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Short Story: Room 211
Mark opened the window. It was warm out and the wind was dead. A silky voice with an overwhelming beat rose from the radio. Laura stretched out her thin arm to turn the music off. Mark stopped his white two door sports car and turned to face the tender brown eyes.
“ You’re leading me, kid,” Mark said.
“Ohh I thought you knew this area,” Laura said her voice low and gentle.
“I’ve passed by here a few times, but I don’t know it.”
“Go straight. Yeah go straight.”
“Ok, kid. I’m following you.”
The roads were narrow and the lines nearly gone. Laura looked out the tinted windows. The street lights made the waste of the city visible and the wanderers of the night could be seen. A light turned red and Mark slowly pressed the break with the sole of his shoe.
“Did you like tonight?” She asked.
“Yeah it was nice. I was surprised.”
“Just your crowd. Very zealous for success, but ignorant on how to get it.”
“Do you think I’m ignorant too?” Laura asked.
“No,” he paused for a moment, “I think you’re beautiful.”
“That was nice.”
“I love driving at night. Something about letting down the window and feeling fresh air flow against your arm and through your fingers. It’s refreshing,” Mark proclaimed.
“You’re such a writer,” she said with a smile.
He laughed a little and asked, “What is that suppose to mean?”
“I don’t know. But I love that you’re a writer.”
“Ohh dang it! We were suppose to turn left there,” Laura said.
He made a sharp U turn and sped up to make a quick right. His face was calm, but the veins of his hand gripping the wheel began to rise as he steered on a curvy road. Laura’s ivory skin glowed in the darkness of the car.
“What was that one tall boy’s name with the dark hair and real thick eyebrows?” Mark asked.
“I swear he was staring at you all night.”
“ He can’t help it,”Laura said softly.
“Why is that? You’re beautiful, but to stare at you the whole night that’s a little much.”
“I was his sweetheart in high school and we dated in the beginning of college. He thought he loved me.”
“Did you love him?”
“No. Well I thought I did then, but I really didn’t.”
“I love you, Mark. And I always will till the end. I want you to know that,” the young woman said in earnest.
“I love you too, kid.”
He extended his right hand out. The street lights began to wane as they departed the small city. She gently caressed her smooth fingers around his hand.There was only road in front and large trees to the side. Laura put her hand in his.
“Where should I turn?” Mark asked calmly.
“Are we getting on the highway?”
“Yes and then we are getting off at 124B.”
“That’s not too far. Are you excited for tomorrow?” The man asked.
“Yes. Daddy is going to love you,” she said excitedly.
“You think so?” He asked playfully. “What makes you think he’s going to be fond of the 30 year old freelance writer seriously dating his little girl?”
“Don’t be so bleak. He’ll have lots of questions that’s all.”
“I wish I could have met your dad. He was very heroic,” the kid said.
“Yes, very brave, very courageous. Me and my brother owe him our lives.”
“You’re brave and courageous too, you know.”
“Not even. I don’t think I could’ve done what he did.“
“You do already, Mark. Not in a physical way, but you give up so much for me.”
“Should I turn right here?” He asked abruptly.
“Yupp. Then turn left on Tiger Lane. My apartment building is the second one.”
“I’m excited to see your place, kid,” he said.
“Well, it’s not exactly like yours, but you know for a college girl it’s not bad.”
He parked the car and they walked into the apartment building her soft hand in his. It was late and there were a few dull lights on in the apartment lobby.The air was warm. They slowly walked up the steps to the second floor. The feeling of love and belonging and desire sparked out of the eyes of Laura against the darkness of the apartment as she looked at the half lit face of Mark.
“You’re gorgeous,”he said.
Her hands tightened against his. They were at the top of the stairs now and Mark admired the captivating look of Laura. Her chin lowered toward her chest and her brown eyes pierced up directly into Mark.
“Do you love me?” She asked sweetly.
“Very much so,” he said strongly as he tilted his head in towards her lips.
Suddenly, her hands loosened from his and she began to run in her red summer dress towards the apartment door. “Come catch me, old man,” Laura said playfully. He squinted his thick black eyebrows in frustration, but quickly began to laugh as he ran after the kid. She was at door 211 trying to turn the key to get in when he grabbed her bare shoulders. “You’re mine now,” his cheeks perked up as he spoke. They both breathed heavily. He gently pinned her against the wall. Her full lips parted showing her smile and her brown eyes were once again focused on Mark.
