Christian Fiction High School

"Speak now." Father said. His arms crossed firmly against his chest, so tight that you could see muscle strain against his red polo shirt. His gaze pierced and forced Gregor's eyes down by the judgement it contained.

Gregor wish he could explain, truly he did. He was used to being in good graces with the grownups in his life, but now his lips were sealed, and his hands trembled. He grimaced at the hot burn in his eyes and nose. The indignation of doing the right thing was fresh with him.

His father sighed in resignation. "Alright. Go to your room. We'll talk later." His posture relaxed into resignation and grabbed his keys from the hook. He mumbled something about supper.

Gregor cleared his throat and said, “The usual, please.” His father grunted and the his heavy boots announced his leaving on the wooden floor. Gregor slumped down the old hallway towards a larger-than-needed room painted in a joyful robin eggs blue.

He looked over to his squat dresser; on top was a photo of his mother in an old picture frame. She was sitting next to him and playing on his Gameboy while he watched. The picture always brought a smile to his face. The warmth of her smile had that magical essence that allows it to travel through time and space and enrich all who saw it.

 “I miss you.” Gregor said in a stifled voice. She’d been out of the house for a while now. They tried to explain to him that they just needed some time apart, but he knew things were worse than they were letting on. Mom had been acting strange lately and the small town rumors always swing around to everyone – That tetherball of gossip.

The hottest take was that she was moonlighting as a prostitute to pay for a crippling drug addiction. He bloodied a boys nose the first time he heard it at school. He got three days suspension, and of course there was no punishment for spreading what Gregor knew in his heart to be slander.

With his dad out of the house to pick up some food for the night, he opened his closet door. Everything was as he left it. He moved some clothes that had fallen off their hangers long ago to uncover a forgotten moving box. “So far, so good…” he thought.

He knew his dad had gotten a call from the school, but he wasn’t sure if he’d already done a thorough investigation or not yet. He opened the box and gave a sigh of relief. His hard work remained undiscovered, though he knew he had to act soon. Tonight would be the night.

Dinner with Dad started expectedly awkward. Both ate fast food in silence, Dad occasionally glanced up at his son with a vacant but concerned stare. As dinner went on he relaxed though and said, "Do you want to watch a movie tonight?"

Gregor took a few moments before answering and met his gaze with hesitation. “No thank you…”

“Ah, you sure? There’s a whole lot of westerns on this week. Some kind of special, I think.” He quickly shoved a handful of tepid fries in his mouth. Dad always preferred a specific burger place in town that was just far enough away for things to be a little lackluster when they got back home to eat.

"Yeah, I think so... but thanks" Gregor grew out of westerns a long time ago, when he was six or so. There's only so many high-noons and drunken prospectors a kid can take. Dad never seemed to get his fill, though. The memory of watching them together must have stuck with him. It'd been a while since they've found a common passion.

"Sure thing, son... Hey, listen..." Gregor tightened up at this. He knew it was coming eventually. "You know you can tell me anything, right?" His voice was deep and gravely. It sounded like a bear trying to sooth a rabbit with a growl.

"Yeah, I know Dad." He said. His gaze dropped down again.

"Well, okay then." Dad said with a sigh of frustration. "You know where to find me if you need me, son." He lumbered to the living room to fill the dad-shaped dent in his recliner to turn the TV on and crank the volume up. His hearing has steadily gone downhill since he took the factory job; his energy too. Gregor knew that he'd fall asleep in about thirty minutes or so.

Gregor played video games in his room while he waited for Dad to fall alseep. Tonight was the night he’d do his best to help things go back to how they used to be.

It didn't take long for his Dad's snoring to reverberate across the house. It was a comforting annoyance, like the creak in the ceiling fan one has had since they were a baby.

He changed out of his pajamas and put on a dark hoodie and black sweat pants. Not only to blend in the night, but the cold nip of a fall night filled the air. He looked at himself in the mirror and smiled; He looked like a frumpy little ninja.

"I'm on my way, Mom." He said with a nervous smile. He positioned one of his pillows beneath his covers to make a little boy-shaped bulge. When he felt satisfied with his ruse, he slid off the windowsill to the outside driveway, his sneakers crunched on the gravel. The box was heavy in his hands, but he pressed on past his father’s mud-crusted truck and made his way down their alley.

He knew his way around his small town and still remembered the bike paths he'd take to avoid the heavier trafficked streets, and the yards of the meaner kids at his school as well. Back when he went outside.

He walked on and passed by his school. It always looked like it would topple over on him, especially when he’d gaze up at the steeple. The lot was empty all around it, which gave him comfort. Sister O'Hara's classroom light was on, she never turned it off. Something about how 'Sin perpetuates most in darkness'. Gregor couldn't help but snigger at himself, stumbling in the dark, making her words true.

She was the whole reason he was out so late this night, he remembered. He had overheard her talk about his mom to another teacher. Talking about how she'll never go to heaven if she can't get off of drugs, how her vice has led her to doing unholy and shameful things. How she abandoned her son because she gave in to Satan. Through tears and a swelling fear he ran. He knew if he had to hear her talk any longer his blind rage would lead him to expulsion, and his parents had enough stress in their life as it was.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, save for the couple of times where he ducked behind a hedge to hide from a passing car. Things never happened in places like this at night, or if they did it was so seldom as to not change the habits of anyone. Life

would simply roll on, and no one would feel guilty for staying the same. Not when a tragedy didn't affect them directly.

