28 Day Writing Challenge #15

By , Elk Grove, CA

"Hell to the no." Was the first thing out of his mother's mouth. "She is a felon." "Not a convicted one, mom." Carson argued back, but it was in a subdued and calm matter, to increase his odds. "She has no where else to go!" He added. He ran a hand through his uncombed brown hair, which didn't help his overall visage. Raccoon circles where his eyes should be, his lips chapped and his pallid countenance drooping under the weight of the argument. His defense was weak. "I don't think it's appropriate for a girl you barely know to stay at our house. Can't she get a hotel?" He went over this with Emily before they even entered the house. She looked hurt but he explained his mom would justly feel the way she feels. "She doesn't have the money." "Tough break," said his mother, and this was the final answer," Why don't you ask your father to help you?" She rhetorically said. Carson took it to heart. "Okay, I'll just tell her to leave." She was waiting in the car while he went to fight for her."I'm sorry." His mom added, and she was. You cannot paint her as the bad guy in this scenario, she was trying to be a good mother. She was a good mother. Her eye-shadow was smudged on her left eyelid, and Carson stared at the imperfection, the only one she had, and said,"Bye." He turned on his heel and treaded out the door, slowing his pace so Emily didn't get false hope. She was sitting at a 90° angle from the passenger seat, facing out of the vehicle. "Let's go." He said. She knew, you could read the disappointment in her face. "We're going to my dad's house." He said. He didn't look too excited. She didn't have another choice except to go along with it, getting by on the kindness of semi strangers. Emily picked at imaginary lint while Carson's stomach filled with fire from the lie he told to his mother. His dad's house was empty and small. A slouched one story with elongated gables and closed shutters. It wasn't a lie to his father to let her stay there. His dad didn't live there anymore. Carson didn't exactly understand why, perhaps he wasn't old enough. Perhaps there was nothing to understand. He had to say something to her, anything. "My dad doesn't live here. But he owns the house." The key he dangles out to her is coated in grease from being kept in the abyss of his ash tray. She grabs it tight in her palm like it's going to be snatched out at any moment. "No ragers alright?" Carson quips, attempting to use words a to cut the tension. The guilt was bubbling in his stomachs, he was betraying both his parents. They had betrayed him plenty of times, at least, his father had. "I would never." Emily replies politely. She runs her hands down her arms in a shivering motion, but she isn't cold. Just lonely. She wants to say, 'Stay with me. Don't leave me here!' She wants to scream it from the rooftop. She wanted to yell it at her sister and her parents and herself. "Thank you." Is all she gets out. Polite. Appropriate. He reaches his arm out and she leans away, making him withdrawal awkwardly. "Sorry." He says. The silence fills the car. "You have a feather in your hair." "Oh." She turns out so he can pluck it from her. It's white. Carson gave Emily twenty dollars( To order pizza.) He clutched the feather as she got out of the car. He watched her walk into the house. Her white shirt was a bright contrast to his grey town. And her blond hair waved behind her back, brushing to almost her waist. There was a magical quality about it, but at the same time vulnerable. Ethereal. As though she was going to fly away in the form of a bird. Or drift away, in the form of an angel. "It's from an angel." He said to himself, tucking the feather in the ashtray to join greasy coins.  Funny to imagine such a high being over a town like Linda. Nothing big really happened here. No one big lived here. Lots of small people. Carson was going to see one of these figuratively small cogs that run his town. His father. The clouds furrowed overhead like it was going to rain. He drove faster.He sped out of the driveway down the road, feeling like Emily did the first time she drove away. Like he would never come back, but that was a lie he told himself. Of course he would come back. He always went back. Just like birds always return to the earth. Feathers drift to the earth in a slow rain. But that's in his mind.

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