My first post. I welcome constructive criticisms with open arms. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I apologize for not indenting, I'm new and not familiar with the set up yet. (:
It was nearing mid-fall when Xavier Wells stumbled upon the Bonaparte Brother's Circus lodging house. The twenty-something-year-old had been drifting the desolate countryside for three days and had exhausted his supply of food and fresh water. In the chill of the creeping hours of the night, the single light dimly shining through the porthole window of the largest trailer seemed to illuminate through a veil of downpour his way to sanctuary. At the time Xavier failed to distinguish the silhouettes as the Big-Top, the rodeo, and the concession stands; so when he knocked on the metal door of one of an isolated series of trailers to make his plea for assistance, he had no idea what to expect.
The noise must have startled the residents for from inside he heard a stir of commotion, a back and forth exchange and the clatter of what he expected to be either a jagged hermit or an elderly couple shuffling to the door. There was jingle of metal as one of the latch locks was undone, and the rusty knob rattled as the door was cracked open to its avail without unlatching the second chain. Through the crevice that was now made, a shifting eye in a rough wind-worn face appeared, it met Xavier’s gaze, then immediately seared up and down his frame.
"Lou?" a female voice from within called. During a brief pause, it tried again, "Lou-Lou?"
The head quickly jerked to the side, giving Xavier a side profile of the man's face. Immediately, he identified a scar beneath a five o'clock shadow that gave the man, "Lou", a raw unpleasant look. The large man gestured with one thick finger against his jagged lips. There was a reluctant scoff, but no further sounds of shifting behind the door.
Slowly, the finger dropped and Lou redirected his attention to the peculiar stranger at the door step, "Well?" His voice was harsh and coarse, just as Xavier expected it to be.
"May I impose?" Lou gave a glare that shattered Xavier’s confidence, and in an undignified manner, he wrapped his scrawny fingers around the border of the door with the unawareness that they could be instantaneously broken, "For a sliver of your hospitality."
At this statement the second rose to her feet, and she too rushed to the door, "He sounds cute! Let me see. Stop - Stop that!" This one sounded, much to Xavier's welcomed surprise, young, sweet, eager, three traits that eased his inhibitions.
"Young man, do you any idea the -"
Xavier was too familiar with this opening and was well acquainted with the idea that followed: rejection. He knew all too well what was to come next, before Lou could slam the door in his face, Xavier would get in his two cents. His hand wormed further into the crevice, and grasped onto Lou’s wrist, "Wait before you finish. Let me explain. I'm a traveling business man; I spend a lot of my time on the road. I was on my way to Utah to meet some executives, and having started from my home state of Wisconsin, I had only a short ways left to go. You seem like a well-traveled guy, so I'm sure you know this can do a number on you." Lou was stricken with visible shock from ear to ear. He gave his arm a quick yank from Xavier's grasp, but refrained to slam the door, "....Well, I shouldn't have driven tired, I knew that regardless, I did. There - happy? I flipped my car in the ditch. ...I'm alright though!" he added hastily, "See, I don't have Medicare, so I'd rather not involve the authorities, but I do need a place to stay for a day, at most two, until my sister from Wisconsin can meet me." Xavier had rehearsed this countless times in his head before reciting it now. He contemplated every detail: How one who narrowly escaped death would act, whether they'd try themselves to help free the car, and especially the involvement of police. He created the ruse to exercise compassion after rejection from several before who failed to sympathize with a technically homeless physically and mentally capable young adult in a tight spot.
"Lou, open the door, he needs help..." The rest faded off into a muffled bitter exchange between the two, and finished with, "...And you say you're a Christian man!"
A dry lump formed in Xavier's throat, the autumn rain was cold and penetrating, so much that it damped his clothes to the point where they had molded on top of his skin. In the distant horizon he saw tidy rows of suburban households, but the families of all had already retired for the evening. Even so, he wasn't able to estimate how long it would take to travel to another refuge, and if he were to try, he wasn't sure he'd make it. Knowing this Xavier desperately recognized this to be his last chance at potential survival.
His heart pulsed in his chest, his throat, and in his skull. The two had fallen silent now and Lou's figure disappeared from the gap. A cold sweat broke from his pores, beads slid down with the rain's downpour until they plummeted off the abrupt edge of his structured jaw. A small sack of belonging's he had been carrying sat propped against the door, and just as he was about to gather them the second chain was undone and the door slowly creaked open. There in the doorway, stood a large, middle-aged, average-Joe looking kind of guy. The light from inside lined the man's body in such a way that made him look angelic and ethereal, Xavier felt a sudden obligation to avert his eyes as though he were looking upon a deity, " - the hell?" The man began with a confused expression, "What do you think you're doing? Get in here before you catch something serious."