!”

There was only one person nearby, and it was the boy from my school, Ethan. He wasn’t my friend. Let’s just say that. Well, he used to be my best friend, but lately, he’s been ignoring me. I ran into the shop, asking Mr. Wilson what was wrong. 

He replies, “There’s a tornado, Abby. An incredibly dangerous one.”

I ran my hands through my hair frantically, “I hope my mom left work early!”

My mom got a degree in chemical engineering and found a great job. But, she was fired because of budget cuts. It wasn’t her fault, it’s just she wasn’t the most important person there. 

Now, she works with blood donations. She wanted to volunteer and help the community, but it's not like anyone cares. It’s not a volunteer job either. It’s her full-time job. She travels in a blood donation truck, visiting schools and malls. 

I was terrified. I wanted her to be safe, so I had to take a deep breath to reassure myself that she was going to be fine. 


I have known Ethan since I was just a baby because our parents had been best friends. We began school together, and the principal had a note that we couldn’t be in the same class anymore. That’s how good of friends we were. We were separated in second grade, and he made new friends. The same went for third grade until he was in my class again in fourth grade. 

Unlike what I expected, things didn’t go back to normal, I was just a girl in his life, not his best friend, just a regular girl. He was still my best friend though, so I tried everything I could to make him want to be my friend again. Nothing worked, so I made new friends and stopped talking to him, ghosting him as he ghosted me. He still looked the same with his sandy blond hair and deep blue eyes, but in a way, he looked different. He still talked to me, but he wasn’t the boy I knew, he was an annoying kid that teased me about my height. 


When Ethan walked in he walked straight towards me, “Nasty weather, isn’t it, Shorty?”

That was my name to him. Shorty. The name everyone calls me now. It’s not really fair that he was the most popular kid in our grade, because everyone laughs at me because of Ethan. 

I rolled my eyes again and in a hard voice replied, “My name is Abby.”

“I know that I’m just joking, Abby.”

“Really. I don’t believe that for one second. You probably already forgot my name.”

“Are you seriously mad? I did nothing wrong.” 

I walked off, flustered.

A loud booming crack echoed through the store, making the building shake. My hands were shaking, my legs and arms were covered in goosebumps, and everything began to feel really cold. 

Mr. Wilson yelled, “Get to the bathroom! Cover your head!”

I run as fast as my legs can carry me into the bathroom, then plop on the floor, covering my head. I heard something on my right, and suddenly there was another body next to mine. I looked up, already knowing what to see. It was Ethan. I groaned and scooted my body farther to the left. That didn’t work, there was another body next to mine on the left, sandwiching me in. I looked up, expecting to see Mr. Wilson, but instead, I saw a man crouched. I jumped back because I wasn’t expecting a man to be crouching there. I scooted back over to my right so I would be closer to Ethan. 

I whispered to Ethan, “We need to get out of here. Right now. And we’re taking Mr. Wilson.”

He laughed, so I put my finger to my lips to tell him to be quiet. 

He then whispered, “What made you say ‘we’? I thought it was all you. Also, what could possibly possess you to want to le-” He got nothing else out. I looked at his gaze to see that he wasn’t looking at me anymore, he was looking at the crouched man on the floor. He seemed as frightened as me because no one had seen that man walk in or enter the bathroom.

He looked down at me with a serious look on his face, “How do we get out of here?”

I grabbed his hand, “First, we get out of the bathroom, then we get Mr. Wilson, then, we,” I didn’t know what to say, I just cut off, “We’ll think of that later. Let’s just focus on getting out of here first.”

As I stood up, the man said, “Where are you going, little girl? Don’t you want to stay? I’ll be lonely without you.” 

I stood paralyzed, unsure of what to do. I backed up slowly until I was next to Ethan who had the same terrified expression that I was wearing. I was glad that I was closer to the door of the bathroom, so I scooted backward, my eyes not leaving the masked figure on the floor, and Ethan reached for the door handle, twisting it open, only to realize that the door had been locked. 

I tried to unlock the door, but my hand was shaking too much. Ethan with a steady hand unlocked the door, and I ran out, shoved a chair under the doorknob to stall the man from getting out. I took a deep, shaky breath, and tried to relax but to no avail. 

Mr. Wilson was pacing back and forth outside the bathroom, probably worried for his own safety since he was locked out of the safest place in the store.

I asked, “Who was that man?” 

Mr. Wilson replied, “Who are you talking about?”

I replied, “You know, the man in the-”

Ethan cut me off, “Is there another store near here that we could take shelter in instead?”

Mr. Wilson shook his head and replied, “No, this is the only store for miles, we can’t leave, especially not in this weather.”

I spotted the phone on Mr. Wilson’s desk, grabbed it, and began to think of people to call. 

I looked up, “Er- Mr. Wilson, could I please use this?”

He shrugged, “Sure, but it’s not like anyone’s going to drive out in this weather.”

I thought of all of the numbers I had memorized. There was one. Ethan’s. Like that would do any good. I wish that I had taken more time to learn my mom’s number. I stuck my hands in my pockets, trying to remember anyone’s number.

