“Hey...hey...aw come on, wake up!”
I slowly open my eyes and groan in annoyance.
“Shut up.” I reply as I sit up.
“Oh how rude.”
The voice sounds like it is pouting. I throw my royal blue comforter off of myself and examine my room. The walls are a maroon and the floor is wood paneled. A white rimmed window leads to an old, rusted red fire escape. The window displays the neighboring skyscrapers that blaze with oranges and yellows as if the buildings were on fire instead of reflecting the sun’s rays. I sigh and stand up, making my bed before dragging myself to my closet across the room. The room always has a faint iron scent and staleness.
“Hey, are you gonna acknowledge me or not?” He pokes my cheek.
“Could you not?” I grunt.
“I could...but I won’t.”
I roll my eyes and change into a decent pair of jeans, a scarlet t-shirt, a slate gray hoodie and ink colored high tops. I grab my navy backpack and sling it over one shoulder and stroll out of the bedroom to the bathroom. It smells like cleaning supplies with a vague scent of mint. The whole bathroom is white: white tiled floor, snow colored sink, shower and toilet and off white walls. I look into the mirror above the sink and what reflects back doesn’t surprise me. Despite everything, it’s still me, a man in his early thirties with unruly, poofy, soot colored hair that curls around his face like smoke from a fire. My mahogany brown skin is embellished with scars and darker freckles sprinkled over the bridge of his nose and cheeks. My amber eyes imitate a dying fire. Behind me, leaning against the wall, is a pale man with sandy blond hair and impish hazel eyes. The man wears a black jean jacket, a lead gray v-neck shirt, blood red jeans, and black leather combat boots.
“Go away,” I mutter. My reflection mimics my mouth movements. I sigh loudly and begin to pull my hair into a low ponytail to tame it. The hazel eyed man crosses his arms and smirks.
“Daveed Reinhard Paine, the least you could say is hello.”
I turn to the man, His smirk widening. “Hello,” I grumble.
He nods in approval. “Thank you. And you’re late.”
“What?!” I shout and sprint out of my small apartment, slamming the door and fumbling to lock the wooden door’s gold knob.
“Run, run, run, Daveed.” He chuckles. Of course he catches up.
I rush to the elevator only to be greeted by an ‘out of order’ notice. I grimace and speed for the stairs. They suddenly become aflame like someone switching on a light. I whip my head to Him and he shrugs as if he isn’t the one who started it. I squeeze my eyes shut and step into the inferno. I come out into the old stairwell and peek open an eye, noticing there is not a scorch on me. I quickly continue my mad dash, taking the steps two at a time. I jump down three steps and fling the stair’s metal exit door open and shoot through the lobby and out the apartment complex’s main glass doors.
The city sounds roar to life: honking of horns, people’s feet on sidewalks, chatter from conversations. The busy, buzzing life of New York City. A crisp fall breeze ruffles my hair, making me recall what I was late for in the first place.
“You’ve lived here all your life, stop gawking.”
Of course He catches up. Maybe I can lose Him in the crowd. I push against the current of people and zigzag between the pedestrians. I finally make it to the entrance of Central Park, The Vanderbilt Gate, the grass inside turning brown and its trees either bare or bright fiery colors of all shades of red, orange and yellow. The gate towers with intricate iron swirls and a shimmering gold circle positioned in the top center of the metal masterpiece. Leaning against the looming iron door wearing denim jeans, a baggy Washington D.C. tourist shirt, emerald green high tops, an American flag hoodie and a forest green beanie is my friend Alexander.
Alex is Latino, has tanned skin, ebony hair that tickles his jaw line and intelligent mocha brown eyes. He spots me and smiles, pushing off the gate with his foot.
“Daveed!” Alex shouts with a grin as I cross the street briskly.
I smile lightly back but my eyes shift to the gate. Right within the gate stands Him, sandy blonde hair and all, a lazy smirk playing on his lips.
“Uh, Daveed? You okay?” Alex asks, snapping his fingers with a look of worry on his face.
“Yeah, yeah I’m fine,” I mumble, nodding.
His concern breaks with a grin.
“Awesome. Now come on, I texted Anthony and Mulligan to tell them we’ll be a little late.”
I nod and start strolling with Alex, holding my breath as He comes closer. As soon as Alex is but centimeters from Him...he passes right through Him. He breaks into fits of laughter, clutching his stomach and pointing at me.
“Hey Alex, I gotta tie my shoe, I’ll catch up.”
Alexander looks at me quizzically. “Um, okay.”
Alex continues walking as I bend down on my knee and feign the action I had said. He continues to cackle like a crow. I move my head up and glare coldly at Him. He grins widely.
“Oh Daveed,” He laughs, wiping a tear from his eye. He rests his hands on his hips and bends so His face is inches from mine.
“Isn’t it wonderful when you’re reminded you’re insane?”
I narrow my eyes and stand up straight.
“The term is mentally ill,” I smile, amused. “Thank you for reminding me to take my pill.”
I start to search through my bag and notice he visibly gets nervous. His laughter becomes anxious.
“H-hey now, Daveed, buddy, friend, amigo. Let’s not be hasty…”
“Ah, found it.” I grin, pulling out an orange prescription bottle with chalky white pills inside.
“DAVEED!” He roars, making the whole world rumble. His whole form is shaking with anger.
I twist the bottle open and pop two pills into my mouth and swallow them. He screams in agony and rage before vaporizing in a cloud of smoke. I breathe a sigh of relief and smile peacefully. I run to the park and begin to catch up to Alex, finally enlightened.
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