The Manilla Road
He sits in the corner of a musky dark room, holding onto a small piece of dark cloth. It smells of the last person he’s ever seen. The young boys name has long left his thoughts, he likes it to be that way. But the boys smell pulsated though his mind like a cocktail of drugs. Both numbing his senses and boiling them to a feverish rage. His long gray boney fingers creek as he raises the cloth to his nonexistent nose. He shakes as his lungs pop and crack, filling with the fleeting sent of pure innocence of the now forlorn.
As if someone took a rusty edge and crudely made an incision to create his mouth. It creaked open to release a decayed and foul breath of air, made up of what his body has discarded of the sent. And with oddly white teeth and a tongue that looked like an old root, he took the smallest bite out of the cloth. Knowing well enough that when it is gone, there would be no more to satisfy his now starving appetite. With a deep wet sound he swallows the tiny piece of rusty red cloth. He can feel the small piece as it fades into his huge bulbous stomach. And after a moment of fading pleasure he opens his large black eyes to look upon the last of the morsel. He rolls his slimy tongue around in mouth, tasting every last bit of what was a tiny blue tee shirt. Tasting it in his mind, he stares intently at it sitting in his overly large and long gray hand. With a tolerance that has been built up over decades, he wills the pain of starvation into the darkness that surrounds him. And with a slow action he collapses his long grey fingers over the last piece of someone who was loved very much.
In the distance, just outside of a dark hole in the side of a hill. The end of an old dusty road fades into a dark green forest of Adler trees, that surrounds a particular hill. The road is nothing more than a trail through an oddly serene green mossy ground. It has been some time when he recalled seeing or hearing anything. He had consumed and excreted everything that would run from him, leaving the forest barren and quite.
A breeze could be seen as it rolls through the grass, down the Manilla Road and to the quiet forest of someone who calls himself, The Doctor.
The leaves rustle and give notice to something that very rarely enters this forest. And upon the gentle wind, it brings something to a self dug hole in the side of a lush green hill.
At first it intensifies the coldness of the room, taking the musky moldy air and adding something new to its mixture. The sent hits him like a bolt lightning that cleaved its way through the darkness and blinded him to everything that ever existed. With a great burden he stands erect at a massive tall seven feet tall. His body shakes and he is quickly reminded of his hunger and the tight hold that it inflicts upon his body. His oversized head shakes up and down as his neck strains to hold it up. But with the pain from the entropy burning through his body, he stands as still as he can, trying not to loose the sent. He opens his mouth and licks at the air, following it in his mind he turns his head to a bright light coming from a long hallway to the open doorway. With amazing speed he dashes out into the light, leaving behind a small tattered cloth.
Her little toes dig into the dusty road, flinging it into the air behind her as she ran crying down the Manilla Road. Tears leapt from her little round cheeks and sparkled as they fell through the dry air. The sound of her cries echoed through the grassy fields and faded into the cerulean sky.
She is running from her father, a man that has dedicated his life to her, vowing to protect her from everything. But for the reason that she is crying, he is having a hard time holding his own tears from falling. And in a moment of absent mindedness under the massive weight, she runs out of his protective sight and down a dusty road toward a particular forest that hides a particular hill.
With her sadness waning heavily against her, she slows her pace to a slow walk. Sniffling, she wipes the tears from her eyes and looks around. Small Adler trees grow from a mossy ground around her, all reaching high into the bright cloudless sky. Soon she is enveloped by a thick forest that cast dark long shadows over a narrow trail that was once a well traveled road. In the distance ahead she sees an open spot in the tree line just off the trail. Under a canopy of pointy round leaves she finds an upturned root and sits. With eyes raw from crying and her lungs slightly burning the moist wet earth brings her a cold humidity that fells good. Her mind relaxed for a brief moment as she stares up at the blue sky though the overlapping leaves above. Her green little eyes flash thoughts of her mother and a chill creeps in from behind her. And in a moment of silent stillness her vision begins to blur as small tears begin to pool. Her new found strength is quickly broken under the memories she was running from. And once again her lightly mended heart shatters under the strain of loosing her mother.
Through the tall trees her cries echoed far and wide. All just loud enough to drown out the soft foot steps of a quickly approaching shadow.
