Lily has been doing creative writing since she started high school. She likes writing mostly short stories, but seeks to branch out.
I heard their footsteps trailing behind me and stole a quick glance. Several men in blue shirts were barreling towards me with large black sticks in one hand and very tightly clenched fists in the other. Their faces were angry – almost like the people on the movie screens, except with a little bit more scary and a lot less funny.
In one hand, a fluffy stuffy brown bear that was the softest thing in the whole entire world. My other hand was focused on one thing: making sure I didn’t crash into any walls or doors. Partly because it would be embarrassing to just, you know, run into a wall like a wingless bat. I could already hear it in my head: “Cross-Eyed Chris”, they’d say. But mostly because usually, angry people yelled at you if you got caught. If they were really angry, they’d hurt you, kind of like what happened to Dustin or Lexie or Rach.
Still though, a dare was a dare, and I had no interest in spilling any truths about my past whatsoever. I’d buried that away looong ago. There was a lot, like a lot a lot that I didn’t want to talk about. And I would rather end up feeling hurt and bruised in a bunch of places than telling someone about, well–
Rock, I realized as I heard something heavy whiz through the air. I ducked, hearing someone’s window shatter. Yikes. Someone was about to be reaaaaal angry. Two more rocks. I rolled out of the way, careful not to roll my way onto the shiny beer bottle that glistened on the floor.
For a moment, I forgot that I was being chased by officers and quipped out of impulse. “Can’t catch me!”, I called out defiantly behind me. Defiant on the outside, but kinda-sorta-definitely scared on the inside.
No answer from them – not in English anyways. There was a little something that sounded like a roar and then the sound of another another rock. Another duck from me. Another window shattered. Then another rock. This one was a lot closer, and I could feel it graze over my head as it buried itself into some other mister’s head instead.
“Sorry!”, I yelled, feeling bad for the mister that crumpled onto the ground. He didn’t answer.
They were getting better at aiming, and I needed a distraction. Looking around the deserted alley, there was very little of use. Brick wall to the left. Brick wall to the right. But then, my eyes caught a little something that stood at about half my height.
Garbage can. Smelly, heavy, filled with trash. A perfect description.
With all my strength (which was not much at all), I kicked the garbage can, feeling my legs sting. “Just leave me be!”, I cried, hoping that they would finally stop chasing me and that I could finally bring Timmy (that was his name!) to the other kids to play with. It was a stupid dare, but I knew that deep inside, Dustin dared me because the other kids really wanted to play with a teddy bear.
I heard a grunt behind me and exhaled a sigh of relief as I heard the not-so-loud sound of someone hitting the ground, and the metallic clanging of many cans tumbling onto the pavement, and then the much louder sound of a cop howling in pain, very, very loudly. And then there was a right turn! I made the right turn and exhaled a sigh of relief. I think I lost them, I thought to myself, only to be disproven by another angry shout. Yikes.
“STOP RIGHT THERE,” one of them bellowed. Didn’t they have like, murderers to go after? I swear I’d seen people getting stabbed before – either way, there was a lot of red. Wasn’t that a little bit more important than some kid tryna’ get a teddy bear?
Guess not, I thought to myself as they threw another rock, which I ducked, only to realize that they were going for my leg this time. Ohhhhhhh no. My legs began to slow down. I tried to walk forward, but it just felt like pain as the rock nailed me right in the ankle.
Another rock, this one too fast for me to duck or jump on my legs. Aaaaaaaah. I could almost feel my legs throbbing and bending, but not in any sort of right way. I was just barely moving now. There wasn’t anything I could do except to clutch Timmy like a lifeline as I went down. I heard a bloodcurdling scream. Was that me screaming, or someone else?
That was a looooot of pain to my legs, which refused to move. That’s probably how Hannah felt for those like, three weeks where she was just wrapped in bandages and casts and all sorts of fabrics. She looked like a mummy and if it’s like this, she probably felt like one too. All of a sudden, I felt bad for laughing at her.
There was nothing I could do now as I turned towards the officers. They towered over me. I was probably half their height and a third of their weight. And they had sticks and stones to break my bones. And I had words that probably wouldn’t harm them and Timmy, who was probably too soft to hit them with. If I could even hit them.
The guy on the left cleared his throat and pointed his stick at me menacingly. “Give us the bear, and no one gets hurt.” He put out his other hand, as though to demand the return of the bear. I couldn’t give them the bear though – the others wanted it oh-so-much. No can do, I wanted to say.
“But I’m already hurt,” I said instead. The officer on the left rolled his eyes.
“Is there anything else that I can give you?”, I asked them, holding out several small coins.
The guy on the left was about to speak but the guy on the right stopped him. It was the same kind of look that Dustin would give Rach whenever she tried to say something dumb or without using her brain. “Let the kid go,” the other guy said. “There’s just been a murder down on Elm street that we’ve got to investigate. Right now.”
“But– “, the first officer tried to protest. “–something was stolen, and we have to do something about it,” the first officer stammered. His face was red – not with anger, but with embarrassment and with all the hesitation that came with trying to defend a bad choice.
The second officer finished his sentence for him. “We have to do something about the murder. Do you want me to tell ol’ Chief that you were out saving a teddy bear instead of saving an actual flesh-and-blood human being?”
The first officer glared but stopped himself, skulking away shamefully with the second officer, leaving me alone with nothing but Timmy and a broken leg. Slowly, I began the long crawl out of the alley and back home. I was only a few hundred meters away, but it felt like a marathon.