Flitting: “This Way to the Egress”

Ideas do not come in orderly queues, one politely after the other.   They come in groups, the loudest in them getting attention while the others whisper and babble around them.   Sometimes, however, there’s another that comes up…almost as loudly, but not quite.  These are the stories that have a chance, but still might die on the vine.   I still bother to write what I get of them, because if I have something to jolt my memory, a voice from them, I might be able to pick them up later.   “This Way to the Egress”  is one of those.   It was born after an odd and long spree of Youtube documentary hopping.   It’s also been a welcome breath for my writer’s group, a perfectly contemporary piece that everybody can grasp:

This Way to the Egress, rough draft, chapter 1

There was a body behind the door, and Elias growled under his breath, pushing against its yielding weight. He finally managed to get the door open far enough to step over the stranger, barely sparing it a glance as he headed straight for the trailer’s small kitchen.

No food. He wasn’t surprised, there hadn’t been any in days, but he was starving and in a filthy mood. He was tired. Tired of this. Tired of people he didn’t know passed out in front of the door. Tired of the grocery money going for beer, liquor, and worse. Tired of living in a place that reeked of cigarette smoke, dirty clothes, unwashed males…and worse.

He sighed in disgust, moving down the tiny hallway to his room. Nothing was in the same place as he’d left it, and he sat morbidly on the end of his bed. The good thing…he had nothing left to steal here. The bad…this was the fifth time someone had tried this month, and there were still days left in it. He had enough. Stick a fork in him, he was done.

His hand went to his pocket, to his phone, but he stopped before he pulled it out. It was late here, and it was later there. The absolute last thing he wanted to do was piss her off. Not now. She was the only sane voice in his life. The only way out. If he wrecked that, he had no clue what he would do then. He packed what little he had and shouldered his pack, climbing out the window to avoid the human door stop, and anybody else who might notice that he was making a run for it.

He slept the rest of the night on his brother’s dilapidated outdoor couch, it was getting cold for that, but it was better than inside. Once he had made the decision to go, now he couldn’t bear to be there another moment.

Bright sunshine woke him, and he blinked in confusion. Where…what? Oh, right. Today he was going to finally throw himself on Naomi’s mercies, and pray. She had to be there for him. She had to. If she wasn’t, he had no idea what he was going to do now…

He glanced at his watch and mentally added the necessary time. Yes, she should be awake by now. He pulled out his phone, quickly typing out her name with his thumbs…


There was a long pause, she tended to walk away from her phone and forget about it. “Morning, Elias.” She came back quickly, and he grimaced. How much small talk should he throw at her beforehand? He wasn’t used to dealing with girls, especially girls he’d never actually met. And he wasn’t used to asking for a favor this large from someone he wasn’t related to. “I have class soon…what is it?”

Ah, damn. He needed an answer, and he needed it now.

“Naomi, I can’t stay here anymore. I need a place.”

A very long pause, and he stared at the phone’s screen. Come on, come on… He prayed. Of all the people in the world, she had to understand…

“When’s your birthday again?”

He clenched his teeth, but his thumbs flew rapidly over the buttons. “Six weeks, Naomi. I promise, I have money to cover them. I’ll lie low. Nobody knows about you. Nobody’s looking for me…” Just let me come. I can’t wait six more days here.

Another very long pause, and he could imagine her considering this, weighing this. She had so many reasons, good reasons, to turn him down…

“Fine. Come. Let me know when you have the details.”

Even though he’d been praying for just that answer, he had to read it five times before it sank in. She would take him. “Thank you.” He texted back, taking a deep breath. Okay, fine. There were things he had to figure out, get done, and he had to do that quickly.

“Don’t make me regret this.”

He nodded, even though she was thousands of miles away and couldn’t see him. She had never seen him, other than an online picture. But that went both ways here, he had never seen her, either.

“Never.” He typed back. It was stupid, but it was all he had left. A woman he’d never met, several states away. A leap of faith…and he was about all out of faith.

“Talk to you when you know.”


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. galagros
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 19:22:43

    Seems intriguing! I want to keep reading. 🙂


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