Eyes Like Winona Ch. 05


I scrambled up and tried to run, but my shorts were still around my ankles. I fell down hard and hit my chin on the curb, making my teeth click together on my tongue with a sharp pain. Blood spurted from my mouth. I didn't know where my shirt was. My backpack was in the car, but there was no way I could go back.

I got to my feet and pulled the shorts up, running as fast as my abused body and dazed head could stand. I had lost both of my shoes, cheap foam flip-flops, in the van.

I couldn't go home. Not like this.


The guy was staring at me. I cringed, and pressed the call button on the side of the mud-yellow apartment building. The guy kept staring from the shadows. He was a heavyset latino man with a fat silver stud through his lower lip, and arms covered with scrawls of blue ink that looked like they had been inked by a child.

I had pressed the button three times. I cried weakly. I was so scared, so exposed. Dressed in nothing but my bloodsoaked underwear and ripped jeans shorts. My feet hurt, and I had a cut on the ball of my left toe.

I pressed the button again, shaking and trying not to look at the impassive man who kept staring at me. I must have been a mess. A skinny half-naked barefoot boy with blood all over his face and chin. Maybe he thought that I was on drugs, or that I had been mugged, or both, or...

Drake's voice. Blurred with static. Cranky and tired. Heavenly to my ringing ears.

"Who is it? If you kids keep ringing my buzzer I'm gonna call the fucking cops."

"Drake." I whimpered into the metal grill. I didn't even know where to start, or what to say. So I just said.

"Drake. I need help."

I slid to my knees on the concrete steps, to weak and scared to keep standing, crying into my hands, leaning against the ugly yellow bricks. I sagged against the wall until the door opened.

"Neil?" He whispered.

"Please help me."

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