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Born of the Mind

By @Smkincade

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We walk side by side down the winding street – with a respectable distance between us. I cannot help but have a slight bounce in my step as I admire all the scenery, my thick disarray of wavy, caramel brown hair swinging behind me, brushing just between my shoulder blades. I’m not quite sure why I am so happy, the situation hasn’t changed much, Clarence is still gone. But no matter how many times I remind myself, I still can’t shake my mood. It’s almost as if it is impossible to be unhappy with Julian around…

“So,” Julian starts, “Do you live around here?”

“Not really, we’re just visiting,” I reply casually.

“A vacation?” He questions.

“Sure,” I say, it’s better that he be under the impression that I am just on a normal family vacation.

“So, if you don’t mind me asking,” He says looking me over, eyes hovering on my bandages, “what happened?”

 

Shoot. I cannot very well say that I jumped out a window, because then he’d want to know why I jumped out a window…

“I fell,” I answer simply, technically I did fall – out a window.

“Stairs?” He guesses.

“Um, actually it was a tree.” I say, close enough.

“Ah, I see…I don’t mean any offense by saying this but, you don’t really strike me as the tree climbing type,” He gestures to my scrawny build.

I have always been rather thin, and I am not the tallest either, at about five foot four. However, I am in excellent shape, considering that I have been on the run most of my life. Clarence was always in better shape than me though. He was faster, stronger, and smarter than me whenever we trained. He learned self-defense from our father, and when we were forced away, he took it upon himself to teach me as well. Unfortunately, I never got to the point where the student outmatches the teacher.

“Well,” I start trying to think of a good retort, “You don’t look like the type of person who should be selling newspapers!”

At this he laughs lightly, but behind the humor in his eyes, there is also pain, “What then? A street entertainer? A beggar?”

His laugh stops short, “I guess I’m lucky to sell papers, there’s not too many opportunities for a nobody like me…”

“I don’t think you’re a nobody. I’m sorry I hurt you, I didn’t mean it that way…” I say, hoping to bring us both back into the warm, sunny mood that had surrounded us moments before.

We walk in silence for another minute before he speaks again, “It’s alright, I’m just in a tough situation,”

“That makes the two of us,” I reply, “Hey, if you could do anything, be anything, what would you be?”

“Oh,” He looks up with surprise, “No one has ever really asked me that before,”

“Well, I am asking it now, so what would you be?” I urge.

“Promise not to laugh?” He asks warily, glancing down at his worn shoes.

“I swear I won’t,” I promise with a slight smile.

“Okay, well, I’ve always had a thing for music, and well, I’ve dreamed of becoming a musician since I was young, I play guitar, and I sing too…”

I look at him in astonishment, “You sing?”

“Yeah,” he responds. I cannot tell, but it looks as though he is blushing.

“Wow, that’s really cool!” I remark, a real smile spreading across my face.

He starts to smile as well, and I see the pained expression slowly fade from his face.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to sing,” I say, “But I have never really been any good,”

He laughs at this, “You can’t possibly be that bad, I’m sure with a bit of practice, you could have the voice of an angel,”

I smirk, “Oh, I am almost one hundred percent sure you will see me as the devil when you hear me sing, I can imagine it now, you on the ground, pleading for me to stop because it is so awful,”

At this we both burst into laughter.

“Well,” he says, “I’ll have to test that theory one of these days, never have I met anyone with singing bad enough that it sends someone grovelling on the ground,”

“Oh, you won’t be disappointed,” I flash him a devilish grin.

We keep on walking, once again surrounded by an aura of happiness. As we stroll down the street, Julian points out buildings left and right, sharing stories about his experiences around town. Finally, we round a corner and face a small house with a dull blue door.

The paint on the house is peeling, and the front windows look as though they haven’t been cleaned in ages. I watch as a mouse scurries out of a small hole at the base of the house.

“Are you sure this is the right place?” I ask skeptically as I take in the rotted wood that makes up the front porch.

“Positive,” Julian replies as he carefully makes his way up the creaky steps to the door.

I half expect the porch to give out beneath him, but by some miracle, it does not. He knocks twice upon the door and shifts his body into a more relaxed position.

Hardly a moment later, there is a shuffling from inside the house, and the door is opened by a man.

He looks as though he is in his fifties, and has shoulder-length, scraggly black hair. A stubble is visible on his chin as well as above his upper lip.

 

Well at least he shaves. I think to myself.

He has a large build and is wearing a stained flannel shirt and torn jeans; his blue eyes are stone cold as he looks from me to Julian and back.

“What do you want?” He asks Julian gruffly while eyeing me.

“Oh, c’mon Travis! It’s me, Julian! This is my friend Elizabeth, we need some help with something,” Julian says brightly with a huge smile, almost too huge.

“And why would I do that?” Travis asks as he continues to glare in my direction.

“Uh, well, because you don’t have anything better to do?” Julian suggests.

I groan.

“And what do you know of that? I have plenty of better things to do than to help you and your companion,” He spits the word in utter disgust, and I flinch at the harshness in his tone.

“Well, if not out of the goodness of your heart, at least do it for Thomas!” Julian snaps.

Travis blanches at the sound of the name, “Fine, I’ll help you,”

He then gestures to the door and Julian steps through. I walk slowly up to the door, but just as I am about to enter Travis steps in front of me, “Only him, not you. Witch,” He mutters the last word just loud enough so I can hear, and then turns around, and slams the door in my face.

I stare at the door blankly before his words sink in. Does he know? How could he know?? And what about Julian? Does he know too?

 

Maybe it’s better if they know. I think, then they would know what we are up against.

Suddenly I hear shouting from inside the house, it’s muffled, but I can make out some words.

“She’s the one that needs help, not me!” Julian shouts, “Why did you just slam the door in her face?”

“You shouldn’t be around people like her, trust me Julian,” Travis warns.

“What are you talking about?? She is a just a girl who wants to find her brother! What is so bad about that?”

“If you help her Julian, you will be putting yourself in unimaginable danger, leave her be, and go home,”

“And what if I say no? What if I say that I’m going to help her no matter the cost?” Julian retorts, voice quivering with fury and defiance.

I suck in a breath; he’d really do that for me? He’d put himself in danger to help me?

“Then I will just have to stop you,” Travis answers with a cool, yet menacing tone.

I hear Julian start to say something, but then he stops short and I hear what sounds like a thud.

“Julian!” I cry hoping he can hear me, “Let me in!! Someone let me in!”

I bang once on the door, and then everything happens at once in a maddening blur.

The front windows shatter. I see Julian lying on the floor. And Travis is suddenly behind me, with a knife at my throat.

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  1. Sarahisdaname

    Jun 6, 2021

    Hi smkincade! I started another writing competition if you were interested!

    Please complete the required fields.



    0 Replies Jun 6, 2021
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