Inner Workings

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Xavier took the stairs as slowly as he could to his fifth level apartment, dreading what would come his way as soon as he reached the top. This was the way things had been since his dad left a ten years ago, Xavier had been five. his real dad was replaced by the monster his mom was dating. She worked two jobs to make ends meet. Because of this she was never home to see how the monster treated Xavier.

     Xavier had reached the apex of the stairwell, touched the doorknob and twisted it till it clicked. He took a deep breath and pushed the door wide, almost suffocating on the cigarette smoke that permeated the entire house.

     "Where you been boy!" Walter bellowed. He stood up from his worn recliner, stained by beer and nacho cheese. 

     "I got out of school and came home just like always." Xavier turned down the hall and hurried to his room as Walter's usual verbal abuse tried reach his ears. Xavier ducked into his room and felt a strong grip on his left arm, where the old bruises were healing. 

     Walter dragged Xavier from his room and slapped him across the face. "I said, why were you late?" 

     "I'm not late," Xavier protested. "Look it's only 3:30, that's when I normally get home." In the back of his mind he was thinking his mom would be going to her second job about now.

     In one swift motion Walter pushed Xavier to the floor, closed and pad-locked the door. "You'll get no dinner for that smart-a** mouth of yours."

     Xavier retreated to his slice of hell inside the inferno. Even in this hell, there was one little area of peace; the roof. Xavier opened the window and stepped out onto the fire escape. He climbed the five stories to the top of his world. He threw his backpack to the floor and pulled out his drawing pad he never let out of his sight. That was the one thing that gave him solace. Xavier usually had more ideas than he had time or paper to draw. But not right now. Now, he could only sit there and reflect on the relentless beatings from the demon spawn known as Walter. This was the lowest he'd felt in ten years. Xavier didn't think of himself as depressed just worthless; not sad but empty. As empty as the blank sheet if paper in front if him. 

     However, there was one person who made life worth living. The one person in the small pantheon of people who tolerated Xavier. That persons name was Zeke. Every day when Xavier woke up in the morning, Zeke was the reason he got out of bed. All the bullying directed at Zeke didn't faze him at all. Xavier, on the other hand, was deeply pained every time someone shouted some obscenity or tried to trip him. Zeke was never angered or upset by anything. He was a rock with the richest green eyes and the thickest, luscious black hair. Xavier thought he may have loved Zeke more than he had ever confessed, even to himself. Xavier didn't want to be labeled. This added to the stress that made up the weight that rested on his shoulders. 

     Zeke was the last person to go through Xavier's mind as he leaned forward, off the roof, towards what he hoped would be peace and forgiveness.





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