Rated 12+; violence
"I've never said those words. Not once!" she screams.
Our sun has been giving us life for 4 billion years. Small organisms felt its heat and made oxygen. In another 4 billion years, it'll explode and destroy us. The whole galaxy is gone. A spark of pain, and then nothing. That's how Clarke feels right now, standing on a hill, staring at the city, next to Laurelie. A first, a pain so great it can't be fathom it, then nothing.
Laurelie pulls her hand away from Clarke. Her eyes are masked with shame, but underneath, an anger is burning--one that's unrecognizable. She takes a deep breath, inhaling all the air she can. She blows it out, and crystals of ice form snowflakes before dissipating. "You've never told anyone you love them?" Clarke makes sure Laurelie spoke correctly.
She nods. Her hair shakes, and a blue strand falls-- touching her cold cheek. It's so warm Clarke's wearing a tank top. "Not once. Not to relatives, or friends, and certainly not dates."
She's whispering, so Clarke has to lean in to hear her frosty words. Laurelie clenches her fist. Tiny specks of snow whirl around her hand like they're caught in an ice storm.
Laurelie grabs Clarke's shoulder so they're facing each other. A light dusting of white powder is falling from the summer sky. The green grass, now a bright shimmer, twists around Clarke's ankles.
Clarke wants to yelp, but is focused on Laurelie's eyes. They're changing from green into a bitter blue. The anger is now crisp. "So now that you know my secret, I must make sure you don't tell anyone."
"I promise I-"
We'll never know what Clarke was going to say, because Laurelie raises her clenched fist. An icicle has grown from it. She brings it down on Clarke's heart. Clarke gasps and falls backwards--ruining the beautiful snowy landscape with streaks of red.
Laurelie tosses the weapon aside. Her pale skin turns grey. The act she put on to fool him is no longer needed. It was harder this time, but Laurelie loves the chase. If getting emotional is the needed traction, then sign her up.
She shakes her head and pulls her curls back in a ponytail. They never learn. At least it makes it easier for her to get her meals.
The woods aren’t helping me. They twist and turn at odd angles, making it nearly impossible to navigate. Plants and trees jump out at me. My path keeps getting blocked. I scream again. “Help! Help!”
My unheard syllables echo off the scenery. I stamp my foot in frustration. My white sneakers are now grey and brown from the filth I’ve been stepping through.
Something scurries in front of me. I swear I hear a screech come from it. I freeze, not wanting to be attacked by whatever animal that is. My Mom’s finger was bitten off by a dog when I was ten years old, and it’s made me wary of the dangers that conceal themselves in every crevice.
“Hello? Is someone there?”
That wasn’t my shout. It sounded panicked. I call back. “Hello? Where are you?”
The voice is closer now. “Could you talk so I can find you?”
“Okay! I’m over here! Come closer!”
There’s a rustling to my right. I carefully walk towards it. “Hello? Is anyone-”
The person trips and falls. Their face lands right in front of my feet. “Ow.”
I bend down to help them up. “Are you okay?” I ask.
I squint. It’s a girl with brown skin. She has pale blue hair. She’s wearing a green sweater and leggings. She blinks as few times at me as she rises to her feet. “I’m fine, thanks.”
After we evaluate each other, the girl looks around. “I guess you’re just as lost as me.”
I nod. “Yeah. I can’t find my dog, who ran in here. He’s tiny with blonde fur. Have you seen anything like that?”
The girl shakes her head. “Sorry. How about we retrace our steps, then?”
She grabs my arm quickly and interlocks her elbow with it. Her skin isn’t as warm as it should be. We start walking back the way she came. She pulls me into the darkness, narrowly avoiding a big oak.
I try to see what lies ahead, but I can only make out blotches and moon-dipped shadows. The girl seems to know what she’s doing. She jumps over bushes and slides beneath branches. She tugs me after her, in a risky dance of leaves and pinecones. The half moon rays don’t do much for me, but the girl is taking full advantage. It seems as though she’s done this a thousand times.
“How can you see so well?” I ask.
The girl stops in her tracks. She digs her heel into the soil and mumbles something that sounds angry--however, turning around, she smiles. “I love walking through the woods at night. It’s so beautiful. I’m visiting family here, and decided to see what forests this town has to offer. Long story short, I’ve lost my way and am wandering with you.”
I hesitate before smiling back. “Wow. Cool.”
She laughs a bit before resuming our trek.
A feeling I can’t quite place comes over me. Who is this girl? And what other wonderful things has she been hiding from me?
When I was 15, My family went to Germany. We stayed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and had fun skiing. One day, we climbed Zugspitze--the highest peak in Germany. It scared me so much I fainted before we even put our gear on.
That light-headedness and feeling of dizziness before I went out is what I’m feeling now, except ten times more pleasurable and not because I’m nervous. The girl’s sight is a wonder to behold. We have to turn around a few times because we come across dead ends or trees and plants to close together to go through. The girl doesn’t lose hope, though. She pulls me along as we try to find our way out.
My panic is gone. It’s only us, sliding from one shadow to the next, forever stuck in a whirlwind of happiness. The girl and I seem to meld together, unquestionably binded.
“So, what’s your name?”
The girl doesn’t look back, but I feel some tension leave her arm. “Laurelie. And yours?”
“Everyone calls me R, but it’s short for-”
Laurelie yanks me forward. “Look! A break in the trees!”
Sure enough, I see a beam of light to the left up ahead. We go as fast as we can, nearly stumbling, until we reach it.
There’s a clearing. A grassy hill goes up, giving you a wide view, before going back down into shrubbery. We look at each other and scramble to the top. The grass is wet on my dirty palms as I run so fast I fall face first. I laugh and take in the sweet aroma of flowers and soil.
Laurelie’s made it to the top. Her silhouette in front of the moon is intoxicating. She turns her head and back down when she sees me. She kneels down. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah. A little shaken, though.” My euphoria grows with each word.
She helps me to my feet. We finally both reach the top of the hill. The city can be seen far below. Lights of cars and buildings make it look like a computer. Technology prevents us from seeing the stars. We can go down there and make it back safely. I let out a sigh of relief. We’ll be fine.
Laurelie hasn’t let go of my hand yet. She isn’t even looking at the town. Her eyes are fixed on me. “Are you alright?”
Laurelie is snapped out of her trance. “Huh? Yeah, fine. It’s just…”
She trails off and avoids my gaze.
“It’s okay. You can tell me…”
I find myself lost for words too, as I feel Laurelie’s wrist. She’s wearing a bracelet. It’s thick with one big charm on it.
I bring her arm up to the light. It’s a thick fabric weaved of blue and red. It’s closed with a clip. The “charm” is a big, metal tag with a name on it. It’s engraved in the silver. Constantine.
I frown. “This is my dog’s collar. Where did you get it?”
“I found it in the woods.”
For the first time, reality cuts through. For the first time, I realize she’s lying.
She doesn’t let me tell her, choosing instead to take an icicle from her pocket and throw it through my neck. I gasp for air and fall back, tumbling down the hill. She grins. “I found it hanging off a bush.”
I know this isn’t true, for another reason than her stabbing me. As she flies down like an eagle to look at me, I see a tuft of blonde fur stuck in her teeth.