The world isn’t what it used to be.
Every day is filled with dark, cruel, suffocating fear.
Nothing is the same.
Every step you walk, every breath you breath could be your last.
The people you love become your murderers.
And you become theirs.
It’s a terrifying punishment that I wouldn’t wish on anyone no matter what they have done.
A sick game to entertain them.
If you can call watching people die by the hands of their loved ones entertaining.
All they want is a show, to see who will crack first.
It’s funny how many things you can think about in the absence of sleep.
My family, friends.
People I’ll never see again.
I keep wishing I’d wake up to find this was just one big terrible nightmare.
But I know it’s real.
Because I’ve felt the pain.
The pain of loss, of regret.
Of betrayal and heartbreak.
I felt everything.
So I know, I’ll never wake up.
It’s not a dream.
1 week earlier
“Hurry up Ali, you’re going to make us late!” Mia was impatiently tapping her foot waiting with the front door open while I fixed up my makeup.
“Give me one more second,” I applied some finishing touches and looked approvingly in the mirror. I’m ready to take on the world for another day.
I grabbed my book bag and raced downstairs, not bothering to slow down through the door.
“Coming slowpoke?” I teased, even though she was mad Mia couldn’t help but smile a little.
“I hate you so much,” She smiled at me.
I laughed, “You know you love me!”
I skipped down the stony pathway to Mia’s Toyota. I was extremely envious that she was a year older than me, meaning she already had her license. I couldn’t drive for another eight months. I ungracefully hopped onto the seat, probably flashing half the neighborhood but I didn’t care. I felt like today was going to be good.
The drive was short; I would usually walk it but as Mia knew, I was a very lazy person. The car park was still full of students even though classes started in five minutes. We quickly found a park, at the back may I add which I internally groaned at. We rushed to get to our lockers and into class before the bell, I had already been late one too many times and my home room teacher hated me.
“I’ll see you at lunch, okay?” Mia said. I nodded and we quickly parted ways. I made it through the classroom doors just before the bell and breathed a sigh of relief. I sat down at my usual desk at the back, no I’m not a quiet shy nerd, it’s just the only place you can sleep without the teacher catching you easily.
I laid my head down on the desk, planning to sleep for the ten minutes it took for home room to end. Just as I was about to doze off I was violently shaken, making me fall out of my seat. I looked up to see my attacker and was greeted by a smirking boy dressed in his usual leather jacket and jeans. I scowled at my best friend.
“Are you going to make it a habit to wake me up with such extreme measures?” I asked him, still glaring up at his six foot four frame. His green eyes twinkled with mischief and amusement as the stared down at my position on the floor.
“Well?” I asked, “Aren’t you going to help me up like a best friend should?” He pretended to think about it for a moment until he grabbed my arm and pulled me up like I weighed nothing. He was still grinning like a darn idiot so I decided to give him the silent treatment.
It might not work on many people, but if there was one person I knew who couldn’t live without me talking, it was the hot chunk of a man standing in front of me. I sat down, resting my head yet again and immediately heard a groan. Yep, he knew this punishment all too well.
“Come on Ali!” Tyler whined, “It was just a joke.” I said nothing, didn’t even look at him. Well, I was really afraid that if I looked at him he would be making those puppy dog eyes that he knows I can’t resist. He poked my cheek.
“Ali?” He kept poking and saying my name but I wasn’t going to give in. Then I made the mistake of sneaking a look at his face.
He was unconsciously pouting and his eyes had somehow grown bigger making him look absolutely adorable. I sighed, taking another sneak peak. This time he knew I would look and put on even more of a show. I groaned this time.
“Fine.” I gave in. Never look! I tell myself again and again. Do. Not. Look. At. Him. No matter how attractive he is.
Yes my dear friends, I, Ali Kingston, have the biggest, most earth-breaking crush on my best friend. I know right, how cliche. But you can’t blame me! I happened to have known him since we were in diapers and the blubbering, messy, annoying child he used to be somehow grew up into one of the sexiest men alive!
