The Leftovers - Chapter One, Part Five

The car began sinking very quickly. As much as I felt like screaming at him, I knew I had to get out before we would drown. I secured Isaac in my holster and attached his guns to my belt loops. I put the daggers in my pockets like I did before, and last but not least I stuffed the tickets down my shirt. Then I opened the door and swam out. He was already on the shore.
?“What was that?!” I yelled.
?“I just helped you, Rene,” he said bitterly. “Again.”
?I wanted to continue ranting at him about why he’d caused nothing but trouble for the past hour I’d known him, but I couldn’t argue with the facts. I sighed.
?We sat on the bank of the lake for a moment, watching Great-Aunt Janet’s car sink into the green abyss and catching our breath.
?I was in disbelief, able to feel again. Janet was dead and I was stuck with a stranger who, although he was useful, was probably totally confused about the world outside the tank he had been held in for the past nine years. And he was really getting on my nerves.
?The sound of his sword unsheathing took my sight away from the water and put it on him. I was in a reminiscent, deeply entranced mood until he put his sword up to his neck.
?“No, don’t!” I screamed, lunging at him and knocking the sword away. “You’ll regret it!”
?He pushed me off of him and grabbed the blade back up off the soggy grass. “I’m not killing myself, genius,” he scoffed. “I’m taking this stupid mask off.”
?I stared at him for a minute as he pinched part of the wetsuit away from his skin and smoothly sliced into it with the sharp sword. What guns were to me was probably what that sword was to him.
?He cut all around his neck, slid the sword into the soggy sheath, and he peeled off the mask. And right when I saw his face, I froze for the third time that day.
?The boy’s face…his eyes were red like fresh blood, his hair white new snow, his skin pale ash. It took me by surprise. I had seen red eyes, white hair, and pale skin on people before, but never had I seen the three features so beautifully combined. It was only ruined by a large scar on his cheek, a dark red, deep gash sloppily closed by stitches that looked like barbed wire.
?For a second I fell right off the cliff for him, gazing at how the two dying suns that set over the water accented the drops that fell from his pasty locks. But then I realized that he was the guy in the wetsuit, and I shook off those feelings.
?He took a good look at me. “I could only see your silhouette with the mask on,” he explained. I knew it. He examined my face closely, the brown hair and blue eyes that I shared with the whole maternal side of my family, my gray T-shirt, black cargo pants, and white combat boots. As the boy looked me over, I stared at his face. His hair was shaggy and hung low over his eyebrows, covered his ears, and crept all the way down his neck. His crimson eyes were swirling torrents of emotions I couldn’t make out.
?I felt awkward, as I always did when it was quiet and I was doing little or nothing. So I decided to make conversation. I took Isaac out of my holster and held it out to him.
?“This is my gun, Isaac,” I said, like I was introducing my gun as a person. He took it from my hand and examined it closely.
?“.38 caliber, classic-styled revolver…” He mumbled to himself a little while he observed it, and then he looked at me and handed it back. “Nice.” He pointed to my hips and stared at the gun on the belt loop closest to him. ?The two pistols of his that I currently carried were practically identical, but one had a blue handle and the other had a red handle. 
?He looked up at me at an angle, like he did when we were in the car, his white hair glistening. We gazed at each other for a long while.
?Finally he gathered his chain back up and put it over his shoulders and grabbed his sword.
?“We should get going,” he suggested. “We’ve got a train to catch.” He took a few steps up the bank before I got up and followed him. He put his hands behind his head as he walked, and I was seriously surprised why the cops hadn’t come by now. We trekked on and on through the infant night. The two of us were almost halfway back to the train station before anything was said; I was the one to break the ice.
?“By the way…I never learned your name.”
?He stopped. I stopped too and stared at the back of his head quizzically.
?Finally, he turned around. He was smiling. It was a really cute smile, too. “Captain Abner Maxwell, LHA Second Division.”





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