Authors: B.T Hoax
BOOK I OF THE BENDER SERIES
BY B.T. HOAX
Copyright © 2016 by B.T. Hoax
All rights reserved.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why was it so freaking freezing?
Kenna Rosen was beginning to wonder why she had ever decided to move to Minnesota in the first place. And in the dead of December of all times!
The brown-eyed blond looked out the window with increasing disappointment as she witnessed the frost climbing ever closer to the glass center. Despite the displeasure of the increasing cold, a defeated feeling of enchantment came over her briefly as she examined the intricate details of the impending ice.
It was beautiful really.
The crystals were somehow so alive as they became almost like the claws of a mighty snow leopard, sharp and scheming, creeping towards the kill, ready to conquer their victim. Or perhaps they were like ice feathers of some awesome arctic bird that had met a cruel fate upon the clear glass. Then again maybe the crystals were like the taunting smile of a cool and clever fox who had found some entertainment in watching others waste away in the cold of the winter.
Or perhaps it was just frost. Beautiful, but bitter and barbarous frost.
Before the girl could further her contemplations of the icy window, a pounding came at the front door. Though unsure if she appreciated the interruption, Kenna stood briskly and made her way across the boxes that filled the porch to answer the knocking.
“Hi! My name’s Britney!” the guest greeted with an out-of-breath and exuberant smile. The brown-haired beauty then extended her hand towards the girl in an outgoing, friendly fashion.
Without giving the gesture much thought, Kenna smiled weakly and reached for her hand. They shook momentarily as the brunette stepped inside. The blond couldn’t help but notice the seemly forced enthusiasm behind her guest’s sturdy shake. Yes, to her, Britney seemed like one of those fake, in-crowd type girls, the kind Kenna generally avoided.
But the cynic knew she was being unfair to pass judgment so quickly. After all, all she knew was that Britney was pretty and petite with big ole puppy dog brown eyes and an overdone handshake. And she did seem nice, nice enough to introduce herself to the new girl in town at least.
“Kenna,” the blond responded upon their break in hands.
“Awesome, and you’re a junior this year, right?” the guest inquired, the smile never leaving her face.
Kenna nodded, though altogether a little flabbergasted and slightly uncomfortable with the fact that Britney already knew her grade. She and her father had just moved in yesterday, but it seemed news traveled fast in these small towns.
She wasn’t used to that idea. Where Kenna was from, there were hundreds of students per class, not thirty. And one didn’t know the names of most of the kids in the school, let alone their actual grade.
“Me too!” Britney beamed. Kenna thought the brunette’s puppy dog eyes might just pop out of her head with excitement. Fake excitement, she supposed. “I can show you around town if you want?” she offered, beckoning toward the door.
“Not much to show,” Kenna mumbled under her breath.
But before she could politely turn down the offer, her dad weaseled his way into the conversation. “I think that would be a great idea,” he interjected from the not-so-distant kitchen.
The blond looked back at him with a quite unpleased expression. In her mind, the conversation with Britney had been a private one, but her father had been eavesdropping from the other room all along.
Turning back to the brunette while swiftly changing her countenance from sullen to smiley, Kenna answered with a short, “Sure.”
“Sweet deal,” Britney replied while navigating her tiny self into the doorway. The tour guide then held the door as Kenna slipped on her first and only pair of snow boots and a heavy winter jacket.
“Gloves and a hat?” her father warned as Kenna took a few steps toward the exit.
“Oh, it’s twenty degrees out!” Britney interrupted seeing the annoyed look on the new girl’s face. “No need for that!”
Obviously not wanting to argue with his daughter’s new classmate, the man nodded in agreement and added an “Oh! Okay, you two have fun then!”
Kenna appreciated the girl’s sentiment as she let her shoulders fall into their usual relaxed hunch and strolled out the door. “Do you wanna walk or drive?” Britney then asked letting the door slam behind her while she practically skipped down the front stairs.
Kenna shrugged her hunched shoulders, honestly not knowing which option was best. On one hand, driving would be nice because it would require less time- and the faster this awkward tour was over, the better. But on the other hand, a walking tour would provide for a more intimate excursion and would allow her to really get to know Britney and the town on a more personal, eye-to-eye- or eye-to-falling-apart-building level.
Then again, the newbie was in no hurry to make friends or examine decrepit buildings.
And it was freaking
But before she could correct the slip, Britney chimed in with, “Then walking it is!”
Kenna’s teeth clenched and jaw tightened at the mistake.
Oh well, though
, she figured.
I had no plans for the afternoon anyway.
As she began her walk towards the pavement, Kenna couldn’t help but wonder how people survived in such conditions. Her face had become almost instantly stiff with cold, and she could feel her fingers beginning to go numb as she swiftly slipped them into her pockets.
