Okay, here we go!
Story Title: She Doesn’t Know
Who Wrote It: Shane Morales
Suddenly, Alex slipped, and he teetered for a second. We all screamed. Then his arm shot out, and he grabbed the bar of the ladder, just as his feet lost purchase.
My heart froze with terror as I watched helplessly, waiting for him to fall. Waiting for him to fall to his death.
Alex hung there, clinging to the ladder with only one hand.
Don’t let go. Please don’t let go. Please don’t die. Please.
Finally, after several excruciatingly long seconds, he reached out with his other hand and pulled himself onto the ladder.
Anna was with me, holding me, and I saw that she was crying too.
Alex began to descend the light tower, slowly, rung by rung, as we watched helplessly.
When he finally reached the ground, my heart began to unclench. He stepped toward us, a crazed, wild look in his eyes.
“Wow, that was—”
London stepped toward him and slapped him across the face so hard that Alex stumbled to the side, a bright red mark on his face. He looked back at her like he couldn’t understand what she was so upset about.
Then Hudson was there, and he grabbed Alex by the shirt and slammed him hard against the concrete wall. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” he shouted. “Killing yourself isn’t going to bring her back!”
Alex shoved Hudson back. “You have no idea what you’re talking about! So keep your fucking mouth shut and leave me the fuck alone!”
“So you can keep doing stupid shit like this? Look at the girls, you jackass! Look at them! You scared them! What if you’d fallen? Do you know what it would be like for them to see you die?”
It was too late.
The words had come out.
Hudson didn’t look angry anymore. He looked stricken.
“Alex … I didn’t mean … I’m sorry.”
Alex’s face was dark and menacing, and there was a burning rage in his eyes. Then he lashed out, his fist smashing into Hudson’s face, sending him sprawling on the ground. Alex just stared down at him, that same untamed look blazing in his eyes. “You weren’t there,” he spat out. “You didn’t watch her die. You didn’t walk back to town with her blood all over you. You didn’t …” Alex’s face crumpled and tears streamed from his eyes. “You. Weren’t. There.”
He stepped away from Hudson, then pushed past us.
We were quiet as he walked away. The only sound was our heavy breaths and London’s quiet sobs.
As terrified as I was, as angry as I was at Alex for scaring me so badly, I couldn’t get that desperate, hopeless look that had filled his eyes out of my mind. I couldn’t see anything other than that terrible pain that came over him.
The anger slowly faded, replaced by a concern so deep it hurt. I realized then that Alex didn’t care if he lived or died. His pain was so great that he was willing to gamble with his life to make it go away.
We spent the rest of the night sitting quietly on the bleachers. Avery held Stacy, soothing her, while Anna stayed close to me, both seeking and wanting to give comfort. London tended to Hudson, making him hold a bag of ice to his cheek which had swollen and turned an ugly red.
We sat together, but I think we all felt alone.
There are some swear words but you can snip them out… it doesn’t change anything.