Chapter 45: Red Eyes (Lizzy)

Published on 10 June 2024 at 15:33


I don’t know if it was because it was dark and cold and scary, or if it was because everything he just said was so convoluted, but I had a hard time following Jimmy’s logic. As was usually the case when he is involved, however, I found it easier to just let him lead. We turned around and started back the way we had just come.


At first we walked in silence, the only noise was Jimmy constantly slapping at the bugs swarming his exposed and bloody legs. Things had been happening so fast today that I hadn’t really noticed what bad shape he was actually in. His legs cut up from falling out of the truck. I could still make out the footprint on his chest from being spartan kicked by the robber. I saw in his red eyes how tired he had become.


“Hey Lizzy?”


I jumped, startled by Jimmy’s voice. It had been quiet for a while. “Yeah?”


“Why are you looking at me like a weirdo?” I felt my cheeks flush and I cast my eyes downward. “Sorry, I was just zoned out,” I lied. I knew telling him that he looked rough would only make him double down on how good he felt. He studied my face for a moment but didn’t ask any other followup questions. We walked on in silence a while longer. It was me who broke the quiet first.


“Do you ever get tired of this? I know you love being a detective, but when everything goes wrong like this, does it ever bother you?” Jimmy scrunched up his face and paused mid-step. He looked genuinely confused.


“What do you mean when everything goes wrong? Do you have any examples?”


I was dumbstruck at his answer. “Examples? We’re lost in the woods and you have no pants and the phone is dead and we had a gun pointed at us today. Wouldn’t you call that everything going wrong?” Jimmy scrunched up his face even harder and tapped his foot, thinking. “I dunno. I guess I never looked at it that way.” If I was a lizard, my mouth would have unhinged from how far my jaw dropped open. “How did you think this day was going then?” I asked him incredulously.


“It’s been an awesome day,” Jimmy answered sincerely. “Think about it. I solved the case and recovered the stolen goods. I got into a fight with an armed suspect and won. The phone is dead but it’s also the first time we ever got to have our own phone for a case so that was pretty sweet while it lasted. And now I get to explore the woods with my friend and I don’t even have to do any chores when I get home because I got that dummy JB to do them all for me! One a scale of one to ten, today’s a twelve.” Jimmy gave a small shrug and started walking again. When I got over my surprise at his response, I followed. I guess that was a good way of looking at it.


We picked our way through the trees. It was slow going, as the moonlight filtered through the leaves was our only source of light. The woods around us came alive with noise the longer we walked. There were crickets, the whistle of the wind, I had even heard an owl hoot a couple of times. I tried to follow Jimmy’s example and just continue onward, looking on the bright side of things until we were home and safe. I was almost successful, too. From our right side there came a sudden heavy and angry thud. It was the sound of stomping boots cracking twigs like a chiropractor cracks backs. Leaves rustled and fell as a shadowy figure stepped out to block our path. The moonlight illuminated the face of a lunatic. The man was so noticeably seething that you could almost see the smoke coming from his ears. The man quickly lurched and grabbed the pants hanging around Jimmy’s neck. He twisted them around and clutched them tightly in a clenched fist, causing Jimmy to cry out in surprise and pain as he found himself trapped, now tied to his assailant by a leash made of cloth.


The man’s eyes were a scratchy red color, his pupils burning with rage and the sting of antifreeze. He grinned, the moon bouncing brightly off of the few teeth that he did have.  A gravely voice said, “You kids are dead meat.”


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Red-eyed Mad Man
a month ago

I find in life that if you just ignore the bad and focus on the good and be strong, you can get a lot further than you would if you just whine and cry all day. Jimmy's got that covered. I also think people with that innate ability had to get that way to survive.