|The Suburban Witch Diaries, Book 1: A Prologue
Author: xXHoodieBearXx PM
An amateur witch saves her friend from abusive parents, then uses her magic to do whatever she wants. She later has to face down a cold rich boy who seems to know about said magic. An attempt at Semi-Urban Fantasy. I don't expect this to be taken very seriously. Complete, albeit this is the first of a series.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 14 - Words: 27,373 - Updated: 08-19-12 - Published: 08-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3051240
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Yeah... I'm not proud of this chapter. At all. I mean, this fic as a whole was intended to just be a stress outlet in which I just threw my hands up and went, "Fuck it, I'm writing blatant wish-fulfillment and I don't care what happens." but this chapter was just... I was extremely distracted as I wrote this, and it turned out horribly. The slow-ass pacing, heinously long sentences and being written as if an airheaded teenage girl were telling it is probably the worst of it.
I make no plans to fix this because I'm a lazy bastard. I'm sorry for subjecting you all to this, however.
Nov 3rd, Saturday 12:03am
Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.
When did I develop this much... bravery? When did I grow a pair this huge? I'm usually the stereotypical quiet-girl-who-never-does-or-says-anything. I get asked if I talk or have friends, and people assume I'm this woman-child (… Well, considering I'm technically an adolescent, that's actually not too far from the truth. Biologically, at least.) who's never taken anything resembling a risk. I'm usually smarter than doing something that could so easily give me trouble.
Okay, so I was talking about who to use that love potion bullshit on (Which has turned this dark green color and now smells like a corpse in a garbage dump, by the way. Though to my credit, it was starting to get a reddish tint and smelled ever-so-slightly chocolatey beforehand.), right?
But just as my minute was up (as indicated by the stopwatch going on my phone) and I had my wand (improvised as one of those abnormally large, elongated pencils they sell at elementary school book fairs. ... Obviously obtained at one at the school of my younger sister, Kelly, a few months ago. It's about twice the length of my hand, though curiously it couldn't be more than twice the thickness of a normal wooden pencil, and seems to be made out of wood. I've placed two squishy pencil grips at the end with the eraser as a handle, as the sharpened tip seems to conduct magic with much more ease. I theorize that this is because lead may or may not have a significant amount of magical properties, or that perhaps magic simply passes through it with no more trouble than a solid object passing through open air. It should be noted that thus far, this wand has been the most cooperative in my endeavors.) all lit and ready to go, my jeans pocket vibrated.
It was from Lilly (I apologize if this is at any point nonsensical or rushed-sounding, as I'm fairly sure I'm still hyped up on adrenaline at the moment. If I do manage to be descriptive, it'll probably sound like some twelve-year-old writing Twilight fanfiction or something.) To memory, all it said was 'Help.' Naturally, this made me sit hunched over the candy bowl, flip open my phone and text her back: 'What's wrong?'
'Parents hit me. Drunk, mad. HELP.'
That sent me into freaking overdrive. I was barely thinking (Which, for me, is probably an exaggeration, as I tend to overthink and was probably processing things at about the rate of a rather dumb regular person.), and everything started moving all fast, like I was watching a movie or something. If memory serves, I first barreled downstairs, jacket flying behind me, preparing myself for a screaming contest with my parents about how yes, I did need to go to Lilly's house at this hour, as it was an emergency.
Only once I was standing in the pitch-black darkness did I realize it was the dead of night.
For several seconds, I then debated with myself about whether to wake my parents up and have said screaming contest ensue, or to just take a ring of car keys and attempt to drive there myself, despite being sixteen and still procrastinating on my permit.
Now, let's make something clear: I do not consider myself a role model. Therefore, one generally shouldn't do what I did next, which was to decide that all twenty-six pages of that driver's handbook I was supposed to read last summer, plus my common sense and ability to at least make shit blow up under pressure would solve most, if not all hindrances to my getting from point A to point B.
