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TEAM ALPHA - Chapter 2


I met Zoey on Yonge street the next day. I was trying to tell myself to breathe, to act cool. Technically, it wasn’t a date. I just met the last few weeks of school last year and found out we had some stuff in common, and that we were both interested at a little window-shopping and movie-watching. So she called a few of her friends and I called a few of mine. It was fun up to that point. Then Randy had a b-ball game and Cole had math tutoring. And Tracy had a piano competition, Claire a shopping date with her mom, and Harriet was out of the country beating the bush in Australia.
I saw her as she stepped out of the bus – a few inches short of me, brilliant hazel eyes, strawberry-blond hair, blue summer skirt and white tank top. She was carrying a small, pink purse on one arm. I cleared my throat, brushed back my hair and stuck my hands into my jean’s pockets, leaning slightly forward. She saw me, smiled, and waved. I couldn’t help smiling back. I waved. “Yo,” I said simply.
“Hey,” she said.
“So…uh, what do you wanna watch?” I inquired.
She shrugged. “I’m in the mood for some scary movies!”
Okay. That was surprising. “Sure,” I said. We had high-school student passes. We could pass through a 14A-rated thing at the most. “What do you wanna watch?”
“The Mist!” she exclaimed. “After that, I need a new pair of flip-flops…”
It was summertime and we were going to watch The Mist, some film based on a Stephen King book with giant insects and Cloverfield creatures hiding in a mist…very unfitting and slightly gory…but there was no way I was going to disagree with Zoey.
I’d probably watched The Grudge and The Ring like five hundred times. I braced myself to hear Zoey scream but surprisingly that girl was quite tough. I came out pretty wiped but she was quite happy.
“Some movie,” I commented.
“The spiders were awesome! And I loved that part when the dead guy fell over all these mini-spiders came gushing out of the hole in his head,” Zoey shrieked.
“If only Claire and Harriet were here…Tracy would faint, though…”
“Yeah. I wish they were here too,” I said honestly. I was trying hard not to stare at her. The noontime sun made her bright blonde hair a pain to look at, and her sweat-lined tan limbs were glistening… I whipped my eyes away and started whistling some commercial tune.
Sigh. Shopping was pretty boring too. All the stores were female stores like Aritzia and Garage – no Best Buy, CircuitCity, and the stuff that I liked. When we finally passed a few unisex stores, and when I looked down at my Coca-Cola T-shirt and undersized jeans, I was tempted to buy some good stuff. Too bad my mom had only given me twenty bucks and I’d cut that rationale in half for my movie ticket.
It was getting late. The awful Toronto summer heat was finally receding into the sunset. Temperature changes could be drastic here. Helping Zoey drag a load of shopping bags, we dragged ourselves back to the bus stop, still sweating like floods. The road was busy. It was rush hour, and cars hurtled at dangerous speeds before getting caught up in the traffic congestion.
The bus stop was situated at a busy intersection – the type where lots of road rage occur. Right now drivers were screaming from their windows. I really wanted to tell them to shut up, for goodness sakes. Oh well, Mom does that a lot too. I looked at the cars, yawned, and dismissed them.
Then, suddenly, Zoey screamed. I looked at her, images of giant insects flying through my head, before she pointed towards the intersection. I followed her gaze and scowled in disbelief.
A kid – probably two or even younger, was toddling across the street after a rolling ball. His parents were unseen. Looking to the left, I saw a truck van doing seventy kilometres an hour hurtling towards him. The kid didn’t even bother to look up, just flounced after his ball. I gulped. Was I going to see a two-year-old get run over by a truck? Suddenly an image crossed my mind – spilled brains, mashed guts, spurting blood…the indecency! My face contorted into a “This is gross” look.
The truck was accelerating.
My fists clenched and unclenched. No way was I going to let this happen! No way was I going to see two-year-old guts strewn bloodily across the street!
By now spectators had noticed the kid. They were screaming and shouting. A woman was running down the sidewalk towards him, flailing her arms. His mother? She wasn’t going to outrun the truck, that was for sure.
Sweat broke out on my forehead. Zoey was covering her mouth and screaming at the same time.
Everything was happening in slow motion. I saw the truck lurch towards the boy and the driver’s eyes goggling in disbelief. The boy looked up, saw the truck for the first time, and exploded into a veil of shrieking and tears. It was so overwhelming, and for some reason I thought I had first-row seats to see the tragedy. I mean, I felt I’d zoomed in on the scene.
I opened my mouth, but only a silent cry escaped from my lips – a whoosh of air. I begged for the truck to stop…and then the strangest thing happened. It felt as if a whoosh of air – no, energy – escaped from my being and directed itself at the truck.
I was sure the truck driver didn’t press any brakes, but the truck skittered to a stop…not a foot far from the boy.
I saw the truck driver almost hurtle out the windshield with the sudden momentum, but he had seatbelts on and had a look of extreme relief. I saw the mother run to the toddler and scoop him up in her arms, embracing him like it was the end of the world. And the toddler was crying, embracing his mother. The bystanders let out a sigh of relief and continued their goings. Some people were shaking their heads.
“Oh my gosh,” said Zoey, “Sam, that truck driver must have had the skills – Sam…?”
But I was far away now. I tore across the sidewalk and budged the line of people lining up for the bus, which had just arrived. I pushed and shoved and found a window seat at the end of the bus.
I huffed and pressed my face against the window.
My heart was trying to break free of my chest. Sweat glistened on my forehead and matted my hair.
For whatever reason, I was genuinely terrified.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to leave a comment XD
poor Sam
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )



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