I drive down Wickery Street everyday when I get off work. Not a lot of people take this street because of its worn-down pavements (you can thank the snow for that). But I love the view from here. There’s something about the blossoming flowers growing on trees in shades of red, pink, and white that looks out of this world.
So everyday at six-thirty in the evening, you can find my old Ford sedan inching over the rickety ground through this lonely street.
You see, there’s nothing unusual about this place…other than the yellow crime tape wrapped around the entrance to a forest where a kid’s corpse was found ten years ago. I was twenty then. How young, how naïve I was.
But yesterday, I saw a little boy, maybe eleven years old, standing by his lonesome at the edge of Wickery Street by the entrance to that forest. He noticed me as soon as my Ford’s tires started grinding against the rough ground.
Keep in mind that the sky had already turned dark with only a hint of blue in the distance. Also keep in mind that I have terrific eyesight. So, imagine my shock when I saw this boy in the near dark just watching me.
Obviously, I stopped, rolled down my window, and said, “Are you alright, kiddo?”
The boy smiled. It was a boyish smile, but it made the hairs on my back stand up. Why? you ask. Well, you see, his eyes were pitch black and did not reflect emotion. While his smile was human, the rest of him was…how do I put it? Dead.
“I got lost,” he said. “I need to get back home.”
Blinking a few times to make sure I wasn’t imagining his soulless eyes was pointless. Of course his eyes were pitch black! I’m not blind, after all. Far from it. Like I said, my eyesight is fantastic.
I found myself speaking again. “How did you get here? Where are your parents?”
The boy moved closer, his dark eyes lingering at the empty backseat of my car. “A man brought me here.”
The boy nodded. “Give me a ride back home.” It was a demand, not a question.
“A ride where?”
“To my house.”
“Oh. Why don’t we call your parents first?” I didn’t want to have my face plastered all over the news for allegedly kidnapping a boy.
“Well, my parents are both at work. The man who brought me dropped me off a few blocks away from home.”
“Oh, I see now! You live nearby.”
“Okay, then. Come on in.” I unlocked the car and let him inside. “Where should I go from here?”
He pointed for me to drive straight before giving me further directions. By the end of his navigation, my car was parked in front of a deserted building.
“This isn’t a house,” I said.
“Yeah, but we live here.”
“In this building?”
There was a sign at the building’s window that read “Evacuate Immediately.”
“Are you sure this is where you live?”
“Yeah. Here, come take a peek from the window. You can see our living room.”
What the heck, I thought. I’d just take a peek, clear my doubts, and get going. That was the plan. But the next thing I know, I had my face against the window and the kid smacked me in the back. I felt something cold seep through me, and when I looked down my shoulder, there was a knife jammed inside me.
“What have you done?” I screamed.
“He…he said I need to kill someone to live.”
“What? Who said that?”
“The man.” The boy took two steps away from me. “Now I’ll live and you’ll die, and you’ll have to find a ride and get a replacement to live again.”
“What are you saying, kiddo?”
He just left, and I never saw him again.
So here we are now. Back on Wickery Street. And look at my shock when I saw you! You were driving your red Chevy just like I used to drive my Ford. Can you believe it? Yes, I swear I am dead. Do you not see my pitch-black eyes? Yes, they are real; you do not need to blink like that. Anyway, will you give me a ride?
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