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Author's note: I don't even know what I'm writing sometimes. I can't tell my fingers don't type those words. My books are not brain-mapped out. They're just brain spit.
I WATCHED HER DIE.
Everyone there, watched her die. It was just something we couldn’t help but do. We stood there as innocent bystanders. But really everyone but me, was an innocent bystander. My eyes would not leave from her corpse no matter how many times I tried. I would blink, and I’d still see her. Someone pushed me back, I snapped back into here and now. It was a paramedic. His point here was useless. She was dead. He was too late. He could lift the body up, put it on a stretcher, and place that white sheet over her face as he carried her onto the silent ambulance but Macily would still be dead. And nobody would forget it. I would still see her corpse, through my closed eyes, and probably through my dreams. I’d see it hung over in the middle of 32nd street.
The police didn’t ask for witnesses, they asked for us to clear out. Those that refused to move, that were in too much of a state of shock, were manhandled away from the scene. At that moment, I finally understood it. It had nothing to do with Macily’s race. It had nothing to do with her gender. It all had to deal with that she was an American citizen. You’d think that in America the law and government is all on our side. But that’s all a lie. We live in a world of lies and conspiracy. The government and laws are all against us, most of us. And no matter how sad of a thing it was, we, the American People, have no choice but to now fight against them.
I went home to find my brother sitting on the couch. He looked over his shoulder at me, then looked back at the TV.
“Were you there?” He finally asks.
I put my backpack down onto the counter.
A whirlwind of anger and sadness flushed through him, and I swear he went mad. He jumped off the couch threw the TV off the stand and kicked everything down until everything in the living room was broken.
In a shriek he yelled, “Then why did you let it happen?!”
“There was nothing I could do.” I say calmly.
“Nothing you could do?”
“Nothing you could do?! You could have saved her! You could have fought for her! How are you just going to have let your friend die in front of you?”
I began to fill with anger, “You do know Mitch, that there were thirty hundred other people there too! Right? None of them did anything.”
“Someone did something. Someone called for help. But you, you just stood there. You watched Macily die.”
“She is dead Mitch, do you get that? The use of you yelling at me, has no point!”
He sighs, tears began to roll from his eyes.
“Macily to me, was like a sister.”
“You have a sister!”
“Yes and if I saw your life in danger, at any second I would risk my life for yours! That is the promise I made for our dad! That is the promise I made for Macily’s dad.”
“Why?! Why were you making promises to Macily’s dad?”
“Because he went to war too! And we all know, he is not coming back. Not him, not dad, and definitely not your boyfriend….Wes.”
“No!” I shrieked, “You’re lying!”
I felt warm salty tears fall into my open mouth.
“What’s going on in here?”
Mitch and I both turned towards the door to see our mom in the doorway. With one look at me she panicked.
“Oh God, Reese! Did the news come in?”
“News? What news?!” I shook off my thoughts then turn and point at Mitch, “You raised a liar! A horrible, rotten liar!”
“Reese!” My mom yelled.
“No! You can’t always blame Reese! You don’t know the half of what Mitch does to me when your not home! He teases me! He gets into my mind and messes with it. He’s found the way to do it! And it gets to me every time! These tears mom, they go out to Macily.”
I turn to Mitch.
“You hear me Mitch? They go out to my dead best friend!”
I snatched my backpack up from the counter then ran out the apartment, slamming the door behind me.
I went down to Billy’s Corner Store, and immediately was greeted by Roscoe’s dry humor.
“Hey Reese, got any love for me?”
“Shut up, would you?” I ask with a smirk back at him.
He eyes me, “What’s wrong with you?”
I hold onto a bag of chips then look back at him.
“You didn’t hear?”
“Hear what?” He looks at me for a while then he adds, “’ey where’s your buddy Macily?”
I nod then take the chips up to the counter.
“Oh…..I didn’t know. You know I wouldn’t kick you when you’re already nose down in the dirt.”
“Sure… can you just ring these up and uh….a newspaper?”
“Just take it.”
“Yeah. I hope it’ll make it up.”
“Yeah a newspaper and a bag of chips is really gonna get me over my friends death.” I add sarcastically, “Thanks a lot Roscoe.”
