THE LEAVES FELL.
That’s one of the things I’ll always remember on the day everything changed. They were all different colours, a swirl of brown, dash of orange, and mottled yellow floating in the autumn breeze on my way to school.
Summer left no trace in the gray sky above mine and Ian’s heads as our steps mirrored eachother’s rythym so close and so exact, it seemed as if this moment was well rehearsed and planned out. In all honesty, it was in a way since me and him wanted to start our sophomore year with a bang. His fresh pressed graphic T-shirt and my newly purchased Converse proved as much; that we meant buisness. So it was only alarming when Ian suddenly tugged at my arm, making us come to a complete halt just a few feet from the vacant bus stop. I glared at him. “Um, ouch?”
“Sorry,” he mumbled, still grasping my arm tightly in his large hand, his feet planted firmly on the ground, brown eyes focused deeply on my green ones. “But let’s just… savour this moment. Just take it all in.”
I stared at him brows furrowed. “Can’t we just savour near the bus stop? Because if we don’t, you’re going to savour detention on the first day.” I pulled my arm again to loosen his grip. Sadly, it came to no use as Ian flashed a broad, pearly-white smile, a chuckle escaping his throat. I sighed. “Seriously. Hurry up.”
“You can be so paranoid at times, you know that?” he replied finally letting arm free and his guard down long enough for me to nudge him in his side. “Hey, hey watch the side! You wouldn’t like me to poke yours.” He rubbed his side, wincing.
“It’s ‘cuz you can’t.” I smiled, waiting for him to straighten up before taking another step. “And I’m not paranoid. I’m punctual.”
“Whatever your psychiatrist tells you.”
I gave a small chuckle ready to serve another jab at his ribs that’ll send him into tear mode a thing I would be very proud of until I saw it. The slightest movement attracting my green eyes like a moth to a luminescent light as the tall form stood a couple yards away from where Ian and I stopped on the block, the overcast skies not doing any good in helping me make out exactly what I was looking at. Something about the spectacle laid out before me kind of felt off and dark, yet at the same time fascinating, beckoning me to step closer, to check out exactly what it could be. It was as if the object and I were connected in some inexplicable way and I was beginning to question whether or not ‘object’ was the right word to descibe this sudden hazy figure that stood before me. It moved, i know that. And it was too thin and too short to be a tree of any sort. The desire to investigate further grew more and more intense as the seconds passed by like minutes but before I could even move an inch closer to get a better glimpse, it disappeared in the blink of an eye, vanished just as fast as it appeared.
It must be the morning slug, I thought to myself rubbing my eye, careful not to smear any makeup. Though something deeper within said otherwise. The shock it induced and the goosebumps slowly becoming nonexistent on my arms told me all too well it wasn’t just an illusion. What I saw was real. But before i could even utter a word about it to Ian, he was already sprinting toward the newly arriving bus leaving me an almost eerie, uncomfortable silence. “Hurry up October you’re gonna be late and your psychiatrist will be wrong!” he shouted, his voice floating in the wind like a urgent tune, a loud echo of words.
My face went warm with embarrassment as a few more students boarding the bus peered in my direction, shaking the mesmerized feeling out of my system, and sending me back into reality. I rolled my eyes. “I don’t have one you idiot!” I retorted, picking up a brisk pace, looking once over my shoulder to validate what i already knew was an empty block. No cars, no students, just a path of cement lined with houses, prompting me to forget about the whole thing and run like the wind before the bus took off without us.
Eventhough I could’ve sworn nothing and no one trailed behind me, I felt a sharp gaze follow my every move.
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