Fiction On Odyssey: Podunk Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

Fiction On Odyssey: Podunk Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

In hindsight, maybe stalking the guy that followed you to your house wasn’t the best idea.
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In hindsight, maybe stalking the guy who followed you to your house wasn't the best idea.

At first, I figured, what if he was dangerous? What if he wanted to hurt Mom or Dad or Robbie? I couldn't let him just fade into the shadows and strike when we least expect it, so the responsibility of being an awesome and selfless daughter and sister fell upon my shoulders. I, Misty Greenberg, would track this guy down and demand answers.

Plus, he'd been following me first. Don't you pretty much surrender your right to privacy when you invade someone else's? Exactly.

He's not even trying to be sneaky or anything. Though he does have the classic dark stalker hoodie on, he's just walking through town like he's lived here for years. The issue is that he hasn't lived here. Everyone knows each other in this town. Everyone I know is where they're supposed to be, so who is this?

I sigh. This is underwhelming. I dunno, I expected this to be a bit more... exciting? I guess I should be happy that we're not going to some seedy underground hideout.

At the same time, I was hoping for a bit more adventure. Nothing has happened in months; it's been a little too perfect. I feel antsy. My life is too calm. I should be doing something, something critical. Something that'll save everyone.

Wait, what am I saying? I'm fine, I'm safe, I'm happy. My life is perfect. I should stop and turn around, go back home. This guy isn't worth the trouble.

Only... he is. I can't explain it. He's important somehow. I need to know where he's going.

We walk past my high school, and then the park, and then a gas station. A wind blows through the air. I inhale the smell of spring and smile. This is my favorite kind of weather. It's a beautiful day, and everyone's outside chilling and having fun. It's kinda weird, that this is how the weather's been for the past five and a half months, especially because I live in Oregon, but I'm not going to complain.

'We miss you... you're so strong... please come back...' The Cookies' whispers overlap in my head. Of course I can't catch a break from them.

I've been hearing them on and off for months now. Named for what I was doing when I first heard them, they showed up around the same time as the headaches and nightmares, and they're always whispering weird encouragements and talking about missing me.

They are irrelevant. I should ignore them. I ignore them.

But I don't ignore them. They feel familiar, they feel like home. More so than my actual home.

Ugh. I sound like a lunatic. This is why I don't tell anyone. There are rational explanations, I just don't know them all. The headaches are likely stress-related, for example, probably because it's senior year and pressure is high. The nightmares are probably manifestations of my random worries. Nothing to worry about. I'm fine, I'm safe, I'm happy. My life is perfect.

The guy glances around casually. His face—

Vices around my wrists. Cold gray walls. Yells, at me. Blow after blow. I stare at them and grin.

I gasp, clutching my head. What in the world was that?!

OK, now I have a more legitimate reason to follow this guy. The only thing I ever remember after waking up from one of my nightmares is the heart-stopping sense of absolute terror. But just one glance at this guy, and I'm having a flashback? There's no way that was a stress headache, and I get the sinking feeling that none of the headaches I've had in the past few months are. Something more is going on here. I need answers.

'Come on... You can do it... Don't let them win...' I really wish they would just shut up. They're not helping. I'm fine, I'm safe, I'm happy. My life is perfect. I don't need to listen to them. Right?

While I was having my little "episode," Mystery Dude got a bit far ahead of me. I quicken my pace to catch up, just as he's crossing the street towards the town library's huge ornate doors.

Wait.

What?

I look around. How did no one else see this random dude pull some Podunk Platform Nine and Three-Quarters magic and walk into the doors? Not around them, like you normally expect a human being to interact with a door. Into them.

To be honest, I'm not sure what just happened. So, of course, I do the logical thing and follow him inside.

I haven't been inside the library since I was two. I'm not much of a reader, after all, and I do all of my research on my laptop. That being said, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to have, you know, books.

Instead, I'm in a classroom-sized room. The walls are a cold-stone gray with shackles attached to them, and the floor has mysterious dark stains.

I've been here.

'YOU'RE ALMOST THERE... WE FINISHED THE MISSION... BUT WE NEED YOU...'

The guy that I've been following has his forearm braced against a wall. His head is bent, and he's biting the thumb of his other hand. When I walk in, he looks up.

I know that face.

He walks closer, furiously rubs a sleeve over puffy eyes to dry his face. "Misty?"

I back away. Panic grips my heart like a vice. The headache has come back full-force, and I think I may be breathing a bit too fast. This is familiar, too familiar. I'm fine, I'm safe, I'm happy. My life is perfect. I shouldn't be here, I should—

"Misty."

No. Don't listen to him.

"Misty, can you see me?"

You're happy here. Aren't you happy here? You're fine. You're safe. You're happy.

'MISTY, PLEASE... WE'RE SO CLOSE TO BEATING THEM... FIGHT IT...'

"Misty, look at me, please. You're my big sister, aren't you supposed to be taking care of me?"

That makes me look up. Robbie. The guy is Robbie.

The headache fights to scramble my thoughts. This isn't Robbie, Robbie's at home. You should go home, too. Robbie's fine. He's safe. He's...

He's not. He's right in front of me, looking like he's scared to touch me. Why is he scared? I messed up, it's my job to take care of him.

Protect him. That's what I did. That's why I was here, instead of him, so he could get away and fight on.

"Misty. Listen to me." Robbie's in front of me now, his eyes glittering with more tears. "They caught you, but we finished the mission and then we came and got you. They stuck you in your head."

He steps forward and grips my arms, pleading.

"We all visit every day, and talk to you, but there's work to do. We need you to help finish the fight. You need to wake up."

'WAKE UP... WAKE UP... WAKE UP...'

I sit up from the MedBay bed with a gasp.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Image Credit: Farl

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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