This is the first part of a short story I’m writing. And a first draft. The next part will come tomorrow. Hope you enjoy!
The wind claws at my hair, tangling my curls into a mass of knots and static. I lean against the gravestone, sliding my hands through the grass underneath me, occasionally pulling, occasionally ripping. ‘Alice Taylor. 1996-2014. Loving daughter. Wonderful sister. Great friend.’ Friends, that’s what we were. But now we are not.
I see a figure walking through the darkness, nothing but a shadow. And a luminous jacket. Jacob. Never gets on his bike without a hi-vis. And a Mars bar. For emergencies, he says. I think he looks ridiculous.
‘Hi Katie.’ He is straight in front of me, blinding my eyes with fluorescent yellow. I now notice his black beanie-hat as well. He looks like a highlighter pen, ready to mark quotations for English class.
‘What are you doing here?’ I ask, returning my gaze to the gravestone so he can’t see my eyes. My fingers tug at the grass blades, but my hand loses grip, leaving my nails stabbing into the dirt. ‘Intervention?’
‘Yeah, something like that.’ He laughs, his stomach bouncing the yellow jacket. He now becomes a traffic light, flashing and flashing. ‘You can’t just stay here all night, Katie.’
The mud clogs the top section of the nails on my right hand, the hand that slipped, so I pick out the dirt with my left. I take a long breath out to stop the tears from coming. And one in. And one out. They come anyway. I bite my lip. ‘You shouldn’t have come,’ I say.
I look up at Jacob and notice a bruise over the left side of his face. Black, blue and purple tie-dying his pale-white skin. My tears fall faster. Jacob looks down at his feet.
‘I’m so sorry, Jacob.’
His shoulders move up and down in a breath and he meets my gaze. ‘It wasn’t your fault. You know it wasn’t.’
I see the pain in his eyes. His girlfriend died and he thinks he’s responsible. He thinks he drove her to it. He thinks it’s all his fault. I watch him wring his hands, gripping the four fingers on his left hand with his right. Hard. He thinks he did it. But he didn’t.
‘It was,’ I say, ‘I killed her. I killed Alice.’