Sanctuary

Written by:
Linda Kay


BILL & TED characters are trademarks of Nelson 1991 Inc. The motion picture BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE & © 1989 Nelson Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. The motion picture BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY © 1991 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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There was no doubt.... the space was dirty and somewhat confining but he appreciated the quiet.  Apart from a few muffled voices barely reaching his ears from some distance there was no sound.  Bill lay motionless, too exhausted and fed up to worry about moving around.  He didn't even mind the fact that his head rested on a dirty, old tennis shoe.  He just wanted to be left alone.

Again he concentrated on the rows of metal circles above, each spiraling upward away from him.  He lifted his fingers to trace their flow as a vivid scene invaded his mind.  He'd relived the scenario numerous times, though not for several years, having "grown up" too much to find comfort in its illusion.  But for some reason he felt the need to relive it now, closing his eyes as he entered the kitchen.  His mother was lifting the lid of a hot skillet to reveal a sumptuous looking pot roast.

"Dinner's almost ready," she said sweetly.  "Are your hands clean?"

He shoved his tiny fingers forward for her to examine, which she did with a nod.  His father approached from behind, patting him on the head proudly before stepping to his wife.

"Can I help with anything?" he inquired.

"Could you lift this out of the pan?"  She set the lid down and moved around his father to get a large plate.  "Billy, why don't you take the salad to the table?"

Eager to help, he lifted the large salad bowl, carefully carrying it through the swinging kitchen door into the dining room.  The table was picture perfect.  He set the salad down and sat at his place as his mother and father carried the rest of the meal to the table.

Pretty soon they were all seated; dad carving the meat and filling each plate.

"How 'bout going to the ball game tomorrow?"

Staring at his dad in disbelief, he couldn't help but smile broadly.  "Really?"  He threw a nervous look to his mother, fearing her reaction.  "What about mom?"

She looked up, more beautiful than he'd ever seen her.  "Sounds like fun.  Should I pack a lunch for us, too?"

His heartbeat grew fast with excitement; a warm feeling spreading through him as his mom and dad took each others' hands and smiled at one another.....

The muffled sound of a telephone ringing jarred him from these thoughts.  He tried desperately to recapture it but his mind simply wouldn't accept the scene any more.  The image was replaced by another one, only this one was coldly realistic.  He was seated at the large desk in his room, shifting the remains of an unappetizing frozen dinner with his fork.  Below, he could hear his mother's voice rise and fall continually.  She had the uncanny ability to send a shiver down his spine with a high-pitched shriek of anger, something she'd mastered through many years of practice.

He didn't know what they were arguing about this time; he didn't care.  The reasons for their fights never made any sense to him.  He just prayed for it to end soon.

Instead the voices became sharper, more vicious.  His father's words were more forceful than he could remember hearing before and it terrified him to think how much energy was behind them.  Suddenly the man's deep voice cut off, followed by the slam of the front door.  His mother continued, now screeching in that high pitch continuously, throwing the door open and yelling after the fleeing man, not giving a damn what the neighbors would think.  A car engine roared to life in the driveway then pulled away, fading into the distance.

The front door slammed again.  His mother continued to scream.  Sharp sounds of fists hitting the walls rang throughout the house.  After a time the yelling subsided into loud crying.  Unable to stand it, Bill moved from the desk to his bed and threw himself across the covers, hoping to bury his head in his pillow and block out the sound of sobbing from below.

He wasn't sure how long it continued, but he was suddenly aware of his mother's steps on the stairs.  He cringed, waiting for her to enter the room to make sure her son knew, for the millionth time, what a bastard he had for a father.

Instead, her footsteps moved quickly past the door and into the master bedroom.  He waited, trying to decipher the shuffling sounds she was producing.  Whatever she was doing, she was certainly putting a lot of energy into it.

Her footsteps again approached; this time slow and labored.  She puffed as if still crying as she moved past his room again and down the stairs.  There was silence for a few minutes, then the unmistakable sound of the front door opening and closing.

Unable to believe what he'd heard, Bill propped himself up and listened for the click of her high heels on the hall tile below, but there were none.  His heart dropped at the roar of his mother's sportscar in the driveway, but he couldn't bring himself to cross to the window.  He lay there, listening, as the sound drew back and disappeared into the night.

Slowly he climbed off his bed and opened the door.  Walking down the stairs, he looked around, now wishing the sounds of arguing would break the stillness.

But there was no one.  He stood in the middle of the dark hallway, staring at the front door, picturing his mother racing back in and taking in his arms, crying and apologizing for forgetting to say goodbye... for leaving him alone.

Alone.....

Bill opened his eyes and sighed, lowering his hand to rest atop his chest.  "Why can't they just leave me alone?"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Mrs. Logan turned from the kitchen counter when the front door opened, sighing as she realized her hour of quiet was now over.

"It is so, dipstick!" Deacon yelled over his shoulder as he walked into the kitchen, depositing a plastic bag of groceries on the table.

"Ssshhh, Deacon!  Don't talk to your brother that way," his mother quietly scolded.

"Is not," Ted countered as he entered, likewise dropping the two bags he was carrying.

"Is so!" Deacon shouted.

