Gargoyle Interlude 3-Blackeyes
Naitlyn clutched the strap of her purse tighter and chanced a glance over at the group of guys walking out of gym. Shirts stretched tight over muscles, the faint hint of abs. The group’s eyes passed over her as they walked by, none even registering her presence. What she wouldn’t give to have them actually see her.
“Oh, Daniel, harder!.” A voice from behind her breathily moaned. Naitlyn jumped and spun around, seeing one of team member’s girlfriends, Jessica leaning close.
“What!? I didn’t say that!”
“You wanted to, don’t deny it. I saw you looking with your puppydog eyes. You were about to melt.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Naitlyn shut her locker and started to walk away.
“He likes you too. He’s got a thing for the whole librarian chic…” Jessica waved her hand, indicating the whole of Naitlyn, “thing you’ve got going on.”
“Uh, yeah. You should come by after the game, at about seven. We’re going to go hang out.”
“Okay…” Jessica was already walking away.
Collapsing against the locker her head spun. This was almost exactly the way she had imagined. It was like something out a fanfic. Perking up at the thought, she ran to the bathroom. She had to write this down, it was gold.
Later that night she nervously clutched the hem of her coat as she hurried towards the school. She had gone all out for this, skirt, heels, and tie. Daniel was going to get all the librarian chic he could handle.
Only a few other people were nearby, leaving the gym and heading for the dorms or parking lot. By the time Naitlyn got to the gym there was no one else in sight. The doors were locked, though light shone through the cracks.
“Hello?” She called, knocking on the door. No one responded, so she checked her phone to see the time. 7:06, she was pretty sure this was the time Jessica had said. Or had it been the latest they were staying, or had they left and were planning on coming back shortly after seven? Had they ever planned on being here? Had it been a joke? Had they forgotten about her?
Only now did she realize that she didn’t know the phone numbers of any of them, and wasn’t sure who she could call that did have their numbers.
In the distance a door burst open loudly, and hope blossomed anew. She ran around the corner of the building to see a pair of tail lights speeding out of the parking lot. Probably not them, right? They were probably just taking their time.
At eight thirty Naitlyn was forced to admit that the only hanging out that she’d be a part of was by herself in the increasingly cold night.
She wasn’t going to get upset, this wasn’t a big deal anyways. It’s not like she wanted to be their friends anyway. Stuck up skinny bitch.
She wasn’t going to cry. Kicking the door she stomped away towards the bus stop. The last bus would be coming through at eight thirty five, then she’d just go home and spend some time with people who actually appreciated her. Even if they only knew each other through the internet.
The bus stop was empty, no busses or people waiting. She sat on a bench to wait and then hopped back up, the metal bench was freezing.
Eight fifty rolled around without any sign of the bus. Was it late? Or had it been early? It had been stupid to wait so long by the gym, she could have been home by now.
“Screw this.” She muttered and started walking, it was only a half hour walk.
A few minutes into the walk someone stepped up beside her. Naitlyn shrieked and nearly tripped, leaving a very confused man staring at her.
“Are you okay?” He asked
“I’m fine!” She tried to regain some composure but didn’t feel like it was working.
“Okay. You probably don’t want to hear it, but you don’t look fine.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Jerk.
“Well, you’re walking down the sidewalk in a naughty schoolgirl outfit, crying. Or is the running mascara supposed to be part of the look? I’m really not sure. I mean it kind of works for you, yeah, but I don’t know if that’s what you were going for. Am I talking too much, I am aren’t I? I don’t get out much. I’m Steve. I’ll stop talking now”. He moved away a few steps, muttering “Too much. Probably too much.” Then he glanced over, “Oh, you’re crying again. Or still crying. Are you cold?”
“I’m fine! I’m not crying! I’m walking home because I want to! I’m not alone!”
“Well yes you’re not alone, if you were I wouldn’t be here. Or you wouldn’t. Or neither of us would be. You look cold, do you want my jacket?” Before she could say anything he was taking off his jacket and holding it out.
“Go away, I’ve got mace! I know….the death touch!”
