Emergency

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Out of hibernation, I am. I also now have a working computer! Yay. Here is the first thing I’ve written in quite awhile. Enjoy. – Turner.

 

The steady drip, drip, drip of the tap is the only noise in the house.
No laughing children, no explosions from video games on the TV, no microwave signaling ready popcorn.
The room is the same, the couch has the same print from where he always sat, the air freshener still puffs out the same familiar scent…but nothing is truly the same anymore.
It will never be the same again.
I glance over at the clock ticking away on the wall, I’d usually be in the midst of making dinner right now. Juggling the children and the hot pans as they played around my ankles. Not today…there isn’t anyone to cook for. There’s just me in the empty house that was once my home.
“It’s time, Jill. We need to go…you need to move past this.” A voice comes from behind me, a familiar, yet unwelcome voice. How can she walk in here and act like she knows what it is that I need? She was never a true friend before and her apperance now only irritates me further.
“How would you know what I need?” I hiss at my facade of a friend. Her face pulls into a shocked expression. The wrinkles around her dark eyes becoming prominent. I stand, the anger surging through my blood. All the words that have eaten at me for years, the things I let fester while putting on my smiling face for this woman…they spew out of me. I can’t control them and I no longer want to.
“Get the fuck out, Hailey. Now. I don’t want your nose in my damn buisness anymore.”
Her face turns beet red. “You’re hurt…so I’m going to ignore what you just said, but you need to calm it down, Jillian.”
A manical laugh escapes me as tears press at my lids, I refuse to let them fall. “My whole family is dead. DEAD. The last thing I need is one more minute with you and your fake friendship. You’re nothing but a user, a leech who latches onto happy people until there is nothing left. You need to get out of my life, that’s what I need. Now get. The fuck. Out of my house.” I’m panting after all that. A weight lifts off my shoulders, the part of myself that knows I was out of line lays dormant, which I’m grateful for.
I know she wants to have the last word, but my expression obviously stops her. With one last dagger thrown at me, she turns on her cheap heels and leaves. I collapse back to the couch. The tears finally break.
There’s no one left, I’m all alone. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life now. How does one come back from this? I let the darkness take me, curling my legs into my body and hugging them as tight as I can, praying for his arms once more.
I must doze off, because a light breeze wakes me. It washes across my face, like a caress.
“Jamie…” I whisper into the nothingness. The sun has long since set, the house is cast in darkness.
I squeeze my eyes shut, just as another gust of warm wind crosses my lips. Like a kiss. Like his kiss.
I must be dreaming, the fingers lightly tapping up my arms can’t be real. I don’t want to open my eyes lest they disappear. This is the closest I’ve felt to him since it happened, since the man who couldn’t control his addiction ran into my husbands car as he was driving our children to swimming practice.
“Please…Jamie. I can’t do this without you.” I cry to the wind. “I need you. I’m so alone…so alone I could just die. Why didn’t they take me too? My heart is broken, the pieces so jagged they stab and dig at me everytime I take a breath. I can’t breathe.” I shatter, the tears stinging as they fall.
A piece of hair falls over my eyes and I swear I can feel it move across my forehead, like he used to do.
Then…two words. Two words in his deep baritone break through the void that seperates us. “Forever, always.”
I know then that that is his goodbye.
My eyes spring open, staring at the framed photos on the mantle..and for the first time in months, I smile at them.

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It’s going down, Jacob

Blog, characters, death, excerpt, fiction

It’s going down, Jacob.Newest installment. Enjoy.
It’s been too long since blood has coated my skin. Since I watched the light drain from the eyes of a victim.

I’ve been so engrossed in my Angel I’ve put my urges to the side, just soaking up as much of her as I can. Most of the time she knows I’m there, but I still lurk in the shadows. I just can’t help myself.

My mother has called a few times to discuss my abrupt exit from dinner two weeks ago, but I’ve ignored them. I know I’ll have to call her back eventually for appearance sake, but until then, I’m going to bask in the after glow of my kill.

