Drama Thriller Teens & Young Adult

I didn’t mean for it to happen. It was an accident. I’m not a bad kid…not really. I get decent grades; I don’t pick on anyone. I mind my own business.

Mom works the night shifts for the gas station down the road from our apartment, so I go straight home after soccer practice. Every day I spend the evenings babysitting Charlie and Emma, my baby brother and sister, twins conceived through a few-week relationship Mom had with this man she met when he was buying a pack of cigarettes from her.

Needless to say, he didn’t stick around when he found out she was pregnant.

Just like my dad didn’t stick around for me.

I don’t know why I’m talking about any of that; it’s not important. But, then again, I guess I’m trying to set the scene. I’m not a bad dude. I’m responsible, you know? I mean, you ever taken care of a pair of two-and-a-half-year-olds by yourself at sixteen? Man, that’s rough!

Now, I guess you’ve heard why I’m not a douchebag. So, I guess I should probably explain how it happened—the douchebag thing that I did.

It all started when this new kid joined our school, Hillsberg High. He was from the Bronx… real tough guy. He had piercings from the tip of his nose up to his eyebrows. Tattoos wrapped around his neck like a scarf.

People like him usually either see me as a target or they just leave me alone. I was taken aback when Mr. Tattoo lumbered over to my table at lunch that first day and flopped down beside me.

“Got any ketchup, homie?” He grunted, sounding like a bulldog ready to tear someone apart.

I swallowed. This guy was more muscular than The Rock! “Uh… yeah…”

“Give it here.” He held out a hand. “I forgot to get some of them packets, and I need it for my fries.”

I passed a couple of packets to the Hulk. Not all of them—most of them—but I did keep one for myself. That took courage, I’ll tell you that.

The son of Thor himself crushed the ketchup packets in his hands. Red droplets oozed out and dribbled onto cafeteria fries—burnt and salty.

He grabbed a fistful of the fries and rammed them into his mouth.

He looks like a chipmunk! I cleared my throat, trying to stifle the chuckle that threatened to escape. My laughter died in my throat as the Hulk turned a burning glare on me.

“What’s funny, boi?”

I bit my lip. “Nothing…nothing at all.”

He nodded. “Yup. That’s what I figured.”


Walking home from school that day, I realized that the Hulk was following me. Nervously, as I knew I couldn’t lead him to my apartment, where my siblings were, I stopped and turned to face him.

He charged toward me like a bull. “Jordan!” He roared.

My bladder lurched. I gritted my teeth. Was he mad I kept the ketchup? Damn, it was only the one packet. “Yeah, man?”

He came to a sudden halt before me, spraying saliva in my face. “You live in building 204?”

My face flushed. “I…”

“Relax.” He put a hand on my shoulder. It felt like an iron vice. “Me and my Pop just moved in, kid. I saw you leaving this morning.”

My heart dropped like a stone.

The Hulk lived in my building?!

“Oh…oh.” I didn’t know what to say. The Hulk grinned, revealing a mouth lined with golden teeth.

“I like you, shrimp. You don’t run your mouth like most of those idiots at school. You and I could do great things together. What do you say we go back to your place and,” his grin widened, “have some fun?”


Now, before you judge me for this, The truth is, I was scared. This guy scared me. So, yeah. I let him come home with me. I took him into my apartment and introduced him to my sister and my brother.

I did that.

And I’ll regret it forever.

But at the time, I was just so scared.

After I put Emma and Charlie to bed, Hulk and I sat on my bed. He was watching my fish tank. I had two aquatic frogs in there.

“Cool.” He said, as one of them jumped at the glass.

I shrugged. “I wanted a dog. They were Mom’s compromise.”

We sat in silence. A question popped into my head. But did I dare ask?

Dude was in my house…

Sitting on my bed…

Question seemed reasonable enough.

I cleared my throat. “So, huh… Just wondering, what’s your name, bro?”

“King.” He drew out. I barely concealed a wince. It suited him. That was for sure.

Now, what happened in this moment…It set everything into motion. But at the time, I didn’t know that.

King got up and slammed my bedroom door shut. He clicked the lock into place. I stiffened.

“What are you doing?”

He laughed, a barking sound that sent shivers down my spine. “You and me are gonna have some fun, shrimp.”

He took a bag from his pocket—a little plastic bag.

The bottom of it was lined with a white powdery substance, like sugar.

But I’d been around. I knew what it was even before King brushed my books to the floor and let that powder spill in a river of white, lining my desktop like fresh snow on Christmas morning.

And for some stupid reason, it was just as mesmerizing to me as if it were.

“Are you crazy?” My fear of this giant was forgotten, and I jumped to my feet. “What are you doing? If my siblings get into that-.”

“Keep the door shut, and they won’t.” King sat down in front of the desk. I chewed my lip.

I didn’t like this.

But I didn’t know how to stop it.

King took a snort of that white dust. He inhaled it like it was oxygen he needed to survive.

I shifted uncomfortably, rubbing my hands together. The room felt as though the temperature had dropped a hundred degrees below freezing.

King turned to me, his eyes blazing with amusement. “Relax, shrimp. Come on, have some fun. Try it.”

I shook my head. “No, thanks.”

