Revenge comes in many forms.
I stood in the middle of Branch Bridge and peered down the abyss beneath me. I’ve never thought I’d resort to this, and now was no time to start. But what could I do? I was hopeless, and this was the only escape I could think of. There was no time for regrets or apologies. It was just me, this desolate place, and a decision I wasn’t quite ready to make.
I first came to Kréon in the summer of 1980. My family, convinced that everything was for the better, took up residence in this little, unknown country in Europe, leaving our Manor in Seruton with the company of spiders, cobwebs, mice, and roaches. I had grown up in our Manor, and though I tried living at our new house, it just wasn’t the same. I had a heavy heart set out for it right from the beginning.
Kréon wasn’t so bad, actually. It was the same as Seruton in many ways, like the language people spoke, grocery stores, fashion boutiques and cafés. But one thing drew a clear line between them – the weather. Everyday had the same coldness, sometimes even more, despite the sun-shiny people living in the place. The sky would always be gloomier on the weekends –as if the other five days weren’t enough.
It was on the day my brother and I discovered Death Valley that the Tusles moved in across the street. They looked British, and were four in the family, just like us. Blaze and I immediately noticed them as we stepped onto the porch of our house. “Hey look! Neighbors!” my brother whispered with sarcasm. I nudged him, annoyed. “You shouldn’t be so negative! They might not be as bad as the rest of the town…and this freaky house of ours. C’mon, mom’s calling.”
“Mom, d’ya see our new neighbors?” Blaze asked when we reached the kitchen. Mom was cooking spaghetti bolognaise, a personal favorite of mine. I sat down at the table and slurped away. “Well, did you?”
“Yes Blaze. I welcomed them a few minutes ago. They seem pretty nice.”
“You talked to them already?” I asked in surprise. My mom wasn’t usually first in line in welcoming new people. But she was definitely first in cooking. The spaghetti tasted great. “Well, I didn’t approach them – they approached me. I was in the front garden mowing when Mrs. Tusle came by and introduced herself.” I looked at Blaze, who was busy wolfing down his second serving. I was hoping he’d be as surprised as I was. “They weren’t even a bit shy? At all?”
“No! It was kind of strange for them to be so confident, especially since they just moved here. I wouldn’t have had the courage.”
“Do they have any kids?”
“She mentioned three. One your age.”
“A girl too?”
Mom resumed her cooking, so I went out the back to get some of my alone time. Taking my diary, I sat down under the shade of a tree and thought about the Tusles. “I wonder what I can do to get to know them. I can’t just walk up and say, ‘Hi, I realized you just moved in. I’m Andreana.’! It would be too awkward!” I became silent for a while, poking at the dirt and tugging at the grass. Then something hit me on the head. I tried to stand but my head was aching too much. I stumbled. “Are you alright?”
“No.” I took the hand he was offering me and pulled myself up from the ground. “Sorry. It was a wandering ball.” I wanted to get mad and tell him off, but one look at his gorgeous face and the words slid back down my throat. His eyes were refreshingly green, and his hair was a golden brown in the sun. And his lips – his lips – looked so… inviting. Stop it, Andreana! For crying out loud! “N-no problem,” I squeaked. “A pretty flighty ball you have there.” He grinned, exposing a dimple on his right cheek. Oh Lord! I’m in the presence of my dream guy! “Yeah. Say, I don’t think I’ve seen you before. New in town?”
“Not really. We’ve been here for six months now.”
“Wow. I guess I have to come by more often.”
Oh, yes please!
“Well, I have to go. Nice meeting you though.”
He waved and crossed the street. I was in a state of euphoria when I came back into the house. “What happened to you?” Blaze asked. I continued dancing around the house for a while then ran over to pinch his nose. “Blaze, I think I’m in-love!”
The next morning, I was awakened by the delicious smell of brownies. I dressed out of my pajamas and walked downstairs to the living room.
“Oh, good morning.”
I stopped in my tracks and turned to where the voice came from. A good-looking boy with an accent was smiling up at me from the sofa. I didn’t have to ask who he was. “You’re Mrs. Tusle’s son, I guess.”
“Yeah. And you’re Andreana.”
“How’d you know my name?” I seated myself across from him in the most natural way I could manage. If I’d known they had a son like him, I would have bothered myself with curlers. “Your mom told me. We’ve been here for an hour and a half… just so you know.” I involuntarily turned away, just as mom and everyone else walked in. “Good morning love. I wanted to wake you up, but you were so asleep.” Mom put the tray of cupcakes and brownies on the center table and ushered everyone to sit down. The boy I was conversing with earlier sat beside me. “I’m Daniel by the way.”
“You just saved me a great deal of confidence,” I replied truthfully. We lapsed into silence and felt tension come between us. “So, uh,” he finally started, “I heard you like to sing. I do to.” I closed my eyes and soaked it all in. A guy who is both handsome and talented. Definitely my type. “Yes. I enjoy it a lot.”
