So I wrote the first few pages of a story, and I'm aware of how I want it to play out, but wanted to get criticism on the first bit. This is more or less the first chapter, even though I'm only intending on the story being like seventy five pages (it's like four or five I think). Anyway, was hoping to get a couple people to read it and tell me what they think. The story is supposed to be fairly intense, though this is a first draft still so I'm not sure if the dialogue and writing style is very fluid. Anyway I just posted it in spoiler tags for now, if someone wants me to upload it as a pdf or something tell me. Section One Spoiler Where did this all start? I ask myself that too. And I don’t know. Only theories. I can’t fully understand how I am to tie all these together, how to make sense of what now feels like a series of images sprawled over each other. The one that stands out most prominent revolves around a girl, amazingly enough. It’s funny, isn’t it? Cliche, you might say, but nevertheless this is where it leads to. It’s been five years since I’ve seen her, and maybe two since I last heard of her affairs, and I think that is what set me originally upon the brink. I then proceeded to push myself over the edge into this fucking dark space, this ravine I find myself in that hides in the blank corners of the maps maybe two steps from hell. Her name was Allison. We met when we were 15. Well, I was 15. She had just turned 14, and I believe it was shortly before I was 16. She was in Trigonometry with me, a smart girl. I was a year ahead in math, so she must have been two. It’s sad, in hindsight, how little I paid attention to such things about her. They were, I’ve since found in my frequent, alcohol and despair induced moments of reminiscence, something to have known. Such trivial little facts at the time, meaningless really, until you realize that those are the things that make someone themselves. She had such a pretty face, dark hair, and a pale complexion. She was easily burned in the sun, I used to jest that she must be at least partially albino. Though at the time I was truly thinking she may very well have been: her eyes, though green, had a slight pinkish tint to them, I thought, if you could see them at the right angle. Of course, this may just be some falsification within my recollections, or perhaps even some form of mild hallucination that is honestly embedded in my memory. For at the time I was, some would say, more than a recreational drug user. Allison hated it. Perhaps the reason we didn’t last long originally, in fact I fail to see how we ended up together to begin with considering her extreme dislike for the substances. We first began to date when I was 16 and she was still 14, I know. It was late spring. I can still see the blue and yellow flowers in the field behind her as we walked alone, shrouded by the tall grass; she was running away from her abusive father, I was running away from my abusive self. We met along an old road that was scarcely used anymore, except by the locals who happened to have property in the far outskirts of the city and stoners going towards the mountain up the road to find a place where the police seldom came to keep themselves out of trouble. I often went up there with my friends, and knew a pretty little place we called The Shire. I saw Allison walking some distance ahead of me. I scarcely knew her, we simply had that one class and we almost never communicated, beyond during those short class discussions where we on occasion interacted. I did, however, used to look at her in class, and sometimes I am certain she stole glances at me as well. I cannot say if that was out of annoyance, disgust, or infatuation when it first began though. Anyway, there she was. Wearing faded blue jeans that were tight against her legs with a short black and white dress over them. Her hair was in a beautiful braid, though I know not what kind. It had three strands that tied into different knots every other turn. Her bangs were held back with a dragonfly clip made with green stones for eyes. Her right bicep was bruised, her left forearm red, and her hand looked as though it wouldn’t close all the way. She had a tear in the skirt part of her dress. I didn’t want to call out for her, for as I said we didn’t really know each other. It would have been weird, would it not? Almost stalker-like, I think, considering the way she looked. So instead I sped up my pace, and after a few minutes I caught up with her. I could see her injuries more clearly. Her bruise was more black and brown and blue. I could hear her soft sniffles as she attempted to cry silently. I was only ten feet away, but she was too preoccupied with her own thoughts to notice. I followed her