I raised my head to see Tyler’s victorious grin. He knew he had one, this time. I frowned at him and he dropped the smile though I could still see how proud he was of himself in his eyes. My eyes traveled to his hair, which was disheveled, most likely because of his girlfriend and their probable make out session this morning. I sighed. Ah, unrequited love.
Tyler noticed my gaze and probably caught the uncovered sorrow in my eyes before my defenses snapped up again. He flattened his hair and sent me a sincere apologetic look. I smiled my best at him before turning away. The bell rang for first class and I shot out of my seat, not wanting to face Tyler because I knew he was going to ask questions about why I looked distressed and miserable.
I hurried down the hallway to my next class, happy for once that I had no friends in English. The hour flew by and soon I was walking back down the crowded hallways. As soon as my locker came into sight I was greeted with the unwelcome image of Tyler pressed up against his locker by the one and only queen bitch, Sophie.
At the start of the year, Mia and I thought that having our lockers as close to Tyler and his best friend Toby - which turned out to be right next to each other - would be the best thing in the world as we both had crushes on them. Unfortunately as soon as they started dating their girlfriends, Alanna and Sophie, it got a little more crowded than usual. There were way too many unpleasant images that have scarred me for life. It was scenes like this that had my blood boiling.
People always used to say my temper was ‘cute’. That was until they saw my reaction when I found out about Tyler and Sophie. That day even Mia didn’t come within 5 metres of me. I was like a ticking bomb when I got really angry. Even though Tyler had apologised saying there was nothing he could do, I was still mad at him. I know that if he breaks up with Sophie she will make him regret it up until graduation, yet it still made me furious.
“What are you thinking about Ali?” Mia suddenly appeared at my side. I shook my head and nodded in the direction of the happy couple. Mia made a disgusted face.
“Couldn’t they have done it somewhere private?” She scowled. I nodded my head in agreement, wanting t speak about it.
Mia understood me as she always did. We got to our lockers and quickly put our books away, breaking our usual routine of waiting for the boys since those two weren’t going to be done for a while. To those girls, not being with Toby and Tyler for 5 minutes was like being without food for weeks. It was utterly ridiculous how much attention they expected from the boys. Our boys.
We got to the cafeteria sitting at our usual table. It was about half way through lunch that the two boys finally walked in and took their seats next to us. They tried talking but because of the scene before and especially because it was on my locker before I moved them, I couldn’t help but be a little mad... Okay, maybe more than a little.
All through lunch we I ignored Tyler, not feeling up to the task of answering his questions about my behavior. Which should be pretty normal for him to see by now. Tyler hated seeing me mad at him but he knew that no constant questions and prodding would get me to speak. Eventually I caved when started looking a little lost about what to do.
“What do you want Tyler?” I asked tiredly. Tyler hung his head knowing there was nothing he could say that would make my mood better.
“What did I do?” He finally asked. I sighed.
“Nothing Tyler,” I said, “You did nothing wrong. I’m just being moody.” Tyler’s head tilted ever so slightly in confusion and his adorable action made my bad mood just a little better.
I decided to buy lunch since I hadn’t before because of the amount of people in line. I pulled Mia away from her conversation with Toby and we both headed over to the food.
“Ugh,” Mia crinkled her nose up in disgust, “Why do we have to have the same thing every single day?”
I laughed a bit at her face but she glared at me saying to take it seriously, I bit my lip and smiled.
“What did you expect Mia?” I looked at the food, my stomach already churning a bit,
“This is high school, they aren’t here to feed us proper food.” We got our lunches and I silently laughed at how little there was on Mia’s plate.