He stutters as he tries to find what to say to me. But I grab up the newspaper and chips then walked out.
I bought a ticket and sat on one of the subway’s benches as I waited for my ride to come. I felt around my backpack, and then my hand stopped on my phone. It was vibrating. I pulled it out and looked at it. I had received a text message, not from a blocked number but one I never set in my contacts. I opened it, ready to read some completely awkward message that was supposed to go to someone else but ended up coming to me when I read: “U KILLED HER.”
It obviously was not a mistake.
“Wat r u tlking about? I didn’t kill any1.”
I looked up as I heard the brakes screech. The train stopped in front of me. I threw my phone into my backpack then got up and stepped on.
When you’re sixteen you’re for the most part independent. And the only people that really notice you on trains are the weird people. I tried to sit everywhere but next to a weird person. But in New York, that’s all that seems to live there. I took a seat next to an elderly woman. I heard her say something.
“Huh?” I ask as I turned to her.
But she wasn’t talking to me, she was mumbling to herself.
My lap started vibrating, I reached in my backpack then pulled out my cell phone.
“Macily is dead now.”
“TY captain obvious.”
I roll my eyes then start to put the phone away when it immediately chimed again.
“You know how. You saw it coming. You could’ve saved her. U KILLED HER.”
I finally got it.
“Alrite Mitch, enough! U don’t know anything!”
The train stopped, and a few teenagers stepped on. They were all boys. One saw me staring and smiled at me with an upward head gesture to say, “What’s up?”
I smiled back, then my phone started vibrating.
“I know enough, that it can hurt u if I tell. This is not a joke. This is not a lie. And this is not Mitch.”
I couldn’t get my heart rate under control. I was really scared. If this person really did know what happened, if they really did know my side of the story, the wrong side, what would happen to me?
“Who is this?”
“Glad to say, your worst nightmare.”
“Ur going 2 go 2 jail if u keep texting me. I mean it, stop.”
I looked up from my phone at the guy, we smiled at each other then I looked back down.
“I think you’re the one afraid of jail.”
“Wat do u want from me?!”
I looked up to see the guy get up from his seat and walk over to my seat.
“You go to Frederick High School right?”
“Yeah me too,”
“What’s your name?” I ask with a smile.
“Nice,” he says along with a grin.
“Yeah!” I say with a smile.
And to kill a perfect moment my cell phone vibrates.
“Start me off.” I text back.
“I can see your busy…” Evan started off with.
“Oh no, no! It’s just my brother trying to pull a prank on me.”
“Oh alright. Where’s your stop?”
As the train began to slow down, I say “Sadly here.”
“Well it’s alright. I’ll catch you around school.”
I grab my backpack then step off.
It was a hike from the station to Oceanside but every time I made it to destination A it was always rewarding. Annie was Wes’s big sister. Him and her used to live in the two bedroom apartment with his younger brother. But Wes was drafted for war, and Trevor his younger brother went back to live with the family, so only Annie remained. It was never like a boarder’s apartment but it wasn’t OCD clean like my mom makes me keep ours. Annie’s apartment is just the way I like it. I buzzed up to her, and it took her a while to respond but after a while she buzzed back to let me through.
She greeted me with hugs and tears. I came there to let her know about Macily’s death, but it seemed she already knew. She had me sit down and she cried for some time. I sipped some ice tea and snacked on her famous fudge brownies but while she cried, the sugar became salty. I felt my face and realized I was crying too. I cleared my throat after washing down the brownies with iced tea then I say, “I was there.”
Her face looked up from her hands, “What do you mean you were there?”
Annie’s voice had changed. It never sounded like that.
“I was there on 32nd street.”
“You were there? You were there?! How could you?”
“No! You let Macily die!”
“You and Mitch act like I could’ve done something! There was nothing I could’ve done.”
Her voice didn’t only change, but her eyes did too.
“If they come after me. And I think they will. I don’t want you here.”
She says in a mocking voice, “’cause there’d be nothing you can do.”
“Annie what’s happened to you?”
“Reese! I’m going to admit it now, Macily was like a sister to me--”
“And aren’t I too?”
