Stranger

Stranger

A Chapter by snapjack

“Um, excuse me.” Christyne snapped out of her daze and looked at the agitated customer from behind the bar. The woman looked to be in her twenties with long blonde hair. She had been hanging all over a guys this week. Christyne figured she'd probably have to get used to her as a frequent comer soon.


“I'm sorry, what did you say?” Christyne mumbled, looking over at her cute manager. Gabe's buzz cut head could be seen from the opposite side of the room. He bobbed his head up and down, agreeing with one of the regulars. Gabe was smiling just as he turned his disturbingly, beautiful hazel eyes to stare right at Christyne. Christyne blushed and looked away.


“I said I want an appletini,” the girl demanded, putting her hand on her hip. Christyne was getting aggravated by the blonde girl. She purposefully was showing off as much cleavage as possible in her low cut tank and ridiculously short mini skirt. It was only seven o'clock and the girl was already starting her night off as a plastered sleeze ball.


“Oh yeah, sure,” Christyne said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear to slyly look over at Gabe. He continued talking to the friend as if nothing had happened.


Christyne quickly grabbed a glass and began preparing the drink. She knew that she could never have a relationship with someone at the workplace, least of all the manager, but she couldn't help it. She was drawn to him like a moth to a bonfire.

Christyne put her hand to her head. Her head had been pounding away all night, regardless of how many pain pills she took.


"You alright?" Christyne immediately blushed and looked over. Her boss stood there, his eyes looking into hers with concern. Christyne cleared her throat and tried to act nonchalant.


“I'm fine,” Christyne said, smiling and looking up at him. Her pulse quickened just by looking at him.  


“Here.” Gabe took the glass from her and smirked. “You go and take a break. You've been working non-stop since you got in.”


“Really, Gabe,” Christyne said aggregatively, trying to take the glass from his hands, but wasn't successful. He pointed to the door.


“Go. Take an hour break. You know how everyone likes to come in at once and I don't need you to be slacking.” Christyne sighed and began unfastening her name tag. “And take care of that headache.” Christyne nodded and walked out from behind the counter. She spared a quick glance back at Gabe to see him staring at her. He raised his eyebrows and she smiled a flirtatious smile at him.


As she walked out the door, Christyne could literally kick herself. She had to keep it serious, not intimate. Definitely not intimate. It didn't matter how her blood raced at the sight of him or how easily she could talk to him about anything. Christyne groaned out loud and pressed her back against the outside wall of the building. The sky was beginning to turn black and Christyne could make out a few specks of white popping out to welcome the eastern side of the United States with stars.


“You're in danger.” If Christyne had not been in tune with what was going on around her, she would not have heard the whisper over the light main street traffic around her. Christyne looked over at the voice that had spoken. A young girl, appearing no older than eleven, dressed in worn out clothes was staring at her with wide brown eyes. Her hair was loosely tied in a pony tail with some of the strands containing beads that were expertly woven in.


“Excuse me?” Christyne asked lightly, wondering where the child's parents were especially at that time of night. The girl slightly tilted her head to the side and reached for Christyne's hand, lightly tugging Christyne down to the child's eye level.


“They want me to tell you to be careful of whom you choose sides with,” the girl whispered. Christyne frowned at this statement.


“Who?” Christyne asked. The girl put her small pointer finger to her lips.


“They can hear you,” the girl whispered, glancing warily behind Christyne, and let go of Christyne's hand. The girl quickly turned on her heel and ran down the street. Christyne took a step to go after the young girl.


“It would be pointless to chase after her,” said a slurred voice. Christyne snapped around only to see a man dressed in ragged clothes. He had his hood pulled up so Christyne couldn't see his face. The man, who was about six feet from Christyne, took a step toward her only to fall against the wall of the building. His head hit the wall so hard that Christyne could hear the thud of the man's skull connect with the brick. The man laughed, his face pointed up at the sky with the neon lights of the bar illuminating the lower half of his drunken face.


“Why do you say that?” Christyne asked, measuring the distance from her to the door with the man in between her and safety. The man rolled his head to face Christyne, who forced herself not to flinch at the eerie feeling that the man gave her. He giggled to himself and put a dirty finger to his lips.


Shh. They can hear you,” the man said, giggling. He slid against the wall then fell on his butt. The man chuckled. Christyne looked around for help, but no one paid them any mind from across the street. Christyne rubbed her hands against her arms even though it wasn't chilly. Christyne sucked in air to regain her nerves and think past the creepy feeling she got from this man. She knelt down to look at him. The man had quit laughing and was, what Christyne figured, staring ahead.


