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Short Story 
10th-Jul-2009 10:20 pm

            Jesus Christ, I’m scared to die all alone.


            Lior walked through the crowded and dirty streets, feeling dirty himself on his way home from work.  Looking up, he thinks the sky would be littered with stars just like the streets are littered with trash if it wasn’t for the neon flashing lights down here outshining them, heaven’s stars.  Unfortunately, the people and trash and trashy people can’t be faded out by the hot neon; they can only have their emptiness filled with it from the outside in.

            The streets were beginning to empty and he found himself in a deserted city but the lights didn’t go out cause they shine for the other crowd that haunts the streets after everyone else is in their apartment with the door locked.  The wind made eerie noises through the trees and he swore, Jesus Fuck but it was cold out.

            The other people were beginning to show, materializing out of the darkness of alleys and corners and hazy doorways.  Lior decide to rush, cause he wasn’t going to get caught in any dangerous situation with those people.  The sound of his footsteps resounded in the bowl of the crowded buildings.  He couldn’t tell where the buildings ended and the smog began and that was a sure sign he should have been where everyone else like him was at that moment, locked up safe in their apartments.

           Lior realized someone was behind him, walking at his pace with the quick clack of shoe on cracked pavement.  His first instinct was to run but what if this person was more like an animal and wouldn’t he only be chased and caught if he tried to run?  So instead the boy followed him without giving up when Lior didn’t bother to turn around and look.  Wouldn’t it go away if it were ignored?

            But the boy didn’t go away and they were at his apartment and Lior was forced to confront the nervous aching in the pit of his stomach and the butterflies that were born there from.  He turned with his eyes tightly closed so that only he could only see the neon through his paper-thin eyelids and just stood there, hands shaking but the boy only looked at him like it was the most natural thing in the world and he smiled a little eager smile.

            Finally Lior built up the courage to look at the mysterious person who had followed him all those blocks.  Platinum blond hair shone pink in the light and flat dark eyes smiled up, making him feel silly for even being worried in the first place but somehow he still couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right.  The boy wasn’t quite right; he looked well taken care of but unhappy but in the dark Lior couldn’t really tell.

            Being stared at with such intense empty eyes was disconcerting at first but made Lior impatient and annoyed after a few minutes because he couldn’t stand not being able to know why.  The fact that he was curious ticked him off more because he knew that whatever this kid wanted it wouldn’t change anything and he wouldn’t make any difference but it was so strange that he had hope.

            The boy’s eyes finally flickered from Lior to the still-closed door and for a moment Lior could see a flicker there like a candle flame but just like the flame it was gone extinguished.  Lior turned away in disgust at the demanding request on the boy’s face, he wanted in but the door was still closed.  At first Lior didn’t move and the boy’s eyes narrowed and he leaned in as if it was him who was doing something wrong.  That surprised Lior but he shrugged it off and what the hell he threw caution into that night wind blowing so strong and he unlocked the door.

            Lior could feel a glow of accomplishment from the boy and his attitude suddenly turned sour, “Don’t you have something better to do?”  The question was acrid and the answering glare made Lior feel as if he had got caught and he needed to defend himself.

            “No, I don’t.”

            “I’m Lior.”

            The boy made himself at home on the cheap couch and flipped on the tv to the cooking channel as if he had always been there and he belonged.  Lior took off his coat and shoes and socks and put his briefcase down and looked at the boy and saw how well he fit in and realized that he wanted him to stay there for more than just that night and more than just a little while longer.  He wanted more, so instead of zoning out in front of the tv or sitting down he asked why he was there of all places and went to make dinner for the both of them.

            “I could be anywhere.”

            “Do you want to be here?”  He put the pasta into the boiling water to steam, his hope growing warmer with the water and chopped vegetables and poured himself a small glass of cheap wine but only took a small sip before setting it down on the counter again.

            “No.”   Lior’s hope dispersed like the steam from the boiling water or a soul from a body.  The shifty deviousness that made Lior so nervous cleared for a moment when he answered, and it didn’t return.  “But I was alone, and you looked so desperately lonely.”  Lior could tell the answer was honest but it hurt him, a pang like pressing on an old bruise that won’t go away but won’t hurt unless its pressed, and why’d the pot have to steam so goddamned much?

            He turned back to the tv and watched it in silence while Lior finished dinner.  It took a half hour and they were silent the whole time but it wasn’t awkward because Lior was working and focusing and the boy fit in well anyway.  He took the nice clean plates and silverware out and didn’t microwave anything and set out a glass of wine for the boy cause he looked young but not that young; Lior figured it was the exposed, vulnerable air about him that made him seem like that.

            When dinner was ready and laid out on the table the boy picked himself up lazily off the couch and wandered over to the table, looking and smelling.  He didn’t say, “This is it?” or complain “I don’t like asparagus” or even give a sultry “This looks superb” but sat down and smiled.

            They didn’t kiss or touch or anything and Lior wasn’t just okay with it he was happy with it.  While they ate they talked about the weather and the news and politics and God and anything that came to mind.  Afterwards the boy left and Lior did the dishes and took a shower and went to sleep and the next weekend he met his girlfriend in front of the rundown coffee house downstairs.

            They were arguing over which movie to see later and Lior was tired and fed up and wondering why he was even still dealing with her shit anymore when the boy walked by and then turned around to look at him with a little wounded, questioning look.

            “What’s wrong?”  Lior sounded worried but that wasn’t intentional and only then did he realize that he had interrupted his girlfriend mid-sentence.

            She spun around and spat something mean out at the boy but then looked him up and down in surprise.  It dawned on Lior then that he was dirty and wearing cheap ragged clothing and had his blond hair all dirty and it didn’t reflect the neon like it had before.  She choked out a sob and turned and ran and not one of them looked after her as she left.

            “Sorry.  She—”

            “It doesn’t matter.”  Lior could tell from the way his head hung that it did, though, and his disappointment was infectious and soon he found himself regretting and that curious needy feeling was back again.

            “Stay with me.”

            They ended up going back to Lior’s apartment and this time Lior sat on the couch next to the boy.  Once again he turned on the cooking channel and during a commercial Lior asked his name.

            “Jim.”  The darkness of something hidden and lonely oozed out and he asked if it was still okay.

            “Of course it is.”  He was irritated and eager and his eyes sparkled dangerously.  Lior hesitated, drawing back for a moment before committing himself.

            What.  He was impatient and that made him more dangerous still but he was irresistible and unavoidable.  Lior came to a decision and it felt right and he guessed he wouldn’t be too sorry afterwards.

            “I love you.  Okay?”

            The kiss was sweet and intense and it sent Lior spiraling down into the darkness, never to return again.

Author: Hollande
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 1483
Summary: A man who struggles with abstract fears finds an unusual and morally dubious resolution.
I would love all reactions, criticisms, advice, etc.

5th-Nov-2016 05:11 pm (UTC)


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