Загрузка...

Emmy Laybourne

MONUMENT 14

FOR MY BROTHER

DAY 1

CHAPTER ONE

TINKS

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you hurdle down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street so I ran.

* * *

As I raced down the driveway I heard my mom yell for my brother, Alex. His bus was coming down Park Trail Drive, right behind mine. His bus came at 7:09 on the dot. Mine was supposed to come at 6:57 but was almost always late, as if the driver agreed it wasn’t fair to pick me up before 7:00.

Alex ran out behind me and our feet pounded the sidewalk in a dual sneaker-slap rhythm.

“Don’t forget,” he called. “We’re going to the Salvation Army after school.”

“Yeah, sure,” I said.

My bus driver laid on the horn.

Sometimes we went over to rummage for old electronics after school. I used to drive him before the gas shortage. But now we took our bikes.

I used to drive him to school, too. But since the shortage everyone in our school, everyone, even the seniors, took the bus. It was the law, actually.

I vaulted up the bus steps.

Behind me I heard Mrs. Wooly, who has been driving the elementary–middle school bus since forever, thank Alex sarcastically for gracing them with his presence.

Mrs. Wooly, she was an institution in our town. A grizzled, wiry-haired, ashtray-scented, tough-talking institution. Notorious and totally devoted to bus driving, which you can’t say about everyone.

On the other hand, the driver of my bus, the high school bus, was morbidly obese and entirely forgettable. Mr. Reed. The only thing he was known for was that he drank his morning coffee out of an old jelly jar.

Even though it was early in the route, Jake Simonsen, football hero and all-around champion of the popular, was already holding court in the back. Jake had moved to our school from Texas a year ago. He was a real big shot back in Texas, where football is king, and upon transfer to our school had retained and perhaps even increased his stature.

“I’m telling y’all—concessions!” Jake said. “At my old high school a bunch of girls sold pop and cookies and these baked potatoes they used to cook on a grill. Every game. They made, like, a million dollars.”

“A million dollars?” Astrid said.

Astrid Heyman, champion diver on the swim team, scornful goddess, girl of my dreams.

“Even if I could make a million dollars, I wouldn’t give up playing my own sport to be a booster for the football team,” she said.

Jake flashed her one of his golden smiles.

“Not a booster, baby, an entrepreneur!”

Astrid punched Jake on the arm.

“Ow!” he complained, grinning. “God, you’re strong. You should box.”

“I have four younger brothers,” she answered. “I do.”

I hunkered down in my seat and tried to get my breath back. The backs of the forest green pleather seats were tall enough that if you slouched, you could sort of disappear for a moment.

I ducked down. I was hoping no one would comment on my sprint to catch the bus. Astrid hadn’t noticed me get on the bus at all, which was both good and bad.

Behind me, Josie Miller and Trish Greenstein were going over plans for some kind of animal rights demonstration. They were kind of hippie-activists. I wouldn’t really know them at all, except once in sixth grade I’d volunteered to go door to door with them campaigning for Cory Booker. We’d had a pretty fun time, actually, but now we didn’t even say hi to each other.

I don’t know why. High school seemed to do that to people.

The only person who acknowledged my arrival at all was Niko Mills. He leaned over and pointed to my shoe—like, “I’m too cool to talk”—he just points. And I looked down, and of course, it was untied. I tied it. Said thanks. But then I immediately put in my earbuds and focused on my minitab. I didn’t have anything to say to Niko, and judging from his pointing at my shoe, he didn’t have anything to say to me either.

From what I’d heard, Niko lived in a cabin with his grandfather, up in the foothills near Mount Herman, and they hunted for their own food and had no electricity and used wild mushrooms for toilet paper. That kind of thing. People called Niko “Brave Hunter Man,” a nickname that fit him just right with his perfect posture, his thin, wiry frame, and his whole brown-skin-brown-eyes-brown-hair combo. He carried himself with that kind of stiff pride you get when no one will talk to you.

So I ignored Brave Hunter Man and tried to power up my minitab. It was dead and that was really weird because I’d just grabbed it off the charging plate before I left the house.

Then came this little tink, tink, tink sound. I took out my buds to hear better. The tinks were like rain, only metallic.

And the tinks turned to TINKS and the TINKS turned to Mr. Reed’s screaming “Holy Christ!” And suddenly the roof of the bus started denting—BAM, BAM, BAM—and a cobweb crack spread over the windshield. With each BAM the windshield changed like a slide show, growing more and more white as the cracks shot through the surface.

I looked out the side window next to me.

Hail in all different sizes from little to that-can’t-be-hail was pelting the street.

Cars swerved all over the road. Mr. Reed, always a lead foot, slammed on the gas instead of the brake, which is what the other cars seemed to be doing.

Our bus hurdled through an intersection, over the median, and into the parking lot of our local Greenway superstore. It was fairly deserted because it was maybe 7:15 by this point.

I turned around to look back in the bus toward Astrid, and everything went in slow motion and fast motion at the same time as our bus slid on the ice, swerving into a spin. We went faster and faster, and my stomach was in my mouth. My back was pressed to the window, like in some carnival ride, for maybe three seconds and then we hit a lamppost and there was a sick metallic shriek.

I grabbed on to the back of the seat in front of me but then I was jumbling through the air. Other kids went flying, too. There was no screaming, just grunts and impact sounds.

I flew sideways but hit, somehow, the roof of the bus. Then I understood that our bus had turned onto its

Вы читаете Monument 14
Добавить отзыв
ВСЕ ОТЗЫВЫ О КНИГЕ В ИЗБРАННОЕ

0

Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату