Twisted Fate, and Other Stories
Copyright 2016 J. Parker
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
Thank you for downloading this ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends.
This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes,
provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please
return to your favorite ebook retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you
for your support.
“Hold on Josh!”
“Oh my god its breaking!”
“Help is coming!”
I heard the voices screaming but my mind couldn’t grasp what they were saying. It was as if I was standing on the river bead, looking up at myself. Dangling helplessly as everyone who had already made it across rushed to help me. If I could speak, I would yell back that it was ok. It won’t be much longer now.
The rough face of the mountain taunted me. Tearing at my back with every inch I slipped. I glanced up the length of my body to where the rope was wrapped painfully around my right ankle. Remaining planks of rotted wood were settled between the two thick cords that had made up the base of the bridge. With no desire to accelerate my final moments, I lowed myself back down. My vision became blurry as blood rushed to my head.
Maybe I’ll pass out before it snaps.
“He’s almost there, Josh!”
A sharp pain shot through my shoulder causing me to glance right. Angered by my sudden movement, I felt the rope jerk.
“Oh my god,” someone whispered.
It was the sheer terror of their tone that carried the words over the sounds of the rushing water below me. Any minute now.
Even as I thought it, I felt the final snap of the rope. I closed my eyes in anticipation of the rapid decent. I no longer felt the mountain at my back. I became weightless as gravity claimed my body, the wind my breath, and the river my sight. This is it.
As sudden as it had started, everything stopped. All at once I was aware of the cheers coming from above, the orange rope hanging to the left of me, and the tight grip on my right ankle.
“I’ve got you, Josh, I’ve got you,” David said.
I closed my eyes for only a second but I opened them to find several worried faces staring back at me.
“He’s coming to.”
“You’re ok, Josh, you’re going to be fine.”
I’m ok? I opened my mouth to respond when I realized I couldn’t speak. The right side of my body was on fire and all of the faces began to blur together. Through the buzzing in my ears I heard bits and pieces of frantic shouting. I’m not ok.
“What’s wrong with him!”
“We’re losing him!”
I tried desperately to reach my shoulder with my left hand but I couldn’t get anything to move. The voices began to fade out until there was nothing but roaring. As my vision grew darker and my mind fought to accept what was happening to me, I recalled the beautiful, brown and tan colors of what I had thought to be my rescuer. Its diamond patterned skin glistening in the light as it slithered up the cold rock. It wasn’t much longer.
I tried to focus on the soft sound of rain hitting the glass. If I were home, I’d have been sleep within minutes. I sat up in the passenger seat with a sigh of frustration. The motel in front of me was looking better and better by the second. If I wanted to make it to New York, I’d have to sleep in Emma for the rest of the trip. It wasn’t the first time I’d camped out in my car and it probably wouldn’t be the last. I didn’t mind, Emma had been my 16th birthday present. I love her as much as any man loves their first car. Seven years later and she still runs like new.
It wasn’t the accommodations making me restless. About every ten minutes, my conscious would kick in and tell me that I was being ridiculous. No sane person wakes up, quits their job, and decides to leave town just because their bored. Less than twenty-four hours ago, that’s exactly what I’d done.
The rain made the car feel stuffy and small and I was way too wired to sleep. Mind made up, I threw my pillow and blanket onto the back seat. I slid on my thick soled black boots and made my way around to the driver’s side. With the setting sun, Emma’s slick black finish captured the oranges and purples that danced on the horizon. After pausing to admire my most prized possession, I opened the door and slid onto the cool leather seat. I started the car and the engine seemed to rumbled with as much anticipation as I was.
I drove for a full three hours until I had to stop for a bathroom break. From the outside the gas station looked modern and clean, nothing like what you see in old movies. Tall anything lights surrounded the station from every angle like a football field, making it hard to see outside of it. I pulled up beside the first available pump that caught my attention which happened to be the closest one to the entrance. The smell of gasoline and exhaust fumes rushed inside the car when I opened the door. Before entering the station, I held the door open for a large man who was balancing two cups of coffee, a hot dog, and a large bag of potato chips. I wondered to myself if one of the large eighteen wheelers off to the side of the station belonged to him. Perhaps he was an underpaid businessman headed back to his family after a long weekend away doing the work the big wigs didn’t want to do. He’d made it maybe five steps out of the door before his hotdog slipped out of its white sleeve. Next went the coffee followed by stream of words too colorful for even my adult ears. He was definitely a trucker. I turned into the station with a half concealed smile that was met with another more feminine one.
“Truckers, they take everything personal,” the woman said.
“At least he still has the chips.”
“And his receipt, it happens more than you think.”
Taking a closer look at her, I saw that she was dressed in the same bright primary colors of the stations logo. We glanced through the window at the trucker who had closed his eyes and raised his head to the night sky as if he was near his wits end.
