A bit ago I did a Men of Ottilie with the character Aaron! He is the star character of End of the Line. Well, one of the stars. Sorry to say I tend to write my stories in Male and Female POV's which you will learn as I hopefully get more out there. End of the Line you learned about Aaron who is tough and takes on the world, his counter part feels the same heavy weight on her shoulders. As Aaron is stubborn Lauren is his soothing friend that helps him along their journey. Lauren is a Leading Lady
Our neighborhood was having one of those very family-oriented, corny block parties as a celebration for Labor Day, which it has every year. I, being seventeen at the time, didn’t like being at the celebration at all. First of all, the party wasn't exactly for my age group. The parents thought we were still into the little ponies and treasure hunt games. Secondly, most of the kids in my neighborhood were younger than I was, and the few who were my age were able to escape the festivity. Later I would wonder, Was it worth staying at the gathering and living or escaping the party and possibly dying?
I was hanging around my little brother, Sean, during the party since my parents were with the other adults. They wanted someone to stay with him so he was being supervised. They were able to go drink while I was here waiting in line for a smelly animal, whose long face looked even more excited than mine at being there. I loved my brother, but I just didn’t want to be outside on the blocked-off road, with people racing around who weren’t ashamed to show their enthusiasm.
At the time, my brother was six and fearless. Slightly on the hyper side and full of questions, he tested my patience at times. At the moment, he was holding my hand, jumping up and down and searching for his miniature friend, Paige, so they could go on at the same time. My brother had a girlfriend.
I was currently single. Okay, so I went on a few dates. I didn’t need a full hand to count the guys, but I just never really had a full-out, real boyfriend. I’ve never had the genuine, strong emotions toward any of the guys I went out with. It was frustrating.
“Lauren, there she is! Paige, over here!” yelled Sean, letting go of my hand to wave his in the air while still hopping about. I was starting to blame those double-chocolate cupcakes for his energy.
I smiled, not sure whether to be embarrassed or to think his behavior was adorable. A little girl with dark red hair in long pigtails came running over to us. She was wearing a yellow shirt with a big kitty on the front. She was wearing yellow shorts, one of those little kid matching outfits you later yell at your parents for, wondering what they were thinking when they bought it. Yet Paige and my brother were too cute together.
That’s when the sky started to get darker. The past week, the sky was getting an odd glow of obscurity, not that I really noticed since I always kept my shades closed from laziness ‘til my mom threw a fit. The sun still set at night, but always had that little morning glow to it. Almost like a storm was about to start, but no rain ever fell. At this point, the sky wasn’t pretty to look at, possibly looking worse than it had previously. The atmosphere gave me the chills, to be honest.
“Sean, you want to go in and watch a movie with Paige? It looks like it is going to start raining. I’ll make you guys a big bowl of popcorn,” I said, letting my voice fill with excitement to try and draw them in.
I really hoped they wouldn’t pull the “I haven’t gone on the pony yet” card. The sky was giving me the creeps and I wanted to get out of there. I shifted from one foot to the other with my arms crossed over my chest. They looked at each other and whispered, their tiny hands cupped to each other’s ears. Then they both glanced at me and agreed to see a movie. I sighed in relief as I took their hands so we could stroll back to my house. I had to tell my parents and Paige’s parents so they wouldn’t worry when they didn’t see us outside.
We walked to the Jones’s back yard where most of the parents were sitting on the porch at the tables they had brought. Their laughter could be heard clear as a bell from the front yard where the horses were. Finally, I saw my parents sitting on deck furniture, drinking some form of alcohol that appeared summery with fun, tropical colors. Someone said something funny that had the parents howling once more. I would have needed aspirin if I were with them the whole time.
“Mom, Sean and Paige want to go watch a movie at our house. They’re getting bored.” I added the lie knowing she wouldn’t care about that little detail because she’d seen right through it.
We were close, and she knew her two children very well, our likes and dislikes even our very small habits. A lie could be sensed from another floor in or out of the house by my mother.
“Honey, didn’t you at least try to have fun?” my mom asked, pushing a stray piece of hair behind my ear before looking down at my brother.
I looked into my mother’s bright jean-blue eyes. I’ve got the same ones while my brother has green eyes. Sean and I both had the same auburn hair my mother had. Mine was curly like my grandpa’s, and it fell two inches below my shoulders.
“Lauren, how about you take Cole and Jill with you to watch the movie? They’ve been here playing cards the whole time. They’re probably bored out of their minds.”
“Okay, Mom, I’ll take them.”
It wasn’t like it would affect me. They would be watching a little kid movie. I didn’t care. I had no problem admitting I still liked Disney movies.
I turned around to see Cole (who was sixteen) and Jill (who was fifteen) playing war with a deck of cards, looking really bored and sitting at a circular, wooden picnic table on the deck. Mandy, on the other side of the table, sat with her head rested on her folded arms. At nine years old, Mandy was an only child, so she attached herself to the other neighbors. I walked over to them with Paige and Sean at my side. They were whining about how they wanted the movie now. The movie that I had to talk them into seeing was now taking too long to get started for their taste.
“You guys want to get out of here and watch a movie at our house?”
