The Illusionist

The Illusionist

17 year old Annie Harper is abused by her alcoholic father after her mother died just a few months ago. Her younger brother, Matthew, is the only one who understands her even though most of the time he's more annoying than helpful. One day she's beat and can't cope any longer. She runs away to the centre of Manhattan where she meets a man. A most impossible man.
Annie learns that all good people have there flaws and all bad people have a reason to be cruel in this tale of illusions and dreams.

Chapter 1

Rain Man

My feet smacked against the wet ground, splashing through puddles in the potholes in the pavement. I was tired, cold, and soaking wet, but I didn't care. I just wanted to get away from it all. So, I ran as far and as fast as I could. I ran away from everything. Though, I didn't know just how far I'd actually end up running or where to. I was just running. Letting my feet take me wherever. Most of the time, I even had my eyes closed, just letting the rain hit my tear-streaked face. After running a long ways, I finally came to a stop, taking deep shaking breaths. I sat at the edge of a nearby fountain. The cherubs attached to it sort of made me uneasy, but I ignored them. Not like they can move. I thought, easing my worries. I stared into the pool of rippling, crystalline water to see my reflection. My blonde hair was stuck to my face and neck, my eyes rimmed with red and my clothes outlining my body. The lavender shirt I wore was just thin enough that almost anyone could now see my polka-dot bra through the silky shirt, though no one seemed to stare. My white capris stuck tightly to my legs and outlined my bottom. It was almost as though I wasn't even wearing clothes. I turned back away from my reflection with a sigh and looked down at the pavement, brushing a strand of hair away from my face. Pressing my thick lips together tightly, I closed my eyes and dipped a finger into the water in the fountain pool behind me. Gently, I traced the water with my finger, imagining I was drawing another world, a world where I didn't have so many problems. A world where no one had problems.
After a short while, my eyes snapped open and I gasped lightly, exiting my daydream and returning to reality. The rain was slowing now, which, I suppose, was a good thing. I liked the rain, though. Mostly because it was a good way to hide my feelings. Maybe the rain liked me too because it didn't come to a complete stop. It sort of misted and drizzled, the wind picking it up and carrying it off at an angle. I looked up from the pavement, surprised to see a man sitting at the bench on the other side of the circular pathway surrounding the fountain. He looked sad too. His long dark bangs swung in front of his face with the coming wind and his hands were neatly clasped together between his outspread legs. He leaned forward, hanging his head and then looking up. Looking at me. My eyes quickly darted away from the man, trying to avoid his glance. After a few minutes, though, I found myself looking at him again, a curiosity in me that I couldn't control. Most people would see a man like this and just pass him by as though he wasn't even there. Maybe judge him a bit as a crazy man. In rain like this most people might not have even noticed him. But I did. I slid off of the edge of the fountain and slowly began to walk toward the man.
Yes, I know. Don't talk to strangers. But there was something about this stranger that made him less... strange. See what I mean? He seemed genuinely sad and alone. I'm not saying that every person who's sad and alone is a good person, it was just that... He was different. A lonely, quiet young man sitting on a bench in the middle of the rain, in the middle of the bustle of all the people rushing to get indoors. He just sat there. Sort of... observing. And I happened to notice him.
His navy suit clung to his body along with his dark hair and as I got closer I could see the darkness in his eyes, which made me wonder if I should just go home. Just leave him alone. But I didn't, because... Well, because I never really listen to that voice in my head telling me to stop or go home. It's just not adventurous and I'm an adventurous person. I sat beside him on the bench and he shifted over slightly to make room. He then proceeded to stare at the pavement as though I hadn't even sat down. I twiddled my fingers, staring up at the clouded sky as I waited to see if he'd say anything. Nothing. Again, my gaze fell on the man and I found myself staring at him once more.
"D'you have to keep starin' at me?" he suddenly asked in an annoyed tone. His accent made it rather obvious that he was from Liverpool. I looked away from him, biting my lower lip.
"Sorry... I just, uh..." I nervously ran a hand through my hair and looked back at him, taking a deep breath. "You okay, sir?" He looked over at me and leaned back in his spot, crossing his legs.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Why?" he replied, a hint of confusion in his voice.
"I just, uh..." I closed my eyes. "Oh, forget it. Sorry to bother you." I hopped up off of the bench and began to walk away, but was stopped by a hand grasping my arm. I spun around to see the man leaning forward again, his fingers wrapped around my wrist.
