The Pull

A teenage guy at night in NYC, what good could he be up to? Apparently, none, because he didn't choose to be in the city at night, following a beautiful girl....No, he didn't mean to do that, he just, sort of, ended up going, and ended up following someone around. Resembling either a love-struck idiot who didn't get the memo, or a psycho stalker with no good intentions in store. He didn't know which would be worse, fortunately and unfortunately he was neither........but then what was he doing?

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1. The Pull

 

The girl was undeniably beautiful. She couldn't have been more than eighteen, her slender form just right and curvy in the most important places. I should know, I'm a teenage guy with lots of hormones. She was a petite little thing, with long, wavy golden hair flowing down across her back. Her long neck arched as she looked my way sporting a painful expression, bright blue eyes watering. She didn't see me though, I was hidden well between the dark alleyways of the city. Her plump, rosy lips quivered. Oh no! Was she going to cry? But she didn't, no, she was stronger than that, instead she grabbed the sides of her long winter coat and pulled it closer around her as she started walking away again. She turned the corner of the dark, cobbled street covered in snow. I quietly following her. I didn't know why exactly. I just knew the moment I saw her that something was beckoning me to her. I wanted to get closer; I wanted her to see me, but I was afraid. I was afraid that if I got too close I'd succumb to my slowly increasing, burning desire to....to do what? I didn't know. I had enough restraint to not approach any closer, but I didn't have enough to not keep walking as she padded through the cold streets of Manhattan.

The desire wasn't new to me, not really. It started a couple nights ago when I turned eighteen, a mere itch under my skin, a fire in my blood. I remember it precisely. I woke up feeling like I forgot something, like I needed to do something. I lazily sat up in my bed and hung my legs off the side of my bed. As I slipped my slippers on, I searched through my mind what it was. Did I forget to lock the front door? Have I left a message unopen in my computer, or a letter sealed on the table downstairs? I didn't think so. I stopped shuffling towards my bedroom door and abruptly turned to my window. The feeling heightened. I wasn't really thinking anymore, I was like a zombie. I didn't stop to think of how I could possibly sneak out through my upstairs window, or what my mother'd do when she finds out that I wasn't in my room in the morning, and I was definitely not thinking about how my grades would drop from skipping school the next day. I didn't even question how I knew I wouldn't be back by tommorrow. I twisted the knob on the window and pulled it open. I listened to the bustle of night life and felt the burst of cold air rush into my warm bedroom. I did not even check if it was safe to do what I was about to do. I just jumped.

That was several days ago. I still haven't returned to the warm folds of my bed, and I have not pulled out my phone from my pockets since then either, no matter how crazy busy it has been lately. I knew that reading the messages or answering the calls would be worthless. I was not dead or kidnapped; I would return when I am ready. I was certainly not ready yet, I wouldn't be until I got rid of the sensation. Until I find out what it is urging me to do exactly. Though I knew that it had something to do with interacting with certain people I've followed, I was scared of what it was. What if I was a psycho and I had developed an urge to murder? What if my hormones were getting the better of me? I couldn't risk it, yet I knew sooner or later I'd have to find out. So far I have followed several individuals, hesistating to make a move until it was too late. Tonight though, my suffering would end. I couldn't take it any longer. It was starting to become a painful burning, a vibration from deep inside of me I couldn't handle any longer.

And now, twisting and turning on white powdered streets, my unresistable prey was waiting. Like a lone deer in a vast, empty meadow caught in an inescapable tag game with a hungry panther. Helpless. I am the hungry panther, I mused. Though I wasn't quite sure what I hungered for. A middle aged, scruffy man shuffled past me on the pavement, and I wondered what made the people I have been pulled to different than this man. I felt the pull towards everyone on a certain level, some barely noticeable, just a faint tingling under my fingertips. The ones I always ended up following were the people who's pull was the strongest, so strong that I couldn't resist following them around like a hawk. But what about them made me be pulled more towards them than others? I continued to ponder the possibilities as I followed the girl around, either resembling a love-sick bastard or a psycho stalker. I didn't know which was better. I halted suddenly and slammed my gloved-fists into a nearby brick building. I realised something. All the folks I have stalked so far, I noticed, had some kind of an issue. A problem of sorts. And to prove my theory further, I looked back at the retreating form of the middle-aged man, and saw that indeed he was not sad, scared, or angry. He did not show signs of any struggle in his life. The girl who I am pulled towards though, obviously has a problem. You could see it by the way she was constantly resisting her need to cry, and the way she was scurrying to an unknown location like it was the only place she knew that would keep her safe. Maybe, just maybe, I was onto something.

