Author: Sara Tribble
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Some things make you stronger while others tear you apart, destroying yourself and everything you believe in with one, big brass-knuckled punch. Life knew it didn’t have to play fair. My father always told me to pull myself back up and keep going strong. As much as I wanted to listen to his advice...I just couldn’t, especially lately.
Things haven’t been good for me for the last six months. Hell, things haven’t been remotely modest for me, either. All of my negativity stacked inside me, begging to find some freedom so it could tumble and topple to the ground, leaving me with nothing but emptiness. At this point, I’d accept emptiness to escape this depression.
Thankfully, I arrived at school early and found a good parking spot so I didn’t have to walk too far from the high school in this blistering heat. I started my car’s engine and stepped outside of it, waiting for the air conditioning to kick in. Standing outside in the Texas sun beat suffocating in a car full of hot air, trust me on this. Without warning, my eyes wandered over to the same place on their own accord.
Immediately, I wished I’d stop looking. It didn’t matter how many times I told myself to turn away. It didn’t matter that it was something I would never have again. My stupid eyes always had to watch and remind me, that is something that would never be.
Another brick stacked onto the tower within, wobbling.
There was a loading dock, or so the teachers called it, where kids would get picked up by their parents. It was a big chunk of sidewalk with easy access to the road for a quick pick-up with little benches and scattered balcony roofs to provide some shade. A number of students, freshmen and up waited. I knew none of them, but I was jealous of every single one of them.
I watched the familiar Hispanic girl pick up her bright purple plaid backpack and hop in the back of a blue convertible. Driving the car was a man in his forties, matching her features almost perfectly. The woman next to him was where the girl got her body shape from. The two had to be her parents. The idea of a mother and father who picked their child up every day from school was simple, but yet, such a rare thing to occur.
My AC sputtered loudly, dragging my daze back to my car. My hand checked the vent and the cold air flew past my fingers. I threw my book bag to the other seat and right when I tried to hop in, something caught me by the neck.
“Hey,” I said, following the pinch from my necklace.
The tight squeeze disappeared from the back of my neck. My charm drifted down toward my bra. I grabbed the necklace chain and dug out the charm, but it slipped down from my shirt and onto the ground. A person beside me reached down and latched onto it first.
“Thanks,” I said to the girl.
She turned to face me, holding onto the black gem in the palm of her hand. Her blonde hair was pulled back from her face, showing off her very strong bone structure with a wickedly straight nose. Her eyes were blue and for some reason looked off, not quite sure why, and she looked a little older than me. The blue hue in her eyes bothered me the most. It could be because she hadn’t handed back my charm. It was already getting on my nerves.
“Is this yours?” she asked me nicely.
Of course, she had to have a sweet voice to go along with her gorgeous appeal. I hated how some people have it all. I tried to recall a name, but she was unknown to me from the other hundreds of faces I saw every day. She might be a new student, but it was a little late to accept transfer students.
“Yeah, my necklace chain finally snapped on me. I been meaning to get a new one,” I said quickly, shifting my weight to the other foot.
She held it toward the sun, catching the glistening sparkles hidden beneath the deep, black color. My foot tapped on its own accord. Without knowing, my fingers rubbed against one another, wanting the gem back in my own hand. The girl was taking her sweet ass time with it and it was making me slightly agitated. Okay, really agitated.
“I’ll be taking that back now.” I reached to grab it, but she quickly snapped her hand down, with the gem enclosed in her fist.
“I rather like it,” she replied. “How much do you want for it?”
“It’s not for sale,” I told her firmly. And it wasn’t. It was completely out of the question.
“That’s a shame. I thought it’d be fair if I offered you money, but now I’ll just have to keep it.” She smiled, showing off a row of whitened teeth. She was beginning to sicken me with her dead on perfection of beauty.
She tried to turn away, but I grabbed her left shoulder and flung her back to look at me. Her mouth dropped open slightly, but she composed herself right away. I ravished the thought of catching her off guard. Someone who probably had every aspect of their life planned out on some girly pink calendar. It was time to take back what was mine.
“Listen, that’s mine and I want it back,” I said it with a hint of anger in my voice.
She cocked her head sideways and grinned. “Don’t you know the saying? Finders keepers.”
“If you don’t give it back to me now, you’ll be the one weeping,” I promised, clenching my left fist. My eyes darted down to my hand. I didn’t tell my hand to do that. Was it simply a reaction? I didn’t usually get worked up like this. I released my fist. In a weird way, it kind of hurt. The best way to describe it was like having your hand squeezed together for hours then finally moving it for the first time, a very odd sense of pain. A tingling passed through me like a thunderbolt. “What the fuck are you waiting for? Give it back!”
I didn’t know what I was doing. The words coming out of my mouth weren’t like me, maybe in my personal thoughts, but I would never voice my feelings so openly without great reason or stress. For one, I was not a fighter. Plus, I didn’t even know this girl. She could have some family in Mexico to send after me. Besides, was I seriously going to lay a hand on her? This wasn’t me. It was nothing remotely close to me. I’d never fought anyone in my entire life and here I was acting like that was going to change. I couldn’t believe I just said that to some random chick. What was going on?
She looked like she was weighing her options. Her hand unraveled and showed what I wanted in the palm of her hand. Slowly, it moved toward me then she released it into her purse. She laughed a little, a mean kind. It taunted me, daring me to step up and make something happen. Today was already shitty. I had nothing to lose. I waited for her next move while I contemplated my next.