When Josh returned to the hotel room, Nikko had not yet returned. He kicked off his shoes and sat on the chair by the window. Cars zoomed below on the highway, heading south, which made him miss his parents, his room, Absalom, and he even though he and Nikko had decided not to call their families, not to call anyone, he thought it might not hurt to leave a message they were okay.
The mattress sagged on Nik’s side of the bed, the side closest to the phone. A red light blinked. Nikko must have called, that was why he hadn’t returned.
Josh picked up the phone and punched zero.
“Yes?” a voice on the other end said.
“Room 602 has a message,” Josh said.
A pause. “Yes.” A thick voice. “You need to pay up for this week. Your bill was due yesterday.”
“Okay. That’s all?”
Josh blinked to hide his disappointment. He went to the bathroom to wipe his face before he cried, then took a shower. Water pattered his back warm like rain and calmed him. He thought he heard the door to the room open, and he washed faster, happy Nik was back, but when he came out the room was empty. It was four. Time to go sing, to earn his keep. He toweled quickly.
Anger clotted his stomach. Damn Nikko. Where the hell was he? He pulled on jeans and finger-combed his snarled hair into place. He would have to play solo, they needed the cash. Josh threw on his coat. The closet door rattled along its track. He reached in for his guitar.
Josh felt air. Emptiness. He flipped on the light. The guitar was gone. He double-checked. Nothing but plastic hangers. Where the hell was his guitar?
He slammed the door. The mirror quivered, making his reflection waver. He raised his fist, wanting to punch the glass, punch his reflection. How could he have been so stupid to leave home?
The sun left a wan stain of light on the floor. He would go find Nik.
Installment 12 in THE RUNAWAY. To read more, go HERE and follow the crumbs. Thank you for reading my words. Peace...