By: Hunter M.
The boy in the rusted wheelchair speaks another language. When I sit in front of his milky eyes and listen, his gibberish doesn’t stop flowing from his mouth. His words are beautiful, like a choreographed symphony melting from one song to the next with simple grace in a continuous cycle.
The boy with his smooth chocolate hair, white eyes hiding behind bunched eyebrows and seeing through everything as if he’s seeing directly into another time or world, his buttery teeth set in all the wrong places, and his frail legs twist awkwardly under him; I find him beautiful in some strange, perverse way.
He fascinates me. He repulses others. I've caught parts of his story floating around the chapped, cracked lips of the people from the Market. He is mentally challenged. He was blinded in The Fire. His parents didn’t want him anymore. I’ll never know the truth about him because I can never ask him where he came from; why he suddenly started sitting in the narrow alley behind Geestov’s. I think he finds comfort in the darkness that pulses in every crevice and nook here.
I know I do.
“Festolio mestoso reevla shiem lajas mola.” He says.
I’m picking at my nails, trying to unhinge some of the grime lodged under them. I sit so close to him, my knees almost touch the footsteps of the chair. I doubt he knows I’m here. I doubt he knows how much he draws me in with his eerie mystery.
“Lajas mola.” He says again, louder.
I face tips up and his white, glazed eyes hold mind in their icy talons. “What?” I breath.
His eyes flick to the flimsy white cloud in the stagnant air in front of me then back to my eyes almost instantly. “Seally.” He purrs. I can barely make out his dilated pupils behind the gauzy film coating his eyes; they’re wide and black, only a thin ring of what I suppose used to be a turquoise blue lie underneath.
My dark brows shoot up, forming tiny soft mountains on my forehead. “You know my name?” I ask incredulously. He shakes his head slowly, robotically. “Then, wha-“
It’s so fast and unexpected, I have no time to react. His lanky arm whips toward me and his nails rake across my cheek, setting forth a steady flow of blood. I scrambled backwards, slipping on the iced cobble stones and scarlet polka dotted snow. “What the f---?” I scream at him.
His shoulders shake with sick laughter. “Seally.” He hisses between his thin lips before being taken over by more choking laughter.
I’m already running. My boots pound into the ground grasping desperately to the ice with not much luck. I slip twice before finally reaching my house. No, not house. A house requires running water, electricity, and at least more than one room. I live in a shack. The blue shutters probably once added to give the house character or charm are now faded and peeling, one dangling precariously by a lone nail. The door is slanted, the frame crooked beyond repair, and roof sagging but faithful.
I plow through the door and slam it closed. The wood floor is dusted with fluries from the recently started snow that managed to slip inside with me. I press my face against the door, straining to see out the makeshift peep hole. Nothing but grey rode, more deteriorating houses, and snow.
Of course, I knew he wouldn't follow me. He couldn't.
My heart gets another jump start and spin so my back is against the door. My hand lingers closely by the knob incase I need to make a quick escape. I let out a sigh of relief when I see it's just Adrian sitting innocently on the couch. "He saw me. He... I don't know.. he's not blind." I let out shaky breath. "He knows my name."
He set down his steamy cup of hot cocoa– in his favorite mug, I notice; the one with a cracked, faded picture of the Market's old mayor, Mayor Richard, and jagged teeth along half the rim from when I tried to throw away the damn ugly, pea green thing. If I wasn't freaking out and my face wasn't bleeding, I'd probably make some snotty remark about it, we'd both have a laugh, and life would go on. But the boy's words haunt me, replaying over in my head like a broken record. A death threat. It's a death threat. No, a curse. Yes, that's what it is. A curse. And I feel strange. Like the boy told me he had witnessed the The Fates cutting my thread."What?"
"He knows my name!" I shout.
He's staring at me then his eyes slide down to my gorged cheek. Understanding crosses his eyes almost instantly and then, something else. Annoyance? Anger? "You went to see the boy again. The one in the wheelchair." I ignore him, trying to round up a towel and coax some warm water from the sink. The faucet gurgled then spit up some rust tinged water before giving up the fight. The only water we'll get from the faucet for a few days. "What the hell's wrong with you, Seally? I told you not to go see him anymore!"
"When did you become my master?" I spit back harshly.
He huffs, and I here the couches spring squeak as he gets up. He runs his hands through is curls then knots his fingers in the hair at the base of his neck and stares down at my tiny form with a look of disapproval. "I told you, what, ten times that he was dangerous? Look what he did to you! He tried to rip your face off!"
"No shit." I mutter.
His hand reaches out and roughly grabs chin so my face will face him. "Seally." I turn away but he turns me back. "Seally." He says again, softer this time. I finally meet his sparrow eyes. "Just... just don't. Stop being stubborn for once." He growls.
"Don't worry about it. I'm not going to see him again." I shove his hand way. "And I'm pretty sure he has some strange creepy crush on me. The way he looked at me... it was... lustful." I tell him.
He grabs the towel from under the running water and starts dapping at the blood on my cheek lightly but I still wince. "Most people look at you like that, Seals. You're just to naïve to notice."
"Again with your stubbornness." He says moving down to work on the blood that slipped down my neck. "You wonder why I never take you to the Rigs. That's why."
"You said the Rigs were too dangerous."
"That too." He throws the soiled rag into the sink. "There. All cleaned up. The bleeding's already stopped which is good."
"This won't need stitches?"
"It might. We'll see how it does for a couple of days."
"The guys at the Rigs won't think I'm too pretty with scars down my face." I say sarcastically.
He lets out a half snort, half laugh. "You haven't seen their wives, apparently. They're not picky, that's for damn sure." Something resembling a grin pulls at my lips. He's staring at me with that faraway look that washes over his features every now and then. "You'll still be gorgeous. Even it scars." He says so quietly I barely catch the dense words. Any lapse of attention and they would have slipped through my slender, calloused fingers. They didn't, though, and they bathed over me sending cold prinks along my cheeks and neck. He turns and heads back to the couch without uttering another word.