for a few hundred feet, wanting to say something but unable to come to a topic to start the conversation. What would I say? “Hey Allison. How are you? Nice bruise.” “Hey. Remember me? We have math together.” “You’re pretty.” “Want to make out?” “You’re beautiful, Allison.” “What the fuck happened to you?” “What’s wrong?”Yeah, what’s wrong? Obviously she got the shit beaten out of her is what’s wrong. I was more or less hopeless in the situation, but I can be blamed? Seriously, what the fuck is an appropriate conversation starter in that kind of situation? Regardless it didn’t matter because I tripped over a small rock as I wasn’t paying attention to the road at that point, being occupied trying to figure out how to talk to her. I tried to catch myself with my hands but only managed into getting pebbles shoved into my palms and hit my face anyway. Allison turned around, startled. “Oh my god, are you okay?”She asked, rushing over to help me up. She had stopped crying instantly, but I could still see the marks run down her pretty cheeks. Her lip was cut and her right eye was dark. Her makeup was running from tears and her right temple had a dark tinge and a slight lump, like she hit her against a wall pretty hard while losing a game of tug-of-war and punching herself in the eye at the same time. “Yes, I’m fine, thanks. You’re name’s Allison isn’t it? I think we’ve got a class together,”I responded. Yeah, “I think?”I was obsessed with her, and my first real encounter with her I pretended not to know her. I brushed the gravel from my hands and face and rubbed the skin to remove the indents left in the pebbles’places. “Yes, we are.”She began to look embarrassed. “Uhm, so how long have you been behind me?”Her face reddened more. “Uhh, not that long.”I didn’t know what else to say. Should I have been like “I’ve been following you for like ten minutes watching you cry. Sorry about that, I’ll be on my way.” No, that wouldn’t do. “Would you like to walk with me? I know a cool little place just a little further up the road that you might like.”I don’t know why I said it. I was talking about The Shire, where technically I was going anyway, but I don’t know what prompted me to ask her to come. I suddenly felt dread, waiting for her to say no. “Oh! Sure, I would love some company! How far is it though? I’m starting to get kind of tired, I don’t usually walk this far,”she said. My dread suddenly turned around to stunned excitement. It was almost worse because now I almost had no response, having temporarily forgotten what we were talking about, when there was no excuse not to. After a few moments hesitation I remembered. “Not far at all. Just around this next corner, actually, maybe a thousand feet up the road. It’s a few hundred feet off to the side though,”I said, realizing she was wearing black slip-on shoes that probably had no traction whatsoever. They almost looked like ballet shoes, I thought, but then I remembered I wasn’t entirely sure what ballot shoes looked like. “But I can always carry you if I need to,”I added without thought. She probably only weighed a hundred ten pounds, so it wasn’t a lie, but still. A weird thing to add right? “Okay!”She said. We started walking beside each other, both of us smiling. We didn’t talk, I didn’t know what to say. But, somehow, I didn’t feel pressured to, because I felt I could tell she didn’t mind the silence, and was in fact enjoying it. She wiped her face with her sleeve, and looked up at me. Her eyes were still watery, but they were clearing out. An old truck rolled by. “How old are you?”She asked. “6,”I said, dumbly. “Oh. I’m 14. Where are we going?” “Uhm, I don’t really know what it actually is. It’s this cool place I go sometimes with some friends, it’s got a bunch of trees, and this little pond and waterfall. Sometimes it gets deep enough you can swim in it during the summer, it’s too cold now though. We call it The Shire, I think you’ll like it.” “Oh, that place! I’m sure I’ll like it too; I’ve heard you talking about it to your friends in class sometimes. And I’ve seen you up here before, but usually I’m sitting in the field.”She suddenly looked away as her face brightened from her embarrassment. She hadn’t meant to say that, I don’t think. My heart leapt, realizing she had the same feelings as I. “How come you never said anything to us?” “Usually you’re driving and I’m too far away to make it to the road. I’ve only seen you walking a few times, but I was always too nervous. This is my first year at this school, we just moved here, and I still haven’t made many friends.” I wasn’t sure what to say to that. So I said, “What happened to you?”Fucking stupid question when everything is going so well, right? She hesitated for a little