Only then I ended up getting too scared of the unnecessary consequences to go through with it by the time I reached the door handle. So I set the keys back on the kitchen counter and just grabbed the cleanest wooden-handled thing I could find in the garage. (Which turned out to be a shovel. ...I quickly decided that this would be my main intimidatory weapon for the night.) I then made my way out the front door and locked it behind me.
Once on the front lawn, I planted my shoes firmly into the freshly cut grass, straddled the shovel, and closed my eyes, concentrating on everything I'd taught myself about flying within the last few months. Concentration, picturing yourself and where you want to go, willpower. When I opened them again, I saw that I'd managed to get a whole five to seven feet off the ground, lifting straight up from the spot where I was, going by the disturbed grass where my feet had been as reference points.
As coincidence would have it, I've never actually flown, either. Long distance on anything smaller than a plane, anyway. We live in suburbia, right at the end of a street and next to a small but frequented intersection, so obviously I couldn't exactly have practiced broom-flying in the backyard on a regular basis. I was only so lucky to be able to practice on the few and far between days when my family was out of the house and all the neighbors were out on vacation in various commercialized places.
Fortunately, it's a Hell of a lot more simplistic than driving, as it turns out. It's basically like a sit-down version of a segway; you lean and subtly steer whichever way you want to go, you lean back when you want to slow down, etc. (I figure I'll learn how to go upside-down and such later on. May prove useful at some point.)
While simultaneously holding onto the wooden handle for dear life and pushing the image of me falling flat on my face at any given moment to the back of my mind, I was trying to picture all the turns my parents took to get to Lilly's.
Given that I wasn't much higher than my own height from the ground, I figured the best course of action would be to just drive my shovel around like a regular car, a safe distance from the ground should the thing at some point decide that it doesn't want to be a makeshift broom anymore. Plus, there was much less to run into and cause me unnecessary harm than if I'd tried to, say, take a shortcut over some trees or whatever.
By the way, my shovel actually managed to go at about the speed of a car, going at maybe fifteen to twenty miles per hour. The wind was blowing through my hair and sending my jacket flying out behind me about ten times more than my trip downstairs, and I'm still thankfully surprised that there weren't any bugs in my teeth or on my glasses or anything. It was actually a really awesome feeling, very soothing, empowering and free. Like you can go anywhere and nobody would force you down or anything. And all the lights and sounds of the cars going through the intersection unconnected to our street of cookie-cutter, picket fenced-in houses were rather calming as well, somehow. It was like a mix of a rave and a light show using only colors like red, orange and yellowish-white.
Eventually, after several turns and passing by Kelly's school (Which I've continuously told my mother I'd have no problem escorting her from, since it's essentially at the end of our street, turn left. And there's less distance to walk from my bus stop, which is about a block away from our house and is directly across from said school. My mother, neurotic that she is, seems to think I would forget the child or push her into oncoming traffic or something, though.) without encountering a car head-on, I... um, encountered a car head-on. It was one of those soccer mom minivans, what my dad likes to call a 'Holiday Inn on wheels.' Of course, in the dark I could barely make out the outline of the driver, a short person who may or may not have had a ponytail.
They had stopped at the stop sign I had just come up to. Naturally, I was instantly a deer in the headlights. How I managed to stay in the air, I have no idea.
After a bout of awkward silence, my mission came flooding back to me, and I did the most sensible thing I could think of: I motioned for them to go on with my left hand, while pulling the hood of my jacket over my brown curls with the right, instantly picturing the person pulling out a phone to take my picture while passing me and sending it to a news channel or something.
A few seconds after my hood was up, they just kind of passed, the awkwardness even showing in the way the person drove slower than when they had pulled up. I kept my head down while they made their way past me, and was speeding down the lane next to the one they'd come from as soon as my path was clear.
As soon as I was on the highway, I began trying to get higher, as I was well aware of the fact that I probably couldn't get away with the previous awkwardness several times in a row. As I came up to the stop sign at the end of the street, I began to slowly tilt the handle of my shovel upward.
