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The Journal (Part 5)

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1.13
1.13
Becoming beautiful was never something Zelda and I were good at, and it wasn’t something we did often. We only ever did for dances or Halloween, and that ended badly unless someone else was around. We couldn’t do makeup or hair. At all. I’m not joking. We are the two worst people on the planet at cosmetology. We always had a mom or friend around to do everything.

So I guess it was a good thing Dorothy did our hair and face, or it would’ve defeated the purpose of the dresses at making us look beautiful.

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“Alright, here are the rules,” Monty said, pacing in front of the two girls, one in red and one in blue, I barely recognized. He was wearing a suit, and it fit him well, hiding the fighting stances and physique and making him look quite good. “You are mute. You do not speak at all. You do not allow anyone to take you anywhere unless it’s me or one of the other girls, and most importantly….”

He held our gazes, “You drink soda or lemonade. No alcohol.”

Zelda cursed under her breath, which made me recognize the girl in the blue dress just a little more.

Monty glared at her, but he didn’t say anything about her language, “Tonight, you just watch. You see what’s going on. Tomorrow, you just watch. You see what’s going on. After that, you’re free game and fresh meat.”

Zelda rolled her eyes, “Sounds like you’re a butcher.”

“I will be soon if you don’t behave.”

I swallowed.

Zelda’s face went a little pale under the makeup, but she held his gaze defiantly.

Monty glanced at his watch, “Let’s go.”

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A few years ago, I had to be the flower girl in my cousin’s wedding. I agreed to it only if Zelda could be one too, and they agreed. We were probably the oldest flower girls ever, dressed as if we were about five in the dresses they chose. We would’ve been in our own choice of dresses if we hadn’t lost a bet to my cousin’s fiancé, now husband. We bet him that he wouldn’t streak across the field at his company’s picnic during the softball game.

It shows how much people wanted to see us in these dresses by the fact that he did it, and my cousin has the pictures to prove it.

Walking down the aisle in poofy pink dresses and high heels, I felt as if I was going to fall over. I felt as if all eyes were on me, which they were. I felt as if the world was ending, and I was on my way to be sentenced to death. I felt as if I was going up to be hung. I knew for a fact Zelda felt the same way, since dresses, heels, and flowers do not mix well with her.

Stepping into the relatively large room full of men with fancy drinks and pocketfuls of cash ranging from gorgeous to ugly, I felt the same way I had that day at the wedding. Only this time, I was in the dress because I didn’t know what they would do to me if I refused, not because someone streaked so I would lose a bet. I would prefer the latter.

And judging by Zelda’s face as she took the last few steps, she was thinking the same exact thing.

-----------------------------------------------

“Good luck,” Monty whispered. He disappeared among the crowd. We could see the other five girls amongst them, chatting and laughing as if they hadn’t a care in the world. Zelda and I glanced at each other, and then headed to the bar to get a drink. The bartender handed us Cokes without even asking, and then he winked. Zelda shivered, and hurriedly dragged me away. We blended along the walls, watching and listening, seeing how the other captives interacted. As the night went on, they seemed to grow more tense, although not obviously so. When Esme and Rosalie weren’t seen for a while, I had to assume they were off doing what they were being kept alive to do.

I felt sorry for them.

Zelda looked at me quizzically when the music seemed to change somehow, although I couldn’t place how. The whole ‘don’t talk’ thing was driving us insane. If we could actually speak, we would’ve been all over figuring this out. It wasn’t until we heard the singing that we recognized the song, and what was different about the music.

“There’s something ‘bout the way, the street looks when it just rains.”

I spun, searching for the mouth the voice belonged to. Why? It was hesitant, soft, and scared. Whoever it was, wasn’t putting on a show, and if that’s what they want with this karaoke thing, she’ll be in trouble. At least, I have to assume she will.

“There’s a glow off the pavement, you walk me to the car.”

No, no, no….

