My first time writing dialogue. The whole story started out in my head one way, and ended up in a completely different place. That’s part of the fun in fiction, I think.
She could remember the exact moment she stopped being fearless.
Growing up she had always felt invincible, for no other reason than her Dad had told her she was. Whatever she wanted to do, they did it. When she wanted to dig a hole to China in the fourth grade, they spent weeks at the edge of the property line with shovels and maps, talking about all the fun they would have once they got there. When that phase passed and she wanted to be an astronaut, Dad brought home boxes of books about planets and galaxies from the library. They poured over them in a state-of-the-art cardboard box rocket ship. Most of the best moments of her childhood were spent in a box or a hole somewhere, planning out her next adventure.
So it never occurred to her that she shouldn’t follow Johnny Ruxton into the cave behind the Bateman’s farm. She was 15 and had just had her first taste of alcohol – an Amaretto Sour, courtesy of the bar in Mr. Ruxton’s study -and her throat still felt slick and warm. Her brain was buzzing and she felt little prickles on her hands, where she was pretty sure her fingers were supposed to be.
“Come on, Em. Just back here.”
“I’m coming Johnny, but my feet feel all weird and kinda heavy” she giggled.
“That’s part of the fun, sunshine.” She could see his quarterback grin even in the darkness and the humming sound in her ears got even louder.
They climbed a few more feet into the damp space until suddenly Johnny stopped walking. She ran right into his back, his broad shoulders colliding with her cheekbones.
“Aw shit, Em, are you okay? Come on, get closer. Let me have a look at you.” He had turned around and was pulling her into him.
“I’m fine, really. Just a little light-headed and clumsy, is all.”
He slid his fingers over the side of her face and tilted her head up to meet his. “Well, what do you know? Those are just the kinds of qualities I like in a girl”. She could see his white teeth through his grin, even in the near-pitch blackness.
He leaned over and started kissing her. Slow at first, which was nice.
Am I really kissing Johnny Ruxton? Oh man, Sarah and Kelly are going to be so jealous when I tell them. I mean, he’s the captain of the football team and student council class president and almost every girl in school had a crush on him.
She had only ever kissed 2 boys before, and Billy Thompson shouldn’t even count, since it had been a dare three years back. She decided this was nice, she liked kissing Johnny Ruxton. He had nice lips and a nice face, and he was so tall and….
“Ouch!” Emily shouted in surprise when Johnny bit her lip. She pulled away and Johnny started laughing.
“Awww sorry little girl, did I hurt you?” She felt a trickle of blood slide coolly down the corner of her lips.
She winced at his tone and the insult of being called a little girl. He was only two years older than she was. Before she could say anything else, Johnny was at it again – kissing her, blood and all.
“Johnny, don’t. I’m bleeding.” She protested and tried to pull away. He grabbed her by the wrists and suddenly his entire face changed. She could see a coldness in his eyes she had never noticed before.
“Don’t you understand, yet? That’s the best part.”
“What do you mean, the best part? That’s gross. Johnny, let me go. I don’t want to bleed all over you.” She was shaking now, trying to keep her voice steady.
He stared at her icily for a few seconds and then pushed her up against the cave wall with a force that felt inhuman. Her head cracked against the rock wall and a sharp pain started reverberating through her skull.
“Didn’t your parents warn you about walking around ‘these parts’ with strangers?”
“Strangers? What are you talking about? I’ve known you for three years now.”
His eyes glistened in the dim lighting. He smiled a sickly sweet smile and said, “Now that’s where you’re wrong. You don’t know me at all. But I have a feeling we are about to get properly acquainted.” He titled her head to the side and suddenly she felt two sharp picks in the side of her neck. Instantly she felt dizzy and likely to vomit. She tried to scream but nothing came out. Within seconds she was unconscious.
When she awoke in her own bed the next morning, she didn’t know where she was. Had she been dreaming? What had happened last night? She reached up and felt her neck – two pinpricks swollen under her fingertips.
In that moment, everything she thought she knew changed.