Beware The Redcaps

(This is the beginning of a much larger story obviously. I’m still editing most of it but figured I should post something)

1.

It had been nearly a year since I received a call from my mother, which was strange, when you consider she had to call at least three times a week, no less than one, and if she did: she would spend the first fifteen minutes of the next conversation asking me if I was mad at her or had I had enough food in the house. I had tried to call her but the I hadn’t had a land-line phone in ages and the mobile phone was as useful as a rock. If I had power to even recharge the damn thing, I couldn’t be sure I had service anyways; I cannot remember the last time I received a bill for it. I began to worry about my family nine months ago, but I was unable to make contact with them, it’s a wonder if they even received the letters I had placed in the public mailbox when I ventured in town. If they had received the letters: they haven’t had the decency to write back.

I made it a point to stay inside my apartment unless absolutely necessary; the hallway reeked of rotten eggs and feces, mixed in to one pungent odor, that was too hard to cover with a piece of cloth pressed over one’s nose or mouth. I figured most of the residents inside the three-story six-family apartment building had evacuated when the anchorman first warned to do so: at least no one ever answered a knock on their door. Yes, the evacuation orders were given, back when the television worked, before the storm hit; but I was too stubborn to leave with the rest; I’d rather not leave my apartment open to looters, who could snatch my computer, television, gaming consoles or various electronics that ceased to work anyways. The only way to pass time was by reading, writing or painting the walls, with items I picked up when I traveled in town. I had decorated my walls with purple, brown and blue colors that resembled little more than bruises, had I actually been able to damage the capillary located behind the plaster. I figured this was okay since I hadn’t seen my landlord in nearly a year: he must have left with the others.

When I did travel outside the confines of the building, I made sure to cover up — my eyes with a pair of swimming goggles I barely wore before everyone left, my neck with a light-blue scarf, left in my apartment by a previous female acquaintance, my hands with a pair of bullwhip leather work gloves, and a dark-flocculent overcoat, I had stolen from a store when no one was looking. The weather wasn’t cold, but it had an uncomfortable effect on your skin: rashes, the most irritating kind, ones that spread when you scratched them strenuously. And the air, coagulated, like invisible bricks smashing in to your face; you never had to worry about holding your breath. This place use to be known for the gentle breeze pullulating from the lakes that surrounded it; but the lakes were gone, just like everyone else. No, I never traveled outside, unless I needed food, supplies or wanted to mail a letter to my family, who never bothered to write me back.

I guess, I skipped a step; I am sure you are wondering what happened here. Why had everyone left? Well, everyone was here and then they walked away, or drove, if they were lucky enough to own a vehicle. Someone gave the order to evacuate — which was given to the masses by an anchorman, or anchorwoman, depending on what channel you were watching — to leave this place before something happened. I’m not really sure what; the weather seemed a little sketchy, for a two-week stretch in September: a record-setting heat wave, full of rain and powerful winds, followed by an uncommon cold wave, complete with snow, then another heat wave, even hotter than before, accompanied by flooding and finally, nothing; the weather just remained the same from that point out, it doesn’t get cold anymore, but the heat stays away too. To top if off, the sun is gone but it hasn’t gotten dark in a very long time — odd, but what do I know? It’s really hard to explain the weather pattern, but I thought it was foolish to suggest that it alone forced everyone to leave. Who knows? I’m not a meteorologist.

2.

The trip in town was probably shorter with a vehicle, but not having one handy, It seemed like a good four hours, two each way; long enough of a walk to take a break, usually at one of many vacant bus stops that littered the dirt, grass and asphalt mixture that use to be a road. I passed the time by inspecting the buildings along the way — how many had crumpled since the last time I took a stroll, or if any showed signs of life. When I traveled I usually carried a reusable bag — one of those eco-friendly bags that environmentalists were so gung-ho about — a book, and a kitchen knife in one of my coat pockets — you can never be too sure.

I have never seen anyone much less felt threatened by some ominous beast — who happened to be the only other survivor; I’m sure if someone had survived, they’d be just as happy as I think I would be if we met. I just started carrying the knife because of a warning I noticed on one of the bus stops; admittedly, I feel stupid for being paranoid.

On my way to town, carrying a letter, hoping for some reply from the family; I took a break at a bus stop — this one had a shelter and a bench, some only had one or the other, all were covered in graffiti. I forgot to grab a book to read, so I decided to read the tagging to pass the time. There was never a bus — or any vehicle for that matter —  learned that the hard way, waited for one a week after the commotion died down and ended up falling asleep — no bus.

The street-grade artwork was a who’s who of love announcements, wannabe gangsters claiming they wuz here and a litany of disparaging remarks about world leaders, or nobodies, or at least no one who was around that could read the horrible things said about them. The only thing that caught my attention was the warning, in the middle of the bench, crudely carved above other ramblings: Bware The Redcaps!

It seems childish to worry about a warning in the middle of a bench, on a bus stop, that hasn’t seen traffic in a year; still I carry a kitchen knife in one of my coat pockets.

