My Sister Abby (Part 37)

First block had never dragged by more slowly. At one point during my geometry teacher’s lecture on corresponding angles versus vertical angles, I saw Abby walk past the room. She must be getting some recognition for all of her work decorating.

I barely registered the homework assignment as the bell finally rang. I practically ran to my second block to get the nod from my teacher before I raced down the hall to the gym. Of course, the doors were still closed, and I couldn’t see the stage.

Whoever was up there had everyone’s rapt attention, however.

The security guards asked us all to line up single file and have our student id’s ready. If they scanned our Id, and our name wasn’t on the guest list, we got sent back.

I knew my name was on it, but as the scanner got closer and closer to me, I felt anxiety rising in my chest.

“Jessica?” The guard asked with a half smile.

I bit my lip, trying to hold back the faint blush that I knew had to be spreading over my face.

“Please tell me that you don’t remember me,” I begged, almost under my breath.

He smiled. “How could I forget? I put my neck on the line to make sure that you didn’t get suspended for attacking your sister across a lunch table, and then I had to drag you away from your crazy, ex-con father, all in one day!”

“Yeah, I’m not sure if “ex-con” applies if he’s back in jail,” I mentioned, trying to get the attention off of me.

“He is? For what?” He asked.

Apparently his memory wasn’t so good after all.

“Um, forgery, trespassing, violation of a restraining order, assault, stalking, and impersonating an officer,” I quickly listed. So maybe a couple of them weren’t felonies, but the longer list sounded more impressive.

His eyes widened. “That’s quite a rap sheet there!”

“Yeah, considering it was his first day on parole for abduction of two minors, counterfeiting, treason, and attempted murder, the judge didn’t waste any time.” I smiled ruefully, reliving my second time in court testifying against the man I once called my father.

“That was a while ago, though,” I reminded him.

“It was somewhat unforgettable,” he grinned at me before continuing down the line.

I wasn’t sure whether I should be flattered or worried.

I chose worried. I mean, I was worrying anyway, right?

The line of underclassmen slowly began to show signs of nervousness as we were still denied access.

People began to shift back and forth and hope that it would be worth it.

A few of the security guards smirked and offered to send them back to class, reminding everyone that winter break started at the end of school tomorrow.

“I’m sure some of the seniors are just getting a little carried away with the time of their speeches,” the head of security assured us.

Of course, all of this would be much easier if he could actually see the stage and be able to tell us who was talking. By now, we all knew who was long winded in the senior class.

There was a movement of some sort in the gym, and then I thought I heard the beginning of a scream.

The way the security guards all ran to the doors immediately didn’t help the tension that suddenly overtook everyone.

Everything happened at once.

One of the administrators put the school on lockdown, and the gym doors suddenly couldn’t be opened.

The security guards were running around to all the doors trying to find a way in to help.

Someone yelled at us to go into the locker rooms and lock ourselves in there, and I heard the words “active shooter” being tossed around.

I stood frozen, staring through the window in the auditorium door in the midst of the sudden frenzy.

Suddenly, Chad’s face appeared at the window, and a short lived peace found its way into my heart.

That was when I looked behind him.

Any feelings of peace instantly disappeared, and my only thought was, “Jessica, if you’re dreaming, WAKE. UP. NOW!”

My Sister Abby (Part 36)

Ariel here! I really wish I could have updated sooner, but everything just stayed exactly the same in Jess and Abby and Chad’s situation. Jess and Abby would fight, Jess would try to not call Nathan, Chad would get involved, and then the cycle would repeat. The only real news to report would be that it was now December of Chad’s senior year, he and Jess were closer than ever, and Abby had finally managed to completely keep Nathan worry free. Until now.

“Abby and I haven’t argued in three days,” I told Chad with a smile as I stepped into his car early on Thursday morning.

“You guys haven’t even crossed paths in three days, have you?” He asked. How did I get such an observant guy?

“Yeah,” I laughed. “That kind of helps. I wish she could decorate the gym every day!”

He grinned at me. “Well, I wish the seniors got to skip school for a banquet every day!”

I smiled back. “Well, I’m just glad that they can bring a sophomore date.”

“Hey, isn’t Nathan supposed to be there?” he asked. “I saw his name on the list of alumni special speakers.”

I shrugged. “We haven’t talked much lately,” I admitted.

He sighed. “Babe, you’ve got to stop that. How would you feel if something happened to him? You can’t protect him from everything, you know.”

I sighed. He was right, again. “I’ll catch him before he leaves today,” I promised. He smiled at me, proud.

Now I just had to come up with a viable excuse for my estrangement.

