Drifting

Drifting

A Story by Guardian

          When I woke up, I felt different. Changed, somehow. I glanced down, searching for any physical change, but I couldn’t find it. I felt as if my entire being had been drastically altered and yet I didn’t know how. I sat up, glancing around my bedroom, my brow furrowing. Nothing was out of place. Clothes were draped carelessly over every surface, along with random scraps of paper. My computer was sitting on the desk, idling with a quiet buzz. The drapes were opened wide, morning sunlight spilling into the room.

          I glanced at the clock. 5:59am. As if on cue, the alarm ended the peaceful silence, screaming loudly in the morning air. I groaned, rolled over and turned it off with a grim satisfaction. Disentangling myself from the sheets I crossed the room and grabbed a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt, pulling them on as I tripped toward the hall. Running, my fingers through my messy blonde hair, I reached the kitchen and threw open the refrigerator, shivering as a blast of cold air assaulted me.

          I ate breakfast quickly and without much thought. I grabbed my backpack by the door and left the house, delving into the cool fall morning. I paused at the street, glancing around. The light seemed different, flatter. Colors seemed slightly faded, as if the entire world had experienced too many days and was wearing out.

          I shook my head. “Weird,” I said with a shrug. I retrieved my bike from the side yard, pushed it distractedly down to the sidewalk and rode to school in silence. I arrived early and sat on a bench just outside the schools double doors, enjoying the cool wind against my face. Though I would have normally shivered, I didn’t even feel chilled. In fact, I was almost warm. I shrugged again. This was just another strange occurrence, nothing worth stressing over.

          After a few minutes, students began arriving. They milled around on the brown lawn, laughing and texting furiously on their phones. I didn’t see any of my friends, so I sat in silence, watching the expressions on people’s faces. For years, people watching had been one of my favorite past times. My mom and I would go down to the mall every weekend, get a pretzel and watch the shoppers going about their business. We would laugh at the cute little children, running and screaming, trying to escape their exasperated parents’ grips.

          A few minutes later, I spotted Julia moving across the cobblestone path. Normally, she would be surrounded by countless friends, but something seemed wrong. She stared at her feet as she walked, bumping into others without giving an apology. Her eyes were red and puffy, and she hugged her arms as if chilled, curling in on herself.

          “Julia!” I called, distress leaking into my voice. “What’s wrong?”

          She didn’t respond. As she moved toward the bench, the very bench I was sitting on, she made no indication that she knew I was there. She sat down, dropping her backpack to the ground carelessly. I could hear something crunching, most likely her lunch. She was one of the few seniors I knew who still brought a sack lunch every day.

          I put my hand on her shoulder. She jumped and looked in my direction. “Julia?” I said, concerned.

          She stared right through me. Our eyes connected but there was no change in her demeanor, no sign that she could actually see me. My hand dropped from her shoulder and I waved it playfully in front of her face. “Have you gone deaf, you dork? Been listening to too much heavy metal?” I said playfully, my lips twitching up in the half smile that she adored.

          She looked down, withdrawing even further into herself. “Julia?” My voice rose until I was practically screaming at her. “Julia! What’s wrong?” I looked around desperately, searching the crowd for familiar faces. “David!” I shouted at a lanky blonde a few feet away. He didn’t even flinch, his fingers never pausing over his phone’s keyboard. I stood up, shivering, suddenly very cold inside. “Mark! Katie! Sarah!”I shouted at every person I saw, screaming in their ear. When I touched them, they simply shuffled their feet and moved away, refusing to acknowledge me presence. What was going on? They had to be able to see me. Hear me. Was this some kind of joke? Some sick prank? I could feel the warmth of their bodies as I touched them. They were there. This wasn’t a dream, it couldn’t be.

          “Why aren’t you listening?” I shouted to no one in particular. This couldn’t be real. It wasn’t happening. “WHY CAN’T YOU HEAR ME?” I screamed in their faces. They made no response. I backed up, my eyes flicking to Julia, who still sat unmoving, shivering in the cold. Another boy moved toward her, pushing his way across the lawn.

          “Hey Julia!” he said brightly. His glasses sat slightly askew across his nose and his blue eyes were bright with excitement. It was Andy, my best friend since we were in diapers. “What’s up?” He said with a smile. Julia glanced up, her eyes filled with a deep longing that I couldn’t understand. Andy’s face fell as Julia’s expression finally registered. In an instant he was sitting beside her. “What’s wrong?”

          Julia took a deep breath, her body suddenly wracked by violent sobs. “You- you haven’t-heard?” She asked, refusing to meet Andy’s eyes. Her entire body was shaking, tears now streaming down her cheeks. The sight shocked me. Julia was a strong person, nothing fazed her. She never cried. Ever.

          “Heard what?” Andy asked quietly, his voice distressed. Blood seemed to be pounding in my ears; I could feel my pulse quickening. What was going on? “Julia, come on, what’s wrong?”

          “It’s Joel,” she said with a wail. My heart threatened to tear from my body at the sound of my name. “He’s…he’s…” she couldn’t finish the sentence, but Andy’s eyes widened. Tears suddenly coalesced and he leaned into Julia, wrapping his skinny arms around her, rubbing her back as they cried.

