Chay was waiting for me. He was very relaxed, his mood placid. Chay seemed to be able to encompass that uncomfortable calm before the storm. He looked up from his place on the couch, and gave a smirk.
“Todd, you look ill,” he began.
I didn’t speak. It wasn’t until he stood that I noticed he had my metal case–my stories.
“Those aren’t yours!” My voice was hoarse, but it sounded angrier than I’d thought it would. Chay noticed and came up to me.
“These stories are officially property of the US government, Todd. I am confiscating them for examination.”
“Good luck,” I spat. “They’re mostly ruined!”
“I’m sure that’s upsetting.” Chay heaved the case into his arms. “I thought you were finished with them anyway–that was why you were willing to destroy them, right?”
His extreme nonchalance made me uneasy. “Just give them back.”
“Can’t do, Todd.” He made for the door, and I jumped in front of him.
He sighed. “Don’t make this difficult, Todd.”
“Put them down.”
His eyes flashed dangerously; he licked his lips and said, “Todd, I am doing you a favor. Let me take these and you can start writing something that truly is fictional.”
“These stories are fictional!” I grabbed at the case and pulled it toward me; it didn’t budge. Chay had an iron grip upon it.
Chay sighed, obviously exaggerated, though his gaze didn’t betray the emotion. “Still in denial? Honestly, Todd, get a grip.”
“I have one!” I pulled the case harder; he looked at me as though I was toddler trying–and failing–to master the toilet.
“We can go about this all day, Todd.”
“Listen, my mom will be home soon and she’ll call the cops.”
Chay frowned. “The funny thing is, Todd, its hard to call the cops on someone who doesn’t exist.”
I loosened my grip and fell backward. “What?”
Chay grinned–it was humorless and threatening. “You don’t know anything about the Department at all, do you?”
He turned to leave, and I ran up to him, grabbing the case again.
“Todd, I would hate to hurt you–that would mean that I would have failed on my mission.”
“Let go of it!”
He pulled at it again, and I fell to the ground. Chay seemed satisfied and moved closer to the door.
“Those are my stories!” I shouted. “My stories because I’m a writer… with an imagination… and….”
“No, Todd you are not a writer.” Chay turned, his voice hollow.
“No, according to you I’m just crazy!”
Chay shook his head, advancing to the door. “You’re not crazy, just very unique.”
I followed him, blocking the door. “You make me feel so much better,” I snapped, sarcasm dripping from every word.
“Are you completely unable to recognize sarcasm?” I spat. “And you’re not leaving with that! This is breaking and entering!”
“You seem to be unable to understand that I don’t care about that mediocre law.” Chay moved forward, but I stepped in front of him. He could have easily moved me, hurt me–he could have even killed me.
But he seemed unable to convince himself that my death would be worth the trouble.
He rolled his eyes. When he spoke again, it was conversational. “I’m not unable to detect your sarcasm. I simply choose not to acknowledge it. Now, move.” Chay’s voice had turned grave.
“Make me,” I whispered.
Chay threw his free hand into the air, turning on the spot in exasperation. His face flushed slightly, and his emotionless eyes stared to the side as he exclaimed, “I swear, of all the people to have the gift, it had to be a teenager!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I didn’t move from the door, but I straightened at the insult.
“I had to get stuck with a teenager. Give me a tyrant bent on world domination, but a teenager!”
“I swear, my job couldn’t be any more difficult!”
He stared suddenly at me, noticing that my attention had been drawn away from the door. “But I think I can manage,” he spat, and pushed me out of the way.
I fell to the floor, listening to his retreating footsteps. “Hey!”
He was running down the street to a car. I followed him, my breath searing in my lungs. Chay was in the car within seconds. I ran as fast as I could, jumping in front of the vehicle.
At first, there was no movement, then the window rolled down, and I could hear his voice clearly. The windows were tinted, so I couldn’t see him from this angle.
“Do you have a death wish?”
“You don’t have any right–”
“You’ve got questions.”
It was a statement, not an inquiry.
I didn’t respond.
“You want to know what’s going on–who I am, why these stories are so important.” Chay’s voice sounded bored. “My offer’s still the same. You wanna know–I told you where to find me.”
“Or you could find me again.”
“There was an emergency that called for your visions.”
I made to retort, to argue that they were nothing but stories, but the car’s engine roared to life.
“Move, Todd, because I am not afraid to run you over.”
“I thought hurting me would spoil your mission.”
An exasperated sigh. “My mission is to keep you alive–and personally I think a little dent to your ego would be good for your health.”
I stayed my ground until the car gave a small lunge forward. I jumped out of the way, watching as Chay–and my stories–disappeared over the horizon.
Copyright Sarah Davidson 2020