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Danger Zone

Christina C. Franklin | Delilah Buckle

This time of day was the danger zone for him. He did not know why twilight had this unusual effect on him, but it did, springing forth like a wild kickboxing kangaroo daring anything or anyone to get in its way.

Stephen stared out the window, his imagination vivid, his mind’s eye running rampant like a swelling river after a flooding storm. His thoughts were turning sinister, evil, as he watched the pink swirling clouds paint the darkening sky. The urges were coming. He struggled to keep them in check.

He was well aware of the names they called him, “Sick Pup” or “Psycho”, and his all time favorite, “Hannibal Lecter.” He was notorious. At least in his mind. What could be better than to be known and renowned, to be important; to be regarded? Maybe one day they would even write a book about him, he mused. He’d have to make sure they used his middle name though, just like all the great famous ones.

Stephen watched the distant limbs on the trees sway in the setting sun, bending like a freshly broken vertebrae. The sky was turning orange, blood orange, the sweet irony as succulent as its namesake fruit. He rose from his perch and paced, wringing his hands and glancing at the clock. The big hand inched a step closer. Soon it would be time.

Like an old-time movie, the horizon faded to black until he could no longer distinguish between the bars on the window and the deep ebony sky.

Stephen nervously ran a hand through his disheveled unkempt nest of curly hair. He could not take it anymore. He needed it now. Hastily he grabbed his metal cup from off of the sink and ran barefooted across the cold tiled floor toward the door.

Back and forth, back and forth, he scraped his cup against the steel bars. “Guard! Guard! It’s time for my meds! I need my meds.” Responsive moans reverberated between the concrete walls.

“Shut up, Nut Job!” he heard from above.

“Yeah, go stuff your face with some fava beans, Lecter!” echoed down the hall.

Cell Block B must be ornery tonight, he thought with a smile. Stephen pumped up his chest. He liked being notorious.

“That’s right! Call me Lecter,” he yelled back through the bars, “but one day I will be fondly regarded as the infamous Stephen Wayne Hillboro! You’ll see.”

“Zip it, Psycho,” voiced more background noise, barely penetrating his now encompassing thoughts.

His brain catalogued the previous year’s events like the jail library’s microfiche machine, and Stephen fondly scrolled through each of them, reminiscing. It both calmed and ignited him.

He couldn’t help now but to think, what if there were no bars or walls tonight? What if he were free to stalk, and navigate, and roam freely once again through the danger zone?

About Christina C. Franklin

Having never lost her passion for writing, Christina Franklin always found ways to flex her creative muscle by writing website content, newsletters and business litigation blogs during her 20+ year career as either a legal and/or executive assistant. A reader of many genres and an incurable fan of the heat miser and snow miser, on a typical day, Christina can be found sitting under a pile of black and white fur in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, while attempting to pen her first novel. Currently, several of her short stories can be found on The Story Shack.

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