“Where is he?” Rosie groaned. She sat on top of the car, swinging her legs back and forth while watching the people coming out of the automatic doors. Her mom sighed from inside the car.
“He will be here soon. He has to navigate through the airport.” Her mom replied. Rosie rolled her eyes.
“How old is he again?” Rosie wondered. She had a few pictures of him from when he was younger. He had cool forest green eyes and brown hair and olive skin. He always looked really happy in the pictures, but the pictures were mostly on birthdays and holidays.
She looked at the doors as a big group of people walked out. A flight must have just landed.
Not a lot of boys came out. Only two. They were both heading in Rosie’s general direction, so she decided that one of them had to be him.
One boy had pale skin and lots of freckles, so she decided that wasn’t him. The other boy had tan skin and wore a camo shirt and jeans, a black backpack on his back and a rolling suitcase in his hand. She knew that that had to be him.
Sure enough, he walked straight up to her car. Rosie’s mom hugged him. “Hello Michael! I’m so glad to see you! I hope you got here okay. You can just hop in the back, if that’s alright with you.” Her mom said enthusiastically. MIchael awkwardly returned the hug and got into the backseat, not saying a word to Rosie as she got into the passenger seat, though she did notice a sort of longing glance at her that only lasted a few seconds
“So Michael,” Her mom started. “How was your flight?”
“Fine. Six and a half hours.” He muttered, looking at his watch. It was digital and blue and Rosie thought it was cool.
“I like your watch.” Rosie commented after a minute of silence. “Can I see it?” He didn’t look up.
“See with your eyes, not your hands.” He replied. Rosie frowned and turned to the front of the car.
It was a tense hour and a half back to her house. She grabbed her school backpack from the trunk after they parked in the gravelly driveway. He hopped out and raised his head up probably for the first time since he had gotten in their car to look at their house.
Rosie was quite proud of their house. Her mother had worked hard on it. It was painted navy with a white porch and and lots of flowers lined the dark beds. Rosie got an allowance each week for taking care of the flower beds and the garden out back.
“You… You have a nice house,” Michael jumped out and pulled his suitcase out. “Where’s my room?” he asked. Rosie walked toward the house, motioning for him to follow her.
“I was going to give you my room,” she said. “But I didn’t want to have to redo it all. So we cleaned out the attic for you.”
She walked up the stairs to the second floor. “It’s cool up there.” she said, walking down the hall. She jumped and grabbed the string that pulled down the stairs to the attic
It was dark, since the lights were off, but there were two windows. The ceiling was slanted upwards about halfway, but full height at the other end. The walls were dark navy like the outside of the house. In the middle of one of the walls, there was a small platform within a circulare shape that had a desk and computer on it. He would sleep on a couch that pulled out into a bed just beyond the desk and in front of the bed was a small coffee table with a TV and gaming system. The study and bed were on opposite sides of the room. Then, there was a dresser and chair by the stairs, as well as a closet.
“Thanks,” Michael said, a small smile gracing his lips before disappearing as suddenly as it came. “It’s a great room. Now, could you please leave?” Rosie was shocked but didn’t protest, climbing down the stairs, giving him his space..
As soon as she was down the steps, Rosie turned to say something to him, but he pulled up the stairs with a bang. She frowned, and went to her room.
Michael didn’t seem like the boy she saw in the pictures before. But that’s because his parents died, obviously. Still, Rosie felt he should show a little affection towards her and her mother for taking him in.
She looked at the time. 9:45. Rosie had school tomorrow, and boy would she have a story to tell to her friends.
She brushed her teeth, changed into her pajamas, and went into her mom’s room at ten.
Her mom was a beautiful woman. She had naturally curly copper hair and hazel eyes. Rosie, however, had hazel eyes and honey blonde hair, which was sort of a mix between her father’s blonde hair and her mother’s copper locks.
Her mother was sitting on her bed and Rosie flopped down on the other side. “I don’t like him.” She scowled.
