Last year I had to write a short story for class and after reading about twilight, I decided to...
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Her gray eyes glistened like quicksilver; her raven wing black hair with is tingles of dark red, once had been elegant and smooth, now was a ratted mess at the base of her neck. Her once porcelain skin was now streaked with grime. The filth of the streets clung to her clothes, and the scent of unwashed body made even her own nose wrinkle with disgust.
With her head ducked low, watching the ground as it passed beneath her feet, Rain made her way to a connecting alley, looking about to ensure
no one had followed her. Her mother’s brittle voice and cold words ringing through her mind.
“ You stay away from those street people now. Ya’ hear girl? They are as cold and cruel as ice and they don’t give a finger snap about a girl like you,” said her mother’s voice with a snap of her well-manicured nails. “ They’ll gut you and take your last penny without a second thought and turn around just as quick, to buy booze and drugs. So you just stay away from them. Don’t even look at them. Ya’ got me?”
Rain shivered at the thought of her mother’s words and the feeling they stirred up within her. She wondered what her mother would say now; her being one of the ‘street people’ she thoroughly despised. She would probably say that it was fitting, because she thoroughly despised her as well.
When she was certain no one had followed her, Rain slipped behind an old dumpster and found an old bit of cardboard that was relatively clean. Picking up the trash that was scattered about, she cleared a dry bit of ground, and placed the cardboard down before dropping her knapsack. She ignored the mysterious splatters the covered the wall behind her, trying not to think what they might be.
The cold night made her shiver. Reaching into her knapsack she fumbled with the latch and pulled out an old worn black sweatshirt. ‘New York Yankees’ was sown across the torso with white thread. The sweatshirt was several sizes too big, having once belonged to her older brother. Tucking her knees to her chest Rain pulled the hum over her legs. Crossing her arms, she hugged her knees close. Curling her hands into fists Rain pulled the sleeves over her bolted hands to shield her fingers from the winter chill. Closing her eyes, Rain rested her head on her knees for a moment. She was tired and hungry; but didn’t want to go dumpster diving – or ever – again.
At times like this she really missed him. Reaching into her sack again, she pulled out a worn photograph. It was crested and wrinkled form being overly handled; a few tear blotches obscured the image. Still Rain could make out all the faces, aside from herself the photo held three others—two boys and another girl. The oldest among them nearing eighteen, with short cropped dusty blond hair and golden eyes. His darkly tanned skin and boyish face gave him the appearance of a Californian-surfer-dude. He was over six-foot and had a strong alethic build—from his football seasons.
Sanding to his right was a girl, five years younger than him. They looked enough alike that you could assume they were brother and sister. Unlike him though, her hair and a natural curl, rather than his straight and dusty. Her skin was several shades lighter, giving her a warm golden tone; and her eyes were the most stunning periwinkle blue.
To his left was Rain, the same age as the other girl—thirteen. She looked the same then as she did now, aside for her hair; which was shorter back then, and didn’t have the streaks of red. Neither did her body show the lack of food and sleep, as it did now.
The last person in the photograph was the most important to her—the reason for all the old tear stains. He was four years older than her but had they shared the same looks; if not for the age difference the two could easily been considered twins. His pale eyes stared up back at her, and Rain smiled at the memory of his gaudy neon blue hair.
They each wore a camp t-shirt, florescent green with hot pink lettering. The design was of a spiral staircase, with different kinds of sport ball tumbling down it. “Four Echo’s Sports Camp” was printed across the logo—and their name scribbled with sharpies under that. The first boy—the blond—read “Alex”, his sister “Ray”, her own “Rainzy”, and her brother’s “Derek”.
Derek was her older brother, but he was gone now—forever. Killed by a drunk driver out on Cabbage Hill. It was winter, almost Christmas, and the road was considered dangerous even in the best of weather. Almost no one took that route, when the next turn could conceal black ice. But the main highway had been closed down due to an accident; and it was the only for him to get home. It had been over four hours before anyone found the crash site.
The medical examiner had said it had been a shame no one had found him sooner—he could have been saved. Derek had been pushed off the hill falling into the ravine, by a miracle he had lived. But his legs had been pinned, and he was gravely wounded. A car had spotted him the next morning; Derek had bled to death, dying slowly, painfully, and alone.
She had run away just days after the funeral. Without Derek there was no reason to stay anymore. “No”, She though seeing her parents faces in her mind. “No reason to stay, no reason at all. Without Derek, it wasn’t safe there anymore. He couldn’t protect her anymore, from them, from him. Not anymore.
