Untitled Short Story by Miyu Simpkins

 photography by Todd Hido 

photography by Todd Hido 

 The shrilling bell for second period had rung, bouncing around the halls of Hubbard Brooks High School, and the congested corridor that was filled with chatter had soon dissipated, as the kids shuffled inside their appropriate classrooms. A young boy was still at his locker, pushing his glasses up his nose bridge, and hastily rummaging through his bag. He heard the sound of footsteps, and before he could turn around, someone had yanked his bag, and the young boy tumbled to the ground, his glasses skidding across the hall. All of the sudden, the cracking sound of his glasses erupted, followed with a cackling laughter. 

    “YO, get up,” the older boy had scoffed, kicking the younger boy’s stomach, and all he could do was crumble further into the ground, trembling in fear. The older boy had laughed again, and gripped the frightened boy, tears streaming down his round cheeks.

    “Dexter,” Another voice approached, and the young boy, through his tears, saw a blurry vision of Maya, pushing past the boy who attacked him-Dexter, a senior, who was notorious for bullying incoming freshmen.

    “Back off Maya, this is between me and that little twig,” Dexter grit his teeth, drawing near the shaking young boy.

    Maya rolled her, eyes, stepping in front of the crouched freshman. “Go back to class Dexter. You don’t wanna go to summer school for the fourth year in a row don’t you?” She pouted mockingly, crossing her arms.

    “Whatever…” Dexter trudged away from the two of them, slowly disappearing from their sight as he turned the corner. 

    “You okay?” Maya smiled, reaching her hand out, and the boy clasped onto her, as she pulled him up. 

    “I am now, thanks to you,” He smiled shyly, bending down to pick up his book bag.

    Maya checked her watch, and groaned. “I have to go to my Spanish class. I’m glad you’re okay. Don’t be afraid, not all of us are bad.” Maya smiled brightly, waving to the boy, who was completely in awe of the girl who had just saved him. 

    Maya ran to her second period class, and ignored the stares she got as she walked in, and made her way to her seat, next to her best friend, Liana.

    “Do you have a note Miss Soprano?” her teacher called out.

    “No, I was saving a freshman from getting beat up,” Maya shrugged, taking out her notebook from her backpack.    

    Her teacher smiled, and shook her head. “You can’t always save the day Maya,” 

 

    The day had gone by quickly, and after Maya finished debate club, she went home to smell fresh marinara sauce wafting towards her. 

    “Dinner’s almost finished if you’re hungry,” Her sister called from the kitchen.

    “I’m starving,” Maya sighed in relief at the thought of home made food. “You’re a goddess Jen.” Maya was exhausted, she had 3 AP tests that day, and dealt with college meetings whenever she had a free period. Nonetheless, she had gotten up, and tirelessly set up the table for her dad, mom, and sister for dinner. 

    Her  family gathered around the dinner table, and while her parents were talking, Jen and Maya were whispered on about their day at school.

    “Oh my god, this girl tried to steal money from my bag today…” Jen rolled her eyes, twirling her spaghetti with her fork.

    “What? What happened? Did you tell your teacher? Did you call her out? If you didn’t, I will,” Maya was hysteric, the thought of her sister being in the slightest of danger had always bothered her. Jen was younger than her, and ever since they were babies Maya had always protected her, since Jen was her only sister.

    Jen laughed, nudging Maya playfully. “Calm down, you’re too over protective. And yeah, I told the principal and she got detention for like 3 days,” 

    “Good,” Maya sighed, continuing to eat the pasta her sister had made. “Oh and your marinara sauce tastes awful,” Maya teased, and they giggled, continuing to talk about their day.

    

After dinner, Maya went into her bedroom, and started to do her calculus homework, when her sister knocked on her door.

    “Hey, can I borrow your black strapless dress?” Jen asked, nervously biting her lips.

    “Yeah… sure. Why? Where are you going?” Maya asked, putting down her notebook.

    “Jackson Leeman is having a party tonight and I don’t have anything cute to wear.” Jen smiled, with a dreamy look in her eyes.

    “Isn’t Jackson the one you have that massive crush on?” Maya mischievously teased, swirling on her chair. Jen didn’t answer, and bashfully looked down, her cheeks flushed.

    “Just be careful, it’s late... Don’t do anything stupid, I wouldn’t let you go, but I know you’re gonna hate me if I get in the way of you and jaccckksssonnnn,” Maya sang, and went to her closet, digging around for that dress. She wanted to lecture Jen more, but she was only a year younger than her, so she just reluctantly handed her the dress. Jennette squealed, thanking Maya, and ran back into her room. 

    

    It was 3am, and the sound of the ticking clock was the only audible noise that had ricochet around the room. Maya was in deep slumber, when she heard someone knock on her bedroom door. She languidly rose from her bed, and opened the door to see her sister with black tears flowing down her face. A jolt ran down Maya, and she was no longer tired after seeing the sight of her crying sister. Maya grabbed her sister’s wrist, led her to her own bed, and Jen sunk into Maya’s airy bed.  The only thing Maya heard was her younger sister’s muffled whimpers. And through the dark room, the moonlight had revealed Jennette’s cold, shuddering body, melting with the velvet duvet. For a long time, Maya had just sat there, stroking her sister’s hair, letting the inky atmosphere consume them both. Jennette lifted her head, wiping her tears, and her swollen eyes had painfully pierced into Maya’s solemn ones. 