“Honey, give it time. He just lost his parents and moved across the country.” Her mom said, looking up from her phone.
“Will he come to school tomorrow?” Rosie asked. She really didn't want him to come, but if he had to, her hope was that they didn’t have classes together.
“No, he’s starting Wednesday. But Rosie, seriously, give him a chance.” Her mom said. Rosie rolled her eyes.
“I know, mom. Good night.” Rosie said, hugging her mom then crawling off her bed. She went back into her room and fell asleep fifteen minutes later.
Every morning, Rosie set an alarm for exactly six o’clock. She had a perfectly timed schedule to be out the door at exactly seven minutes past seven, giving her three minutes to get to the local bus stop.
She got in the shower, got dressed, and walked into the kitchen to make some oatmeal for breakfast. She always ate at the kitchen table while watching videos on her phone, but not today.
Today, her schedule got interrupted. Michael sat in her usual seat, eating oatmeal. She looked into the box where they kept the oatmeal packets, and it was empty as the attic had been before Michael arrived.
“Hey Michael,” Rosie said as she opened another cabinet. She grabbed a box of cereal that she usually only ate on the weekends.
“Rosie,” he said. “I think you may be out of oatmeal. I’m… Nevermind.” He stood up and put his bowl in the sink, his eyes interested in his shoes.
At that, Rosie got annoyed. She was going to say something but he sauntered out of the kitchen before she could respond. His bowl was three-quarters full of oatmeal, and he hardly ate any of it.
Rosie hurried, already running behind, and made herself a bowl of cereal, as it was already six fifty-five, and then brushed her teeth. She went into her mom’s room, and to say goodbye.
She took her backpack and walked outside, down the gravel driveway onto a dirt path. They had one of the nicest house in the town, but, they were far away from the town center. There was a paved road, that led off into a dirt road and turned into their driveway.
Rosie got to the town bus stop just as the bus pulled up, hopping on and showing the bus driver her pass. The local bus stopped two blocks away from the only middle school in Otter Rock, always around 7:30. When she arrived at school, Rosie went to the cafeteria, where the students waited before they were allowed to go up to their lockers.
She walked into the school. It was a boring, two stories and the walls were red brick. Painted on one of the walls was the name of her small school, “Otter Rock Middle School”. It was a small town anyways, only a population of 250 people.
Rosie arrived at the cafeteria and headed straight to Table One, where her friends sat.
Rosie had a motley but nice group of five kids in all, including Rosie; two boys and three girls. The three boys were named Finn and Leo. Finn was really into sports and was super talented at soccer. In fifth grade, he went to the Junior Olympics. And Leo, he didn’t talk much. He liked to read and he always carried a book around; this time it was quite a thick book.
Then there were the girls. Of course, there was Rosie. Then her absolute best friend, Darcy, who liked to scrapbook and quilting. Rosie had known Darcy since birth, when their parents met in the hospital. Then there was Anna. She liked sports too, especially basketball. Anna moved Otter Rock only three years ago, and she and Anna had been friends since. The five friends had lots of classes together. Outside of school, they often met at their favorite place to go, which was a small coffee shop that wasn’t well known, but the best place in town for hot chocolate.
Finn noticed that Rosie was there first, and turned towards her from the board game he was playing against Darcy.
“Hey Rosie.” Finn said, catching Darcy’s attention.
“Rosie! How is your cousin?” Darcy asked. Rosie wrinkled her nose.
“He’s very closed off.. He hasn’t been very open to me or my mom either.’” she said. Tarron turned around from her spot on the bench.
“Well, he just came from New York, right?” Finn asked. Rosie nodded, sitting down on the bench.
“New York City. He hasn’t spoken about it much.” Rosie said, swinging her backpack off her back and under the bench attached to the lunch table.
“So he probably misses it. I bet he’s happy about his room though. I hear that in New York, you only have really small apartments.” Finn said.
