TITLE: KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME
GENRE: YA Contemporary
Three months ago I watched a stranger die, so I know what death looks like. In fact, I remember what it sounds like, what it feels like, too. That's how I know that the disheveled guy sprawled across the back aisle of Greenbrook’s Gas Mart is, most certainly, not dead.
There's no blood on his clothes, just a film of dirty paint spackle on his jeans and a yellowing stain on the back of his crinkled white T-shirt. He reeks of stale beer and sweat. Nothing like the smell of singed rubber or sunbaked asphalt that tends to rise up in my nightmares of the accident.
“Dude, you okay?” I nudge the side of his shoulder with my foot. One of his hands stutters in response, fat-knuckled and callused. It triggers the memory of a certain twelve-year-old’s tiny fingers twitching in the fading afternoon light, and I have to look away.
I thought the hardest thing about tonight was going to be sneaking past my older sister, Cecelia, as she studied in the kitchen for her latest nursing exam. Little did I know it would be a random drunk guy passed out at a mini-mart that would get my nerves twitching with guilt. I don’t have time to mess with “adults” who can’t handle their booze when I’ve got places to be.
I step over him and slide his right leg out of the way so I can open the freezer door. Instantly, I’m greeted with the grounding crispness of artificially cooled air.