Nightly Walk VI

Jordan coughed out the air in his lungs forcibly drawing more in as he tried to keep up with me. I had no need to breathe, but for Jordan’s sake I didn’t sprint at my full speed. Sirens wailed in the distance. We had traveled far in a short time through the park. Skidding to a stop in a semi-opened area of the woods I held up an arm to stop the exhausted boy.
His eyes must have been closed because he flew through it and hit a low branch. The rubber like wood bent scraping itself along Jordan’s face. He fell to the ground and the branch swung back whipping me in the nose. Rubbing the sore skin on the tip of my nose I grabbed Jordan by the shoulders and hauled him up.
“Will they recognize you?”
“Ouch, what?”
“Will those people recognize you?”
“Are you sure?”
“I’ve never been on this side of the park.”
“Good.” I said, “Stay here.” leaving Jordan to tend to his wounds I ran to the edge of the forest. Breaking through its outer limits lined by bushes I came to a highway. Quickly taking in the slowed traffic I assessed the overall safety of our position. Judging by the strength of the sirens I felt we were far enough from danger.
When I got back to Jordan he was sitting against the tree that gave us our injuries.
“Are we in trouble?” Jordan asked with dried blood under his eyes in lines stretching over his nose.
‘No, we’re okay now.”
A bubbling growl rumbled in Jordan’s stomach. Followed by a blush on his cheeks.
“I guess it’s a good thing I brought these.” I smiled holding up a small bundle of rabbits. “I’ll start skinning these while you grab kindling for a fire.”
Jordan nodded vigorously and trotted off. I was on the last rabbit when he returned.
“That was so much fun, with the exception of the scrapes along my face.” Jordan smiled dropping the wood in a pile at my feet.
“Start the fire.” I ordered as Jordan continued moving his jaw up and down talking faster than Denis Leary. A small spark flared on the wood along with my temper.
“You’re getting annoying again.” I said with no malice, just hoping to extend the quiet a little more. Sadly it was short-lived.
“So are you like a ghost?” Jordan asked staring into the small fire he created with a few rabbits over it.
“Kind of.” I answered taking a bite out of a juicy berry.
“And you can eat?”
“My human cravings are coming back.”
“I couldn’t live if I wasn’t able to eat.”
I started to laugh and couldn’t stop. My sides hurt and I rolled over on my side, blowing loose dirt away from my face.
“What’s so funny?” Jordan asked as he too began to laugh.
“What you said, it made me laugh.” I explained pushing myself up on one arm. Jordan’s head was cocked to the side at first as he thought through our conversation. He face spread in realization.
“I haven’t laughed that hard in forever.” I smiled taking another bite of a berry.
“It must have been horrible there.”
I paused for a moment placing a skewer with a rabbit on it against the fire, rubbing my glowing hands together thinking hard about my past. “You don’t want to know.”
“That bad?”
“Worse.” I said passing a rabbit to Jordan across the fire.
“You’re here now” Jordan said placing the rabbit against the fire on his side.
“Yes I am.”
Our tiny campsite fell silent again, only the crackle of the fire and animals in the background was left.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.”
“I get it. I feel like that too sometimes.”
“How do you know how I’m feeling?” I asked definitively. Jordan’s mouth didn’t stop moving. Even when there is nothing left to say he keeps going.
“I bet you’re an only child.” Jordan stated. My brain short circuited at the statement.
“What? How?” I began hoping to argue the point away, but after fumbling over my tongue I submitted.
“I am too.”
“It’s not just that.” I said, allowing myself to be vulnerable again after a long time, “You are the longest companion I’ve had.”
“I would have thought there would be more people in Purgatory.”
“There were others but most are just shadows of who they were. All the time Purgatory tires to suck your identity away. Memories, hopes, your mind, and eventually it wins.” I explained baring all of the pain I carried with me out of that blandness. Retrieving a well done rabbit from the fire I handed it to Jordan, whose innocent gaze made me smile.
“You’re pretty strong to have escaped before that.” he said with a mouth full of rabbit. His eyes widened in pain and he dropped the contents of his mouth into his palm. The heat started to burn his hand too so he threw it back in his mouth and chewed while sucking in cool air. Laughing I produced a necklace from under my shirt.
“This is what did it.” I said holding it out to Jordan. He wiped his hands on his jeans and took it from me. “My parents gave that to me, before the car crash.”
Half the size of a playing card, and solid gold the locket had a picture of my parents standing behind me in our backyard. The sun was so beautiful that summer day. Jordan looked up from his hands water coating his eyes. He passed my necklace back over to me, trying as best he could to keep the tears from falling.
“No need to be sad for me Jordan. I’ve already come to terms with it.” I said trying to comfort the boy. Wiping his eyes with his forearm he said.
“The rabbit tastes really good.” he took another bite without spitting it into his hand, “My mom would kill me if she saw me eating it though.”
I smiled at the joke. I forgot how people viewed animals in the real world.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t thinking.” Jordan apologized frantically trying to undue his words.
“It’s okay. I don’t know if my parents are dead or not.”
“Really? So there’s hope you can see them again?”
“You once asked me why I’m here. I just want to find a way to cross over so that I can finally know.”
“Than I’m not going home until we do.” Jordan stated with the rabbit held to his lips.
Both of us finished our rabbits and Jordan circled up on the stiff ground attempting to go to sleep. I took first watch taking full advantage of the quiet. The quite crackle of the dieing fire was like a lullaby, but my sense only grew more vigilant. Jordan started mumbling in his sleep and I couldn’t help having a smile crest on my lips.
The smile faded fast. A twig snapping on the outer perimeter of the camp brought me to my feet. Gazing out into the darkness I couldn’t see anything. I made the choice to leave Jordan alone for a second as I checked it out.
When I returned from my goose chase I was terrified. A group of police officers were in the camp. One was dragging Jordan to his feet as he called out for me.
“Let him go!” I demanded stepping into the camp.
The officer closest to me started to yell but before he could create a sentence the fire erupted throwing all of us back. My head and spine crashed into a thick trunk of a tree and I couldn’t see Jordan. What I did see was a flaming shape of a person standing in the center of my camp over the fire.


I love to write. I've always had a strong imagination and my mind never stops creating scenes that I want to share. I am new to writing so feedback is great and comments are appreciated, plus any tips. I live in a small town in Tennessee but for only a year. I lived on Long Island most of my life.

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Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Short Story (<7500 words)
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July 2013
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