“Yeah, I guess. He shut me out of his room as soon as we got home.” Rosie said.
“How old is he?” Darcy asked, cutting up a piece of felt. Rosie thought for a moment.
She wasn’t exactly sure. “He’s our age. Twelve, I think.” Rosie said. One of the teachers yelled out that they could go to their lockers now. The crew gathered their things and headed up the stairs.
Rosie had a locker on the second floor, right next to the library. She often went up to her locker early and into the library to check out books. She opened her locker and put her things in, except for her math and english binders. She had homeroom/english, then math, then gym, art, chorus, lunch, science, social studies, and tech.
This was going to be a long day.
It was Wednesday morning. Michael had all of his supplies. He was ready. At least, sort of. He did not want to go to school. Rosie could tell by the way he was dragging his feet and the scowl that rested on his face.
They walked down the driveway in silence. Michael falling behind.
Michael wore a black sweater and a white shirt under it, skinny jeans, a brown jacket, a black beanie, and white sneakers. He had buds in his ears, listening to music.
They just barely got on the bus in time, due to Michael’s slow pace. He didn’t even look at the ocean as they passed. Rosie always wondered how people pass such a beautiful sight without acknowledging it.
When they arrived, Rosie led Michael inside the school. She pointed him to the office so he could get his schedule.
Rosie headed to the cafeteria and went straight to her friends. She had told them the previous day that Michael was going to start coming to school on Wednesday, and they were excited to meet him, especially Finn.
‘“He’s here?” Anna asked. Rosie nodded, and sat down next to them.
“He’s in the office getting his schedule.” she said, putting her backpack down. “He should be here any second.”
A minute later, Michael walked in. Rosie pointed him out just as he looked up. Michael spotted Rosie, but instead of going towards her, he went to a table with the least amount of people and sat far away from everyone.
“That’s him?” Finn asked. Rosie nodded. “Why didn’t he come over to us? Why didn’t he say hello to you?’” Rosie shrugged, not agreeing or disagreeing.
A teacher yelled out that they could go to their lockers. Everyone stood up and took their things and flooded out of the two sets of double doors. Rosie and her friends all had their first class together, so they all had lockers together.
They went into the room together and sat in their usual spot, on the very end on the right in the middle. Everyone else slowly filtered in as they chatted away.
Then, Michael came in. He scanned the room then sat in the very back row by the window, all the way on the left.
“I’m going to go talk to him.” Finn said standing up. He walked over, and Michael looked up at him as he walked over. The group watched as they had a conversation, then Finn walked back over.
“What happened?” Anna asked.
“He has the same schedule as me,” he paused. “He’s doing track. And he hates this school.”
“Well, that’s nice.” Leo said dryly, looking up from his book for a moment. They all laughed as the announcements crackled on.
“Good morning Students and Staff. Today is Wednesday, October 3rd. Please stand or stop if you are in the hallways for the Pledge of Allegiance.” announced an eighth grader. They recited the Pledge. “Seventh and eighth graders meet after school today for football and track. Sixth graders, please hand in your permission slips for the sixth grade Social. Thank you, and have a nice day.”
“Alright class,” the teacher, Ms. Blumay said. “We have a new student, Michael. Please welcome him.” She gestured to Michael, who had his earbuds in. The teacher, of course, didn’t notice. Rosie scowled because Mrs. Blumay was always very strict when it came to earbuds. But Mrs. Blumay just let Michael use them when it was obvious that he had them in his ears and wasn’t listening.
Class went by quickly, because it consisted of extra review for the test that Michael was exempt from. It was about one of the books they had started reading, Freak the Mighty, and it was on the first ten chapters. Michael, of course hadn’t read it, so he wasn’t taking the test.
The bell rang and her group went their separate ways, Rosie, Anna, and Leo to math, Jamie to chorus, Finn to science, and Darcy, Tarron, and Reese went to technology. Michael went with Finn. The next time they all met was for art during period 5, lunch period 7, and social studies for period 9.
