Chapter II: How it all falls apart
I woke up two days later in a hospital bed. Tubes were sticking out of my arm leading into a couple of transparent and red bags hanging on a support over and next to me. I looked down and all I could see was the light-blue sheets but I could feel my inability to move. That’s when the fear kicked in. But I was very calm, maybe because I was still heavily sedated. The next minute the nurse came in the room and I will never forget her expression when she seen I was awake. I would never truly know, but I think it was a similar expression to that when you walk in while your parents are having sex. Afraid, ashamed, but curious. She opened the door and made a quick gesture of closing it back but then she ran to me with her hands waving, saying:
“Don’t! Don’t try to move, Tom, please, stay still. I know you’re scared but know that everything is ok now and you are safe.” She was blushing… and she said my name with true affection. “I’m Clara… do you… know what happened… to you?” I nodded slowly, feeling my skin painfully stretch, like I was covered in glue. “You can talk… just try not to move too much.”
“I…” I started and immediately felt my dry throat failing on me. She handed me a glass of water with a straw sticking out.
“Here, drink slowly”
“I remember the man… the masked man and… blood, oh no! Are they? Are my friends dead? Please tell me it was all a dream!” I was feeling my heartbeat all over my body, like all my veins were somehow exposed.
“Sadly, no! But, Tom, you are here, with me, with us.”
“What happened? Who was that man? Why was he doing that to us?” Now I was getting angry and confused.
“Calm down, please… we don’t know much yet, the police are still investigating. But, honestly I think it will be hard with all that’s happening outside and… with the world being as it is since the war… you see… things are only getting worse out there… all they’re telling us are lies.”
“What’s happening outside? What do you mean?”
“Nothing… nothing… just try to stay calm and rest. Clear your mind and we can talk more once you’ll feel better.”
“What happened to me?” As I asked I heard my heart rate accelerate almost before the beeping sound of the monitor on my left. “Why I cannot move and… is my fuh… fuh… face b… bandaged?”
“Yes Tom… you… suffered multiple cuts. The bastard cut you!” Her voice raised with fury and tears wanted to drop from her eyes. But she wiped them away.
“Multiple cuts? Where?” I asked while the sound of my heart was somehow endlessly rising.
“Please, calm down!” She gently said looking at the monitor. “You have cuts on your body… hundreds, more than we could… wanted to count. It’s a miracle you’re still alive and talking. You will have scars for the r…”
That’s when the doctor came in and saw my elevated heart rate, the nurse’s red face and my scared eyes.
“Carla, you’re wanted in the E.R. Let me speak to our favorite patient here… Seems you made him a bit angry…” Carla went out looking down without a word and the doctor sat down right next to me. He was an old man, white bearded and with a ponytail and a funny smell. But funny in a loving way, reassuring, comforting.
“How are you feeling, son? I’m doctor Yanis, but you can call me Nicky.”
“I’m… I’m…” I started to cry and as I closed my eyes I saw the masked man again slicing me.
“Good, that’s good… Let it out!” He put a hand on my shoulder gingerly.
“Am I going to ever walk again?” I asked between sobs and the doctor looked at me with happy eyes.
“Of course, my dear Thomas. You have a lot of cuts but we’ll try to fix those. Now you just have to rest and recover, mentally and physically because you’ve seen your friends like that and what you experienced was a horrific scene. You lost a lot of blood; you see that little red bag on top here is helping you with that. I don’t know what Carla told you but we consider you a miracle. The Gods really wanted you to live.”
“I don’t believe in any Gods!” I said drying my tears. He smiled and got up.
“It’s ok, believe in what you want, or don’t. The most important thing is to believe in you. Now rest, you’ve been through enough!”
“But… But…!” I tried to say something, to grasp a thought, but my head was a tornado of words. The doctor saw that and said:
“I know you have a lot of questions but for now you had enough answers for one day. All in good time.” He pressed a button near my hand and all of a sudden I felt a rush of warmth going through my body. I relaxed, not caring about a thing in the world; I was floating. I doze off and went into a deep sleep. A deep sleep in which I had a dream I will always remember. My first long dream…
‘I was in a castle and it was so quiet, dark and wet. I looked around and all I could see was a set of stairs illuminated by an invisible spotlight.
