Guardians

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Chapter 3 - Eden the Chicken Nugget

I never realized how much I really hate people until my headphones broke. The loud annoying squeals of rowdy kids, the questionable items that were tossed around the bus like a game of dodgeball. And for some reason, this really shady guy in the seat across from mine was staring at me. He was wearing an black hood that covered most of his face, with a all black apparel. He had stains, twigs, dirt and tares all over his clothes, you would of thought he just lost a fight or something. But the oddest thing to me wasn’t his clothes or his creepy staring. It was his eyes. I could have sworn his eyes were red when I looked over at him.

I know I could’ve just thought they were red, I did only take a glance at him. Realistically there were a lot of different things that could explain what I thought I saw. However my hairs still stood up on end. It was like I could feel his cold stare on me as I pretended to look outside the window at something.

I wondered why I never saw this guy before. Why did he magically show up in April? And why the heck was he staring at me like I was a walking happy meal? Then my mind trailed back to his eyes and his clothes, I had a lot of theories about him. None pleasant thoughts. Maybe a drifter looking for a free ride, using his young appearance or actual young age to sneak on. Maybe it’s someone whose disliked me at some point, or one of jesse’s friends. Hiding their appearance so I wouldn’t recognize them, so they can jump me when I get off. However none of these thoughts explained the hungry look in his eyes.

I stared at him in the windows reflection. He definitely didn’t have a ‘you’re dead meat’ face on that I’ve grown so accustomed to receiving. He looked hungry. I was beginning to grow anxious now. I decided that I would get off one stop before mine just in case. I didn’t want to take the chance of this guy knowing where I lived. As we came upon the stop before mine, I got up. I took out my phone and used my screens reflection to look behind me. He was staring daggers at me. He got up slowly as well and started to follow me off. I was about halfway down the aisle when he stood up. Welp. Either I am one unlucky guy and this is his stop, or (the more likely choice). He’s following me.

I stepped off the bus and walked down the street a bit. I didn’t want him to know I was on to him yet. So running wasn’t an option unless plan A failed. Which wasn’t too likely to work anyways. The bus began to move again, cruising down the street I was halfway down. I started to wave frantically at the bus. The guy was only little ways behind me.

“Crap! I missed my stop! Hey! Hey!” I yelled and waved to the bus driver who took notice of my turmoil.

Yes! Finally my luck starts to turn around! I’m saved! The bus slowly came to a stop and opened the doors for me. I stepped on and gave her a nervous laugh with a embarrassed look.

“Hey I umm, got off too early...My stop is the next one..” I said a bit softy.

I didn’t want him to hear me. If he heard me earlier, I said I missed my stop when I was outside. Meaning he’d assume my stop was before this one, not after. I just needed the bus driver to give me the okay to get back on. The bus driver was a old lady. She was a round woman, wearing her usual red polo shirt and khaki shorts. She had on these black pointy shades and short hair that was white as snow. I couldn’t see her eyes, but her lips had no expression. I tried for another little laugh, but she just stared.

“Everybody gets one kid. No second rides.” She said flatly.

“Uhh e-excuse me?” I asked.

“What? You got wax in your ears kid? You’re not special, no exceptions.” She grumbled.

“I mean my stop is the next one coming up...You don’t have to go-”

“I said no exception you lint linker! Now walk!” She howled at me as I gulped. I thought old ladies were supposed to be nice.

“W-well it’s my birthday you know? Could you let me slide just this once?” I was getting desperate now.

“Oh, it’s your birthday sweety?” She replied to me like she was talking to a baby. This old fat- I stopped myself from going off on her.

“Yes” I groaned

“Well that’s to bad! You know what I got for my birthday?”

“Uh-”

“Bunions! Now get!” She yelled as I stepped off the bus.

I watched in horror as she slowly shut the doors sped off down the road. That old bat just signed my death sentence. If I do die to this guy, I’m so haunting her. I took a sigh of defeat and turned to meet my maker, who had vanished.