“No. You are just a beggar child that comes to my house looking for food. Then you eat until your stomach’s full. You talk about your day. It’s all about you. You never ask how mine went. And the only thing that kept me thinking that I liked you was because you were friends with Macily.”
“But what about me and Wes?”
“You and Wes?” She asks.
A smirk grew across her face.
“Wes is dead honey, it’s time to move on.”
“How can you say that about your own brother?”
“Because I live in the real world! The day that he left, and you kissed him good-bye you should’ve known. Everyone else knew. All those men that boarded those trains--maybe one will come back. One.”
“And that one will be Wes!”
“Get real!” Annie yells.
“Oh! I hate you!”
“Feeling is neutral.”
I sped by her and grabbed my backpack.
“And don’t come back!”
“Don’t worry about it!” I yell on my way out the door.
I slammed the door shut then walked down the steps. Before I walked out the door to the building, I realized I had left my phone. I groan then walk back upstairs. I waited for her nasty reply about me coming back but once the elevator reached the floor, I heard a scream from her apartment. I ran down then shoved the door open. The window was broken. The glass was shattered all over the floor. I ran to the back of her apartment, to find her feet sticking from out of her room. She whimpered. That was good, it meant she was still alive. I looked around the doorway to see a man, holding a gun right to her head. A long one. A crescendo. He looked up at me, and she looked over her shoulder to see me.
“Reese! Reese help me! You’ve got to help me!”
I found blood caked on her clothing.
The guy says, “Reese please look away.”
“Reese help!” Annie begged for her life.
The guy says, “Reese last time I’m going to ask you.”
“What’s going on?” I ask.
He ignored me and shot her anyways. Immediately she went quiet. Her body went still. He ran from the spot already forgetting I was standing there. I ran out of her bedroom and to the couch for my phone. It said I had three text messages but I’d read them later. I called 9-1-1 and ran back into her bedroom. They had me perform CPR on her, the best that I could. So I did that, I felt a heartbeat but it was really faint. It definitely could not have been mine. As my arms grew soar the ambulances’ sirens neared. To my help a paramedic carried her away. But unlike Macily, I didn’t know if she was dead or not.
The police had taken me to the station. They had me sit in the waiting room, until the Chief was ready for some answers. So my bloodied hands searched through my backpack. I pulled my cell phone out then read the three messages.
“Don’t go to Annie’s home.”
“I just warned you not to.”
“U KILLED HER TOO.”
Was it true? Was Annie really dead, or was this person just talking? I started panicking, so my eyes started bursting out tears. I wiped them away as a lady told me the Chief was ready. I slowly walked in.
“What a day huh?” He asks as he pulled his seat out further.
“What do you mean?” I ask then slowly sit down.
“Your brother told me, you saw your best friend die in front of you. And now this,”
I blurt, “Is Annie dead?”
He smiles at me, one I couldn’t read.
“We haven’t kept in contact with the hospital. But I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
“Why are they killing them?” I ask. “My friends, why are they killing my friends?”
“Well I was about to ask you the same thing. But first I need to know who ‘they’ is. So they can’t kill again. So ‘they’ll’ be behind bars. You don’t want your family to get hurt do you?”
“You won’t be a snitch. They won’t know who told.”
“But they will.”
My cell phone went off. Both of our eyes looked down at it. Luckily enough, his desk was too high for him to be able to read it. I opened the message.
“I’d go to the hospital.”
“My friend Annie, she’s in the hospital, she can die--I just want to know that she’s alright. I want to see her one last time, if it is her last. Can you please rush me there?”
“What does that have to do with your phone?”
He pushes out of his seat and motions for me to follow.
I ran down the hallway to see her lying in her room. I immediately went in, she looked at me then at the EKG it was racing.
“You can’t die Annie.”
I ran next to her to pick up her hand but she snatched it away. Her last words gave me shivers.
“I asked for your help, and you watched me die.”
“You didn’t die--”
“I wonder if that’s what happened to Macily--”
“Annie you’ve got to understand--”
“I’ll ask her,”
Her eyes didn’t close. I think she did it on purpose. But she left them staring at me. The monitor went quiet. I got a text message immediately.