"Wait!" he whispered, pulling me back slightly. My heart raced. Who was this guy? What in the world was I thinking just walking up to him? My eyes widened at him in fear. Seeing this, he released my wrist, sitting back. I rubbed my wrist with my thumb and index finger, eyeing the man curiously.
"What is it?" I asked, still curious. I didn't sit beside him again, slightly afraid of what he was capable of. Now, my mind was working like a mature adult's. Like it should be. But I still had that intense curiosity pushing me to ask more questions.
"Sit down," he said softly, patting the spot next to him. I ran a hand through my hair, eyes still wide with confusion and surprise. I bit my lip nervously and found myself again sitting down beside him. He smiled lightly at me and flicked his long wet bangs from his face. To my surprise, the rain was slowing even more, the sun peering through the clouds. I looked up at the sky curiously, then back at the smiling man.
"Who are you?" I muttered, tugging at my long wet locks. The man sighed and ran a hand through his hair, slumping back into the bench. He didn't answer my question. I shot up from the bench with a frown, crossing my arms. "Fine," I stated. I wasn’t going to let him just sit there in silence, leaving me in suspense. I needed his name. Who did he think he was? It’s not like I was going to sit there with a nameless man whom I’d never met before in my life. I was about ready to storm off, but I was stopped but the suddenness of the rain's stopping. The sun shifted out to the centre of the sky, the clouds parting away and the rain completely stopping abruptly. It was like magic. I turned back to the man who was comfortably laying back on the bench with his eyes closed, arms crossed behind his head. He had a wide smile pressed to his face. I blinked slowly, just staring at him for a few moments. There was something about him that made me wonder... Wonder what, I wasn't sure. He was mysterious.
I walked back towards him and again sat down on the bench next to him, folding my hands in my lap. One of his eyes opened and he peeked over at me, smile still sticking to his face.
"Hello again," he said quietly. I rolled my eyes.
"You wanna tell me who you are, so I don't have to be worried about getting mugged or something?" I snapped. He laughed and at the same time, it seemed, the sky grew brighter. I raised a brow at him, crossing my arms. “Alright. You’re not going to tell me who you are. At least explain why you were crying a few minutes ago and now you’re instantly so happy,” I demanded. His smile faded and clouds returned to the sky. I looked up in confusion, then looked back at the man’s strained face.
“Because…” He squeezed his eyes shut, rubbing his forehead tensely. Then, he opened his eyes again, looking over at me. “You wouldn’t understand,” he mumbled. The sky had grown dark again and the slight grumble of thunder could be heard. I cocked my head to the side ever so slightly.
“How so?” I asked with a kind smile. He smiled lightly in return, but it wasn’t really a happy smile. It was more of a lonely one.
“Bad dream,” he stated simply and I raised a brow at him.
“Must’ve been a really terrible nightmare,” I responded with a chuckle. I pressed my palms against the bench between my legs, feeling the water squish between my fingers. “How old are you?” I mumbled, pressing my lips together.
“Just twenty,” he answered automatically. I raised a brow at him.
“You’ll tell me your age, but not your name?” I giggled.
“What’s in a name?” he remarked, glancing at me with a soft smile. The clouds began to clear again. Suddenly, he hopped up off of the bench, pulling an umbrella from his pocket and popping it open. He then proceeded to walk away, twisting the blue umbrella in circles as he did so. I watched in confusion and a bit of awe. “Wait!” I called, swiftly standing up. He stopped and looked back at me, ready to listen to whatever I had to say. I smiled. “Can I at least have a last name?” I pleaded. He smiled back and laughed to himself.
“Come back here again tomorrow. One in the afternoon,” he told me and then, he was gone. Just like that. I watched him walk away, the blue umbrella spinning round and round behind him. I squinted curiously at him as he wandered off into the bright daylight, a sort of smile on my face. It was weird how the sky seemed to constantly change with his emotions. He wouldn’t give me a name, so I gave him one myself. The Rain Man.

Author's note: hello everyone! Hopefully you like my story! I'm not quite sure if this is going to be a novel or more of a short story yet, I think it'll be a short story... but anyway I'll just have this up for a little while, might delete it eventually just cos I don't think anyone really reads my stuff anyways, plus I always start stories and never finish them and I'm sure people who DO read them don't like that and I feel bad, but I am really liking this one and so I want to actually finish it! hopefully? :D XD Anyway, I really wanted some opinions, so please critique my writing! I could really care less if u comment that it's terrible so long as u have a good reason for thinking that, in which case I'll be more than happy to take your thoughts into consideration. So, here it is... Comment, rate, you know... all that good stuff :)

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