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Friendship Coming of Age

   It was a quiet fall evening, in which no birds sang, no cars hummed. The frigid air bit Abigail’s cheeks, and she shivered, wrapping her scarf tighter around her.


   The bright leaves looked like flames as they fell and piled up under the old oak she used to climb. Abigail let out another breath, warming the air around her. Finally, she stepped off the old creaky porch and headed down the well worn path to the woods. 


   It had been twenty-four years since she’d last seen it, but the place looked exactly the same. Looking around at the trees and giant moss covered boulders, a small smile spread across her face. Ghostly memories danced around the forest. She saw herself pretending to be a ship’s captain on top of the biggest rocks, swinging on the frayed rope swing that still stood there, droopy and worn, but still usable. She glazed her fingers along the frayed edges, and remembered. Remembered a time when she was happy, and there wasn’t a care in the world. She could be whoever she wanted to be back then. 


   Her auburn hair whipped in the wind like the tail of the kite. She spread her arms wide, feeling the wind all around her. The leaves flew up and spun around in a dance.


   Then, the wind picked up and she hugged her arms, and the moment was gone. She sighed, and continued walking.


   Abigail soon came upon a clearing, and a flood of memories came rushing back; picnics in the warm summer breeze and staring up at the stars on the enormous rocks that stood to the right of the clearing. She circled the area, remembering. Behind her, she could hear a trickle of water from the river. She turned around and reminisced of when she’d jump into the cool water and the sun would hit it just right. She thought about the days in the winter when it was below freezing and she’d dance across the ice with her plain and worn boots and pretend to be a world famous ice skater. She’d been saving up all her life for ice skates, but even she knew it would never happen. But somewhere in that tiny girl’s heart, there had been hope. Hope that things would change and she would one day be in the spotlight with a beautiful glittering dress, not sitting behind a desk watching the time go by and waiting for the chance to go home. 


    Tears ran down her cheeks, and her eyes became wet. She tried to slow her uneven breaths, and started to walk back out of the forest. 


   “I didn’t expect to see you here.” 


   Abigail turned around suddenly. She quickly wiped her eyes, and stuck her hands in her pockets. A boy stood in front of her, with brown hair swept to the side and a mischievous smile on his face. He wore a dark brown beanie and a black heavy jacket. 


   “Carter, what are you doing here?” Abigail said disapprovingly. He was the last person she wanted to see right now. “Same as you. I wanted to see the old place. Man, those were the days.” Abigail didn’t want to say, but she agreed with Carter. Instead, she frowned. “I don’t remember anything good about this place.” 


   “You can’t remember anything? But Abi, you—”


   “Don’t call me Abi. We aren’t friends.” She said. Carter’s smile faded, and he looked down. “Are we gonna do this again?” 


   “Yes, if you keep talking about it. And this is your fault, you know.”


   “I know,” he said, kicking at the leaves. “I just hoped you would—”


   “Forgive you? Forget about it? It’s always forgive and forget with you, Carter.” 


   “I’m sorry!” He shouted. “I’m sorry! But that was ages ago! You really can hold a grudge, Abigail!” Birds flew off of the trees, squawking and flying away. The woods were silent. Carter picked up a rock and skipped it across the surface of the crystal clear water of the river. “I’m sorry, okay? But we were kids, and—” He paused, his words drifting away. He walked back toward the clearing and leaned against a boulder. Abigail climbed up to the top, and Carter followed.


   “All I can remember are the times when I ran here to get away from them.” She said silently. “When they were yelling—my—my parents.” Neither of them tried to say anything. They just lay down, staring up at the sky that was slowly fading away. The oranges and pinks and golds of the sunset slowly became the dark black of the night. Stars shined above them. The sky hung over them like a wide expansion of fabric.


   “Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time, when things weren’t so hard.”


   “Things were still hard back then,” Abigail whispered. 


   “You’re right, but life—” Carter thought for a moment, searching for the right words. “Life is just as hard as it was back then as it is now. I thought it would be better when I got older. I would be away from my parents for a change. But things never got better.”


   Now the moon was right above their heads. Besides the moonlight, it was pitch black. The stars looked like grains of salt. 


   “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped at you,” Abigail said. 


   “It’s alright,” Carter said. Then he paused. “Remember when you would come out here and pretend to ice skate, when the river froze?”