“And you know I wanna ask you to dance right there, in the middle of the parking lot.”

No….

“Yeah.”

There, over on a stage I failed to notice until now. Zelda’s gaze was following mine, her eyes wide. The men in the crowd were already stirring, and I heard a nearby voice whisper, “They need to get better entertainment, or they lose my business.” I recognized the girl on the stage instantly as Dorothy, and she obviously wasn’t a performer. She could’ve been here for years, and that doesn’t make a difference. Sure, she could work the crowd, but she can’t perform in front of them.

“We’re driving down the road, I wonder if you know, I’m trying so hard not to get caught up now.”

I saw Monty in the shadows by the stage, his face hardened in anger. Before I could stop myself, I was making my way to the stage.

“But you’re just so cool, run your hands through your hair.”

I bumped into someone, and before I could stop myself, the words “excuse me” slipped from between my lips. The man looked at me and smiled, nodding as I disappeared behind a few more bodies.

“Absent-mindedly making me want you.”

“Get her off the stage!” The call came from one of the men closer to her, and Dorothy’s eyes widened. Monty’s fists clenched.

“And I don’t know how it gets better than this, you take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless.”

This girl was not fearless, and there’s about two million things she could come up with better than this.

“Get off the stage!”

“And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance, in a storm in my best dress, fearless.”

Her voice was growing softer with every line she sang in reaction to the rising hostility towards her. I slipped between the last few men, somehow managed to jump onto the stage in high heels, and pulled the microphone away from her lips just as the next verse started. I placed it next to mine, the words releasing themselves as my urge to protect her overrode the fact that I have never sung in front of a crowd before.

“So baby drive slow, ‘til we run out of road, in this one horse town, I wanna stay right here. In this passenger seat, you put your eyes on me, in this moment now, capture it, remember it.”

The hostility seemed to lessen slightly, and I found myself trying to put on a show. I pulled the microphone from it’s stand and kicked off my shoes, the words still flowing.

“’Cause I don’t know how it gets better than this, you take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless.”

Zelda was staring at me, eyes widened in fear. I had no idea what Dorothy was doing or where she was. I had now idea what Monty’s reaction was, but he couldn’t do anything to me now, so it wasn’t an immediate concern.

“And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance, in a storm in my best dress, fearless.”

I could get into so much trouble for this.

“Well you stood there with me in the doorway, my hands shake, I’m not usually this way but….”

Alright, stay into it, don’t realize you’re on a stage in front of people instead of dancing and singing in your shower. They don’t exist. The men who are calming down do not exist.

“You pull me in and I’m a little more brave, it’s the first kiss, it’s flawless, really something….”

Zelda started to make her way towards me.

“It’s fearless.”

So is she. I just seem to be really, really stupid.

“’Cause I don’t know how it gets better than this, you take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless. And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance, in a storm in my best dress, fearless.”

It’s almost over, just one more chorus and you’re done. That’s it, and you’ll never have to do this again.

“’Cause I don’t know how it gets better than this, you take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless. And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance, in a storm in my best dress, fearless.”

A boy took the microphone from me, a smile lighting his face as he screamed into it, “Well, what do you know? We have ourselves a new star!”

What did he just say? And who is he anyway?

I didn’t hear the rest of what he said, since I was off the stage in a second, heading towards Monty rather than the men in the room. Dorothy was in his grasp, looking as if she wanted to cry. She gave me a weak smile and a thumbs up, probably trying to make me think she’s fine and that I did great. It didn’t work at all.

I stopped in front of Monty, arms crossed in front of me. I waited.

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I take no credit for these lyrics. They belong to Taylor Swift. I am not plagiarizing or going against a copyright or whatever you’re going to say. Just thought I’d let you know.

I’d like to thank Taylor Swift for writing the song, since it’s one of my favorite songs ever. Also, thanks for writing almost all your songs, since I love basically every single one of them.

