NO TITLE YET.A Story by Adelie Tynan.
Alex and John are on the run. Going home is not an option.
A scurry of feet pounded pavement, like a stick to a drum; the beat steady and muted. Two pairs of eyes, two pairs of red hands and one tangled web of lies had these two outrunning life in the middle of the night. Cold as hell, the night breeze whipped against their faces and left the rest of the world behind in a sea of misunderstood fear. Things hadn’t even kicked up a notch a yet, but too soon would the fear that prickled their skin catch up to them; a living nightmare in itself, apart from the terrors they had yet to even sink into. Tap, tap, tap. Their shoes played little melodies in the sharp silence ahead of them; their breathes likes half rests; allowing tiny little drops of anxiety to burst in the moment. Up ahead, the neon red of the railroad crossing signaled their halt as they slowed to let it pass. Each boy shook with the absence of breath; both pale and rigid in their distraught state but so very different in many ways. The younger one leaned over; his hands on his knees as he sucked in deep breaths. His chestnut hair matted to his face made him look that much younger---that much more afraid. One look into his rattling eyes proved his instability thought in any normal state they could have passed for someone innocent. They were green. Clear in the middle and bursting with a radiant circle of gray just around the edges. Dark sunken circles lined each eyes; a hint of the sleepless nights that has passed before the boy and his wrinkled clothes; now spattered and wet was a cry to be shaken until something plausible spilled from his lips.
Two steps away, a more sturdy set of shoulders; broad yet anxious in their own refined way shrugged. The apathy was colder there. It ran its course from the tattered Nike sneakers, past the ragged jeans that bore too many rips and tears and up across an identical shirt, soaked with remnants of guilt that was well hidden on this one’s face. Everything but his eyes, anyway. His eyes betrayed him in every sense of the word. The darkness was crucial here. It was the only thing hiding the emotions as they two boys stared at each. The train passed swiftly, only fifteen feet away like memories and actions they would never get back--that they couldn’t get back.
“Joh--John,” The younger boy huffed out. His short breaths cut the name off, muffling his voice and he attempted to catch his breath. He had a feeling this wasn’t the only time tonight he was going to need this much oxygen. It certainly wasn’t his first.
Hard eyes shifted to glance at him but the other boy made no acknowledgement to his name being called. Nevertheless, he was all ears--to a certain extent. “We can’t--we have to--We gotta go back,” he heard the boy whisper. “We can’t just leave it the way it is.” Through the veil of darkness and the instantaneous red flashing on the no crossing sign fear was easily registered in every cell of the boys body. It made John wonder how they had gotten this far, let alone if they would make it anyone else.
“No.” The words were clear, set as John turned enough to make his statement perfectly clear. “We aren’t going back.”
“John--We have to--”
Eyes ablaze the older boy latched a hand onto the other’s boy shirt, reeling him in closely. “We’re not going back, Alex.” Each word was clear and distinct in its own way; clenched teeth barely allowing them to pass. Their eyes met slowly, breaths in sync. “Okay?”
Okay? No, it was not okay. It was not okay in any clear or vague form of the word. It was not clear in any meaning pertaining to it. There was nothing clear about this situations and Alex’s eyes screamed this with too much intensity for him to handle being this close to John’s clutches. He didn’t say a word of defiance but deep within his gut there was a new twinge of fear that latched itself onto the inside of his skin and spread like poison; fogging up every rational thought he had.
“Why?” He whispered so low he wasn’t sure it had come out coherently. “W-why ca---”
“--I told you, we’re not. It doesn’t matter why, we aren’t.” John’s voice rose in volume and he gripped the Alex’s shirt like a rag, twisting it closely to the boy’s neck. “Going back is suicide. When they find out about us, they aren’t gonna let us talk, they’re just cause rip us apart.”