I didn’t take time to dwell on this unknown blessing. I just decided to book it home. In a long convoluted way, just in case he was stalking me. When I got home I immediately locked all the doors in the house. My dog wanted my attention, but I was a man on a mission. Thank goodness we only had a one story house, don’t have to worry about extra windows. Once everything was secure, I took a sigh of relief and plopped on my couch. My dog, who was still begging for my attention, licked my face a few times. Huskies were absolutely too adorable to ignore. I rolled over off the couch and onto the floor next to him and rubbed him for a bit, I stopped once I noticed a note on the table next to the couch. I sat up grabbing it and read it.

“Son, I need you to clean the house when you get home. You not doing nothing on your birthday but sitting in your room if you forget.- Dad”

“Well happy birthday to you too.” I grumbled. I tossed the paper back on the table again and noticed a P.S. message on the back.

“P.S. I’ll be home at four.” Four huh? I looked over at the clock on the wall as the color drained from my face, it was three fifty now. I shot up quickly and ran to do my chores. That little detour I took ruined me. I ran around my house like the flash, finishing each task one after the other. You know, I felt like I was doing really good too. That was until I heard my front door open in the middle of me mopping. I hadn’t even touched the dishes yet...I paused thinking to myself, I needed an excuse. But as my train of thought came in, it left as I heard him step in the kitchen with his usual huff. My dad was about six foot three. He was a big guy, really strong. However he had developed a gut over the years. He had short black hair and a beard that covered his face. He had this rough and tough look to him with a lighter skin tone, sorta like caramel. He was your generic, I played football in high school old guy.

“I see, you played around till it was too late.” He said bluntly to me with a very stale look.

I didn’t respond to him. I just kept mopping. I know he wouldn’t believe me, or really care if I told him the truth. He walked back into his room for a bit. That’s when I got started working on the dishes. He came out a bit later in more casual wear. He probably planned on leaving out again, he wasn’t ever really home.

“So happy birthday son.” He said softer than he usually does, and set down a packet next to me.

He then started to walk off to the front door. I dried my hands excitedly and opened up the packet. My dad and I may not be close, but he always made sure to at least give me a gift. As I opened it up and read the paper, my excitement slowly died. It was a form with my name on it, to spare the details it was some acceptance letter for this rec center sports program. It started an hour after I got out of school, till seven in the afternoon. And he signed me up for the football team… the sport I loathe. He knew I didn’t like football. I stared at it for a bit in shock and disappointment. One of the many reasons me and my dad don’t talk much, is because we don’t get along. He’s made me play just about every sport out there now. Everytime I express why I don’t want to participate. Or suggest other sports I rather play, he just guilt trips me into doing what he wants. I thought about telling him how I did not want to play football for the hundredth time, then I saw it. A light in the darkness. I smiled brightly and rushed over to the door catching him as he was walking out.

“Hey dad!” He stopped his walking and looked a bit confused.

“Yeah?” he replied.

“I know you have your mindset on football, but it says here I can do any sport they have there. Would you mind if I switched my sport to archery?” I asked in a soft pleading tone.

I could hear a slight groan come from his mouth as he took a hard breath. I had managed to weasel out of football and baseball most of my life, by asking him to switch me to a martial arts class. I figured I could apply the same principal to this situation. That way he wouldn’t waste the money he spent. Truthfully, I didn’t want my only real free time to be taken up by anything else, but I knew he just wouldn’t accept that.

“Absolutely not.” He said almost immediately. I was a bit surprised by that.

“But-”

“Son, I’m doing my best trying to raise you to be a man.” There was a pause for a moment as a odd look of fear washed over his face. “Your mother did Archery, it’s for pansies.” He sighed.

“Dad, I’m perfectly fine with-”

“Look, I am your father. I pay the bills, I cook and I clean and I’ve been raising you up all by myself. Now I spent money for this class and that’s final. What I say goes here unless you want to go somewhere else? I need you to listen to me when I tell you something. I’m tryna make you a man.” He seemed a lot more agitated while talking.

I guess bringing up mom still gets under his skin, I didn’t even know mom was into archery. Then again, I didn’t really know anything at all about her. I just dropped it after that.

“Right, sorry sir.” I said softly back looking down to the floor.

“Now if your leaving tonight to hangout with Aden that’s fine, you can ask him to join with you. I’ll be busy with some errands today. There’s that chicken I cooked in the fridge if you get hungry.”

“Right, thanks again dad.” I replied quickly. He just nodded, and with that he headed out the door. Well I guess that’s it then. Happy birthday to me…

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