Chapter Three “Second Chances”A Chapter by Daniel Gardner
This is chapter three. Hope you all like it
“So what grade are you in?”
“I’m in ninth grade,” Aura responded, looking up at Shawn.
“Cool. I’m in eleventh.”
Aura didn’t respond, instead she glanced back down at her book. This wasn’t the first time some annoying guy came and tried to talk to her. Not many ninth grade girls were as developed as she was. Even her mother was jealous.
“You’re friends with Deven, right?” Shawn asked, interrupting her again.
Aura looked up from her book again and stared at him, irritation evident on her face. “Yes…”
“Okay, okay. I get the point. You’re into your book. I just wanted to introduce myself since I see you hanging out with one of my best friends a lot. My name is Shawn. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Aura,” she said as her attention drifted back to her book once again.
“I know.” Shawn smiled and turned to walk away. “I’ll talk to you later…HONK!”
Aura dropped her book at the startling sound. She quickly bent down and picked it back up. When she stood up her mother was standing over her with her hand raised ready to strike her and a demon-like crazed look on her face. Aura froze in sheer terror. She raised the book to try and block the blow.
“Aura!” her mother screeched with a voice that would scare a lion. “I am going to HONK! HONK!”
Aura jumped in her seat, snapping out of her dream.
“Hey Aura! We haven’t even started talking and I already put you to sleep?” Drake stepped out of his blue-green Cavalier and waved.
“You really are a dork,” Aura said through a yawn. She didn’t want to let him know how happy she was that he snapped her out of that nightmare.
“What time is it?” she said, standing up.
“I’ve only been asleep for ten minutes? Feels like I was out for hours.”
“Well, you were snoring and talking in your sleep…”
“I was not!”
“How would you know? You were asleep!” Drake laughed.
“That’s beside the point,” Aura protested.
The unfamiliar warmth engulfed Aura’s cold lonely heart once again. She felt calm and excited at the same time. All she could think about was running away to a life she knew she could never have. A life with Drake and the feelings she had when he was near. She looked away from him, fearing he could hear her thoughts. “No need to tell him anything,” she thought. “Just a foolish girl’s unwanted thoughts.”
“Guess you’re still asleep,” Drake teased, sensing Aura’s inner quarrel.
“You haven’t even been here five minutes and already being a major dork!” Aura said, looking back up at him.
“Well I can’t be that big of a dork. I got you to smile.” Drake crossed his arms and flashed a cocky smile.
Aura stuck out her tongue, then mentally kicked herself before the action was even completed. “Nice going, Aura. Now he’s going to think you’re a kid,” she mentally scolded herself. “Remember he’s not in school anymore.”
A silence fell between them that felt like hours to Drake even though it couldn’t have been more than a few short seconds. He knew it was important that he made Aura feel she could trust him. Drake was a very good observer, something he prided himself on. He knew from the first moment he met her that she was very special…. But she was afraid. Afraid of what, he didn’t know. One of the many questions he was determined to find out.
“So where are we going to go?” he inquired, breaking the silence.
“I don’t know. You’re the one who wanted to meet.”
“Yeah, but I don’t know this area so its your decision!”
Aura glared. She didn’t want to stay near her house. Her mother didn’t like to have people coming over unannounced.
“Fine, we can go to my favorite spot in the mountains,” she said, turning and walking away.
“Um, Aura!” Drake said as he caught up. He had to shorten his strides a little to match her pace. “W’re in the middle of the city. There are no mountains here. The only one that comes even a little close is Stone Mountain and that’s twenty-five miles in the opposite direction.”
Aura turned around and realized how much taller Drake was compared to her. She only came up to his shoulder.
“Just trust me,” she said. She turned behind a set of townhouses, not looking back to see his response.
Drake shrugged and followed closely behind.
“The remainder of the walk was made in silence. Aura led the way down a set of railroad tracks and over a bridge. Aura stopped for a moment when they reached the bridge. Looking down, she could almost feel the wind rushing up to catch her as she played out a suicidal scenario in her head.
Drake wanted to say something as a sense of dread washed over him. He watched as Aura stared over the bridge in silence. Knowing that he wouldn’t get a straight answer at this point, he chose to just observe for now.
Aura took a deep breath then looked back at him and smiled. It was a mask he knew all too well. A smile that held worlds of pain behind it.
