February 25, 2017
By , Elk Grove, CA

It all happened just as fast as when I lost my first crush. Blinding sunlight as we left the building, walking with a girl I liked. My dad and Isaiah a few paces in front. I stop for a minute to talk with Jean. Beg her. "Please. Tell him to drop the charges. She didn't mean it." Jean's lips are tight and her attitude on the subject unchanging. "She hurt him, Carson. Justice. Duh." Then there was the crash, the sound of bones hitting earth. Shattering. I spun around, not hesitating to run to yet another body on the ground. The bloody leg again. Just like what happened with Loren. But more blood, the red was slickly painted on arms and coming from a half open mouth. There was a hand on my shoulder. I was silently screaming. Perspective forced its way into my mind as someone lifted me up, their hands under my ribs. Pale hands. The brutal giant was in a car. Unfortunately, it wasn't a cop car. But I didn't care. He would get caught later. I thought I was upset watching Emily plead guilty as Loren, Neil, and Jean smugly sat opposite, cackling like hyenas as the judge scheduled an official court date for the charges. If only I could've seen the events now playing out. The attacker leaped a previously impossible height to tackle a defenseless Emily. My father shoved her out of the way. Now she was being cradled by a elderly woman journalist examining her skinned elbow. I'm set down thirty feet from the crime. Isaiah shakes out his pale wrists and stands panting in front of me, staring directly into my eyes. He must think it's rude to stare at my bloodied father on the ground. "What was that?" He says, his green eyes wild with disbelief. "Thanks." I say, figuring I'm not the lightest cargo. The ambulance shows up, it's red and blue lights irrelevant since there's not traffic for miles both ways. Paramedics approach my father and Emily is guided to the back of the ambulance. I watch as they count to three and lift him onto a stretcher. I watch him dissappear into the back of the ambulance. Tears streak my face, and I don't care that Jean is rapidly approaching me. Neil and Loren tag along, all looking the same shade of ghost white. "I didn't know that was going to happen." She offers, and I don't want to hear what the others have to say. They don't comprehend my death glares, adding, "That guy was crazy. We're so sorry." "Are you going to drop the charges?" I ask. I soften my gaze for pity points, as if I haven't merited enough. "Yes." Neil abruptly states. He glances at Loren whose shocked expression conveys that they did not talk about this. "Thanks." I reply, and I really mean it. "Sorry again." Loren apologizes again. They all look plenty sorry. "Good for you." I mutter over my shoulder, but I've moved on and I stare straight ahead at Emily standing on the curb. She was watching me. Maybe she expected a confrontation, as though this was the straw that broke the camel's back. "They said they'll drop the charges." I inform her. She grimly smiles, rubbing her arm. "Does it hurt?" I ask, for lack of anything else to ask. Of course it does, it merited a swatch of gauze. "Let's just go to the hospital." She says, starting to pace to my car. She either doesn't want to talk about what happened or has no energy left from today. This is going to be quite the story to tell my mom. Before I left she told me it was a good thing Emily was pleading guilty. That made it less of a sin. I didn't say anything to that, but internally I felt this churning wrongness throughout. Neil didn't own up to his sin. But in my small town, morality seemed relevant. It doesn't matter why, you did it, just that you did it.

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