   “Yeah,” she said wistfully. “This place used to be our own sort of paradise.”


   As they stared up at the sky, hearts aching, hands clasped together, Abigail said, “It was a safe haven, these woods. A place to go when we needed to get away from our families. I miss this so much.” She turned and looked toward the path back out of the woods reluctantly. 


   “I don’t want to leave. But our life is out there.” She turned and looked back at Carter, asking him the one question she didn’t want to answer.


   “Are you ready to go?”


   “I don’t think I ever will be.” 


   “But we have to.” She wore a melancholy smile when she said it. Her wet eyes shone in the moonlight. 


   “I guess this is goodbye.” Carter said, looking around at the place. The wonderful place that had kept him safe through terrible times. They embraced, and Abigail felt warm inside for the first time in so many years. Slowly, she started to walk away. Carter watched as his best friend walked back out of the woods, a bird floating on the wind. Inside, he knew that she had forgiven him. 


   The only reason they used to come here was to get away from the wretched world; from the people they had used to look up to, but now looked down on with pain. But these woods had given them friendship, security, faith, and so much more, and that was all that mattered.

November 19, 2020 14:37

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22 comments

Lyra Dawn
16:27 Nov 19, 2020

Maybe you should add a little more personality to the characters.

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16:32 Nov 19, 2020

Good idea!

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16:49 Nov 19, 2020

Yes! That is totally a good idea! I agree, the characters could have more depth to them. I feel as if you are just scratching the surface of them. I like your characters and feel as if they have real potential.

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18:24 Nov 19, 2020

Yeah! I feel like with more time, I could definitely write a character with more depth and feeling. Thanks for the tip!

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Lyra Dawn
16:26 Nov 19, 2020

Ooo and I love the name you chose!

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16:33 Nov 19, 2020

Thanks!

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16:48 Nov 19, 2020

Yes, who ever came up with the name is really good. They must be a fantastic writer to *wink wink*

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18:25 Nov 19, 2020

Haha. Yes, Lucy Jane came up with my title.

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15:44 Nov 20, 2020

Yeah I did XD

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15:29 Nov 19, 2020

I like how you describe the scene. Readers can picture it well. Though I enjoy the mysteriousness of it, I would explain things a bit more, you need to answer the necessary questions. Where are they? Why is Carter and Abagail there? I also like your use of dialog and how it shows some of their backstory without telling the readers the entire thing. But, over all your story is really good!

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15:48 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you so much! Also, what do you think happened between Carter and Abigail?

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15:52 Nov 19, 2020

I don’t know. When I read the story, I thought that they Abigail and Carter used to be “a thing” but I like how you let the readers decide what happened between them. I think it makes for a really good discussion that everyone can bring their views and opinions to.

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15:57 Nov 19, 2020

Exactly. I wanted to leave it open to interpretation because I think its so cool that everyone, in their own way, could be right about what happened.

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05:30 Nov 26, 2020

Nice story and well written. What as the reason for which Abi had to forgive Carter? Keep writing!

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13:35 Nov 26, 2020

Thanks! I’m actually not sure myself, which is why I’ve been asking everyone. But I personally think that Carter might’ve betrayed Abi or played a joke on her.

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17:17 Nov 19, 2020

Also, just FYI, I posted a story for a different contest. Please check it out!

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19:30 Nov 19, 2020

I did! It’s great!

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Lyra Dawn
16:25 Nov 19, 2020

This is really good! I liked the amount of detail in this scene, and how you are leaving it up to the readers to what happened in the past. You should continue this story!

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16:27 Nov 19, 2020

Hey Lyra! Thanks so much! And if I did continue this story, what do you think it should be about? Also, what do you think happened between Carter and Abigail?

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Lyra Dawn
16:31 Nov 19, 2020

I think the story should be about confronting the past, if you were to choose to continue it. Maybe seeing her parents again after a large fight. Or she could be in the process of leaving the past behind. Either way, this would be a great story. I think happened between Carter and Abigail was that Carter betrayed her in some way, maybe he started rumors about her.

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16:47 Nov 19, 2020

Though I think the story could be continued, I think she should end it here. But, you could write another short story about their past. I just don’t think you should add any more to this story itself

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18:27 Nov 19, 2020

Yeah, I’m thinking it might be cool to write about a moment when they were younger. Then we could possibly see why the place was so important and why Abigail was mad at Carter.

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