Fallen One (01)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

Jared Cooper sat on the edge of his bed and didn’t move. His body was in a slump; his head held up by his hands pressed against his temples. His mind was in a dive.

The phone rang, but he made no move to pick it up. The most he was willing to do was look over at the nightstand and look at the clock. Based on the time, Jared had a good idea who was calling and left it to his answering machine. A spark of life appeared in his fingers, applying a little soothing massage therapy to his head.

“Hello, this is Jared. Please leave a message after the beep,” the machine played as Jared, the massaging not helping as much as he hoped, pushed himself up to his feet and shuffled into the kitchen. “Jared, man, this is Hank, wondering where you are.” Jared turned on the hot water and grabbed a clean towel from the cabinet. “Look, I know things have been rough, but” 

Jared took the towel and held it under the faucet. “Just come into work. We’ll figure things out. Okay? Bye.” Hank hung up; the answering machine finished recording the message and reset itself while Jared wrung out what he could from the towel. 

He flopped in his living room chair, put his head back, and draped the towel over his face. Hot had already faded to warm and would soon be cool, but it felt wonderful. As he laid there, he began a mental inventory of his apartment, and sadly, after a few minutes, Jared realized there was very little that he had any personal attachment with. Not much to show for his life, and he felt a twinge of regret. But it was short-lived, and a smile came over his face.

An hour later, his backpack was jammed full of essentials, including his Colt Cowboy and two boxes of ammunition. Next, the saddlebags on his motorcycle were packed with canned food, water, a few tools, batteries, along with his laptop and accessories for his phone. The last item was his mother’s Bible which took longer than anything else to pack away. He held it close, his fingers lithely traversing the worn leather cover. It was hard for him to let go, but he did so with the utmost care when he did.

The sleeping bag was the last to be secured, tieing it to the back seat bar. Inside the bag, an additional thin wool blanket was rolled. He brought it along because you never know when another blanket might come in handy. Finally, Jared sheathed the sleeping back with his poncho to keep it dry on the road.

Jared sat there, his boots on the asphalt, his hands busy unclipping the strap of his helmet, the ’69 Triumph Bonneville rumbling between his legs, as he stared at the little house on Pacific Ave. Freeing his head, he rested the helmet on the tank, one hand holding it in place while the other was combing through the entanglements of his hair.

Just looking at the place seemed to tug at him, threatening to drag him back into the darkness. His grandma was inside, that much he was certain. The Rambler wagon was parked under the awning of a chestnut tree, dinged and faded, leaning slightly to the right. Grandma never went anywhere without it. 

Movement in the window stole Jared’s attention. It was slow and blurry, obscured by the shadow cast by the chestnut and the oak trees and the window screens, but he knew it was her. He expected that her radio was on and she was about to sit down near the window to read her book. A short while later, he was able to see her much clearer, standing close to the window, a book in her hand. She pulled the curtains wider before sitting down in her chair.

She’s definitely a creature of habit. Jared reached behind him and pulled a bottle of water from the saddlebags. He quickly drank down half of it before screwing the lid back on and tucking it away. The day was hot and humid, the pits of his arms saturated in sweat. He wasn’t going to miss that, and as he took one final look at the house, he wasn’t sure that he would miss her either.

Jared pushed the helmet back on snuggly and buckled the strap. With a final glance at the house and the woman in her chair, he put the bike in gear and sped off. Traffic was typical for a small town, and he was quickly at 12th Street, with no sign of anyone, not even outside in their yards or driveways. He turned to the right, keeping a slow pace through the neighborhood, the road curving to the left and turning into Parker that would take him west and out of town. He gave a casual glance to the high school on his right, the lot empty for the summer, before looking ahead, not clear in his head where he was going.

As we begin the story of Fallen One, remember that what I am posting is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

We are introduced to our main character, Jared Cooper. It is obvious from the story so far that he has a broken relationship with his grandmother. As he is about to leave town, he isn’t willing to say goodbye, though, he does stop by her house and sees her in the window.

Have a great day.

Rollin

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