Drag deep, breathe in. Puff out.
Sherrie watched the ebony-haired young man burning through the third cigarette, keeping a safe distance. Eventually, she approached the fallen trunk of an ancient tree which the young man claimed a seat for the past hour, and snatched the nicotine stick from the relaxed grasp of his fingers. However, Arnold didn’t give her the reaction she hoped to receive; a small, knowing smile graced his lips as he kept his dark gaze fixed on the nature before him.
“That’s gonna give you cancer.” Sherrie informed him, ironically dragging deeply from the same cigarette. The young man chuckled to himself, glancing at the girl to his right. She was wearing the baby-blue, knitted scarf he had gotten for her eighteenth birthday. Sherrie had matched the accessory with a white blouse, blue jeans and white ballerina flats. She looked so beautiful.
It wasn’t easy for Arnold to frown around Sherrie; however, he forced a stoic expression and reached for the cigarette between her rosypainted lips. He tossed the burning cig between his two feet, distinguishing the burning ember under his sneakers, receiving an eye-roll from Sherrie’s end.
“That’s gonna give you cancer.” Arnold mimicked with a smirk. Sherrie laughed whole-heartedly, like she always would in response to Arnold’s sense of humor – even though, not many considered him to be the comedic type. It was just one of the reasons he adored Sherrie for.
She sat close next to Arnold, him wrapping his arm around her petite figure and pulling her closer to his side. “It’s gonna be okay.” She reassured, warmly gazing at the side of his frowning face. Soon, Sherrie’s lips twitched into a saddened frown, as Arnold refused to look her in the eyes; she hadn’t realized it was that bad.
Arnold always liked peaceful quietness, despite his palpating heart and loud mind. However, the silence which settled into that moment had him frustrated to the verge of hysteria. It was the kind of haunting silence, the kind of stillness that taunted him as it allowed him to ponder on how helpless he was.
It allowed him the opportunity to wonder if that was how Mitchell felt, all the time; why his constant outbursts were so destructive; why Mitchell was so self-destructive. It also led Arnold to wonder if their father had given that fact any thought at all; if he ever cared.
He felt gentle fingers holding his chin, tilting it to the side for his eyes to be met with the beholder of the loving touch. “Mitchell’s a big boy; he’ll be okay.” She affirmed, adjusting Arnold’s cotton coat and brushing off nonexistent dust away from his black turtle-neck shirt, finally planting a kiss upon his lips.
Arnold remained doubtful.
The automobile shook violently as its rubber wheels rolled along the eroded dirt path; they were five minutes far from Huckleberry Creek trail, and Mitchell could hardly contain his discomfort from surfacing – not with Aaron as a witness. Mitchell had always kept to himself for a God damned reason; he could never risk exposing any open, vulnerable spots for anyone to strike.
Breathe in. Count to five. Breathe out.
The breathing exercises he picked up from Dr. Aniston’s therapeutic sessions – only thing that proved helpful, more often than not- had aided him in refraining from breaking Aaron’s jaw, every time they had a chore that needed to be done. Although Mitchell would have had Dean accompany him, however, he would rather keep Aaron under his watch.
Eventually, the irritable drive came to an end, as they reached the property which would serve as their sanctuary for a hopefully short stay.
Mitchell calculated the future odds, inevitably looming over their heads and decided to lay the vehicle to rest, facing the north pathway that would hopefully serve as their escape route, in case of unanticipated development. The two men exited the silver Verna, and Mitchell instinctively headed for the back door, in order to retrieve Sherrie’s unconscious body, and began towards the timber estate.
The brunette male kicked the plain front door open with ease, triggering atoms of fine powder to surround the atmosphere around them, as they progressed into the cabin. Mitchell eyed the inside of the property with disdain, displeased by Aaron’s efforts in securing a proper estate. Aaron noticed his partner’s ungrateful mannerisms, and hoped he would keep his big mouth closed in that grimace for the rest of the night.
