When Ulrich left
This is the first short story I wrote using my Caption this tactic. Enjoy !
It was cold but the sun hadn’t set when Ulrich left.
He just went, leaving us here, walking straight with his dog.
At that time, we used to hang around the old railroad, smoking, dreaming of getting our degree, never working for it. I think Ulrich was the first one to realized it, maybe he was the smartest, all I know is that I needed a little more time.
Saggy clouds were hanging over our heads, and slowly the fog came out of the forest, crawling between the woods, making them disappear, probably woke up by us and our French music. I remember this correctly, someone (was it Jen ?) had put a French music group on, some rap and rock mix that shook the ground. I remember it because, for a short amount of time, I forgot myself.
And when I came back to my senses, Ulrich was punching Ben on the face. This was just before Ulrich left.
I still don’t know what I was thinking about, maybe it was a good story. All I know is the weed and the fight and the time made me forget. Forget about the story, not about the fight.
At the time, I thought Ben, being sarcastic and all, might have talked about Ulrich’s mother. Nobody would have done that, but Ben was high, high and irascible, and dirty, and mean, and having no hope of getting his medecine degree. Maybe that’s why he talked about Ulrich’s mother and why Ulrich left. See, I never asked. I thought Ulrich would be back the next day, with another ziplock full of weed and we’d talked about it, before the group came, before we forgot. And we’d stand here, all night, being cold and drugged and fluffy, all about the railroad. But Ulrich never came.
Ulrich, he left following the trail of iron that led to a small hill til the surroundings swallowed him. His dog was following him because at that time, Ulrich used to come with the beast. Girls loved his dog, and Ulrich, having lost his girl, thought the dog might get him a new one. He didn’t have that much girl, in his time, and, right before he disappeared in the fog, he’d been training for weeks, getting up early, running, doing his abs and all that stuff we just wouldn’t do. Man, he’d become lean at the time. We all knew it, we all realized it, maybe this is what took us apart. Ulrich’d been doing someting, something good to him, that just wasn’t our lifestyle.
Sometimes, at night, while I lay awake beside my girl, or when a door closes in front of me, I just think of Ulrich, I have to ; because when he left, I’m the sole person he shook hands with. I was his friend, that’s why I thought he’d be back. You see, I always thought Ulrich was dumb, unable to speak about quantum physics, politics or geography, philosophy while getting high. I thought the guy knew, just knew he wasn’t like us, book-smart, book-smart and high, gently tucking their life in the garbage right next to old litterature courses, to photo albums full of dust and memories from highschool.
But at some point, Ulrich decided to change, to change everything about him, around him, that’s when he began to make his voice heard, before this instant, people only heard him, or listened to him when we talked about videogames and then he changed, becoming lean, reading books, stopping weed and we all laughed, and we all watched, and we all envied him, in a way we would never admit to one another. Ulrich was becoming someone good. Ulrich changed, brang his dog and then went.
But before that he’d slap Ben on the face, throwing him to ground. That’s just the loud cloc which awoke me. Noise of a jaw being punched too hard. Maybe at that time, Ben thought Ulrich was a menace to him, I don’t know, I’ll never know because Ulrich went and never did he look back. There was his small dog right next to him, and the smoke from our joint was becoming like the fog that took us and we waited til he disappeared and then, while Ben was still laying on the ground, Ulrich and his dog were gone.
I don’t recall him talking to the animal, he just went, and the dog followed him, watching him as if to be sure his master was okay, the little thing was walking straight while keeping an eye on the hooded face of his buddy, and he was doing it so perfectly, so naively, that I knew no harm could come to Ulrich.
The next day, the dog came home alone from what I remember, I don’t know who said that to me, I’m pretty sure I never talked to Ulrich’s mother after this night. So the four-legged creature came back home and howled and scratched and, in my mind, Ulrich’s mother opened the door still in her pajamas, having no job and all. I like to think she was alarmed, having never seen her child not coming back, I like to think she called the cops right away.
After that, everything’s blurry, there were search parties and police interrogation, and finally the discovery. Somewhere, along the railroad tracks, Ulrich got his face punched in, for real, that’s just that. Maybe three miles from us, Ulrich met his fate and cried and fought and died or at least that’s what I like to think of it. Maybe the dog stood right next to his master during the fight, maybe it growled, maybe it attacked and got kicked in. I just liked to think the dog stayed right next to his master while his life got away, while he died. I like to think the dog howled all night long and maybe, just maybe we could have heard it, if it wasn’t for that French music group screaming through the speaker of the Iphone.
Sometimes, at night, while I lay next to my girl, I just think of the night when Ulrich went.
From now on, I will release a flash fiction every fourth friday of the month. This is the first but once wrote a whole serie of short fictions which can be found HERE.