CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
We are in hiding.
I’m just kidding.
We arrive back at the apartment after a class with Dr. Kennedy, I think he’s developed some sort of anxiety because he’s always fiddling with something in his hand nowadays, maybe it helps him to concentrate. We have all forgotten about our crime and to be honest I think the university has too. Thank God. Jen was right about the design part being the hardest and the longest because she has almost finished constructing her project. She’s already started the accompanying essay and is just adding the last few touches, perfecting the model and making sure it works. She’s done so well in this short amount of time and now she has a decent amount of time left to perfect it and finish that essay. I’m proud of her. We’re all proud of her. To top it off, she is still doing alright in literature though she has dropped from excellent to just above average. She doesn’t care much, her focus is the project, that’s where her heart and soul is. It worries me a little – what if she doesn’t get selected? What if they find out about her and things don’t go the way we planned? She would be heart broken. I would be heart broken. I don’t want her to put all her hopes into this project, I don’t want her hopes to be broken. Nevertheless Jen seems to have a lot of faith and so do I. I suppose studying literature and doing the project at the same time is a good example of multi-tasking, which is a requirement of an astronaut.
Jen takes her laptop out and continues the essay. I pick up a printed copy of my short film screenplay that I have finished from my desk. I flick through the papers. This is my own work. I stare at it for a few more minutes.
“Feels good doesn’t it? That’s exactly how I feel, when I look at that,” Jen points to her beautiful project.
I smile, “Yes, yes it does. I just can’t wait to finish my book. That will be so much longer and heavier,” I dream.
“Soon,” she says. “Are you going down to show it to Sheera?”
“Yes. I hope she likes it. I hope she gives me some constructive feedback.”
“If she doesn’t, then that’s because it’s already awesome.”
“Ha, thanks, I’ll be back in a bit. Then we seriously need to start studying for exams! I need some books from the library.”
Jen stops typing and looks up at me, “I think we need a break. We’ll start studying tomorrow for sure, but today I think we just need a reboot. In fact, I’ll stop writing as soon as you get back, we’ll get the guys and go watch a movie or something. Or you, me and Lia could just go for a quick spa day. It’s only eleven a.m. we have the whole day.”
I like the idea, I do need a break even for a few hours just to refresh my mind and soul. “Okay, but before we head out I want to show you my obstacle course thing for the audition, then we’ll go.”
“Cool. See you soon.” Jen waves.
I leave to see Sheera, with my pride in my hands.
Sheera stands in the audience seating watching the stage change color and giving directions to the lighting team. I’m not in this year’s play because of the auditions and my writing work, I decided not to take part. I see Abbey on stage helping out. She joined the dance society this year but still helps Sheera choreograph some of the drama performances. Sheera notices me walk in and waves. I wave back.
“What do you think Abbey?” Sheera calls.
“Yeah, I think that’s good,” Abbey calls back. “Hey Kye,” she waves from the stage.
“Okay great, we’ll go with that, thanks guys, take five.” Sheera walks to the end of the row and greets me with a hug.
I hear the back door swing open and turn to look, she has such great timing doesn’t she? It’s Betty and her two remaining friends. She stops as she spots me and Sheera talking, frowns and then changes her facial expression to a happier one.
“Sheera! Hey!” she runs down the steps. “Can I borrow you for a moment? I would like to read my lines to you, just once more.”
“Sure Betty, but I’m just going through something with Kye and then we’ll go through your audition. Cool?”
I did email Sheera to arrange some time to go through my screenplay and talk about my audition, Betty could have at least had the courtesy to email her as well and arrange and appointment that doesn’t clash with mine. I’m quite surprised that she’s come here for help, I thought she was so stuck up her own ass that she wouldn’t ask for anybody’s advice. Sheera and I sit down and begin reading my short screenplay. Betty waves cunningly at Abbey as the girls walk down to the stage. However, Betty walks very slowly and then stops to place her bag on a seat just a few rows in front of us. Eavesdropping.
“This is wicked Kyara! I don’t even know what I can criticize.”
“Thanks,” I humbly respond. “I’m not sure what to do next, or how to… you know, get it out there.”
“Hmm, to be honest I’m not so sure either, but I would try and publish it on this website I’ve heard about. If someone comes across it and they like it and want to produce it or whatever, they can contact you. I’ll email you the web address.”
“That would be really great, thank you.”
She continues to flip back and forth through the screenplay, “You know what? I think this could be done on stage too. How would you feel about us putting this on as a short production, say next year?”
“Really?” I’m stunned! Is it that good that Sheera wants to test it out on the school stage?
“Yeah, really! It’s good! Although, it will need a few changes. If you could change it from a screenplay to a script for stage and send it to me, I’ll try putting it up for a short play. By the way, what are you doing next year? Are you still here?” she asks a question I have barely thought about.
