The Rumor | Teen Ink

The Rumor

May 17, 2021
By Ajemery71, Wentzville, Missouri
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Ajemery71, Wentzville, Missouri
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Author's note:

I'm a high school graduating senior of the class of 2021. I came up with this idea from visiting an abandoned amusement park near where I live and I wanted to recreate that story but with some adventure. 

It was Tuesday, July 1st, 1984, the first true day that felt like summer. It had been exactly two weeks since school let out at Brooklyn Hill High School. Brooklyn Hill was located in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. It was one of the most popular schools in the area. They had winning sports teams, winning academic teams, and so much more. However, even though Brooklyn Hill High School was popular they had the most divided student body in the state. The student body was divided into groups, like you had your jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, skaters, etc. The students never questioned it because it felt comfortable. That is until people started to notice one group of friends. They were a group of seniors and they had always been friends but every just started to notice their senior year. The group of friends consisted of two jocks, Michael and Danny, a typical nerd, Jesse, and last but not least the most stubborn girl in the school, Stephanie. They are all friends because they’ve lived in the same apartment building ever since they were all in kindergarten. Growing up they all have never lived a very wealthy life, they all were considered a part of the lower middle class. The apartment building they lived in was an old, rundown, red brick building that hasn’t been cared for much since probably the ’40s and you could tell. There were weeds and veins reaching up the north side of the building and the windows were all colored in yellow and blue glass, however, the color had faded by the sun so it more looks like that color of old paper and dust. Although they didn’t mind, they always had each other and that’s what mattered to them. 

It was a burning hot day outside so Jesse and Stephanie were sitting in the living room of Jesse’s apartment while Michael and Danny were at football practice. Jesse was reading the newspaper while Stephanie was listening to music on her tape recorder. 

“Hey Steph, you know that rumor about the south beach amusement money?” Jesse asked.

“Yeah, I guess” She answered, “What about it”

“I was just thinking of how different my life would be with the money like I could actually go to New York University next year,” He said while sighing.

“Yeah, that’s true, if I had that much money I think I would buy a house for my mom. You know like a yellow house with a really rad backyard” She smiled while talking to Jesse.

“Hey what if we try to find the money?” Jesse said. “Like what if we put all of our minds together. We could start when Michael and Danny get here” Jesse said while getting up to move by Stephanie. 

“Jes, are you serious, what makes you think we could ever find that money. Nobody has ever come close and it’s been years. Are you even sure it exists?” She answered him.

“I don’t know but just come on Steph, we have nothing to lose right?” He said to her in a begging manner.

“Okay fine, but only as an after-school thing. I’m not going to miss school for this. My mom would kill me, but Jes where do we even start” Steph said while folding her arms together. 

“Well according to my research that I totally did not do last week and this newspaper, I guess we start in the amusement park on South Beach on Staten Island.” He told her while looking away nervously.

“Ew no, gag me with a spoon. I’m def not going into a dirty abandoned amusement park. Especially after school when it’s getting dark.” She said disgustedly.

“Come on Steph, please, can you please just try. I’ll even bring my GermX” Jesse said while trying to shake Stephanie to say yes.

“Okay fine, you better bring that GermX” She answered. As soon as Stephanie said that the door slammed shut and laughter filled the air in the distance. Danny and Michael walked into the living room, threw down their bags, and slumped on the flower couch across from the main window. Jesse sat up immediately and ran to his room to get his shoes and ran back.

“Yo Jes, why did you get your shoes so fast?” Danny asked while bending his head to the right a little.

“Steph and I have this amazing idea” He answered looking at Stephanie excitedly.

“You,” Stephanie corrected. “You, have this amazing idea,” she said in a sarcastic tone while looking at him and then at Danny and Michael on the couch. Jesse then went on and told them all about the plan he had come up with and how they would start. He told them that he had secretly been working on this ‘quest’ for the past 3 years and he solved the rumor and where the money was. He said that the rumor was just a rumor and that there was a riddle to solve. Jesse then proceeds to pace from the main window all the way to the blue wall on the other side past the flower couch that Danny and Michael sat on. He went on to tell them that he thought he had solved the riddle and just needed help to get the money. There was silence for about 30 seconds. Stephanie, Danny, and Michael looked all fazed by the information told by Jesse. 

“Wow, okay. So can we eat before we leave? I haven’t eaten since lunch period” Danny said to Jesse while getting up and walking towards the door. They all soon followed. Jesse and Michael got into the back seat of Danny’s car which was a 70’s chevy cavalier that he had borrowed from his dad for school. Stephanie got into the passenger seat and Danny was in the driver seat. They drove to a nearby diner on the corner of 5th and 7th street. They walked in and sat at a purple and yellow booth with a blue table. They ordered their food and jammed out to the Backstreet Boys which played over the jukebox near the booth. They got their food after a couple of minutes, paid for it at the door, and left. They all loaded back into the white car in the same spots they had gotten therein. The group then made its way onto Staten Island and down to South Beach. They finally made it to the parking lot that used to be the parking for the amusement park. They parked the car and got out. The sun was starting to set and it was the time of day where you could see both the sun and the moon. They walked up to the hole that had been cut in the chain fence and walked in. 

