Following the attack on New York, Thor takes Loki back to Asgard in chains; but this does not mean that the god of mischief’s schemes are ended, or that Thor has or ever will give up on his brother. But when Thanos threatens the realm to claim his lost prizes, on which side will Loki fall?
When Loki reappears after a three-month absence and invites his brother on a new adventure, Thor has no reason to suspect anything is amiss. Written for a prompt on Norsekink requesting a retelling of the lay of the giant Geirröd, from the Thorsdrapa.
A week into their tragic, limping journey through space, Loki finds himself coming face-to-face with his most dangerous foe: boredom.
As it turns out, it’s difficult to fill your day so thoroughly you can’t think, even when you’re sticking to your best behavior and helping heal, and rebuild, and making sure your brother doesn’t forget he has only one eye and trip through a window into space somewhere.
Really, it’s probably in everyone’s best interest that Loki find something to do. When he’s bored, he schemes; and it’s possible he’s come to terms with the fact that his sense of appropriate scale is, at times, lacking.
When Loki turns up demanding Thor’s help on a quest to retrieve the All-Mother from Valhalla, Thor isn’t about to say no. But that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten anything, and what better time than a road trip through the backwaters of the universe for trying to talk things out?
Thor decides he’s about done with letting Loki get himself hurt and pretending he’s okay with it. Loki’s got two feet of steel through his lungs and is finding it difficult to argue. Family therapy, at its finest.
Loki believed that at its most simplistic, there were two choices in any given situation: the smart choice, and the Thor choice. Very seldom did the two overlap. Very, very seldom. Or: Thor gets himself into trouble. Loki gets him out of it. This is embarrassing.
Groaning, you groggily sat up, gasping at the pain in your head. It felt like the beginning of a migraine, but it was fading slowly. It was dark, allowing your headache to be less painful, and smelled like something took a long dump after going to a Mexican restaurant and then died, maybe vomiting a little bit before dying. Faint footsteps and voices could be heard a couple rooms away, but from where you were you could tell that you were not at the manor. Alfred would chop off his own hand before he’d let the manor smell like this, especially since Dick attempted to cook a meal. Pushing those thoughts aside, you focused on the room, trying to figure out where you were. Grasping a table, you pushed yourself up, barely able to stand properly. Yeah, you were definitely drugged. Scanning the room, you walked over to a boarded window and looked through the space in between the wooden planks. You could see a few buildings, but the most important clue was the homemade sign that had ‘Memory Lane’ poorly spray painted onto it. You were in the Joker’s territory, and that meant you had to deal with that asshole.
I’ve wanted this tattoo for as long as I can remember. this is the first song I listened to and instantly thought “I need these words tattooed on my skin forever” originally I wanted the lyrics with the starry night behind them. they’re from my favorite song watch the sky by my favorite band, something corporate. “you live the life you’re given with the storms outside somedays all I do is watch the sky” these words and song mean a lot to me. andrew mcmahon wrote them out for me a few weeks ago after seeing him perform the song during an incredible set. he also drew the asterisk in the top right of the tattoo because I had to incorporate jack’s mannequin in this as well. I designed the whole tattoo myself which is so beyond cool. I’m the furthest thing from artistic but I drew the moon on my own! I’m an aquarius so that’s what the constellation at the top is. I got to incorporate a lot into this tattoo and I love that. I’m so happy to finally have andrew’s beautiful words on my body in his handwriting to carry around with me. I feel complete, like this tattoo was always a part of me that I was missing.
When Riley first
starts hearing scratching beneath his bed, he doesn’t think much of
it. It’s probably mice, and he doesn’t mind mice. Auntie or Sarah
might make a fuss or move him out of his room or clean everything
out, and that’s a little more trouble than he can comfortably wrap
his head around. The mice were probably here first anyway.
Besides, if Auntie
finds out about the mice then she’ll set traps, and the thought of
having dead mice under his bed makes Riley queasy.
It’s not mice.
Riley finds out
that it’s not mice because he finds a couple of dead ones by the
dresser, and the scratching under his bed persists.
One detail that
must not be left out: he doesn’t exactly find two dead mice. He
finds two back halves of different dead mice.
