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October 30, 2006
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Don'cha Know?

He started following me on a Monday. I take the El to get around, mostly, because my college and my apartment are near stations. I know the subway systems aren't too great at the hour of day I make my way to school, but it's a sight better than walking.

By that Wednesday, I was pretty sure I was being followed. I mean, the poor guy was probably homeless and a beggar, what with the ratty coat he wore, and the fact that I never saw him anywhere but in the subway. But following me he was, smiling his gap-toothed grin whenever he noticed me noticing him. No one else did, moving around him like he was just an object. I snorted the first time I made that comparison. Looking at the businessmen and -women, the tourists, the suburbanites that crowded the subways, I thought cynically that they probably didn't see the poor man as more than an object.

But still, it was getting creepy. On Thursday, I confronted the man while on my way home from a half-day of classes.

“Are you following me?”

The man grinned up at me, stooped from age. When he was young, he likely had been my height—five and a half feet, more or less—but now he was old. I tried not to wince at his breath as he replied, “Don'cha know?”

“No. I don't.” And the train came, so I boarded, caught a rare window seat, and spent the time staring out said window. Wondering why the man would think I knew why he was following me.


Friday, there he was again, maybe ten steps away from me from the time my foot hit the last stair down to the stop under the street, to the time I got on the right train. Who are you? I wondered, watching him disappear into the shadows. But before I lost complete sight of him, I could have sworn I saw his lips form the words, Don'cha know?

My backpack heavy with textbooks on the way home, I almost forgot about the old man—until he got into my face, startling me as he said softly, “Don'cha know ya shouldn't look at people with yer eyes?”

What the hell does he mean by...

“Is he bothering you?” I looked up at the kind voice.

Dearest God in Heaven, he was... Just looking at him, I felt myself responding. Jesus, you're in a subway! Down! I hurried off, not even noticing the most interesting exchange of expressions between the well-dressed, tall dark stranger who had spoken, and the dirty, ugly homeless man.


Saturday, he was there again. So was the homeless man, but so was... he. It had taken a long, cold shower before I'd calmed down the night before, and there he was again. I immediately stared out the window, thinking about the worst camping trip I'd ever been on, when the port-a-potty overflowed.

It worked. Funny, though. The old man didn't give me his usual phrase when I passed him. He seemed asleep.

“Hello.” He sat down next to me, and thoughts of smelly toilets melted away with his voice.

Hellooo, hottie, I couldn't help but think... “Uh, hi. Thanks for yesterday.”

“It was my pleasure to assist you.”

I nearly fell into those hot blue eyes, before suddenly breaking eye contact and shifting over a seat. I couldn't afford to be... well... not today. I had a test.

I left a stop early, to walk off my distracting thoughts. I could feel those eyes following me, even after I turned a corner.

That evening... well. I only had morning classes, I was a college student, and it was a Saturday. Give a person a break, will you? I crashed in a friend's dorm and I took one of the few trains on Sunday out to my apartment.

They were arguing.


The old man was as dignified as a man could be, in that state, while the--HOT, say it!--younger man seemed close to losing his temper. Being a Sunday, there were few in the tunnel, but even though their voices echoed up and down the tunnel, no one spared them a glance. Oddly, they might have been speaking in another language, for I don't remember a word of what I heard.

I stepped forward to defend... whom? The homeless man, who spoke calmly, looking up at the clean, clean-shaven face towering above him; or the young man with blue fire in his eyes, spitting out words like nails as if to pin the old man to the wall?

The old man turned to stare at me, and I could see his eyes, a calm green, lock with mine. And I suddenly saw what he had meant.

I looked past the torn, filthy clothing, the ratty beard, the awful odor. I looked past the stoop, and the uneducated sound of his words. The dirt melted away, and before me stood an angel. Surely, that's what he was, in a clean, white long-sleeved shirt, khaki slacks, snow-white hair, and silvery-grey eyes.

My gaze moved slowly to the other, and my lips formed a silent word.

Demon.

His eyes remained blue... but they crackled with the hot fire of gas flames, the vaporizing heat of the hottest stars. His hair was black and he wore red—clothes that shifted under my eyes as if they held the flames of Hell itself. If the old man was an angel, this man was a devil. He glared at me, and I quickly broke eye-contact, lest I get lost again in those eyes.

I looked back to the angel. He smiled serenely, and though I was still some ways away, he spoke softly. I remember every word as clearly as if it he speaks it now.

He said, “Don'cha know that nothing's as it seems? Don'cha know that good isn't always beautiful, that evil isn't always ugly? Don'cha know ya can't look at people with yer eyes?”
A run-in with a homeless man in the subway teaches a lesson.

