“Are you sure this is ok?” asked Maya, as she held her hair back and bent over the marble counter.
“Yeah, of course,” said Azu. She was intently focused on wrapping her bangs around each other in front of her face, “I hate science anyway.”
“No, I mean this,” said Maya, motioning to the apples, orange juice and partly empty Ziploc bag on the counter.
“Don’t worry,” said Azu with a playful smile, “there’s plenty more orange juice.”
I opened my eyes and lied there in my bed a while, looking at the clouds on the ceiling. They never changed, but I just enjoyed looking at them for one reason or another. I think I liked looking at all the different lines that made up the clouds, giving them shape and texture, and setting them apart from the other clouds. After some minutes, I turned my gaze below the clouds and saw the round thing with symbols and lines. I didn’t understand why it was there, or why it didn’t fall with nothing below to support it.
Next, I looked out the window, where the big clouds were. A warm wind came in and blew the white curtains open. I decided it was time to get up. I looked towards my feet to find that I was already dressed and that my shoes were already on my feet. Nice!
“Hey, I’m serious,” said Maya as she turned on the TV, “I don’t care if we ditch, I just don’t want to get caught with this stuff. It would seriously **** me.”
“Aw, it’s cute how much you care,” said Azu coming out of the bathroom, her eyes transformed by heavy mascara and eyeliner, fake eyelashes and purple contact lenses. She had already changed out of her uniform, “but don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen. It’s like 1:00 right now, right? My mom won’t be home til at least 5:30.”
She walked back over to the counter.
After the jump down from the bed, I picked up my cup and took a big drink. Mmmm, Apple. After setting it back down on the floor I walked out of my room and into the hallway. I started getting concerned. Hadn’t it been a while already? I thought we were supposed to go. Where was she? How long was I asleep?
I checked the living room and then I checked the kitchen. Nope. Then I went to check the bathroom. The door was closed. I called her name, but alas, got no response. Finally I went to her room. I wasn’t usually supposed to go in, but I was growing impatient.
“Why are you getting so dressed up?” asked Maya, “are you going to see him again?”
“Yeah,” said Azu, pouring herself a glass of juice, “we’re gonna meet up at that big tree in the forest again.”
“On a Thursday?” Maya said surprised, “what’s the occasion?”
“I wanna show him what I got,” Azu said, sitting down next to Maya on the couch.
“Check it out,” said Azu as she opened her mouth to reveal a black and white spiral patterned stud in her tongue.
“Holy. ****!” exclaimed Maya, “when did you get that? How did you get that?”
“Last week,” answered Azu with a pleased look on her face, “went down to the shop in town after school.”
“That looks really, really painful.”
“It’s no big deal,” said Azu, getting up again, “it’s like a big prick at first, and then stings for a while, but you get used to it. You should get one too.”
As I walked closer to the door, I noticed a strange sound coming from inside. It reminded me of that big round machine that she often used to turn fruits into delicious juice for me, but it wasn’t quite the same. It was like that machine but if it was under four pillows and a pile of clothes.
The door wasn’t closed.
I strained to reach the knob and slowly pushed my weight against the door. It swung open without making a sound. It felt like forever since I had last been in here. The big bed was right in the center of the room with two windows to the left side. The curtains of the windows here were the big brothers and sisters of the ones in my room. The bed was not only bigger, but also a different color than mine. Where mine was bright green, hers was a light gray with many flowers on it.
And she was on it! She wasn’t lying down in bed, but she wasn’t really sitting either. She was about halfway between the two. Her eyes were closed but I don’t think she was asleep because her hand was moving. It looked like she was trying to get something out of her middle pocket but couldn’t find it because her hand kept moving around and around, looking for whatever it was. And she had a funny look on her face. She looked almost sad. The weird sound was coming from her.
“Mommy?” I said.
“Oh, Jesus,” she said and sat up with a look on her face that reminded me of how I look when I suddenly realize that I’ve gone potty in my pants, “Jo, what are you doing here?”
“I fell asleep,” I said, rubbing my eyes, “and you weren’t there.”
“I’m sorry, Honey,” she said, “did you have a good nap?”
“Yeah,” I answered, “what was it?”
“What was what?” she asked back.
“The thing you were looking for in your pocket.” I said.
