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28 Day Writing Challenge #4

By , Elk Grove, CA

Bones. Day 4:
Loren Page left the next day. He cancelled the rest of his tour because after that 'near death experience', he needed time to live life to the fullest. Perfect, according to the plans. One small caveat however. Now I was being hunted. I had done what I was asked. The dirty money, which was clean but crumpled, had been mailed to my house before the deed was even done. Now I clutched it in my dry palm, sweating like a sinner in church. The waitress was slowly counting the change I had placed in front of her. One cup, a bitter one at that, of coffee, had been drained into my stomach. It was curdling and burning as I sat. Her nametag read Barbara. Crinkles gathered around her eyes as she squinted at the coins. 'It's all there.' I was tempted to say. The glaring diner lights were acting like an interrogator, waiting for me to blink first. I clutched the cash tighter. It was a reminder of why I did it. Fast, easy money. She dropped the last quartef into her pile. "3.50. Have a nice day." Her smoker's voice automated, and she hurried away with the cash. I got up slowly. I took my hands out of my pockets and zipped them up so the money wouldn't fall out. I'd kill for a wallet. Maybe, I think darkly, I should have. But just a scratch. Can't damage his perfect look. He still needs to walk. Whatever. The clinking of the stupid quarters, was still echoing in my ears as I keyed up the ignition. The parking lot was empty. The sky was inky, the town too small to merit a busy nightlife. The radio burst on really loud and it sent shivers up my spine. Me, startled by a song? Pathetic. It was that "I'm a mess without you." crud. It was a reminder. I drive to a hotel. My few possessions are in the trunk, in a duffell bag. I had to go out and buy a new outfit to pull off this job. They paid for it. A quick exchange of cash and key, and I'm in my room. A veritable safe haven. Never mind the wet spot on the carpet, and the dust coating the bedspread. I didn't want to spend all my money in one place. Worked hard for it. For the most part. I turn on the news but its just a puff piece about the boy. They showed a police sketch and an interview with the people who found him. A girl with raven black hair and a boy who looked generally annoyed. Obviously jealous of Loren. Add him to the growing list of people who despise him, myself included. The police sketch looks similar to me, but I quickly realize that there was no reason for me to be nervous at the diner. The sketch is of a man. Blond hair, blue eyes, yes. I part my short hair in the middle. It's limp with sweat. Stressful day. No one will be looking for me, this is the best news.  The two kids on the news must be slow or near sighted. I mean, I know I was wearing all black, and running away. The mask probably didn't help. But even Loren himself didn't catch that I was a girl? I drag myself to the bathroom to take a shower, catching a glimpse in the mirror. Maybe I should grow my hair out. Play up the feminine angle while I'm still on the lam. My cell phone buzzes. It's them. Against better judgment I answer. "Hello?" I say, sweet as pie. "Hey. Good job." The high pitched voice on the other end congratulates me. "Thanks." I respond. What do they want now? "I'll cut to the chase." Thank the Lord. "Do you want to come over tomorrow?" OK. This is not what I expected. "I did the job. Why would I come over?" I'm not trying to play hard to get, I simply don't understand. I fear the worst. "I want to see you again." He says. My fears are justified. He's into me. 'Think about it, and call me back tomorrow. " He rapidly answers, before I have a chance to respond. I would never! Fraternizing with clients? Ridiculous. Against the rules. I hop in the shower horrified at how some entitled musician thinks, because I helped him carry out a criminal act, I'll be falling all over him. When I get out to dry myself the phone is vibrating on the counter. It's a text. I decide to dress myself before I respond. It feels so nice to be clean after having to run around the gross woods. I grab the phone off the court and step back into the bedroom. Ew. My foot landed in the wet spot on the carpet. I peel off my socks. I recline in the bed, reading the text. Goodnight, it read. From him, still. Also a picture of the mountains near his house. The sunset dawning on them. It's beautiful. I take a deep breath in. Then I start to text back. I erase and draft about ten times before I hit send. Yes. I said yes. The future is uncertain, but I don't want to spend another night sockless. And so what if its against my rules? I make them. The phone buzzes again, and I don't have to check it to know. I fall asleep on top of the dusty blankets to the lull of an infomercial.






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