You’re downtown, and see graffiti in an unlikely place—graffiti like you've never seen
before, concerning someone you know.
Graffiti was nothing new around the downtown area of Long Beach, you could find it in alleyways and on the sides of large buildings almost everywhere you looked. Sometimes the graffiti would even change with the passing seasons. The best part, to me anyway, was that the longer I looked at some of them, the more I felt like I was looking into the artist's soul. By looking at all the little details, I could find out what really mattered to the person who painstakingly took the time to make the piece just right. On days like today, when the clouds were dominating the usually endless blue sky and leaving the world colorless, I liked to go look at the graffiti around town as a way to satisfy my craving for color. I crossed the street and pulled my sweater closer around myself as a strong sea scented wind blew. My hair swirled around in my face as I approached the building where I usually found my favorite street art. Stepping close to the building, I ran my finger over a swirling line and looked up at the rest of the wall. It was different today, and I could tell that the artist who usually claimed this space as their canvas hadn't painted this particular piece. Or should I say 'pieces'? A bright orange and wonderfully detailed saber-tooth tiger was painted on the bottom left hand corner of the wall, it's maw open in a vicious looking snarl, yet on it's tongue sat a delicate looking flower. Meanwhile, across from the tiger was a Buddha statue, golden and looking at peace with it's hands folding in front of his chest in an eternal prayer. Several other remarkable pictures covered the wall as well, but the one that drew my attention the most, was the one directly in the middle of the wall that said a name in beautiful script. It said, “Jason Oligney” and around it were the most intriguing little symbols. They roughly resembled the almond shape of an eye and they surrounded his name in a beautiful type of border. The part that jarred me the most was that I knew Jason Oligney and usually when full name was on a mural like this, it was usually a memorial to a person who had died. As far as I knew, Jason was alive and well, but a soft fear crept up in to my heart. I had no idea how long this mural had been here.
Biting my lip, I quickly dug for my phone in my bag and dialed Jason's number. He picked up after two rings and answered with a groggy, “..llo?” As if I'd woken him up.
“Jay? Hey.. I had a question. Wait.. were you asleep?” I asked. “It's three in the afternoon.” I could hear his growl on the other end of the line, sexy and low.
“Please tell me you didn't call me to ask why I was asleep.” he said with a sigh and even without seeing it, I could tell he was running his hand over his face in a patient sort of frustration.
“Ah.. No..” I answered quickly, glancing back up towards the wall. “I was just wondering why your name is on this massive mural just off of Alamitos Avenue and also just making sure you were okay.”
“My name is on what?” Came his reply, though he didn't sound surprised at all. So I continued, “Yeah.. and it's got all these tiny symbols around it. It seems really out of place though, I mean-”
“Forget it, Anne..” He said suddenly. “It's nothing.” His tone startled me. I wasn't used to hearing such a roughness coming from him. “Why don't you just come over?” His voice had gone gentle again and I had suddenly forgotten what I had been so concerned about.
“Yeah.. Okay, you want me to bring anything?” I asked.
“Just yourself.” he said, making a shiver travel up my spine.
“Alright, I'll be over in about an hour.” I answered meekly. When I hung up the phone I looked back to the wall, and Jason's full name surrounded by all those odd symbols. It no longer seemed odd to me anymore but I snapped a picture of it anyway and to my surprise, the picture showed something different than what I saw. The picture showed, where Jason's name had been on the wall, just a big symbol like a 6 laying on it's back, with a curved line on top in the opposite direction of the six's tail, creating a large symbol just like the little ones that surrounded his name before. I looked from the picture to the wall, confused and somewhat terrified.
That's when a young couple walked by and I overheard the woman saying, “Why is your name up there?” and her boyfriend replied,
“What are you talking about...? That's your name.”