Son of a Witch – Sam
Sam would become the true friend Gio had so ardently wished for when he was twelve.
Sam has been to hell three separate times and all he got were some lousy scars. He goes out looking for fights like treasure in the sand. His knuckles are gnarled like knots on an old tree trunk. Like a retired boxer after thirty years of punching faces bloody, but Sam’s only twenty.
Sam sort of happened upon magic the way someone trips over a guardrail and falls off a cliff. It was only a few months before he met Gio and it turned his insides hard as stone. He’d climbed out of his bedroom window to escape his parents shouting and set off into the darkened town center in his pajamas. He kicked a pebble down Main Street, past the dark shop windows and vacant sidewalks. The stop lights blinked yellow over his head and he walked right down the middle of the road because, even then, he was gambler.
There was something percolating within him as he went down that street, a feeling he wouldn’t know what to call for many years. With the benefit of hindsight, I can tell you what it was: he thrilled in the idea that his life was in someone else’s hands and that a life out there might be in his. And that very night, one would be.
He heard a tiny shriek from the old gazebo in the park up ahead. He took off running toward it. That shows the kind of chops he had even back then. He ducked behind the tree nearest to the gazebo and saw a man, maybe his dad’s age grasping the wrist of a young girl. Her long sandy hair was tangled with leaves, her nightgown dirty and torn at the ankles and Sam recognized her.
It was Daisy. The girl who sat in front of him in class. He’d been half in love with her since first grade. He’d been kind to her even though his friends told him girls weren’t cool. Sam even shared his lunch with her when she had none that one time. He was out from behind the tree the second he realized it was her.
As he ran up the creaky wooden stairs, he noticed the man had a long knife laying flat against Daisy’s cheek. She chewed her lip silently and tears dripped over her cheeks. The man saw Sam bounding up the stairs, his little chest puffed out, too young to understand what happens to heroes in real life. The large stranger quickly sliced Daisy’s face before the boy threw himself on his back, kicking and clawing at him.
“Run, Daisy!” Sam screamed. And caught a glimpse of her scrambling off into the woods, half of her face turned crimson with blood.
The stranger flung Sam off his back and onto the wooden floor of the gazebo. The landing knocked the breath out of his small lungs and before he could even struggle for the next gulp, the man was over him. He raised his fist to his mouth and blew into it. A fine white powder sprayed over Sam’s face, dusting his pupils, sucked into his nose and mouth as he gasped for air.
“Stupid kid.” The man said as he stood to his full height. “I already have what I need.” Seeing the boy already beginning to writhe, the man walked away, safe in the knowledge he wouldn’t be followed.
previous chapter: Son of a Witch – Agnes
more by NOELLE CURRIE
photograph by Matthew Pla