“Who you are, who you’re not, and who you want to be, are three completely different people. Remember that Tristan. Be who are. I love who you are.”
The town I live in is Chesterfield and it’s like a cage. Once you’re in it, you could never escape. It’s a town in the ghettos of Southern Washington where the streets are filled with people. Angry people, confused people, and depressed people. They feed off of each other’s negative energy. There’s rape and murder on every corner. If you’re a kid you were molested, at least once. If you’re old you’ve been mugged, at least twice. If you’re a teenager, you’re already in too deep. Drugs, alcohol, sex, all the things you were supposed to beware as a teenager, you got at the age of 9. And if you’re an adult you have murdered, or at least witnessed one.
Even I had my share of hell on these streets, probably more than everyone else. Believe me, I’ve tried to leave, I’ve tried to go somewhere far away from here. Somewhere like Seattle, or even as far away as New York, California, or Miami. But they won’t let me leave. No one in this town wants me to leave. I don’t really blame them. If I’m gonna stay in this hell hole, I’m dragging some dumb-ass with me.
I hate everything about this town. I hate how it makes the rest of the world look beautiful. I hate the sun that gives us light, and forces us to see just how pitiful we are. I hate the moon. For some reason every time it shows its face someone dies. I hate the stars that look down on us from their perfect place in heaven. Lucky bastards. But there's nothing I hate more about this town then the people who live in it. Those people are like gatekeepers, watching my every move, making sure I don’t leave. Making me suffer for simply existing. No matter where I go, someone’s watching, waiting, and plotting. I don’t know what to do anymore; I just gave up defending the dignity that was stolen from me years ago. I’ve been through hell and back and survived, but I can’t keep doing this forever. There’s one thing I know for sure. If I don’t leave, this town will eat me alive.
“Why do I even bother waking up in the morning?” I complain.
I’m pretty sure I said that yesterday morning too, and the morning before that. Hey, I like complaining. Give me a reason to be thankful, and I will. I sit up in my bed and do what I do every day; i Look around and wonder why I’m alive. I get up out of bed, go to the bathroom, shower, shave, and get dressed and go to make breakfast.
I live in Churchill Garden, a simple apartment building on the intersection of Swindon road and 108th. It only has 13 floors with 13 rooms each and yet it was the sight of many rapes and robberies. The floors go by numbers, and the rooms on each floor go by letter. 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and so on. I live in apartment 13B. It’s not much. There are 3 rooms. The bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen/living room. The lights flicker on and off, the plumbing is crap, and there’s no heating or cooling system. The summers are unbearable, and one winter I got frostbite in my own fucking house, but this is home. It’s fall now, it’s still pretty hot though. I have a fan, its not much, but its something. When its starts getting cold, I’ll buy a heater too. That is, if I’ll be here by then.
That’s my dog, Chie. It’s pronounced (Chee- ay). It’s not weird, it’s Japanese. It’s befitting, she is a Japanese Akita. She’s a year and a half and 82 lbs. She’s a beautiful dog. Her eyes are huge and brown like chocolate. Her fur is a soft creamy color that reminds me of coffee. She’s a big girl, strong too. I may not make a lot of money, but I give her the best food, the best toys, I wash her with good products, brush her teeth every day even when she doesn’t like it, and give her all the love I have in my heart. To be honest, no one else deserves it.
It’s Saturday morning. Well 12:00 a.m. to be honest. It’s not technically mourning, but it is to me. I wake up at this hour every day. But today is a special day. This is the day where I try one last time. Just one last time. And if I fail, then it’s all over.
“Come on Chie, it’s a big day today.” I have my bag packed with everything I need. Toothbrushes, clothes, soap, water, food, dog food, $100,000 cash, and a loaded gun…. One last try… Just one last try.
* * * * *
I never introduced myself did I? Tristan Warner. I’m 18 going on 35 and these last couple years have been nothing but bad luck and bloodshed for me. I’m not a bad kid. I don’t deal drugs or hang with the wrong crowd or anything. I just made a few mistakes. To be honest, I only made one mistake. And it wasn’t supposed to be a big deal either. I really didn’t do anything to deserve the life I’m living. I don’t deserve to be in this town wasting away. I don’t deserve to have the whole city as my enemy and only Chie as my friend. Not that I mind that though. But hey, what can I say? That’s life. There’s nothing I can do about it anymore.
If you wanna know about my past, it’s none of your damn business. Besides if you found out, you’d probably hate me too… Who the fuck am I kidding, you’re gonna find out eventually. I’m just in no mood to talk about it now.
The plan is simple, make it to the roof of this apartment building and give a signal. Once that’s finished. I go downstairs and take a car, get on the highway and try my best to leave. It won’t be easy though. I can tell. But for once, I planned it. Hopefully it goes smoothly… All I want is Chie and I to get away.
“Chi chi, here girl!” Chie walked to me tail wagging, tongue hanging out, eyes sparkling. She sits down and I kneel in front of her and stroked her fur. “Listen Chie.” she turned away. “Hey, look at me. Don’t pretend you don’t understand me. Listen, we might not make it. They want me. They don’t want you. So if you have a chance to run, you run alright? You run.” She started moaning. It was as if she was crying. “C’mon Chi Chi, don’t give me that. It’s only if things don’t go our way alright? We can do this. We’re gonna do this… We have to.” She licked my cheek and I kissed her forehead.
“Alright. Wait here. I’ll be back.” she obeyed. I took the gun out of my bag and used the service elevator. I stole the keys a few years ago. I have reasons why I do what I do. I don’t take the elevator, when I was 12 I was robbed and beaten there. I don’t take the stairs, I witnessed a rape when I was 10 there. The service elevator isn’t exactly opened to the public, so it’s a lot safer. In the elevator there's the maid. Karen was her name. She knows me and likes me, unlike a lot of people in this town.