bit, obviously trying to come up with an excuse. “I’m sorry,”I said quickly, “Nevermind.” “No, it’s okay. My dad and I had a fight. He’s not a bad father though!”She added the last part quickly, trying rationalize him beating the shit out of her every weekend. I’m pretty sure he raped her a few times, though I’m not entirely sure... fucking sick faggot. He got what he deserved in the end, just not quickly enough. “My mother just died, and my brother committed suicide. He’s depressed, and he sometimes takes it out on us.” Us? I didn’t know she had siblings. I wasn’t really sure if I was allowed to change the topic now or not... I felt weird and was beginning to want her to go away almost, but was in too deep now to do much about it. I really didn’t intend on the conversation turning this way. “What did you get in a fight about?”I asked. “My cat, Pepper, jumped on the counter and knocked his beer off and a bunch of it broke.” …seriously? I was lost. “Oh.”What else would I say? This whole thing was weird. I felt so drawn to her, and at the same time I wanted to help her so much. But I couldn’t do anything. The conversation died again, and I simply looked ahead, and took an occasional glance at her. I felt so bad, she was so beautiful and so damaged. I wanted to touch her face, her hair. To hold her tightly and be her hero, but I didn’t know how. I almost missed the small path to The Shire. It was on the right, blocked from view by a large granite boulder. The path was poorly made and rocky, but Allison followed me about three quarters of the way over small windfalls and little streams that ran across the path just fine. Then we came to a large creek that ran over. It had a culvert to divert the water off the path itself, but it was usually clogged. The water was muddy and my feet sank almost an inch as I took a few steps into it. There were some stable rocks you could jump across on, but they were slippery and it was easier to just walk for me. Allison hesitated on crossing, and I looked back at her. She had a cute expression on her face as she twirled her braid in her fingers. “Can you carry me please? I don’t think I can make it.” “Of course!” She later confessed to me that she was hoping there would be an adequate obstacle for her to ask me to carry her. When it came, she did her best to look like an innocent little girl that needed me, and with the way her face was, she looked the part doubly so. I felt like a hero almost. Not the one I wanted to be, but one nonetheless. She NEEDED me! I walked back to her, pulling my feet from the mud with a loud sloshing pop. She climbed on my back, she was so light, and wrapped her arms around my shoulders and chest and her legs around my stomach. I held her ankles as we walked across. For some reason I hurried. I felt anxious to get her off suddenly, and on my last step my foot came out of my sneaker and I began to trip. I ran forward, trying to keep my balance, and accidentally let go of Allison. She dropped from by back and luckily landed on her feet as I tumbled over a few steps later and rolled onto my back. For a second that felt like a lifetime, I felt so ashamed. I had tripped in front of her TWICE today, in such a short time, while carrying her on top of it. But then she began to laugh, and pulled my shoe out of the mud as I stood back up. And then I laughed. “You are so clumsy,”she said, “but so cute.”She handed me my shoe, and I put it back on, not really noticing she had called me cute. Kind of weird thing to say too... but whatever. The pond was only just ahead now. The waterfall was a small tributary off of the creek that fell across the road. The pond was about twenty feet in diameter, and almost ten feet deep in the middle usually. Sometimes it would get up to fifteen, but it was always too cold to swim then. It was too cold now, too, unfortunately, but it was still pretty. There were trees all around, overhanging and filtering the light to a dusk. The water was clear, with small pebbles along the shore and on the floor. The waterfall came off a small rocky cliff, perhaps five or six feet tall, that was hollowed behind it. In the summer when you could swim, you could get behind there into a small alcove where the water was only a few feet deep, and the light would reflect a startlingly and mesmerizing blue, waving with the caustics of the surface of the pond. I began to wash my shoe off in the pond when Allison came and sat next to me. She watched for a minute or so, then quickly kissed me. “I like you,”she said quietly. It took me a moment to register what had just happened before I responded: “I like you too.” She grabbed my hand after I put my shoe back on, and we sat there and talked for a few hours. About school, about the