Devin Greigh: Testimony

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Chapter 3

Fourth quarter ended at the sound of the bell, and I packed up my books, took Scarlett packed snug in her protective carrying case, and then rushed out of fourth quarter math. I had lunch today, and I wanted to avoid the cafeteria since it was the one place where I felt alone. I trotted down the hall, brushing past the sea of students and faculty members—the southwest exit was my destination. I skid to a stop, turning the corner leading southwest, and continued the trot until the doors were in my field of vision. I shoulder-tackled the doors, a effective technique I picked up when Barry would pretend I was a rag doll and play wrestle with me, and both doors swung open.

“GAH!”

I flew into an unfamiliar person; an innocent bystander just minding his own business. We both fell to the ground…or rather ‘he’ fell to the ground, cushioning my fall as I landed on top of him.

“Do you mind?” a raspy voice strained, “I guess you find me attractive, but I don’t take kindly to being manhandled!”

“I’m so sorry!” I apologized. I jumped off of the poor boy as quick as I can, and then I noticed—he had a cane in his hand as he was getting up; the handle was shaped as a gun’s, revolver chamber and all, and the neck and stem of the cane was like the barrel of a magnum. I nearly jumped again as I thought he was going to shoot my head clean off before I actually identified it as a cane.

“Oh my god, I am so, so sorry!” I cried. I held my hand out to help him up—he just stared at it.

“What, do you want a high-five?” He said sarcastically, “Or some sort of secret handshake?”

“I’m offering to help you up,” I said, confused.

“Oh for Pete’s sakes, I walk with a cane, I’m not crippled!” he struggled getting up; his left leg looked limp, and I assumed that it was his bad leg from the way he put more weight and use with his right leg and foot.

“You don’t call that being crippled?” I asked.

“No,” he said, finally up on his feet…err…foot…and a half.

“I call that a paralyzed leg—it doesn’t prevent me from doing things, and if it did then well I would consider myself a cripple.”

“Didn’t look at it that way,” I thought out loud.

He stared at me with squinted eyes—as if I said something utterly ridiculous.

“Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine once you get out of my way,” he snapped.

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to—”

I was interrupted by the familiar harmonic resonance of a nearby ghost.

I looked past the boy—who was actually taller than I’d thought—into the direction where I’d thought the harmonic resonance had derived from. No ghost in sight. I looked past the opposite side of the boy. No ghost in sight. I was confused. I thought perhaps the ghost hadn’t felt my presence yet; maybe the boy standing in front of me, looking at me as if I was some nut job, was blocking the ghost’s view. I reached up and grabbed the shoulders of the boy to shift him to whichever side so the ghost could possibly see me, and that’s when I felt it. It was a warming, but refreshing aura that felt like a menthol-infused vapor rub on the palms of my hands. The feeling traveled up to my arms, my shoulders, and then down the rest of my body. The feeling sent an abrupt shiver down my spine. ‘It can’t be!’ I thought to myself. I quickly removed my hands from his shoulders—he was shrugging them off anyway. ‘Could he be?’

The harmonic resonance was still a soft siren of serenity filling my ears, my lungs, my heart with safe-reassuring comfort—the feeling that the ghosts have given me since Scarlett and Archie Long. I had to confirm my assumption—my theory—that this boy might quite possibly be a ghost, half ghost, or something supernatural. “Are—are you—” I started to ask softly.

The second bell rang, signifying the beginning of fifth period.

“Am I late for where I need to be? Yes, according to the bell that just rang,” he snapped. “Thank you for giving me a free pass to detention—you are so gratifying!” he chanted sarcastically. He nudged past me, swinging one of the southwest double doors furiously, and then walked through it.

“Wait!” I shouted. The door closed for a split second before I reached for the handle and swung it open—he was gone. The hallway only led straight—about seventy yards before the T-shaped turn branched off—he couldn’t have run that fast. He walked with a gun-shaped cane for crying out loud. I knew then that he had to be something more than human—or less than alive—but all the more significant.

“Hey munchkin!” Barry startled me as I let the door close again.

“Who was that you were talking to? Hopefully not yourself again!” He teased.