The body is already rolled up and buried deep in the forests ground. My blade is sheathed in its home, resting against my hip. However the blood remains, I run the sticky remnants between my fingers as I make my way back to my car.

Just then my cellphone rings. I check the time, my fingers leaving a red smear on the glossy surface of my I Phone. I’ll have to disinfect the damn thing…again. The ringing stops by the time I’m finished my thought. It’s three am and Angel’s name is flashing across my screen.

“Angel.”

“Jacob…Jake…I need help.”

My heart stutters.

“Excuse me?”

I hear a whimper. “I’m…I’m out, and…someone is following me, Jacob.”

My fist grips my phone so hard I’m scared I’m going to shatter the glass.

“Where. Are. You?”

“Just down on West Haven…can you come? Please?” Her voice is a whisper. A whisper that shoots straight through me.

“Keep walking, head towards the closest store you can. I’ll be there soon.” With that, I hang up.

I pick up my pace until I’m sprinting through the dense underbrush, bursting out into the night when I reach my car and throw myself in. Not even buckling my seat belt, I peel the car out and head straight to my Angel. Whoever is following her is going to be the second victim to feel the fury of my blades tonight.

How I love blood. How I will relish in the feeling of this stalkers as it sprays my face.
-Turner

Twitter: @turnercollins_

Get to know me 

excerpt, excerpt of the day, writing

 Here’s an excerpt from the new story Turner and I are working on. Enjoy getting to know Erika.

“You… you can see me?” he stammers.
I roll my eyes. “Of course I can see you. You’re dead.”
The guy’s expression saddens and he draws his legs into his chest, wrapping his arms around them. “I guess that confirms it. Paolo can see me and—“
“That’s the name of the weird patient who just stares at me all the time?”
“What—“
“What are you doing near my collection?” I ask, cutting him off. “Are you trying to steal it?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says, his tone thick.
I gesture to the women’s washroom. “You’re bored already and you want to steal my things. We’ll I’ve got news for you. It’s off limits. Now beat it.”
He stands slowly, using the wall for support. “I won’t steal anything. I’m no thief.”
I look him up and down. “Your ensemble says otherwise. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to add this necklace to my stash.”
He arm shoots out, grabbing hold of my wrist. “Wait, please.”
Turning, I pull my wrist from his grip and huff. His dark hair falls in limp waves around his face and swishes against his cheeks as he stumbles back a step. “What?”
He rubs his hands together as if he’s trying to keep warm. “Are you dead, too?”
I laugh. “That’s a dumb question if I’ve ever heard one. You just grabbed my arm didn’t you?”
“Yeah.”
“I can see you and talk to you right?”
His eyes lower. “Well, yeah.”
“Then obviously I’m a ghost just like you.”

-Collins

A new Turner Collins piece

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So, as previously mentioned Collins and I have started a new piece of writing and we are pretty excited about it. After much thought and debate we’ve decided and finally figured out where our niche is, what genre works best for us. Now, this story is in the very early stages, but we’ve begun writing the first workings of it so I have decided to share a little piece with you today. Now, I’m not going to give any of the plot away, because this one is a doozy and I can’t wait for it to finally come to life.

Enjoy!

I grew weak in my grief, my forehead hitting the same window that gave me the last glimpse of her. My eyes, heavy and closing of their own accord. I hadn’t cried in years, I had toughened myself to this life. But nothing could hold the single tear that fell down my stubbled cheek back. It fell, long and wet down my face. I would have wiped it away, had I had the use of my hands. I had to stay strong, not just to get through this trial, through jail, but to get back to my Penny. My sweet little girl who didn’t deserve this. The guilt started to eat me, more than it ever had before. I had always justified my decisions.
It was what was best for my family, to provide for them.
I would never let them be involved.
I was strong and could handle myself.
I wasn’t qualified to do anything else.
I was invinsible.
The guys would help me, protect me.
In the end, none of those reasons worked. I wasn’t indestructible. I wasn’t a good father. I wasn’t a good person.
And Penelope had paid the ultimate cost.

