Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bitter Premonition-The Conclusion

     For all who have been following this story, thanks for reading! I have decided to include the story in the Cooking Athanasia book as the prologue (thanks for the idea R.N.). Last, a note for those who know some of my symbolism secrets: The name rule is not applied to any of Jenna's friends, they are all random picks. Please enjoy!


Jenna stood in the driveway for a long time just crying and staring at the tire marks the Jeep left in the road. She hoped the gut feeling that had enveloped her stomach all morning had been wrong. She didn't want the last memory of her friends to be that of an argument where she tried, unsuccessfully, to discourage them from going on a trip that was months in the making. Second guessing took over her mind. I should have done more, laid it all on the line. Or I should have stood behind the Jeep and physically stopped them from going. Not knowing what else to do, she finally went back into the house to figure out how to occupy her week.

Since the time off for the trip had already been granted from The Perk, where she was a barista, Jenna's manager had already filled the schedule and couldn't give her any hours. That left only two options; stay home and sulk or go and help out at Aunt Donna's bookstore. The latter seemed the better choice. Interacting with other people would occupy her mind infinitely better than watching endless hours of mindless television and allowing her thoughts to run free, inventing multitudes of scenarios of what could go wrong for her three friends during the trip. Although the four days at the bookstore passed quickly, the camping girls were never far from Jenna's mind, but with each passing day allowed her to relax a bit more. Maybe the dream wasn't about the camping trip at all, the thought of which gave Jenna chills because that meant The Dream foreshadowed a different event.

On Thursday, Jenna left the bookstore in the early afternoon because it was a nice day and she felt like cooking. She still had all the groceries meant for the trip and hated to see them go to waste, so she headed home with a sweet and spicy edamame-beef stir-fry recipe in mind. While she was cutting the yellow bell peppers into strips for the mixture, her hands began tingling wildly. Within seconds, the phone rang. Jenna immediately knew what the call was about.

"Hello?" she said reluctantly into the receiver.

Mrs. Dalton's weary voice was on the other end, "Jenna?"


"This is Jessica's mom," she paused to sob. "There's been an accident..."

"Mrs. Dalton, no..." Jenna didn't want to hear the rest, but she already knew.

"It was a drunk driver. He hit the girls head-on while they were on their way home," she struggled against the urge to cry. "None of them..." Jessica's mom fell into sobs and couldn't finish the sentence.

"Oh my God! I'm so sorry," Jenna fought to maintain control herself.

"I just thought you should know..." She didn't wait for an answer before hanging up the phone.

Jenna held the receiver for a long time until the shrill REET, REET, REET reminded her the handset was out of its cradle. She looked at the tear-blurred phone in her hand as if it was the first time she had ever seen one. The shock numbed all of her senses and it sounded as if the noise came from another room or even across the street. It didn't matter at the moment because her friends were gone, not just gone, but also stolen from her. She hung up the phone and the mental inquisition started. Why the hell didn’t they listen? What good is The stupid Dream if it can’t be used to help people, especially loved ones? Why them and not me? How will I go on without them?

The next few days passed slowly but in a blur. The weather turned to the typical Northwest grey of spring, which seemed appropriate for the girls’ funerals and perfectly matched Jenna's state of mind. One thing Jenna wondered, once she was thinking clearly again, was why Jessica’s mother called her when she found out about the accident; how she knew Jenna was not with the rest of her friends on the camping trip. At the funeral, she asked Mrs. Dalton how she knew to call. Mrs. Dalton told Jenna that Jessica called when they arrived at the campsite to let her know they had made it safely. She told her mother that Jenna had changed her mind and decided not to go. Jenna did not press the matter further, but hoped that Jessica had not relayed how she tried to convince the others to cancel the trip. Jenna didn't want Jessica's mother to have to live with that burden.

The rest of the school year was spent in a grey haze, similar to the drizzly Seattle springtime, and Jenna simply went through the motions, surviving day-to-day. She did what was necessary at school to make it to graduation. She also worked as many hours at The Perk as her manager would allow, just to keep her occupied. She helped out at the bookstore on her days off. All because she didn’t want idle time to think about how unfair it was for some drunken idiot to rob three girls of their existence, especially when they were only beginning to blossom. The thought of the injustice made Jenna’s blood boil. Worse yet, he was virtually unscathed from the accident. “Just a few scratches,” they said. “He was very lucky,” they said. Jenna didn’t call it luck though, instead she thought of it as a travesty of the natural order. She did her best to keep it pushed to the back of her mind so she could merely function.