“Some boy I bumped into accidentally,” I murmured.

“Hmph, s’about time you started talking to other people!” he punched my shoulder. I winced in pain.

“Aren’t you late for class?” he interrogated.

“I have lunch,” I answered.

“Aren’t you headin’ the wrong way?” he continued his interrogation.

“Aren’t you the inquisitive one today?” I answered back with a question.

“Just making sure you’re not skippin’ school—at the rate you’re going, you looked like you were gonna make a break for it!” he chuckled.

“And go where!?” I asked, becoming annoyed at his sudden badgering.

“I don’t know,” Barry shrugged, “but mom has me looking out for ya, and she thinks some creepy old guy’s gonna pull up in an all-white van—tinted windows—and kidnap you to do God-knows-what to ya. So, do me a favor, okay? Try not to get lost around here, or kidnapped, or killed? I would like to finally stop getting grounded because of you for once.”

“Yes sir!” I saluted.

There was no way I could go to the field now—Barry was on watch-dog alert, and I’d already wasted enough time earlier when I bumped into that mysterious boy. The field would have to wait for tomorrow.

I entered the school cafeteria fifteen minutes into the period, when most of the tables were taken. The cafeteria was flooded with students whose voices orchestrated uproar of excitement throughout the room. Students with letter jackets, covering their formal, up-to-code school uniforms, reenacted a football game that they had won—Barry’s name was mentioned at least five times. The long rectangle-columned tables were all filled up with groups of students who knew one another, talking about their days inside and outside of school. I decided to give up trying to discover an open seat, and found the lunch line—I could always sit outside and eat like I normally did anyway.

The lunch spread had more to offer than the usual Sicilian-style pizza and rib-bq on an Italian roll; the menu upgraded to bacon burgers, BLT sandwich wraps, and an assortment of salad bowls. Although the new menu looked tempting, I played the safe route and chose my usual meal—a tuna sandwich with an apple juice box.

As I stared off into the buffet of lunch selections, I began thinking about the boy I ran into. He had a very combative way of conversing, and his voice—low-toned and slightly raspy; it was a flow of poetry that replayed in my head over and over, again and again. He had the presence of the typical ghosts I’ve grown to love, but he felt like the typical human as he broke my fall after knocking him over. He didn’t flicker nor blurred from perfect vision; he did not glow a bluish-white. He was tall, about the same height as Barry, maybe a few inches smaller. He did not wear any article of our school’s uniform, however, but instead wore an unbuttoned shirt top, draping over rugged, faded, and blue-denim jeans. A studded belt with a chain linked from it to the back pocket of his pants—perhaps his wallet. His shirt was overshadowed by a black, form-fitting zippered hooded sweater; he wore the hood up, which covered possibly the most important part of anyone’s face; his eyes. His bangs shagged over his eyes to reinforce the mystery of his identity. His lips were full like a male model’s. His voice was the only means I had of identifying him.

“You should try the other apple juice,” a girl’s voice suddenly sang behind me. I spun my head around, noticing a girl about a few inches taller than myself. Her hair was jet-black, and cut real short, like a boy’s, although it suited her well, as it complimented the structure of her face; big hazel eyes, small elfish nose pointed slightly upward, and her equally-elfish ears. She wore a choker, black with smooth metal studs trailing the outer edges of it. Her white t-shirt was a compilation of chaos, broken hearts, and electric guitars, which was partially hidden underneath her half-buttoned, but well-tucked school uniform top. Her uniform skirt was a pincushion of a variety of randomly sized pop culture-infused collectible pins. Despite the poor disguise of the school uniform, she looked like a gothic pixy. To me, she was the coolest person I’ve met since my ‘usual’ friends. “It’s all natural, not the cocktail stuff that looks like you’re harboring a drug test sample.” She smiled.

I smiled back, taking her advice after I’d pictured drinking someone else’s urine. I winced after picking up my original drink selection, placing it back in the iced beverage barrel drum. “Thank you,” I said in my usual soft voice; I still wasn’t used to talking to actual people I haven’t known my whole life.

“Just trying to increase the longevity of the world,” She chanted, a proud smile had stretched across her face, “one apple juice-drinker at a time!”

