Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Hannah and Ashley walked up the grassy hill from the copse of trees where the service was held. They had a huge awning covering the crowd; very floral, with a black and white canopy. It rained pretty steadily most of the afternoon, but that didn't stay the gathered mourners; nearly everyone from Builtmore High, friends, family... seemingly the entire town. Grant and Tank (one Terry Franklin) were well-liked upper-classmen, popular with everyone, Valedictorians, and each members of the school football team... but none of this mattered when they were struck head-on by a pack of drunken college Frat boys. Perhaps the most distasteful icing on the already pain-filled cake was the despicable fact that no one in the offender's vehicle was killed. Yeah, a few superficial wounds and one broken wrist, but none the worse for wear. None killed like the two innocent boys from Hannah and Ashley's high school. None receiving a damp, agonizing funeral service like Tank and Grant. The two girls continued to plod up the soggy hill toward their car.

"I have seen some shitty, gut-wrenching things in my life," Ashley began as she shook out her jacket and opened the driver's side door, "But this was almost too much."

Hannah sighed, held back another threatening of tears, and climbed into the car. "Tell me about it. I think I cried more today than I ever have before. I ache all over."

"I'd love to go grab a cup of Starbucks and just chill... you feel up to it?" Ashley asked with more of a brightness to her face than she'd had all day.

"Ya know, I have to say that sounds a whole lot better than hanging out at the banquet hall fucking sobbing some more with everyone else. Let's go."

Ashley pulled out of the line of cars parked all along the grassy knoll and drove up the dark asphalt to the main roads. Hannah opened the window, reached out, and snatched the red flag from the antenna. The reached Broadmoor, talked very little, and made it to Starbucks in the quietest and emptiest ten minutes either could remember. They walked in, found it to pretty well deserted for a Saturday afternoon, and ordered their big mugs of coffee: black.

"Did you know that I went to elementary school with Grant?" Hannah inquired as she sipped her hot coffee.

"No, I guess I didn't," Ashley replied as she absentmindedly stirred her coffee, adding nothing to it, "You both went to Baymont El, then?"

"Yeah. We actually had Kindergarten together, and every class up till fifth grade, then he went off to Jefferson Middle and I... and you, went to Harrison."

Ashley nodded, "Mm hmm... I never really met him until we had home room together in ninth. But right away I loved him... well, you know: as a person."

Hannah smiled. She knew because she felt the exact same way.

Tank came along in tenth grade, but he fell into pace with the group as though he'd always been there. In a way, he was: Grant had known him since Junior high, then Tank had to move due to some year-long military action his father was involved in. When he came back, it was almost as though he'd never left. Ashley and Hannah instantly became best friends with him, and Grant rounded out the foursome. They were close, almost close enough to be coupled off and live happily ever after... but they just remained best friends, and that was all they needed.

"It just sucks that we can't bring them back, just for a minute... you know, to say goodbye," Hannah said wiping away a wayward tear.

Ashley stared at her and a look of sheer knowing splayed across her face, "I think we can do that."

Hannah did a double take and actually snapped her head back a little, "What the hell are you talking about, I was just saying, you know, that typical sorrow bullshit everyone..."

"We can do it!" Ashley said cutting her off, "My aunt is a practicing witch. Don't laugh, I'm serious!"

Hannah laughed out load, and swiped at a new set of fresh tears that spilled down her cheeks more to do with her new found hysteria than her sadness, "That might just be the stupidest thing I have ever heard!"

"Laugh all you want, but if you want one last moment to say goodbye to our best friends, all we need is my Aunt and her hundred-year old Ouija board!"

Hannah really didn't need any more persuasion than that, and fifteen minutes later the two were in the car and heading down the fifty-mile drive to Ashley's Aunt's house in Sandsfield.


They arrived. Ashley's Aunt was surprisingly accepting, and she brought them inside with little hesitation, more for the late hour than the task at hand. The Ouija board was brought out and the three gathered around it in the inky blackness pierced only by three black candles. A few incantations and speeches later, they clasped their hands over the wooden guide and let it lead them to wherever it intended. The trio had an evening the leaked into the early morning spelling words, sharing tears, and telling the spirits their final farewells. Come four a.m., they had exhausted their other-worldly powers, and the Ouija board no longer spoke to them, but they all felt accomplished and far better emotionally then they had in the past week. Ashley and Hannah thanked Ashley's Aunt, and they drove home, weary but fulfilled and excited.

Back at Hannah's, they dropped more tired than they'd ever been into her bed, and drifted off to sleep. They dreamt about friendships, lost lives, happy times, wonderful moments, and the past. As they peacefully slept, two happy and gentle spirits glided into the room and caressed each of the saddened but spiritually awakened girls. On each, left as a permanent reminder, was a tiny heart-shaped 'birth-mark' directly behind their right ears. Though it would take years for either to find the mark, it would bring forth memories that would last a lifetime.

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