I knew this moment was coming, since Annie had said that she wanted to talk to me about something. I had been preparing myself for her inevitable question. With a sigh, I say with a sad low voice "I had of one my dreams." Annie's face goes from a little worried, to very concerned.
"Is it anyone we know?" she whispers. I shake my head no. "Then, who is it?"
"It's a girl from the private school across town. She's going to a party tonight at eight."
Annie whispers with a sigh "I guess that means I'm coming with you."
I smile and say in a high pitched voice "Thank you, I was really worried about going alone."
"So, where's the party at?"
"Hold on a sec…" I say as I start to rummage through my black and white book bag, and skim through my notebooks until I find it. "The address is 3987 Ash Street."
"But that's across town, how are we going to get there, and then get back home?!"
"Yeah, I had thought about that. I was thinking that if we bribed your brother, he might take us."
"No, anything but that!" She yells as she shakes her head.
"But what other choice do we have?"
Annie rolls her eyes, and slowly nods in agreement. "I guess we don't have any other choices. We better get going."
"Alright, let's go."
We walk to Annie's house in silence, and my mind drifts off to the last time something like this happened. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, yet quite a few years have passed since that fateful month. I still remember my sister's disappearance, and just like with this girl, I was having warning signs for weeks. I thought I had been going crazy, at least until my sister disappeared. Back then, I started to watch as all of visions came true. I grew distant from my mom and dad as time went on. In the first few days after my sister's disappearance, my mom was crying all the time and my dad was doing his best to try and stay strong for her. Unfortunately, it never worked since they would end up fighting over every little thing when no one was around. At school, some of my teachers tried talking to me about what was going on at home. I would just play dumb like I didn't know what they were talking about, until they finally gave up on me. After a few days, everything stopped. No one would talk about what was going on anymore, at least in front of me.
"Hello? Erin?" Annie says to me as I give her a blank expression.
"Huh? Yeah, I hear you. What is it?" I respond.
"Do you want to take our shortcut?" She says as she points her finger down the road that passes an elementary school that we used to go to when we were kids.
"You and I both know that isn't a shortcut," I tell her in an irritated tone.
"Would you lighten up? I know it's not a short cut, I just thought it would be fun to go there and relive old times," she tells me with her voice lowered in tone.
"I'm sorry. We can go that way if you want," I say in the most pleasant voice I can.
We walk down that road without speaking another word between each other. When we get to the end of the road, we reach the elementary school. It's a small rectangular building with multiple windows for every classroom, and small amounts of bricks dividing up each classroom window. There is a big sidewalk leading up to the circular pavement in front of the school entrance. Sitting on each side of the entrance are these blue wooden benches. A metal wire fence is situated around the entire school's grounds. A few leafless trees sit in the front of the courtyard. We walk through the gates and get to the back of the school. We walk down a hill on the sidewalk to the playground, which leads to the brown and green jungle gym. On the other end of the jungle gym, there is a black top with a basketball court and the four square markings. On the other side of the court sits a tire swing. Sitting not too far from the tire swing, there are regular swings that sit side by side.
I make a run for the swing set. The moment I start to swing, I let go of everything on my mind. All of sudden, everything turns to darkness and I can't move. I start to see a blur of colors, and very slowly everything seems to come into focus. There are about four people sitting around me, and I don't recognize any of them. The room is starting to fill up with a strange smoke. I'm looking around the room to find a stairway behind me, and next to it is a window with grass on the other side. I'm sitting on a plaid couch with wooden handles. There are two girls on the couch with me, and a guy in the plaid chair. On the opposite side, there is a matching chair with another guy sitting in it. In between us is this round, wooden table with a small see-through bag that has quite a bit of dark green flakes next to it. A few lighters and some incense are burning on top of the table. In front of the table is a dark brown television stand that has four sections; one of them filled movies, the other with games. Another section has an Xbox sitting in it. On top of the stand is television. I stare down at my feet, and realize I am bare foot.
"What are you looking at?" the girl across from me asks. She then starts to giggle wildly. I get passed this big glass pipe with smoke coming out of it. I get ready to take a hit off of the pipe, and start to notice that everything just feels hazy, yet good. Even though I know it's wrong, I light up the pipe and take a big puff, and then I hold my breath just for a moment. I get out of my seat and breathe again while running to the bathroom upstairs, almost tripping a few times. When I get to the bathroom, I look at myself in the mirror to find that it's not my reflection. It's the girl I saw during the vision in room. I feel her emotions: anger at her parents because they make her feel unwanted, the fun she's having right now, and not giving a damn about her life.
Suddenly, I am back to swinging on the swings, high in the air. I stop myself suddenly, trying to forget everything that just happened. In that moment, I turn to Annie.
"Do you want to play on the tire swing?" I ask her.
"Ok, but I get to go first," she replies as she jumps off of her swing and runs to the tire swing before I can object. Once she jumps on the tire swing, I twirl her around in circles as we are laughing, the both of us feel like we are kids again. After her turn, she does the same for me.
We leave the school after we agree that it's too cold to be outside anymore. We get to Annie's apartment not much later after that. Her brother stands tall at the entrance, smoking his cigarette and narrowing his light blue eyes at us as we come near the building. His cheeks are bright pink from the cold, matching what I can see of his ears that are almost completely covered by his black hat. He is wearing his navy blue jacket that looks all beat up.
