Waking up with the sunset had become a ritual for Terst Roberts. At 21 he’d already made quite a mess of things, dropped out of school at fifteen, involved with the local motorcycle club at sixteen, arrested at eighteen for an assault. He was released nearly three months ago now, and had found the club had moved on- and with no way of finding them, he’d had no choice but to accept that they weren’t interested in him any longer.
He’d been living at his Mom’s old place in the Seattlean suburbia, she’d passed before he’d dropped out, and his good-for-nothing father hadn’t been seen since even before that. Pushing the empty bottles off of the old mattress, Terst found his feet, stretched and slumped his way across to the bathroom.
After a quick shower he dried off and slipped into the same pair of jeans he’d been wearing for nearly a month. A bowl of the old cereal and a cup of that ancient instant washed down with an already opened bottle of Bud constituted his breakfast. He tossed the plastic bowl on top of the already leaning pile of dishes in the sink and went to brush his teeth.
He caught his reflection as he pulled up from rinsing, his hair was hanging low about his shoulders, crying for a cut- its old sheen reduced to a tangle of messed black. He laughed at himself for a while, before finding his way back to the fridge for a beer and back out onto the porch for a late-sunset drink.
His old bike was parked in the driveway, right where he’d left it. Shining and immaculate, the one thing he actually put effort into- a sky blue panelling, trimmed in a polished chrome. He was just leaning back, finally ready to enjoy another god-forsaken night in this street when a shout from down the road shattered his pessimistic serenity.
Pulling himself to his feet he lent out over the railing and looked down to find the source of the commotion. It was coming from two doors down, from that queer old yellow house where the old fart had died just after Terst had arrived.
The voice from inside seemed panicked, and loud- moreso than if it had been some kid breaking into a house and finding some trouble. Ducking inside Terst donned a torn shirt that had been hanging over the back of the couch; in his experience, shirtless, tattooed, scraggly haired young men weren’t often seen as helping any situation. Just as he was passing back outside he paused, and returned to grab the gun he kept in the drawer beside his mattress. It never hurt to be prepared.
By the time his feet hit the still-warm tar of the road, the sounds had stopped. However, a light was coming from the doorway, and as he watched it turned, exited the house and bobbed on down under the street lamp, where it revealed two figures.
“Everything ok down there?” he called out to the two.