And this, well, this didn’t make sense to Alex one bit. Not one tiny ounce in his oxygen less brain, which by the way was crying for a puff of air and soon. He wiggled in John’s hold, tugging his shirt free with one hand while his eyes set coldly on his friends. He didn’t like being pushed around. Not by some stranger and certainly not by his best friend, no matter how many offbeat years they had known each other. This wasn’t a good time for either of them but regardless, there was no need to turn against each other during these dark hours. “Don’t.” he growled, his eyes narrowing. “You don’t scare me with your bullshit.”
Oh? John wanted to let his smile flicked across his lips in question but he managed to keep a straight face. This certainly wasn’t the time or the place. Soon, but not now. He turned his attention to the almost gone train and next to him Alex mimicked, Both boys watching the remaining cars of the train disappear into the soft darkness. The no crossing sign rose like a hand permitting entrance to what they might find across these tracks. For the sake of it, John had to glance at Alex. Things would change upon this act. They had landed themselves into a mess of trouble and now they were standing at the edge of town, the night only beginning. It would be a long night, they knew. Time wasn’t on their side; time wasn’t on their side. Their own lives has doubled against them. Whatever was left had yet to show itself but come what may, there was only one road and it was all they had. Turning back was no longer an option, Alex realized. It was much too late even if the desire had sparked within them.
A long sigh escaped his left. Was he ready for this? Hell no. Was it happening? Hell yes. Putting one foot in front of the other might have been the hardest thing to do all night but he did. They both did. “What are we now?” he managed to get out. Were the fugitives now? Runaways? Absolutely insane? “Where do we go?”
“I don’t know.” Now he was starting to annoy John. “Stop asking so many questions. It’ll work out.” But then, since when had John not been easily annoyed? In the seventh grade he clearly told his math teacher that asking for homework every night was clearly unacceptable. Mess like that took up his time when he could of some many better things to do. And that sad part? Not one bit of it had been a joke.
“Well,” The smaller boy swallowed but his inside of his mouth passed for bone dry. “We can’t walk forever. And I’ve only got twenty two dollars on me. And you won’t get much for the toothpick I have, either.” Why did he have a toothpick? Not even he knew but he was sure that at the time that he had shoved it in their, their had been a reason. It was one of the very few things he could probably justify if he thought about it hard enough. Everything else seemed too…irrational. Too…spur of the moment. Too groundless. It all heaped into one pile and clung to the back of his mind like a constant cry for coherency. And he wasn’t down for walking forever either. There was a bed back home calling his name and he knew no matter how many times he turned and tried to go back, nothing would ever be the same. It was just John and him, now. The only other person on this earth that understood him and even that was a stretch.
When had things gotten so out of control?
The focus had been lost, it felt, like a long time ago but from any other point of view but his own, things had only been blurry for a very short time. It easy to lose track of what was important now a days. The heat of the moment could sweep a person away, you know? No? Maybe not. Maybe it was just him and maybe there was just no hope.
Hope was a tricky, you know? People always confused it with faith but the were very different things when put side by side. Faith was more lasting. It was a devotion, belief. Hope was wishful thinking against something; wanting the unlikely. Now that he thought about the two, he wasn’t so sure he had any faith either. Things had definitely taken a 360 within him. Nothing was the same anymore. He wasn’t the same.
The wind was picking up now, billowing like a force, behind them. It carried them forward and drowned out Alex’s sighs to keep him safe from John’s judgment. He, least of all people had that right and at the same time, he was the only one who had that right. Did that make any sense? It did in Alex’s head. But then again, a lot of things made sense on his head. All of his ideas were usually better in there and when got to paper, it all just turned into one big mess.