          I backed up, my eyes wide with horror. “Julia! Andy! What happened?” I screamed in terror. I kept backing up until I hit the brick siding of the school. I tried desperately to remember. Something, anything that would explain what was happening. I couldn’t find an explanation, a single scrap of memory. It was like grasping for smoke in the still air, there was nothing to grip.

          Suddenly I wasn’t at the school. I wasn’t swallowed by the crowd. I was alone, standing under a lone pine tree, its needles once an astonishing green but fading as I watched. I felt cool grass beneath my feet and found my shoes were gone. I was completely naked, the cold wind slicing through me, chilling me to my core. Color seemed to be draining from the world, as if it’s time had come. God was taking back the earth, killing it slowly.

          I was surrounded by grey slabs of stone, distributed evenly throughout the lawn. I saw great bouquets of flowers but, although they should be bright and colorful, they were a dull, dead grey. I looked down, driven by an instinct, a craving that I didn’t understand. A single slab of stone rested before me, a rose at its side. My heart stopped. My breathing stopped. Time itself seemed to stop as I looked at the stone. It was impossible, absolutely impossible, but I knew it was true.

          On the stone, dappled with black and white flecks was an inscription:

 

Joel Smith

Born: April 23rd, 1990

Died: November 3rd, 2007

 

We will always remember…

 

          “I’m dead,” I whispered, unable to tear my eyes away from my name carved in the stone. “So this is hell…”

 

© 2009 Guardian


Author's Note

Guardian
What did you think? Give me an honest opinion and any criticisms you can think of!

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

Aside from the predictability factor, I thought the story was well written. Try making the flow a bit more vague, so as to keep the reader guessing about the outcome. First person ghost stories are tough to create without informing the reader of the condition from moment one. However, it's not entirely impossible and you may do well to delve further into the process, as this particular story has a lot of potential.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.



Advertise Here
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5

Reviews

The storyline is very cliche, and moves a bit too fast for my taste.
They wake up and realize that something is different immediately. It's the morning. I, not being a morning person, cannot imagine that they could come to this conclusion so quickly right as they awake. Having just woken up they should be sleepy and dreary, not coming to life-changing conclusions. It should come apparent to them much slower and perhaps not realize that something is different until people begin to act differently.
The foreshadowing is also much too overdone.
When it comes to his friends not being able to hear him, what is happening is much too obvious. The reader will be able to guess the entire ending of the story before they are halfway done reading and it will make them unmotivated to continue to read it. One of the best parts of reading is the surprise, irony, and suspense.
Also, the fact that the narrator was a guy wasn't apparent to me until Julia said 'He... He...'. This was due to the dialogue in my opinion. There wasn't enough significance to how each character spoke.
Plus, Julia's best friend just died and the only sign of grief is that she is looking at the ground? Really? If my best friend just died I wouldn't be crying like crazy. I might not even go to school. Also, the line 'my lips twitching up in the half smile that she adored' hints to me that there might have been a slightly romantic turn of their relationship before he died. And she's just a tad bit gloomy. If she is the type of person who hides her feelings, then that is okay, but then she should come across as a more strong-willed character. Seriously, though, add some more grief, the guy died for crying out loud.
Now think realistically, he sees his gravestone and he's just like "Oh I'm dead, well this sucks." And then earlier he was freaking out at everyone cause they were ignoring him. Which kind of character is he? How does he deal with bad situations? Does he take it calmly or does he freak out? Not both.
And he just appears in the graveyard? Is that cause he's in "hell"? Or what? I would either have him leave school in confusion and panic and stumble upon the graveyard, or follow Julia there later, or something. Or maybe make it more clear that he appeared there because it was the workings of hell.
It had some good details. But not enough realism, and creativity. I know it's a ghost story, but that doesn't mean it should sound like you wrote it, it should sound like it actually happened; make the reader believe it.
It's an alright story. But to me it looks like something someone might write for school. Which isn't a bad thing. It justs means it needs some work.
I tried to be as honest as possible, hope it helped.
Good luck if you plan on fixing it up.
[:

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Aside from the predictability factor, I thought the story was well written. Try making the flow a bit more vague, so as to keep the reader guessing about the outcome. First person ghost stories are tough to create without informing the reader of the condition from moment one. However, it's not entirely impossible and you may do well to delve further into the process, as this particular story has a lot of potential.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh my gosh.... There's something you don't hear everyday!

You did an amazing job with Joel's thought process in here, though I'm not really sure how he managed to die without noticing. I agree with bubblepup13 - it was kind of easy to guess why Julia couldn't hear him, especially since we knew how pale he'd suddenly gotten. Still, great piece of writing!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

very well written, but i wasn't surprised. i predicted that he was dead once Julia couldn't hear him. I would love to see a follow up piece on this; I'm curious as to how he died.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

386 Views
4 Reviews
Rating
Added on January 8, 2009
Last Updated on January 9, 2009
Previous Versions

Author

Guardian
Guardian

AZ



About
I live in Arizona where the sun is always shining. Writing has always been my passion. I love to read and write. I'm also involved in drama and music. I write a variety of things. Everything from poet.. more..

Writing
Untitled Untitled

A Poem by Guardian


The Screw The Screw

A Story by Guardian