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microfictions - #3

The letter read: "Tonight I shall dream of you one last time, mum. They are going to do it tomorrow. With love, Justin."

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Heights

Two hundred and twenty five feet up, two steps back. A solid one forward. Long hair rustling in the wind, sticking to her face, blocking the view. And how magnificent that view was. The grey tips of the skyscrapers slicing through the fluffy clouds like they were shaving them off the clear blue sky’s face. Two hundred and twenty five feet, the distance nearly felt equal to that of the gap in her mind. The hole in her thoughts, the crater in her being. Perhaps two hundred and those twenty five feet would be enough to find a way to fill it. It would be nice to be granted with that happiness at least, just in case this wasn’t a temporary end, but truly the final page. Her right ear itched, when she raised her hand to scratch it, the cold metal bracelet on her wrist fell off. Down and down it tumbled, spiraling downwards like if it were in a tornado. She watched in awe, carefully studying the object as it made its way down, all those two hundred and twenty five feet. She wondered, what did it see? People working in their offices behind the thick, bulletproof glass? The few wanderers on the streets, trying to find their way home? Or maybe it looked up to the sky, that deep blue colored ocean above it that anyone would happily drown in. She know she would, when she went, she would. The antenna screeches in her clenched hand, almost as if it’s begging to be released. She never was one to disobey others, finger for finger, she lets go. Inch by inch, she starts to fall. Feet by feet rushes past her, the people in their offices, the wanderers on the street, all stop and look at her. That girl, falling down to the concrete streets, but looking up at the navy sky above. And in that moment crashing downwards for two hundred and twenty five feet at around hundred miles a hour, she was truly, absolutely and perfectly free.

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microfictions - #2

"Alex, who's Jonathan?"

"Jonathan? He's my friend, mum." 

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microfictions - #1

"why, why Kevin?"

"because... because she wants me to marry, Lionel". 

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Chains, Windmills, and Other Things to Watch Out For While Moving

The week before I moved up north was without a doubt one of the strangest I’ve ever had.

I was one of the last of my friends to skip town. I saw a lot of people leave for a lot of different by a lot of different means. Some by car, most by plane, at least by way of railroad. And in the days that they left, I walked outside to the damnest sight for six days.

Iron chains draped from the sky and lingered over all of the old haunts, me and my friends used to hang. At first I thought it was a trick of the light, or maybe a really weird flash of lightning, but the day before I moved out I realized I mistake and sought to visit all of this places.

To this day, I can only speculate what they were anchored to in the clouds, but I know for a fact they were tethered by all of the places where I became friends with strangers. Lampposts, street corners, classrooms, metro stops, the comic book shop, the revival movie theater, a staircase where I swear you could see all that mattered in the city. Maybe I swear by that because of the people I was with.

I thought about collecting those chains, tying them to the roof of my car, but I had feeling if I were to make the drive with something linked to the sky I wouldn’t be able to get very far.

And when I make that decision, I saw the chains retract to the heavens. I looked up to see a clear horizon and readied myself for the next day. It was a strange day, but not the strangest.

The day I skipped town, I went north via highway. I was told a more apt name was an alleyway for tornadoes and waking up to a thunderstorm, did nothing to assuage the fear. I used to think the rain as the city’s tears. I wasn’t sure if it was crying to make it easier for me to leave or more difficult for me to stay, but I hopped in the car and made my way with all that I could carry.

By the time I reached the city limits, the rain stopped and the road was sunny and dry. And of course, this would have been a fairly uneventful day, but that wasn’t to last.

I have driven this stretch of road from St. Louis and Madison two times before. About half way, there is a farm of windmills seated to the right on top what I assume is one of the few hills in Illinois. I was looking for these windmills the day I moved. Instead of seeing them, I saw abandoned cars with people running from the hill. I parked on the side and climbed the hill to sight I could barely believe: seven windmills uprooted from the ground.

The largest, facing the hill, saw me, and the other six made way for its slow, solemn slumber towards me. I was so down being afraid so I let it get close. It bent its cast iron back down, the turbine turning sails, the windmill slinging dirt as it spoke in whispering swirls to me.

It asked “Where is Don Quixote?  He killed our father and I wish to speak with him.”

And in this moment I wondered if other windmills had risen and why today. But as the winds moved by the wind, and I just spoke as honestly as I could.

“I am sorry for you lost, but Don Quixote, he is dead. I am a sorry his mistook your kind for fire spitting dragons, but it is clear that you do scare us. I am one of his disciples and like him, I see your terrifying majesty clearly, so let me offer recompense on his behalf. If you do not wish to take my apology, please take my head instead.”

We stared at each other, and somehow it signed and motioned for its companions to settle back down. I hopped into the car. And this was a strange day, but it was still not the strangest.

No.

The strangest was the day after I moved. I sat in my apartment, no chains binding me down, no winds to push me forward, just a quite place I would learn to call home.

And I, looking back over the horizon to see the chains and windmills still there, smiled.

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She Shines

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I dare you to love me : chapter 1

Hailey walked out of the hospital with relieve, everything had looked okay on the MRI her doctor, Mrs. Miller had made.

Doctor Miller was a neurosurgeon, one of the best from the country and certainly the best in a wide area around Flinville, the little village Hailey lived in.

Hailey’s brain tumor hadn’t grown any bigger, it was a small tumor and it was harmless, as far that you can call a brain tumor harmless.

It had been bigger three years ago, when they found out she had a brain tumor. Back then it was the size of a golf ball, the only positive thing about the tumor was that it wasn’t virulent.

Three years ago, when Hailey was thirteen, she started to feel very tired all the time, she couldn’t concentrate on things anymore, she felt sick regularly and suffered from a headache that wouldn’t disappear.

Her parents started to worry and took her to the hospital, but with the first exams the doctors did on Hailey they couldn’t find anything strange and they said it would blow over itself after a while.

But it didn’t, Hailey’s headache got worse, she slept the most of the day because she was too tired to do anything and she lost her appetite.