I tried to write it so it could be from the viewpoint of either a guy or a girl, but... *shrug* it's my first time trying it.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconenstyledesign-lit:
enstyledesign-LIT Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2007
chilling.. incredibly well written. I like you style. Very deep.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Why 'chilling' though?
Reply
:iconenstyledesign-lit:
enstyledesign-LIT Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2007
it gives a creepy little sense that runs up and down your spin. It makes you think about what sort of evils hide in plain sight and what is good is shadowed by it. Chilling. Brr...
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
...I didn't think of that. That's what I love about this place.
Reply
:iconenstyledesign-lit:
enstyledesign-LIT Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2007
Yeah, all the different points of view can bring a lot of different meanings to the surface.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
:nod:
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconchocabookaholic:
Chocabookaholic Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2007  Student Writer
I liked how you set up the story. So whenever the man was seen the character was not the only person thinking and wondering, but the reader (including myself) was as well. Great job with it, and in my opinion it was even better that you took this from a personal experience. If someone took an experience every day and wrote about it, or turned into something like you did, the entire world would be throughly entertained and on the edge of their seats.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
This isn't from my own experience, though I do see homeless people sometimes at the subway stations.
Reply
:iconchocabookaholic:
Chocabookaholic Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2007  Student Writer
That's what I meant. I wasn't thinking that that actually happening. I'm saying that you expanded on a small event.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
...*nodnod* this is true.
Reply
:iconwourk:
wourk Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2007
woah! awesome stuff! I like it alot. I'd have something to say about it... but its just too good for wrods. :+fav:
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you.
Reply
:iconteshgirl7:
teshgirl7 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2006  Student
Good job, Casey. =) I can relate, being on the subway all the time. I see people, but not homeless people often. But yesterday I was at a StarBucks waiting for my hairdresser to come, and a black woman in an army-lookin outfit asked me for 60 cents. I gave it to her. I felt bad, because after she got some coffee or something she started talking to herself. She only had a green backpack with her.

*smile* She could've been an angel in disguise as well. No one seemed to notice her.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
*smile* exactly. People in ancient times knew that, and told stories of people who gave bread, or money, or just kindness to travelers, and got their reward in time.

Goodness isn't always beautiful on the surface.
Reply
:iconteshgirl7:
teshgirl7 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2006  Student
=)

:nod: Uh huh.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
=D
Reply
:icondarkdaria713:
DarkDaria713 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2006  Student Writer
I read this on FP already. Didn't really know what to say. Awesome story, I'll tell ya that!
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
:blushes: thanks!
Reply
:icondarkdaria713:
DarkDaria713 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2006  Student Writer
Welcomes!
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
=D
Reply
:iconmayaj:
Mayaj Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2006
Read this in FP :D You already know how much I love it.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
ee... yeah... :blushes:
Reply
:iconkuroinami:
kuroinami Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006  Hobbyist Writer
I really like this piece and how it shows that things arn't always as they appear.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
exactly. good isn't always beautiful, and bad isn't always ugly.
Reply
:iconkuroinami:
kuroinami Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2006  Hobbyist Writer
At least not on the outer layer. Deep down, good is always beautiful.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
exactly.
Reply
:iconplatinummyr:
platinummyr Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006  Hobbyist Writer
Well.. imo, it would ONLY work if the character was a girl, unless you switch the guy out for a cute girl ;) lol :XD:

WELL WRITTEN! I am gonna write a poem based on this, cause I love it so much.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
...let's just say that if the main character was a guy... that's how attractive the other guy was.
Reply
:iconplatinummyr:
platinummyr Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2006  Hobbyist Writer
XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
yeah, yeah, I know.
Reply
:iconkid-apocalypse:
Kid-Apocalypse Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006
Some of your word choice is a bit...odd, for lack of a better word, but I like it. Cute idea and very well done. :)
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
... odd word choice? how so?
Reply
:iconkid-apocalypse:
Kid-Apocalypse Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2006
...um, don't remember what I meant. Lessee... "Dearest God in Heaven, he was... Just looking at him, I felt myself responding. Jesus, you're in a subway! Down!" That just didn't scan out in my mind. I couldn't make sense of it.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
...um, this person could be male or female. I didn't want to be TOO graphic. Let's just say that this guy (the demon) was REALLY, REALLY attractive.
Reply
:iconkid-apocalypse:
Kid-Apocalypse Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2006
Hmm... It still reads awkward to me.
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
:shrug: sorry
Reply
:icontsurakashi:
Tsurakashi Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Huh...interesting. XD Very describtive and amusing. :3 Keeps ya intuitively into the story wanting to finish it. XD Few story's grasped my attention and kept it. Good job. XD
Although the lesson in the story is good, does make you question the setting. >:3
Being a college student myself I can understand the predicament you encountered. XD In a dude man sense. O.o;
Reply
:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't quite understand what you mean. "does make you questions the setting"? Yeah, i'm not often on the subway...
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