-Turner

 

get to know me

excerpt, story, Uncategorized, writing

riptide post

Here’s a little excerpt from “Riptide,” our current writing endeavour. In this piece, you get to meet Stella and Seb as they get to know each other better.

Seb made good on his offer to try to set me up with a job. Newt had left earlier that morning because line cooks have to prep food before the Starfish even opens, but Frannie was going to drop by on her way to work and give me a lift.

I chew on a piece of toast at the small kitchen table as Seb eats spoonfuls of cereal cross legged in the living room. He’s watching an episode of Hogan’s Heroes.

“Who’s the Beatles fan?” I ask, spying a splay of records discarded on the coffee table and couch.

Seb answers over his shoulder, between bites of cereal. “That’d be Baron. He really digs the fab four’s sound.”

“I wouldn’t have pegged his as a twist and shout kinda guy.”

“He’s an enigma,” Seb grins.

I walk over and pick up a Beatles record, turning it over in my hand to check out the track list. “Seems that way. What about you? What’s your sound?” Setting it down, I run my fingers over another cover. “Are you a Chuck Berry kinda guy?”

Seb howls with laughter, shaking so much that milk from his bowl dribbles onto the floor. “That’s all Newt.”

“What’s so funny?” I pout.

“Do I look like a Chuck Berry idolizer?” he asks, motioning to his outfit.

He wears pants with vertical stripes, a button up with a funky pattern worn mostly open. His rose colored glasses are balanced on the bridge of his nose and he’s wrapped a length of fabric around his head to keep the hair of out his face. It’s only when I spot his moustache that I crack up.

“No, you’re right. I don’t think you’d find Chuck sporting a milk moustache,” I get out between giggles.

Seb expression grows confused, then self-conscious.

Crouching down, I use the tail of his head wrap and pat at his moustache. He reaches up, placing his hand over mine to hold it in place. He looks at me questioningly, his face only a few inches from mine.

“Stella—“

The doorbell rings and we both jump.

“That’s gotta be Frannie,” Seb blurts. “I’ll get it.”

He leaves me, startled, on the floor. What just happened? Why was he looking at me like he wanted to…

Frannie round the corner all smiles, Seb following behind. His demeanor has shifted to carefree once again, leaving me fumbling to regain my composure.

“Hey, Frannie,” I smile.

She pulls off her sunglasses and takes a seat on the couch, beside the records. Her hair is still styled in a beehive, but she wears a uniform today. She sets her purse carelessly down on top of the records and kicks off her heels. One collides with the wall on the other side of the room.

“Hello. Geez, I shouldn’t have drunk so much last night, I woke up with the most God awful headache.” She rubs her temples with her fingers. “How about you?”

Seb perches on the arm rest of the couch, leaving me to sit awkwardly on the floor. I shrug my shoulders.

“I only had one beer.”

“I had more than you did and I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed,” Seb gloats.

Frannie makes a humph sound and crosses her legs. “Well your stomach’s a bottomless pit. You could down an entire vat of brew and still be coherent.”

Seb’s lips draw up into a smug smile. “You’re probably right.”

-Collins

200th post! (sneak peek of new story)

book, book quote, character, excerpt, fiction, Uncategorized, writing

surfTurner and I have been piloting our blog for long enough that we have finally reached our 200th post. That’s insane. We are very grateful and humbled by the amount of people who can relate to us and what we have to say. Honestly, we never thought many people would appreciate what we create. It’s been really a wonderful experience to step out of our comfort zones and post our writing and poetry for other people to enjoy. Our followers have given us so much confidence in our work and the courage to take our work to the next level.

To thank all you wonderful people, we wanted to share a sneak peek at our current novel venture entitled “Riptide.” (the photo above gives you an idea of what the story will involve.)

The bus station is large, with pale green linoleum flooring that clicks as you walk on it. The big windows let it light from the street lamps outside. It’s basically deserted, apart from a middle-aged man curled on a bench sleeping and a couple checking their watches and chatting quietly. The last time I was here, I went with my parents to pick up my aunt Millie. It was the middle of the day and bustling with bright cheery people. This is a stark contrast to then.

