Status: paced.

The Story of Iris

Five: The Footbridge

I hated the bus. I think there's some kind of unwritten rulebook saying that buses have to be a) smelly, b) cramped, and c) filled with assholes. The thirty minute bus ride consisted of a migraine induced by the mysterious smell emanating from the foam within the cracked leather seats and the constant shouting of the douchebags taking up residency in the last four seats. Shaved heads, sagging pants, and studded Ed Hardy shirts. They were more than obnoxious...they were like obnoxious on acid. Needless to say, I had to try really hard not to be mad at Iris for ditching me.

I thought the bus ride would never end. Finally it squeaked to a stop in front of the high school, where Mikey and Kyle were waiting for me in the atrium and A.J. was just rounding the corner, soaking wet (she was too cool for an umbrella). Iris was nowhere to be seen. 

"Hey, where's Iris?" I asked. 

Mikey shrugged and A.J. said, "I haven't heard from her. I thought she was with you, ya know?" 

"Well, yeah, she was at my house this morning," I noted, "but she left early. She said she had something to do so I thought she'd just meet up with us here." 

"Well call her or something," Kyle offered.

"Iris doesn't have a phone, remember?" I reminded him. Her parents are really big on not giving in to the social demands of technology and material obsessions, which is why it was so surprising that Iris got her own car.

We waited for ten more minutes, then the warning bell rang and we were forced to go to class. We dubbed it as just Iris being impulsive and doing what she wanted before telling anyone else, and forgot about it. 

But she wasn't in Spanish class. A.J. said she wasn't in Chemistry, and in eighth period, Mikey told me that he hadn't seen her at lunch. 

"She wasn't sick this morning," I recalled. "She was acting kind of weird, but why would she lie to me?" 

"Maybe she went home early," he suggested, playing with his pencil. "Just let it go, man. You can go a day without seeing Iris, right? No need to freak out." 

Why the hell would she skip school without telling me? 

I nodded. "You're right. It's nothing to worry about, she probably just went home sick." 

The teacher then told us to shut up and proceeded with the lesson plan. It was boring; another introduction to the ways of science and the scientific method and all that, made us take notes until blood came out of our ears, and kept us writing up until the bell rang. 

Mikey gathered his books up and walked with me to my locker. "Dude, you wanna come over tonight and work on that essay for Carson's class?" he asked. 

I shrugged. "Yeah, I guess. Just as soon as I get back from Iris's house. I'm going to bring her some of her homework."

Just thinking about that stupid essay made my head hurt, knowing it would probably take hours just to get started on. Maybe if Mikey helped me, I'd actually get something accomplished. I didn't really even want to stop over at Iris's, just because I was annoyed at her for ditching me. I considered skipping the whole visit, but decided against it. She at least deserved to know what she missed in Spanish class. 

The bus dropped me off at the end of my long driveway, and my ears were still ringing by the time I got to my front door. The incessant rain had let up and now it was just a slight drizzle, so I ditched my umbrella and headed out the kitchen door into the back. It was the quickest way to the footbridge. 

I assumed that the rain had risen the river a couple of inches, but what I saw when I finally reached it was not what I expected. The property was silent, the rush of water and slight pattering of misty rain against the grass making the only sound. The water had risen over three feet, and only steps away from me was the shattered remains of the bridge, swallowed up by the raging current.

It didn't take long for me to realize what happened. I held my breath, kneeling at the edge of the water, trying to fight the dizziness behind my eyes. The base of the bridge had caved in, and pinned underneath it, submerged in the water, was Iris Emerson Thoreau. 

I screamed.
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Charlie's so cute and concerned, I feel bad that he's the one that ended up finding her :( then again, it would suck for anyone that found her...