“Got doubts now? Annie’s dead.”
I looked away from her, but like Macily, it didn’t help. Her eyes were still staring straight at me. The door swung open and I jumped. Luckily the officer stepped in. I quickly walked out.
On the car ride home, I texted back.
“Please stop if ur just doing this to torture me. But if u want 2 help me, help me.”
“They say texting is getting out of control.” The officer says.
“They’re right.” I say with a sigh.
“It’s late Reese. I’m going to take you home. You have school tomorrow anyways.”
“Well what about Annie?“
“She’s not going to be anymore dead tomorrow then she is today.”
It was such a rude remark, it hurt me. He saw it.
“What I mean is, you’re still alive and have a life to live. Live, Reese.”
“Live.” I whimper, then I began crying.
“Reese, why are you crying?”
The only person I talked to, about my feelings, was Annie. And Annie was now dead.
But not only that I guess, she hated me. She always had, it was just a show. Just a friendly show. But it failed the one time, I decided to tell her I was there on 32nd street. Now what would Wes do? If he knew I was there on 23rd and Oceanside.
When the police car, stopped in front of our apartment building I got out quickly. I thanked him for the ride, then rushed inside. It was now pouring rain on a Sunday. I made it up to the door and put my key in. I opened the door and looked over my shoulder to still see the car there.
When I made it into the apartment, I went and checked the window. He was gone.
I turned around to see Mitch.
“Don’t apologize. ‘cause it won’t be sincere and it’ll be a lie.”
“No I seriously am. Your day just went horrible. A black day huh?”
“Sure,” I walk past him then towards my room.
“Aren’t you scared?” I stopped walking then turned to him. “I mean if they killed Malicy and Annie, who do you think is next? Do you think it’s one of us?”
“Whoever it is it’s not me. That’s all that matters.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ever heard of the saying ‘Every man for his self’? Yeah? Well, that’s the only way to survive now Mitch.”
“Annie was for herself, she died.”
“Annie was not for herself. And she was against the wrong person.”
“What do you know that I don’t?”
“I’ll talk tomorrow. Tonight I need sleep.”
“How can you sleep?”
“I’ll try my hardest.” I say sarcastically then close the door to my room behind me.
I lied on my bed. Before I could close my eyes I had to check my phone. I pulled it out.
“Every man for himself? Well then why should I help you?”
“How did you hear that?”
It took a while but they eventually responded.
“My eyes and ears are everywhere. So don’t think you can spill about me.”
I had school tomorrow. Enough drama would be waiting there.
“Listen I’m not a snitch. But I also can’t b bullied. State ur purpose.”
With a yawn I turned over and shut my phone off.
I went into the kitchen looking for breakfast. But Mitch was looking for a fight.
“You’ve been checking the papers huh?”
“Yeah, I have the right to know.”
He laughs, “Reese if they blow off dad’s head, how are they supposed to know his name?”
“If you were smarter then you acted, you’d know they have dog tags.”
I roll my eyes then pull out the orange juice container.
“Reese, you’ve got attitude.” Mitch says with a frown.
“I do now?” I ask as I pour myself a glass.
“How did Macily put up with it?”
I immediately turned on him.
“Listen to me Mitch. Mom’s off at work and I’m already in a bad mood, try me, I dare you.”
“Oh yeah, what are you going to do?”
I swung around and grabbed a knife.
I could hear the fear in his voice. My fingers rubbed up and down the knife’s end then I sigh and put it back. When I turned back around to him, he was still in some state of shock. I drank down my glass of orange juice then left. I knew he was going to tell. Mitch was a snitch. If he told mom, she’d believe him. She always knew I was the violent type. That meant I couldn’t go home . I ran down the street to school then slid into class right before the last bell.
The teacher started off on a lecture. So I dazed out.
“Huh?” I ask as I still remained distant.
The class snickered.
I looked up to find the teacher handing me a pass.
“You’re wanted in the counseling office.”
I take the pass then under my breath say, “Thanks a lot Mitch.”
As I walked into the counseling office, it wasn’t Mitch sitting in the other chair. I didn’t even know the kid in the other chair.