“Sir, do you have a place you can go to tonight?” Christyne asked and the man smiled a humorless smile, still not looking at her.


“Let me die tonight,” the man replied, rolling his drunken head to face her again. He was still smiling. “Think of it as... repayment.” Christyne frowned in confusion, looking warily around her. Repayment? Christyne didn't see anyone ready to come after her. The man giggled, shook his index finger at her as if she told a good joke and then relaxed against the bar's brick wall. Christyne rolled her eyes and sighed.


“Come on,” Christyne said, exhaustingly. She grabbed the man's underarm and forced his drunken body up into a standing position. He smelled like hard liqueur and dirt as he sagged between the wall and her. Christyne couldn't help but feel sorry for him and whatever situation he was in.


The man's hood had fallen back a little bit and Christyne looked at his face. Something about him seemed familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on it. His eyes were closed, but his features were sharp and handsome regardless of how weightless he seemed from probably not eating. He didn't look much older than she was.


The man opened his eyes, his head resting on his shoulder and the building. He turned his head to look at her and her breath caught. He looked at her with such intensity and sorrow that her heart almost broke. He looked at her lips then back up at her eyes.


“The best thing you can do for the both of us is to leave me here to die,” the man said. Christyne took in a breath, contemplating what to do with him. If she let him stay here, he would probably die some way or another and after seeing the pain in his eyes that she had seen, she couldn't let it happen. It would be like killing a lost puppy. The man started to close his eyes, but Christyne shook him awake. The man groaned.


“Wake up,” Christyne demanded. The man frowned, opening his eyes only to stare straight ahead of them. Christyne fought her urges to let the man go on his way. She jogged her memory to think about where he could go, but came up empty. Christyne sighed and looked at the man. He continued to stare off at nothing in general.


“Jesus,” Christyne whispered, closing her eyes and refusing to believe what she was about to say. “You're coming with me. You’re a danger to society if I leave you here. We'll see if we can't find you somewhere to go.” She opened her eyes to find the man had started to drift off. Sighing a heavily and using her free hand, Christyne pulled out her cell phone.


“Christyne?”


“Hey Gabe, can you come outside and help me?”

 




 

 

“You can't be seriously thinking about this.” Gabe said, helping Christyne load the drunken stranger into her Volkswagen bus. “I mean, think about it Christyne. He's a complete stranger...”


“I know, trust me. I've only been over it a hundred times in my head, but I can't help but feel like I know this guy,” Christyne said, purposefully avoiding Gabe's glance. She stared at the man who was well on his way to snoring as she threw his feet up into the back of the bus. If he was going to kill her, he would have to make his drunken self climb over two bus seats.


“Just give me a few minutes and I'll follow you home,” Gabe muttered, disapprovingly. Gabe walked back to the bar's back door and didn't return until a few minutes later with a set of keys in his hand. Christyne raised her eyebrows.


“Had to get Michelle to run the bar while I'm gone and since you clearly won't be returning,” Gabe said, still dissatisfied with her new current choice.


“Gabe, you don't have to do this, really,” Christyne said, knowing it sounded

pathetic when said out loud.


“No, what I'm supposed to do is take him to my place to sleep it off regardless of the fact that my roommate would probably kill me in my sleep if this guy didn't do it for us. That's what I'm supposed to do.” Gabe walked around Christyne and slammed the doors closed, sealing the man up in the van. Christyne figured the man didn't hear it anyway.


“Thank you for this,” Christyne said, looking for the man behind the doors. Gabe looked at her seriously. Gabe came up to her and cupped his hand to her cheek. Christyne didn't know how to react. It was the first true sign of affect, she supposed, but what did it mean? Christyne couldn't help but to look over at her van. For some reason she didn't want the stranger to see.


“I hope you know what you're doing.” With that said, Gabe got into his car.




 

 

 

 

When both Christyne and Gabe pulled up into Christyne's driveway, they hauled the drunken man out of the car.


“God, he smells,” Gabe remarked. Christyne was sure the man had not heard since he had been passed out in the back of the van and was still currently unconscious, but Christyne still cringed. She knew that this was a very bad decision, but she also knew no one would take him in and there weren't any homeless shelters around for another two counties.


