Abraham Winston sat on a bench next to the street corner and fidgeted with his hands. In a fit of anxiousness, he rubbed them together, oftentimes in such rapidity as to create enough friction that he could shock unsuspecting strangers. People often stopped and spoke to him. On occasion, he would mutter a word or two back, but he refused to make eye contact with people. So, it went for Abraham Winston.
“That boy is slow,” some muttered as they passed by. Abraham heard the mean comments, but he never minded overmuch. Other people avoided contact with him at all. Abraham exhibited few social skills, not that he cared one whit about being social. As far as anyone knew, Abraham lived in his own world. It was a world of magic, filled with vibrant colors, and his own version of theater. His father, Tate Winston, worked as the senior Alderman of Fredericksburg, and he often brought Abraham to work with him.
On days when he brought Abraham to work with him, he would leave him with the security guards that sat in front of a bank of monitors in the lobby. Various paintings, photographs, and penciled drawings of Fredericksburg hung from the walls. Abraham was entranced by the colors of the paintings, and he often wandered around the lobby mumbling to himself. Most of the guards ignored Abraham preferring to let the boy wander. It kept the guards from having anything to do with the lad, and it wasn’t like they couldn’t keep a close eye on the lad from their position in the lobby.
Timmy Mathieu, the senior guard, would often take Abraham outside when he went out to smoke. Today was no different from any other day when Abraham visited. After Timmy completed his rounds, which included a patrol of each floor to check the security measures in place, or to record a complaint against one of his officers by some pretentious quasi-elite, he stopped by the desk in the lobby to report his findings to his partner. His partner, Becky Stonebridge, sat behind the desk and watched the monitors.
“Hey Becky. Abraham and I are going outside for a minute. We’ll be back in five.”
“Come on, Abraham. Do you want to go outside with me?”
Abraham nodded and wrung his hands. He swayed back and forth from one foot to the next until Timmy started for the revolving doors. Abraham followed Timmy outside. As usual, Abraham wrung his hands and mumbled as he followed Timmy to the smoking area that bordered the western side of the building. Timmy and Abraham walked through the small square garden that led into the smoking area. Timmy sat on one of the benches and lit his cigarette.
Abraham wandered around the garden, stopping to look at the various statues and Civil War plaques. Timmy watched traffic pass by and sucked in a lungful of cancer. He finished his smoke and crushed the butt under the heel of his shoe, and then turned to talk to Abraham.
“Abraham? Where are you at, bud?”
Abraham didn’t answer. The icy hand of fear gripped Timmy’s heart, and he leapt to his feet and rushed around the garden, his eyes frantically searching for the young man. Abraham was nowhere to be seen; Timmy looked behind every statue, every corner, his heart pulsed with fear-induced panic. He raced through the garden and back into the government building. Becky looked up from the row of monitors when he rushed in.