She had no idea that he was watching her at this very minute. She was getting ready to cross the busy highway for the first time that day. Nothing had gone right this morning, absolutely nothing. First her math book had gone missing, as well as her homework that she had folded neatly and put inside the front cover. Then Shep their collie had caused her to spill her breakfast all over her brand new clean clothes, forcing her to change into something she hadn’t planned on wearing until warmer weather.
To top everything off, her older brother Scott had given her a hard time about her choice of boyfriends, friends in general and her attitude towards their parents. She wished he would just mind his own business for once. Just because Scott was the oldest didn't mean he had to interfere with her life all the time. He acted more like a parent than a brother, if you asked her.
After gathering her bookbag, lunch, keys and purse, she headed outside. She looked both ways, making sure it was safe to cross; this was after all an extremely busy and dangerous highway. It had made the Top 100 Worst Highways in North America list in her local newspaper, The Sandyhill Courier. It was ran by the local butcher Hal Needham.
I know, a butcher and a newspaperman, it is kind of an odd pairing, unless you know that Hal's father is the Great Harry Needham himself. Harry Needham is the owner of The Sandyhill Courier and the mayor of Sandyhill Springs, the town this story takes place in, population 985.
She still didn’t know he was waiting and watching her from a distance of about 500 yards away. He was Johnny Dubois, her next door neighbor, and unbeknownst to her, Johnny was secretly stalking her everywhere she went. Her name is Mary, and she would love to change the name some day to Marissa, but probably would not for fear of hurting her parent’s feelings, as they named her after a cherished relative, her Great Aunt Mary Chatterley.
Johnny Dubois was 18, not much to look at, and had a record for petty crimes. He had been caught for shoplifting at the local Piggly Wiggly, gotten arrested for 3 DUI’S and various drunken disorderliness. Mary had all but ignored Johnny for most of his life, even though they had gone to school together for all but kindergarten and first grade. He was not someone she would normally hang out with or share her life with for that matter.
This did not go unnoticed by Johnny, not one little bit. He was getting tired of her holier-than-thou attitude towards him and his best friend Earl, and he was getting ready to show her how much it bothered him. He had a plan, but it wasn’t quite ready for implementation just yet.
Mary had once again successfully crossed the highway which the locals called Deaths Door. Many people had been killed both trying to cross on foot and also to navigate its windy and precariously narrow path by vehicle. Many a night went by that you could hear the sound of sirens on their way to rescue somebody in distress on that highway, or take them to the morgue to be identified by their next of kin. Either way, Deaths Door was dreaded by everyone who had to cross or commute it every day. Mary was one of them.
Mary was a senior at Sandyhill High, home of the undefeated Prairie Dogs, and for the most part had a grade point average of 3.0, sometimes a 3.5. Although she did carry a 4.0 for two semesters once, that had been clear back in the 8th grade, and this was high school, and it had proven to be much harder to get a perfect 4.0 than she had anticipated. Mary was happy with her 3.0 thank you very much, she had worked hard at it and it showed.
Today was going to be a good day, unless Mary ran into Mr. Bellenbaum her Math teacher. He was always on her case to join the Math Club before she graduated, just so she could say she had been in one club in her high school career. It was never going to happen, but he was like a dog with a bone when it came to The Math Club, OB-SESSED.
As Mary entered her homeroom she noticed Shelley her best friend wasn’t at her usual spot, in fact Shelley wasn’t even in the classroom yet. That was odd in itself. Shelley was never late for class and she was rarely absent from school. Mary made a mental note to call her as soon as she got a chance this morning.
That chance came sooner that she thought it would when Mrs. Scarpelli had to run out for an emergency phone call from her husband Bill who was a reporter at the local newspaper, The Sandyhill Courier.
Mary took out her phone and called Shelley’s cell, but it went directly to voice mail, now she was worried. Shelley was the kind of person who was tied inexplicably with her phone, and she never let it ring twice, let alone go to voicemail.
School could not get over fast enough for Mary, who worried that something might be terribly wrong with Shelley her dearest and best friend. The two had met when they were in utero, their mom’s happened to be the best of friends as well. Shelley and Mary were like two halves of a whole, and never far from each other. Lately though Shelley had seemed a bit distant as well as skinnier than usual.
Mary had meant to ask what was up but it never seemed a good time, so she had put it off, now wishing she hadn’t. What if something were seriously wrong? What would she do if Shelley was seriously ill? Mary had to get a grip and then she had to find out what was going on, now!
© 2010 Shannon M. King.
This publication is the exclusive property of Shannon M. King and is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Shannon M. King. All rights reserved.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this story next week same time.
I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I feel it not. I believe in God even when He is silent. *Written on a wall in a concentration camp*