Auntie’s at work,
and Sarah’s too busy doing homework to notice him sneak to the
bathroom and throw up. Somehow he manages to clean the remains
without having to do it again. He sneaks stain cleaner out from under
the kitchen sink even though he’s not allowed to touch it, but the
spot on the rug doesn’t quite go away.
He moves his play
piano to cover it.
That night, he
palms a meatball from his dinner plate to his pocket, and leaves it
on a paper napkin by the foot of his bed. As he lies awake, waiting
to fall asleep, the scratching gets more insistent. He can hear it
even with his pillow over his ears, can feel the scrap of its claws
against the headboard. The next morning the meatball is gone, and
there’s only one mouse half, but this time it’s sitting on top of
his play piano like something flung it up there.
evening, he takes it a whole chicken leg. The next morning he doesn’t
find any mouse parts, but he also doesn’t find the bone.
It’s too dark to
see under his bed, and in the back of his mind Riley knows that that
doesn’t make any sense. Even in broad daylight, with sunlight
streaming through the window, the space beneath his bed is pitch
dark, as if all the shadows in the room have peeled away from the
walls and come together in the crawl-sized space under where he
sleeps. The thing doesn’t make any noise, and he’s not nearly
brave or stupid enough to reach under and feel around for it. It
likes mice and meatballs and chicken legs, so who’s to say it
doesn’t like little boy’s arms, too?
He’s loath to
keep finding mouse bits in his room, so a portion of his dinner every
night gets taken up to his bed. It’s quietest when there are bones
for it to chew on, which seems a bit backwards, but as long as
they’re both happy, Riley doesn’t see the harm in it.
Sarah is starting
to notice that he’s sneaking food upstairs, because big sisters are
nosy like that. But Riley’s seen her take food to her room too, and
Sarah knows he’s seen her, so she doesn’t tattle. There’s a
word for that, isn’t there? Sarah was talking about history class,
and—oh, yeah. Mutually assured destruction. That was it.
Maybe he should be
a bit more scared about the actual monster he has living under his
bed. That’s what storybooks and kids at school say. But for the
life of him, Riley can’t really bring himself to mind. It’s not
scary, just hungry. Maybe it’s like spiders. Aunty says spiders are
always more scared of you than you are of them, and as much as Riley
doesn’t like the thought of reaching under his bed to find it, it’s
not like the monster has tried crawling out to him.
Until the night it
He doesn’t bring food up for it tonight; Auntie catches him and scolds him, and he
resigns himself to another morning of mouse bits on his floor.
wakes up in the middle of the night to a nudging against his chin. He
opens his eyes, groggy with sleep, and finds the monster sitting on
It’s not a mouse.
It’s not a spider either, and things that aren’t spiders
shouldn’t have that many eyes. It’s not a snake because it has
legs, it’s not a cat either but it rumbles on him like it’s
It nudges him
again, and makes a noise that reminds him of mosquitoes and TV
static. It opens its mouth, and in the light of a street lamp outside
of his window, he sees two rows of teeth like needles. A forked
tongue slithers out of its mouth.
But it doesn’t
bite. It opens his mouth and makes another noise.
“I don’t have
any food,” Riley says, but the monster keeps its mouth open.
It’s not trying
to bite. It’s begging, like a puppy. Like a baby robin.
It makes sense,
once he thinks about it. The space under his bed is so tiny. Of
course the only monster that would fit under there is a baby.
Cop!Bucky stopping at the house in the middle of his shift just to get some love from his wife. He'd grab the mouthpiece that led to the loud speaker & you'd hear from outside your window. "Wee woo wee woo, this is the police. I need you to come out so I can take you to cutie jail!" With that you'd run out of the house, down the walkway with bare feet, poking your head in the open window for a kiss. "Hi baby." "Where's cutie jail?" "In my arms," he grinned, hugging you through the window space.
Amy kept trying to keep up, but sadly, her little legs could only take her so far. She strained profusely over a large rocky mass she had to climb over, as little sweat drops sprang out all around her in threes.
She finally made it over, but still looked in distress, trying to get the attention of-
Aaaaand she lost his trail.
She started to tear up, and pulled out the letter she wanted to give him.
