David talks about the first time he discovered his gift
|I want to say I wasn't born with this gift, this curse. I want to say that I fell in a vat of chemicals or was suddenly sprayed with acid. That I was injected with super serum by some government secret project so I could help them fight some super evil force. Or that perhaps I was bitten by some radio active bug or something that gave me this.|
But the truth is that perhaps I was born with it. Perhaps I was born with this ability that both blesses and haunts me. It may have been waiting for puberty to just sprout forth, like facial hair. I'll tell you of my first time, the first that this has ever occurred in my life and let you decide for yourself.
The delivery driver glared at me. He was a bit over weight, leaning forward against the railing of the fence that encircled the tables. His thinning dark hair gave him the appearance of a chubby child's pet all grown up. One in an impatient mood. "Kid," he groaned, "I got about a dozen other deliveries to make."
"Just one more sec," I said, holding up my finger in impatience. I had sat at the café for about an hour now, holding a table in the corner under the green awning. My usual seat. So usual in fact that the owners would just let me climb over the fence and sit down, instead of walking through the front door in the usual manner.
I could see her through the large window, leaned over the counter, waving at the cook to get his attention.
"Oh, that's her, huh," The delivery driver said. There was a gentle smile in his voice.
"Yeah," said in a dream-like state.
"If you don't mind me saying," the delivery guy said, "You're swinging out of your league."
"Well," I replied. "I got this," I grabbed the box of legos out of my bag.
"Legos," he asked, confused.
"Yeah," I said still looking at Fiona. Beautiful, wonderful Fiona. With Fiery red hair, emerald eyes, and deep ruby lips. The wonderful, beautiful college co-ed who was about ten years older than me, and my honest-to-God first crush.
"I also have a poem," I cleared my throat in an overly dramatic fashion. "Oh, wonderful Fiona..."
"Kid, I appreciate it," the delivery driver said, "but please save it for the girl."
"Okay," I said. In the window, Fiona had finally grabbed my milkshake and was coming back to my table. It was show time.
"Sorry David," Fiona she sighed as she approached. "But you know how Greg gets when you mess with one of his 'precious recipes'." She looked at the delivery driver who held out a large bouquet of flowers. I held up the Millennium Falcon lego set. A rare collectable, or so I've been told by Fiona herself a couple times.
"From the young man here," the Delivery driver said, smiling. Fiona gave a polite smile back and collected the flowers. "David, I...."
Now was my chance. It was my time! But the words had knotted in my throat. Only sounds escaping me then was thin cracks and wisps of breath. My brain kept rehearsing the speech, going over every word. However, my mouth, tongue, even my chest and lungs refused to breathe. Instead of the speech, I looked up at her. "Can, I...draw you a picture," I asked.
It sounded so lame to my own ears. I was surprised when she smiled and said, "Okay."
I pulled a small art pad from my backpack. My hand shook a bit as I flipped over to an open page. Drawing for me has always been kind of like television. I can see an image on the blank age that others could not. Sometimes fantastical, sometimes action or science fiction, I'd always see these wonderful sweeping stories. It's up to me to bring them to life.
But the image I saw in the page was not one I ever wanted to happen. In the page I saw Fiona, the woman who was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen up to that moment, crying. Bleeding. A snarling, drunk, angry man stood over her with a knife. My breath caught in my throat for an entirely different reason.
"That's okay if you can't draw anything. I appreciate it, David, I really do." Fiona sat down across from me. "If you were just a bit older, I'd have been swept off my feet. Tell you the truth, I still am a bit swept off my feet."
The delivery driver looked over at me, concern on his face. "You okay kid?"
"Uh, yeah." I said. "Why are you still here?"
"Delivery charge." He replied, holding his hand out. Oh. Yeah.
I pulled my wallet out, and handed over the last bill I had: a twenty. The driver smiled and nodded, then left. "It will take some time is all," I mumbled. "Please, just come back in about a half hour?"
"Okay. Take all the time you need, David, please." She said, standing back up. "I'll come back to check on you."
I closed my eyes, rubbing them hard as I heard the delivery van finally pull away from the curb. How do you tell someone that you know they're going to die? How do you say to them that they have to be careful?
