No Place Safe

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 11, 2019

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Submitted: June 11, 2019

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Glass shattered.

 

The class screamed and laughed, all except for one. June Meadows. She already stood out, with her auburn hair, freckled nose, and hazel eyes that were now wide with fear. Her hands shook and she clamped them tight over her ears but the sound continued, reverberating, like a hammer against the walls of her mind. Her fortress against reality.

 

Mr. Fredrick turned from the mess he had caused, all thanks to a science experiment involving a miniature catapult and some marbles. He pointed to a few of the kids who had laughed, “quick, James! Dan! Grab a broom and make yourself useful.” He then punched the intercom and explained what had happened to the buzzing office, rubbing his head in frustration as he did.

 

As he reported and the glass was swept, more and more students began to notice June who still seemed oblivious to the world around her. Mr. Fredrick looked up at her in alarm, “June? Are you alright? What’s wrong?”

She didn’t hear him, in fact, she had forgotten where she was. In her mind, she had transported back in time. The shattering glass…

 

June was 5 years old. She scrambled under her bed at the sound of screaming and yelling down below. Her parents were fighting, and she flinched as a table was overturned and a door was slammed.

To her horror, the loud footsteps and yelling climbed the steps, “June! Where the hell are you?!” Came her father’s voice, callous and cold.

She curled up tighter, as he flung her door open and tore through her room, her mother clawing at his shirt, trying to pull him away. He slapped her hard and she crumpled to the floor, and noticed June crying silently under her bed. A look of terror filled her mother’s face.

“June! Come out or you’re going to regret it!”

She began to edge out of hiding, her mother shook her head fearfully but June knew that if she didn’t obey, something worse may happen. She peeked her head out and was grabbed by the hair and yanked to her feet. “Little brat! You’re just like your mother!” He pushed her to the floor and grabbed her favorite toy, a doll her mom had bought her, with hazel eyes and freckles like hers. Before she could even react, he threw it hard at the window and the glass shattered...

 

June was 12 years old. Her father was drunk and white-knuckling the steering wheel of their 1980 Volkswagen, in another fit of rage. Her mother sat in the passenger seat pleading with him to slow down, almost in hysterics. June remembered the blur of motion out the window and the pounding of her heart matching that of the motor’s roar.

 

It happened in an instant, as her dad reached for her mother, the wheel had jerked away from him, pulling them sharply into the other lane, where unbeknownst to them a family of 5 was just crossing the hill, on their way back from some family vacation in Tennessee.

The shattering glass…like slow motion, as the two cars collided, twisting and breaking. The glass...on the seats, on the pavement...mixed with blood…

 

“June! JUNE! Can you hear me?!”

She jerked away from Mr. Fredrick’s touch as if stung. But her sudden awareness brought reality reeling back. The class was silent, every eye glued to her as if she had sprouted another arm. She looked away, quickly wiping the tears on her sleeve. Mr. Fredrick shot the class a stern look, “hey, if that glass has been cleaned up, I want you all to take our project outside and finish what we started...I’ll be there in a moment.”

 

They sighed and grumbled as they shuffled out, he called after them, “remember, I can hear if you horse around, my window is staying open.”

The door closed behind them, and he turned back to June who had turned red with embarrassment, he knelt beside her.

She couldn’t avoid his gaze anymore. Mr. Fredrick had a kind face, that was young and furry, with curly brown hair and a reddish beard. A pair of bottom-rimmed glasses rested on his short nose, slightly enlarging his blue eyes. Eyes that now searched hers with concern.

“Look, I know I’m not the school counselor but I’m also not a fool. If something is going on at home or…” he trailed off, unsure of what to say. After a pause, he finished simply, “I..I’m here to help, and my door is always open, ok?”

She nodded, but remained silent.

“You’re welcome to join us outside when you’re ready...there’s no pressure,” he added straightening. A sudden burst of giggling could be heard through the broken window, he shook his head in vexation, “bunch of jokers your classmates...about to use that catapult on them.” He muttered as he exited the room.