Hesitantly I approach the ticket counter where a bald man with red cheeks and a tight shirt counts ticket stubs. He eyes me dully.

“What can I do ya for, kid?” he drawls.

“I’d like one bus ticket please,” I say.

He rolls his eyes and taps the board behind him which indicates the places the buses go. “Where to?”

Good question. I hadn’t though that far. I check down the list. Houston, Detroit, San Diego, New York. None of the choices appeal to me until I see one that reminds me of the money in my pocket.

“Can I get a one way ticket to Santa Cruz please?” I pull a few bills from my purse and place them on the counter.

The man sits up a little straighter in his grubby chair and slides the money off the counter, counting it quickly. “One way or round trip?”

“One way.”

He nods to himself and taps some buttons on his register. A receipt prints out and he hands me my change and a pale pink ticket. “Bus leaves in fifteen.”

“Thanks.”

I catch sight of my reflection in the glass of the door before I push it open. My blonde hair is messy and sticks up in places. There are bags under my tired blue eyes. No one waiting for the bus pays me any attention though. When it arrives, everyone piles on, sliding their luggage into the storage compartment on the side of the bus. I settle into a seat at the back as the bus pulls away from the curb and idles at a stop sign. Closing my eyes, I nod off, clutching my purse and  thinking about all the things I’ll be able to do, just because I can.

*****

I wonder if my parents have reported me missing yet. I wonder if Tanner is crying over me. The idea of either possibility screws my mouth into a grin. I guess Stella isn’t as perfect as you thought she would be. Ha.

I stroll down the boardwalk, lugging my suitcase along. The station the bus had stopped at was only a mile from the beach, so that’s where I headed. Spying a hotdog stand, I head over and order a deluxe with everything. My stomach grumbles as I speak, my mouth salivating at the thought of relish and mustard and onions slathered over a steaming dog.

“That’ll be $2.00,” the server says as he squirts the toppings onto the hotdog and sets it on the counter.

“Sure thing,” I smile, reaching into my purse to pull out a five, furrowing my brow when I can’t find a bill. I open the purse and turn it upside down. A mint and a dime clink onto the counter. You’ve got to be kidding me. “I swear I had money in here. I took a bus here and someone must have stolen from me while I was sleeping.”

The server snorts and dumps the hotdog into the garbage. “No money, no food. Now get lost.”

I stare at the garbage in distain. “Please, I’m really hungry. I could—“

“I said get lost!”

Hungry and upset, I wander away down the beach, tossing the useless purse in a trash can. This isn’t really turning out how I expected. I’ve got no money, no place to go. The waves rumble as they crash into the shore, young kids shrieking as they try to outrun the water. I set my suitcase down and sit on top of it. Rolling up my jeans, I pull off my shoes and dig my toes into the sand.

I watch as women in bikinis eat popsicles and giggle to one another. A group of boys in trunks run with their brightly colored surfboards slung under their arms toward the water. A young boy builds a sandcastle nearby, placing seashells around the perimeter. Everyone on this beach is having an awesome time, and I’m here alone and totally screwed.

A little ways away, near the lifeguard chair, there’s a hose where people can wash the sand from their legs and I notice some kids drinking from it as well. I walk casually over and take a long sip from the hose. The water is cool and heaven against my dry lips. I drink until I can’t fit anymore in and I can feel it sloshing around in my stomach when I move.

I spend the rest of the day combing the beach, people watching. I check out the shops along the boardwalk. Most of them sell souvenirs, but a few sell bait and tackle as well as surf attire and equipment. Lots of the people working in the shops eye my suitcase like I might steal something. I wouldn’t. I’m not desperate enough to, not yet. I smile at them anyway, and say have a good day as I leave.

