TITLE: RED HERRING
GENRE: YA Contemporary Mystery
The liquid is the gilded ochre of donkey piss.
Doesn't taste much better either.
I vibrate the red plastic cup between my thumb and middle finger, watching the foul substance swirl in conflicting little waves.
Cherry bounces up and down on the bumper of her decade-old red Honda, shaking the car. She lifts her cup at me. "To the last day of freedom."
I bump mine against hers overdramatically, arm looping in a wide arc. A little bit of the beverage sloshes over the lip of the cup and cascades to the pavement with a splat. "Cheers," I mock-seriously respond with reverence.
In unison we tip our cups back. The foul drink carries the heavy stench of alcohol, sliding abrasively down my throat. The aftertaste will be worse, so I force myself to keep gulping it down as if it were simply grape soda. I finish first and crumple the frail plastic between my fingers.
Cherry's throat gleams unnaturally pale in the harsh yellow glow of the streetlamp we're parked under. The smooth column of her jugular undulates as her subtle Adam's apple bobs with each swallow.
I watch the movements, utterly enchanted and transfixed in a bizarre way. She finishes her drink and turns to look at me. Her eyes are way intense, fixating on me like they're probes, penetrating my mind. "What?"
I turn my head to look forward again. "Nothing."