"Have a great time you kids!" my mom called from her permanent place on the couch as my friends and I raced from the house.
"We will!" I yelled just before slamming the door behind us.
"Jesus, honey! What you in a rush for?" Damion, my wonderfully gay best friend, exclaimed as I practically dragged him and Samantha down the shortcut, through the woods, to the
I slowed down just bit so I could turn to face him, walking backwards. "You, of all people, should know about the insanely humongous shoe sell going on in Journeys!" I
exclaimed, trying to keep a serious expression but failing completely as his face broke out into an ear-to-ear grin.
He smacked his forehead and I giggled, he was always forgetting things. "I can't believe it! This, of all things, I decide to forget!" he exclaims as Samantha and I both
"It's alright Damion, all that matters is that Jen and I remembered to remind you." Samantha assured him with sarcastic sympathy.
"Come on! Now you know and we're going to be late if we don't get a move on!" I informed them as I tapped my foot impatiently.
They both rolled their eyes and we're off again, practically running through the bright, lively, green forest. Trees towered overhead, almost blocking the sun but an
occasional patch of sunlight would shine through the branches. The wind lifted the leaves and they scattered across the ground at our feet. It was a beautiful spring day in the amazing town of
Bayview, a small suburban town at the very edge of Washington, so small and poorly populated, it doesn't even have a place on the map. This is the place I've known my whole life, as well as my
parents and my parent's parents. This also goes for my friends, whom I've known my whole life as well.
We slow our pace as we reach the end of the trail which stops just a few yards from the parking lot that led to the one small mall we have here in Bayview. We stop to gaze at
it in awe, as always, before making our way to the glass front doors.
"It is... beautiful." Damion sighed, sniffling with happiness, he always was the overly dramatic type.
I laughed, throwing my head back as I placed my arms around their shoulders. "Well, why don't we quit smelling the roses and check out the many glorious shoes that are
awaiting us?" I chuckled as we began to walk towards the building, our strides matching. It didn't take long till we were entering the doors and the lovely smell of clothes, shoes and food
overtook my senses. I inhaled the all-too familiar smell of leather and junk food, it was absolutely enticing. "Wonderful," I breathed as I released my breath. "Let's go!" we all exclaim at the
same time. We laughed as we took hands and ran to the place we visit most often, Journeys. The wondrous smell of new shoes hit me like a freight train as we entered the store. The great thing
about small towns is there is hardly any people ever in the mall, so we practically get the whole place to ourselves- free to do as pleased.
"Where to began?" Samantha exaggerated, her eyes wide in excitement, a huge grin plastered across her face like she's just seen the sun.
I take her hand and rush off to the Teenage Girls section as Damion goes the other direction to look for the Teenage Guys section. "So, what should we look for?" I ask as we
turn down the aisle.
"How about some dress shoes... so you can have something to wear with that super sexy black dress you bought for your date with John!" she teased with a giggle as I playfully
punched her arm while I turned ten different shades of red. "Come on! You know you love him!" Her hands folded over her heart and she spun around on her tip toes.
"Well, I'll just keep that little piece of knowledge to myself, thank you very much." I mumbled as my face got hotter with the truth of what she was saying. I had loved John
since I first saw him, in fifth grade. We're both now in eighth and he just asked me out to a movie tonight after I was done with my trip to the mall. Let's just say he didn't have to ask
We were quiet as we began our search for the perfect shoes that would just match my black, strapless, mini dress. As I was sitting on those little benches that had the slanting
mirrors on each end, trying on the millionth pair of shoes Samantha had brought me, a strange feeling came over me. It was that really annoying, but creepy, feeling that you were being watched by
unseen eyes. I glanced around the store but I only saw a man's back as he looked through the men's shoes and Samantha, pulling out box after box as she continued her hunt for just the right
pair of shoes. I shook off the feeling, knowing I was just being paranoid... but why would I be paranoid, is what's bothering me. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind as I stood from my
seat to walk around in the beautiful black sandal-wedges.
"Samantha! These are definitely the ones!" I called over my shoulder and she ran over to have a look.
"Oh! Those are perfect!" she exclaimed as she clapped her hands together while jumping up and down.