When the sun has sunken below the horizon, I head back to the beach. It’s become obvious I’m not going to have a place to sleep tonight, so I look for a reasonable place that provides me a little privacy. I find what I’m looking for a ways down the beach. A small peeling blue bait shack is nestled beside a palm tree, whose fronds droop down, dipping into the sand. I curl up against the shack resting my head against the suitcase. Tomorrow I’ll start figuring out just exactly what I’m going to do.

-Collins

excerpt of the day

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I wanted to share with you peoples a glimpse from a story I’m working on called “The Oms.” I don’t often write extreme fantasy type stories, so let me know what you think!

The boy screams and I turn just in time to dodge the boar charging for us. I stoop to pick up a fallen branch and wield it like a sword. “Get out of here!” I yell at the boar, but it just bucks its head and digs its heels into the dirt.

I put the boy down and instruct him to climb the tree behind us. His eyes are wide but he quickly scurries up the trunk and nestles into the canopy. With the boy out of harm’s way, I can focus on the boar now. It steps from side to side, eying me from behind its large tusks. I retreat until my back hits the cool trunk of the tree the child hides in. I can’t climb the tree in time, the boar is only ten feet from me. I rack my mind for another way out of this as the boar squeals and charges me again. This time I let out a cry and strike out with the branch. It collides with the boar as the boar collides with me. I lay winded on the ground as the boar writhes over top of me, its tusks twisted around the branch I use to hold it at bay.

Suddenly the boar lets out a whine and yellows sparks rain down around me. Its body spasms once and then the frightened creature bolts into the flora. I am left holding the branch and toss it to the side, panting for breath. Yellow sparks are still visible suspended in the air above me. I watch as they blink out one by one.

“Are you alright?” A voice asks.

I freeze as the adrenaline dissipates from my body, and the stupidity of what I just did rushes through my mind. I just crossed the boundary line, I could have been killed by a boar. What was I thinking? Sitting up I hesitantly glance to where the voice came from. “I think I’ll be fine,” I say, my voice cracking on the last word as I realize who I’m talking to. The only people out here are…

The boy who spoke turns his attention to the tree where the child remains hidden. With no effort, like a butterfly taken by the wind, he lifts off the ground and floats up to where the child is hiding. “There you are, Findal. I was looking everywhere for you, but it looks like this girl found you before I could.”

Oms. My mouth falls open in shock. I don’t know whether to run or scream or cry or run for the boundary line. I settle for sitting in stunned silence.

The child, Findal, leaps into the boy’s arms and he floats back down as gently as a leaf. “What where you doing with a boar?” The boy scolds, “You can’t even use magic properly yet.” Findal is still too scared to speak and just trembles in response. “I take it you’ve learned your lesson then.”

Once the boy touches ground again, he sets Findal down and without hesitation, Findal runs into the forest, disappearing into the greenery. The boy sets his sights on me and I shrink a little, though his gaze isn’t menacing. He doesn’t wear much, just a pair of earthen slacks. A leather belt is fastened around his waist and from the belt, small pouches are fastened. A dagger is tucked into the belt against his hip. A large round yellow stone hangs from his neck on twine. His hair is wild and brown and waves around his ears, just brushing his bare shoulders. His expression becomes amused as he rolls his eyes. “Yes, he’s fine,” he mutters. He looks to me again. “Sorry, you must think I’m crazy. I’m not talking to myself, I swear.”

“You’re an Om,” I say quietly, voicing my realization.

“That I am. And you’re… not.” He says, a lilt in his voice. He strides over to me and offers his hand. “You’re a Small.”

I glance from his serene face to his outstretched hand and back again.

“I won’t hurt you,” he says, mildly.

After a moment I take his hand and he pulls me up.

He crosses his arms and cocks his head to the side. “I’ve never met a Small before, much less a brave Small.”

“We aren’t brave,” I say. We’re not supposed to be.

“Really? What would you call hopping the boundary line into the Mekokan Forest and saving a child from a wild boar then?”

I shrug my shoulders. “Stupid.”

“Maybe.” he says, “Why did you do it?” he asks, a curious note in his voice.

I stare at the ground, twisting my hands together. “I didn’t think. I just saw that little boy in trouble and I just took off. My parents are going to kill me.” I sigh.