This worked, as evidenced by when I stopped at an intersection, as did all four of the cars also there (All the drivers of which I could see clear as day, illuminated by each others' headlights as well as the spotlights planted by the city blasting against public sections of grass and trees. A lady who looked like she was just coming back from yoga, an old lady in a flowery shirt, a guy with a long beard and a lady with a large puff of hair gathered at the back of her head all predictably looked up at me with a single sentence written across their faces, "What the Hell am I looking at?"), and observed that I was now level with the tops of the at-least-ten-foot trees lining most streets in our town.
After a few awkward seconds, I shrugged to myself and went to my right, speeding off several yards above one or two cars going in the same direction. I was at a good height now; High enough that people probably wouldn't be able to so much as tell my gender, but low enough that I could still make out street names and such.
As I made my way straight forward, I was tilting my shovel up a few centimeters a minute, trying to get even higher because of the intersection with stop lights coming up ahead.
That thing I said before about all the lights on the cars going by our street being this red, orange and white light show? Yeah, as it turns out, big intersections with street lights, the kind with at least three lanes on each side, are like that times five. I remember it being one of those moments when I really freaking wished I had a phone from which I could actually upload pictures onto my laptop and share such beautiful sights with the world, like the rest of my peers (I suppose that will go onto my to-do list for later things to do with that money spell.)
As I was nearing the intersection, I began to realize both that obeying traffic laws was growing to be more and more of a stupid idea considering my mode of transportation, and that the wind was blowing my hood clean off and the shoulder-length mess of curls on my head was flying about.
So I reached to pull up my hood, and somehow the handle of my shovel went up simultaneously. This, in turn, sent me upward from my path, to the point where I thought the shovel was acting up and was about to put me upside down like a goddamn theme park ride. Which, of course, terrified me. But this terror was short-lived, as I quickly realized that this had sent me several feet higher than I'd been, to the point where all the cars below looked like they could fit into a toddler's hand. I remember smiling to myself and picturing all the people below figuring they'd had too much to drink upon the sight of me.
I hate to keep going on about how beautiful this town is at night but... I'm sorry, I don't get out much, so all the lights were freaking breathtaking to me. Not just the street lights; The light poles lining the streets, peoples' porch lights in the neighborhoods, lights from stores and restaurants... It seems like the higher you are, the prettier they get, probably mostly because you see more and more of them.
By now I was soaring so high up that most people would probably only think of me as a UFO or something, and the twenty-foot trees sticking out of everyone's backyards were the biggest things from my perspective. It wasn't hard to navigate from that point. I kept tilting my shovel ever so slightly to try and get even higher, though. Just in case.
As I entered Lilly's neighborhood, I began pushing the handle of my gardening equipment downward, unfortunately both lowering and accelerating it. The distance between Lilly's house and myself was decreasing so rapidly that in my panic at the thought of going too far past it, I forgot the way to decelerate and just stuck out a black sneaker into the dew-covered green grass, inertia making me end up on all fours in the front yard of one of Lilly's neighbors, a white two-story to the immediate left of her little grey brick home. I quickly leapt to my feet and made my way down the sidewalk, breaking into that sort of semi-run in which you're trying to get some place fast but don't want to waste all your energy by the time you get there.
How the neighbors hadn't called the cops for domestic disturbance by that point, I have no idea. I was just coming up the maybe fifteen-foot-long concrete pathway to the Hanas' conspicuously green front door, and I could hear the horrific chaos going on inside, clear as day.
A man's voice roared through the place, yelling in slurs that it took me a minute to realize weren't in English. A crash shook the house, and me along with it. My pale finger was twitching a bit, a centimeter from the doorbell.
I heard a girl's voice, which I quickly recognized as Lilly's, weakly scream. An older woman's voice droned out slowly in an apathetic retort. Suddenly there was a searing sound, followed by Lilly screaming again, possibly crying.
Barely thinking, I pointed my wand at the bronze lock on the front door and blurted out in a whisper, "Unlock!" After a second I began to realize that I probably should have said this in Latin, but that was before I processed that the door had made a loud clicking sound and had opened itself an inch or two.