It was everything she loved about him, and everything she couldn’t say just yet to his face… but she wanted him to have it… at least… just spend a moment reading through it.
Maybe… maybe he would love her if he knew-
The wind sped up behind her, cutting off her thoughts as she held her headtie on, ducking her head down but the letter beat against the wind at such rapid speeds…
Finally, the grip Amy’s gloved hand had on it slipped and the letter went flying.
“Ah!” She reached up, chasing after it.
Sonic slowed down and yawned, seeing a comfortable patch of grass, he jumped and laid down on it. He had one hand up, wiggling a pinkie finger in his ear, and the other holding his head up as he rested on his side, one leg up and the other forward and stretched out.
He was just chillaxing.
The wind soared the letter first through a flower, having it stuck in it’s twirling petals.
It caused the letter to change directions, and Amy rushed over, in a panic.
She swung her hammer out and knocked the flower over, opening her eyes to see the damages, she noticed the letter wasn’t there anymore.
“AHHH!!” she saw it flying over some volcanic leftovers, and dodged the flames that Eggman had unsettled recently on pieces of rock that weren’t burnt up yet.
The letter flew over metallic fields of electricity, and she had to quickly move or be shocked by their electrical trains.
Sonic twitched his nose, having a butterfly try and land on it. He flicked his wrist, shooing it away as he peeked a closed eye open, trying to lazily tell it to buzz off.
Amy weakly wobbled with her arms in front of her, drooped down, towards the next location her letter was flying too…
Her eyes widened in complete shock and horror, her face turning white.
Not only did it look like a giant lake, but the other side was a frozen mountain, and the letter delicately landed on it’s highest peak.
Amy just stood at the water’s edge, blinking.
She looked unamused and unwilling.
The letter was suddenly blown away, and she nodded, as if telling the deity of wind that he best knock it off.
She jogged along the water bank as the letter was now within reaching distance, dipping along the water but never truly touching it.
Fishes sprang up and she worried one would try and eat it.
In desperation, she saw one fish jump to gobble it, her worst fear for the situation realized!
She leaped into the water, “NOOO!!!!” she knocked the letter away but was flung into the water, and stared to helplessly be pulled along it’s currents. “Bah! Ahh.. gurbrbrbr, PAH!”
She tried to keep her head above water, being a decent swimmer, but the currents were too strong.
One rammed her against a rock.
The other slammed her under and dragged her already beaten body against the rough rocks below, smoothed over time, but still deadly.
She floated a moment in a still water… her last air bubble about to falter…
Then, a bubble lightly and gently was blown out from the bottom, and reached her just in time.
She zapped her eyes open, holding her breath after sucking in the bubble, though it was immediate and fast, and looked around.
Above her, the letter still flew, but was heading fast.
She narrowed her eyes, holding her hands in for a moment to show her determination in closed fists by her face, and nodded.
She swam along the current, poking her head up out of the surface to get more air.
Sonic’s toe flicked, as he snored quite peacefully.
The water’s rapids got heavy and more dense, as she looked to the shore. It looked serene… safe…
She shook her head, paddling on.
She had made up her mind!
It took her a long time to make that letter! She even added cute doodles for Sonic to laugh at so she could see him smile.
She was just glad this wasn’t cliche, you know, with a waterfall and all-
She felt the winds begin to dip, and looked done with life.
Maybe she wasn’t meant to confess in a letter..?
Maybe.. she wasn’t meant to confess… at all…?
The strength of her limps began to fail her, and slowly, her eyes drooped in weariness.
Sonic’s ear twitched immediately out to the direction of the voice.
Amy sunk under the water again… ‘help..’
A loud crash was heard above the water, as Amy’s vision started to fade her.
When she woke up, there was a pink envelop in her lap, and she was leaning against a tree, covered in a blanket, and near a beach house.
She blinked her eyes as she examined her surroundings.
She looked down at the letter.
“Ah!” It had been opened!
It was wet on parts… like fingerprints.
She took the letter out.
Dear beloved Sonic!
All my life, I’ve always wanted Adventure and something grandeur than myself! I’ve wished and prayed for love… but I never thought I’d get one in the same!
Suddenly, Amy noticed a different color on the sides of the paper, and she gasped.
