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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9. Seven numbers

Of course, happiness can't last for long. If all emotion was the same then the world would remain gray.

 

Felix decides to run back to his house and grab food and reading material for the rest of the day- there's no reason to go anywhere or do anything this saturday. So we decide to spend it on the top of the cliff.

 

He leaves me, and I'm alone in a vast woods. I know this can't be good, because wherever I am, I am never truly alone. I half expect someone to pop out behind a tree, but he doesn't.

 

Angel curls in my lap. I'm surprised that the thought of endless woods no longer excites him. He is tired, and skinny too. What i have been feeding him for the last few days can't be good for him.

 

"I'm sorry that I'm dragging you along with me." I murmur, burying my face in his soft fur. "Good puppy... good dog."

 

I get up, removing my back from the cold face of the cliff. I walk along the rock- it doesn't go for long- until i find a crevasse. It's fairly easy to clamber up. The rocks are wedged tightly in place, no clear danger.

 

Only when I'm at the top of the cliff is when I realize how high it is. I look down into the snow that was one fresh looking, though now has dozens of snow angels and foot prints everywhere. As i push brown pine needles over the edge and watch them sprinkle down, I think. It's so easy for a life to end. A light that goes out in one instant, after building and growing and learning for years and years.

 

Mom and I don't go hiking, obviously, after what happened to Basil. I wonder if he fell from a cliff like this one, or if he tumbled down. I wonder if he was killed in one instant, or over the course of minutes.

It seems quite silly. All your life you build up who you are, love and grow. You learn things, how to read and write and all of these useless facts. And then the end is so quick. So little.

 

I hear footsteps behind me, and stumble away from the cliff instinctively. 

 

Of course it's Desmond. Who else could it be. "Desmond. You stalker you." I say, taking a deep breath and continuing to back away from the cliff.

 

"Sorry to surprise you." Desmond says politely. My little white dog scrambles up the crevasse in the rock like a mountain goat, happy to see another person.

 

"So what epic prophecy do you have for me now." I sigh, shuffling my feet through the leaves like an upset child.

 

Desmond smiles. His face looks less dark then it did yesterday, and i guess he's getting over the shock. "Not quite." He says. "Follow me."

 

"I'm not alone you know." I say, tilting my head to one side. "My friend is coming right back."

 

"Leave him a note." Desmond smiles. Logic right there.

 

"I can't just run off every four seconds. I have a life aside from running around the city, asking for clues to your mysterious ways."

 

Desmond sighs. "But your life has fallen apart at the moment, and It's my job to help you piece it back together. Now write that not.

 

Slowly, and a little bit sadly, I look down at Angel. He doesn't deserve this insanity. He needs to go home.

 

"One second." I say to Desmond. I find some paper and a ballpoint pen in my backpack, and write Felix a note.

 

Felix

 

Thanks for the food and the shed and the snow angels. D showed up and I had to run. I leave you my dog- I think he's ready to go home. Don't worry. I'm safe and all that.

-R

 

With that, i carefully wrap the note around Angels collar. He licks my hands, trying to get them away from his neck. At the base of the cliff, i tie him to a sapling. He starts whimpering as I walk away. He doesn't understand why I'm leaving him.

 

But other things are much more important now. 

We walk for a bit in silence. I have no idea where we're going. I just keep on wondering if Felix has found the note yet. If he's worried or angry.

 

"This better be important." I say to Desmond as we walk, step in step.

 

He looks at me, not smiling for the first time. "Of course it is, Rylee. You can run off and make snow angels as much as you want, but you can't forget what's going to happen tomorrow."

 

Tomorrow.

 

Suddenly, my legs feel heavy. It seems more real than ever. Tomorrow. 

 

Desmond sees me stop and halts next to me. I'm staring at my hand, my hand that look so much like hers.

 

"Tomorrow." I say aloud. I curl my fingers numbly. My hair is in my face and my mouth, but i don't want to lift my hands to move it. Silently, he puts his arm around me. He wears thick clothes, but underneath i can feel how skinny he is.

 

I don't cry- i've cried enough for a lifetime in the last two days. I just stare at the cold earth, and slowly put my head to his chest. His heart beats, i hear it. A beat that threatens to stop at any moment.

 

For that's what it means to be alive.

 

                        

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

 

Eventually, trees start to look the same, and I begin to believe that i'm wandering in circles. Thankfully, Desmond know where he's going, and seen enough we find ourselves at the edge of a neighborhood. Every house is a different pastel color- beautiful really. A postcard image.

 

"How did you find me." I ask Desmond. "Actually, I don't know why i even ask you stuff. It just leads me to more questions and disappointment."

 

"Ok, ask me anything." Desmond stretches his arms out to either side, in a 'come at me bro' manner.

 

"How old are you. And don't give me any 'time is relative' crap."

 

Desmond taps two of his teeth together. "Time works differently for me than it does for you. You travel through time as a strait line. I'm not bound to one time."

