A tear gently ran down Schuyella's cheek as she packed away the last of her memories. The box was overflowing with backstage passes, tour t-shirts, and seemingly insignificant keepsakes that encompassed her life.
"It all just fits in a box... All of it. My entire life..." Schuyella used the sleeve of her hoodie to wipe her nose. "Mom. Mom! I'm all packed."
"Schuyella, do you really need to take all of that with you? You know your father's house is so tiny."
“Ugh, Mom... Of course I need it all. It's MY LIFE..." No one seemed to understand Schuyella, the least of all her parents. They were good people and cared for young Schuyella the best they could, but the divorce caused damaged. She hurt in a way that was poetic- wearing thrift store jackets that set her apart from normal kids who didn't hurt, spending time alone thinking deep thoughts, and a casual roll of the eyes or a sigh to let everyone know she wasn't satisfied.
"Fine, Ella. Give your stepfather a hand and take this stuff down to the car." Schuyella gladly agreed. It was the last step before she started her new life.
The Pacific Northwest was a far departure from her rugged desert lifestyle but young Schuyella felt at home in the cool, damp mist. The dark clouds seemed to emulate they way she felt on the inside.
Schuyella’s new life began as abruptly as she’d arrived and she started school the next morning. Wearing her favorite ironic hoodie and filling her ears with white molded plastic, she drowned out the world with hipster emo tunes that gave her the piece of mind that someone, somewhere in the world was just as misunderstood as she was.
Sitting at a lunch table alone, gazing out the window into the deep pale green forest, a subtle “excuse me” penetrated her sadness wall. Startled, Ella ripped the earbuds from her head and addressed the stranger.
"What? ...I mean, can I help you?" Schuyella was caught off guard and annoyed by the interruption but some how it didn't matter once she set her sights on the strange character’s face.
"I could smell you from across the room..." The young man said, slowly looking away.
"Huh? Is that some sort of pickup line? I don't smell…" Schuyella completely confused by the young man but was instinctively transfixed.
"There, from across the room, I could smell you. I don't even know why I'm telling you this, you'd never understand." Suddenly his eyes flash green and he turned and walked away. Gone as quickly as he had appeared.
"Hey, wait!" Ella shouted. It was too late, the cafeteria door slammed shut.
Gaining the attention of surrounding tables, Ella sunk back in her chair and tried to figure out which earbud went into which ear. “Those L’s and R’s are so tiny…” she thought to herself. One more annoyance in such a troubling world.
“So, I see you’ve met Briward” a friendly but unfamiliar face said as she sat down across the table. “He’s dreamy, isn’t he? …Don’t even think about it though. He’s… different.”
“What do you mean, ‘different’?” Ella normally would have thought such a straightforward conversation with a stranger would have been awkward, but her curiosity surrounding Briward gave her an unfamiliar confidence.
“He’s apart of the Culligan family, they adopted him when he was young. They’re a like the Partridge Family, only darker…”
“Like musicians? I’m a musician, played the guitar for years but recently picked up the bass,” Schuyella said while hiding behind her bangs.
“No, Schuyella. Not just normal musicians. I warned you, stay away from Briward. Just trust me…” The young girl’s lips tightened and eyebrows dropped, she was deadly serious.
“How do you know my name?”
“Everyone knows you, Schuyella. You’re the new flavor of the week.” The young girl smiled but her jealously shined through. “I hope we have a class together, next time have lunch with us so you don’t have to sit by yourself.” The girl motioned to her table of friends while standing up.
“Sometimes I prefer to be alone, but thank you…” Schuyella let her gaze return to the forest where she lost herself once more. What did the girl mean about Briward being different? Why did she tell her to stay away from him? As the questions mounted Ella’s eyes became fixed on a large tree. The tree towered above the rest and green moss rose high into the mist. Briward suddenly emerged from behind the base and motioned for Schuyella to come out and meet him.
Schuyella rubbed her eyes. Realizing it wasn’t a dream she quickly gather her books and hit the exit. Briward was on the other side of the door waiting to greet her.
“How did you get over here so fast?” Schuyella said.
“There’s things about me, Ella, things you wouldn’t understand…” Briward said, again slowly looking away avoiding eye contact.
“Talk to me, Briward. Make me understand…” Ella pleaded.
“Schuyella, do you like music?” Briward’s eyes met Ella’s and penetrated into her subconscious.
Breathless, Ella replied “I, I love it… It’s my life.”
“Make music with me. Make my creative juices flow, Ella.” Briward never blinked and his eyes glowed a bright green. Schuyella took a long hard swallow and nodded her head. “Here, give me your hand,” Briward reached for Schuyella. She gently placed her hand in his. Chills ran down Schuyella’s spine and her knees became weak. Suddenly Briward flipped Schuyella onto his back and he began to run. Faster and faster they raced through the forest until they became a blur. Bounding over ravines and leaping from tree to tree, Briward made his way to the most secluded part of the forest.
The two made their way into a clearing where Briward had an expansive stage set up. Full lighting, blasting speakers, and every instrument imaginable. Schuyella was mesmerized.
“Ella, let’s rock.” Briward picked up a guitar and let out a wailing riff. Schuyella, proud of her new found bass skills, plugged in and rocked a spine shaking rhythm. The two rocked the forest for hours, exchanging glances and face melting solos.
Suddenly, Briward’s guitar became silent and he became very still. “Ella, stop your amazing rocking!” he shouted. In an instant a blur came rushing through the field and jumped onto the stage.
“Well, well, well. What do we have here, Briward? A mortal?” The strange creature bellowed.
“Easy, James. We’re just here to rock. Maybe melt a few faces…” Briward negotiated.
Ignoring Briward, James began to circle Schuyella. “What is that smell?” he said as he brushed back the hair from her face.
“Stay away from-“ Briward started to say before Ella interrupted with “Okay, that’s it. What the fuck is wrong with you two freaks? I took a friggin’ shower this morning. Jimmy, you smell like a donkey’s nut sack. Brian, take those ridiculous green contacts out. I’m done. No more Twinkle, no more Schuyella, no more long gazing into Brian’s eyes!”
“What are you doing, Sky?! You can’t break character. We’re in the middle of a scene!” Brian’s voice was shaking with anger.
“Sean, stop fucking narrating. ‘Brian’s voice was shaking with anger…’ what the hell is that? You think you’re fucking Steven King or something?” Schulyer lashed out. Sean began to think that the Twinkle thing may have been a bad idea himself.
“Schuyler, you do look beautiful though. You make a hot woman…” -Sean
“That’s it. We’re done here. Jimmy, you ever fuckin’ brush my hair back like that again and I’ll punch you in the nuts.” –Schuyler
“Hahaha, you’re the Hugh Grant of storytelling.” –Jimmy
“What? What the hell does that even mean?” -Schuyler
“Did you just say he was the Hugh Grant of storytelling? Hahaha” –Brian
“Hahaha, alright douche bags- let’s play a song. Jimmy, Brian, Sean… Welcome back.” -Schuyler