Blue flames lit up 10-year-old Quinn’s eyes. Her mouth opened in a small o as she took in her surroundings.
“Quinn! Quinn! Where are you! I don’t want to play anymore.” She could hear her sister just above.
Quinn ignored her and walked towards the center of the secret room. She kneeled down in front of a candle and marveled at the fact that no smoke came off the candled just a simple blue flame. She reached out her small hand and her now injured pointer finger to touch the pretty fire.
“I wouldn’t if I were you.” A voice said.
Quinn flinched and stood straight. Her head whipped around in search of the voice. There standing in the corner of the room was the shadowy outline of a girl. Slightly older than her but still in her age group. She was standing with her arms crossed and one leg propped back against the wall. A small smirk played on her lips.
“Who are you?” Quinn asked.
“I’m going back! Find yourself!” Quinn’s sister called above.
For a moment Quinn was distracted as she looked towards the entrance and debated on getting her sister.
“So you like to play games?” The girl asked.
Quinn turned back to her.
“Wanna play a game with me?”
Quinn shot forward in bed and nearly hit her head on the ceiling to her room, luckily, she ducked beforehand. With a groan of annoyance, she hopped off her lofted twin sized bed and landed on the floor with a thud.
She stretched and looked at the time.
It had only been a few hours since she got back from the police station. The sun was still up. With a yawn, Quinn walked towards the kitchen to make herself something to eat. Quinn pressed the play button on her boom box and danced around a little before opening her fridge and bending over to inspect. Her butt shaking along with the song.
Outside of Quinn’s house was the other four girls.
Hours earlier they had gone to Stratus’s house and sat around. The shock of Brandon’s death weighing on them.
“Did you guys see it?” Izzy asked.
“No,” Stratus said.
“Quinn saw,” Harley said more to herself than the other girls.
“I can’t believe this, why would he kill himself? He seemed so much better on Saturday.” Neveah said.
“It just goes to show you never know what is going on in someone's mind,” Izzy said.
They were silent again.
“Maybe we should go and check on Quinn after she gets out of the police station. She was really shaken up about the whole thing. I could feel her trembling in my arms.” Stratus said.
“Yeah, good idea. She is depressed after all.” Harley nodded.
That is how they wound up outside Quinn’s house. They walked up to the door and listened as music rang through the house. They each gave a puzzled look. Neveah peaked through the small window by the door and her eyes glanced around for Quinn.
She could make out Quinn’s blurry figure through the textured glass.
“What the hell?” Neveah said.
“What?” the other three girls quickly moved to look.
Quinn was in her shirt and in her underwear. She held a spoon to her mouth as she sang along and hopped around the kitchen as she was playing the air guitar. They all pulled back and looked at Status.
“She was sad earlier, I swear.” Stratus defended herself.
Suddenly the music inside stopped.
They all turned back to the house. They heard the door unlock and then it swung open. Quinn was wearing pants again and she had a face of annoyance, but when she saw her friends her expression softened.
“Want to explain why you are all on my porch spying on me?” Quinn asked.
“How did you know we were out here?” Harley asked.
“It’s the 21st century.” Quinn rolled her eyes as she pointed to her doorbell cam. Then she sidestepped and let everyone in.
Everyone quickly walked in and Quinn shut the door behind them. Then she walked back to the kitchen to resume cooking.
“Glad you guys came, anyways, I made way too much food,” Quinn smirked to herself.
“We were worried about you, but um… you seem fine.” Straus eyed her.
“Well, why wouldn’t I be?” Quinn eyed her back.
“At school, weren’t you shaken up. About Brandon?” Izzy asked.
Quinn’s face turned hard and cold for a split second before going back to its normal playfulness it had a few moments earlier.
“That was earlier, this is now. Death is natural, Brandon made his choice, I am making mine. No need to be hung up on it.” Quinn snorted at her own joke.
The other girls shared looks of distaste and almost disgust by how nonchalant Quinn was being.
“Anyways, who’s hungry?” Quinn stirred the mac and cheese.
“Quinn are you sure you’re okay?” Stratus pushed.
Quinn’s grip on the spoon tightened. Stratus took note.
“I am going to be fine, you are going to be fine. Might as well celebrate life, after all, we weren’t the ones hanging by our necks.”
“Please stop.” Harley made a face at all of Quinn’s hanging references.
“Don’t be a baby.” Quinn snapped at her.
“Don’t call her that, she’s just shaken up. Justifiably so.” Neveah defended her.
“Whatever.” Quinn rolled her eyes.
Just as Quinn was getting out plates for everyone the boom box came to life on its own. The End by the doors began to play. Quinn froze in place.
“What the heck, it’s busted.” Izzy tried to turn it off.
Quinn set the plate down and walked over to it.
Neveah noticed Quinn’s whole demeanor had changed. Gone was relaxed and carefree Quinn, here was stiff, almost scared looking Quinn.
The girls watched as she pushed the off button. Nothing happened the music kept on. Quinn quickly flipped it over and took out the batteries. To the girls' shock, the music kept on.
