10 November 2011

Grimly Afraid

"Myra, I'm going down the street to grab some coffee, you want anything?" A thin, gray haired, sorrow eyed man yelled from the front door of his downtown apartment to his wife who was just exiting a steam filled bathroom.

"Iced soy latte please. Thank you John," She replied as she ran naked from the bathroom to the towel closet in the hallway just past their teenage son's bedrrom.

John shut the door behind him and mumbled to himself, "Damn woman likes everything hot except for her coffee."

He walked down the hall to his building's only elevator, it only fit four people and that's only if two of them were young children. The narrow hallways made him claustrophobic, and in the old fading paint he saw all the things he feared come to life, he shrugged it off not understanding this new found paranoia.

John made it to the elevator and pressed the down arrow turning it red, he watched as blood oozed from the button. He blinked and the blood was gone, just the red light shining through the plastic arrow in the button remained. Ding! The elevator door opened. A pitbull jumped up onto its hind legs barking at John while its owner pulled back on the leash laughing at John. The owner was shirtless with a beer in his other hand; he was covered in tattoos of skulls, dogtags, and rifles.

John jumped back and began breathing heavily, his heart dropped, and he would have sworn his life just flashed before his eyes. "I'll use the stairs," he said putting one hand in front of him as he stumbled to his left. He ran down the three stories to the ground floor hoping to beat the elevator.

Ding! John stopped in his tracks, the elevator was between him and the exit. He had watched a pitbull kill a boy back where he used to live. This image began to repeat itself over and over in his head. A young polish boy, his best friend and fellow adventurer, ran jumping fences not daring to look back as the dog chased them snarling and barking. There was a small opening in a chainlinked fence in front of them that other kids had made with bolt cutters, John ran through it slicing his left shoulder (he still has the scar). His friend jumped onto the fence, but the pitbull was fast to grab the boy's leg.

The dog who was later killed by an older boy continued to bite into the screaming boy until he stopped screaming. John yelled at the dog from the other side of the fence to stop as he screamed for help. A group of teenage boys nearby were smoking cigarettes leaning up against a 1960 cherry-red Austin-Healy and one of them saw what was going on. He quickly ran to the help the kid while another friend went to a nearby store to call for help. The older boy stabbed the dog in the back of the neck splitting its spine in two, but it was too late, the young Polish boy was lifeless.

A young girl stepped outs of the elevator, not a shirtless titan of a man. She was holding a puppy, a black lab. She saw John by the stairs and asked, "Are you okay Mr. Edwin." He didn't reply, he only stood there. "Mr. Edwin. Hello John. Anyone home up there?" She asked tapping the side of his head.

"Oh hi Kristen. Yeah I'm fine I uh."

"You sure you don't need anything I can go get Mrs. Edwin. You don't seem fine."

"No Kristen I'm good, I just had a bad memory resurface is all. Tell your parents I said hi when you get back from your walk."

"Will do if you tell Eric hi for me," She replied with a wink. "Oh and Happy Halloween." The young girl turned around placing the not so sure footed puppy on the ground. The young dog slipped as it ran to keep with its owner.

"Uh, Yeah you too, happy Halloween."

John Followed Kristen out of the apartment building, but turned right instead of left like she had. He found his way into the middle of a crowd of flowing people and his senses seemed hightened. He was aware that the lady next to him was wearing the same cologne that he wore back in the 1970s all through high school and college and that a bum sitting on the street curb had four kittens tucked into his jacket keeping them warm. A man bumped into him as they passed each other and as if a switch in his brain had been turned on he began to worry.

He was unsure of what he was worry about, but it soon became clear to him that something wasn't right. About twenty feet in front a man tapped a woman on her left shoulder as he walked around her on the right side. He blinked and the woman turned into a man. And when the woman turned into a man he looked back to his left. A hooded figure punched the man in the face forcing him to look down and to the right where, suddenly he wasn't in the city anymore.

He was in his old neighborhood watching another shakedown. A hooded figure punched the man in the face forcing him to look down and to the right where a pistol slowly pressed against his forehead. The hooded man went through the victims pockets and took everything. Bang! Blood flew everywhere and the man fell to the floor lifeless.

He was back in the city. The man turned back into a young woman who to her surprise saw a hooded man pointing to the ground in front of her. She turned foreward to see a young man on one knee in front of her. John couldn't make out what was happening, but it soon became clear.

The young woman jumped up and down in joy as she screamed, "I will! I will! I will!"

The young man placed the ring on his fiances finger and the two kissed as many looked on in a circle around them applauding the love of two strangers. John though couldn't stop looking around. It was as if he were being followed.       

Walking through the crowd and down two more blocks proved uneventful until he entered the coffee shop. It was empty. An eerie empty. This place was usually packed, but not this morning. There were three people in the shop. One barista stood at the register while another two strung black and orange decorations all over the inside of the coffee shop.

He walked to the counter to order his coffee. The girl at the register smacked her gum together occasionally twirling it in a finger as she hit the buttons on the register, "One black coffee and a loarge Soy-"

She was cut off when a teenage boy with guaged earlobes and a purple mohawk pushed John out of the way, "This'll only be a second old man."

John knew what was coming next. He was twenty five years old waering the white polo with the shell emblem on it standing behind the counter collecting money from the cute red haired green eyed Tracy Adams.

"Move," A man pushed the girl to her feet and grabbed John by the collar as he held a knife to his throat demanding the money in the registar. John fumbled as he managed to take the entire drawer from the register and handed it over to the thief. Tracy hit her head as she fell to the ground and had to take an ambulance to the hospital and John was fired that night.

John punched the kid square in the jaw sending him to the floor. A folded note fell from his hands as he went down.

"Oh my God!" The girl at the register yelled. "Stop it, that's my boy friend you idiot."

Several minutes later John was outside explaining to the police why he struck the teenage boy in the face. The kid helped John explain to the police the entire situation and how it was all just a big misunderstanding. The barista gave John his coffees for free after everything had calmed down.

John was feeling better now that he had his coffee and was on his way back to his apartment building. He turned to open the door to his building and just as he looked up he saw a black cloaked figure with a pointed hood. "I told you I'd get you, haha," A familiar voice came from the cloak.

John dropped his wif'es coffee and stumbled backwards tripping over a bike rack and he fell into the road. Eric threw his hood off and ran towards his father. "Dad!"

To this day John swears thats Eric's black cloak turned white and his scythe turned to wings and the hand that reached out was only using his son's body.

Eric grabbed his father's wrist and pulled him back onto the sidewalk just as a fast moving bus whizzed by them. Eric helped his father to the ground and offered him a bottle of water. John wiped the sweat from his brow as he tried to slow his breathing and stop his heart from coming out of his chest. He felt like both hugging his son as well as beating him. Soon his vision wasn't so narrowed and he could stand again.

John wrapped one arm around his son as they walked back to the apartment and said, "Son you're the first good thing I've seen all day."


1 comment:

  1. These are really good. :) Keep up the good work. Can't wait to read more.