Ethan asked, “Why are you taking so long? Just call the police.”

It didn’t occur to me that I could call the police. I dialed 9-1-1 on the phone, and when I picked it up I couldn’t hear anything. 

The phone was dead. 

I said, “The phone is dead.” 

Ethan sighed and repeated, “The phone is dead. We need help. Right now.”

I replied, “You try and get help.”

He replied, “You’re right, we need to be patient.”

Just as he said that we heard the bathroom door rattling, and it looked like it was being shaken from the inside. My eyes widened in fear. 

“We need to hide,” I said, looking at Mr. Wilson.

He led us to a hidden part of the store, and just as we sat down, we heard the door being thrust open, and then footsteps, like he had opened the door and walked out. 

My heart jumped, and my pulse raised two times the speed it had been before. A serial killer was locked inside a building with me. I repeated the phrase over and over, and I didn’t realize that I was whispering it until Ethan put a hand over my mouth. I was shaking head to toe as well, rattling the creaky wood floor. Ethan put a reassuring hand over mine to stop my shaking fit. I took a deep breath and stiffened as the footsteps got louder. I instantly hated my pale, glow in the dark skin, and my flaming red hair. It really didn’t help in situations like these.

A deep voice chuckled, “And you thought you could hide from me. This store is only so big.”

I heard a chime next to me, a noisy one. It was an incoming call on Ethan’s phone. He quickly turned it off, but it wasn’t forgotten by the man. He saw the bright glare from Ethan’s phone, acting as a flashlight, and it led him right to us. I closed my eyes as hard as I could, not wanting to see what would happen next.  So much for being brave. 

The heavy footsteps got louder, and louder until they were next to my ears. I felt a slight tug on my arm, and I froze, knowing I had been found. Thankfully it was just Ethan, telling me to follow him. I crawled on my hands and knees to the new destination that Ethan had led me to. I sat in the new spot, thankful that the footsteps sounded quieter in our new spot. 

I heard the man speak again, “Come out little girl. We never got to finish talking.” Being the person that just had to explain everything, I explained it. 

I blurted out, “Well, you see, it wasn’t really a conversation, you were just being cre-” 

Ethan cut me off by putting a hand over my mouth, but it was too late. My eyes widened as I heard the thudding footsteps of his large, black boots, and his sick quiet chuckle, slowly getting louder until it seemed they were roaring in my ear. But they weren’t.  The footsteps had stopped, and so had the chuckles. I didn’t want to look up. It was terrifying. I was scared for my life, and Ethan’s. I won’t look up. I can’t look up. No. That one word played on repeat in my head until I had a throbbing headache pounding through my skull. I couldn’t take it any longer. I tilted my head, facing Ethan, his mouth was formed in a giant o shape. He probably hates me for revealing our hiding place. I felt so guilty, and I fixed my gaze on the piece of string hanging off of my shirt. I tilted my head higher, meeting Ethan’s eyes. I wasn’t ready to look up. Not all the way. I wasn’t even sure if the man was there. From Ethan’s face and the quiet store, I had to assume he was though. I started tearing up. I loved my mom, and I hope she knew that. I didn’t know what my last words should be. I had no idea. My life was ending too fast, I didn’t even get to live my life. Get a job, get married, have kids. It was all ending, right before my eyes. There was no point stalling it. I swiveled my head to fully look at the man hovering over me, keeping a cruel smile plastered on his face. 

His face was plain, nothing special. Just average. Blue eyes, brown hair. Even though he seemed to look like a man fresh off the streets, he seemed freshly shaven and had gotten a recent haircut.He wasn’t at all what I was expecting from a man that clearly was not here to help me. 

“Hey little girl, I wanted to finish our conversation,” he said.

I scooted back, stuttering, “There wasn’t a conversation.”

He gave me that sick chuckle again and asked, “Well then, we’ll have to start one now won't we?”

I replied with a more confident tone, “Well I’m ending it. Nice conversation.”

I scooted back frantically, only right into a wall, preventing me from moving back any further. 

He smiled at my fruitless escape, but then his face darkened, and he spoke in a gruff voice, “I won't take no for an answer, so answer this correctly. Give me all of your money.”

I sighed in relief, “Oh thank God!”

His face scrunched up, confused. “Why is this good?”

I replied in a cheerful voice, no trace of my once quivering voice, “Because you aren’t here to kill me!”

“Why would I want to kill you? That’s would be kind of mean.” His face contorted back into his no-nonsense expression and said, “Give me all of your money.” 

I replied with a laugh, “Sorry, but I only have 17 dollars on me!”

He groaned, “No, I meant the cash register. Give me all the money in thisbuilding”

I looked around, searching for Mr. Wilson in the dark store, and spotted him crouched behind a rack of candy. I didn’t want him to lose all of his money for him, but I have to admit, I was still terrified. This man was huge. He could probably wrestle a hippo and a rhino. At the same time. And win. 

“Hey, Mr. Wilson, I think this man wants to talk with you,” I called over to the crouched old man behind the candy stand. 

