Waking Up This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Jimmy smelled like smoke. They all smoked now that they were seniors and 17. He took a long shower. His nostrils twinged at the sharp cleanliness, as compared to his former pungency. His red alarm clock said it was 2: 03 a.m. He fell asleep, feeling good that his mom had not been up to yell at him for breaking curfew.

Somewhere in Jim's sleep, a phone was ringing. In his dreams, it was a girl from school calling but, in reality, it was his mother talking on the phone in the next room. Then she put her hand on his shoulder, "That was the hospital. Dad's been hurt at a fire. Don't go to school in the morning. You'll have to watch Lydia." Five seconds later, Jim's semi-conscious mind realized that the girl from school never would have said that. It must have been his mom. Shortly after that the full impact of the news hit him harder than anything ever had before. Dad? Hurt? While fighting a fire, he thought. His dad was the only person with a job in the family. He and his dad hardly said a word to each other. These problems were minor compared to the real reason for his sadness. An unbelievable wave of fear and dread had now completely washed away his sleep. It left only a fathomless pit of sadness planted in his stomach and warm tears of despair rolling down his checks.

The cold, spiky cement made Jim's feet hurt as he picked up the newspaper and fumbled through it for one section. Leaving the others on the driveway, he hurried inside. "One firefighter was killed and three others injured while fighting a fire at ..." He knew all of that. Scanning toward the end of the article, he found what he was looking for: "The fire is believed to have been started by a group of teenagers. That area is known as a popular hangout. A $1,000 reward is being offered for anyone who has information leading to the arrest of the vandals. Anyone with information call ..." He set the paper down. It was time for the fear and denial to end. He had to come to grips with what had happened.

Somewhere in Jim's sleep, a person was cursing at him. In his dreams, it was his mom yelling at him for breaking curfew, but in reality it was the guy in the other cell. The guy's fist reached through the bars, "If you don't stop snoring, I'll bash your brains in tomorrow." About five seconds later, Jim's semi-conscious mind realized that his mom would never had said that. It must have been the guy in the jail cell next to him.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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la.musica.de.la.noche said...
May 19, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I like how the wording at the beginning makes you assume they were smoking, and then there's that 'OOOOHHHHHH' moment later :)

This was a great story, I never could've guessed the ending.

 
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