So I went towards the staircase but the distance between the first step and me always seemed to be the same. It was like I was walking in place. In an instant I was at the top of the stairs. I looked back and saw a bear charging towards me. He was brown and big, with sharp, black claws. His bare teeth were glittering in the spotlight. I started to run but it all felt so clumsy. I got to a door and opened it, blinded by a bright light. I stopped for a second and realized I was at the base of a hill. Everything came into focus. All was green and yellow and I could actually feel a soft breeze on my face. It was nice, so nice that it made me forget about the bear chasing after me. So I started to run towards the top of the hill. The bear was closing in but still at a safe distance. But that didn’t make my fear less palpable. I could see on top some sort of a wall- no, a fence! So I pushed myself as hard as I could, actually feeling a burn in my chest and my legs… but the bear was near me… he scratched (cut?) me. I jumped on the fence and went crashing in the grass. I got up and started to laugh at the roaring bear left behind the fence. He was starting to look almost human but my attention moved to a red spot that appeared on the base of my jeans, then on my chest, then everywhere. I lifted my shirt and… it was blood, thousands of cuts and I was feeling them all at once. “Did the bear got me this bad?” I asked myself, and a voice answered behind me:
“Those for sure are no bear cuts!” I turned and there was a man smoking a cigar with half of grin on his face. Now everything around us was just dust and sand. And a scorching sun melting our words.
“Who are you? I asked.
“That’s not the question you want to ask… I’m just an old man…”
“I know this is a dream but… but… w…”
“Why does it all seem so real, right?”
“Yes and, most importantly….” Now I realized I was an older version of me; still scarred but not scared, almost fearless and vengeful, in love but… something was missing…
“And the important questions are: Who am I and what do I want to do? But you have to ask them yourself; it’s your decision. The world depends on it, your world, and our world. The world is not dead, but it is dying. So what will it be, kiddo? Will you join us? Will you come to see the wonders? The bad and the ugly but also the beastly beauty of it? Will you join my army?”’
And before I could answer the beeping of the machine and the nurse’s violent shakes woke me up. I was sleeping so deep they thought I was dying.
“I didn’t do anything… She tried to hit me so I… I just… pushed her…” I looked down and behind my mother’s head blood was forming a weird shape. That, right then, it changed me. I felt as if the angel of death took me under its wings, its protection since that day. Because I looked up and over my mother’s body there was this winged, black, tall creature with burning red eyes as if flames were in there. Then I blacked out just in time to see Bill rushing to catch me.
When I woke up I was lying in bed all tucked in with a steaming tea next to me. Not too far from me, Bill was thoroughly washing his hands. He turned at me, like he sensed I was awake.
“You went through a lot, kiddo! But now you’re safe, with me.” he said but I’m sure he said: ‘You went to hell, kiddo!’
“But… where’s my mom? Wh… what happened?” I looked down, on the floor and the small pool of blood was gone. It was like nothing happened. Bill turned to me, switching off the faucets and grabbing a white towel to wipe his hands.
“Your mother left us. She left the circus and I don’t think she’s ever coming back.”
And that’s what he told everyone since then so no one asked any further questions. Everyone but me, because I knew what I’ve seen.
“I don’t believe you!” I shouted. “Please tell me! I have to know! Did she die?” Bill looked at me for a moment that seemed like an eternity and he finally said, almost whispering:
“Now’s neither the time, nor the place… maybe when you’ll be a bit older. Now drink your tea, you’re weak.” So I drank my tea and I almost immediately fell asleep. I had the weirdest dream, a dream I will never forget.
‘I was in my room, somewhere high up in some castle. Only it was my castle and I was the Queen. The room was big, wide and tall- but dark and cold. It was nightfall. It felt like it has always been night. And I felt like I’ve never been out of that room.
Someone knocked at the door and came right in. It was this hunchback, old creature but when it spoke, it spoke with the warmest of voices.