“You wanted me?” I ask as I hand the counselor the pass.
“Yes, Reese this is Trevor.”
“Trevor? Trevor Ridge?”
He nods and stands up. Quickly I wrapped my arms around his neck. He hugged me back.
“I haven’t seen you in so long! Your so much older now and--”
“You do know, I was always older then you right?”
I laugh then held onto him even tighter.
“I’m going to give you two, some time.” The counselor got up from her seat then walked out.
“So what’s up?” I ask with a smile.
His eyes looked down at the ground.
“I’m the only Ridge left.”
“W-what do you mean?” I ask.
My smile faded.
He sighed then he says, “Annie died yesterday and Wes is dead at war--”
“Wes is not dead! I’ve been checking the papers!”
He smiles then shook his head. The same thing adults do to kids when they just don’t understand.
“Well, my mom was in the hospital the same night as Annie. She died a few minutes after her.”
“Wait, who died first?”
I sigh then say, “Put yourself in Wes’s shoes.”
“Reese what does this--”
“Just do it, please.”
He breaths in and out then closes his eyes.
“What would you do if I told you I was there on 23rd street and Oceanside?”
His eyelids flew open.
“You were there?!”
“But I thought you were at 32nd!”
“Would you hate me?” I ask.
I forced my eyes to look into his, and search his for the truth. He sighs, and his head dropped down.
“No, I wouldn’t.”
I wiped away my tears then hugged back onto him.
I had to return to class. But he promised to come back and take me out for lunch. During Spanish I checked my phone.
“My purpose is clear/but your not supposed to understand.”
“WTH?” I texted back.
“Put it away Senora, before you loose it.”
I look up to catch Senora Lucaz looking at me. I slid it into my pocket then listened to her. She walked around the classroom in a way to kind of hypnotize you. Every girl wanted to look like her when they grew up. Every guy wanted to marry her.
“Me gusta leer un libros, y pasar un rato con las amigas! Te gusta hacer la tarea?”
No. No, no, no!
I was so happy when the last bell for fourth period rang.
I ran out to the parking lot to see Trevor pulling up on his motorcycle. I ran and jumped on.
He looked up and over his shoulder, “Don’t I have to sign you out?”
“No they’ll live.”
“Reese I’m pretty sure--”
“Trevor,” I place my hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry.”
“Ditcher.” He mutters with a smile then hands me back a helmet.
I attach the buckle under my chin then say “Oh like you never have.”
He smiles back at me then starts up his motorcycle, I wrap my arms around his waist as we drove off.
“So you’ve got a job?” I ask.
He looks up from his menu, “No, why would you ask that?”
I answer him by looking around the restaurant that a normal teenager can’t afford.
“Alright let me state this clearly, my mom’s dead, Annie died, my dad’s off at war with Wes and everyone else’s dad. I think I’m getting a little inheritance.”
My smile disappeared. He noticed.
“What’d I say?” He asks as he touches over at my hand.
I pull my hand away then place it on my lap.
“Why does everyone think that their dad’s are dead? There’s a big chance that--”
“Reese, those men went off by force! We lost so many men that they had to start drafting grandpa’s I heard!”
“They weren’t fifty yet.” I say with a pout.
He opens his mouth to say something then shuts it again.
“Reese, just ‘cause I lost all hope doesn’t mean you have to.”
“That’s good. Now can we enjoy ourselves at lunch?”
I lift the menu back up then realized I couldn’t read it, it was all blurred.
I looked up to see if Trevor was looking. When I saw he was reading the menu I quickly wiped my eyes with my sleeves. My pocket started vibrating, making it loud enough for him to hear. I excused myself with a gentle smile to him then reached back and pulled out my phone.
“Dating? When we have a boyfriend?”
Trevor tried to peek his head over the table.
“Who is it?” He asks
“An annoying friend of mine.”
Before I could hit the reply button I got another text.
“So now we’re on the same side? Well alright.”
I barely typed in a few letters when Trevor’s buttery fingers slipped my phone from me.
“Hey now, were at lunch, we. Let’s talk. You can talk to--”
He looked down at the phone. My heart stopped.
