AE – Chapter 13

Dietrich woke up. He was dirty and lost. Of what he could perceive he was in an alley behind a subway station. But all that mattered to him was that he was far from home. He hadn’t eaten anything, but he didn’t know what to do. A billion thoughts were still swirling in his head.

Dietrich had somehow managed to hop on a bus then a subway after that any means of transportation he could find and
finally ended up in a rundown area. He didn’t even know what was going on. He just tried to forget. He buried his face into his hands. He didn’t cry, he hadn’t cried. He just wanted to forget, that was his first reaction. He thought to himself, maybe things were still normal, maybe it was still alright, maybe he was still dreaming. He got up and ran; he kept running and seemingly ran onto the oncoming subway.

The tears wouldn’t come, the thoughts wouldn’t end, and the scene kept replaying in his mind. He couldn’t figure out why he ran, he couldn’t figure out why he did anything. A pair of strange voices nudged at him. Dietrich just ignored it, trapped within his mind. As the train slowed to a stop and a couple hands grabbed him and threw him off the train. He stumbled onto the train platform and looked up. Two punks with huge grins plastered onto their faces cracked their knuckles and started to walk towards him.

One of the punks smashed his foot into Dietrich’s stomach. Dietrich didn’t feel a thing. His body flew back as adrenaline pumped through his veins. The other one pulled him off the ground and stood him up. His hand flew through the air in slow motion and his fist glanced off Dietrich’s temple.

The two punks took turns speaking to Dietrich as they pulled him up by his hair. “As you can see squirt, we ain’t playin around.”

“We’re decent street thugs, so we going to ask you to hand over your stuff.” “So if you surrender us your assets we’ll be off in a flash.”

Dietrich didn’t react to what they said. Another foot connected with Dietrich’s stomach.

“I guess we’re going to have to beat a yes out of you then!”

The two punks took turns using Dietrich as a punching bag as he continued to be pummeled. Finally the two punks picked him back up one more time to see if he was conscious and breathing. They both smiled at him. They pushed him back against the wall.

“So you ready to let us have your belongings now kid?”

For some reason Dietrich replied out in defiance. His voice cracked behind his breath, “no.”

“I don’t like how this boy treats his elders. I think it’s better off we silence a boy like this.”

One of the punks tackled him against the wall, as the positioned himself to choke him. Slowly, the world turned black as the pair of hands constricted tighter around his throat. Dietrich wasn’t sure how to react, he simply looked into the eyes of his assailant and the punk looked back a little confused. He played with the idea of death; he was supposed to have died today anyway, it would be so much easier… Softly, ever so gently, Dietrich closed his eyes as he stared up into the foreign, concrete ceiling. He almost grinned. Everything was so wrong, that it had to be a dream. He concluded it was most definitely a dream and it was time to wake up.

Dietrich gasped and sprung up from his bed and he breathed in deep, the smell of home. The scent was so intoxicating, imprinted onto his brain. Peaches and Cream, his mother had always burned candles around the house and the scent always lingered even after the candles and burnt out. From his bed he could scan his house with his eyes closed; since it was a late Saturday evening he began to play the scene in his mind. He saw his sister in the distance eating her cereal, and he could hear his dad making a phone call from the inside room, and his mother would be preparing dinner. He saw his mother motion him in to try out what she was cooking in the kitchen, she always loved trying new recipes.

Dietrich took a step, and woke up. He stared into the foreign darkness. Then, what seemed like an enveloping darkness was quickly dissipated by a bright light. He found a curtain in his face and tried to brush it away. He was quickly greeted by a cramp in his left leg and crashed down to the ground. He heard a child’s voice speaking with a slight lisp.

“Oh, boy. I told them not to leave me in charge of another person.”

He blacked out once again.

“He doesn’t have a fever anymore, he seems okay. Someone get him some water, please.”

Dietrich opened his eyes but still couldn’t focus amidst the blinding light. He slowly, faintly saw images of heads surrounding him. He rubbed his eyes and felt a rustle of tubes that were connected with his arms. He felt the warmth of the bed.

“You awake newcomer?”

Dietrich groaned from the blinding light and saw a huddle of unknown faces. One of the people motioned the others to back away and return to their rooms. The same hand brought a cup of water to his mouth. He drank it and felt the refreshing liquid coat the inside of his stomach. His eyes seemed to be able to focus a bit more.

“You feeling alright?

The group of people that had been crowded around was herded out of the room by a female voice.

“Can you hear me? Kid, you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah… guhhhh…” Dietrich’s mind became aware of the pain that his body was in, and shrank deeper into the bed. He managed to shake it off a bit and tried to sit up.

“Whoa, whoa cowboy, hold on there.”

