Status: paced.

The Story of Iris

Seven: Late at Night

We spoke at the same time, A.J. saying, "I should go," right as I blurted, "I think you should go." 

I finally lifted my gaze from the loose leaf paper long enough to catch the look on A.J.'s own stricken face. She and I both knew what Iris meant, but I got the feeling that A.J. was thinking the exact thing that I was: Iris knew something was going to happen.

"It's ridiculous..." I muttered. 

"Unrealistic..." she added uncomfortably and adjusted her bag. "I should go," she said once again. 

Yet she still stood there. And here's the weird part: I wanted her to stay. Not because I liked her, not because I was totally ready to transform my traumatized slop of emotions into an unlikely and totally cliched romance, but because I had no best friend. 

The girl that I knew since I was four years old was rotting in the ground, and there was no way to get her back. I needed a friend right now, even if it was A.J. 

She shook her head. "No really, I have to go." 

And just like that, she was gone. I didn't protest, the sudden longing for a friend replaced by a cold shiver of abandonment. I sighed and pressed the replay button on my stereo. I didn't need friends, I told myself, I had Marilyn Manson to comfort me.

I woke up at around 3 in the morning to the harsh sound of buzzing next to my ear. I blinked hard and answered my phone that was vibrating right by my head. 

"Hulloh..." I muttered. 

"Sorry for waking you up," whispered the voice on the other line. 

I heaved a heavy sigh. "What do you want, A.J.?" 

This was getting ridiculous; I was not about to just replace Iris with A.J., which she clearly wanted to do. 

"I just--" she started, but I cut her off. 

"It's three in the morning," I complained. "This better be important." 

The other line crackled as she let out a huge breath. "Okay, this is stupid, I know," she started, and I wanted to interrupt her but my reflexes were still asleep. She continued, "But, like, do you believe in ghosts?" 

I rolled my eyes. "Get to the point, I want to go to sleep." 

"Well, do you?" she insisted. 

"Don't you have any other friends you could call about this?" 

Silence on the other line. 

"No, A.J.," I groaned, "I don't believe in ghosts. Please, enlighten me about why you care." 

"Seriously, Charlie, if it weren't important don't you think I would have called someone else?" she asked. She was being totally serious, her voice was low and unchanging, like she was making some secret deal with the government. "I know you don't like me."

"You're saying you've seen a ghost? Let me guess, it was Iris, wasn't it?" 

She stayed silent, but I guessed she was scowling. 

I scowled right back; it was a scowling contest from miles away. "That's not even funny. Not even a little bit." I went to hang up, but the other line beeped. I had another call, from an unknown number. 

"Hold on," I told her, and switched lines. "Um, hello?" I muttered into the receiver. Who the hell was calling me at this hour? I just wanted to go back to bed. 

The line was silent for a little while, then my heart stopped. "Stop being a dick," she said. 

I was speechless. 

She kept talking. "Seriously, she's being honest. You're lucky she's confiding in you, she's a great friend." 

This was a dream. Twisted. 

There was chatter on the other line that I might have been able to hear if my ears weren't ringing so much. 

"Ugh, sorry about that. I have to go, I'm actually pretty busy. I miss you so much, Charlie," she said. 

She sounded so sad. Her voice got really quiet. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, then hung up. 

I clicked to the other line, but I was silent. Finally, I took a huge breath. "Holy shit." 

I was hallucinating.
♠ ♠ ♠
It's really hard to take myself seriously, goodnight (: