People say that memories haunt them, but for me it’s a smell. People can’t get images out of their head, but I can’t get this scent out of my nose. What’s the smell you ask? I honestly have no clue. I smelled it in a dream once, and I don’t know what it was. It truly smells like something burnt. I used to remember the dream, but now it has just faded from my memory.
“Rose!” I jump slightly, and I look up at the front of the classroom. Ah, yes. Ms. Jason, my history teacher. She is the biggest bitch in this school. “Go to the office. I’m tired of telling you to stop daydreaming about whatever. It’s probably drugs or sex. That’s all you kids ever think about.” She says, walking to my desk. She hands me a slip of paper with scribbles all over it.
I roll my eyes, and I pack all my things into my bag. I get up, and I don’t even bother taking the sheet of paper she tried to hand me. I leave the classroom, and I walk out of the building. I pull my car keys out of my pocket as I approach my car. I get in my car, and I sit there for a minute. I, Rose Green, am seventeen years old, and I’m homeless… I have to act like I go “home” when really I just go on the other side of town, and I sleep in my car.
My phone starts buzzing in my bag. I grab it, and it’s my mother who dumped me on the side of the road a couple years back. Fuck her… I decline the call, and I wipe the tears from my eyes.
I start to put my keys in the ignition when I see a suspicious looking car pull into the parking lot. I slide down into the car, and I pull out my phone, getting ready to call the police just in case. Two tall people get out of the car in trench coats. I gasp lightly. “Oh no…” I whisper to myself. They walk to the back of the car after popping the trunk. They look around suspiciously, and they grab a couple of duffel bags out of the trunk. “Holy shit!” I whisper loudly. I dial 911 as quickly as possible.
“H-hello? I-I need an officer o-or multiple officers. Th-there are tw-two tall people, w-walking into the s-school with duffel bags. T-they look suspicious.” I stammer, tears welling into my eyes. I listen to the lady on the other end of the call.
“Rose. I-I am a s-student at C-Clearwater H-High.”
“Th-they are b-both t-tall a-and they are w-wearing black t-trench coats.”
“Y-yes ma’am. I’m outside in my car.”
“D-do I need to come to the station?”
“Y-yes ma’am” I put my phone on speaker, and I sit it in the seat next to me.
“Can you see what they are doing?” She asks.
“I-it looks like th-they are g-going i-inside.” I tell her.
“Which door are they using to get inside, Rose?” She asks me.
“Th-they are u-using the side en-entrance for the far side of the cafeteria. No students sit over there, but there is lunch going on for the freshmen.”
“Ok, Rose. Once they go inside, start heading towards the police station. Don’t get out of your car, and don’t hang up until you get to the police station. Officers are headed there now.” She says in a reassuring voice. “Everything is gonna be just fine, Rose. I promise you.” She says. I stay low in my seat, waiting for the people to go inside. I keep quiet until they finally get in. Then suddenly the fire alarm goes off. “They pulled the fire alarm!” I yell. “My friends are in trouble!”
“Rose, stay in your car. Start leaving. You need to not get in harm’s way. You might be the only survivor from this that we can actually talk to, so we know what happened from the outside.” She tells me, her voice calm and clear. She… she reminds me of my mother. UGH! Stop it, Rose! “Rose? Are you still there?”
“Yes, ma’am, sorry.” I say
“Ok, good. Get to Bradford sheriff’s department. You’ll be safe there.” She tells me. I put the key in the ignition, and I crank the car. I watch for anymore cars that may be associated with the people that just walked into the school.
As I pull out of the parking lot, I hear gunshots. Tears brim my eyes, and my vision becomes blurry. I have to wipe my eyes before I can continue. “Rose? I need you to tell me five things you can see.” She’s still there. Thank god.
I sniffle a little bit. “I-I see the street sign for Petal Avenue, the tattoo parlor, Cravings Pizzeria, United General Hospital, and Knead for Sweets.”
“Alright, now four things you can smell.”
“Fresh cut grass, sweets, pizza, and my perfume.”
“Ok… now three things you can hear.”
“The wind, gunshots still… and sirens.”
“Ignore the gunshots. Two things you can taste.”
“Saliva, and a lingering flavor of soda.”
“Ok, now one thing you can feel.”
“Sand, o-or dirt under my feet from my sandals.”
“Ok. Well you seem to be grounded enough. How far away are you from the Sheriff’s department?”
“About a block? I think.”
“Ok, stay on the phone until you get there. I need to make sure you are ok. The officers there are already expecting you.” She tells me.
A few minutes later, I get to the station. “Ok, I’m at the station. Do the officers need to check in with you?” I ask her.
“No ma’am. I have confirmed your location already. I’m glad you are safe, Rose.”
I hang up, and I turn off the ignition. I walk into the building, and I see Juan. My eyes widen. Oh god. I haven’t seen him since the ’80s… I hope he doesn’t recognize me. If he does then I’m screwed.
I walk past him, and I walk to the lady behind the counter. “Are you Rose?” She asks me. I nod. “Go sit over in the chairs over there please. An officer will be with you shortly to ask you some questions.”
“Ok, thank you.” I say, then I walk over to the waiting area.
I sit down, and I put in one earbud. After about thirty minutes, an officer walks over.
“Miss?” He asks. I look up at him, pulling out the earbud. I hear him slightly gasp. “Mom…?” He whispers. My eyes widen.
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