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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1. The Blizzard

I despise the cold. It whips my hair and tears the bubble of warmth that i like to think surrounds me. That's why i hate living in Alaska. The summers are short and lukewarm. The winters are brutal. It's late march, so technically spring, though the cold makes it seem more like mid-winter. 

 

My dog Angel, barely 15 pounds, nuzzles at my hand. I realize that, while i'm feeling the cold, he must be feeling it worse. Still, he remains brave. I like to think that he is staying with me out of loyalty. But likely, it's just for warmth. Angel has never liked me much. He's really my mom's dog.

 

I shiver from the cold, or maybe the thought of my Mother. I tried to avoid thinking about her, to avoid the discomfort of tears frozen to my face.

 

"It's okay, Angel." I whisper to the white terrier, resting my back on a frozen brick wall. Nobody in their right mind would be out in this weather. I stand up, and Angel musters up the scraps of loyalty he has for me, and follows. 

 

The city of Juneau murmurs, muffled by snowdrifts. A few people have dared to leave their homes to shovel out their cars. But mostly, Angel and I are alone.

 

"Lets go find a store to keep warm in." I say to him. 

 

I remember when my Mom brought Angel home. He was supposed to be a present for me. A "Therapy dog", Mom called him. Although, when Mom called him that I snapped. Actual therapy isn't that bad, only the title that comes with it.

 

We came up with names. I liked Cotton or Smoky. For a little white terrier like Angel, those names were rather suiting. But Mom decided on Angel. She said that this little dog could save us.

 

I know what Mom had meant by that. She had read stories of therapy dogs that had brought families back together. Unfortunately, that didn't work for us.

 

I'm still blocking out last night. Some things are easier not to think about.

 

Since i was 6 years old, i have known i'm not normal. Of course, nobody thinks they are entirely normal. But the things i know, i shouldn't know.  

 

When i was 6 years old, that was when Desmond started visiting me- painfully beautiful. I had a child's trust of the world, so i didn't question where he got the information he told me. Secrets that nobody should know.

 

When i babbled of the secrets I knew, my mother had brushed it off. Only when they came true did she start to look at me differently. But no matter what, i didn't tell her about Desmond. He had promised me not to tell anyone about him.

 

Mom had kept it a secret. She had forced me not to tell anybody about the things i know. She was afraid because she couldn't understand. 

 

Last night, she snapped.

 

A mental institute. The thing that she brought up. I could never go back to that dreaded cell. They treated what i know like a disease, while i know It's just Desmond. Desmond tells me so much. 

 

I couldn't stand the thought of cold metal bars, white walls, latex gloves. I did go to a mental institute, just once. I was 6. Mom was scared. It was horrible. I could never go back. 

 

Last night, we fought.

 

She hurt me, it was an accident, but my arm is still bleeding- why won't it stop bleeding?

 

I took Angel, and I ran. She's probably worried. She is certainly worried. But i am out here with a dog and my school backpack. And I'm not going back.

 

And that, is how i've found myself on the streets of Juneau, 3 days before my fifteenth birthday.

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

 

I find a close-by Dunkin donuts that seems to be the only place open. Aside from the fat, pale woman behind the counter, Angel and i are the only ones there. Carefully, i coax Angel under one of the tables and out of the woman's view. Dogs likely aren't permitted. 

 

"Are ya gonna order something, hon." The woman mutters to me, boredly tapping on the cash register keys.

 

"I'm still deciding." I reply. I take off my wet scarf and curl it on the table like a snake.

 

A few minutes pass with my head in my palms, when the woman clears her throat.

 

"Hon. You gotta buy something or I'm gonna have to send you out." Her accent reminds me of an irritated duck. I roll my eyes into the table. Angel starts to growl softly, but i kick him lightly and he stops.

 

"I'm waiting for someone." I say quietly. It isn't true, but it seems true. I have avoided thinking into the future or past. I don't know where i will go once i leave this florescent-lit dunkin donuts.  So i remain, and the fat, pale woman occasionally stares at me in annoyance.

I could stay at one of my friend's house. That would be highly prefferable to the option of sleeping in a stranger's basement like last night. They weren't home, but still, at every little noise i jumped. I had stolen a few thick jackets as the morning got cold.  I still feel a bit guilty, even though it was their fault for leaving their basement unlocked.

 

"Do you know if the snow is due to melt anytime soon?" I ask the woman behind the counter in an innocent, high pitched voice.