"Michael! I thought you gave up that habit!" Annie yells angrily as she approaches him.
"I guess I didn't. Whoops, forgot to tell you," Michael remarks with a smirk on his face.
"Oh, why do you have to do this to mom and me…." I stop listening to their usual fight that they have when I see them together. I start to stare at the dead grass that fills the yard, and the trees that stand in the yard with no leaves to cover them.
"I'll be back in minute," I tell Annie, not even caring if I am cold anymore. I take a small walk around her neighborhood, clearing my mind of everything but that girl I've been having visions about. Alright, how am I going to do this? I can't just walk up to her and go "hey, I've been seeing visions of you getting killed, so I'm here to try and prevent you from dying." I almost start laughing at the thought of doing that. Ok, scratch that thought. I'm going to walk in there, try to become her friend, and somehow show her that if I don't help her, she's going to die. Now, how am I going to do that? I think to myself as I let out a big, long sigh. I decide to go in there and wing it, as I walk around the neighborhood. I watch silently as some children run past me.
A little girl with long blonde hair, wearing a baby blue white-striped jacket yells, while almost out of breath "Tag, you're it!"
The other little girl with her short brown hair and bright pink coat says "No fair, you cheated!" I just laugh at them and keep walking. For a moment, I feel good again and forget about all of my problems. I start thinking about how one little thing can change everything in your life.I turn around to walk back to Annie's apartment, to find Annie waiting at the door for me.
"Where did you go? I've been so worried," she says to me with a concerned look.
"Sorry, I needed a walk. I told you I was going for a walk..."
"I guess I didn't hear you," she says with uncertainty. "I got him to say yes to the ride," She says trying to force a big smile on her face. "So let's go! We gotta get ready"
I walk into the house behind Annie. I get distracted by the familiar smells of her house. There is a big white couch that has checkered black and white pillows sitting across from an identical couch. A black table with a glass center piece sits in between the couches. I turn my head slightly, to find a dark brown wooden stand in the corner. On the stand sits these pretty dishes with pieces of art designs on each one. On the floor is a white rug with an elegant design. While we are walking past the living room, we pass her mom. Her curly dirty blonde hair sits at her shoulders. She stands just a few inches taller than me. She is wearing a light gray sweater with white pants. She stares at us with her dark brown eyes.
"Hi girls, what are you two up to?" She says with a warm smile.
"Nothing much" we both say at the same time.
"Well ok girls, you two have fun."
I walk into her room, and get swept up by her rock band posters spread out all around her room. There are two sitting above her nicely made queen size bed which has a dark red blanket and a mix of white and dark red pillow cases. Sitting to the right of her bed is a light blue camping chair. Next to the camping chair are ruby red curtains covering a window. On the opposite side of the room are two more rock band posters. Below the posters is a wooden stand with a television sitting on it. Next to the other poster is a bedroom door, which isn't too far from the wooden dresser with a mirror. Her most common used make up sits on her top of the dresser with some nicely folded clothes on the opposite side. We head over to her dresser, and start rummaging through her clothes to find an outfit for the party. Afterwards, Annie puts makeup on me and manages to poke me in the eye with an eye liner pen a few times. After she does my makeup, she puts on her own makeup. While she is doing that, I grab hair products to style my hair.
"You must not be a girl, Erin" Annie says sarcastically.
"What?" I ask, all confused.
"Those work for me, not for you. We will have to slip into my mom's stash for you," she says as she walks out of the room. Seconds later she pops her head back in the room. "I guess I will have to do your hair also," she says and then leaves again. As soon as she walks back into the room a few minutes later with some of her mom's hair supplies, she starts on her hair again. "I hate my hair, you're so lucky. I would do anything to have your hair," she tells me for the millionth time. After Annie finishes her hair, she starts on mine. She begins by putting mousse in my hair, and quite a bit of hair spray. While she's doing my hair, I taste this horrible flavor from all of the hair spray. "Wow, you look amazing! I really out did myself," she tells me proudly as she finishes. After I throw on some clothes, I stare at myself in the mirror. My hair has crazy looking curls. My skin looks so perfectly smooth and my cheeks are a perfect shade of pink. My blue eyes stand out from my green eye shadow, and my lips are a pretty red.
Until seven thirty, we sit and talk about how we are going to enter the party, though neither of us really have any real idea on what to do. After much pondering, we decide we will just try to wing it. We end up stumbling onto the topic of guys, and talk about a guy Annie really likes. It was nice to just talk about something normal for once today.
"Okay, I'll be right back," she tells me around seven twenty five. When she gets back into the room she motions for me to follow her, and we head to her brother's car.
Michael's car is a dark green 1998 Jeep Wrangler. I open the back door after Annie unlocks it, and I smell a horrible odor. I look down to find the floor covered with garbage.
"Do you ever clean out your car?" Annie asks him.
"Hey, you're the one who needs the ride. You can walk if you want."
"Forget what I said. Let's go."
"So where are you two going, anyway?" Michael asks.
"The deal was no questions," Annie tells him.
"Fine, then. It's none of my business." The rest of the ride was silent, except for Annie giving directions to her brother. I try to not think while staring out of the window, dreading the night ahead of us. We stop the car down the street from the party.
Once Michael drives away, I ask her "how did you get him to say yes?"
"Well, since he doesn't really know where we are going, I owe him money for gas money and cigarettes," She tells me as we head towards the party.