Dark Gray

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The wind is dry and the air bitter, cool enough to see your breath. It contains that distinct winter smell; chimney smoke combined with cold air though it isn’t winter yet. Pumpkins align pathways to homes or sit perched on front steps, most of them old from Halloween and rotted. Others, however, look fresh possibly out for Thanksgiving. Many of them appear as if they were carved by a small child; sloppy and a challenge to figure out what exactly it’s supposed to be. A few are carved intricately though, possibly by an artist. Distracted by all of the pumpkins along the way, I trip over an old crooked area of the sidewalk where a maple tree shedding its leaves has been maturing for years.

“Are you alright?” Will asked trying to keep from laughing but still showed concern while Louis was cracking up in the background.

Naturally, I was a bit embarrassed. “I’m fine.” I responded sharply with a tone of slight anger though I wasn’t really angry. Louis was still laughing out loud though which sort of annoyed me. It wasn’t even that funny?

“Are we almost there? My legs are killing me.” Louis complained looking fairly exhausted. I was feeling a bit fatigued myself considering I had just gotten over a cold and hadn’t gotten much sleep lately and I could feel my stomach on the verge of begging for food. This, however, didn’t stop me from being sour.

“Seriously? Maybe if you weren’t always sitting on your lazy a-”

“Alright, alright. Relax. The cemetery is right there.” Will interrupted me to end a fight before it started. He pointed to the cemetery across the street until we both, meaning Louis and I, looked up from the pavement and noticed it.

“Finally.” I sighed under my breath. By now the sky had grown to be a dark gray, almost black and the only source of light was the round golden moon and streetlights scattered here and there, a few of them out. All of the children and teenagers who were once roaming the streets earlier vanished, probably to home for dinner or to beat their midnight curfew. We all waited for the cars to go by, well more like fly by considering a majority of them were going well over the speed limit, until there was a generous gap for us to cross. Fortunately an older man stopped to allow us to go. Louis and Will walked across the street while I looked at the man and put my hand up as a way to say thank you. He smiled a broad smile, almost creepily, and I noticed under the street light his grimy stubbly face and stringy gray hair and his thick eyebrows and saggy eyelids that hung over his glazed dark gray eyes, just like the sky. I then noticed those dark gray eyes work their way from the tips of my toes all the way to the frizzy hairs sticking up on top of my head. I quickly turned away and rushed to Will and Louis, tripping again, only this time over my own two feet.

“Did you see that?!” I called out while noticing my heart starting to beat at a pace that was far faster than normal.

“What are you talking about?” Louis questioned.

“What’d you see, baby?” Will asked at almost the same time that Louis spoke.

“Um that creepy a** old man that let us go! Did you happen to see his face? Or see him check me out?!” I exclaimed while catching my breath and almost stumbling over my words.

“Um.. no.” Louis responded without a single trace of concern in his statement.

“Calm down, Kim. You probably just caught his eye because you’re beautiful. Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to you.” Will reassured me in a soothing voice as he took my clammy hand and weaved his fingers through mine.

I glanced back over my shoulder as we entered into the cemetery and pictured the suspicious seeming old man I had just seen. I shook at just the thought of him and the fact that no one else had noticed his alarming dark gray eyes explore me like a lion observes its prey.

“Um am I the only one having second thoughts about this?” I hesitated.

“Nah, I kind of am too. I’m not too fond of cemeteries to begin with.” Louis almost immediately answered.

“Oh you‘ll be fine. A cemetery is a cemetery whether it be during the day or night.” Will stated. “I thought you loved cemeteries, Kim?” He added not in a snobby tone but just out of curiosity.

“I do but to me, it’s eerie at night. Something just doesn‘t feel right.” I replied still freaked out by what had just happened a couple moments before.

We continued walking through the cemetery at a slow pace in silence for a majority of the time. Will and Louis kept their eyes focused on what was in front of them as opposed to me who kept looking in every direction in case there was someone or something lurking nearby.

“What was that?!” I yelped right after a loud snap sounded that seemed not too distant.

“I don’t know but I’m about to flip!” Louis said, beginning to get really uncomfortable about the whole cemetery thing in general.

“It was probably some sort of animal nearby.” Will suggested. He let go of my hand which proved his strength considering I was gripping onto him for dear life and walked off just several feet searching for something that could have possibly made the noise. He kept his pace slow and steady; leaves crunching under his boots with each step that he made. I felt nothing but uneasiness.