Christyne's house was made up of a decent sized A-frame which was currently illuminated by a large amount of walkway lights that lit all the way around the house.


The house had a nice sized deck in the front and back as well as a nice view of the mountains behind her house of which the back deck had a clear view of as well as the dog pin that contained her two half-bred wolves. Trees lightly surrounded the house. The next house wasn't within a mile radius of Christyne and that's how she wanted it until now.


Christyne and Gabe shuffled to the door, the drunken man's feet dragging behind them. Christyne got out her key and threw open the door.


“We'll take him to the guest bedroom,” Christyne said. Gabe looked over at her.


“Maybe I should stay here tonight,” he proposed. Christyne rolled her eyes. Her father, being a CEO of a security company, had taught her how to shoot a gun as well as the proper ways to secretly hide them throughout the house. There were at least two hidden and easily accessible in her bedroom alone. Christyne had never told Gabe much about her life as a child, but she didn't feel the need to tell him now that the possible killer's ear was right next to her head.


“Trust me. I'll be alright.” They hauled the man through the guest bedroom door and put him on top of the bed. The man looked pitiful. His skin was tight and drawn, but Christyne could see the tip of a tattoo on his chest just hidden by the neck of his thick, worn jacket.


“He's pathetic, Christyne. I don't see why you've taken to this one when there've been at least a good fifty this month that have been just like him,” Gabe whispered. Christyne didn't look over at Gabe, knowing he was probably right, but Christyne couldn't help but like this one. She figured it was because of his needy position. Gabe stared at her, but she turned on her heel and began walking out of the room with Gabe following behind her. When Gabe stepped out, Christyne turned the lights off and lightly closed the door to a crack. Christyne looked at Gabe.


“Thanks for helping, really,” Christyne said, sounding more like an apology than anything else. The edge of Gabe's mouth tilted up as he leaned against the wall. He looked like he was admiring her, but she wouldn't let her imagination get away from her that easily. Finally he looked down.


“You have such a sweet personality. I just hope that your trust in human nature doesn't get you killed tonight.” Gabe looked back up at her; still slightly smiling that was more of a sad smile.


“I'll be alright,” Christyne said reassuringly, crossing her arms over her chest from the chill air conditioner that had been left on all afternoon. “I promise.” Gabe raised his eyebrows as if he didn't believe her, but still turned and headed toward the front door. Christyne watched as Gabe got in his car and slowly pulled out of her driveway.


Christyne headed back inside and decided that since the man asleep in her guest bedroom probably wouldn't remember anything from the past hour, she wrote a note saying where he was and if he needed something let her know. She quietly took the note and placed it on the guest's bedside table. She let her hand fall down from where she put the note and as she took a quiet step back, her hand rubbed against his that laid limply off the bed. She gasped and looked down. The man sighed and turned his head to her, his eyes still closed yet slightly illuminated by the light from the living room behind her. Christyne couldn't help, but to smirk. He looked relatively comfortable and Christyne figured that his sigh was better than the sadness she had seen earlier.


Christyne was fixing to leave until something pale blue caught her eye. She looked down at the man's hand that she bumped and saw what looked like another tattoo was halfway uncovered by the sleeve of the man's jacket. It was normal besides the fact that it was slightly glowing, gradually fading as the seconds passed by. Christyne frowned and was fixing to inspect the tattoo but looked back at the man. He lightly snored, his head still facing her. Christyne looked back at the tattoo. It was no longer glowing.


Christyne stayed awake that night, reading a book in her king sized bed wearing her pajamas which consisted of shorts and a tank top. Since sleep wouldn't come to her due to the paranoia of having a complete stranger in her house, she figured she could be a little productive. She was turned the page to the last chapter when her two dogs began viciously barking from outside in their pin. Christyne peered over at the clock which blinked “3:45 AM”.


A loud bang sounded outside on the opposite side of the house from the dogs, near the guest bedroom. Christyne put the book down and quickly got out of bed, throwing on a house robe. She grabbed a handgun from its hiding place and unlocked her bedroom door. Cautiously opening the door, she started her way through the hallway into the living room, headed toward the front door. She stopped when she saw the guest bedroom door open from the other side of the living room.


Christyne looked around her in search of the man. She looked in the kitchen to her left, but he wasn't in there either. Everything looked completely untouched. Then she looked at the front door. The lock on the door was no longer locked.

