Queen of the Night

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Alex just can't carry on anymore. Trapped and alone, unhappy and misunderstood, he feels the only way to go is to become a smear on the road beneath the Wagner Bridge. After a series of coincidences, he finally chooses a day to commit the deed, but life has other ideas: Selene, the enigmatic and peculiar blonde, who says she takes him on the best - and last - night of her life. Talking him down from the bridge, they head into town - a simple act that changes life for Alex and so many others.

Submitted: September 21, 2016

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Submitted: September 21, 2016

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"Do I like flowers?" She grinned, "D'uh! What girl doesn't?"

"But why?" I asked. 

"I...," Her green eyes dropped, "I...they live for such a short time,

yet, in that brief moment, they live with all of their might.  I want to live

like that.  Don't you?"

 

I never fit in.  I never felt accepted, understood or loved.  That night, everything changed

- I changed.  I didn't know what being alive meant until I then.  But I know I wouldn't be here now telling you this if I hadn't met the most beautiful flower of all: Selene,

my Queen of the Night.

 

 

PART ONE

Budding

 

Chapter One

 

The traffic roared on the motorway beneath me, as I stood on Wagner Bridge.  It wasn't really a bridge, it was some old, rusty overpass that was the only safe way of crossing the frickin' road within 10 miles of town and badly needing refurbished.  Yet, the local council however always moaned about "funds being needed elsewhere".  The day after they said that, they erected a statue of some hot shot in the business district -- they've got their priorities sorted, huh?  Jerks. 

I glanced one more time over the railing and at the hard, black concrete below.  The road stretched on for what seemed like infinity into the orange desert.  Behind me it came out of Arid Sands, "one of the hottest places in Mojave!"and one of the most dull.  I'd been feeling like that for a while, like I was caught in some hot oven with nothing to do but wait to be cooked.  I'd been thinking a lot about death then, I'd even been writing about ways I could end it in my journal: OD on pills, hang myself in a closet, throw myself from a bridge.  I couldn't help it, I just felt so empty, so alone.  Mom and Dad were always working, my sisters had flew from the coop and were pushing out babies left, right and center and the last time I hanged out with anyone from my high school, my backpack got ripped in two and I got the shit kicked out of me.  So yeah...alone.  

Of course, nosy Mom had apparently been reading my journal for a while, or just decided to do so one day because I was watching TV and she rushes into the living room, tears streaming for her eyes and is all, "Oh Alex, why didn't you tell us you wanted to kill yourself?!" and of course, Dad is all like "WHAT?!" and I wound up staying up half the night talking to them, and from then on I was medicated and had to visit a shrink twice a week.  It still didn't get rid of the void in me.  I just wanted a reason to continue, something to get rid of the hopelessness.

I looked again at the road below.  The sun in the clear sky above, was long past the midway point and in a few hours, would begin to set.  The haze made the desert, hills, and cacti in the distance dance exotically and the hot wind, what little there was of it, blew dust into my eyes and tousled red hair and bakes me alive.  The traffic below finally thinned out a bit.  Well, it's now or never.  I glanced back at the town.  The rusted, empty bridge creaked quietly around me as I hoisted a leg over the railing. 

Suddenly a pair of pale, lightly freckled arms wrapped themselves around my waist.  "Found you! Oh my God, I can't believe you're actually here!" Squealed a voice full of mirth.  I almost pissed myself as I fell backwards on the bridge pathway with a yell and gave myself the mother-of-all wedgies.  I growled and glanced up and saw a girl straight out of the 60s: she had long, wavy blond hair with a flower headband; she wore a white vest top and a long, flowery skirt with sandals.  She had lightly-freckled skin and the brightest, green eyes you can think of and the biggest, friendliest smile.

The lunatic was jumping up and down laughing and clapping her hands, grinning, "Can I help you?" she asked and held out a hand but I batted it away shaking my head.  I'd never seen the fruit-loop before, she'd stick out like a sore thumb at my school.  "Did you just move here or something?" She was glancing over the edge of the railing and shaking her head.  "Ooooh, that's a long waaaay down, y'know." She said, and stared straight at me with her green eyes.  It was really unnerving to say the least.

She jerked upwards, her mouth set in a big O, "Oh my God!" We'd better rush, or we're going to miss it!" She went to reach for my hand, but I backed away. 

"Just what the hell, do you think you're doing!" I yelled. This girl is clearly off her rocker. She tilted her head and blinked a few times, and laughed.

"You're the guy who's going to show me the best night of my life, that's what!" She said beaming.  Say WHAT?!  Like hell some girl was propositioning me, me of all people, right here and now! She suddenly froze, her cheeks flaming, "Oh sorry, that came out wrong, " she began, "what I meant was, you're the guy who is going to hang out with me tonight and do fun stuff, like go bowling, to the fair, and so on."

"Uh-huh.  Says who?" I asked dubiously.  That inane smirk returned to her face.

"My vision." She said matter-of-factly, shrugging.  Is this girl high?

"Are you on drugs or something?!" I retorted, slowly inching away from her.  

"Yeah, I mean we do have a great time tonight Alex."  She said with a toothy smile.  I freeze.  How the hell does she know my name?  "How do you know my name?" I demand.  But she suddenly runs away laughing.  "IF YOU WANT TO KNOW, YOU'LL HAVE TO CATCH MEEEEE!!!"  She called over her shoulder. 

I stood there, feeling rooted to the spot. A part of me longed for the railing.  Longed for a way out of the continued sadness, loneliness and away from the oppressing and concerned eyes of my parents back home.  Yet, I'll admit it, a part of me was curious as to how this weird girl knew my name.  And why she was treating me like we were best friends.  It was unsettling, but in a good way.  Of course, it could all be a trick set up by those assholes from my class.  But, what if it wasn't?  Before I knew it I found myself running after her.  Past the bridge, past the srub bushes and along the road and back into town. 