weather, the places she used to live, even our math homework I hadn’t done (she had and didn’t want to let me cheat). The sun was getting ready to set when we reached the road back to her house. I was walking her home. I would have to backtrack to my house, about a mile behind us, but it was worth it. I didn’t want to let go of her hand. Her house was down a short ways in a large field. It was, I think, at one point a farm, but long since neglected. It looked to have been ripped straight from a condemned Soviet farm commune. The white paint was peeling off to show what was soon to be rotting wood. Shingles were missing all over the place. The screen door looked to have been kicked off the hinges and left haphazardly as it fell over the weathered steps of the porch, and the front door looked to be a good shove away from coming down. There was a tire swing that looked like the tire would fall apart if I jumped on it, not to mention the rope would break and the tree probably turn to dust. One of the windows was broken, and a piece of plastic was poorly taped up over the hole. The porch had holes where the 2x4’s had broken. Siding was falling off, and much of the trim had been ripped and broken off. I could scarcely believe anyone would live here. About four hundred feet away from the house she stopped me. “Just leave me here,”she said quietly. She gave me a quick kiss again, and added “Goodbye! I’ll see you at school soon!”And ran off towards her door before I could say anything back. So I stood watching. As she approached the steps, her father opened the door. And I hated him right then. Before I didn’t like him, but this is when I truly realized I wanted to kill him. He was drunk as drunk could be. He had to balance himself in the doorway. He was a big man with a beer belly and a balding head and an unshaven and unbathed face and graying brown hair. He wore a disgustingly dirty tank-top and ragged blue jeans. He had suspenders clamped around his hips hanging down his legs and what looked like a pair of some shitty steel-toed work boots. He held a leather belt in his right hand, the large metal fastener hanging on the ground. “Where the hell have you been girl?”He slurred out. I could hear him. “I was with a friend, Daddy!”Allison pleaded. “Did I tell you you could go out?”He was screaming. “I’m sorry, Da-” “Get inside! Now!” I hoped she would run back to me. I don’t know what I would have done, but I hoped she didn’t go back in there. Then he saw me. He looked up as Allison ran past him, and stared. Even at the distance, I could see the malice in his eyes, and I tried to return it. I tried to show him how much I despised him, from the moment I saw him, how much hurt I wished upon him, and how I longed to wrapped my hand around his throat and squeeze, to feel his beat stop. To let his dead body slump to the floor, defenseless like the only creatures he has probably ever known. But then I turned. He scared me. I walked away and I heard the door slam. He was asking about me. She said I was her friend. She screamed I was only a friend, and he screamed she was a lying bitch. My hands were clenched. I walked away, faster, my heart raced, my knuckles were white. She was screaming no. He was yelling she’s just like her mother. A slut that didn’t know what was good for her. She screamed. No, please, Daddy. Daddy, no. I didn’t do anything wrong. Please, Daddy. Stop, please, stop it. And then she just screamed. And I cried. They fell out of earshot and I hit a tree. I jammed my middle and index finger. I didn’t notice. I cried so hard. I should have done something. I could have helped her. I could have got the police. I could have got a gun and shot him. I should have. But what I do? I did what I knew. I didn’t know how to deal with it, I didn’t know what to do. What the fuck do you do? I was 16. I was in love, I was confused, I was hurt, I was angry, I was embarrassed, I was lonely, I was tired, I was excited, I was lost, I was broken, I was scared. I went and got high. Section Two Spoiler Several days past before she returned to school. I hadn’t seen her since I let her go into that god forsaken house. Her face was covered in makeup and she wore long sleeves that fell just past her slender wrists. She avoided looking at me in class. When school was dismissed, I caught up with her walking home. For some time I walked beside her, but she didn’t say anything, and she refused to look at me. “Hey what’s going on?”I asked. “Go away. I’m not allowed to talk to you anymore,”she said. “What? Why?” “My dad says you’re a bad influence on me. Please just leave me alone.” “But... Allison, I thought we were friends. Who cares what he says?” “I do! Just leave me the fuck alone, okay?”She had stopped