"No really Rose it's alright, I don't need you to set me up on a date." You cry out into the phone receiver. Your name is John Egbert and you are currently lying on your bed talking to your friend Rose on the phone. She really wants to set you up on a date. A blind date. The thought of it makes your head spin. You've never been that great with making friends, let alone GIRLfriends. Rose knows you don’t talk to many people outside of your few friends. She also knows you are completely okay with that.
“No John, I really think this would be helpful to your situation. Being daring and trying to form relationships will help you when you graduate and go off to college. Remember I’m going far away for college, and Jade is leaving the country to travel.” Jade is your sister. Well not really, though she might as well be. She’s actually your cousin. She used to live on a remote island with her Grandfather and her dog, Bec, but since her Grandfather died, she’s been staying with you and your dad until she can graduate and start traveling the world like she’s wanted to since she was young.
“I know but I can manage Rose, I’m not a kid.” You say the last part in the whiniest voice you can manage, and can practically hear her rolling her eyes.
“But I know some very nice boys who would very much like to-”
“ROSE! I am not a homosexual. How many times do I have to repeat that?”
“Yes, John I understand, that has become a mantra for you, but I believe it would be important for you to explore your sexuality more closely before you ship off for college and the working world. You may never have this opportunity again, you know. Just think about it. I have to go now. Goodnight John.”
“What doing some homework?” You sneer. She hangs up on you. You frown a little and feel a small pang of guilt. Oh well. She should have expected it. She probably did in fact. Speaking of homework, you haven’t done any of yours. You spare a look at the clock. It’s nearly ten. Your dad will want you in bed by eleven. “Shit” You mutter under your breath.
It is nearly December and your Bro decides that he wants you to move close to your cousin and her mom. Your name is Dave Strider and you hate the cold. Why do they have to live in fucking Maine. Milbridge, Maine to be exact. It’s right on the coast so it has a nice ocean breeze to FREEZE YOUR ASS OFF. You don’t really remember either of the people you’ll be living with for an indefinite amount of time. That makes sense though, seeing as you haven’t seen either of them since you were basically a toddler. You really aren’t looking forward to this. You don’t say anything of course, because that wouldn’t be cool.
“Hello Dirk. It’s nice to see you again. And this is Dave? Damn he’s grown up. I haven’t seen you since you were about four.” She pauses briefly to give both of you a hug. She smells strongly of alcohol and cats. “Come inside. You both must be freezing.” When you first saw the house you figured it would be the normal boring rich person house. The kind where there’s basically nothing but a couple chairs and couches, a table, a carpet, and a lamp. You realize immediately you were mistaken. As you step through the doorway you are immediately accosted by a cat. Said cat happened to land on your face. You are allergic to cats.
“Fucking cats.” It comes out muffled, though, as you have yet to get the cat off of you. The older woman gently grabs the cats sides and pulls it off. She has a smile on her face that makes you scowl. Or it would have had you not immediately started to sneeze. You can feel your eyes become irritated and your nose fill with snot as the woman quickly runs to get tissues and allergy medication. You quickly notice all of the wizard statues. Also the bronzed vacuum in the corner. That’s fucking weird.
“I’m sorry about Jaspers, Dave. He gets very clingy when he likes someone. Guess you’ve made a friend already.” Her laugh is unexpected because although she seems somewhat old and worn out, her laugh sounds like a little kids. She throws her head back when she laughs too, which nearly gets a smile out of you. You decide you like this woman. “Oh I haven’t introduced myself, have I? My name is Roxy. And that’s what you’ll call me. I don’t want you to think you have to treat me like a superior. I’m your friend here. You can always talk to me.” She emphasizes the last word as she dramatically swings her arm around and points a thumb to her chest, then gives a little nod. Bro chuckles.
Your name is Rose Lalonde, and you can hear your mother laughing downstairs. Your relatives must have arrived early. Mom said they’d be here around three but it’s barely two thirty. You make your way downstairs. You hear your computer ding, signaling an incoming message, most likely from John. You ignore it. He can wait. When your head was turned, as you acknowledged your computer, you nearly trip on your beloved cat. He notices you coming, though, and stops cleaning himself long enough to run the rest of the way up the stairs, passing you with a flick of his tail. You hear your mother introduce herself, then a deep chuckle. That’s when you make your entrance.
“Hello Rosey, finally done with your homework? I keep telling her she should get out more. Homework isn’t the most important thing in the world.” You roll you eyes and tuck a lock of hair behind your ear. You walk up to the two boys. Well only on of them could really be called a “boy”. The other was more akin to a “man”. They both stand up.
“My name is Dirk, but you can call me Bro.” The man offers his hand to you and you shake it, noting the strength and sureness in his grip. Obviously a bit prideful and most likely a little vain. Damn it. You need to stop psychologically analyzing everyone you meet.
“My name’s Dave.” That’s all the other one says. He doesn’t put his hand out until his brother nudges him. He sighs and finally gives in. Your hands shake quickly and you can’t help but mentally jot down a note. His grasp is stiff. That coupled with his sigh and his short self-introduction means he probably doesn’t want to be here. You let that one slide though, it will probably help you with how to treat him. If he doesn’t want to be here, you’ll talk to him a bit and then give him as much space as he needs. Mother tells you to show your guests around, but the older one insists he remembers where everything is, and that he just wants to catch up on everything. You reluctantly lead Dave to the kitchen to show him where everything is. If John is the one who messaged you before, he’s probably having an aneurism by now.
“So you’ve lived here all your life, huh?” The question is awkward and probably just to fill the silence. So he doesn’t like silence and is most likely keeping the subject away from him. Interesting.