“The-” she stopped and her eyes grew really big for a second, and then she gave me a really big smile. I loved it when she smiled, “it’s a magic egg!”
“What?” a magic egg? Awesome! I’d never heard of that. I wondered what magic it could do, “can I see it?”
“Sure,” she said after thinking about it for a second. She pulled it out of her pocket. It was white like an egg and smooth and round like an egg, but its shape was very different from any egg I’d seen. It was a lot longer and thinner, almost like a cucumber, “but you can’t touch it.”
“Aw,” I said, disappointed, “why not?”
“Because,” she said and smiled again, “it won’t be magic anymore. Only girls can hold it.”
I grew sad. “Oh, ok.”
“Hey, don’t be sad, Honey,” she said, getting up. She put the magic egg on the stand next to her bed, “come on. Hey, we’re going to go now, yeah? That’s why you came in here, right? Come on.”
“Ok,” I said.
“Go get your hat and backpack and I’ll get ready too, ok?”
“Ok!” I said, and ran back to my room.
“You don’t want any more?” Azu asked, lifting her face away from the countertop.
“No, I think I’m ok for now,” said Maya, “you should be more careful.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she said.
““Hey, is anyone home?” Azu’s mother said as she closed the front door behind her.
“****,” Azu hissed as she scrambled to clean up the counter. She threw everything in her bag right as her mother walked in.
“Hi Maya,” she said with a smile, “what are you girls doing home so early?”
“Hi there,” said Maya nervously.
“It was a half-day at school,” Azu quickly answered.
“Yeah,” Maya chipped in.
“Oh, that’s nice,” Azu’s mother said. “Oh, hey what is that?”
“What?” asked Maya.
“You’ve got some sugar powder on your uniform,” said Azu’s mother.
Maya’s eyes widened to double their usual size. Azu came up behind her and pushed her towards the door.
“Oh yeah,” said Azu, “we made sugar cookies today in home ec. But anyway, Maya has to be going now. She needs to study for a big test tomorrow, right?”
“Uh, yeah,” Maya answered absently, “bye.”
Azu closed the door behind her friend and walked back to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of orange juice. Her mother didn’t budge, and stood staring at her as Azu filled the glass.
“Is everything ok?” she asked Azu.
“Yeah,” Azu’s eyes didn’t meet her mother’s, “of course.”
“Mom, I’m fine,” she said, adding just the right amount of attitude.
“Ok,” her mother said. She stayed standing there, watching her daughter drink orange juice for some time.
“Oh, my God,” her mother said, dropping her purse and covering her hands with her mouth.
“What?” asked Azu, acting oblivious. She noticed where her mother was looking and quickly wiped her nose with the back of her hand. “This is nothing.”
“Whatever, I’m out of here,” Azu said as she grabbed her purse and made for the door.
“You’re not going anywhere!” her mother exclaimed as she grabbed her arm, “you get your **** back here!”
“Get your **** hands off me, bitch!” Azu said as she wrenched her arm away and ran out the door, slamming it behind her.
“It’s so nice out here,” Mommy said as we walked up the path. We were up really high on the path. There was a side of the mountain to the right of the path and a beautiful view and bushes and trees to the left, “are you happy we went hiking?”
“Yeah,” smiling as hard as I could, “thank you, Mommy.”
“You’re welcome, honey.”
I walked over to the edge of the path to get a better view at the trees and bushes and stuff. It looked really pretty and so I decided to take a picture. Mommy had given me her camera to hold in my bag while we hiked. I started looking for it and took some things out of my bag.
“What’s that?” she asked after seeing me take out some things.
“N- nothing,” I said quickly putting my hand behind my back. But I was too slow! She came over.
“Jo,” she sounded close to angry, “show me what’s in your hand.”
I looked down, trying to hold back the tears and showed her the magic egg in my hand. Her eyes grew very, very wide. She opened her mouth to say something, but at that moment, the ground beneath her right foot gave way and she slipped. I caught her hand as she went over the side of the path but I was too small and ended up going over with her. She managed to wrap me in her arms in the nicest hug as the whole world started to spin.
Everything was brown and blue and brown and blue and brown and blue. It lasted for the longest time. And then it stopped.
