Out of the Storm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
He's walking, but he doesn't know where. And as he gets closer the his destination, he starts to remember...

Submitted: March 28, 2009

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Submitted: March 28, 2009

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It was a dark night, and I couldn’t see anything but the individual little worlds of chaos created underneath the eerie yellow glow of the streetlamps.  Worlds filled with rain so heavy it was almost impossible to see through.  Only the panicked shrieking of the wind as it was whipped violently through the air by some unseen force let me know that the little worlds I saw were, in fact, part of something bigger.
My feet seemed to be moving by themselves, and the wet gnashing sound of my boots against the loose gravel was making my stomach sick.  I couldn’t stop.  I had this feeling that I was slowly getting closer to somewhere I probably didn’t want to be, but I didn’t know where. 
I kept walking.  One foot in front of the other.  Staring straight ahead.  I paid no attention to the neighborhood around me, but I knew what was there.  White, pristine houses with their perfectly manicured lawns and their expensive cars.  It made me angry just thinking about it.
I wouldn’t be able to see them if I looked anyways.  They were a blurry mess with the rain and darkness intertwining with each other to make seeing anything near impossible.
I vaguely wondered why I wasn’t cold.  My feet weren’t sore, and I didn’t even feel wet.  I was calm.  I wanted to scream wildly in panic for reasons unknown, just to distract me though.  I wanted to let my thoughts to spin out of control in a whirlwind of color.  But I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  I just kept walking.
Suddenly I hear something.  I hear the sound a twig makes when it realizes it’s being crushed.  I don’t turn.  It’s only Tom.  For a second, I wonder when he got here, but then a small part of me realizes that he’s been there all along. 
He’s saying something, but his words are being drowned out by the wind.  I’m relieved.  I don’t think I want to know what he’s saying.  He never has anything good to say.  It’s always something that gets me into trouble though. 
We’re both neighbors in a pair of ground floor apartments in Chicago.  One day, he knocks on my door, and, shoving past my mom, found me in my bedroom, laying spread eagle on my old ACDC blanket and listening to loud music.  My hands were behind my head, and my eyes were clenched shut, as if I was trying to escape my life and trying to blend into the world of music.
“I’ve got an idea,” he states with a mischievous grin.  Without saying anything, I sit up, already knowing that I was going to help him with whatever insane plan he had.  Since I first moved to Chicago, into the apartment that could have easily fit into the living room of my old house, I’ve done everything he’s asked.  He was my first friend.  My only friend. 
I first met him when his mom, in her stained nightgown, and a cigarette in her hand, walked up to our front door.  I was the only one home, so I nearly jumped out of my skin when she walked right in and sat in front of me at the kitchen table.  A spoon filled with lucky charms was poised halfway to my mouth.  Tom walked in after her and sat next to me.
“Hi there, neighbor,” she says, as sweetly as she could with a raspy voice you get when you’ve been chain smoking your entire life.  She brushed a strand of greasy blonde hair out of her blue eyes.  She was probably a lot better looking when she was younger. 
When I just sat there, staring at the oddity that just walked into my front door, she rolled her eyes.  “Well boy, we’re here to welcome you to the neighborhood.  Aren’t we, Tom?”  She glanced at the boy sitting next to me.
“Of course, mother dearest.  And we came to warm him.”  The tone was sarcastic, and I inched to the far side of my seat farthest from him.  I started to absently pick at a scratch on the wooden surface of our used table, and I stared down at it intensely, wanting more than anything to be able to crawl under it and never be noticed again.
“Yes.  We did, didn’t we.”
And then came the warning.  It was kind of ridiculous because it was the kind of thing you’re warned about in normal neighborhoods.  All I had to do was keep my toys off her lawn.  If I didn’t though, according to her, my mom would be no longer able to walk.
After joking around with me a bit more, the mom left, leaving her son, who was quick to invite me down to the river to do some dynamite fishing.  I accepted.
“Shoot,” I say, readying myself for whatever he had in mind.
His grin gets wider, and he gets up to close the door.He seemed tense, as if he was filled with this excitement that he was barely holding back.  He comes back to where I was sitting, pulls up the chair from my desk, and sits on it backwards. 
“Here’s what we’re gonna do.”
A crash of thunder sounds, leaving being a series of cracks that make you want to run inside, and suddenly I’m back in the rain, and I can hear his voice.
“I can’t believe we did it!  Did you see her face?  That old hag deserved everything she got.”  The same excitement was in his voice.  I didn’t want to hear it. 
