Evergreen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A journalist visits a young woman to recount the murder of two boys in a skatepark.

Submitted: April 26, 2018

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Submitted: April 26, 2018

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Evergreen

By: Briana Johnson

“You’re late!” she regarded me with a sort of disdain. Her mouth was twisted into a slight scowl and her eyes danced with indifference. I was twenty feet away from her and if anyone else had been around, they could’ve thought she was addressing them.

“Sorry!” I called to her as I quickened my pace to reach her, “I had a few errands to run.”

She scoffed before pivoting and stalking in the other direction. I took that as my cue to follow her and scurried quickly to catch up with her long strides.

The air was cool that day and although the sun beamed down on us, it did little to heat the temperature. While reddish-orange leaves crumpled beneath our feet, I zipped my jacket tighter to protect from the harsh, piercing wind.

She stopped suddenly and I had to halt my momentum before I crashed into her, “This is where it happened.” She pointed to the dilapidated half pipe in front of us.

I smirked and chuckled a bit, “Kids like this place?” I muttered while looking around the area, “I don’t see anything special.” That was true, there was the half pipe in front of us with a few roses thrown carelessly at it, some rust-coated rails about ten steps away and a swing set, that definitely need oil, behind all of it. There was only one kid in the park, currently occupying the swing set, and didn’t seem to mind the creaky noises it made as it made its constant ascent and descent.

“It doesn’t matter that YOU don’t see what’s special about it!” She whipped her head towards me, “Your opinion doesn’t matter at all!”

I felt my cheeks getting hot before replying, “Watch it toots, I don’t have to give a damn about this at all.”

She scoffed, “So don’t!” She stormed away again and I face palmed. Deciding that finding out what I needed to know was more important than arguing with the girl. Chasing her down, I grabbed her arm, “Sorry,” I apologized, “I let my anger get the best of me. Won’t happen again.” I promised.

She shrugged me off and her eyes watched mine. Her voice was laced with pain and her eyes grew distant as saddened words dripped from her lips.

 

Lithe fingers flipped through various pages of sheet music. Cinnamon eyes glanced over each page with fervor, eager to see what would catch their attention. Stopping on a particular piece, Donny’s lips turned upward into a smile, flashing ivory teeth. He hadn’t played much of anything in a while, but he promised himself that he wouldn’t allow his skills to get rusty. Taking his trumpet into his large, coarse hands, he placed the silver, cold, mouthpiece to his lips and allowed each note to tell its story and carry him away.

After several moments, the music’s tale was interrupted by a knock at the door “Yo, D!” His friend Jacob had called to him, “You ready yet?”

Donny snapped out of his trance before ripping his door open, “Nah, bruh.” He answered, “I was too busy playing.” He held up his trumpet for emphasis.

Jacob’s mocha irises gave his friend a quick once-over before replying, “We just going riding dude. You look fine.”

“Nuh uh!” Came the quick response, “Not if Kira’s there it’s not.”

“Why you tryna impress her like y’all haven’t been dating for like three years,” Jacob retorted, “It’s fine let’s go.”

Donny relented, “Whatever, man, just let me change my shoes.”

Jacob looked at his shoes before staring back at Donny in shock, “You always ride in Adios bruh! What you gonna do? Put some Jordan’s on and bust them up?”

“I might,” Donny replied angrily, “They my damn shoes!”

Jacob noticing Donny’s tone, held up his hands in surrender, “Fine, whatever, you got it.”

Donny nodded before placing the Jordan’s in his bag and grabbing his board. He led the way downstairs with Jacob hot on his trail, “Bye Ma, I’ll be back tomorrow!”

Donny’s mother hurried out of the kitchen, the noise of several other older adults chimed in the background. She rushed to give her son a hug.

“Damn, ma!” Donny laughed, “You act like I ain’t coming back or something.”

She laughed with him before replying, “You act like I can’t hug my own damn son. It’s New Year’s Eve and you know how crazy y’all young folks get.” She waited as Donny and Jacob both agreed, “Don’t y’all be out all night either. Go back to Jacob or whoever else’s house before it gets too late, you hear?” Her eyes darted between the two of them and they nodded their heads in affirmation.

“Okay,” she smiled, “Go on now. Get!”

They both kissed her cheek before rushing out of the house, barely missing Donny’s father as he rushed into the warm home with several bags in his hand. “The least you two could do is help a old man out!” He laughed loudly as he and his wife stood next to each other, watching the two boys ride down the street.

 

“Yo, man!” Jacob called to Donny and the rest of their friends after he landed a perfect McTwist for the first time, “Tell me you got that shit!”

Donny hadn’t been paying attention, instead, he had been ogling and snogging down Kira, “Nah, bruh, my bad!”

Jacob was upset, “should’ve known your ass would be over here bein’ useless.” He shook his head in disappointment.

“I got it, Jacob!” A girl named Becky told him as she showed it to him on her phone. Jacob nodded as he watched the performance and became impressed with his skills. He kissed Becky in thanks before handing her the phone and picking up his board. He chuckled as she blushed and admitted that he liked her. The two of them had messed around on occasion, but he never considered dating her. He still didn’t.