The bed ran halfway erect and Dietrich was able get into an upright sitting position. As he managed to shake off the rest of drowsiness he looked around the room to see a boy around five years old sitting on a bed like his. The room looked unfamiliar but somewhat like a hospital. He saw the tubes running out of his arms and his first reaction was to yank them out, but two large hands brushed them away. He looked up to see a large man that nearly scared him due to his gargantuan muscles. He was a giant among humans and certainly built like a great beast. He had grayish hair almost tinted in blue and large eyes that ran a deep brown. By looking at his feature Dietrich knew that the man was certainly older than himself. From behind him he saw a girl that looked so small compared to the giant that sat at his bedside. She had short- medium lengthen brown hair with blonde streaks running through her hair, certainly stylish with her own flair. Her black eyes contrasted against her blonde streaks.

Dietrich was confused by the scene, and didn’t even know what to begin to say or to ask. After a few moments of silence a familiar child like voice spoke once more.

“You going to be okay?”

He looked over the giant’s shoulder to find a boy about six years old with large glasses that almost looked as if they would fall off his nose. He was fitted in what looked like a hospital garb and was sitting off his hospital bed earnestly awaiting a response.

“Yeah, I’ll be alright. I just feel really drowsy.”

The girl let out a giggle and spoke, “You’ll be drowsy alright, we had you rigged to pain killers and a bunch of medication after we picked you up. You’ve been sleeping for over a day.”

The child spoke with his lisp, “Hey Bear, can you put him somewhere else. I think he’s too big of a responsibility for me to take care of.”

The giant spoke, “You did well Max, just do the same thing if he does something weird. Can you be a big boy for me?”

“Gosh, Bear. Fwine…” The boy ran back into his covers and laid on his side looking at Dietrich, his big responsibility.

The girl walked toward the bed and checked the bags hanging above Dietrich and fumbled around with some monitors that displayed Dietrich’s vitals.

“You seem okay now, so I’m going to hook you off IV’s and monitors. Do you feel okay at the moment besides being drowsy?”

“My body hurts, I feel like..”

The girl giggled once again, “Of course, you were getting beat by those street thugs the other day before Bear was able to stop them from nearly killing you.”

Bear stood up; however he didn’t stand as big as he looked. Dietrich gauged the giant at slightly over six feet tall, but his muscles were rippling. He took off the bags and unhooked his tubes from his arms including a few wires running out of his shirt. Bear proceeded to walk out of the room with the bags of IV’s but turned back to ask Dietrich a question.

“You hungry?”

Dietrich’s stomach nearly growled and even Dietrich looked shocked.
The girl this time burst out into laughter, “Bear get him some soup from the kitchen. They should be done cooking it for breakfast.”

As Bear walked out of the room the room seemed to be a lot bigger then Dietrich had first estimated. He saw the movable curtain that he walked into pushed toward the side. The boy named Max was still in the same position. Dietrich was a little freaked out by the munchkin as the boy simply blinked his eyes in response to his stare. The girl began to wrap up the rest of the medical equipment that had been rigged to Dietrich and pulled up a chair next to Dietrich.

“So what’s your name?”

Dietrich fumbled and hesitated as he fought to say his name, “Dietrich.”

“My name’s Claire and that boy behind you is Max.” Dietrich looked back the boy was still staring at him slightly creeping him out this time.

“Say hi Max…” He raised his hand from under the covers and simply waved.

“Max is just shy. He’s incredibly shy around new people, but once he opens up he’s real good.”

Dietrich finally started to think straighter as his mind seemed to gather itself through the conversation. “Sorry, but where am I?”

“Oh! Sorry, you’re in an orphanage. Well, more specifically the orphanage part of the church.”

Bear walked in with a bowl of soup and brought up the attached table from under Dietrich’s bed. He placed the soup in front of Dietrich and his mind whirred and mouth watered. Food. All his body thought was to eat, nothing else at the moment mattered. He started devouring the soup, nearly devouring his spoon as he ate. The three watching were shocked at the sight as in a few moments the soup disappeared.

Max’s eyes went wide stunned at the sight and he sat up adjusting his glasses, “Geez! That was fast! Bear get him some more, I want to see that again!”

Bear hustled out of the room and quickly brought back another hefty portion of soup, and scarffed it down even faster than the first. He let out a large burp, which signaled the end of his feeding.

The three echoed, “Wow…”

Dietrich sheepishly smiled and felt much better with food in his stomach. A simple “Thank you” was all he could give to express his gratitude.

“Your welcome!” Bear cleared the table and took the bowl back out of the room.
Claire whom had been sitting by his bedside suddenly thrust her head inches from Dietrich’s face and sniffed. Dietrich shrank back a little scared and confused.

She pulled back her head in disgust, “Do you remember anything that happened to you? How you got here?”

He stuttered, “w- w- what?”

She giggled. “You are dirty and smelly, go clean yourself up and I’ll show you around today if you’re feeling alright. Since our electronic systems in the building are slightly frazzled, ask Max to call for me whenever you’re ready. I’ll get you some clean clothes.”

As Claire left she pointed to the shower on the far side of the room closer to Max’s bed. Dietrich looked at Max, who was still huddled in the same position just staring at Dietrich and Dietrich this time just gave the same puzzled look back. He lifted his arm and smelled. He did need to take a shower.