“Will milady go out for this fine night?”
“No!” I heard myself say although that was not what I wanted to answer. “Is the witch still out there?”
“That’s for you to see and resolve, milady!” The creature answered softly. “Maybe tonight’s the night!” And then it slowly laid down a glass knife that shone in the moonlight. But the moon was huge and you could see all the craters on it and I could’ve sworn that I could also see people walking on it. But, hey! It’s just a dream, right? Right?
So I picked up this glass knife and went on the balcony. The creature was watching me, hidden in the shadows. I felt the breeze on my face and that whiff that you smell just before it rains. I looked up and I saw lightning but no clouds. Abruptly a staircase appeared downwards the balcony. Everything around me seemed so still, like nothing else was alive. I started to go down the newly manufactured stairs. At my sixth step something hit me so hard in my chest it threw me back on the balcony. It almost woke me up, I think.
I looked down and there she was. My mother. Only it wasn’t her. It was… something else. It had my mom’s face but the body of a man with some sort of black, spiked armor.
“You stay were you belong! This world has no place for you!” The voice was distorted but full of resentment and hate. I got up and went up the stairs. Then I remembered about the glass knife that was somehow still in my left hand. I felt a sudden rush of confidence and anger and ran screaming towards the witch-mom-man that was standing (waiting?) at the base of the stairs.
“You have no right!” I shouted as I threw the dagger at its chest.
The knife stopped in its arm. It let out a scream so loud that it smashed some of the windows. Then it pulled out the dagger and started to come towards me. It pushed me to the ground and cut my left cheek with it. When it was ready to strike again I heard a screeching-bird-like noise from behind the witch. Then the one with my mother’s face on was no longer on top of me and I saw the most beautiful bird. It had long silver-white feathers with an orange beak and red eyes.
Then I realized I was bleeding… badly… The fucking witch managed to cut my throat. The world was slowly fading to dark and I was steadily running out of breath. I was feeling underwater.’
Then I woke up almost choking with Bill sitting next to me with a glass of water.
“Drink this kiddo! You were mumbling and shouting… It was just a bad dream, don’t worry… they come and go…”
My vision was blurry but I could see commotion all around me; outside people were shouting and at one point I heard- or more like felt- an explosion.
“He doesn’t need all this. We can reconnect him back at the shelter. It’s easier if we’d take just him!” A voice of a man came from somewhere behind me.
“But… I don’t want him to get hurt! He’s been through so much pain…” That was the voice of nurse Carla.
“If you want him to survive you listen to me. It’s not too far and if we hurry up we can get there safe and untouched; before everything escalades into a shit storm. Listen to me Carla, for the love of Gods! Unplug him and let’s go!”
Then I heard beeping sounds and everything went black again. I know I had another weird dream but I cannot remember it now. There are a few more that got stuck in my head but that’s for later.
A terrible pain right under my left eye woke me up and, as I gradually became more aware of myself, the pain started to spread: my neck, my chest, my abdomen and my legs. I got up quickly and realized I was covered in bandages. I made steps to run but after two clumsy ones I felt violently to the floor, hitting my nose; my eyes stopped working for a few seconds.
“Where do you want to run?” I turned and there was Carla sanding with a warm smile and her hands crossed over her chest. She was a nice lady; I could see the kindness in her eyes. “You are safe here and you are in no condition to walk, let alone run. You just have to be patient and trust me.
“What… huh… hap… happened?” I asked with a fear for the answer. Carla looked around and sighed.
“The world has gotten to the end of its nerves… it’s finally giving up…”
“What do y… you mean?” I was feeling my heart rising in my chest.
“All you have to know for now is that you’re safe here. We are at the shelter 3366. And it’s all good; you are surrounded by good people who are just as much afraid as you are. So for now all you have to do is stop worrying and just… sleep, or rest.
“But what happened to the C… Cuh… Castle?”