I’ve always been a bit of a klutz at these things though… I’ve wanted to tell you how I’ve felt for a long time, but you’ve always been busy saving the world. I get that. It’s super cool!
I noticed that. Thank you.
Do you think you could ever teach me to curl up like you do and spin so fast like that?
Maybe. I could try.
I’ve always, always, always wanted to tell you this!
That’s a lot of time.
Sonic… I …
You write dots? Is this for dramatic effect?
Thank you for reading this! I’ll always be yours! Truly! - Amy Rose
I have to say, for an ending, that was kinda anti-climatic.
Amy puffed up her cheek.
He downright RUDELY answered her letter in silly and sly remarks!
She slightly crinkled it up in her anger, bending her head down.
But then… she lowered her shoulders and let go of all her tension. Looking lovingly to the paper, she smiled.
Her doodle of Sonic saving her for the first time, he wrote- That was fun, huh?
She looked at the next one.
Their first picnic together…Good food. Good company.
She smiled, tilting her head into it.
The last picture was a wedding pic.
This made her glare and twitch again, crinkling the paper up on both sides as she tightened her grip.
He had drawn ninjas crawling on the walls of the cathedral and pirates smashing through windows and space aliens trying to absorb her into their ship as he scribbled out his picture and drew himself fighting each one all at the same time.
Cute story. Needs more dragons.
She bent her head down…
And flung it up laughing.
He gave it time. He even commented. That’s more than what she asked for.
She sighed and hugged the letter close… before noticing there was something scribbled on the back…
“I never…” she turned the paper over.
Her eyes grew wide.
There was a very well drawn picture of her smiling, and Sonic ahead of her, reaching back with a hand to her while he walked on.
Jorge Joestar is not killed by a zombie. However, zombies run amok during his and Lisa Lisa’s wedding.
Stands exist but many are named after films and television series rather than bands, musicians or songs.
Made In Heaven has reset the universe 36 times.
In all of them, the basic events of Battle Tendency happen, including Kars achieving his Ultimate form and being expelled from Earth. Consequently, Kars’ new immortality allowed him to survive the resets and thus there are at least 36 different versions of Kars residing on planet Mars; they are apparently the 36 souls of sinners that DIO required for his plan to reach Heaven.
Kars is no longer evil, and now holds respect for humanity’s bravery and ambition. He is also now aware of the concept of Stands.
The DIO of Part 3 was not the real Dio Brando.
Rohan Kishibe is so engrossed in his work that he survives the universal resets unscathed, thus he does not notice Made In Heaven’s actions and is immune to them.
Morioh Town suddenly sprouts legs from its foundations and splits from the mainland, walking the earth.
Passione’s island headquarters begins moving as well, and encounters the roving Morioh Town.
The Dio Brando of Part 1 becomes the Ultimate Life Form as well. The Holy Corpse of Part 7 is in fact Dio Brando’s remains. Dio also possesses a Stand called “The Passion” which resembles Jesus Christ.
Jonathan Joestar returns to life and fuses with the Holy Corpse.
One version of Giorno Giovanna is now Diavolo’s alternate personality. Doppio is instead a separate entity with his own Stand capable of transforming objects into telephones.
Gold Experience Requiem protected the Giorno of Part 5 from the universal resets.
Diavolo somehow was able to use King Crimson to avoid his torturous fate at Gold Experience Requiem’s hands so that only the Diavolo connected with Vinegar Doppio would suffer.
Kars is able to convince Killer Queen to abandon Yoshikage Kira and join up with him instead.
Kars repeatedly uses Killer Queen’s Bites The Dust ability to reverse time until he reaches the first universal reset, otherwise known as the Steel Ball Run universe.
Funny Valentine has a son named Funnier Valentine, who in turn has a son called The Funniest Valentine. Funnier has a Stand called “Rear Window” which opens windows through space, allowing Funnier to travel through them. Funniest has the original D4C.
One version of Funny Valentine has a Stand called “Singing In The Rain” which grants him the power of flight.