“Tristan.” She seemed shocked to see me.
“Hey Karen.” I said shyly. Busted.
“...” She reached out and hugged me. Karen is one of the few I’ll miss in this town. She’s 46 years old ,but she looks almost 60. The stress of the job she has is overwhelming. She’s been at gunpoint more than the average bank teller. She was raped and she couldn’t afford to take care of the baby. She had to give it away, she can barely take care of herself. Sometimes I used to sleepover at her apartment when she’s scared. She’s a good woman. She’s gonna help me out the best she can today. “Get out of here Tristan. Please, get out of here for me. Enjoy the world for the both of us.” Poor woman, I wish I could take her with me. I nodded.
“I’m gonna do it… For you, and everyone else. All the good people left in this town. I am coming back, you know, when I’m no longer a wanted man.”
“You’re a good kid Tristan. Just try not to make too many mistakes Alright?” I nodded. She kissed my cheek.
“Alright now, just do your thing, once the commotion starts, you go around back. Someone will be there waiting for you. He will take you to the border, there’s a car there. Take it and go. Go far away, and don’t turn back okay, never turn back.” I nodded.
“Good bye Tristan.”
“See you… Karen.” I got into the elevator and she got out. When the doors were closing she smiled brightly and waved. I did the same. The elevator slowly went up to the roof. I opened my bag and pulled out the revolver. My palms are sweaty, my head is banging, and my heart is pounding out of my chest. I check my watch. 12:15 am. At 12:30 exactly this whole plan will commence.
Everything will start moving as fast as fuck. Hours will feel like minutes, minutes feel like seconds, and seconds feel non-existent. However, the rise to the ladder is the longest. Seconds feel like hours. Minutes feel like days, and hours feel like eons. And though the wait is unbearable, you’d rather climb forever than to reach the top of the ladder. That’s what it feels like every time I try. The climb was hell, but it hurts a lot less than the ladder.
I turned my Galaxy on and started the stopwatch. I check the time. 12:17:36. The elevator doors open. It’s still night time and the breeze is cool. The leaves were blowing in the wind and the moon’s face is staring down on me. The stars are mocking me. The sun is nowhere to be found. So at least I can’t see how pathetic my world is. I’m 13 stories in the air. 12:19:49. I walk onto the roof slowly. Every step was heavy and tiring. I ambled until I reached the edge. I took another look at this city. This is my 32nd attempt to leave this city. You’d think I have given up by now huh? I’ve thought about giving up. Thought about it every day. But there’s something about this place that gives me hope, purpose, a reason to keep believing. I don’t know if it’s my hatred for this city, or it’s hatred for me. Maybe it’s my love for my dog, or my admiration for the few people in this town who actually give a damn about morality and humane qualities.
12:21:04, I look out over the city, and close my eyes and listen. I hear the city roar with thunderous sounds. The pounding of music. The screeching sirens of the night. The barking dogs and scratching cats that keeps the city awake. The rattling of chains and barbed wire fences cling and clang. The wind rustles through trees and robs them of their leaves. Somewhere under all the loudness, you can hear the hearts of the people. They’re screaming. All of them at once, screaming at the top of their lungs. If you listen hard enough, you hear them too…. Do you hear it? It’s there, it’s faint under the noise, but it’s there screaming.
“GODDAMNIT GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!”
“SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE!!!”
“I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!”
12:24:34. I open my eyes and stop listening. It hurts listening. I’m an Atheist, but there are times like these when I look up and pray to a God or omnipotent being that I don’t even believe in. I look up at the beautiful free stars in the sky, and I pray.
“Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.”
12:26:40. There’s no more time left for me. I’ve climbed and climbed this ladder. And in 3 minutes, I’ll reach the top. I’m so scared right now. Fear is eating me up alive. I pulled out my gun. One more time, I look over the city… I hate this city with all my heart. If I make it out of here alive, it will be the best fucking day ever. Please God, if you exist, please save me, let me out of here. Please, I’m begging you. 12:27:57, Two minutes. I take my pistol and aim it up in the air. I have to have faith. Everything’s gonna be alright. Everything’s gonna be alright. My galaxy starts buzzing in my pocket. I jumped. It was a text. I start breathing heavy, my heart start pounding, my hands get sweating, and for a few seconds I doubt myself.
She won’t let me leave.
She won’t let me leave.
She won’t let me leave.
SHE WON’T LET ME LEAVE!!!!
S H E W O N ’ T L E T M E L E A V E ! ! !
What am I gonna do? She’s probably watching me… No, it’s almost time, I can’t worry about this now. But, I have to check it. I have to know what she’s thinking, what she’s saying. I pull out my phone, unlock the screen, and I see it. I see the text, and in my heart, I feel like curling up into a ball and crying. But in my head, I know I have a job to do. I brushed it off as much as I could. But I’ll never forget what it said. At that particular place and time, is was the scariest thing that ever happened that night.
There’s no escape Tristan.
You’re gonna die here.
I’ll kill you myself. >:)
xoxo And remember Golden Boy,
You heard this from No One.
12:29:57… 12:29:58… 12:29:59… My gun’s in the air, my cares are out the window. I don’t care what she says anymore. I climbed and climbed and now, I’m at the top of the ladder. The moon shines it’s face on me, laughing at me. But I’m ready for whatever it decides to throw at me… I’m ready for this… 12:30:00
No one is watching. No one is playing. No one is winning. But not today.