“What?” King titled his head, his words mocking. “You scared of a little powder.”

“I don’t want to.” I murmured. “It’s—”

“It’s what?”

“It’s frickin’ coke, man!” I snapped, my voice trailing off in a whine. King locked eyes with me, his gaze dark with a challenge.

“It’s nothing.” He spat. “You a pansy, Jordan? You scared? You as much of a coward as those kids at school tell me you are?”

At the mention of the kids at school, of those jerks who picked on me because of my clothes, where I lived, the fact that I could never hang out after practice…it made my blood boil.

“They don’t know anything.”

“Prove they don’t.” King moved aside, gesturing toward the desk. “Take a sniff.”


You know how people tell you at school that drugs are bad? That if someone offers you a ‘sniff’ you say no?

Well, it’s not that easy.

And I didn’t say no.

I did what King pushed me to do and, surprise, surprise, it felt good. It made me bubbly, and it engulfed my brain in this happy fog.

I felt like crap the next morning, but I longed to feel the way I had again.

I wanted to be happy.

For the next four months, every day King would come over to my place, and we would get high.

Sometimes I got so messed up that I forgot all about Emma and Charlie. My sister and my brother would crawl out of their crib and wonder the apartment until mom got home the next morning.

King stayed over a lot of nights. He and I got to be pretty good friends, floating on cloud nine all the time.

King was the one who always got the stuff. He said he knew people who got it to him cheap.

But he started keeping it at my place after his old man found it in his room and gave him a beating for keeping it from him.

His dad was a junkie.

Not that I’m judging, because we were too.

I was considering dropping out of school in early January. I could never stay focused on the material anymore. My grades were dropping and my soccer coach kept having to pull me aside to ask me why I was performing so crummy.

Oh, well.

As long as I had King and his ‘happy snow', I didn’t care about any of that other junk.

The second Friday of January, I got detention for falling asleep in arithmetic. When I got let out, I’d already missed practice. It took me longer than usual to walk home because, for some reason, my mind was a sluggish mess.

When I got home, I assumed King would be waiting for me inside. I opened the door and stepped inside.

He was there alright. He had Emma by the front of her shirt and was violently shaking her. Her face was covered in welts, and her little mouth was open in a silent cry.

“What the hell?” I roared. I rushed into the room and shoved King away. He let go of Emma and I let her drop to the ground beside me.

“What are you doing? What did you do?” I screamed. King’s lip curled.

“What did I do?” He yelled. “What did you do! You left your door open! That little piece of trash got into my stash! It’s ruined! It’s all over the place, ruined!”

The world spun before my very eyes. I ignored King’s ranting and dropped to my knees. I reached out and took Emma’s face in my hands.

There was white all over her bloody face.

Oh, God…

What had I done?

“Oh, Baby…Emma, sweetheart.” I cradled her face in shaking hands. “Are you okay? How much did you-.” I felt bile rise in my throat. “We gotta call an ambulance.” I whispered, more to myself than to the monster who’d hurt my sister.

“No!” King jumped at me. “If you call an ambulance for this, they’ll call the cops! We’ll go to jail!”

King shoved me. I got my balance and glared at him, breathing hard. Emma was still crying silently.

She wasn’t making any sound.

I locked eyes with King and pulled my cellphone from my pocket. “I’m calling.”

King’s eyes turned black with rage. “No, you’re not!”

He hit me with a closed fist, hard enough to make me see stars. I stumbled back into the wall.

“You’ll ruin my life! My life!” King screeched. He got on top of me and reared his arm back. He landed another blow. There was a crack, and blood gushed from my nose.

I held up an arm to protect myself. King kicked me in the gut.

My head throbbed, and my vision blurred. But above all, my heart was pounding from fear.

Emma could be dying. I didn’t have time to wait for King to cool off. My sister needed help.

With a hiss, I lurched forward and grabbed my friend’s throat. I used my weight to push him off.

His head hit the corner of the wall.

There was a lot of blood.

My throat tight and my face hot, I pulled my phone to my face and dialed.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“My sister... my baby sister’s been poisoned... because of me,” tears trickled down my cheeks. “And... I think I just killed my best friend.” 


“And that’s all I have.” I leaned back in my chair, eyes half closed. “That’s what happened.”

The detective across from me stopped taking notes. The interrogation room was silent for a long time.

The man scratched his bald head. “So... are you telling me that you killed Kingsley Sydney in self-defense?”

I shook my head. “I’m not telling you anything... except the truth.”

The detective’s eyes turned soft for the briefest of moments. “All this for fun, boy? Your buddy’s dead. Your sister’s in critical condition... and for what? Because your buddy convinced you that doing drugs was gonna be fun?”

“If you think I’m gonna give you a better reason, don’t hold your breath.” I closed my eyes. “I don’t have one. I screwed up.”

“Yeah, I’d say you did.”

“I guess it’s all fun and games, you know?” I opened my eyes, seeing my haunted experience reflected in his eyes. “Until it’s not.”

April 20, 2024 03:53

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Mary Bendickson
03:50 Apr 21, 2024

Sad, scary reality of doing drugs.


C.N. Jung
14:36 May 14, 2024

Thanks for reading my story, Mary!


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