Somehow, nobody inside seemed to stop their screaming or anything due to this. Nervous as Hell, I sucked in a breath, grabbed the bronze handle, and pushed the door further inward.
The scene in front of me looked like a murder scene in a play, sprawled across the living room as if it were a stage. All that was missing was a spot of blood amongst the beige carpet and off-white walls, though the customary smell of incense that permeated throughout the house was rather unusual for such a setting. Lilly's father had her dangling in the air by her throat, his other hand gripping the neck of a shattered wine bottle, almost matching the angered expression on his wrinkled, tanned face. Mrs. Hana had one of Lilly's pale arms pulled towards her, the young girl's palm splayed outward. My friend's delicate arm had a single red, raw-looking spot on it, wordlessly explained by the cigarette her mother was holding.
Several seconds of awkward silence ensued as Lilly's parents looked over and processed that I was there. I could see from the maybe ten-foot distance between us that their eyes were blurry, that of dazed inebriates who likely had the vaguest of ideas of where they were. Eventually, the quiet was broken by her mother, who slowly sneered at me in a shrill deadpan, most likely saying something like, "'The fuck you doing here?" Lilly herself looked over to me weakly, taking longer to process what she was seeing.
They both let go of Lilly, letting her drop onto her back with a loud yelp, and started towards me, both staggering fast enough that I could sense real danger. I started to grab my shovel, intending to swing it at them like an ax, but my wand provided too much of a handful to get a firm grip.
Mr. and Mrs. Hana were right in front of me by that point. Lilly's dad let out another growl, said something angrily and held the wine bottle over his head, clearly meaning to swing it down at me. I flinched, closing my eyes and holding my arms out in front of me, at a tense, somewhat awkward angle.
I heard the sound of my magic going off, so to speak. You see, when I use my wand and stuff comes out, there's always a sound I can't fully put into words that comes from it. The sound is usually something vaguely related to whatever I'm trying to do, like a sort of light, searing 'click' when I'm using my wand as a lighter, or a sound like a small rock hitting something plastic, almost like a switch being flipped, right before I make something explode. This sound was unlike anything I'd heard from my wand so far, though. It sounded like a large bell ringing, but also like a sheet of metal being shaken to make a poor man's sound effects for thunder. And at the same time it also sounded like a sheet of paper being torn. Immediately following it, though, was the more recognizable noise of two heavy things hitting the greyish-beige carpet, accompanying a strong vibration going through the floor.
Upon opening my eyes, I discovered that Mr. and Mrs. Hana were the bodies providing said noise. They were both now lying on their backs, stiff as wooden boards, their arms clinging to their sides and their eyes closed as if they were sleeping. Mr. Hana's broken wine bottle rolled away from his hand, and Lilly's mother's cigarette was beside hers, somehow no longer smoking.
Now that I think of it, of course I didn't recognize the sound my wand made. I've never knocked anyone out with it before.
I now had a good look at Lilly, who was still sitting in the middle of the living room, her knees up in front of her and a tanned hand hovering over the cigarette burn. Through the long, dark curtain of hair that was hanging over her face, her brown eyes were wide, the blotched cheeks below them still shining with fresh tears. She was lightly shaking in a way that was clearly less about her being in only a pinkish tank top and white, cherry-patterned shorts and more due to being clearly shocked, probably terrified. I could hear her faint panting as she called out to me, just above a whisper, "Be-Beth... Beth, what just happened?"
It took me several seconds to find my voice. "I..." Sucking in a breath, I blurted out the first sentence that came together in my mind. "I'm sorry, I just... I didn't mean to do that." Hey, it was the truth. I'd intended to knock them out with the shovel at worst. "You okay?"