“I don’t have to follow you. I won’t, take the jacket and, um…” He pulled out a notepad from his pocket and scribbled on it, “you can call me and return the jacket later. Or don’t call me, but still please return the jacket it has important sentimental value. I bought it for eight dollars. It was on sale. Please just take the jacket.” He thrust the jacket and paper at her, then spun around and hurried off, muttering “Oh, sure, smooth. Totally not coming off as a psycho, but she did stop crying so that’s a benefit. You’re really horrible at talking to girls, aren’t you? What do you expect, I’m nervous. I’m talking out loud aren’t I. Yes I am. Don’t look back. She’s not screaming, so I think it went pretty well all things considered.”
“What the fuck just happened?” Naitlyn asked as the guy disappeared into the night. She looked at the paper on which he’d written his name and number. Just dropping it and the jacket here on the sidewalk was a tempting option, but his kind of crazy probably wasn’t contagious, and the night was cold. Hesitantly she inspected the jacket, it wasn’t too bad, even if it did have a junior hoarder collection of things in the pockets. Chapstick, facial tissues, a flashlight, a notepad and pen, a lighter, a folded map of the city, and multiple other things in various other pockets.
Pulling the jacket on she wrapped her arms around herself and hurried home. All the way she kept glancing around, trying to see if he was following her.
Working up her nerves, she held her phone and waffled about dialling the number so she could return the jacket.
She was grateful for it, it had been a genuinely nice thing to do, and even if the guy had been talking to himself he seemed to have that handled. Only after she had gotten home had she realized how badly the night could have been. Horror movies started with scenes like that.
On the other hand, he was a nutjob that she wasn’t sure she wanted to ever see again.
On the third hand, he was a nutjob who might go completely crazy and stalk her to get back his precious jacket. Or stalk her anyways. Was this all an elaborate setup? Would he really have passed up his chance last night only to get all rapey today?
She couldn’t take advantage of the poor guy. She hit dial. After a few second the jacket started ringing.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me.” She dug through the pockets and found a cellphone showing an incoming call from her phone. Steve had forgotten his phone in his jacket pocket.
She ended the call and examined his phone, no password required. Flipping through menus she found his contact list and started looking for something reasonably likely.
Narrowing down the contact list didn’t take long, as he only had a few dozen entries. “Work” was the most dialled number. In fact it was the only dialled number in the last month, for a grand total of two calls. The runner up was a “Tim” with one call yesterday. Busy guy.
Before she could think twice she hit the button to redial “Tim”. The line rang for a while before cutting to a generic voicemail service. She ended the call before it could start recording. There was no history of text messages, and the email client showed only generic spam. What did this guy do if not use his phone? The notebook, maybe he actually wrote things down.
Boy did he ever write things down. Each entry was dated, and it started weird and got worse. Either this guy was insane, or…the alternative was even more scary.
On 2.9.2016 Steve had started fighting in the Pits, the quasi-illegal underground fighting organization. That continued for months until he fought a woman named Kat on 9.14.2016. During the fight Steve almost died after Kat broke the rules and tried to gouge out his eye before she hit him in the face with a piece of rebar.
The notebook included a picture, presumably taken at the hospital, showing a battered slightly younger Steve with a shaved head and fresh stitches.
From there, the story got worse. Describing the slow healing process and evident descent into insanity because he started talking about his blood being alive. The entries over the next couple months involve him cutting himself to try to access the power in the blood.
In the middle of all that, he started working a few odd jobs, though never lasting very long. After a string of jobs that barely lasted a week each, he became homeless.
Desperate, broke, and facing down the dim prospects of living on the streets he went to Kat. The woman who “started it all”.
A bloody thumbprint was smeared across the next page, which was otherwise blank.
The last entry in the notebook was dated 8.25.2017, a week ago. It said only a few words. “Tim. 6pm @ 1307 Saint street. 9.2.2017”
“Tonight?” She asked, double checking the date. A search of the address showed an old medical clinic that had closed down a few years ago.
Naitlyn heaved a sigh. Was this real? Should she call the cops? This was crazy. It was a stupid idea. It was…exciting.
Thinking about it got her heart racing, she was almost short of breath at the idea of it. An adventure. Something forbidden, maybe even dangerous. This was the kind of thing that happened to other people, it was going to be great.