Hello hello and welcome to this week’s short story, which by all accounts is strange. We are currently running a challenge on The Writer’s Mess Discord, which features a youtube drawing challenge, modified for writing.
So, in May we made a playlist and this month you use a random number generator to get two songs from the playlist, and use those songs to make characters, then use the week theme to give them a relationship. I thought it would be easy, then I got week 1, a friendship between character inspired by the songs “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, and “You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift.
This led to the story below, a relatively light story, with dark humor, and darker themes. If you are a person who gets triggered by death, you might wanna scan the tags before reading. Otherwise, enjoy!
She sat, to the appearance of most, alone in a shaded section of the bleachers, watching the practice below. To those who looked closer, the shadow beside her was just a shade too dark, but people dismissed it as a trick of the light, as when they tried to focus on the darkness, their eyes seemed to slide right past it.
“You know, there is a pretty easy solution to this,” a voice said from that darkness.
“There really isn’t,” she argued.
“No, really, a tiny shove here, a misalignment there, and oh, no, they didn’t catch her this time. No more head cheerleader. Done right, no more head at all.” Their voice was light, but she had known them long enough to know that the offer was legit.
“Then he would be sad, and mourn her the rest of high school. Or he would be scarred for life, because decapitation isn’t something most people can handle.” She explained it gently, as she didn’t want to upset them.
“But after,” they started, and she cut them off.
“After he would go after another cheerleader.”
“I’d imagine the visual would be enough to put him off cheerleaders.”
“Okay, then he would go after someone else that was pretty, well dressed, and dumb as a post. He has a type, and clearly, I am not it.” It hurt her to say it, but she had to face facts. She was never going to be on his radar.
“Well, you could change your clothes, and besides, trauma changes people, maybe a little decapitation would make him look for someone with a good head on their shoulders.”
She laughed, it was wrong, so wrong, but she couldn’t help it. “I can’t believe you went there.”
“I can’t believe that you can’t believe it,” they countered.
She sobered up a bit, before continuing on. “I, you’re right, I could change.” She wasn’t sure where to go from there, but she didn’t get a chance to.
“Don’t!” They said it loud enough that some people looked over, and she was surprised. They were usually a lot more careful about that.
“Don’t change, not for him, not for anyone. You won’t always be in high school, and pretending to be someone you aren’t… Just trust me on this one, it isn’t worth it.”
She scoffed, “it’s easy for you to say, you aren’t on a deadline. Your going to go on forever, and I-“ She gestured to them, sitting beside her.
She had spent enough time near death to become a friend. She could only see them when it was close, and they were a constant reminder that the treatments were never going to be a cure. She was just delaying the inevitable, and everyone knew it. It was why she had no friends, and why no boy was going to look at her twice, not with an expiration date less than a decade away, if she was lucky.
“You,” they started quietly, coming more into focus than she would like, and for a brief moment she wondered if the expiration date was going to be today. “You are worth getting to know, even if you aren’t going to be around forever. Tomorrow isn’t promised anyone, Auggie. I won’t tell you who, but, you are going to outlive more of them than you think,” they said, gesturing at the field. “You just have the misfortune of knowing it, and that shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of it, from living a life just as full as the rest of theirs. More so even, because you don’t have to worry about saving for retirement.”
It was a dark kind of humour, but it was hers, and she let out a bitter laugh. “Okay, okay, I get it. Live for today, Carpe Diem, all that jazz.”
They smiled at her, and it should have been terrifying, but she felt warm, loved. It wasn’t a conventional friendship, but it was the best she had ever had.
She took in a deep breath, let it go, and asked the first thing that came to mind. “So, I know you can’t tell me who, or like, how, but, like, numbers?”
At their raised eyebrow of confusion, she continued, “I am going to outlive some of them, but like is it 1, 6, 14, 72 or 9? Come on, give a girl a hint, at least.”
“Less than 72,” they deadpanned, and at her pleading look, sighed before continuing, “but more than 14.”
She blinked, “really?”
They nodded, “really.”
“Point made. So, new goal then,” she started.
“Different boyfriend?” They asked.
“I am thinking life is too short to stick to such narrow traditional relationship definitions.”
“Well mostly I was thinking, get laid, but ya, maybe you’re right, girls could work too,” she conceded.
They met each other’s eyes, and cracked, laughing like idiots. She didn’t care if she looked like a nutcase, laughing alone in the bleachers, because at the end of the day, what she would really be missing in a life cut short, were more moments like this.