Step by Step, through the Darkness of an Afternoon.

James woke up. Where was he? In the still and silences, shattered by happiness and content, came a voice. “Are you ready?”  “Can we reschedule?” James asked. “He’s here.” She said. James put on his white shoes, begrudgingly, slowly, laboring through each movement. He was tired. The nights were so long, the days of doing research, all in the purpose of just finding out where he was, what he was, what would happen, how much time he had. He followed her out the door. On the ground outside, there were leaves everywhere. Almost placed. They reminded James of a warning, and perhaps even a threat. James moved up each step, just focusing on where his foot would rest, ignoring all else, just step by step, each moment, now, and then now. And then. The two met him outside and they walked down the street. He wasn’t listening. 

He remembered the birthday cards, and the cards unasked for he had given him. They were disturbing. Dancing naked portraits of him, so cruel and threatening. James accepted each of them, except for one day. The man gave him another card, a jumble of crude drawings, each one disturbing, while the man smiled. These he remembered. They stopped walking. There was a clearing, an entrance into a forest. There were three of them now. She said “If there’s three of us it’ll be like a horror movie,” she said. “Someone could be mauled by a bear.” 

Slowly, he heard his drawl, stretched out into silences, a mid shout. “Good.” He said, etched into the silences, like a knife through the chest. It was, to James, one of the worst moments of his life, the years he had suffered through this abuse, the constant torture. James just put one foot in front of the other, as the bicycles and cars wound by, staggered, not all at once, but the only thing James could think about. The trees were so tall, the birds seemed like a difference, yet he could still hear each bird call, lauging crows, yet bright sounds in the wind. It was like a war. Yet each one drifted away, one by one, step by step. 

James was always confused about this. “Why?” James thought to himself, but still, he watched each step, as they wrapped around the street. Then a moment, and they were back at the beginning, and said their good byes. The man tried to match each movement of Jame’s body language. 

James was shocked, and didn’t know quite what to do, so he held his pose, felt his body’s weight against the ground. Each moment was a sharp moment of pain. So much for someone he had helped, even in his quiet rage. Looking back, James watched his car drive away. the last thing the man said was “When you walk through the forest, try not to get scared.”, with a meancing, fearful call.

Later that night, he was overcome with fear, a deep panic, not sure what to do. All the torture, into one walk, that was supposed to be fun. “But enough is enough.” James said. And invisibly, a good friend appeared by his side. For a moment all was well, yet the deep scars remained. “Enough is enough,” James thought, and watched each step, as he walked away.

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