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I busted through the door with my book back dangling on one shoulder. Sweat dripped from my forehead as the smell of burgers and dogs tickled my senses. My cleats still dripped with fresh mud from football practice as mother yelled out “Put your muddy cleats in the laundry room!”
I took off my cleats, set the table, and handed my dad my report card. “Let’s see here…A, A+, A, A+, A-, A- and another A! Great job sport!” said my dad.
“Oh, I’m so proud of you honey!” said my mom.
My parents glowed proud aura as I double fisted a hotdog and hamburger. The cheese dripped from my chin as my third grade little sister, Tiffany, chimed in. “Hey butt-munch! You got some cheese on your chin!”
“Oh shut it!” I argued as I kept on eating. Tonight was the big night where we would go all out, and I was too anxious to slow down.
“Tiffany Michelle and Jason Kelly knock it off this instant!” fumed my mom.
“Sorry” we both grumbled simultaneously.
In four minutes flat, there was nothing left on my plate besides crumbs. I grabbed my other book bag and started to book it out the door when my mom said “Where do you think you are going?”
“Jared’s,” I said “to study. We have that big math exam tomorrow so I thought that we could all study together if that’s all right with you…”
“That’s fine. Clear your space first,” grunted my mother.
“Study?” started Tiffany, “don’t you mean to go blow up-“
“B-b-blow through some homework… yep. Ha. Ha.” I burst out keeping my parents from knowing my true intentions. How did that brat find out anyway?
I went out the door and hopped on my 7-speed bike and rode to Jared’s. I lived in the country so it was about a mile away with very spread out houses. I don’t know what I would do if my parents found out about the thing that we were about to do. I would get grounded deeper than an underground coal mine. I had been going about 16 mph or so when a nice sturdy rock got in the way of my tire. I hit it and flipped over as time slowed. I got that feeling where I knew that I would hit the ground in a not so pretty way and could not do a thing about it. All of my body weight landed on my right elbow, leaving a huge gash in my arm. I rubbed some dirt and spit on it just like my grandpas always said to do. I got up and was back on my way to Jared’s.
I rounded the corner and Jared’s house came into sight. I drove my bike into his front yard and dispatched as I threw the bike in the grass. I ran to the backyard and hopped onto the whitewashed back porch. “What’s up ladies,” I joked as I grinned.
“Nothin’ much, but I see a little scratch on your arm. What did Sarah beat you up again? “Laughed Dustin as his blonde locks got in the way of his arms.
“Har har Lemon Locks.” I chuckled. Those were the running dumb jokes in our little group. We called Dustin Lemon Locks because in the summer of ’10, Dustin’s hair turned from a dark brown to a bright yellow. He claimed that he dyed it with lemon juice in his hair, but nobody bought it. They also say that “Sarah” (my girlfriend) beats me up because I came home with a hickey one day and told my mom that Sarah had punched me in the neck. She somehow bought it though.
“Alright, alright. Let’s get back to business. How much did you bring?” I asked.
“The whole stash, which is almost 19 freaking pounds.”
“Sweet,” Jared and I both praised.
“Let’s get this started then!” I suggested.
We took three of Jared’s dad’s four-wheelers into the 20-30 acre deep grasslands that Jared owned. Jared’s parents had gotten a divorce when he was nine and his dad got the land and his mom basically got everything else besides the stationary items (fridge, stove, etc.) and his four-wheelers. His mom become a heavy smoker and his dad a drinker after the divorce to Jared always had a faint smell of cigarette smoke and tequila. We drove about 15 acres in and the set up the long awaited stash of fireworks. Dustin supplied all of them without paying a dime. His brother was a VP at a firework company so he got a few boxes every month full of high end explosives. We hadn’t blown up stuff since school started, about four months, so it was time to let loose.
