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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11. 'This girl is more broken...'

Ashley

I walked through the doors of the school, and saw Justin and Ryan waiting by my locker, but no Emily. She was supposed to be here today?

I walked over to my friends, and Ryan greeted me with a sweet kiss on the cheek. I blushed like crazy, I can't believe that everything between me and Ryan happened because of Emily.

"Hey, have any of you heard from Emily?" I asked. Justin and Ryan exchanged a look I couldn't make out what meant before they spoke up.

"Erm, Ashley. Nathan caught me running this morning, and he told me that Emily wouldn't come to school for the rest of the week. He didn't explain himself, he just said that something had happened when she came home this morning and it wasn't good. He also said that I should tell you that Emily would call you later when she woke up. Apparently, she slept on the roof tonight and is getting sick too. I'm so sorry, I know how excited you were to see her again." Justin said.

"But what could possibly have happened? Are you sure he didn't tell you what happened?" I asked. He nodded. Ryan hugged me from behind, and I earned myself a few glares from girls around on the hallway.

The rest of Justin's crew gathered around us when we were in lunch, and I tried to participate in the fun they were having, but the thing with Emily kept coming back through my mind.

I decided to text Nathan and ask him what was going on.

To: Nathan!

'Hey Nathan, Justin told me, we'll basically he told me nothing. What's going on with Em? Is she okay?' I pressed send and came my phone back in my pocket. I felt a lot better now where I had texted Nathan, so I started joining in on the laughter.

The rest of the day went by fast. Nathan hadn't texted me back, but Ryan told me not to think about it. So that was what I did. I didn't think about it.

When I came home, I did my homework like I always do, grabbed an apple and watched some tv. At some point, I went to the bathroom, and while doing my thing, I heard my phone ring.

Remembering what Justin had told me, I mentally cursed myself. It was Emily calling. I just knew it.

I finished doing what I had to do, and went in to my phone. A notification on my screen, told me that I had a message on my voice mail.

I dialed the number to my voicemail and listened carefully.

"Hey Ash, it's me. I just wanted to call you, and tell you that I love you so so so so much. You are worthy of all the love in the world. You are the best friend, anyone could ever ask for. And I'm sorry that I wasn't there at school today. I really wanted to be there, because I know how much you were worried about me, which I don't understand cause you know me, but whatever. But something happened, and I thought, since Justin told you everything I told him about me, I thought that you deserved to know why I wasn't at school today. So if you still want to be my best friend, could you come over in an hour? You can call Ryan and tell him to come too if you'd feel more safe around me with him near. Well, this is getting too long, so I'll just stop it now. So, yeah...”  Bip, Bip, Bip.' The voicemail ended.

I removed my phone from my ear, and stared at it, shocked. Did she really think that I was scared of her? Just because she killed someone in the age of fourteen? Just because she was so carefree and maybe even a slight bit dangerous? Did she really think I was scared of her? Okay, maybe I was a little at first, but not anymore.

I grabbed my phone, put my hair in a ponytail and went out of the door. I had no plans of waiting an hour to hear her explanation. I wanted it right now. Mostly because she didn’t sound like herself. Her normal confident, relaxed and friendly tone was gone, and was replaced with something much scarier.

She sounded confused. Hurt. But most of all; scared.

And that, is NOT the Emily I know and love. It’s not the Emily I have been best friends with for almost three months soon.  I turned down the street Emily lived on and walked down the road with my hands in the pocket of my winter jacket.

Even though it’s only October, I’ve started using my winter jacket. Even though I don’t have to walk to school anymore because Ryan picks me up almost every morning, I like being warm. And like my grandma used to say You would rather be too hot, and be able to take some clothes off, and too cold and not be able to put more clothes on. Smart old grandma.

I reached Em’s house, and walked up the driveway. Normally, I would just walk in, (mostly because Emily was offended by me knocking. “You’re my best friend! You should be allowed to just walk in.” But something inside of me, told me to knock, just this one time.)

I knocked on the door and stepped away from the door, just a few steps. When the door opened, it revealed a soaked Nathan. His white shirt, was wet and small black stains were too see almost everywhere. He looked stressed. He forced a smile on when he saw me.

“Ashley, come on inside.” He said. When I walked past him, I heard him sigh in relief. What was that all about?  I heard sniffling from the living room. I took of my shoes, and my jacket and followed Nathan into the living room, where I saw something I wasn’t expecting.

Emily was sitting on the couch, head in her hands who rested on her knees, with a piece of paper in her hands. Her shoulders were moving, indicating that she was crying. The sobbing came from her. My strong best friend, that no one could touch.

I approached her slowly. I didn’t even say anything, when I removed the paper from her hands and pulled her into me. As soon as I laid my arms around her body, she started crying even harder. I didn’t know what had caused her sudden change, but I knew I didn’t like it.

But I also knew that if I wanted answers, I had to wait, and let her get ready to tell me. And the most important thing for me, at that very moment, wasn’t the answers, but to show her, that I was there for her, no matter what.

After a while she stopped crying. When she pulled away from me, dried her eyes, she looked disappointed. But I somehow felt that it wasn’t in me, but herself. She stood up and started pacing around the living room. She ran her hands through her hair roughly. Nathan looked so hurt. He hated seeing his sister like this, and knowing that there was nothing he could do.

She soon slammed her hand into the wall and ran her hands up and down her face roughly. All her brothers were as turned to stone while it all went by. Emily soon stopped her strange behavior, and started crying again!?

“Emily, I think you need to tell Ashley.” Nathan tried with the most caring voice anyone could ever speak with. His voice was so filled with love, so caring. I almost started crying, just by the sound of it. Emily looked at me, as if I had just appeared out of the blue. Then she sighed and nodded.

She walked over to me, after she had gotten something from her room. She came back with a picture in her hands. She handed me the paper. I took it with insecure hands.  I looked at the words written on the back, and almost choked. Jason and I on our last date, before he disappeared…

I flipped the picture around, and saw Emily and a guy with brown eyes and brown hair. Emily was hanging off his back. They were holding hands, and looked like the happiest couple that had ever walked on the planet, Earth. I looked at Emily.

“That’s Jason. My ex-boyfriend. We were together for a year, when he disappeared seven months ago. We searched everywhere for him, but we couldn’t find him. We couldn’t get the cops involved, because Jason wasn’t exactly friends with the law. We were so happy together Ashley.. Last night, I had a dream about him. I’ve had the same dream before, it’s a nightmare. He looks down at me, and every time, I think it’s someone else. Last night, I thought it was Justin. But out of sudden, he change and become Jason. Every time, it tears my heart apart. I get all weird. I never cry, Ash. Never. In rare occasions, but never in front of friends. Not until now. I cried in front of Justin. I’ve cried in front of you. I- I- I just can’t. It’s too.. It’s too..” She let the tears fall freely while looking away. Nathan finished the sentence for her.

“She must really trust you guys. But don’t tell anyone about it Ashley. Please. No one needs to know about Jason.” He told me quiet, because it seemed like, just the mention of his name, could set Em off. She had fallen asleep on the couch while Nathan had talked to me.

“Don’t worry Nathan. I would never break her trust like that. She’s my best friend.” I said with a small smile. Nathan smiled and hugged me goodbye, before I went home. The thought about Emily being so heartbroken, made me sad. Her bad days was normally because of the sorrow towards her family, but now, I knew that Jason had a part in it too. This girl is more broken, that anyone would ever have dared to think about… 

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