We continued to talk for a few more minutes until Mrs. Tusle stood up to leave. As our moms said goodbye, we felt a wave of awkwardness pour over us. Although I imagined my face blushing, I spoke up first. “Well, I wish we could know more about each other Daniel. Perhaps some other time?” Saying his name aloud was embarrassing. He patted me on the back like an old friend and shrugged. “School starts next week right? We could… go to school together, I guess.”
A week passed and my dreaded day arrived. I realized why Garfield hated Mondays, especially since it was the first day of school. “Andrea! Daniel’s here!”
“Okay mom!” I ran to the bathroom to check on my hair. I looked pretty enough. When I got downstairs, he was dozing off on the sofa. Should I wake him?
Of course you should! You’re both going to be late!
But he looks so tired. Maybe I should leave him.
Daniel woke with a start. I jumped back. “Oh hey. What happened?” I couldn’t hold back the laughter in my throat and burst into a giggle. “You fell asleep, Daniel. On the first day of school.” He laughed with me and stared into my eyes. “It’ll be a great start of the school year.” We held each other’s gaze for a while until we both felt uncomfortable. “You know, we should really stop doing that.” I said. “Yeah, since we’re going to spend one whole year together.”
When we arrived at school, a lot of students were already lined-up for the orientation class, and a teacher up front was designating them to their rooms. Daniel and I squeezed through and found a spot by the basketball court. “Second batch. It usually means we get the front seats,” I whispered. Daniel groaned and scanned the area for anyone familiar. Of course, there was none.
“Oh hi! Good to see you again!” I turned to my left and saw the guy who hit me with the ball the other day. I almost went speechless again. “Hi! I didn’t know we’d be in the same school.”
“Well, Kréon isn’t a very large town. There’s only one school here.”
Daniel nudged my elbow. “Oh, This is Daniel. Daniel this is… um…” Wait, I don’t even know his name. The guy laughed, teasing. “Scott. Nice to meet you, Daniel.” Daniel caught the aloofness in Scott’s tone of speaking, and clamly replied, “Pleased to meet you.”
“Do you really mean that?” Scott challenged. Daniel sighed. “What else do you expect? And I’ve heard of you. You’ve transferred from school to school because of your temper.” He took my hand and began to lead me away when Scott took my other one. There was a storm brewing, and I silently prayed for an intervention. Luckily, the teacher came and assigned us to classrooms.
But Daniel and I weren’t going to be in the same class. I looked at him, and the emotion on his face was frightening. Could he be that jealous? Or was there something else? I thought. He approached the teacher and asked if the arrangements were permanent. “No. This is just for the orientation week. We categorize you after receiving your test results.” Daniel relaxed at the news. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least there was still hope.
Scott took my hand and led me to our room. I gasped in delight at his sudden affectionate gesture. This guy sure doesn’t have self-esteem problems. We sat beside each other and made it through that first day. I didn’t see Daniel until dismissal.
Life pretty much went into the same routine of school, home, school, and home. Daniel and I turned out to be in the same class, and to complicate things, Scott made it in as well. It was like having both hot and cold in the same room, but not really knowing where the middle was. “Will you two stop it? We’re supposed to be studying for Chemistry.” We were in class and were in the middle of a discussion. Our teacher was nuts to put all three of us in the same group. “Tell Daniel to stay on his side of the table.”
“Well, tell Scott to keep his hands on his side of the table.” I looked at Scott, who had his arm resting behind my back. “Chemistry. To think it’s a subject we should know a lot about but don’t really have a clue at all,” I sighed and focused on my study notes. They did the same.
“I was thinking,” Scott said, as we were walking back to class. “About you and me. I want to get to know you even better.” I didn’t reply and found myself thinking of Daniel. Daniel was furious I had to leave him behind for he didn’t like Scott very much, and before I left, Daniel asked me to be extra careful. My stomach felt uneasy at his warning, so I just smiled and made a mental note of it. Scott suddenly blocked my way and took my face in his hands. “I like you, Andreana. I really do, and I won’t keep it a secret anymore.” His face was handsomely serious when he looked at me, and growing uncomfortable, I looked away. But before I could step back, he leaned down for a kiss. I was caught by this sudden gesture. What have you gotten yourself into? I ignored the small voice inside my head and let Scott’s lips take me into a far away place.
After that incident between me and Scott, I decided to avoid him and instead spend more time with Daniel. But after his admission of love, I found it confusing that he stayed away from me as well, and whenever we passed by each other in the halls, he wouldn’t even talk to me, much less cast me quick glance. That went on for a few days, and I eventually shrugged the matter off.