The day went quickly. Rosie had no classes with Michael besides the ones they all met up in, thankfully. During lunch, they ended up going outside.
School ended and they all made plans to go over to Rosie’s house, as they always did on Wednesdays. They all walked to the bus station, Michael lagging behind, and got on the bus. Usually, they did their homework and went to Rosie’s room to hang out; today was no different.
Michael went up to his room right away after grabbing a granola bar.
“Why exactly does he act like that?” Anna asked, watching as he retreated up his stairs. Rosie shrugged and took another pretzel.
“His parents died, and he had to come here with us.” she said. “And he had to live with our grandmother for a month before he was able to be sent out here.”
“That doesn’t sound too bad.” Darcy said, commenting on the month with Rosie’s grandma. Rosie shook her head rapidly.
“No, it is. She lives out in Kansas in the middle of nowhere. You are in the middle of a field with nothing to do.” Rosie groaned, remembering the week she had to go stay with Grandma Dill.
Eventually, they heard the stairs open and some footsteps leading downstairs. Rosie peaked out of the doorway.
He spotted her. “I’m going out. Tell your mom.” He clomped down the stairs and slammed the kitchen door shut.
She nodded and went back into her room. “What did he want?” Anna asked.
“He was going out.” Rosie said. Reese got up, and looked out the door. The stairs were still down.
“We should go see his room,” Darcy insisted. “We haven’t seen the room fully redone.” Rosie frowned.
“I don’t know…” But she, Anna and Jamie were in the hall and climbing up the stairs. Finn, Darcy, Rosie, Leo and Anna stood up to follow them.
They went up the stairs and into the attic. It was dark. It looked the same, only the closet was slightly ajar, the couch was opened into a messy bed, and his suitcase was empty and on the floor by the closet. The desk had some papers and a pencil on it, but that was it.
Anna opened his closet and looked at his clothes. There were lots of black or dark clothes.
“Wow,” Finn exclaimed. “Michael sure doesn’t like to decorate.” There was a murmur of agreement.
“We should leave, guys,” Rosie said. “He might get mad we were snooping around.” Suddenly, they heard the kitchen door open and they all looked at each other. It wasn’t Rosie’s mom, she didn’t get home until 5:15, and it was 4:30. It must be Michael.
They sprang into action. Finn and Leo hid in the closet, and Rosie and Darcy slid under the bed, and Anna hid behind the dresser.
Michael climbed up into his room mumbling about something, and walked towards his dresser. Anna squeezed her eyes shut as Michael grabbed his wallet. He paused for a moment, then bent down to tie his shoes, and then went back down the stairs.
No one moved until the kitchen door slammed shut. They all came out of their hiding spots one by one.
“That was close.” Rosiesaid. They all nodded in agreement. Slowly, Finn got out of the closet with something in his hands.
“Guys…” Finn said, holding it up. It was a large stick with a foot on the bottom of it, all made out of plastic. Leo walked over and took it from Finn’s hands.
“I think it’s a prosthetic leg.” she observed.
“What do you mean?” Jamie asked. Leolooked at Jamie like him was really stupid. Which he kind of was, compared to her.
“Michael, Rosie’s cousin, has a prosthetic leg.” Leo said. There was a grim silence that settled over the group.
“I think we should go back downstairs…” Darcy said. Everyone nodded in agreement, and Finn took the leg and shoved it back into the closet. Then they headed back into Rosie’s room.
At that point it was four forty five, and it was time for everyone to go. Darcy’s mom picked everyone up as Rosie waved goodbye from the porch.
Rosie went back inside, turned on the TV in the living room, and sat down. She hardly listened to the TV, she just thought about Michael, and how he could keep such a big secret from her and her mom.
Her mom came in at 5:15 and walked into the kitchen, which had a large opening to the living room. “Hi honey, how was school?”
“It was fine.” Rosie said. Her mom nodded and opened the fridge, bending down to look at the contents.