He chuckles and the sound is musical. “Only if they find out.”

-Collins

excerpt of the day

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Here is a little excerpt from our story “Betrayal Comes First.”

After a few more minutes of walking, I see the fountain I saw earlier, but in more detail. The base is rectangular in shape and made of marble. In the center emerging from the water into the air is a dule of doves, in various stages of flight. The doves’ beaks and claws glint silver in the moonlight. I guess at night time they shut off the water, because I don’t see any jetting into the air. Luka stops at the fountain and dips his fingers into the cool water, scooping up a few glinting coins. He sits on the fountain’s rim and gestures for me to sit, so I take a seat next to him.

“You realize now all those people’s wishes won’t come true.”

He skilfully twirls the coins between his fingers. “If they are content with wishing on a penny or a quarter to make their dreams come true, they don’t really want to make them happen,” he says nonchalantly.

“You have a harsh view on life.”

He shrugs. “It’s just what I’ve come to find.”

“I kind of agree.”

Luka stops twisting the coins. “Really?”

“Yeah.” I glance up at the night sky. “There are a few things in my life I’d like to change.”

Are they out as friends? Are they on a date? Where do you think they are?

-Turner Collins

Excerpt from my story titled “Traffic”

character, death, excerpt, excerpt of the day, life, sad, writing

Like a greyhound off the starting line, Dory shoots past me before I have time to grab him. He hurtles down the street, and in a matter of seconds, collides with Kale. They go down in a heap, rolling and shouting. Christian is bowled over and lands on his hands and knees, the umbrella landing a few feet away.

“You bastard! You slept with my girlfriend!” Dory yells as he sits on Kale’s chest, pounding into his face.

I run to them, catching sight of people’s shocked expressions in the café window. “Stop!” I plead.

Christian looks agitated as he stands and grabs the back of Dory’s sweater. “It’s not worth it,” he says sharply.

I come to a stop and kneel down beside Kale. His lip is split and the rain mixes with the blood, creating a read waterfall down his chin. “Kale, just get out of here before—“

His eyes flash angrily and he pushes me away, “Get away from me.”

I hear a yelp from Christian and in a second Dory is back on Kale. Kale throws a punch and Dory’s head snaps to the side with the impact. He recovers quickly and grabs Kale by the jacket, hauling him to his feet.

Christian jumps in again between them. His nose his streaming blood. Dory must have got him when he was trying to free himself. “Cut it out,” he shouts this time, pushing Dory back a step. “You’re better than this.” Dory’s face is a mask of rage as he tries to get past Christian a second time. Dory is as loyal as it gets, if you go after someone he cares about, you can guarantee he’ll come after you.

Kale’s face turns into an amused grin as he wipes away blood. “It’s better you hear it from me now, you know, before you guys get really serious.”

“Shut up Kale!” I bark. I can’t believe Kale continues to egg Dory on. Does he want his ass kicked?

Kale smirks in response and turns to go. Dory gets around Christian by elbowing him in the ribs. I run to Christian as he doubles over, the wind knocked out of him. At the same time Dory grabs Kale arm and Kale spins around landing a punch to Dory’s stomach. He grabs his sweater and thrusts Dory to the side. He stumbles forward and into the street. Into the street right into traffic.

Before I can react, before I have time to scream, Dory looks up just in time to strike the windshield of a red SUV. His body flies up and over the vehicle, landing with a sickening crack on the cement. He doesn’t move again.

In a matter of seconds all hell breaks loose. People are screaming and yelling around me, running to where Dory lays motionless. Cars are honking their horns. Christian lifts his head and sees what I’m seeing. I look over Christian to watch Kale’s face pale before he turns and darts away across the street. Tears mingle with the raindrops hitting my cheeks and I choke back a sob.

I wonder if Lena will feel bad about cheating on Dory with his friend. I wonder if she will know he died protecting her reputation, one that she tarnished herself. I wonder if she’ll know he died for nothing.

I sit on the curb with Christian’s arm around me until somewhere in the distance, sirens sound.

