Sanctuary

So here is my entry into the “writing contest”. Enjoy.

– Tra

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Sanctuary

Now.

Ohmygod. Ohmygod. Ohmygod. Is what he thinks as he runs down the street. His heart is pumping in his chest just like his legs pump to keep him moving. He looks over his shoulder just to see if anyone is following him. In that moment he crashes into someone and loses his footing. He falls down onto one knee, his full weight focused on one spot. It makes a loud crack. But he doesn’t stop he is back on his feet in an instant. The man he plowed into is hurling curses at him. He only manages to throw an apathetic, “I’m sorry,” over his shoulder as he starts to run again.

He has done something to his knee. Every time he puts his foot down a sharp pain radiates through his leg. With every step it gets worse, the pain more intense and less bearable. He has begun to slow but he cannot afford to stop. He is out of breath and his lungs are on fire. He turns down an alley.

Why did I do this? He splash through puddles and evades obstacles. He doesn’t know where he is going or what he will do. All he knows is that if he stops he is dead. He is willing himself forward, dragging his leg behind him, he is ready to collapse.

He sees his haven before him, a big green dumpster with bright yellow letters. It reads “Wasteco” but he sees “Heaven”. He reaches it; its lid is open waiting to swallow him. He grips the edge trying to steady himself. He is trembling from the pain, the adrenaline, and the exhaustion. He barely has enough energy to lift himself into the bin. He tries to throw a leg over a couple of times with no success. He pauses for a moment finding the power to give himself a small boost. He pushes himself up and leans forward until gravity pulls him in.

I can’t believe I did it. He lays there winded. He stares up at the blue sky and the fluffy clouds that pass above him. It seems so bright up there but almost none of that light is reaching him. The alley is dark, in the shadow of the buildings on either side. He can hear the din from the street. The sound of urban living is simply noise when you are not partaking in it. He reached up and pulls the lid shut.

It is dark and quiet in this sanctuary of his. The sound of his own laboured breathing is all he can hear. His muscles burn and he doesn’t care if he ever moves again. The only light is seeping in around the edge of the lid. His breathing begins to slow. He takes a few deep breaths.

He suddenly notices the pungent odor; the smell of the old, the used, the rotting. It almost makes him gag but he dare not try to leave his hiding place. He will stay here lying on his garbage bag bed until he is sure that it is safe. He shifts around to make himself more ‘comfortable’. He slides his hand into his pocket and finds what he is looking for. He pats his treasure hardly believing that it is there. A smile crosses is face in the dark.

Then.

A guy stands in front of the convenience store door where he has stood for about 2 minutes. He looks back to see his friends in a car signaling him to move forward. He is there sweating not wanting to this but he has to. He raises his hand and pushed the door open ever so slightly.

Ding.

The cashier looks up from her magazine at the door. A skinny guy sidles through the small opening he has made. His black hair is plastered to his down cast head. He looks over at her breathing heavily and smiles, broadly. She pulls a red lollipop from her mouth with a wet slurp and says, “S’up”.

He nods at her while looking at the floor. He wipes his hands down his legs. His fingers are spread and pushed back as if he has just touched something disgusting. He stands there for a second fiddling with himself; his nervous energy trying to get out. He looks around the store without lifting his head and abruptly moves to the back of the store.

The cashier leans forward onto the counter. She stares at him and watches him fidget. She twirls the lollipop in her mouth and rubs it across her lips. It looks like she has just applied a generous amount of tinted lip gloss. She follows the customer with her eyes to the back of the store.

He stands staring at the drink case that lines the back wall. He moves his head from side to side as if he is looking at a tennis match trying to view all his options. He looks over his shoulder trying not to be obvious and catches the cashier’s eye. He quickly goes back to analyzing his beverage choices.

The cashier has quietly slipped one of her hands off and under the counter and is feeling around for something. Her hand hits a small black pouch that just fits in her hand. An almost unnoticeable smile runs across her face for a second. She fiddles with it trying to get it open. She manages to loosen the string that holds it shut and she slips her hand in. She holds onto the object inside and shakes the bag off.