“Well that’s very ‘Good Samaritan’ of you,” I said.

We both followed the line towards the cashier with our lunch trays making a two-car train as they slid along the metal tray counter.

“I’m Casrial!” she introduced herself, stopped, and then stuck out her hand.

My hand met hers half way, and shook it lightly. Her hand took the lead, and shook my hand more enthusiastically.

“Casrial MacBeth—good friends call me Cas, but never Cassie—ugh, it’s such a pet peeve of mine!”

I giggled, knowing the horror of people calling me names other than what I’d preferred.

“My name’s Evenfleu,” I began, still laughing a bit.

“Evenfleu Andreas—Evvy for short…I hate being called Munchkin—”

“She does!” I heard Barry shout a few feet away from me—he was with a few of his teammates—I was certain he was still on dog-watch alert for the rest of the day.

“And that’s my brother, Barry Robinson…” I said with less enthusiasm.

I heard Barry in the ‘peanut gallery’ teasingly yell, “Yeah, don’t say that to too many people, I don’t want the whole school to know we’re related!”

Casrial looked over at Barry, snickered, and then looked at me.

“You two look nothing alike,” she shook her head.

“I know…thank God,” I sighed, “we were both adopted—long story.” I lowered my head, trying not to think too much; I would end up blurting out everything to Casrial, to which she would had thought I was completely off of my rocker. I took a look at her waist side, and saw that she had something very similar to mine.

“That’s a Nikon SLR isn’t it?” I concluded.

“Sure is! Cost my life to get this baby! She’s my Salvador Dali—Salvador for short!”

“Oh my god!” I shouted—Barry, and most of the students around me, swung around to my direction. “I gave mine a name too!” Everyone—including Barry—stared at us, mortified by what I’d shouted in front of the entire lunch line.

“She’s talking about her camera, perverts!” Casrial stood up for me.

There was a chorus of, “ohhhhhhh!” and “I was gonna say!” from everyone around us. I sighed, knowing that Casrial had defused what would have been a very embarrassing situation; and an even awkward dinner conversation at home. Suddenly, Casrial jumped, letting out a high-pitched squeak—it was contagious, as I did the same exact thing.

“You got the same camera!?” she boomed.

“Yes!” I shrieked.

I reached into my traveling case, grabbing the handgrip of the SLR, pulling Scarlett out from the darkness to present her. “This,” I began the introduction, “Is Scarlett!”

Casrial actually curtseyed with a smile.

“Oh, let’s not be rude!” She said.

She reached into her traveling case, and retrieved an SLR similar to mine—it had a lot of silver painted words, like poems and quotes written in beautiful calligraphy, dressed along the safe areas of camera—it definitely looked like a work of art. “This is Salvador!” She presented.

I gave the same respects for Salvador as Casrial had done for Scarlett; I curtseyed, and smiled. Afterwards, we both noticed that the line had broken, and I was a few feet away from the awaiting cashier.

“Oh!” Casrial started, “Where are you sitting?”

“Oh, um,” I stuttered, “I normally eat outside—more peaceful there!”

“Count me in!” she said.

“Yay!” I celebrated.

“I have a lunch-buddy!” Casrial cheered.

I smiled. ‘Lunch buddy,’ I’d thought to myself as I paid the one dollar and twenty-five cents for my lunch. Casrial reminded me of the ghost of Amanda, only more bubbly and confident. I thought that if Amanda was right about seeing me in her next life time, Casrial would definitely be her.

We both walked through the cafeteria, passing through the overzealous students, and we zig-zagged through the rectangular lunch tables to reach the single door leading outside. It was still nice out…for autumn. The sun was out, the rays blanketing everything in warmth of gold. Casrial and I found the bench areas, and sat on one resting just underneath a large tree.

Casrial took the bottle of spring water she’d bought on the lunch line, and shook it as if it was a spray can.

“So,” she began. “Are you a sophomore? Junior? Senior?”

“Junior—I’m in my junior year,” I answered.

“This is my junior year too,” she replied, “I just transferred from out west.”

“Oh really? How was it there?”

