Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
Cecilia only glanced up when the banshee’s scream of the bus wheels on rain puddles found its way to her headphone-covered ears. Rain splatters made a home on her mud-covered sneakers, soaking through them into her age-tinted socks. Cecilia trudged towards the bus, kicking the wet gravel as she went. With an ominous hiss, the bus doors opened to a darkened school bus and the always-optimistic bus driver that Cecilia hated.
“Hi, Cecilia!” Samael said with his always cheerful tone, a twinkle in his left eye. “It’s a lovely morning, isn’t it? Looking forward to school?”
Instead of answering, Cecilia grunted. Samael sighed and faced himself towards the front window. “No one seems to want to answer me today,” he muttered to himself.
Cecilia looked over the shaded seats and breathed in three, slow intakes of stale air as she chose an empty place to sit. She walked over to a seat behind the bus driver with a faded sign that said ‘10’ above it and sat down, sighing as her butt sank into the old seating. After swinging her black backpack over her shoulder with the grace of someone who had done the motion many times, she attempted to zip it open. Cecilia uttered a curse as she realized that the cursed zipper was stuck, for the third time that week.
“It’s Friday,” she grumbled to herself as she fixed the zipper. She pulled on it, opening the bag fully and grabbing a book: It, by Stephen King. Its classic cover was torn and nearly incomprehensible, with a brown, circular stain on the top right hand corner. “I should be happier. It shouldn’t be raining. My zipper shouldn’t flipping get stuck.”
She zipped it back up and dropped it in her skirt-covered lap, opening up the book to right after halfway. Cecilia relished in the old book smell that had shoved the disgusting bus air in her nose away. She directed her eyes to the words at the top of the page.
Cecilia stared at the orange and green streamers decorating the white doorway, head shaking side-to-side in disgust. “Who would choose these colors to be together?” she wondered out loud, to herself more than her sister next to her. “It’s not Sunday in Los Angeles. It’s Friday in a small town.”
I shrugged, as horrified at the color choice as she was. I wiped at my long forest green dress and messed with my waves while I spoke: “Why don’t we leave now, don’t get in trouble with our parents and police, and ditch the color scheme?” My tone sounded a bit too hopeful, I guessed, but I really didn’t want to be there.
“If you want to chicken out, you can,” Cecilia laughed. “But I’m going in. This is probably our only chance to be something more than the twin losers, ya know? Going to this party will mean so much to our popularity.”
“Popularity isn’t going to get you anywhere in life, you know,” I pointed out. “All it helps is in high school, when you can go to parties and drink and smoke cigarettes all you want without being discriminated. If you work hard, it doesn’t matter if you’re popular or not. You’re going to be their boss someday, ya know? Just be a little patient.”
“Blah blah blah! Do you even realize how nerdy you sound right now, Evangeline?” Cecilia teased. She fixed her dark brown hair, which had been put up in a braided updo with extensions that matched the homecoming-esque red dress that she decided to wear. “‘Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t blah blah blah,’” she mocked, opening the red door. “You dressed up too, don’t forget. Besides, you need to remember about why we’re not popular. This could mean everything for us.”
Cecilia read fast; she was already at the third chapter of the third part. Staring at the number, her chocolate brown eyes glanced at the first word of the chapter:
Red and blue lights flashed in and out of the house, one after another: red, dark. Blue, dark. Over and over in a pattern that indicated trouble. A sharp rapping sounded in the air over the sirens. “Hello? Anybody home?”
We all kept still like cornered rabbits, watching in horror as the brass doorknob began a slow rotation as the policeman tried the knob. It turned fully; the police officer stepped in.
Cecilia was the first who made it out, ripping her dress the oaken handrail of the porch stairs. Another girl had tripped and bashed her face on the old orange-and-brown shag carpet, shattering her glasses and turning the floor precarious to walk in my bare feet. She got up, scrambling towards the door. She was the last to make it out. I tried to step around it, but some glass got stuck in my foot. The pain was enough to trip me, me banging my head on the hardwood floor. The last thing that I heard was-
The gunshot echoed inside of Cecilia’s head, inducing shivers running down her back. She looked across the aisle at her reflection on the glass in the other seat. She brushed her face, hating herself and her sister for having such dark skin. Putting her book down, she looked to her left at her seatmate. For some reason, the seatmate only came on such days like this: rainy, gloomy days. But on those days, her seatmate sat still and stared into space, as if paralyzed. Today, on the 13th of Friday, the seatmate was moving. Cecilia recognized her now, and smiled.
I grabbed Cecilia’s hand and moved my mouth to speak. “It’s good to see you again.”