“Tell me if you’re game, and I’ll let the guys know we’re on.” Enid exhaled impatiently. “Ruby! Did you hear me?”
I blinked and shifted my gaze to Enid. “Sorry. I was lost in thought.”
Sympathy washed over Enid’s face. She smiled and put her hand over mine. “It’s okay, Ruby. It’s my fault for rushing you. I’m just so excited you’re being released today.”
Enid and I had been best friends since the day we’d met in first grade. We’d been through so much together and she had really stepped it up after the accident. She was the kind of friend they make movies about. I squeezed her hand.
“So what were you saying?” I asked.
“That I’ll let Jeremy and Sam know if you feel like meeting up tonight.”
It’s not like I really wanted to go home. I nodded. “Sure. Sounds good.”
“Great!” Enid bounced to her feet. “I’ll go call them.”
As she left my room, the strange veil returned. Darkness blurred the edges of my vision and vague shapes layered across the world. I closed my eyes and shook my head, but the veil remained. So did the voices. Too quiet to make out more than a word or two, but loud enough to feel they were real. I leaned back against the pillow and closed my eyes, willing the veil to pass.
These bizarre visions had been happening since the accident. At first, they’d only happened once or twice a day, but they’d been increasing. This was the fifth one today, and it wasn’t even noon.
I hadn’t told anyone about them—not even Enid. I didn’t want to be labeled as crazy, which was entirely possible given everything that had happened. It’s not every day you survive an accident that wipes out half your town, including everyone you know, except your best friend. My heart twisted. For a moment, I was sure I could hear voices I knew, but when I opened my eyes all I saw was the cold white hospital room. At least the veil had receded.
The rest of the day passed in a blur. There were forms to sign, and somber chats to be had with doctors, nurses, and social workers. Finally, I was free to go. Enid met me out front. I stuffed my meager belongings into the back of her car and hopped in beside her. The visions were now coming two or three times an hour. I watched the ghostly figures move and listened to the obscured hum of their voices while I tried to ignore the lump growing in the pit of my stomach.
Enid drove straight to our rendezvous with the guys. We pulled up in front of a latched gate on the outskirts of town. Enid hopped out and gestured for me to do the same.
“Where exactly are we?” I asked as I stepped out of the car.
“I don’t know,” Enid said, “but Jeremy swears it’ll be a blast. Come on.” She squeezed through a gap in the gate and started down the dirt road.
Something niggled in the back of my mind, but I followed Enid anyway.
After a short walk, we reached what looked like an abandoned construction site. There was a giant hole in the ground. Light flickered in the hole and I could hear Jeremy and Sam laughing. Ruby walked toward the hole.
As I followed, my vision grew dark and the veil began to swell before my eyes. I stopped in my tracks.
“Ruby, come on!” Enid called.
As the faces swam before me, I remembered the night of the accident. Jeremy, Sam, Enid, and I had broken into the high school chemistry lab. I wasn’t exactly an A-student, but I’d taken chemistry and I knew whatever the guys were mixing was unstable. I remember grabbing Enid’s hand and telling her to run. After that, everything went black.
“How did they survive?” I didn’t realize I’d spoken out loud until I felt Enid’s hand on my arm.
“Ruby, you have to come with me now.” She began to pull me toward the pit, but I stumbled and fell.
The veil grew stronger. I could see all these people I knew sitting beside me, reaching their hands out. Without another thought, I grabbed them.
“Ruby!” Enid cried out, scared and desperate. “Ruby! Please don’t leave me!”
Her screams faded as my consciousness returned, but they still haunt my dreams.
I loved Enid like a sister, but it just wasn’t my time to die.
This is my submission for this week’s speakeasy challenge. This week, we had to use the following sentence as the first line in our post: Tell me if you’re game.
We also had to make some sort of reference to the following photograph: