Tuesday, December 13, 2016

#5 Gold Tinsel

“That’s $14.” the jean-jacket clad girl behind the movie theatre counter quietly said. Her red and white striped candy cane pin gleamed up from her blue shirt. Sail noticed a small tear glide down her pale cheek.
“I’m sorry.” she wiped at her face, “It’s just- I’ve just found out that my father is sick, and I can’t go home, and-”
Her face was streaming with water now and she looked away. Sail wondered how someone could care for their parents with this much emotion. Sail only knew betrayal from her own; lonely nights and listening to harsh words being yelled through closed doors.
“I’m so sorry.” but she didn’t know what else to say. So she silently took her change, ticket, and shuffled off to the theatre.
That was why she was at the movies. She didn’t want to go home for holiday break, unlike Caroline, and Noel, and all of the Primrose girls.
She found a seat near the front in the empty theatre and poured her chocolate candy into her popcorn. Then, her foot bounced against something below her seat. It was a clear bag filled with glimmering silver and gold tinsel that seemed to have been abandoned.
Sail got an idea.
10 minutes later, her and the movie theatre employee, Timma Jean she’d found out, were munching on popcorn, wrapped in the tinsel. They were wearing it like Christmas trees.
“We look ridiculous.” Timma Jean had cried out and Sail had agreed with her. But they kept the bizarre tinsel on and watched Christmas movies until her shift was over.
As far as holidays went, it wasn’t a bad one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#4 The Murderer

Irony. That’s what it was: irony.
Irony that Sail had been given a tiny white card with the words “murderer” spelled out when she walked into the 7th floor that night. It was like whoever creepy mastermind who orchestrated this whole murder mystery party knew about the pool of blood, and the chandelier, and the countless other pranks she’d been a part of this year.
Now, awkwardly standing on the edge of the party, Sail pulled at her blue velvet dress and focused on the glass of water in her hand, avoiding eye contact with all of the furtive glances of her neighbors probably searching for the murderer. She shouldn’t be here. She should be back in her shoebox apartment on the phone with Noel talking about the article he was writing about her.
Sail was about to bail on the party when Paul Paul stood up on a chair, assumed the stance of a detective, and gleefully called out, “I do believe we have our murderer,” he paused and everyone silently leaned forward. He raised his hand and steadily pointed straight across the room to where Sail was standing. “ It is Ms. Sail Vanleer.”
A few people faked screamed, Paul Paul grinned, and one little girl glared at Sail so deeply, it seemed like she really thought Sail was a murderer. Red flooded Sail’s cheeks, and the water in her glass splashed over the sides because of her shaking hands. There was no reason to be embarrassed, it wasn’t like she was an actual murderer, but it felt real.
Then the lights went out, offering Sail a short relief. Someone screamed- a real one this time-, and when the lights came back on, a body was lying on the floor.
For a moment, only Sail saw the body because everyone's gaze were still fixed on her, but then a girl in a long green dress gasped, heads turned, and everyone saw it; a real murder mystery had just been handed to them on a silver platter.
And even though Sail knew that this whole party was fake, and that her role had just been some coincidence, she knew that the image of her face and a dead body would forever be engraved in minds of every resident of Winthrop Place.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#3 The Journalist

Sail didn’t know the reason she ended up going to the Environmental Forum. Maybe it was because she was so intrigued by the green gilded envelope that slid under her apartment door at 5 that morning. Perhaps it was the gusts of freezing winter wind that seemed to push her all the way to Poultry Lane. Or maybe she ended up at the Bar instead of Brookline because she was supposed to go to a Primrose meeting after school and she needed an excuse to skip.
Either way, something had beckoned her there, and she was feeling reckless.
Upon entry into the Bar, Sail realized how little the town cared about the environment. The stage that usually held up and coming indie groups now had a meager collection of pamphlets on the environment. In the corner, a dusty washing machine sat. There wasn't even a presenter on stage.
Disappointment sat in Sail’s chest. Her escapade couldn’t even manage to be interesting.
Nevertheless, she found a seat -not like there was a lack of seats- next to two men. One of them was vigorously scribbling in a black notepad, while the younger one was reaching down and petting the dog at his feet. When Sail sat down, the younger guy turned and smiled at her.
“Thank God!” he jokingly began, “I thought I was the only one in this town who enjoyed a good environmental forum.”
Taken aback by his sarcasm, Sail just laughed a little and leaned down to pet the dog.
“Who’s this?”
“This is Tug,” He gestured to the man next to him who was still furiously writing, “and that’s Paul Paul. We’re from the paper.”
“Oh,” Sail exclaimed, “So that’s why you’re here. To cover this incredibly interesting story.” He coyly shrugged.
Then, Sail didn’t know why she ended up doing the next thing either. Maybe it was the way he reached over to shake her hand and said, “The name’s Noel.” Or, maybe, it was the warm, secure sense she got from being looked at by his amber-tinged eyes. Perhaps it was mixed with her new-found disregard for her obligations at school, and her eagerness to get back at Caroline.

Whichever one it was, Sail found herself grinning back at Noel and saying, “What if I told you I had a really good story for you to write?”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#2 The Twin Chandeliers

It wasn’t until Sail and Caroline were halfway back from getting cotton candy that Sail realized something was up. When they had left to get the cloud-like treats the rest of the Primrose girls had been jumping around the black and gold gilded tent, but now, they silently stood around, watching Sail and Caroline return. And Caroline was acting strangely too. She had spent way too long at the booth- long enough to make the men behind them groan- and she seemed to be trying to delay their return to the rest of the girls.

