Panick

The wind whispered of bare, withered branches, their bark peeling with no desperate resentment or protest. Despair scratched at their roots, bending twigs and crackling leaves, both forlorn with the timely cold sprigs of the harsh autumn air. Shadows of delicately placed houses played on the dark road, it dressed with cold dust and feathered dirt. The once cherished flame of joyous singing and ringing bells was silenced and molded into the creaking footsteps of Vern Beliquent.

His small feet treaded happily unto Pine Way as he whistled a tune of pure improvisation and careful bewilderment. He tried to ignore the looming presence of grey skies and eerie silence, but still, he pushed his hands deeper and deeper into his rather spacious pockets with each step. His tightened his drying lips, mustering all possible elation and power from his dying lungs. The wind grew stronger, slapping his lips to a bewildered close. His hat thrashed towards the empty sky as if begging for flight. Pulling its gaping brim further down his sloping forehead, he nervously glanced at his watched. The laughing hands told a misery in itself.

8:05 pm.

Vern’s broke into a panicked jog, this soon turning into a sprint, his tan loafers seeming to stick to the mossy sidewalk. The wind grew stronger and he began to yell for an unknown aid, his muscles burning with a hurried pain of both movement and melancholy. He felt as though in the unwanted game of tag he would play with the neighborhood bullies as a boy, wanting to surrender and hoping such an act of weakness would be rewarded with a safe exit directly into his mother’s waiting arms. He wanted to break down and cry.

8:07 pm.

Vern turned quickly onto Narrows Avenue, allowing tears to stream down his face, them only to be dried by the growing wind. He was screaming, bellowing in the highest pitch his long throat could place. Pumping his arms, he searched for the rusty street sign of Vulture End.

8:09 pm.

His eyes were watering profusely now, but he dared not blink.

One minute.

One solitary minute.

His loafers bent against the hard rubble, and his pockets released their contents of bubble gum, reading glasses and Vern’s treasured, chestnut wallet. His watch conflicted with his thick wrist, barring the sacred time of 8:09 pm. Suddenly, the wind drew still, the sky lost of all energy and activity. Vern felt his muscles relax, and he slowed to a confused jog. His hands shaking, Vern lifted his watch to his watering eyes. The sidewalk melted into a gradual slope of melted concrete. His loafers were the first to disappear, and then with a delighted scoop of the wind, Vern was gone.





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