First We Were IV
By the time the police arrived, there were three of us left. Three originals. Three best friends. Architects of what was once a secret society.
The difference between leaders and initiates was evident. We designed it that way, dictated that initiates wore the white of sacrificial lambs and us bloody red. No confusion over who appeared to be in charge.
There was a chaotic minute under the star-choked sky. Volleying accusations and bodily threats. I tried to kick out of the arms of an officer because I still hadn’t had my fill of revenge. Never would I. And you know, the dagger tipped in blood didn’t exactly help our case for looking faultless.
They herded the initiates into a line, ordered them to keep their mouths shut. Still, those kids, those snakes, whispered stories and secrets in the way the dying confess, anticipating forgiveness. Good little boys and girls, eyes innocent saucers, except they’d terrorized a whole town.
Our dagger lay a little outside the ring of fire. There was
the truth serum, a few muddy, crimson sips they’d dredge up from the bottle to test. And the idol on a pile of rocks, her smile calling out from on top of her burial mound. No sense would be made of her origins.
Police circled the meteorite, probing the scene, coming up short in front of us three, searching faces for clues. Accident or murder.
They would ask the wrong questions later on, after the ambulance left without its sirens wailing, when the three architects and our six recruits were in the police station.
There was lots of hand-wringing and Make me understand. Parents arrived. Our initiates had been shaking their fists and snarling at authority just an hour before. The rebellion had drained out of them and they buckled with relief at the sight of their moms and dads. I didn’t acknowledge mine. All the adults needed help understanding how the night happened.
“October happened because September did.”
An officer warned me to stop being snarky.
“I’m not,” I whispered, voice all cried out.
“Then answer,” he demanded.
“Because August. Because July. Because June. I can keep going if you need me to.”
That was the only answer they’d get from me. Afterward, I stopped talking. For a few weeks. I sat in my room, on the top of my desk, watching the Pacific battle the shore. I sketched the four of us. Together. Hardly needing to watch the progress of my pencil. There was something unnerving in our eyes
when the pictures were done. A glimmer of foreshadow that I hadn’t noticed was present before. Had it been? My best friends. The loves of my life. Strangers. Reeling. Ferocious.
I held my tongue and the lesson sunk in.
No matter how much you see, there are bottomless seas you don’t.
What I am certain of is the heart of it.
First we were four.
Now we are three.