"Andre, I know you've been preaching the gospel regarding how we're not allowed to think about school during our theme park adventure, but you must allow me to do some math."
Andre looks at Matt with distaste, "Go on."
"Sasha's ass must be the square root of -1. Because it's unreal."
With a snap of her gum, Sasha spins on her heel and claps Matt over the ear,
"Hmm. And you must be the square root of two. Because you're irrational."
Milly's groans of distaste fill the theme park, muttering something about maths puns being more painful than studying as we walk aimlessly.
"Now," Andre gathers us into a group, standing on a block for height, "Today is about forgetting. From tomorrow onwards, our life will be hell and hell only. So for our first ride: the Giant Drop. We do this first so that you remember that grades aren't the things you've got to worry about dropping- it's you, strapped to a chair, flying to your doom... AND because Aisha is terrified of heights and we have a bet going on who'll scream first."
If only Andre was as diligent to studying as he is persistent to beat me... At least study can actually have a good outcome; Andre's competitive nature is just going to leave him bitterly disappointed when I pummel him.
Big words for the 5'4" chicken who's gaping at the thrill ride that's so far away and yet so, so tall.
I'm going to die. I'm going to sit in the seat and we're going to get higher and higher and then the heavens will open and God himself will tell me that my time is up.
Sasha must've sensed my fear: she hands me a strip of gum as we walk- saying I have to chew on it and keep my mouth shut on the ride. Apparently, Sasha and Matt made a bet regarding ours- Matt'll bring Sasha coffee for every day of block exams if Andre screams first. Sasha promised Matt gum on demand for a week if I scream; she might as well have promised her firstborn. Sasha shares her gum with nobody. The only other time I saw her give someone a piece was when Milly's guinea pig died. That, and now.
I'll have to beat Andre. She'll never forgive me if she has to share with Matt.
My brain rattles through study notes: you have maths tomorrow, science the afternoon after, you should read over your notes and your textbook. After that- my eyes land on a worker by the Giant Drop. He looks... old. But I can tell he's young. There's no way he's past 25, but his skin is etched with lines of time and his teeth are the same colour as the hot-dog mustard. He smiles at the passers-by, but his eyes seem uncaring and kind: dead, even- And then you have the art journal due Tuesday... Why did I agree to come? Andre knows how stressed we all are. Maths. Science. Art journal- oh and the Geography essay back to back with English...
"HEY AISHA- haha. "heysha." anyways- you seem invested in thought. You know the rules, no stressing. Your brain needs a break" Andre tut-tuts at me,
English speech too... Right.
"Did you see that century-old fetus? Over there-" Andre points at the worker, "I wonder if he's wearing makeup- there's no way he's older than us-he looks like Yoda in his teen years!
Jokes aside- you, Milly and Sasha should walk between Matt and me. Not a flirt, I just don't trust that guy."
Milly nods in terrified agreement and Sasha just snaps her gum again, not moving from her space closest to the worker.
Geography Essay, English Speech, Maths Exam, Science Exam- Art journal- do I have my sketching pencils at home?
"Hey Aisha, is that Zoe on the Giant Drop?"
I snap up, scanning the faces- well- feet of the people submerged in the sky... they're so small. The people. So far away, so far off the ground. So close to inevitable doom caused by gravity, inevitable doom caused by physics. the earth's core, the force will send them- send me- to an abyss of concrete and lost bets.
My face pales and Matt and Andre cackle, high fiving each other. My eyes meet my feet and my ears meet a loud clapping sound.
"EAT GARBAGE YOU COMPETITIVE FREAKS- CAN'T YOU SEE HOW PALE SHE IS?!"
Milly? She loops her arm around my elbow and I notice the stencil of a hand surrounding Matt's face.
Now it's Sasha's turn to laugh.
"Lighten up, Mill," Andre defends with a grin, "It's just a little discolouration."
"Let's see how you look on the River Rapids, Andre." Milly snides.
Andre's smile falls.
"No," He chuckles, then he realises she isn't kidding.
"NOOO no no. We're not going on that."
Sasha, Milly and I nod in agreement. Hook, line, and-
"Aisha listen. Someone DIED on that ride."
"That was four years ago, Andre..."
Andre gulps, "W-whatever."
Maths, Science- "Four years it was..." A voice, clinging to Sasha's arm.
The man, the old-young one from before. His eyes bore into hers, a grin thickened with poison.
Sasha shrieks, trying to twist his arm away, but he justs stares into her eyes, inhaling deeply-
"Cigarettes aren't allowed on this property, little lady."
"Did you- SMELL the cigar-" The man smiles more, tightening his grip, "-OKAY YOU CREEP," Sasha claws her hand away, pulling a cigarette box from her bra and pegging it at the worker's face. She ushers us away but he follows us down the line and his long, grey, fingers envelope around my arm. Screw bets, if I don't make a scene I'm a goner. I look up and prepare to scream for attention when my eyes meet his.
He's... younger than he looked before. His skin smooth, teeth white. If he wasn't holding me like property, I might even consider him attractive. He's- He's- the teenage tragedy. Noah Litman: killed at adventure park.'
"Listen, you have to get out of here," He whispers, his voice fresh and youthful.
"Are you Noa-"
"Yes. Doesn't matter. I can't leave. You can. Take your friends and ru-"
Milly swings a bag around his head and pulls me away, "DON'T YOU TOUCH HER, WEIRDO."
The man collides with the cement, after groaning and wiping fresh blood from his eye, he turns to meet my eyes again, looking older once more, like the wrinkles formed at will.
"Sorry about that, Miss," He speaks huskily, "Enjoy your stay at our park."
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