“Let’s just say, I’m a huge fan of the staff, and not the school,” She said, twisting the cap off of her water bottle. She took a sip, but took her time swallowing. “The teachers were the only ones with personalities of their own; everybody else just followed the trend!”

“Yeah. It’s kind of like that here, with the exception of my brother—and now you.”

I followed Casrial’s routine, taking my bottle of apple juice—I’d acquired the habit of peeling the labels off of beverage bottles from Barry.

“That’s because we’re example-setters!” she sang. “We don’t really follow others—we do our own thing. People may find it weird, but you’ll find others that will incorporate their own business with your way of living. Take the male lion, for instance. There’s only one king of the jungle; every other lion follows like lost kittens. And flocks of birds that fly in tight formations; the same as a school of fish, swimming in sync with one another. But very few stop to acknowledge the one rebellious lion cub playing with a broken twig, the one little bird hopping along the branch of a tree just to eat the berries from it, the one fish that…just wants to swim by itself!”

She picked up the apple from her lunch tray, taking a quick bite from the juicy, red-skinned fruit. “We break the cycle. Why? Who knows? Maybe it doesn’t work for us. Maybe it does, but we feel deep down that we’re destined for something more! This is why I’ve picked up photography—to show people the limitless possibilities of life!”

I took a sip of my apple juice—it had a natural, apple taste; sweet but not tangy, and refreshing. The apple juice that I used to buy always left a slight tangy stinging in the back of my throat. I found myself almost gulping the entire bottle because it was that delicious—Casrial saved my life, and money—the apple juice was fifty-cents less than my original and former choice.

“Good, isn’t it?” she said with a bright smile.

“I wished you were here when I was a freshman, you would have saved me plenty of quarters!” I laughed.

“It’s today that counts,” Casrial said with a smile.

“Indeed,” I agreed, and then continued, “I never really followed the trend of everyone else, and I would get ridiculed for it. People would think I was some freak. If it wasn’t for Barry sticking up for me, I think people would have burned me at the stake during my sophomore year!”

Casrial smirked and waved her hand at me as if to say, don’t worry about it.

“They just don’t understand you is all. One thing you never want to do, is isolate yourself from society completely—it never hurts to talk to people. It allows them to feel you out more; to get the party and the gifts from ya! Know what I mean?”

“I think so,” I nodded.

“Do you mind if I ask you a question?” I asked her.

“Sure!” she said zealously.

“What kind of pictures do you take with Salvador?”

“Anything that holds proof of life,” she answered euphorically, “It could be anything—there’s always life in something, somewhere, even if it’s inanimate. Salvador and I take pictures a lot! Would you like to see some?”

“Sure!” I said excitedly. “And I can show you some of mine too!”

We both compared photos we’ve taken—she had a lot of scenic shots of organic and woodland life. She actually had pictures that further illustrated her idea about example-setting; a lonely humming bird whizzing around a berry tree, a small, shiny fish swimming alone in shallow water, and a lion cub wrestling a thin tree branch that had broken off from the tree the cub was playing under.

“That was at the Bronx Zoo,” she confessed, “He was so cute! I named him Simba!”

“How original!” I teased.

“You must admit though, Simba is the perfect name for a lion cub!” she sang.

“This is true!” I agreed.

I was reluctant to show Casrial the pictures I’d taken of my ghostly friends, so instead I showed her photos from another SD Card that I’d labeled ‘photography.’ It was mainly pictures similar to Cas’ with the addition of a few bathroom mirror pictures of me making random faces while brushing my teeth. “You look like a blow fish!” she pointed at one of the pictures of me.

I showed her pictures of the lake the Robinsons took me and Barry when I was eleven—there were a few photos of Ben fly fishing, and a few of Barry falling into the water trying to catch a trout with a net. There was a picture that I’d forgotten that I took; a photo of me and Barry, hugging shoulder to shoulder, and smiling bright—this was after Barry had fallen into the water, because the only reason he had hugged me was to get me soaked as well.

“You had Scarlett as long as I had Salvador!” Casrial beamed.

“It was a present from my father when I turned nine,” I said with a faint smile.

