Alone In The Darkness is a novel I wrote in early 2016. I will be releasing a new chapter every Monday and Friday, starting on July 18th 2016. If you enjoy the book and would like to support me please click the link and purchase my book through Amazon. You can also find my book on the mobile reading apps: Wattpad, Jukepop, and Inkitt.
Steven calmed himself, wiping the spit from his steering wheel and running his face along his jacket. He plugged his phone in and placed the keys into the ignition and turned. The car roared to life and music began to stream from the speakers. He flipped up a cigarette and lit it while the driver side window rolled down. It was nearly dark and his evening was just beginning. He knew there might be a chance he could pull this off but his time was melting away. The evening light was quickly fading as he pulled onto the highway junction and merged onto Highway 2 heading west to Everett. His eyes narrowed as the steady stream of lights headed east in the opposite direction. The song changed and the rain increased streaking across the window with the windshield wipers floating hypnotically.
The city lights built as he merged onto Hewitt Avenue stopping at a light and then turned right onto Broadway. It was a Friday night and the street was lined with shuffling faces moving amongst the pawn shops and tobacco stores. The city is located north of Seattle on a narrow strip of hill boarded by the river and the sound, filled with old homes and even older streets.
Steven turned off Broadway onto quiet neighborhood streets with cars guarding the borders. Rows of identical houses flowed by as Steven glanced out the open window to the backlit clouds. A reflection of the city life lay behind. Steven flicked the remainder of his cigarette and the sparks exploded on the pavement below. He turned left and then pulled into an open parking space.
Steven quickly grabbed his things and exited the car. He walked up to the sidewalk and made his way down to a faded red home with a broken porch railing.
From Steven’s left he heard a cry, “Hey, Steven my man!”
Steven nodded with a short wave as he entered the house. The floors creaked under his hollow steps. Steven crossed the entry and onto well-worn carpet that contained years’ worth of dirt and dust.
“Welcome home,” said a cold voice.
Steven ignored the voice and kept his head down passing by the living room.
“Arentcha gonna to say hello to your motha.” The words slurred from her chapped lips as Steven continued around the corner and entered the stairs taking steps two at a time pulling with his arms in an effort to leave the voice in the distance.
“You going to say something to your mom?” Her boyfriend’s voice chased Steven up the stairs. His hands thumbing a rubber elastic band. He lovingly moved his hand across the sores on the woman’s face brushing her hair over her ear.
“You see, I tell you, no respect.” She glanced back at the man and then down to the band. “No respect.” A smile came to her mouth.
Steven reached the landing and turned to the lit room. He burst in to see a young man on the floor with headphones on and fingers smashing the game controller, eyes glued to the screen where a rifle was zoomed in on a head. The button was smashed and a light red mist released on screen, a smile moved across the boy’s face. Steven shut the door alerting his brother to his presence. The game was paused and the headphones lowered, “What are you doing here?”
“Ryan, I don’t have any time right now. Do you have any money I could borrow for a day?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Money, I need money right now. Do you have anything?”
“Goddammit Steven. What’s the rush, man?”
“Ryan, I’m good for the money. I just need a little help. I promise I’ll get you paid back as soon as possible. I wouldn’t ask this if I didn’t need it”
Ryan took a deep breath, he knew there was no fighting his brother. It would either end in him handing over cash or it would be beaten out of him. Tonight he decided the look in his brother’s eyes was desperate enough to take the easier road. He resigned himself and slowly rose from the carpet and walked over to the headboard of the bed. He grabbed the golf club from the corner and pulled back on the wooden frame. He reached down hooking a plastic bag and lifting. Ryan lowered the bag onto the bed. He pulled out the small tin and opened it. Inside was a deck of cards and some cigarettes. Ryan dumped out the cigarettes and reached into the pack pulling out a wad of green bills.
“How much do you need?”
“How much do you have?”
“I need it all.”
“Are you kidding me? What do I use for change tomorrow? Am I telling people, ‘Sorry sir, only exact change today?’”
“I need it all.” Steven took a step forward and Ryan pulled back slightly. There was a tense pause as options ran through Steven’s mind. His eyes widened, “Ryan, I’m asking you for a favor. I am in deep shit and I need that cash.”
Ryan’s eyes lowered to the cash and he extended his arm. Steven grabbed the money and thumbed it quickly. Just over 500. He placed the cash into his pocket.
