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The Way He's Not

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Chapter 12

 

“What kind of an accident?” My voice comes out as a squeak. I feel as if someone has dropped a brick in my stomach.

“Just get in the car, Jacey,” Dad commands. Without hesitation, I bolt to the other side of his cruiser and climb in the passenger seat. As we pull onto the road, I catch a glimpse of Liam’s confused expression, but I don’t care about him right now.

“What kind of accident?” I repeat a little more forcefully as we race through town.

“Motorcycle.”

“What?”

“He was in a motorcycle accident!” Dad shouts over the sirens. I furrow my eyebrows.

“That doesn’t make sense!” We turn onto one of the back roads on the outside of town leading to the sketchy part of town. I look out the window at the beat up houses. Pretty much everything around here is vandalized.

Suddenly, I remember that this is where Colton grew up. This is where Colton’s old house was. I swallow as I think about what it was like for him living here.

I had only been in this part of town one other time, and it had been terrible.

“Alex, I don’t think we should be here,” my voice drops to barely above a whisper as my eyes rest on a boy, no older than 19, sitting on a bench wearing a dark black coat with the hood up. His head is shaved and his eyes are dark.

“Oh, don’t be such a goody-goody, Jace. I come here all the time.” I know she is lying by the nervous hint in her voice, but I don’t say anything.

“Let’s just go back to my house,” I say with a shaky voice. The summer sun is setting behind the mountains and on the opposite side of the sky, a dark, menacing blue has started to spread.

“Come on, Jacey. We’re almost there.” I bite my lip as I see a group of frightening men approaching us from the other side of the street. My breath catches in my throat and I instinctively reach out and grasp the sleeve of Alex’s coat.

“Alex.”

“Let go of my coat, Jacey.” she grumbles, ripping her arm free.

“Alex.”

“Which way is Maya’s house again?”

“Alex.”

“Was it this way?”

“Alex!” I hiss as quietly as I can manage. The men are getting closer. Alex turns around to frown at me.

“Wha-“ Her eyes widen and the words fade from her lips as she notices the group of men.

“Alex,” I say desperately, but she’s as frozen as a deer in headlights. I grab her wrist and run in the opposite direction, not caring if it’s not the way we needed to go. At first, I’m scared that she’s just going to topple over, but she snaps back to reality before that happens.

We dash down a dark road, the sky is almost completely covered in blue now. Turning into a neighborhood, we stop for a breath only to see, just a couple feet away, a man staring intently at us. He has a long, scraggly beard and he’s wearing a brown beanie on his head. He’s wearing dirty pants and a black coat. I can see he’s homeless and starving. I turn around, planning on running away from this eerie man, when I see the group of men from earlier, seeming to have taken a shortcut and found us.

“Alex,” I squeak. She’s leaning over, resting her hands on her knees. She turns around to see what I’m talking about and immediately, she straightens up. Without a word, she takes off to the left in between two houses. I tear after her, but she had always been the better runner, and my flip flops are not helping me any. I can hear loud voices behind me, urging us to come back, saying everything’s alright they won’t hurt us. Yeah, okay.

Eventually, the voices fade and all that I hear is mine and Alex’s breath and the blood pounding in my ears. We aren’t on the main road and the sun is now completely down, so all we have for light is the moon. It’s hardly enough and I end up tripping over things repeatedly.

Finally, I can’t take the stabbing pain in my side anymore.

“Alex!” I say as loudly as I dare. “Stop! I have to stop!”

We run a couple more yards and to our relief we are back on the main road. We both lean against one of the buildings, trying to regulate our breathing. I clutch my side with both hands.

After about ten minutes of resting, we decide to try to maneuver our way back to the main part of town. But after dark, everywhere in town is dangerous.

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