 

June didn’t want him to go, silence was dangerous, and she didn’t want to return to her thoughts...memories...nightmares, she couldn’t tell the difference anymore.

 

Munford High School was just another chapter, even if they had told her it was a fresh start. At first, June resented the place, the whole state of Kansas even, with its flat fields and oppressive summer heat. She hated the smiles that plastered everyone’s face as if they had never suffered a rainy day in their lives.

 

This was her senior year. And while the other students celebrated and dressed up for dances and senior pictures, she stuck to obscurity and poured herself into her studies. The teachers were amazed at her writing, though her math grades were poor, and she was average in science and history.

 

Today’s writing prompt gripped her with excitement, as she had to compose a short story using a fictional character of her choice. She wasn’t very keen on many of the cartoons that most teens her age watched, but perhaps an anime character would do.

It was almost lunch, and no one had questioned her further about the incident in science. Maybe Mr. Fredrick talked to the class when they were outside? A small smile came to her lips and she began writing, pausing momentarily as a slight humid breeze wafted in from the open door. It was raining. The air smelled of wet earth and mowed grass, she breathed it in deeply.

 

She was halfway through her prompt when a boy walked in. He was tall, nearly shoulder to shoulder with counselor Joe who stood at his side, trying to discreetly get Mrs. Norris’s attention. Though, that was easier said than done, considering she was very old and going deaf.

June looked up at him, and his eyes quickly found hers. She glanced away, blushing...so much for obscurity.

 

“Mrs. Norris? Hello? MILDRED?!” called Joe, growing impatient.

She swiveled slowly away from her desk to acknowledge him. “What now? Oh, it’s you...and who’s that beside you?”

Joe motioned for the boy to introduce himself, June stole another look. He had black slightly curling hair almost touching his shoulders, slight stubble framed his face, giving him a rugged look, though he was very handsome, at least in June’s eyes. Those eyes! When he had looked at her they seemed almost grey-blue, and though he looked intimidating, with muscled arms and camo jeans, those eyes were gentle.

 

“My name is Logan Hasinger, I’m from Vermont.” He said, extending his hand to Mrs. Norris who merely nodded.

“fine, fine...come on in, Logan.”

Joe sighed, giving Logan a reassuring smile before surrendering him to the gaping class. Mrs. Norris frowned at them, “chop, chop, I don’t see you writing! And girls, I know you may find him fascinating but our newest addition is in fact real and will not pass as a fictional character in your prompts.”

June withheld a laugh as several girls erased or flat out crumbled their prompts in disappointment. Logan noticed, and smiled at her as he plopped his books on the desk behind hers. She froze as he whispered, “thank you.”

“For what?” she asked

“Not writing about me.”

June wondered if he was being sarcastic, but the sound of pen on paper stopped her from pursuing the conversation.

 

The bell rang. Everyone began to gather their things and turn in their prompts. To June’s further confusion, Logan grabbed his books and quickly left the room, without turning in a prompt. What had he been writing this whole time?

 

She looked at his desk and spotted a wadded up piece of paper, she snatched it and attempted to undo the damage he had wrought upon it.

It was a picture, skillfully detailed, revealing a field overlooking a sea of pine trees. June traced her finger over the wildflowers, amazed, until they rested upon a strange shadow. She squinted at it, trying to make sense of the anomaly. It was human in shape but distorted and bent, nearly hidden in the treeline.

Her heart raced despite itself, why would he draw this? It cast the entire picture in eerie darkness. As if she were there and the shadowy figure was watching her, poised, waiting. She shuddered and crammed the picture in her bag.

Mrs. Norris tapped her wrist in warning.

“I know, I’m going,” replied June, though she took her time, lost in troubled thought.

Who is Logan Hasinger?And why do I get this strange feeling that everything is about to change?


....This shattering glass…is there no place safe?   


© Copyright 2019 Riley Slob. All rights reserved.

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