A/n: I'm mental for posting a new story, but it's been eating away at me for a while now. So. Here it is. It's going to be rather short: only about seven installments, with each being not that long (compared to my normal length of chapters) in length. I'm going to try to update every Sunday as long as nothing else gets in the way.
Enjoy the chapter!
"No, you're not. You've got a—"
"How the hell is that nothing?"
"Just drop it, Klaus. I'm fine."
"Bullshit! What the fuck happened?"
"Who did it? Was it—?"
"Fucking Christ! I said drop it!"
"How the fuck do you expect me to do that? I mean, you're fucking bl—wait! Where are you going?"
"Away from you."
"Because I said drop it two times and you haven't. I don't want to deal with this right now."
"Then just freakin' tell me what happened to you! And will you stop walking away from m—"
"DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME!"
"Sorry! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to—Jesus, Russ. Are you—?"
"I've got to go. I'll see you tomorrow."
Russell's been my neighbor since we were little kids. He was four when his family moved into the house next door. I was about to turn six. He and his family had been in the house for a week before we actually met each other. I remember it well enough. Of course, I remember things involving Russ considerably better than I do others. It's something about him. Don't ask me to explain it—I can't.
Anyway. We first talked to each other on one of those days where it seemed like it could start raining at any second. It was cloudy and cool with just the perfect amount of breeze—my favorite kind of day. I think it might have been sometime in early summer, but I'm not exactly sure. Russell would know; his memory is better than mine.
I was out in my backyard with my German Sheppard (who was then just a puppy), trying to get him to fetch and sit and stay without much success. I was on the verge of having a temper tantrum because Shep (my dog) wouldn't stop barking at a squirrel that had just run up the tree instead of coming when I called him. My fists were clenched at my sides, my face was flushed, and my eyes were watering with frustrated tears. If I hadn't sensed someone watching me then, I probably would have started crying.
I looked over my shoulder and my eyes landed on a small boy standing next to one of the trees that separated my property from the neighbor's. He had unruly black hair that hung in his face and just brushed the top of his shoulders. He was shorter than me by about four inches and significantly skinnier. He looked like he was swimming in his clothes.
What really struck me about his appearance, though, were his eyes. They were—and still are—this piercing ice blue that, when they looked directly into your eyes, you would swear he was seeing into your soul. Add the fact he blinks less than anyone I've ever known and he's incredibly insightful, him seeing into your soul doesn't seem that much of a stretch.
When I saw him standing there, I immediately straightened up and blinked my tears away. That's another thing about Russell: when he's around you, you don't want to show even the slightest bit of weakness. Probably because he rarely shows any emotion.
We spent a moment staring at each other, with me standing in the middle of my backyard and him still by the tree. Then, all of a sudden, he was walking towards me. His pace wasn't fast—just steady and surprisingly graceful—but I don't remember him moving away from the tree. Just one moment he was standing completely still next to it, the next he was halfway across the yard.
His eyes never once left mine as he made his way over to me. Not even to blink.
He didn't stop walking until he was directly in front of me. We continued to stare at each other, and I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Somehow, he seemed to be much smaller than he was closer up; yet, his size did not lessen the intensity of his stare or presence. Both were strong and intimidating enough to make how little he was completely irrelevant.
"What's your dog's name?" he asked. For a four year old (though I didn't know he was four at the time), his speech was clear and precise. And while he talked quietly, his voice lacked gentleness. Even then, it was obvious he had the ability to make words as sharp as diamonds. Being five at the time, though, I was only vaguely aware of it and didn't think of it like that. I still shivered slightly at the sound of his voice.
"Sh-Shep," I answered.
He nodded once, slowly. Then he turned away from me to face my dog, who was still barking at the squirrel in the tree.
"Shep!" he called, only raising his voice slightly. But that hardly matter; it was the shocking amount of authority in his voice that did. The only other time I'd heard someone even come close to matching it was when my grandfather had gotten into an argument with his neighbor.
My grandfather used to be a general in the army.
Shep stopped barking at the squirrel to look over at us. Russell stared him down for a few seconds before demanding (miraculously without sounding mean): "Come here."
And my dog did, prancing and wagging its tail all the way over.
I gaped at Shep and then at the boy standing next to me. He didn't look back at me immediately; he spent a moment rubbing Shep's ears first. When he did, however, there was a glint in his eyes that hadn't been there before. It was like he was smiling at me, despite how the rest of his face remained expressionless.
"How d'you do that?" I asked him in awe. He just shrugged. It shouldn't have been a graceful movement—especially not for a four year old—but it was.
"I'm Russell," he said after we had wasted a few more minutes just staring at each other.
"Klaus," I replied.
Russell simply nodded again.
Then, he abruptly turned on his heel and began walking back towards his yard. I watched him go, feeling more confused and intrigued than I'd ever felt before. And at that moment I knew, even though I was only five at the time, meeting him had changed the course my life would take. Of course, I hadn't a clue as to how. All I knew was that Russell was going to impact it in some way and he was going to impact it hard.
And I was right.