“The Castle?” she looked at me confused and a bit worried. “Oh you mean the orphanage! Well… it would be a miracle if it would still be standing. But the people… maybe some survived, maybe some are here… You will find out later. Here, this will help you relax.” She put out her hand and gave me two pills, which I swallowed with a glass of water. It made me dizzy and then sleepy; then it was all black again. Now that I think about it, it might’ve been the worst period. Or one of. I was more asleep than awake. That’s why I had all these weird, wild dreams.
You know how a dream starts? You don’t, all of a sudden you’re just there, in the middle of the action and everything seems normal, alive, you don’t ask yourself any questions. Most of the time.
”Welcome! This, here is our world and you are welcomed if you’d like to!” A tall man was shouting in front of me. I was standing among other people. “If you want in you’d only have to pay with one thing. One simple, meaningless thing. But first let me show you around, see what you’re missing, eh buddy?” The tall man lifted the barrier that was between him and me and with a graceful, wide move of his arms invited me in. He had an uncanny mustache, curled up at the ends and when he spoke he spitted all over. I cautiously stepped towards him and when my second step hit the ground, the world around me changed.
Everything turned bright and colorful, there were meadows and pink cotton candy clouds, the smell of fresh popcorn and sugar-coated apples with cinnamon were filling the air; it was paradise.
“See? Everything is amaaaaazing here!” the tall man’s voice was oscillating, going through all the octaves, from high to low and back.
“But you said there is a price to pay…”
“And you could have lots of friends here as well!” The mustached man continued as if he didn’t hear me. “You see there, that mountain?” He pointed far and I could see a volcano-like mountain poking its peak through the clouds. “That… it can be yours!”
“How? And answer me! What’s the price?”
“Come, I will show you to the others.” And he grabbed me and suddenly I was in an all yellow-bright room. “This right here is birdie. Say ‘Hello!’, Birdie!” He kneeled and waved to a cage in front of us inside of which there was this ridiculous looking woman dressed in a bird’s costume all curled up in fetal position. Her over-the-top makeup was smudged all over her face and she didn’t look too happy.
“You said there was a price to…” I started, getting frustrated.
“Just wait and see. Birdie’s gonna lay a golden egg! Aren’t you, Birdie?” His voice was almost menacingly and his face prepared, anticipating.
Then the bird-woman frowned and screamed but nothing happened. So the tall man got angry and slapped the woman across the cheeks.
“Next time she won’t embarrass me like that! Won’t you, Birdie?” He grabbed my hand again and we were back into the cotton-candy-cloud-land. I sighed and looked at the weird man, with his striped black and white suit and gelled hair.
“So you were saying something about a price…?” I firmly said with half of a smile. The tall man turned at me and finally answered, looking me in the eyes:
“Yes! There is a price to pay!” His voice was rising but that didn’t intimidate me.
“What is it, then?” I asked eagerly.
“You have to pay with…” he looked around as to make sure nobody else was listening... “Your life! You mother killer!”’
I woke up screaming with no one around me this time. Looking around, I saw there were a lot of beds and the ceiling seemed to be way too high. Not even the tall man in my dreams could reach it. That sent shivers down my arms, the thought of the tall man and how his face changed when he said those last words. The light was hanging by the ceiling like dead spiders, hundreds of them. Far from my bed, where the rows of beds seemed to end I could distinguish some sorts of barracks or tents. But next to me was a kid almost as bandaged as I was. I slowly got up, enduring the pain and went to that bed. I slowly touched the sheets.
“Hi, I’m Tom!” I gingerly said. He turned to me and I froze.
“Hi, Tom! I’m Sunny! Remember me?”
After that I soon started that my mother was the circus and my father was Bill. Later that year he told me what he did after I fainted and I understood him.
“I laid you in bed and then went straight to your mom. She was still alive but barely. She was babbling on about Russians and you being the devil. She also said that the end of the world is coming and that she’s glad she won’t be around to see it. After that she started to just spit out meaningless words until she stopped. She closed her eyes and drew her final breath out.