He looked up at me, “What Reese? Have so many friends that you just start putting in random names for them?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh--well that’s his--her nickname.”
He raises his brow at me.
“That my other friends gave them.”
“Them?” He asks with a side laugh.
“Oh never mind Trevor. I’ll put it away can I have my phone?”
He smiles, “Yeah, here.”
He hands it across the table then it starts vibrating in his hand. He hesitates then takes his hand back and then looks down at the phone.
“Trevor, please stop reading!”
He looks up at me then back down at the phone. I get up and out of my seat then snatch it from him. When I read the first few words, my heart died.
“Mitch is dead.”
Trevor drove me from the restaurant to home at my apartment building. Mitch wasn’t there. I called his cell phone but it immediately went to voicemail. When I was about done freaking out, the house phone rang. I ran to get it.
“Hello? Hello! HELLO?!”
“Hello, yes is this Mrs. Moore?”
I cover the phone then clear my throat.
“Yes, it is. Are you calling about my son?”
“Not today Mrs. Moore. We’re calling about your daughter Reese--”
“What’s going on? Is that Mitch?” Trevor asks as he stepped over.
I shushed him then say, “I’m sorry, continue.”
“Yes she’s been marked as absent but was here earlier today. You may want to call her, and get her here before school is over before it is marked on her record as a Verified Ditch.”
“Oh of course, I’ll try my best to get her there.”
“Ok thank you Mrs. Moore.”
“Excuse me! One last thing, is my son Mitch in today?”
“Of course he is, Mrs. Moore. Would you like to speak to him?”
“Of course, please hold.”
Trevor takes the phone from me, then holds it away from me.
“Reese! What’s going on?”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out!”
“Why is your friend texting you crap like that?”
“I don’t know!”
“Reese stop lying. If you have something to say just say it!”
“Ok!” I yell.
In the silence we heard a distant, “Hello? Hello?”
Trevor hands me back the phone, “Hello! I’m sorry, what is it you were saying? Were you able to get him?”
“Actually he’s in the middle of a test right now but as soon as he’s done, I’ll have him call you.”
“Oh ok, thank you.”
I put the phone back down on the receiver then let out a big sigh.
Trevor asks, “Everything alright?”
“Yeah, apparently he’s in the middle of taking a test.”
“Oh that’s good.”
I walk over to the couch then collapse onto it. Trevor comes and sits next to me, resting his face in his hands.
I rub his back then say “Thanks for rushing me home.”
“I don’t see why you think he’d be home anyway.”
“I know…I panicked. Home is the--the uh--first place I go when I’m scared.”
He looks at me, “Where’s your first place?”
I look down in my lap then say, “Annie’s apartment. It was home.”
“Want to tell me what happened there? What happened with your friend? What happened to Macily what--”
The phone rang. We both craned our necks to see it.
“I’ll get it.”
“Well Mr. Moore is off at war, so I don’t see why I would.”
I roll my eyes then get up from the couch to answer it.
“Yes I’m--I’m terribly sorry Mrs. Moore.” Her voice was frantic.
“What do you mean? Why?!”
“It seems to have been some mistake. Your son is being rushed to the hospital currently. It’s believed that he might not make it--no one was really paying attention and--”
I hung up the phone then ran towards the door.
“Reese! Where are you going?” Trevor yelled after me, but I kept running.
I asked the front desk if they knew where he was.
They told me that he wasn’t in a room. That he was currently in the middle of a rescue surgery. They told me that they’re afraid, that the blade hit a major artery and they might not be able to stop the bleeding. They told me, my brother was dying.
I didn’t care how many people tried to stop me, I rushed back into the surgery room. I saw as pints flew from my brother. I didn’t understand. My phone vibrated.
“I know who did it. Do you?”
“IDC who did it! I care y they did it!”
I sent it then watched in horror.
No one noticed me for the longest time. But the doctors started walking off, one by one. Their scrubs stained in blood. They gave me sad glances, but when there was only one left I ran up to Mitch and took his hand. It was obvious he was unconscious. The doctors came back and tried moving me away. But I screamed, I hollered, I kicked. I would not leave. I tried to be as loud as possible hoping that Mitch would pop up, and yell at me to shut up. I was hoping he’d tell me I was over reacting. I was waiting for the brother that would push you from a hug after he got hurt saying, “I’ll be fine.”
