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Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #2263256
Stifled creativity leads to the exploration of uncharted lands.
         Nathan toyed around with his model airplane, steering it in a beeline towards his miniature race-car track, upon which there was a tiny blue Jeep. He grew more and more excited as he animated a dramatic scene before him. “Boom! Pshew! BOOOOOOOM!” he loudly declared, slamming his plane into the track. He flung his toys into the air, the crash sending both vehicles flying, whereupon they descended back to the hardwood floor with heavy thuds, typical of sturdy, diecast toys. Nathan giggled, grabbing the Jeep once more and running it back and forth on the track, producing accompanying engine noise for the silent vehicle. His concentration halted on the toy as he became aware of the loud, deep footsteps climbing the stairs at a precariously slow pace. Then, after a moment of silence, the bedroom door swung open.
         “Nathan, what did I tell you about noise like that in the house? What are you doing?” his father demanded, angrily glaring down at him from the doorway.
         “Mommy and you said I can’t go outside today, so I have to play inside. It’s not fair. I'm always quiet inside.” Nathan responded, slight tones of distress and disappointment carrying through his voice.
         “You can’t play inside making noise like that. Daddy can’t relax when you do, and Daddy needs to relax. You either need to be quiet, or don’t play in the house. Just read or something.”
         “But Daddy, If I can’t go outside, why can’t I play like outside inside? Can I go outside in the morning? I’ll put on a jacket and shoes!” Nathan pleaded, staring dejectedly at his father.
         “I said no. You know it’s too crazy out there for you right now, it likely won’t pass soon. You need to wind down, find something else to occupy yourself before you go to bed. It’s getting about that time, you know,” his father said, dead and monotone in his speech. “I’m going back downstairs, and I’d best not hear any more of this nonsense up here,” He gestured lamely to the toys, “If I do, you’ll be in trouble.” With this, he grunted, then firmly shut the door. His footsteps could be heard tailing him back down the stairs. Nathan plucked his toys from the floor, and placed them on the shelf as he thought to himself. He pouted for a few minutes, his cheeks red with frustration, then looked up at the Jeep and plane again. After several minutes, he slowly came to his feet, and, grabbing both toys, stepped carefully to the light switch and turned it off, then back across the room to his bed, where he climbed in and pulled the covers over himself, clutching the toys against his chest.
         Slowly, gently, the tick, tock of the clock rang throughout the now dark room, accentuating Nathan’s concern for the time. Anxiety and impatience rose within him as he waited, and finally, he heard footsteps coming up the stairs once more, softer and kinder than those before. His door opened, the only indicator being the low squeak of the door hinges. He heard a single step make its way into his room. He heard his mother call down the hallway, “No need to get him into bed, he’s already done it himself.” She retreated back to the hallway once more, closing the door in a manner just as fragile as the first time, and now two pairs of footsteps made their way to the opposite side of the house, to his parent’s bedroom. Their door opened and shut, and after a few more minutes, all was silent.
         Nathan had been waiting for this particular moment for hours, he figured, but the waiting could not stop here. No, if they were still awake, they’d hear his door open, and then the front door open. Still, though, he discreetly made his way out of bed, placing the Jeep and plane upon his bedsheets, and stepping over to his closet. Nathan knew it to be cold outside, so he put on his thickest pants, a long-sleeved tee, and wool socks. He chose his favorite winter jacket, one with a coarse, blue exterior, and a warm, fleece interior, and his favorite pair of shoes, a set of velcro sneakers that he could easily slip on. All dressed, he sat on the floor, where he waited, looking at the clock for another thirty minutes, at which time he decided he could make his move. Sneaking back across the room, he grabbed his toys, then headed for his door. Calmly, he opened his door, then, while turning the handle to avoid the snap of the brass door knob, he closed it behind him and eased his way down the stairs. He unlocked the front door, and after checking up the stairs to make certain he didn’t hear a stir from his parent’s room, he opened it, and stepped out into the thick of the snow.