I took her in my arms- you’d be surprised how heavy a dead person can be- and went outside. It was late so everybody was asleep or even if they had heard something they wouldn’t pay too much attention. It was no news that you fight and that you couldn’t stand each other. I went out of the circus and buried her not to far from here. I didn’t mark the grave so don’t bother trying to find it. Well, I guess you won’t… if you want you could always try and contact her. But, for what? Your life is actually better without her… I loved your mother but since that man left her she… she changed.
One strange thing happened when I went outside those walls with your mother’s body in my arms. Just before I’ve put her down on the sandy ground she became lighter, much lighter. Almost like her heavy soul left her body. And before I could realize it started to rain heavily; in a few seconds I was soaking wet. That made the digging a whole lot easier. Maybe it wasn’t only you that wanted your mom gone; maybe it was a higher power that pushed her head towards that table corner. Now you know I don’t really believe in any of these gods but I do want to believe that the universe’s alive, that we are all part of a huge organism and that all that happens, it happens for a reason.
Anyway, the second day I told everyone that your mother, Miss Anahi Cortez has left the circus for good, which I guess wasn’t such a big lie.”
The first week or so I didn’t go out of my trailer and Bill told everyone that I had a bad case of the flu and the blues for missing my dear mother. Isaac was the most interested about me, coming to ask Bill every day if I’m ok and to give him drawings and flowers for me. Another reason I didn’t want to speak with no one was because that week my first period had come. A ‘bloody week’ I might sarcastically add.
But after a while I started to get out of that gloomy reverie and the first person I went to see was Isaac- my first kiss. We stayed under the tree for hours. Although it took me some time before I could talk, Isaac was filling me in with what had happened while I was sick. He told me that few of her ex-lovers from the circus went out to look for her and didn’t come back.
“It’s like a curse!” he said. “Once you’re out you stay there… or maybe you die there? But why leave something that’s good and perfect, like here? Like… you…”
“Listen!” I finally said startling him quite a bit. After all, he didn’t hear my voice for a week or so. “I’m gonna tell you something but I want you to promise me, to swear on your life and your family that you won’t tell to no one!”
“Ok… what’s wrong?” he almost whispered.
“Swear!” I menacingly shouted.
“I swear, I swear! Come on Eva, you know me!”
“Yes, that’s why I’m gonna telling you…” After a long, comfortable, needed silence I started to tell him everything that happened in detail. He was looking at me without saying a word, without changing his face or his eyes, barely blinking. After I finished confessing I was crying but I was feeling a sense of relief, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
“It’s ok, Eva!” he said, clumsily trying to hug me. “Come on, I know what you have to do!” He grabbed my arm and pulled me inside the main tent. We went in the middle of the ring; there was no one around.
“We’ll go up that ladder and you will jump!” he pointed at the center net.
“Are you crazy? How is that going to help me? I could get hurt!”
“No, Eva! Trust me, that is what you need to do now! You will feel better!”
Reluctantly I started to climb the ladder and when I got up and saw how everything down seemed small, butterflies started to flap inside my stomach like crazy.
“Now jump!” Isaac’s voice seemed like a distant echo.
“Easy to say from down there!” I shouted back. My legs were beginning to shake.
“You want me to come up there and push you? I will, you know?”
“No, no! Just… Shut up… I will do it, just leave me a bit!”
Then I closed my eyes, held in my breath and just stepped out in thin air. I felt the butterflies multiplying and going from my stomach to right under my chin. Then, the elasticity of the net assured me that I was safe now. I was alive! I felt alive, more than ever. I turned all blushed to Isaac:
“I want to do it again! I want more of this!” I shouted excited. So I started to learn acrobacy since that day. Maybe this was all I needed… Just a push in the right direction… And the right direction was down.
“I… I remember… I thought you’d…”
“Died? Yeah, the nurses thought so too… You see, I lost a lot of blood. That monster cut me here.” He pointed to the side of his neck. “And I would surely be dead if it wasn’t for you and that boomerang I got you. I was seeing everything in slow motion but I saw how you stopped it… Now the ‘skeleton crew’ is back together again!” he said with a half-smile, filled with pain and sorrow.
