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Friday, August 3, 2012

Flickering Light [Part 4]

[Warning: There's a curse word or two in here, I think]

“Jerry, put that controller away and get your swimsuit on! We’re late!”

In the doorway, Janie was waiting impatiently in her microscopic bathing suit. There was a huge welcome back party going on at the lake for the first weekend of the semester. There would be music and free barbecue, which was half the reason Jeremy and Tom were going. Janie and Mary, girls they had gotten to know through classes and clubs, were coming with them. They were hoping they’d come home with them later, too. But since they had been playing video games all morning they hadn’t gotten their swimsuits on or gotten their cooler together.

“I’m gonna go by Mary’s place and we’re going to head off ourselves then, okay?”

“Alright. Sorry, Janie.”

“Just don’t make yourselves too late.”

Tom cursed under his breath as he headed to the kitchen to find the cooler. He pulled it out from behind unpacked boxes and tossed aside the smaller boxes inside, making a mental note to unpack those later. The ice came flying out of the freezer as Tom broke it on the counter. Half of it went in the cooler, followed by four twelve-packs of sodas, and the rest of the ice.

“Hey, would you get the-Oh Christ man what is that!”

“What’s what?” Jerry was carrying a beach ball at his side, a towel on his shoulder, and his speedo around his waist.

“Man, I know you’re a swimmer and all, but this is a lake party, not a Let Everything Hang Out party.”

“Hey, maybe I wanna show off for a few of the good lookin’ ladies down there?”
“Just put on a real swimsuit for the guys, alright?”

Jeremy sighed and went back into his room to change again. Tom closed the cooler and headed into his room to find his trunks.

* * *

“Damn, maybe I put too much ice in this thing.”

They had gone about a third of the way down the trail. Tom’s arm was holding onto one side of the cooler, with Jeremy holding up the other. Knowing Jeremy’s muscles, he would still be able to go for the next leg of the walk to the lake. Tom was about to stop and ask for a rest when he spotted someone lying on the ground up ahead.

“Hey, Jerry, look. Someone’s over there.”

“Oh man. Think he’s hurt?”

“He’s lying on the ground in the middle of the day. He can’t be feeling too good.”

“C’mon, let’s put this thing down and go check it out.”

Much to Tom’s relief, they set down the cooler with a thud. He stretched his arm around as they jogged forward. Tom quickly forgot about how heavy the cooler was when they got closer. It was a young kid, probably just started high school, shirtless and torn up. Scratches were on his back and dirt covered him head to toe. Around his shoulder and his ankle were makeshift cloth bandages with deep stains.

“Holy shit, Jerry, we gotta get him to a hospital. Is he dead?”

Jeremy bent down and checked for a pulse. It was there, but weak. “He’s still alive, but barely. What’re we gonna do?”

“You’re stronger than me, carry him back to the apartment and I’ll grab my car.”

“What about the cooler? Or the party?  We should tell Janie and Mary we won’t be there.”

“Fuck ‘em. This kid needs help. We’ll grab some ice from the cooler and wrap his ankle and shoulder better with it.”

Jeremy nodded, picked up the kid and began running. Tom followed close by and found himself thankful he wouldn’t have to drive Jeremy in a speedo to the hospital. As they reached the cooler, Tom yanked his towel off of his own shoulder. He unwrapped the boy’s ankle and had to pause for a moment. It was swollen and had started turning losing color around where he had been shot. Tom swallowed, tore off his own shirt and rebound the ankle. With his towel, he made a second wrapping with ice inside to help slow the bleeding. The kid’s shoulder was doing better than his ankle, but it still needed attention - it looked as though it was done by a combat medic. While turning to grab Jeremy’s towel, the charm around the boy’s neck caught Tom’s eye. He paused for a moment, wondering how the light seemed stay inside without a source. Jeremy spoke and brought Tom back to reality.

“I don’t think he’s gonna make it, Tommy.”

Tom shook his head. “Don’t say shit like that, alright? It doesn’t help.”

Yet he couldn’t help but think the same.


[Part 3] [Part 5]

Aren't Easter Eggs delicious?

Sitting in a bedroom 500+ miles from home. One time zone off of home time. Sunflower seeds have punctured my tongue. Five Dr. Peppers down on the way. The decision to post is a confusing one, but it is made.

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