“Hey guys, I don’t feel so good right now,” Stephanie said to them. Jesse, Danny, and Michael all looked at her and at that moment they heard a scream in the distance. They all turned and ran into the concrete building that had been a food stand and hid. 

“What was that?'' asked Danny in a frightened tone.

“I’m not sure, however, that was a gnarly scream.” He answered. Stephanie peeked and went over to the door and peeked around to look and see if anyone was there. There was nobody there. 

“Guys, there is nobody there. I think it’s okay. I think we should just leave now.” Stephanie whispered.

“You know maybe I was wrong, I’m with Stephanie on this one. That was a gnarly scream and we should just come back on Saturday during the day” Jesse said to all of them. Stephanie, Danny, and Michael all nodded and they all walked to the door in pure silence. The door flew right open and a gush of wind rushed in.

“Well, well, well, look what we have here,” Said a tall man dressed in denim jeans and a black leather jacket. His hair was parted to the side and stood up with gel. His voice was deep and ragged. The light from his flashlight was too bright to see his face. “Looks like we got some visitors,” He said. There was laughter and mutters coming from behind him. However, they couldn’t see anyone. 

“Hey dude we were just leaving okay,” Danny said. 

“Not anymore you're not,” the man said. “Who are you and why are you on my turf?” He asked angrily. 

“We just came to check out the rumored money, okay man,” Jesse said in a shaky voice. Laughter erupted all around them. There were dozens now. There were dozens of men in jeans and black leather jackets all around them. 

“There is no money, you airhead,” the man said with the light still on them. He turned around and gave the flashlight to one of the guys behind him. The guy behind him took the light and kept it in them. They could see the man's face now. His neck crawled with tattoos and his face was sharp cut, with brown eyes. “Why were you spying on me?” he asked as walked into the building.

“Look, we were seriously just looking for the rumored money. We were not spying. I swear” Stephanie said. The man looked at the group and crooked his head to the side. 

“You, why do you look familiar?” the man said while pointing at Danny.

“He looks like that cop from last weekend just younger,” said the guy with the flashlight. 

“Yeah I think you're right Matt,” the man said while straightening his head back out. “Here I tell you what, your little friends can leave but you can come with me”.

“Wait what, no, we're not leaving without him,” Stephanie said in a defensive tone.

“No Steph, leave. I’ll be okay” Danny said. He then looked at Steph and gave a slight nod. A nod that was notable to her but not to the man.

“Fine,” said scuffed. Stephanie, Jesse, and Michael walked out of the concrete building past the man and ran to the car back in the parking lot.

“Steph, what are we doing, we need to go back and get Danny” exclaimed Michael. 

“Look I’m not sure what Danny is going to do but he’s coming alright. I just know” said Stephanie in a worried tone. “Now Michael, get in the driver's seat, when Danny comes we're going to need to leave and fast”. Michael got in the driver's seat while Stephanie and Jesse piled into the backseat. They all turned to watch the hole where the fence was cut out for Danny. Meanwhile, Danny was still in the concrete building with the man and all of his people around him.

“You’re going to send a little message to your pops for me alright,” said the man. He walked over to Danny while Danny backed up into the corner where he couldn't go anymore. “Matt, come take him outside for me,” He said, directing with his hands to a small patch of grass outside the stand. Matt and another guy took Danny out to the patch of grass. “Alright, now enjoy this,” the man said and kicked Danny. Danny didn’t fight and just took the kicking. 3 minutes went by and the man stopped kicking. “Come on boy, fight back,” He said.

“Eat my shorts,” said Danny. The man’s face turned red, Danny looked up and stood up and then ran. He ran in the opposite direction of the group and towards the way he came in through the fence.

“Get him!” the man yelled running after him. The group started to run trying to catch up but Danny was too fast. Danny reached the hole in the fence and ran through it and started to run for his car with all of his friends. Jesse opened the door for Danny through the inside. Danny ran and got in the car.

“Mike, go!” yelled Jesse. Michael stepped on the gas and the car started to move and they moved faster and faster until they got to the bridge going off Staten Island. 

“Golly Danny, are you okay?” Stephanie said, trying to look at Danny’s beaten face.

“Yeah, I’m alright. Let’s never come back okay” Danny said to the group. They all agreed in mutters and laughed on the way home. They ended up making it back to the apartments and back into Jesse’s living room. Danny went to get a cold pack out of the icebox while the rest of the group sat on the floor in the living room. Danny turned on music from the turntable on his way into the living room. The group talked all night until they finally fell asleep. The next day came and they went to school like normal.

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