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The Journal (Part 2)
At first, I thought Bloody Mary really had shown up. I thought that the next time I saw Zelda; she would be lifeless on the oak boards of Fort Bruno. Then I heard the rustling in the tree house, the grunts and yelps of a fight between someone and Zelda, and knew that it wasn’t our good friend Mary. It was someone, something, entirely different, and it was out to get her.
I suddenly felt almost loopy with fear, unable to move and barely able to breathe. A few seconds later, Zelda yelped louder than I have ever heard before, and she appeared at the edge of the entrance to Fort Bruno. She fell over the edge, her back to the ground
My instincts kicked in, the phrase that was drilled into me since first grade running through my mind as I leapt forward to catch her.
Never let your flyer fall.
My arms slipped under her arms and knees, but I was off balance. We both fell, cracking our heads off the ground. I recovered quickly, my slight daze over. I was suddenly extremely protective of Zelda, shaking her and trying to wake her up while glancing around over and over. Zelda opened her eyes. She was unfocused, but after a few seconds she smiled slightly and whispered, “I lost the game.”
I sighed in relief. Zelda suddenly shoved me away from her, making me roll across the grass. She rolled the opposite way, and a split second later a bullet hit the ground exactly where our heads had been. I barely heard the shot. The gun had a silencer.
I took the time to look at Zelda in thanks, but then I looked up at the entrance to Fort Bruno. A shadow was there, holding a gun trained on me. I instinctively dove to the other side of the tree so he couldn’t reach me. Then, I stood. I looked around for Zelda, trying to make sure she was in safety, and scanned everything around me. The fire was basically embers, not giving off a lot of light. Everything was so dark. I could barely see the hand in front of my face so far from the dying fire, let alone anyone out in the trees.
Zelda should’ve been within the limits of the fire’s light, or beside me to get away from the man with the gun. Yet, she wasn’t. I moved farther around the tree, checking my data. I was right. She wasn’t there.
My fight or flight instincts were warring inside me, but the fight won out. I had to save both of us or none of us. There was no in between.
I opened my mouth to call for her, but then a hand clamped around my lips and a whispered voice drifted lazily and evilly into my ear.
Do you recognize that line?
I thought you might.
Today in Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry, also known as simply Trig, he played hangman with us to help us figure something out. I had to focus on the problems so much that I ended up finishing my homework before he even told us we could work on it. I know he didn’t mean to remind me of Zelda, but he did. No one ever means to remind me of Zelda, but it doesn’t matter anyway.
I’m reminded of her every hour of every day. How can I not be, when ‘my house is your house’ was taken literally to us? When I saw her walk the same halls I do for a full year? When every time I walk outside, every time, there’s a street name or an intersection or a building that reminds me of her?
I feel like Bella when Edward leaves. I’m practically just going through the motions, everything inside me empty. I lost my soul, my other half. It sounds weird saying that about best friends, but it’s true. We may as well have been sisters. We may as well have been twins.
We pretty much were, anyway.
It’s not as if I’m as bad as Bella, though. I’m actually in the moment when I’m with my friends, and I don’t go doing stupid stuff to hear her voice. She’d probably just be critiquing my technique anyway.
Or she’d be saying something that ticks a lot of people off.
I lost the game.
My automatic reaction was to step on his foot, elbow him in the stomach, and hit him in the groin. It wasn’t enough to knock him down, but it was enough for his grip on me to loosen so I could slip through. I jumped away, looking around frantically. A hand gripped mine, and I yelped before I saw the small shadow by my side. The hand pulled me along, and I followed Zelda. We were soon sprinting, and I overtook her. We followed a familiar path through the trees. It wasn’t actually a path though, and it was hard to find unless you knew it was there.
I could hear them behind us, but they seemed to be taking their time. Too bad we knew our way around better than they did, and it would be easy to hide once we broke the trees.
Gasping for air and ready to fall over, I tripped over a root and stumbled in the darkness. Zelda ran into my back, and we both tumbled to the ground. We grinned at each other in the darkness, each of us proud we hadn’t made a sound, and then stood up and kept running. Seconds later, the trees broke, and we found ourselves bathed in moonlight.
Zelda froze, her eyes widening as she stumbled to a stop. I ran ahead for a few steps, but then I realized she wasn’t next to me. I stopped and turned around, motioning frantically. I could hear our pursuers crashing through the trees, and they were getting closer. We needed to go, now.
“Zelda, come on!” I motioned again, pointing down the path that was now obvious without the trees.
Zelda shook her head slowly, “I’m not going in there. I’m not running over the dead.”
Zelda might adore Bloody Mary, but she absolutely despises anything else related to ghosts, zombies, vampires, or the dead. So, she will never, ever step foot into a cemetery. Actually, she used to if she could hang onto someone’s arm, but she hasn’t since the last time I managed to get her there. You can’t exactly blame her, though. I mean, it’s not as if it was just a walk through the cemetery.
You see, it was a Sunday night last year and we didn’t have school the next day. Zelda and I went bowling with her boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend) Charlie and two other friends, Mona and Barbie. We only bowled one game, but then we had at least another hour before Mona’s mom was even going to consider it an okay time for us to be done messing around. The bowling alley had a cemetery right next to it, and one across the street.
Mona and Barbie wanted to go into the cemeteries, and Charlie and I hopped on board. However, Zelda was completely against it. We eventually convinced her to go, until we got about ten feet closer and she saw two red lights. She agreed to keep moving if I went and stood by the lights to let her know that they were, in fact, just lights.
