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Authors: Fisher Amelie

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The Understorey, Book One of The Leaving Series

BOOK: The Understorey, Book One of The Leaving Series
10.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Copyright 2011 by Fisher Amelie

All rights reserved. Except as permitted
under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication
may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the
prior written permission of Fisher Amelie.

Fisher Amelie

www.fisheramelie.com

www.theleavingseries.com

First Edition: April 201

The characters and events portrayed in this
book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or
dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Printed in the United States of America

 

 

 

 

For Caroline,
For caring. And not because
you had to, because
you
wanted
to.
For Joan E.,
Who taught me, through
example, that I am better
than no one, yet oh so
very important.

Rest in Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

The Leaving Series

 

What if I told you I knew of a very sad
story? Sad because of the happiness that once enveloped the lovers
in the story. Sad because of the head reeling, heart battering,
lung choking, unparalleled euphoria between the shared hearts it
was about. Would you stick around to hear it told? And if you knew
this narrative was the saddest one you would ever hear?

Would you still?
Start this, the first book of their history, and guard your heart
from grief my friend, for you have quite the journey ahead of you
and like so many others, you may not survive the path as I barely
lived to tell the tale.
But, if you insist.
Go on.

Turn the page then.

 

 

 

 

The Understorey

Book One

 

 

 

 

Prologue
Please, Not Her

 

It was a handgun. Black and sleek and
screamed the word finite. The butt of it dripped silky red drops of
her still living blood on the stone at his feet. Each drip was a
dagger to my heart. Each splash to the ground ricocheted in my
ears. Another drop and I’d be deaf, deaf to the world that was
crashing down around me. My very own, very exclusive
Armageddon.

In the short time that I’d loved her, I knew
somehow it wouldn’t last. I cheerfully ignored the sick feeling in
the pit of my stomach. The feeling that let me know I didn’t
deserve her and I would never get to keep her.

There was nothing in my character that would
have ever justified my getting to love someone so wholly better
than myself. Yet, it still did not seem fair. I wanted more. I
needed more, in fact. Even so, I was not at all bitter. I was
forced to admit, that although I knew I’d be starved of her for the
rest of my life and that
that
life would go to pieces when
she left, it didn’t make me any less grateful. For the short time
we did have, I was acutely aware I did nothing to deserve what had
been given to me in the first place. Because of her, because of
Jules, no soul could have been happier than the soul that resided
in my body and I was thankful, truly thankful.

In that moment, I was living a nightmare and
I watched as he raised his gun and laid it flush against her
temple. I readied myself for the inevitable. The inevitable
everythings. Inevitable loss. Inevitable battle. Inevitable
death.

Don’t worry Jules
, I thought,
I’ll
be with you again and from the looks of it, probably very
soon.

 

 

 

Chapter
One
The Riot And The Fret

 

 

Ever been in a hurry and can’t find your
keys? Frazzled, you check the door, making sure you didn’t leave
them in the lock earlier. You check the freezer because apparently
that’s where everybody leaves them. You even ask your little sister
if she hid them because you wouldn’t put anything past the ten year
old. You’ve checked every conceivable place you could possibly
think of and they are nowhere to be found and once you’ve given up
completely, resigned to your inescapable fate, you realize they’ve
been in your hand the entire time. I’ve been looking for that
hypothetical key my entire life it seems and that key’s name just
happens to be Julia Jacobs.
Jules, as I called her, was remarkable. An untarnished heart, cool
and pristine without the slightest hint of selfishness, tall and
slender with dark black hair, long and full of large loose curls
and eyes as green as the moss that laid sleepily on our creek bed.
Her skin was soft and sweet and matched her honeysuckle-orange
scent absolutely. She had the best laugh her side of the
Mississippi and was the most adventurous girl I’d ever known.
What made Jules extraordinary though, was that her heart was made
of the most curious fabric. It could bend and stretch to fit every
single person she’d ever met. I could not have loved her anymore
deeply. She and I were predetermined. It had been designed and
without her gravitational pull, I was spiraling out of control,
deeper and deeper into the kind of blackness that not any one
person can return from sane.

Ironically, Jules and I saw each other
practically every day growing up with barely a thought invested in
the other. She lived across town from my parents, my little sister
Maddy and I but I’d see her on Main along with all the other
Bramwell kids. Most days, I would throw dirt at her and she would
retaliate with a punch to the gut. On others, we’d ride our bikes
down by the creek to catch tadpoles.

In junior high, we had long forgotten about
one another, with only the occasional smile in the hallways, and
grew even further apart as we approached high school. Needless to
say, to each other, we were just another warm body roaming the
hallways. Until, that is, the first day of classes our senior year,
when something extraordinary happened.

