There are two kinds of people in the world: those who make excuses and those who get results. An excuse person will find any excuse for why a job was not done, and a results person will find any reason why it can be done. Be a creator, not a reactor. — Alan Cohen, A Deep Breath Of Life

How the Lost Get Found

Here is an excerpt from a recent short story of mine (245o words). If you’d like to read the rest, don`t hesitate to shout out !

He walked like a sedated mouse, kicking up rusty-colored leaves, and acrid yellow blades of grass. His Tommy Johnson’s flapped at the heel when he walked, but he dared not ask his father for new shoes.

The first time Marshall almost crossed the line with his father was a few weeks previous. He had wiggled his key in the lock, but the front door was securely shut. The lock even appeared to have changed. “Hello? Mom? D-dad?” He thumped a shaky fist on the door.

A cascade of footprints approached the door, quickly, and the locks un-latched, one by one. The horse-sized door swing open, sending one of the hinges toppling to the ground in a shower of single centimeter screws. A few seconds later, a man of about six-foot-three wedged himself between the door and its frame. “What do you want kid? Don’t you get the picture? Your mom and I don’t want you here.”

Marshall had ploughed past his father’s brick-red face, and chunky black eyebrows. He walked briskly into the kitchen, in search of a glass of water, or milk; anything. His hands were shaking when his eyes fell upon several open bottles.

Two were dropped on their side, glass shattered around the base, and only one bottle- wine -remained unscathed.

Marshall made a bee-line for the entrance to the stairs instead. He knew exactly what was coming, and didn’t want to face it, not yet.

“Get the hell over here, you useless bag of shit,” his father barked; words echoing in the tight kitchen. It easily covered the space between them, and almost seemed to fill the entire house.

Marshall could hear his mother croaking from the upstairs, but he walked purposefully away from her bedroom. He knew that her seeing them fight would do a number on her fragile frame.

His father lunged at him, grabbing one of the empty bottles as he did. He pushed Marshall against the counter, lodging an inch of granite into his lower back. “When’s the last time you ever did anything right? I’m working my ass off to provide for you and your,” he lowered his voice a bit. “dying mother, and you just run around acting like you’re beyond all this help and hurt. You’re a crackpot, you know that? Complete loony!”

His father’s breath smelled like a mixture of stale apple juice, and triple-distilled vodka.

Marshall leaned his body back, ignoring the screams which erupted from his spine, and pelvic bone. He twisted his head away from his father’s stench, and attempted to dodge the fist-full of poison.

Marshall’s head whirled with all sorts of things he could say, or do, to make his father’s life miserable. In a community like Dacreson, where the population has never reached more than 400, and even the children got to talking about one another’s personal business, nothing ever stayed a secret.

Fortunately for the other children, they didn’t have a father like Marshall’s.

“You don’t tell anyone, boy,” he rested the icy glass against Marshall’s lava-like cheek. Marshall felt the ice sizzle; fresh from the freezer. “I swear, I’ll make you wish you never had a tongue. Maybe I’ll even help you out.”

Marshall’s feet took him up and down the winding side streets of Dacreson, as if they knew the route all on their own. They brought him up the rich oak steps, to the familiar, giant-sized door, with ancient hinges, and a loose brass door knob.

He took a deep breath and said a silent prayer in his head: Dear Lord, please get me through another night. This week I’ve tried extra hard to break free from my father’s clutches. I want nothing more than to be successful in a field other than alcoholism and gambling. I wish my father could see that his job is risky behavior, but when I approach him, he almost slaughters me. Lord, please let me live another night.

Marshall felt his hand shake violently as he twisted the door knob and stepped in. His eyes scanned the foyer, but not even a string of steam flowed through.

He slowly stepped out of his running shoes, and edged up the staircase, raising both feet to each step before ascending to the next. At the top of the stairs, he followed the banister to the right, past his mother’s room, which held a sign; “sleeping.”

Marshall ran the last few steps to his door, and whipped it shut quietly. He took a deep breath and lowered his tote bag next to his bean-bag chair. He sat carefully in the chair, and leaned toward the computer screen, bringing up his instant messenger.

FuNgIrLfRiEnD125: How was school today?

Marshallll: It was okay. Who is this?

FuNgIrLfRiEnD125: Oh, just some girl hehe. Anyway, I go to the same school as you. You’re in               one of my classes. I noticed you don’t hang out with much of anyone, why              not?

Marshall continued chatting with her for over two hours before the front door slammed, and a rough male voice hollered up the stairs. “Marshall!”

Marshall jumped, and quickly closed his internet windows, jumping up right as his dad walked in. “Yeah, uh, hi, what?” His face flushed, and a droplet of sweat dribbled its way down his neck.

“Your mother’s sick, damnit, and you sit in this shit hole all day long. Why don’t you have a job? Why are you so lazy?” his father bellowed, shaking his fist in the air.

Marshall watched his father leave, and crept down the hall after him. He slipped into his mother’s room, and tip-toed to the edge of her white cotton sheets. He tugged on her pillow, and laid his hand atop hers.

“Marshall,” she whispered, opening her eyes. There were wrinkles on her forehead and chin, and her skin was pasty. “How was school, dear?”

Marshall broke eye contact and gazed out the window. He shrugged, and toyed with a loose thread from her blanket.

His mom watched his face, before dissolving in a fit of coughs. “I’m sorry that my being sick has affected you so strongly. I just wish you would talk, Marshall. You used to be such a loud, healthy boy. Regardless, I know you will be an exceptional psychologist one day.”

Marshall nodded, and gave her a hug before he slithered out of the room, quickly wiping his eyes before retreating to the bathroom to get ready for an early sleep.


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