She chocked back a sob; tears stung her eyes, blurring her vision. The photograph became a distorted jumble of colors. Rain tried to hold her emotions at bay, but they broke through, and she cried deeply.
Two months…two months since Derek had passed but the pain was still fresh a new wound. She missed him, oh god how she missed him. He had been her brother, her friend, her protector; now she was and she missed him. She missed those strong arms that shielded her when the beating got worse; the deep rumble of his voice when he talked to her; she missed even the smell of him. She missed all the things she would never have again, the things they would together, but most of all she missed her best friend.
Rain brushed back her tears, taking a deep breath to collect herself before folding the photo once more. Placing it inside back inside her pack her fingers brushed leather. After a moment’s hesitation Rain pulled out the wallet she had stolen earlier that day.
The better part of her whispered that it was wrong to steal, but as her stomach growled, she silently told that part of herself to shut up. She needed to eat, and unless she wanted to continue scrounging through dumpsters looking for edible bits that wouldn’t make her ill, stealing was the only other option. Still she felt guilty. The man had fallen asleep when sitting in the park, and had never done anything to her before. He looked upper class, with his fine tailored suit; he could have easily spared the cash…right? But his image loomed over her, something about him seemed so familiar, yet she couldn’t place him. Shoving the thought back deep into her mind, she forced herself to get over it. What was don was done, she couldn’t undo anything now.
Rain was tired and wanted sleep, but she was hungry too. Her mind argued with itself, trying to decide which she need more at the moment. Hunger won when her belly gave another loud rumble. With a sigh Rain pulled herself to her feet, and shoved the wallet into her pocket.
Not willing to leave it behind, she picked up her knapsack and slung it lazily over her should. There was a McDonalds a few blocks away, she could make it there, order something, and then be back within an hour. Rain slowly stumbled to the mouth of the alley, her legs aching form walking around the city all day.
As she passed under a street lamp, she pulled the wallet out of her pocket and ruffled threw the bills once more. There was at least three hundred dollars—all in twenties—lying inside, crisp and clean. Rain couldn’t believe that anyone would carry around kind of money in his back pocket. It was just crazy in this city.
From behind her, Rain heard the sound of blown cloth and the scuff of a shoe on the cement. Rain whipped around looking about wildly, but saw no one, heard nothing. She was alone. That’s it, she thought, I’m losing my mind. I’m going to end up at the nut house at this rate.
Shaking off the thought, and the mysterious phantom noises she shoved the wallet back into her pocket and continued down the street, to McDonalds and the promise of a hot meal. Walking more briskly as she began passing less and less people. The gray knapsack thumping wildly against her, already aching, hip as she speed down the walkway.
She was less than a block away now, and Rain could the tell-tailed signs of hamburger grease and French fries. She wasn’t running, but she did quicken her step again once the building was in sight.
Once inside, Rain slipped into the women’s bathroom, and began firmly scrubbing her face and hands, wishing she could take a proper bath. No matter how much money she had, no hotel or homeless shelter would allow a fifteen year old to check in by her without calling the police run-away department.
After a few minutes of endless scrubbing, Rain decided she was as clean as she was going to gat, and left the bathroom, a few shades lighter. Three hundred dollars might have been more money than she had ever had before, but if she wasn’t careful it would be gone quickly and she needed it to last.
After ordering a large fry, and soda, she ordered ten mini-burgers from the dollar menu and some chicken nuggets; they had always been her favorite. The cashier gave her an odd look, but Rain just shrugged it off. How much would you eat if you hadn’t had a descent in mouths?
“Meeting someone for dinner?” he asked, accepting the bills she handed him.
“Nope,” she took her change and placed in back into the wallet. “Just me.” He gave her another odd, questionable, look before handing her the cup.
Rain let him think whatever he wanted of her, it was like he was important to her. Tossing her bag into both, in the back, she slid off Derek’s sweatshirt. Sliding into the booth, Rain to her receipt and waited for the boy to call her number. Looking about she took in the sight of the vintage nineteen fifties diner. Comforted by the familiarity of it, “It’s just like the Mickey Dee’s at home.” She whispered to herself with a small smile.
Everything was quiet, only a few other costumers. A woman in her later mid-thirties was enjoying a McFlurry. Across from her was an elderly man, sipping on coffee, reading a magazine with a copy of The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci on the cover. Rain settled herself into the booth. It felt like heaven compared to normal parks bunches and pavement, she had come accustomed too.
The cashier called her number and Rain started to slide out when a boy, looking several years older than she, walked towards her carrying two trays. Slapping the trays down onto the table, the boy flashed her a grin, before slipping into the booth across from her. Somehow Rain had a feeling this boy was going to cause her trouble, and wanted him to leave before even he sat down.
