snapshots of a hometown
Alex ran as though his life depended on it. Adrenaline pumping, wind passing through and hitting him roughly, legs moving faster than they ever had before.
"Can't get me, can't get me!"
Running through the back streets and near the train tracks, he can feel his heart pumping through his chest but that only encourages him to go even faster. James and his friends were getting closer, he could feel it, so he just kept propelling himself forward. They tended to keep their friends group separate but on this specific occasion Alex had followed them out until they were walking around town and after some banter was thrown back and forth, Alex made a boastful claim about being faster then all of them combined, solely trying to look cool in front of his older brother's friends, but now he had to put those skills to the test as much as possible. Never one to back down, especially not from the overactive claims he'd make, they now found themselves in a race.
His mistake was looking back to see what was going on behind him and it was in that moment that he stumbled over something, twisted his leg wrong, and went straight to the ground as he yelled out in pain.
This, to James and his friends, was a victory. They ran up to him and were quick to jump around and talk some smack but then they realized that there was something wrong as Alex's expression and the fact that he barely moved said everything. From celebrating their victory to kneeling by his side, James had one of his friends run to one of the store's nearby to get help.
"It's okay, it's okay, it's okay. It'll be okay. It's okay."
Always cool, calm and collected, James talks him through it as a local shopkeep they know ends up picking him up, the boys piling up in the car as they're taken to the hospital and James calls their parents on the way over.
"JAMES LEWIS MILLIGAN, WHAT?"
A few hours later, with Alex in a leg cast slumped into the living room chair and James by his side, they get a scolding for irresponsible behavior by their mom, followed by a composed request if they'd like some tea and cookies for the stress of the day. As she heads to the kitchen, James looks over at Alex.