In my bag were two lighters, some string a can of gasoline. We used the sting to delay the fireworks so that we could get comfortable in our lawn chairs and watch the beauty of explosives. The ground was muddy and wet enough that the grass wouldn’t catch on fire so I could simply toss a lighter on the string. The water, however, might end up blowing out the fuse, so I needed to douse it with a little gasoline to get it going. I set up the fireworks and lit them and we hopped in the four wheelers and drove to our “front row seats” and waited. After about 30 seconds Dustin erupted from his lawn chair and started a fuss.
“This is taking way too long you guys. I’m gonna check it out.” He claimed. He started sprinting towards the loot before I could stop him. He got halfway there when a small flame enraged.
“Never mind guys! It’s good!” shouted Dustin as he looked back. The pile of fireworks had fallen in an angle pointing towards us.
“Dusting get back here!” I screamed.
“Huh, what?” but before Dustin could react, three thousand fireworks caught fire and headed straight towards us. 20 rockets hit Dustin and with a “BOOM”, Dustin’s guts were spread apart with the blue shining sparkles.
“Holy. Sh-“started Jared as I cut him off.
“The four-wheelers!” I shouted. “We have to leave Dustin and get out of here! He’s a goner!”
We ran at full speed towards the four wheelers that we parked 30 feet away. I was almost there when I turned back to see Jared on the ground with his foot in a burrow. He twisted his ankle. I was about to go back for him when he took a firework head on. He was a goner. I hopped in the four- wheeler and was off. Seven or eight screamers (the noisy ones that don’t explode) smacked my arms and face, leaving 3rd degree burns. It didn’t matter to me though because I was just desperate to get home. I drove the four-wheelers all the way home before stopping.
I practically broke the door down as I screamed “Mom! Dustin and Jared and “BOOM” and I was like ‘Oh sh*t!” and then “BOOM” all over and F***!”
“Jason! Calm down! I’m sure that—“mom cut off herself as she turned the corner in my house and saw me. “Oh my… Oh my God! Richard, start the car! How?!?! Where?!?! Whaa?!?!” she exclaimed with confusion.
“We lit a billion fireworks and then—“ I cut myself off. I remembered the pain that still leaked upon my face and body. The burns across my face. “AHHHH! My face! Owwww! Owwww! Ahhh! Dustin and Jared are dead mom! Ahhh! Owww!” I screamed. I fell to my burnt knees and started bawling like a little baby.
“What’s the big hubbub,” said my dad as he approached the living room. “Holy….. Tiffany! Get your butt in the car!”
We jumped in the pearl white Saturn SUV and rushed to the emergency room. Only two minutes later I blacked out.
“Wha-wha-where am I?” I babbled. There were bright lights shining in my eyes, blinding everything around me. I was in some kind of gown.
“You’re in the hospital honey. You were out for 4 days. The doctor said that your body went into shock from the head injuries and from… the dramatic event that occurred.” My mom said.
“Where are Dustin and Jared?” I asked.
Mom hesitated and finally said “They are in a…better place now honey…”
“What?” I started weakly. “But-but-but how? Oh no...the fireworks.” Bad memories rushed back to my mind as I started to cry.
“No baby, don’t cry. It’s not your fault,” She claimed.
“No it is my fault! I was the one who set up the fireworks!” I bawled.
I stayed a few more uneventful days in the hospital and had to wear gauze for two weeks. When I finally returned to school I kept my head under a black hoodie so that people wouldn’t see my face. I tried talking to Sarah but she told me that she never wanted to see me again for what I had done and how I had caused Jared and Dustin to die.
I walked into my 1st period math class as the eyes pierced at me, glaring across the room. I chose to sit in the furthermost desk to avoid eye contact.
“Mr. Robinson, come to the board and answer question number seven, “ said Mrs. Carington.
As I walked up, I was greeted by demonic glares and spitballs in my face. A few kids even tried to trip me. The teacher did nothing to stop it. I answered the question and walked towards my desk when Mike Jenkins punched me in the stomach. I fell to the ground and all of my fingers were met by stomping feet. The teacher went on with class like she didn’t see anything. As soon as the bell rang, I jetted towards my next class. As soon as I walked out of the classroom I was…booed. Everyone hated me. They knocked down my books, tripped me, kicked me, shoved me into lockers and the teachers…they did nothing. They just stood there and acted as if I deserved it. It was an accident and I was still injured badly too. I could have easily been the one to die, but no. They thought since I lit the fireworks and set them up that I was to blame.