“Reese! Reese.” I noticed Trevor was helping them.
“Your helping them?!” I shriek.
“Reese they’re taking you out of here because Mitch is going to be fine.”
“He’s what?” I ask as I look up at the doctors.
“Your brother was knocked out because he lost so much blood. We returned it, and were able to stop the bleeding.”
“So it didn’t hit an artery?”
“No it didn’t.”
I felt a smile grow.
“Do you know when he’ll be up again?”
The doctor shrugged.
“In a couple of hours maybe.”
“Ok?” Trevor asks. He was talking to me like I was some maniac. But he had the right.
“Come on, this way.”
His touch was something I haven’t felt since Wes. When he wrapped his arm around me to reassure me I was fine, that Mitch was fine, that the whole world was fine I realized I’d be fine.
We sat waiting for hours. Finally I was allowed in his room.
“Hey Mitch, you up?” His eyes glanced over at me. He was drugged.
“Who did it?”
He sighed heavily.
“You know who.”
I laughed. It felt inappropriate after it came out but it was too late to take it back.
“The school thought it was a gang. No one apparently saw.”
“You know they saw. They just couldn’t tell. That whole school is involved with this. The whole school is going to get plucked one by one, until everyone but us is dead.”
“I’m just happy your alive.”
“It’s not by luck, Reese. So don’t just be happy. They were trying to scare you, scare us. If they wanted to kill me I would’ve been dead like Macily.”
I stopped breathing.
“That’s how they killed her right? They stabbed her in the middle of 32nd street?”
“You want to know what happened?”
The vibration was in my pocket.
I pulled it out and read it, “I wouldn’t tell if I were you.”
Mitch was on his death bed. Regardless of what the doctors said he could die at any minute. He had the right to know. And I may not tell him all of it, but I’d tell him some of it.
“Ok brace yourself Mitch.”
“Shut up Reese. Just tell the story.”
I cut my eyes at him then remembered it, like it was--because it was-- yesterday.
Sunday mornings used to mean, Mom would take us to church. And I’d see all my church friends. And Mitch would play for all the church teams. But when my dad went away to war, my mom had to get a job. And with almost all the moms in the U.S. needing jobs, jobs became scarce. So instead of being able to take full time, my mom took three part time jobs. This meant, no break for Mom. In the beginning Mitch and I would go without her. But after a while less and less families went. I guess because they believed God had given up on them, so they might as well give up on Him.
We told Mom we went. She never asked the Pastor. And sometimes we really did go, if we didn’t have plans for the weekend. So Mitch and his friends staid home this Sunday, and me and him would go next Sunday. I called up Macily and asked her to come pick me up. I told her let’s go do something. She held the phone. I told her that if she didn’t have enough money I’d cover for her. She talked. She said she wasn’t leaving her house because they were after her.
I told her they wouldn’t bother her if she were with me. She said I was lying and just being selfish. I told her that hiding in her apartment couldn’t save her. She scolded me on how a horrible thing that was to say to her. I realized it was pretty bad. I apologized then tricked her. I said that I would save her. She listened closely. I told her I’d save her family. She asked me how, and I told her I couldn’t tell. She told me that if I was lying, her blood would be in my hands. With a shrug, I accepted that.
She hung up the phone, and came to pick me up. I got in the car, and she asked if the thing was done. I lied and told her it was. She eyed me and said with scared eyes, “Please Reese I’m serious. They’re after me. I can’t be risking my life for you.”
So I asked her why she was so afraid of dying, of death. She told me, she couldn’t tell me. I insisted that I needed to know. She sighed and searched my eyes. I smirked when she opened her mouth, but screamed when she did. We had gotten in a car crash. The guy behind the wheel looked pretty angry.
“Get out and talk to him!” She yelled.
“I’m not the one who crashed into him! You did,”
“You know I’m in hiding. I can’t get out.”
“Fine, he doesn’t look that bad. He can’t be one of them.”