We walked past the ‘popular’ table which was made up of Luke a big beefy hunk of a rugby player who is a big player, Melanie a quiet, petite girl who is Luke’s current new toy, Josh who idolizes Luke and follows him everywhere like a sheep and Eva who everyone knows and loves because she is actually really fun to be around, then there is the famous bitch 1 and 2, Alanna and Sophie.
Mia and I sat back down at our table which was the closest to the door, we always sat here because; 1. I don’t fit in with any groups, and 2. Even though Mia could sit at the ‘popular’ table or the ‘brains’ table she chooses to sit with me, every day. It was the same with the boys. Mia started up her previous conversation with Toby while I stared uninterested at my salad.
Two large silhouettes soon covered the table. When I turned my head to see our visitors, I was greeted by Luke and Josh staring down at us. I looked at them expectantly,
“Do you need something?” I asked. Luke clenched his fists, he had temper issues, a lot like me but had been developing little more control over it.
“You harassed my sister,” Luke snarled.
I may have forgotten one tiny little thing about Luke. He happens to be Sophie’s big brother, which is crap news for me because Sophie hates me. Why does she hate me? All because I’m closer to Tyler mentally and emotionally than she’ll ever be, not physically. She’s much more experienced in that than I am and hopefully ever will be.
I was about to answer when Tyler spoke up.
“Fuck off Luke,” He snarled, “Ali didn’t do anything to your sister.” I met Tyler’s eyes for the first time this lunch and smiled in appreciation, he smiled back. I looked back at the two boys, fighting off the smirk that was slowly creeping onto my face.
Luke’s face was bright red with anger while Josh just stood there glaring and looking awfully out of place next to the gorilla. I smiled at Luke daring him to say something to aggravate me. He didn’t, because he’s done that before and let’s just say it didn’t end well. I can be a demon in women’s clothing when I wanted. Luke walked away glaring at me over his shoulder.
School went by lightning fast after that and soon I was heading out the doors with Mia. I automatically looked over to the football field where the boys were training. I could Tyler and Toby goofing around, pushing and shoving each other. I shook my head with a little chuckle.
I looked at Mia who was also staring at the boys with a dreamy expression. Well, one of the boys. Mia and I became friends because of our crushes on the pair and it worked out perfectly. Mia liked Toby, the sweet, caring and polite golden boy of the school and I lo-liked Tyler, the prankster, mischievous and insanely hot bad boy of the school.
While those two were popular and completely different from Mia and I, they still managed to make time for us. Even though their girlfriends were suffocating sometimes. Mia and I finally reached the car at the very back of the car park, yes I’m still complaining about that.
I sighed as I sat down, “Take me home peasant!” I cried dramatically. Mia smiled and shook her head at my theatrics. Mia put the car into gear and just as she was about to pull out an out of breath, smiling idiot stopped the car. He looked up and locked eyes with me, his happy and determined while I was glaring at him.
“If you don’t mind Tyler,” I yelled, “I’d like to go home!” I slumped back in my seat as he came round to my window. He leaned in through the opening and grinned at me.
“Just wanted to say bye,” He said before leaning in and kissing my cheek. This was normal for us since we were close, but I couldn’t help the fact that every time he was this close, my heart beat was erratic and fast. I mean The Flash kind of fast. It was over in a second and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
He pulled away and looked at me expectantly, turning his cheek. I rolled my eyes as I leaned in and kissed his nose. What can I say? He thought it was just to annoy him since I know how much he hates being kissed there, but in reality it was the closest I could get to his mouth without seeming weird.
He scrunched up his face an glared at me while I giggled. I patted his head as he turned to walk away. “Bye Tyler!” I called and waved at him as Mia pulled out of the parking space. He waved back at me before turning and running back to the field. I sighed and fell back into my seat.
“Today was good,” I said to Mia, my grin still perfectly in place. She stole a glance over at me before chuckling and shaking her head.
“You’re just saying that because you got yet another intimate moment with your, one true love," She teased. I shoved her lightly because I don’t feel like dying after such a wonderful day.