“Hey,” he reached for my hand, apparently recognizing my expression, “just tell him the truth. He’ll understand. I promise. If he doesn’t,” he gave my hand a slight squeeze and looked away from the road for a split second, “I’ll take you to prom.”

My mouth fell open. “You’re that serious?” I asked incredulously.

“Yeah, Jess. He’ll understand.”

I shook my head, but I started to believe him in spite of myself.

It might be a good day after all.

Then I mentally shook myself. Of course it would be a good day! After first block, I’d spend it all with Chad!

I smiled at him as we pulled into the school parking lot.

“Thanks,” I said as we got out of the car.

“For what?”

“For being there,” I answered.

“I’ll always be there,” he promised.

That didn’t surprise me. It’s what people always said. What surprised me was that I believed him.

My Favorite Time Consumer

So, I’m writing again. Maybe it constantly fills my thoughts, and it might possibly distract me from daily tasks like, you know, eating, but I think the end product is worth it!

Here’s an excerpt from my most recent revamping of a great, original story so you can see if you feel the same way! Enjoy!

~Ari

Dear Jason,

Where are you, baby? I really need you to be okay right now. I haven’t washed the syrup off yet. I probably never will.

Why were we so stupid to never specify that your dad’s last name is MacNair, and mine’s is Jacobs? I mean, I can’t blame the director.

Actually, I can.

She is licensed to take care of you all day long, but when a strange guy walks in and says he’s picking up a naïve, beautiful, trusting 3 year old and gives her his identification, she doesn’t even use the resources she has to check out his background!

Just based on the fact that he is the father of someone who is permitted to pick you up, she trusted you to an abusive, hate-filled disgrace of a man who actually has a restraining order filed. In her office.

Just to make sure this doesn’t happen, you know?

Jason, my little baby, I spent three years saving you from your father, but I never thought to prepare you for mine.

Don’t make him mad. He isn’t like Chris. He can’t be appeased, and I wouldn’t let you do that anyway. He just wants to hurt you because he knows that it’ll hurt me.

I really need to hear you lisp my name again, sweetie! Just this once, I wish karma would pay me back!

I’ve given up so much and done so many things for you, for my mom, even for Tony before I knew him.

It wouldn’t be fair for the universe to not even consider paying me back, just to see you, baby!

No, not just to see you. To see you safe. To see you safe, in your bed, surrounded by the people you love, regardless of their varying levels of affection for you.

There’s not a lot of love here without you. You were what holds us together!

Chris hates me and hates the fact that I’m keeping his secret, and that’s destroying his marriage. Tony is just a mess, and he needs constant attention, which means no one has time for them self, which means everyone’s a mess.

Without an adorable three year old to lift our spirits and lisp away our troubles, we’re not going to make it, Jase. Someone’s going to have to give, and I hope it’s my mom, because I could never leave her in a situation like this.”

Meredith paused, pen above the paper, unsure of how to continue.

Her lip quivered, and the pen dropped as her head dropped onto her desk.

“I miss you, Jason!” she whispered brokenly. “Please come home!”

“Ah, Meredith?” A voice just inside her door made her look up.

Oh, PS, the title of this one is going to be “Echoes” at the moment. I like it. What do you guys think?

Your Story – Deserted

via http://sethsnap.com/2014/06/04/your-story-deserted/

The tree awakens itself in the silent evening wind, but there is still no difference. She rustles her leaves ever so slightly, straining her ears in the twilight silence to hear…

Nothing.

With a heavy sigh, she adjusts her branches again and pulls them close around her to block out the unearthly silence.

It wasn’t always like this. Once, long ago…

But then, it is never good to dwell too long on the past.

The tree sleeps while the artistic clouds above her paint a soft purple blanket over lives that once were.

It’s a Funny Kind of World

It’s a funny kind of world
Where the people that we know
Are the cowards who are fearless,
Or the warriors coming home

It’s a funny kind of world
Where the ones who think they’re strong
Aren’t the ones that fight for freedom
Or the ones who right our wrongs

It’s a funny kind of world
When the fearless have no pluck
And the victory of heroes
Is attributed to luck.

It’s a funny kind of world
Where a veteran is not seen
As deserving of the honor
He should have from those he’s freed

It’s a funny kind of world
Where the people that we know
Either don’t deserve to be here
Or can’t be sure they’ll make it home

It’s a funny kind of world
Where the ones who’ve earned it best
Don’t get the chance to live here
After standing every test

It’s a funny kind of world
Where the red, the white, the blue
Stand for every kind of freedom
But don’t call for a salute

It’s a funny kind of world
When the ones who did the most
Don’t just miss the celebration:
They’re forgotten by the host

I’m done with this funny world
I don’t get it, anyway
I will not forget the reasons
That we have Memorial Day

*****

This poem is a tribute to the fallen, but also a heartfelt thank you to those who serve to protect us at all times and on all fronts.

