Peer Review by Jeremy Houle (United States)

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Borders - Part One: Truth (Chapter One)

By: Jacie XP


I stared out my window at the falling snow. There was barely a dusting already on the ground. A few flakes lazily glided down. One of them stuck to my window pane. I signed. At this point, I’d still have school the next day. My best friend, Jade, and I had been watching the weather all week, just waiting for the big storm that would cancel school. Apparently, it wasn’t coming.
I detached myself from the window and crawled into bed. Right before going to bed, I sent Jade, my best friend, a quick text.
LORA: looks like no snow :(
I put my phone down and went to sleep. It ended up being a dreamless night for me, which was far from unusual.
My alarm clock blared. I swatted at it and missed. Groaning, I peeled my eyes open and pressed the off button. Rolling over in bed, I picked up my phone. Jade had sent me a text.
Sighing, I dragged myself out of bed. Peeking out my frost covered window, I saw that a thin layer of snow covered everything, like powdered sugar had been dusted over the entire town. It was pretty, but not anywhere near enough to cancel school in North Dakota.
I showered and got dressed for school in a teal cardigan over a plain, black, long sleeved shirt and a pair of blue jeans. My brand new Uggs completed the look. After drying my hair, I decided to pull my brown curls back. I twisted them into a tight bun. Light pink lipstick. A little mascara to help bring out my eyes.
Fully dressed, I went downstairs for breakfast. My parents had already left for work. They owned a developing company and were usually gone out of state tearing up the wilderness. Since I was on my own, I made myself a bowl of dry cheerios. It may not have been the nicest breakfast of my life, but it was filling.
I ditched my bowl in the sink and went back upstairs to my room. My books for school went into my bag. I checked the time on my phone. 7:28 a.m. Just enough time. I pulled on a winter coat and gloves, then swiped my keys off my desk and left the room. Making sure to lock up behind myself, I left the house and climbed into my blue, Honda Civic. I only had my own car because my parents worked a lot and they wanted me to be able to get myself places. That and they made me pay for the gas.
I started up the engine and pulled out of the driveway, taking off down 4th Street. Since I was the one with the car, I always picked Jade up for school. Total, it only took 12 minutes to go from my house, to hers, to our school. I turned right onto 2nd Avenue, Jade’s street. At the intersection where 2nd and 3rd met, I continued straight. From there, I started watching the house numbers until I saw 219. I pulled into the driveway at 219 2nd Avenue North East Hazen, South Dakota, Jade’s house.
The house was white, with a brown tiled roof and shutters the same light shade of brown as my hair. It was a single level house with white, lace curtains visible through the windows. A black truck was parked in the driveway, right outside the garage that was painted with the same white and brown to match the house. Jade’s dad must have been home. The dark green door swung open and Jade came lumbering out, looking like an eskimo. She was bundled up tighter than sardines were packed in a can. I could see steam from her breath floating up around her face.
Jade climbed into the passenger seat of my car. She was visibly shivering from the cold. As I pulled out of her driveway, I asked, “Is it really so cold outside that you freeze just walking from your house to my car?”
“N-not c-cool bruh. N-not c-cool,” she answered, her teeth chattering. I could barely see her face from under her hat and scarf. Her green eyes were wide and she turned up the heat in the car. I couldn’t help but smile.
“Jay, did your heat go out again?” I inquired.
She nodded. The heat at Jade’s house was always going out. The winter before, she had to stay at my house for an entire week because it was below freezing in hers. Her family really needing to get their heating system fixed.
“I-I’ts s-so c-cold in t-there,” she said, rubbing her arms to warm them up.
“Maybe you should petition to get your heating system checked,” I suggested.
“Y-you t-think I haven’t t-thought of that? We’ve g-gotten it c-checked a thousand times! No one ever finds anything w-wrong. I’m t-telling you, Lora, that h-house is haunted. We’ve g-got ghosts s-shutting our heat off,” Jade claimed. She was always going on and on about how her house was haunted by malicious ghosts that stole her homework to make her fail school. Really, she just had issues organizing things and lost everything that came into her possession.
As we were driving, a red mustang turned onto the road behind us. The car stayed just far enough back to see where we were going. I couldn’t make out the driver.
“Jade, can you tell who’s driving the car behind us? I think he’s tailing us,” I said, refusing to peel my eyes off the road. Jade sank down in her seat. “Oh no!” she moaned, “Now my ghosts are haunting you too!”
I rolled my eyes and took a left onto 4th Street. The mustang turned left too, maintaining its careful calculated distance behind us. Trying to shake the vehicle, I took a sharp right turn onto 1st Avenue. Soon, the mustang appeared in my rearview mirror.
“Jade,” I wailed, “Do something, that car’s still following us!”
Jade sat up in her seat. “Forget ghosts. It’s gotta be some creepy stalker! I’ll try to get his plate number. Then we can find his house and stake it out! I bet it’s some guy that thinks I’m hot or something. Wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Jade,” I growled through gritted teeth, “Not helping!” I made a sharp turn onto 2nd Avenue. Jade fell hard against me. “Bruh, warn me when you’re not gonna use a turn signal!” Jade shouted, rubbing her sore arm. The mustang was still pursuing us.
“Damn it,” I muttered, flooring the gas. The other car accelerated too, not wanting to lose us. “Lora, slow down! At this point, you’ll get a ticket even if the police don’t show up!” Jade shrieked, clinging to the armrests of her seats.
 “Hold on, Jay!” I said, making the sharpest turn yet. The tires squealed and the engine groaned, but we were soon shooting down the street again. Jade looked like she was going to throw up. Her hat had fallen off, causing her perfectly straight blonde hair to come tumbling down around her face. She let out a loud groan.
“Thank God for seat belts.”
I ignored her and drove faster. The mustang sped up too, just like I was hoping it would. Out of the blue, I made a left turn onto 5th Street. Jade and I were both thrown to the side. We had just barely managed to make the turn. I slammed on the brake and brought my car back down to the limit. In the rearview mirror, I watched in horror as the mustang failed to make to make the turn. It went flying off the road and did a complete roll, going completely upside down and landing the right way. I peeled my eyes away from the mirror and kept driving.
“Lora, what the hell are you doing?” Jade shouted. “Stalker or not, we can’t just leave that car like that! What if we killed the driver? Oh God, I bet we killed whoever it was!”
I didn’t reply, but I made a U-turn. And drove back towards the wreck. I pulled off of the road and got out of the car. Jade followed me. The mustang’s room had almost completely collapsed. Dents covered the entire the entire vehicle. There would be no saving that car.
Jade approached the car first. She peered in through the driver’s side window and let out a loud shriek.
“Jay, what is it?” I asked. When she didn’t answer, I walked over to her and looked into the car for myself. What I saw thoroughly shocked me.

    There was no driver.

Message to Readers

Here's chapter one of Borders. If you haven't seen the prologue yet, I suggest that you read it. What do you guys think of this part?

Peer Review

I really liked the dialogue between the two characters. It seemed real, like two teenaged girls were really there. It didn't sound forced or written at all! very good job. Even the teasing, which is usually a harder thing to pull off.

I was hooked. I hope you come out with installments later on??? I went to check my seat belt right after the mustang started speeding up, lol. I didn't feel creeped out, but I was hungry to read on so that I could be creeped out. :)

Will you publish the rest?

Reviewer Comments

the highlighted section there was done really well, but it makes it seem as if Lora is not familiar with Jade's house. If Lora is always picking her up, I think she would be a little more familiar with it. Perhaps the numbers are on a mailbox and they shine quite brightly, making it easier to recognize the house in the 7:30 darkness.