Her parent concern grew with the minute Hailey got sicker. When she started to do epileptic attacks, her parents took her to the hospital again and didn’t leave until the doctors found something.

Finally they found Hailey’s brain tumor, which was the size of a golf ball by that time and they got referred to doctor Miller, who knew Hailey’s case was serious immediately. 

 Doctor Miller had operated her, she was able to remove the biggest part of the brain tumor but a little piece remained in Hailey’s head. Doctor Miller couldn’t reach it without damaging Hailey’s brain, a risk she’d rather not take.

Now Hailey had to do check-ups on a regular base to make sure the brain tumor didn’t grow larger anymore and it didn’t, everything was fine.

‘ What did the doctor say?’ Her mother asked concerned when Hailey stepped into the car. ‘ Was everything ok?’

‘ Everything was fine mom.’ Hailey replied smiling. ‘ My tumor didn’t grow, it’s still the same size, nothing to worry about.’

‘ When do you have your next check-up?’ Her mother asked while she drove off the parking lot from the hospital. 

‘ In six months.’ Hailey answered while she putted her brown hair back up in ponytail, it had to be lose for the MRI but she didn’t like it when her hair wasn’t tied up, it always got in her way.

‘ Six months?’ Her mother asked confused. ‘ Isn’t that a long time between check-ups?  I mean, normally you get check- ups every three months.’

‘ Doctor Miller said that it wasn’t necessary that often anymore, mom.’ Hailey answered while her green eyes studied her mother’s face. ‘ She said that a check-up in six months would be there soon enough.’

‘ If she said so.’ Her mother sighed, focusing on the road again.

Hailey stared out of the window, trying to hide the little smile on her face from her mother, she would ask what was so funny if she saw it.

What was funny, was that her mother was concerned, Hailey knew she was and didn’t want her to come with her into the hospital.

Instead she send her mother for groceries, giving her mom something to do while she  was having her MRI and making sure her mom couldn’t interfere when doctor Miller would increase the time between check-ups.

Hailey was sure that her mother would have convinced doctor Miller to keep the check-ups every three months.

She hated those check-ups, she knew they were necessary  for her own health and she understood why her mother was this worried about her, but still she hated it.

It had been this way for three years, the check-ups frightened her. What if the tumor had grown bigger? Would she have to go through surgery again? And what after surgery, when she had to recover?

Her brain tumor was found right before summer break started, she had the surgery under summer break and was recovered by the time school started again. She didn’t miss anything and went to her freshmen year of high school.

But what if her tumor would grow and she had to have surgery in the middle of the school year? She would have to repeat her junior year because she simply would miss too much.

She was afraid every time she had to go to the hospital and every time she had been relieved when she came back out.

For her, having to go less was having to worry less.

‘ I’m going to call your dad first.’ Her mother said when they walked into their house. ‘ After that I’ll start with cooking diner.’

They lived in a nice neighborhood and their house fitted right in it. Warm and intimate, that’s how Hailey always described it and almost everyone who visited them thought the same.

‘ Fine mom, I’m going to my room to study.’ Hailey replied. ‘ We are having a biology test tomorrow.’

‘ Sure honey, I’ll call you when diner’s ready.’ Her mom said, already dialing her husband’s number.

Hailey smiled and walked upstairs to her room, letting her mom call her dad, like she always did when they came back from a check-up.

Hailey’s dad worked much, he wasn’t home very often, the only time Hailey had seen him home all the time was when she had her surgery and she was recovering.

After she recovered her dad picked up his old habits and started to work a lot  again.

Although Hailey’s dad wasn’t around much, she still loved him, he was a strict man, but he was also a fair man.

He expected Hailey to study hard and have good grades but he didn’t force her into things she didn’t want to do, she always got a choice.

When Hailey got into her room she sat down on the bed and opened her  laptop, she told the truth when she said she was going to study, but first she wanted to find her best friend Brooke on line to tell her about the check-up.

 

 

 

Tyler made his way through the trees and bushes, which gave him multiple scratches on his arms and legs, but he didn’t care, the place he was going was worth the scratches.

Besides, as first quarterback and captain of the football team from Flinville’s high school he could bare a lot more than a few scratches.

He arrived at a fence, which he checked for electricity, it was supposed to be electrified but most of the time it wasn’t, just like it wasn’t that day.

Tyler climbed over the fence in less than a minute, he was used to it, he did it all the time and continued his way through more trees and bushes.

He let his backpack slide of off his back when he arrived on an open spot in front of a lake, it was a beautiful place to be and a soothing place as well.

Tyler was the only one who knew it was there, he never told anyone about it, this was something of himself.

He could see people across the lake, there was a small beach, a public beach where kids from his high school liked to go.

Tyler sat down on the ground and took his biology book out of his backpack, he had a test tomorrow and he needed to pass this test, he already was behind when it came to biology.

He followed biology with the juniors, he didn’t pass his exam last year and now he was stuck in biology for juniors.

The rest of his classes he past, not with high grades but he past them and now he was in his senior year of high school.

He was a smart kid and that was his luck, if he hadn’t had the brains that he had, he would have failed all his classes in junior year.

The reason that he didn’t do well in school was because his mom died last year after she fought cancer.

His mom fought the disease for two years, at first his father took care of her, giving Tyler the chance to study.

Tyler did have good grades, but when his mom’s health got worse and his dad started drinking, he had to take care of his mother, giving him less time to study and his grades went down.

After his mother died Tyler had been very sad, he still was sad and he missed her a lot, they were close and he could tell her everything. She was the one that showed him this place, it was his and his mothers, he could feel that she was with him there somehow.

After a half hour he closed his book again with a big sigh, he couldn’t focus on this, he should have been home by now, making diner for his dad, cleaning up the house.

His father even started drinking more after Tyler’s mother died, he was an alcoholic and Tyler had to take care of him most of the time. One of the other reasons his grades stayed low.

Tyler putted his biology book back into his backpack and ran home, hoping his father wasn’t home from the pub yet.