“Yes. there’s not a moment when I haven’t lived here.” You consider asking him about his home but feel the question may be pushing it since he’s just left his home not two days ago. Instead you go for a different approach. “What do you think of it? The house I mean.” He pauses a moment in surprise. Probably not used to being asked his opinion.
“It’s alright. A little too much cat if you ask me.” He sniffles and you smile. Jaspers found a new friend already. “If you don’t mind me asking what’s with the fucking weird vacuum out there?” You sigh heavily. Not this story.
“It was a present I gave my mother for Mother’s day.”
“You gave your mom a bronzed vacuum?” He interrupts.
“No, but she claims that she appreciated the present so much she wanted to bronze it. It’s still plugged in and can be turned on. It’s extremely annoying.” You make a face that tells him you regret the present. “Also if you could refrain from cursing here. Or at least around mom. She doesn’t like foul language.” It’s his turn to make a face now. You can tell he’s gonna love it here.
“Heehee. Really? I didn’t know she had a cousin. Is he on her mother’s side or her father’s side? What’s he like? Why did he move here? Are we gonna see him at school?” You shoot out rapid fire questions, mostly just to yourself though. You know that John can’t talk when he’s got a mouthful of toothpaste. Your name is Jade Harley and you are really happy. Almost constantly. Some people find it creepy. Others find it uplifting. John is of the latter. That’s one of the reasons he can stand your almost constant presence. He’s happy too, but knows to tone it down in public so people don’t think he’s on drugs. How could you know though, you’ve lived on a remote island with barely any contact with anyone who wasn’t your grandfather for your entire life. Or at least your entire life up until a few months ago.
It was a nice day out and you and your grandfather were out fishing. You spent nearly all day out on the water. It was great. You and your grandfather could just sit in each others company for hours. It was the best life you could have hoped for. It was getting dark when you started to head in. That’s when you heard him. It was Bec, your beloved dog. He was whimpering in pain. You froze on the spot, but your Grandfather took off into the underbrush, leaving you alone in the increasing darkness. You had no idea where he went so you decided to head back to your room. He’d come back. He always came back. He didn’t though. Not that time.
Bec came back, covered in blood. He tugged on your skirt until you consented to follow him through the trees. Your life was in his hands. You couldn’t see anything. Then the foot steps. Or should you say paw steps. There was a large mammalian animal headed toward you. It’s pace and lightness of step made you suspect it was trying to hunt you. Little did it know that in your blindness your hearing increased. It also didn’t know you had a pistol hidden in the folds of you skirt. You keep your steps calm and even, lulling the predator into a sense of false security. At the same time you reached into the waist band of the red frilly skirt you decided to put on today. There was a pocket inside that could conceal a handgun. Before you could fully reveal it though, it pounced. Nearly ripped your arm off too, if Bec hadn’t attacked it fiercely.
You reached and pulled out your gun, but couldn’t find Bec or the creature. You heard them though, tumbling through the bushes. You tried to follow the sound, but you were focused so closely on the sound of the two tussling animals that you didn’t notice the sharp slope in the ground. You didn’t notice it until you were sliding down it, scraping the back you your thighs and your lower back as you went. When you finally stopped, you laid still for a moment, both making sure there were no skulking animals around, whilst trying to calm your hammering heart. When you were finally calm you realized you couldn’t hear the struggles anymore. You hoped either they were still fighting or that Bec was already following your scent to you. Then you noticed your surroundings. There was a break in the trees, and a strange light shining through them, casting oddly angled shadows across the leafy ground.
You slowly stood up, wincing at the sting of the scrapes on your legs. You picked your way slowly through the trees. It was oddly silent but you push the thought out of your mind with the rationalization that everything was scared away when you came crashing down the hillside. You really wished it was true. You wish it wasn’t quiet because something else had scared everything away. You wish that thing hadn’t killed your grandfather. Once you had made your way through the trees you noticed the iron smell of blood. Please let it not be his. You feel lightheaded. You walk a bit closer to the light, which has momentarily blinded you. Your eyes adjust and you nearly puke. It’s everywhere and you can’t look away. You nearly collapse and realize you’ve been hyperventilating.
You calm your breathing and think. What do you do with the body? You can’t reasonably drag or carry the body through the forest. This is for two main reasons; one, you can’t carry the body and the lantern at the same time, but if you don’t have the lantern you can’t see; second, you have no fucking clue where you are. You don’t recognize this part of the island and there aren’t any land marks around. You decide the only things you can really do is stay with the body and hope Bec finds you. He can carry the lantern in his mouth while you carry the body. He knows the way. He always knows the way. You dropped your gun on the way down the hill and hope the body doesn’t attract any predators. No. Not the body. Your grandfather. You cry.
Eventually the sun rises and Bec hasn’t returned. You’re tired but decide you can’t sit here anymore. You grab onto your grandfather’s arm and sling it around your shoulder. You look away as his bloody face swings close to yours. Then you go. You don’t know where, but at least it’s somewhere. Along the way Bec finds you and nuzzles the back of your knees. You nudge him back. He starts to lead. You feel like you’re about to break.
“And I suppose we will see him in school.” John’s voice finally rips you out of the memory. You feel light headed again and there’s a sour taste in your mouth. “Are you even listening anymore?” He demands with a tinge of anger in his voice.
“Of course I am Johnny boy.” You muster up your cheeriest teasing voice you can. The nickname distracts him from the falseness of your voice. You tell him good night and head off to bed. You know you won’t be able to sleep alone. Once you know that John is asleep in his bed, you sneak down the hall to the master bedroom. You don’t knock. You know he’s probably expecting you. You slide into his bed and he doesn’t say anything at first, just hugs you close. It’s comforting.
“You have a good night’s sleep, Jade.” He says lovingly.
“I’ll try…Dad.” Your voice wavers and your eyes fill with tears. You bury you head in his neck as he hugs you tighter.