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Creative Corner

“Juneberry” by Kennedy Ball

 

It was an early Saturday morning. The birds chirping echoed through my open windows into my ears. My alarm beeped loudly as I groggily rolled over and hit it off. I grabbed my phone lazily and opened it. I spent several moments scrolling through my social media. The bright yellow sun beamed through my unblinded windows giving me a small feeling of warmth. I opened my text message app and opened the spammed group chat with me and four of my friends. I read through the conversations from last night. Most of them were photos of memes. I knew they were all sleeping since the times of each text ended around four a.m. I typed out a text and hit send.

Good morning! There’s this really cool juneberry farm event thing going on today and I wanted to know if anyone wanted to come.

After I sent the text I shut my phone off and crawled out of the warm comforts of my bed. I walked downstairs to the kitchen. I grabbed a handful of fruits; apples, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. I grabbed my smoothie maker and grabbed out the jug of milk. Eighteen and a senior in high school and still living with my parents. I poured in some milk and put in half a banana, four apple slices, a handful of blueberries and raspberries along with a few chopped up strawberries and some crushed ice. I put them in the smoothie maker and begun to blend them together. My mouth watered as the scent of the mixed fruits filled my nostrils. Once the smoothie was finished blending I poured the contents into my favourite glass. It was a gift from my girlfriend, Katie. It was a photo of us on a clear glass and it was hand wash only. It was sweet.

My phone buzzed and I turned grabbed it from beside me off the table. It was a text in the group chat. I unlocked my phone and checked the messages.

I’ll come!!! Katie says.

Me too!! Sophia states.

I’m in! Alex says.

They all replied except Jasoh. I mean, he is a slow replier.

Do you guys want me to pick you all up, or do you all want to meet here? I assume Joseph’s coming too? I text.

Yeah, I’ll come to yours at noon. Joseph sends and I chuckle. Always arriving fashionably late to the party.

Same. Everyone sends after.

 

I shut my phone off, realizing it was only ten twenty-three a.m and everyone was coming around noon. I grab clean clothes and head to my bathroom, taking my phone for music. I press shuffle on my playlist and Nowhere by S-X comes on. It’s a tune, I’m not even going to lie.

I shower quickly before hopping out. The time reads, quarter to eleven and I quickly dry myself off and pull my clothes on. I roll on my deodorant and brush my teeth. I spray my favourite cologne and call it quits when I hear a knock on the door.

I rush downstairs and see Katie standing with a smile on her face. I unlock the door and let her in, embracing her in a hug.

“Hey, babe.” I smile.

“Hey.” she smiles back giving a quick peck to my lips and helping herself to raid my fridge.

“Only with me for the food,” hand over my heart in betrayal with a small smile on my face.

“That’s right!” she jokingly agreed back.

I let out a small chuckle. She’s adorable.

“So when is everyone else coming? Noon right?” she asks as she looks at the time on the oven’s clock. Eleven-ten. Fifty minutes to ourselves.

“What’d you wanna do?” I ask.

“I dunno,” she says as she continues to search for food in my fridge, settling on lemonade and yogurt.

Around noon, everyone arrives and we begin to head out. I go into the driver’s seat, Katie in the passenger and everyone else crammed in the back of my Jeep. Katie’s phone is open to the google maps with the directions to this Juneberry farm.

“Turn left.” Katie says, “Wait no turn right.”

“Katie! I just turned left,” I groan in annoyance. “Hang on guys,” I say and I turn into a driveway. I turn around and head straight.

“When do I turn next and which direction.” I asked, annoyed. This task shouldn’t be this difficult.

“Left in a mile.” she says and I nod.

“Thanks.” I mutter and she presses a tight smile to me.

The drive consists of many wrong turns, a ton of laughter and horrible singing, but we end up at our destination around one-thirty in the afternoon. We hop out of the car and I lock the doors behind us. This place looks cool. Children are running around, teens are eating and throwing food at each other, parents are talking with shopkeepers and the environment seems really happy and fun.

“C’mon guys!” Sophia says excitedly as she runs forward, turning and signaling for us to walk faster.

I smile softly. She was always like a child in a candy store when it came to something new. I clasp my hand with Katies and she smiles up at me. We walk together, small talk between us.

“I’m sorry for being snappy in the car. I just hate driving when I have no idea where I am going.” I whisper to her and she nods, her face sad.

“I know. It’s fine.” she says, smiling up at me.

“Okay, good.” I smile, agreeing even though I know she is upset with it.

She smiles up at me softly and we continue walking, catching up with the group. We head over to the tasting place and grab a small paper plate of Juneberries, which surprisingly are really good.

“These are amazing!!!” I exclaim as I smile, rubbing my hand over my stomach signalling that I am full, I ate a full plate to myself.

“They are!” everyone states in agreement, as they eat more berries.

 

Once we finish at the tasting station, we walk around finding a small children’s playground with a merry go round, or roundabout thing. I smirk.

“Let’s go on that.” I suggest, pointing over to the piece of playground equipment.

“YESS!!!” Sophia exclaims while Joseph, Alex, Katie and I just chuckle and follow her over.