The two of them gazed at the cards as the parents continued on with high pitched laughter and then glanced at each other. They got up and trailed the three of us to my house. The door was unlocked since my parents lived next door and the whole neighborhood was outside, so we didn’t have to bother with carrying around keys. I pushed open the door; then the six of us headed downstairs to the basement. Flicking on the lights, we got to the corner of the basement, which my father had separated from the rest of the basement. In this spot my dad built a sound-proof room so everyone in the house wouldn’t have to listen to the video games or the shows that would be playing.
We walked in and I closed the door behind us. Sean and Paige ran over to the shelves of movies in order to pick one they both would like. Their eyes gazed at each title. The other three went to the table and started a new game of cards, whispering to each other. I guess they couldn’t really talk with the adults always chuckling. It was always a lot easier to talk when the adults weren’t in hearing range. I was the same way at times.
The two finally picked some Disney movie so I set it up and then sat on the couch with them. I put my thin-rimmed glasses on so I could get the screen to focus a little better. Forty minutes into the movie, when all of us were settled and calm, it started. The house began to vibrate and the TV went black. The lights flickered, then went completely off. The two little ones bellowed in annoyance, but that quickly turned into apprehension. My nerves were set off as I felt my hands start to shake along with the rest of the house.
Thinking quickly, I pushed all six of us under the table that just a moment ago was the home of a card game. I mentally thanked my mom for putting the old kitchen table down here instead of getting rid of it. I drew Sean closer to me as we squeezed as close as possible in order to fit. I buried my face in my brother’s hair as I felt the fear of death breathing down my neck.
As the tremor continued, heat and a gagging smell filled the basement. Paige started to cry into my shoulder while holding tightly to me. Her tiny fingers gripped the top of my shirt. I wrapped an arm around Paige to bring her closer to Sean and me. I could feel the sweat on my body from the heat, but I didn’t care. All that mattered was getting through this.
The sounds of wood buckling and glass shattering were muted against the clashing noises that I couldn’t pinpoint. The TV fell over and the screen shattered, shooting glass fragments around the room. The shelves that once held DVD’s and games quivered before collapsing to the ground.
After what felt like forever, though it was more likely just over an hour, the earth started to wobble less. Eventually, it completely stopped and the world seemed still. It took me a bit to even realize the shaking had stopped. The sudden quiet left a new air of heat on top of the
humidity, which already lingered over the state. A weird stench filled my nose,
nearly burning the inside of my nostrils. I didn’t want to move for fear the
floor would be taken from right under me. My legs were probably as undependable
as the house had been just a moment ago. Slowly, I let go of the two little
ones to creep out from under the table. I had to pry their fingers from me.
None of us wanted to let go. New Jersey
“Where are you going?” asked Cole, looking very worried.
The others were appearing more frightened than him. All of them were still clinging to one another. Mandy was holding onto Jill, trembling. Jill’s dark eyes were wide with fear as she held onto Cole. Paige and Sean attached themselves to Cole since I was gone. They were too petrified to move.
“Stay there, you guys. I’m going to see what just happened.”
“I’ll go with you,” said Cole, starting to shift to see if he could find a way out from underneath the table.
“Cole, stay with them.” I tried to muster up a hiss of an order, yet my voice wavered. “Someone needs to keep an eye on everyone, so you stay.”
I tiptoed toward the door. Each step was hesitant. I was preparing for the floor to start moving again. I could see the door only because steam poured through the cracks of the frame. I went to open the door, but I could feel the heat radiating from the door knob a few inches above it. Knowing I had to go through, I grabbed the blanket from the couch and wrapped it around the knob so I would be able to turn it.
When it swung open, I never thought I would witness anything like it. In front of the door, a rock the size of half my house blocked the stairs, a searing smoke emanating from it. The little of the sky that could be seen was black, and an eerie red glow striped the dark clouds. Utter silence has never sat well with me. There wasn’t even any laughter from where the parents were.
We needed to get out of there right now. This was all very, very bad. “Hello! Someone help us!” I screamed, my voice cracking with panic several times.
After what seemed to be the hundredth time of high-pitched screeching for help, I felt tears in my eyes. Smoke drifted around me, irritating my throat and eyes. I fell to my knees, wondering what just happened and why no one was coming to help us. I coughed, feeling the smoke filling my lungs. My throat felt raw from the yelling. I knew I had to get the kids out of here if there was any chance of surviving. I got up and pushed some of the ash that was mixed with parts of my house off of my legs. That was when I heard a sound.
“Help!” I screamed, feeling a little relief come.
I stared up in the haze to try to make out the face above me. I couldn’t, but it was someone who could help us out of here. Ash, drywall, and God only knows what else was clogging my sight.
“Is someone down there?”
“Yes!” I shrieked, not able to hold back the jumpiness of my nerves. “Yes, there are six of us down here! Can you help us?”
“There are six of you?” His voice was deep. “So more people did survive.”
I took a deep breath because I felt sick after his last sentence. “What do you mean?” I questioned, not really sure if he heard me.
“Hold on a second. I’ll come down and help you guys!”
Rope appeared a few minutes later. I didn’t bother moving, since I was stuck where I was. I watched the stranger as he lowered himself down to help us. When he was a few feet above the ground, he let go and landed right in front of me. By the little light provided by the scarlet, smouldering sky, I was just able to see who was standing in front of me. Part of the reason I could tell who it was is because I had seen him so often.
Cutting this scene short ;)
End of the Line