The Center of Gravity

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Episode 2: Wanderer

My breathing came fast as I desperately tried to calm myself. First and foremost, I pulled the curtains closed and ran to the kitchen.

How do was I suppose to defend my home by myself?

This house was mine and my family’s when they came back. I had to at least try for them.

I flung open another cabinet and grabbed a frying pan.

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I spun around in the kitchen, facing the front door of my house and slowly approaching it. My hands shook terribly as I gulped.

A knock came from the front door and I winced. No one was coming in this house unless I was dead.

“My family isn’t dead, they’re coming back..,” I muttered to myself.

Being alone for this long had its costs. One of them was conversations with no one but yourself.

The banging on the door stopped. Silence rung in my ears, the normal sound of my days. Now, I heard it as a danger. Silence meant he was sneaking around. He could’ve gone away and planned to come back when I least expected it.

I allowed myself to breathe as I lowered the frying pan. What did the guy even want? More importantly, who was he and why was he here? I didn’t recognize him from anywhere. He didn’t even look vaguely familiar.

I kept my eyes trained on the front windows. I didn’t want him here and didn’t care why he was. I didn’t. Couldn’t. If he wasn’t some distant relative that knew where my family was, he wasn’t worth a thing to me. Just an intruder.

“Hey!”

I yelped and spun around to the back door, where he appeared in the large windows of the French doors. I held the frying pan up like I would strike him if he got any closer.

He had his fist raised to bang on the door but froze when he saw my stance. I got a good look at him for the first time.

Fear consumed his big, blue eyes as he backed away from the door. They pierced my mind and I felt a shock. Did I know him?

Dad had blue eyes, though, maybe they looked similar.

He had his large hands raised like he was a criminal being caught. Overall, he was like a giant to me. Long legs, easily six foot. I saw him shaking in his t-shirt and jeans, which were covered in mud and water.

For a moment, we held each other’s gazes. I felt myself soften. I didn’t want him here, but the terror on his face reflected my own.

Maybe it was instinct, maybe it was fate, but whatever it was it drove me to the door. I pushed it open and felt the cold air rush at me. He didn’t take his gaze away from me as I quickly examined the backyard, hoping there was no one else.

I slammed the door behind me and quickly brought the frying pan around in front of me. I raised it, wanting him to think I was intimidating. Only when his gaze flickered from the weapon to me did I feel myself become more confident. If he was nervous at the sight of a frying pan, how would he react if I actually had to fight him?

He suddenly fell on his knees in front of me. I was taken aback and stepped away.

“Who are you?” I said forcefully, bringing the pan up. I didn’t want to hurt him, but I also had no clue who he was.

“I...”

He paused, staring at me. I waited.

“Who are you?” I repeated, causing him to jump.

“I-I was hoping you could-d tell me that,” he answered, beginning to wring his hands.

I felt my jaw drop. I raised my eyebrows, peering down at him with a confused look. My instincts told me to run, but curiosity got the best of me.

“Wh... What?” I stuttered.

“I don’t know who I am,” he whimpered, looking up at me meekly. “I don’t know where my family is. I don’t know how old I am, where I came from, or even how I ended up in the house across the street. I don’t even know my name or who you are!”

He was shaking all over by the time he was finished. I sat there pathetically, dumbfounded by how this could have even happen. I had been in the house across the street about a week ago, searched the entire thing, and found no one. How had he been there?

“What did you do, fall from the sky?” I blurted.

“Probably!” he cried. He pushed his head in his hands out of distress.

I sighed, hoping this wasn’t some sick joke.

“No Rowin, don’t help him. Don’t do it. You’re only seventeen and he could be a murderer,” a voice warned. I bit my lip.

If it were me, I would be begging the last person on earth for help. He wasn’t really asking, but he didn’t have to. If he was an enemy, I’d find out.

He was a human like I was.

“Is there anyone with you?” I asked.

He shook his head hopelessly.

“Come with me inside,” I heard myself saying.

His blue eyes darted up to me, not suspecting that answer.

“But... But you don’t know me,” he whispered.

“I know.” I swallowed, holding out my hand to help him up. “But I know a lost boy when I see one.”

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