Caroline was planning something. Something much more sinister than the 7 cotton candy cones Sail was juggling in her arms.
“Caroline,” Sail warned, an edge in her voice, “You said this was just going to be a fun outing to get our minds off of, you know, the blood. I know you told me it was fake, but chill out.”
But before Sail could question Caroline any further about her intentions, a lively man with a pinstriped suit ushered her into the the golden tent.
The show was about to begin. Still worried, Sail stood up to look for Caroline, but was pulled down by another girl.
“Sit down. It’s about to start.” She whispered. Sail felt like the event she was referring to wasn't the circus act.
Having no escape route, Sail stayed put and watched the show unfold. She watched a young boy walk out to the crowd’s cheers, and then a girl. Caroline. Sail watched Caroline glide across the stage to an audience member, grab his arm and whisper something. She saw the lights of the chandeliers go out, and then she saw nothing.
Only Sail yelled when the lights went out, the rest of the audience probably thought it was part of the act, but she knew. This was Caroline.
Then, the lights came on and the chandeliers fell. Streams of shards of icy blue glass rained on to the awaiting ground below. Now, some people yelled when the glass hit the floor, but others clapped, still thinking it was part of the act.
But Sail knew better.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#1 (608)- Pools of Ink and Blood

The day started with a folded up piece of paper wedged in her locker. In the center of the page, sat three words: Winthrop CP, ten. A location and time, easy enough to figure out. Caroline was getting sloppy; anyone of the students milling around Sail could find this note and decide to wander over to the abandoned community pool tonight and stumble upon the receivers of this note. But that was also part of the thrill of it, thought Sail.
Sail tucked the note inside the pocket of her red blazer that was always around her shoulders- the same red blazer that fifteen others girls in the school wore. Brookline Academy had gotten rid of uniforms twenty years ago after every student’s jacket had mysteriously vanished from their houses in one night and then reappeared wrapped around all of the apple trees lining Applewood Lane. But Sail and her friends still wore the blazer with the school insignia everyday; it was easier to spot each other from across the courtyard if the others had a bright red beacon to follow. Sail spotted one of the red dots bobbing towards her in the hall, pushing it’s way through the throng of people heading to first block. A familiar face emerged from the crowd and ran over to Sail. It was Caroline, probably done distributing the notes. “ Did you walk past the park this morning?” eagerly questioned Caroline.
Sail walked through Winthrop Park everyday on her way to school- it was one of the only perks of being a day-student at Brookline. The vibrancy of the park filled with flashing colors of green, dewy plants and the first rays of golden sun was a refreshing contrast to her bleary, grey mornings in Winthrop Place. But Sail knew that Caroline wasn’t asking Sail if she’d walked by the park to know about the nature there; she wanted to know if Sail had seen it.
“Yeah, I did walk past the park.”
“Well… was anyone there? Did they find it?”
It. The giant pool of blood that Caroline, Sail, and thirteen other red blazer-clad Brookline girls had left next to the fountain in the middle of the night. The crimson puddle that three police officers had been standing over as Sail calmly walked by that morning.
Sail ducked her head down quietly said,  “Yup. There were three officers there when I walked by. Everyone’s was freaked out.” Even as she whispered it, a silent thrill ran through her body, filling her up with the memory.
Caroline grinned, her nose stud flashing in the light. “Perfect! That’s perfect. Ok great, and you got the note, right?”
Sail waved her piece of paper in the air in response. “You’re getting sloppy, you know,” Sail joked, “I cracked this in literally a second.” Caroline laughed and shoved her shoulder into Sail’s.
“Ok sorry, but you know I had bigger stuff to take care of yesterday.” she replied.
“Yes, I know. But wait, you never told me where you got all that blood.” Caroline only laughed, turned around with a shrug, and disappeared around the corner of the now empty hallway. Once she was gone, the bubbly feeling of secrecy and familiarity from the note and blood stayed- the same rush she got from seeing the greens of the park in the morning after emerging from grey isolation.
The feeling didn’t reappear until the sun fell behind the trees on Blackburn, and Sail was walking past Serenity Cafe towards the drained community pool. Sail liked irony, but she didn’t like Paradise Ave.The abandoned apartments that framed the street silently remained and seemed so isolated from the rest of the town. And on the opposite side of the street, the Lake was ink black, and it looked like it could lure lonely travelers to its shore and carry them out with the tide. Sail hated Paradise, and she hated that the meetings had to be in the CP, but it was Sail and Caroline’s job to ensure that the tradition continued.
Soon, all fifteen girls- no more, no less- were sitting in the drained pool, beneath the high walls and starry sky. All of them were discussing last night’s events of the blood and the fountain. Sail had to agree with them, their prank was much better than Applewood Lane. As Sail looked around at her friends-more like sisters- she was struck by the same sense from before; she felt the camaraderie and friendship that enveloped the pool. It was perfect until Caroline smiled a smile that didn’t remind Sail of her best friend, but rather reminded her of the inky black lake’s pull and said, “So, what do we do next to convince the town of this murder?”
The Primrose Society started out as an innocent joke- meetings at the town pool, secretly sneaking into dorms with a bottle of champagne stolen from a professor's office. The Brookline girls wanted to rebel, to cause some mischief, to create a legacy. Back then, the CP was filled and the Primroses were content. Now, the pool is drained and the Primroses are something else entirely.