(Author's Note: This is a collaborative project I did with Orenda! If you haven't read her stories you should. It was a blast and I hope you all enjoy. Orenda, we should do this again sometime soon!)
The school halls were chock full of kids back from summer vacation. Five, though, were missing from the celebration. They were sitting in the football field, spreading whipped cheese on the ground and waiting for the crows to arrive. It was a tradition they had, every first school day they would charge their phones, bring snacks and blankets, and head out to the largest field in town. They would sing campfire songs and tell B-rated horror stories under a starry small town sky. They were The Compadres, a group of five kids who had been best friends since kindergarten, and today was no different for them until it was, almost irrevocably so.
Orenda and Amany were in charge of the whipped cheese,
Rhonny and Aerin were on the lookout for the crows,
And Vayd was watching Sherlock on his yoga mat.
It was a beautiful scene and yet they were bored. They had done this same thing for so long, almost seventeen years, and they were just about fed up with it. Amany threw her sunflower seeds on the ground and everyone looked up at her.
“Why don’t we do something else today? Why don’t we actually go to school instead of sitting out in this trashy field?” There literally was trash rolling by, seeing as Amany had just littered two seconds ago. She was worried her parents would be upset if they knew she was spending her first day of junior year in a football field. They didn’t even like her friends that much already; they’d been encouraging her to join the beta club for new ones for as long as she could remember.
Aerin rolled her eyes and threw the whipped cheese can across the field at Amany. “Duddddde,” she said, with way too much emphasis on the last four d’s, “No one here wants to go into that building today. We’ll go tomorrow, like always.”
“And that’s the thing! We always do this.” Amany looked to her other friends for support. “Who’s bored?”
Rhonny raised her hand and grinned. “I am! I’ve been meaning to say this, but, um, I have a thing with someone today that does, you know, require me to be in that building over there.” She pointed at the cafeteria.
Vayd stood up, dropping his phone in the short grass. “Rhonny. You didn’t.”
Rhonny grinned, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Oh, I most certainly did.”
Orenda crossed her arms and stared at Rhonny and Vayd. “What are you guys talking about? This has nothing to do with the clown parade, does it?”
“Nooo. It doesn’t, I promise.” Rhonny picked up her backpack and started walking backwards towards the campus building, dark and starkly gray against the clear fall sky. Vayd followed, vowing to finish his movie later, and Amany was glad they had somewhat taken charge of the situation. She never liked to be bossy, but Rhonny took no issue with it. Aerin had paid for the whipped cheese, so she was more upset that they hadn’t finished their stupid tradition. What better thing did they have to do inside, anyway? Wasn’t the first day of school all ice breakers and get to know you slide shows for people you had known since you were five and like three random kids who were unfortunate enough to move schools that year?
“Ah, my hand feels so light now.” Rhonda returned back to the field shortly after, massaging her reddened knuckles. Vayd followed behind, often turning back to the worn out kids who glared at Rhonda like she was some mafia gang leader.
“Brooo, you really did beat up the kids, didn’t you?” Orenda yelled and sprang up.
“Hell yeah, I just did!” Rhonda smirked and dabbed awkwardly at which Orenda and Vayd shot each other glances and instantly covered their mouths, trying to control their outburst.
“Man, you could’ve told me you were going to do that! I’ve been working hard for this day.” Orenda said, sounding a little disappointed.
“Guys!” Aerin sprang up. “Amany and I have planned out a perfect day.”
“Dude, what?” Vayd mumbled and sat under the shade, setting the laptop on his lap. “I….better watch Sherlock. No Netflix no life. If you’re not watching Netflix, you might as well just go and burn in the hellhole, that is, the school.”
He had been sincere about Netflix ever since he lost the ‘Netflix vs Prime’ battle with his friends and it was his best buddy, so he couldn’t imagine living without his Sherlock and Netflix.
“No, you have to listen,” Amany uttered and stood next to Aerin. “We’re going to the nearest ghost town and explore it and have fun for as long as possible.”
“Yes! We sure do enjoy observing weird kids and their shenanigans. Rhonda and Orenda love watching Quarterbacks flex their muscles. Vayd can’t leave his dear Sherlock alone. BUT today, you three have to listen to us and do as we say.”
All three of them gawked at Aerin and Amany, appalled by how enthusiastic they were.
“So be it!” Rhonda shouted. “I do declare this a day to remember!”
“Arrghhh!” Orenda bellowed, followed by an exaggerated cough.
