Chapter 21

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The next day I helped mom with dinner. I made mean faces at my brother who just leaned against the island in the center of the kitchen. He scrounged for almonds in a bowl of mixed nuts that seem to have only walnuts remaining. Suddenly he shot me a lovely smile with too much sweetness included and asked, "So, big Sis. Did you meet any girls for me to date?" "You? Date?"

I muttered under my breath. "You have a long way to go before you can date any of my friends."

He came over in an attempt to intimidate. He insisted, "Well, Corrine you might not know this but, your little brother is quite popular."

I knocked his arm off my shoulder, "Jamal, I'm sure you can annoy someone else."

My mother walked forward to stop us before we started really fighting, "Okay, Jamal enough, unless you want to help make dinner."

He shook his head, making faces. Jamal conceded, "You know my cooking skills suck, I'm going to bother dad. Since you two do not appreciate my company, hmph."

He marched out of the kitchen dramatically. I rolled my eyes and watched him grab piece of cornbread from the stove while Mom was not looking.

Later that night while the rest of my family looked through pictures with Kellen, I sat on my bed and looked at the art work on my walls. I silently laughed at my teenage self. I had decided I would cover the walls with my writings. Poems, essays, and scraps of paper covered every inch of white paint, including some random anime characters. Romance novels with battered covers still lined the wall. No bookshelf could truly take the full amount of my beloved treasures.

It felt nice to actually rest for a minute. I closed my eyes and let the silence surround me.

Sleep came easily. Colors flashed and images moved in my mind. This time things were pleasant. A young woman ran, she was scared, and I could sense her fear. I was motivated by that, and pushed my body to move faster in her direction. I jumped over several felled trees. I pretended to not see her when she hid behind one of them. Creeping slowly from behind I rushed forward. Immediately there were screams and the smell of blood in the night air filled me with a savage pleasure.

I woke myself as I jerked to a sitting position. My breathing was fast and out of control, as if I had run a marathon. Clutching my chest I moved from the bed, and staggered to the bathroom. Flipping on the light I caught my reflection in the mirror and screamed at a grinning demon stared back at me. The twisted face was covered with blood. 

Quickly trying to end this nightmare, I blinked my eyes and was relieved to see only myself reflected back. I took only a step back unsure of my stability, before I plopped down on the closed toilet lid.

Bending over and taking deep breaths, I asked, "What is going on with me?"

I splashed cold water on my face and felt my heart tighten in my chest. Perhaps this was a sign of stress or fatigue from exam week. Tomorrow I would not touch any of my class material or club projects. I headed back to my room to get some real sleep. I bravely turned off the lights and hoped my dreams would be undisturbed.

The next day I spent with my Mom running errands and talking. The other side of the city was always packed on a Saturday. The Military Personnel from the base were off-duty, and the major companies were out as well. At the Mall the cleaning teams watched dejectedly as folks stomped their dirty boots clean in the doorway.

This town often surprised many visitors. Clarksville was home to families from all over the world and the many different businesses that supported their lives. Most kids my age complained that nothing happened here, and that could be true. This city several years ago seemed truly boring but now I find that it is filled with activities and events as long as I make the effort to stay informed.

I was fourteen years old when my family moved here. Although, I have come to enjoy my hometown, one day I plan to move away and see the world.

"Corrine your mind is always wandering, what are you thinking about this time?" My Mom startled me from my daydream.

We were sitting at the yogurt parlor in the mall, and I was currently letting the chocolate overflow my Vanilla.

"Nothing much, just school stuff."

My Mom laughed, "School stuff, huh?" She sounded skeptical, "That begs the question, are you dating anyone special?"

I sharply turned toward her, my expression incredulous. "No! Don't over-think it Mom. I was just lost in thought for a moment."

She nodded, chuckled under her breathe. "Okay, Okay, I promise not to pry into your personal affairs."

I could not stop myself from laughing.

"Mom, you should be ashamed of that false statement. You run everybody's personal affairs."

Mom stood up and agreed, "Well naturally. But it's very important that you kids believe that you make your own decisions. Anyway, I am going to the store with the latest kitchen gadgets." I nodded and waved to her as she walked off. We had already agreed to meet at the Sears' entrance. I walked aimlessly looking for something to add to my apartment. Window shopping should be a profession. I spotted a young man a few feet away who seemed familiar. 

 Unmistakably familiar. The solid body build, impressive height and the extraordinarily clear green eyes all wrapped inside that familiar-looking leather jacket meant that I needed to get out of here ASAP.

I stopped in my tracks, causing the person behind me to stumble into me.

"Watch it!"

I nodded an apology, turned and rushed to the nearest exit. I quickly sent a text to my Mom explaining that I had gone to the car.

I pushed my way passed people and had just made it to the door, when I heard, "Corrine!"

The voice was too familiar, it was definitely him. I ignored the caution sign that hung in the window and quickly rushed out.

The sunlight blinded my eyes for a second. High above on the roof, a construction team moved equipment. My boots made loud clopping sounds as I tried to hurry and fade into the crowd and traffic. I just stepped off the edge of the sidewalk, when I heard a shout from above. The crane carrying the load of equipment had failed. 

 Something from the platform had shifted out of place catalyzing an avalanche of debris. I watched as it fell towards me in slow motion. In the same instant I was enclosed by a familiar leather-covered chest.

As a car passed the debris hit in the windshield, causing the driver to swerve and slam into a parked car. Several ladies came out of the doorway, one women cried out in shock. Many people rushed forward to help the person in the car.

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