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The Falling Rain

I must have left Ambrose’s quite late, since he commented that it was almost time for Ciara to come home. If she was due to arrive, then it probably meant Zoey would be in her room by the time I got back.

Yet, when I got ready to go, his gaze was heavy, dark and secretive. My stomach fluttered, light and numbingly, but I chose to ignore it and headed out.

Whilst on my journey, I didn’t fail to spot that the town was livelier than it had been this morning. Parents squealed in joy with their kids as they hopped on their shoulders, couples kissed and exchanged DNA, and I’m pretty sure I swallowed the ash flicked from a cigarette of a passing car.

But nobody noticed. Nobody cared. They didn’t see me, instead looking right on through me, as if I truly didn’t exist to anyone.

I’m being too hard on myself, I tried to reason. Although I recognized most of these faces, I didn’t know them, or their story, and they sure as hell didn’t know mine. I didn’t plan on broadcasting it anytime soon, either.

For most of my life, this town had been quiet, peaceful. A safe haven. Nothing much really happened here, save for a single scandal a few years back, and I thought we were content with that.

So, what changed?

I jumped out of my skin when a car horn blared through the air, close to me. I whirled to see an obsidian black Honda Civic with an all-too-familiar driver plate.

Suddenly, I couldn’t suppress the smile that spread across my face.

“Hey, Jett. Are you off to work?”

The silver-haired fiend chuckled, leaning over to open the door. And I got in, warming myself up on the cushioned seats and his welcomed heating. Ever since I woke up, I’d been uncomfortably cold all the time.

I stuck with him as he traveled to the pharmacy for medication, but stayed put. I knew I’d just freeze my cute little butt off if I got out.

Preoccupying myself with the sun visor mirror, I sorted my disheveled hair. I guess Ciara wasn’t exaggerating when she called me a mess; she could’ve phrased it better but what did I expect?

Knowing Jett had a comb somewhere, I popped open his glove box. Rustling through it, I was close to giving up and returning home looking like a peasant, when I finally touched the plastic bristles.

I returned to the mirror, expecting to comb my hair in peace, but I instantly caught onto the blurry watercolor standing still, inches from the motor. It didn’t move, didn’t make even a sound, so with a catch in my throat, I turned around.

Of course, it was gone, not a shred of evidence to prove it had been there, watching me.

What the hell was happening?

Not a few moments later, Jett returned, bag containing his inhaler inside. Seeing how I must have been cross-eyed, he slouched so he could face me directly.

“Ash, everything alright?”

I blinked, moisture returning to my vision, about to ask him something, when I saw the look on his face. Jett wasn’t as open as my other male friends, likely due to his violent past, but it never bothered me. Until today.

Since I’d so recently drowned, I expected most (if not all) of my friends to worry, through their words, body language or otherwise. But Jett…

He was stoic. You could get more out of talking to a brick wall.

So, I simply nodded, and he drove me home without any further questions. When we said goodbye, although we kissed each other’s cheek, it didn’t feel the same as it used to.

Which made me uneasy.

Entering the house, I braced myself for the possible verbal abuse, but it never came. Advancing further in, it became clear my mom wasn’t home. In the kitchen, she’d left a note on the island, stating she was at the library.

I scoffed. Yeah, alright, since when did my mother read anything other than softcore pornography?

I was rummaging around in the fridge when a dull thump sounded from upstairs. Minor giggling. Although I sighed, a part of me couldn’t believe it was over.

Ascending the staircase quickly, I opened Zoey’s room door as quick as I could. Her room was dark, as always, save for a few violet lights and crimson-colored candles that coated the box in the tantalizing scent of gingerbread. Everything in the room was the same, not a single thing perturbed.

Zoey, however, was snorting with laughter, as well as struggling to contain moans, while two young guys with bad 90’s haircuts groomed her front and back, her naked form their source of pleasure. Her leg was wrapped around the one in front as the other one was already in the midst of thrusting.

Mentally picturing anything other than their underage bodies, I stormed forward.

“Ah, hey, sis! You can–”

“That is enough!” I screeched, as I grabbed her wrist, the boy’s member slipping right out of her, while she protested. “Put on some clothes and get out.”

My sister rolled her eyes, trying to cover up the snigger that was still escaping. I’d have preferred if she tried shielding her body instead.

“Don’t be such a prude, we’re just having fun.”

“Having fun?” My voice jumped an octave, trying to stare her down, but she moved her gaze. Which just made me all the more curious, so I reached out and grabbed her by the chin, not lightly, but not too tight, either. Her pupils were dilated completely, as they rolled around to search for something interesting to watch instead. “You’re high.”

My sister’s extracurricular activities were common and town knowledge at this point. She got busted twice at school for smoking, or in possession of, weed. And I still remember coming to find her in the woods after she’d taken a couple of strips of LSD. That one remained the toughest, since she’d been convinced I was a witch sent to slaughter her (by commands of the king) and screamed bloody murder till she passed out from all the panic. Fletcher drove us home that day, promising not to tell his father.

I was no stranger to watching her during her come downs, providing her support when all her friends had abandoned her. I was always there to clean up her mess, not just because I was used to it, but because of the fact that despite her shortcomings, she was still my sister. The only person in our fucked-up family I considered beautiful.

I wouldn’t give up on her. She’d come out of this phase soon enough, I just had to patient to see it through.

Her ‘friends’ left, as I fought to get her to put her clothes back on. While the human body was nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of; fifteen-year old flesh was a whole and other playing field.

“Stop it. Just because you’re a stuck-up tight ass with no sense of fun doesn’t mean I have to follow by your book.” She was livid, dodging me swiftly.

I didn’t comment on that, instead choosing the reasonable route.

“Mom and Dad will be home soon. Please, Zoey, I just want to help you.” My words grew softer as I neared the end. It was true, I may have thrown those losers out, but I couldn’t do that to her, she was all I’ve known.

Gritting her teeth, finally, she succumbed. Putting on her clothes for her, I noticed something I hadn't before. A blue blob inked on her flesh, a bear that was supposed to look cute.

Fuck me, the artist that did this was going to receive a punching from me, once I got the information out of her.

By now, she was fully dressed, still high as fuck, while I brushed her hair back to a relatively decent state on the bed. The sweat coming off it glimmered in the light, like glitter had embedded itself onto her entire being. From afar, she could be glowing. Up close and personal, I took it for what it was.

“What did you take?”

She fiddled with her wristbands, snapping sharply against her milky skin.

“Molly, I’m sure.”

I rubbed my lips together. From weed, to acid, and now she’d moved onto ecstasy? She was slowly making her way up the ladder, but I hoped there would never be a day where she’d find something a lot more dangerous.

Luckily, that’s when Mom and Dad came back, already in the middle of an argument. Turning her head to me, I saw the plea in her eyes, and I know what she was asking of me. Little did she know, I didn’t need any convincing.

I spent more time with Zoey that night than we had for a while. Aside from how it began, it was a good night, and I did not dare to bring the topic up.