33. New Kid About Town


“Run as far as you want, you’ll never escape what’s true.” His voice had been a sharp leer, inches from my face. I knew he was right, but I wouldn’t allow it to win. I wouldn’t allow his wretchedness to infect my soul. I got on the bus and never looked back.

I never looked, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t.

When I got to the bus station, I found a stranger there, standing ominous and quiet. All black, a bit theatrical, but somehow he was calming in his demeanor. I was sitting on my suitcase, that which carried the entirety of my life at the moment, my guitar case balanced precariously nearby. I scribbled on a few napkins to pass the time, trying to avoid the questioning gaze of the overbearing stranger.

“I believe we’re headed in the same direction.”

I looked over, unaware that he was speaking to me at first. He was kneeling down, watching the pencil dart across the surface of the napkin. From the depths of his coat, he produced a notepad.

“Might work better.”

I thanked him for his consideration, moving to examine the creature before me. He seemed friendly enough, but there was some sort of underlying malice in his eyes.

“Thank you. I don’t know where I’m going actually.”

He smiled a warm grin, wide and inviting. “Wonderful, we’re going to discover it together.”

And such was the start of a series of bizarre events that would overtake my life. A long series of running and hoping. Praying for peace.

The stranger was a saint, or so he claimed.

Mister Saint Crowe.

He was an older man, but helpful in suggesting some good places to check out when we got to town. There was something familiar about him, a sort of character that felt like a long lost uncle. I thanked him for his courtesy repeatedly, trying to remember the few tidbits of important information he had told me to copy down.

  1. Home is merely a concept of safety.
  2. The man with the gun always has the floor.
  3. Love will triumph above all given the proper guidance.
  4. Nothing, and no one, is who or what they say.
  5. The word Ransom is dangerous in more ways than one.

I considered his rules to be a bit confusing and bizarre, but wrote them down nonetheless. He seemed to have good intentions, so I would humor him for the time being. As we pulled into the station, he collected himself to get off, helping me with my bags.

“Keep yourself out of too much trouble Deacon, this place does strange and treacherous things to people.”

I was going to thank him again, when I realized I hadn’t told him my name. I realized I had no idea who was welcoming me to my new home, but he was entirely familiar with me. Before I could confront him on my revelation, he was gone, disappearing into the masses of travelers.

Just like that.

I wake up startled and unaware, realizing I haven’t boarded my bus in the first place. Realizing that I never went anywhere, that everything that just happened was a figment of my imagination. Or so I keep telling myself. I stare around the station bleary-eyed, finding myself alone, waiting awkwardly for the final bus of the evening. I had dozed off momentarily, but that didn’t make what just happened any less realistic or bizarre.

The bus creaked into the station slowly, weary and road worn like me. I was anxious to begin my getaway, so I scrambled on board to return to slumber. I was escaping everything familiar by returning to a land I’d escaped in my past. But with this return I was hoping for a fresh start and a free pass. Hope being the key word.

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