Friday, October 4, 2013

Fiction Friday: Love in the Time of Ninth Grade, Part 2

Click here to read Love in the Time of Ninth Grade, Part 1

Life behind the scenes at the haunted house that night was not good. Two of the marshmallow guns wouldn’t work and Steve was panicking. “The whole world already thinks marching band is a joke! Our haunted house can’t suck too!”

Derek, still swimming in his rare state of peace, tapped Steve on the arm with the sole working marshmallow gun.

“Relax. Just throw something else when people come in.”

Lars, the stoner snare drum player, piped up. “How ‘bout those mini-sandbags we use to keep the marimba wheels down?”

“Perfect!” Steve shouted. “Let’s get them!”

Derek frowned. “Wait, no, sandbags could hurt someone.”

“Come on, it will be fine!”

It turned out fine after all because Steve was a lousy shot. Each time a group walked through the curtained entrance, Derek would fire his marshmallow gun, Lars would bang on his makeshift drum and cymbal setup, and Steve would throw the sandbags while they all howled like wolves. The kids would scream or laugh or pretend to be cool before moving on to the next section. Even with the flashing strobe lights, Steve hadn’t managed to hit anyone.

Until Derek looked over the wall from his perch and saw Amanda Winters and her friends approaching. The butterflies that usually crowded Derek’s chest went still at the sight of her. “Guys!” he whispered. “More people!”

When the girls walked through the curtain, Derek howled and fired, taking care not to hit Amanda with any marshmallows. He could see them all laughing from the chaos. But then, in the flickering light, he watched a sandbag strike Amanda square in the eye. She screamed and covered her face. Steve landed another sandbag on her arm.

“Stop! Stop!” Derek yelled. He dropped his marshmallow gun and hopped off his perch, rushing over to her. “Are you okay?” he asked.

Amanda registered his face with her good eye and shoved him with both hands. “No, you jerk!” She and her friends turned and rushed out the entrance, leaving Derek with the dagger of her words in his chest.

Click here to read Love in the Time of Ninth Grade, Part 3

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