She sat by herself, but she was not alone. There was something lingering beside her shivering body. Something I couldn’t seek. A voice in the wind whispered a plea into the spirals of her ear. As her legs stretched out over concrete steps, the light denim folding and wrinkling, she giggled into her trembling hands. Or was she sobbing? Or was she replying back to the wind? My cheek became numb under the frigid lamp pole I took cover behind. My own legs trembled with cold and tiredness, bare knees knocking through tears in the jeans. A kit kat wrapper rolled by me with its edges scraping the sidewalk.
I should go talk to her.
Tears blotted her image, but I wiped at them furiously with my dampened sleeve. Her head cocked upward to the gray clouds.
Rain is approaching. I should go home. Mother would be frantic if I came home with soaked clothing.
“Not yet.” Her voice drifted by. “We have to wait.” Long brown curls, draping her shoulders shook as she giggled again. “It will be worth it.” The wind flew by again, bringing in another message and she stood up, pacing back and forth by her beat up, mud stained, blue backpack. Her lips curled into a frown, eyes narrowed to the ground.
“Um, hi,” I say, removing myself from the pole. Her head rises sharply, the light twinkling in her dark eyes. “Is everything alright?” She cocked her head to the side, looking up at me. I towered over her small frame by at least five inches.
She took a deep breath, and unfurled the frown etched into her face. A smile replaced it, showing a mouth filled with green braces.
“Yes, I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong,” she replied, folding her hands behind her.
I nod slowly. “Okay. I just saw you, um, talking to yourself…” I trail off. Her eyes dimmed as her lips twitched. “Okay, sorry to bother you then, bye.”
That was a bad idea!
As I crossed the street, I glanced behind me to check if she was still standing there. The girl has her back to me, hunched over, talking into her hands. The wind picked up, blowing hair into my face. Pellets of rain fall in lazy sheets, but will soon gain momentum.
She needs to go home.
Lifting my knees, I quickened my pace. A car speeds down the street coming from behind me, blasting loud rock music. The sound traveled through the chilly air, vibrating my shivering body. It passed without stopping at the stop sign.
“What the-” My feet stopped at the end of the street, a breath caught in my throat. On the other side, her backpack sat alone with a swinging flap, the tail dragging on the concrete.
Where is she?
“I’m right here, Louisa.”
Whipping my neck behind me to the voice, I stumbled backwards.
“Who said that? Where are you?”
“Go home Louisa, you shouldn’t be out in the dark at this hour.”
The voice surrounded me like the car music. Every word reverberated through my bones and created a churning in my stomach.
“I was just trying to help!” I yell at the dark sky. More and more rain fell in response. My face was dripping and my clothes were drenched.
“Go home! Go home! Leave now!”
My feet slapped hard on the sidewalk, puddles already forming. Sloshing water splashed my pant legs, and soaked my socks.
What is going on?
My house comes into the view, the door wide open. Mother walks down the porch stairs, hands folded across her chest.
“Louisa?” she exclaims. “Where have you been?”
“Some crazy girl was… talking to herself… then this voice was yelling at me!” I panted, resting a hand on her arm. She guided me into the house, taking a glimpse down the unlit street. I collapsed on the sofa and my backpack dug into my spine. My body is completely soaked, but my throat is parched. A water stain grows underneath me on the sofa. Mother takes my things off me, including my shoes. I shed the wet clothing. They peeled off easy like an orange rind.
“Get in the shower and warm up. I’ll heat your dinner, then you can explain what happened.
An hour later
“Yeah, then she just disappeared, mother! After that, a voice was screaming at me to go home.” I scooped a spoonful of mashed potatoes into my mouth.
“She probably hid in one of the bushes and tried to frighten you. Don’t be silly,” she remarked, shaking her head. She pushed her long, brown bangs behind her ear. “This is why you shouldn’t stay too long after school. That’s when all the weirdos come out.” I rolled my eyes at her comment. It’s only six, but because of it’s winter, the sun sets early. I stayed after to finish doing research for my science project on molecules.
That was frightening, but what if mother is right and she did this on purpose? I’ve never seen that girl before in my life.
She didn’t look the least bit familiar, but judging by the backpack and her sitting in front of the school, she must be a student. Polk middle school wasn’t a big place, but I knew a lot of people.