“You’re going to keep me young, forever.”
“I’m going to try," she said with a subtle smile.
The air was still warm. He softly took her chin in his hand and kissed her full red lips. The hallway was silent. They both now looked into each others eyes with wanting. The key was still in the door. She turned her body to open it.
“Aren’t you forgetting something,” she said
He looked down at his hands and then chuckled a little, “ Yeah I’ll be right back,” Mark said as he began to walk off.
“Mark,” Laura called as she walked very close to her love.
“I’ll be waiting for you,” she said in his ears with a voice that was low and even Mark, who was close to her, could barely hear.
Mark, hurriedly walked down the stairs that made small creaking sounds with every heavy step he took. He had a small grin on his black shaven face as he strolled through the poorly lit lobby. He opened the entrance door. The wind was now alive and the air cooler. He went to his car and grabbed one suitcase and his notebook. Trees around the parking lot gently swayed back and forth and the wind made an eerie whisper through the leaves. Mark took his things and walked back up to room 211.
He opened the door and it was completely dark. He could feel the chill wind through the window. He rubbed his right hand against the wall searching for the light and asked in a high whimsical voice,“Laura, where are you?” There was no response. His fingers stumbled upon the light switch and he flipped it on.
“Shut the door,” a low voice demanded.
Mark slowly shut the door as he looked at the tall and thin man who wore black suit and pants , white collar shirt and black skull cap that covered his entire face except for his eyes. The patio window had been shattered. The masked man stood only six or so feet away from Mark, with a gun in hand. Mark could feel his heart pounding in his chest.
“Laura,” the masked man called out.
Quickly, she came out from the bedroom. Rope was tied around her mouth and wrists. The gunman violently grabbed her shoulders and threw her to the ground between him and Mark. Sweat began to form on Mark’s forehead. He took a step toward Laura.
“Stop!” the masked man shouted.
“Who are you?” Mark loudly asked in a low gruntled voice as his fists clamped in fury and dark brown eyes glared straight at the masked intruder.
The gunman, still with his weapon pointing directly at Mark, used his left hand to take the skull cap off his face. Laura’s eyes lit up and her muffled screams echoed in the room as tears fell at the sight of the gunman’s round face.
“My name is Brandon and I am here because I can’t take the pain of seeing my sweet, beautiful Laura with anyone else but me . You don’t know her like I do,” tears began to flow out of Brandon’s narrow eyes,“Nobody will know her like I did and feel for her like I did and still do. But if I can’t have her nobody else will,” he said loudly as he lowered the gun toward Laura.
Mark moved faster than he ever had towards actions he thought he would never would have the courage to take. With a strong quick leap Mark hovered over his love. Brandon pulled the trigger. The grey bullet blasted through his black suit jacket and lodged in the back of his shoulder. The blood gushed out on Laura’s red summer dress. Mark’s motionless body covered her. She laid there helpless on the ground. The floor by her face was wet from the tears.
“Noo!” A man with a heavy beard-stubbled face shouted after he opened the door to room 211.
Brandon held the gun to his head and Bam! His brains were on the floor and his body fell forward. The man, who lived in room 210, drug Laura’s light body from up under Mark. He untied the rope from her wrists and mouth.
“What happened?” The husky neighbor asked.
“Mark,” she said softly as her now red puffy eyes turned to her bloodied protector.
“I’ll call the ambulance,” the neighbor proclaimed as he got up to get his phone from his room.
Laura crawled to Mark. He laid on his belly slightly leaning to the left. Blood slowly oozed out of his right shoulder. She gently placed her hand on the top of his.
“You’re going to make it, Mark. And when you do I’m going to always be by your side. You’re my hero, baby,” she said sweetly as tears began to well back up in her eyes, “ I love you so much, Mark.”
The dark hero slowly opened his palm to hold Laura’s smooth hand. He turned a little to his left his eyes laying hold of his teary eyed woman.
“I love you too, kid,”Mark said with a small smile.
Soon after the police and paramedics came to room 211. The police covered the shooter Brandon in a white sheet and asked Laura and the neighbor questions. The paramedics took Mark to the hospital and Laura rode with them and stayed by her man’s side.