After Henry James | Teen Ink

After Henry James

February 5, 2014
By KateK BRONZE, Indianola, Iowa
KateK BRONZE, Indianola, Iowa
3 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Little Carla Stevens tapped her fingers against her legs, attempting not to notice the rage bubbling to the townspeople skin. Her eyes darted past all the other townspeople, while attempting to cover up guilt flying all around. As her partner in crime, I stood by her while instantly ending what was left of my social life.

I held her close to me, shielding her from the judgments of the judgmental. The stares of those who had nothing better to do than criticize a rumor that floated ear to ear attempted to breach the defense. Her head fell onto my shoulder, tears silently sliding out of her eyes. Her darkened halo draped on the other side, acting like a curtain. Tears hidden from the sight of the prying eyes, the sounds of weakness would not.

Words danced out of her mouth, a melody ringing in my ears. Unable to decipher her language, I just stood there. The tears drenched my shoulder, ruining at the same time completing my new shirt. “I know.” I whispered back, intelligent tremendously except in what to say to a heartbroken girl hopelessly in love. “I know.”

“Good. He was… he was good.” Her voice crackled, her eyes on the verge of down pouring. “Innocent. He was… so… so… innocent. He hadn’t done nothing to deserve this. He just hadn’t.”

I pushed her in the corner and looked her in the eyes. “Not how others saw it and you know it.” I dropped my voice below a whisper. She whipped the tears off her face, the tears terminated. She did not try to interrupt, did not try to look away. She just stood there; a ghost in the flesh. “He ain’t so innocent when faradization with a girl like you.” Unnerved by the comment, she just remained undead. “Pull yourself together before these busybodies start talking.” The lie rolled so easily off my tongue. We both knew those good for nothing busybodies who ran the town had started talking long ago.

Most did not know the truth. They just scattered rumor into every house, every room. Lies and truth had become so jumbled that bits of one were always with the other.

All around, the final cries of a soul begging to stay echoed. Most dismissed it as the wind instead of him. If the truth were admitted, fear would strike those of true guilt to down south. So it was dismissed.

Carla disappeared, as had the whispers. They would return when she did, so without urgency I looked for her. I found her outside, hidden by the shade of the oak tree. The scars of bleeding memories were still visible to those looking. Unfortunately I was.

Halie James walked up beside me. Her dress was tattered and torn, dirt crusted on her cheek. Panic filled my heart. Not that she was bad, better than most. No good came from her being around. Hundreds of eyes could notice her. That was not the panic. The thousands of whispers that would follow did that.

She was a rarity. A mixture of pure pity and bloodlust danced between the sparkle in her eyes. I moved in front of her, placing my back to Carla. Reminders of him were everyone, the last thing she needed was one in the living breathing flesh.

“She looks worse than my brother.” There was no hint of remorse or sarcasm, just truth, plain and honest. She looked, and then looked away. The thing about the reminders is that they work both ways. “We need to ask her.” I shook my head before walking away. There were easier ways than opening that wound. Asking her what her first love said before dying in her arms was not an option.

She walked away, towards the parking lot and away from the prying eyes. Carla had found her way to the car, just sitting on the hood. Like the old days, before she met him.

It had been a winter day like another, below freezing with no snow. She claims that she gazed into his eyes and instantly felt that spark she had only read about in books. All I know is that cleaning up the glasses she dropped was a pain.

The trouble came when Mary Way got involved. Her daddy was the law; the kind of law that only won the election because he had blackmail on half the town and a motor mouth for a wife. He did not like his daddy, his mama or him. Soon as Mary Way got wind of those two, you had to be blind not to see the storm brewing.

I snapped myself out of it and got into the car. Not until she and I were safely hidden in the walls of my room did I allow myself to think about that night. He had said that they were going to leave town. I was the getaway driver, them as Bonnie and Clyde. No laws were broken but in the eyes of the townsfolk they might as well had been criminals on the run. On the front porch, just below where I stood, is where it happened. The mark of where it sliced through the wall could still be seen. Only Carla, whom had been running late per usual, had seen anything. No one wanted to ask her whom had done it. No one able cared enough.

I drove her to her favorite spot now, right by him. It was not much. Carla had to chip in to get what he had at all. We sat on the ground, one next to the other. Then I saw what was in her hand. The ring, a small crystal, to her it was no less valuable than a diamond. I held my breath as she buried it in the loose dirt, tears turning it into mud. We sat there in the silence, as his name remained the silent scream around us. Henry James.

The author's comments:
While honestly not a romance, think of it as Romeo and Juliet without Juliet dying.

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