Caught In The Ashes

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  • Published: 7 Jun 2013
  • Updated: 2 Jul 2013
  • Status: Complete
Desma Lee is dead. She died for being a witness to something so controversial that the authorities would kill for it to stay hidden. *For the Inspired By A Song competition based on the song Pompeii by Bastille*

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3. Chapter 2

June 5, 2010. That was the date that my life turned upside down and inside out.

It was senior prom, a serious big deal. I was a typical seventeen year-old; I was obsessing about the dress I was gonna wear (a red strapless little thing- I was gorgeous, trust me), how I’d wear my hair, and how I’d apply my makeup. I was going with my friends but I harbored a secret hope that some amazingly cute guy would come out of nowhere and slow dance with me. We’d fall in love and all that crazy shit you imagine when you’re young.

Turns out, prom was the most boring thing in human history. The music sucked, there was no food (a tragedy, really), and you could barely see the face of the person next to you.

 I decided to drop a bomb.

“We should ditch,” I said after kicking a balloon out of my way. Some cheesy ballad blared from the speakers so I had to yell over to my friends, who were sitting right next to me.

I remember Jax nodding, “Sure, it’s not like we paid to be here.” He was a friend of the bouncer that let everyone in, so, naturally, we didn’t have to buy tickets to come in. Sara, Leenin, Ai-Lynn, and Cal nodded in agreement.

“But what’ll we do?” Leenin asked. He always worried. He had a right to worry; we got three detentions that month for ditching class.

Ai-Lynn flashed me a smile in the dark; we both had the same thought. “Everything and nothing at all.”

That was all it took to convince them to come. That was all it took for me to ruin their lives.

*

After Lucien and I escaped that day I couldn't get the sound of sirens to leave my head. We ducked into a run-down McDonald's and sat in the booth at the corner, away from the window and prying eyes.

“So how’d you find me?” I asked after we ordered. We kept our voices low and spent the some of the four hundred dollars from the purse on fries. Waste, they turned out to be soggy and cold.

“That doesn’t matter right now,” Lucien said, dipping his fry in ketchup. “What does is that we stay here, undercover.” The food I had in my mouth very nearly fell out.

“Are you crazy?” I asked, keeping my voice low. “We need to get out of here as fast as we can.” His gray eyes hardened.

“Look, the lady you stole from will call the police. She’ll give your description and once they see that it’s you, these cops will call the ones in Los Angeles.” It had hurt to hear the name of my hometown, it’d been two years since I’d been on the run and I missed it terribly. “They’ll come here and expect you to run somewhere, possibly Spain. They won’t expect you to hide right beneath their noses.”

He was right. The cops did check Spain, and Italy, and England. But they came back here to Paris.

But I didn't know that.

We sat in silence after that, eating our French fries. The sudden exhaustion I felt made my shoulders slump and my eyelids droop. Two things kept me from sleeping though: a) I was sitting next to a complete stranger and b) the memory was pounding at the back of my head.

I blinked once, then twice, but it came flooding back no matter what I did.

*

My friends and I were having a ton of fun after we ditched prom. No booze, no drugs, just plain, clean fun. Riding-down-the-street-in-shopping-carts fun. Egging-the-bullies’-houses fun. And for a while, it was the best feeling in the world.

But I wanted to do something more. Something bad. Sure, I ditched class at school sometimes, who doesn’t? But I was always labeled as the ‘good girl’. I wanted to get rid of that.

“Guys,” I said as we all lay soaking wet on someone’s lawn, our dresses and the guys’ tuxes clinging to our skin from jumping in their back pool. “Let’s go and break into the police department.”

*

“Hello?” Lucien cut into my thoughts again. Once I’m in flashback mode, it’s hard for me to break out of it. Lucien cut through it like a knife though.

“Sorry, what?” I remember pushing the hair out of my eyes to see him better. To be completely honest, he was easy on the eyes. Very easy.

“I was just wondering, why you don’t ever just turn yourself in?” he asked, fingering his scar. I barked out a laugh right then and there.

“Would you?”

He considered that. “It’s just t-“

“Look,” I said interrupting him. “We both know what happened. The authorities would kill for it to stay hidden. Us, along with others,” I paused then, the memory was painful. “Know what happened. We’re bound to let it slip sometime. If they’re willing to kill for it to stay hidden, and we know they’re willing, then they won’t hesitate to put a bullet through our heads the second they see us. We need to run.”

“Like the eruption at Pompeii, you run or get caught in the ashes,” he whispered quietly. I nodded.

“But what if they don’t kill us?” His voice was filled with fervor.

“I can’t afford to be an optimist, okay? I-" my voice broke. “I just can’t.” I filled my mouth with food.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“It’s fine, I just can’t give myself in. Even if they don’t kill us, I can’t build back my life on the rubble of my old one.”

We ate in silence after that, finishing the fries and heading out the door. We were headed to my place, I trusted him enough then.

“I forgot to ask, what’s your name?” he asked. I grinned.

“Desma Lee.”

“Lucien Gale.”

“Sounds like Lucifer,” I remarked. He laughed although it started to rain and we were getting soaked.

“You sound like Desdemona.”

“That is my name. My mom was a fan of tragedies. Especially ones of Shakespearean proportions.”

“Sounds like us.”

Lucien couldn’t have been more right.

 

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