All of my classes went just as the first one; awful and with guilt. I headed towards the football field for practice, maybe to blow off some steam. I was put at running back and was shoved a football in my gut as soon as the quarter back yelled hike. All of my blockers and linemen let the defense through them on purpose. I was met by 11 men on top of me, poking my eyes out and elbowing me, destroying me. The coach let this go on for a minute before he blew the whistle, and even then it took a few minutes for them to actually get off. I sat on the bench for the rest of practice.
I rode my bike home and was greeted with beautiful art on my garage that read “Go and die scumbag” and “I wish it would have killed you too” on my windows. My mailbox was stuffed with hate letters telling me to die and such. There was a thrown brick through one of my windows that had a note attached to it. The note read “If only that window was your skull, then everybody in town would be happy. You actually think your parents still love you? Take a hike. And then jump off and kill yourself.” I walked straight in my house and went in my room and locked the door. I blasted music and sat and cried myself to sleep. Half of the time I thought of committing suicide, the other half I thought of all the memories that I had made with Dustin and Jared.
I woke up at 6 o’clock, ate cereal, and rode my bike to school. I had people come up to me while they were driving and shout crude and immature names at me, but I just kept on riding. I walked into math and was greeted by the same “loving” faces as yesterday. I walked to my seat and just as I was about to get there a pencil was stabbed in my back. I ripped it out, snapped it in half and threw Mike’s head onto the desk in front of him.
“Jason Robinson! Go to the –“ I cut Mrs. C off.
“Shut up!” I screamed. “You all have no idea what I’ve been through. Do you think that I woke up that morning thinking to myself that I wanted my two best friends to die? No! It was all an accident! Were you guys the ones to watch your best friends die right in front of you? Did their blood splatter on your shirt as you watched them scream? Did you get 4th degree burns! “I unwrapped the gauze so that everyone could see my face. Most of them gasped, some of them just stared. The whole left side of my face was white with black stripes in between. “Do think this was fun for me? No, it wasn’t fun at all. Please can you just realize that this was even more painful for me than for you? I cried myself to sleep every night in the hospital wishing that they hadn’t died. So can you please just accept that fact that they are gone and we can’t do anything? Will hating me bring them back? No. Just get on with your lives and remember them for who they were. “
“Robinson. Office. Now!” said Mrs. C as the rest of the class stayed quiet.
I lifted my burnt hand and flicked her off as I threw the door open. I left the school and rode around the town. Not to go somewhere, but to get away from it all. At around 6 I finally came home and booked it to my room. My sister knocked on the door and opened it.
“Go away mom!” I shouted.
“It’s not mom. It’s me, Tiffany. I just thought that you might want some pizza… and listen I…understand that it wasn’t your fault.”
From that day on, Tiffany was the only one that would talk to me. She comforted me until one day someone else came. It was a girl from my school. Her name was Kayla. She would walk with me home after school because she knew how it felt to lose someone. When she was 9, her mom was sick. She was in charge of bringing her the pills. One day she accidentally gave her mom the wrong pills…and that was the end of her mom. She had died and everyone at her old school had hated her for it.
Kayla was my best friend now. I may have even loved her. She changed my life from being depressed to actually enjoying it. She also showed and told people to stop hating me.
“Hey, let’s stop for some ice cream!” suggested Kayla.
“Sounds good.” I replied.
We crossed the street when I heard Kayla call out “Your phone fell out of your pocket, silly! Good thing I picked it up” she said as she winked.
“Haha, thanks!” I called back to Kayla as I got on the sidewalk. I heard the loud horn of a semi, and she was gone. Here we go again. Tears rolled out of my eyes as I screamed for help.