This story was created to while working on various types of phrases in English class.
It is 9 o’clock at night and my roommate, Sadie is finally here. Running to door in excitement, she twists the door handle before I have the time to greet her. “How was work with Jamie today?” I asked excitedly. Jamie is a childhood friend of ours who has moved back to our small town, after leaving in middle school. It has been ages since we last talked, but the spark is still there.
“Well, I was chosen to train her of course and she loves it.” We were interrupted by Tuscany, our chocolate lab. He likes to nuzzle his nose into my hands when I rest them on my lap.
“Tuscany, you are such a mommy’s boy” I teased, as I rustled the soft brown hairs on his head. I turned to Sadie. “Did she bring up anything about her new house... Or possibly staying here?”
“She just said that for the time being, she enjoys the comfort of her little hotel room and that she does not want to be a burden, no matter how many times I tell her she is not one.”
Trying to be reassuring, I replied “Maybe she will warm up to the idea after being here for a while. We have been distant for so long it only makes sense that she needs time to build up that trust again.”
Sadie let out a sigh. “I guess you are right, I just wish things could be like they were in the old days.” We both turned our own ways and entered the wonders of our minds. I went back to that place in my mind where the past was still the present. We would all huddle up on the bunk bed in her room and stretch the largest blankets along the edges of the mattress, tightly tucked under. We’d lay there for hours giggling over gossip, sugary sweets, and when our favorite show came on, we would adjust the blanket around the tv so we could have our overdose of “SpongeBob Squarepants”. I missed the way our imagination drowned out of the world. We would live in this fantasy world of our future. I remember our favorite spots. The tree, our personal secret-keeping diary. It’s large, prickly embrace would protect our secrets from exploitation. Or next door, where we were always welcomed. A small dog would always greet us with a wagging tail. She would assist our art circle as we splashed paint about our canvas. I assume my thoughts were not as complex as Sadie’s because the silence started to annoy me as I wound down from my mind. I turned on the TV, loud and distracting, enough to block out the absence.
It was one in the morning that I finally realized I had binge-watched “Grey’s Anatomy” to the last episode. I leaned over to check if Sadie was sleeping, but Tuscany was not gonna let her have any sleep until she got her goodnight kiss. As Tuscany began pawing at her, nudging her head under Sadie’s, she began to wake in a groggy state. “Not now Tusky, go lay down.” I could tell she had a rough day. I took a blanket and laid it out across her. Then I sunk back into my welt in the couch cushion. I wished that her tiredness was contagious, but instead, I found myself busy scrolling through apps on my phone. That was when I came across Tinder. I have been single for three long years. The last relationship I had been in ended in pure misery. We had been madly in love, or so it seemed, since Sophomore year, but just as my last high school year of high school slipped by, so did my boyfriend. Maybe the spark had died long ago for him, but for me, I had been too busy worrying about the future and trying to build a foundation for us, but that had not gotten me where I had wanted. The first year was the hardest. I had turned to antidotes that I would one day find out were ultimately poisons. I had gone through every emotion over that boy. The only thing that could ever help was my love for animals. I decided that happiness could not just be found in one person, most are too naive with love. Animals, on the other hand, can love unconditionally. That bond, a bond that can never be broken, is the thing I wanted most. So I quit my full-time job of a broken record on repeat and went to college to become a veterinarian.
Snapping out of my memory, I looked back down at my phone. A guy named Jarek stared back at me. His profile read age 23, from Hope, Kansas. Likes to play football, go on car rides, big dogs, and meeting new people. Employed at Ken’s Kar Kare since 2015 and a swim coach in the summer. My eyes started to become more droopy as I analyzed his bio. I started swiping through his pictures. There was one with him and a golden retriever in a kiddy pool. The puppy was wearing a shower cap with a rubber duck softly sitting between its teeth. I had wondered if this guy would carry the same gentleness. The next picture was of him with a bunch of other guys in sweat-soaked shirts. He seemed social and kind. The next picture is what really stood out to me, there he was standing in front of the Big Well in Greensburg, Kansas. It made me wonder what he found interesting about such an ordinary thing. Maybe it was the way such an ordinary thing could be so humungous, or maybe it was the car ride thing. From Hope to Greensburg is about a 3-hour drive, but why would he travel all that way for a well. Maybe he was just intrigued by the little things in life or just wanted to go on a silly road trip with some friends. I swiped right. It still lingered in my mind until I fell asleep.
I awoke to the sound of my alarm buzzing in my ear. It was only 7 in the morning and Sadie was already gone for the Diner. I called around the house for Tuscany. “Tusk, time to go outside. Wanna go for a walk?” He darted across the room, creating a brown speed slash around me. Jumping and panting, he bumped my leg with his hip, ready for me to hook him up on the leash. Off we went on our journey around the neighborhood. Tuscany surprises me when he lifts his leg to a fire hydrant. They make potty training fire hydrant posts, but dogs do not actually mark their territory on hydrants often. The non-realistic stereotype always makes me giggle. Since Tuscany is young, he is very nosy. Squirrels are his favorite muse. He knows that if he catches me turning around or checking my phone, he can use all his strength to yank me along after one. He is just so cute that I have to let him try so I let him run if no one is watching. We keep walking until my alarm goes off to head home.