Slowly, Christyne walked to the door and easily opened it. The man was standing on the porch, still dressed in the same clothes looking out at her yard. He glanced back at her then at her gun.


“It won't do any good,” the man muttered and looked back out at the yard as if looking for something. Christyne's two half-breed wolves continued to bark furiously at something she couldn't see or hear. Christyne looked at the man with distaste.


“I know how to shoot a gun,” Christyne stated, but the man snorted.


“You could be Clint Eastwood and it still wouldn't do any good,” the man replied, but before Christyne could ask what he meant, he turned around to face her. The circles under his eyes were more pronounced from the lights surrounding the house, never mind the fact that she couldn't really see the color of his eyes, though his features were still as handsome as the last time she had really looked at him. His hair was the color of milk chocolate and roughed up from continuously sleeping on it, or at least that's what Christyne assumed. He looked serious and tired as if life had worn him down to a dull nub.


“Why'd you bring me here,” the man asked. Christyne thought about the question for a minute. The man stared at her the entire time, making her feel a little uncomfortable.


“Because I've never met someone as depressed as when I saw you tonight,” Christyne answered honestly. She wished she hadn't have said it until after it was out. The man turned back around to look out at the yard again. The woods were completely still including Christyne's dogs. Even the constant drones of the tree frogs were silent.


“What's going on?” Christyne whispered, but the man signaled for her to be quiet. Something didn't feel right and Christyne couldn't determine what it was. She felt as if someone were watching her. The man snapped his head to the right and the next thing Christyne knew, she was being pushed down to the ground. Christyne cried out and opened her eyes.


The man stood above her in a protective stance, staring at one specific spot until he whipped his head slightly to the left. The man suddenly started making a low grumbling sound as if he were growling. Christyne frowned and then, just as her dogs started barking furiously, a silenced gunshot sounded.

Christyne screamed as she watched the man fall to his knees on her porch, hand held to his chest. Blood streamed out from the wound and Christyne was too shocked by the recent events to do something about it.


“What have you found, Jabel,” a voice said, coming from somewhere in the woods. Her dogs continued barking, but Christyne couldn't really hear it. She quickly ducked behind a patio chair and started aiming.


“Show yourself!” Christyne screamed, ready for anything. She thought she saw a flicker of movement, but wasn't quick to shoot due to knowing how scared she was she would probably keep shooting until she was out of bullets. She stayed like that for a few minutes, worried that if she put the gun down, whoever the shooter may be would shoot her. The dogs quieted down, their barks dying down into single barks.


Christyne quickly pushed the door open with her foot, while keeping low, and hastily grabbed the man by the arms, pulling him inside. Once inside, she slammed the front door and locked it. Christyne was about to grab the phone when the man grabbed her ankle. Christyne gasped and looked down at him on the wooden floor.


“Don't... Just get me... a towel,” the man said, his eyes half shut. He still clutched his chest, but Christyne could tell that the blood wasn't as bad as it had been which confused her.


“What are you talking about?” She asked frantically. “You just got shot! Don't act like this is some scratch!” Christyne was practically in hysterics. The man shook his head, but then moaned in pain.


“Get me...a towel!” The man screamed back, eyes opening wide at the end of the demand. Throwing her hands up in aggravated defeat, Christyne stormed into the bathroom down the hall and grabbed an old towel. “And some tweezers!” Snatching tweezers on the way, she came back and found the man propped up in a sitting position with his head back against the wall and his eyes closed. Christyne knelt down in front of the man, phone still in hand. He opened his eyes and took the tweezers and towel from her hand.


Immediately, he took off his shabby jacket and then the dirty, bloodstained white tee-shirt that was underneath. His skin underneath was tanned and slightly toned as if he worked outside every day. Tattoos marked his chest and arms in swirls and patterns, not really making any sense as to why they decorated the flesh other than for ornamentation. Identical, abstract eyes marked just below the collar bone, one eye on each side. Christyne's pulse raced with the sudden intimacy of seeing this man striping in front of her, regardless of the blood that was spilling out of the bullet wound directly in the center of his breast plate.


“Let me take you to the hospit-” Christyne started, but the man interrupted her by jamming the tweezers into the bullet wound. Christyne gasped as did the man, but he continued probing into the wound, not paying Christyne any attention. Blood gushed out and Christyne tried not to gag. The man looked at her like crazy person.


“More towels,” the man said, looking back down at his work.