The pain is burning like acid through his pail skin as the sent grows stronger. The need festers and tears at his insides feeding a old flame that burns deep in the recess of his dark desire. It begins to burn out of control, sending an urge to feed to every corner of his body, causing his hands to shake. But all the while his mind is solidified on what needs to be done and how it is to be achieved. And through the torrent of conflicting emotions, all trying to seize control of his mind. There is a a spot of unbreakable obsidian, where his thoughts are calm and calculated. Where he has mastered a gift that has kept him safe through out these long years.
With the pain of lost gently flowing through her veins she hugs her knees in an attempt to quail the pain.
“Why is someone as sweet as you crying?”
His voice was so soft and alluring it sounded like the wind was speaking to her. She looked up to the blue sky and sniffed at her tears, wondering the simple thought of, who?
“Beautiful green eyes such as yours’ should not be filled with tears. And on a day as beautiful as you are, you should not hold such a sad smile… So, if you don’t mind, why are you crying?” His voice calmed a small spot in her face just long enough for her to reply.
“My mom died!” she winced out, still staring to the shaking leaves above.
“Oh… I’m so sorry to hear that. I lost my mom when I was about your age too… Cancer took my mom from me.” A small amount of sadness was leaked through in his voice.
“From that day on, I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to save people like my mom, from such sadness, so other kids don’t have to go through life with out their moms.”
“Was your mommy sick before she left you?” he asked after a short pause.
With her head looking high into the sky the weight of seeing her mom in the hospital bed caused her to shake. She quickly tensed up and placed her nose to her knees and squealed out, Yes!
“I’m so sorry, What is your name my dear?”
“Esa?… Such a beautiful name.”
“Well Esa. Being that I am a doctor, I would like to know what made your mommy sick. I would like to know if I could have… done anything.”
His voice drifted through her thoughts with the softness of the wind. True concern in the way he spoke relaxed her just enough to actually sit up right and think about his request. She looked up to the blue sky flickering through the shadows of the pointy leaves. He looked at her with black eyes, watching the shadow of the leaves dance upon her face as she though long and hard. Her eyes, worn red, darted around sifting through the last moments of her time with her mother.
“It could have a long funny sounding name.” He watched as what he said stopped her eyes from moving. Then she ever so slightly pursed her lips together.
“Luke… Luke, key…”
“Yes!” she said with a smile. But the smile was quickly dowsed by a question that flashed in her mind.
“Could you have saved her?” she asked.
There was a long pause as they both listened to the rustling of the wind through the trees. He waited for the sadness to reclaim the shadows on her face, before he spoke.
“I’m sorry. With all my knowledge I’m afraid I could have been just as helpless as you.” he said ever so earnestly.
Once again the shaking leaves filled the silence.
“Where is your father?” his voice drifted across her face and scrunched it inward.
“He lied to me!” she cried out. “He said she would make it! That she would be there forever!”
He watched as the hate for her father circled the air around her. Tiny twigs and dead leaves thrashed about before stopping upon the sound of her crying.
A small smile crept across The Doctors lined gray face. With a twist of his neck he looked up the Manilla Road. With keen eyes he looked for anyone, anything that would hinder his actions. But the road gave him his calm and still moment he was waiting for.
She cried deep and hard for her loss, she cried because it hurts so much, she cried because she misses her mom. And with soft steps, The Doctor circled up around her and approached her from behind. And with soft hands he reached out and placed it on her shoulder.
The warmth of his hand quickly penetrated her pink tee shirt and caught her attention. Her brown curly hair bounced as she turned her head and looked upon on an old man in a brown leather coat.
The look upon his face was that of maximum concern. His pale skin was bright red under the brightness of the warm day. Gray wiry hair grew upon his wrinkled head. Deep lines of age lined his face kind of making him look like a grey pumpkin. And above his shriveled lips a patch of white hair that gave him a distinguished look.
He watched her tear filled eyes dart around his face giving him something that he desperately need in this moment, trust.
“Do I not look like a doctor?” he asked with an up turned smile.
She didn’t answer him right away, but with the smile that crept across her face, he knew.
“Now come.” He said reaching his soft hand to her in an gesture of aid. “Let’s go find your father. I have a phone in my house.”
With little need to stay, she reached out and accepted his warm hand. His smile grew as he felt her warm little fingers. Through the tall trees she followed him in hand to a dingy looking house. It was painted a brown and green, with dark red curtains behind dust tinted windows.
