I am re-posting this story because my page breaks went missing for some unknown reason. I know it sucks. Anyway, these characters are not mine…
Contrary to what Henry believed, it wasn't Shawn's fault this time. It had been Gus's idea to take that walk around the neighborhood. If Gus hadn't suggested the bout of exercise, Shawn never would have seen the sign declaring the yard sale at the Mitchell's. He wouldn't have suggested they stop by to browse for a while. And he wouldn't have found the slingshot.
Yes, in a way, the death of the Jefferson's bird was his fault. Yes, he did fire the rock. But, he didn't ask it to go astray. He, also, didn't open the window and leave the bird's cage sitting in the open. No, that was Physics and the owner's fault. And Shawn had tried to explain that to his father. Only, Henry didn't see his logic.
"Shawn let me get this straight," his father started crossing his arms and towering over his son as he sat at the kitchen table. "It's Gus's fault for suggesting you two take a walk and allowing you to catch sight of the yard sale sign. It's the Mitchell's fault for selling you the slingshot. It's Physics' fault for making the rock go off course. And it is also Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson's fault for opening their window and putting their bird near it. And the only thing you are guilty of is shooting the rock." It didn't escape Shawn's attention that his father found his story to be utterly absurd.
"Exactly," Shawn said trying to convince his dad with one word. Instead, Henry took his slingshot and sent Shawn to his room grounding him for two weeks.
2009-1 MONTH AGO…
"Honestly, how could the grocery store run out of pineapple," Shawn complained passing the produce section for what felt like the fiftieth time.
"Shawn, I'm pretty sure it's not going to magically appear," Abigail commented gently swinging their interlocked hands back and forth.
"Pineapple is a magical fruit, Abigail. I'm sure they have some type of power. Maybe they read minds."
"I don't think so."
Shawn sighed and said, "Then I'll have enough faith in the possibility of pineapple powers for the both of us."
"And I support you," Abigail said with a smile. Shawn returned the smile, gently pulling her towards the exit. Before they could leave, he caught sight of a comment box next to the sliding doors. Abigail dropped her head to her chest when she realized what he saw.
"One comment," he pleaded, already heading toward the box.
"Only one," she asked remembering the last time they went to the store together. That time Gus tagged along and the two spent fifteen minutes making up silly comments.
"Yes, only one. I promise." He raised his hand in the Boy Scout salute.
"I didn't know you were a Boy Scout," Abigail commented following him to the stand.
"Yes, it was a life experience I wish to never recall, again." But sadly still do, he thought as he pulled the pen from the stand, wondering why places were always so protective of them and chained them to the stands. He pulled a comment card from the stack and scribbled, Get Pineapple, across the line. He stuck it in the box, put the overly protected pen back, and took Abigail's hand again.
They left the store, the automatic doors sliding closed behind them. Shawn glanced up the street, noticing the four people scattered throughout the sidewalk.
Two of them-a tall, gangly brunette guy and a shorter, fake tanned blonde-were arguing close to a bar with a bright green neon sign declaring the place open. Shawn couldn't be sure, their voices were hushed hisses, but they seemed to be fighting over where they parked the car. There were exactly sixteen cars, parked in various positions, away from the couple. One was Abigail's so the other fifteen could possibly be theirs'.
A third person, standing on the curb and waiting for a taxi to pass-the driver wearing a checkered hat atop his dark hair and a tan leather coat-was wearing a long, gray trench coat. His hands were in the pockets, his head bobbing up and down to the music blaring in his ears from a set of earbuds from an I-pod. His red hair had been combed back at one time, but now stuck up all over; the man obviously running his hands through it several times. Finally, the cab passed and he crossed the street.
The last person was a mystery. He or she was standing in the shadows, only a street light showing a sliver of their pale face. Shawn had seen pale people before, unusual as it was for Santa Barbara it wasn't uncommon, but never had a pale person given off a bad vibe like the mystery person across the street. The person's had been looking down, from what Shawn could see, but looked directly at the faux-psychic when he stared too long.
"Hey, are you listening," Abigail's voice brought him back to reality. He looked away from the mystery person, glancing at her.
"What," he questioned noticing the slight eye roll she gave him.
"I asked if you wanted to go to the movies Thursday," she repeated lightly. All traces of annoyance she felt towards him was hidden well, but was still caught with his advanced perceptiveness.
"Why not," Shawn replied letting her hand go and wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "One with pineapple, right?"
"One with pineapple," she promised kissing him lightly on the lips.
They continued down the sidewalk, heading toward Abigail's car. Shawn glanced behind them, surprised to see the mystery person gone. Years of his father's lessons, years of being told to never ignore a gut feeling, hit him and Shawn subtly sped up dragging Abigail with him. They were feet from her car, the moon shining off the green hood, when someone stepped out in front of them.
Shawn skidded to a halt, unconsciously tightening his grip on Abigail. He took in the man's appearance as he said, "Lost? Man, even I get lost and I live here. I can help you as best I can, but if I can't there is a map in that…"
"Shut up," a gruff voice snapped and extracted a gun from his coat. The .45 caught a street light, the silver shining and reminding Shawn of Abigail's car and the moon. He raised his right hand-keeping his left on Abigail's shoulder-and said, "Look, if you're robbing us I swear the only thing in my wallet is an expired coupon for Baskin Robbins and six bucks…" a loud bang cut him off, pain erupting through his stomach.
His arm slid from Abigail's shoulder as he collapsed to the ground. Blood poured from his new hole, his hand automatically touching the wound. His blood was warm and slick as it spread through his fingers. Weakly, he said, "Abigail run." Instead of complying, Shawn heard her scream and another bang follow. He heard a body hit the ground, close to his head. He tried to see who it was, but his body wouldn't obey. Everything was going dark, his body felt blissfully numb. The last thing he heard, before giving in to the darkness, was footsteps running away and someone shouting, "Call 911…"