Chapter twenty nine

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Violet’s point of view.

It’s been two days since we found Bellie.

Well, since Dade found her.

Which means its been two days since any last shred of sanity was in any of us, me Dade or Maddi. For some reason, this death hit us hard. Because this was the first death that wasn’t voluntarily part of the game. Or maybe it’s because no one actually killed her. Then again, I guess we did. We all did. 

Dade hasn’t shed a tear since her death. Maddi hasn’t eaten, and I’ve rarely spoken. Her mother had all three of us arrange her funeral, because we’d know what she wants. Wanted. Dade picked the music, Bellie’s favorite song. I remember the summer before this year, our first summer as high schoolers. We were all spread out on her back patio, her, me, dade, Ashlinn, and Maddi. We were all drunk at that point, but not the obnoxious party kind of drunk. A nice drunk.

We were all sitting on her chairs around the table, at maybe midnight, and her music was blasting through the speakers. Our summer nights always consisted of Bellie’s music, being as she had the best taste in bands that even I enjoyed. Anyway, Ash was rambling on with some stupid story, and we were all laughing and smiling and drinking and not feeling. Thats when the song came over the speakers, and Bellie paused, a small smirk growing on her face. 

“This is our song. Our time. Our year.”

And all of our smiles grew brighter as we clinked glases, and all filed together for one picture of all five of us, huddled close, mouths open with laughter, eyes closed with joy.

No one knew this was her last year.

Maddi, Dade, and I slipped into the front row of the seats, reserved for us. Maddi, sitting in the middle, closed her eyes as the man in the front started talking about her life. She then slid one hand to me, and another to Dade. I squeezed her hand, and by the look on Dade’s face, it was the only thing reminding him he’s still here.

“Isabella Emily Carter was an excellent student, a caring friend..”

I droned out the pastor as he talked about her as if he knew her. Bellie’s mom’s sobs were growing louder and louder, and I shut my eyes for what seemed like two minutes, but by the time i opened them, people were already making their way to her casket. open.

I didn’t know if i would be able to do this, but i had to. I had to see her. I stood up and lead the gang to the end of the line, Maddi hopping from foot to foot in nerves. We made our way up the line slowly, each minute feeling like an hour, and suddenly when we were closer, time was speeding by. I wanted it to stop, I wanted it to slow down. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t.

Her face was porcelain. Her hair curled in luscious waves caressing her face, and her lips a fake blood red, dyed by the man who had dressed her up. I took one long look, and thats all i could stand before i walked away. Dade did the same, but we stopped when we heard Maddi sobbing. Both of us turned and saw the small girl hunched over her, eyes drowning with tears. 

“Mads..” Dade sighed, grabbing her hand. She tried to stand, but fell down, clutching her knees to her chest, crying so hard you could hear her gasping for breath. He reached down and took the girl in his arms, carrying her like a baby, her holding on to his shirt and him murmuring soft things to her as we walked out. 

With her mom’s permission, we were sitting in Bellie’s backyard, all the way by the end, on the grass. It was almost midnight. We played the song over the loudspeakers, a small, tiny box sitting in front of a lantern. As soon as it struck twelve o clock, we were going to put the items into the box, attach it to the lantern and let it go. 

Dade let a tear fall as he put a small pair of earrings in the box. Bellie’s favorite. Maddi stayed quiet as she placed a cell phone charm in the box, the one Bellie had on her phone from the beginning of sixth grade until the end of eighth. I stared down at the light light inside of the lantern, as i dropped a crumpled, old, torn photo in the box. A photo of five friends, huddled close, mouths open with laughter, eyes closed with joy.

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