“How was Michael today?” Her mom asked after taking something out and turning on the stove.
“He was fine. He has the same schedule as Finn,” she said. Rosie suddenly had the urge to tell her mom what they found.
“That’s good, that’s good.” She took something out of a box and took out a pan. “Where is he?”
“He went out. He told me to tell you.” Silence. Rosie could not bear to keep the secret of Michael's leg from her mother any longer.
“Did you know he had a prosthetic leg?!” Rosie blurted out. The perogies and snow peas that her mom was about to slowly dip into the pan fell in with a plop, and the hot oil flew out of the pan and onto her mom.
Her mom quickly grabbed a towel and wiped the hot grease off of herself, turning down the heat under the pan and taking a spatula and mixing them.
“Yes, I know.” she said calmly. Rosie frowned and got up. Her mom knew but didn’t tell her.
“How?” Rosie asked.
“The social worker told me. Listen, Rosie, please, just leave it alone, and don’t tell your friends.’” Her mom said, letting the dinner simmer.
“But, mom-” Rosie said, but her mom put down the spatula roughly.
“No, you will stay out of this. Now, try calling Michael and see if he will come home soon.” Her mom said.
Rosie nodded mutely and picked up her phone.
Michael didn’t return until at 10 o’clock that night. Rosie knew the time because he walked by her room and pulled down the stairs to the attic.
She listened to him walk around for a moment then stop somewhere, rustle through something, then throw something on the ground.
He stomped down the stairs and came into her room. He looked mad.
“You went through my stuff!” he said angrily. She looked up from her phone and met his eyes. His forest green eyes were angry and scrunched up.
“I was just showing my friends what your room looked like!” Rosie said. “We didn’t look through anything!”
“You did.” Michael said. “I know it. My leg was moved, and you looked through my closet and found it after I left, then you hid when I came back! My desk chair was completely pushed away from my desk!”
“You don’t know that!” Rosie said, sitting up. “You’re the one who has been mean to me this past week! I’m very sorry your parents died, but you have another chance, and my mom is giving it to you, so I suggest you take it!”
He huffed angrily and stomped back up to his room and slammed the stairs shut.
That night, Rosie stayed up late thinking about him.
Seven days had passed since the fight that Michael and Rosie had on that late Wednesday night. Talking was kept to a minimum and from 3:00-5:15, the house was practically silent. Michael only came out of his room to go to school, to the bathroom or get a snack.
Today was currently a half-day because of the parent-teacher conferences, so students were let out of school early. They had just gotten off the bus, and Michael was walking ahead of Rosie and her friends for once, but Michael was walking the opposite way of where their house was.
“Um, Michael,” Jamie called. “Your house is this way.” Michael turned around with a sigh.
“I know. I’m putting something in the mailbox and then I’m getting out of here.” Michael said with a nonchalant expression. He turned back towards the mailbox, but then rotated again. “Um… Thanks, Rosie.”
Rosie frowned. What had she done to be thanked? She watched as he pulled out an envelope from his backpack and quickly slid it into the mailbox, then hopped back on the bus two second before it pulled away.
Rosie walked towards the mailbox, full of curiosity. She watched the bus slowly go down the street and finally turn the corner.
“What are you doing?” Anna asked. Rosie stuck her hand in and felt around the inside of the mailbox for the envelope, which she found right on top.
“He wouldn’t be sending anything to our grandma, and he could just email his friends, so it’s probably for someone who doesn’t have a computer.” Rosie said, pulling it out, reading the address.
“It’s for…” Finn read over her shoulder. “Rosie Sullivan. That’s you. And the address is yours. He was sending you a package?” Rosie flipped over the package and started to rip it.
“What are you doing?!” Leo said. “Whatever he wrote in there, he obviously didn’t want you to see it until it arrived in your mail!” But Rosie did not listen to any protests and poured out the contents.