“Took you long enough; Church was about to call it off.” Dean materialized at the threshold of the kitchen room, located to the far left of the spacious living room. Mitchell dismissed Dean’s way of a greeting, and ascended up the wooden staircase, in order to place Sherrie in one of the four bedrooms on the second story of the property.
“Call it off, yeah? He got any idea about the shit we’ve cut through for this one?” Aaron acidly bit, flexing his towering height against Dean’s. However, Aaron’s attempts were futile in comparison to Dean’s ability to maintain the unfazed, blank expression he sported in any situation. His forest green orbs held no sentiments inside; a contrast to the latter’s striking blue ones which housed a fiery impulsiveness.
When the blonde male received none of the reactions he craved, he decided with the classic move of ramming his bold shoulder against Dean’s less buffer figure. Dean contained the urge to strike a blow at Aaron’s exposed neck, however, refrained from conflict.
Everyone familiar with Aaron avoided collisions with that arrogant Sociopath; thusly, evading the process of feeding his already colossal egotistical nature. That man thrived upon the divergence he found pleasure in sparking everywhere he ventures.
Mitchell carelessly threw Sherrie’s frail figure onto the wooden floor boards, disturbing the dirt and grime which dominated every surface and corner in the place. He couldn’t help but cough slightly, grimacing bitterly at the fact that he would be staying in that shithole of a house for an unknown amount of time.
He took in the design of the bedroom, an admittedly pathetic attempt to avoid thinking about how the girl, indignantly lying on the filthy floor – how she was the same girl his brother once lived to love and cherish.
It consisted of all-wooden furniture, ranging from the single bed in the far corner with the battered mattress no one would rather sleep upon. A small wooden nightstand was located by the wretched bed, with no drawers to serve the purpose of the furnishing purpose of the peace. A single window was stationed on the left side of the room, barricaded with rotting boards of old wood.
The room was obscured by the darkness of the wall, and Mitchell noticed that there wasn’t even a power source for the entire property, leaving him frustrated over yet another matter he had to lose sleep over. He was beginning to acknowledge the bliss he was living in, back at the mental hospital he was trapped inside for the past decade, in comparison to his current residence.
Surely, his dark gaze found its way towards the female strewn about on the floor, and a rush of remorse coursed through his veins for a brief moment, before he dismissed the sentiments and locked the door – leaving the young woman to fend for herself in the obscurity of the unknown.
Descending down the wooden steps, Mitchell made his way to a slumbering Dean, snoring like an old man on the sofa. Mitchell purposefully kicked at the wooden base of the couch, boorishly disrupting the man’s snooze. Dean snorted awake, his body shooting upright in alarm, for his pink eyes to land on a poker-faced Mitchell.
“What the fuck, Mitch?” Dean grumbled groggily, rubbing the drowsiness away from his eyes. “You got the blonde one?” Mitchell asked. “Yeah. Sure, man.” He pushed his body off the cushions with difficulty, opting for a cold beer; he had the notion of the night being a very long one.
The two men entered the kitchen. “I was this close to shooting that Tess slut in the fucking face.” Dean tossed a bottle of beer in his partner’s direction, the other fetching with ease. “She got out a couple times; bitch got her ankle crushed on the second shot in a fucking animal shut-in kind of shit.” He unscrewed the pressured alcoholic bottle with a switchblade, chugging a good amount with a single swig.
“Should I be worried?” Mitchell queried, taking a seat by the wooden dining table. The look in his brown irises unreadable to Dean, leaving him conflicted about his answer or if he was supposed to give one at all.
“I gave her something to hold onto; it’ll be a good while before she tries anything else.” Dean tried, hoping to impress; hoping to convince Mitchell how much of a valuable asset he could be. Mitchell pursed his lips in a thin, scornfully saddened line while shaking his head like a disappointed parent.
“Dean,” he began gently, rising from his seat to stalk towards Dean. “Dean, Dean… Dean.” He spat the last repetition of his name disdainfully and Mitchell purposefully puffed his chest in an intimidating manner; mocking the shorter man’s lesser physique.