I jabbed a finger towards Mr. Wilson and said to the man, “That’s him. The man you need to talk to, the manager”

I looked over at Mr. WIlson, barely and inch higher than he had been a minute ago. He was stalling, not wanting to know what this man would do if he refused. 

The man checked his non-existent watch, prompting Mr. Wilson to hurry up and said, “Take your sweet time, Father Time, we have all day.”

Mr. Wilson rolled his eyes and walked over to me. I left my spot to go stand with Ethan, my bully, my rude ex-best friend, yet the only person that I could trust. 

As Mr. Wilson started talking with the man, I turned to Ethan and began to speak, “Why?”

That was the one word I had wanted to say all along. The question I had wanted to ask for forever. The statement that had never gotten answered. The phrase that no one brought up. The time was now, so I said it. And I would wait until I was answered.

“What do you mean?” He asked. His voice broke on the last word. He knew what I meant, so I tapped my foot, waiting patiently. I tried to keep a calm and relaxed demeanor because really, on the inside, I had butterflies from head to toe. I didn’t know why this scared me too much, but it did. There was no mistaking that it felt good to get the question out, but it was so hard. 

That one word, “Why”. It has so much meaning, yet so little. It’s so small, but it means so much more. This word can do so many things. It can begin your life or end it. Determine your future, or end it abruptly. So many things can happen with this word, so I wanted to see where it would go. Would I restart a friendship, or ruin it forever

“I was scared,” Ethan finally admitted.

“About what?” I asked with my hands on my hips. 

“I didn’t want to be the one boy in the grade that didn’t fit in because I wasn’t friends with the popular kids.”

“So you left me to be popular?”

“I guess,” he responded with a twinge of sadness in his voice. 

I looked up to see a tear rolling down his face, and said, “Do you really care about me?”

“No. And that’s the sad part.”

All of my sympathy was gone for this boy. It took all of my will power not to slap him across the face or maybe to strangle him. I took a deep breath before continuing, “So you felt bad for me, so you hung out with me?“

“No, I did really love your company. I don’t just invite everyone over to my house for a sleepover and make pizzas with red bell peppers,”

“Or coming over to my house to wrestle with my dad, and lose miserably. He still says you owe him five dollars,” I said, a smile growing on my face.

“What?” He asks with confusion blooming on his face.

“Of course you don’t remember. Some friend you are.”

My face darkens, knowing that he probably invited over so many other people to have a pizza with red bell peppers. He can’t remember the most fun memories from our childhood. I doubt he still remembers the fun we had had trick or treating every year, and the Christmas Eve fondue dinner we always shared. I rolled my eyes at Ethan, trying to remember where we left off, and I say, “So what happened in second grade? You ditched me for some morons that did nothing good for you?” 

I couldn’t forget that one moment. It’s been stuck on replay in my head since the day it happened 7 years ago. 

All of the kids in the “popular” group were jumping off a high platform because it was so cool. Sure, I had done it before, and I knew how to land safely and everything, but Ethan didn’t. He had never done it before, and he was completely unprepared. When it was Ethan’s turn to jump off, he had a smile on his face, but I had known him long enough to know he was faking the smile. His legs were shaking. He was terrified. All of a sudden cheers erupted from behind me, “Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!” I couldn’t watch. As Ethan bent his legs, I turned around, tears in my eyes, scared for his safety. 

I heard a loud thud, and I whirled around. Ethan didn’t land on his feet, but instead on his back, and he was lying motionless on the ground. I couldn’t help but think, “Is he dead?” I couldn’t shake the terrifying feeling from me, even when his chest was moving up and down. He was breathing, but he wasn’t moving. I was frozen in place. I knew that Ethan needed help, but I couldn’t move. I was so scared for his life. A student ran to the front of the crowd, with a teacher in tow. I breathed a sigh of relief that there was an adult. The teacher confirmed that Ethan was ok, but he was unconscious. I couldn’t help but start to tear up. I ran away, not wanting the other students to see me cry, so I ran to the bathroom, and I didn’t stop crying. 

My eyes started to tear up just thinking about that moment. “You don’t remember anything we did together do you?”

Ethan looked up, no signs of regret or sympathy on his face, “No.”

I walked away, looking up to Mr. Wilson, who had handed over all of the store’s money, showing how little the store actually made. There were just a few bills clutched in the man’s hand, and yet they still seemed to satisfy him. I looked outside expecting the swirling green monster outside, but instead seeing the clear blue sky, with white clouds streaking the sky. I thought I had a chance to be friends with Ethan, but I was wrong. Totally and completely wrong. He got over me in second grade and he hasn’t cared since. I walked out of the store, feeling the cool breeze that had been missing for days. The sky was bright, lit up by the sun’s warm, yellow light. I felt lonely like the previous storm outside, but I had never been so happy about it. The loneliness turned into solitude, and for once, I was enjoying it. I had wanted to ask Ethan that question for what seems like forever now, and I never wanted to see Ethan again. It would be difficult, with school and everything, so of course, I felt trapped. Yet, I had never felt more free.




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