Monday, April 12, 2010


So I wrote this short story for a supernatural writing contest on one of my favorite sites I decided to also post it in my blog just for fun. Hope you like it.

Can you distinguish the dead from the living? Richelle Costa can’t.

All that crossed my foggy mind as I woke up was that my parents were going to kill me. My head was slumped against the steering wheel, glass shards from the windshield were scattered around my face. Surprisingly though my car looked like it belonged on a Hollywood set, I felt perfectly fine. I lifted my head and peered at the tree that my car had collided with, the hood was dented, smoke rising like a camp fire. That was defiantly the last time I swerve for birds who decided to cross the road at night.

I felt around the passenger seat for my purse, only to find that my cell phone had no service. Great, exactly what I needed. Not only had I crashed my new car to spare a birds life, but also I was stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to get help. I should have stayed at Lissa’s, but no! I wanted to be home tonight since Zeke would be home from college early tomorrow morning for Spring Break. I hadn’t seen him since Christmas, and let me tell you now; the long distance relationship thing was getting quite lonely.

I mean I see Lissa and Poppy with their boyfriends, all cute and cuddly, and what do I get? A boyfriend who attends college four hours away from me and whom I never get to see. But that was going to change. I had just received my acceptance letter from University of New Hampshire. Zeke would be so excited! After graduation I would be saying “Goodbye Connecticut, hello New Hampshire!”

I glanced around the forest. I had two choices, either stay in the car and wait until morning, hoping that my parents would notice that I was gone or that Lissa would find it weird that I never called to say I got home safely, or two try to find some help right now before the cold New England weather turned me into an icicle. I was always one for new experiences, so grabbing my purse I pushed the car door open and trudged down the empty road. I was nearly in complete darkness; the light from the full moon provided me with enough luminosity not to trip over my own feet.

I remembered passing by a diner just a couple miles up the road on my way to Lissa’s grandmother’s house. I wasn’t really familiar with this area; I’ve never really been out around here. Lissa wouldn’t even be living out in the middle of nowhere if her mom hadn’t decided to redecorate that house form top to bottom, leaving the family temporarily homeless. But she was my best friend, and if I didn’t visit her in social exile, what type of person would I be?
The sign read Goldberg’s Diner, though its neon glow was turned off. If it wasn’t for the lights being on inside, most people would have assumed it was closed. The door chimed as I walked in, an old fashion jukebox playing Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes, one of my grandparents’ favorits songs. Ok I’ll admit it, I love the song too.

The place was relatively empty, but then not many people went to diners around 1:00am. Well, most normal and sober people don’t. I slid into the first booth I saw, waiting for a sign of life. Finally I noticed that indeed there was another person nearby. An old lady around her late 80’s was sitting in the last booth in my row. She wore a long flowing house dress with pink rose pattern. Her hair was thinning and worn as a white puffball plopped onto of her head. She reminded me of great-grandma Margaret, except shorter, and sadly even with that rose frock she had better taste in clothes.

The old lady got up and walked toward me, using a cane to keep herself barely stable. I looked up and smiled as if I was trying to reassure her that I wasn’t a freak.
“Oh dear, you look lost.” she said barley over a whisper.

“Not really lost, more stranded. I crashed my car a couple miles down the road. I was wondering if I could use someone’s phone, put this place seems more abandoned than where I crashed. Where are the owners?”

“Oh, Jane just stepped out, she’ll be back soon. I don’t believe I properly introduced myself, I’m Gretel Fisher.”

“Richelle Costa.” I said shaking her cold and wrinkled hand. I could feel her veins and bones easily. My heart went out to her. She was so feeble and delicate; I was scared I might wound her.

She started telling about her family. She had a daughter named Fiona. She obviously loved Fiona a great deal, her eyes lit up at the sheer mention of her name. Fiona had a daughter of her own named Jane. Jane was the owner of the diner. Her inheritances after Fiona’s husband, her father, passed away. The last person but defiantly not the least was Jane’s son Stephen. I could see the pride in Gretel’s eyes when she mentioned her great-grandson. He was two and had been diagnosed with autism. Jane’s husband couldn’t take it so they broke up soon after Stephen’s birth. I could see that Gretel had great respect for Jane, raising Stephen as a single mom while taking on the family business almost completely by herself.

By the time it was my turn to speak I was no longer concerned when Jane was returning, Gretel was easy to talk to and understanding. I told her about my dad who was the typical business suite type on the surface, but underneath that suit and tie he was really an artist at heart. He could paint so brilliantly that you would presume it was a photo. My mother also seemed to be the classic stay at home type, but that was only because, like Gretel, I had an autistic family member. My little brother Danny had autism, something that used to be hard for me when I was younger. He’s twelve now, but my mother decided to home school him. If kids were cruel to me for being his sister in middle school I didn’t even want to imagine how they would treat him.

I had two best friends named Lissa and Poppy; we’ve known each other since our Teletubby days. Then there was the love of my life, Zeke Reed. We met when I was in sixth grade; he defended me when kids teased me about Stephen. He’s a year older so we’ve been skyping, calling, texting, emailing, and even writing letters when we feel like acting romantic during his freshman year before I come join him next year for college.

When I finished talking about Zeke I looked up and saw that Gretel was crying.
“What’s wrong? I’m sorry, did I say something?” I asked, worried.

“No honey, it’s not that. I’m…I’m the one who is sorry. I didn’t want to say anything. You seemed so scared. So lost. I thought it would be easier if we talked a little first, but now I see I might have made it worst, harder for you.” her sobs quickened. I could detect the word “sorry” being used over and over again, but the rest were mumbled.

“Sorry about what?” I began asking, but right before my eyes the impossible happened. She started fading. I jumped out of the booth frightened. The last thing I saw of her was her hand pointing to something behind me. I turned and noticed for the first time that it was morning. The diner was in full swing of Saturday breakfast rush. I spotted a petite woman ringing up some costumers at the cash register, before taking another costumers order. She had to be Jane; she looked exactly like Gretel except about fifty years younger.

My gaze swept around the now packed restaurant – trying to decipher how I didn’t notice the sudden crowding – when a news headline caught my attention on the small TV behind me. TEEN GIRL KILLED IN CRASH.

My stomach flopped, suddenly I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to be back by my car waiting for my parents to come get me and bring me home. I don’t know how I did it, but before I could blink I was magically transported near my car, which was now closed off with yellow crime scene tape. I didn’t understand what was going on until my parents’ car pulled up. My mother ran out crying “My baby! No, no, not my baby!”

My dad froze, holding the car for support as Poppy and Lissa pulled up in Lissa’s car, their eyes swollen and red. They held on to each other as they cried, must like my father holing onto the car. My mother was on the ground and hysterical, Zeke emerging from my parent’s car to help her up. She turned and cried on his shoulder. Zeke’s face was tear stricken like the rest. His eyes blood red, but no more tears could cascade. As if he had already shed every fluid in his body. I could hear his breathing, dry sobs controlling most of it.

I knew I shouldn’t have turned around, from my family and friends reactions I knew what I would find. But still I turned just in time to see the paramedics lift a body into a vehicle with the word “Coroner” on its side. A delicate hand slipped from under the white sheet exposing multicolored nails. I looked down at my own hands and found my manicure matched.


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