and was staring at me with strong eyes. Her face looked full of hate, but her eyes gave away her sadness and depression. “Okay, I’m sorry,”I said. She walked off, her backpack swung heavily on her shoulder. I stood there watching her as turned out of eyesight a few blocks down behind a row of small trees. I was devastated. I almost felt like it was a dream at first, how could it be real? I walked aimlessly around town for some time and my sadness slowly turned to annoyance and then turned to anger. My bag began to feel heavy, so I turned back to go home. I was walking for another few minutes in my numb hate when I ran into a group of people I knew smoking cigarettes outside their apartment complex. If that small town had a ghetto, this complex would be it. It was unmaintained, at one point painted blue and white. A sign said “Greenston Crossing” which was stupid because Greenston Street was five or six blocks away and this apartment was in no way connected to it other than by name. One of the chains had broken that held it up in a little box thing, so it sat slanted on the dirt, and the other chain was rusting away. About half the units had a piece of plywood covering a hole near the front door where an air conditioning unit normally was installed. “Want a cigarette man?”One of them asked me. I walked over and mumbled thanks. He handed me a lighter. I had fairly minimal interactions with most of these people. I had seen them at parties on occasion, sold weed to one of them, and had bought weed and heroin from two. They were a few years older than me, most at least 18. I knew one of them, James, was only 17, and a guy named Zach was 22. James used to have classes with me, but I think he dropped out because he didn’t come to school anymore. “What are you up to, Junior?”Zach asked. He was a cool guy, bought me cigarettes and alcohol a few times. He took a long drag of his black kretek. It popped as it burned and smelled heavily of the cloves. He smoked them because they mask the smell of heroin and meth better than normal cigarettes. “Nothing, just going home. I was just taking a stroll around town, you know?” James laughed. “With your bag, man? I know that fucking thing ain’t light boss. Come inside and have a beer, get it off your back for a minute. You still smoke?” “Yeah,”I said. I hadn’t since I met Allison the other day, I just hadn’t felt like it. I thought would quit, she had said something about her brother having used to do drugs before he committed suicide and she clearly didn’t like it. I said nothing about my habit, thinking it would ruin us, but hey, that was then. Now? Fuck her, right? “Yeah dog, that sounds nice man.” He gestured for me to follow him. A couple other guys followed, and the one girl that was there. I think her name was Samantha. She was a tweaker and looked every bit of it, probably 19 but looked 30. Her lips had light burn marks on them and her fingers were scarred and blistered from her pipe. She was one of those people that you might see and feel like if you touched her, you would get AIDS. James led us into the unit. It was supposed to be a one bedroom, but there were no doors. The entire apartment consisted of five rooms: the living room, the first you enetered; the kitchen, visible from the doorway as there was a small wall with a large window in it, a breakfast nook on the ledge. The dining room was about half the size of the living room and had a wall separating the two, with a large, open doorway between. When you went through the door, the kitchen was on the right. Directly back was the bathroom, and on the right behind the kitchen was the bedroom, but it also had no door, and the wall had a similar window in the wall so you could see into the dining room from it, and if you were at the right angle (pretty much any angle was the right one) you could see the front door, too. I threw my back down by the air conditioner. We went into the bathroom, and the door was shut behind was. There was like five of us in there, sitting on the toilet and the edge of the bathtub. Being the last one in, I jumped up and sat on the edge of the plastic counter. James tossed his cigarette into the sink next to me, which had no drain cover. The girl, Samantha, pulled a heavily used piece of tin foil out of her little purse and handed it to one of the younger boys with us. His name was Alex, I think... whatever, I don’t care. He took it and folded it slightly as he put the black tar onto it. “Anyone got a tutor?”He asked. Most everyone shook their heads and mumbled. Alex fumbled in his pockets. “I have a pen in my bag, I’ll be right back,”I said. I went to my backpack and took out a pen from the small front pocket where I usually kept a small bag of weed and a