I’ve written Rex pining after Obi-Wan and his love being unrequited
but consider Obi-Wan doing the pining instead
Obi-Wan Kenobi, who wants so badly to stick to the Jedi Code falling hopelessly for Rex and trying so desperately to stop it, but the occasional friendly grins Rex sends his way are a weakness he hates admitting.
He knows that this is illogical and that the crush, because honestly, that’s what it is, should dissipate into thin air any minute now, but it’s two years into the war and Anakin’s uptight Captain has loosened up slightly, taking on a cocky brashness to some of his fighting that is only taken in with small glances as to not get both of them killed. The only downside is that now he smiles less.
He sometimes arranges for himself and Rex to go on missions together, and while they sometimes wind up in dire straits, sometimes it’s nice to talk strategy and occasionally make small talk. It depended on how Rex felt; sometimes he could be coaxed out of his professionalism.
Finally, he has enough of dancing around the point, and he figures that if Anakin and Padme can manage it well enough, it wouldn’t be so difficult for him and Rex.
One night, he finds Rex looking out the window as they drift through space, and he figures now is the time. He approaches it awkwardly, though Rex isn’t exactly suave enough to put him to shame. His confessions tumble out in a spill of words about how this is silly, how he wondered if Rex felt the same, and he loves him, and please do not feel pressured to say yes because I’m a superior officer, and now Obi-Wan, the wordsmith, the negotiator, doesn’t know what to say.
Rex looks him in the eye, surprised, and embarrassment is rolling off him in waves. He explains, choosing his words carefully, that he knew that something was up with him, but he was afraid to assume anything. He does not feel the same way, but he hopes, sincerely, that they can maintain the camaraderie that they’ve built up over the last few years.
Obi-Wan knows the goal is futile and he suspects Rex does as well.
They say their goodbyes, and went to sleep. Obi-Wan wondered how his heart would fare when they went to Mandalore.
Growing up I was always a curious child. I always wondered what was behind all the “Authorized Personnel Only” doors and in the “Classified” folders. It didn’t have to be anything secret to attract my attention; it just had to be out of my reach to get me wondering about. As I grew up my curiosity only grew stronger, so much so that when it was time to go to college I’ve chosen a computer engineering major, despite the fact that most IT and programing jobs are being outsourced. All that mattered to me was that being a programmer I would get the “behind the scenes” look at the biggest pool of information in the world- the internet.
This natural curiosity of mine was the cause of the chain of events that made me kill that homeless man. Not directly, I didn’t want to kill him, or anyone in particular, but at the time it seemed like the only way out. How else would I be sure that she’ll leave me alone? Anyhow, it started on the bus. Back then I was still attending UNT, a fairly large university in Dallas. By the time I was done with classes it was around six in the evening and I was exhausted, with barely enough energy to get on the almost empty bus. Aside of the driver it had a teenage couple sitting at the very back watching something on a cellphone and an elderly woman sitting close to the driver, reading a Stephen King book. Naturally I proceeded to sit down in one of the seats in the middle of the bus spacing myself evenly away from others.
I put the headphones on and started looking through the window, mostly spacing out. As the bus was passing the downtown area I started looking at skyscrapers, dreaming about a corner office in one of them some day. All of a sudden I saw a silhouette of a girl emerge. It was dark and transparent. The girl was looking at something. My first thought was that she was standing behind me, and I was just seeing the reflection of her in the window. I quickly turned around but there was no one behind me. I looked around; the couple was still there, as was the old lady upfront, peacefully reading her book. I didn’t know what to do, yelling would seem weird, besides it might have just been a trick my brain was playing on me, as revenge for six classes a semester and long nights of online gaming. Calming myself down, I slowly turned around…The girl still was there. She didn’t move, she didn’t even look at me, she was looking at the empty seat next to mine. I turned around once more to inspect the seat, and didn’t find anything. I looked back at the window, the girl didn’t move an inch, her calm face seemed scarier to me than any other expression imaginable. She looked young, maybe twelve or so, wearing as far as I could tell a grey hoodie, I couldn’t see much more, but she didn’t seem even remotely from the past, like I would imagine a ghost to look. Her eyes, her pitch black eyes were locked at the same point. I tried my hardest to trace her look that was piercing through me, as if I wasn’t there at all, but deep inside I felt as though the girl wanted me to see what she was seeing. Finally I looked at the gap between the seats and found a memory stick, the micro one that is usually used in smartphones. When I turned around the girl was no longer there. This must have been it, she wanted me to find the memory card. Still being frightened by the silhouette I just saw, I started thinking that it must have just been a coincidence, after all how many ghosts do you know that are dressed in modern clothe and reveal themselves to help you find a piece of digital technology?