“Come on, let's put these back in the box and go find out how Damion is doing." I suggested as I slipped out of the shoes and placed them back in the box. I shoved the box
under my arm and we set of to the Teenage Boy's section to find a very happy Damion as he tried on some really fancy, black dress shoes.
He looked up at us as we were walking towards him. "Don't these look great!" he exclaimed as we walked together to the check out area.
We nodded. "Jamie will love them!" I squealed. I was just so excited to be out with my friends and then a date tonight with a wonderful guy.
We paid for our shoes and left Journeys. I looked down at my watch to see that I had about thirty minutes to get changed and meet John at the theater.
"It's nearly time!" I exclaimed and we began to walk faster towards the bathrooms so I could change into my new shoes and dress.
Samantha came into the small one toilet bathroom to assist in any way as Damion waited outside. I got changed and Samantha looked me straight in the eye, like that would
somehow get whatever point she had in mind across before she even spoke it aloud.
"Are you ready, Jennifer Ann Jacklyn, for the best night of your life?" she asked, very serious as she gripped my shoulders like she was holding on for dear life.
I suddenly got very nervous but I nodded my head and we left the bathroom.
"You are going to have a great time, Hun." Damion promised as he gave me a warm hug. "He will not be able to keep his hands off you!"
I flushed a deep red as I hugged him back. "Thank you, Damion."
"He speaks the truth, young grasshopper." Samantha agreed as she folded her hands and bowed like some Chinese person.
I laughed. "You have trained me well," I murmured in awe as I bowed back.
"We must depart here," Samantha concluded as she and Damion took hands.
"Ok, guys... wish me luck." I said nervously. They both said their "Good lucks" and walked off with one last hug.
I turned to the front glass doors and, with a very deep breath, exited the building. It's pitch black out but I think nothing of it. I just continue to make my way to the
alley that leads straight to my destination. That feeling of being watched creeped up my back like a cold chill once again and I chance a quick glance over my shoulder to see nothing. I turn back
around and walk just a bit faster. You're just paranoid, I think to myself but the comfort is washed away by the feeling of dread that's consuming every cell of my body. I peek back over my
shoulder and this time, I see a rather large, buff person walking several paces behind me. I whip my head back around and clutch my handbag to my side. My feet unconsciously sped up, I can almost
see the light of a street lamp at the end if I could just make it out in the open faster.
I yelped as someone grabbed my arm and pressed me firmly against the brick wall. I struggled but it's no use, he's far to strong. "W-what do you want?" I managed to squeak
out as I stared into malicious black eyes.
He chuckled darkly and I have a hard time swallowing. "Just a little fun, sweet cheeks," he whispered into my ear, his hot breath rolled down my neck, scorching my skin. I
could faintly smell alcohol on his breath as well, oh for heaven's sake!
"Please... d-don't do this." I whimpered as I feel a hard, cold edge press lightly against my throat.
"Oh, I'm not going to... yet." And, with that, he sliced open my right arm in one swift movement.
I hardly recognize the scream that escaped my lips as I clutched my split arm. I can feel right to the bone, blood is everywhere. He chuckled at my pain as he stabbed the knife
deep into my leg and I crumple to the ground in agony with another blood-curdling scream.
"Please! What did I do to you?!" I sob as the pain escalates with every movement of my body.
He crouched over me and I knew this was it, I was going to die at this very moment. I was going to die before I ever had my first date, my first kiss, learn to drive,
finish school, go to college, have my father walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, have kids, grow old with someone, live my life. But, most importantly, I was never going to tell John that I
loved him. “Nothing, sweetheart.” he whisperd just as the knife pierces my heart and my life begins to slip away.
“Jen! Jen! Come on, wake up! For me!” I know that voice...
“John?” the voice that croaks my love's name doesn't sound the least bit like mine.
“I'm so sorry, love! I didn't get to you fast enough. But you had to wake just once to hear what I have to tell you.” he sobbed and I felt his hand tightly wound with mine. “I love you, Jennifer Ann Jacklyn, and I'll be joining you soon.” he whisperd, his voice shaking uncontrollably with tears.
I want so very much to ask him what he means by that but breathing is already becoming far too difficult. “I... love... you... too.” is all I can choke out before I hear a rather large 'bang' and am consumed by eternal happiness. To remain in the arms of my love, high above the world we left behind at age fourteen, forever.
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