3:12AM. Here he is wasting time lying in his own sweat, heart rate thumping at 180bpm. He’s not alone, his parents are just two doors down. The house is locked. They live in a safe, clean suburb. But he is afraid of what manifests. Are his parents lying awake right now too, also afraid? What went wrong with Sonny? Is this why he was given up 10 months after his birth?
3:17AM. He gets up. If his heart is racing, if he’s sweating and afraid, he wants it to be real. Not some fiction concocted in his brain as he lies in this bed.
3:23AM. Cold enough to see his breath. Everything closed. Time to outrun the night.
3:25AM. Sneakers laced up, hoodie up to protect him from the evening chill. He stalls in his backyard. Why does he feel like he’s forgetting something? Is he hungry? Thirsty? Does he need to pee? Stop stalling, Sonny. Just run!
3:34AM. Full tilt for 9 minutes, labored breathing. He thought he was in better shape than this. He did forget something. His phone, his music, his earbuds. No electronics, only nature. At this hour, he appreciates the luxury of being able to run in the middle of the road and pays attention to things he’s never noticed before. City planners did a really crappy job in this neighborhood. No streetlights. All the street signs named after pilgrims, puritans and colonists: John Alden Drive, Paul Revere Road, Brewster Street. Boring. He recalls an elementary school project he had to do on the Mayflower. He recites as many of the native tribes the pilgrims encountered that he still can remember, mantra-like:
Pe-quot… Nar-ra-gan-sett… Po-ka-no-ket … Wam-pa-noag…
The multi-syllables in rhythmic beat with his footfalls, a temporary reprieve from dark thoughts and lactic acid build up in his calves.
3:40AM Heaving now. A proper stop to take in his surroundings. Tall evergreen trees tower amongst the multi-level homes here. He tunes into the signal of the trees, into the darkness of a starless, cloud-covered sky. Relief that no one will catch him in the moonlight. Even though no one is chasing him. What is he running from? Nothing. He is alone here. And is that good or bad? He could get eaten by a wolf. No one would know who he was when they found his body. He left his ID at home.
Wasn’t this the hour of the wolf?
3:45AM. Some signs of life inside the independent gas station with the tilted, squeaky windmill. It’s closed, but he sees some movement inside. He wonders if maybe it might be a chop shop, but perhaps better to mind his own business, stay unseen.
Scooting behind the garage reveals a ravine he knows well. It leads towards a tributary of Chesapeake Bay and to the forgotten structures he loves to explore.
3:50AM. Amidst the green foliage, mounds of dirt and clutter of construction material, he short-cuts through the defunct lumber mill. He knew what he was doing was not safe. Sometimes he sees a security car patrolling here, but for now, his only obstacles were the things he could accidentally impale himself on… the rusted, jagged edges, exposed rebar or rotted, splintered wood.
As that thought came to mind, he stumbled, cutting his knuckles on barbed wire. Was his tetanus vaccine up to date? Maybe cutting himself with a rusty nail would prevent him from having to give blood again next week?
3:59AM. Distancing himself from the lumber mill, his thoughts returned to what had kept him from sleeping. What he thought he may have overheard from the doctors. A single sample containing two separate blood types. Not biologically impossible, but extremely rare. Blood chimera. Abnormal.
An unpaved dirt road. A sprint to his next destination. No more names of slaughtered tribes, only one question, the same question, cycling over and over with his footsteps in a 4/4 time:
What’s/wrong/with/Sonny? What’s/wrong/with/Sonny? What’s/wrong/with/Sonny?