 

I don't waste time being shocked. It would make him happy- to see me surprised. I won't give him the satisfaction.

 

"So you're a time traveler?"

 

He laughs. "No, i wouldn't say that. But close enough. The main point is that I am the only person... like me."

 

I think about this for a minute. My legs are tired from walking through the neighborhood. We get deeper and deeper into the city and away from the suburbs. The birds are happy that it's warm out, and they flit between budding trees.

 

"When were you born, tell me that at least."

 

"1953."

 

I wrinkle my nose. "So... you're 60 years old?" 

 

His laugh sounds like mocking bells. "Now, I wouldn't jump to conclusions. How old do i look."

 

I shrug. "20, maybe 25."

 

"Then that's how old I am. That's how old my brain is, my heart is. My hands, my skin, my feet are all 20 years old. Date of birth- that's just a guideline."

 

In that moment I don't know if I'm hating him or loving him. He is the most irritating bastard that i have ever met, but it makes me smirk a little bit- just the ridiculousness of it all. 

 

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

 

Eventually, we stop walking. I catch up to Desmond, balancing on the curb. I haven't come here much. The views of the water and the mountains are nice, but there is an ancient, crumbling cemetery that sort of ruins the ambiance.

 

"What, exactly are we doing here." I ask him.

 

"Looking at the view, of course." He sits down at the nearest park bench, resting his arm on the back. 

 

"Okay, the view is very nice, but..." I can't imagine Desmond leading me somewhere without some alterior motive. He doesn't reply, entranced by the sparkling water. So I sit down on the same bench as him, as far as I can get away.

 

"Curtis's boat is out." Desmond mentions idly. It makes it's lazy circles around the harbor. Now the seemly innocent little boat makes me shudder a bit.

 

"I'm sorry about your aunt." I murmur, realizing that i've never actually said that to him.

"And I'm sorry about your dad."

 

"That happened a while ago..."

 

"Doesn't make me less sorry."

 

It's good to sit and stare at nothing particular for a while. Felix drags me on these head over heels adventures. I need silence, sometimes, to ground me.

 

"Well, I should be going." Desmond drops a few coins on the table and leaps onto the heels of his boots. He turns only once he is a few feet away. "I'm guessing you may want to make a phone call." He gestures to a small row of public telephones. By the time i turn back to Desmond, he's halfway up the hill where we came from, and I have no reason to chase after him.

 

I pick up each quarter that he left on the table, thinking of calling home. I hung up so abruptly last time. She must be missing me, Mom. She must be so worried.

 

These phones seem out of place, and I wonder why they're here at all- barely anyone passes by this graveyard. The phone takes some prying to pull it out of it's holder. I bet nobody has used this phone in months.

 

After i drop my quarters in the slot, a tinny female voice comes through the line. "Please dial number, and press send." It repeats, on a robotic loop. I want to call home, but no. I can't.

 

The phonebook is opened to the "C" section, with a few red arrows snaking along the pages. They all point towards one name.

"Kevin Cavitch." 

 

My heart is in my throat. I don't know what to say. His name drifts through my vision. The killer of my mother, who's murder hasn't yet happened. I need to call him, of course. This must be why Desmond has brought me here. But i hesitate.

What good could it be to call? Could i threaten him? 

 

Nervously, I tug on the green tips of my hair. But i have to dial, and I do. Even though i don't try to memorize it, i know these are seven numbers i won't forget.

 

One ring. Then two. Then three, then four. A criminal wouldn't pick up a call from an unknown number, i realize. 

 

I'm about to drop the phone, when I hear a small voice on the other end "Hello? Who's there?"

 

Her voice is tiny, like a peeping baby bird. She can't be older than six years old.

 

"Hello." I say slowly, unsure.

 

"I'm Ariel, what's your name?" She peeps. "Ariel like the princess." She adds on.

 

"My name is Rylee."

 

"That's a boy's name." I can imagine her wrinkling her nose.

 

I laugh. "Um, i'm not sure if I called the right number. Is there a Kevin Cavitch there?"

Ariel pauses thoughtfully. "Yep! That's my daddy."

 

I freeze, my whitened fingers tightening around the phone like it's my life line. I scan the phonebook. There is only one 'Cavitch.'

 

After a while, i talk. "Can I speak to your daddy, please." 

 

"Okay." She says. I hear shuffling on the other end of the phone, and for a second i wonder if Ariel hanged up.

 

"Hello. Who is this." Most voices seem to sound the same over the phone, but his- it's different. Deeper, like the voiceovers on advertisements. 

 

"I..."

 

 I don't say anything. "I'm sorry. Nevermind." I hang up the phone as quickly as possible, and back away from it like it's going to come after me. I grab my coat and walk, then slowly break into a run. My mind is a sludgy mix of things. He's going to come after me. He's going to come after me.

 

But most of all I think of Ariel.

 

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