Something Scary by Sarina P.

Twelve-year-old Nevada Reyes walked through the opening of the chic new restaurant The Garage. She stumbled through the craggy metallic path mapped out for her…a crack, in diameter, in the dilapidated entrance- which reminded her of the progressive evolution of Tupperware (the place was stacked full of it). Rusty nails spiked the walls and firm tires were placed in the cubbies of dirt in the wall. The white paint crackled and crumbled off the high, grungy ceiling. 

Nevada knew that something far better…something really great was behind the door. And that was…  

“DENVER!” Nevada squealed. She reached out to hug her equally-enthused stepsister, who she hadn’t seen in four whole years.  

Thirteen-year-old Denver lived in faraway Morocco with their archaeologist father to help report his findings while Nevada stayed with Denver’s mom.  

Tall Denver looked nothing like Nevada- she had long, dark caramel hair with chocolate streaks and blue eyes; while her stepsister Nevada was shorter- and she had thick, short black hair and green eyes.  

“Den, where’s Dad?” Nevada asked.  

Her heart started to pound as she excavated the building with just her concerned eyes, which were welling up quick. Her dad called it, “The Archaeologist Expedition.” Because whenever she was looking for someone, her eyes zoomed into microscopic mode.  

She missed Dad SO much- she’d give anything to hear his voice flood the room with liquid sound. His smile, his laugh…all gone. Now that Mom had died and he’d gone away, Nevada needed someone’s support real bad.  

While she was thinking all this, Denver’s eyes crinkled with immense worry but she smiled, cheery as could be. “Oh, he’s in the bathroom, Neva. You’ll see him later- for tonight’s barbecue! Want to catch some slurps here?” 

‘You’re lying,’ Nevada wanted to scream, her eyes now brimming with tears. ‘You’re lying to protect me. Dad’s in a dangerous place and something’s happened to him…you even had the nerve to lie to my face, Denver?’ But for the sake of Aunt Cadie, for the sake of her sanity, and for Denver’s sake, she pulled it together and once again suppressed her feelings. Just like she always had- for the sake of those around her, never for herself.  

“C’mon, Neva,” Denver suggested, hands out and a warm smile plastered on that sisterly expression of hers. The other side of Denver, Nevada knew, was somewhere inside fighting her other concerns to protect Nevada.  What a pair they were. “Let’s go for a walk.” 

Crunch! Crunch! Bits of aluminum foil and other rubbish besides flung into the metal tubs as they trudged towards The Garage’s soda fountain.  

The two of them promised each other that they’d enjoy this lazy summer day and indulged themselves with the soda fountain: brightly-colored jets of icy, bubbly sweetness that you could loll your pink tongue under and feel the currents rushing down, down, down; into your eyes and armpits, which only made them laugh as hard and as jolly as Santa during Comedy Night at the North Pole. And there were so many flavors!  

They vowed to try one each: dark cherry vanilla cream, lemon raspberry, strawberry mint, cranberry caramel, blue raspberry pineapple, mango blueberry, currant coffee, lime coconut….there were so many choices!  

But as soon as they swallowed their first sip of the fantastic fluids, they started to quake and shake as if a landslide had occurred in the soda fountain. Horrified, both girls looked at each other while they jolted and jostled; jiggling and wriggling around until they felt entirely different. Their feet were slowly melting into the floor like thick, hot cubes of butter while they were stretched and molded, squashed and folded, squeezed and hammered right out of their wits. Their breath was sucked out of their lungs while they rolled and convulsed from the extreme discomfort, lying in a subconscious state on the floor.  

“Wh…wh…what’s happening?” Stuttered Nevada as she dropped to the floor, blood crashing out of a fresh bruise. She was frightened and curious- and rightfully so. “What’s HAPPENING?” She screamed.  

Not too long afterwards, the two young survivors woke up on the grimy, grainy floor; coughing and spluttering from exhaustion.
“You OK?” Denver asked, shaking Nevada’s shirt hard. Her eyes were filled with worry; her blond hair splayed outwards in a fan while she looked sideways at her stepsister.  

“Think so,” Nevada replied, coughing a little more before staggering into a squat. What had that soda done to them?  

“Well it’s about doggone time you came to!” Her stepsister snapped.  

When Nevada tried to conjure up an earnest excuse, Denver raised a hand; eyes smoldering. Splotchy bruises dotted her arms. Her face wasn’t much better. 

“Miss Sleepyhead, I was getting SO worried! Did you even pause to think how I was coping in your little knocked-out state of mind?” Denver demanded, interrogating me far too harshly with her blue eyes.  

“Denver, I-” Nevada faltered, grasping the iron bars of the prison she realized she was standing in. The sharp staccato of footsteps broke their conversation and shattered all traces of apologizes as Nevada flung herself to the floor and lay there silently, pretending to sleep and Denver masked her feelings; monitoring Nevada with a troubled expression.  

“Is she well?” the soldier grunting, his Irish brogue seeping into his voice.
Denver looked up innocent as a baby lamb. “What now?” The man crept up to the bars in full height. Denver’s heart pounded in unison with Nevada’s, as she tried to steady each rapid, shuddering breath. Before the click of a rifle caused her fear to skyrocket. The man pointed it at her and cursed in Irish, saying some very hurtful things that Denver didn’t need a translator to understand. Her blood froze and churned like a massive tsunami, violent as it thrashed against her stomach. But before he could fire the rifle, something shattered Denver’s fear instantaneously. Nevada launched herself to her feet with a wild spring to her steps and faced the man down. The anticipation hung thick in the air, accelerating until the tension crackled with an eerie electricity. Nevada stepped forwards while Denver’s eyes got huge. The man pointed his rifle. Nevada quickly stepped forwards while Denver continued to screech desperately and sob into her shoulders, clutching at Nevada. But her stepsister couldn’t take all THIS any longer. She calmly swiveled around to fully face the rifle and drew herself up to full height, roughly thrusting Denver’s hands aside. Nevada pressed up against the bars, smiled confidently, and turned to wave goodbye. Then she slipped through the bars, leaving Denver in the path of a weapon. And the bullet made its mark with a CRACK….but it didn’t silence either girl. It splintered the wall. Which left Nevada to wonder…if the bullet didn’t hit her stepsister, then what had? Before the wind was pulled out of her chest, Nevada’s jaw snapped up and she saw an icy sparkle that glimmered inside two VERY familiar blue eyes. Denver. How did she escape? Denver mouthed something, but it wasn’t the comfort Nevada was used to.  

Just as well, Nevada thought through gritted teeth, holding out against the pain of being shoved to the floor. Why should I expect any sisterly love?

Instead, Denver mouthed these words: “This time, you’re on your own.” 

In a flurry of light and sound, a flash streaked out of the bars and slammed Nevada onto the hard, stony floor. The guard was knocked out. When Nevada looked up through hazy vision, she saw Denver as she raced to the street, and hitched herself to a vehicle leaving the prison. 

“Well, some stories have no happy ending,” Nevada mused as she stood up, lumbering out to the gates, as far as she could go in her injured state. A half-smirk, half-smile formed on her face as she continued, “This is one of them.”