She is now holding something she has longed to use, the Incapasitator. A TASER she was taught to utilize during the second day of her training. She had a desire to apply what she learned about the “Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle” that can deliver up to 50,000 volts since it was introduced into her life. When the store was empty she would use it to pop popcorn packets. She would walk through the store, duck behind displays, ambush those poor helpless packages, and then have herself a snack. But the thrill of doing that had long gone and she yearned to see it in action. Wanting to let the wrath of human ingenuity in weapons design flow thought whichever dumb bastard who tries anything with her.

He stepped forward and grabbed something out of the cooler. He doesn’t know what it is, he wasn’t even looking at it when he pulled it out. He makes his way to the front of the store stopping periodically to touch or examine some random package. He drags his feet as he goes making a swishing sound. He finally reached the front and puts a tall pink can of Tab on the cash desk.

The cashier stands up, with one hand by her side hidden by the counter. She uses her other hand to pull the lollipop from her mouth. “Watching you weight?” she says with one eyebrow raised and a smirk.

“Ah. Yeah. Whatever.” He forces out of his mouth.

“Is that it then?”

“Yeah. How much?”

She picks up the tin and walks to the till. She places the TASER on the side where he can’t see it and scans the code.

“1.95.”

He sticks his hands in his pockets and starts rummaging around. He pulls some change out and plops it on the counter. She sighs and starts to count when he suddenly grabs something from the impulse rack and take off out of the store.

She stands there staring at the door. She looks at the change and it is about 3 bucks. She is really pissed she didn’t get to use the TASER.

Soon.

He doesn’t know how long he has been in the Wasteco bin. He has just been lying there in the dark, waiting. His breathing has returned to normal and his muscles seem to have recovered. He is rested and is ready to move but he is still frightened to do so. His eyes have partially adjusted to the small amount of light that is seeping in.

He has also gotten somewhat used to the smell. He is no longer dry heaving at it but it is still there. He tries to decipher exactly what he is smelling. He knows there is some fish, fruit, possibly some kitty litter, and another scent that gives an extra zing.

He is abruptly interrupted from his game by the sound of foot steps. They are slowly but steadily getting louder; each footfall echoing all around him. His heart again begins to race and his breathing becomes hurried.

They found me! He thinks. His body has become rigid from the fear that is coursing through him. Words like incarceration, jail, and someone’s bitch run through his head. I can’t. I won’t make it. I am too young.

The foot steps stop. A slight wave of relief washes over him. Maybe they left. He tries to calm himself. He hears what sounds like a soft click. He shifts as quietly as possible. The rustle of the garbage bags and the movement of their contents mark every move he makes. He uses his head to lift the lid of the dumpster slowly just so he can have a peek. He sees a torso and drops back down as his heart begins to race. The foot steps begin again, they are still getting closer.

He begins to sweat. He can’t breathe, he is suffocating, and his haven has now become his hell. He is trapped with no where to go and no escape. He imagines being shot in the back in a hail of gunfire as he tries to runaway. He doesn’t want his life to end like this; covered in filth and a criminal.

He sits there weighing his “options”. Options appears in his head with the quotation makes. They are 1) be killed running away or 2) live by giving up. He decides he is going to live. He pats his pocket finding his precious stolen goods. He pulls it out and holds it tight.

He abruptly stands up and throws it at the guy in the alley while yelling, “Here, take it!”

The guy in the alley stands there confused. He is young man wearing what used to be a white shirt, his eyes a blood red, a cigarette clinging to his bottom lip and is holding garbage bags in both his hands. A Mounds chocolate bar has just hit him in the chest flung at him by some crazed homeless guy who popped out of a dumpster. He drops the bags and picks up the candy.

He walks very slowly toward the crazed looking individual, the confection out-stretched in front of him. “Its okay man, you can keep it.”

Tra

Original Fiction

About the Author

Tra

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