Gabie Yang was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and currently resides in Forest Lake, Minnesota. She attends Concordia University-St. Paul, where she is studying English with an emphasis in creative writing.
When He Smiles, When He Cries
They’re different every time; the dreams, I mean.
Sometimes, the dreams are good. Sometimes, I’ll see him painting in his room. He loves painting. My favorite painting of his is the one with the swirls of a navy-blue sky and small white dots scattered across the canvas. It was simple yet beautiful because it was his and had his touch. I could tell how proud he was of that one because he signed his name in the corner and set it on his desk, which was a special place in his room.
Sometimes, I’ll see him in his family’s garden, taking pictures. Bright colors of pink, yellow, and lavender will line the paths as he walks on them. Often, he’ll stop and bend down to get the perfect angle with the right lighting. He has a huge camera in which he has options to zoom and focus. I know he’s taken a good picture when he pulls the camera away from his face and he lets a soft smile make its way to his face.
Those are my favorite times, when he’s smiling the smile and laughing laughs that shows the happiness he should always have. It’s times like that in which I know he’s at least okay.
However, when I laid in my bed and fell to my slumber, it was completely different story.
It was a dark but wide room, only lit by the one light that flickered above them. I saw he was tied down to a folding chair with a man standing above him. His brown hair was damp with sweat and bits of blood from the wound under his bangs started to drip down his tan skin. His white dress shirt and dark slacks were stained with spots of blood with his bowtie thrown to the side. The man holding him was older and much more muscular. He had midnight black hair falling over his forehead accompanied with his black suit.
“You should’ve never left that fancy mansion,” the older man said, “Your father could’ve protected you.”
“You know how he feels about me, Cliff. He doesn’t care about me; he resents me for not following his path. All he cares about is his money and making sure he doesn’t lose it.”
“So you do know how much your father loves his money,” the older man, Cliff, said, “So you can tell me where all of it is.”
He stayed silent.
“I’m going to ask again. Where’s all of his money?” Cliff asked.
He stayed silent once again. Cliff grew impatient and reached out to grab a handful of his hair.
“If you don’t say anything, I’ll slit your throat and make it look like a suicide.”
“Then go ahead and do it. I have nothing to live for,” he spat, “I’m already dead anyway.”
Cliff raised an eyebrow before he smirked and let go. He fell against the chair, shakily breathing before Cliff threw his fist and collided it with his face. His face turned with the hit before it became dotted with purple.
Cliff let out a scoff.
“I think I’d rather torture it out of you. That’ll be more fun.”
His head limply hung, blood streaming out of his mouth. Cliff untied the rope tying him down before pushing him to the ground, gasping in pain as he laid on the ground. A tear fell down his face as Cliff bent down. And suddenly, I heard a scream rip through the dark, empty air.
When I shot up from my bed with tears falling down my face, my breathing ragged and my black hair sweaty and sticking to my forehead, I knew that things weren’t going to be okay this time. I didn’t even know his name, but I knew that I had to find him.