“I can’t take this. I’m freaking out.” I said to Louis as I turned to look at him but he had apparently walked off a bit for whatever reason, and by this time Will was further away not knowing Louis had left me.

“Don’t be scared, my dear.” Whispered an unfamiliar raspy voice almost directly into my ear which was warmed by their hot garlicky breath. I felt a large hand grasp my bony shoulder and I rapidly turned around but before I could let out a scream, the thick hand was tightly covering my small mouth, muffling any sounds I tried to make. I tried to fight him but his surprising strength refused to let me go. “Shh. Come with me, my love.” He scooped me up in his arms like something you’d see in a romance movie where the guy picks up his ‘true love.‘ But this was no romance movie or fairytale. Before he got the chance to cover my mouth again, I was able to make noise this time.

“WILL!” I screamed, almost in tears from fear.

Will turned faster than I had when the man touched me. “KIM?!” He shouted and darted toward the creepy man and I at a speed that seemed almost impossible for a human to run, but he wasn’t fast enough. The man and I were already at quite a distance before I yelled Will’s name and the second he turned the man ran as fast as he could which apparently was sufficient. Soon after, we were in complete darkness and I looked hard through the dark foggy air in search of Will’s silhouette; I saw nothing. All I heard was he and Louis frantically moving about in the distance while yelling my name. Before I knew it I was in a dinky hut of some sort sheltered by lanky old trees that looked as if they’d snap in two if even a slightly strong wind shook it. The hut lacked actual windows, the roof was caved in, it was dirty, and it had a musty odor. I immediately tried fighting the man’s grip again but it was impossible for me to escape his grimy hands. I knew exactly what I was in for. I’d been through this before; not anywhere near this extent but still the same act. As soon as he lifted his soiled shirt over his shoulders exposing his furry chest and doughy gut, I panicked more than ever. Fear and disgust swam through my blood as a chill ran down my spine. I was trembling and not just the shivering you experience on those cold rainy days in the fall when you’ve been used to the summer’s warmth for months. No, this was uncontrollable involuntary shaking and I wasn’t even cold. Sweat gleamed on every inch of my petite body. I felt as if I had just gotten out of the shower on a humid day or something. Before I knew it his large, unproportional, wooly body was hung over me and I could taste the salty sweat pouring off of him. I squeezed my eyes shut to try and block it all out but even with my eyes tightly closed, I could still see him and I could smell him. My mouth was dry, a lump formed in my throat, and I felt my heart pound hard in my chest; I was getting more and more nauseous by the second. I was too afraid to utter a word moments previous but I finally managed to spit something out before he put his hands on me as a way to possibly and hopefully distract him.

“WHO ARE YOU?! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!” I shrieked as more tears rolled down my flushed cheeks. By now, I probably looked as if my eyes were bleeding mascara. I tried once more to push him off of me. I’m not too sure why considering he was about three times larger than me and I hadn’t been able to break loose the other two times. Perhaps I was having one of those in-the-moment moments where I thought some miracle would take place. No miracle happened though. He slammed me down on the concrete floor whose large cracks suggested it was older than he and I combined. I was screwed and soon I’d be able to say that literally.

“Shh. Don’t make me have to punish your friends because you‘re being so loud. Just hold still, pretty girl. I‘ll be finished in no time.” He said not quite whispering but in a low dull voice. Those thick hands of his began to caress my body in places that I kept private except when with Will. If it were Will’s hands touching my breasts, I’d be excited. I’d like it then. But these hands were certainly not his or anything like his for that matter and I absolutely hated it. His body was now touching mine and my insides froze. The walls spun and I felt as if my dizziness was forcing me blind. I tried shutting my eyes again but everything was still spinning and not just the objects surrounding me, but my life. I felt as if it were flashing before my eyes and one after another, questions wedged their way into my head and raced through my mind. ‘How am I going to tell my family about this?’ ‘What if people at school find out about this?’ ‘What if I wind up being pregnant by this filthy monster?’ ‘What if I won’t have to worry about any of those things because he winds up killing me afterwards?’

“What’s wrong, sweetheart? Why so quiet? You scared?” He asked all at once in a fake gentle tone which made him even creepier. I just laid there. I felt like that was all I could do. My whole body was numb and my lips only quivered when I tried to move them and my limbs fell limp when I attempted to raise them. I couldn’t even cry anymore. All of my tears were used up; they were flushed out of my eyes. ‘Why me?’ I asked myself over and over and over again.

