september 18th, 2014
"I hate you so fucking much."
Viviana had repeated the litany with so much malice that it could only make Bryony. Their fingers were intermingled, but Vivi remained behind her, guided step by step. Bryony could hear the apprehension crunching in the dry leaves under her heel.
"I know," Bry returned with a grin so wide it could have split her face down the middle. She squeezed the girl’s fingers and tugged her onward, toward the charred bastion in the darkened horizon. Moonlight shone on the skeletal remains of an old, derelict building. The fences were still intact, but around it was a ruin built of ash and decayed wood.
Ozymandias before his kingdom.
"I brought a blunt if it’ll calm you down—"
"I don’t fucking smoke!" Viviana interjected. Only she was able to disguise a scream in a harsh whisper. "And you shouldn’t be carrying that around anyway! What if the police catch us? This is criminal trespass!"
Bryony scoffed. “Cops. Here. Right. Because police give two fucks about some burned down barn house. I’ve been here like a bajillion times, Vivi. The cops don’t care.”
"Bajillion isn’t a word," the girl she dragged groused, the only response that seemed to make sense at the time.
The cops had good not reason to care. The place was too infamous for even the most rebellious to come snag a chance at mischief. It was perhaps the only place in Tacoma not tagged by graffiti, nor torn apart any more than the fire and time had. People were rightfully suspicious. Rightfully scared.
But Bryony was rightfully stupid.
She straddled the fence, the tips of her toes digging with purpose as she glanced beside her. Viviana’s arms were crossed with defiance over her chest, eyes downcast at the grass caressing the sides of her pumps. Who the fuck wore pumps on an excursion into the fucking woods, anyway?
Just like them.
But Bryony had learned.
She reached into her coat pocket and took out a small flashlight. She shone the light abruptly into the other girl’s face, causing her to gasp and stumble back so far that she threatened to fall.
Bryony laughed. And as usual, Viviana couldn’t see the humor in it.
"Don’t fucking do that!"
"Will you chill out?" Bryony breathed as she pointed the beam of light skyward. It faded just above them, dissipated, almost as if the light itself scattered and morphed into the stars dotting the canvas of night. "I brought it for your sake. Were it up to me, we’d only have the candles."
"Which are where?" Viviana asked. "Stuffed up your ass?"
"Stuffed up your ass?" Bryony mocked in a high pitched voice. "No. I asked Whit to pick up the stuff at my place and bring it here."
"And she’s going to what? Meet us here?"
"Yeah," Bry breathed, before laving her tongue over her bottom lip. "Hey, wanna hear a—"
"No," Viviana cut her off immediately. "You’re lucky I even agreed to come."
Bry chuckled wryly. “I know. I don’t get why you’re so scared.”
Vivi’s shoulders lifted, and she cast her eyes to the star-studded canopy above them. “Because there are some things in life that shouldn’t be messed with. Like this.” A small, tired sigh escaped her nose, barely audible. Bry wouldn’t have caught it had it not been for the utter, stale silence that enveloped them. It was a world of its own, this ranch.
Viviana continued on, as always. “Too lazy to gather your own stuff, anyway? Did you at least bring your cellphone?”
Bryony pulled the smartphone from her pocket, waving it in the other’s face in an obnoxious fashion. “Yeah, Mom,” she sassed. “And I wasn’t lazy. I had the last shift at the shop, Whit had the earlier one. I asked her to do me a favor. Is that a crime now?”
"Whatever," the other conceded. "When does she get here?"
And with that, Bryony began to swing her legs on either side of the fence she mounted, looking as nonchalant as any person could ever be. “Soon.”