“I understand. I really do; I’ve been gone for a very, very long time. So fucking long, that you, Tess, Aaron, even Billy got comfortable, too goddamn comfortable.” Mitchell reached for his unopened beer. “And you know how that makes me feel, Dean?” he furrowed his thick, dark brows in a hurtful expression, his tone relaxed as if he was addressing a sensitive child; dripping with cynicism.
“It makes me feel—“ Without a warning, Mitchell brought the glass bottle within his grip down upon the wooden chair behind Dean, shattering the fragile container in the process. “—so fucking uncomfortable, Dean.” he seethed through gritted teeth, eager of showcasing the makeshift yet deadly weapon of translucent brown glass, the jagged edges threatening to penetrate Dean’s body.
Dean remained collected despite the maniacal aura Mitchell produced; however, it took to much effort to appear so indifferent under so much pressure, thus, he refrained from verbal reactions.
Mitchell was unpredictable; being around him simulated crossing a field of land-mines, a feather would be enough to detonate.
“And you know what happens when I get too uncomfortable?” Dean didn’t bother with an answer. Mitchell never really needed one; it was only reminder of his prevailing say-so.
They both held eye contact, before Mitchell was certain that his message had gotten through, thusly discarding the broken bottle as it wouldn’t serve a purpose anymore.
“Get one of the whores to clean up. And hit up Church to hook us up with a generator; I can’t even see where I’m taking a piss.” He ordered over his shoulder as he exited the kitchen.
Dean’s relief was short-lived, as Aaron decided to join in. “Did he just say ‘one of the whores’?” Aaron questioned, scoffing. “Wait, how many of them are we supposed to hold in?” He turned to face Mitchell, who rested in Dean’s previous sleeping spot on the sofa. Mitchell didn’t answer; he wasn’t obliged to interact with Aaron.
“So, this is your fucking plan, Mitch—“
“Eat shit, Dean!”
The reverberation of Mitchell’s heavy boots gained both men’s attention, catching Aaron by surprise as the other man threw a blow to his jaw. Aaron stumbled backwards, quickly regaining his balance as he supported himself against the wooden wall. Despite the damage Mitchell had inflected to Aaron’s nose, he was yet to satiate the violent urges bubbling under his skin; opting for another blow – a final blow.
“Mitch, that’s enough.” Dean attempted to restrain the enraged man’s arms, however, his words fell upon deaf ears and his physical strength wasn’t enough against Mitchell’s destructive outbursts.
Aaron laughed at the sight of the enraged man before him, hardly controlled by his partner; he laughed boisterously as he smeared away the crimson fluids pouring from his injured snout – he was relishing in conceit.
The prospect of Aaron’s blood gave Mitchell a power-inducing rush in his veins – a satisfaction; he wanted more of that blood on his hands.
“Mitch, Church ain’t gonna like this, man; you don’t wanna fucking do this, man.” Dean frantically pushed Mitchell’s body in the opposite direction, desperately trying to reason with him.
Eventually, Mitchell broke free; tossing Dean against a wall and advanced to finish what he started. He grabbed Aaron by the jugular, slamming him onto the ground before Mitchell applied his entire weight upon Aaron’s chest, monstrously striking the man’s overall face.
All Mitchell saw was red; coating his hands and blue jeans. Aaron’s features became drenched in the vibrant life fluid, making it difficult for his assaulter to decide where the next blow should be.
Dean hooked his arms under Mitchell’s, which mercilessly and repeatedly struck at Aaron, until he finally managed to tug the deranged man off of his partner. Consumed by blinding anger, Mitchell had poured out the remaining energy in him onto Aaron, making the task of holding him down easier for Dean.
“FUCKING LET IT GO, MITCH!” Dean roared, managing to snuff out the fuming, dangerous urge as he held him down.
Aaron’s cynical laughter echoed behind them, a wide, disturbing grin was plastered upon his bloodied features. Veins pulsed evidently on the surface of his forehead and neck, “You’re so fucking pathetic, Mitch!” The bloodied man seethed, spitting an amalgam of blood and saliva in Mitchell’s direction.
“C’mon, Mitch, do it! For once in your little, miserable; finish what you fucking start!”
