Introduction. by I-am-more-than-words
Boss opened his eyes to a desolate little room, sitting on a flat mattress and facing a window with a view to a bleak, grey sky. Weird. He didn’t recognize this place.
He stood from the bed and paced to the window to see if there was anything else outside, but even the ground appeared to be just a continuation of dismal sky. Were they in a really tall building? This was disconcerting–he’d never liked heights. He stepped back, only to jump forward and whip around at a voice behind him.
“This is only temporary. You’re leaving for your grandmother’s in the morning, so make sure you get some sleep.”
A door was next to the bed, which was up against the back wall. Boss hadn’t even noticed. In the doorway was a stiff looking woman in a pantsuit, and obviously the one that had spoken, her tone less than kind. But she hadn’t been talking to him.
Sitting on the bed was a small child, balanced on the edge of the mattress in the fetal position. Their face was hidden from view by their knees, and their tiny arms clenched tighter around their legs. They did nor said anything.
The woman sighed, muttered a “good night” and shut the door to the room. Boss was just about to rush to the door when he heard the ‘click’ of the lock. They were locked in? Why would they lock the two of them up together?
“The hell is going on?” he asked quietly, glancing over at the kid again. They still hadn’t budged. Wanting answers, Boss strode over to the child and knelt down until he was level with them, if they’d been looking up.
“Kid. What is this place?”
The child still didn’t say anything. Slowly though their body tipped sideways until they were lying on the bed, face still hidden from view. Their body shook as they quietly began to cry.
Boss wasn’t used to dealing with kids. He had none of his own and didn’t see them at work. It definitely wasn’t a part of his routine, interacting with them.
So he awkwardly cleared his throat and scooched down so he was level with the kid’s face again. “Hey. Lookit me. You talk?” he asked, louder this time.
Finally the kid reacts to something! They jump, sitting up wide-eyed as their eyes search the room, as if looking for where the voice came from. After a moment they stop, looking at the door with a confused expression.
Now Boss was thoroughly confused himself. Was the kid blind, too? “Hey, I’m right in front of you–”
As he spoke, he reached out for the kid’s shoulder, to bring their attention to him. The kid turned and stared right through him just as his hand slipped through the kid’s shoulder. Like dust in sunlight, his hand dispersed and spread into tiny motes, and suddenly his whole body was just… not there.
“What the hell–?!” Boss would have backed away in shock, but with no body to move his vision seemed to be stuck where he’d last stood, with a child staring right through him as if he weren’t there.
At his outcry, the kid jumped back them-self, eyes wide in fear. They’d sprung back too hard, however, for the next thing either of them knew, the little one’s head smacked into the wall behind them.
As the kid’s vision and eyes blurred and slid closed, Boss’ followed suit without his will. “Wait–” he tried, but there was already only darkness.
The darkness persisted, no matter how many times Boss attempted to open and close his eyes. Did he even have any eyes? What did he have other than his thoughts? What was happening?!
It felt like ages before, finally, in all the darkness, a soft voice spoke. It cut through the silence and darkness like a blinding knife, and as the voice spoke the darkness was slowly split away into blinding light.
“Time to wake up, Riley. We have a long day ahead of us.”
Sort of a continuation/prequel to “Running Away” from a couple weeks ago. I really liked the characters and wanted to do just a tad more with them. A couple of them, anyway.