Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman Read Online (FREE)
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This is the end of us.
The voice in the back of my mind.
I suck in a shallow breath; my chest rises. The impending snowstorm gathers above us, the air cold on our bones. Below us, stagnant black water whispers our names, excited to seep into our pores. We pant, heavy and even, our hot breath billowing in tight clouds above our heads. Even if we want to run, we can’t.
The chanting grows louder. The six of us grab at each other’s hands, clumsy and drunk, and bring our half-naked bodies together in unison. Shoulder to shoulder. The white hairs on my arms stand on end, reaching for the clouds. Gemma and Khaled exhale, inhale—nervous, apprehensive.
I close my eyes, feel Ruby’s delicate fingers laced tightly with mine. Max, on my other side, squeezes my hand in reassurance.
John, tall and steady, begins to count down. Tricking us into thinking we aren’t about to sacrifice ourselves to the frozen lake. His confidence solidifies our momentum, no turning back now.
I stay calm, and my father’s voice rushes into my head. With my eyes closed, the noise from the outside world lessens, and I can see him leaning down to whisper in my ear. He is dropping me off at college, saying goodbye to his only child. He must leave her with some wisdom, must ensure the first steps she takes are the right ones. I see my mother, blurry, behind him. She stares longingly at the crowd of incoming freshmen, a sad line drawn on her lips. I know she will be focused on the boys in particular, the ones with freckles and sandy tufts of hair. She will want to see my brother’s face in that crowd, and then she will look at me, and that sad line will slowly crack into a forced smile. My father leans closer, his hand gripping my arm. He has my attention. His hold is tight, but it doesn’t bother me. He says one word, and then pulls back, reading my face. I know he is trying to see if he has made some sort of impression, so I nod. I follow his cue, an obedient child. As my parents walk to the parking lot and drive to the airport, as they arrive in the heat and humidity of my birthplace, and as they walk into their empty house, the word he whispered echoes in my thoughts. It binds my every move for the years to come, setting the rhythm to my beating pulse.
I feel a pull on my hand, and my eyes startle, open and wide.
John’s voice gets louder and more powerful. “One!” Our bodies lurch forward and upward.
For a brief second, we are suspended in the air, and I wish we could stay there. My friends shriek and recoil. I hear the exhilaration in their screams. They have waited their turn to jump for so long. After four years in the backwoods of Maine, we are finally here. This is what every freshman, sophomore, junior observes the seniors commit to, winter after winter.