At about 4 am I could see that the nightmares would prevent me from getting any sleep. I got up and tiptoed to the bathroom, rinsed my face off, and got dressed into hunting clothes. Elliot met me at the top of the staircase. “Ellie what are you doing up?” I said. She completely ignored my question and asked, “Where are you going?” “Hunting,” I replied, “Now go back to bed.” She looked me into the eyes and said, “Be safe,” but before she could finish I grabbed my bow and arrows and ran out the back door and kept running until I was in to middle of the woods. This time I know I hadn’t imagined it. Elliot had the face of my mother. What was going on? Why was this happening? Why to me? Why to Elliot? Does she know that it’s happening? All these questions that could probably never be answered. So I did what I could do to calm myself down: I went hunting.
I had already cleared two squirrels and a bunny, which would feed three people meat at home. I decided to take a break at about 4:45 am. I found a rock and sat there, taking in the scenery. The forest was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. The trees were at least 50 feet high. The forest smelled strongly of pine. I loved to come here when I was little. It was my one place where I could forget. Forget all the nightmares, forget all the pain, and forget all the standards I don’t want to live up to. All I could remember, all I had to remember out here was shooting arrows. My accuracy was great, and improving with every shot. I had time to think about all this laying on the giant outstretched rock. This was my peace place. Deep into the forest, there was a section with no trees and bright sunlight. The one patch of land had tall lime green grass, and a giant outstretched boulder that I loved to lay on as a little girl. I was deep in thought, when suddenly I heard an unfamiliar voice “Hey JC.” The voice was not one I recognized so I panicked and shot an arrow in its direction. Suddenly, I recognized the face. “Alli? What are you doing here?” Alli was the only girl in school who didn’t find me weird. Alli had red hair that went down to her lower back that was pin straight and smooth. Her hair was red, so I was a little surprised it didn’t have any natural wave to it. She had a front piece of her hair always braided. It was shorter, so I’m guessing it was grown out bangs. She had hunter green eyes and tons of freckles. She was pale, not as much as Elliot, but still very pale. Her favorite color was hunter green, so that’s what she wore while in the forest or even just at school. Today she wore a hunter green spaghetti strap shirt with camouflage printed hunting pants and brown combat boots. Her front teeth were not magazine perfect, but at the same time were very white and maybe just needed braces, which she would never get. She was very pretty though. “Well, I was coming to say hello, until you TRIED TO SPEAR ME!” Alli said. “Well, luckily you ducked right in time then,” I said, giving her a silly grin. Alli was my only friend that was a girl that was my age. We talked for about half an hour before she said, “So, do you fancy any boys?” “No,” I replied. Alli just laughed. “What’s so funny?’ I asked her. “Nothing,” she said, “I expected you to say that. You aren’t the type of girl who really fancies any boys, yet you are best friends with all of them,” she said while giggling. “I don’t know, I guess I’m more independent,” I said. “Oh come on, do you like Kaleb?” asked Alli. Kaleb? Why would I like Kaleb as anything more than a friend? “Okay that was random, I told her. “Seriously? Jaycie, he likes you! It is really obvious!” said Alli, still giggling. What? No Kaleb doesn’t like me, right? No he couldn’t. Could he? “I think you’re wrong. I mean, yea, he and I are close. He found me in the woods when I was weak and dying and begged his parents to keep me. I think he is just overly nice to me because he and I go way back,” I said confidently. I did believe it, didn’t I? He didn’t like-like me, right? “Well I think he likes you as more that a sidekick.” The way Alli said it made her look 11 years old. She sat with her legs crossed to the side of her, her back arched. She said it as if she was embarrassed to, but I knew that she wasn’t. The tall, lime green grass pretty much covered her legs, and her hands were tinkering with a dandelion. “Why, do you fancy anybody?” I asked nudging her shoulder. “Please. None of the boys are any cute at our school,” I laughed as she said it. “What?” she laughed, “They’re not! And all the ones that are cute are taken by a blonde little Miss America,” Alli said all pouty. I could not agree more. “They’re also taken by-ugh-“she fake shivered, “Cheerleaders.” I laughed and laughed. That could not be more accurate. It was funny how Alli gagged at the name of cheerleaders because she used to be one. She was kicked off the squad because the team captain, Kylie, got really jealous when the football quarterback, Dylan, started flirting with Alli. Kylie had bleach blonde hair, which she curled every day. Her makeup made her look beautiful to the public, but to Alli and me, she looked like a clown. Her eyes were a sky blue. She had perfectly white teeth, flawless skin, and was three inches taller than Alli. Yet, all the boys at school liked Alli, who was 5’4”, had freckles on her nose and cheeks, imperfect teeth, and pin straight hair. She was liked because she has flaws, and wasn’t afraid to admit them. Kylie spent hours every morning trying to cover them up, and when she got to school, became the Wicked Witch of the West. Alli was just as pretty as Kylie, without trying at all. She had a great sense of humor, unlike Kylie. Alli didn’t need to surround herself with people who praised her every minute and had to tell her that she was pretty, also unlike Kylie. Both Alli and I were laying in the tall grass, I had my hands rested on the dirt, Alli had hers on her stomach, still tinkering with the dandelion. Alli loved flowers. Her room was sky blue, decorated with daisies, dandelions, sunflowers, tiger lilies, asters, Dahlias, begonias, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, gerberas, hemerocallises, hydrangeas, ixoras, and a bunch of others she has told me, but are impossible to remember. “So, Jaycie, you still wanna start riding horses?” asked Alli. Okay yes, my dream was to be a jumping English rider. “Yep, and I’m gonna make it happen too,” I replied. “I bet you are,” said Alli. After about a minute, Alli asked me, “Jaycie, why did you shoot at an unrecognized voice? What did you have to be afraid of?” “Oh you know, just being careful,” I lied. Why I really shot an arrow was because I thought it might’ve been my mom- In ghost form. After about 10 more minutes of laying silently in the tall grass, we both got up and started to hunt.