         The chill hit Nathan immediately, but he had already committed to the idea. He stepped off of the porch, further away from the dim light above the door, and into the flurry before him. In awe, he looked around him at the white landscape; so much open air, so much snow, nothing to impede his creativity. A smile broke across his face, as he lifted his plane above his head, trudging full speed into the thick barrier of snow blanketing the ground. The cold bit into him, but he had it in his mind to use it to create scenarios with the plane, and so he let it glide through the air, replicating a conversation between a pilot and his copilot during a bout of heavy weather as he made his way across the wonderland he’d broken into.
         The snow on the ground had been building all day, and now it was nearly a foot deep, but as cold as it was outside, it had become powdery and light. For this reason, it did not slow Nathan down by any substantial amount, but it also meant that it was making its way into his sneakers and pant legs at breakneck pace. The snow chilled Nathan to the bone, but he ignored it in favor of enjoying himself with the fantastic play at hand. Forward and forward he went, occasionally turning to look at the porch light and check to see if his parents had turned their light on or come outside, but he grew farther from the house with each look, and eventually, the porch light was all that he could see of the house through the falling snow. He turned forward again, and with bewilderment, began sprinting once more; this time, towards the pond on his family’s property, now frozen over from the bitter cold.
         This is a perfect place to use my Jeep! Nathan thought excitedly, stuffing the plane into his pocket and retrieving the model car. He walked forward onto the ice and crouched, then started into a slow run with the Jeep running across the cold expanse. He swerved, jumped, raced, and spun the tiny vehicle, taking full advantage of the endless amount of smooth space on which to maneuver his car. He played so long on the pond that he’d forgotten how long he’d been outside, and realized he was incredibly cold. Standing up, he scanned his surroundings for the glare of the porch light, which he could not see in any direction anymore for the sake of the snow. Anxiety struck, and putting on a face of worry, he started walking towards the nearest piece of land he could see. He walked on, and on, and on, and it looked as if he had barely gotten closer.
         Nathan’s gut dissolved into an unpleasant knot of stress, regret, and worry, and he picked up the pace towards land. Suddenly, his foot slid from beneath him, and he lost his balance. Tumbling into the ice face first, he dropped his Jeep, which slid away from him across the dark pond. Nathan made a scramble for it, but despite his instant action for the vehicle, it was to no avail. He could not find the Jeep, and looking back up, realized he could still not find the porch light, either. A tear tried to roll down his cheek, freezing before it reached his chin, and he began an outburst of heavy sobbing as he tried to navigate the pond through his now teary eyes. The pain from his fall, too, rang throughout him, and he spiraled into a crying fit as he fell once more to the pond’s surface.
         The heat of his jacket, too, was now becoming unbearable. The warmth it had once provided had escalated into uncomfortability to the point of sweating, and so he unzipped it, then took it off. A small sigh of relief escaped him, and he stood back up to continue walking, where he looked directly forward and saw the unbelievable: the light of the porch! A smile once more graced his face, and he shuffled forward as quickly as he could towards his source of comfort. He felt light and airy again, and the heat faded into a pleasant temperature as he marched towards the single light. Minutes passed, though, and the light was no closer than it was initially, which brought him to confusion. I’m moving to it, so why am I not getting closer? Nathan inquired, still walking forward. It’s only a matter of time, he thought to himself, pushing through regardless. Suddenly, now, the light turned into two, and began nearing Nathan. A rush of hope rang through him, and he began running, then stopped. It’s still moving, he realized. Even now, while he was completely still, the two lights neared him with each passing second.
         The blaring lights, harsh in the dark of winter, accelerated towards him at an increasing speed, until they got so close it felt like he could almost see what was producing them. His hopes dissolved into confusion once more as a square frame became visible around the lights, and their approaching speed reduced to a slow crawl as a familiar shape appeared before him. The vehicle stopped, and the front doors of the car opened, producing a man in a hooded overcoat. He stepped forward till he was immediately in front of Nathan, and now casting a shadow upon the boy from the headlights, he reached an open gloved hand towards him, and as a fog of their breath filled the space between them, Nathan took the man’s hand, then began his walk to the car.
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