Elias plays with his iPhone as his eyes, shaded by thick brown lashes, stare out the window. His handsome face cannot hide his heavy heart. She is gone, and now there’s no point to it all—no point to this commute, no point to his job, no point to his iPhone (he puts it back in his pocket), no point to anything. Outside it is cold, but blindingly sunny. Nevertheless, Elias sees only dead trees and other signs of winter—bundled people walking quickly, bags of road salt in open garages. He looks to the horizon, searching for clouds to come block out the mocking sunlight and bury this awful world in snow.
Ralphie - Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m., December 6th, 2011
Ralphie can’t sit still in his L seat. His tiny frame slides forward in the chair until his rear end almost falls off. He squeezes his eyes shut, clenches his fists, and holds his breath. None of it helps. He can feel the noises within him, alive, bouncing back and forth like a million birds living inside his ribcage. Now they are rising, fluttering up his windpipe and into his mouth.
First he bares his teeth and growls fiercely. It sounds not quite human. Heads turn looking for an angry dog, or perhaps an insane person, but they encounter only a little boy. The next noises are more musical; one note is quickly and sharply succeeded by another, as if he has managed to autotune his own throat. A few moments of silence, then an alternating cycle of clearly animalistic sounds: he exhales with a lion’s roar, and inhales with a snake’s hiss. RAWRR-sssss-RAWRR-sssss-RAWRR-sssss.
Ralphie’s mother looks on from across the aisle, her teeth pressed tightly together. She doesn’t want to meet the eyes of the other passengers. Surely they are wondering why she can’t control her child. But she knows she can’t stop him when he gets like this. She thinks his vocal cords are possessed or haunted. No amount of doctors, no amount of prayer, no amount of love can stop the noises.
Sorry for the lack of updates. Work was insane last week. Basically I ended up copying and pasting little pieces of html for two days straight. And now I have tons to catch up on this week. Ugh. It seems I wrote Elias last Friday and completely forgot, though. So two stories for you! Hooray. Hope you like them.