Would-be hero.
Would-be hero. stories
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mitchellwestbro
mitchellwestbroCommunity member
Autoplay OFF  •  a year ago
Another memory floats up from the recesses of his mind as he switches lanes on the interstate bound for unknown places... ...a young traveling man...too long away from home to consider himself a child any longer...much had happened to this young man lately...

Would-be hero.

Another memory floats up from the recesses of his mind as he switches lanes on the interstate bound for unknown places...

...a young traveling man...too long away from home to consider himself a child any longer...much had happened to this young man lately...

at the time he had no idea how this night would turn out...spending his evening reading by streetlamp laying on a roof...he had climbed this roof several times lately...

it was a great place to read...he reads constantly...one book after another...escaping into other worlds...this is what brings him peace...he's happy tonight...

he's happy most days, but today he has finally figured out the steps necessary to start his new life on his own...earlier he'd spent time sweeping out the diner below in exchange for dinner...

he feels blessed...life had been crazy for a moment there...but all his hard work has paid off...his meals are assured...he still sleeps outside...

but that's the next problem he'll tackle...every two days he showers at a truck stop nearby...laundry once a week...he doesn't have many clothes but he hides them under the air vent up here...

he accepts that life is hard...but he knows that no one will come save him...he has severed all ties...this young man is wounded so deeply he doesn't even notice it anymore...

the many betrayals he has suffered at the hands of those he's loved has molded him...inner walls up...he holds back out of fear...those who like him open up to him...

he's good at listening and steering conversations...but he never opens up to them...he asks the right questions...keeps their thoughts on themselves...shares only superficial things...

they never even realize the manipulation...all of it to hide himself...his inner world teems with unexpressed thoughts, emotions, dreams, hopes, all of it hidden from prying eyes...

this man is broken in a fundamental way...other people can't see it...they think he is wonderful...never realizing that they know nothing about him...

Sounds snap him out of his visit to a new world this evening...the book he's reading is addicting...but these sounds must be investigated...he creeps over to the edge of the roof...

underneath this edge of the roof is the back parking lot...3 men below him are arguing...the tallest of the three is agitated...the other two are motioning and talking hurriedly...

no words can be heard from up here...it looks interesting...but this young man won't waste his time watching a fight...he's been in enough of them already...he returns to his book...

sounds get louder...yelling in the parking lot...the young man tries to ignore them and keep reading...but the noise is persistent...now a female voice joins the yelling...

still no words can be deciphered...but the addition of a female voice is enough...this young man can no longer just ignore it...he peeks back over the edge...she is pretty...

her face is contorted in rage but her beauty is apparent by streetlight...not much older than the young man this girl is brave...or foolish...

she stands there in the tall ones face yelling obscenities...the other two look angry...the young mans mind fills with a flurry of thoughts...what if they attack her? Rape her? Kidnap her?...

he can't risk that...he doesn't relish the idea of getting involved...but still he grabs his book...tucks it under the vent and heads to the ladder on the side of the building...

halfway down...the yelling has become discernable...this girl is the sister of the other two...the tall one has robbed their house...his denials are loud and sound insincere...

the young traveler smiles...this girl will be in safe hands with her brothers there...the tall one will have to fend for himself...

the traveller begins his upwards climb...BANG...BANG...BANG..three shots fired in quick succession...the young traveler has misjudged the situation...thinking the worst...3 dead...

a girls life cut short...he jumps down from the rung of the ladder he's on...his mind is aflame...he feels his blood pumping...his heart is pounding..he feels sick to his stomach...

all thoughts of a noble rescue..of being a hero..gone in the blink of an eye..replaced by fear of death..a freezing sensation steadily rising along the spine..does he still try to help?..

does he run?..all his instincts are screaming at him to take flight..but she might need him..he can't run away..women are to be protected..this is his firm belief..

but how can he save her without dying himself..stealth is his forte..it's saved him countless times..the myriad skills he's gained on the streets are best used after dark..his time..

he rules the night..but there's no chance he can reach this tall man with a gun..the parking lot is deserted and empty..the man will see him as soon as he rounds the corner..

his only hope is to distract and draw away then circle back to help..he has no phone..no way to alert anyone in time..it all rests on the shoulders of this young traveler..

and it's pissing him off..he's spent his life avoiding having everything rest on him..he doesn't believe in himself enough yet to trust himself with serious responsibility..

he's flaky and flighty..walking away when things don't work out..the futility of his predicament is apparent to him as he silently snakes along the wall..

leaning forward at an angle to peek around the corner..he doesn't know how to process what he is seeing..the girl is gone..

his reason for the rescue has vanished along with his ability to think..the brothers are loading the tall man into the back of a van..

one is discussing how to get rid of him and hide that their sister shot him..the other wasn't sure it was all right since she ran and might not be able to keep quiet..

so much blood is on the ground and everywhere it's surreal..the young traveler is frozen..he can't think..his mind has shut down..

the traveler is sickened by the limp hanging of the tall mans arms and the red liquid that just keeps running from the three dark red holes in his chest as they haul his legs into the back

of the van...the closing of the back of the van is like a trigger..the traveler screams..he can't help it..he was never prepared to see this..his scream echoes all around him...

a call of "what the fuck was that?"..that's all the traveler needed to hear to know..it was time for flight..leaving everything behind..the young traveler runs..he hears yelling behind him...

he can't look back..only focus on running as fast and as far as he can...the sound of running from behind...he's being chased...

the young traveler can't think, can't focus on what just happened..he can only flee..no one can match this young traveler when it comes to evasion on home turf..

in the 3 weeks he's been here he's searched every alley, climbed to every roof he could, searched backyards, and located every loud dog in the area in his search for safe sleeping spots..

he knows this area better than his pursuer..right now only escape matters..he jumps a fence running across a backyard like a madman..

over another fence crossing a small alley then over the fence on the other side..he runs alongside a two story apartment building..

clambering up a set of stairs to reach the second floor which was across from the roof of the office building next door..

a quick jump and he was off again running to the front of the building dropping down to the ground..he can't hear pursuit anymore..but that doesn't matter..only escape..

it will be hours before his mind can function..he'll run till he can't run anymore then he'll walk till he can run again..it was dawn when real awareness returned..

he left that town the next day..hitching a ride with some stoners headed to New Mexico..they smoked with him constantly..they thought he must've just gotten his heart broken..

he let them believe that..it was easier than the truth..he would never speak of that day to anyone..it would forever change him..when confronted with murder..he had screamed..and then ran..

and he dared to dream of being a hero..he had lost all faith in himself..it would be months before he even smiled..years later he would look into that night and find out she was caught..

her brother turned on her..maybe it was the one who chased a young traveler that night...he'll never know...like a coward he had fled without looking back...

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