~Ari

Robbie’s List

DISCLAIMER: Loosely based on an actual future occurrence.

It was a day for looking back, but we never imagined how many times we’d look back to it with varying emotions.

Although we didn’t know it at the time (and why should we? We were all between the ages of 13 and 18!) this was the last time we would ever be together.

Maybe that was why we were being so nostalgic.

We kept talking about things from our relatively long and expansive past, like the time we tried to start a club and the time we started a guild for the club’s survivors.

Eventually, we decided to start a game of dodgeball. It seemed like a major blast from the past, and we even played the No-Street, Stay-In-The-Yard version just for the memories it brought back.

Zan was It first, because he was always It first.

He was chasing Robbie with the ball, and no one was really surprised when Robbie ran into the street. We were laughing, keeping our distance from Zan, and yelling at Robbie to remind him that the street was off-limits this game.

Zan was yelling for Robbie to get out of the street too, but it wasn’t until we looked back and thought about it that we realized his tone was much more urgent than ours had been.

It was a matter of seconds between the moment Robbie stepped into the street and the moment we realized why Zan was being so insistent.

I’ll always remember those seconds. They were the last time I was truly happy.

A dark sedan with every indication of being a stereotypical “bad guy” car drove by without stopping. It shuddered slightly, and there was a sickening crunch. I’ve never let myself remember what I saw; it was too awful, but the sounds won’t go away.

By the time the immediate shock wore off enough to let us move, the sedan was gone.

We’d all been trained in first aid and CPR, but for some reason no one taught us to save a car crash victim.

I was dialing 9-1-1 and Spike ran inside for help. Zan crouched down next to Robbie, desperately looking for some way to save him.

“9-1-1, what is your address?” came the not-so-helpful dispatcher’s voice.

“I don’t know!” My shock-affected mind couldn’t process the question. “Just hurry! The car got away. He, he’s, he might not make it! Hurry up!”

“Calm down, ma’am. Is someone hurt?”

“I hope he isn’t hurt very bad. If you hurry, he might be okay, right?” Even in this state of desperation, I knew it was a far shot.

“What’s your name, hon?”

“Ariel,” I whispered. “But I’m okay. Robbie’s hurt. You’re coming, right? Please send an ambulance.”

“Okay, Ariel,” she was probably saying something important, but my attention was drawn to Zan.

“Ariel,” he was whispering through white lips, “Ariel, I don’t think we need an ambulance.”

I stared at him in horror, tears filling my eyes, and I felt my phone fall out of my hand. I dropped to my knees beside Zan.

“No,” I tried to say, but no sound came out. If I said no, it might not be true, so I tried again and again until all I could do was rock back and forth on my knees, crying over the badly mangled form of my friend in front of me.

It seemed like hours.

Whenever I remember that day, I remember how long everything seemed. In reality, a cop that happened to be on patrol drove by as I dropped my phone, and while I was realizing the truth, he was calling dispatch with our address. An ambulance was dispatched, Zan’s parents were running out with Spike, and a few neighbors were hurrying over to make sure everything was okay.

The ambulance came, a lot of pictures were taken, Robbie was taken away, and a few police officers were asking Spike, Zan, and me a lot of questions.

“I know this is hard for you,” was pretty much the only thing I remember hearing clearly. We heard it way too many times sitting on the front porch that afternoon.

“For the last time,” I heard my hollow voice say surprisingly clearly, “we were playing dodgeball in the yard. We decided the street was out of bounds. Robbie was running into the street. We were telling him he was out of bounds. The black car hit him, it didn’t stop, the windows were tinted,” my voice took on a little intensity and I heard myself start yelling, “there were no plates, I called 9-1-1 right away, Spike got Zan’s parents, Zan ran to help, there wasn’t anything we could do, that cop got here first, Robbie’s never coming back, and we’re all failures aren’t we?”

Tears blinded me as I jumped up and stalked into the house.

Behind me, I heard the officer giving Zan his card and saying “If you remember anything else,” before I slammed the door and ran to the toy room.

Zan and Spike must have followed me as fast as they could, but when they got there, I was standing frozen in the door, staring at the table we’d all been sitting at when we decided to play dodgeball.

They stood behind me in confusion until they saw what I saw.

“Oh, no. That’s not. Oh, Robbie,” Zan and Spike murmured behind me.

I moved toward the table. In a touch of foreshadowing, I guess, we’d all written bucket lists. When we walked in the room, Robbie’s list was staring us in the face.

We could hear our parents all talking upstairs about what they should do with us, but none of us wanted to leave each other just yet.

Zan reached for the list with a strange look in his eyes and grabbed his car keys with the other hand.

