I woke to a blood chilling scream that shook me from an exhausted sleep. Sitting up quickly, my hand instinctively come to my eyes, shielding them from the blaring sun that filled the living room.
“Pick UP!” a female voice yelled after the initial scream had faded.
The scream came again only louder from right beside me, my cell phone danced across the coffee table. The pounding in my chest slowed to a normal pace as I snatched up the phone. That asshole boyfriend of mine had done it again. For him changing my ring tone to some outrageous, random, and often times inappropriate alert was what he found to be a good laugh.
Last week at lunch he turned on my ringer and changed it to a series of farting sounds. Later in the afternoon, while taking our history test, he had called my phone which resulted in a roar of laughter followed swiftly by detention. He did manage to talk to our history teacher, who is also his football coach, so I ended up not having to serve detention. I still had to live with the fact the whole school got a laugh at my expense.
It was him, that asshole calling me at eight in the morning on a Saturday, no doubt just to freak me out since he knew my mother was away for the next three weeks. Another lame joke he liked to play on me.
My mother would often spend long weeks away from home with my younger brother, since my father had passed nearly seven years ago she hardly spent anytime with me. At first I thought it was just because it was too painful, or felt sad for me, sad for my brother, and even a little sad for herself. But the following year, when I turned eleven that all changed. She became more distance, hardly said a word to me, after another long year I was taking care of myself. That was when my mother started to move us around every five or six months, and the only thing she ever provided me with was a house to stay in.
I pulled myself to a stand, still raging from my boyfriend's joke. Sleep holding fast to my head causing a fuzzy feeling as I stumbled into the kitchen, my body felt stiff and achy like I had just survived one of Coach Powell’s track boot-camps that he required us to complete once a year. The phone screamed again, the sudden rush of surprise throwing my heart against my chest once again. I would kill him, slaughter that hot young football player in his sleep. The last thing I felt like this morning was dealing with him, anger about him ditching me at the football field last night still fresh in my mind. Placing my phone on the breakfast bar in the kitchen, I slipped my coat onto the back of a chair, taking notice right away to the pile of mail on the counter, more to the point, the envelop with my name on it. It was addressed to “JJ” something my father always called me, it was better then my real name, Josephine Jennette.
After his death I stopped allowing people to call me JJ, it was more of a special bond between my father and me. Our first move was a secret blessing for me, I could start over and no one would call me JJ again. Instead I introduced myself as Joey, the move didn't lessen my disdain for my name. A year after that a mysterious large brown envelop would appear in the middle of every month. Always addressed to me, and always full of twenty dollar bills that totaled four grand. No return address, postage marks, stamps, or even my current mailing address. Just my name “JJ Morris” written in thick blue letters.
I remembered the first time it came, my mother handed me this strange thick envelop and told me I could do whatever I wanted with it. When I saw what was inside I felt like the richest person in the world, I didn't question where it came from or why. My little eleven year old mind was just thinking about all the things I could buy with it. Two months after that my mother had stopped supporting me, she didn't even buy food anymore for the house. Her and my brother would eat out every meal, and leave me alone in the house. Sometimes it felt like I was completely alone, like I had no family, but it has been that way for so long it is just habit. A norm.
Confirming my little brown package contained the standard four thousand I tucked it away in my pocket. These monthly envelops were just what I needed for next year when I started college. In two months I would be seventeen, and well on my way to graduation, then I would be out in the world. I would no longer be under my mother's rule of constant traveling, I could stay in one place as long as I wanted to. Make friends even, and have roots in one location. This money would help me with all of that.
Stopping in front of the kitchen sink I just thought about it a little more, how wonderful it would be out in the world all on my own. Then again nothing would really be changing, I practically lived on my now. Turning on the cold tap I cupped my hands to gather the water, cold rushed through my body making me feel a little more awake. Finally, building up the courage I splashed the refreshing cold water onto my face, right away the sleepy fog that had gripped my head was gone. I felt refreshed, the puffy haze in my eyes had started to fade away. Standing there for a moment I readied to do it again, another splash should knock the rest of the groggy feeling from my head.
“AHHHHHHHH!” my phone yelled, and my heart jumped back into my throat.
For Fuck Sake!