-Collins

Excerpt from my story titled “Chrome”

book, cars, character, excerpt, excerpt of the day, the 50s, writing

Red Sumpter leans against the hood of his car, his thumbs hooked through his belt loops. He eyes the group of teenagers loosely circled around the car of his opponent a few meters away. The girls are gathered around the boy he’d challenged, Skip Hutchins. They whisper and giggle as they look from Skip to Red. He pretends not to notice their gawking glances, but he does, and they make him uncomfortable. He shakes off his nerves and reaches a hand up, smoothing his ink black hair back, and plucking the cigarette from behind his ear; he always kept one there. He catches it between his lips and swiftly pulls a lighter from his back pocket, lighting the cigarette and taking a long drag. As he blows the smoke out, he kicks his heels through the dirt.

He’d known that getting kicked out of school three months into the semester due to fighting didn’t bring joy to his mother’s life, but those kids were asking for it. He never went looking for trouble, but it seemed wherever he turned, trouble followed him as closely as his own shadow. When he had started at the new school he had tried his best to stick to the straight and narrow, but when Skip, the star baseball player, had taken a liking to making his life miserable, he wasn’t pleased. Naturally he challenged him to a game of chicken.

It’s not that Red was an adrenaline junkie or had something to prove, but then again, maybe he did. Even now, the thought of how happy he would be when he beat Skip and took his ego down a couple of pegs made his heart beat a little faster. A grin tugs at the corner of this lips and he pulls the cigarette from his mouth. “Hey. Are we gunna do this or what?”

The group of girls parts and Skip strides forward. He wears jeans and his baseball jacket. His eyes are green and as dismal as the expression he wears. He looks bored with the whole thing and clearly he’s used to coming out on top. “We’re doing this, Red,” he says the boy’s name like it’s a bad taste in his mouth. Crossing his arms, he walks over to Red. “Are you sure that jalopy is up to it?” He says, eyes rolling over Red’s ‘37 Buick Century. The teal grey paint was rusted around the doors and there was a large dent in the bumper from when his mother dinged a milk truck, but it was a reliable car.

Red flicks his cigarette into the dust and crushes it with the heel of his boot. “My car can handle anything you can throw at it, can you say the same?” His eyes fall on Skip’s gleaming Chevy Bel Air. The robin’s egg blue and bright white paint don’t have a single spot of dirt and the chrome shines in the sunlight. “Doesn’t look like that baby could handle getting dirty.”

Skip snorts and sets his jaw arrogantly. “All talk, eh? Having second thoughts?”

“Not a chance.”

“Good. Let’s do this then. You start from there,” Skip says, pointing to the beginning of the dirt road about 500 feet away, “I’ll start from here. First person to jerk the wheel loses. Got it?”

“Got it.” Red says, pulling the door open and sinking into the seat. He watches Skip walk casually back to his car where his girlfriend kisses him on the cheek and unties the scarf around her throat. She smiles as she places it in his hand and then follows the other girls to the side. They walk over to a large tree near the side of the road.

Red revs his engine and hits the gas. His car shoots down the road, dust billowing out behind his wheels. As he drives to his starting point, he thinks back to his mother’s words when he was expelled. “You’re breaking my heart. When will you get yourself together?” she’d frowned, shaking her head. He could feel the disappoint rolling off of her like a heat wave, suffocating and heavy. What his mother thought of him seemed to matter less and less these days. It was almost expected that he would screw up. Red shakes his head to clear his depressing train of thought and makes a tight U-turn at the beginning of the dirt road. Skip in his Bel Air is visible in the distance and Red can make out the smirk on his face even from here.

In less than a minute he won’t be smirking, Red thinks. Skip’s girlfriend strolls out to the middle of the road, her pink poodle skirt billowing in the breeze. She raises her arms up into the air. Pausing, she looks from Skip to me and then swiftly she brings her arms down. That’s the signal. Red steps on the gas and his wheels spin in the dirt, chucking up a red dust cloud in his wake. Skip’s Bel Air flies forward, hurtling on a collision course with Red.