“You need to sterilize that!” Christyne yelled at him. How could she really be letting him do this to himself? Was he truly that insane? Christyne wondered about calling the police just in case. The man sighed agitatedly and looked at Christyne like she was an annoying bug. She couldn't help but notice how the man's eyes looked like crystallized amber as he continued to stare at her in aggravation.


“Please. Let me do this. This may be a first for you, but this isn't the first time it's happened to me,” the man said and Christyne gaped. He put a hand to his head as if it hurt, but it didn't shock Christyne. Christyne was more surprised at the fact that he wasn't throwing up right now.


“What do you mean, 'this isn't the first time'? Who are you? Are you wanted or something?” Christyne asked, slowly standing up. The man closed his eyes and sighed in relief as he pulled out the tweezers. A small, bloody silver bullet was in between the two prongs. Christyne put her hand to her mouth from puking.


“My name-” the man looked up at Christyne, still annoyed. “-is Jabel.” Christyne put both hands over her eyes in frustration. I let a gangster into my home!


“Yeah, yeah, my name is Christyne.” Christyne waved her hand dismissively. “Why were you shot on my front porch?” Christyne asked hastily, taking her hands from her eyes. Jabel was staring at her curiously. He still held the bullet with the tweezers. After a few seconds, Jabel sighed and loosened his grip on the tweezers making the bullet fall and roll on the floor.


“I'm not-” Jabel started, but then stopped and looked at the door. His body stiffened then he turned and looked at Christyne. Jabel jumped up and grabbed Christyne's hand, dragging her down the hallway toward her bedroom. Christyne yelped in surprise, stumbling over her own feet because of how fast they were moving.


“What are you-” Christyne began, but suddenly another loud bang erupted from the living room. The front door was kicked open and Christyne heard yelling. Jabel threw Christyne into her bedroom and gently closed the door behind her, trapping Christyne.


Christyne's heart thrummed through her chest. She quietly ran to her bedroom door and listened.


“I've been looking for you, Jabel,” a silky, male voice said. Footsteps gradually made their way down the hall. “Where've you been?”


“Everywhere you haven’t, apparently,” Jabel said. Christyne's heart seized at the thought of what this man wanted with Jabel. The man grunted a small laugh as other footsteps began walking down the hallway.


“You can't protect her from us, Jabel,” the man said.


“I don't know what you're talking-”


“I can smell her fresh scent all over this hallway,” the man said. He was practically in front of the door now.


“You'll have to get through me first,” Jabel said, his voice becoming deeper and menacing. Christyne backed away from the door, looking over to her window. She looked back at the door. She couldn't leave Jabel if he was trying to save her. A snarl sounded from outside the door, making Christyne run to the window. Whatever this man wanted from her, she wasn't going to wait to see what it was.


A loud commotion came from the hallway as Christyne desperately tried to pry the window open. The warm air had caused the house to shrink.


“Run!” Jabel repeatedly shouted. Christyne threw open the window just as the door busted open.


Christyne yelped, throwing herself through the window, but hands grabbed her ankles and jerked her back into the bedroom. Christyne hit her chin hard on the window ledge and scraped her arms and legs from the lack of fabric coverage. She hit the floor hard and tried to catch her breath that had lost her.


“Where do you think you're going,” the silky voice asked. Christyne, in a haze from what had just happened, slid her eyes to the man in front of her. He looked evil. His face consisted of sharp features and his eyes were practically black. Christyne blinked a few times, trying to get her focus back in place, but the man began appearing creepier with every blink. The man's nose flared and his eyes seemed to widen a little. He looked like he was in his late twenties.


“What have we found here,” the man whispered. The man smiled cruelly and flicked a finger towards her. Two men were by her side within a second, pulling her to her feet. Christyne looked in the hallway and saw Jabel's feet, the rest of her view obstructed by an albino woman who was staring at Christyne with a knowing, cruel smirk. The man stepped in front of Christyne, still smiling.


“I'll be seeing you soon,” the man whispered to Christyne. The albino woman stepped around the man and placed her hand over Christyne's face. Christyne closed her eyes.



© 2011 snapjack


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Added on September 27, 2011
Last Updated on December 30, 2011


Author

snapjack
snapjack

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About
All original photos that I have used can be located in my blog on here, named: ALL USED PHOTOS.... http://www.writerscafe.org/snapjack/blogs/All-used-photos-can-be-found-here:/10939/ Any const.. more..

Writing
Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by snapjack