"Okay, look guys, would you mind taking this stimulating conversation out of here, please?  I've got to fix lunch."

Deacon walked around Ted, keeping his eyes fixed in a stare of superiority.  "Is so!" he muttered again before running from the room.

Ted shook his head as he helped his mother unpack the groceries.

"What was that all about?" she asked.

Ted stood still a moment, then shrugged with a laugh.  "I dunno.  I forgot."

"That's not all you forgot," she stated, motioning to the bags.  "Where's the bread?"

A look of shocked realization came over Ted's face as he looked around.  "Oh man..."

"And I don't remember pudding cups being on the list," she added, holding up a package of four metal containers.

Ted stood, befuddled, then blurted out what he hoped would be a logical explanation.  "Yah, well..... pudding cups are more nutritious, anyway."

His mother tilted her head, amused by Ted's defense.  "They are?"

"Sure!" Ted continued confidently as he took the package from her and pointed out the nutritional information.  "See, it says right here... 'fortified with Vitamins A, B 12, C....'."

"Yes, but there's one thing you seem to be overlooking," she countered.

"What?"

She smiled broadly, taking the package from him.  "It's rather difficult to make sandwiches with chocolate pudding!"

Ted looked truly sad, lowering his head.  "Oh..... yah."

With a small laugh she reached over and brushed his hair aside with her fingers.  "It's okay.  We'll have soup for lunch.  I'll go by the store again later."

Ted smiled and turned to put the milk in the refrigerator when his father entered, looking concerned.  "Ted?"

"Yes, sir?" Ted asked with some apprehension.

"Have you seen Bill today?"

This was an odd question to be coming from his father.  Usually his dad didn't give a damn about Bill, hoping only the two were not causing trouble.  "No."

"His father just called.  Seems he's run off and they can't find him."

"He probably just went out to play," offered Mrs. Logan.  "I'm sure he'll turn up soon."

"Today was the last day of the hearing," Captain Logan pointed out.

The kitchen became strangely quiet.

"Ted, why don't you go to your room?  I'll finish putting the groceries away."

"'Kay."  Ted walked out of the kitchen to his room, straining to listen as his parents continued to talk quietly between themselves.

"I just think it's a shame the way they treat that poor kid," he barely overheard his mother whisper.

Unable to make out any more of their conversation, Ted walked into his room, closing the door behind him.  He didn't really understand all of what was happening with Bill, but he felt sorry for him nonetheless.  He couldn't imagine how he'd feel if his parents were getting divorced.

Walking across his cluttered room he realized he'd left his window slightly open.  After closing it, he crossed to his bed and flopped down on the mattress, lying on his back to think about where Bill might have gone.  He wished he knew so he could talk to him.  It made him uneasy to think his best friend was out there somewhere alone.

A soft noise caught Ted's attention, and he looked around in confusion.  It had sounded like someone clearing their throat nearby.  He waited but the noise didn't repeat itself.  He didn't know how he could have identified the source; perhaps it was instinct.  "Bill?" he called softly.

He waited, but when no answer came he lay back down.  Perhaps it had been his imagination after all.

"Yah?" a small voice replied from beneath his bed.

Ted didn't bother sitting up again.  "I thought that was you.  How long you been down there?"

The answer was delayed in coming. "You know there's 88 springs under here?  Three're broken."

"That long", Ted thought.  He didn't say anything for a long moment.  "My dad says yer folks called."

"That's nice," Bill murmured.

"Why'd you run away?"

"I didn't want to go to that stupid court hearing," Bill moaned, acting as if he didn't really want to be talking about it.

Ted concentrated on twisting a piece of thread he'd pulled out of his bedspread around his finger.  "I'd be freaking out if my parents got divorced."

"I'm glad they're getting divorced!  I just wish they could do it without me!"

"Who do you wanna stay with?"

Bill was quiet a moment.  "My dad, I guess.  My mom doesn't want me.... not really."  The lengthy pause before Bill's next statement confirmed Ted's instinct about the deep hurt his friend had been suffering.  "Never did."

It took a conscious effort to swallow the instinctive urge to tell Bill this wasn't true.  Sadly enough, it was.  He wasn't sure how to continue but Bill did it for him.

"You should see the way she rubs dad's face in it every chance she gets.  How does she know what's best for me?"

"Won't the judge let you decide for yourself?" Ted asked.

Bill coughed slightly.  "I dunno.  I'm afraid to find out."

Ted rolled onto his side, dropping the piece of string behind the headboard, allowing the silence between them to stretch on.  They could continue talking, but it wasn't necessary.  Ted was more than willing to provide Bill with a sanctuary from the world, even if it was only for a little while.  At times like this, it seemed as if all they had was each other.

"Come on, guys!" his mother's voice broke the silence.  "Lunch is ready!"

"You want some lunch, dude?" Ted inquired.

Bill sighed loudly.  "S'pose so."

Taking care not to bounce the springs too much, Ted crawled off his bed and walked to the door.  "I'll try to sneak you a bowl of soup after I eat."

Ted opened the door when Bill spoke, softly so as not to be overheard if anyone passed.  "You forget the bread again?"

Smiling an embarrassed smile, Ted walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.

THE END