The wheels painfully screeched against the rough, gravel road, frequently driving over the huge rocks and bumping the passengers’ heads into the car roof.
“Who the heck is driving so marvelously?” Vayd said, irked because the rash driving kept interrupting his nap.
“Heh, it’s Orenda.” Aerin scoffed and got back to her rainbow mobile game.
Rhonda held her favourite book of poems in her hands which she had almost read for the hundredth time. She had also learnt her most loved quotes by heart. Amany was having the best time of her life in the car; inspiration for her new Grant Gustin fanfiction seemed to supply her with endless ideas. It was the nature and the long drives that helped her come up with fabulous scenarios. Her being a popular and an adored fanfic writer was no joke!
“Bruh, I just forgot something.” Orenda spoke up all of a sudden and said loudly.
“I swear, I’ll beat you up one day if you don’t stop that habit of yours,” Rhonda said and giggled, drowning into her mystical world of poems once again. “What’s it?”
“I have a lot of snacks and drinks in the trunk. A whole lot of them. Didn't mean to keep a secret, haha.”
Amany’s ears perked up like a rabbit at the fun revelation. Pulling out a huge bag of an assortment of yummies, hands dug into it except Vayd who was still enjoying his beauty nap. Rhonda opened a packet of oreos and placed a piece right in front of his flared nose. The sweetness of it flared his nose even more; he jolted up and burst into peals of laughter with the others.
Everyone grabbed onto their snacks and coke. Aerin and Amany gulped down four cans of coke each. Orenda knew how crazy both of them were over coke, so she surely couldn’t miss out on the number of cans they needed. She loved Ferrero Rocher and could live her life on them. She remembered how ‘expensive’ they were when she was a kid and how her mother wouldn’t let her buy the big boxes. Rhonda chewed on waffle-shaped jellies. Everyone at school, even the teachers, knew waffles were the love of her life. Any snack that resembled waffles would steal her heart right away. And, Vayd’s eyes kept shutting as he puffed his cheeks with oreos.
“It’s music time!” Rhonda squealed. Orenda plugged in the flash drive into the USB port and increased the volume to the maximum.
“Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son…”
The compadres sang at the top of their lungs, their unattractive melodies not bothering them. Blobs of bright light expanded across the night sky as they popped their heads out the windows and shut their eyes as a cold breeze fanned across their faces.
They’d sing more, but were interrupted by someone.
“Uhh...Orenda stop the car please, I need to whizz,” Aerin said, her eyebrows furrowed, and wiggled her little finger.
All of them giggled at how cute Aerin sounded when she was embarrassed. Orenda found a gas station and pulled the car to a halt almost too suddenly causing the Sleeping Saint to topple over. Aerin stepped out and dashed toward the store while the others got out and stretched their bodies, yawning and massaging their sore thighs.
“Oh geez, this is the perfect place for Gustin to meet the villain!” Amany yelled with joy and threw her hands into the air.
“I don’t care what trip this is about but Orenda, were you purposely trying to disrupt my nap?” Vayd rubbed his eyes and leaned against the car. Orenda simpered and shrugged her shoulders.
“How dairy of the folks here to keep the lights switched off,” Rhonda exclaimed. “Do they expect us to see ghosts or something?” Amany and Orenda’s expressions brightened at the mention of ghosts, whereas, Vayd’s face showed uncertainty, but he quickly composed himself.
“Yeah, honestly, what is this, third grade? I ain’t scared of no ghosts. Come out, come out, wherever you are...” He grinned and smacked his hands together. The lights turned on. They were clap-on clap-off light bulbs, of course, but they had no clue. The only other logical explanation was that Vayd had summoned a ghost. Aerin was still in the bathroom. She hadn’t noticed anything strange yet, being in the blind daze that comes with extreme pressure.
Rhonny whacked Vayd in the head with a loaf of discounted bread. “If you’re planning on summoning a ghost you might as well use correct grammar. Didn’t BBC teach you that?”
“No dip, Sherlock.” Vayd snapped back.
“The dip’s all yours, Watson.”
Orenda sensed tension and stepped between Rhonny and Vayd. “Guys! You have got to behave. There could be ghosts around.” She stepped back and they ceased to argue, the negotiations of Rhonnyville and Vayddom peaceable once more. Just then Aerin walked out of the bathroom, but everyone was so busy with mediating they didn’t hear her. Being sneaky as she was, she hid under the counter and waited until the time was ripe for the talking.
