NOTE: It's been a few weeks since I've done a "Wednesday Writing" post. Things have been crazy. These may turn into "Weekly Writing" posts. But at the very least, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things.
These are very quick 'free write' sessions without editing, planning, etc.
I invite and love feedback - criticism, praise, whatever. Just let me know what you think.
I do this equally for myself and to share.
Jared groaned again as his face slammed against the wet concrete sidewalk. He pushed himself up to his hands and knees and tried to crawl forward as a foot pounded into his midsection and crumbled him to the ground once more. He closed his eyes and grimaced at the pain flooding through him. A foot kicked hard against his left hip.
Jared twisted and writhed like a worm along the rain drenched sidewalk. Once again he tried to push himself knees and once again a foot plowed into his midsection. This time he was ready for it. Jared wrapped his arms around the foot and collapsed onto it with all of his weight. At the same time, he twisted his body around and pulled on the leg of his assailant.
As he felt the leg twist and fall, Jared risked a smile and opened his eyes to watch the dark form slam into the ground, arms flailing and hands slapping into the thin sheet of water. Jared's elation was short lived as another surge of pain erupted from the middle of his back as the other assailant slammed the bottom of his boot in to Jared's back.
Jared arched his back away from the pain and twisted to roll quickly away. As he rolled, he got his hands beneath him and was able to quickly leap to his feet. He reacted to a blur of motion in front of him and hopped backwards to avoid the flying kick of his standing attacker. To his left, Jared saw his fallen attacker hop to his feet and spin back to face Jared.
For a moment it seemed as though time stood still. If not for the constant motion of raindrops falling around him, it would have seemed to Jared that everything had stopped. He half-crouched, expectantly, bracing for the next attack, trying to decide what to do. He stared at his attackers, trying to determine who they were, what they wanted. Both were dressed entirely in black with slightly oversized jeans and hoodies that made it difficult to determine their exact proportions. Their hoodies were pulled up over their heads and they had masks pulled over their face so all Jared could see were their angry eyes and their grinning mouths.
"Han ser sliten ut."
The voice was young, but strong. And definitely male. Jared figured the rain and the ringing in his ears had muddled the words a bit. He tilted his head and stared back at the speaker. But the next words came from the other attacker. The voice was similar in tone. A little more gruff, probably a little older, but still definitely male and just as difficult to understand.
"Tror du vi har gett honom nog att tänka på?"
At this, both of the boys stared at Jared and changed their stance, staring at him inquisitively. Jared straightened slightly, but still kept his feet planted and his legs tense, ready to spring away at any instant. The second speaker chuckled and mumbled something to the firts at which they both burst out laughing.
Jared watched in confusion and anxiety as his two attackers started walking, not towards him, but towards each other. They continued talking to each other in hushed tones and started patting each other on their shoulders. Jared continued to stare at them, worried about what they were planning for him. But after a few seconds of talking, Jared decided it was time to make a run for it.
In an instant, he was sprinting across the road. He didn't risk a look back until he hopped over the curb on the other side and then he glanced over his shoulder without slowing his pace as he angled towards the corner to continue running down the side street. Looking back, he saw that his attackers weren't following. He slowed slightly and finally turned and looked back at them.
The two boys were staring across the road talking to each other and motioning at Jared but not showing any intention of pursuit. As Jared watched his attackers, they took a step towards the curb on their side of the road. Jared took half a step backwards in anticipation of running but they stopped at the edge of the sidewalk.
One of the boys waved at Jared and shouted something to him, laughing as he spoke.
"Adjö Jared. Adjö."
Then he laughed harder and harder until he started coughing and doubled over with his hands on his knees as he continued to laugh. The other boy waved slowly at Jared and spoke.
"Thank you for your time. We will see you later."
Finally Jared understood the words, although he was still confused at their meaning or the meaning of anything that had happened. A moment later, the final speaker patted his laughing companion on the back. They each pulled down their hoods and turned around. As they did so, they pulled the masks off of their heads. Jason saw a mop of curly blonde hair erupt on one of the boys, the one who had been laughin. The other boy had bits of brown stubble on his mostly shaved head. Jared heard hints of voices as they walked away.
For almost a second, Jared thought about running after them. About sprinting across the road and slamming into their backs, knocking them to the ground and kicking them while they were down. As he did so, he felt surges of pain through his entire body. His stomach. His hips. His back. Everything ached. The adrenaline began to ebb away and he suddenly felt tired. Exhausted. Sore. But mostly he felt confused.