As soon as I came to my bearings, I straightened and trotted back to the middle of the street. But the girl was nowhere, gone. Before I could panic which way she could've gone, I tried to use my pull towards her, maybe I could sense her. Sense her? Gosh, where did that come from? But I had to try. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to ignore the bustle of people attempting to get past my large form. As soon as I felt the tug again, I bounded leftwards, maybe a little too fast. Actually, scratch that, I was definitely going too fast. The people and buildings seemed to zoom past me, not in a supernatural way, just in a if-I-don't-stop-running-so-fast-I-will-catch-up-too-quick-and-smack-right-into-her kind of way. Unfortunately for her and my last sip of resistance, but fortunately to my continuously strenghtening desire, I did just that. As her golden locks came into view, I had no momentum to slow down and I even started sliding on a patch of ice, tumbling into her from behind and throwing her off balance just enough to make us fall down. Damn these slippery, ice-covered sidewalks! At least I had enough time to grab onto her waist and flip us so she wouldn't get the worst part of the fall.

She yelped and tried to scurry off me but I refused to let go of her waist, and her moving around just ended her turning to face me, her eyes wide and uncertain. I wanted to let her go, I did. I wanted to go home and hug my mom and friends, I wanted to take a hot shower and sit in those god-awful seats in Chemistry that were so uncomfortable that some students dropped the class because of it. I truly, really did. But I couldn't, and I didn't. Instead, I let all my worries, doubts, and restraint go, and I let the tug pull me in all the way, until there was no turning back, no letting go, just me and her and what I now knew I had to do.

I searched her eyes, her body, her mind, I looked at the way she was looking back at me, and I almost crumbled from the rush of emotion I recieved. It wasn't because there were so many different feelings she was feeling, but because there was one emotion, one feeling that no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't let go of, it was swallowing her, squeezing the life out of her. It was Pain. Not physical, but completely and utterly emotional. And it was killing her.

If I would have been my logical old self, I probably would have thought that in this situation I was useless. There was no way I could help her. Good thing that my old self was long gone by now, and this new person didn't care about the statistics or probabilities of the chance that what he was about to do would work. That it would save the girl. Like I said, it was a good thing. So what else could I do but place my palm on her forehead? Yup, that's exactly what I did. I probably would've laughed at the irony if I wasn't in another world already.

No, no no no. NO! They are coming! They are coming for me. What should I do? Where should I go? I am not fast enough, they'll catch me soon enough. I cannot do this alone. I need help. But from who? They already killed...nope, I AM NOT GOING THERE.

Just keep walking. Just keep walking. Head high, shoes clicking in a steady rhythm, a total contrast to my heartbeat. Like you don't know anything, like your life is not in danger. Right step, left step, right, left, right, left. Now turn. Don't look back, don't look back. DON'T LOOK BACK! Faster, faster, faster. Go faster! But where? Oh my gosh, where am I going? Where am I? Is this still the village? These alleys sure are dark. Wait, is th—THEY'RE HERE!!! They are gonna kill me. I gotta get away, ugh, their grip is strong. Err, ugh, umph. Wait, this is a guy! It's just a guy who bumped into me. And now we're on the ground. What if it IS one of them and....Just act like you don't suspect anything....Wow, he has pretty eyes... nononono, wait what is he doing? Why is he putting his hand on my forehead? Is he checking if I have a fever, cuz it sure looks like it. Maybe I should talk to him. What to do...what to do...oh alright, if it's my only option.