Sitting under the counter, Aerin heard a little creak on the table as if someone had just sat on it. Suppressing a tiny giggle, she got on her knees, ready to scare Amany.
“Hah!” Aerin sprang up and yelled, but instantly closed her mouth as not Amany, but someone else’s back greeted her.
It was a girl; long and silky black hair flowed down her shoulders, silver butterfly hair clips adorning her hair.
The girl snapped her head abnormally toward Aerin making her scream like a dolphin. She got on to her feet and bolted further back into the dark store. She would’ve clung onto Amany’s shoulders like glue if she were there with her.
“Guys, that was Aerin, right?” Orenda said, her voice laced with concern.
“Uh-uh.” Rhonda said and ran toward the store. Orenda followed behind, dragging Vayd by his hoodie because apparently, the flickering lights of the gas station gave him the heebies-jeebies.
While here, Aerin had been running like a lunatic, knocking over things that dared block her path. She came to a halt, huffing and sat on a chair.
“I didn’t mean to scare you like that.” That same girl’s voice startled Aerin. “I’m just hiding here since some kids always come here and stone at us.”
Aerin’s eyes widened at the eerie, deep gash that ran across the girl’s nose and that she wasn’t alone. It struck her that the girl wasn’t a fellow mortal like her. “Why’re you following me, huh?”
Before the girl could answer, her body went flying forward with a loud thud. Orenda massaged her wrist when it was her leg with which she had kicked the girl.
“Nobody messes with our Rainbow!” Rhonda said and stood beside her.
“Certainly n-not when it’s a puny g-ghost.” Vayd added in, looking at his friends to check if they noticed his failed attempt at appearing brave. He quickly regained confidence when he realized they were too busy caring about their own hides to worry about his panic rising.
“Get lost,” Amany yelled dramatically, “Or else we might have to banish you from this world.”
“You can’t. You really can’t.” A boy appeared from behind Aerin and Rhonda. Soon, a girl and a boy followed behind. They too had deep marks scarring their dusty faces. “The thing is, you’re technically in our world right now, so if anyone was going to be banishing anyone, it would be us to you.”
Amany blinked and laughed nervously, backtracking. “Haha, of course! That’s what I meant.”
“Hi.” Vayd said, moving forward as though he could possibly shake hands with the ghosts. “I’m Vayd.” He gestured towards the rest of the Compadres. “These are my friends.”
Rhonny smiled kindly. “I’m Rhondalise. You’ll call me Rhonny, though.” She popped her left knuckles on the side of her leg. “Can you hit a ghost?”
“Yeah? You probably can, but we don’t feel anything.”The boy ghost tipped an imaginary hat at Rhonny. “I’m honored you considered us, though.”
‘Wait, so you can’t hit a ghost, but you can hit on a ghost, right?” Rhonny grinned. “I like your outfits. Very 18th century chic.” Her two moods seemed to be violence and immediate attraction.
The ghost boy nodded. “Actually, we died two years ago but we were on our way to a cosplay event.”
“Really?” Aerin was shocked because the costumes looked so well made, it seemed impossible that they weren’t authentic.
Vayd cleared his throat, “Um, so what do you guys need help with? Did we interrupt a scary ritual or is this just your typical haunt?”
The ghost with long black hair shook her head. “We’ve just been waiting for someone to give this to.” Rhonny sat down on the ground beside Amany and Orenda, bored now that the ghosts didn’t want to talk to her and her alone. “It’s a bucket list.”
“What bucket list? You guys are dead,” Orenda said, giving emphasis on ‘dead’. “You still want to check off the things on your list? How desperate!”
“Uh, yes, you’re correct and also we’re desperate not because we couldn’t do these things while we were alive, but because we need you all to complete these for us so that we can stop wandering here and cross to our side.”
Amany nodded her head in exaggeration because neither she nor the others understood what the boy was implying. “What in the w-”
“Whatever it is, just give it to us already.” Aerin interrupted Amany. “It must be fun anyway.”
Amany smirked as the boy handed her the list. Before Rhonda could have a good last look at the boy’s dead face, he disappeared into thin air with the other ghosts causing all of them to blink their eyes in astonishment.
Amany handed over the list to Orenda as all four of them peered their heads over her towering shoulders to get a look at the contents of the list.
It was Vayd who broke the silence. “What?! No, we can’t fight fire demons and hungry ogres.”