I didn’t know what to say so I just ignored the pain and hugged my lost friend, Sunny. I wasn’t the only survivor!
“I know we have to take it easy and stuff…” he said, “But would you like to walk a bit? Check this place we’ve been brought to for our own safety? Maybe someone can actually explain…”
I nodded and we both got up. He wasn’t as bad as me, meaning, he had a life-threatening cut on his jugular but at least that was the only one. Right then it occurred to me that the monster who did this wanted me, only me to suffer and the others… they were just in between, in the way. I believe he just wanted me dead… But who would want that and why? For sure some psychopath… maybe even one of the employees at the Castle.
I was still very weak but Sunny was strong enough for the both of us so he let me lean on him while we advanced through the beds’ columns.
The place looked like a hangar, a desperate attempt of a shelter, full of sad faces and crying eyes. It was big, full of people, beds and tents. It looked like a small village…
“Do you know what happened?” I asked between breaths.
“Not quite, but I heard a lot of talk about ‘the end of the world as we know it’. Whatever that may mean…”
“I guess, for us, that’s true anyway… ‘Cause our world was the Castle and that’s gone now, right?”
“I guess so…” he said looking down, starring at an invisible spot on the floor, reminiscing. “Let’s ask somebody, maybe there is someone here that could enlighten us.”
Not too far, among a group of people there was Carla. When she saw me she pushed two people in front of her and ran towards us.
“What are you doing out of bed? Are you crazy? Your stitches can… Look, you’re already bleeding! Boy, why in Gods’ name did you get up?” There was a real look of concern that was making her face lines more accentuated.
“Just wanted to see where we are… You didn’t tell me anything about Sunny! He was actually in the same…”
“In the same room as you when… I know… And now you are in the shelter, I’ve already told you. You’re safe, both of you. And now that you found each other why don’t you be good little boys and stay in bed?
“We’re safe from what, ma’am?” Sunny asked.
“From what’s happening outside…” Sunny and me both looked at each other dazed and confused.
“Well… What’s happening outside? I asked with a little discomfort in my voice.
“People going crazy, the world ending… Everything and everybody dying… Come now, Tom, you need to rest. We’ll have time later for questions.”
And she guided us back to our beds, changing my three bleeding bandages. I was starting to feel more and more pain, almost like the cuts were multiplying so I asked Carla if she could give me something for the pain. She did and it relaxed me almost instantly. Then she went back to the group she was talking to before.
“I’ve never seen a black woman acting so white…” Sunny said smiling. Come to think about it, the only colored person I ever saw was Nick, the janitor and that brown kid that was adopted by those rich folks…”
I shrugged and told him I want to go back to sleep a bit. What Carla had given me was making me drowsy.
Like that, the shelter became our new home. Sunny and me were used to live and sleep among others so for us the transition, the adjustment period was not that bad. Nobody was talking too much about the outside or about what happened and those who did speak… well… none of them seemed to have their stories straight. What most were saying was that people went crazy but others talked about a nuclear holocaust and evil military forces, some mentioned aliens or big meteoroids hitting our planet… So you didn’t know what or who to believe. We just lived our lives without asking to many questions. We knew we couldn’t get out because we could feel and hear the explosions that were shaking the ground from outside. Especially the first months, becoming less and less until they eventually stopped. Then people, the self-proclaimed ‘leaders’, were saying that ‘they’re still out there’ and that it is still dangerous to even crack open the big door. We were sealed and we lived like that for about two years until the food and supplies started to get dangerously low.
When they first opened the doors it was: day twenty second, month six, and year two. Everyone was so shocked and awed; the air was dry, hot and dusty, the sun weak between transparent clouds and it was quiet. So quiet I thought I was hearing my eyeballs gently moving in their sockets. People were moving so slowly, afraid of what there might be; but there was nothing and no one. Everything was dead, deserted and alone. Kind of like us. If they weren’t going to open the doors I was either way keen on escaping. But now that I was there, out… where am I to go? Nothing looks promising, nothing looks tempting. And do I have the courage to just leave everything and… go?
“Come on! Let’s explore! See what’s around!” Sunny shouted and pulled my arm quite violently.