When he opened the front door the smell of arid beer crawled into his nose, but his father wasn’t home yet, although Tyler knew it wouldn’t take long before he would stumble in, drunk and demanding diner.

Tyler walked into the kitchen, where he dropped his backpack on the ground and started to clean up the empty beer cans before he searched for food in the fridge.

The only thing they had left was a pack of microwave macaroni and cheese. He had to go shopping tomorrow, he couldn’t forget.

If there was no food in the house, his father would go crazy and use his fist if he was drunk enough.

Tyler’s dad always found a reason to beat his son when he was drunk, he was smart though, he never beat Tyler in the face or on the arms, always somewhere people couldn’t see the bruises. 

Tyler took the macaroni with cheese out of the fridge and putted it into the microwave, right in time, his dad just stumbled into the house, drunk as always.

‘ What’s for dinner boy?’ Tyler’s dad asked with a double tongue, while he sat down on one of the void kitchen chairs.

Tyler could smell the beer his father had been drinking and he could tell it was a lot.

‘ Macaroni and cheese, dad.’ Tyler replied while he started the microwave. ‘ I’m sorry, I’m going to get groceries tomorrow.’

His dad looked at him, he could smell that Tyler was scared of him and dominant that he was, he liked it.

Tyler didn’t dare to look his father in the eye, it where the same eyes he had, oceanic blue ones, he got them from his father.

His hair, black and messy, he had from his mother and the combination of the two made him a girl magnet.

‘ You know I don’t like macaroni and cheese, boy.’ Tyler’s dad said while he stood up from his chair and walked towards his son. ‘ Why didn’t you do groceries after school? You had the time then, didn’t you?’

‘ I had to study for a biology test we are having tomorrow.’ Tyler mumbled, looking for a way out.

He knew his father was getting mad and he knew what was going to follow but he was stuck between the counter and his father, there was no escaping possible.

‘ I don’t care if you have a test tomorrow!’ His father snarled, kicking Tyler in the stomach, which made him collapse onto the ground. ‘ You are lucky that you have the possibility to go to school! You can learn there, here you have to do the household!’

‘ Maybe if you would stop drinking and help me out in here a little I would get better grades!’ Tyler snarled back.

He shouldn’t have done that, it only pissed his father off more and he got kicked into his stomach, what made him gasp for air.

‘ I’m going back to the pub.’ His father snarled. ‘ Maybe I can get some food there. I certainly don’t have to see my failure of a son there.’

After that he turned around and walked out of the house, Tyler heard how he drove the car of off the driveway.

When he was sure his father was gone, Tyler crawled back up from the ground, checking the damage his father had made.

There were going to be bruises, he felt it, his stomach hurt, his muscles would ache for a few days, but it wasn’t that bad, his father had beaten him worse before.

The alarm clock from the microwave started buzzing and Tyler took the macaroni and cheese out of it.

He sat down at the kitchen table and started eating his diner alone, in pure silence and with the pain his father had given him.

The bruises would fade away and after a few days they wouldn’t hurt this bad anymore, but the scar that his dad had left by calling him a failure would hurt a lot longer.

 

 

‘ Silence, please.’ Mister Conrad ordered his class.

The juniors that followed biology in his class started talking after the test was over, his lesson was almost over and it was almost weekend for them, nevertheless mister Conrad wanted them to be quite.

The voices in the class silenced, he had their attention now but he would have to be fast, the bell would ring in ten minutes.

‘ I’m going to give you a project, which you have to do with a partner.’ Mister Conrad announced. ‘ You will get two weeks to finish this project and you’ll have the choice what it’s about.’

The students in his class started talking again, already pairing themselves up, but mister Conrad had other plans and he ordered them to silence again.

‘ You can choose what your project is about, it only has to be about something that we learned this year.’ Mister Conrad continued when his class was silent again. ‘ And I am pairing you up.’

The students sighed out of disappointment, they already where pairing up with their friends, but mister Conrad spoiled it.

‘ I will pair all of you up with the help of name cards that are in this box.’ Mister Conrad said while he showed his class a plastic box that was filled with little pieces of paper. ‘ There’s no trading possible, I hope I’m clear.’

A few of his students nodded, he could see they were not happy with him pairing them up, but he didn’t care.

‘ Brooke.’ He said when he took the first name out of the box. ‘ You are pairing up with…’

Mister Conrad pulled a second name out of the box, Hailey crossed her fingers, hoping he would call her name, then she could do the project together with her best friend.

‘ Brooke, you are pairing up with Jessica.’ Mister Conrad continued.

Hailey was disappointed, now she had to do the project with someone else and she didn’t like that.

‘ Freddy and Kim.’ Mister Conrad said, continuing his pairing up and already pulling the next name out of the box. ‘ Hailey and …’

She held her breath, she was so nervous about who she was going to end up with.

‘ Tyler.’ Mister Conrad said.

He had Tyler’s attention after he paired him up with Hailey, Tyler had been thinking about his test, which he probably failed, but now mister Conrad had paired him up with Hailey to do a project, his day couldn’t possibly get any better.

Tyler thought Hailey was a beautiful girl, she was smart too and for him she was the biggest catch from high school. He could get any other girl, but he wanted her, he wanted Hailey.

‘ No sir, you can’t do that to me!’ Hailey shrieked. ‘ You can’t pair me up with Tyler, I will have to do all the work on my own.’

Hailey didn’t like Tyler, neither did she like his reputation, he was a popular boy and all the girls would give their live to spend time with him, but for some reason Hailey didn’t like the boy.

‘ Miss Edwards, I’m sure you’ll convince mister Adams to do something on the project.’ Mister Conrad replied before easily going on.

Hailey sighed. Why him? For God’s sake he could have picked any other person in the classroom and he picked Tyler Adams.

She knew he was a senior, that he only was in her biology class because he didn’t pass last year and that didn’t give her much hope for their project.

Tyler was a little bit stunned by Hailey’s outburst, what did he ever do to her that she didn’t want to do the project with him?

