Chapter 1 – Cory Dunn is loco [S]
Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
“Don’t be mean.” Amber pushes Annika out of her way, walking over towards Cory, who just dropped a stack of papers.
Annika, Davy and I couldn’t help but laugh as his eyes grew wide and he kept muttering to “go away, not now”. He forgot about the papers for a second, staring to the wall in shock, but then he kneeled down to grab the papers.
Amara helps him stack them, handing the ones she collected to him as they both get up.
“Thanks, Amara,” he whispers insecurely.
“No problem.” She smiles. “Why don’t you come and join us for lunch?”
“Am!” Annika hisses, gesturing for her to come closer.
She rolls her eyes, pulling Cory with her. “He’s joining us for lunch, okay?”
“What?” I pull up my nose. “Really?”
“Yes, really.” She sends me a displeased look, gesturing Cory to follow her, which he reluctantly does. But not without sending us an apologetic look. At least he knows he isn’t welcome. At least he feels sorry for it.
“There’s another dent in my rep…” Davy grumbles, before heading outside too.
“Like you had a reputation to begin with!” I call after him, before Annika and I laugh because he flips me off.
“Maybe we should give Cory a chance. Amara worked with him during Chemistry and he seems to be really nice. And smart. We could use a smart guy in the group.”
“Hey!” I pull her closer, tickling her teasingly. “I’m smart!”
“No! No tickling! Sid! Serious! Stop it!” She tries to pry my tickling hands off her, to no avail. I’m stronger and she knows. “I beg you! Mercy, Sid.”
“Okay, but only because I know you think I’m smart anyway.”
“Oh, so, smart.” She takes in a couple of deep breaths, before allowing me to pull her in my arms, kissing her on her lips.
“I’m smart, because I fell for you, which is smart, huh?”
She giggles, putting her hands around my neck to reconnect our lips. “I love you, Sid.” She whispers as her lips left mine. “We’re almost together for three years.”
“I know, I’m planning a great date.” I tell her sweetly, smiling happily as I take in her beautiful face. She might not be flawless to most people, but to me, she is. She’s not the skinniest girl, not to say she’s overweight, but not skinny either. But I love how she fits perfectly in my hold. Her ginger hair is curly, and I know for a fact it can be really messy and untameable at times, but then she puts it in a bun and the few strains of hair that manage to escape during the bike ride to school make her look cute.
Her bright green eyes always seem to sparkle, and I love how her skin is light and how she hates the sun because she easily gets sunburned. I’m not the biggest fan of summer either, so it’s something we have in common.
The freckles on her skin make her one of a kind. She isn’t a girl that uses tons of make up, just some mascara or whatever.
She doesn’t prance around in tiny skirts or hot pants, she wears decent clothes that make her look more of an adult. She’s sophisticated, yet casual at times.
Annika is just Annika, and it’s exactly what I like about her.
“Want to join the rest? And Cory?” I ask her after shutting my locker with a push of my hand. I turn the key while entwining our fingers, guiding her towards the door to go outside for some much-needed fresh air.
As we walk up to the rest, I notice that Davy, Edward and Amber seem to be a bit uncomfortable with Cory in their presence, but still, it doesn’t seem too weird while he’s casually talking to Amara.
“Give him a chance, okay?”
“I will, I promise.” I nod in agreement, deciding on sitting next to Cory to show her that I meant it.
She sits down on my other side, leaning her head on my shoulder in content. “I love how it’s not too hot, not too sunny, but bright enough…” She tells us with a small smile on her face.
“We should go swimming soon.” Amber suggests. “We haven’t been together with the whole group in seven weeks and we haven’t hung out with the six of us ever since school started.”
“Seven.” Amara nods towards Cory. “Cory should join us when we hang out.”
Davy rolls his eyes, Edward awkwardly looks away while pretending not to pay attention, and I shrug.
“Cory can join us, but then he has to take some stuff too.”
“What stuff?” Cory frowns, but he seems a bit relieved I did agree with Amara to let him join.
“You know, alcohol, or snacks, or spliffs.” Annika sums up casually. “And a good mood, which is compulsory.”
“I don’t drink or smoke.” Cory looks at me as if he tries to see if I dislike that fact about him.
“I’m not allowed to drink with… my meds…”
“What meds do you take?” Amara politely shows interest, though I have the idea Cory isn’t excited about telling us stuff about that.
“Uh…” He drawls.
“Is it because of what happened?” Davy asks without looking up from his phone. “Like, loony-meds?”
Cory swallows, his face flushing, suddenly very uncomfortable.
“You can’t just ask that.” I snap at Davy, kicking him under the table, causing him to yelp. “That’s really immature and impolite.”
“As if you care, dipshit.” Davy mutters, rubbing his shin with a painful look on his face. “I’m just curious. He started about the meds himself.”
“To explain why he doesn’t drink.” Amara bites at him. “Jeez, Dave, grow up. No wonder you can’t get a girl to like you.”
“It’s okay,” Cory tells us before sighing deeply. “They think I’m… a loony. So, I have to take meds that keep me sane.” He explains.
“They think you’re loony, but you disagree?” Annika frowns. “They did explain why they want you to take the meds, right?”
“I know what I saw.” Cory suddenly snaps in anger. “They can tell me all I want, I’m not crazy.”
“So…” I drawl, lolling my head a bit. “What is it that you saw?”
“It doesn’t matter.” He tells me in a defensive manner. “It’s in the past and I want to keep it there.”
