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Refuge (standard:fantasy, 5088 words)
Author: Saxon ViolenceAdded: Dec 04 2012Views/Reads: 4133/1468Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Years after an Apocalypse, Tree stumbles into something like a Twilight Zone Episode.


Tree had no idea where he was, nor how he'd gotten there. It was hard to
be sure, in the absence of any hard data, but he felt an underlying 
dread that made him think that he was being actively sought—even if he 
wasn't being actually stalked at this moment in time—and for all he 
knew, whoever or whatever could already be stalking him. 

It reminded him of Nightmares that he'd had as a child. Sometimes,
although things hadn't gone South yet, he knew that they would—and 
soon. He'd tried desperately to wake up first. 

He'd stopped having Nightmares as a grown man. Scary things sometimes
come after him, but he was never afraid. He always stood his ground and 
he always prevailed. He was invincible in his dreams. 

This wasn't a Dream though—it seemed too real. Tree examined his hands.
The act of focusing his gaze on his hands would generally cause a dream 
to threaten to dissipate. He looked at his hands for several 
seconds—No, it wasn't a dream. 

He began to categorize his sensory impressions. It was nighttime and it
was hot. It was close to a hundred degrees. The streetlights all had 
generous halos—partly from all the gnats and tiny moths flying around 
them, but also largely due to the heavy humidity. The artificial light 
made the blacktop road look a peculiar blue-gray. 

He was wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes and a white “T” shirt. He hadn't
worn a white “T” Shirt since the US Army had turned him on to OD brown. 
Then later he'd switched to black. Come to think of it, he hadn't worn 
blue jeans for many years either. He inevitably bought black jeans 

The thick sweat made him feel slick and slimy and nasty. The thin “T”
Shirt clung to him tenaciously, like some article of women's lingerie. 
The soppy wetness of the jeans told him that he wasn't wearing his 
customary long underwear—since they tended to wick the moisture away, 
and help him stay much dryer. 

He patted his pockets down for weapons. He'd carried at least one Buck
lock-back in a front pocket since 4th grade, but there was no Buck 
there today. The air was full of lightening bugs. He'd always thought 
their sickly green light seemed rather sinister—and when he surveyed 
the sky, the bats were out in force as well. 

He remembered how he'd played hard and sweat hard as a child, and the
sweat and grime had made a line around his neck. His mother had laughed 
and said that he was wearing a Bead Necklace. 

She thought that she was being funny. Tree didn't find it the least bit
funny. It was stupid. It was insulting. And it caused him to glare 
venomously at his mother. She was always springing Dumbass jokes like 
that on Tree—until he'd lose his temper and snapped at her. Then she'd 
leave him alone. 

There was a price though. When Tree's father came home from work, she'd
tell him that Tree had been a “Bull”. Any normal human would have said 
that Tree had been “Like a Bull”. Tree's mother said that Tree had been 
a Bull. 

The stupidity of the phrasing had caused Tree to grind his teeth in rage
and mutter darkly to himself. 

And Tree's father never punished Tree. He'd just look at Tree as if
having a surly son was the biggest cause of shame and regret in his 
life—as if being grumpy was a far worse thing than being a homosexual 
or a pedophile, even than having a son who was fat. 

He looked at Tree as if he wondered how he could have sired such a

To someone of Tree's sensitive nature, that dark look was far worse
punishment than a backhand or a spanking. At the same time he'd been 
mystified. He was grumpy and couldn't suffer aggravating fools gladly, 
even though he tried. So What? 

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