As they came to the concrete steps her weight grew in his hand as she stopped at the first step. Without looking back he open the door and pushed it open to release a pungent moldy smell. And as the cold smell poured over her she spotted something to her right. It was a white butterfly dancing to them. It caught her complete and total attention. She could feel the bright light coming off of its wings. And as it came closer it chased the smell and the cold from her. It landed with a gentle graceful end it its lovely dance upon her hand. But in the light of the butterfly she could see the large boney hand of The Doctors’ holding hers. She quickly looked up to see a horrifying face that was not the gentle old man. Shadows reached out from the darkness of his horrid smelling house and snatched her inside.
From far down the Manilla Road, a spark of light exploded in the distance. With blinding speed the light tore the road and the grass from the earth and flung it into the air. With pure power and strength of will, the bolt of light burned the very air as it traveled down the road to a forest of Alder trees. The compression of the air that was caught before the light, shattered the trees and the ground alike. And in its wake of torn earth and fragmented trees, the air collapsed in on its absence, creating a series of earth shattering explosions through the forest.
Over the upturned root, it followed the faint scream to a dark hole in the side of a hill.
His hand was so large that her head looked like he was holding an apple. His thumb was firmly placed over her mouth as to muffle her cries. His other hand was wrapped around her left arm, stretching it out almost to the point of popping it out of the socket. With eyes closed he gorged upon her sent, it filled his empty lungs with a invigorating warmth. He moved his face slowly across her arm, taking his time as to not miss anything.
After a moment, her cries tired out to a quiet whimper. The dry skin of his face slowly raking across hers, made a sound that made him quiver in anticipation. His hands began to shake as the emotions boiled inside at the notion of the young, the fresh, the new. All for him, all here, no more dining on the insignificant leftovers. No more dining on the sent of the rotten. His mouth cracked a smile as the thoughts fluttered around in his head.
After a bit, the thoughts were screaming to continue, screaming to be fed, screaming to take that juicy first bite. And so his smile cracked open to reveal his bright white teeth and a putrid rotten green tongue. His jaw opened wider than one would have expected it to. And with a swipe of his head he licked the underside of her arm. She quivered as the saliva chilled her pink skin.
And just then, there was an explosion down the long hallway behind them.
The side of the doorway opened up to a bright golden light. The Doctor could feel the light as it hit his skin before he heard the explosion. With a turn of his torso he looked down the hallway to see a griffin made of golden light standing in the ruptured doorway. It shinned so brightly that the moist earth dried and cracked as it looked around, adjusted its eyes to the dark. Esa, peering through tear filed eyes looked upon light and felt an intense fear. She could feel the hate and anger in its unblinking eyes as it looked down the illuminated hallway. And as the golden griffin of light looked upon the tall thing starring at him, he caught a glimpse of Esa’s leg dangling in the air.
And then everything shook violently, before disappearing in a blinding white flash of light.
Esa closed her eyes as the hot white light engulfed her. And within the absolution of light all the shadows burned and vanished. But Esa felt like she was falling like a small leaf lofting gently through a warm updraft. Her arms were free and her mouth was no longer being covered. Apart of her recognized the feeling and thought of the butterfly. And within that thought, she felt all the turmoil and fear seep out of her and vanish within the light.
After a moment, she heard a sound in the distance, it sounded like the beating of a heart. A rhythmic motion within the light. She turned her head in the direction of the sound, but she could not see anything. After a moment of looking, she heard a crunch. And then another crunch. The crunching sound echoed louder than anything she has ever heard. Pain shot through her and she could not take any more of the sound, and so she opened her mouth and screamed.
In the silence that followed her scream everything froze, she even stopped breathing. And then through the silence, she heard his voice.
Upon hearing him call out her name, she screamed out to him.
She continued to scream out to him within the absolute white. And where she heard the crunching sound, she could make out a shape walking to her with open arms. He lifted her up with the greatest of ease. And upon feeling his warmth, she reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck and squeezed him tightly.
“I heard you.” he said to her over and over as they both cried. “I heard you call to me…”
As her father carried her through the doorway, into the bright light of the day, Esa looked back into the darkness of the musty house. And in the dark corner of his living room she saw what was left of the old man in the brown leather coat, laying in a pool of bright glistening red.