There were two pieces of paper. One, a normal piece of lined paper they used in school. The second, a small square. She picked it up and flipped it over.
The square was a picture, obviously a Polaroid picture. It was a bit faded, but Rosie could tell that there were two kids in the picture, one with the features of Michael, and one, upon further examination, was her with her honey blonde hair.
He still had his cinnamon brown hair that covered some of his green eyes. But there was something on his face that Rosie had not seen before, and it was his smile. Michael was happy and his teeth were really white, like the picket fence she washed so often to keep white. He wore a white shirt under a light green sweater. Nothing like the dark attire he wore now.
And Rosie was next to him. She had thought that they had not visited each other, but this was obviously when they were four or five years old so she obviously did not remember the time this picture was taken. She wore a black dress with a ruffled hem and a brown belt and a white jean jacket. Rosie also had a great big smile on her face.
She stared at it for awhile. Why would he have this? How did he get it? And why would he give it to her of all people?
Next, she picked up the lined piece of paper. Both sides were filled with a messy blue handwriting scrawled just inside the lines.
I am really sorry that I did this. I am very grateful for what you and your mom did for me, but I just can’t live like this. Your mom has been keeping a few big secrets away from you. She thought you would get mad and interfere.
My parents did not die in a car crash. No, we were in a car crash, all four of us. Yes, I said the four of us. You didn’t know this, but I had a little brother named Tyson. He was four. That’s why he’s not in the picture I gave you. He wasn’t born yet.
But anyway, we were in a car crash. I lost my legs and Tyson. He died on impact. And my parents had very extensive injuries. They were put on life support but everyone knows they will never wake up.
But your mom didn’t want to let her sister and brother-in-law go, so she flew them to your local hospital and me her to live with you. They are still in the hospital. Tell your mom that I want her to take them off of life support and donate their organs. Everything that can be donated. Because I doubt there will be a funeral.
I like the room a lot, I do. It’s just in that New York City, we lived in a two bedroom apartment and I lived in a small closet that was big enough for a dresser and a mattress. I liked it and I wasn’t used to a whole separate floor. And your friends are nice and all. I had three good friends back at home. Daniel moved to Seattle three years ago, and I lost contact with him after the car crash. And then there was Percy, he still lives in New York. And there’s Jace, who was a lot like Finn. He was really nice, maybe not as nice as your friend.
The school was okay, much safer than our school. Our school had barbed wire on the fence and bars in the windows and we had city cops in the halls that were armed with guns.
I didn’t have that nice of a life, but it was good enough. My mom and dad were amazing and I’m sad you didn’t get to know them better.
Anyway, once you get this, I’m probably long gone by now. I heard that the Clandestine Cliffs were a beautiful area. I’m sorry. Tell your mom goodbye.
“What?” Rosie said loudly. She looked it over again. Her friends looked at her in confusion.
“I think Michael is going to run away!” Rosie said. Their faces of confusion turned into those of worry and concern.
“We can still catch him on the next bus. One comes every ten minutes. We could just follow him. Do you know where he went?” Finn asked.
“Clandestine Cliffs.” Rosie answered quickly.
“It’s about a ten minute bus ride and five minute trek to the cliffs if we run. We might catch up to him.” Leo spoke up. “It’s been eight minutes since the last bus, which Michael just caught.”
“So we need to catch it. I’ll text my mom to say we’re going out.” Rosie said. She walked back to the bus stop with her backpack on her shoulder. The rest of her friends followed.
They waited in a tense silence until the squeaky bus pulled up. They all got in and sat in the back.
Rosie leaned back into her seat and closed her eyes. Her mind whirled with possibilities. Why would he want to leave? A million whys and what ifs.
“Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay.” Darcy said. She squeezed Rosie’s shoulder comfortingly.
Rosie smiled at her best friend and looked out the window for the rest of the bus ride. Trees passed and she saw a lake or two fly by, blurred into the green scenery.