Sheik Wolf

2.1
Pulsing lights are keeping time with the music blaring from many speakers placed around the room. The floor is smooth. Bodies are packed close, yet flowing around each other easily. There is laughter. There are playful screams. Smiles flash in and out of view constantly, mixed with scowls and tears.

Everything is normal here at Neon’s Skateaway.

Easily falling into the familiar pattern of the skate rink, I let my mind roam. I imagined Zelda beside me, teeth glinting in the pulsing lights. I flashed back to when someone decided to cut her off. It was my first night trying roller-skates instead of roller-blades, and I was amused half the night by her and the guy messing around with each other as they sped around the rink.

I let the music flow over me, imagining the pictures to go with it, the touch to go with the pictures, the smells to go with the touch, the tastes to go with the smells, and letting the tastes spin back into the music. I’m not sure how much time passed, but eventually I could feel the dryness in my mouth. I knew I had to get a drink, so I made my way off the floor, grabbed a Gatorade, and sat down at one of the tables.

Alone.

I stared at the cap of the Gatorade bottle, my mind going through memory after memory of things that happened at this very spot. I could see Zelda sitting their with Charlie’s arms around her, and yes I’m talking about the cemetery Charlie. I was just watching them, and after a while Zelda asked what I was doing. I shrugged and replied, “I’m watching his hands.” The look on Charlie’s face was priceless.

“Sheik, do you remember…,” Zelda freezing as she looked up to find my phone pointed at her, thinking I was taking a picture and not realized I was videotaping her and she tried to hide.

Playing the duck game with just the two of us. That got confusing quickly. “Zelda, do you want to buy a duck?” “A what?” “A duck?” “Does it quack?” “Of course it quacks.” “Sheik, do you want to buy a duck?” “A what?” “A what?” “A duck.” “A duck.” “Does it quack?” “Does it quack?” “Of course it quacks.” “Of course it quacks.” “Zelda, do you want to buy a duck?” “A what?” “A what?” “A what?” “A duck.” “A duck.” “A duck.” “Does it quack?” “Does it quack?” “Does it quack?” “Of course it quacks.” “Of course it quacks.” “Of course it quacks.” “Sheik, do you want to buy a duck?”

And so on and so forth.

I could remember when she was upset over something. We simply sat here, neither of us saying anything, until Zelda looked at me and said, “I have a serious question to ask you.” I waited silently, wondering what she wanted to know. “If Mr. Krabs is a crab, then how is Pearl a whale?”

I’m not sure how long I sat there, staring at the cap, letting the memories hit me over and over. This place was such a part of us, of our friendship. I couldn’t not come here, yet coming here sends me spiraling back into the memories, out of control, unable to stop myself from drifting into the pit of despair and holding on only by my fingertips.

“Are you alright?”

The voice shocked me back into reality, and I found myself looking up into the clear blue eyes of a boy my age. He handed me a tissue and sat down without a word, a little shaky on his skates. That’s when I realized I was crying.

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A man appeared behind Monty. Monty handed Dorothy over to him, and they disappeared around the corner. Then, Monty put his arm around my shoulder and started to lead me after them. Once around the corner, Monty pulled handcuffs out of his pocket and pushed me through a door.

I almost fell down the stairs on the other side, but caught myself just in time. Monty pushed me, his face blank. I walked down the stairs as fast as I could manage, almost falling over and over again. It’s a good thing almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades, or I’d be in big trouble.

Once at the bottom of the steps, Monty grabbed the back of my neck and led me through a few rooms. I had a feeling I was in bigger trouble than I had bargained for. His grip hurt, but I was blocking that out. My feet hurt worse.

We finally arrived to where he wanted to go. It was a room about 10x10, holding nothing except a few chairs and a few chains hanging from the ceiling. Monty didn’t bother to close the door. He handcuffed my hands together, and then attached the handcuffs to the chain so my hands were above my head like Lucy’s in Iron Jawed Angels. Of course, I didn’t have people next to me for support.