“Spilling your coffee on the road is a bad omen. He’s probably wishing for a safe and easy trip home,” the woman said.
“You believe in omens?”
“Of course, don’t you?”
I stole a quick glance at her nametag, “Actually Emma, I think I just might.”
This place is cold, I thought as I looked around. The forest was blanketed in fog, the dirt wet with morning dew. I was wearing my favorite dress, the one with gold sequins all over it that shimmered with every move. How did I get here? Taking a step forward, I realized I was barefoot. The earth was soft under my feet, shifting with every step. In the distance I heard a car engine stalling and a male voice shouting in frustration. I knew that voice. What is Caleb doing here? Heading towards the commotion, the forest started to grow and stretch. Panic gripped my body and I began to run. “Caleb!” I screamed, “Caleb, help me!” The branches moved, reaching for me like dead fingers on rotting corpses. Roots began to lift from the ground, grabbing at my ankles as I fought to get to Caleb. Just as I saw the road ahead, I fell, hitting my head on a large rock. Blinking rapidly to clear my vision, I looked up to see Caleb standing over me. “Caleb, help me,” I pleaded. “What’s happening?” He stood motionless, staring back at me with blank, dead eyes. Though his mouth never moved, I heard his voice in my head, “Night creatures call and the dead start to walk in their masquerade. There’s no escaping this time, this is the end of your life.”
I jolted upright in my bed, breathing heavily. Eyes straining against the morning sunlight, it took me a moment to realize that it was my phone shouting Michael Jacksons “Thriller” at me. I was so changing my ringtone. Because it took me a moment to shake off the the dream, I missed the call. I stared nervously at my phone, already knowing what it displayed. It was 9:00 am sharp, just as it had been yesterday, the day before that, and the day before that. Today marked two weeks straight that I’d been receiving calls from an unknown number. The stranger says only five words before disconnecting, “I know what you did.”
At first I thought it was a prank. My best friend Megan’s sick idea of a joke. I confronted her in school the next morning. Pulling her into the janitor’s closet before our first class, I told her what had been happening.
“Kayla, why would I do something so childish and cruel?” she asked.
“If it wasn’t you, then someone else knows,” I whispered back.
“We have to do something. I’ll be 18 in two months, Kay, I can’t go to prison. What about law school?” Her voice grew louder with every word. “If even a whisper of that party gets back to daddy he’ll snatch my trust fund, let alone a MURDER CHARGE-”
“Shh! Lower your voice. Just give m e a second to think.” Checking the time, it was just after 8:45 which meant we had 15 minutes until first bell. Pacing the length of the small, damp, cement room, I went over the details of that night. Meg’s parents were away on business and about 50 people were at that party. Pills were being traded like lunches in kindergarten. There wasn’t a non-alcoholic drink in the entire three story house. Only Caleb, Megan, and I were in the garage when he collapsed. Nobody heard us screaming over the thumping music and before we could run for help, he coughed up one final stream of blood and went still. We put Caleb’s body into Megan’s trunk right away. The drugs hadn’t come from us, but it was still our party and neither of us could risk the fallout. We waited until everyone had left to drive far into the woods and bury the body… the woods. I spun to Megan. “Someone saw us in the woods that night. We have to move the body. It’s their only proof against us.”
Leaving the closet, we were making our way through the sea of students, towards the main doors when my phone began to vibrate in my pocket. Focused on the mission at hand, I answered without a second thought. Those dreaded five words froze me to the ground and Megan ran into me. I turned to tell her what had just happened when I saw that she too had gone still and pale. She was staring across the hall like she’d seen a ghost. Following her line of sight, I knew why. Staring back at me, phone in hand, was Caleb.
About J. Parker:
J. Parker is a writer of mainly fiction and poetry. She is currently studying Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University. Parker has work appearing in Down in The Dirt magazine volume 137, and on GSpoetry.com under her real name Jamanda Parker. Parker’s spirit animal is Jason Bourne and she enjoys trying new, adventurous things with friends. You can learn more about Parker at
"TWISTED FATE"- This short story will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Josh is enjoying a hike with some friends when he lands himself in a life or death situation. It's a race against the clock as they struggle to save him. "EMMA"- Some people never realize it when they transition from a spontaneous, free lifestyle to a lifeless day to day routine; others realize it once it's too late. Emma is the story of a young man who feels himself slipping into the mold and decides to grab the bull by the horn. The further he gets from his old life, the more he begins to question if he made the right decision. "THRILLER"- Every teenager has been to a party their parents weren’t aware of. Perhaps you've even thrown a few yourself. When this high school party gets out of control, panic consumes seniors Kayla and Megan forcing them to make a decision that continues to haunt them even after death.