He was more than glad that he could do the project with her, he knew how smart she was and if they could do the project at her place, he defiantly wanted to put some effort in it.

Tyler would show Hailey that he was worth something, since she clearly thought he wasn’t, her outburst made that clear to him.

Mister Conrad just finished reading names when the bell did ring, school was out, it was weekend and Hailey couldn’t get out of the classroom soon enough.

She told Brooke that she’d meet her outside, she had to pick up something from her locker before they went home.

‘ So you are going to be my partner.’ She heard someone say from behind her.

She sighed, she knew it was Tyler and she wished he’d leave her alone.

‘ Any idea what our project can be about?’ She asked while she closed her locker and turned towards him.

‘ I didn’t really had the time to think about that.’ Tyler answered smiling. ‘ I only wanted to ask if you had plans for tonight.’

She was stunned, did this guy really have the guts to ask her out when she made it crystal clear that she didn’t like him?

‘ No, I have no plans.’ She answered politely. ‘ And if you don’t have plans either I suggest that we both go thinking about a subject for or project during the weekend.’

Tyler smirked. ‘ I actually wanted to ask you out. Have a chance to get to know each other before we start working on the project.’

‘ I’m sorry, I don’t date.’ She replied, planning to get this conversation over with. ‘ So if you want to excuse me now, Brooke is waiting for me.’

Tyler stopped her when she wanted to walk away. ‘ What do you mean with, I don’t date?’

‘ I mean that I don’t go out, with no one.’ Hailey answered, getting annoyed. Why wouldn’t this guy leave her alone? ‘ And even if I did date, I still wouldn’t go out with you.’

The smirk disappeared from Tyler’s face. ‘ Fine then, but can I get your number? Since we still have to do this project together.’

Hailey nodded and they exchanged their phone numbers. 

‘ In case you change your mind about going out with me, call me.’ Tyler said, the smirk back on his face.

Hailey looked at him with disbelief, the guy sure was self-confident and she had to admit he had guts.

He winked at her before he walked away, leaving her behind at her locker, where she stood for a few more minutes, taking the time to process what just happened.

Tyler had annoyed her, nevertheless she had to admit she felt a bit flattered and he was handsome too, especially his eyes, Hailey couldn’t believe she’d never noticed his eyes, they were beautiful oceanic blue.

Hailey took a deep breath and started to walk out of the school, still thinking about Tyler, still thinking that he was no good.

 

 

 

 

‘ How was school, sweetheart?’ Hailey’s mom asked when she came home. ‘ Did your test go well?’

‘ My test went fine.’ Hailey replied while she sat down at the kitchen table. ‘ School was ok too.’

‘ That doesn’t sound very convincing.’ Her mom said while she putted a glass of coke on the table. ‘ What did ruin your day?’

‘ Mister Conrad ruined my day.’ Hailey sighed before she took a sip from the glass.

‘ Your biology teacher?’ Her mom asked surprised. ‘ What did he do to ruin your day? You always tell me that he’s such a great teacher.’

‘ He didn’t do something wrong.’ Hailey replied. ‘ But we have to do a project for his class and he paired us up. I have to work on the project with Tyler Adams.’

‘ I’ll need a little more clarification, honey.’ Her mother said. ‘ Who is this Tyler and why is it this bad that you have to work with him?’

‘ He’s a senior, he only has biology in junior year because he didn’t pass biology last year.’ Hailey explained. ‘ And I don’t like the guy.’

‘ Why don’t you like him?’ Her mom asked. ‘ Do you even know anything about him, besides the fact that he follows biology in junior year?’

Hailey shook her head. ‘ I don’t know why I don’t like him mom. I’ve heard some things about him and from what I’ve heard he’s a jackass and a player.’

‘ Sweetheart, how many times do I have to tell you not to judge people by what you hear.’ Her mom sighed. ‘ Maybe he’s a nice guy, why don’t you get to know him better before you judge him.’

‘ I will mom, it’s not like I have another choice.’ Hailey replied smiling. ‘ I have to do this project with him, weather I like him or not.’

Her mom was right though, it wasn’t fair of her to judge Tyler by what she had heard, he deserved a fair chance, although he already screwed his first one up by asking her out.

‘ Your dad will be home in an hour.’ Her mom said. ‘ Dinner will be ready by then.’

‘ If you don’t mind I’m going to search a subject for our project.’ Hailey said. ‘ Call me when dad gets home.’

‘ I will.’ Her mom promised.

Hailey went upstairs to her room, where she opened up her laptop and sat down onto her bed with it.

 She opened Google and searched for biology projects, she found multiple options and wrote them down, she first had to discuss them with Tyler and she hoped he would have found some subject too.

She would kill him if she had to do this project on her own and she would make sure he’d get no credit for it.

After she found enough subjects she closed Google and started to play a game, she had to relax a bit too.

She was playing the game for ten minutes when her cell phone went off, she looked on the display who was calling her.

It was Tyler and she felt the urge to ignore the call, but she answered it anyway, like she said before, she had no choice, she had to do this project with him so she better could make this work.

‘ Hello?’ She said when she answered the phone.

‘ Hey stubborn person.’ Tyler replied. ‘ Still didn’t change your mind about tonight?’

‘ No I didn’t.’ She replied. ‘ And if you called to ask me that I’m hanging back up now.’

‘ No, Hailey wait.’ Tyler said. ‘ I’m sorry, don’t hang up on me.’

‘ I’m waiting.’ Hailey replied. ‘ Are you going to tell me something interesting?’

‘ I wanted to get together for our project.’ Tyler said. ‘ I have a few ideas and maybe we could brainstorm a bit.’

‘ When where you planning on working on our project?’ Hailey asked, glad he had some ideas.

‘ I was thinking about tomorrow.’ Tyler answered. ‘ If that’s ok with you.’

‘ Sure, can we do it at your place?’ Hailey asked.

Tyler hesitated, he thought it was too dangerous for Hailey to come over there, with his dad around.

‘ Is there any possibility that we can do it at your place?’ Tyler asked.