A sightless lightning bolt stuck us to one another forever.
I was mucking around with my best friend Jesse Thomas outside Mrs.
Kitt’s Geometry class when I saw Jules for the first time that day,
or ever really, because this time she wasn’t Julia Jacobs. This
time, when our eyes met, she was
Julia Jacobs
and a clash of
feverish tension grew amongst us, illuminating the invisible line
that had clearly, now, always tied us as one.
    “What’s wrong with you dude?” Asked Jesse,
moving to lean against the tiled wall.
    “What?” I said, not able to tear my eyes away
from Jules. “Ju, just a second Jesse.”
He turned to face Julia, looked at me and back at Julia. A scowl of
disapproval grew evident across his face.
    “What are you doing Gray? I know you’re not
looking at
that
. Do you know who that is?” He scoffed,
shifting his weight against the wall.
    “Yeah.”
    “Are you sure?” He joked. “I’m not so sure you
do. In case you haven’t heard, Julia Jacobs is a freak man.”
    “What the hell are you talking about Jesse?
Why
is she a freak?”
He was starting to infuriate me. Apparently, Jules was mine to get
infuriated for.
    “Okay, so I admit, she has a nice body, but
seriously dude she looks like a freakin’ gypsy and crap. She always
has those ridiculous buttons of bands no one has ever heard of on
her bag like she’s so much more cultured than us. She acts like she
has nothing in common with the rest of us when she comes from the
same small town we all do.”
    “You’re wrong dude. She doesn’t act like that.
She’s just different is all and you, and the rest of this stupid
town, don’t understand her. Besides, did it ever occur to you that
maybe I like different?” I paused, a grin of realization growing on
my face. “You know what I think?” I asked, not waiting for his
answer. “I think you think she’s hot and probably cool too, but
you’re afraid of what others would think. Plus, you know you could
never get her. You’ve built a rep in this school and the good girls
go running the other direction when they see
you
coming.”
    “Whatever Elliott. Say whatever you want if it
makes you feel better. Nothing you can say excuses the fact that
she’s a freak. Just look at the way she dresses. She’s always
wearing those torn up jeans and her fingernails are always dark as
night. Everywhere she goes, you can hear her coming. She jingles.
She’s just
weird
.”
When I didn’t give in to his peer pressure he threw up his
hands.

“You’re insane!” He continued, “Go ahead and
ogle the freak. I’m just sayin’ is all. Jeez! Elliott! You could
have any girl here and that’s who you eye on the first day?” He
snorted a laugh. “Julia Jacobs. Huh. Why don’t you wait and see who
got hot over the summer? What about Taylor Williams?” He asked,
perking up. “We both know she wants you.”

I was barely listening to him now. Every inch
that Julia grew closer to me felt like being in the presence of
Aphrodite herself. I didn’t even know if she was real or not.
Jesse’s own recognition of her was my only proof. I hunched my
torso in preparation for something. The something, I knew not, but
prepare I did. She appeared ethereal yet overpowered me with a very
non-fictional smack to the chest. The expectation weighed heavily
on my shoulders.

The sensation of it brought back the memory
of when I used to play with my dad’s old tape measure. I remember
locking its little mechanism and stretching out the metal tape as
far as it could go. I’d take a deep breath then press its release.
Suddenly, the tape would fly furiously in my direction. It made me
cringe as I half expected it to slice me but, instead, would wrap
neatly into its little square encasement, a violent action with
tidy results.

With Jesse tugging at my shirt trying to
distract me, I stood as still as a statue while she gently brushed
past me, her eyes wide and in sync with mine. And she was
mesmerizing. I remember everything about that moment down to the
length of the tears in her favorite pair of faded blue jeans. She
had on black flip-flops and her toenails were painted the same dark
cherry that was on her fingernails. She wore a white tank with
something printed on the front, but all I could make out was the
word ‘Future’ because her hair laid upon the rest. Her long hair
was dark as night and the morning sun streaming through the doors
veined shiny shades of white in its sheen.

Across her chest laid the weathered canvas
strap of her army-green messenger book bag with the myriad of tiny
metal buttons of obscure little bands’ names that Jesse had been
talking about. Not that I would have told Jesse this, I was such a
coward, but ironically I knew at least half the bands on her
bag.

On her waist, she wore one of the many belly
dancing belts she owned and the coins that fringed the layered
garment danced against her legs. Around her neck, on a chain, was
the first guitar pick she had ever learned to play on. It was green
with flecks of gold and swayed to and fro with each one of her
steps. Both of her arms were covered in assorted bracelets, at
least ten on each arm and climbed the length of each. I wanted to
touch the ones above her elbow just to feel the muscle pressed
firmly against them.

I did not know this Julia Jacobs. She was a
stranger to me. The old Jules I’d grown up with my whole life
seemed the caterpillar before this butterfly.

Her eyes caught up with mine and if I hadn’t
been paying attention I would have missed the slight hiccup in her
steps, proving her reaction matched mine. She looked at me as if
she had, too, never really seen me before and while her eyes
burrowed through me, she ran straight into our geometry teacher,
Mrs. Kitt, causing her to scatter the worksheets she had just
printed onto the floor at her feet and breaking our trance for the
moment.

BOOK: The Understorey, Book One of The Leaving Series
10.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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