Avoiding Contact

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Zack tossed and turn on the small worn out mattress he had gotten for himself. Ray was across the room, sound asleep again, nestled comfortably under the tattered sheets. This left Zack to go back to wandering through his own thoughts again, even if there wasn't much he thought about. Zack didn't feel the need to use sheets, so he would often sleep in his clothes, even though Ray had tried to teach him about washing his clothes. She had went so far as to help him change out of his bandages every once in a while just to keep him somewhat clean.

He didn't mind showers, but there was something about washing machines that was very off-putting to Zack. At this point, Ray still didn't understand his confusion towards the inanimate object but she let it slide. On occasion, she would wait until he got in the dingy little shower they had in their little flat and stole his clothes to wash them. Not much to her surprise, she learned that the blood stains on his hoodie were permanent. Zack acted as though he were offended by her doing this but in actuality, he didn't mind. Having clean clothes was a strange yet pleasant feeling.

Once they would run out of food, Ray would sneak out, wearing clothes that she would find off of dying homeless people. It was gross but she wasn't too bothered by her actions. She still lacked sympathy due to her sociopathic nature but she did have some sympathy reserved for Zack. He was the only one at this point. She did everything she could to make sure she stayed incognito to protect the both of them from the law and him, from death row. She had left him before but never would she allow them to part like that again.He swore that he would kill her and she was not about to back out after all they've been through. This was their life now. A life of constant hiding. The two were on the run so she had no choice but to make do with this new path of hers. She truly cared for this man. This psychopathic, uneducated, enigma of a man.

She found herself growing more and more fascinated by his character each day. Eventually, she found herself wanting to know just about everything. Zack however, fought her because of it. He was determined to keep her as ignorant of his past as much as possible. She didn't really understand why he had been so guarded lately. It caused her to grow quietly irritated with him. Resulting in long moments of awkward silence. Followed by His stubbornness and awareness of the situation. Followed by more silence. Finally one of them broke the barrier. "Why are you like this, Zack?" This made him even more irritable. "Huh?! What the hell do ya mean by that? Why am I like what? Stop speaking in riddles!" She grew silent again before speaking once more. "You seem really on edge lately. Is there something bothering you?" She hit the nail on the head.

He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling like he had been walking on a thin tightrope. He had to say something but naturally, the words just left his mouth without hardly any substance to them. "Worry about yourself. I don't need you pestering me over dumb shit!" Ray closed her eyes, still gaining her calm composure. She was almost too good at that and it really ticked him off. He fought back the urge to whine about how emotionless she acted and gritted his teeth, now feeling sorta guilty of being insensitive to her concern. He masked the thought by playing it off as just "being dumb". Even if he wanted to, he couldn't express what he wanted to say in the right words. So later on that day, he asked her to teach him how to read and write. She agreed, deep down still very curious about what was going on in his brain.

Zack struggled for hours but surprisingly didn't give up on trying to learn. Ray was pleased with how hard he was working. The last time she tried to teach him, he gave up, flipping the papers off as he walked out of the room. Now he was sticking with it. Determined to get better and understand things to a level someone at his age should. It was weird for him to want to actually try something like writing or reading books. He never would've imagined touching a single book in his life.

Yet here he was with Ray, sounding out words as she drug her finger underneath a word, encouraging him to sound out each syllable. Soon enough, he started to read short yet simple sentences like "See Jane run!" or "The dog barks loudly." from textbooks and children's nursery rhymes she had snuck from a local used bookstore. Ray even got him a copy of "Pat the bunny". He was perplexed by the idea of being able to feel things in a book, which was very amusing to watch.

She smiled, very happy to see this new side of him. The side that reminded her of the time he screamed at her not to die on him back at that awful place. The place where the both of them had suffered great injury. Mentally, physically, and emotionally as they were thrust back into their own visions of hell. Yet they both came to terms with their memories eventually, despite all the pain. Ray realized that if it weren't for fate, she would've never met someone like Zack. For all that he was, and all that he would become.

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