Stomach grumbling, hunger approaching, I make myself some breakfast and pour a glass of orange juice. Then I put on a pair of jeans and a nice blouse to go under my coat. After I get ready for work, I call for Tuscany once again. “Tusky time to go to work!” My veterinary office allows us to bring our pets to work with us as long as they behave. It is a short 10-minute walk to my work from home. Tusk loves the extra miles, he could go, go, go all day long if it was up to him. I take him down the hall and into the pet room. Even though has come to work with me for a little over a month, he already has made a best friend, a pointer named Petey. “Tusky Petey’s here. You wanna play with Petey? Go on.” I leave him to wrestle with his friend.
I return to the front desk to check-in. I feel like I have forgotten something. I got ready, I chained up Tuscany, I grabbed my keys off the counter. I pause to remember my wallet. I must have forgotten it on the counter when I went to put the leash on Tuscany. I realize there is nothing I can do, I will just have to remember to get it later before I go to the store.
After punching in, my first task is to clean the kennels. It is only me and Shannon working right now. She vacuums the carpets while I spray down the tables and change the bedding on top. We have our first appointment so we have to be quick.
As I am looking down at the patient list, the first client walks in. His face seems so familiar, but I cannot put a name to his face. Then he walks up to me. “Hi, my name is Jarek and I have an appointment for my cat, Whiskey.” My heart jumped in my chest. “Hi, umm I will take her through here. You can come.” I trailed off. Way to make this awkward.
He interrupts my thought. “Is everything okay, Sofie?”
Butterflies viscously flew around in my stomach at the sound of my name falling from his lips. Come on, you gotta come up with an excuse. “Yeah, I am sorry I just forgot to get something this morning” I needed to make it seem like I was not completely adoring him. His actions, cautious and secretive, should have warned me.
He turned around and checked the hall. “What your wallet?” He said harshly. Before I had time to turn around or respond, he had thrown me in the room. It was then that I really wished we had not made the rooms soundproof. He locks the door.
“You know I have been waiting for you to find me. Thanks for the swipe right. You know I was gonna swipe you first, but I thought I would just wait for you. Oh, but you have nothing to be scared about, I am not here to hurt you. I just want to let you know, you should do everything I say or you will be.”
I could not even move or speak, I just sat there in pure fear. Reaching for his back pocket, he pulls out my wallet and hands it to me. “By the way, thank you for leaving this at home, now I have everything I need. I know you will keep your mouth shut say because if you say anything, I will ruin your life. Let me just clarify for you since you do not know. I have known you since before you had known me. I know everything about you. I know your daily schedule, I know Jamie and Sadie, I know your secrets, and I know you. So if you say anything to anyone, know that I am listening and I am seeing it all.” I just nod so quickly that I become dizzy.
Leaving the room, saying good-bye to Shannon, he finds his way out. She turns back to me and smiles. “He was cute. Did he give you his number or something because he was staring at you.”
I looked down at the floor. “Oh no, we just kinda know each other I guess. I saw him on Tinder.” I could not stop thinking about Tinder. I had just swiped right. I had not known him before that. We did not even talk. How does he know me? What did he mean?
Work went by fast. I just drowned myself in the thought of Jarek. I could not understand what he had meant. Maybe he has been stalking me. It explains the “knowing my schedule” part and knowing that I forgot my wallet, but how did he get it? It took me a minute to comprehend. He can get to my house. I froze in sheer fear. Right there on the street. Tusk looked back at me. I started to cry. Then my phone buzzed. It was Jarek.
“Why the tears? Did you figure it out yet?”
I turned around, looking at each and every direction, trying to find him.
“I will take that as a yes. We need to talk.” I started running. He kept texting me. “ Stop running away, I just wanna talk. Come on, say yes.” I sped up. There was a green truck that was once in the distance but was now right next to me. Jarek rolled down his window. “Tuscany, stop,” he called out to my dog. It was as if Tuscany was scared, too, because he followed Jarek’s command. He opened his door. “Tusky get in” He looked me dead in the eyes and threw me an evil grin. Tusky tugged towards his car.
I had no idea what to do. “Tusky stop.” He would not stop. So I pulled harder. “Tuscany, here boy.” He pulled even stronger till I lost my grip and he was able to jump in the car.
“Tuscany is already in, get in now.” He called to me. I tried to keep running but he just kept following me. “Come on, I can take you home. I just wanna talk to you.” I had no clue what I would say to Sadie if Tuscany was lost and I am not able to tell her why. Even with my natural instinct telling me no, I do it anyway. I get in the car and let him take me away.