“Mine too,” Casrial said, looking surprised, “Well, to be more accurate, it was from my mom. My mom and I got into this huge argument over something, and then one day she got me this SLR saying, ‘you’ll find the world you want with this.’ I just took it as her way of saying she was sorry.” Cas drifted off a bit, but then added, “Since then, Salvador has never left my side.”

“My dad left me Scarlett in his will,” I murmured.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Casrial said consolingly.

“It’s okay,” I reassured, “because I think it’s similar to you and Salvador. Eventually I’ll find my world with Scarlett.

“Well if you and I already have this much in common already,” Casrial started. “Then you’ve already found your world with Scarlett by now.” She smiled, taking another bite from her apple—I never touched my tuna sandwich.

The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch time. Cas and I began packing up our SLRs before grabbing our trays and leaving the bench. “I’ve got Algebra II after this,” she sighed, but then asked, “What class do you have?”

“I’ve got, Home Economics I think?” I answered with a question.

“Sweet, bake a few brownies for me!” She crooned.

“Will do!” I promised in the middle of laughing.

“Same time tomorrow?” Casrial said as she danced towards the door leading back into the cafeteria.

“Of course!” I agreed.

“I’ll see you later Cas!” I said as I waved good bye to her.

“Take care, Evvy!” Casrial sang, gave me a presidential-type wave, and then disappeared into the ocean of impatient students rushing to get out of the cafeteria.

I had finally made a friend; a friend that was alive. She had plenty in common with me, and she boosted my confidence with ease. I was sure that Barry would bring up the fact that I’d joined the rest of the human society somewhat during dinner.

The classroom I had Home Economics in was through the doors just outside around the other side of the cafeteria, so instead of risking the cafeteria like Cas did, I just dumped the egg carton-textured lunch tray in the garbage outside, just beside the cafeteria door, and then walked around the building. It didn’t take long to reach the double doors; they were exactly the same southwest doors I ran into the mysterious boy earlier. I entered the doors, took only a few steps, and then stopped at the second door.

“Room 209,” I said to myself, and then walked inside.

My last three classes—starting with Home Economics—was a chance for me to take what Cas said about talking to people into consideration. I was actually surprised how smooth it had gone. I actually managed to make a few friends in my last few classes. Some people still looked at me weird, but I’d grown used to that reaction. I did not run into Cas or the “ghost boy” from earlier. I had not talked to any ghosts for that matter either; they all seemed to have been missing in action after my run in with “Ghost Boy” and Casrial.

After the last bell sounded for the day, I grabbed my books, left my tenth period Global Studies class, and then headed straight for my locker. When I got to my locker, I saw Barry heading towards the locker rooms; they were getting ready for football practice. I opened my locker and grabbed my book bag from it. I never liked lugging my book bag around going from class to class; I always took what I needed for that class. After filling my book bag with everything I needed to take home with me, I shut my locker door.

“You dropped this, by the way.”

The familiar low-toned, raspy voice crept up in my ears faster than my eyes could register light, causing me to jump in fright, dropping my book bag—I left it on the floor for the time being. I turned to face the familiar voice; it was definitely Ghost Boy as he dangled from his fingers the necklace Mr. Goldstein had given me.

“Oh my, thank you!” I said, not even knowing that it had slipped from around my neck.

I took the necklace by the locket, and then I felt the same euphoric vibe I had felt when I placed my hands on his shoulders. And then followed the harmonic resonance, confirming my theory—he must be something spiritual.

“That necklace is pretty tacky,” he said obnoxiously, “Pretty heavy too, I’m surprised you didn’t feel the difference in your weight when you’d dropped it.”

“It was a present from a family friend,” I told him—any normal girl would have found him repulsive and annoying with his negative undertones.

“Family friend?” he mimicked, “Who? Flavor Flav?”

I laughed, then replied, “No, then it would have been a massive clock around my neck. That, I would have noticed missing from around my neck.”

“Or you would have enjoyed looking like a big moron after I returned it to you,” he fought back—he was good with the unnecessary sarcasm.

“But you would have still come to my rescue,” I said sweetly.