When I got home it was already nine, the rain that I thought would start a lot earlier just now started pouring, and I could see the lightning flash even with the blinds closed. I lived alone in a one-bedroom condo my grandma left my family when she passed away. This place was the main reason I moved away from my parents, it was my first shot at independent life. I loved the place since I could remember myself, it was in between other condos and trees, so the light almost never came through. Furnished in a Victorian style it had a hint of darkness to it, and such surrounding always helped me think and be productive. The only downside to it was that no friend I’ve ever brought home ever came back here again, but I didn’t mind, I liked being alone. Especially during a storm, such at the one that was about to start. I put the kettle on the stove to start making some tea, laid back on the couch and reached for my phone. As I was grabbing the phone I felt something besides it, something tiny and thin…the flash card. I almost forgot about it, frankly if it wasn’t in my pocket I would soon forgot about the girl in the window. I pulled out the card and looked at it. Nothing special, a plain micro SD card, 256 megabytes, the basic one, the kind that comes standard with the phone, the kind that you change for something better the same day you buy the phone, the kind that just sits in your desk drawer for years never once used. The kettle whistled, and I went to fix a cup of black tea with some lemon. Nothing in my opinion feels better than drinking some hot tea on a cold rainy evening. Thinking about how cold and yucky it is out there while staying warm, dry, and sipping on a delicious cup of pure goodness.
I brought the tea to the room and left it on the desk, and then came back for my phone and the memory card. I wasn’t sure if I should do anything about it. On the other hand I’ve already picked it up, it’s not like I could just go put it back…or could I? My natural curiosity got the best of me. I quickly swapped the memory card in my phone for the one I found on the bus and started anxiously waiting for the phone to read it. No new applications or pictures showed up on the phone, however the video folder contained a file. The thumbnail was black so I could only guess what was on it. After couple of seconds oh hesitation I’ve decided to play the file after all.
The screen was black, nothing was happening for the first five seconds, suddenly I heard heavy breath, scratching noise, and finally a cry for help. “Help me!…Someone please!…This is not funny any more..” The voice sounded desperate and loud, it was high pitched enough to belong to a child, maybe even the girl on the bus. Suddenly the screen got green, like in a video that is shot in infrared. I could see her now, it was the same black-eyed girl that I’ve seen earlier today. The camera was positioned a few inches from her head, and the girl herself was laying down on some soft fabric. I could only see her face, a nicely decorated pillow, and more fabric on top. I couldn’t tell the colors, all I could see is her laying between the two walls of fabric crying for help. The moments the girl wouldn’t cry I couldn’t hear a thing, just her breath, it was dark and quiet. The top wall seemed curved…just like a coffin. Could it be…could someone have buried her alive and filmed it? But why? And why leaving such a horrifying video on the bus, and why did she help me find it? I kept watching, hoping to see a slightest hint that it was just a prank, someone’s sick joke. At one moment the girl stopped crying and turned her head to the right, looking straight into the camera and whispered “help me”. She was looking right at me, as though she knew I was watching. The video abruptly ended. I put the phone on the table and grabbed the teacup. Only now I’ve noticed how much my hands shake, I literally could not hold it without spilling tea on the desk so I put it back. “Starting navigation to Richland Cemetery” computerized female voice proclaimed. I looked back at my phone, the GPS was set for the cemetery on the other side of town. It…or she…something wanted me to go there, maybe rescue her. I opened my laptop and looked up the cemetery, I searched the recent obituaries nervously scrolling through the page. 1924-2013 1935-2013, 1966-2013…I couldn’t find anyone younger than thirty buried here in months. Maybe this is all just in my head, if not than it’s just a prank, it has to be. I turned off the GPS and got on Netflix, hoping that a season of a good show on a Friday night will wipe this memory and I will start tomorrow with a clean slate.