Great, she thought sarcastically, all I need some arrogant pretty boy. Rain gave him a quick once over. He wasn’t handsome, but he was definitely cute, with sparkling blue eyes and thick dark brown wavy hair that framed a slightly feminine looking face.
Rain glared at the boy, something about him didn’t feel right. And she trusted her instincts. They kept her alive this long, why start doubting them now?
“You expecting anyone?” he flashed Rain another pretty boy smile.
Rain reached for a burger, the smell watering her mouth, “No.” Digging into the food with no concern for appetencies. She was hungry, and didn’t really care if she appeared rude, she was going to eat.
The boy watched her with a horror fascination. “So um…” he started but she cut him off.
“Go away.” She hissed sharply, in between chewing.
Before he could say anything else, someone shouted “Rickey?” Get your butt back here boy!”
The boy, Rick, scrabbled out of the booth, before dashing back behind the counter. Rain shock with silent laughter as she watched Rick try to explain what he had been doing, to the wall of a women manger. She was intimidating just to look at; broad shoulder and near six foot, with grossly bright red lipstick. Rain didn’t want to be the on the receiving end of her temper—like poor Rick was now.
Once her meal was finished, Rain slumped back into her booth with a content sight. By now the women and older man had left—replaced by a hungry pack of travelers, on a family road trip. The tired children whining as their parents made them eat. After a few moment she, reluctantly got to her feet. Piling her trash onto the trays and dumping them before leaving. The mother in the family had been giving her strange looks, that and the women’s crying children were giving her a headache.
Walking more slowly Rain made her way back to the alleyway, smiling to herself; savoring the feel of a full belly and the memory of the warm air on her chilled skin. Her legs had rested, and did not throb with each step. For a little while she had been able to forget everything and just be a normal fifteen-year-old, even if it had been just a short time. Now her pack was thumping against, filled with her few processions, as she head back to her old life—in the street.
As she entered the alleyway for the second time that night, Rain felt a sense of unease settle over her. Something was wrong; she could feel in in her bones. She ventured further into the alley, but stopped several feet behind her hiding place. The air was held an ominous.
Time seemed to slow as she stood there, looking in the way watching for any movement. I need to get out of here, she thought. Slowly backing away, tightening her grasp on the strap of her bag. As she began to leave the alley, a sudden cold wind brushed against her, freezing her in place. The weight of the air around her felt like it was crushing her—each breath a struggle.
Someone was there, watching her. She couldn’t see them, but she knew they were there. Somewhere. Quite as the night, he slipped out of the shadows and stood before her. The darkness clinging to him obscuring his face, but Rain had s sense of him. He seemed familiar; it was in he walked—his movement. Filled with conversance and arrogance, she was sure, she had seen him before—but where?
Her heart hammered against her chest, so hard she sure he could hear it. Blood pounded in her ears, fear became a living thing wriggling inside her belly. Her mind screamed for her to run, shout, cry—to do something. Her body had no intention of listing to logic, her muscles tighten, and she stood still. Petrified. As he moved closer, her eyes follow followed him, watching him. So Familiar…so…
He moved behind her gently stroking her neck, “you know stealing is wrong, don’t you?” he taunted, each words echoing in her ears. He had been the man at the park. The one she had stolen from—no, it was more than just that. She had seen him before, no the park, but somewhere else, she knew it.
“It was very troublesome to find you,” he paused as if thinking, “I suppose you’ll just have to compensate me.” The edge in his voice made her shiver. It had no sympathy, no companion. As he pulled the color of the sweatshirt down, she willed herself to move, to fight, but sill it ignored her commands.
Then it stuck her. He was familiar. She knew who he was. Alexander. The boy alongside her brother in the photograph she had been crying over just an hour before. How had she not realized it sooner? He had grown older, and his skin deathly pale, but his hair was still the same color of golden dust.
Before she could speak tell him her name, plead for him to remember her; her grabbed a fist full of her matted hair. Pulling her head to one side bearing her neck to the cold, he nuzzled the pale skin. Hot tears began rolling down he cheeks, her voice stumbled over itself; all she needed to do was talk to him right? But the words she needed so desperately were being cocked back with sobs. He licked the bugling vain in her throat, a shiver was sent through her spin. A second latter, a sharp pain filled her mind. The pain engulfed her, but as quickly as the pain had started it vanished. Replaced by a feeling of such bliss she had never known.
She became contain—limp in his arms. The gurgling sucking sound was replaced with her own heartbeat ponded inside eardrums. Within a few moments her eyes grew heavy; her heart beat slowing in her chest, as she slipped into oblivion.