If you see rose upon his words, his worries float away like birds.
I smacked the place where the voice was coming from. I heard a grunt.
"Who's there? What do you want?"
I heard nothing for a few seconds, but then a pile of snow on the bench started to move. I jumped up, ready to sprint back to my house. A shimmy sent the pile tumbling to the ground.
"Wow, this place is cold!"
Below the snow was a painfully skinny man, wearing a ragged tuxedo. In the darkness and blizzard, I could barely see his face, but his mouth and twinkling eyes could be seen. But what was so weird about him was that his words seemed to morph into vivid colors that almost completely blocked my view. It was almost like he was adding a paintbrush to a really sucky picture.
The man turned to me, grinning like I had told him what he was getting for Christmas.
“Sorry about that. I sometimes get really excited when I enter a new world. I must have blinded you for a minute there.”
I felt my head begin to throb.
“What the heck are you talking about? Who are you?”
“Names aren’t important. You’ll probably forget it, anyway.”
He stretched his arms out.
“It's really long, you see.”
Not thinking, I said, “I bet I could.”
His eyes became slivers of light as his smile grew wider.
“You think so? Let me see, how does it start? Ah yes: Bardius Mulhouse Carmen John Carter Moses Abraham Muhammad Rosita Lassiter Potpourri...”
“My uncle was a joker. Richard Socrates Mayella Charles...Smith”
I felt my mouth drop open.
“That cannot be your real name.”
“Your right about that. I cut off about ten for convenience.”
He looked over his shoulder. It was more of a spasm than an action. His eyes were now the size of dinner plates.
Before “Bardius” could answer, he grabbed me by the back of my collar and ran.
“Get off! What are you doing?! Let go!”
I tried to pry off his fingers, but he was too strong and he was pulling me too fast.
“Are you one of my parents’ friends? I’m not going back! I’m not...”
Bardius spun around and clamped a hand over my mouth.
I nodded and squeezed my eyes shut. There was something about that voice that I didn't want to mess with.
We ran together for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, he stopped.
"I think...I think we're safe."
I sat down in the snow, exhausted.
"Safe...from...what?" I gasped out.
He growled and ran his hands through his dark hair.
"I wish I didn't have to run. But they make me. Nowhere is safe..."
I cut him off. I didn't have time for this.
"Who's they? And why are you so afraid of them?"
Somehow, I knew that was the wrong response. He looked at me, pale and weak.
"They took everything I loved. And if I let them, they'll take me too. That's why I'm afraid."
I would have felt sorrier for him, but I was pretty sure he was a madman. I just needed to get away...
"Look, I would stay, but I've got somewhere to be..."
"No, you don't. Your voice is gray with a hint of orange. You're lying because you're afraid of me."
"No, I just don't want my friends to call the police."
"Please don't leave. I need you. I need a human."
I backed away, hands in front of me. I didn't need this guy getting riled up.
"Look, I don't know which hospital you escaped from, but..."
I felt a cold hand on my shoulder.
"Little boy, step away from the fugitive. We'll handle this."
I turned around to see the tallest, grayest man I had ever seen. Unlike Bardius, he was robust and squat, but really muscular. He had small, sharp eyes, and a mouth that was always frowning. Like a gray, stern wall. Two more just like him stepped out and grabbed Bardius by the arms.
"Don't worry. He's now our prisoner. We won't let him hurt you."
Somehow, I wasn't relieved. I shivered in his cold, hard grip.
Bardius struggled, but he couldn't free himself. He was trapped. Or so I thought.
He let out a rainbow scream that seemed to rip the very fabric of space. The minions fell, covering their ears. I was about to do the same thing, but I felt a hand grab my collar. Bardius. He ran with me, screaming all the while. I couldn't hold on. The noise, the excitement. Everything went black, with just the tiniest hints of aqua marine.