“Come on,” Aura instructed as she began walking again. She crossed the bridge and turned to walk down the hill that took them beside a small river that ran under the train bridge. As they walked, Aura couldn’t help but laugh at Drake. Since he’d fallen a bit behind her, he resembled a little lost pup just following her around.
“Okay, little pup. Almost there.”
“What?” Drake said, tilting his head to the side with a confused look on his face.
Aura looked back and laughed out loud. “How cute! Would you like a biscuit?”
“Haha, very funny. Just remember you’re taking this pup to the middle of the woods. I may have rabies and no one would be able to hear you scream!” Drake said. He bared his teeth for effect.
“That’s okay, I know. Why do you think I’m bringing you way out here? I can’t put you down in public.”
“Now who’s being the dork?”
“I’m never a dork, dork. But anyway, we’re here.”
Drake raised an eyebrow as he looked at the surrounding trees.
“Wow! Look at all of these mountains…. Oh wait, those are trees,” he said sarcastically.
Aura rolled her eyes and walked into a small clearing in the forest. She motioned for Drake to follow. When they emerged, Aura rain to a large rock collection of rocks that actually looked more like giant boulders than mountains, but the view was incredible. Just beyond the rocks lay a huge lake that glistened in the sun.
“Welcome,” Aura said, “ to the Valley of Tears.”
Even though the rock mass Aura stood on was clearly no mountain, Drake was taken back by the beauty and peaceful nature of the valley. There weren’t many places like this around anymore. No houses overlooked the lake. No sewer pipes or factories, just peace among the trees and grass.
“Nothing smart to say?” Aura asked.
“No, it really is beautiful,” Drake said honestly. He let himself look into her eyes for a moment and smiled.
“Well… good.” Aura turned away and sat down to hide her rose-flushed cheeks. “I was afraid I really would have to put you down.”
Drake walked in front of the boulder and looked up at her. He knew that this place held a very special meaning to her and he didn’t want to take that feeling away.
“So does the river run into the lake?” he asked, trying to find a way to break the ice around her heart.
“The lake is called Salem,” Aura clarified. “And yes, Flow does run into Salem.”
Drake looked even more confused.
“I guess I need to explain. The river at the beginning of Lake Salem is called Flow. Flow runs behind the trees from the bridge. Understand so far?”
Drake nodded his head but the confused look remained in place.
Drake frowned and stuck out his tongue.
Aura couldn’t hold back her smile. Now she didn’t feel so foolish with her names, her imagination, or for sticking her tongue out earlier.
“Anyway…” she continued, rolling her eyes. “After Flow enters Salem, another river starts on the other end. That one is called Dreams.”
“Okay, I get it. The Bridge of Forgotten Tears Flows into Salem’s Dreams! Nice play on names,” Drake complimented.
“You don’t have to lie to me. I’m used to people thinking my ideas are stupid and childish,” Aura said, her smile fading.
“No, really! I like it. Whoever told you that is just jealous and has no imagination themselves.”
Aura really wanted to believe him, but it wasn’t just any random person who told her those things. It was the people she cared about the most.
“That’s stupid, Aura. No one would like a story like that. Just stick to trying to be a vet and leave the imagining to people who are good at it,” Shawn would scold her.
“You’ll never be able to do anything! Especially be a psychologist. How can you help anyone when you never do anything but screw up your life and the lives of everyone else around you?” her mother had asked when Aura mentioned the possibility of majoring in psychology.
“Aura?” Drake called, worried about the trance-like state she had entered.
“I’m fine,” she replied, with a weak smile. But her voice was hollow. Not to mention the fact that he hadn’t asked how she was.
Drake knew better, she wasn’t fine. Far from it, in fact. The mask Aura kept putting on was not going to fool him, and he could tell it wasn’t fooling her either.
“What’s going on, Aura?” he said. His voice was soft and full of concern. His eyes locked on hers.
Aura looked into Drake’s eyes and found herself swimming with unwanted feelings. How could he care so much? He didn’t even know her. They had only spoken a few times before… She didn’t know why she even agreed to met him. Drake would just turn out to be like everyone else. He was no different and she was not going to let anyone else suffer because she happened to be a bad seed.
“Aura… What did you mean by ‘it all ends tonight’?”
