Limbo

Lili's lived by the same rule for the majority of her life - everything happens for a reason.
But that one trip, that one night, that one moment of pure adrenaline changed everything.

Strange, phenomenal things begin to happen, and it's not just her.

[Blurb is in the works]

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2. ⚛️ Chapter Two ⚛️

 

Chicago 2017

 

There were faint murmurings and flinched faces before the explosive bang.

In Lili’s perspective - earphones plugged in, nonchalant about the bang snaps and hyena shrieking infant minded boys.

 

The autumn leaves crunched under the smooth wheels of Lili’s bike. The wind whistled through her hair, sun spotlights beating against her rich caramel skin. That’s how Lili wanted to picture it anyway. Instead, her squeaky bike meandered through the cliques and milling students, their faces as dismal as the God forsaken misty morning. Although, it was hard to really see what was going on from her oversized beanie, fringing over her eyes. It looked like the finishing result of a bored grandma with a knitting kit, watching the Discovery Channel on pandas. It didn’t help that Lili’s hand made regular disappearances into her pocket and slid back out with a handful of fruity cheerios, which only made her bike wobble more. She, however, wasn’t the least bit bothered by it.

 Nonetheless, that one face, always that one face, was stormy and electrified enough to show they were bothered by it. Riah - the human menstrual cramp. With a chalky, exasperated face, she darted Lili a murderous look as she cruised on her bike towards her. With her everchanging My Little Pony hair and, today, a dark ‘Team Guy Who Almost Hit Bella With A Car’ T-shirt, Lili could easily spot her and her uninviting expression.

“Look where you’re going, Pisslord!” Her raspy voice blurted out.

“Woah. Who ate your bowl of sunshine this morning, Riri?” Lili smiled, anxiously, swerving around Riah.

“Call me that again and I’ll shove a cactus down your throat.”

Lili’s nervous twinkle were now clenched teeth, her eyes grown and twitching. She pedaled, with all the power she could rake up, down the path as far from the girl, glancing back every now and again in precaution of what seemed like inevitable death. “I love high school.”

 

Wandering down the school paths on campus, with a regain of tranquility – as close as you could get to it in high school – it was normal for Lili to disregard the hanging Converses on the trees and the tie dye kids strumming strings and singing Kumbaya. It didn’t even dawn on her how there were still people crying over not having the Charizard Pokémon card yet also people on the second trimester of their unwanted pregnancies.  

What did linger in her mind, though, was whether there would be any spaces on the cycle stands left for her.

 

Riding her bike was the usual, a part of Lili’s routine on school days; she couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t. Or at least she didn’t want to access that part of her memory. It gave a therapeutic feeling, like nothing existed around her. Just the air resistance against her skin, proving she was moving and going somewhere.

 

After locking up her bike and yanking out her earphones, Lili stretched out her arms for balance as she walked foot in front of foot on the white line bordering cyclists from walkers. Her body dodged to the side when every bike flashed past her but her concentration remained on the white line.

Squinting her eyes to gaze ahead at any speeding cyclists coming down the path, Lili’s vision started steadily tilting sideways. Before she could even think, her leg was crossing over the other and her hands flailed around for anything to hold onto. Her body was uncontrollable as gravity once again worked its magic. Toppling to the ground, her cheek scraped against the, thankfully, plain concrete and after what was either a delayed reaction or a short flashback of what had just happened, Lili lifted her head up to more eyes and ears than the bang snaps alerted.

Wrong day to wear a skirt.

The next thing she saw was her rainbow cereal sprawled out on the concrete, hurting her more than her cheek and knee did. It also made her question whether the five second rule was still valid at her age. “There goes the most important meal of the day,” she sulked.

“Loved the grand opening, Miss Dwyer. When’s the main event?” Angling her head up, Lili could make out the face of the silvery voice, blocking out the sun. Laney Quinn, her partner in crime but a waster of time.

Laney was like a cloud – floating about, sometimes bursting through with sunshine and other times, crackling with charge. And, in extreme times of both happy or sad, she would be on the verge of releasing a flood.

 

Cheeks overloading with raspberry, Lili stretched out her tights from her knee, analysing for blood. “I just felt like the floor needed a hug.” Shading her eyes from the sun, Lili looked back up with furrowed brows at her friend. “You’re just gonna stand there like a white crayon?"

“Oh right.” Swinging her hair back, Laney pulled Lili back onto her feet. “You were very graceful, you should try out a ballet school or something.”

“Don’t you know I did ballet for half a year in second grade?” Lili curtseyed before they made their way up to the school building.

“Yeah, I do. Aaand, speaking of ballet, can I copy like a bit of your research assignment for Bio.” Waving her hand, she took a deep breath. “Mine kind of…”

Her voice, in addition to her constant hand movements, became nothing but a mere blur after that, and blanking out became the norm when she piled on excuse after excuse.

“Teen Wolf?” Lili sighed, trying to speed up ‘the dog ate my homework’ style speech.

Taken deeply aback, Laney shook her head, clasping her hands over her mouth, insulted. “Vampire Diaries.” 

Lili’s eyes fell back into her head, which had also become the norm. It was astonishing that she hadn’t already rolled her eyes away into another dimension.

 

Once again slacklining on the white paint of the path, the thought popped into mind, “Did a lot of people see me-”

“Fall?” Laney instantly interjected. “I would lie to you but then I’d feel bad... so yes. But embarrassing moments happen like all the time, you just have to remember-”

“C’est la vie.”

She winked and clicked her tongue, beaming, “Lil, I love how you finish my sandwiches.”

Completely deadpan, Lili stared at Laney. “You know how I feel about movies with sister conflicts and horrific climate change coming out of someone’s hands.”

“That was quite cold of you to say.” Laney smirked, whipping out her phone, which her eyes became instantly glued on.

“You have the attention span of, like, a goldfish. You know that? That’s like three seconds.”

“Ex-cuse me. For your information, goldfish have an attention span of nine seconds, which I learnt, by the way. On. My. Phone.” Laney attempted to defend herself.

“So…” Lili looked up to the sky, thinking, “that’s like eight seconds longer than you.”

“Hey!” Pursing her lips, Laney budged Lili as she stumbled to the side. “One thing I don’t have patience for, not that I agree with your lies about my attention span, is…tomorrow!” She squealed, practically singing by the end. Laney always was excitable and squealing was part of her package, which Lili had come to terms with but even she found it hard to restrain herself from squealing.

Tomorrow was the first trip of a brand new annual event. Groups of science-orientated students from different schools across the nation would come together, showing off inventive creations, each school made. Despite this, it was also a way to get spotted by Universities as it was being held by the one and only Dr McGee, a famous scientist. And that was pretty much the entire reason Laney was doing it and why she even decided to take Physics in the first place. Lili, on the other hand, was wholly fascinated by anything science, which she knew derived from her mom’s own passion and dedication to science.

Her mom, who also used to work for Dr McGee.

“Can say, though, I’m not really looking forward to the information that I know we’re gonna have to read because ‘it’s good for our education and will help us’ blah blah blah. No one reads the information! What kind of game is that?” Laney rambled on.

The corner of Lili’s mouth twitched up. “I’m looking forward to learning a few things.”

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