''Ow!'' I cried, did she just slap me? Yes, yes she did. That little....wait, what am I doing? I just read her thoughts. I READ her mind. That is crazy, I've gone absolutely bonkers. If I weren't so messed up right now, I would've laughed a good five minutes at the use of that British word. They always used to make me crack up. Now I was too freaked at the fact that I just READ SOMEONE'S MIND to think about that. That's just berserk. Haha, no. No more British jokes. Great, now she's looking at me funny. I should probably say something and not just keep staring at her like some wack-job. As I come back to reality, my previous emotions rush back at me.

''What was that for!?'' I inquired, quite bitterly and somewhat shocked. She was not on the floor anymore; she was standing up and looking at me. She just blinked, making me come to the conclusion that she was lost in her thoughts too...or was—no, she couldn't be, but yes, she was, wasn't she? She was staring at ME. And NOT in disgust, just to make that clear. Hmm...interesting...was she enjoying the view? I stood up too. I had to ask. Just once...no! Focus on the task at hand. What task? I didn't even know. So I asked.

''Are you finished giving me the once over, or do you wanna take a minute?'' I asked somewhat cheekily, okay, I might have pulled out my 'sexy smirk' too, couldn't hurt, right? I soon found out that yes, it COULD hurt. The glare she gave me was so terrifying it could've made Stalin quiver. Despite the intensity of her dark look, I detected a hint of color on her cheeks. She was blushing! Oh, this is just too good! At least I wasn't just standing there because I was checking her out, I have already done that earlier when I first saw her.

''I..uh..yeah!'' she finally yelled angrily. She briefly closed her eyes and took a deep breath before continuing, ''and the answer to your earlier question is that I slapped you because you tumbled into me, causing me to fall onto the ground, and then you put your hand on my forehead!'' She almost screamed out that last part. I got what she meant, I did, really, but hearing someone suddenly angrily accuse someone of placing their hands on their forehead is quite amusing, if you ask me. So ridiculous-sounding infact, that a small smile couldn't help but appear on my lips. Even the girl started grinning as she realised how stupid she sounded. Her grinning turned into a giggle and soon we were both bent over, laughing so hard it was hard to breathe. The people around us must have thought we were absolutely bonkers, too. Yup, thinking that definitely did not help my situation one bit. I was happy that she was laughing so genuinely, after all, she was running from something...or someone harmful. Now thinking THAT did the opposite, causing me to suddenly stop laughing and look at her curiously. What kind of trouble is she mixed up in?

''So,'' I said after she managed to calm down a bit too, ''you are in somewhat of a pickle, aren't you? How may I be in your service?'' It dawned on me later, recalling this spontaneous offer, that deep down, I knew that the reason I was pulled towards her was to read her mind. To understand her problem and help her. So I wasn't a vampire thirsting for her blood, I was just someone who had a weird power to differ the happy people from the problematic ones. And why would someone like me have that ability, if not to help them? I mean, I was kind of forced to, since if they didn't stop feeling negative emotions, I would just keep getting pulled towards them.

The girl looked at me in shock first, before realization dawned on her and she turned to take off. I grabbed her by the arms before she could take two steps. I turned her back towards me, and raised a questioning eyebrow.

''What do you know?'' She questioned.

''I..I'm not one of the bad guys. I just saw you running like you were getting away from something bad, or someone. And you just felt..err...looked so scared, and I thought that maybe I could help you solve your problem, and if not, then just help you forget for the night?'' I hoped she didn't notice the way my sentence turned up at the end, making it sound like a question.

The girl seemed to ponder for a bit, weighing her options and the chance that I could really help her somehow.

''Oh, well, then....you can help me by getting me a place to stay for the night. That's all I need, and maybe your company during that time, like a guardian?'' The last bit she said less confidently. I knew what my answer would be without hesitation. Now, all I needed was a place to lend her....Aha! I got it.

''Of course, I can give you shelter for a night in the motel around the corner that I am currently residing in.'' I was so caught up with things, I didn't even realize where we were. She nodded okay, and I grabbed her hand so we wouldn't get lost in the night crowd of Manhattan.