little bat pipe. I ripped the ends off with my teeth and threw them away in the kitchen. Zach and the others were inside smoking a round of weed. They offered it to me and I took a hit before heading back towards the bathroom when the guy next to Zach said: “Hey asshole!”I turned around, confused. I wasn’t sure if he was going to start a fight or not, my heart jumped into my throat. I wasn’t much of a fighter and he was a big guy. “It’s puff PUFF pass. Do it right motherfucker. No, Sean, give it back to him. Way to go jackass you fucked up the circle.” The circle was laughing a little bit, and could probably tell how suddenly nervous I became. He smiled at me. I took the pipe back, a little glass piece that changed colors as it got dirtier. This one was almost all black now. I took a big hit, held it in for a second and blew a little out, then took a smaller second one. “Happy?”I asked. “Yes I am. Don’t let it happen again.” I went back to the bathroom and Alex handed me the foil. “Want me to serve you?”He asked. I nodded my head with the tutor in my mouth. He held the foil and slowly ran the lighter under the tar, tilting it around to keep the heroin moving so it didn’t burn until I started to lose the smoke. He stopped and I held it in. He served the girl next. After about thirty seconds I let it out, the smoke was still heavy. Like a cigarette you didn’t hold in your lungs for long before exhaling. The next time it came to me, I held the tutor between my middle and index fingers. Alex stopped once he noticed it. “Why are you holding it like that dude? It’s not a goddamn cigarette,”he laughed and started again. They were still smoking when I left the bathroom. I joined the safety meeting for a bit, and Zach handed me a beer. We all sat there bullshitting for a few hours before I realized how late it was. It was nine thirty, dark out, and I had school the next day. “Hey guys, I gotta take off and get some sleep. Thanks for the smoke!”I said, and grabbed my bag, getting ready to leave. “Want a ride, Junior?”The guy that took up an issue with my lack of proper puff puff pass etiquette asked. Not sure where ‘junior’came from, but kinda stuck for a while after this. He took me out to his car. It was a white four door sedan. It sounded like one of the spark plugs wasn’t firing. The transmission was starting to slip. He had some hard rock music playing loudly. The subwoofer in the trunk made the mirrors vibrate. I gave him directions. He was speeding. Maybe 15 or 20 over the speed limit. Altogether it wasn’t a very memorable ride. Well, it wouldn’t have been if not for what happened near the end. To get to my house from Zach’s, we had to go by Allison’s. I looked at the desolate building as we passed. A boy, maybe 12, was running from it, into the fields. He disappeared in the tall grass. I found to be of nothing more than mild entertainment for the few short seconds I saw him. I was lost in a lack of thought, my head was blank, just filled with sorrow as I look at the place. A light was on in one of the second story rooms, lighting up the dark roof below it in a shallow light. And then it passed from view and I came back to myself. I was still high, kind of drunk. He dropped me off the block before my house. I stumbled down the sidewalk and across the street into the driveway. My mom was here, probably asleep. My dad’s car was gone. When I got to the door, I fumbled with my keys to get them into the lock. I had trouble getting it to turn, you had to shimmy them just right or else the mechanics of the doorknob would lock up. Made all the worse by my insobriety, it took me about ten minutes to get the door open. I had to shove against it with my shoulder before the latch would disengage all the way, and I fell through into the entryway. The lights were off and I didn’t want to turn them on, so I slowly made my way through the entryway into the living room and through the hall to my room. I balanced myself on tables and tripped over shoes left on the floor, and stumbled into the walls. Pushed my door open, and collapsed on the bed. I tried to kick my shoes off but gave up. I felt like I had a fever, it was a cool night but I was sweating. I managed to get my shirt off and fell asleep. My alarm went off at seven in the morning. I couldn’t find the button in my blind grasps for it, so I just grabbed it and yanked it from the wall. I felt like shit, rolled over and fell asleep again. I woke up at ten, put a new shirt on, and was getting ready to go to school late when I realized I forgot my backpack in the car the night before. So I said fuck it, and skipped the day. I deleted the message on the home phone from the school saying I didn’t come in. Then went to Zach’s to get my backpack. I