Friday, 26 May 2017

Take Me to the Prom

[Media prompt] Park rangers: Stop defacing parks for ‘promposals’.
Take Me to the Prom

Cassie Wright lay on the floor and kept her eyes on the ceiling, where a gecko was advancing on a small spider. She ran her tongue over her braces, feeling the gap between the two front teeth on her lower jaw. She had reached the most painful part of her story. The only sound in the room was someone practicing drums over in the next street. The girl sitting cross-legged on the bed had remained silent ever since Cassie had entered. She smiled then, and was smiling now as Cassie half-raised herself onto her elbows. 

Everyone called the girl Eclipse and said that she had killed a man who raped her when she was only eleven, that her mother was in jail, and that she could move things with her mind. There was no way to tell if the girl had listened to her story, or had even agreed to do as she asked, but in a way that wasn’t the point. Cassie just wanted to talk about the prom and to walk away feeling as though someone understood her and took her feelings of revenge as seriously as she did. Most people would not say Cassie was vindictive, but when she felt wronged, as she had in the past week, something was bound to give. Cassie sat up and took a deep breath.

“He invited me.” Cassie glanced at the girl, but she said nothing. “He took me out to the park and showed me where he had painted it on a rock,” Cassie said. “He told me I’d be queen of the prom.”

Cassie had been to the school counsellor before, but she felt less restricted talking to the girl; the conversation was like the ones she had in her head. It was though she could tell her anything.

“Why did I believe him? Why would Marshall Williams take someone like me to the prom? He was laughing at me the whole time. Of course he was going to take Tabatha Smith.”

The girl never took her eyes off a point six inches above Cassie’s head, but she held up her hand and started to stroke her hair. Her sleeve slipped down, revealing a pentagram in black on her arm. Cassie continued.

“I told Jessica. That he invited me. And then everyone knew. Then on Monday he said I lied. Who are people going to believe? The star quarterback? Or an overweight pig?”

The girl closed her eyes. The sound of drumming paused, and the room was silent. Then the girl looked at Cassie and smiled.

Afterwards, Cassie walked home wondering why she had ever visited the girl in the first place. They were not friends, and had barely spoken more than a dozen words to each other over the years. But she felt oddly at peace.

When she arrived home, her father was reversing his car out of the drive. “Something’s happened,” he said, winding down the window. “One of your classmates. A terrible accident.”

Cassie bent down to look at her father’s face. There were lines around his eyes and creases on his forehead. She felt her chest tighten.

“He was out at the national park, and one of those boulders near Sandstone Peak broke loose and rolled onto his car. Sergeant Callahan says it’s the rock somebody spray-painted a prom invite on. Can you believe it?”

Cassie stepped back from the car, watching as her father backed out onto the street. Perhaps everything was going to be okay after all. 

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