"Kinda..." As she started to pull herself upright, I stepped between the two adults and bent over, sticking my pencil in a pocket of my dark blue coat and placing two fingers under their jaws, first Mr. Hana and then the Mrs. "It's fine. They're both just unconscious. Still breathing, still got a pulse." I noted as Lilly and I both finally brought ourselves all the way upward, noticing both of the adults' chests subtly rising and falling.
"Should we, like..." Lilly slowly made her way over, not stumbling but being cautious with every step she took. "Call an ambulance or something?" She looked down at her parents with an expression I couldn't quite read. To memory, it could have been either sorrowful or malevolent. It mostly just looked apathetic, though. Cold, really.
"I..." My mind was scattered. "I don't know. Might call them. I think we should get out of here before that, though. Get you over to my house so I can look at your arm." Suddenly my brain was working somewhat coherently again. I now had a plan, and was anxious to get Lilly out of harm's way.
"What?" She looked at me in confusion, clearly having no idea what I was talking about. "Why your house? Shouldn't we go to, like, a hospital?"
"If we go to a hospital, unless we can think of a believable story, that hole in your arm alone will end up as cause for suspicion, which will undoubtedly get your parents sent to jail and you to some foster home on the other side of the state, at closest." Which... now that I think about it, would've probably been the most logical thing to do. I mean, what I was planning was a much stupider and unnecessary risk, since I'm still such a noob at this crap.
(Un-?)Fortunately, Lilly seemed to be thinking with the same logic. "Oh... That wouldn't be good." Her expression turned into one of pondering, looking back down to her parents but probably not quite looking at them. She seemed to be pondering what to do, a hand now caged lightly over the burnt spot. "Well, what are we supposed to do at your house? Do you have like, those wrap-around bandages and stuff or whatever?"
As she spoke, my plan was expanding upon itself. "Actually, now that I think about it, we just need to stop by there and get something. We probably should go to the hospital, but we need a good story so they don't send you to foster care or anything. We'll say we got robbed or whatever. Shouldn't be questioned too much."
She shrugged and started stepping over her parents, obviously cuing me to turn around and head out the front door. Which I was now rather awkwardly aware had been wide open during the whole little event. (Which brings up the question of why, you know, there weren't cops pulling up by the time we were out on the front porch.)
I suggested that she go pack a bag full of things she might need, but she just shrugged again and slipped on a pair of worn, black ballet flats that were sitting just beside the doorway. As we made our way out, I closed the door behind my friend, wondering whether I should have turned off all the lights first. Her house could have been seen from miles away, a glowing spot in the middle of an otherwise dimly-lit-at-best neighborhood, competing only with the tall light poles lining the streets.
Turning back, I found the Asian looking back and forth, searching every inch of the view from her doorstep frantically. I hung back behind her as she looked, gripping my shovel and panicking at the inevitable question. My anticipation was met with her looking back at me, with the confused eyes of a lost kitten shining in the hazy, golden light coming through the frosted glass of her house's entrance. "Where's your dad?"
My chest tightened a bit as I tried to scramble a sentence together. A dozen possible reactions from her were racing through my mind, and less than half of them were positive. "At home. I..." Cue cliché swallowing. "... didn't bring a car."
"What?" Lilly was twice as confused now. And clearly believing me less and less. "Did you walk here?"
"No." I think both of us only then took notice of the shovel I was still holding in one hand. As my grip tightened on it, I held it out a bit towards her. "I, uh... kind of rode here."
She looked at the gardening tool as if I were insisting that it was my pet cat. One of her thin eyebrows went heavily downward in the shadows. "... On a bike or something? What's the shovel for, anyway?"
I heard myself chuckle, now just converting thoughts into words. Mutters, rather. "Mm... How do I explain this? Uh... Well, I haven't talked to anybody recently, and I haven't even posted anything about it anywhere, since I didn't want to bother anyone with it... Plus, I mean, it'd just make me sound like some kind of pretentious hipster or something..."
"Beth, how'd you get to my house?" She was clearly growing impatient. Didn't do much for the amount of nervousness I was already accumulating.