It was dark, and her mind was going wild. Of course, I loved doing things like that. She doesn’t. In this aspect of life, she’s a lot more cautious than me.
I went by the lights, and she held on to Charlie. He stayed with her while the rest of us went ahead, laughing. They made slow progress, at least slower than us. Eventually, Barbie and Mona turned right, and I simply walked in among the tombstones. There was a huge one. It was a square box up to my chest and wider than my arm-span, with a cross about ten feet high on top and a three-foot high angel on either side.
I went behind it, knowing that Zelda and Charlie couldn’t see me against the shadows because of my jeans and black sweatshirt, and knelt down. Mona and Barbie saw me. Mona shook her head, and Barbie laughed. They kept walking, about to go all the way around.
I listened to the progress Zelda and Charlie made, throwing Pop Rocks into my mouth. They were a blend of Strawberry and Tropical Punch, and it was delicious. I put the Pop Rocks back in my pocket and peeked out. Barbie and Mona were approaching from one side, and Zelda and Charlie could almost see me. I moved, going around to where all four of them couldn’t see me.
They met up, and I heard Zelda ask Mona, “Where’s Sheik?”
“She’s right….” Mona paused, and I peeked around an edge just enough to see her pointing to where I formerly was. Barbie looked extremely confused, “She was right there.”
Charlie started to pull away from the group, but Zelda tightened her grip on him. I saw him wince.
I stood up, not even trying to hide. All four were staring at the giant cross and the angels, yet none of them could see me between the cross and an angel against the darkness behind me. I found that kind of cool, and unzipped my sweatshirt. I pulled up my hood.
“Sheik?” Zelda called, her voice shaky. I decided that, since I was already messing with her, the outcome couldn’t be worse if I scared her a little more. I started to climb up next to the cross, and all the four of them saw was a dark shadow rising.
Zelda screamed, but Charlie put a hand over her mouth to shut her up.
I made my voice super-creepy, “Someone up there doesn’t like you.”
Zelda began to fight Charlie to try to get away, but he held her in place with some effort. Mona simply laughed and started towards me, “Sheik, come on.”
I grabbed the bottom of my sweatshirt and spread it like wings, “Sheik? Ha ha, you mean the feisty little SweeTart? Lucifer is taking care of her right now.”
Mona slowed, her eyes widening slightly. Zelda didn’t fight Charlie anymore, but she had a look of complete horror on her face. I think she was frozen in fear. Charlie let go of her and came towards me, angry, “Now listen, you little….”
“Ah, ah, ah,” I taunted, “wouldn’t want me to hurt your girl, would you?”
He kept coming, pulling back his sleeves. I laughed evilly, surprised no one has recognized my voice yet, and said, “I warned you.”
I jumped over him when he was close enough, and ran at Zelda, knowing that she couldn’t see my face. She yelped and tried to run, but tripped over her own feet. I jumped on her, and leaned down as if I was a vampire and was going to suck her blood. She screamed. Mona and Barbie started laughing. Charlie tackled me and, even though I was screaming, “It’s only me! It’s Sheik!” he punched me in the face.
Zelda didn’t talk to me for three days, but sometime in those three days, she broke up with him for hitting me.
Still, I made her permanently terrified of cemeteries.
What else are best friends for?
“Zelda, this isn’t the time.”
She shook her head, “Save yourself, but I’m not going in there.”
I sighed and walked back towards her. She knows me better than that. I stood between her and the trees, my eyes scanning the darkness as time passed and whoever was chasing us grew closer. Zelda put her hand on my back, and I knew that she would tap me once to go for freedom and twice to go for life.
About twenty seconds passed, and then they broke the trees directly in front of us. They each had a gun, and they all were trained on me. Zelda tensed, her hand clenching into a fist. I inhaled and held my breath, waiting. I wouldn’t move, but it’s not as if I wanted to die. I just knew that moving wouldn’t help, and that if I moved they’d get Zelda.
Zelda tapped me twice, the sign for life, and then stepped around to stand in front of me. She held her head high and met all their gazes in the moonlight. Then, she put her arms up and stood still. I found myself fearful that they would kill her, or both of us, or none of us, and if they didn’t kill us what they were going to do to us. There are things worse than dying. I know that. I just didn’t want to live it. I exhaled, and tried to get my breath back quietly.
One of them hooked his gun in the waist of his jeans. He approached slowly, the other two guarding him. He grabbed one of Zelda’s hands and spun it behind her back, pulled the other down, and tied them together. She was facing me, her mouth set, her green eyes holding more courage than my whole body. I mean I was shaking now, my palms sweating. I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk if I tried. I was barely holding myself together, and there Zelda was, calm as can be, as if her hands weren’t tied behind her back and we weren’t in serious danger.
I met her gaze and shook my head. She knew what I meant. I’m a fighter. If I’m scared of something, I’ll find some way to get away from it. Fight or flight. It’s my first reaction. I don’t go down without a fight if I have no chance of flight. Now, I could fight as much as I wanted and risk us both being shot. If it wasn’t for Zelda’s nod, for her calming gaze on me despite her fear, I would’ve.
One of the other guys hid his weapon and tied my hands. I wanted to fight him so bad. I wanted his hands off me. I wanted my hands free. I just wanted to be by the fire, safe with Zelda by my side.
The man who tied me up shoved me towards the cemetery. I found it ironic that we had actually been running towards where they want to take us. Zelda started to fight them, both her fears clashing and driving her insane. They simply picked her up and carried her. She gave in to the discomfort of the binds and being carried, but her teeth and hands were clenched. They seemed to be expecting me to fight, but I didn’t.
I walked, about to cry.