 

She laughed. "We're getting another snowstorm next week." I press two fingers against my forehead.

 

I can certainly pass for younger than my age. I'm tall, but i have a skinny, flat build. My hair is a weird combination of strait and curly, and is cut unfortunately short, certainly not helping me look older.

 

"What's your name?" The woman behind the counter quacks, tired of the awkward silence.

 

"Rylee." I reply honestly.

 

"Rhianna?" She says excitedly. "Like the singer's name?"

 

"Rylee." I say forcefully; It isn't a complicated name.

 

"Oh." She sounds a bit disapointed. I don't bother to ask her name.

 

I curl a dyed-green peice of my hair around my finger. Dying green streaks in my hair seemed like a good idea a four months ago. It's faded to look like chlorine stains. Yet another reason that i cant be found without a hat on my head.

 

With a yawn growing on my face, I look out the window. Suddenly, i fall back in my chair in shock, accidently kicking the table, and sending Angel into a panic. As he starts yapping, and the woman behind the counter rushes over.

 

"You have a dog?" She asks in her annoying voice. "You can't have dogs in here!"

 

I remain frozen in place, staring out the window. My gaze doesn't move from him. A tall figure, the only one out in the cold. He smiles. I have never gotten used to that smile.

 

"Hon, you can't have a dog in here. You have to get out. I'm sorry." The woman says, although she obviously isn't sorry. She probably just wants to have the shop to herself so nobody would notice her sneaking donuts. 

 

"What are you staring at?" She squints out the window.

 

"It's alright." I murmur. "That's who I'm meeting."

 

I stand up, and Angel follows me. I don't say a polite goodbye to the woman behind the counter. There are more important things at hand. 

 

The cold is a shock as always. The sidewalk is frozen into black-ice which i navigate carefully. The man, he just stands in place, smiling. Most teenage girls would say he's "Hot" or "Sexy." He has the cheekbones of model, the build of an athlete, the height of a basketball player.

 

But a horrible, horrible smile. Impossible to read.

 

On first glance, he could be 20 years old give or take. I don't remember him ever looking older or younger than he does right now.

 

"Hello Rylee." The handsome man says to me. He is wearing a long trench coat that doesn't end until his knees.

 

I swallow. "Hello Desmond."

 

 

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

 

Angel is strangely at ease. Around most people, he growls and barks. At Desmond, he just stares with a curious look across his face.

 

"I have something to tell you." Desmond murmurs. We back into the nearest shadow, as if by instinct.

 

An emotion, the border between fear and anger, swells up in me. 

 

"You ruined everything." I hiss between closed teeth. I make sure i am in a position which i can easily escape from. "I - I..." I pause. "I think she hates me, and i'm certain i hate her. But i don't want to. I'm scared."

 

I know i shouldn't open up to him. He clearly is dangerous. But i have known him since i was 6. Besides, other than Angel i am pretty much alone.

 

"Rylee." Desmond says bluntly. "Your mother is going to die."

 

It's a blunt shock like being hit by a train. I stumble backwards. If anyone else had said that to me, i would be able to brush it off. But Desmond, Desmond is always right.

 

"How can i stop it." I say quickly. "How can i save her. I want to save her." My breaths are too quick to draw in any air. I'm not sure how Desmond knows these things, but they are always true.

 

He shoves me with one hand against the bricks. My shoulder blades draw together as i blink nervously. 

 

"On the 29th, at 1pm your mother will go to buy groceries from her regular store. There is a man named Kevin Cavitch. Him and two other men will beat up a someone who owes them money behind the store. Your Mother will witness this, and speak up. She will be shot twice in the chest and will die in hospital of a punctured lung."

 

I blink over and over. His breath warms my face. I wince, and choke out just one sob.

 

"Can i change it?" I ask frantically. I want to push him away. Angel sits at ease at my feet, while Desmond edges painfully closer.

 

"I don't know." He whispers, but he's so close it feels like a shout. His nose presses to my forehead, and a hand lays on my shoulder in an awkward embrace. My flight instinct courses through my veins, but i don't run. Endless seconds later, his hands stuffed in his velvet pockets, he stalks away.

 

I shiver. With the sharpie in my pocket, i scribble down what he said to me. Commercial street. 1pm. Kevin Anderson. Eventually my words just turn into scribbles, and i drop the pen.

 

Angel wrinkles his black nose. "Come on, Angel." I say quietly. "Let's go. Somewhere."

 

And we walk.

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