    “What happened…” Maya whispered.

    “Ja-Ja… Jackson…” Her voice was tremulous, barely audible.

    “What did he do…”

    “I-I-I step… I stepped aw-away from m-my drink for a-a minute… an-and next thing I-I-I knew ev-everything was so bl-blurry, and Ja-Jackson was on top o-of me…” She choked on her own tears, shook her head, and her breathing began to quicken. “I-I tried getting hi-him off…” 

    Maya embraced her, and felt her sister’s small frame shivering once again. Tears began to well up in Maya’s eyes, tightening her grip on her sister. 

    “I’m sorry… I should’ve never let you go... “ Maya’s throat began to squeeze, guilt churning in her stomach. It was not long until sleep had submerged them, while they were still in each other’s arms. 

 

    The next day, Maya told Liana what happened to her sister. Jackson was senior in their school, and seemingly “one of the nicest guys”.

    “Are you gonna do something…” Liana whispered, twirling her fingers around, looking at her best friend apprehensively. She knew that Maya can get a little over protective sometimes, especially when it comes to her sister. Maya looked backed at her and raised her brow. Liana knew that Maya had something in mind.

    “Speak of the devil…” Both of them watched Jackson walking into the cafeteria, approaching people, and greeting them. Sure enough, he had come toward the two of them.

    “Hey ladies. Just wanted to let you know I’m throwing a party tonight. Only seniors invited,” He winked.

    “Oh… Jackson I dont thin-” Liana was abruptly interrupted when Maya kicking her legs.

    “We’re there,” Maya smiled.

    “Great!” Jackson laughed. “My house, at 10. See you guys.” He knocked the table, and walked away.     

    “What are you doing?” Liana asked, confused as to why Maya would even want to be near Jackson’s party.

    “Maybe Jackson would like to feel weak, and vulnerable… make him feel what he did to my sister...” Maya’s voice was low but vehement, filled with hatred and vengeance.

 

    That night, it was foggier than usual, devouring the houses on each street. The street lamps lit the cloudy roads, and through the hazy gray fog, one house was illuminated through the mist. Maya and Liana made their way into Jackson’s house, and was immediately thronged by loud adolescents. 

    “Find Jackson!” Maya yelled through the crowd, and Liana nodded. Before Maya could blink, Liana was engulfed by the flood of people. Maya pushed past the dancing teens, elbowing those in her way.

    “Maya!” She heard Liana’s voice from across the room, and made her way towards her friend’s distant voice. She soon caught a glimpse of Jackson, who was in the kitchen spraying his friends with an exploding soda bottle. 

    “Can you distract him for me?” Maya pulled Liana towards her, making sure no one can hear. Liana nodded and made her way towards Jackson. They began to talk, and Jackson put his cup down on the kitchen counter. Maya saw this as her chance, and swiftly made her way to Jackson’s cup, covertly pouring a powder into his drink. Liana saw that Maya had gave her a sign that she was done, and ended her conversation with him. 

    Maya watched Jackson, laughing with his friends, grabbed his cup, and lifted it to his lips, as he drank what was inside his red cup. He winced, put his drink down, shook his head, and started talking to his friends again.

    “Let’s get out of here,” Maya tapped Liana, and soon enough, they were out of the house, back at their own homes, as if nothing happened that night.

    

    The next day at school, Maya had walked into school, and suddenly sensed an unexplaiable weight that she felt on her shoulders. The air was dull and everyone around her wore a grim facade. Someone had tapped her, and when she turned around, it was Liana. Her face was gray, her eyes dous, and lips dry.

    “Are you okay?” Maya asked, putting her hands on her friend’s arm. Liana grimaced, moving away from her.

    “Maya… Jackson died last night…” Liana said.

    Maya’s stomach fell, and was drowned in her empty thoughts, a cold shudder washing through her blood. Was this a joke? Her mind paced faster and faster, and suddenly everything became vague, her vision swelling.

    “Wh-What…?” 

    “Maya, what the hell. How much of that did you put into her drink? He-He apparently went crazy last night, and ran out his house… A-and ran into some c-car that didn’t see him be-because of that f-fog…” Liana whispered, her breath cold. Maya stood there, in disbelief, a whimper coming out of her. 

    “I-I can’t be around you… Y-You never should’ve done that Maya…” Liana’s face hung, walking away from Maya. 

 

    Before Maya knew, she was taken to the police station for investigation.

 

The bright blue lights flickered above Maya’s head, the harsh edges of the shadows had swallowed her eyes, and the only thing visible was her quivering, pale lips. The cold metal below her legs had sent a shiver up her body, and all she could feel was the heavy air compressing against her head. 

“I-I just wanted to help my sister…” she muttered.