My first collab with Sycamore! Tristan and Elizabeth, two troubled individuals draw closer to each other while combatting their respective demons. But no one said they had to do it alone. Rated mature just to be safe.


A breath of the sea breeze awakened a newfound vigor within my body. I thought that if I took one more step, I would collapse and spend the night in the streets. It wouldn’t be a new experience for me. But that unfamiliar and reviving scent gave me the urge to keep going.

    But apparently, it wasn’t fast enough for the cab driver.

    “Anyone alive back there?” he asked gruffly.

    I slapped my face a few times to truly wake me up. “Sorry, sir!”

    “That’ll be $70.31.”

    I dug through my wallet and reluctantly handed over a good portion of what was left of my money. I needed to get a job and quick. Maybe I would be able to stay here without any scares this time. I flipped through my old flip cell phone and texted both of the astounding two contacts in my phone.

    Here and safe.

    “Waiting for an engraved invitation?” The cab driver was obviously irritated with me.

    “I’m sorry. Can you wait outside for maybe ten minutes? Just want to make sure that they really do have an open room here.”

    The cab driver sighs and lights a cigar. “Make it quick, jerk.”

    “Thanks!” On my way out of the cab, my foot catches on the curb and I eat my first step into Gearhart, Oregon on the ground. I can almost feel the cab driver sigh again.

    The small cape house radiates the words “Stay Away”. It’s broken down and the grey shingles litter the dead grass on the lawn. But yet there is a sign sticking out of the ground saying “Room for Board, inquire within”. And that’s what matters to me.

    I knock on the black wooden door once and the door opens all by itself. I cock my head to the side.

    “Well, you gonna just stand there, sonny?” I hear a rickety voice from inside.I take a breath and walk through the doorway. As soon as I’m through, the door closes behind me. A little shiver travels up my spine. A small tea table sits within the little living room, and a hunched older man sits there, sipping something hot from a china tea cup. “Sit down, sonny.”

    I cautiously pulled a chair out from under the table and sat. “Mr. Pagan, am I correct?”

    “That you are, sonny. Here to convert me to Mormonism? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Sell me a vacuum cleaner?”

    “No, actually. I’m here to inquire about the vacant room. I was hoping I could use it.”

    “Meth lab?”

    “What? No! To sleep in, sir.”

    “Just yanking your chain, sonny. Of course you can use it. Just want to interview you first if that’s okay.”


    “You smoke, drink, or do drugs?”

    “No sir.”

    “If you did, it would be no problem as long as you didn’t do it under my roof ya pansy.”

    I wasn’t sure how to respond to that, so I just changed the subject “How much a month?”

    “Six hundred.”

    “Pretty cheap. Any other questions for me?”

    “I’d like to know a little about you. What’s your name, sonny?”

    I hesitate, hopefully not long enough for him to realize it. “Colin. Colin Harris.”

    “You got a job, Colin?”

    “No, I’m hoping to find one, though. Go on a job hunt as soon as I’m settled.”

    “Motivated. I like it. Well, they’re always looking for help on the beach. Life guards, snack bars, water aerobics teachers. That would be a good place to start.”

    “Thank you, Mr. Pagan.”

    He gestured outside to the luggage I left on the stoop. “I saw a guitar case with you. You play?”

    “Yep. Since I was four. I also play piano and violin.”

    “Well la dee dah! My wife likes music. Would you mind playing for her? I can cut your rent to five fifty.”

    “I’d do it for nothing, sir.”

    “What a guy! Well, looks like we’ve got ourselves a deal here, Mr. Colin Harris!” He vigorously shakes my hand. “Welcome to my home. Your room is just up those stairs. Need any help with the luggage?”

    “No sir, I can handle it. You shouldn’t strain yourself.”

    “Sonny, I’m not senile. I ain’t no weak little grandpa. But suit yourself.”

    I make my way towards the door and wave the cab driver away. He tosses his finished cigar onto the sidewalk before speeding away. I grab my guitar and violin cases and duffle bag. Once I walk through the door, it again immediately closes by itself behind me. As I walk up the stairs, I hear the old Mr. Pagan mutter something to himself.

    “The girls are safe.”

    I make my way upstairs into a tiny yet cozy room. I open my cell phone to see two new messages. The one from “V” says: “I am too”. The one from “S” says: “Me 2”.

    I shake my head at the thought. It couldn’t be he was talking about them.

The End

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