I was awakened by a phone notification. My phone was buzzing as though someone kept texting or messaging me on Facebook. This was rather annoying, anyone who knows me well enough to text me knows that I will never be up at 10 AM on a Saturday morning. My dungeon-dark condo didn’t let a single sun beam in so I could rest safe and sound, like Count Dracula in his coffin….Coffins, why did I shiver thinking about them right now. I reached for the phone and peeked at the bright screen. Something wanted me to share my location, probably some app that updated overnight and now came out with a GPS feature. I agreed to the terms and conditions to shut it up and went back to sleep.
After I woke up and ate it was time to fulfill my New Year resolution- go running. I barely started my grandma’s old mercury and headed to the nearest park. When I got to the park there was just one other car there, and no wonder, all the running trails were wet, and the cold wind was blowing especially strong today, as though near-freezing temperature alone wasn’t bad enough for me. But since I’ve decided to not make any excuses I forced myself out of the warm car. The park was dark, despite the mid-day, not a single person in sight. The wind was blowing in my face so I looked down as I slowly started to run. Two songs into the run (I would time my runs by songs) I got to a narrow alley with a wall of tall bushes on both sides. Wind didn’t freeze my face here as bad so I could finally look up. What I saw ahead of me made me freeze like a deer in the headlights.
About fifty feet ahead of me I saw a girl. Not a jogger, and not the owner of the other car on the parking lot, she looked too young to be a driver. Her skin was pale, grey hoodie and jeans were muddy. I froze, waiting for her to make the first move. After a minute or so of silence she started walking towards me. An unnatural, animal fear took me over, I started sprinting back to the car. The girl just walked. Each time I would turn around she just seemed to walk, but each time the distance between us didn’t seem to change a bit. By the time I ran up to the car I didn’t win an inch of the distance between my pursuer and me. My hands were shaking as I started to mess with the lock. By the time I opened the door the girl was at most twenty feet away. She now was walking even slower than before, almost if she knew that I will not escape. I could see her much better now. It was not just her clothes that were muddy, so was her face, the face that was no longer neutral, it was furious, she was looking at me with her eyes that now were solid white with no sight of pupils or iris, dirt was in her hair, and on her hands…her hands…her nails, they were handing of the hands attached just by some of the skin, some nails were missing, as though she was scratching them on something…like a coffin lid…no…this is impossible, I’ve read somewhere that it is impossible to get out of the buried coffin alive. I wasn’t sure if she was alive though. I jumped in the car and slammed the door shut. Couple of spins of the starter, and no sound of pistons firing. There was a reason I took a bus to college; this car would never start when I needed it the most. The girl was now near the trunk. I closed my eyes, floored the gas pedal and turned the ignition key again. The old Grand Marquis roared, I shifted in drive and took off the moment the girl reached for the door handle.
I got home at least twice as fast as I got to the park, I ran the lights, and I didn’t care for the speed limit. If anything, an officer pulling me over would comfort me, the though of sitting in a metal cage on the back of a squad car driven by an armed officer didn’t seem too bad at all at the moment. As I closed the car door something seemed odd. It was the handle, or more specifically the absence of the handle. Could it be that when the girl grabbed the handle she ripped it off.
I had no intention of staying in the condo for too long, I grabbed my laptop, some basic clothing, and couple of energy drinks. I wanted to go home, if I was to die I wanted to spend the little time I got left with my family. A car alarm went off but I paid little attention, I needed to get away from this place as fast as possible.
I opened the condo door ready to head to the car when I saw her again. She was standing next to my car, the driver side window was broken, the alarm that was going off turned out to be mine, there were imprints of the dirt on light-grey cloth driver seat. My heart started racing as I slammed the door shut from the inside and locked both locks. Alarm timed out and stopped panicking. How did she find me? How did she know I was on a trail, knows where my car is, but not where I live. I’ve decided to call my only friend in the city to come pick me up. Cellphone was nowhere to be found. Thankfully grandma, being old-fashioned lady had a landline. I didn’t know my friends number, but at least I could call my phone. After the first beep in the phone I heard the same car alarm go off. I looked through the peephole and saw the girl beating on my car and reaching inside. By her chaotic moves I could tell she was blind. That’s when it hit me, the cell phone! I took it with me on the run and left it in the car. She didn’t know where I was, she just knew the phone’s location. This scientifically made little to no sense to me but I was not going to question in when my life was on the line. I sat on the couch and started praying, as far as I can recall, for the first time in my life. In ten minutes or so the car alarm turned off.