So I ignored him, and continued to walk forward, but my curiosity got the better of me.  I reluctantly shifted my eyes to the right, trying to catch a glimpse of him.  He was wearing dark clothing.  Black cargo pants, a black hooded sweatshirt, and a black knitted cap.  He looked like he had just committed a crime, and with the grin on his face and the wild look in his eyes, he probably did.  He was still talking to me.
I shift my eyes forward again quickly, pretending I didn’t hear his babbling.  I noticed that my vision seemed to be obstructed by something black near the top.  My stomach clenched painfully when I realized it was a black knitted cap. 
As I was focusing on my cap, I unconsciously began to drift to the left, towards the street, like I was going to cross it.  Tom followed.  I guess he thinks I know where I’m going.  I got back onto the sidewalk, and although I was allowed that small amount of control, I still couldn’t stop walking.
As I was listening to the weird mumbling sound of Tom speaking as I tried to tune him out, I began to hear other sounds as well.  Sounds that didn’t come from the storm. 
There’s someone crying, but I can’t be sure.  After all, who in their right mind would be outside in a storm?  And how would I be able to hear it?  The sound gets louder as I continue to walk, but there’s no way I’m stopping to see who it was.  I just wanted to get out of the storm. 
I hear Tom take a step closer and he hit me on the back, like he had just given me a compliment, but instead of the wet thump I expected to hear, I hear a sharp slap.  Tom’s angry face flashed through my mind.  His mouth was set in a sneer, and his eyes, narrowed as they were, still had his trademark wild look in them, with glints of something else.  I flinch.
He must not have seen though, because he didn’t say anything.  I knew that if he saw, he’d be offended.  And then angry.  I hate it when he’s angry. 
I start feeling my jeans rubbing against my legs as I walked, chaffing them. It burned, but I just increased my pace until it turned into a tingling numbness.  I needed to keep walking.
I glance at Tom again, and he grins at me.  I try to smile back, but end up grimacing.  He doesn’t seem to mind.  He looks like he’s enjoying the storm.  He keeps holding out his arms, trying to catch all the raindrops he can.  Not that it’s hard. 
I hear screaming now.  From two different people.  One in anger, and one in fear.  Maybe it’s not someone out in the storm after all.  Maybe I’m finally going insane.  Maybe I’m imagining it.  Or maybe I’m just remembering.  My stomach clenches again at the thought. 
It’s starting to hail now, and a particularly large chunk whips against my ear.  I slam my eyes shut, and when I open them, I seem to be in a room.  The part of the wall I’m looking at is a musty sort of yellow, almost like an old stain, and it was peeling towards the bottom.  My ear still stings, and I realize that there’s a hand grabbing and twisting it.  My mom?  I turn slightly.
It’s Tom.  He’s staring at something else in the room that I can’t see, and he’s talking.  “Now I don’t want you to chicken out on me, Buddy,” he’s saying.  “You started this with me, and now you’re ending it with me.”
I look at the ground.  “I can’t,” I say back in a defeated tone.  The words come out of my mouth automatically, and I’m surprised at them.  It feels as if I’m just a forgotten thought in the back of my own mind, just sitting there, watching this show go on.  “I can’t do it.”
He clenches his teeth and twists as hard as he can, and the side of my head exploded in pain.  He screams into my ear almost desperately, “Yes, you can!”
I feel my eyes start to water, and I just nod, wanting the pain to go away.  Tom takes a deep breath and let’s go, taking a step back.  His face is red, but it’s a little less twisted, and he slowly gets his expression under control.  He smiles at me.
“Look in the corner,” he whispers, staring at me.  “Look at what we did to her.”
I don’t want to look, but my head slowly twists towards the corner he was pointing at.  I catch a glimpse of red on the once white carpet.  Red and brown, which told me whatever had been going on, had been going on for awhile. 
I continue to look, and catch a glimpse of a hand.  A hand with long, graceful fingers.  Piano hands.  Now twisted in odd angles, looking almost crushed by her knuckles.  If the woman had played the piano, there was little chance of her ever playing again.  My gaze started traveling up a bruised, bloody arm.
“Hey!”
I jerk, and almost stumble over my feet.  It’s raining, and Tom has his hand on my arm.  I try to shrug it off, but he just holds on tighter.  “What do you think you doing?  I really hope you don’t have anything stupid planned.”
What was he talking about?  I look around, and realize that in front of me was a tall, brick building.  Through the rain, I managed to make out the one word ‘Police’ on the large sign above the door.  I froze in fear, but I knew I came here on purpose, somehow.  I knew what I had to do.  I walk forward, as he stands there, not believing that I was actually going through with it.  I walk with clumsy, stiff steps, as I pray to anything out there that Tom doesn’t stop me before I walk through the doors. ‘
But then I’m there, at the double doors.  Tom’s still standing there, soaked in rainwater, looking up at me with a blank stare, as if he was already plotting his revenge through glassy eyes.  I take a deep breath and walk into the building, and when the doors shut, the storm disappeared.


© Copyright 2018 Jennifer Shaw. All rights reserved.

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