A strange feeling was growing in my chest.  She was fast, faster than me.  And unlike me, she didn't seem winded and continued to laugh.  She would sometimes spin around, like she was dancing, but obviously only to check to see if I was still following.  Her blonde hair glittered in the light.  As I struggled to keep up, I realized what the feeling was: it was fun.  I was having fun, for the first time, in a long time. 

"Hey...!" I cried, winded, "What's....your name."  She stopped and looked at me smiling,

"I'm Selene."

 

 

Chapter Two

 

So anyway, there I was walking down a road with some crazy granola girl called Selene who'd not only pulled me away from jumping off a bridge, but also claimed that a "psychic vision" had told her that we would have a blast that night.  Yeah, right.  After running, we collapsed onto a bench next to Visocci's Ice Cream Parlour (the only one in town where the stuff didn't become a puddle straight away) and talked.  Her pale skin, was now the palest shade of pink after running.  No doubt, I looked like boiled-lobster boy in comparison, having run after her. 

"So," I began, "you said a vision told you I'm going to show you a great time tonight, huh?" She nodded.  I hoped my skepticism wasn't too obvious.  "Yep.  We do so many cool things, and meet so many cool people tonight and we..." she rambled on.  But she suddenly tapered off.  She lept to her feet and started to turn her head this way and that.  I could smell it too - tacos. 

Down the street was Valentina's Tacos, the only restaurant in town that selled anything remotely Mexican and yet, was arguably the busiest spot here.  Valentina inherited the place from her mother when she died and now she and her younger sister Jimena and brother Miguel ran it and made the best food in the joint. But their specialty was tacos with a super-secret salsa sauce.  Our stomachs growled as that spicy aroma filled the air.  "Oooh! Come on.  Come on!  Let's go get some tacos and I'll tell you everything!" Selene cried, pulling me by the arm.  I wasn't exactly enchanted with the idea of being around so many people, and listening to Latin music but I was starving and as chance would have it, I had five dollars in my jeans pocket - more than enough for a few tacos. 

Hola niños!" Cried out Valentina as I was dragged into the door.  Dressed in a deep-red, flamenco dress, she went to lead us to our tables but suddenly froze as she looked at us.  "¡Mi Dios! Selene mija?!" She suddenly lept at Selene and swathed her in crimson ruffles.  "We thought we'd seen the last of you! What are you doing here?" She cried, hugging the laughing girl.

"Everything's alright Val'a," Selene said smiling, "I'm just here with my friend Alex." She turned to me.  Valentina's eyes lit up, "Ooooh, you little chica! You got yourself a man! And he's handsome too." She tittered as she practically forced us to a table by the window at the front of the restaurant.  "Eh? Eh? What would you kids like to order? And don't worry angelito, it's on the house." Whipping out a pad of paper and a pencil, she wrote down our order: three pork tacos with Val'a's special salsa, each, two chocolate tamales and two large root beer floats. 

I have to say, sitting there, with my tongue still deciding whether it was on fire from the salsa or swimming in sweetness, everything felt so surreal.  Compared with how the day had started, there I was, sitting eating Mexican food with a strange girl who had stopped me from jumping off a bridge by simply laughing and running.  She glanced up, grinning and wiped some foam from her lips. 

"Well that was fun!" She beamed, "I can't wait to see the carnival here later." 

"As in the county carnival? That shit is for babies." I muttered.  She frowned. 

"It's not just for kids, y'know.  There's rollercoasters, dodge 'ems, stalls - it sounds like so much fun!" She went back to sipping the last of her root beer float as I thought about what she said.  Yeah, the carnival used to be fun but being honest, I'm kinda scared of those big rides.  I don't trust anyone - let alone some sketchy carny guy who's too busy ogling the local babes when he should be keeping an eye on the ride.  Selene flashed her green eyes at me and grinned, "You'll be fine y'know.  Nothing bad will happen." 

"Oh riii-ght. I forgot you can see the future..." I muttered as I rolled my eyes. 

"Yep.  I've been able to do that since I was a kid." She said nodding.  Woah, is she serious?

"So wait," I started, "you've been able to see things like what?  The lottery?"

"No, not that sort of thing," her blonde curls shook every which way, "Mee-maw told me I won't be able to see stuff like that.  I mostly see how people's day are going.  How my day is going."  Her voice dropped, "And how and when people die." 

"Wait, what?!" I didn't just hear that, right?  "You see people die?!" Out the corner of my eye, I saw Valentina glance at our table. 

Selene nodded.  "It's how I knew you were on the bridge."  She turned to look out the window and for the first time I'd seen her, she wasn't smiling.  She was frowning. She turned towards me, her eyes blazing, "Why did you want to do that? Throw yourself off?"

"What's it got to do with you?" I retorted.

"Nothing.  I was just curious."  She shrugged. 

"Well, mind your own business." Like hell, I was going to pour my soul out to some crazy chick that I'd only met for the first time today.  Can see the future, my ass.  Valentina suddenly walked over to our table and laid a hand on Selene's shoulder, "Everything okay mija?" She asked gently.  Selene nodded.  "I just need to use the bathroom real quick.  Back in a sec." She got up and left.  Val'a tutted and then sat in her chair and had a stern expression on her face. 

"Listen here chico," she began, "I don't know how you two know each other, but what I do know is that she is a special girl and a good friend to us here.  And I don't want you messing around with her or hurting her.  Got it? She's been through a lot."  Valentina started to get up.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"She's dying, that's what I mean." She called as she walked back to the restaurant podium. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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