Snow angels

I find myself alone on the streets all at once, it seems. I run from home, from my mother, and a threat which i fear. My only companions are my dog and a scar.

Desmond, of course he's here again- the beautiful stranger. His face like a knife and his words that stick in my mind. I know, he's special. He knows things that nobody should know.

This is my story. A story of love, loss and temporary insanity. Read if you please.

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11. Seagulls

I sleep for a long time, considering it's on a dusty old couch. When sleep loosens it's grips on me, i wake up instantly. 

 

Because it's today. 

 

Today she dies.

 

I can't breath. The dust in the air is blocking my windpipe and squeezing water from my eyes.

 

I check my watch. It's 8:30. The shop will open in a half an hour. Of course, i leave as quickly as possible, leaving the key in the drawer and pieces of the sign on the ground. I kick them on my way out, and turn one last time to examine my work. "curiosity shop." It reads alone. That makes me smile.

 

There's a trip in my step because I'm not sure where I'm going. Well, of course I do know where I'm going; the market on north street. Or in Desmond's words "Your mother's favorite grocery store."

 

My friends stayed with me pretty late into the night- i could see the glances that they gave each other, knowing i wasn't fit to be alone. I'm still not, i agknowledge. I swear, i was sane just three days ago when i ran from my home in a fog of tears. But now, now i am mess of emotion and utter stupidity.

 

It's raining a little bit. More like mist than rain. But still, i take one step at a time until i get off the cobblestones. I want Desmond to be here. Last night, guiltily, i kept thinking of him. I was glad to be a percentage less alone, but every glance at my friends only reminded me more how much they aren't him. 

 

The thing is, they are ordinary. And he ( I hate him, I hate him ) Is absolutely extraordinary.

 

Several seagull's racous calls echo from an alley way, where they battle over half of a bagel. They get nowhere. The streets are mostly empty, besides the mangy birds. The air is an uncomfortable damp cold, and my scarf and coat seem soaked.

 

"Rylee." A voice. A turn. A nod of heads in hello.

 

"Desmond." I reply. I'm at the point of breaking- i can't take this anymore. That's what i want to say, but i can't bring myself to it.

 

Desmond. I'm going insane. Desmond. Help me. All thoughts, no words. How unfortunate it is that people cannot read each other's minds. 

 

"How did you sleep." He asks, though you can tell he is already bored by the answer.

 

"Fine."

 

Then i pause. I can't stop because there's so much more to say.

 

"But it wasn't fine, no. I kept on waking up with this churning in my stomach, this murky feeling. Desmond, and the dreams- they returned Desmond. You were there, like always. But this time i was crying, crying so much and i don't know why. I felt hopeless- how could it have felt so hopeless when it was just a dream.

 

I was sitting in a bathtub, and there was a blade in my hands. And blood, my blood, swirling down the drain like pink roses. You helped me clean my cuts out and- How could it have been so real, Desmond. I promise you it was real."

 

It's only once it's all said that i realize that i was actually speaking aloud the whole time. It's a fearful thing, laying myself out bare without even a lacing of sarcasm. Desmond just nods, looking- well, it's hard to read him as always. Is that fear i see, or disgust?

 

"You say it felt real." He murmurs. We walk in the direction of the grocery store, and i have to skip to keep up with his long legs. At last, the two seagulls end their epic battle over the bagel, one the victor, and one left hungry.

 

"It felt as real as anything. For the last three nights... these dreams. They seemed more like memories."

 

"Misplaced memories." He says in a low voice, not adressing me but himself.

 

"Misplaced memories?" I ask. He mentioned this when we were escaping Curtis's boat, but didn't elaborate.

 

Of course, he looks troubled at the ground. Where as a normal person continues on a conversation for the sake of politeness, he has a tendency to stop mid sentence or simply leave. 

 

"Hey." I cough. The rain clouds have thickened over the city, shutting sunlight out and making it seem like night. "Who tells you these things? Who tells you things that haven't happened yet?"

 

I know the answer, i think, but i don't want to know.

 

"You are right, that someone- someone from the future is a correspondent of mine. I know only what i'm told."

 

"Elaborate." I demand.

