Break of Dawn

Dawn slipped her fingers between Carlo’s. They squinted their eyes from the sunlight as they walked out of the dorm building.

“I’m just gonna head to class from here,” Carlo said, taking his hand from Dawn’s.

Dawn grabbed her cellphone out of her back pocket and slid her thumb across the screen. “You have 15 minutes. Come to The Cup with me.” She crossed her arms and frowned.

“I want to read over my notes.”

“You can come to The Cup with me. I’ll test you.”

“Nah, just go.” Carlo pointed his hand with the notebook to The Cup, the coffee shop across the field.

“Hug me first.” Dawn closed her eyes and held her arms open.

Carlo wrapped his arms around Dawn’s shoulders and kissed her blonde head. “Bye Dawn,” he said before letting her go.

“Text me when you’re out,” Dawn said as Carlo walked away.

*

The bell on the door jingled as Dawn entered The Cup. She stopped as soon as she stepped in. The counter’s line ended near the entrance. She scanned the couches and tables in the dining area for someone she knew.

“Looks like everybody had the same idea.”

Dawn smiled and turned around when she heard his voice.

“Andriel!” She hugged him. “You’re out of class early. Usually I don’t see you here for another 20 minutes.”

“Yeah. Professor showed up late, turned on some movie made in the ’80s about the culture of Guatemala and was on his iPad. He obviously didn’t want to be there today so why should I?”

Dawn shrugged. “Nobody cares about anything anymore.”

“Nope.”

The line moved up and Andriel puffed his chest out and purposefully walked into Dawn. “Excuse me, miss,” he said in a deep voice.

She grinned and pushed him away. “You’re such a creep.”

Andriel rubbed one of his big hands through Dawn’s hair, pulling it in front of her face.

“Cut it out!” She laughed and parted her hair. Read More

“Discriminating Mind Leads You in the Proper Direction”

In one of my fiction classes, my professor passed around fortune cookies. We each had to create a story from our fortune. My fortune read, “Discriminating mind leads you in the proper direction.”

Discriminating Mind Leads You in the Proper Direction

Cleo stood beneath the orange glow of the streetlight, giving her yellow umbrella a red tint. She could no longer feel her shivering fingers. The rain in her frizzy hair slipped off her bangs to mingle with the cold sweat on her cheeks. Her eyes were set on the tail lights of the crinkled piece of metal that used to be a car. She was almost home from her yearbook club meeting at school when she crossed paths with some of the neighborhood’s outcasts.

Moments before, Jack, Morgan, and Jose stumbled toward Jack’s 1991 Pontiac Grand Am. Cleo watched as the rowdy group of teenagers went for the driver’s door.  A few minutes earlier, they were nagging Cleo to come for a “joy ride” with them, but she shook her head and said no from across the street.

Jack, with his lazy black eyes that were being overtaken by red, repeatedly pulled on the door’s handle, baffled by why the door wouldn’t open. Morgan peered inside the window with his hands cupping the sides of his curly, dark head and shouted, “I’m going to sit in that seat!” over and over again. Every time Morgan repeated himself, Jack became more frustrated and pulled harder on the door’s handle and mumbled words even sober Cleo couldn’t understand. He had created his own language and when he spoke, almost squatting as he used all of his drunken strength to pull the handle, it sounded like he was about to cry. Jose was hunched over with his hands in his pockets behind the other two as he eyed the mysterious door. A sly grin staggered across his face when he fingered what he knew were the keys in his pocket.  He slowly put together the words, “I am the best,” in a thick Spanish accent and faltered forward with the key in hand. Jack tilted his head at the sound of the jingling and he turned around, still clinging to his car’s handle.  Morgan was too busy pressing his face up against the window explaining how he was going to sit in the driver’s seat or never allow himself to breathe again. Read More