Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and mature content.
Tri-Cities, WA, fifteen years later.
It was a Tuesday. An 'ordinary' Tuesday but then something extraordinary happened. I'm Christian 'Spiritus' Ecks, and my story is... well, complicated. And to fully understand it and the lessons it holds, you must be adaptable. Because like most people, my life is a roller-coaster and it never sto-
It came out of nowhere. Like a train hurdling out of a tunnel. Everything blacked out for a few seconds. I could feel my body bashing around the tar road. A high pitched sound vibrantly rang in my ears as my body, especially my knee, was overtaken by a numbing pain. I couldn't even stand up. Voices eagerly muffled around the chaos.
"Whoops, I think we might've hit something," a voice gaffawed.
I gave light moans as I turned onto my back. In front of me, and in the middle of all the commotion, was a gold Cadillac Escalade just sitting on top of my new bicycle. My now broken, new bicycle. The door opened revealing the source of the voice. Damn, it was Craig. He smiled as he kneeled down to my face.
"Well ain't it Richard's runner. Should've taken the bus," he softly said. "Bruce, take the bag, his wallet- anything of value; take it all!"
"Come on guys, surely we can reach an agreement," I bargained, trying to sit up .
His red-necked goon paid no attention to my pleas as he flung me over to the bridge's railing and collected my phone, wallet and bag off the floor.
"Okay fine! We can split-
Before I could finish Bruce's iron heel slammed itself against my face. For a lunchtime-rush there weren't many cars on the bridge and the ones that were, just merely drove past. Welcome to the Tri-Cities.
"Ouch! Is that a size 6 and half? Imma ten. You know what they say about foot size-
He kicked me again. This time in the chest. I could almost feel the poor reptilian's scales jarring into my ribs.
"Let's see if you can keep your sense of humor when the boss is finished with you, smart ass," he chortled in a fake, yet still intimidating, Russian accent.
The short bastard Craig, opened the trunk of the Escalade and pulled out a crowbar with blood dripping from the one end.
"Get a- away from him!" A voice warned.
The voice was faint and soft, yet powerful nonetheless. The two men turned around and faced the direction where the voice came from. Now to fully understand me and who I am, you first need to know that I always get back up and most importantly... I'm a coward.
While still distracted, I jolted up and reclaimed my bag from the goon before diving off the railings and straight into the Columbia River.
"What are you doing?! Get back here!" Craig yelled.
It was like I just got a shot of adrenaline. Even an injured knee couldn't compete with a Jnr Olympics gold medalist for swimming. I was like a fish with a torn fin, squirming his way out of danger. You see, this was another casual day in my life; I woke up, put on my pants, went for a swim and then to work. Rode all over town collecting money, fought off a few angry customers then went home. Life goals.
You could only imagine how long it took me to get home. Not that the house was far but limping around town with soggy clothes and an injured knee does take its toll. The sun had already buried half of itself in the ground by the time I got back. But today was a good day and tomorrow is payday. That's all that matters.
"Chris darling, is that you?! " a delicate voice asked.
Grandma Amrynn was outside; in her yard working out. For a 78 year old woman, she was looking like a 40 year old in her colorful, tight, workout gear. If I wasn't so tired I would've laughed at her.
"Are those tights?" I asked.
"What's wrong with my tights? I should be asking you why you're so... wet?"
"Hello grandma," I greeted, going for a hug.
Before I could get any closer to her she pushed me away. Gently yet still hard enough to stagger me.
"Don't even think about messing up my Alala becau- what happened to your face?!" she asked carresing me. "It looks dreadful."
"I forgot to put make up on this morning," I quipped. "Actually I almost died but that's a story for another day."
"You're still doing that illegal cage fighting?!" she yelled grabbing my ear. "What did I tell you about that?!"
"Ouch!" I shrieked. "Look, I'm fine. Okay? It's not like I'm fighting, I'm just a runner. No need to worry about me. "
Her eyes felt like daggers piercing into my soul. She dug into her breasts and handed me a wipe.
"You just randomly have wipes in between your... guns? Is it naturally that wet? What the hell am I supposed do with it anyways?"
"Stop complaining already and wipe the blood off your face. I'll come by your house later to check on you," she said.
"Okay Nurse Ammie," I mocked, wiping my face. "This better not be granny juice."
I can't say it wasn't refreshing to put the cold, wet wipe on my face.
"Is it usually this cold in there or what?" I laughed.
She smiled then ran her fingers through my hair like mom used to before....
"Have you been feeling any... changes? You know, in your body or somethin-
"God grandma, I'm 20 years old, you're a bit late for the puberty talk," I snapped walking away. "Bye."
"Did I hurt your feelings? I'm sorry!" She apologized. "And comb your hair!"
I grabbed the key from my wet bag and unlocked the door.
"I'm home!" I announced.
A loud echoing silence rang throughout the house. Ollie and Jay were sleeping on the couch. We were supposed to hang out. Oh well. I threw my bag onto the couch then headed to the kitchen.
