Struck Me

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Chapter Five

It's not raining nearly as much as it was an hour ago when I was standing in the street with Leah. I don't know what I'm doing here; I look crazy. I don't have my phone so I don't know the time and I don't know how I'm going to find Justin inside that giant school without having people noticing how awful I look.

My mind is no longer controlling my actions and I walk inside. Luckily, most people are in class and no one is in the hallway. I look up at the clock that hangs above the lockers: 9:50. Okay, I think I how where Justin might be. I have Avi for my second period but I don't want her to see me and ask questions because I can not even talk. I wonder if Just even told her what happened last night.

My feet are leading the way to Justin's class throughout the hallways. I can't make out exactly where I am in the school but my feet seem to know perfectly.

The sound of the bell makes my head ring and it sounds so far away from me. The classroom door opens and students begin to look me up and down as they leave the room. I don't have enough energy to care or react to them.

Justin finally walks out laughing with his friend Oscar and stoops in his tracks at the site of me.

"Woah, what happened to you?" He asks and removes his backpack from his shoulders.

"Oli, what's up man? You look rough," his friend Oscar tells me while playfully hitting my shoulder.

I couldn't even keep my balance and he nearly knocked me to the ground. Justin grabs a hold of me and helps me stand back on my feet.

He examines me up and down and notices the mud on my bare feet, as well as Leah's jacket that I forgot to return to her.

"Hey, just give us a minute," Justin tells his friend and he walks away without question.

"Oliver, what happened?" He whispers.

I don't want to say anything here. I don't know if I can. I just look at him, hoping he can read my thoughts.

"Do you want me to ask Avi if she can drive us to your house?" He asks. I still feel incapable of answering.

"I'll text her right now." He pulls out his phone.

I shake my head, no.

"Okay, well let's just walk to your house, yeah? I think the rain cleared up a bit."


We walk in silence to my house, which is only 10 minutes away. I'm glad Justin doesn't ask me any questions on the way there because I still don't think I can speak without crying.

"What happened to the tree?" Justin asks when we get to my front yard. If only he witnessed what I witnessed an hour ago.

"Did it get struck by lightning or something? That's so crazy. That happened to our tree once. It was a mess."

"What time did you leave my house?" That is all I manage to say to him. My voice sounds strained and it hurt to even speak that sentence. I hope he heard me.

"Oh, uh I think around 6:30. My mom called me and told me to get home and I just ended up doing homework before school started."

I nod and bring my attention back to that fucking tree.

"What happened?" He asks again.

"Were you still at my house when my mom came into my room this morning?" My voice sounds a bit louder this time but my throat still feels pain.

"No, I think she was just waking up when I left. Why?"

Thinking of how my mom wasn't buried under a tree just a couple of hours ago angers me more than I can handle. I leave the site and enter my house.

"Did something happen with Heather?" Justin asks while following me up my stairs.


My mom was supposed to talk to me today about her. I quickly go to my room to check my phone.

"Can you just answer my questions, please? I don't mean to pressure you or anything but we tell each other everything and I just want to be here for you." He says while not far behind me.

I grab my phone off of my desk to check if I have any missed calls or messages. I have a missed call from a number that is not saved. I dial their number to call them back.

"Oliver?" The voice says on the line.


"Yes. I just wanted to let you know that your mom made it to the hospital. Mark and I are here in the waiting room. The doctor said she is in critical condition. She has burn marks across her chest and the tree gave her some injuries. They also mentioned she went into cardiac arrest from the shock. I'm sorry to be so blunt but I just thought you should-"

"I want to see her!" I yell into the phone.

"I will be home around 1:00, do you want me to bring you to the hospital then?"

"I want to see her now! You don't even know her!"

I feel bad for yelling at Leah, but it's true. Mark and Leah hardly know me and my mother. We only say hi and bye to each other from our driveways.

"Oliver, I will be there as soon as I can, okay? Just wait a bit. She's going to be okay."

I hung up on her. I'm tired of her stupid reassurance. I wish I had a car. I want to see my mom.

Justin has given up on asking what's wrong because now he is sitting on my bed picking at his fingernails again.

I grab new clothes so I can shower and walk to the restroom without saying a word. I hope Justin is here when I get back. I should have just told him but I don't want to cry in front of him; right now I need to cry.

Out of fear that he might leave, I go back to my room and tell him "I'll tell you everything when I get out of the shower."

He smiles and proceeds too pick at his nails. I wonder if Justin likes being my friend.

I turn on the shower and make it as hot as it can possibly get. I step in and immediately fall to the floor sobbing.

What am I supposed to do if my mom doesn't make it? I can't live here along. How long was she under the tree? How come I didn't hear this happen? I mean I think I did but I didn't bother to look out the window to make sure my mom didn't get hit by a fucking tree!

I continue to cry into my hands and let the water fall on me, mimicking the position I was in this morning when I found my mother.

I step out of the shower and already feel much calmer. I get dressed and go back into the room to find Justin watching TV

I sigh. "Okay. I'm ready to tell you everything."

He turns off the TV and sits up.

"This morning after I called you...Well I got ready for school and I was about to leave and I looked out the window and my mom was hurt."

"Hurt how?" He asks.

"That tree outside landed on her and she may or may not have got struck by lightning. I'm not really sure."

"Holy shit, Oli. Is she okay?"

"My neighbors went to take her to the hospital but they're assholes. That's who I was on the phone with earlier and they won't even come pick me up to go see her!"

Justin nods and stays silent for a while.

"Well I can stay here with you until you hear from them. If they don't take you I can ask my mom when she gets out of work if she can take you, or Avi."

I smile and sit down across from Justin and we wait.



1:00. Leah said she was going to pick me up around that time and I still haven't heard from her. What a bitch.

"Look, let's get something to eat. It's been a long day already and it's not going to get any better if we spend it here just sitting and worrying."

He's right. "Well what do you want to eat?"

"I can order pizza," he says before picking up his phone out of his pocket.

It feels wrong wanting to eat or feel anything but anxious while waiting to hear anything about my mom but I know I need to do this for myself and for Justin. He shouldn't even be here right now; he shouldn't have to deal with me.

"They should be here in 15 minutes. Do you want to watch a movie or something?"

I smile. "Okay."

Within the next hour Justin and I are watching a horror film and devouring a box of pizza. It surely has helped fill the ache in my chest that has been there since this morning.

I end up falling asleep sometime through the movie and I'm glad Justin didn't wake me. I needed to sleep.

My dream consisted of trees. Each one of them fell to the ground one by one from lightning. Some trees destroyed cars, others fell on trash cans. One tree in particular destroyed my mother.

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