Stopwatch

I see the deaths of those around me, I see every stopwatch's end time. My first friend was the one who stopped every one of her friends' stopwatches. I may be next.

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4. 00.00.03

If moving and seeing Ester again wasn’t enough, then the overload of thoughts and numbers are killing me. Every time I look the timers are running. My Lit teacher was the lowest 00.10.04.05. 10 months, 4 weeks, 5 days. The thing that scares me the most though was Ester; she was the only one without a timer.  She has no timer and she can start the countdown of others. One thing that was strange besides the rest was that guy. He smelled like chocolate and spice, if I stayed any longer it would have become addicting. Walking near the woods it seems evil, as a little kid I used to hang out in the woods. After Ester led Kimberley away, I stopped. I had begun to fear Ester more than like her.  Everything about her frightened me. From her mask to her eyes, the eyes worst of all. The woods is where I met Ester actually. We would play there and go to her house for food afterwards.

“Hi there, what’s your name?” a sweet angelic voice asked me. I looked up to see a pretty girl with dark brown hair and bright blue-grey eyes smiling at me. I scoot away and stare at her. No one had talked to me because of the vibe I gave off.
“What’s your name?” she asks again.
“Mine’s Ester.” She sticks her hand out. I stare at it as if unsure of what to do. I don’t want to touch it, which causes dreams, dreams that will end up coming true.
“My name is Alice.” I say quietly turning away from the outstretched normality.
“That’s a pretty name, like Alice in Wonderland right?” she sits down next to me.
“Yeah, I guess.” I draw my knees up.
“Hey why don’t we play Alice in Wonderland? You can be Alice and I can be the Red Queen.” She smiles and hugs me.
“Why are you hugging me?” I ask quickly and try to push her off.
“You’re so cute! You can be my cute little bunny!” she hugs me tighter. She releases me and pulls me up.
“Let’s go to my house to play with Barbie’s ok?” she smiles. She pulls me into the direction of a large house with a picket fence. Opening the door she pulls me though.
“Mommy I have a new friend with me!” she calls into the enormous household. A woman peeks her head out and smiles. She comes out wearing a bright red apron and a smile.
“That’s nice dear, what’s your name? I’m Mrs. Inger.” She bends down to my height.
“Alice Data.” I say quietly.
“Aww you’re so cute! How about this, I’ll finish the cookies and you can have some of them ok? Now go run along.” She shoos us out of the room. Ester drags me off to the second floor and into a room twice the size of my living room. With bright pink and red prints everywhere, I am nearly blinded by the bright and happy colors. Ester hands me a pretty doll with blonde hair.
“Here this one looks like you, and I’ll be this one!” she pulls out a doll with a bright red ball gown.
“Now Alice, why did you eat my tarts?” she speaks through the toy.
“I was hungry and they looked yummy. Please don’t cut off my head.” I hold mine up.
“Ok then, we will be friends and eat tarts together then! Now who has been mean to you? Was it this girl?’ she holds up a really pretty doll with bright pink hair.
“If she was then off with her head!” she pulls the dolls head off and tosses it across the room.
“She was really pretty, why did you do that?” I tilt my head.
“Simple, she was too pretty for my tastes. That and she smelled like roses, only I can smell like roses.” She crosses her arms with a pout.
“Girls! The cookies are done!” almost forgetting about the headless rose, we race downstairs. Well more like she pulls me down to the long wooded table. We eat cookies and she tells jokes. For some reason my mind continuously drifts to the headless rose and why she would destroy such a pretty thing. After I go home and deal with mother and father yelling, I sleep a dreamless sleep.

The next day I go back to the playground and play with the flowers. Someone taps my shoulder and I turn my head to see Ester smiling down at me. We go to the woods and play tag. She ends up tripping and hurting her ankle. She was crying so I picked her up and put her on my back. I carried her home and went with her to the hospital. She had twisted her ankle and was in bed for a few days. I visited her the next day and stayed there for 3 more. When I got back home, I found out I would be an older sister. Ester and I became inseparable. After school started she always came in a pretty dress and smiles. If it was someone’s birthday she brought sweets for everyone. Some of the girls ended up being mean to her and I would punch them afterwards. After that, people were meaner to me than her. I was fine with it because it was for my first and only friend. That and she was the only one without numbers above her head. The end of kindergarten came and summer returned. Many of our adventures were in the forest. We had sleepovers and sweets all the time. When my brother was big enough, we would take him to the playground. I noticed he looked above a person’s head instead of at their face, I taught him in secret to look at faces. When he learned to talk he said it was after touching someone that he would see their numbers. He also was a genius. When Ester and I were in the 2nd grade, he stayed in our class for about half the year before going to a special school. He grew bored and began failing so he was sent back a few grades.

The third grade came and Ester became a target to a group of girls. They were more civil with me around but she still came to the forest with new cuts and scraped knees. That’s about the time I noticed a new glint in her eyes, there was one there before but it was a childlike one. This one was filled with darkness and pure evil. One day Kimberley, the leader of girls had the guts to be mean to me.
“Wow Alice, you don’t have any friends do you? Probably cause you’re such a loser!” instead of crying I shrugged. My mother called me worse. In fact I had a pretty large vocabulary of words no one else in my grade knows. I turned back to Ester and looked in her eyes. I nearly peed myself. They had become so dark and wicked. The grey looked like a knife that would kill someone. She stood up and began to charm Kimberley. As they talked I saw Kimberley’s numbers go down. Originally it was 82.23.76; it dropped to 00.00.05 in under a minute. She walked with her into the woods with Ester and that was the last I saw of her while she was alive. Ester had been good about covering her tracks too. She brought other girls and made sure Kim got home safely. In the morning she was missing from her room. They searched for 3 weeks before her rotting body was found. Soon after Ester took over the group of girls. Their numbers began to tick down and they would disappear only to be found weeks later. At some point the bodies were found eaten and the community was on high alert. Ester kept up the façade that she was scared and brought sweets to the family’s house, and always was the first to “find out” that her friend disappeared.

I made friends with one of the girls. Crystal was really nice, a bit blunt and rude at times but her eyes were understanding and kind. We hung out more when Ester grew closer with the other girls. I knew I could trust Crystal so I told her about the numbers. At first she didn’t believe me then a girl in the school disappeared as I said she would. Crystal began to have this romance of capturing Ester in the act and she formulated a plan. Ester became jealous about how much time I was spending with Crystal. Crystal went missing the day I found the girl whose numbers were going down, I even touched her arm to ask for a pencil to find out where and how. We had it set, a parent was to help us “find the kite we lost” and she would stumble upon Ester and the girl. That plan never happened. When I was questioned by the police they told me Crystal disappeared. At first I didn’t believe it but she disappeared like the others. I screamed and began to cry loudly. I spent the next 4 weeks crying and searching for her. Ester in the meantime went to Cascade, Montana to visit relatives. When she came back she comforted me and I let her. Her eyes still made me shiver but she hugged me and helped me stop crying. Crystal’s body was never found.  The years went by and soon the girls of the original group were gone. Ester moved and I remained. The other kids moved and more came. I was the last of the originals. I saw the numbers and I stopped making friends to stop the heartache.

 Mom remarried and then we moved to Baker, Montana. Kevin was still the little genius and mom, well mom was a bitch. I love her and all but she really is and was a downer. Then she was gone. I fear the rest of my family will be as well. The only two who will stand after this, is me and her. It seems she will never stop. All I wonder is why here? Why did she continue?  The girls were no longer mean, she wasn’t teased. From what I heard she’s always been popular here. She didn’t even wipe the others out. So why? 

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