|Air (standard:drama, 2997 words)|
|Author: Doug||Added: Jun 21 2003||Views/Reads: 1812/1208||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A boy riddled with thoughts of his crazy parents, his loveable sister, and his forlorn God.|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story “What kitty?” She pointed her tiny forefinger towards the cat in the front yard. Our father looked unkindly. Beth spoke again. “I let him in.” I shook my head slowly. She never could keep her mouth shut. Our father, his hair disheveled and him still naked, became irate at this last comment. “Why the fuck would you do that?” His face turned a shade redder than it always was. “Because he was scratching at the door, and I couldn't just let him sit out there. I love kitties.” Beth, shut up, I thought. Our father reached out and slapped her, as well. I grabbed a vase that was near my hand, on a shelf in the wall. He turned, knowing my intentions well, as my sister began to cry. He slapped me again, harder this time, and I dropped the vase, an expensive vase, on the tile floor. It shattered, and staggering from the blow, I stepped on the glass and began bleeding steadily from my heel. “You little bastard,” our father said. “That costs money.” He had calmed considerably. He leaned down, took a large chunk of the vase, and threw it out the door at the cat laying in our yard. It hit its mark, stabbing the cat in the back leg. The cat jumped and hissed again, and limped off towards the road, mewing and screaming. My father turned to Beth. “Get your ass upstairs.” She ran, crying, up to our bedroom. He looked at me angrily for a few seconds, a cold, piercing stare, and said, “Clean this mess up.” I happened to see when the cat was run over by a passing vehicle. I had another good dream that night. It involved my sister and me living in a house much smaller than the one we had, but happy, and with parents who were not the parents with which we lived now. They were loving parents, and didn't fight. I awoke in a sweat now. My father had not treated me for my cut, and it had bled heavily for an hour or more. I had to clean it up off the floor. I thought it was infected, and I could barely walk. Now I looked over towards my sister. To my surprise, she was sitting up in bed, staring at the door. I could not tell if my eyes, not yet adjusted to the dark, were playing tricks on me or if she was concentrating intensely on something. I listened myself and now I could hear it—a strangely soothing sound, the sound of Bach being played on a classic guitar. “Air”. Slowly transcending through the house to our young ears, the sounds of torture and terror. Fear swelled in my heart. I could hear only the sound of the music, the eerie music, and the beating of my own heart. My sister was not breathing. I shook her violently and she started. I clasped my hand over her mouth and whispered for her to be quiet. I rose, naked, and walked to the door and opened it slowly. I only opened it so that I could peek out with my one good eye. I could see downstairs and I could see my father sitting at the table, drinking a bottle of vermouth and next to him, an empty Chianti flask. In his lap was the guitar from which the music had formerly protruded. My father was very talented, especially when he was drunk and naked. I knew from the look on his face that he had finally killed my mother. He had always tried to kill her too. This time, he had done it. And I knew. I shut the door back, being careful not to make noise and disturb my father. I turned to Beth and walked slowly toward her. I whispered to her softly, and she looked deep into my eyes, and I into hers, “Get dressed.” She did as I told her, and I did the same. I threw open the window and looked down at the ground below us. It would not hurt us terribly to jump. My sister was shivering violently. “It's cold, Jon,” she whispered. At least she knew to whisper. I gathered a comforter from her bed and wrapped it around her. “Jump out the window,” I said, “and roll when you hit the ground, or you'll break your legs.” She did as I told her, and I followed soon after. My heel hit the ground and I gave a yell. I got up quickly and gathered my sister, saying, “Stay close to me,” and running, running away from my father and my murdered mother, running towards the woods that seemed so inviting as opposed to my naked and drunken father. It had not snowed, though it was very cold, so our journey was not hampered by anything other than my sister's sickness and the gash on my heel, newly opened by the fall. We ran to the edge of the woods, and I turned back toward the house a final time. My father was staring out the window, naked, his eyes colder than the woods could have ever been. We turned and ran through the trees. We ran until we could no longer feel our legs beneath us, stumbling among the thicket and Beth tripping on the giant blanket still wrapped about her. There is nothing so blind as flight. I could not have foreseen the consequences of my cowardice. The air was freezing and Beth was coughing. It was only autumn, and cold as cold can be. The leaves had turned beautiful shades of yellow and orange and red, though none had yet fallen. The moon shone bright and full, lighting our path through the tightly grouped trees. We ducked and weaved through the forest, fleeing from our evil past and toward our desolate future that we had yet to behold. We had known our past life, and now this one, and we had seen no pleasure. Our mother was dead. We could only assume that no pleasure existed ahead. We came to the river running through the woods, frozen with the air. This is where we decided to rest, for we knew our father had not given chase. I lay down in the frozen grass beneath a giant maple tree, and Beth lay next to me, wrapped tightly in her blanket. “Look, Jon,” she said. “I can see my breath.” She breathed heavily and I could see the plumes of her breath under the light of the moon. I smiled and said, “Yes, you can.” I breathed also to comfort her. “Jon?” “Yes.” “Why did we run away from home?” “Because we had to.” “Why?” “Father's eyes are evil.” “What?” “Nothing, Beth. You should sleep.” “But I'm cold.” She coughed violently, spitting blood intermittently. “I know, Beth. But you'll have to go to sleep.” “I'm hungry, Jon.” “Ok. I'll go find some food. But promise me you'll go to sleep after we eat.” “I promise.” I