His rosy-cheeked face peers at the bundle through an excitement induced fog, the thick lenses of his glasses magnifying his eyes to an impossible scale. Fading adrenaline lights his hickory smoke eyes, projecting his confidence to the corners of the room.
“Well, that was fun and all… but now that we’ve had our laughs, we need to take it back.” Sweat plasters his snowflake hair to his scalp and he runs his fingers through it, raising it to stand on end.
A carefully folded lump sits between us and every few moments he will tear his gaze away, resisting the temptation to see what is inside. His fingers twitch with nerves that we can’t control; ecstasy flooding his body as he shifts closer to the heater, warding away the cold.
“Well?” His confidence has faded slightly now, the rose-colored filter slipping from his eyes, “Theo? What do you think?” He flinches, suddenly realizing that he needs an answer.
His fingers worry the edges of his faded black clothes, picking at the dime-sized holes. Steam fills the corners of my vision as his breath fogs the air of the small room. What do I think? I think that whatever he says works, I guess. I think that even if he was saying the complete opposite I would still agree. His head feels muddled and foggy; a solitary boat drifting out to sea, lighthouse nowhere in sight.
“Yeah. Sure. But, couldn’t that get us in trouble?” The words stumble from his lips in a half-drunk daze twisting and spinning until they become nonsense.
Dim lights flicker and buzz in the ceiling, faintly illuminating the space in a fermented-yellow light. His thin brows furrow, as if the thought that he might be in trouble, was something completely new and foreign.
“I mean… I guess it could. But it is at least better than lying.” His self-confidence blooms again, his morals and memories guiding his answer like a cane to a blind man.
When has the truth ever helped? Lying is nothing more than a shield, a barrier from the pain. A corroded memory of his parents unfurls in the sickly light. His mother, black curls draped over her shoulder, chiding him for confessing to a childish mistake. And his father, face half shrouded by shadows, lean arms crossed, mocking her. A smirk glinted off the thin panes of his face as he walked up to him. His dank hair whispers at the young boy's cheek as he murmurs, did telling the truth help?
“I dunno… they probably didn’t even notice that it was gone. And we were careful. Right?” He mulls over the words with his generally startled look. His toes scuff against the cement floor followed by his downcast eyes.
His voice had been so eager; he held his hand over his heart in a silent promise. The white scars stood out in stark contrast to his tan skin and wiry muscles. He had said that nothing could go wrong, and he was right. He planned every moment to a T, from the worker’s uniforms to the service elevators.
He watched the employees for months, studied their every movement, and charted every motion. He found the easiest mark, the best scapegoat.
The passwords were easy. No one ever changed them, and no one ever noticed when he used them. Everyone was ignorant, the staff, the owners, the guests. It was one of the few places with gold bars. They had too many to carry, but he only stole five. Five was enough; they made him an instant millionaire.
Relief that the initial shock held back floats up through his pores, a buoyant joy filling his veins. He sits with his eyes closed, back pressed to the wall, arms crossed tightly against his chest. His breathing stutters and fumbles through lightly parted lips. A childlike innocence spread over his prematurely aged features. Shadows carve hollows under his cheekbones with a skeletal look like someone who has nearly escaped death. The rosy pink of his complexion has faded into his usual subdued pallor. Trembling, spiderlike fingers dance urgently on the skin of his arm releasing the excess tension from his body.
Sirens wail outside, but the sound doesn't startle him; the screeching howl is all too common in this neighborhood. A black-shrouded fist hammers on the door leading to the dank room, but he stays seated. His eyelids flicker and squint as they readjust to the light, he runs his fingers through his milky hair, shifts into a more comfortable position. A muffled yell slams through the thin walls from outside and seeing no response, heavy-set police barges in, pistol aimed at his heart. Slowly, ever so slowly, he raises his calloused palms to the sky.
The metallic clank of flimsy handcuffs locks around his wrists, binding them together with wire-thin chain links. The officer grabbed him by the upper-arms and walked him out to the car, taking no mercies when his head slammed against the edge of the door.
The officer's reedy, nasal voice echoes loudly as he speaks, “You have the right to remain silent,” his voice was unembellished; reading from a well-memorized script, “anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law…”
The words are buzzing in his ears, as annoying and unimportant as a large bee, bumping lazily into the back of his neck. The officer and his partner, a thin, balding man with an unfortunate comb-over, chatter amiably on the way to the station. Cruising with no hurry and chirping their sirens at the town drunks.
The officers pull into the station, their rough demeanors broken by the hearty slaps on the back awarded to them by their fellow police officers. He blinks sharply against the white luminescent lights of the station, the waxed tile beneath his feet reflects the electric glow of the bulbs overhead. Tangled hair hangs heavy in his eyes as the officers set him down in an interrogation room. A thick pad of creamy paper sits on the table with a pen lying on top.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” they say, eyeing the pen clasped in his shaking fingers, “write it all down, for your confession.”
They lean over his shoulder as he writes, their hot coffee-stained breath pouring down his neck. They nod appreciatively at the detail with which he describes what happened that night and stop him only once.
“Hey, why are you writing it like you’re someone else?” they ask.
He only shakes his head and closes his eyes, pushing away the pages.
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I found this story to be lyrical, but perhaps a bit too obtuse for me. There are some things that I remain confused about. Are the two characters at the beginning actually the same person? I read Phebe's comment about this being a confession so I read through it again with that in mind but it didnt seem to clear things up for me. I don't know, maybe it's just me. I'm prepared to assume that my mind isn't set up correctly to truly understand stories like this. A line I stumbled over is, "His reedy, nasal voice echoed loudly as he spoke....
Thank you for noticing that! I can see how some of it would be confusing, and I need to go in and change those. It is really hard for me to keep tenses straight so that is really helpful. I started writing this intending for there to be two characters and I need to go in and change a few spots. Thank you for your critique; this is how I can get better!
Would you be willing to read through the story again and make sure I cleared everything up?
Yeah, it reads much clearer for me now. I have no further comments to add. Good job!
Thank you for your help and your comments!
Great job on this story! It was an easy read, and flowed pretty well. I think that Tyler helped with that; I read the comments on here. I really enjoyed the ending. You had some great metaphors in here, such as "His head feels muddled and foggy; a solitary boat drifting out to sea, lighthouse nowhere in sight." That was a really good one :) Anyway, this was a fun read overall. You had a couple of grammar mistakes towards the end, but this story was well done and a great take on the prompt. Keep writing! P.S. If you have any time, would...
Of course I will! Thank you for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I love how the whole story is his confession. Great job!
Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. I’m not really sure about the title... do you have any suggestions?
It was great!