“Whoa, freaky,” Harley said.
Quinn grabbed the boom box and smashed it on the ground. All four girls flinched. Still, it played on. Quinn got on her knees and grabbed it, smashing it on the ground over and over until it was nothing but a pile of scraps.
Quinn ripped the cord that connects the speakers only then did the music stop.
Quinn looked to be on the verge of tears.
“Hey it’s okay you can get a new one,” Harley said.
Quinn threw the scraps at the fridge and sat on the floor for a second. Her Hands shielding her eyes from her friends. She was breathing heavy and looked to be trembling.
“Quinn, you okay?” Stratus kneeled down and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t touch me!” Quinn snapped at her and stood up.
Then Quinn stomped on the broken pieces on the floor over and over.
“Fuck!” she shouted.
All four girls could do nothing but watch as Quinn had a meltdown.
“Fuck you, you stupid piece of shit!” Quinn shouted.
The lights flickered off for a second.
When they came back on Quinn was curled into a ball on the floor almost as if she was afraid someone was about to hit her. Her arms shielded her head.
“Quinn.” Status called.
Quinn flinched at the sound of her voice.
“Maybe we should go.” Izzy inched towards the door.
“What the hell?” Harley gasped.
All the girls followed her line of sight and sitting unscathed on the floor was the boom box.
“Okay what the actual fuck?” Neveah backed away.
Quinn stood up and kept her back to them. She began to laugh. A haunting laugh.
“Quinn?” Stratus tried.
“Come on guys really? How gullible can you get?” Quinn turned with a playful expression.
“What?” Izzy said confused.
“Obviously this is a new boom box, I pulled it out from under the sink when the lights went out. Duh.” Quinn shook her head.
All four girls eyed the boom box.
“Well, where are all the scarps?” Harley asked.
“Magic.” Quinn winked.
All four girls shared unconvincing looks.
Quinn ignored them and grabbed the boom box and took it to her room.
Stratus eyed the under the sink counter. She walked towards it and reached for the door. All the other girls crowded around in anticipation.
Just as Stratus reached the handle and wrapped her hand around it Quinn said,
“Now let’s eat.”
Stratus flinched and let go of the door handle.
Quinn served each girl and they all sat at the table.
“Are we going to talk about what just happened?” Neveah asked.
“Just drop it,” Quinn said.
Quinn shot a look at Izzy that shut the girl up real quick.
“You know what would liven up this party?” Harley wiggled her eyebrows at Quinn.
“Come on guys really?” Stratus complained.
“What? It’s been a rough day, we deserve some weed time. Right, Neveah?” Harley gave her a look that said, play along.
“Oh don’t think you are getting me to do that again.”
“Come on, you know you want to.” Harley pushed.
“I’ll do it.” Izzy was the first to catch on.
“What?” Stratus eyed her.
“What? I’ve always wondered, don’t be a sissy.” Izzy shrugged.
“Atta girl,” Quinn smirked.
“Fine.” Neveah gave in, finally catching on.
They all looked at Stratus.
“I don’t know,” Stratus said still not catching on.
“Come on, you’ll love it.” Harley pushed.
“I can show you how.” Quinn volunteered.
“What do you say?” Harley shot her a look that said, just do it!
“Alright, I guess.” Stratus gave in.
“Great! I’ll go get it.” Harley shot up in her chair.
“No, I’ll get it.” Quinn got up.
“It’s okay, I know where it is. Don’t worry I won’t touch your sex toys.” Harley joked.
The other girls forced a snicker.
Quinn eyed her.
“Seriously you need to relax, let me.” Harley pushed.
With a sigh, Quinn sat back down.
Harley smiled in triumph and quickly went to the room. In the room, Harley made quick work of the carpet and moved the cement slab. Just like before was her weed on top of the plain black box. She reached in and pulled out her weed, then she reached for the black box.
Her fingers grazed the surface as she began to lift up the lid.
When she did, all she found was a single red sharpie.
She eyed it in confusion.
“Find what you were looking for?” Quinn asked from the doorway.
Harley flinched and dropped the box, the sharpie falling out.
Harley looked up to the smirk playing on Quinn’s lips.
A trap. Stratus was right, Harley thought to herself.
“Quinn I was just messing. I didn’t mean to—”
“But you did mean to. Right?” Quinn kneeled down and picked up the box, setting the sharpie back inside.
“Who told you to look into this box?” Quinn asked.
The words ran through Harley's head, remembering what the girl said,
‘No matter what, don’t tell her about me.’
“What? What are you talking about?” Harley played dumb.
Quinn narrowed her eyes.
“Don’t ever touch my stuff without permission again.” Quinn glowered.
Harley nodded her head quickly, her heart pounding in her ears.
Harley quickly stood to her feet and was about to leave when Quinn grabbed her by the wrist and held her in place. Quinn stood too and pulled Harley into her. Whispering into her ear,
“And Harley, word of advice, you suck at lying.”
Harley quickly pulled free and hastily made her way back to the dining table.
Quinn put the box back in the hole.
“Nice try bitch,” Quinn muttered under her breath.