I'm not holding it against her or anything, though. At least it succeeded in motivating me to blurt out quickly, "I'm a witch and I flew over here on a shovel."
As of this point, Lilly was thrice as confused.
She protested, she was uncharacteristically skeptical, she looked as if she might faint dead away from shock when I marched to the center of the cement pathway to her front door and rose into the air as a demonstration, but eventually I got Lilly onto the shovel and proceeded to soar back the way I came. I even convinced the short girl to sit in front of me, facing me with a chin on my shoulder and my arms tucked around her waist as I steered the gardening tool back towards my house.
(Though I can assure you that, despite my past crush on my friend as well as my unwavering opinion that she's incredibly attractive, my intentions behind this particular seating arrangement were not sexual. I simply felt more secure with her safely in front of me rather than dangling behind me for dear life, able to fall to almost certain death from maybe twenty stories up with a single, miniscule wrong move.)
Eventually we made it to my house, her clinging to me as if we were hot-glued together even as we landed (my) back-first on my own front lawn.
I'm still not sure just how we made it into my place without waking anyone up. I mean, with how loud the lock in the front door was suddenly deciding to be, things would've been quieter if we'd just opened it with a grenade and herded half a dozen elephants into the living room.
Despite our grand entrance through the front door, we successfully maneuvered our way inside. After ninja-ing our way up into my attic room (A very obvious former home office which, to the mild horror of us both, still smelled rather swamp-ish despite my having poured the aborted love spell down the sink of my distrusted bedside wet bar before I left.), I had Lilly sit down on my bed to watch some late-night 90's cartoon reruns while I sifted through the Rose Book, looking for the shortest money spell in the thing.
The one I eventually found was perfect for our time frame. It simply required me to fill my makeshift cauldron halfway with water, set it out in the moonlight, drop a silver coin into it, say some magic Latin three times while waving my hand over the water, and then go out and pour it on the ground.
By now Lilly and I have agreed to save our obligatory Q & A as to what the Hell's going on for after she's all patched up, so she didn't put up much of a protest when I told her she had to sit in the dark for a bit to make sure no other lights got in the way of the moonlight on our current source of income.
As aforementioned, I usually don't trust the water from the sink in my room, but I couldn't see any options with less risk at the time. (Yes, my parents were evidently unconscious at the moment, but who knew when they might come to?) After maybe five minutes or less, I had the candy bowl half full and set out on the two-foot-tall windowsill. I had also found a silver dime in my makeshift piggy bank, (A plastic sandwich bag. Because sometimes I'm just a southern stereotype by complete accident.) identified by the dot of a purple marker on the head side from the day I found out it was silver, in case I ever need to sell it.
Before dropping in the money, I made sure to strap on my messenger bag, as I had the feeling that the part of the verse I was supposed to recite involving 'filling my purse with all the silver and gold the... for lack of a better term, Force could provide,' would turn out rather literal. I can say from experience that such things happen often.
I heard Lilly gasp when the water started glowing as I swept my hand clockwise over it, but she just followed along quietly as I crept my way back downstairs to drain the luminescent candy bowl contents onto a random spot in the backyard. (Having explained the necessary proceedings to her beforehand, of course. She was initially skeptical about it, but was accommodating enough after I rationalized that as a couple of teenage girls trying to keep things quiet in order to avoid unnecessary trouble, we'd probably do better trying to pay with cash up front rather than attempt to use insurance we wouldn't have numbers or anything for. I do feel slightly bad for making her just go along with all of this without so much as five minutes to get used to the fact that magic exists, though.)
I have to admit that we both were thoroughly astonished to find a pile of hundreds adding up to about $100,000 stuffed into my book bag once we were back in my room, though. I was expecting actual bars of silver and so forth, and was grateful to the Force for saving me a trip to the bank which would only further complicate the night's planned proceedings.