I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year. Oh dear! This is my last year. No! These are my last few months here at university, what the heck am I going to do after I graduate? I suddenly feel fear. I’ve been so busy with writing and my studies I forgot about the part after the studying. I’m not an actress yet, I don’t have a contract in place and I don’t even have a small role anywhere. I need to sustain myself. Oh God, am I going to have to get an office job? My mind crashes at her question. All sorts of things fill my head. I don’t want a job. I HATE working, especially in an office! Everyday. Knowing that for the rest of your life you will spend most of your time in an office, staring at a screen doing almost the same thing every…single…day. The thought of it kills me! Education has been my excuse not to fall into an actual career path other than acting for my entire life. Education has given me time to at least try and pursue my acting career. Now, I’ll be in a full time job, no time for acting! This pause is taking way too long. Unless…I stay in education? I have thought about enrolling straight onto the master’s course, yes. I’ll still be here, with Marcus. I’ll still be here to watch my play come to life on this stage. I’ll have an extra year to sort out my acting life and if I still haven’t reached my dream, I’ll do a PhD to buy me more time. I create a plan on the spot. The first thing I need to do when I get back is send an email to admissions to have me enrolled onto the master’s course.
“Kyara?” Sheers nudges me.
I snap out of my rather long thoughts, “Huh, yes sorry, I am planning on doing a master’s degree, so I should still be here.
“Great! Oh you’re so determined! Well, if you are, then you can help direct it or be in it. It is your play, you can do what you want with it. How’s that?”
“I’d like that very much. Thank you Sheera, I really appreciate your help.”
“No problemo, that’s what I’m here for. Okay, audition call back, are you ready for it?”
“I think so, I hope so,” I say a little nervously as it is getting closer.
“Don’t worry! You’ll be fine. Between you and me, they really like you,” she lowers her voice.
My face brightens up. I look at her frowning with a smile.
“Yes, they called for another reference for you and Betty, but they really like you. So smash it up girl!”
We smile with joy between us. I don’t know if that has eased the pressure off or added more on, nevertheless at least I have a chance now. God, I hope this is the one for me. My eyes catch Betty’s and she quickly blinks away and begins walking down the steps and onto the stage. I stand on the stairway and audition one last time for Sheera’s advice.
When I return, Jen stops typing and I perform my obstacle course to make sure I can flatteringly jump over things for the screen test. According to Jen, I look like Lara Croft! I love Lara Croft! We all head out for a movie and then we laze around for the whole night. I fill everyone in on my future plan about the master’s and possibly a PhD, everyone is supportive. Jen doesn’t really know what she’s doing either, at the moment her attention is on the internship. Marcus will still be here for another year and a half until he graduates. Rio has already secured a graduate engineering role so he’ll be moving straight into work. Lia plans to go back to her internship place and work for them for a while, she’s training to become a barrister. Brian says he will start job searching when he graduates and Deq knows he’ll find a technological job quite easily, so he’s cool about everything. The night goes by with bitter sweet chatter as our final few months together begin. Hopefully the best months. The successful internship, successful casting, successful graduations and most of all the three years of successful friendship that we have all endured.
* * *
The next evening, I collect some books from the library. Rain pours mistily outside, in the dark. Spits of it hits the library windows. I hope it doesn’t get any heavier, I have to walk it all the way back. My phone buzzes in my pocket but my hands are too full of books to attend to it right now. I place the books on the counter in the library for the librarian to scan. While she scans them I find my phone. It was Jen. I call her back and wait for her to pick up. The librarian gives me the go ahead to take the books. I unzip my raincoat, neaten the sides of the pile of books so that they are neatly stacked up and then I hold them in one arm, covered by one side of my coat as much as possible and make a quick exit before the rain gets any heavier. The roads are quiet. I hear the rain drops hitting the floor and my coat, and then I hear the sound of ringing in my ear.
“Hello, Kye! Where are you?” Jen picks up and immediately questions me like a mother.
“I’m just walking back now. I’ll be there in like three minutes,” I say walking as fast as I can.
“Okay hurry up its raining and it’s late and I have food on the cooker. You need to get here before the boys find out and eat it all! I will not cook again!” she yells through the phone.
“Haha! I’m coming!” I yell back trying to overpower the sound of rain.
“Did you get all of what you needed?” she asks.
“Yep I got everything.”
“Where are you now?”
I stand opposite the back entrance of our building, at the crossing. I briefly look left and right and then continue my speedy walk, “I’m opposite, just crossing the-”
* * *
A loud bang pierces my ears followed by some crackling.
“Kye? Hello. Kye? Can you hear me?” I increase the volume on my phone, “Kye?” I stand still for a split second. Then my hands begin to tremble and my heart thumping is the only sound I can hear. “Kye?” My voice shakes. No reply. The line cuts off. I drop my phone. I run to the window above the stairs in the hallway. I see papers, white papers in the darkness of the night. Books thrown, covering the width of the road and…No! Is it? I blink fast. It can’t be! I run down the four flights of stairs as fast as my legs can move. I burst through the back door and run out into the rain, my socks soak up the cold water beneath me. I see a body amongst the books in the middle of the road and disappearing car lights in the distance.
