Mystery Sad

CW: Strong Language

The feeling of being unwanted is heart wrenching, but being a ghost is unfathomable.

Liam stood by the purring work truck that hugged the shoulder of the road. On both sides of the road stood tall majestic trees and stretches of brush. Liam awaited approval to open the passenger door. He saw the upper part of a silhouette in the truck nod and heard the clicking sound followed by the windows being manually rolled down. The full moon revealed a scruffy old man with a devious smile.

 “What happened to ya kid, you look a mess.”, he said. Before Liam could get a peep out the old man spoke. “Just hop in, it’s chilly.”

Liam hopped into the truck with a cracked phone in hand and an anxious aura. The man looked him up and down as if he was already regretting this decision. The truck roared as his right boot met the gas pedal. Trees sandwiched the singular road with embrace, it was a gorgeous star filled night, but the circumstances were dreadful.

“You better be heading into town because I’m letting you out on the first exit kid...come on now speak up”.

“I’m heading into town sir, do you mind if I use your phone to call my mom.” Liam said.

The man chuckled.

“I would, but I don’t carry that thing on me when I’m going on night drives like this and my place is about thirty minutes back depending on how many beers I suck down”. 

Liam just stared out the window with a void in his eyes, the middle of nowhere. No sense of direction, just faith that this old man didn’t have sinister plans behind that rotten smile. 

“How bout this, I drop you wherever you wanna go and your folks can pay me then. Is that fine?”

“Th-Thankyou.” Liam mumbled.

“You still didn’t answer my previous question kid, whatcha doin out here and  don’t lie to me, trees don’t cause those scrapes and bruises-humans do.” The old man said.

“They… they took me here blindfolded, beat me up and left.” Liam said.

The old man took his eyes off the road to examine Liam.

“I had older brothers that dealt with my bullies, just look at ya nothing intimidating about you. Pencil thin arms; you're a small fella who wouldn’t scare a soul. No father figure and you're the oldest I assume?”

Liam Was in a gaze watching the trees zip past him. 

“Yea...I’m the oldest, my father left me and my mother to handle business in Ireland, come to find out he started a new family. I watch my mother waste away with every glass of wine, I wouldn’t be surprised if she hasn’t realized I’m missing.”

“How long have you been out here?”, the old man said while scanning his watch. “It’s ten right now.”

“I’ve been out here for…” Liam choked up and started to bawl his eyes out.

“Hey...hey it’s alright! I’m taking you directly home, just promise me, this will be the last time you end up in a situation like this; Find some friends that can fight your battles or toughen the hell up.” 

Liam wiped his eyes and continued counting stars…


“Is this the street?”

“Yes sir, it should be a burgundy house further down on the right.”, Liam said.

Fall leaves pranced in various directions, the night held no prisoners. The old man pulled along the sidewalk, the driveway was empty, but was riddled with cracks and potholes. The old man put the truck in park and grabbed his wallet that lay on the mat in front of him.

“Alright, come on kid.”

They walked side by side carefully maneuvering through the hellish driveway. The air was crisp and invigorating. The wind stole the old man's cap and he retrieved it from the ground, swiping any soggy leaf that stuck to it. Liam was surprised to not see any cop cars crowding his house, he withheld from the old man that this wasn’t his first rodeo with disappearing. The man knocked forcefully on the cedar door to combat the audible attacks from the wind. The sound of locks and chains being messed with could be heard from the other-side. The door opened up and a fluorescent warm light gleamed out the door. 

“Hello ma’am, I think your son had an incident at school, I don’t know if you want to take this to the police, but I just bought him...

“Um... I’m sorry, that isn’t my son” she said.

Liam's heart dropped when he heard those words, the taller old man peered down at Liam who was giving those same void-full eyes.

“Mom its me, Liam.” 

“I’m sorry you have the wrong family, I only have a daughter”, she replied.

Liam placed one foot into the house and was nudged back.

“Excuse me...I will call the cops, I’m trying to be nice, but you're pushing me!”

Tears started to stream down Liam’s face, but he remembered what the old man told him. With a few swipes he disbanded the streams. 

“Ma’am do you have a family photo or something.”

 All the times he joked about having a super power, telepathy would really come in handy right now Liam thought. He was praying she would turn around, walk into the kitchen, grab the photo of him and his sister on the first day of school and snap out of this awful brain fog.

“Give me one second…”

She closed the door and put on the chain lock. Footsteps could be heard traveling away from the door amid the gracious wind that swayed the trees. 

Liam could sense frustration festering in the man. His eyes remained locked onto his watch.

The chain lock finally unhinged and the door opened. She handed the old man a photograph. The old man looked at the photo then quickly at Liam. Liam snatched the photo and he couldn’t believe his eyes. 

“You have to be fucking kidding me”, the old man shouted. “Is this some kinda prank? I know Halloween is this Friday, are you trying to make a fool of me kid! Somebody has to pay me for my time wasted”. 

Liam clinched the photo which only displayed his baby sister. He should have been standing right next to her in that photo, with the cheesiest smile on display and his left arm placed around her shoulder.

“Wait...let me talk to Jane.” Liam shouted. 

Horror came over the woman, “How the hell do you know my daughters name.”

An eerie pause made love to confusion. 

“Jane, come here sweetie”. 

A young pale freckled girl came from behind her mother.

“Hey sweety, do you recognize this young boy?”

She surveyed Liam and shook her head without saying no.

“Sir I don’t know whose child this is, but you and him have to leave my property at this very moment.” 

The door was shut…

Liam was in disbelief, he was snapped out of his gaze when he felt a tug and pull at his shirt.

“So you want to lie eh, take me to your parents right now!”

Liam couldn’t hold onto that macho façade and he began to bawl like a baby. 

“I..I..I told you the-truth” Liam hiccupped.

The old man dragged Liam by the shirt and took him to the pickup truck.

“Your going to get an old fashion addressing for lying”.


Liam chased after the chicken that escaped the coop, his overalls were sweat-stained from a long days work. A screechy voice called out to him.

“Liam... run out and grab me another case!” 

Liam sighed with exhaustion and revved up the beatdown pickup. He put it in drive and rolled off of the farmland. The warm sunset glowed along the stretch of cement. Liam loved the sunset drives because of the peace and greenery that could be admired. He pulled into a local liquor store lot. He placed the purring truck into park and exited the truck, leaving it awake. Liam was not risking the truck shutting off again, he would be in and out anyways. While walking up to the door and opening it, he heard that familiar bell on arrival, but standing in-front of him was one of those demons. The head honcho that commanded the posse of bullies to capture and torment him years ago. They locked eyes momentarily. 

“Why are you staring at me like that, is something on my face?” The now grown man said.

Liam paused, then replied, “No, I don’t think so.” Liam moved out of the way and let the man walk past. Liam stood inside of the liquor store and watched with hatred, as the man got settled in his car and took off. 

Being forgotten served its course in the scheme of things, but the racking void still remained.

October 29, 2021 22:12

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