Creative Commons License
Beware The Redcaps by Daniel Hucks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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Update

I’ve been writing several different stories, including more about my past but at the moment I’ve been focusing on a story that is continued from Too Many Cavities. I’ve really enjoyed writing this and well I may put part of it up later.

Computer Is Back

Well I had a nasty virus and had to wipe my system clean. Good news is: I’m back! 😀

Why Do Stars Disappear?

“Where have the stars gone!” I was sipping a cup of coffee and working on a crossword puzzle when I noticed a petite girl push her way through a crowd, frantically tugging on the clothing of random strangers. Sitting on the park bench had become routine for my morning breaks, in that time I had noticed tons of strange people doing all kinds of crazy things. Yesterday a naked man ran into traffic screaming about the end of the world, he was subsequently hit by a car. My attention returned to the crossword puzzle; how fitting, a three letter word for pistachio.

“The stars are gone,” the girl continued her very public breakdown. “They went away.”

A portly older woman, wearing a grandmother style dress, gravitated towards the girl and tried to calm her down. She asked her all the questions you would ask strange kids who inquire about the stars when the sun has been up for hours. How old are you? What is your name? Where are your parents? I was not surprised when the girl’s only answer was a befuddled look. I was amazed at the patience the older woman had, the sort of patience only a grandparent with years of experience could muster.

Agitation had started to kick in when my sunlight was blocked by a gathering of people, making it impossible for me to complete the puzzle. They circled the young girl and her new friend, who introduced herself as Joyce. I grabbed my coffee and prepared to leave until the girl finally gave her name. “Angel,” she announced during a break in her sobbing. I have no explanation why it grabbed my attention — it just seemed harder to ignore her.

Angel’s crying weakened when Joyce embraced her. A police officer arrived on the scene but noticed the calming effect of the older woman’s touch on Angel and allowed her to continue the questioning. Joyce’s tone softened when she repeated her earlier inquires — this time Angel gave details; she was twelve years old and living on the street with her mother. I was feeling guilty for disregarding Angel’s plea for help. My stomach started to twist, much like it does when battling the flu.

“My mother told me she had to leave with a strange man.” Angel’s words left the crowd of people bewildered; they searched each other’s faces for answers. “She said she would return before the stars disappeared.”

Beyond Flattered

Ona is turning my story She’s Chaos into a painting, which is awesome….

I can’t tell you how flattering this is… 😀

Update

So many notes on what to write and yet I am unable to put them into words. I sit and listen to the sounds of my empty apartment, searching for clues, but still nothing. In my mind there is any number of stories I want to share with you. There are stories about my life and why I’m so messed up. There are stories that just came to me on a bus ride, with my car being dead, public transportation has provided me with inspiration. Then there are my dreams, like when my friend was Attila the Hunts and we did battle inside a grocery store. I have so many notes and beginnings; yet I’m unable to find the right structure.

I’m sorry.

My Heroes Surround Me

My niece Alisa and I have always had a special bond. I really can’t explain our relationship. It’s not as if I love her more or less than my other nieces and nephews, it’s just different. I feel a stronger urge to protect her than I feel with the others. Don’t get me wrong, if anyone was to harm one of them, I’d lose all compassion I have for humanity if I caught them; but with Alisa it’s just different.

When she was young, her father, though undeserving of the title, walked out of her life. One of his last conversations with Alisa was to explain that he had a new baby and didn’t want anything to do with her. Paying child support pretty much escaped his mind through most of her life. When the courts finally forced him to pay something, he sent my sister a check for thirty-five cents.

Alisa was pretty close to my father, her grandfather, when she was young; they were inseparable. Though his passing was at an early age for her, she still remembers his face in vivid detail and tells her three-year-old sister wonderful stories about her Pop-pop. I’ve even caught Marissa singing to Pop-pop the way Alisa use to when she was the same age.

My sister dated another man who suggested putting Alisa up for adoption and starting over. I’m happy to say that she abruptly kicked his ass to the curb. Her current husband tries to be a father-figure and though he has some faults, he is still a good man; but he and my sister had their own daughter and though Alisa doesn’t let on, I know it hurt her a little. I have to make it perfectly clear that she is the best big sister her little sister could have.

I think feeling sorry for Alisa is my job, because I never hear her complain. Sure she is a teenager, so she complains about the normal teenage things, but she has a strong will. I can’t say that I’m shocked, through the toughest times she has kept our family sane. She has my sister’s personality, strength and beauty.

She doesn’t know it but she keeps me together. I remember the first time she fell asleep in my arms as an infant, I’ve never felt so comfortable. She wrote me the sweetest letter, that I read when I get depressed. In it she tells me of how proud she is of me and how my worries of failing everyone are insane, “because you could never fail me Uncle Danny.” I wish I had half her strength.

She is growing into a beautiful teenage girl. She loves vampire books, Country Music and wants to be a crime scene investigator(like every teenager who watches CSI). She is in the boy-crazy phase, I know it’s a normal thing, but it still worries me. I feel the need to protect her from those who may take advantage of her, but I’m concerned about being to meddlesome. It is important to allow loved ones to make their own mistakes, your job is to be there when they fall. I’m terrified about her future but confident that she will succeed, because that’s just Alisa.