DEATH BEFORE BOYS

Parts 1 & 2 of fictional story

DEATH+BEFORE+BOYS

JoElle Coats, Staff Writer

*Disclaimer: this book is for ages 13 and up*

Part 1- Dinner Before Death

When we separated, I was just a 4th grader who knew nothing about this brutal hell that’s called life. We used to race in the back of the school at recess when the kids screamed cheerfully around us. What has happened will forever burn, but I hope you can understand my choice.

Okay, let me rewind, Hi I’m Cindy I’m currently a junior in high school, and my life’s pretty crazy. Uhh, this past year I made the decision of my life…

“Cindy, come down for dinner” 

“Coming Mom!” 

Okay, I’ve gotta go, but I’ll tell you more after tonight’s dinner. We don’t have much time and I’m gonna need you to listen carefully.

At dinner

“So, I heard your sister won an award for her cello performance.” Mom says cheerfully. 

“Is that so?” I say sarcastically while looking at my sister Lola who is biting her pancake like a dog. “Oummmo” Lola mumbles while still chewing her pancake. I just so happen to be able to speak Lola, so I’ll translate that for you. She said, “Yes, how is that surprising, you know I’m the best.” This may sound like too much for that small little word of hers, but the truth is that’s what she was probably thinking. 

Dinner with my family usually consists of 1 of 2 things: 1- talking about my sister’s achievements or 2- hearing Dad rant about his sports. Now, I don’t have a problem with boosting my sister’s ego, but let’s just say I’d rather not listen to how the Dallas Cowboys did in their last game. Dad was about to start ranting again when mom stuffed his face with the jelly toast from our breakfast for dinner meal. 

Then she subtly lifted her lip to smile at me. My mom was pretty great at detecting our emotions, which was sometimes rather helpful. My dad on the other hand fell in love with her because of that particular ability and her beautiful appearance of course. UHHH men, now I’m okay with watching those phenomenal actors with extremely fit bodies, but I typically only care for boys on the screen. The real-life “men” are super depressing and bring my mood down. In fact, I haven’t even seen a boy my age in 6 whole years! One may figure that could take a toll on a 16-year-old, but I’m just fine with these arrangements. There is an odd reason for it, though I do have a rather short time to explain everything to you, so I won’t get into it. 

Since the dishes are clashing loudly around me, I’m surprised you can still hear me okay.

 

“Sis, can I borrow your black edgy boots.” Lola confronts me with sweet eyes.

 “Ummm, ahh, what for?” I yap back.  “Just you know stuff.” Lola says suspiciously. 

“Well, if by stuff you mean for a date or just to flex them then no.”  

“You know I ain’t got time for those things called boys.” She assures me. 

 

I turn to give her a high five. She sure knows her way with words, I don’t know about her but I’m personally not a fan of those things.

 

So, I let her borrow my black platform boots for whatever naughty thing she was planning because I didn’t particularly care since I probably won’t see anyone I know after tomorrow. Unless of course, those are my dead ancestors. After I help my mom with the dishes, I’ll explain everything I promise, but first I need to not die by my mom’s hands.

 

Shortly after my chores are completed.

 

Okay, now is the time you’ve been waiting for and I will explain everything to you… including who the person is and why I have to die for them tomorrow at 7:30.

 

Part 2- Annabeth’s Father

Where was I? Oh, right, the reason why I have to die tomorrow at seven-thirty sharp… Let me start from the beginning.

My life was perfectly normal before last year (well, that is if normal was being home-schooled by your parents to keep you hidden from a monster), but ever since the December that I found out I was no longer me, my life has been going in a downward spiral. On December 31st of my 15th year being Cindy, I met my biological dad, but this wasn’t any ordinary meeting, 

It started when I closed my eyes for bed. I heard a loud scream upon entering what looked like an old broken-down log cabin, which was decaying at the sides; in fact, I could even smell the rot. My views consisted of what looked like a 30 story house, built 100 years from now, and a worn-down village. This “house” looked so big it could fit a whole province in China. Besides my astonishment though, this fairytale-like house gave me a feeling of familiarity, like maybe just maybe I had been here. 

Since I wasn’t in control of this dream, I sadly had to enter the broken-down cabin without being able to discover the grandness of the modern glass palace. In the room of the cabin, I stood like a puppet on the side of a stage waiting to be used for the next scene. Around me stood normal house components, a kitchen, a table, chairs, a small bed, and wait no bathroom? What kind of house doesn’t have a place to do your thing? 

Anyways while trying not to think about where dinner went after it left one’s body, I observed my senses. I noticed something in particular that stood out to me: there was an open window that overlooked what seemed to be a forest way below. If one fell out of this window, who knows how many people would attend their funeral. After a while of mere silence and me standing awkwardly (I can’t help it, social anxiety is very dominant) I heard the voice of a man who seemed to be in his forties coming from the entrance behind me. 

Don’t ask me how I knew that but somehow it just seemed to be true. Just as I tried to think of ways to defend myself I heard a knock. 

One knock, then another, and eventually, when I didn’t answer, the next knock was louder. I finally realized they were waiting for approval. So I managed a “come i-” when the man barged in. His face seemed familiar… Long brown beard, green-ish blue eyes, wrinkly skin, and a sorrowful look, and then I said “DAD”. While I was still confused myself, my body seemed to know just who he was. Just as I had time to comprehend what just happened, my “dad” took a seat at the broken dinner table and sighed. With his arms wrapped around him, his green sorrowful eyes glanced at me with genuine concern. “Annabeth baby, look I’m sorry I know I have a lot of explaining to do but we don’t have enough time for that,” 

Still standing awkwardly I interrupted “Who’s Annabeth? I’m Cindy, Cindy Growwells”.

“Yes, that’s your cover name sweety, all of us have one.” 

“All of us?” I said with a curious face.

“Later. But for now, I need to alert you of the dangers we’re facing in the kingdom.” He said genuinely looking serious. He seemed to have a lot to say and I couldn’t help but have the feeling that things might actually be serious.

I scoffed and responded,” ‘dangers’ sorry sir, but I think the only dangers of the world are math homework and boys, what could you possibly mean by dangers, and what is with this kingdom talk? In case you didn’t know this is the United States and in the states, kingdoms aren’t a thing.” 

Just as he rose quickly from the seat to answer me we both heard a scream and automatically both of us ducked. For the first time, I could sense these “dangers” that my father spoke of and they definitely weren’t boys or algebraic expressions. 

My “dad” then took my hand, whispered in my small tanned ear with his warm soft breath, and said, “This isn’t the last time we’ll talk, the next time shall be soon, for much longer and for more important business. ‘Til we meet again, Annabeth Koolymont,” while stroking my long golden hair with his wrinkly hand, he vanished. 

Now, I crouched empty, with my legs falling asleep, frozen and confused. Then, with a big scare, my body arose and I was back in my teal, dark, quiet room with my Christmas pajamas on. The air felt scary, my throat was sharp and dry, and my body was dripping wet. Before you ask if I peed myself no, although I had no bathroom in that cabin I did not pee myself. I just had excessive sweat from the vividness of that “dream”. Although, deep down that day, I already knew that this was indeed not a dream, but a horrendous nightmare that was somehow related to the story of my new identity as Annabeth, Annabeth Koolymont.