 

He looks at his shoes- avoiding eye contact, not an uncommon predecessor to not answering.

 

"It's you." He says.

 

"Hmm?"

 

"It's you, who tells me these things in the future. It's you."

 

                        ..................................

 

"Oh." I say. This talk of the impossible, or at least the improbable, is making me feel queasy. At last, a few people have made their way onto the streets, so i don't feel entirely isolated. A little old lady teeters on massive heels. It would make me smile under normals circumstances.

 

"So, we know each other. In the future." I ask Desmond. He looks distressed, as if i know too much.

 

"Yes... yes-" His hand tugs through his hair in a flustered way. "The dreams you have been having? Misplaced memories. You and I-"

He stops abruptly. "We're almost to the grocery store." He says, quiet.

 

"Finish your though." I half say, half growl. I have had enough of his shit. His slickness and the mystery that he things should exist in ever sentence. 

 

"Fine. You and I-" He says impatiently. "We... Well, love is a petty word isn't it? Awfully overused. Are we best friends? In love? No, i hate that word. But we like each other an awful lot. We meet when you're twenty and I'm older but i age differently so we are essentially exactly the same. You don't know about my... thing... where i can change time."

 

He's having a surprisingly hard time spewing out these few words. His face is flushing light pink like the fading sunrise.

 

"I do tell you eventually." Desmond says. His voice is lower and more serious. I know that he doesn't want to continue- he looks pained. "I tell you how i can go to the past or the future- but i make a promise to you that i won't do it ever again. I didn't ask to be like this, for this ability- I just want to be normal."

 

I am surprised by the distress in his voice. With his quiet and mystery all the time, i sometimes forget that he never got to grow up.

 

"Things are... perfect for a long time." Desmond continues. "Between us. Or not that long. Maybe just two years, but it seems like so much more. I know you better than i have ever known anyone because i always tell myself to move along."

 

He puts a hand on my face, and stares at me intensely with his mussel-shell blue eyes. "I didn't know it was going to happen. I didn't know, i promise."

 

He's a mess. He isn't crying- he doesn't cry. But there is sweat on his forehead and his hair has broken it's perfectly combed shape. It must be terrible for him. He knows everything that's going to happen.

 

"And I can't change any of it." He murmurs."Not on my own. I can't change the past or the future. Rylee, you don't understand yet, but i want to change it."

 

I pry his cold hand from my face, and throw it down towards his side. Here we are, the grocery store. A seemingly innocent bit of a chain. I have been here hundreds, thousands of times but it's different today. The light coming from inside looks distorted. Everything looks distorted- i still have sleep in my eyes.

 

"Explain." I say to Desmond. I know he won't talk anymore without my constant prodding. I don't know if i should be more shocked than I am, but oh, oh of course this is what's happening. Of course Desmond is some freaking magic time traveller that i fall 'deeply in love with' during my twentieth year. 

 

"She dies. Your mother. Right here, on this day." His eyes are dark, and i feel as if i have been kicked in the gut. "You put on a happy face for years, but when you turn twenty-two, you can't hold it down any longer. You start to hurt yourself, blame yourself. I tell you that I love you every day ( Although i hate that word. ) But i know that you're already gone."

 

"What do you mean?" I ask him shakily. "What do you mean?!" I shout after seconds of no reply. We have stopped walking, so he can no longer stride ahead of me and forget my question.

 

"You try a few times, and I know that you will try again." Desmond sits against the brick wall of the grocery store and i sit down ten feet away. "You think that your own death is the only option." His voice has become frighteningly monotone. You can see that he isn't making this up- his face, it churns with what must be dark memories.

 

"You take your own life a few months shy of turning twenty-three. Sometimes, i see people at your gravestone, shaking their heads at how few years lie between your date of birth and date of death."

 

"No." I refuse to accept what he has said. The selfishness of being human has begun to creep back into my words. The fact of my own life being gone, just like that, is more horrifying than anything i have ever heard of.

 

"So i broke my promise to you." Desmond continues in a meloncholy tone, staring strait ahead. "I went back to when you were little, and tried to save your father. It didn't work, of course. Over these eight years, my life has been devoted to making sure you... trust me." His voice is bitter. I realize that he has had nothing in his life asides from this worry.