I growled to myself as I toweled off my face, and reaching for the phone that was dancing across the wood counter top. Rage boiling through my blood, I was tried, felt like hell, annoyed at David for switching my ring tone, and I was hardly a morning person to begin with.
“What?” I growled into the phone.
“Did you hear about Katie?” David answered back.
His first words to me since last night. Not 'did you make it home ok' or 'sorry I rushed off with my teammates, and left you stranded.'
“It's alright, I made it home just fine!” I yelled through my phone, pacing about in the kitchen to try and cool my temper.
“Sorry babe,” he said in that smooth boyfriend like tone.
David Rose had a smooth, slick air about him, and those big green eyes he sported didn't hurt. He could charm is way into or out of anything he wanted. He was the catch of Portstown High, every girl wanted him and every guy wanted to be him. Despite the act he was only a tight end on football team that had not won a game since the town was established. Still he is a member of the social pop group refereed to in the school hallways as “The Five”. The lack of creativity or imagination in this town was so clear at that point. The social network, labeling, and segregation was still the same in this place like every other school I attended, even if the town only produced a little under a hundred students per grade. On top you had “The Five”, which was made up of the five students who came from the richest families, they were also decent from the original seven families that had established the first settlement that later grew into Portstown. Which made them old money, and according to Baker, the Five's leader, that was far more impressive then new money.
“Did you hear about Katie?!” he asked again with glee. The charm had fallen from his voice, and now it was right to business.
“No,” I replied back in a defeated tone. “What rumor do you have for me today?”
Katherine Marsh was one of the most hated girls in school, a teacher's pet who took all the college level classes I did. Top of the class, played four instruments in the band, head of the Glee club, lead vocalist in the Sharps singing program, and still managed to have the hottest, aside from David, down to earth guy in the school as her boyfriend. This put a big target on Katie's back, not because she was smart, or successful, it was because of her boyfriend Jacob. The way I heard it from sources, Baker had asked Jacob out the beginning of seventh grade, his family was the sixth in the circle of seven that established the town. It would only be socially acceptable if he was to date Baker. Shockingly Jacob turned her down, harsh was the word my source used. From there he doomed anyone that would agree to date him Baker made sure of that, and spent her time spreading rumors about Katie all over school.
Before long Katie had lost every friend she ever had growing up, aside from Jacob, no one seemed to talk to her, no one would work with her in a group, and despite all of that she still managed to be top of the class. It was rather impressive and I respected Katie a great deal for that, even if we are academic rivals.
I had stopped pacing, instead I just stood there rolling my eyes. It was so early, on Saturday, and he called me to spread rumors. This day was already starting out to be shit.
“She's dead! Ding dong the witch is DEAD!” he laughed in delight.
“Very funny David,” I mocked him. “This one is a little beneath you guys.”
“I'm serious Joey,” his playful tone fading. “She is dead.”
The shocking reality that someone I knew had died hit me hard. Granted I wasn't her friend, and I hardly spoke a word to her in the year and half I had been at this school. It still hit hard when someone so young, and you knew had passed away. The reality that they were there one second and the next completely gone from the world, it would hit anyone hard.
“What happened?” was the only thing I could think to say in reply.
“I didn't get the full details from Baker, but they are saying she was attacked.” his causal tone was more then a little disturbing. “She said it looked like some type of animal, or a dog attack.”
Ice built up in my veins, the life drained from my face, I felt dizzy and my knees started to shake. David's voice drifted off as he said something about blood, and parts of her scattered across the train bridge. The bridge I had only been a few feet away from on the tracks.
Did it all really happen?
The memory of last night was gone the second I woke this morning, nothing lingered from the awful events, and now it all came rushing back. That awful red glare, the dash for safety, and my strange savior who later tried to kill me. Even now as I listened to David ramble on, I refused to accept it. Playing it off as some awful nightmare, some very insane misunderstanding or distortion of actual events. My chest tightened as I leaned back to look at the front door, a small gap of bright sunlight shown where a brass lock once had been. The whole world seemed to dull, fade away as the terror came rushing back to me. Deepening as I noticed the brilliant red color of blood on the sleeve of my jacket hanging on the chair.
Till Next Time, My Sexy Demon Minions!