I slowly stepped outside and made my way to the car constantly looking around. When I opened the door there was glass and dirt everywhere, I swept all I could off the seat and started the engine. I didn’t know for how long she left me alone and if my phone is the only way she can track me, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so I decided to leave Dallas and go back to my family.
The traffic was heavy and the traffic light would only let about five cars through at a time. My phone was turned off and I kept staring at it, and on a rear view mirror, expecting something supernatural to scare me to death one way or another.
“Spare some change?” the old man said. I never talked to homeless people at the traffic light before, I wouldn’t roll down the window, but since this time my window was gone, the man approached me unsolicited. “Pardon me?”- I said, trying to get my thoughts together and snap back to reality. “Could you spare some change or food please?”-the man said. He looked very pleasant, the kind of a guy who could play Santa Clause if he was to wash his beard and put on a couple of pounds. His face, despite all the troubles of life he must have been through, still looked very kind and appealing. “I…I’ll do you one better”-I said looking at my phone-“Here, take it”. I handed the homeless man my phone. “I don’t have any change but you can sell for some money”-I said. As the man with the genuine smile thanked me I tried to look away. I was ashamed of putting him in danger, but all I could think of was the girl who was still on my tail, the girl who was able to crawl out of the grave and could easily break into my car. As I finally got to the highway all I could think of was the old man selling the phone to someone who deserved to die, or to someone who would throw it away, or recycle it, and those thoughts helped me deal with the guilty conscience.
Six month later I was at Texas Tech, on the other side of the state, still far away from parents, but thankfully as far from Dallas, and Richland cemetery, and my condo. I was about to go to lunch when I received a call from a Dallas area code phone number. The shivers went down my spine as the memories of the winter events emerged again. I let it go to voice mail. As soon as I got the notification about a new voice mail I immediately opened it. “My name is Officer Williams”-the voice said-“I believe we recovered your cellphone and we’d like to ask you a few questions”. The officer proceeded to ask me to show up to one of the police departments in Dallas at my earliest convenience.
Being anxious about what the police wanted with me I headed to Dallas the same day to show up to the department the following morning. I was lead into the office of one of the detectives. “My name is officer Williams”- said a sharp dressed lady in a suit-“I was the one who left you the voice mail. Now tell me, what happened to your phone?”. “I…I lost it”-I mumbled. “Where?”- Said the detective. “Around my condo, I must have been taking out trash or running late to school and didn’t notice it falling out”. Detective looked disappointed, not with me, but with my answers, she was clearly hoping for some promising clues. “We found your phone on an elderly homeless man”-said Mrs. Williams-“I don’t assume you know him, but nevertheless, could you look at the pictures and tell me if you ever seen him around”. She proceeded to hand me a folder but stopped at the very last moment. “These pictures are very graphic, you don’t have to look if you don’t want to”-she warned. “Its okay”- I replied taking the folder.
Inside were three pictures. Just by the first glance I could tell it was the same guy I handed my phone to; medium build old guy with a long white beard. First picture was him laying on the ground. Another, a face close up, his eyes were wide open, and solid white, just like the girl’s. His hair and beard were black from dirt, so much so that I could barely tell that they were grey before. The other picture was of one of his hands, all bloody and missing nails, some fingers were bent in unnatural shape, as if they were broken. “She did to him as they did to her”- I whispered. “What did you say?”-Asked the officer. “Nothing, nothing officer. I’ve never met this man.”-I replied
I drove out of Dallas in silence. I was angry at myself, at the girl, at the memory card. I didn’t even know that old man, I don’t know where he’s buried, I can’t send him flowers or say thanks, but I will be forever in debt to him for taking my fate on himself. From there on I spent a lot of time volunteering at the soup kitchens and ended up changing my major to human sciences and becoming a social worker, working with homeless, trying to repay the debt that I owe to one kind old man.