“You know, I like it when you are being compliant. That will make this very easy for you and me, both.” I just stared into his unforgiving, mysterious eyes. “Well I understand you not wanting to talk right now, but eventually you have to. So let me explain this whole plan we have tonight.” I backed up into the window, confused and scared. “Listen carefully. I am going to take you home right now. You are going to bring me with and introduce as Jarek from Tinder to Sadie. Then you are going to tell her we are going on a date. I will leave Tuscany with Sadie where you think he is safe, and then you are coming with me.” We pulled up in the driveway. “Got it?” he said. I just nodded once again. That must have angered him because he reached down for my wrist and squeezed it a bit. “And one more thing, you need to do more than a nod. If you keep this quiet act up. I am going to hurt more than just you.” He released his grip and unlocked the doors.
Sadie greeted me at the door, shocked by what I had brung a companion home beside Tuscany. “Who's this?” She asked as she extended her arm for him to come in.
“This, this is Jarek. I um, met him on Tinder.” When she turned her back to walk forward, Jarek threw a dirty look my way. I knew that was my hint to act more normal.
“It is very nice to meet you Jarek,” she said. He smiled contently at her and said “It is very nice to finally meet you, too. I have heard so much about.” It was almost as though he wanted to prove how he had been stalking, not only me but her, too.
“Sofie has not told me about Jamie, yet. I am dying to hear what it is like to have your childhood best friend come back into your life.” He continued. “I am quite surprised she told anyone about Jamie. There is not much to say about her. All the memories we have are just reassuring of our unbreakable bond. We have always been close no matter what, and always will be.”
“That is so nice to hear. Is she still going to be moving in? Sofie told me she is hoping so.” He just kept defiling my life’s profile, I felt so nonconfidential.
“So Sadie, we were gonna go on a date. Are you okay if we take off?” I interrupted.
“Yeah, that is fine with me. I hope we get to talk more in the future, Jarek.” She said. And just like that, we were off.
After a car ride of pure silence, we arrived at Starbucks. I was thankful that he took me somewhere public, in case something goes wrong, there would be witnesses all around. He opened the door for me, just a gentleman would do. I was almost fooled into thinking he was actually genuine, but instead, I held my thank you back. We walked up to the lineless counter. “How can I help you?” asked Kenny, the cashier.
Jarek looked down at me and asked: “What would you like?”.
Not thinking anything of it, I replied: “I like the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew.”
Kenny punched it in and Jarek went on with his order. “I will take a Blonde Roast.” He then escorted me to a seat. “This is my favorite spot.”
Growing immune to his diseased disguise, I went along with the act. “It is such a nice view out there.”
“I thought you would think so.” He replied. I spaced out into the openness the horizon displayed so beautifully. After a while, Kenny called out our order number and Jarek got up to get them while I waited. I should have paid more attention while we were “getting straws” because that was when he slipped the roofie in my coffee.
I started to sip little by little. I wanted to hear anything I could from him as future evidence against him. I wanted to know his intentions. His frustrations. I wanted to know him as he knew me. I was not wanting to stalk him, I just wanted to understand.
By the time our drinks were gone, he had already dragged me out of the restaurant. In his car, I fell asleep. It must have been a long ride. I was just thankful that he was not around when I woke up.
I do not know where he left me, the trail through the woods I had been walking on led to me a beautiful site. There I stood. In a gaping hole. Surrounded by the comfort of a never-ending barrier. I walked the pace of the circle. I glided my hand down the honey glimmering wall where the light illuminated it. It started to peel. The yellow triangular pieces were all uniform as they fell to the floor. As soon as they hit the bottom, there was a drop in the shallow groundwater, and a sudden shift of the triangle was compelled toward the light. They begin to fall faster and faster, swarming for warmth in the ray of light. I began to be covered, tickled by the touch. Then the water joined in. Spraying me at first, surrounding me with open arms, its cool touch eased my once tense nerves. The circle I had paced for what seemed like 3 hours ago began to spin around me. I felt the wind pull me towards the center, much like a tornado. The water became its helping hand. It guided me up on a hump, into the center. Offering me as a sacrifice to comfort. I could see the butterflies leading the water higher and higher. I would not dare to look down. The butterflies smiled. I mistook them for mackerel when they began to smile. Big wide smiles. The light shined brighter as they offered me higher.
The last thought on my mind. What was I sacrifice to? My question was answered by the light. It transformed not only my mind but my being, too, into everything all around me.
Lindsey opened up her Tinder account to find Jarek, 23 from Hope, Kansas. In hopes to understand his personality, she analyzed his profile. She started with his pictures. There was one with him and a golden retriever wearing a shower cap, holding a rubber duck in its mouth, and sitting in a kiddy pool. The next picture was of him with a bunch of other guys in sweat-soaked shirts. The last two pictures were at the same place, he was standing in front of the Big Well in Greensburg, Kansas. The only difference between the two was a sign in the back. It read: Rest in peace, Sofie Lynn Pendleton.
Participle Absolute Appositive Adjectives out of order Action Verb