The motel was an old, rickety building almost invisible between the skyscrapers. The door was unlocked, with no bellman, and I just walked in, the girl following behind me. The girl? Gosh, I still didn't know her name, did I? I'll have to change that. I thought. I nodded hello at the scrawny guy behind the reception desk, and hedded upstairs.

Once at the door, I let go of her hand to dig my coat pockets for the key. I let us in. The door creaked dramatically as I pushed it in, revealing a.....yeah, just a small, dark bedroom and a dirty bathroom. It's not that I didn't have enough money, but I didn't want to be around people that much, in fear that I would eat them. Or something.

Despite the way it looked, it was quite safe and undetected. Luckily, the bedroom part contained two single beds, although squished close together.

We settled down on our beds silently. The sound of the bed springs creaking like bomb detonations in the muteness. After minutes of silence, I couldn't take it anymore.

''So..um, what happened?'' I asked. I didn't even know why I offered to help, I just knew I had to. Maybe I wouldn't be pulled to her anymore after. Though that's a little unlikely.

''You really don't want to know,'' she tried to get out of it.

''But I do. And anyway, you owe me.''

''Okay, fine. My older brother, Geoffry, got into some bad business. It started a couple years ago, and he's been going in deeper and deeper. I was the only one who knew, by accident only. I begged him to quit. I tried everything, but he said it was too dangerous. No one could just quit. One day, someone came to our house. They've never actually rung the bell of our house. They came to speak with Geoffry. I remember spying on them and hearing them fighting about something. I think Geoffry was asked to do something, but he refused. He said it was inhumane, and he wouldn't do it.

Then Geoffry spotted me. He tried to hide me, but it was too late. I started running, out of the house, the neighbourhood, the city. The only thing I heard as I ran was gunshots and the cries of my family upstairs. Then they weren't crying anymore.'' We stayed silent after that. I didn't know what to say. I thought that she wouldn't continue, but then:

''I've been running since. I knew they haven't forgotten about me. This morning they found me. I've been running all day.'' It was silent again, and soon her breathing became even. I closed my eyes and tried to get some sleep, but everytime my eyes closed, I kept imagining what she told me. I twisted and turned for hours. Finally, I looked at her sleeping form. How could she be sleeping after everything that's happened to her? I guess you get used to it, I thought, then instantly regretted it. No one should get used to that kind of pain. Clinging to that thought that held so many heartbreaks and promises, I finally drifted off to sleep.

-----------------------------------------------------

''Hey! Dude! Wake up!'' Marco shook me awake. My eyes stung in pain.

''Sunshine....bad...go away,'' I muttered into the pillow before going back to sleep again. Something sharp snapped into my cheek.

''What the fuck dude? Slapping someone awake is not cool,'' I rubbed my cheeks as I sat up. Then a memory came loose in my mind. A slap, from a girl. Then everything came back in a whirl and I clutched my head in agony. The streets. The pull. The girl. The motel. Her brother. Guns. I frantically looked around, but she was not here. Band posters covered an ugly green shade of wallpaper. I was in my room. The girl was not real. She was just a dream.

Marco, my little brother, soon turning 13, was only in his pants. He looked at me, and when he was satisfied, trudged out of my room to wake some other poor bastard up. Probably Geoffry. GEOFFRY. My brother Geoffry.

''Oh my god, I'm the girl,'' I muttered. Marco stuck his head back in.

''Huh? Alex, we all know you're a girl, it just took you a long time to get it.'' He sniggered then went away again. I sighed. I dreamed that I wasn't the one with the problem, instead it was someone else, and I had the chance to help them. But it was already too late for the rest of her family. What did that mean? Geoffry was in bad business, we all knew that, but no one talked about it. My father was in it too, and when he died, they came for Geoffry. I'm next. If I refuse, they'll do what happened to the girl's family. Except I won't make it out alive.

I hauled my ass into the bathroom and went to take a shower. The hot shower was heavenly. The warmth of the water gave me hope. It made me fantasize about a better life. I quickly shut the water off and stepped out. I couldn't let myself imagine those things. It couldn't be.

