Time to continue our journey to a new place with the second part (click here for the first part) of a flash fiction called:
A New Place
Benjamin opened his mouth and only uttered out the simple question of: “Who are you?”
The boy crossed his arms and swayed from side to side. He was wearing a strange outfit upon further inspection: a purple and yellow pair of pants, and a deep crimson red shirt. All the clothe looked threadbare and worn out.
“I’m not sure, actually. I tried to figure it out one time: but I had a headache.”
Then, the boy stood up with great effort. With his body vertical, the sheer thinness of the strange kid became obvious. He was more bone than boy.
“And, also, I can’t fathom concepts like identity when I am in pain.”
“Okay…” Benjamin said, and his voice wavered. Unsure of what he could say to such a comment. “…how did you get in here?”
The boy tilted his head and played with his hands. His fingers were too long, and his nose, now that he’d angled his head, showed a hook-like quality.
“How did you…? I walked inside. Not hard. Less easy things exist.” He smiled like he’d told a joke. “Trust me.”
Benjamin glanced at his exit out of the hedge and took a step in that direction.
“I would not do that, it does not tend to go well.”
Benjamin froze. “Why?” he said, already dubious. “What happens?”
“The same thing that happens if you go into the maze part. You leave.”
Benjamin stopped and held still. Simply breathing and debating a few thoughts in his head. He finally said: “Why don’t you leave?”
The boy dropped to the ground, sitting again. Dust puffed up around him from the action. “Because I don’t want to leave. It’s safer here. But I want a guest. Do you want to be my friend?”
Benjamin held one more look at the boy and decided his mounting concern was right. The kid, clearly, was a lonely thing. But dangerous too. Something about him, like being around a predator, screamed death. Perhaps the void to the eyes, or the way he played with his fingers like his nails were too sharp.
Benjamin said as carefully, and respectfully, as he could: “No, that’s fine…I should get home.”
“Nothing good happens at home.” The boy looked off to his left and sighed. “Nothing good ever happens out there. Not that you would know too much about that yet. But you will…when you’re older.”
Benjamin wanted to ask. He wanted to ask about a lot of things. But he swallowed both spit and his words, and stepped back out of the hedge, appearing at where he had entered.
The strange boy made no attempt to follow.
Up above, the sun was lower, having traveled much further than it should have. Fearing his mother’s wrath, and not wanting to spend too much time close to the other boy, Benjamin ran off for his home.
Back inside the hedge, the boy crossed and uncrossed his legs, and watched the pathway close itself again. The whole thing rustled as the world beyond sealed away.
He held an unblinking look at the unbroken wall of plants. He sighed, stood up, and then shambled into the corner that went nowhere, and disappeared.