‘ My parents are home and if we work on our project here my mom will be watching us the whole time.’ Hailey replied. ‘ She will be checking if we aren’t doing anything else then working for school and I’d rather not have that.’

‘ Are you planning to do something else then?’ Tyler chuckled.

The chuckling was a bad idea, it made his stomach hurt, those stupid bruises where pretty painful on the moment.

‘ No, I wasn’t.’ Hailey answered, god he was annoying. ‘ So can I come to you?’

‘ Fine.’ Tyler sighed. ‘ But it has to be in the evening, we are doing some renovating and through the day there’s a lot of noise in here.’

‘ Deal, I’ll be there around 8, if that okay with you?’ Hailey replied.

‘ That’s ok for me.’ Tyler replied, relieved that she didn’t ask questions. ‘ I’ll see you tomorrow then.’

‘ Yep, bye.’ Hailey said before she broke the connection.

Tyler sighed, he had to lie to her, he couldn’t tell her that his dad was an alcoholic.

Now he only could hope that his father was gone by the time Hailey would arrive and he needed a backup plan in case his dad would come home.

He decided he would worry about that tomorrow, now he had to make diner for his dad.

Tyler had done groceries after school, there was plenty of food in the house again and he made his father’s favorite food.

He really didn’t need more beatings, his stomach still was aching from last night and it would take some time before the bruises would disappear.

No, tonight he would make his dad happy, he would give him no reason to get angry.

 

 

 

Tyler parked his car  in front of Hailey’s house, he called her again last night to ask if he should pick up her.

Since he never gave her his address, she agreed that he would pick her up if he would bring her back home when they finished working on their project.

It gave Tyler the time to clean up the house as soon that his dad left to the pub.

He managed to get the smell of beer out of the house, if Hailey would smell it, she would knew something wasn’t right.

He stepped out of the car and walked towards the front door, he just wanted to ring the doorbell when Hailey already opened it.

‘ Are you clairvoyant or something?’ Tyler asked surprised, he didn’t expect her to open the door this soon.

‘ No, I was waiting for you to pick me up.’ Hailey replied, while she stepped outside, her backpack already with her. ‘ I heard you pull over and I heard your car door, it was just coincidence that I opened the door when you wanted to ring the bell.’

‘ I see you are ready.’ Tyler said, already turning around. ‘ Let’s go.’

They walked to his red camaro together, he opened up the car door for her to let her in.

‘ Thank you.’ She said, while she stepped into his car and buckled up.

Tyler stepped into his car too, started it and they drove to his home.

He hoped his father wouldn’t be there, what if he had come home, he would be waiting for him, drunk?

Tyler told himself he didn’t need to think about that, his father wouldn’t be home and he had a backup plan in case he did come home, there was no need to worry.

‘ Are you nervous?’ Hailey asked, she had been observing Tyler while he was driving and he had some nervous habits she noticed.

‘ No, I’m not.’ Tyler lied smoothly. ‘ Why?’

Damn, the girl was noticing things fast, he didn’t expect her to ask if he was nervous, which he clearly was.

‘ You are drumming on the wheel with your fingers all the time.’ Hailey replied. ‘ I thought it was one of your nervous habits.’

‘ I always do that when I’m driving.’ Tyler answered.

‘ Yeah sure.’ Hailey said, not believing him.

‘ I’m serious, Hailey.’ Tyler replied while he parked his car on the driveway. ‘ But don’t believe me if you don’t want to.’

She smiled before she stepped out of the car, observing his house in detail.

From the outside it seemed beautiful and nice, but she was curious about the inside.

‘ Please, come in.’ Tyler said while he opened the front door and led her into the house.

Hailey followed him all the way into the kitchen before she dropped her backpack of her back.

She smelled something, she just didn’t know what it was exactly, trying to figure that out she sniffled a little, what made Tyler’s heart stop for a few seconds.

What the hell did she smell? Did she smell the arid beer?

‘ Lavender.’ Hailey stated. ‘ Your house smells like lavender.’

Tyler relaxed again, she only smelled the product he cleaned the house with , what made sure he did a good job cleaning.

‘ Our cleaning product has lavender sent.’ Tyler replied smiling. ‘ Do you want something to drink?’

‘ What do you have?’ Hailey asked, still standing in the middle of the kitchen. ‘ I’d like some coke if you have that.’

‘ You know you can sit down right?’ Tyler asked, while he opened up the fridge to take the coke. ‘ The chairs don’t bite around here.’

She chuckled, it didn’t matter how annoying he was, at least he had a sense for humor.

Hailey sat down on a kitchen chair while Tyler took two glasses that he filled with coke.

‘ Here you go.’ He said while he handed a glass to Hailey and sat down next to her.

‘ So what were the subjects that you were thinking about for our project?’ Hailey asked before she took a sip from her glass.

‘ Well since we’ve spend the most of the year learning about DNA and stuff I was thinking to do something with that.’ Tyler replied.

‘ And what exactly where you planning to do with it?’ Hailey asked, pretty surprised with the subject he came with. She didn’t think about something like it, the biggest thing she had on her list was making a fake volcano.

‘ I don’t know yet.’ Tyler answered. ‘ But I wasn’t really planning on thinking about something tonight.’

‘ Dude, you are not going to tell me I came all the way over here if you don’t want to work on the project.’ Hailey sighed. ‘ Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t feel like working on it?’

‘ A guy from our school is throwing a party and he invited me.’ Tyler replied. ‘ I want you to come with me.’

‘ I already told you, I don’t date.’ Hailey answered irritated. ‘ What don’t you get about that?’

‘ Who was saying it had to be a date?’ Tyler replied. ‘ It’s just going out, no date. Unless you want it to be a date.’

‘ I don’t want to go out.’ Hailey sighed. ‘ Bring me home and go alone.’

‘ So you don’t date or go out?’ Tyler smirked.

‘ I don’t date, but I do go out.’ Hailey replied. ‘ I’m only not going out with you, mister smart pants.’