“Boys! Don’t you get too far, and don’t stay too long!” the protective voice of Carla came from behind us.
“It’s nothing, Miss Carla! Everything is dead and gone! I think we’re the only lucky ones!” Sunny shouted back with a smile on his face.
“Now, now, Sunny boy! You listen to me! Tom, you have your head on your shoulders better than this rascal over here so you just put this in your little book: ‘Aunty Carla told you to be careful!’ Ok?”
“Will do, Miss Carla, don’t worry! We won’t get far and we won’t be long!”
“Come on, Tommy, let’s go there!” And he pointed far away at a big building.
We started to walk in that direction along other people from the shelter. But soon enough we were the only ones walking down that sandy road, in the middle of actual nowhere.
“I think we should head back to our home, Sun! We went a bit to far, much further than anyone, see?” I pointed behind us. “They’re all turning back!”
“Come one! Look how far we’ve got and how little we have left. The building is right in front of us and I think it’s a mall. And there’s no one bad around here, everything’s gone!”
“Mall?” I asked confused, still standing my ground.
“Yeah, a shopping mall! Where people used to live half their life, buying stuff that they wouldn’t need, with money that they didn’t actually have… Just to impress people they didn’t really liked or knew… I’ve seen this in magazines and TV shows and it all seemed so pointless, so… blank… but there might be stuff in there, you know? Come on! What do you say, partner? Are you in for it?”
I was thinking: ‘Look at this kid, barely sprouting five mustache hairs and already thinking he can be a hero.’ But who am I to talk? Just another fifteen year old ‘nobody’ like him with even less mustache hair sprouting.
“Ok! Let’s go, gut please let’s be careful!”
“Yes, mother!” he answered mockingly. “Right this way, plea…” He stopped suddenly and pulled my shirt. “Do you hear that?” I listened but couldn’t hear anything but the faint wind blowing over the sand dunes formed on the right side of the road.
“Hear what?” I asked looking around.
“Shhh!” His face was getting serious. Unaware I started to hear a low hum far away, behind the dunes. “You hear that, right? I’m not going crazy?” Sunny asked with genuine fear. Eyes bulged out, holding his breath. I was the same, honestly.
“Yes, yes… I… hear it… what could it be?”
“I don’t know but I don’t want to find out. I think it would be best we abort this mission and get back home. Or at least hide somehow, somewhere!”
“Hide? Where?” I shouted, hearing that hum turn into a roar. It was an engine, or two or more. “We’re in the middle of the road! Where can we hide here?”
“Just… just come, that way!”
We started to run, not looking back, hearing the roar getting bigger and closer and louder and… In a flash I felt a hit in the back of my head. I went stumbling to the sandy asphalt. I looked up and I saw three motorcycles really close to me. On the ground not too far from me, Sunny was screaming helplessly. I got up and one of the men from the motorcycles grabbed me by the collar and shook me. He smelled bad, like something died under his coat and he had an eye patch.
“You shut up, kid!” he spitted on me.
“Leave me alone! LET… ME… GO!” Sunny was screaming at the top of his lungs. But for nothing, we were just two kids in the hands of three angry, crazy, smelly, weird bikers.
“Oh no, pretty boy! You’re not going anywhere!” The second biker that was holding Sunny pulled out a knife and pressed it against his cheek. Then he threw him to the ground and pulled down his pants, starting to laugh.
“You’ll want to relax there, little boy!” The other one spouted.
“Noooo!” I screamed and rand towards them. But ‘eye-patch’s’ arm was still locked on to my collar.
“Don’t kid, just… don’t!”
Right then I spitted in his face, kicked him in the groin and ran like I never had before. I ran and ran without looking behind.
I finally got to the gate and it was closed. I banged and punched till my hands were bleeding. The motorcycles’ roar was getting closer to me. Then the doors opened and I was inside, safe, but without Sunny.
It didn’t take much after that for me to want to get out there again. I was feeling guilty for leaving Sunny behind so shortly after my sixteenth birthday I went out again.