“P-Please..don’t.. do this.. to me.” I managed to finally respond. I felt so helpless, so hopeless, so small. I was just a pathetic worthless girl in my eyes. I hadn’t yet found any meaning in my life or myself. I was just another number to add to the United States of America census. To me, I meant absolutely nothing and the fact that I was about to be used so easily reinforced that idea.

“Quick, you go over there and look around and I’ll go over here.” Will’s voice sounded suddenly outside the hut.

“Alright” Louis immediately replied, already moving.

My body froze again but this time in a good way. ‘I was going to be ok’ I thought to myself. ‘I was going to be saved.’

“WILL! LOUIS!” I screamed as I tried to move my limbs to get up.

“SHUT UP YOU STUPID SL*T!” The man hollered at me as he pushed me back down onto the concrete, harder than he did the first time, almost knocking me unconscious. Everything was spinning again and I couldn’t help to be sick from everything; the disgusting man, the physical agony, the situation as a whole. I vomited right then. The spaghetti I had consumed earlier seemed to come up looking the same as it did when I had shoveled it in my mouth at lunch time, and I almost choked on it having been laying on my back. The old man slapped me across my face causing it to sting and burn.

“YOU DISGUSTING GIRL! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” He yelled in my face, spit spraying out between the spaces in his almost rotted clenched teeth. I started to open my mouth but paused when I thought I heard Will and or Louis just outside the hut.

“OH MY GOD!” Louis shouted as he stood at the doorway, well I don’t know if you could even call it a doorway, horrified at the site of a greasy old fat man over me. The man jumped up, stumbled on his feet, and yanked something out of his pants pocket. It was shiny and fairly large. I screamed and tried to get up but my body was too weak.

“DON’T TOUCH HIM! LEAVE HIM ALONE!” I screamed in desperation. The man completely tuned me out and I struggled to even move while witnessing him rip my best friend apart with a knife and cut him piece by piece as blood spewed out and collected into a puddle. Finally, tears starting flowing from my eyes again and combined with the taste of vomit once they hit my mouth and soaked my now soiled shirt.

“Now what’re you going do, sweetie?” The man questioned me in a harsh tone. “Your little friend’s gone. You have no one.” I bit my tongue, closed my eyes, and gasped not quite knowing what to do. Suddenly, Will appeared within seconds and immediately ran over to him.
The man raced toward him and glanced back at me. During this short moment, Will quickly brought a large stone from behind his back and bashed the man’s head and with it still in his skin, he dragged it from his scalp to his tail bone ripping his flesh open, causing him to screech. He then carved a gaping hole into his chest and ripped his beating heart right out of his body like in part of the movie Indiana Jones. I was speechless the entire time and in complete shock. What the h*** just happened?! I laid there on my side and rubbed my eyes as if I were clearing my vision from something I was just seeing in my head. This wasn’t in my head though. It was real. Will dropped the stone and held my bruised head in his hands and kissed it despite its filthiness.

“I’m so so sorry, my love. I can’t believe this happened to you. I should never have even let go of your hand. I’m so sorry” He said frantically while brushing the messy hair out of my face and holding me so tightly I thought he was going to squeeze my guts out. He lifted my chin with his bloody finger tips and kissed my chapped lips. “I’m so sorry.” He whispered.

“You didn’t know this was going to happen. It’s not your fault.” I said to him softly, my head now resting against his chest. I could hear his heart thumping against it at a fast but even pace, just like the man’s when it was torn out of his chest.

“I still can’t believe this happened to you. You didn’t and don’t deserve this. My poor love.” He continued to cry with both sadness and anger.

“I’m just glad I still have you.” I whispered right before kissing him again.

“I need to take you to a hospital, Kim. Who knows what kind of damage he did.” He said interrupting our kiss while placing his hands on my shoulders and staring directly into my eyes with concern. I simply nodded my head. “But first I need to do something real quick. I need to make sure this piece of shit never looks at you again.” He sprung up and grabbed the stone he had just used and headed toward the creepy, repulsive, now helpless man and made sure that he would never look at me again just like he‘d promised. One by one he gauged out the man’s eyes. By now the sky was no longer dark gray but pitch black.





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