Then, the bus finally screeched to a halt and got off the bus quickly as she could, her friends in were just behind her, and ran down a street and into the woods that she knew mildly well.
Soon, Finn took the lead and they were all jogging down a slightly used path. It was now thirteen minutes since they had gotten on the bus, and twenty three since Michael had left.
They soon were at the edge of a flat grassy cliff that was steep and eighty feet high, met with the dark Pacific Ocean at the base of the tall cliff.
They saw a slumped figure on the edge of the cliff, one hundred feet away. A different backpack, unlike the one he had before, lay beside him. It was made of black mesh and they could see the inside contents, but it wasn’t important.
Michael had his legs dangling over the cliff and wore loose jeans and a black t-shirt. He had a knife with a red handle in his right hand. They slowly walked over to him.
“Michael,” Rosie said. He turned around quickly, but turned back when he saw who it was.
“What do you want?” He asked, looking at the ocean. Rosie frowned, but did not respond to her cousin.
“We came to stop you from running away.” Finn piped up from Rosie’s left.
“Run away?” There was confusion in his voice. “I was never thinking of running away.” Rosie was puzzled.
“But we read your note.” Rosie said. “You were coming here to run away and then two days when we got the note it would’ve been too late.”
“That wasn’t a running away note Rosie,” Michael said grimly. “It was a suicide note.”
Rosie was struck senseless. Why would he kill himself?
“Michael, you don’t have to do this,” Darcy said, stepping forwards. He turned around and repositioned the knife in his hand. The knife was pointed down in his fist, his knuckles white from gripping the knife tightly.
“No, I really do.” He said, lifting the knife up. Rosie was afraid he was going to stab Darcy but instead he plunged it into his knee instead.
Everyone was startled but he pulled it across his knee and around to the back. The end of his jeans came off and for the first time he was wearing shorts on one leg.
It was his prosthetic leg, which explained why he didn’t wear shorts. It was crafted around a metal pole, with a molded piece of plastic that took the shape of a calf and foot. The plastic fastened onto his leg. It was unlike the previous one they found in his closet, but it could have been an older version.
But, he lifted up the knife again and stabbed it into his other leg. Everyone gasped as he took off the other jean and pulled it off.
It was the same leg. The same leg as the one they knew he had, the same one that he revealed just seconds ago.
“I lost both legs in that car crash where I lost my family.” Michael said grimly. “I also lost myself.”
“Michael, you have me and my mom.” Rosie exclaimed as Michael stood up.
“I don’t though,” Michael said. “I was a jerk and I don’t see you as my family.” He turned around to the cliff.
“Michael, please don’t.” Rosie said, going to take his hand, but he pulled away, putting one artificial foot over the dark waters.
“I’m sorry Rosie.” He said, looking at her. He bent his head down. “You tried.”
And he jumped.
The water was a dark blue, frothing at the parts where it was lapping up against the cliffs, looking menacing and hungry.
Rosie’s vision blurred and the world went mute. She felt her mouth open and a scream come tumbling out, Darcy and Finn held her back as she reached out to her cousin who was seventy-five feet from the water.
He hit the water and a deafening crack rang through the air and his body disappeared beneath the angry waves and sullen froth.
Rosie looked at the spot where he disappeared, desperately searched for him, waiting for him to pop up out of the waves. But he didn’t, and she stared at the waves for what seemed like hours. She fell to her knees and began to sob, holding her arms to her chest.
Half an hour later, Rosie managed to calm down a bit and her sobs were reduced to sniffles and a puffy nose and red eyes, she stood up, looking at his backpack. She saw through the black mesh that there were many pictures, some of them were of her and some of him.
Rosie picked it up and put it on her back, and turned to her friends, who waited at the edge of the forest, giving her space. She slowly walked over to them with her head hung low.
They waited in a moment of silence for a moment and Rosie slowly lifted her head to see them.
“Eleven days,” She said hoarsely. “He was- was with us for eleven days.”