Tethered: Part 1

The late afternoon sky beamed with the arrival of the moon. A glorious wind soared outside, the day had come to its end, at least for Lucas. He had nothing to do in the day; and after another tiresome day at work Lucas returned to his small flat, one of many in a dark area where aromas and stenches coexisted. Time to be alone again.
‘’ Lucas’’
The thick voice of his landlord froze him in his tracks. He sighed and turned to face him.’’ I payed the rent sir. I gave the money last week to your wife.’’
The tall man only nodded. ‘’ Yes, I know that. I’m here for another reason. Unfortunately, you cannot stay here anymore.’’
‘’ Why, what did I do wrong?’’
‘’ Nothing. My daughter is getting married though and she needs the house. Don’t worry. You’re still allowed to stay for the whole month as you’ve paid for it. That’s 15 days more.’’
15 days, and then what?
‘’ OK sir. I understand.’’ Lucas of course didn’t agree but stifled the wave of rage that engulfed him. Anger was something private to him; something he had to face on his own every day and night.
‘’ Nice. I knew you would.’’ The man left him alone, his loud steps echoing from the stairs.
Lucas went over his flat and shut the door behind him. A dark gray color lined the walls, encircling dark, clashing furniture. The windows let in a small glow of light that brightened the blood-red carpet. The smell of cookies choked his nostrils, the neighbors had left their windows ajar. Lucas didn’t sleep well that night; then again when had he? He wasn’t depressed; something worse.
When Lucas woke up at 6am, something strange happened, the second event so unpredictable, the first being his eviction. A loud voice sounded from the stairway, right through his door. It belonged to a woman; probably one no more than 25 by the juvenile pitch. Who was that? Curiosity got the better of him and Lucas strode to the door, slowly opening it when-
‘’ Ah, finally! I thought I would never make it. Finally someone to help.’’
Lucas raised his eyebrows. The woman before him wore a velvet dress, long, starry earrings and held a purple bag over her back as well as two suitcases. Could it be?
‘’ I’m your new neighbor’’ the girl beamed. ‘’ My name is Stacy, nice to meet you’’ she walked over and extended her stark white hand to him. Her wild perfume lunged at him.
Lucas took a step back and dropped his gaze. ‘’ Nice to meet you too. I’m Lucas.’’
‘’ Oh, what a nice name. I hope we get well with each other. Now could you help me with the door? I think there’s some problem with the lock. Here’s the key.’’ Stacy gave him over the keys despite his obvious reluctance to mix, her touch gentle. Lucas hadn’t touched anyone, let alone a woman, for many years. He didn’t cringe but still frowned. ‘’ OK, wait.’’ The key unlocked the door of the opposite flat to his and Stacy whirled inside.
‘’ Care for a drink? I’m so tired.’’
Lucas seethed from his nostrils. What a nerve! They barely knew each other. ‘’ No.’’ He said nothing else and walked away. At his doorstep Lucas looked behind, and caught the wide eyes of Stacy locked on him. She smiled but he closed his eyes, went inside and prepared his breakfast. Afterwards, Lucas dashed off to catch the early subway to work. Stacy’s door was closed this time, no sound came from within. The form of her returned to his thoughts, but the boy swatted it away as if it were a bee. Lucas promised never to meddle with such an annoying person. For only a minute it felt great to soon be away.
The estate office closed earlier that day, in less than five hours from noon Lucas took the subway home, huffing and puffing. The heat was sweltering, dogs barked and cars swore at the passengers and each other. What kind of world he lived in? Nobody sat with him; all the better. Lucas had stopped caring about people for a long time; a long time after what had happened that day. A throng of children kept shouting two seats away and Lucas sighed and looked to the window; outside everything went away, nothing looked different than the other days. When the stop came a woman wailed and then a hooded man, wearing rags reeking of armpit, dashed away, a large purse in his hands.
Nobody answered; one even smirked at her. Then the next stop came and Lucas went off, tired of all the corruption that surrounded him. He could have helped her; that for sure but why it even mattered? Sometime ago Lucas had been helpful and kind, always eager to do any deed but who gave him notice? Who gave him love? They knew nothing but to use him; make him their prey. Hatred beat in the place of his heart.
A cat meowed from a dirty can; the refuse blocked his nostrils and he shut his eyes. A throng of beggars lined in the ground before his house, clouds of smoke and flies hovering over them, moved like a wave of zombies in apocalypse, their words whispers of wraiths. Then the dark block of flats appeared before him. Lucas walked past Stacy’s door to his own with eyes small as slits. A bowl of green beans with a dry taste, dry like they had never had water on their surface, awaited him and then a sweaty pillow that clung to his body.
In the wee hours of the morning, Lucas thought of her. Her eyes; that stare at his refusal of her invitation. Stacy didn’t leave his mind; not after a bath, not after an hour of gibberish on TV. Her scent; her smile, the air tasted different when she had come, for just a moment hope had kindled in his heart.
Sleep came late, curtaining his thoughts of her. When Lucas woke up, eyes bleary and heart pounding, a smile crept over his face. For the first night that scene hadn’t haunted his dreams; it had been there for 2 whole years, vicious like a hungry cobra, but not today. He didn’t know if he should be glad about that girl’s arrival, yet if it were for him to be released of that eternal anger, then so be it.
A knock on the door, then another one. Lucas sprung up from the couch, dropping his peanuts all over him. He strode over the mess of his room and opened the door.
‘’ Good morning Lucas.’’ This time Stacy looked different. He blinked twice and looked over at her but found nothing different. Her face and eyes looked the same warm, chocolate hue.
‘’ Are you alright?’’
Lucas nodded. ‘’ What do you want?’’
Her face dropped. ‘’ I was making breakfast and saw that I had no sugar left for my coffee. Could I borrow some?’’
‘’ Yes. Wait here.’’ But Stacy had already gotten past the door, staring at the gloomy interior. For once Lucas felt ashamed for the mess of his house. When he returned with the pack of sugar in one hand, Stacy had already sprawled on the untidy couch facing the closed TV, eyes aghast at the color of the carpet. ‘’ Why is it so red? Do you like that color?’’
Lucas shrugged, then looked to the window.
‘’ You know, it’s like the color of blood.’’
‘’ Blood?’’ The sanguine head came to his mind, no he must not face that anger here. What hadn’t haunted him the previous night must not shake him now, especially in front of her!
‘’ Yes, I read it somewhere. You must have connected it with a very vivid image of yours; something from your childhood maybe-
But Lucas didn’t hear the rest. His eyes dropped to the carpet, then that face came again in his mind, rivulets of blood all around it and he doing nothing. His violent screaming had come to no avail that night, it hadn’t stopped the claws of death from screeching into the boy’s heart. Nausea washed over him, his hands started sweating. ‘’ Thank you Stacy, you can go now.’’
She sighed, then got up. ‘’ OK, I hope I didn’t say anything wrong. Lucas, are you alright?’’
The vision grew more and more dim, the face of the boy smiled at him, its smile the last ray of light inside a void of chaos. ‘’ NO’’ Lucas screamed and his body thudded the cold ground.

End of Part 1

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