Shane Tiff

Shane Tiff

It started off like any other day. The sun had risen into the sky, sending its light and warmth to the ground below. It shone through the windows of a small trailer that was sitting in a golden field. The dandelions all but glowed from the attention of the sun.

The light shone in through the raggedy and torn curtain, sending shadows to the corners of the barren room. The only thing that was in it was a me lying hidden under a dirty and used patchwork quilt. I warmed as the sun barged its way into the little matchbox of a room, and I sat up, the blanket resting on my lap. I stretched my arms above my head, trying to loosen the tightness that my muscles had acquired while staying partially awake during the night. My muscles showed shadows on my arms, back and shoulders, the spaces where the sunlight couldn't yet caress.

My face was still drowned by darkness, until I turned and stood up, leaving the blanket melting to the floor. The hair on my head looked like pure gold or a flame that had just been lit. My exposed skin showed a long time in the sunlight, taunt and dark, but also the form of a hard worker.

I looked out the window at the golden expanse of the field. As I turned around I scooped up my tee shirt and slipped the dirty and thin material over top of my head. I shoved my feet into my old and torn shoes before walking to my beat down truck. It had rust covering the body like a second skin, and dirt covering that.

I started the engine, and then started going down the dusty back road into town.






Melanie Rose

I awoke to the heat of the sun beating down on my face. My thin and frilly curtains did little to block out the sun's rays. I slipped on my smooth and silky robe when I got up to take a shower. The carpet was soft and comforting against my vulnerable toes, and when I hit the cold tile floor. It sent a shock through me.

I showered, letting the hot water relax every muscle in my body, and the smell of wild flowers fill the air. After I rinsed off, I pulled back the plastic curtain and wrapped a towel around my very average body. I padded to my closet to pull out my outfit for the day. It was supposed to be 80 degrees. That's the highest it would hit this summer. I slipped on a yellow tank and jean shorts, then walked out of my room.

When I reached downstairs, I remembered my hair. It was short, the way its been for a while. All I had to do was shake it like a dog would his fur. My mom was in the kitchen, probably just getting done bi***ing about the dishes in the way of her coffee pot. I would have had to do them tonight, if given the chance.

I poured myself some oatmeal into a bowl, then filled the rest with tap water. If there was anything more I despised in the world, it would have to be oatmeal. I hated the feel of it in my mouth, slimy and warm, some of it still chalky and hard if it's not made right.

The microwave hummed while heating up my puke in a bowl, and while it did, I grabbed a graham cracker, so that I had eaten something. After I pulled out the oatmeal, I stirred it up and added at least a cup of sugar, trying to make it have some appeal to my stomach. I took a spoonful and immediately had to follow it with a gulp of Dr. Pepper to keep from throwing it up.

I resorted to eating only a few graham crackers and going back to my room for my shoes. I was not staying in the house today, no matter how much anyone yelled at me. I found my flip flops under my bed and then hurriedly rushed out my front door.

Shane Tiff

I didn't think want to think about anything while I was driving. However, that just wasn't an option in my life. Nothing I wanted to do ever happened. Images flashed before my eyes. I had had a daughter once. She was two when she died. It was because her mother left her in the apartment while I was at work, and there was no one to save her from the fire. If I ever found that girl . . . I would go crazy, maybe kill her. I had loved my daughter to death.

Her name was Rachael. She had curly brown hair and eyes that were glittered with green flecks. She was the most important thing to me. Nothing could ever replace my little girl. Not even her mother.

I shook my head to try to clear out memories of the past. I tried to pay more attention to the world around me. I had been accelerating during my montage of memories, and had to suddenly brake when a girl ran out in front of me. She was a beauty, that was true. But behind those big eyes I could see pain, and anger. The look itself made me angry. I threw open my door, letting it squeak and bang when it couldn't open further.

I yelled at her. I yelled loud, and I don't think I even yelled any words. It was just gibberish as far as I'm concerned. She looked at me while I was yelling, probably wondered if I had gone mad. In a sense I had. My mind was filled with nasty thoughts, and horrid dreams. Underneath that, though, I used to be a good person. I worked hard at my job, I volunteered places. He**, I was even one of the sweetest guys during high school.

That was years ago. This was the now, and at that moment all I had wanted to do was yell until this girl ran away and never came near me again.


Melanie Rose

I exited my house, slamming the old wood door shut, letting paint chips fly off and catch in the wind. I didn't want to even be around this house anymore, with all the people screaming. I looked around at the bleak emptiness of my neighborhood, and then started to walk.

I started walking down the sidewalk that was cracked beyond belief and with grass that had grown in the spaces. It was a ghetto sidewalk I thought every time I walked down it. As sudden as that thought came, I wanted to run across the street. It wasn't rational, but there weren't any vehicles coming down the road. Plus, since when was I the rational one? Leave that job to my sister or my therapist.

There was a screech of brakes, and I stopped dead in my tracks, halfway across the road. There was a man in a truck, with hunger, desire, and sadness engraved in his face. I was intrigued, and hoped I would see him at school the next year. He looked young enough. However, he threw open his battered truck door and jumped out. After a second or two, he started screaming. He wasn't even screaming words. It was just a scream of maybe pain or anger. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn't seem menacing, but more just hurt that made me want to get into his truck. It was like the best thing in the world that I could do was open up that door and jump in.

I just stared at him for a few minutes while he was still screaming. Slowly I had started to walk towards him, but I think he was too caught up in his own emotions to notice my attempt. The sun beat down on my shoulders as if threatening me for moving towards the truck. The asphalt felt almost rubbery beneath the weight of my feet.