Maybe she was new?
She wasn’t trying to hurt me, she said to go home…
“Who could be at the door?” My mom got up to check the window. “Huh, it’s a little boy, maybe he got lost.”
“Same one from last week?” I said, craning my neck to window. Mother shrugged, leaving the kitchen. A parent forgot to pick up their son last week, and he was walking around the neighborhood, shivering and lost. For the school bus system, they have a central location where students will go to get picked up. I guess he didn’t know how to get back home from there.
“Who is, mother?” I asked, hearing the door close. I picked up my empty plate and set it down in the sink. “Mother?”
Where is she?
Sighing, I left the kitchen to check the living room.
She’s not here.
I opened the front door and a whoosh of air slapped me in the face. Goosebumps rose along my cheeks. the street is empty.
“Mother!” I yelled.
I slammed the door shut, staggering backwards.
“I told you it wasn’t safe out there.”
“No! What did you do to my mother?” No answer. “Mother!” Running throughout the house, tears, streaked my face, the pounding in my chest getting louder each second. “Mother!”
“Mother is gone to the wind.”
*Photo by Darkness on Unsplash
Dark and Void, I’m drifting through a never ending spiral of darkness. A whooshing noise is the only sound I hear. The last thing I remember is a deafening explosion, and then everyone was crying and running. But they couldn’t escape from whatever it was; that including me.
My best friend Sofia and I were having a lovely picnic, at Galveston Bay, where other people were hanging out. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, the day the 4 year war between America, and Trenica (an alien planet) ended. Or so we thought.
“I’m so glad all the fighting is over. I was getting tired of hearing explosions and such in the distance. It’s all pointless anyway.” Sofia said. She didn’t believe in settling problems with violence.
“I feel the same way, but sometimes it’s the only way to get something done.” I said to her.
She rolled her eyes. “Jessie if you really believe that, why didn’t you join them?”
“I never said that I wanted to fight, I’m not the violent type either. But I’m just saying that talking doesn’t always solve the problem.”
“Well I still think that if the Americans weren’t so nosy, they wouldn’t have even found Trenica!” Here we go again.
Did I mention that Sofia was a foreign exchange student from Germany?
I was cut off short by an ear-piercing shrill that was so loud; we had to cover our ears.
That's where the running and crying came in. Everyone tried to run away and save their families but it was no use. I was suddenly knocked sideways, hitting my head hard on a tree; that how I ended up here. I don’t know where everybody else is, but I feel like I’ve been floating through this empty space for hours, but it’s probably been only minutes. I don’t even know if I’m dead or alive. I try to move around but I can’t feel my body at all. Suddenly, a blinding flash of white light shines all around me. Then I’m falling and all the feeling in my body returns to me.
I slow down a little as the blinding light fades away and water forms beneath me. I hit the surprisingly warm water with a splash. I resurface and catch my breath, trying to swim to the shore some feet away. I barely swim 2 strokes before a loud humming sound fills my ears. At first I think its bugs, and then the water starts shaking and I’m spinning.
A whirlpool! I’m going to drown!
But instead of the water filling my lungs, I’m falling again through the small dark gap the whirlpool made.
I pass by odd looking species of fish. Blue starfish with tiny yellow eyes, red sharks with round teeth and even sea horses the same size as me!
What is this place?
I approach the sandy bottom at amazing speed and screaming my head off. Amazingly the ground sinks in as I hit the bottom.
Here I go again.
But before I go under, I see a large faded sign that says:
Welcome to Trenica
Her brown hair inked black by the night whipped violently over her hunched shoulders from the wind. Her hands were cupped around her lips, a shiny glitter backpack forgotten by her feet. I adjusted my duffel bag, pulling it behind me.
I’ve seen that bag in school.
The lamp above her flickered and her head swiveled left and right. I tucked myself behind branches of a brown, crusty bush. I peeked over and a branch dug into my ribs.
I was walking home from tennis practice when I saw this girl sitting on the curb by herself. I was going to approach her, but then- uh oh, here she goes again.
“No, no, not yet! The time is not right,” she gurgled in a deep voice. I couldn’t see her lips moving because of her hands, but each time her body shuddered. It was as if she was speaking to the wind. The girl giggled, throwing her head back.