“Thanks.” Steven slumped to the bed and sat down. “Do you have a joint in here? I’ve got to come down, I’m riding too high.”
“Yea, I can see that. You look like you’re panicking.”
Ryan walked over to his dresser and pulled out a small tin and opened it. He pulled out the small white stick and passed it to his brother. Steven quickly put it into his mouth and opened his lighter. He took a long drag and passed it to his brother. They shared the joint and Steven closed his eyes off to the world. They shared no sound.
Steven rose from the bed and pointed to his brother’s pinched fingers, “Add that to my tab.”
He exited the room and walked down the hall and through the door at the end. His room was stale and musty. He spent little time here preferring to crash on various couches or pull into a rest stop and lean back in the car. He had spent his entire life moving in and out of this doorway down the same hall avoiding the first floor of his house. Crossing the barrier of the room imparted some peace into his mind. For the longest time when he was young it was a refuge, a place he could escape the sounds and sights.
He moved to a sagging shelf and pulled out three books and tossed them onto the bed behind him. He stepped over a pile of clothes and pulled out the top drawer emptying the socks and boxers onto the floor below. He pulled the taped wad of money from the bottom of the drawer and slid it back into the dresser. He then crossed the room and pushed the door and hopped up onto a small chair. He carefully detached the air vent frame from the wall and reached deep into the duct. He pulled out a small container. He returned to the bed and began to count the cash. He pulled the money from his jacket pocket and assembled his complete stash. “2500.”
His phone buzzed on the bed, up if u got some.
Steven grabbed the phone and furiously began responding to the messages. Leaving now will be there soon. Quarter Gs at 150. Cash only.
Over Steven’s shoulder two peering eyes showed through the door opening, eyeing the money on the bed and his brother furiously typing away on his phone. Steven stood up and pulled back the covers on the bed and reached shoulder deep. He emerged with a black pistol, his beloved HK. A quick twist of his hand and he pulled the clip out, set it on the bed and checked the chamber. He inserted the clip back in, clicked the safety and slid the gun into his pant pocket. His brother entered the room.
“Where are you going with that?” There was a fear in his voice.
Steven’s head did not leave the bed as he collected the money and the metal tin.
“I’ve got some business to attend to and a debt to pay off. I need you to pretend you didn’t see this.” His head turned and his eyes met his brothers in an effort to communicate the gravity of the situation. There was a darkness in the eyes as his brother slowly shook his head. “Please head back to your room and play your games. Make sure you get out of here tonight. Go somewhere, anywhere, I don’t care. You promise?”
Steven’s phone buzzed again. His eyes glanced at it and the name sucked him in, Juan.
Hey amigo, working hard to get the money? 11 Steven. There was an image attached. He swiped to open, it was of his house with the lights on in the upstairs rooms. Steven shot to the window and opened the curtains. Ryan stepped back against the wall.
Steven looked out the window and saw a black mustang with blue stripes under lighting driving down the street. It hit the corner and the backend swung around. The neighborhood was shaken as the car accelerated down the street.
“Was that them?”
“Just make sure you’re out of here tonight. Go to a friend’s house or something.”
Ryan stood there staring at his brother whose head fell down. He could see the weight of the moment on his shoulders. “Alright.”
“Make sure you wear a hood and leave by the back. Don’t take the streets, slide out via the alleys and keep your head down.”
Steven turned and dug through the small tin. He pulled out a small bag of old weed and tossed it to his brother, “Payback for the blunt.”
He pulled out two bags of Coke and put them into his jacket.
“I’ll text you tonight around 11 if things are good.” Steven pulled up the money, rolled it with a rubber band, lifted his foot on the bed and tucked the cash into his sock. He walked past his brother and down the hall. Ryan stood in the room looking out the window.
Steven slid down the stairs and hit the floor below. To his right he saw his mother and her boyfriend swaying in the center of the room, their arms draped over each other’s shoulders and their eyes rolled back as Chinese music playing on the stereo. They were both miles away and never saw him leave the house.
He left the front porch and crossed the yard. He walked up to the neighbor, “Do you need some ice tonight. I’ve got quarters. 200?”
The man on the porch reached into his pocket and pulled out cash, “I’ve got only 150.”
“Text me if you know of anyone who needs a hit tonight. I’ll be free until 10:30.” Steven took the cash and slipped the man a small clear bag. He walked down the sidewalk and got into his car. He pulled away towards the hospital. There’s always customers near the hospital.