The City (Chapter Six: Us)
Posted July 30th, 2012 by LizzieS
in a world of my own
Note: I don't know if I'll keep this as Chapter Six. I might change it so it's after Chapter Three, instead. :| It's called "Us" because it's not told from Linnea's POV. There will also be "Them" chapters, too. :) So what do you think? It's kind of a slow filler chapter, but I needed to have him see the van. Comment and CC, please? :3
His window was open, and the light shining from the full moon flooded his room with an eerie glow. The large bedroom was a cluttered mess, with video game discs scattered all over the stained carpet, and random bits and pieces of varied digital devices laying on the floor, on the dresser, clustered on the desk. The only spot not buried under his many hobbies was the bed, where he lay. It was late at night, but he was not sleeping – he was lying on top of the blue sheets, his stomach covering the blanket, his legs bent so his bare feet were sticking up in the air. His fingers were idly playing with the loosely woven cotton blanket, folding the corner over into a small triangle and unfolding it again, folding and unfolding, folding and unfolding. He did this small motion unconsciously, and was unaware that his fingers were moving at all. He was staring at the white wall in front of him, but did not see it. He was lost in thought.
A sudden noise startled him, and he looked up, his eyes refocusing, his fingers freezing. The digital clock on his desk, far across his room, shone the time in glowing, red numbers: 1:00. It had beeped when changing into the new hour.
He sighed and rubbed his eyes, stifling a yawn. He had been sent to his room hours ago, with the order to go to sleep. He would be expected to wake early in the morning, this he knew – yet his mind was racing, and every time he closed his eyes he would be reminded of some new, fascinating idea to contemplate. Eventually he had given up on trying to force himself to sleep, and had resorted to lying on his stomach, next to the window, staring at the white-painted wall, lost in reverie.
He glanced at the clock for a moment, then rolled over onto his side to face the window, propping his drooping head up on his flexed wrist, leaning on his elbow. He stretched out his sore bones, his feet resting on his pillow on the far end of the bed. A soft breeze fluttered in through the window, blowing his dark bangs out of his eyes, and allowing him to take in the moon more clearly. It was full for the first time that month, and was lighting up the starless sky with a hazy glow. There were no stars left to accompany the moon’s unwavering glow. His parents had spoken of such wonders, those glimmering balls of fire in the sky, but they were gone now. The lights of the cities in the distance had repelled them for good.
Closing his eyes, he felt his chest rise and fall as he breathed, and listened to the rhythm of the bugs chirping outside. As his eyelids drooped, maybe he heard something outside, or maybe he just thought of her – either way, he suddenly sat up, opened his eyes, and looked outside at the house across the street. It was a large house, like all of the houses in the small town, but unlike the other houses, had no fields in its shadow. It had a small yard, but that was all.
The lights in this house were dark, as if all the residents had gone to bed long before. They probably had. He doubted there were many, besides himself, who were still awake at this late hour. There was nothing different about this house, when compared to the others, even his own; why had he taken a special interest in this one? No one special lived there, simply the town’s school principal, a mechanic who fixed much of the town’s farm machinery, and their two daughters. He stared at the house for a long moment before frowning and turning to roll back into his original position, lying on his stomach and facing the wall, when suddenly something caught his eye and forced him to turn back to the window. One of the windows on the side of the house, up on the second story, was suddenly illuminated in bright light.
Whoever was in there was awake, and had turned the light on.
His attention suddenly focused on this one window, he shifted himself into a sitting position, crossing his legs over each other. He leaned his head on his elbows and looked out, past the black of the night and to the small, lit window.
And just as suddenly as it had been lit, the light was gone.
He frowned, but continued to stare. Perhaps she had simply woken up to go to the bathroom or get a drink, and had gone back to sleep? Perhaps she had just had a nightmare and had wanted the reassurance of light, if only for a moment? Perhaps it was nothing more than that, and she had not been sitting in the darkness, unable to sleep, like him, as he’d secretly wished.
After waiting a moment so see if the small beacon of light would reappear, he let his breath out, which he hadn’t known he had been holding, and fell back onto his bed, his head collapsing onto the pillow, his hair falling back over his eyes. The quiet of the night suddenly felt heavy on him, and he noticed the ringing in his ears. With the sudden realization of being totally alone, his eyes flicked to the clock. The time shone out in glowing red numbers: 1:26. Only twenty-six minutes had gone by.
Rolling over, he squeezed his eyes shut. Who knew how long he had been rolling over like this, thoughts flashing across his mind as he tried to force himself to fall asleep? What time had he first collapsed onto his bed? Ten o’clock? Eleven? How many hours would it take for him to fall asleep?
He asked himself this, and when he opened his eyes, the clock read 1:54. He blinked in confusion at the glowing numbers, and they danced before his eyes. Had he fallen asleep, or had he spent those twenty-eight minutes thinking?
Suddenly he wondered if her light was on again.
His limbs felt stiff, and he had to force himself to sit up again to gaze out the open window. To his disappointment the house was dark and empty-looking, casting a dark shadow on the street below. He didn’t know how long he sat that way, but he only realized his eyelids were drooping when he opened his eyes again. Sighing, he began to turn from the window.
But not before he saw a van pull out from the back of the house and drive down the street.
He sat, stunned, for a moment before wild conjectures began to flow through his head. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe it was her father, who had finished fixing the van and had needed to deliver it before morning. Maybe someone had just gotten lost in the middle of the night and had used their driveway to turn around. Maybe it was something as simple as that.
Or maybe it was something bad. Maybe they were in danger.
But then again, nothing like that ever happened in Claiton.
He shook his head, reaching up and tugging at the window shade and pulling it down, covering the glowing moon and throwing the room into darkness. Hugging himself, he collapsed onto the bed, his head falling onto the pillow. He told himself it was nothing, to forget it, to fall asleep. Things would be better in the morning.
Taking a deep breath, he finally listened to himself and gave in to sleep.
Word Count: 1,272. Short chapter.
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