I need to go home, mom will be pissed if I miss dinner.
“Hey, uh, are you okay?” I asked. I crept out from behind the bush, as her body slowly turned around. A smile plastered on her face greeted me and she nodded.
“Good, I just saw you, um-”
“Saw me what?” Her voice was much higher and normal than before.
Am I hearing things?
I shook my head, crossing the street. “Nothing, sorry to bother you.” My shoes scraped against the asphalt as my duffel bag bounced along on my hip. An achy pain grew in my shoulders and I quickened my pace, walking on the sidewalk parallel to her. She watched me the whole way, the smile never leaving her face. Before I reached the end of the street, she spoke again in that gurgled voice.
“Have a nice night, Moriah.” My heart raced as my feet pounded the pavement. I glanced briefly behind my shoulder, only to see an empty sidewalk on the other side. She was gone.
I turned into my street not slowing until my feet reached the front door. Shaky fingers fumbled with the keys and thankfully my mother opened the door.
“Where have you been?” Deep lines formed in her face, dark eyes burning into mine, but it was short-lived. “Moriah, what happened?” I tried to wheeze out an answer, but the ragged breaths mixed with chilly air, restricted my voice. She pulled me inside and shut the door.
“This girl… she was alone… talking to herself, then she… disappeared. She knew my name.” I collapsed on ground two feet from a couch.
“What? You’re not making any sense. A girl was talking to herself and then she disappeared? Did you get hit by the ball again?” I knew my mother would never believe me. Heck, even I wouldn’t believe me. I waved her off.
I have seen her bag at school so maybe she heard someone call me in the hallway. She probably hid behind the bush to scare me and I fell for it.
“Dinner’s on the table. It’s chicken and broccoli casserole tonight.”
Hmm my favorite!
After dinner and a nice cool shower, I jump under the covers of my cozy bed. The light in the hallway went out and my mother’s door closed with a squeak. I turned over and faced the wall, allowing my eyes to close and mind to drift off.
“Goodnight Moriah.” A light whisper carried by the wind billowed through the open window into my ears. “Sleep tight.”
Dear Mr. Sashu
I was the one who keyed your car and slashed your tires. I was angry that you gave me a B- instead of an A+ on the essay. I spent countless hours researching and reviewing. I did my work carefully and even went to the beyond to get some of that information. I deserved a 100%, and you didn't give it to me. Hopefully you won't press charges; my parents are having a hard time right now financially. They wouldn't be able to pay for the damages if you did. I'm really trying to make it through school, and get a scholarship for UPenn.
My parents fight a lot, every day and night. It's hard to get a good night's sleep. All I ask is for you to change my grade to an A+; straight A+'s will impress the school even more. I need this Mr. Sashu, my family cannot afford it and this is the only way I can get in; especially since they might be thinking about divorce. You don't know how hard that'll be for me. School is my only outlet from this hectic "family" and yes I am an only child. Please Mr. Sashu, please help me; this is my last year of high school, and my last chance to make my wish come true.
It would mean the world to me if you did this. I promise to pay you back when I get a job. I’ve worked so hard these four years, and if I don’t get that scholarship, I’ll very distraught. Other than this dream of mine, I have nothing else going for me. Like I said, my parents are possibly divorcing, they don’t have enough money for tuition, and I’m not much good at anything else. Please think this over Mr. Sashu, it’s not a pity letter, it’s the truth. Thank you for having me in your class, I enjoyed it very much.
Sitting in my car, I fold the letter and slip it inside the white envelope. I grab the damp towel and wipe it over the seal, then closing it. I open the door and slowly walk across the street to Mr. Sashu’s front door. A cold breeze sends shivers down my back and a few droplets of rain fall on my determined face. Ringing the doorbell, I leave the letter on the blue mat and race to my car.
Mr. Sashu opens his door and looks around. He finally sees the envelope and picks it up, taking it inside.
My task is complete.
I drive home, anticipating Mr. Sashu’s reaction to me on Monday. My driveway comes to view and I see the living room light. I sigh getting out of my car, hoping they’re not at it again. It’s silent as I unlock the door and walk inside.
“Why does everything have to be my fault Daisy?” My dad yells. I shake my head and groan.
Please Mr. Sashu, take me away from this hell I call home.