by Caileb Ellison
Uhhh. I woke up feeling like I didn’t get any sleep. Which of course I didn’t. I was just lying in bed when I remembered I was supposed to meet up my friends to practice on our boards. What a drag, Saturday morning and I was still worrying about schedules, and the headache I had wasn’t helping. But this should be a good day. First, I was going to go skate with my friends, and then of course there was the beach trip. I got out of bed and did my usual routine; I showered and got dressed. Our apartment wasn’t too glamorous, just two rooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. I was just leaving as my mother descended the stairs. She was the kind of woman who could walk into a room and you could almost feel the sadness and tension melt away. She was getting on in her years but I never thought of her as old.
“Where are you off to, Milo?” She said, unusually happy.
“I was just going to the skate park.”
“Then don’t be too long, remember, we’ll be leaving at four-thirty.”
Leaving to the beach she meant. I hated the beach and she knew it, but every year she made me go, something about paying our respects. I never knew what that meant, so I listened in on one of my mother’s conversations. I’d hear snatches of her talking to someone. They’d say things like, “He won’t like this,” or “He likes sheep.” I’d thought of telling people but, “He likes sheep?,” they’d of thought I was insane.
Well, I didn’t want to keep any of my friends waiting so I grabbed my board and was off. On the way to the park I kept thinking about the beach trip and how I could make it less boring. “Well at least my friends are coming,” I thought to myself. My mother had always said no to anybody coming with us, but she’d finally made an exception after I reminded her of our spiritless attempt at “fun” last year.
I was so lost in thought that I didn’t realize I was at the park until I heard someone call my name. Three of my best friends, and they were waiting impatiently. “You sure took your time,” Cindy said. As usual she was wearing jeans, Converse high-tops, and a t-shirt with a bunch of pins and buttons from bands I hadn’t heard of. My heart did a little skip tap whenever I saw her. I hated when that happened. “Hope you brought your A-game. We’ve got two hours of practice to fill.”
Angles, timing, and, launch trajectory – everything you had to learn to master the kickflip, so everything I couldn’t do. I’d put in hours of effort and finally succeeded in falling off several park structures and bruising both of my knees. After fall number ten I decided to call it quits and took a break on a bench. Not too long after, Cindy came over and sat down next to me.
“So how’s it going?” I said. Nailed it.
“It’s all right. I see you’re sporting some new bruises.”
“Hey, skating’s risky.”
And on that happy note we sat next to each other basking in the sunlight.
A minute later, Clark hobbled over. Apparently he’d fallen off his board more than a few times. Although I’d never say this, he sort of reminded me of a scarecrow. Ill-fitting clothes hanging off of a frail, almost lifeless body. He was dressed like usual denim jeans and a dark brown long-sleeved jacket.
“So we’re still on for your beach trip right? I sorta need some time away from my dad.”
“Tell me if I’m over the line but, why?”
“He’s into building model trains now, and he really wants me to be a part of it.” “That’s interesting.” Jack materialized behind me. He was wearing some tan cargo shorts and a blazer over a t-shirt. He had this annoying habit of always sneaking up on people. It was pretty cool how he did it, but it was terrible for my health. One of these days he’d scare me so bad I’d have a heart attack.
“Anyhow, trains and things aside, I ought to get home, I’ve still got to pack,” Cindy said.
“I suppose you’re right. There are a few last minute items that couldn’t hurt to go in my bag,” I told them. “So see you guys in a little while?”
“Yeah,” they all said together.
Two hours later we were ready. We’d planned to converge at my house so as to decrease hassle. My mom walked out wearing her usual camping attire, hiking boots, jeans and a warm coat.
“Are you and your friends all ready to go?” “Ready when you are, mom.” “Alright then, let’s go.” A bumpy car ride and an hour later, we were at the cabin. We went through our normal cleaning routine, shaking out the sheets, dusting out the cabinets, etc.
Just a few hours later, we were making marshmallows over a fire when my mom pulled me aside. She said to me, “You’re old enough, you need to know.”
“What? Need to know what?”
“Why we come here every year.”
“Isn’t it was just to get out of the house for a few-” BOOOOOOOM
Thunder shook our cabin. I screamed, “We got to get out o-” BOOOOOOOM
I pointed to the door and my friends understood. Jack, the speedier of the bunch, was out the door first, with Clark and Cindy right behind him. I stumbled out the door and turned around to see my mom wasn’t following me. She was talking to some sort of apparition. I yelled to her. She looked my way and I saw a flare of hate flash in her eyes. She turned and did a motion like she was opening a door. Maybe the rush of all this was messing with my head, but I saw a glowing portal appear in front of her. The apparition went through first. My mom started walking toward it. I called to her. She turned and with the next flash of lightning she was gone.