A sharp crack. A slow drip
“I never imagined this would be so damn difficult.”
The ink pooled on the paper.
“Coming up with a story, writing from someone else’s perspective. Writing fiction.”
Eyes, unfocused, watched the droplets without seeing.
“I should have taken theater. Or calculus.”
“Calculus?!” a voice across the room exclaimed. “Calculus rather than creative writing?! Dude are you high?”
“No Caldra, I’m not high…” they responded, feigning exasperation. “But if I had taken theater I might have had that option right now.”
An affectionate eyeroll and an amused scoff were emitted across the room, causing a half smile on the sullen teenage face, resting on the desk next to a notebook now covered in ink. “I probably shouldn’t have broken this pen… but this ink does look like the blood of an author or something and that’s kinda cool in a dark sort of way.”
“Maybe start with that for your story?” The girl’s voice, switching to be theatrically deep, went on like a gothic nature documentary, “‘The writer’s blood, inky black, ran down the table leg. A morbid sight to behold and definitely one that was going to lead to someone getting grounded.’”
The teen at the desk whipped around, chucking an eraser across the room, exhaling sharply in mock horror. “How daaaare you!” they gasped, holding back a smile. “Threatening me with grounding! Mom will never know about this office supply homicide unless some snitch tells her!” The girl on the bed stuck her tongue out in response.
“I’m just saying Xan, you’re leaving a lot of evidence. Very messy scene of the crime.”
“Ya, ya, ya. I’ll clean it up.” Xan swiveled back to face the mess. “We should probably get ready to go out anyway. I told Eb we’d be at the park by noon.”
“Is Parch coming too?”
“Ya, their dad’s out of town this week and their mom is working a booth at the festival so hopefully none of the usual weekend bullshit to deal with.” Their eyes met and the girl, Caldra, gave a knowing nod. “Sweet, well that’ll be good to get the whole gang together. Been a while since we’ve done that.”
“Agreed. But first…” Xan lunged suddenly at Caldra, arm extended. Caldra’s eyes widened as she tried to dodge but she was too slow. A thumbprint of ink smeared across her cheek. Xan cackled. “Muah ha HA! Now there are two suspects to investigate!”
“Excuse me, you’re framing me now?! You invite me over, make me listen to you complain about your homework, and then implicate me in a crime?! Wow, dude. Some friend you are,” she said teasingly. Xan winked and lightly pressed their index finger to her nose. “Oh babe, you should know by now, if I’m going down I’m definitely taking you with me.”