By now Lilly actually seemed to almost be having fun, clearly beginning to trade in her skepticism for fascination with what was going on. I could swear she squee-ed a bit when we opened my bag and found the big pile of cash. Working in tandem, we folded all the money into several wads with rubber bands (I wish I could have taken a picture of Lilly's perplexity at seeing the drawer I keep exclusive for random objects, ranging from school supplies to jewelry to maxed out gift cards to forgotten holiday cards, that I may need to use as either holiday gifts impromptu weapons in the future.) and stuffed them all into my plastic bag piggy bank, eventually putting in that, the Rose Book and this journal into my bag.
I grabbed my shovel and told Lilly we were good to go, stopping only to ask her how her arm was and observe her injury as we made our way back towards the door. She said it wasn't burning as much as before, though it still hurt whenever she moved her arm. I had the urge to stop and run some water on it or something, but the thought of her wound somehow getting infected due to my tampering with it only made me move faster.
We locked up the front door again, my Winnie the Pooh key and/or the ancient bronze lock deciding it wanted a grand exit as well. Our movements were almost coordinated by now, my adorable friend wordlessly positioning herself in a sort of koala bear-hug with me on the wooden shovel handle with only minimal awkwardness.
Until a car pulled up to the stop sign to the left of my house, anyway. Lilly's head jerked upward in realization as the headlights bathed her delicate face, her voice rushed and sounding as if she were still being attacked. "Oh my God, shouldn't we be doing this in your backyard or something? What if someone sees us?"
I couldn't help but smirk. It was my attempt at being reassuring. "Like anyone would believe them. If a bunch of people see us, at best the media will just think they were all drunk or looking for attention or something. At worst, we'll become a mass UFO sighting and everybody will give all the governmental people around here the evil eye. I think all we really have to worry about are things like helicopters and security cameras." This had been my logic to keep myself calm when I asked myself the same question less than half an hour ago.
She took a long breath and tightened her grip around me, clamping her eyes shut upon my suggestion.
Not exactly being a frequenter of the local medical centers, I didn't know where the most legitimate hospital was, and so decided to just fly us around town until I saw a big red sign that said 'Emergency' or something.
I can assure you, dear reader of this whom I'm praying won't exist at least until I'm out of the state and under an assumed name, that this was actually a pretty legit way to do things, as I knew for a fact that there was a legitimate ER in town due to passing it a handful of times while my parents were driving me around for various reasons. We found our way there in about ten to fifteen minutes, as the sign was so large that it actually wasn't that hard to see from maybe thirty to forty feet in the air.
We lowered into a dark, out-of-the-way corner of the parking lot without so much as a cut or bruise. After that, our main obstacle was ignoring the strange looks we we received as we walked through the automatic doors, a tired-looking yet doll-like Asian in nothing but a pastel set of skimpy pajamas being hurriedly escorted by a tall bear of a brunette, carrying a rusty shovel and with a rather conspicuously large book bag bouncing after her billowing cape of a jacket.
As we made our way into the complex of solid white on solid greyish-white, I noticed the sudden blast of air conditioning and offered Lilly my jacket as I glanced around for an obligatory sign-in window or counter. She rejected my coat quietly, visibly shaking but looking downward sheepishly as she trailed behind me. I think she was trying to hide from the stares we were getting as we passed a number of different waiting rooms, all full of tired-eyed people who were either barely conscious or giving us thoroughly bewildered looks (I'd say it was most likely just because of the shovel, though. Speaking of which, my planned excuse for carrying it around so far is something like that Lilly and I are part of a small, unofficial gardening club and that I was walking her home when we suddenly got stopped by two guys we couldn't see in the darkness, who attacked us when we told them we were just as broke as they were and tried to burn us with cigarettes, but got scared off when I started smacking them with the shovel.)
Eventually we found a sign-in window with a sign sticking out of the wall above it labeled 'Emergency Care.' Behind it was this wrinkly, auburn-haired lady with lipstick that looked like neon paint against her sun-dried complexion and a voice dripping with condescension.
"Can I help you..." Matching said voice was a pair of bored, skeptical dark eyes framed by a shocking amount of blue eyeshadow and enough mascara for roughly half a dozen people. She gave us a once-over as if we were a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses at her door. "... ladies?"
