He wasn’t right, but he wasn’t wrong either. I didn’t lie, but I didn’t tell the whole truth. He asked me did I have any siblings, I said I did. I do, but I don’t. I probably don’t make much sense now, but to me I do.
It was a while ago when it happened. The fire that killed them that is, in case you’re completely lost. My sister who was a year older than me and my brother who was her twin and my older brother. He teased me mercilessly about everything but I loved him and her too. Dad was out of the picture before they were even in it but he came back and was gone again before I met him. He hasn’t been back since then and it was mam by herself, raising 3kids with a year difference between them. I don’t want to meet him.
I was 13, an awkward teenager at the time and I’m not any better now. I had just started a new school and didn’t have many friends. It’s the only school for miles and probably the only public building other than the houses. We live in the country. The literal country with no shops, parks, cafes or anything remotely entertaining, unless you count school as entertaining: I don’t.
It’s fields upon fields upon fields upon fields… well, you get my drift. Or maybe you don’t but there are a lot of fields, is what I’m trying to say. Beth and Dylan were in 2nd year, I a ‘little firstie’ as they called me. It was one of the things he teased me about. I acted like it annoyed me but I actually loved it.
There was nothing little about me: I was tall. Nearly taller than Beth and Dylan and they were a year older than me. Mam’s not really tall and I’m guessing I got it from dad, the man I’ve never met. Mam doesn’t have any pictures of him s o I don’t know what he looks like, nor do I want to in the least.
I’m now a 6th year, the oldest in the school. Not the oldest person in the school, but the oldest year. St. John’s is a mixed school and doesn’t have a great reputation. The students are always late, they don’t have their books or work with them, they’re constantly getting into trouble… I’d hazard a guess some of them do drugs but I’m not pointing any fingers. I stay in the background and try and blend in with the surroundings.
That usually doesn’t end well since most of the walls are lockers and people slam their lockers a lot. If it just so happens I’m in the way, that’s an added bonus. I’m not bullied but I’m not exactly welcomed with open arms. It’s far from it. I just get on with it and hope I get the grades to go on in life.
So, when the guy next to me asked me if I had any siblings, I didn’t answer too truthfully. I was meant to say no, but I said yes. He asked their names. I was meant to correct myself and tell him I didn’t have any, when I said Beth and Dylan. It was SPHE class and we were learning about each other’s lives as though we haven’t known each other for the last 6years. He asked their ages and I didn’t answer. It was a year since they died and they would’ve been 19. They weren’t exactly a year older than me since their birthday was in May and mine in June, but it was close enough.
The bell rang and I hurried out of class. Lunch was next and I went outside like I always did. I didn’t need friends when Beth and Dylan were around. We always came out here and sat by the old oak tree and had our lunch. The other kids used to stay clear of us but I didn’t care then. Not that I care now, I can honestly say I don’t care now but I miss having company when I sit by the oak tree.
Beth and Dylan didn’t have a lot of friends either but the ones they had they were really close to. Now they’ve left and went to college. Amy got into Trinity and Cole, UCD. That’s a few hours’ drive away so they went to live with relatives.
I’m hoping to get into Trinity or UCD. I don’t care which but I need to get away from here. School ends at the end of this month, June and it’s now the 15th. My birthday. I hate birthdays.
I forgot my lunch box so I take out some chewing gum and chew it, lying against the rough bark of the old tree. I used to climb it with Dylan and Beth but a teacher caught us and we got into trouble. We didn’t care and climbed it again but I fell and broke my arm. It hurt like hell, but I still climbed it after the cast was off. I stopped when they died.
Various declarations of love and snide comments about a specific person are carved into the bark of the tree. “Owen loves Dana” and “Penny stinks” and things of that sort. I never carved my name into the tree. The bark is ruined enough and I’m not going to be responsible for its decay. The skid marks are still engraved into the bark from the football boots I was wearing the day I fell out.
I wish I brought my MP3 player with me. I love listening to music and reading. They make me forget about life’s worries and help me escape into my own world. I love fantasy, not real life things. Real life is boring and depressing. Fantasy is unique and exciting and anything can happen. Not the whole vampire and werewolf thing; that’s boring and predictable but the whole new world thing where anything can happen. Your imagination can bring you anywhere and nothing is wrong; it’s your world.
I easily get bored without my MP3 player or a book so I get up from by spot and leave through the gates. We’re not allowed out during lunch but everyone goes anyway: no one stops us from leaving so we take that as a sign we’re allowed.
The sky is darkening and I can tell it’s going to rain. The day is dull and I wander aimlessly around the town. Sure enough, I feel a drop of water on my head and more quickly follow it. I ignore them and continue my wandering. People rush by me with umbrellas and coats, looking at me like I’m crazy for only wearing a hoodie in the now pouring rain. I ignore them too.
There’s still 45minutes left of lunch but I’m not hungry. Not even the smell of pasta can tempt a growl from my stomach: I haven’t eaten since breakfast at 7 and it’s now 1:50. But I can’t force myself to eat and I continue walking.
Water splashes at my feet and I look down to see a puddle being splattered over me by a bus. I continue walking. The water soaks my shoes and socks, causing them to make a squelching sound when I walk. My feet leave prints behind them as I walk but they eventually die away as the water leaves the shoes. The rain stops. I turn the corner.
I’m roughly yanked forward and my head crashes into something solid. My hands are held behind my back and I’m forced face first against a wall, something holding my hands behind me. My head is held to the wall and something cold pointed against my temple.
I hear the sound of Garda í cars coming around the corner. “Don’t move” a scratchy voice squeaks into my ear. It’s male and sounds like he’s had 100 too many cigarettes. I do as I’m told, not sure what’s happening.
Doors open and the sound of clicking is heard in its dozens. “Sir” a voice from a speakerphone calls out. “Step away from the girl.”
The man doesn’t reply, pressing the cold thing into my temple harder. My wrists are crissed over each other and tied with something that’s cutting into my skin. I can feel it pierce the skin and blood runs down my wrists. I stop moving my hands but it doesn’t stop the blood. It’s warm.
I hear slow footsteps come closer and the cold metal thing I pushed even harder into my temple. “Don’t come any closer” the man holding it says to whoever’s walking towards us.
“Sir, put the gun down” someone says cautiously.
A gun is pointed at my temple. And a mad man is holding it and my wrists are bound.
“You could hurt someone with that.”
Isn’t that the point? Why would you have a gun if you didn’t want to hurt someone? Guns are illegal.
“I’m not afraid to use it” the man holding it says, but I feel his hand trembling against the back of my head. He may not be afraid to use it, but he’s afraid of the consequences.
“Sir-” the other man starts, coming closer to us and the man panics. He squeezes my wrists tight together and his hands shake even worse than before. His breathing rapidly increases and a drop of moisture falls on the back of my neck. His sweat. “Don’t” he warns the other man in a pleading voice.
“Sir-” the other voice says, much closer.
The man panics and the gun on my temple tenses before I hear a loud bang. I see black. I see Beth and Dylan waiting for me and I follow them.
I don’t feel anything as I follow them and we get on a train with writing on the side of it.
The End of the Line.