‘ I’m asking for a chance here, Hailey.’ Tyler sighed. ‘ Please give me the chance to show you who I am.’

‘ I already know who you are.’ Hailey answered. ‘ You are Tyler Adams, you are a senior, you are first quarterback and team captain from our football team and I think you are a jackass.’

‘ That’s pretty shallow.’ Tyler replied. ‘ There’s a lot you don’t know about me Hailey Edwards.’

‘ And I’d like to keep it that way.’ She answered while she stood up from the chair and took her backpack. ‘ If you don’t bring me home now, I’ll walk home.’

‘ If you come with me I’ll do a lot of research about DNA by tomorrow.’ Tyler said. ‘ I promise you that.’

‘ You are really going to make an effort if I come with you?’ Hailey asked seriously.

‘ Are you coming with me?’ Tyler returned the question.

‘ I didn’t say I was coming with you, I was asking you if you would make an effort?’ Hailey asked again, God he could be annoying.

‘ I will, if you come with me.’ Tyler replied smiling. ‘ It’s your choice.’

‘ Fine, I’ll come with you.’ Hailey gave in. ‘ But if you don’t have a bunch of research by tomorrow, I’ll kick your ass this bad you won’t ever be able to forget about it.’

Tyler chuckled. ‘ Deal.’
 

 

From the moment they arrived at the party, Hailey regretted that she came along. She really didn’t know anyone there and Tyler seemed to know everybody.

Especially the girls came in bunches to greet him and didn’t mind to give Hailey an angry or jealous stare.

‘ Can I get you something to drink?’ Tyler asked when they finally got inside. ‘ A beer? Whine? Punch?’

‘ A coke is fine.’ Hailey replied. ‘ And you better take a coke too, since you are driving.’

‘ I don’t drink.’ Tyler smirked. ‘ I’ll be right back.’

He turned around and disappeared into the crowd, leaving Hailey by herself between a bunch of people she didn’t knew.

Her feet moved a little on the beat from the music, waiting until Tyler came back.

‘ Here you are.’ Tyler said while he handed her the coke.

‘ Thank you.’ Hailey replied. ‘ Who’s party is this?’

Tyler shrugged. ‘ Some guy from school who invited me. I don’t know his name.’

‘ You go to parties from people you don’t know?’ She asked amused. ‘ Then what’s the point from going if you don’t know the person in particular?’

‘ Having fun.’ Tyler answered smiling. ‘ This happens to me all the time, I open my locker and somebody putted an invite in it.’

‘ And you actually go every time you get invited?’ Hailey asked.

He nodded. ‘ Almost every time.’

Hailey shook her head. ‘ You are unbelievable.’

‘ Impressed?’ Tyler asked.

‘ A little.’ She admitted smiling.

‘ Do you want to dance?’ Tyler asked.

‘ I don’t dance.’ Hailey replied softly.

‘ Wow, that’s an original way to turn someone down.’ Tyler said sarcastically. 

‘ No, I mean I can’t dance.’ Hailey explained. ‘ Not that I don’t want to dance with you.’

‘ You can’t dance?’ Tyler asked stunned. ‘ How is it possible that you can’t dance?’

‘ The only thing I’m good at is stepping on my partners feet.’ Hailey answered softly, looking at the ground.

‘ I’ll teach you.’ He said while he took her hand. ‘ I don’t mind to get my toes crushed a few times.’

She blushed when her eyes met his oceanic blue ones, he was just about to pull her closer when a blond girl slapped her arm around his waist, making Hailey step back.

‘ Hi Tyler.’ The blond said.

‘ Hey,... you.’  Tyler replied surprised, he didn’t have a clue who the girl was.

‘ What are you doing here on your own?’ The blond asked, totally ignoring Hailey. ‘ Didn’t you bring a date?’

‘ Actually I brought Hailey as my companion.’ Tyler answered.

‘ Oh, you mean her.’ The girl said, giving a little nod towards Hailey. ‘ You can hang out with me and my friends if you want to, that might be a little more interesting.’

Hailey shook her head and walked away, what did that blond girl think? That he liked her? He didn’t seem to know who she was.

‘ Hailey.’ Tyler said, while he pushed the girl away and came after her.

She waited so he could catch up with her, a smile lingering around her lips.

‘ I’m sorry about that.’ Tyler said. ‘ I didn’t see that one coming.’

‘ It’s ok.’ Hailey chuckled. ‘ You didn’t even know who she was, did you?’

He shrugged. ‘ I had no idea.’

‘ I noticed.’ Hailey said, still chuckling.

‘ You think that’s funny?’ Tyler asked frowning.

‘ A little bit.’ She admitted.

He smirked and shook his head. 

‘ Do you want to play a game?’ Hailey asked.

‘ What game?’ Tyler returned the question.

‘ Truth or dare.’ She replied. ‘ If you want to.’

‘ Sure.’ Tyler said surprised. ‘ I didn’t knew you were in to that.’

‘ Well since I’m here now, I’ll better try to have some fun.’ Hailey answered while she sat down. ‘ You start. Truth or dare?’

‘ Truth.’ Tyler replied while he sat down next to her.

‘ How many people do you actually know in here?’ Hailey asked.

‘ Let me think.’ Tyler said. ‘ I think I know ten people that are here.’

‘ Ten out of the I don’t know how many that are here?’ Hailey asked. ‘ That isn’t much, is it?’

‘ No, but it’s my turn now.’ Tyler said. ‘ Truth or dare?’

‘ Truth.’ She replied.

‘ Why don’t you like me?’ He asked. ‘ What did I ever do wrong to you that you don’t like me?’

‘ I never said that I don’t like you.’ Hailey replied stunned.

How did he know that? Was is that obvious that she already  had her judgment about him?

‘ Just answer the question.’ Tyler sighed.

‘ I don’t know, I just didn’t like you.’ She replied, still trying to find a way to get him of off her back. ‘ I’m sorry, but you do have a reputation in school and I don’t really like the kind of reputation that you have.’