I didn't recognize the room. There were tables and chairs inside, overturned. Wooden crates with labels shoved in a corner. No windows that I could really tell. The man I didn't recognize either. What do I tell her, to avoid warehouses? Storage rooms? Dodge deranged men in dark places?
Fiona came back to my table after some time. I had stared at the paper, my eyes boring a hole through it. But had not yet put pencil down. "David you don't have to," she said. She tried to put as much warmth and care into her voice as possible as she leaned against me, patting my shoulder gently. "I understand, I really do. I care for you too, just, not in the same way."
"Fiona," I started. My mind searched for words. I've never been good with speaking at the best of times. Now, this tearing at brain. I had no idea why, but part of me was certain that she was going to die if I didn't say something. Do something.
"Let me just....draw you a picture." I finally choked out.
"Okay," she replied, "but you got ten minutes. Then I have to go to my next job."
"Where is your other job," I asked.
"In an Irish pub downtown," she said as she walked away.
It felt like ice water had been jabbed into my veins. I didn't know what else to say or do. Reaching into my bag, I pulled out my pencil box and began drawing. The room I sketched out as quickly as I could, not bothering with a lot of details. The face of the man I concentrated on. At that point, I wasn't really that good at faces or at human features really. But this style of drawing, bringing to life the image I saw on paper, felt more like tracing than drawing.
The pencil glided over the paper with a gentle hush. Images slowly started coming to life. The doorway, the hair line. The heavy-set eyes, and hard chin. The shirt collar up and tattered. Each detail came into being slowly. Much slower than I wanted.
I went over to Fiona's position. She was lying on the floor. Knife wounds oozing in her chest and abdomen. I kept drawing, feeling my time running short. My mental clock ticked away as I drew, my drawing becoming scribbles now. The crates and tables around her was nowhere near what I saw in my eyes. But I kept drawing.
"Okay, David how's it's..." Fiona said as she walked up. "That's Mclelland's," she said, looking at down at the image. "That's the storeroom. How did you," she looked down at me, fear and confusion crossing her face. Fear that was beginning to turn to anger. "What the hell is this?"
"Please don't go to your other job tonight," I mumbled. I rested my elbows on the table. The world grew blurry for a moment. My voice became watery. "Just don't go."
"I don't understand," Fiona replied. The picture stood on the table, now smeared a bit and wet from my tears.
"Something's going to happen. I don't know who it is. But I feel it in my very bones. Please don't go there tonight," I murmured.
"David," Fiona said, still confused and a bit annoyed now. "I'm going to be okay. I promise. My boyfriend is the bouncer there. I promise it's going to work out fine. I'll tell him to be on the lookout. I swear."
I don't remember how I got home that day. I was too embarrassed to go the next. I delivered my paper route like normal in the early hours of the morning, the entire interaction burning in my brain. Nearly every day for the past few weeks I spent in that café. That afternoon after I left school I didn't even want to go. I dragged my feet over to the café and took my usual seat at my usual table. I had to see what happened.
There was a different waitress and a waiter at the café both working. I didn't see Fiona at all. My blood began to turn to ice. Greg, walked over. He was a fit man, with yellow hair and a short temper. He wore a black apron with the company logo on the front of it in the upper left hand corner. "David?"
I nodded. "Fiona, is she?"
He nodded. "Yes, she's okay. Shook up is all. Some guy attacked her at her other job. If you hadn't warned her she'd probably be dead right now. If you hadn't have done that drawing," He shook his head in disbelief. "Good job."
I took a shuddering breath and breathed a sigh of relief. "So, where is she?"
"She's resting at home. I told her to take a day off. Julie and Frank are splitting their tips with her today," he said, nodding in their direction. "Whatever you want is on the house today. I'll even make it the way you want, no problems."
My stomach was in knots however. "Can, I get back to you on that Greg?" I said. My voice sounded hollow even to me.
He nodded. "Sure kid, just let Julie or Frank know. And remember, it's on the house." The last part he smiled.
Any other day I'd have taken him up on that offer. That day, I had lost my appetite. The image of the drawing was still in my head. I sat at the empty table for a moment longer, then stood up and left. I've never been back to the café since.