“Don’t worry about it…” she said, finally able to look away.
“I would’t be here if I didn’t believe you were worth worrying about.”
“You’ll do just like everyone else had done.” Her bottom lip quivered as she tried to hold back the tears. “You’ll care in the beginning then later you’ll tear me down and leave.”
A tear trickled down her cheek as memories began to rush back to her. She hugged her knees and put her head down to try and hide them, but before she could reign them in her emotions took control and she broke into sobs.
“The only thing that I deserve is to be left alone and die. I only make things worse for everyone around me. I hate myself!” She could feel herself shaking and the tears kept coming. “I don’t want to be here anymore!”
“Aura, that isn’t true,” Drake protested. “Whoever told you that is wrong. They’re the ones who are bad, not you.” He paused for a moment as he watched her rock herself back and forth on the rock. He scooted over and rubbed her back before pulling her into him. He could feel her tears soaking his shirt as he held her. “Shh,” he said. “You are very unique and some people are affaid of that. You can’t give up just beause people don’t want you to succeed.”
Aura shook her head. Drake was wrong. She was not unique. She was a plague that was infecting everyone around her. The only way to end the epidemic was to kill the virus. She needed to die. That was the only cure.
“You are not a disease, Aura!” Drake said, as if reading her mind. “Trust me! Something as beautiful and intelligent as you could never be a disease!”
Aura raised her head slightly to look up at him. Her black curly hair draped over her face, hiding her eyes. The sun was setting behind Drake making it difficult for her to make out his face.
“Just give me a chance to prove it,” Drake pleaded.
The pair sat in silence for the next hour until the sun had almost completely hidden itself behind the trees. Neither knew what else to say, but to Aura the silence was comforting. No one had ever just sat with her in silence. If they did, it was always an awkward silence, the kind that came right after a fight. She never felt comfortable after fights or during silent periods with either Shawn or her mother. Drake was different.
“I never brought anyone back here. Not even Shawn,” she said. Her voice was still a little sore from crying.
“I’m glad you brought me,” Drake replied. “It helped clear my mind as well.”
“Well, my mom..”
Aura reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. “Speak of the devil… Literally,” Aura said. She laughed softly as she flipped open the phone and placed it against her ear.
“Hola,” Laura greeted back just loud enough for her to hear. “Where are you?”
“On my way home.”
“Are you alone?”
“No, my friend and I went walking down by the tracks.”
“Okay, well just remember you need to be in the house by nine.”
“I know. I’ll be home by then. I still have half an hour.”
“Uh huh. Okay, bye.”
Aura hung up the phone and sighed.
“Guess we need to head back,” Drake said. He stood up and stretched his back.
Aura hopped down from the rock and began to walk back out to the path. Drake followed close behind. The silence once again took over as they made their way up the side of the Bridge of Forgotten Tears and down the train tracks. Aura couldn’t help but feel as if Drake was looming over her from behind. He was like a protector to shield her from the dangers of the night, if not the entire world.
Aura and Drake arrived back at the house with five minutes to spare. Drake walked to his car and leaned against the door.
“Well, that was a nice walk,” he said through a yawn.
“Ah, getting tired?” she asked, mockingly.
“Ha. I do work too you know.”
“Well, get home and get some rest.”
“Just one question. Why do you call it the Bridge of Forgotten Tears?”
it rains on the bridge and you’re standing under it, the rain that seeps
through the cracks make it look like the bridge is crying,” Aura said as she
walked up to the doorstep.
“Yeah… tomorrow.” Aura turned and waved to Drake as he drove off.
Aura walked into her side of the one level duplex, into her room, and closed the door. She didn’t want to tell Drake the really reason it was called the Bridge of Forgotten Tears. It was her tears that fell from the top of the bridge. So many times had she sat and cried on top of that bridge…
Aura put on her sleeping shorts and a pink tank top. She then sat on her bed and pulled out her journal. Most girls had diaries, but Aura wasn’t like all the prissy girls from her school writing about boyfriends and clothes. She had a lot to write about and a lot to think about.
© 2010 Daniel Gardner
Added on April 10, 2010
Last Updated on April 10, 2010
AboutI'm an inspiring writer that has a million and ten thoughts running through his head all day. I joined this site because my wife inspired me to. I was not prepared for the thoughts to jump out so much.. more..
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