I left to work at the garage, where I met up with Logan and Finn.

''Hey Alex, what's up dude?'' They greeted. I nodded at them. They were good guys, but they were heading in the direction my father and older brother did too. Just like their fathers and older brothers. It was inevitable. If you were born into it, they always came for you. I was 18, they should've come when I was 14, but Geoffry negotiated a lot. He wouldn't be able to do it with Marco though, and his time was nearing. I wished Geoffry didn't have to work for them, but I think he thought that if he does it, we wouldn't have to. He is wrong, we'll all have to do it one day.

Jet, a newbie worker approached me.

''Hey, can I have a word with you?'' He asked. He nodded his head to the side and I followed him. He was older than Logan, Finn, and I so for a split second I thought that it was my time. My hands started to feel clammy and sweat dripped from my forehead. I was not ready. I didn't want to do this. How could I get out of this? I couldn't, they'd find me. Jet led me to the back of the garage by the trash cans.

''So what's up?'' I tried to sound casual. Jet walked closer.

''I chose you because I know that you have the most potential.'' God, I wasn't ready. Please, it's a mistake, I pleaded in my mind, but he didn't deter. ''I think you'd make a great teacher.'' Huh? I didn't know we were spreading that far. Teachers, too? I didn't want to think of all the students they'd be selling to. Then the most unexpected happened. He flashed me his police badge. Why would he do that? I was surprised for a second that we were planted in the police force too, but then I realized how dumb that was. Why wouldn't we be? I shouldn't be surprised at anything anymore. I didn't know why he showed me his badge, so I just nodded like I understood. He didn't look like he believed me.

''Alex. I'm a real police officer. I'm here to give a rest to this business.'' Shit, we didn't have enough money for bail, I couldn't go to jail. I turned to run.

''Not you, kid.'' That made me stop. I didn't turn around though. ''You aren't involved, you still have a chance. Don't worry, you're safe.''

''Are you sure you'll stop it? Or do you only have a scoop?'' This wasn't the first time someone thought they could catch them, so I didn't have my hopes up. Then I remembered something. ''What did you mean by chose me?''

''You're right. My apologies, I forgot. I chose you to give my Camaro and Range Rover to.'' I whirled around.

''What? Why would you do that?''

''So you could get away. Take your family, pack your bags. Do something with your life. I chose to give it to you because I saw the most potential in you. I could see that you wanted to do more in life. So here's your chance. One car is to ride in, the other is to sell.''

''They'll come for us.'' I shook my head, ''running would just make it worse. Make them angrier.''

''So? Take your chance, kid. Hopefully by then we'll have taken care of them.'' And with that, Jet pulled out two car keys, and tossed them at me. I caught them out of reflex. ''Take care, kid.'' He was about to leave when I shouted.

''How do you know I will leave? How do you know I won't just tell on you and sell the cars in the black market?'' I wouldn't, of course. I was just scepticle at the dude's easy trust in me and my family. He turned around.

''I don't,'' he said, ''but if you are as smart as I think, then you'll know that you have the power to make the right choice. It's something hidden in all of us, some just have to dig deeper to find it.'' He left, and I was left staring after him. The car keys clicked together in the breeze, creating a nice little melody.

The cars were parked a block from here. I walked in front of the Camaro and stopped. If they failed in catching the gang, then all our lives were doomed, but if we stayed, we'd be worse. I couldn't have this opportunity and not take it. I had to give it a chance. Maybe we'll only live for a couple more weeks, but hell, a couple weeks of freedom was a whole lot better than a life full of regrets and sorrow. Like Jet said, I had the power. It was hidden within me, but now I had a chance to break free. I beeped the car open and slid in. I inserted the keys in the ignition and the rumble of the engine burst through the silence of the street. I revved the engine and the sound made me smile. I pressed on the peddle.

Destination: Home.

Reason: To get my family's ass in the car.

Then we'd sell the other car, get some money and get the hell out of here. From then on, it was up to us.

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