It was Dean’s only resort to prevent that sociopath from re-igniting the snuffed out fire, thus, he struck Aaron in the jaw, silencing him the process. Mitchell picked himself up from the floor and stomped his way out of the cabin; away from that bastard, for it was the only way he’d be able to regain his self-control.
“Nobody stays at the top – Nobody, you hear me?!” he spat after him. Mitchell pretended to be deaf, “YOUR TIME’S COMMING, MITCH! AND I’LL BE WAITING!” He bellowed after him again, just before the front door was smacked shut.
He lost control. Again.
He snapped like a delicate, wooden twig under pressure and Aaron witnessed the entire ordeal. Any other individual would have been smart about crossing Mitchell after getting beaten to a bloody fucking pulp, but not Aaron. The man was disturbed; and if anything, that little dog fight must have fueled his determination, rather than fracture it.
But that wasn’t what absolutely destroyed Mitchell on the inside.
“You’re so fucking pathetic, Mitch!”
He shook his head profusely to rid himself of his maniacal voice. Proceeding to make his way through a narrow, almost hidden trail – a trail he knew far too well and crossed too many times. Deep within the Huckleberry Creek, Mitchell had reached a concealed river clearing amidst the sea of evergreens.
A fallen log of an evergreen provided the young man a seat by the calming river bank, intently listening to the delicate humming of the running water. Chilling November breathes lapped at his exposed skin; soothing his face which once burned with the heat of adrenaline and blind rage. The thick material of his black shirt stuck to his back with sweat from the immense energy he produced.
“YOUR TIME’S COMING, MITCH!” it echoed again, inclining him to physically grimace with discomfort. Strangely enough, the notion of his luck running short and his eminent fate didn’t disturb him as much – not as much of being remembered; how he would be remembered.
He directed his dark gaze downwards, to observe his cracked knuckles; his blood tainted paws. He hated it – hated how anyone can tip him off the edge with ease, hated how destructive he could be and hated the fact that there was no one worthy of his reliance.
All he had were foes, and he hated himself for being at fault for it.
Mitchell used the clear, running water of the river to wash away Aaron’s filthy blood from his hands. The blood gradually dissolved into the translucent, pure waters and he wondered if he ever deserved to touch something so pure; the river was supposed to serve a better purpose than cleanse the aftermaths of his violent tendencies.
You’re over-thinking again. He was.
“Pathetic fucking coward.” Aaron seethed through gritted teeth, using his plain and tattered shirt to soak his seeping blood. “We all know that Mitch isn’t the ‘pathetic fucking coward’.” Dean commented. Aaron directed a death-glare in the brunette’s way, ticked off by his nonchalant.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, tell me about that one time he actually finished something he started.”
“He’s being fucking smart.” Dean spoke as he sharpened the dulling edge of his switchblade. “Looks like you got some of the ‘ass-kissing’ thing wrong, buddy. It doesn’t work when that bitch isn’t around.” Aaron scoffed bitterly. The latter suppressed an aggravated sigh; it never was a good idea to feed Aaron’s ego with the reactions he loved.
“Trying to focus on getting the fucking job done,” Dean corrected, “you really should, too.” at least one of them should be doing that task, efficiently. “Get your shit together, Aaron; Church’s fed up with you.” He warned, holding the blonde male’s gaze to stress how dire the situation was.
Dean saw no purpose whenever he rooted for Mitchell, however, he was confident about one thing; if there was one person capable of getting this fucking job done out of the four of them, it was definitely Mitchell. Besides, it was absolutely crucial for someone to stand by neutral grounds; somebody to keep the ‘peace’ between the three rabid dogs.
“Don’t tell me what to fucking do.” Aaron poorly attempted to mask the obvious uneasiness, unwillingly seeping through the cracks of his withering egotistical nature.
“Any time, man.” Dean bit back a victorious smirk as he could tell he had hit a sensitive nerve at that moment, and he loved every second of it.
It would be enough to keep that sociopath at edge for Aaron was never a muilti-tasker; he would spend most of his energy on worrying over the day when Church wouldn’t be so kind and forgiving.