‘ What reputation?’ He asked, not knowing what she was talking about.

‘ The reputation of a player.’ Hailey answered quickly, just to get it over with. ‘ My turn, truth or dare?’

‘ Truth.’ He answered. ‘ But…’

‘ How many girlfriends did you have?’ Hailey interrupted him.

‘ Just one, Hailey.’ He answered stunned. ‘ Where the hell did that come from?’

‘ I just had the idea that you had one girl on each finger.’ She replied shrugging. ‘ It’s your turn.’

‘ No wait. First of all, I don’t have one girl on each finger. Second, even if I had, it wouldn’t mean that I’d date them all.’ Tyler said. ‘ I’ve had one girlfriend in my whole life, one serious relation that lasted for 3 years before she dumped me.’

‘ I don’t care, Tyler.’ Hailey replied. ‘ It’s your turn.’

‘ Yes, you do care!’ Tyler cried out. ‘ Otherwise you wouldn’t have asked me.’

She rolled her eyes, did he really have to make such a big deal out of this?

‘ For God’s sake Tyler, we are playing a game.’ Hailey replied. ‘ Get over it. It’s your turn.’

‘ Fine, truth or dare?’ He asked, trying to let the subject go.

‘ Dare.’ She replied. ‘ Make it a good one.’

He grinned. ‘ I dare you to love me.’

She felt how her jaw dropped, her eyes grew big from surprise.

‘ Excuse me?’ She whispered.

‘ I dare you to love me.’ He repeated, the grin still steady on his face.

‘ What the hell Tyler?!’ She cried out, her eyed filled itself with tears and she had to clear her troth in order to talk. ‘ I just told you  that I don’t like you and now you are daring me to love you! Don’t you have any brains in that head of yours?!’

He shrugged. ‘ It’s just a game, Hailey.’

‘ You are just an asshole.’ She said before she turned around and ran away from him.

‘ Hailey!’ He shouted while going after her. ‘ Wait, I didn’t mean it like that!’

She pretended that she didn’t hear him, she continued running and on Monday she would ask mister Conrad for another partner, he had to make an exception in this case.

‘ Hailey!’ Tyler called out again, he was catching up with her and on that moment he was grateful that he was a fast runner.

Once outside he managed to grab her arm, what stopped her from running but now she tried to pull herself lose.

‘ Let go of me!’ She hissed. ‘ I’m going home.’

‘ You are going to walk all the way home?’ Tyler asked, trying to stay calm. ‘ If you want to go home I can just as well drive you.’

‘ I want to get away from you!’ She snarled. ‘ If that wasn’t obvious!’

‘ Hailey.’ He sighed. ‘ You asked for a good dare, I gave you one. You don’t have to be so upset about this.’

‘ I’m not upset.’ She hissed. ‘ I’m angry.’

He raised his eyebrow. ‘ You look upset to me.’

‘ I’m not, now let go of me.’ She replied, still trying to free herself from his grip.

He shook his head. ‘ No.’

‘ Seriously Tyler, let go of me!’ She hissed. ‘ I don’t want to see you anymore!’

‘ Too bad for you.’ He replied. ‘ Hailey come on, I didn’t do anything wrong.’

‘ You took me here against my will and now you won’t let me go.’ She hissed. ‘ There’s pretty much wrong with that!’

‘ I didn’t take you here against your will!’ He snarled, now he was getting mad to. ‘ Is it my fault that you don’t go out or date? Is it my fault that you barely have a social life? I tried to have a good time, Hailey, I tried to give you a good time. But you are no fun at all!’

‘ You want me to be fun?’ She asked mad, while she freed herself from his grip. ‘ Fine, I’ll be fun!’

She ran back into the house, with Tyler on her heels and took the first cup filled with beer she found and drank it all at once.

‘ Is this fun enough for you?’ She asked pissed while she already took a second cup and downed it immediately.

She wasn’t used to it, drinking alcohol and she felt how it was taking over her common sense, but she didn’t want to back down, not in front of Tyler.

‘ You don’t have to get wasted, Hailey.’ He snarled when he saw her downing the third cup with beer. ‘ Jesus, why did I even bring you with me.’

She sighed and took the fourth cup with beer, she already was pretty wasted but she still was angry with Tyler and she would do anything to annoy him.

‘ If you don’t stop now, you are going to get sick.’ He warned her. ‘ And if you throw up in my car, you are going to clean it up yourself.’

‘ I don’t need a ride from you.’ She snarled. ‘ I’ll walk home.’

Then she turned around, planning on walking away from him but he stopped her.

‘ Don’t be so ridiculous.’ He said with a hard voice. ‘ If you continue drinking like this, you’ll be barely able to stand on your two feet.’

‘ Screw you.’ She hissed, trying to free herself from his grip again.

‘ Is this guy bothering you?’ Some guy asked. He was taller than Tyler and he had a friend by his side that was taller too.

‘ Yes, he is.’ Hailey said while she pulled herself lose and started to walk away again.

‘ Hailey!’ Tyler cried out, trying to go after her.

He got stopped by the two guys, who stood in front of him, Hailey walked away freely, without anyone coming after her, picking up another cup with beer on her way outside.

‘ Bye Tyler, Bye Tyler.’ She sang softly while she walked through the backyard, sipping on her sixth cup of beer.

The alcohol had made her thoughts fuzzy and weird enough, she didn’t mind at all, her thoughts could be fuzzy, she felt so peaceful on that moment.

She smiled when her favorite song started playing, she downed the rest of her cup and climbed on a table where she started dancing.

‘ No fun? I think this is pretty much fun.’ She said to herself while she moved her hips on the beat.

It didn’t take long before other people stood around the table, cheering at her, handing her more beer, which she drank with much pleasure.

The bystanders looked at her, cheered at her and she had an amazing time until she missed a step and tripped over her own feet.

Hailey really expected to land on the ground, she already prepared herself for the smack that was undeniably coming but instead she felt a pair of arms catching her, holding her close.

