An Ocean's Stillness (Temporary)

A disturbing, twisted prologue-esque encounter of a deranged man and a young boy he meets. My first serious attempt at creative writing. Please be brutally honest. If this is $@*^ I want to know it. Any feedback encouraged.

"Where are you headed, young sir?"

Timidly, the boy admitted the smallest movement of his head in acknowledgment, as if unsure whether the question assumed any response.

“A boy as young as you shouldn’t be walking alone.” Spoken quietly, hardly audible, yet claiming a certain unmistakable boldness, a ring of authority resonating while the initial calm of the sound moved passed. With utmost care, he began to approach, stopped halfway as if to turn back, and then continued. The boy's face lay motionless, devoid of anything readable were it not for his eyes. The boy's body fidgeted with anxiety, whispering its uncertainty, while his eyes remained still—too still—filled with a certain dreadful knowing; as if without the boy's noticing, his eyes were carefully watching some  imperceptible threat, waiting for it to attack. There were many signs to be noticed. The disgruntled clothes. The flash of metal under the man’s coat when the air blew the right way. The tightly-controlled expression that quivered if one was looking at the right moment. But his eyes were seeing none of these. Something much less obvious was accounting for the defensive gleam in the boy’s eyes; something difficult to identify. After some moments the boy accepted the outdrawn hand.

As easy as that? Such a strange thing to see so much and so little fight both at once; such strong resistance and such unwavering passivity existing in the same movement. A cruel laugh escaped the man’s lips. The pitiful irony of children: they have the naivety to trust their instincts but are so easily swayed by the fear and subordination driven into them, the lack of confidence, and the brittle uncertainty that comes of constantly being reminded of your inferiority. And so it was that the boy, despite the warnings of some better, more cautious part of him, walked hand-in-hand with this stranger.

Slowly, the two of them made their way down the length of the terminal, past several groups of people who were talking loudly and waiting impatiently. The man then began to quicken his pace, the boy dragging slightly behind. After several moments the man darted to the left against the wall forcing the boy with him, and then drew out a ring of keys. He fumbled for a short time before slamming a key into the keyhole, cursing under his breath, and then trying another. This time there was a click and a satisfied sigh. He took the briefest of glances over his shoulder before opening the door casually, ushering himself and the boy through and then closing it shut with the delicate force of someone who is completely at ease.

The room was small and dimly lit, there were several doors and a slab of machinery that appeared to be a control console of some sort. Pages of unrecognizable notes were spread in disarray across the floor. The man’s hand rested firmly over the boy’s mouth, startling him into bewilderment until he surveyed the rest of the room and his eyes fell upon an unconscious man sprawled across the floor. The boy remained infallibly silent, though there was a noise caught in his throat—not quite a scream, maybe a gasp if it had surfaced. The man shrugged indifferently and released the boy, both of their expressions unearthly similar—a landscape of emptiness, a calm placidity of composure, an ocean’s stillness. For the one, it was a mask sewn from the threads of fear, shock, and an unrealized understanding and acceptance. For the other, it was a very thin mask or perhaps no true mask at all.

Without showing the boy any further attention, the man turned towards the corner of the room, not far from the motionless body, where the boy’s gaze was exhibiting cycles of attention and aversion. A familiar uniform was worn on the unconscious man’s body, though the boy’s thoughts were more focussed on the small trickle of blood gleaming in the poor light on the man’s forehead as he lay. The man picked up a small paper bag in the corner and then returned to where the boy was standing and shoved him rather roughly towards the other end of the room, where on the floor lay a rusted trap door. After a great deal of effort the man pried it open, sounding a harsh cry as the metal scraped. The boy gasped as the man pushed him down the opening and a then released a shrill, quiet cry of pain when he hit the bottom, several feet down. They walked endlessly through a labyrinth of small, dark passageways, the man beckoning the boy to follow and pulling him by the wrist whenever he hesitated.

The boy was hardly aware of how he came to lay on the tracks, his skin torn from squirming against the sharp metal, his fingers raw from furiously scratching at the thick, coarse rope tied around him. He tried to open his mouth to scream but the skin on his face resisted, held still by a thick slab of tape, forcing his mouth into a tight, expressionless line. His mind wandered frantically as he tried to remember. The man. The room with the trap door. The overwhelming darkness. He felt the thoughts drift in and out of his mind, and as he tried to make sense of them, he didn’t even notice his eyelids slowing closing for the darkness behind them was of little difference to that which surrounded him.

A loud shaking vibrated through the man’s chest as the subway train approached. People around him shifted impatiently as its doors slowly slid open. The man walked through the door with a brightness in his eyes that was not previously there, though no one present would have noticed such things. As he began to feel his body pulling backwards, his hand gripping the wall for support, a curious smile formed on his face.

The End

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