Leo, a fire sign. The sun, my ruling planet. Gold, my color of choice. A warrior. I am entity wrapped around in the eternal flames of passion. I mustn’t yield and wait for my dreams to find me. I must chase them. I lit that fire.
The water that washed me away did not defeat me. I was successful. From those damp and darkened ashes that remained a single ember was still burning. Without hesitation that ember will soon rise. As it emerges from its cage like a phoenix from the ashes the whole world will turn away, for their eyes cannot handle such a light.
I retrieved the correct files. My contract was signed and my internship was secure. I had what I needed. The data entry office was temporarily closed due to the water damage I had caused. The video footage for the entire building had “glitched out,” according to the police, and it had been ruled a false alarm. I was in the clear and I didn’t have to attend that stupid job anymore. I wasn’t going to go back. I gave Jessica my two weeks notice via email and I assumed the office wouldn’t reopen since it’s been closed for an entire week.
All I had to do was keep my head down so I didn’t arouse any suspicion. The only regret I had was that I couldn’t rub it in Alicia’s face right away. Maybe by then things would change and we would be friends again. Maybe I would no longer be angry about the whole situation. Maybe these thoughts of rubbing it in her face wouldn’t enter my mind anymore. Underneath I knew I was still feeling the pain of losing a friendship, but I had to push the thoughts down. I knew I’d see her at the August White Party. I was going with Kirsten and Dylan so I assumed that they jettisoned Alicia.
“Massie, you have a package!” my mother shouted.
“Coming!” I grabbed my robe and headed down the stairs. It must be my amazon order.
“Here,” my mom handed me the package as I reached the bottom of the stairs.
“Dinner will be ready in 30,” she said.
“Awesome,” I turned around and whipped back up the stairs. Setting my package down on my desk I realized how light it was. I sat down in my chair, examining the package. The return address was my address which was a huge red flag. In this moment I was unsure weather or not to open it or bring it to my parents. I grabbed my scissors, carefully undoing the packing tape. Opening the box I held my head away and through squinted eyes I could see it was only a sheet of paper.
“Look familiar?” It was printed instead of written. I lifted it up, inspecting it. There were no clues to it’s origin. Underneath the paper was a second object, this time a photograph.
I would’ve rather received a horse’s heart in the mail. It was the sheets of paper that I had used to set the fire. I remember vividly dropped them on the floor as soon as the sprinklers had gone off. I was an idiot. I was so focused on getting to that computer that I forgot to pick them up and take them with me. What bothered me even more was that someone had found these semi-burnt mini-notepad papers, correlated it to the fire, and connect me to it. All of the security camera footed was supposedly wiped so how in the hell did someone find out? Did someone see me after all? If they had, why hasn’t someone else confronted me? It wasn’t Jessica because she was more the type to have me arrested. Could it be Evelyn? Is she threatening me for having the nerve to negotiate? Or is it a third party? I whipped out a notebook, wrote down every detail I could remember about that day, and started trying to pinpoint where I could have made an error. I skipped dinner and told my parents I wasn’t feeling well. I stayed up until two am trying to come to a conclusion. Evelyn was definitely the front-runner because as far as I was aware, we were the only people who knew what was going on. I couldn’t fathom being her target. I eventually fell asleep though my dreams were tumultuous.
I awoke to the unmistakeable sound of a new text. Still shaken up from my last night, I was reluctant to read it:
“do you your outfit yet?” Kris asked. It was our group chat.
“No,” Dylan replied, “I can’t find anything that doesn’t make me look chubby.”
“I havent. going shopping 2day. wanna come?” I replied. I put my phone of vibrate.
“Yes!” Kristen replied.
And so I hopped out of bed, full of determination to find an amazing outfit for the August White Party. It was just days away. I also hoped to keep my mind off of the disturbing development.
I grabbed my phone, expecting a text from the group chat but it was instead from a random number:
“I saw you got my gift.”
Shit! I typed out “who are you!?” but before I sent it, I realized that would only be playing into their hand. Instead I got dressed to put some time between myself and the text. Eventually I replied with:
“Huh? Think you have the wrong number.”
They replied almost instantly:
“Don’t play me, Massie.”
“? Do I know you?” I replied.
“You’re going to wish you didn’t. And before you think about contacting the police, just remember if I go down, you go down with me.”
The next text was a security footage still of me sitting at Jessica’s computer. And that’s about when my mouth dropped to the floor.
“Alright, what do you want? Just tell me.”
“Oh, I’ve got plans for you. Until then…enjoy your day. And don’t get any ideas. This isn’t Gossip Girl, you’re not Blair, and you won’t win.”
“Wait! What?” I replied promptly, but the message wouldn’t go through.
“Hello??” I tried again to no avail. I was getting delivery errors.
“Fantastic,” I said, throwing my phone on my bed.
I dove for my phone, with a glimmer of hope that the person had responded, but it was just Kris and Dylan telling me they were outside in Dylan’s car. I chucked my phone in my purse, trying to hold back tears of frustration mixed with terror. I don’t know who this person is, what they want, or where this is headed.
All I knew is that I was screwed, as per usual, by something I caused. In that moment I sincerely felt that I had learned nothing the past year. I was right back where I started. Maybe this is who I’ll always be.
My word is my Bond,
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