‘ Tyler?’ She asked stunned when she opened her eyes again, looking at the boy who rescued her from smacking on the ground.

‘ Yep it’s me and you obviously are drunk.’ He replied while he started to walk around the house, Hailey still in his arms. ‘ I’m bringing you home. But if you throw up in my car you are cleaning it yourself.’

‘ Thank you.’ She whispered.

‘ You are welcome.’ He said while he putted her back down on the ground and opened up the car door. ‘ Get in.’

‘ What happened with your nose?’ Hailey asked when she saw the fresh trace of blood underneath it.

She tried to clean it up with her finger, what made Tyler pull away out of pain.

‘ I’m sorry, did I hurt you?’ She asked.

‘ A little.’ He said. ‘ And I got this from your friends who you told that I was bothering you.’

‘ Did they punch you?’ She asked stunned. ‘ Tyler, I never expected that they would punch you in the face.’

‘ It’s ok, Hailey.’ He said, while gently pushing her into the car. ‘ They punched me when I wanted to come after you. I’m not blaming you for this.’

He closed the car door when Hailey was in the car, he walked around the car and stepped in himself.

‘ I’m really sorry about your nose, Tyler.’ Hailey said when they were driving. ‘ I never should have told them you where bothering me.’

He shrugged. ‘ It doesn’t matter Hailey. It’s ok.’

‘ No it’s not.’ She sighed. ‘ I shouldn’t have acted that way.’

‘ Hailey.’ He said while he grabbed her hand and softly squeezed it. ‘ As long that you don’t throw up in my car, it’s ok.’

She chuckled. ‘ I’m not feeling sick, only a bit fuzzy.’

‘ That’s the beer.’ Tyler replied smiling. ‘ Why did you even drink if you can’t handle it?’

‘ I didn’t know I could handle it this bad.’ She confessed. ‘ I’m not used to drink, normally I don’t.’

‘ Then why did you do it now?’ Tyler asked while he turned into her street.

‘ Because you said that I was no fun.’ She sighed. ‘ I wanted to prove you wrong.’

‘ Not the smartest way to show me, is it?’ Tyler said while he parked the car in front of Hailey’s house. ‘ You know that I didn’t mean that, right? That you were no fun.’

She shrugged, not looking at him while he stepped out the car.

‘ You did think I meant it.’ He said while he helped her out of the car and closed the door again.

‘ Yes, I thought you meant it.’ She replied softly before she walked towards the front door.

‘ Hailey.’ He sighed while he followed her to the front door. ‘ I was mad at that moment.’

‘ I know, but still.’ She said. ‘ I was wrong.’

He smiled. ‘ You are actually pretty cute when you are drunk.’

‘ And you actually still look stunning, even with the blood underneath your nose.’ Hailey replied while she tried to clean it up again. ‘ Does it still hurt?’

‘ A little.’ Tyler said. ‘ But since when do you think I’m stunning?’

‘ I’m just saying stuff that I don’t mean.’ Hailey replied. ‘ I’m drunk, remember.’

‘ Drunk people usually tell the truth.’ Tyler smirked.

Hailey’s cheeks flashed red when he said that, she told him to much.

He chuckled. ‘ I’ll pretend like I never heard it.’

‘ You know, about the dare you gave me.’ She started. ‘ Let’s try it.’

‘ What do you mean?’ He asked.

She took a step closer towards him and caressed his cheek. ‘ Kiss me.’

He was stunned, did she really just asked that?

‘ Hailey, we shouldn’t do that.’ He said while he took a step back.

‘ Why not?’ She asked confused.

‘ Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very attempting offer but you are drunk and I don’t want you to do anything you’ll regret later.’ Tyler answered. ‘ I’m going home now, goodnight Hailey.’

‘ Goodnight.’ She whispered amazed. Maybe he wasn’t that bad after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts in the Storyteller's Self-Critique

A storyteller
collecting people in their pages
pays the most attention to the shape of their faces,
and how they slope like ancient mountains,
and blush like virgin roses.

Their conversations become dialogues dictated,
to be written down and tied into a neat theme;
their words don’t matter much:
context, context, context.

Their actions will be slipped into verbs,
which will brush them into situations,
exciting, driving things which pass
like frightening trains, with coal-fires blazing in demonic dances;
he has to keep the readers' attention.

The storyteller
nails people into early coffins,
spelling out their poignant flaws,
celebrating their humanity,
as he sees it,
filled with flaws.

They live in plaster packages,
the pages pressing them in,
their sensory descriptions,
narrowed to one perspective.
He grants them eternity,
but only how he remembers them.

A storyteller,
collecting people in pages,
knows the names are irrelevant,
their single stories compacted into ink,
and their humanity, brought to the brink,
fixed to philosophy, hangs like a stolen flag.

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4 0 4

Moontide

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Heart breaks

"Go ahead, Crack it open,” you said as I looked up into your eyes. The wild look dancing there shook me to my core. It was like lightening now resided in your soul. The anticipation rolled off of you. I could almost feel you crackle with it. I was sure that if I touched you, you would sizzle beneath my fingertips. 

 

“It looks like it can’t handle much more” I hesitantly reply. At my response you tipped your head curiously. Baffled at my apprehension. "But I want you to see what's inside. I want you to know me. This is where I keep the best and worst bits of me. Right here in this heart. My heart."  

 

Still I hesitated, holding it in my outstretched palms not knowing if I could handle this much responsibility. This small planet that was now in my possession. DId you now know that wars were waged over less? You must have. But still there you were, all too willing to turn over the poor thing. It was sewn haphazardly together. Stitches overlapped forming chains around the tissue. Protection I thought. But instead of red, yours was black and blue like were born with blooming violet valves and tangled arteries. 

 

Despite it's battered state it still beat. Swelling and shrinking in between my fingers. You were done with hesitation then. You wrapped your palms around mine and squeezed. My hands suddenly felt warm and when I gazed down I couldn't help but gasp. "It's beautiful," I said, tears streaming down my cheeks. "You're beautiful."