She asked me, "Do you get sad this time of year." And I'm not sure why but a part of me immediately said "Yes." I came up with some sort of answer that didn't really answer and said that instead. I'm not sure why my gut screamed yes though(more) - I love this time of year. When the leaves dry it out and turn beautiful shades of sunset and everything smells a little like a warm fire on a camping trip. The culmination of summer hitting a blazing zenith and fading away into the slow death of winter. I said that maybe I get a little more introspective, maybe a little more self-reflective, maybe reflecting on all the losses and gains I've had this year. A little worried, yet excited, of what the next year will bring.
"Do you get sad this time of year?"
Jim's eyes stung as the eyelids peeled apart, and he could almost hear the crust crackling and pulling at the skin. Light filtered through the blinds, and he pushed himself up onto his side and looked down on his pillow.
(more) Staring back at him was a goopy imprint of his face.
He closed his eyes and his head rolled back a little in irritation. His dreams had been getting more and more messy lately, and although Dr. Andrews had said it was nothing to worry about...
Jim reached over to his night stand, grabbed a dark blue towel, and began dabbing the dribbling image on his pillow. He wasn't sure, but he was fairly sure that this drooling and sobbing had something to do with his move from the coast. Ever since he left those warm, crashing waves to start school in Colorado, he'd been a sleeping, slobbering mess.
Jim had done everything he could to bring the coast with him. His walls were hardly visible underneath all the photos of beach trips, and he'd littered his shelves with seashells.
As he looked around the room, feeling a rush of warmth from the photos surrounding him, he sniffled. Then shivered.
Suddenly, his nose was running like a faucet and his arms beaded in sweat.
Maybe he'd brought a little too much of the ocean with him.
He sighed, wiped his face off, and tossed the towel onto the pillow. He leaned over the side of his bed, grabbed his laptop, and flipped it open.
I'm going to die here. Here in my own basement, with my head in a bucket, drowning on moldy laundry water, some crazy foreign cats yanking my hair, asking for some code. What fucking code would I have? I gave them my ATM number, my phone number, bank account, my social... all(more) I got from that was a dunk in the bucket.
Big Foreign Dude #1 tightened his grip on my hair and pulled me out. I puked and strained for air while Big Foreign Dude #2 boxed my ears a few times.
"The code, Mr. Ellers?" This was Little Prick Foreign guy. "I have all day and all night." He was cleaning his fingernails with some kind of dagger, a spooky little ancient-looking thing, the kind that belonged in a horror movie.
I shook my head and tried to plead but all that came out was a wheeze. I drooled and hacked up onto a dirty bath towel next to the bucket. It was laundry day, he thought, and managed a chuckle. That earned him another cuff in the head from Big Foreign Dude #2.
"Stop." Little Prick Foreign Guy again. The knife had disappeared. He picked up the towel with two fingers and tossed is to Big Foreign Dude #1. "Dry it out and let's finish up here. The usual protocol." He turned and smiled at me. "You passed this time, Mr. Ellers. The exam gets more difficult tomorrow. Rest up. We'll get you tomorrow. And then your daughter." He turned and walked towards the door.
"Wait." He coughed and bowed his head. They knew about Elena too, somehow, his last card. "Train station. Locker 1612. Purple padlock, 16-33-7. It's all in there."
Little Prick Foreign Guy stopped and turned. Then he grinned and pulled out the dagger.(less)
Caleb spun around in a circle, noticing his shoe was untied. It's white ends now muddy and brown. He could almost hear his mother nagging him to tie it. But tying his shoe was the last thing on his mind.
(more) He had to find that piece of paper.
Where could it have gone? He'd checked his pockets no less than a bazillion times.
Damn it, if he remembered his phone this morning none of this would have happened. He would have just entered the number directly into his phone like a normal kid. But no, he had to go old school and write it on the back of his math homework.
As he leaned down to tie his shoe, something caught the corner of his eye. "Sssssshhhhiiiiit!" he moaned.
Her locker combination. Streaked and crumbled, lying in the memory of yesterday's storm.
Christ, I'll look like an idiot if I ask her again," he muttered to himself. "Guess I'll just have to dry it out and hope that I can read it when it's done."(less)