The man stopped screaming and dropped to his knees in front of me. His shoulders shook with grief, and I held still. I didn't want him to come after me or for him to break down. I thought he completely forgot about my existence, too caught up in his own misery to recognize life.

I made it to the door and carefully opened it, so that it didn't squeak. I climbed onto the torn yet homey seat and shut the door.
Shane Tiff

I eventually just dropped. I couldn't scream anymore. I folded into myself, not even realizing where that girl went. Everything reminded me of my family, now matter how gone they were. I wanted out of my own head. The sun blasted through my clothes and torched my skin, making sweat drip down my back. The asphalt looked like pools of melted rubber through my tear soaked eyes, and I couldn't make sense of anything.

After what felt like hours, I stood up, dizzy beyond belief. I looked around at the quaint neighborhood without any sight of the girl. I backed up, scuffing the bottom of my shoes. I kept my head down as I squeaked open my door and jumped into the seat.

I laid my head on the steering wheel, then revved the engine.

“Hi!” someone said from right beside me, causing me to jump from shock and knock my head into the sinking ceiling of the truck. “My name is Melanie,” the voice said as I held my head, about to look up. She stayed quiet for a minute, while I looked at her face. She seemed so vaguely familiar that I had to think twice before speaking.

“My name is Shane. Shane Tiff.”

“Hi, Shane, you almost hit me with your car.”

“Actually, it's a truck.” I had looked at her skeptically, trying to find out how she had gotten passed me to my truck.

“Let's go on an adventure,” she said, seeming really excited. I personally didn't want to get arrested for kidnapping. I had no idea who this girl was, and also she seemed too young to be daring enough to get into a screaming man's truck.

“Uh . . . How old are you? And why are you in my truck?” I asked her. Her doe eyes stared back at me, and I could see excitement darting behind them.

Melanie Rose

He had walked back to his truck, not really paying much attention at all. He seemed to be in a daze. I watched him as he climbed in and, in a resigned manner laid his head on his wheel before he started his truck.

“Hi!” I said. Startling him as he jumped, knocking his head on the dusty excuse called a ceiling. He didn't seem like he recognized me, so I kept trying to continue the conversation. His responses weren't adequate, but I could tell he was intelligent, especially when he asked my age.

“Uh. . How old are you? And why are you in my truck?” All I did was stare at him, trying to stay calm and now show how excited and nervous I was.

“Well, sir, I am old enough and because I know an opportunity when I see one.” His eyes roamed my face and browsed my body. He didn't look pleased, but he didn't look not pleased either. He placed the truck in gear and looked forward. I watched his eyes dart to the rear view mirror, and then his muscles tighten as he pressed on the gas and the clutch.

He didn't say anything for a while, didn't even look in my general direction. I didn't want to seem like a child, even though I wasn't even an adult. However, I didn't want him to know that. I wanted an adventure, I didn't want the last day of my summer vacation to be like every other day that I've had. I didn't want fighting to surround my ideas and tears to shred my thoughts. I wanted fun to fill me, joy to bring me to life.

I felt like this was a perfect opportunity, as long as I didn't die today. Most people would have considered what I had just done insane. I stared out the window, watching the expanse of the town I've been in for the longest time escape out of view. My stomach began to get butterflies.

I glanced over at the man next to me, who had yet to tell me who he was. His jaw was tense, but there was also a vulnerability in his eyes. Something in this man was different from every man I had ever met, I just didn't yet know what.

Shane Tiff

She kept glancing at me, as if that would make this reckless decision less dangerous. I knew how much trouble I could get in for taking a minor out from city limits. It's called kidnapping. They tried to charge me with it once when I was trying to get my own child. She would have been better off with me, better with my family. We wouldn't have let her stay home alone, to get burned up in flame.

I automatically felt my jaw tighten. I knew that this girl was just looking for some excitement. But this was the wrong way to do it. I kept driving further and further until I saw her glance at me, fear pounded deep into her eyes. She probably figured I was going to kill her. I don't plan on that at all.

I slowed down, and pulled onto a cliff, one that used to be known for teenagers screwing there. That is, until someone hit the parking brake and rolled off and died. Idiot. I put my truck in park and ran my hand through my hair. Her eyes were almost bulging now, and I had to stifle a chuckle.

I got out of my truck and walked over to the ledge. I heard the creak of the door as she decided to follow me. How stupid can she get? Didn't her mother ever tell her not to follow a stranger to the edge of a cliff? I pulled out my wallet and looked at the picture of Rachael. I tried to avoid scanning over the food stamp card, or my battered ID.

I heard gravel crunch as girl, I think she said her name was Melanie, came beside me. She tried to discreetly look at the picture I was looking at, and then I heard a gasp. I don't know why she gasped, but hey, all the power to her.

“Have you ever felt so empty inside that you knew nothing would ever fill the void? That nothing could ever replace your loss?” I looked at her as I began talking. I told her the story of Rachael, and when I had finished she was trying to swallow her own tears.

I laughed and took a step forward.

Melanie Rose

Oh my God he's going to jump. I don't know what to do. He seemed like an okay guy, telling me his story. But now he was going to jump. This isn't something I've ever been taught how to deal with. I grabbed his arm.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I yelled. I was searching his face for any remorse for scaring me, but there was only a peacefulness in his eyes. I let go of him and backed up.

He took another step, and before he fell backwards, he said, “I'm going to join my little girl Melanie. And before I forget, my name is Shane.” He started to fall backwards before I could reach him again. I screamed out to him as he hit the solid earth below. I could tell he died on impact.

I sat there for hours, not knowing what I just witnessed. Finally as the sun was setting, I got up, got into the truck, and drove back to town. No one believed my story. But I knew it was real.





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