Knock on Wood

Doctor Raven's appearance was rather flattering, yet intimdating. She was a redhead. Her hair reminded Janus of the burnt orange sunset over the beach, it was warm and it tumbled over her shoulders like rusty water. When she smiled, her lips pulled back to reveal straight purely whites that shimmered under the dim hospital light. "Can you tell me what day it is?" "No." "Your last name?" Janus paused. He chewed the inside of his cheek while racking his brain for the answer to the most simplest question to ever be asked. Although now it wasn't so simple and he was unable to respond. "I see." Doctor Raven wrote some more things down. "Can you tell me your birthday? Year, day, and month please." "All I know is that I'm eighteen." he answered. "Okay and can you tell me five names you know? Could be someone from your family, a friend, spouse..." "Nurse Jacky." "Besides Nurse Jacky." "Then no. I don't know any names." Doctor Raven stared at Janus for a minute. "Janus," she began. "Can you tell me why you're here?" A sigh came from the eighteen year old as he shook his head and looked down, suddenly feeling a sharp pain in his chest. "No." he said. "What happened? Why am I here?" "You were hit by a car." Doctor Raven's honey-like tone grew softer as she placed a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. "Terrible, terrible incident. Surprisingly, the only injuries you suffered from was a fractured spine, broken leg, and now...amnesia." Janus's heart dropped.


2. Chapter Two.

The warm ball of light filtered through his thin eyelids awoke Janus the next day. Rays of brightness cast squares onto the tanned carpeted floor, reflecting onto several objects in the room which decorated its otherwise simplicity. He blinked a few times, in an attempt to help his eyes adjust to the illumination directed right at his defenseless figure. As his mouth opened wide enough for a yawn to escape passed his slightly chapped lips, his back arched off of the couch he unfortunately had to sleep on. Although despite the immediate vexatious image it may bring, the sofa was rather acceptable and less provoking as Janus first assumed.

Eventually Janus's sight became clear and he scanned the room, which didn't take longer than a minute (thirty seconds to be precise). He chewed his mouth as he sat up and stretched once more. "Jesus." Startled, Janus jumped and snapped his head over to where he heard the sound. Of course, it was no other than Gene who spoke, but it spread confusion across the eighteen year old's face, since he had looked around the living room and hadn't spotted his best friend at all. "It literally takes you three hours just to get up." Gene was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest as if he was waiting for Janus to wake up this entire time.

"What are you doing?" croaked the oldest.

The dirty blonde shrugged his left shoulder as if he didn't know why he was standing there. But then he answered, "Your folks."

"What about 'em?"

"They keep calling." he said. "Over and over. I ended up waking up at five and haven't went to bed since. Eventually on the thirtieth call, I answered." Janus's eyes shot open wider than watermelons.

"You what?" he shouted, shooting up to his feet. "Do you have any idea what the fuck you just did?!" Gene unfolded his arms and raised his hands to level with his shoulder, his eyebrows raised in alarm.

"Hey, hey man chill-"

"Chill? CHILL? The only fucking reason why I never answered was because if they knew where I was, they'd come after me!"

"I didn't tell them you were here!" Gene shouted back. "Jesus Janus, calm down!"

"But you answered on my phone!" yelled the enraged eighteen year old. His original Hershey eyes were now wide with rage, now looking nearly blacker than his pupils. "They know where the fuck you live, Eugene!"

Still, Gene remained clueless. A minute of silence passed between the two in silence as he tried to make sense of the situation. Two minutes passed. Three. Four. And then- "OH SHIT." His hand flew to his O shaped mouth as he understood now why Janus was so angry. "They know where I live! They could be here any minute now."

Janus opened his mouth to curse like a sailor to his friend, but realized that it'd be a completely waste of time and breath. Instead he shook his head in disbelief at how stupid Gene was and began scampering around the apartment to gather his belongings. "I need to get out of here."

"And go where, Jan? There's no where for you to-"

"I'll think of something!" he roared. "I'll live on the fucking streets if I have to." He rushed around the living room to pick up his ball of clean clothes that he randomly pulled out of his dresser before running away from his home, leaving wrinkles in the perfectly ironed pair of jeans and plaid shirts. As he bent over to pull his shoes on his feet, a hand landed on his shoulder, pausing him from doing anything else at that moment.

"Janus..." He heavily sighed and hung his head. He knew that sudden change of voice; that was the sound of worry. Concern. Fear. It was the tone the two rarely used between the two just to "not seem so emotional over something so small". Except this wasn't something small. This was huge, and Janus knew that Gene was fully aware of that. "Please. Think about this. This isn't a game you're playing here. You can't go running away from your family forever. You need to think about this."

"I have thought about it Eugene. I've thought about it since the day my father betrayed me. Betrayed my family." Janus grew tense, his hands clenching tightly. His knuckles turned white and the palm of his hand gradually grew numb from the pressure his fingers caused. "I'd rather die than see his face again." Gene awaited to catch his bluff but even he knew that Janus was as serious as he was the day he decided on riding his skateboard everywhere instead of ever learning how to drive because being behind the wheel of a large vehicle gave him a fatuous amount of goosebumps and butterflies, a feeling he never grew to like. Stepping aside, he walked over to where his mini table was and knocked on top of it without saying another word.

Sighing once more, Janus stomped his feet into his shoes without tying the laces. He turned to look at his best friend for what he thought would be the last time in a long while. "I'm sorry," he began sincerely. "Really, I... I am. I just can't be around them anymore. Not after what he's done. Not while my family still sees me as this monster he tried to make me become."

"What are you going to do?" Gene asked again, realizing now that he had yet to answer this question. "What's your plan?"

"My plan?" Janus paused to think about his response. He shrugged his shoulder, ran his hand through his shaggy brown hair, and mumbled, "To start over."

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