 

"You're just trying to save me." I murmur.

 

He nods, refusing to open his mouth. He laughs, but it's forced. "This is a mess." He laughs, his face taught.

 

Inching slowly towards him, i fold against him like an origami crane. I feel tiny- perhaps from my recent disintrest in food. He pets my hair for just a second, like politely saying hello to an overly friendly dog.  

 

Seeing his downturned face, I can't help but feel extremely ungrateful. 

 

"Hey." I say. "Thank you."

 

It's a real, proper thank you, which i have never given to him. It's just two words that i have always been too proud to say. He puts his chin up a little bit and allows a faint smile.

 

"It was worth it." He says.

 

 

                           ..................................

 

It's a long time of the same; our backs on cold brick, folded like origami cranes, glancing towards the entrance, glancing, glancing. I nervous and he silent. We let the light snow gather on our knees because we are not really there. We are part of the cement and brick. the harsh false lights and the murmuring city.

 

"I need to go." Desmond says after a very long time, standing up without explianation. I take a long deliberate glance towards the entrance to look for my mother. A young woman walking on crutches enters, but nobody else and i sigh impatiently.

 

"Where are you going?" I ask Desmond. He hasn't left yet, so he seems to be waiting for me to ask. His face is low and solemn, but he is somehow standing tall and smiling just like he always does.

 

"I owe some people some money." He says. "I am here in this time, so i need to pay them off." He stands up and starts to walk around the corner of the store. I want to yell out and tell him that i can't do this on my own. But i realize, quickly, that i won't be alone. No.

 

I've heard some species of animals eat their own young, if they don't deem them fit to survive. A weak creature would draw attention to them, bringing in predators and possibly killing the entire litter.

 

It makes sense, of course. It's only logic. Besides, morals don't exist in the animals world. Only the good of themselves and the species.

 

Humankind would be a much more simple lot if morals didn't exist. Love ( and other inconsistant emotions ) seem to always muss logic. If only we only fought for the good of our species and the ones closest to us. Not everyone can survive, of course. There has to be bad for there to be good.

 

"Wait!" I scream after Desmond. It all makes sense all of a sudden. "Stop!"I yell after him again, this time alerting a pair of pigeons to fly away.

 

I have to run all the way around buildings, wrapping through side streets to catch up to him. At last, i see him, his tall figure wrapped in vevelty coat. The rain and snow, or whatever the current parcipitation could be categorized as, blurs my vision.

 

Oh, it all makes since now. How his face is turned down and how his unhappiness and utter horror is hidden behind his smile. He doesn't see me, so i don't yell again.

 

Everything he has said to me is flashing through my ears, like he's really saying it.

 "I can't change the past, Rylee." 

and ;

"There is a man named Kevin Cavitch."

and;

"Something little like location can't change it, Rylee. Someone has to hurt. Someone has to die."

and;

"Him and two other men will beat up someone who owes them money behind the store."

and;

"It was all worth it."

and;

"Rylee."

and;

"Rylee."

 

Just him saying my name, though that has nothing to do with anything at all. I think i'm crying, though maybe it's the melted snow on my face. He knows things that haven't happened yet, but he, himself can't change them. What cruel torture, to a man who is just a boy, to someone who doesn't deserve it.

 

I reach behind me, and suddenly the gun is in my hands. It's heavy, weighing down my arms, but my aim is perfect. My mind is racing like a frantic animal, like the raccoon who got trapped in our chimney not long ago. Kevin Cavitch, him and his men- if he finds nobody who owes them cash, they will not have someone to beat up and- it all boils down to money, doesn't it? Money and greediness- then my mother wouldn't protect him, then she wouldn't be hurt, then killed.

 

Desmond's words; SOMEONE HAS TO DIE, his name, called from my mouth; "Desmond!" No reason behind it, his face is surprised, but he knows what's happening. His poor face, he knows what's happening. The wait is the worst part.

 

"Desmond." I say again, his name a comfort. I pull the trigger, the gun jerks in my hands. The snow continues down like nothing happened.

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