smiled and kissed her forehead, caressing her young, beautiful face, before I stood to go. She turned away from me and tightly shut her eyes, the plumes of breath flaring out from her nostrils. Smiling still, I turned to spare myself the depression of watching her sleeping so peacefully. I limped slowly through the woods, barefoot and freezing. My toes were already frostbitten, and I could only imagine what had happened to my dear sister. Her young body could not withstand the cold much longer, and I knew that I would have to find some food, and in the morning, shelter and warmth for her. The blanket, I hoped, would have to provide her with heat until then. I guessed it was around two in the morning; I had checked the clock before we left, and it had just turned a quarter until one. Reaching a small clearing in the woods, I looked up at the beautiful night sky, at the bright full moon and the sparkling stars. A meteor shower was on that night. The Leonids, they must have been. They were beautiful, and I watched them for half an hour or more, I guessed. When I began moving again, I could not feel my arms any longer. I proceeded to waste some more time walking in the woods to see what it had in store for us in the morning. I found nothing. Nothing save the trees and their dying leaves. I turned to go back when an icy wind began to blow through the woods. I had not worn my jacket, for I kept my jacket downstairs in front of the door. I crossed my arms and rubbed my hands against my biceps, trying to generate a little warmth. I had little success. In the woods, there were no animals, and this confused and scared me a little at first. But by this time, I could not care, for I was getting hypothermia and my cut was infected. I stumbled through the woods back towards Beth, back to where I could get some rest and find some food and shelter in the morning. At this I halted. I had not found food for my sister, as I had promised. I started again. In the morning, I would keep my promise. But I soon found something that disturbed me greatly. A wolf. A mangy wolf, the only animal I had seen since we had lived her besides the cat. And now he was looking at me with blank white eyes. I shuddered with the wind and in fear of his cold, white eyes. He sniffed at the air. It seemed he had discovered my presence. “God no,” I whispered. But it was too late. The wolf started suddenly, darting towards me with a quickness I had not anticipated. He lunged for me, and I threw my hands up, and fell backwards with his force. I awoke in the middle of the forest. It was morning now, and bright. I guessed it was ten or so. The dream about the wolf had not awakened me, for it was terrible and completely plausible. I rose now and completed my journey to where Beth still laid, in her blanket, the plumes of smoke still rising from her with every breath. Her tiny figure rose and fell in a quick rhythm. I smiled and shook her gently. She awoke slowly, rubbing her tired eyes. She looked up at me and smiled. “Good morning, Beth.” “Good morning, Jon.” I kissed her forehead and she hugged me around the neck. I offered her the nuts and berries I had found in the woods the previous night. She devoured them happily, while I smiled and watched, fidgeting with my toes as I did so. “What are we going to do now, Jon?” “Well, we'll have to find some place to go to get you inside.” “But it's warmed up now, Jon.” I perceived that the temperature had risen a great deal. “So it is. I guess we can stay outside, if you want.” She smiled at this idea. “But we'll still have to find someplace where we can get food.” “But Jon, can't we just get nuts and berries. They're terribly good.” “Of course we can eat nuts and berries, but I'm hungry too. I can't just let you eat everything I find.” We both laughed. “I'm hungry for a steak, anyway.” She got excited. “Yeah, me too!” I played her game. “And we can eat hamburgers and hot dogs and French fries and ketchup.” She loved ketchup. “Yeah!” “And then, if you're good, we can get a cat!” She squealed in excitement, and hugged me again. I stroked her hair, and kissed her forehead. Our joy could not have been shattered by the cold stare of our father, or of the wolf. But I realized something. Something was terribly, horribly awry. No, it could not have happened this way. Please, let it be a coincidence. Oh, God, no. It was this way, and I could not change it. I had awakened my sister. I never awoke before she did. Oh, God, no. Let this be real. Let it be so real and so good. I do not think I could stand another awakening as sharp and as cruel as the ones in my bed at home. I could never overcome this. Please let it be real. But it could not be. Joy could not have been in any life, and this was no exception. I awoke, as in the lovely dream, in the middle of the forest, the morning sun beating down on me. Indeed, I had not found any food, and I would be forced to find my sister, who was probably already wandering about the woods. She always woke before me. I rose to return to the spot where I had left her, so as to have someplace to begin my search. I hoped she had stayed put, but I knew it was in vain. I cursed my sister's naïveté. I stared at the ground as I walked, for I had no feeling in my toes and could not know if I had stepped on something on which I was not supposed to step. Before long, I saw the familiar blanket. But again, something was amiss. My sister was still there. I swore aloud and knew I was dreaming again. I played God's cruel game and shook my sister, violently this time, to awaken her before I was forced to awaken again myself. But she did not stir. I did not notice that her chest did not rise and fall. I did not notice the blood running from her nose and mouth onto the ground. I did not notice that the plumes of steam coming from her nostrils had stopped. My heart fell, and I kissed her forehead and stroked her hair. The cold air had killed her in the night, and killed me as well. But I was not so lucky as to have died physically, like Beth, my dear sister. At least she did not have to return to my father's cold, uninviting, naked stare. Nobody loves naked men. Especially not me. But I had to return to him, because I had nowhere else to go. And God would not kill me. I knew he wouldn't. I returned to the house as the first leaves began to fall. Tweet
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