It was Saturday, and Daniel and I were at my house, adding the final touches to our project. For the first time, there was only him and I, no Scott and no distractions. I felt insanely happy about that, despite the fact that Scott and I weren’t in good terms. Daniel added more tissues to the sculpture, and leaned back to marvel at our genius. “Who said we couldn’t do this? Never underestimate the power of two!” We shared a laugh and went into serious mode again. Lately, that was all we’d been doing. “About you and Scott,” Daniel started, “Are you two – in a relationship?”
“No. And believe me, you’d be the first to find out.” I couldn’t look him in the eyes, and though I was telling the truth I still felt guilty about our previous ‘little encounter’. Daniel resumed working on the collage and after it was done, he stood up and patted me on the back. “Well then, I trust you. Just don’t forget that I’m here for you.” With that, he left me, more confused than ever.
The next day, I made it a point to talk to Scott, to clear things up with him once and for all. I waited by his locker and finally, I saw his figure walking towards my direction. The moment he saw me, the smile disappeared from his face and I felt the color drain from mine. “Scott,” I said when he reached his locker, “We didn’t really have a chance to talk after what happened.”
“So you’re just going to leave it like that?”
He slammed his locker and pinned me to the wall with his hands. He stuck his face to mine and in full view of everyone present, said gruffly, “How would you like to end it?” A sickening grin was plastered onto his face, and my heart started to beat faster – not from delight – but from fear of him. Scott looked menacing and I pushed him away from me. By that time, a large group of students had gathered around us and others were whispering among themselves. I didn’t want to be made a spectacle of so with all the strength I had, I slapped him on the cheek. He fell to the ground and the people started laughing at him. Scott was feared at school because of his reputation as a moody person, but now, he had lost his power over them. Now, Scott was the laughing stock of everyone in the hallway.
He stood up and looked at me with both anguish and hurt. At that moment, I saw Daniel in the crowd. He ran up to me and advanced on Scott, but I held him back. “Let’s just go.” We left, Scott’s eyes following us all the way.
Weeks passed and Scott stopped going to school. Even I, who occasionally miss the Scott I had first met, felt relief in his absence, as did the whole school. Daniel had started courting me just days after the events, and this time, I didn’t refuse. I had grown to love him as more than just a friend and things were starting to get sweeter. As the days went by however, I realized that something was off. Daniel seemed different, but I credited that to the experiences we both had with Scott. Besides, Daniel is Daniel. No one else could ever replace him.
On the day of our first year anniversary as a couple, Daniel and I decided to have a picnic at Branch Bridge, the only place suitable for picnics and the only one peaceful enough for us to celebrate. It was a great day for bonding, and our families were with us, which made everything better. After lunch, we decided to take a walk and stopped to take in the sights of Branch Bridge. After a while, Daniel wrapped his arms around me and asked, “What did you feel when I kissed you for the first time?” I suddenly turned towards him in surprise. “What do you mean? We’ve never kissed.”
“Yes we have.”
His lips formed into a grin. A sickening grin that reminded me of someone I had wanted to forget. The look in his eyes showed victory; mine showed fear and confusion. “D-Daniel? What are you doing? Don’t try scaring me, I’m warning you.”
“So that’s what you think of Scott.”
He walked towards me and I stepped back.
“That’s what you think of me.”
He pulled at his face – revealing Scott’s dark appearance underneath. Finally, everything became clear. No wonder Daniel was acting strange around his parents. Now wonder he had lost interest in playing and kidding around with Blaze. No wonder I felt different about him. It was because he wasn’t Daniel at all!
“Scott?! But… how? How did you – ?”
“The day you left me in the hallways, being laughed at and ridiculed by all those people, I made a vow to myself that I would have you in any way I could. So, I followed you and that repulsive Daniel go to your house. Then, I followed him to his. And you know what struck me that night? I realized that the only way for me to have you is for me to be Daniel.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“You’re saying, you killed Daniel in cold blood?!”
“Let me put it this way. I was there to make amends when he provoked me into… doing what I did. A few blows to the head was all that took to kill him.” He laughed and my heart stopped beating. It became as cold as ice, as hard as a diamond, and in my emotions of anger hurt, and bitterness, I picked up a stone from the ground and hit Scott on the head. He groaned and fell to the ground and this amused me. I smiled while I hit him more and more and more until I was covered with his blood. I never knew it felt good to take revenge on someone loathsome. I leaned closer to his lips and waited for air to come from his mouth but there was none. With all my strength, I dragged him to the edge of the bridge – and let him fall down the abyss, where my Daniel might have been thrown into. At least I got my revenge. Unexpected, but still, I did Daniel justice.
But there was nothing left for me to do but kill him. Now I must suffer the consequences – no, not for my sins – but for my stupidity. Goodbye cruel world.
I stood in the middle of Branch Bridge and peered down the abyss beneath me. I’ve never thought I’d resort to this, and now was no time to start. But what could I do? I was hopeless, and this was the only escape I could think of. There was no time for regrets or apologies. It was just me, this desolate place, and a decision I prepared to make.