“Where are you going?” we asked.

“We can’t leave his list undone. I can’t leave his list undone. He deserves this, guys, and I’m giving it to him.”

I looked at Spike as Zan walked past us, and without having to say anything, we each knew what the other was thinking.

That’s how all three of us ended up in the cab of Zan’s pick-up truck, without even saying goodbye to a life we knew we’d never see again.

Here’s to Robbie. Here’s to closure. Here’s to the best friends a guy could have. And here’s how we’re gonna do it.

If you’d like to see more of this story, let me know in the comments below.

Window Seat

So here’s a short story I just thought up and wanted to share.

DISCLAIMER: The views and concepts portrayed are purely fictional and do not in any way express the views of the author.

20140228-153813.jpg

Audrey and I have been best friends for eight years, and in that time, the only thing we’ve fought over was who’d get the window seat on the bus.

Now in tenth grade, we’d usually wake up and start snap chatting each other as soon as we looked presentable.

When I was ready to go, I’d text her and tell her I was leaving. Then I’d wait about five minutes to let her pack up the piles of homework she was checking for completion.

We usually left our houses at the same time, and we’d meet each other in the middle of the road and walk to the bus stop together.

Today was no exception.

I really love Audrey. Even if she’s the smart, hot, teachers pet and I was voted most likely to be a juvenile delinquent last year, we’re best friends.

We just understand each other. We might not understand what it all is, the way I don’t understand her OCD and she doesn’t understand my sloppiness, but we understand that those quirks make us who we are. We certainly won’t embrace those qualities (much to my mother’s disappointment) but we also couldn’t imagine the other without them.

When it comes to choosing an outstanding quality, I admire her brilliance as evidenced in her 4.0 GPA. She says she admires my capacity to love selflessly.

The most unique thing about me is my night visions. The most unique thing about her is that she doesn’t question them, and she even understands a few.

Those visions are always the meat of our morning conversation, although today I pretended to still be concerned with yesterday’s.

While we continued the conversation, I found myself contemplating our unique bond. The only times we really talked were before and after school, or school events.

Neither of us went to the other’s birthday parties. As soon as we got to school, she would be surrounded by a crowd of hopeful next boyfriends and I’d meet up with my own “bad boy” version of her crowd.

We’d never even been inside each other’s houses.

But somehow, she understood me.

I turned my attention back to the conversation.

“How hard do you think it would be to stop a prediction from coming true?” I asked, referencing the moment when a certain phrase or warning entered my vision.

“You can only delay it. It’s going to happen, and delaying it will probably only make it worse,” she answered thoughtfully.

I didn’t see how it could be worse. Then, as the bus pulled up and she turned to say her classic line, I understood.

“Let’s flip for the window seat. Heads I win, tails you lose.”

“Let’s not,” I threw back, a chill of fear settling down my spine as I saw the possibilities.

“Aw, come on, maybe you’ll win this time!”

“Audrey, you of all people should know that when it comes to cheating, I will always win,” I reminded her.

“Maybe you’re just rubbing off on me then,” she suggested.

Suddenly, the choice was mine, but it was an impossible choice. Or it was until I looked into her face through what she called my third eye. In that instant, my choice was made.

“How about Bear-Hunter-Ranger this time?” I suggested.

I knew that my idea could potentially destroy her trust and our long term friendship, but at this point, the only thing that mattered was getting the window seat.

“Sure,” she agreed, and a pang of bittersweet sadness went through my heart as I thought, street smart is something she’ll never be. I’d have to find someone new to protect her. If I had time, I would have.

The moment she turned her back, however, I ran past her to our seat. After three seconds, she turned around pointing an air gun at…nothing.

“Sal!” She yelled, following me angrily. “Do you just not care anymore? You held out on me all morning about what you saw last night, and now you’re lying to me just to get to a stupid seat?”

I could have pointed out that she never found it stupid when she won, but the bus started moving, and I was forced to force to renter my one true nightmare.

“I’m sorry, Audrey,” was all I had time to say before my third eye opened and last night’s vision returned.

This time, however, everyone else could see it too. Eighteen wheels of steel barreling toward the bus.

I turned to face the window and tuned out every thought except for “Save Audrey” as my nightmare came to life.

My friends helped me protect the bus, but they demanded payment.

So it was that the entire bus was protected except for my seat, the barrier between me and my best friend being a foreshadow of the days to come after I joined my friends forever.

At the impact, the past, present, and future all flashed through my mind. I saw Audrey live a good life. I saw the police puzzle over the complexity and impossibility of the accident, and the last thing I saw was the vision from last night.

Along with the scene in front of me was my warning:

Avoid the window seat at all costs.