"You were supposed to be back hours ago."
Ashley was wearing one of my large basketball shirts and her yellow short shorts while making one of her "healthy" smoothies.
"Smoothie Tuesday!" I panted in relief. "Make me two- no three!"
She paused and stared at me for awhile before placing more ingredients into the blender.
"Why do you have bruises all over your face?" she asked. "And... is that sweat?"
"It's not sweat-
"Hate to say it but you were kind of a 'compulsive leaker' back in 8th grade."
"God Ashley. Could you be more serious? Just got in a little scuffle with some guys at uni," I downsized.
The blender gave its loud roar for a few moments as Ashley further examined me.
"You look like you were hit by a train, Which was underwater! Seriously bro, you look like a hobo."
Trust Ashley to kick a dog while it's down. I chuckled then limped over to the fridge.
"Ncah, I love you too sis. Where's Todd?"
"In the study. Where were you this morning? And why are your friends sleeping on our couch."
Ashley's smoothies usually taste like crap, but- I don't know. Maybe it waz the dehydration speaking but those ones were just perfect.
"Uhm we were supposed to go out and Grandma Amrynn needed help with her car."
"Aren't you scared she'll harvest your organs one day and sell them on the black market?" Ashley questioned.
I raised my eyebrow as our eyes met.
"Seriously? Still watching those crime dramas? She's just an old lady," I defended drinking my second smoothie.
"Talk to Jessica Fletcher," she quipped. "She loves you more than our real grandmother does, and she's just an old neighbor."
"I think you're just jealous."
Usually I'd see her coming but this time I was taken totally by surprise when she tackled me off the stool and onto the floor, spilling the residue smoothie everywhere.
"Jealous of what? Huh? Let's see if all your working out is making a difference," she mocked.
And just like that, we started our next wrestling match. For a petite, 5"4', 18 year old girl, Ashley had enough power to overpower me in seconds.
"See you guys are having fun."
We both paused and turned our heads to Todd. He was leaning on the study door wearing a navy golf shirt with khaki shorts revealing his hairy, bony legs.
"Hi dad," Ashley greeted.
She looked at me and smiled before jumping off.
She roughed up my hair then strutted off like a champion. Women.
"What's with you? You look like you were fighting water," Todd commented. "And lost."
"Funny, what happened-
"Uhm, what are your friends doing on my couch?"
We all paused and turned to face Ollie and Jay.
"Sleeping. We were supposed to... study together! Yes, but I got held up," I lied.
"Well, you should probably get studying then surely?"
Ashley appeared out of nowhere and kicked the couch, awakening both Jay and Ollie.
"Chris is here now move."
"Please would've been nice, but anything for her highness," Jay said bowing. "Cologne. What took you so long?
"I was held up-
"Woah bro, what happened to you? You look like you've had a long day," Ollie asked.
"Yeah it was-
"Man! You know what would calm you down? A couple drinks at The Corner."
"Well I'm kind of tired-
"I think it's a great idea. Come on Cologne, we all need it especially with Richie's-
"Classes! Yes, a couple drinks sounds good," I interrupted.
"Fantastic. Go get ready. We're leaving in five."
"Incoming shots!" Doug cheered.
The shots made their way around until they reached me. I can't even remember how many I had before this but one more could tell hurt. At least that's what I thought went I took it. The lights, the music, the energy were what made The Corner the citie's best hotspot.
"Anybody else feel a bit hot?" I asked.
Everyone broke into laughter and started patting my back.
"That's the feeling of the alcohol moving through you my brother!" Logan replied shaking me.
"Or it could be the hundreds of bodies jumping around downstairs. How did you get us in the VIP section baby?" Tracy asked.
"When I say I'll take care of my girl and friends, I take care of them. I know a guy who knows a guy." Jay puffed up his chest and took a sip from his whiskey. "But nevermind that, Cologne was telling us about his day."
"Yeah Chris, you telling us that short guy rammed you with an Escalade on the bridge?" Doug asked.
"Not only that but his stupid goon kicked me twice and tossed me onto the railings. He's crazy," I added.
"That's mad, you should tell Richie about that. You still have the bag right?"
"Hell yeah. It was the only thing I got back. I know better that to lose that much money. It's close to a $100 000,"
"$100 000? Man, that's like 100 000 of dollars. That's a lot of money. Oh yes! I brought the pills for us," Ollie remembered digging into his pocket."
"Nothing like a molly to keep things jolly," Logan said handing them out.
"No thanks I'm fi-
"Oh shut up and take it already Cologne," Jay spat.
They all started cheering "Take it! Take it! Take it!" like a bunch of kids hyping another kid to steal candy from the teacher's draw.
"Alright give it a rest already. Here," I tossed the pill into my mouth and swallowed it. "Satisfied."
Everyone went crazy and started screaming out my name at the top of their lungs.
"What now? I don't feel anything."
"Just wait and see Chris. Just wait and see."