Welcome to the Bowels of Hell
Lake closed her eyes at the sound of screeching metal hitting the pavement from the car’s muffler scraping the road. Her father’s car was an old Cadillac she was sure dated back to the eighties; it honestly needed work. Total junker.
Her father somehow managed to keep it working by doing his own repairs on it, using different parts from various cars and even making some himself. Lake liked to call it the Frankenlac.
She thought he would have bought a new car sometime between 1981 and 2014, but nope. He had better ways to spend his money. Yeah, like betting on a horse or for chips to throw in the middle of a poker table.
Even though Lake’s father was a level-twelve gambler on the Richter scale, she wouldn’t trade him for the world because Lake knew the other side of the coin all too well.
She shook her head, unwilling to think about the coming weekend. Most teenagers would be happy it was Friday, but not her. No, her weekends were nothing except torturous. Literally.
Her father finally reached the destination and put the car in park. “All right, kiddo. Have a good day. I’ll see you Monday.”
Lake looked away from all the stares outside of the car to meet her father’s smile. “You, too, Dad. See you Monday.” She had managed to force a smile of her own by the end of the sentence.
Lake opened the door and stepped out of the car, grabbing her bag.
“Love ya, kiddo.”
That time, Lake didn’t have to force a smile. “Love you, Dad.”
As she closed the door, another scraping sound occurred. After watching her father start to drive away, she was finally able to turn around and face the teenagers’ looks. It honestly wasn’t as bad as it seemed; they always had much better things to talk about. Not to mention a short attention span.
See, Lake wasn’t popular nor was she unpopular; she was just … well, Lake.
After a moment of complete silence, loud laughter filled the air along with some serious black smoke from her father’s car blowing a gasket. Lake put her head down and pulled up the hood from her hoodie, trying to conceal her face.
Great. It can’t get any worse, can it? She started walking through the parking lot, weaving between the people and cars.
Beginning to hear loud music come closer, Lake turned her head to see a big, white Jeep heading her way. She had to jump back to dodge the corner of the vehicle as the brakes squealed into ‘park’.
Lake stood in shock from the close call as her heart began to pound. She knew exactly who was driving before the girl exited the Jeep along with three of her friends.
Ashley. It was hard for her to even say Ashley’s name in her head.
“Oh, my gosh. I didn’t even see you,” Ashley said sarcastically through her snickering.
Lake decided to take the golden opportunity of being able to talk back. She didn’t get many chances.
“Oh, my gosh. Really? Maybe you need to get glasses. Quick, how many fingers am I holding up?” Lake stuck up her middle finger then heard muffled laughs.
Ashley scowled and spoke as loudly as she could. “Sorry, I don’t speak trailer trash.”
That right there was how a lot of the world saw Lake—just a piece of trash. Trailer trash, to be exact.
Lake stood there and watched the girls giggle away in their high-pitched voices. It instantly brought her to the realization that it could, in fact, get worse.
Going against her better judgment, she decided to start walking again. She really hoped she wouldn’t end up regretting her little outburst to Ashley, but right then, she felt proud of herself and decided she would enjoy it. For now, anyway.
As she got closer to the front doors, Lake looked up at the yellow sign plastered to the brick exterior of the school which said, ‘Welcome,’ right above the words, ‘Eastern Hills High.’ She thought it should be something more along the lines of, ‘Welcome to the Bowels of Hell.’
She was finally a senior in that hellhole—thank God—and had just started her first week back after Christmas break.
Walking into the school, she was greeted by the warm heat. It was cold in Kansas City, Missouri, so the heat was welcome as it defrosted her nose and cheeks.
When she got to her first period Chemistry class, she went straight to her seat and as soon as her butt hit the chair, the bell rang for class to begin.
Lake stared at the empty seat next to her, shaking her head with a smile. Every single day.
Staring at the clock for the next five minutes, not hearing a word the teacher was saying, she finally heard the door open to see a dark brunette appear and try to quietly take her seat in the hopes of going unnoticed.
Sitting down beside Lake, the girl whispered, “Do you think he noticed?”