He half laughed. “I hardly call this a rescue; whether it being a blinged-out book or an unnecessarily-large clock medallion, it was still a bother having to lug the thing around trying to find you,” he muttered.

I shook my head, and snickered lightly after I’d picked my book bag off of the floor.

“You definitely have a way with words,” I muttered sarcastically.

“It’s one of my best qualities,” he said smoothly.

I laughed, even though he gave me a look of disgust—as though he despised talking to people.

“There is something about you that’s different than everybody else,” I said; I did not want to scare him off if I was wrong about him.

“Well duh,” he agreed.

He tapped the floor with the food of his cane, making a knock knock sound against the smooth marble. “I thought we established my bad leg? Or did you think I was carrying this cane around because I’m a pimp looking to find the hookers that owe me money?”

I shook my head.

“That’s not what I mean,” I began, “I don’t know how to say it, but I—”

“Um, unless you’re waiting on a ride,” The boy interrupted. “Don’t you have a bus to catch?”

“I’ve got some time,” I said smugly, “When I tried catching up with you earlier, you disappeared—what was that about?”

“I was late, some moron ran into me, remember?” he snapped.

“I know, I’m sorry for that, but still—you sort of literally vanished,” I muttered.

“Well what can I say?” he said, “I get around quick on one leg.”

I shook my head, dazzled at how despite his arrogant, rude, and obnoxious behavior towards me, I still found him inexplicably and unfathomably intriguing. He turned around and shuffled slowly down the hallway, and the harmonic resonance started to fade.

“W—wait!” I flagged him down.

“You’re going to miss your bus,” he muttered.

“I’ll be fine—” I began, “—where are you going?”

“I have detention, remember?” he said, sounding annoyed.

“At least tell me your name, and I’ll leave you alone,” I requested.

“You tell me yours first,” he imitated the personality of a spoiled five-year-old.

“Evenfleu,” I said hastily.

“Evenfleu Andreas…What’s your name?”

“Evenfleu Andreas,” he pondered.

“That’s a mouthful—I’m just going to call you Evvy.”

“That’s perfectly fine!” I said.

“Or munchkin,” he teased.

“Please don’t leave without telling me your name,” I pleaded, “I don’t care about the bus, I just don’t want you to leave without telling me your name!”

“Umm, stalker-much?” he teased again.

“N—no!” I stuttered, “I’m afraid, that you’ll turn into one of those significant people that I see in school, that I never see again, or forget about, because I never asked for their name.”

The boy sighed. “If it means giving you something to scribble in your notebook,” he continued to tease. “Devin…Devin Greigh.”

“Devin Greigh…That’s a beautiful name,” I gasped.

I finally had a name to the mysterious Ghost Boy. Devin Greigh. His name rolled off the tip of my tongue like something deliciously sweet. Devin Greigh. The boy who is surrounded by the harmonic resonance, familiarizing me with the usual ghosts I’d normally surround myself with. Devin Greigh. I knew from that point on, that I would never lose sight of him, nor forget his existence—we would cross paths indefinitely; that’s what my soul was telling me anyway. He resembled the traditional bad boy all of the girls swooned over; self-loathing, and against the world. But he veered away from that on so many levels. He spoke with confidence, no matter how nasty and spiteful it sounded. He had a stroke of confidence, a well-defined swagger for someone getting by with only one good leg. He was my first crush—my only crush—the only type of crush that you would only write about, or dream about after watching a romantic movie.

“Okay, well your bus is leaving,” Devin snapped me out of my crushing phase.

“Oh!” I gasped, secured my back pack over my shoulder, draped my necklace back around my neck, and waved.

“…Thought you didn’t care about the bus,” he teased.

“I lied!” I shouted back, “I will see you later, Devin!”

“Probably soon if you don’t catch that bus,” he smiled.

I smiled back, and then hurried out of the school building, chasing down the bus labeled “217,” until the driver stopped and opened the doors to let me on board. As I sat down, I looked back at the school, at Devin, and thought about the feeling I would get when I’m close to him. He was living, breathing, or so it seemed like he was. The harmonic resonance only drove me to question, is Devin Greigh alive, or a ghost?

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