When The Thunder Rolls

Emily Johnson, 17 years old, with a tough past and a lot of secrets. May sound familiar? But it's not.

This story is different.

When she was fourteen, she did something, no fourteen year old should do.

She witnessed something she will never forget.

Now she's running.

Hiding, along with her brothers.

Running to Stratford, she hoped that she could finally have some peace for a while, but when the thunder rolls, and the lightning strikes, memories flashes by...

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9. The truth

Justin

I walked through the airport. I had my small backpack over my shoulder, my eyes covered by sunglasses and my head hanging low covered by a hoodie. I had just left the plain at the airport in Toronto and was heading out to my car. I missed the feeling of having someone next to me, but Emily had stayed back in L.A, saying that, there was something she had to take care of.

I walked into the parking garage and over to my car. I got in and drove out of the parking lot and on my way home. I tried to listen to some music but my head was one big mess. After seeing and hearing exactly what happened to Emily, I didn’t know what to think.

I knew she had killed her uncle, it stood in the article I had found online, but seeing her standing in front of me with that stick… It honestly made me scared. But what scared me the most was when she cried. I’ve known Emily for almost two months, but I knew the day I saw her, that she wasn’t one that would cry.

She were holding on to me as if her life counted on it, and that is a silly thought when you hear what she have been through. I couldn’t say anything, because I didn’t know what to say. I’ve never hold a crying girl in my arms, unless it was because they were begging for me to come back to them.

And when she finally stopped, she wouldn’t talk to me for hours. It was liked she regretted showing me her tears. Emily is a strong girl, a girl who has been strong for too long, why would she be ashamed of crying?

I finally reached Stratford and drove down the road to where I lived. My mom would be out of her mind and I would most likely be grounded until I move out, but it was worth it. To be there by her side while she walked through the memories, to be there for her when she needed it the most. Yes, it was all worth it.

I parked my car in the driveway, and felt lucky that my mother wasn’t home from work yet. I opened the door, and slammed it shut once I had gotten out. I walked down the driveway and over to Emily’s house where I knocked on the door and waited for them to open.

When Ryan finally opened it, with Ashley next to him, holding his hand, I smiled at my best friend. He didn’t exactly look happy when he saw me at first, but he stepped aside and let me in. Nathan was the first one to stand up and slam me into the wall. Keith was there right away to pull him off me.

“Where’s my sister?!” Nathan yelled. Keith and Cooper had to hold him, to stop him from killing me.

“She’s okay. She just didn’t want to come with me home. She’s still in L.A.” I answered calmly. Nathan looked at his brothers and they let him go.

“Why were you in L.A? And why did she bring you with her?” He asked more calm. I looked at Ashley and Ryan, and remembered Emily’s last words to me. I need you to go back. Alone. I need you to tell Ryan and Ashley who I am. I can’t hide from my best friend anymore. I can’t leave her in the darkness no more. Please Justin? I have to stay here, there’s something I have to take care of. I’ll be back as soon as possible. Trust me.

“She told me everything. Showed me exactly where and how. And she brought me along because I asked her too. And now I have to tell Ryan and Ashley exactly what she told me. Again, because she told me too. And if you don’t believe, Nathan, why don’t you just call this number, and she will tell you that all I just told you, is absolutely true.” I said calmly and handed him a piece of paper Emily had given me.

He ripped the paper out of my hands and told me to shut up until he had called the number and talked to Emily. Ashley came over and gave me a hug, saying that she was glad that I had been with Emily the whole time. Ryan gave me a nod, saying that he was glad that I was back and that my mother had said that she would ground me for life when I came back.

“Okay, I’ve talked to Emily. She will be back tomorrow at some point and she said that what Justin said was true. I’m sorry Justin, I overreact when it comes to Emily. I have a hard time keeping my head clear.”

“It’s okay mate. I understand. Ryan and Ashley? Can I talk to you for a minute or two?” I asked. I guided them over to the couch, where Ryan and Ashley took a seat on the couch and I sat down on the coffee table in front of them.

“Look, Ashley, before I tell you this, you need to know that Emily wanted to tell you herself, but she needed you to know now. She couldn’t wait till she got back. Guys, please don’t judge her when I’m done telling you this, she really loves you guys. Okay, here goes nothing.” And then I started telling them about what happened to Emily and her family.

Nathan and his brothers sat on the couch without saying a word. I guess they were thinking back on the past. No one wants to see their sister fire a gun and kill someone, no one wants to see their mother lying dead on the floor but most of all, no one wants to lose their family and live in darkness.