I fought the urge to retort with a 'I don't know, can you?' and instead honeyed up my usual rough tone. "Um, yes, my friend kind of needs to see a doctor for various injuries, including..." I glanced back and asked Lilly to let both I and Florence (the name I caught in a glance at the old lady's name tag) see her arm. She wordlessly complied. "... second degree burns, I think." I finished, turning back to her.
The older woman's makeup-caked eyes widened at my friend's cigarette burn, but that lasted all of a second and was followed by a fatigued, 'I'm getting too old for this,' sigh. "Either of you two been high tonight?" Florence inquired as she handed us a clipboard of forms. "Also, do either of you have your parents' insurance or anything?"
Florence's face stayed confounded when I asked her if we could pay cash, and grew more so when I opened my bag and pulled out maybe a grand or two more than the amount she'd doubtfully named as the usual for cases such as ours, even making a bit of a show as I took back the change with a clueless smile and nonchalantly stuffed it back into my bag. As we sat down in an empty corner of the ER's waiting room, I whispered to Lilly about this, basically a 'Did you see her face?' which earned me possibly the first smile to cross Lilly's delicate face tonight.
By now we've filled out the forms to the best of our abilities, handed them back to Florence and are currently waiting for Lilly's name to be called. She's the only real patient, and after finding out friends may or may not be able pay for each other without one being the other's legal guardian or something, Lilly and I huddled together, pretending to fangirl over a cute picture in one of those waiting room magazines while I passed her a roll of about $3,000 and told her to call me (Specifically, to pretend her phone is vibrating and answer as if it's her grandmother or something) if she needed anything, such as more money or answers if the doctors start asking too many questions.
It's been maybe fifteen to twenty minutes since we handed back the papers, and right now I'm simultaneously writing this and watching the news on one of the elevated, barely audible TVs. I think my adrenaline has actually almost died down by now, evidenced by my now being able to take long, deep breaths and relax multiple muscles. Lilly's curled up against my right shoulder like a kitten, using my midnight blue coat as a blanket but keeping her burnt upper arm out in the open. (I've advised her to not fall asleep in case she has a concussion, but after a slightly annoyed murmur from her I've left it alone beyond peeking down at her to make sure her eyes are open every few minutes.)
Now that I'm able to sit back and think coherently, I've realized that all of our decisions so far have probably only been asking to get in ten times more trouble than we would have gotten into had I just, you know, called 911 and sent them over to Lilly's house or something. I mean, sneaking over to your friend's house in the dead of night just because of a text saying her parents were beating up on her, knocking her parents out (albeit on complete accident), keeping her from the hospital until you could conjure up a bunch of cash which sooner or later somebody's going to ask the origins of, taking her over to the hospital yourself at midnight and claiming you two were robbed on the way home from a hobby nobody has ever heard you caring for at all up until this point? This is the kind of stuff elementary schoolers might consider badass, but anyone above that would find a million holes to poke through in a matter of minutes.
What the Hell was I even thinking, dragging Lilly through all of this? For all I know that hole in her arm could be infected and the only way to fix it will be to amputate the whole thing. Not to mention the possibility of something that happened before I showed up causing internal bleeding or whatever. Hell, that could be why she's been so quiet all this time; She could be in pain but not want to bother me with it. And don't get me started on the possibility that something goes wrong with her parents...
Currently pondering whether or not to slink off into a bathroom and practice a healing spell on myself while we're waiting. Maybe see if I can at least close up a paper cut or something. Might be enough to at least fix her arm. God, I hate this anticipation. At least half a dozen potential outcomes to this are going through my mind every few minutes, and so far maybe three at absolute most are even remotely positive. Most involve Lilly dead, an amputee, a foster kid in a home just as messed up as her current one, and/or me going to jail or something.
The human imagination is probably one of the greatest gifts and the most torturous curses to have. Particularly when you're both immature and neurotic.