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Jude walked alone down an empty road. Both sides of the road were lined with small houses. There were a few trash cans dotting the edges. It was cloudy. Decently cool, at least in Gainesville.
He walked along the faint outline of two yellow lines, scarcely visible anymore. There were no people out today. It wasn’t a particularly good day to be out on, and it happened to be during school hours. He stepped between a pothole and a manhole cover.
He studied his surroundings to keep his mind off of what he was here for. It wasn’t pleasant business, but it was something he needed to take care of. A rational person would’ve just gone up and knocked, but Jude had walked past the house five times now and still not gone in. He didn’t know if it was a good idea to put it off any longer, but the idea grew more appealing with each step.
Jude was caught off guard by the barking of a dog. He looked over towards it, and saw a large white pitbull inside of a rusty chain fence. It could easily jump over or burrow under, but it wouldn’t. While it liked the idea of freedom, it was just that, an idea. If you pointed out that its constraints were only in it’s mind, it would still quite happily stay where it was.
Jude turned around and walked back towards his original destination. A few houses past the house with the dog, stood a one story house. What had once been white plastic siding, was now brown, green, or gray, depending on where you looked. The front lawn was a veritable jungle of weeds, and the backyard was worse. One of the windows was poorly covered by a cardboard box and some duct tape.
He walked up the driveway, stepping around the gutted rusty husk of a pickup truck. He paused at what had once been a flower bed. If you hadn’t seen it in its former glory, you wouldn’t be able to pick it out from the lawn. What had once been a wonderful color palette, was now just brown and green weeds.
He finally approached the door. It was a faded blue, only moderately obscured by cobwebs. The siding next to the door was now covered in kudzu. His eyes found their way to a broken doorbell. It was hanging off of the house by a few dirty wires.
Jude raised his hand to knock, but stopped himself. Why did he come here? What did he hope to accomplish? What was he even going to say? He, the planner, had found his way here without a plan. It was just going to be a stop at his old school to make some appearances, but without Paul, Jude found himself here. He couldn’t get past it. He felt like he needed to parse the hidden meaning behind it all.
No, this time would be different. He reached his hand out to knock, but as he did so, his phone began to ring. He flew into the air, a few feet above the house, and answered.
“Hello?” He hadn’t even looked at the number. He was that desperate for a reason, any reason to leave.
“Jude?” It was Vanessa, but she sounded panicked. “Can you come home quickly? It’s an emergency.”
“What happened?” Jude felt a twinge of relief. This might provide him the out that he needed. He didn’t know why he always came here to chicken out at the last second, but here he was, chickening out at the last second.
“The supers from the bank? They took Paul.” She sounded like she was almost on the verge of tears.
Jude snapped into action. This was something easy, something clearcut. No decision to be made, they had crossed a line. “I’m on my way.” Jude hung up and took off. This was something more than just an excuse, this was an actual emergency. He had plenty of time to talk to her later.
Hello, all! Thanks for reading! This is something of a departure from my normal style, but I’m rather proud of it. I hope you’ve had a great week, and have an even better weekend. Until next time!