When I was done telling them, Ashley was crying and Ryan was just about too. I could see that Ashley was scared. Ashley was a normal girl. The most dangerous thing she has ever done is probably not doing her homework. Ryan and I have both seen shit, but none of the bullshit we have seen, or done ourselves, could be compared to what Emily has been through. Emily is the strongest person I know. No wonder she stood up for a stranger the first day she was here. She had absolutely nothing to lose. She knew how it was too not have anyone else besides your family, so she helped a broken girl back on track. We have all grown so close the last few months, and hearing this must have been such a shock for them. Nathan looked at Ashley and told her to stop crying with the most caring voice. I’m sure he only uses that tone when it’s Emily, but knowing that Ashley is Emily’s best friend must have made it slip. The doorbell rang so he got up and went to open it.

I heard some low voice talking and then Nathan came in with my mom by his side. She was so happy that I was okay, that she forgot everything about grounding me.

Me and my mom left shortly after, I said goodbye to the guys, and told Ashley not to worry about Emily. She is a strong girl, and she can take care of herself. Ashley nodded, and hugged a bit tighter where after she released me and my mom and I hurried home. It was nice to be back home, safe and sound in my bed with some music playing low in the background, but my mind kept wandering back to Emily, and what she was doing…

Ashley

It had been two days since Justin and Emily disappeared. I have been at her place along with Ryan every day after school, and even though Ryan finally asked me to be his girlfriend, I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted too, I was just too concerned.

Nathan had promised me that Emily would come back. She always do he had said. I closed my eyes and sighed in frustrations. Ryan gave my hand a squeeze that told me that it was okay. Just then, a knock was heard. Ryan told Nathan to just sit, that he would go get it. I stood up and followed him close behind.

I grabbed his hand before he opened, expecting it to be the cops that told me that they had found Emily’s dead body in a river and Justin’s body in the park. Don’t know why I freaked out that much, but it sure as hell was nice to open the door and see Justin, alive.

He looked at Ryan and I’s hands and smile, Ryan, on the other hand, didn’t smile back. He just stepped aside and let him in.

As soon as Nathan saw him, he went crazy. He slammed Justin into the wall, yelling at him, asking where his sister was. But Justin didn’t even flinch. He answered calmly that she had stayed back in L.A and that she had told, and showed him everything whatever that meant. Then he said that she wanted him to tell Ryan and I and that if Nathan didn’t believe him, he could just call a number Emily had given him.

She must have known that her brothers wouldn’t believe Justin. Honestly, I wouldn’t have either. The two of them have their past, and you never know if Justin made her snap again.

Nathan came back, telling us that Em would be back some time tomorrow. That information made me sigh in relief. She was alive. She was okay. Justin then pulled Ryan and I along with him, saying that he had to tell us something, something about Emily.

He kept saying that we shouldn’t judge her by what he was about to say, that she really cared about us and that she didn’t want to lose us. Chill Bieber, it’s not like she have killed someone I thought. Then Justin told us about their trip to L.A. About how she had covered up in the airport by dressing herself in a dress and a wig.

About how she had got the taxi driver to stop in the middle of nowhere, and how she had seemed so depressed. And then he threw the bomb. He told us about how Emily killed her Uncle in cold blood. I felt Ryan tense beside me, and squeezed his hand, as a sign that I didn’t believe him either.

But when I looked at her brothers, and their sad and regretful  face expressions, I knew that Justin wasn’t lying. I knew that everything he told us, was the cold hearted truth. Emily had shot and killed someone, in the age of fourteen. She had seen her mom being killed in front of her, and hadn’t shot earlier. Why didn’t she just shoot him, and saved her mom?

When Justin was done, I finally understood. I finally understood why Emily stood up for me the first day. She had nothing to lose. She had already been to hell and back, she couldn’t be more hurt. She couldn’t see the light in the end of the tunnel. At first, I was scared. What if she got mad at me and killed me too?!

Then I mentally slapped myself for ever thinking that. I had seen how she reacted when she had beaten up Justin. She had controlled herself. She regretted it. She didn’t want to be the way she was, she just couldn’t control it.

Emily is my friend. And no matter what happened in her past, I won’t let it ruin what we have now. She is my best friend and I won’t judge her for what she did. Emily saved six other people’s lives. She’s a hero. I cried and saw that Ryan almost did too. Everything after that is a bit blur.

I remember Pattie, Justin’s mom, coming over for Justin. I remember telling him that I was happy that he had been there with Emily. I remember saying goodbye to Nathan, Cooper and Keith. I remember Ryan walking me home. I remember him kissing me goodnight for the first time. I remember smiling like a fool. But everything after that, is one big blur. Please come home soon, Em. I miss you so much. 

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