was pretty sure the two of them were roommates. I got to his apartment at about one in the afternoon. The guy who gave me a ride, apparently named Zeb, wasn’t there, so I hung out for a few hours waiting for him to get back. We smoked more weed and snorted a little bit of meth. I was never big on meth, but it is fun on occasion, I have to admit. When Zeb got back, I took my bag and walked home. It weighed like fifty pounds with all the books I had in it. I saw Allison in an oak tree in the middle of the field. She looked over at me, and I did a small waving gesture. He did it back and then looked away. I had at this point forgotten about the boy I saw running last night. Allison wasn’t in school the next day. The day after she was. Her bruises had mostly cleared up, she was wearing only a light layer of makeup. She still looked so sad, and still wouldn’t talk to me. She avoided me at all costs, sat as far away from me in class as possible, and took a long route home to make sure I couldn’t talk to her.This went on for several weeks. The weather was warming up quickly. It was a hot day, humid. School was out for a few days because of parent teacher meetings, and my friend Jason and I were walking around outside. We were walking in the park on the other side of town. There was an old railroad track on the other side. It hadn’t been used in years. A few miles down the tracks there were segments missing. It had been rerouted to bypass the town entirely a few years ago, stopping at the rail station about a half mile down the highway. On the other side of the tracks there was a heavily wooded area that ran down the river. There were small paths that led down there, leading eventually to the beach of the river a few hundred feet back. It got steep when you got close, and we had to hold onto the shrubbery to make our way down to this little plateau about ten feet above the river with a steep drop to the water. It was an outcropping rock, a big chunk of granite. It was an open area, a few hundred square feet on the top. A few hundred feet downriver there was a larger one that was about thirty feet above the river, with ledges that were a little lower going all the way down to the surface. When the water was warm enough we sometimes went there to jump off into the river, but we had to be careful. You had to get five or six feet out or else you would hit the bottom like three feet below the surface. Jason broke his leg there once and I had to carry him out. It took like two hours to get him to a hospital... poor guy. He didn’t like going there anymore. So usually we came here to jump, since it was lower and the water was deep enough right up to the outcropping. Jason had got some China White. He pulled out a little bag of the white powder and we put a little bit onto our foil. We were having issues because it was windy and we were afraid of losing the heroin. The shit’s expensive, it was like two hundred dollars for a couple points. So we made a little box to block the wind, only to find that we still couldn’t get the lighter to work. The problems of freebasing... such a pain in the ass sometimes. So we retreated to the shelter of the trees. It felt like the wind was moving even faster, getting restricted through the narrow corridors between the trunks. We took refuge behind a small group of aspens. The powder turned black and burned to the foil. Most people don’t seem to like the taste of heroin. Which really I think is the taste of the foil, but whatever. People don’t like it. I do though. The thing I miss the most about heroin isn’t the high, but the taste. Almost a sweet, but acrid flavor that sticks in the back of your throat. The smell was almost like vinegar, but so faint. We took small hits to make sure we didn’t waste any smoke. Slowly the high came over me. I felt the warmth spread to my fingers, the mild discomfort in my back eased away. We could hear people along the path near us. But we didn’t pay much attention. We were high on heroin, we felt safe. Then Jason quickly balled the foil up and shoved it in his pocket and ran up the hill to the park. I was late on the uptake, and it took me a few seconds to follow. It was a young family coming down to the rock to have a picnic. We decided to go to The Shire. It was further out, more secluded, and might have been on private property. We cut across yards to avoid going by Alison’s house, and came out on the right by the path. We raced down to the pond, jumping over windfalls and we leapt across the creek where the culvert was still failing to do it’s job. We came sprinting down the little hill and barely stopped before running into the pond. Alison was sitting on top of the small cliff next to the waterfall. She looked surprised