Monty met my gaze, his anger finally showing. As usual, he was totally honest, “That was brave, but stupid as well. You broke the rules.”

I swallowed, and that’s about when I heard the angry screaming.

-------------------------------------------------

“I’m fine.”

The boy didn’t look as if he believed me, especially since I was wiping my eyes while I said it. Still, I wasn’t about to get into it with him.

“I’m not asking what’s wrong, you know. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just a shame to see a girl cry.”

Is he being creepy or a nice guy?

I shrugged and blew my nose. I chugged the rest of my Gatorade, shoved the tissue in the bottle, and wiped my eyes again before speaking.

“I’m fine, really. I promise.”

His lips twitched, probably attempting to smile but unable to, “Is it really such a surprise that I don’t believe you?”

I ran my hand through my hair, confused. Obviously, most people don’t care if they see a girl sitting alone sobbing, or I would’ve been asked about it sooner. Although, I don’t know how long I had been crying. Anyway, why would he even bother to know? I have never seen him before in my life, and with how shaky he is on his skates it was obviously his first time here. He was here alone, or he ditched his friends, in which case he’s either new to the area, just moved to a new town, or has been here a while and is just a genuinely nice guy that would ditch his friends to comfort a girl in tears.

Or, on the flip side, he’s high on hormones and thinks that if he can get me to trust him by calming me down and talking to me, he can get me naked within a week.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to believe.

“I guess not,” I mumbled, and then I stood up and skated away, steady and sure. I could hear him behind me, even shakier than he was before while trying to catch up to me. I tossed the bottle in the garbage without stopping, and started towards the floor. He caught up to me when I had to help a little girl to her feet, and he put his hand on my shoulder.

I spun to face him silently.

He met my gaze hesitantly, “Listen…I’m new here, and I realize you’re upset and everything, but it looks as if you need a friend, and I know I need a friend, so would you like to skate together?”

I stared at him, “If you think of this as a date or something….”

He shook his head frantically, “No, no! I’m just…lonely.”

I rolled my eyes and motioned him ahead of me, since it would be easier for me to catch up to him than slow down for him to catch up, “You’re the only male alive who’ll admit it.”

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Zelda was escorted in, her eyes flashing dangerously as she fought the grip of the two men struggling to carry her. Her eyes landed on me, and she smiled, “Sheik!” The split second she relaxed was enough for them to get a better grip on her, and suddenly she couldn’t move more than an inch. She grit her teeth, and her eyes fell on Monty, “What are you doing to her!”

Monty looked at her, “She broke the rules, and I suggest you behave before something terrible happens to her.”

Zelda’s nostrils flared, and she opened her mouth. Monty immediately pulled out a switchblade and held it to my throat. I wanted to kick him so bad, but that would simply make matters worse. Although, I lost a few of my self-dignity points by resisting the urge. She froze, her eyes on the sharp edge.

Monty smiled wickedly, “That’s what I thought.”

“You know,” she said quietly, “you just lost a few coolness points.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes, despite the fact that my throat was at easy range to get slit. She’ll never change.

Monty nodded to the men, and they strung Zelda up next to me. She was a little more resigned when she could barely stand with her feet flat on the floor. They left. Monty surveyed us, pondering. I remembered him saying that we might prove better together, but I now had a feeling that he regrets taking us both. Minutes passed. Zelda, still being Zelda, started to tap her foot and hum quietly. She didn’t stop until suddenly, he spoke.

“I’m not exactly sure which one of you to kill.”

Yeah, this is an excellent time to be right.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm:

The good:  I love this so far!  The dread is building and the adrenaline pulsing!

The bad: Once again, I don't have anything to point out.  This is really good!

The random: Love the characters!

 
CallMeFelix replied...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm :

The good: Seriously, thanks.

The bad: N/A

The random: I need to go to bed now...goodnight!

 
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