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.