He kept fighting the urge to look back. It was so hard for him to accept that wherever they were going, they were going back. His feet wanted to turn around but his fear pressed him forward and between the both, his head was spinning because he knew either way he was fucked. These were the kind of situations where someone always got hurt. In this case, two had and he wasn’t sure how any of it had really happened but John told him that if stayed there, he wasn’t going to end up well. By now he was pretty sure cop cars were swarming his house in a rage of flashing blue and red lights. He could picture his mother, hair wild and nightgown wrinkled from being woken up in the middle of the night. His father would be sitting on the arm of the couch, head in hand wondering what on earth his son had been thinking and how it could have gotten this bad without him noticing. His little sister would be hiding behind her stuffed bear, clueless as to why her mother wouldn’t stop crying or wailing that her baby was gone while every cop car would be flooding the town in search of John and him. When the sun lit the day, he knew the entire town was going to be in a coma of shock. How else could someone possibly take this kind of news. How would their friends think of them when they knew they had ran away, like criminals?
The word was easy to throw around, but not so easy to catch. Alex had made mistakes in his life but of all things, he was positive he was not a criminal. He couldn’t be. It would break his mother’s heart. John could say whatever he wanted, that didn’t make him one. If anything, he should have been so angry with John for not letting him turn around but he couldn’t bring himself to say no to the other boy. That’s just the way it had always been. John was the leader, the one who cajoled and schemed and Alex was the one who reasoned and followed. Perhaps this was one of the reasons the two always got on so well. They weren’t in each other’s way. They didn’t butt heads. Like two very well fit puzzle pieces, they completed a bigger picture that no one else could yet understand.
A cold spray of wind -thrown rain broke Alex’s thoughts, bring him back to the harsh reality of the long walk ahead of them and the sharp breeze that would accompany them. Things weren’t looking up or down anymore. It was like flat. Bleak. He wasn’t interested in the journey ahead because he was too afraid of what he was leaving behind and whether John liked it or not, he was going to turn around and go home. He couldn’t take it. Maybe John could but he could not and he really didn’t even feel like trying. Now, if only he could get his legs to work properly and turn in the right direction. He felt like he was betrayed John here, doing this but it wasn’t enough for him to not want to go through with it. He would just…stop walking and calmly go the other way. If John wanted to join him, he could.
The young boy hesitantly slowed his steps, eyeing his friend the entire time; desperate to keep his actions calm and casual. He was a whole two feet behind him and had turned the other way when heavy hands roughly pulled him back, making him stumble a few feet. Eyes blazing and jaw clenched, John grabbed him by his shirt again, as if silently pointing out who had the upper hand if they were ever to spar Alex stared up at him. He didn’t know what to say or even if he wanted to say anything. It seemed like if he so much as opened his mouth, John would immediately smash him into the ground.
“Where were you going?”
The calmness of John’s voice was a tad bit frightening but Alex knew if he wanted to do anything, he was going to have to do it by force. He couldn’t keep up this charade; this farce that he didn’t care when every single ounce of him cared. Every single molecule in his body cared so much that he would fight John if he had to. “I’m going home.” He said quietly, swallowing the dryness in his mouth.
“Oh, you were going home?” John repeatedly. “And then what? You were going to celebrate?”
“Let go of me, John.”
The taller boy gripped Alex close. “You listen to me. You aren’t going back.”
“You can stay if you want,” Alex gripped John’s hand in an attempt to pry it off. “I’m going home.”
Yes. He was well aware of the tension building under John’s fingers and even more so, he was aware of the short temper John had. It wasn’t going to help him at all now. He was utterly surprised when John let him go, shoving him back some. “Are you trying to get us killed?” John’s grim look had transformed itself into a snarling glare.
“No! I just wanna go home!”
“Well, you can’t go home! You think they’re just gonna welcome you back with open arms when they find out you strangled a girl? You’re f*****g crazy, Alex.”
“Then why are you here?”
“Who else is gonna have your back?”
“You mean like you had my back when I strangled Elisa? Where were you then, friend? Why they hell didn’t you have my back then?”
© 2011 Adelie Tynan.
Added on January 23, 2011
Last Updated on January 23, 2011
AboutI'm a twenty one year old writer/director/photographer/actress. I'm from Texas but currently live in Arizona. I am artist first, human second. Completely in love with words. I play the bass and the tr.. more..