He reached his Grandma's house after traveling a couple miles down a dirt road. It was pitch black save for the beam of his flashlight. he pressed on until he saw the faint dim blue glow of her house in the copse of elm trees around her lot. He was holding his breath in anticipation and exhaled in relief when he saw his mother’s blue Oldsmobile in the drive. Thank goodness she was here.

The box was feeling heavy as it shifted underneath his left arm, sloshing slightly. A light was on in the second story guest room. That must be where she is, he thought. He smiled when he saw her faded-pink colored bedhead pass by the window. She looked hollowed out but still warm, somehow. Like a fire on its last legs. She held a freshly lit cigarette in her hand, a habit she quit off and on for years.

Gregor picked up a pebble and chucked it at the old paint-peeled boards next to the window. He saw her look his way, her eyes thinned and her face curled in confusion before she gasped and opened the window with some effort.

"Son? What on earth are you doing here, it must be... Goodness

it's two in the morning!"

"I'm just like you mom, a night owl I guess."

She gave him an exasperated smile, rolled her eyes, and said, “You must be freezing! Come in!" He saw her hurry away and before long the kitchen light glowed through the side door. Gregor approached and wiped his feet on the mat out of habit before he entered. She gave him a long and remorseful hug before sitting at the small two person table in the old kitchen.

"You know you can't be sneaking out like this, Greg, Robert

would have a heart attack if he knew you walked here... I nearly

had a heart attack! Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, I’m fine. I got into a bit of trouble at school, but...yeah." He set the box town on the table and sat across from her after giving her a hug. "Mom, I know you and Dad aren't getting along and that you need some space, but I miss you and I couldn't wait until the

weekend to see you again because something happened."

"Well, what happened, Greg?" She was fully awake now. Her face

contorted with guilt, a look that became increasingly familiar those days.”

"I was walking by the teachers’ lounge after school waiting for Dad to pick me up when I heard Sister O'Hara talking about you. She said that people like you don't deserve to have children and that she'd be surprised to see you in Heaven."

She looked pained and she closed her eyes before sighing. “People love to say hurtful things when they're not around their victims, Greg."

"I know, I know. What scared me so much was the idea that you wouldn't go to heaven. I don't think she knows what she’s talking about, but I just wanted to make sure that someone was looking out for you, and I figured it might as well be me." He opened the top of the box and pulled out a gallon of grape juice and a box of communion wafers. He also took out two petite plastic cups and set them on the table. Staying late usually sucked, but he was glad to that one day, when he’d swipe the communion supplies right from under Sister O’Hara’s nose.

His mother looked confused and looked back at him with a confused face and started to laugh. "Oh my goodness, son! There was no need, dear! I'm-"

"Mom-" he cut her off, "It would mean a lot to me if you shared communion with me tonight." She looked up and smiled at the seriousness of his face.

"I had no idea you felt so strongly about this stuff, Greg"

"I do, in my own way I guess. Sometimes church sucks. Everyone takes it too seriously; or not seriously enough. Sometimes I think they only want to look good and not be good."

She smiled softly at him, “We all have different ways of dealing with the world, honey. It's easier for some than others too. Lord knows I've had my faults in how I've delt with it myself. Just as Sister O'Hara has hers and you yours. No one is handling this thing called life gracefully; if they look like they are that just means they're good actors." She winked at him while he poured the grape juice. "I'm touched you'd do this, though, Greg, I really am. I can't say I approve of you stealing from school or being out so late, but I will say I won't forget tonight. I'll share this and pray with you, if you like, then we got to get you home, okay?"

Greg yawned and nodded, sliding over a wafer and shot glass of grape juice to his mother. She took it gingerly and he his and she said a small and clunky prayer over the grape juice and crackers. They both solemnly completed their communion. Mom wiped away a tear from her eye and hugged her son.

"Tell you what, let's do whatever you'd like to do this weekend; maybe I can even get your father and I to take you out for a big fat steak, how does that sound?"

"I don't know if Dad would be down with that, he seemed a little mad at me when he got the call saying they think I stole from the school."

"Well... Let me talk to him and explain, and I'm sure he won't be mad after. Sometimes we do the wrong thing for the right reason, you know? That doesn't always make up for it, but it does make it understandable. We'll talk it out, dear, but know that regardless of what he says that I'm very proud of you. I love you unconditionally, and I know that he does too." She smiled at him slowly and with an expression of complete and utter prideful delight. "Besides, when have you known your dad to pass on a big slab of meat and potatoes?"

"Only that time you burnt the crap out of his filet mignon." He gave her a crooked smile.

She gasped and had to stifle her laugh from waking up her mother. "Alright you turd. Let's get you back."

The school never found out who took the supplies. Dad and Gregor munched and drank the evidence over the next few weeks, and with the evidence gone, all that remained was a fond memory for all three of them to cherish. 

March 24, 2023 03:41

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Sarah Parker
16:01 Mar 28, 2023

That was quite an interesting read! Great job!


Reece York
20:55 Mar 28, 2023

Thank you so much for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed!


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