“That’s so mysterious. People think you got raped.” Davy leans on his arm, seemingly a bit bored because Cory isn’t giving us any intel.
“Guys, we’re not talking about that. Cory doesn’t even know us.”
“I wasn’t raped. And I didn’t see any wolves. And I didn’t see a murder happen.” He debunks some of the rumours that started to make their appearance again since he showed up in school last week. “Those stories are based on guesses. It’s not true.”
“Then tell what did happen, and people will stop gossiping about it.”
“They’ll think I’m crazy if I do so.” Cory shakes his head. “It’s in the past, now drop it.”
“People already think you’re crazy.” Edward tells him matter-of-factly, finally turning to look at Cory. He gets a slap from Amara, scowling in return. “What did I do? I just told him the truth.”
“I don’t think he’s crazy.”
“Neither do I.” I shrug. “I’m just curious by nature.”
“Then go and see for yourself.” Cory snaps at me, getting up from his seat. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Yeah, funny guy. They fenced the woods. Nobody is allowed in…” Davy rolls his eyes in annoyance.
’…or out.” Amber mutters. “We tried.”
“You shouldn’t.” Cory sighs, sitting back down. “I started having… nightmares. And I never feel as if I’m alone. I can’t explain it. I can’t sleep without the medication, and even then, it’s hard to go to sleep. The dark is my enemy and I’m scared shitless half of the time. Trust me on this, you shouldn’t even want to go into those woods.”
“We have to find a way to get in those woods,” Davy tells me as soon as he caught up to me running the compulsory laps during soccer practise.
“Forget about it Dave, not going to happen.” I shake my head shortly, before focussing back on my breathing, and mostly controlling it.
“But dude, you love a good thriller.”
I nod in agreement, smirking at the thought of actually finding a way to get into those woods. We should’ve sneaked in years ago, when the fence around it wasn’t finished yet. When they still had guards invigilated the direct surroundings.
But we weren’t even 15 back then, too young to be allowed to go out late at night. And during the day, it was too easy to be spotted by trying to get in.
Believe me, we tried.
We used different tactics, like playing soccer close by, kicking the ball into the woods. When we wanted to go in “to pick it up”, they told us to get lost. The ball is still in there somewhere.
We tried to let the dog of our neighbours run in, but the coward stopped at the edge of the forest, refusing to run further.
I tried to tell them I lost my non-existing baby-sister and that she might’ve ran into the forest, but they simply called my parents to ask about a baby-sister. We got a fine and a firm warning to beat it.
And with every attempt, we saw the fence getting closer and closer to fully build up. And then, one morning, I drove by on my way to school and suddenly it was finished. Now the fence is about five meters in height, there’s power on the fence, there’s barbed wire on top and behind it. There’s no way you can easily sneak in, before the guards would be there to find you trying to get in.
We even considered to dig a tunnel, but since we had no idea how to not end up getting buried alive, we let that plan sail, admitting defeat.
But Cory Dunn showing up in class made our long-desired dream light up again.
We want in, no matter what.
I might not be too excited about it, but it’s simply because I don’t want to get my hopes up too high.
“Sid, we have to find a way. Cory’s not going to give in.”
“I don’t even want him to give in.” I answer in annoyance. “If he doesn’t want to talk about it, then stop asking him about it.” Davy had been bugging Cory about it nearly the entire day. Eventually, Cory left us because he rather sat alone, then having to deal with whiny Davy.
Amara got angry, which lead to Annika being annoyed because Amara chose Cory over us, and then she refused to hang out because I didn’t instantly pick her side in their trivial fight.
“It’ll ruin all the fun once we get in the woods. If we ever get in, and we already know what scared him, it won’t be as fun anymore.”
“But we’re never getting in the woods, you said so yourself.”
“I’m not saying never, just not soon. Maybe when we’re a little older. Maybe when one of us is rich enough, we can go skydiving, landing in the forest on purpose…” I bring up one of our old, fantasized ideas.
Davy chuckles and shrugs. “Well, let’s try and graduate first, huh?”
“Hey, we have months left. Don’t worry.”
“I don’t. I just don’t like the idea of graduating. Real life will start after graduation.”
“I thought you hated high school.”
“I hate college even more, I think. Think about having to work to pay rent and whatnot.”
“Oh, dude. Way to ruin the mood.” He hits me in my shoulder right before we stop running as we finished the laps. “I will come up with an idea to get in.”
“Fine, let me know when you came up with a realistic plan.”
“How about buying a huge trampoline and jump over?” Edward appears next to me, chuckling over his own stupid idea.
“And break our legs when landing. Sounds like a solid plan.” I laugh along with him, shaking my head in the same time. “We could crawl our way through the forest, people will for sure think we’re crazy then.”
“Most people that know about our obsession of getting into the forest already think we’re crazy.” Davy shrugs his shoulders, simultaneously telling us he doesn’t care what others think about it.
“Did we see it right? Did you guys hang out with Cory Dunn during lunch?” Joseph and his best friend Geronimo stop by our sides. “Is he as crazy as people say? You know, talks to himself, or to nobody in particular.”
“Amara is adamant about making him feel welcome,” Edwards grumbles annoyed, since it’s his girlfriend who forced Cory’s company upon us.
“We haven’t caught him talking to himself or whatever.” I shrug it off. “He seems kinda nice though. I didn’t mind him hanging out with us.”
But in all honesty, I really want him to at least give a hint about what happened to him, so I know whether or not to let the wish to get into the forest die out or not.
Little did I know that faith is about to help us a hand to give us exactly what we want.