and sat there for a few minutes before running off. I tried to follow her and called after her, but gave up after a few yards. “Who was that?”Jason asked. I thought for a moment. What would I say? She never was really my girlfriend... we were together for like a day. “No one, don’t worry about it.” “But -” “I said don’t worry about it. Forget it man.”Jason dropped the topic, and pulled out his ball of foil again. We unfolded it carefully, trying not to spill any of the heroin. It was hard to freebase it right, because the foil was so crinkled. When we finished smoking it was brittle and cracked. We had brought some beer in our bags that Zach bought for me. We cracked a couple of them open and sat on opposite sides of the waterfall on little ledges that you could lounge on, albeit dangerously. “Let’s go swimming,”Jason said. We were getting bored, and our conversation had died down, but we didn’t want to go home. We were both wearing shorts because of the heat that day. Jason rolled off his ledge and jumped into the water, swimming out to the middle and diving down. He came up with a handful of rocks and sand. “So fucking cold...”he said. He had a slight shiver to his voice, but still paddled around. “Get in man.”I jumped at him from the ledge, narrowly missing his head. We splashed around for a little while, then decided to smoke some weed. We were standing in a shallow spot near the ledges, where we left the pipe. We blew smoke rings at each other and tried to make bubbles of smoke by exhaling under water, but it didn’t really work. Around seven, Jason took off. I still didn’t want to go home, so hung out by myself. I was lying on a rock in a clearing close by The Shire drying off and fell asleep. I don’t know what time it was after that but I woke up when I heard someone trip and tumble through the trees. I jumped up and shoved my cigarettes and pipe into my pocket and got ready to run. I was throwing my shoes on when I saw Alison’s face appear through the brush. “Hello,”she said quietly. “I was hoping you were still here.” “You scared me,”I responded. She ignored it. “I’m sorry I’ve been blowing you off. I miss you.” I wasn't sure what to say. In reality I missed her too, but I was also pissed off at her, but she still won me over and I said, “I’ve missed you too.” She came over and sat next to me. “Can we talk? “Sure.” “My little brother ran away.” I said nothing. “My dad hit me and he tried to intervene. But he’s so small,”she started to cry. “Dad threw him against the wall. He was knocked out. He was gone the next morning.” “I’m sorry, Alison.”I moved closer to her and put my arm around her shoulders. She leaned into me and rested her head on my arm. She didn’t say anything. “Why do you stay there?” She didn’t respond for some time. “I don’t know where else to go.” “Don’t you have other family? Aunts or anything that you can move in with?” “I don’t know. I’ve never met anyone else in my family.” We sat there for over an hour. Me, holding her, and her crying on my shoulder. She fell asleep, and I lied down with her on the rock, and drowsed off to sleep too. We didn’t wake up until almost midnight. It was still warm out. There was a bright moon out, and the stars were brilliant. We jumped back into the water, and swam with each other for a while. She smoked a little bit of weed with me for the first time in her life, and we laughed at stories I told of Jason and stories she told of her late mother. We forgot about her problems, and were lost in our own little world where it was just us. She jumped up on me when we were playing with the waterfall. I could touch the bottom, but she was too short. She kissed me and held onto my shoulders to keep at eye level. “I love you.” I smiled and kissed her again. “I love you too.” I know. It was fast. But we were teenagers. And we did love each other. I still do... or at least I think I do. I mean, who finds their soulmate when they’re 16? Well if someone says that they can go fuck themselves because I did. We slipped behind the waterfall into the shallow cave. She pushed me down and sat on top of me. Her makeup was running down her face, but there were no bruises. Her father hadn’t hit her in a few weeks, mostly because he was passed out most days since her brother ran away. Her skin was perfect. Her eyes were bright, her chest was heaving from her deep breathes. She was so beautiful. We were in love. It won't let me format it really... I spent like twenty minutes doing it and then it removed all of it. I'm working on making a file to upload instead now. Should be up soon. I'm probably going to rewrite this section. I wasn't sure how to express a lot of the emotion how I wanted to, so I'm going to have to do some work with that.