Daughter of the Fallen
Daughter of the Fallen
This is New England. And in New England, a town without a good witch hanging or ghost story just, well, isn't considered to be a real town. So when I walk past the iron gate of the cemetery and feel the urge to bolt riding up my legs like a herd of football players bum-rushing the food counter on taco day, I set my shoulders and do my best to cowboy up.
Set between imposing stone walls and punctured by large granite fists, Hillside Cemetery definitely looks like it deserves its sinister reputation, making my attempt at bravery rather brief. "This place sucks. Maybe we should just go."
"Here, watch your step," Cay says and holds out his hand to help me over the uneven cobbles just on the other side of the entry. Once we make it over the stones, he drops my hand and pulls the recording equipment out of the duffle.
We've been friends ever since kindergarten, when some boy taunted me for living in a "little troll house." Cay, the kickball king, told him that it was actually a gingerbread house, and everybody knows that only fairy princesses live in gingerbread houses.
He was wrong, of course; it was witches who lived in the gingerbread houses, a fact I pointed out to him later, but I gave him props for the effort. We've been "Cay and May" ever since, but the whole dating thing still feels... awkward.
"Is this all from school or is Jack bringing some of his dad's?" I swipe an errant curl of hair out of my face and cringe at my surroundings as I reach for the big videocamera. Why does it have to be so dark? Why can't people ghost hunt in the daylight? You can still supposed get sound bites and whatever in the daytime, right? It's not like ghosts go anywhere or sleep or, you know, whatever.
"Well, the big stuff is the professional gear with night vision from school. And then we have my stuff." Cay stops in front of a wide tomb, laying his multiple cameras and his mini video recorder along the top like they are the most precious things in the world. "Weird that Mr. Dowd put both you and Jack on my team."
"Yeah, weird." And a nightmare. If it wasn't for Jack, I'd be ranked first in our year, and, unlike Jack, if I don't earn a ton of scholarship money for college, then I can't go.
Cay fumbles with the equipment, his breath rising in great grey puffs of frost, lingering in his dark bob of curls. I shiver.
A BMW pulls up in front of the entry gate, looking sleek and new and out of place.
I run an unsteady hand through my untamable hair...right...Jack.
He gets out of the car and strides towards us, stepping out into the camera's lights: short blond hair, high cheekbones, and a long neck leading to strong shoulders. Everyone at school, except for me, that is, adores him because he's rich, intelligent and supposedly lost his virginity to a Victoria's Secret model.
Watching the god-like way he strides across the cemetery, you can almost believe the hype. He lifts his eyes to meet mine as he nods a greeting. My heart flips.
Of course, it would be easier to dislike him if he wasn't so damn... hot. I shake my head. I hate that about him, too.
"You're late." I grab the sound gear from Cay and hand it to him, eyeing the orange-clad harpy of a girl trailing after him.
"I had to pick up Alicia." He indicates the thing as he straps on the professional sound gear. "And respond to your post on the AP History board about gun control."
I huff. "You think we should arm everyone with a credit card?"
"What I think is irrelevant, Mason." Jack's the only one in the universe who calls me by my full name. "It's what the Founding Fathers wanted that matters." He holds out his hand to help me navigate my way over a broken tomb. I ignore it. He smirks, "Or do you not support the Bill Of Rights?"
God, please keep me from throttling him tonight. Cay clears his throat.
"WTF, losers? A grav