The Boy from New York City

Twelve Years Later...

I walk around the crowded market, glancing at the different booths as a perspective consumer. But in reality, I was just getting close enough to take a wallet or two. Pick-pocketing was a specialty of mine and an easy way to get some cash. I also worked very part-time as a dancer to pay for my rent. It wasn’t anywhere close to a nice living place. In all honesty it might be safer to live on the streets than where I am. But it’s a roof over my head and it’s the place I grew up. I can’t just leave it behind.

“How much did you get today?” Doug, my neighbor, asks.

“Only a hundred. Not as many people as the weather gets colder.” I tell him, as I open my door. “I have to go get ready for work.”

I ran into Doug soon after my brother left me. Doug is three years older than me and at the time was living with his older brother. I don’t know how, but he convinced his brother to let me live with them and I’ve been in the apartment building ever since.

It’s been twelve years since that night. I still have nightmares, I still wonder if my parents are alive, more so question where my brother is. I forced myself to go to school every day. It wasn’t the same type of education I was getting at private school but at least I have a diploma. Unlike the rest of the world, I haven’t forgotten what happened. But it seems as if everyone else has forgotten about my parents, about my family. Leighton Corporations bought out my family’s company and took it over. Once that contract was signed, my family had forever disappeared.

This made it easy to disappear, blend in, and not be questioned about my family.

Doug walks into my apartment as I begin to grab my clothes. “Sam, what day is it?”

“Damn Doug, I don’t have time for this. It’s Thursday, you know that.” I say, walking into my closet to change.

“Actually, it’s Friday. And you don’t work Fridays.” I freeze with my shirt half way off. Was it Friday? It hits me that I had danced last night, something that was quickly forgotten in the midst of everything. “You doing alright Sam? You’ve been losing track of time lately.”

“I’m fine,” I snap, changing back into my normal clothes, “just got things on my mind.” Honestly, I knew what was going on. It happens every year. The anniversary of my parents kidnap is coming up. With that date comes nightmares, which means less sleep, and less sleep means more stress. Of course, Doug knows nothing about this. As far as he knows I’m a runaway from an abusive family.

“I’m gonna go grab dinner. Stay out of trouble.” I tell Doug as I leave the apartment. Doug, unlike me, was not too good of a person. I just still a couple dollars of cash. But he, he sells the crappiest drugs in town. Now I’m no expert on drugs, but when he constantly gets beat up, I’m assuming it’s not too good. Basically, Doug is bad at being bad.

I grab a few sandwiches at the corner store. It was starting to get quite dark outside, motioning that it was just about time to head back inside. Though I was tough and could handle most situations that were tossed my way, these streets were still unsafe. “Have a nice day,” the woman behind the counter says with a fake smile as I leave the store. She was new and obviously just as nervous about this neighborhood as someone should be.

As I turn the corner onto my street I notice Doug standing with a guy dressed in a tux. This either meant he was selling, or was in trouble. I slowly approach, walking up to Doug’s side. Once I got close enough I noticed that indeed it was a deal going on, “say no,” I tell the other guy.

“What?” he asks, turning away from Doug to look at me. He was around twenty, black hair, tan skin, the all-around American guy. His icy blue stared into my green ones, letting me know he wasn’t the person I was looking for.

“It’s not worth it, don’t buy it.” I explain before handing Doug his sandwich.

Doug pouts, “he was gonna pay big bucks, Sam,” he complains, taking the sandwich from my hand. The other guy doesn’t bother to look Doug’s way again, or even defend or respond. He just continues to study me.

“Yeah, and then find your ass and beat you up.” I roll my eyes and catch the gaze of the stranger, “and you. What are you still doing here? I’m sure you don’t want your dad finding out about this so you better get out of here before someone snaps a photo. I’m sure you know someone who sells better, just go find them.” With those last words I pull Doug inside, against his will of course.

“I could have made some big bucks there, Sam.”

“Yeah, and get your ass beat up next week. You know not to mess with the guys who can hire someone to do the dirty work.” I say, unwrapping my sandwich.

“Then let me get beat up. You don’t have to stop me or him for that matter. He may be hot but that’s no reason he can’t give us money.”

I toss my wrapper at him, “shut-up Doug. That’s not why I stopped it and you know that. Let’s just finish dinner and get to bed. The closer it gets to winter the more we need to work.”

“Fine, fine,” he takes a few bites of his food, “you know, for a kid who used to have a home, you sure are good at being a street kid.”

I glare at him, making sure my tears don’t push their way through, “Doug, how many times do I have to ask you not mention my home life? You know it wasn’t nice.”

“Just be glad you had a family.”

“Exactly, had, in the past. Now never bring the subject up again.”

That night I barely got any sleep. Memories flooded my dreams, waking me up in a cold sweat. It may have been over ten years ago, but that doesn’t mean the memory will fade. I’ll always remember. Always.
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