He took a step to the side and leaned against a wet tree. Across the road he watched as his recent attackers slowly walked across the distance of the school parking lot, growing smaller and smaller. Finally, they turned and continued walking behind the school and disappeared from view. Jared continued staring through the rainy air, wondering what had just happened. And why.
Eventually, he steadied himself and walked back across the road. On the ground near where this had all started, he retrieved his fallen backpack. One of his folders had slid partly out of the inside pocket and was completely soaked. Fortunately the notes and assignments in that particular folder were unimportant and could easily be discarded or replaced. With a shrug, he shook the folder to spray off the majority of the water and then shoved it back in his bag.
Looking around to make sure he hadn't missed anything else in the soggy grass, Jared noticed a small silver packet lying next to where he'd just picked up his bag. He reached down and picked it up. It was about the size and shape of an envelope, but thick in the center and wrapped in tinfoil. He turned it over in his hands, unsure what to make of it. In all likelihood it was just coincidence that he had dropped his backpack next to this envelope. Still, it felt strange.
He found an edge of the foil and started working to unwrap it when suddenly the whole thing began to buzz and vibrate. Jared dropped the small packet and jumped backwards in spite of himself. He hurriedly glanced over his shoulders, looking to see if anyone else had seen or heard what had happened. But the school grounds were empty. Not many people are usually found on the front lawn of the High School at 5 o'clock on a Tuesday.
The package stopped buzzing as soon as it hit the ground. Jared stared down at it from a few feet away, unsure what to do. Then it buzzed again. A few raindrops had settled on the tinfoil and they shook and shimmered as the package buzzed. Jared hesitantly took a step forward and crouched slightly to look closer at the package. As he did, it stopped buzzing again. He cocked his head to the side and continued his slow approach.
As the package buzzed a third time, Jared felt a sense of clarity come to his head and he made a quick connection. He scooped up the packet and peeled back the tinfoil. Inside was a small envelope and when he pulled open the flap he found, as he had recently deduced, a cell phone. The phone buzzed again and Jared pulled it out of the envelope to answer it.
There was no response.
Again, only silence replied. Then Jared jumped slightly as a female voice spoke through the phone.
"It's about time Jared. I was begining to think you weren't going to answer."
Jared looked around again, seeking some reassurance that he wasn't part of some elaborate prank. The voice continued speaking.
"You should probably get in out of the rain. Go take a warm bath to cool the chill and to ease the pain. You must be sore after that beating they gave you."
"Who are you? Where are you?"
Jared spun in a circle now, peering through the rain for sign of someone, anyone, watching him. The voice continued as though he hadn't said anything.
"Once you're warm and rested up a bit, I will call you again. Keep the phone close. We're going to have a lot to talk about you and I."
"What do you mean? Who are you?"
"You've been chosen Jared. I meant to contact you sooner, before they found you. But in that I obviously failed. Don't worry though. I won't fail you again."
"What are you talking about? Chosen for what? Some kind of joke? What is this?"
"I'll explain it all soon enough. Just know that you are safe. For now. And if you trust me, I will keep you that way. Now go home and take care of yourself. We'll talk again in the morning."
"No! We'll talk now. Hello?"
A second later, the phone gave a soft *ding* in Jared's ear and the screen gave a standard "call ended" message. Jared pulled up the call record. An unknown anonymous number. Jared stared around him again. The light was growing dimmer. At the edges of the parking lot, a few of the street lights were flickering on, sending strange halos of light through the rain.
A shiver ran through Jared's body and he was again reminded of the pain and cold pulsing over him. He stuffed the phone into his pocket, threw his backpack over his shoulder and started walking to his car. He replayed the past few minutes in his mind, trying to make sense of them, but no sense would come. He reached his car just as confused.
He dropped his backpack on the floor of the back seat and slid into the driver's seat. As he did, the bruises and aches of his body sent shock waves of pain pulsing through him. He winced in pain and then settled back in the seat. As he started the engine and shifted into gears, he felt his body shudder involuntarily and tears began to well in his eyes. He was confused, hurt, and scared. He tried to swallow down the tears, but they slowly trickled down his cheeks.
Slowly Jared pulled out of the parking lot and drove home. Whatever was going on, he agreed with the girl on the phone. He needed warmth and rest. After that, he would work on making sense of all of this.