Chapter Three

We are the Gray

Photo by Kristin Lopez on Unsplash

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Jumpsuit- Twenty-one Pilots

“Trusting too much makes you cry drops of blood, should you turn your back, just run.”

Elementary school’s final year triggered that first crush kind of love. I call it a curse. A curse I can never walk away from. Daniel and I no longer rode the same bus making my thirst for his frosty blue eyes near unquenchable.

When school finished the four of us made a promise over ice cream.A promise with our pinkies that unfortunately stuck. Lake Gremm Rill has its horror stories, and histories from back when the civil war days had struck the land. But at our age none of those stories deterred us from its precious silky smooth clear water. Especially during a ninety degree day.

Rachel suggested a place between our houses and on the outskirts of the lake explaining that an abandoned shed centered around bushes. Why it was abandoned? None of us ever figured that out..

Blazing shards of light glared down on us as we skipped down the sidewalk with our fingers intertwined. Amanda humming “ We’re off to see the wizard” while swinging her hello kitty lunch box with a free hand. I wish we remained in this moment. Two innocent souls.

Strawberry flecks of hair blinded me as I turned towards Amanda. Our sandals digging into grass. Her mother packed us lunch with extra fixing for the other two.

In the dead of summer heat my fingers kept swiping at the beads dripping down my face. The other hand carrying an old portable boombox. Streets began to blur as walking by diamond picket fences and barbed wire became synonymous on every street. We sat down on the edge of a heated sidewalk for water.

Cars fled by ignoring us as they went about their day. “ Alana, I wanna make cheer captain this year.”

“You wanna be a cheerleader? My canteen full of Hawaiian punch, not water, drenched my throat.

“I mean it’ll cost money-” She kicked the undercut grass with her half destroyed sandals. “ Money my parents don’t have. But i’ll-”

“I could lend it to you?” Hefting a laugh, I pictured her twirling golden pom poms and slipping on her face.

She stood up wiping flecks of grass off her spring flower dress. “I figure being a cheerleader will make dating Daniel as my love will be so much easier.” Interlacing her fingers with mine again but I felt guilt twisting behind my eyes.

“He won’t be the only boy looking at you?” Nudging her teasingly as we headed for the dangers our feet would be exposed to in the forest.

“I only want him. You can have the rest.”

“I don’t want garbage.”

“You think the only thing I can attract is garbage.”

“Yes.”I tumbled awkwardly over a twig in our path. My leg doing a jolt sideways before I shook it back into place twinging in pain as we marched on.

A scent of fresh marsh water crept into my nose. The lake water would still be a murky green for another three weeks because the city cleaned right as summer hits every year. I call it the curse of Kingston.

Rachel sat at the ledge of the forest floor dangling her feet into the marshy water. Dirtying them like a dog playing in mud. Running towards her I swung my fingers around her thin frame. “ Where is Danny?”

“Come on.We got a boy to find.” Amanda’s ringing voice echoed her impatience. The primadana needed her fix.

“I’ll lead, Hello kitty girl.”Hesitantly, Rachel stopped letting her feet soak up leaves in the lake. Just to turn around and use her spelling blue eyes on Amanda. She pointed to a trail in the woods as if smelling Danial’s scent like a wolf.

We walked through thick bushes with cherries on them, and trees with lilacs making the air taste like fresh beauty. A castle of crust finally met our eyes. It’s built out of shambles with a half roof, and windows shattered by rocks. My heart beat like a blood pressure checker.

Half the roof gone? The stairs even have a few missing steps. But there in my view sat a boy with a baseball cap hiding his flecks of coffee hair. “Danial!!” Amanda ran towards him flinging herself around his waist like a rubber band.

“I got us food for our little club adventure.”

“You mean grub for my horrifyingly unfilled stomach. Let’s get inside. There has to be a place a sit in this crusty old shack.”

I entered the decaying heaven making sure to skip the missing steps. Speckles of dust choked us as we entered. Wheezing, hacking, and swiping at our hands we caught the sparkles of gray dust clouds. Animal feces covered every corner with mold from rain, and glass littered the floor. My poor feet.

“Why wasn’t I warned not to wear sandals?” Amanda’s voice quaking in the tiny area.

“I didn’t think we’d be stepping into a glass filled horror story.”

“If its a glass filled horror story-” Daniel chuckled dangling a thin piece of glass that was edged between a wooden board, and ground at Amanda.

“You mean become a mass-murderer like Lord Voldemort.” Rachel investigated an old picture frame that was broken on the floor. It belonged to someone a long time ago as the photo is beige from age.

“Lord Voldemort killed more than just three people. I like to say he used magic. I don’t have that ability.”

“We all know your letter got lost in the mail.” I dug my finger nails into my skin nervously. He had a way of making me nervous like a math test.

“Nah, I think you lost yours Alana.” Daniel went over to Rachel taking another look at the Renaissance like girl in the picture. “Looks like this is an old home.”

His words echoed as birds took to flight into the sky as if scared of us. Standing at the front door Amanda looked afraid to step forward. The glass, dust, and wood scattered on the floor must have held her feet in place like chains.

We spent the rest of the day walking back to Rachel’s to enjoy her pool. The blazing sun turning our skin a blotched color red. We stepped up her front porch with the giant Navy seal flag fluttering with the wind. Our faces winced. Forget about sun tan lotion.

“Rachel!” Running from the open front door was her mother. Cascading blonde hair and dark leaf green eyes with a tall but thin frame grasped her daughter’s burning hands.“What did you guys do to cause such a sunburn?”

“Walking in the forest.” Rachel got ushered inside with us following as her mother picked up a bottle of Banna Boat lotion to slather it all over us.

“You poor things.” Scrambling past the perfect hallway we entered her pristine kitchen. Marble floors, and decorative oak cabinets, with pots and pans hanging over a glass display. A little more expensive than my old home. She grabbed three glasses and poured orange juice in each panicking over how hot we were.

I noticed out of the corner of my eyes a small decorative piece that my mother made about three months back. I choked up the desire to ask questions. Anybody could buy the same thing. No way my mother made it just for them.

“Don’t go diving into the pool just yet. Let’s go put on a movie.” We traversed into the living room to spend two hours watching The Lion King and crying over Mufasas death.

Cars began to pull up and beep. Amanda, and Daniel left before the end leaving Rachel with me. Her mother got a call turned to me and told me that I was spending the night and that her father wasn’t coming home tonight.

We spent the night playing board games, watching television, and discussing our top secret. Her mother kept to cleaning the house, and singing. When morning approached my mother’s car sat outside with my brother in the passenger seat.

I leaped into the back seat unaware of the sins that commenced back at home.

What we don’t know can’t haunt us.




If today was your last day how do you want to be remembered?

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Jessica Cote

Jessica Cote

I am just a girl among the many fish in the sea. A writer among the many dreamers, and a socialist among others.

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