I throw open my car door and he stepped out too. His voice was so kind and friendly. His face no longer showed any sign of anger. I talked to him like I would any adult.
He kept looking back at the car, and I did too. Macily was hiding under the wheel so no one could see her.
“You weren’t driving. I know you weren’t.”
“Well my friend--” I say as I wave at the car, “Has this thing with strangers.”
“That’s alright.” He looks back at the front of his car. “I just want her insurance number.”
“Ok, that’ll be easy.” I ran back then slid into the car.
“Macily you’ve got to stop worrying. He just wants your insurance agency.”
“Well ok….” she unbuckled her seatbelt then stepped out.
He smiled then says, “Hey, so I just need the number.”
“Alright it’s uh…”
“Wait, hold on…” he pulls out of one of his business suit pockets a tissue. “Let me go get a pen.”
“Ok.” Macily was tittering.
I rolled my eyes on how ridiculous she was acting.
“I don’t seem to have one, can you get me one?” He admits.
“Umm yeah, I’ll just get one from Dunkin Doughnuts.” I say then start to walk off.
“Let me go get it, Reese.” Macily says.
Her back was to him. And she was sending me signals not to leave her with him.
“Umm…or I’m sure the three hundred people walking by will have one. I’ll just go ask them.”
“Macily stop it. He just wants a pen!”
I turned my back for what had to be less then a minute. I ran to the crowd of people and asked for a pen. They all looked over me. Their faces flinching, crying, pale. I just thought that the car accident was too ghastly for them to look at. But I finally got a pen from a hotdog stand guy. I ran back to hand Macily the pen, but Macily was on the ground, on her knees, folded over. His car was gone, he was gone. I yelled her name so many times. But calling her name didn’t stop the blood from flowing a puddle around her.
I knew it was the thirteenth time I called her, but it was her last time she heard it. She was dead. They had killed her.
I didn’t cry because I couldn’t. I didn’t yell for help because it was too late. But one lady, called. And she would’ve been the hero if she had been the one to do it five minutes earlier.
Mitch looked at me. His eyes were barely staying open but they pierced me.
“Why did you leave her?”
“Why did you lie to her?”
“It’s ‘cause I--”
“Why did you watch her die? There was nothing you could do Reese?”
“No Mitch there wasn’t! He stabbed her right in the stomach!”
“You know where you’re stabbing me? Right through the heart Reese!”
“Alright, but at least I’m here.”
“Mom’s break has ten minutes left. Where is she?”
“Umm, Mom doesn’t know you’re here yet.”
“How did you know?!”
“I got home early and answered the phone--”
“And you didn’t have the time to call her?! What kind of a person are you? Don’t you think Mom would have liked to spend her last few minutes with her dying son?! Reese I hate you! I hate you! You’re not a human being! You don’t have a heart! You’ve changed. They’ve changed you. And in a horrible, awful way.”
“Mitch you’re just saying that.”
“No Reese. Do you want me to really prove it?”
“Then get out of here! I don’t want to see you here, in my room.”
“No-no Mitch! You can’t get mad at me! You can’t not trust me! You’re going to end up dead--”
“Good.” I looked at him, and he looked at me. “I’d rather be dead then have to pretend I trust you, and that I like you.”
I wipe my tears away then say, “Fine. But I didn’t have to come.”
“No one asked you to.”
“I could’ve killed you!” I cried. “You could’ve been dead this morning! If they had really changed me, you wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t be breathing! Be lucky--no be happy that you are still living!”
“Get out of here, Reese!”
“Fine!” I began to whimper, “Fine.”
I walked out and slammed the door after me. Trevor saw the tears and ran to the rescue. As his shoulder covered my face, my mom ran in. Panicking. I don’t know who told her. But I was glad that she came.
Trevor closed the door to his room then motioned for me to sit on his bed.
“You know, I’m a really good listener.”
I sniffed then rubbed away more tears.
“I won’t act like your brother did. I just want to know what happened to my sister.”
I look away.
“Can you tell me Reese? Please?”
“How badly do you want to know?”
He sits next to me.
“More then anything.”
“Ok,” I wipe my nose with my sleeve then start.