“Kye!” I scream from the top of my throat.
She lies on the wet, cold ground in the rain. Her hands scraped, her body messy and her leg! Her leg torn with blood dripping and diluting into the rainwater. I feel shock coming over me but I prevent myself from going into that state. I have to be strong right now.
“Kye! Kye! Hey look at me!” I tap her face and nudge her shoulders. “Look at me, Kye!” My voice gets more aggressive as I fear the worst. “God! Please! Please God!” I shriek. “Kye!”
Her forehead crinkles and she squints her closed eyes.
I breathe a sigh of relief and my heart begins to beat faster, “Kye! Oh God! Are you okay? Can you hear me?”
She slightly opens her eyes, squinting from the raindrops hitting her. Her face is pale and her lips are blue. She’s in pain, so much pain! She tries to lift her head to reach for where the pain is utmost… her leg. She groans and then drops her head back. I think she’s losing consciousness again. I need to stop the bleeding right now. I take off my cardigan and wrap it as tight as I can around her leg. The position is so uncomfortable that I don’t know how to tie it without hurting her. She groans louder, unable to move. I tie it as best as I can with my hands shaking.
“Marcus!” I think out loud. Tears drip from my eyes as I look for my phone in my pockets. I left it upstairs! I look for Kye’s but hers is in pieces all over the road. “Kye, stay with me okay. Keep your eyes open. I’ll be right back,” I run inside and up the stairs. “Marcus! Marcus!” I scream. My neck stretches as I look upwards calling him with all my might.
The boys come out of their apartments startled.
“What? What happened?” Marcus asks.
“Oh my God, Jen are you okay?” Brian sees blood on my hands and on my wet clothes.
“It’s…it’s Kye!” I can’t speak properly, I’m scared and out of breath. Tears roll from my eyes.
“What happened to her?” Rio asks.
“She’s been hit by a car just outside!” I point to the window. “She’s… she’s by herself.”
Rio and Deq run to the window.
“Oh Shit!” Deq yells.
Rio and Deq sprint down the stairs. I begin to follow but Marcus calls me.
“Jen wait, where is she bleeding? Is something broken?” he asks very seriously.
“I… I… think so,” I cry. “Her leg is like cut open. I wrapped my cardigan around it…” I speak really fast.
“It’s okay Jen, pull yourself together. She’ll be fine,” Marcus brings out what looks like a first aid kit from his room. “Brian get some towels or a blanket or something, quickly! Is she conscious?”
“I don’t know,” I follow him down the stairs.
Brian catches up quickly. Marcus asks Rio if she’s still conscious as we run outside. Thankfully she is. Rio places his knees on the ground and lifts Kye’s head on to them. Her hair is soaking wet. Her eyes are tired and teary. I sit next to hear and hold her hand tight, I don’t want to let go. I hear Deq calling the ambulance and police behind me. Marcus attends to her leg with Brian’s help.
“Kye, are you okay?” Marcus makes conversation.
Kye doesn’t say anything back, she squints in pain.
“You’re okay Kye, you’re okay,” he speaks loudly and very clearly. “Good job Jen, though it needs to be tighter,” he says to me looking at her bleeding leg.
He takes off his belt from around his waist. We all look at him. He nods at us to indicate that this will not be easy.
“This might hurt a little Kye, stay strong,” Marcus warns us all.
He takes her leg and wraps the belt around it. Tight.
Kye growls, gritting her teeth, her hands tightens around mine. Her other hand finds Rio’s shirt, she grips it to release pain.
We all comfort her as much as we can, but the pain is too much to bear, she stops screeching, her breathing slows down. I look at Brian and he looks at me. We fear the worst.
“Kye!” Rio shouts at her.
“Her breathing has slowed down,” Brian tells Marcus who seems to be disinfecting her leg with something.
“Hey, Kye!” I talk to her.
Marcus checks her heart beat via her neck, “She’s losing consciousness because of the pain.”
She blinks softly and looks up into the sky. The motion around me seems to have slowed down, everybody moves in slow motion. My heart is afraid. We are all afraid. I hear the sirens of an ambulance and a police car getting louder. Deq waves his hand in the air. The ambulance stops, I see the reflection of the siren lights in the puddled rainwater on the ground. I see shadows of people coming out of the ambulance. A few people come outside of the buildings around us, a crowd forms. Others can be seen looking through their windows. Someone helps me up from the ground. I don’t know who it is, my mind is too slow for me to notice. I just hold onto Kye. My hope lies in God’s hands now, Kye’s God. She has so much faith in you! So much! Let nothing happen to her, God, please!