the boy who disappeared

He sat there, on the ground, gazing up at me.  The look in his eye, not to my surprise, was one of pure confusion.  I felt as though I would have a hard time trying to explain myself. How do you explain to someone why you hit them in the face with an umbrella? 

Snap. I whirled around. Snap. One of those sounds that was far away. But it seemed so close. My heart was racing, and no doubt my hands were shaking too much.  I turned back to Jared, who had now managed to sit himself up, although still obviously dazed from his encounter with his own umbrella. He peered around; what he was looking for I'm not sure.  Maybe it was the fact that his eyes were adjusting. Maybe he was looking for something he dropped.  All I could do is muster a sigh, and I plopped down on the ground across from him. 

After a few minutes of this silent sitting session, I pushed myself up again, and held out my hand to Jared. 

"Come on," I told him.  The rain had started to come down harder now. "Let's get inside." He took my hand and together, we managed to get him on his feet again.  The walk, or trudge, I should say, to my door was long, and again, filled with a silence that wasn't quite awkward, but was most certainly not welcoming.  We reached my door, and I fumbled for my keys, sliding them through my still shaking fingers, trying to find the right one.  After dropping them twice, I managed to unlock the door and swing it open.  

The room was dark. I assume Jared followed me in.  I felt for the light switch, found it, flipped it up.  Nothing.  Flicked it down and up again. Still nothing. Beautiful, I thought to myself. This was just what I needed tonight.  I pulled out my cell phone. Opened it.  There was a dim light from it. It didn't help much, but it gave me some bearing. I turned around to face Jared.  He was gone.  I stepped back toward the door, opened it. Poked my head out. Nobody there. Nobody in the hall. Nobody anywhere, it seemed. And as I turned my head a third time to the right, a figure stood at the very far end of the hall. I didn't recognize who it was, but my heart, which had calmed down sufficiently by this time, started, yet again, to churn and beat faster and faster.  I looked at this figure, and as I did. The lights in the hallway cut out one by one.  I backed into my room, and slammed the door. The lock twisted, but wouldn't fall.  It just wouldn't fall. Outside, I heard footsteps. Getting closer. I held my breath. Let it out. Inhaled. Held it. 

The End

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