 

Hours pass and it’s time to head home. It’s pretty dark as it is around ten pm. On our way home, Joseph and Sophia fell asleep, head on each other’s shoulders. They should date. They’d be really cute honestly. I smiled over at my sleeping beauty of a girlfriend.

I turned my eyes back to the road, feeling slightly drowsy myself. Alex sat in the back in silence staring out into the dark sky lit up by twinkling stars and a bright moon. My phone buzzed, and I went to check to see who was calling. I grabbed my phone from the cupholder, dropping it between my feet on the floor. I look forward and see that there is no cars or animals and I decide to go and grab it. I reach down, face against the steering wheel, hand feeling around for the phone. I grab my phone and hear a loud scream from Alex.

“WATCH OUT!!!” he screams and I shoot up losing my phone to the floor once again. A deer ran in front of the car, staring us in the face, headlights lighting up his silhouette. I swerve to avoid hitting him, the car spinning and flipping over and rolling down the small hill into a ditch.

Everything went by quickly, in a blur. I woke up, vision blurry, blinking myself awake and into consciousness. I look around and see Joseph groaning in pain. Katie unconscious beside me, blood dripping from her head and body. I try to look at Sophia and Alex, but I can’t move. My body is pinned to the seat.

“Guys?!” I shout, receiving a groan from Joseph and nothing from the others.  

“Joe? Soph? Alex? Katie?” I ask out, no response from anyone. I scan the car with my eyes, finding my phone on the ceiling of the car. I grab it, screen shattered as I type in my password and dial 9-1-1.

“Hello, 9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”

“My friends and I have just been in a car accident.”

“What’s your destination sir?” the lady on the other end asks.

“I don’t know. It was our first time out here, we were headed home from the Juneberry festival thingy and we swerved to avoid hitting a deer and ended up in a ditch. Just come and help us. I think my friends are dead.” I say and I begin to cry at the thought that my friends died due to me and my stupid obsession with my phone.

“We’re on our way, an officer has been dispatched to your current location, as well as an ambula.,” she states but is cut off as my phone died.

“UGH!!!” I groan in aggravation. I was going to chuck my phone but, it wouldn’t do much help. Tears streamed down my face and dripped onto the ceiling.  Why did this have to happen!? It’s not fair. I should be dead and they should all be alive. This is my fault. This is all my fault!

“AHHHH!!!” I screamed as I slammed my hands into the steering wheel. “I HATE EVERYTHING!” I screamed, my hands aching in pain as I let them fall up to the ceiling along with everything else.

Minutes, which felt like hours had passed and I remained stuck in the car with my injured or dead friends. The ambulance and police arrive and they assess the situation.

“Hello?” an officer asks, flashing a flashlight into my car.

I let out a groan in response, my vision was getting spotty and I felt my body become heavy.

“We’re gonna get you out of there.” the officer says and I groan again before my vision falls black.

I wake up to bright lights, a loud beeping, and silhouettes of people in front of me. My vision, blurry, as I try to blink myself into focus.

“Mmmph.” I groan as I felt the pain shoot up my leg and through my head.

The doctors rush over and I feel my heart sink. My friends.

“M..my..” I began, my throat dry.

“Here have some water.” the doctor says handing me a cup. I swallow a large gulp and hold it, swishing the water in the bottom.

“Are all my friends okay?” I asked and I saw the hesitation in her face when she hummed.

“We don’t know much, but two were pronounced dead at the scene.” she stated and I nodded, my lips pressed in a straight line. I didn’t know how to feel. My mind was everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. Do I cry? Do I scream? Do I hit anyone or anything around me? What was I supposed to feel? Guilty?

I sat emotionless, confused, at a loss of what happened, the events of the past several hours at a blank in my mind as I forced myself to remember, failing. I gave up angrily, I would try again later. Questions filled my mind. Which of my friends died? What were the states of my other friends? I continued to think and think that my head began to hurt. I closed my eyes and let out an aggravated breath. Tears began to form, threatening to fall. I let them. The tears slid down my face and I began to bawl. My breathing, ragged and my heart rate elevated. Tears streamed down my face and I wished it was over, I wished this never happened. It’s all my fault. Soon enough my parents were at my side. My mother, crying and cuddled up to my father who had an unreadable expression on his face. We just sat in silence, the sniffling and sobs falling from our lips are the only sounds to be heard amongst the annoying constant beeping of the monitors.

I wanted out. I hated these confinements of this stuffy, white room. I just wanted to go home, with my friends and laugh and joke and have them all alive and not injured and stuck in hospital rooms. This is my fault. Everything went wrong and two of my friends died because of my stupidity in my great idea to grab my phone from off the floor.

I asked my parents to go and see how my friends were, tell me who was still alive and their conditions. They did. I was told Sophia had died, along with Alex. Joseph was in a coma and Katie had a few broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a broken pelvis and leg. Joseph had internal bleeding which was fixed successfully in the O.R with minor bruising of his ribs and a broken arm. I, on the other hand, had minor bruising, a few fractured ribs and a broken ankle. I also have some whiplash, but it’s not that major. I’m just mad that two of my friends are dead, two parents lost a child, children lost siblings, friends lost a friend and it pains me because it was my fault. I’m just glad that everyone who lived is alright and somewhat stable.

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