“I know what I saw,” the boy said with a strained look on his face.
“I don’t think you do,” replied the boy sitting next to him. He seemed older, more confident, maybe the older brother? I was sitting two seats down and across from them on the train.
It was quiet, a handful of passengers scattered among the chairs. I wanted to watch them, but I kept my eyes down to focus on their conversation. I know, it’s a twenty minute commute for me, and I was bored. So I eavesdrop, many an interesting topic has been discussed on these short trips.
They didn’t speak for a couple of minutes, and I was ready to pull my attention from them, when the younger boy said, “I wouldn’t lie about that. I wouldn’t say it was him, if it wasn’t.” His brow creased and the corners of his mouth turned down, tightening his lips into a pale, thin, mark on his face. One lone tear dripped from his left eye, landing on his folded hands. He smeared it with his thumb. I know I said I wasn’t watching, but I sneak a peak every now and then.
“Jayden would not have been there, and you know it. What I don’t understand,” he said, “is what you were doing there. You need to stay out of my business Tommy.”
Tommy turned his head to the side, facing the older boy. “It was a mistake. I had detention. I didn’t want mom to know, so I took the short cut home. In the alley, that’s where I saw him, in the alley.” His head slumped down again, eyes to the floor. I saw a few more tears let go.
“You can’t say anything to anyone. Is that clear?” The change in his tone was blatant. From concern to threatening. I quickly turned my face away from them. His facial expression had hardened, and was shockingly, chilling. My breath shortened. He continued, “Tommy, you know what I will have to do, if you say anything, if you let on that you know.”
“I’m sorry. I promise, no one will know.” Tommy had straightened up in his chair, no sign of lingering emotion, no sign of tear stains. I had looked past them, scanning as I turned my head. I could see fear in Tommy’s eyes, despite the dead stare. I wanted off the train.
With relief, I stood up and moved to the door. As soon as they opened, I scurried away towards the staircase, to safety. Sweeping the station, I stepped onto the escalator, and turned to face down. They were standing at the bottom, looking up at me.
© Gerri Leathley 2014
I have not been privy to any conversations like this, thank goodness, and I’m not sure why I always seem to head in the direction of ‘thrillers’. I don’t know where any story is headed until I get there. Oh well! Leave your comments, positive or negative, dramatic or thrilling!