I was on my back, looking up at the clouds in the sky. These clouds had no lines. They were just white and puffy and nice. I stood up and saw that my right knee was scratched up pretty bad, but for some reason, I couldn’t feel it. I didn’t see Mommy so I went looking for her.
I saw her a little ways away, near a big red, wet bush. She was lying there, looking at the clouds like I did, except that she looked funny. Both of her legs and one of her arms was turned in a funny direction. It reminded me of one of my toys. I wanted to smile, but then I remembered that I was still holding the egg and felt bad again.
I came up to her and sat down by her head. She turned to me and started crying, really bad, too. The tears just weren’t stopping.
“I’m sorry, Mommy,” I said. My eyes started stinging. “I’m sorry I took your egg, I know I wasn’t supposed to touch it. I just wanted to see the magic.”
She moved her mouth, but no words came out. It was like when you put the TV on mute and people still talk but you can’t hear them.
“I’m sorry I made us fall, too.” I said. The big tears that had welled up had started to roll down my cheeks, “I’m sorry, Mommy!”
She gave me one of her big great smiles and I came and hugged her. She hugged me back with her normal arm, but her body didn’t feel normal. It was like a bag of toys. I pulled away and saw something white and red and wet poking out of Mommy’s shirt. She was still smiling.
“That sucks, babe.”
****, I feel so stupid,” Azu said, “what am I going to do now?”
I’m sorry I can’t help,” he said, “but you can’t crash at my place. My parents are super strict, especially after I got caught stealing that bike.”
“Great,” she said in defeat while dropping her shoulders. She rested her head on his shoulder as they sat side by side on the log. They held hands in silence for a time until he finally brought his free hand up to Azu’s short, blonde hair and pushed it out of the way, running his finger down her jaw on the way down. He brought her face up to his with one finger on her chin and they kissed.
His lips were warm and dry, so Azu decided to wet them with her tongue. Lips quickly parted to allow her tongue inside. She moved it about until it made a soft rattling sound on his teeth, and he pulled away in surprise.
“Whoa,” he said, “what’s that?”
Just then they heard a rustling sound in the bushes not far away. It sounded like a large animal had crashed through some bushes.
“What was that?” he said again.
“Let’s check it out,” Azu said, standing up.
He looked up at her and swallowed. Even though he was frightened by the sound, he wasn’t about to pussy out in front of a girl. “You really aren’t like most girls, are you?” He asked.
“**** most girls,” Azu said as she went into the bushes towards the sound, not waiting for him to rise, “most girls are boring as hell.”
It didn’t take long for them to find the source of the sound, but when they did, they immediately wished they hadn’t. Azu stood speechless while her companion vomited in the bushes. She finally regained her wits enough to walk a few steps toward the scene; a woman’s obliterated body and the boy in her arms. Azu nearly jumped when the boy moved out from under his dead mother’s grasp and stood up. He looked like he’d been playing with strawberry jam all day. Azu only wished that were the case.
“Hey there, little guy,” Azu managed to say awkwardly, “what happened?”
“I took Mommy’s magic egg and we fell,” said the boy. Tears were rolling down his cheeks, “now Mommy won’t say anything to me.”
“Aw, it’s ok,” said Azu in her best big sister voice, having no idea what he was talking about. She knew, though, that she had to get him away form this, “come over here, little guy. Let me give you a jacket, you look cold.”
He looked skeptical at first, but slowly started to move towards her on shaky feet.
Azu’s friend finally regained his composure enough to notice that the boy had something in his hands, “is that kid holding a vibrator?”
As the three started walking away from the horrific scene they heard branches breaking and leaves rustling not far ahead of them. A second later, they heard an identical sound a bit away from them, then behind, and then in front again. It was coming from above and it wasn’t stopping. Azu grabbed the little boy and huddled with him against a large tree trunk as what looked like chunks of debris of various make, shape and size started to rain down in the area immediately around them. It lasted for at least 30 seconds and finally came to an end with one last, big object crashing to the ground between the trees. And Azu nearly screamed when it moved.
It was a woman, singed, dirty and completely naked. Her body was scratched all over from the fall through the trees and her face looked like she’d also been playing in strawberry jam all day. “Ugh,” she groaned as she moved to stand up. She was holding a knife in her left hand, and she looked like she’d used it to scoop out the jam she’d been playing with, “where am I?”