Time passed and graduation day came. Emma, Nicole, and, Jessica were the only students from the graduating class who died. their smiling pictures were shown and favorite music played in tribute at the ceremony, which served only to tear the scab from Jenna’s heart that had only recently begun to form, and she was painfully reminded how empty she felt without them. Around graduation time, Christopher Stark was standing trial for driving under the influence and three counts of vehicular homicide. Although Jenna knew she couldn’t handle being present in the actual courtroom, she did pay close attention to news coverage of the trial. The image of the three girls' parents’ reaction in the courtroom would be forever burned into Jenna’s mind, when the judge announced the sentence of five years probation for the crimes. As it turned out, one of Stark's relatives was a detective or something and pulled some strings to get his sentence lightened. This is not right! she thought. How can he walk free when my friends never had the chance to plead their case; to tell a jury why they should be allowed to live? Jenna was repulsed and thought it unacceptable. A sickening knot of rage grew in her stomach. She silently vowed that someday; somehow, the deaths of Emma Waters, Nicole Starr, and Jessica Dalton would be avenged.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bitter Premonition-Part Three

     Jenna made a decision about the trip in this installment of Bitter Premonition, a decision with dire consequences. Remember, this is a bonus chapter from my forthcoming book, Cooking Athanasia. To those who are following the story, thanks for the read. A special thanks for those of you who are helping me, in my quest of shameless self-promotion, for sharing within your circles.


The closer the girls got to Jenna's house, the more intense the tingling in her hands grew. By the time the Jeep reached the driveway, Jenna felt as if her hands were physically buzzing. It was at that moment that she decided to go with the gut feeling that had been building in stomach all morning; she had to convince the others to cancel the trip.
Jessica turned off the ignition. "Where's your stuff?"
Jenna stammered, "Um...uhh...we have to...umm...a change of plans." Regardless of their friendship, she hadn't the foggiest idea how she should phrase her plea so she didn't come off like a crackpot.
"What?" Nicole asked.
"We can't go." Jenna thought it best to just get it out there.
Nicole repeated her question, "What?"
"Yeah, what are you talking about?" Jessica added.
"Something bad is going to happen. I can feel it. We should do something else," Jenna pleaded.
Emma put down her book and joined the conversation. "Something bad? What makes you say that?"
"What do you think is going to happen? And how is it that you think you know this?" Nicole said.
Jenna had never revealed The Dream and its significance to her friends. She also thought this was a terrible time to tell them. It was hard for her to think though because her hands felt like they were plugged into an electrical socket. She had to do something and do it now. "I had a dream, a err...a special dream. I have this same dream any time something big is about to happen in my life. It has never been wrong."
"A dream? A freakin’ dream? Like a Final Destination dream? You know that is only a movie right?" Jessica was skeptical. "It was only a dream girly, go get your stuff."
"What's really going on Jenna?" Emma asked. "You wanted this break as much as the rest of us and now you're changing your mind?"
“I really don’t think we should go,” Jenna was committed now. “Look, you can be mad at me or hate me or think I’m a creep,” she was sure her shuddering hands were audible by now, “but I know something terrible will happen if we go on the trip.”  Tears rolled down her cheeks, “Please don’t go. I’m not going.” The instant she announced her decision, the hand tremors ceased. She stood in the driveway looking at her friends, who were all looking back at her incredulously.
Jessica broke the silence. "This is crap. Don't go then Jenna. We will tell you all about it when we get back and nothing happens to us," she punctuated the statement with waving her hands over her head, and then turned to the other two, "Let's get out of here."
Emma, forever the glue of the group, said, "Hold on Jessica. Maybe we should talk about this and figure out what's going on."
Jessica replied, "Stay and talk if you want. I'm going camping." She got in the Jeep.
Nicole looked worried, as if she half-believed the premonition. Jenna caught her eyes and mouthed, "Don't go," to which Nicole replied with a shrug, as if she had no choice.
Emma was sympathetic, but yielded to the group’s unofficial leader, "Sorry Jenna," she said and ran for the Jeep.
Jessica started the Jeep and backed out of the driveway. She stopped in the road and turned to Jenna, "Last chance."
Jenna only shook her head no and emitted a feeble, "Please..."
Jessica responded by dumping the clutch and speeding off. They left Jenna sobbing in the driveway, wishing she had been able to stop them, and dreading the next few days when whatever was going to happen happened.