Red can make out faint cheers and hoots from the girl’s near the tree, but he knows they’re not for him. Skip is coming up on him fast, and Red accelerates more, closing the distance between them quickly. Gritting his teeth, Red punches his car to the limit, and its engine groans in protest. “I’m not losing this game,” Red whispers to himself.

Skip is only a few hundred feet away now, and closing fast. Red works to keep his eyes focussed on Skip, the bouncing of the wheels over the rocks making it hard to concentrate. Fifty feet now. Twenty feet. Red’s hands stay gripped firmly to the wheel, anchoring the Century on a straight course. Ten feet. Sweat beads on the back of Red’s neck.  “C’mon chicken. You know you’re a chicken.” Five feet.

At the last instance, Skip swerves sharply to his left, narrowly missing the front of Red’s car. Red shouts in excitement, punching the dashboard with his fist. Slowing the car he cranes his neck to his right just in time to see Skip’s car collide with the tree. The girls are running out of the way, some are screaming. There’s a loud crunch of metal and then smoke begins to twist through the air.

Red’s eyes widen and he quickly throws the Century into park. He bolts from the vehicle, leaving the driver’s door open. Sprinting across the field he avoids a few girls running haphazardly away from the wreck. He comes to a stop beside Skip’s girlfriend who’s trying desperately to pry the driver’s door open.

“Skip!” She cries.

Without a word Red grabs hold of the door handle and places one foot against the car for leverage. He pulls as hard as he can and the door pops open. Skip sits unmoving, a cut on his forehead is oozing blood. After a second he comes to and swivels his head to look at Red and his girlfriend. His expression becomes enraged.

“Look at my car!” He exclaims as his girlfriend helps him out. “This is your fault.”

“I don’t think so,” Red says defiantly.

Skip steps forward, shoving an accusing finger at Red’s chest. His girlfriend stands back, unsure of what to do. “You’re paying for the damages.”

Red scoffs at this, running a hand through his hair. “Look, I get you’re embarrassed about losing, but you jerked the wheel. It’s not my fault you’re a lousy—“

Skip’s fist collides with Red’s jaw and his head snaps to the side, cutting him off. Red’s face clouds over as he wipes blood from his lip. He looks to Skip, whose face is red not just from his blood, but from his anger.

“Skip, stop it,” his girlfriend pleads grabbing his arm and trying to restrain him, but he just shrugs her off.

“Stay out of it, Vivien.” His voice is savage.

“Don’t talk to her like that Skip. If you’ve got something to prove, go for it. Take another swing, I dare you.” Red shifts and stands a little straighter.

Skip’s lips draw back over his teeth. “You’re just a greaser. But I guess grease runs in the family.”

Red jumps forward and grabs the front of Skip’s shirt. Insulting him was one thing, but insulting his father and sister was something else entirely. He pull’s Skip close and flips him over his shoulder. Skip lets out a grunt as he hits the ground, but quickly sweeps out his leg, tripping Red. In a second he sits on top of Red’s chest. Red strikes out with his palm, connecting with Skip’s nose and fresh blood rains down on him. He heaves and flips over so he now sits on Skip’s chest. He begins beating into Skip’s face. The girls that decided to stay to see what happens yell their disapproval and shout Skip’s name repeatedly.

The fight continues, with Red winning, as siren’s sound close by. The girl’s quickly disperse as a cop car pulls up alongside Skip’s wreck of a car.

Red continues to hit Skip until a cop pulls him off and gives him a good hit in the ribs with a night stick. Red doubles over on the ground near Skip as Skip struggles to sit up.

“Break it up, now,” the officer barks as his partner rounds the car and kneels down beside Skip.

Red spits some more blood onto the ground where in mingles with the already red dirt, and smiles crookedly. Skip won’t be shooting his mouth off about him anytime soon, his ego’s been trampled. First the game, now this, he won’t be able to show his face in school for at least a week. The thought makes Red’s smile grow wider.

-Collins