“Man, when you gonna man up and make her wifey?” Donny asked his friend as they and Kira made their way to the swing set.

“I’m not,” Jacob told them easily, “She’s sweet and all but-“

“Then why not date her?” Kira questioned, she hated when the guys talked about females when she was around, “If she’s so sweet.”

“That’s the problem,” Jacob responded, “She too sweet. I want a rider, she all meek and shit. She wouldn’t be able to handle me.”

“Look at you soundin’ all gangsta!” Donny laughed, “Calm down, it ain’t that serious.” Kira laughed along.

“Yeah, whatever,” Jacob smiled, “All I know is, I’m tryna get turnt tonight!”

“You gotta be twenty-one to get turnt, bruh!” Donny joked, “And you fall a little short!”

Jacob frowned as Donny and Kira shared a laugh, “Shut up!”

“Calm down!” Donny urged before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small bag, “You ain’t gotta be twenty-one for this.” The three of them smiled before taking turns reaching new heights.

 

For the next hour, the three of them spent their time watching the younger kids skate and cars whip down the street. The sun was starting to set and the temperature was prepared to drop ten degrees.

“When are y’all tryna leave?” Kira asked as she pulled her hat over her ears, “It’s starting to get cold out here.”

“We can now if y’all want.” Jacob replied as he picked up his board and checked his text messages, “We can go over to Jay’s house. Pash, Dev and them all over there.”

“Cool,” Donny replied as he urged Kira to move closer to him, “Come here baby girl.” He pulled her closer and she happily complied.

The three of them began to walk out of the park, before a boy on a bike whipped passed them, almost knocking Kira off of her feet.

“Who the hell is that?!” Donny yelled in anger.

“That’s KK’s bike.” Jacob replied, “But that definitely ain’t KK!” he recalled the face of the six year old boy who looked up to him.

KK’s real name was Kevin and he was Jacob’s little brother in the Big Brother Program. The young boy had lost both his father and older brother at a young age and Jacob was able to fill the void in his life. Sadly, Kevin had passed away the year before from a rare form of Leukemia.

“He took his bike!” Jacob yelled in anger and resisted the urge to attack the teenager, “Who steals a dead kid’s bike?”

“C’mon guys!” Kira struggled to remove them both from the scene, “Maybe his mom sold the bike, we don’t know if he stole it.”

“Nah, screw that!” Jacob yelled angrily, “Miss Sonya would never sale his bike, he stole it.” He began to move towards the boy, who was currently using his bike to grind on the rusty rails next to the half pipe.

“Don’t do anything stupid!” Donny called to him, “We can get Miss Sonya and some other people to handle it!”

“I’m just going to talk to him!” Jacob retorted as he picked up his pace. He kept his eyes on the audacious teenager as he moved towards the half pipe. He felt his shoes go from a brisk walk to a full sprint as he neared the rails and his hands involuntarily stretched towards the boy, causing him to topple over and tumble to the concrete below, “You like taking bikes, huh?!” He heard his voice scream.

Watching the scene, Donny muttered obscenities under his breath, “Stay here,” he told Kira as he moved towards his friend, “I’m going to stop him from doing anything stupid.”

Jacob loomed over the boy and threatened to fight him if he continued to steal bikes from younger kids. He grew angrier as the boy continued to smirk at him, seemingly unphased by the threats. He kicked him in the ribs and everyone could hear the crack as the boy doubled over in pain.

Donny started sprinting and reached Jacob before he could do any more damage, “Stop,” he whispered to his friend and held him, “He’s not worth it. We can just get somebody else to handle this.”

Hot crystal tear drops dripped from Jacob’s eyes, “KK was like my little brother, man.” His shoulders heaved, “My little brother.” Donny embraced him and they were joined by Becky and Kira. Neither of them had noticed the teenager scurrying away.

They spent several moments like that, and the spectators of the fight began going back to their own activities.

“C’mon let’s go.” Jacob pulled away, “I got a bottle of Cîroc calling my name!” They all laughed and began to leave the park together.

More cars zipped passed the park and more people began piling in. Noises grew louder and people began laughing. The four of them were making jokes with each other and grew excited for the night and year before. The vibe was wonderful and the growing night sky was beautiful…..

….BANG

Terrified screams filled the air and to Cinnamon and Mocha oculars, the world seemed to dim while crimson streams danced with the asphalt.

 

“You’re crying.” Her voice finished her tale and dipped from irritance into sympathy, “You should stop that.”

“Oh, yeah.” I replied as I wiped my eyes, “I apologized.”

“No need to,” she responded, her honey brown eyes had also filled with tears. “So, you got what you wanted right?”

“Huh, yeah.” I replied, “I think I have what I needed.”

She nodded and looked around, “I love Evergreen trees. They withstand everything and last forever. Other things don’t last that long, not even love.” She mused as she made her exit.

I watched her leave and cracked a small smile, thoughts of the two slain young men, the young female activist that had been murdered the past Independence day and my best friend all danced through my mind. “That’s not the only thing that lasts forever. Legacies do.”


 


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