The crunch of the snow under her boots was more an annoyance than it was a happy tune. To her, it was more like the sound of crumbling bones of long decaying corpses under her feet than it was the sound of life-giving, half-frozen water.
The pair walked for a few blocks as Britney rehearsed the names associated with each house they passed. Most of these houses were probably a century old as they often displayed flimsy shingles and shabby siding. Several doors even hung half-open with the only thing keeping them slightly attached to their opening being a few mangled metal hinges. Though her immediate feeling towards the town was that of disgust, Kenna couldn’t help but be to also be filled with a sense of hominess. It was clear that there was no one here to impress.
“I live four blocks to the left here,” Britney indicated, pointing her finger off to the west. “My house is the big blue one,” she continued. “You wouldn’t miss it.”
Kenna nodded as it was the only response she could find at the moment.
“So you’re from Florida then?” the girl asked, clearly doing her best to make light-hearted conversation.
Kenna only nodded again. She was a little baffled by the question, still unsure of how her classmate already knew so much about her.
As if she’d read Kenna’s mind or managed to observe her surprised expression, Britney noted, “You do have Florida license plates. You are from Florida then?”
Feeling a bit silly, the blond looked up at her and answered with a lively, “Yes. Just outside Jacksonville, actually.” At that point, Kenna realized that Britney wasn’t as much of an open book as she’d initially presumed. In fact, she’d already proved herself to be quite considerate and even rather observant.
“Cool. I suppose this is a bit of a downsize then?” Britney asked seeing that her acquaintance was perhaps beginning to lighten up.
“Definitely,” the new girl answered.
They both began to walk slower now as if to indicate that a genuine conversation was coming. “What’s living in a big city like? I couldn’t imagine.”
“Different,” she replied after a brief thought. “I don’t know. The yards are smaller. The streets are busier. I mean, I think I’ve seen one car drive past us since the start of this little endeavor!”
Britney laughed. “Yea. Not much for traffic here! But we do have two bars!” she announced proudly.
Kenna laughed as well. “Impressive.”
Kenna was beginning to feel her face become more animated as they continued in conversation towards the town’s main street. In a matter of minutes, she felt her cheeks fully soften as her face began to find warmth in the bright winter sun. What had begun as a dreaded tour was beginning to be a somewhat enjoyable expedition.
The blond even found herself growing a little fond the winter’s appearance around her, just as she had previously with the frost upon the window. For at the moment, the snow seemed somewhat magical as it sparkled upon the pine trees. It was almost as if someone had painted the branches with a glistening white glitter. Even the snow on the ground twinkled about them. And so perhaps the sound of crunching corpses was actually that of microscopic stars being trampled underneath their boots.
“And this would be what we call the main street,” Britney declared as the came to a four-way intersection.
If Kenna had been unimpressed before, she was twice as unimpressed now. As the blond looked to her right, she saw what appeared to be the town’s main street. On one side of the road sat a few century old buildings, one of them being a sad excuse for a post office, and another being a small, brick bank.
And on the other side of the street, Kenna counted two bars, just as Britney had previously noted. Beside these buildings were a few other abandoned shops whose owners obviously couldn’t make a living in a place like this. But what could they have expected in a town with only eight hundred residents?
As they began a steady march up the street, that feeling of disgust found its way back to the new girl.
“So if all you have is two bars, what exactly do people here do all day?” Kenna asked wondering how this slow life could compare to that of her former city’s.
The tour guide sighed at the question. “Oh you know,” she said. “Random stuff. Go fishing. Rollerblade. Hike.” She could see that Kenna was not overjoyed with her reply. “I don’t know. We just hang out. Sometimes we go to the town up the highway and go bowling or shopping or that stuff.”
“I see,” Kenna replied. “I guess I’m used to going to restaurants or the beach or to parties,” she went on to explain seeing a likewise disappointed look on her new friend’s face.
Britney nodded, “I suppose. We do have parties, I guess.” The brunette’s eyes suddenly lit up with excitement. “Oh, you should come to Jason’s bonfire this Friday!” she beamed, stopping her walk to signal her excitement with her hands. “Well, I don’t know how much of a bonfire it will be, but half the class will be there!”
The blond wasn’t convinced that such an outing would be a good idea. “I don’t know…”
“You are coming! I will pick you up at six on Friday!” she announced without hesitation. “It will be a blast.”
Kenna shrugged her shoulders. Unfortunately, she could not come up with an excuse off the top of her head. “I suppose,” she said though she was already dreading the idea.
The tour guide then began in another brisk walk. “Well this ends Main Street anyway,” she announced as they came to the corner. “Wanna hit the park quick before heading back?”
“The park?” Kenna quickly inquired.
“Yeah,” Britney said. “Or a playground, I should say,” she corrected. “There are a few hiking trails off it too that lead to streams or the river.” For a moment, Kenna thought the brunette might have been referring to an abandoned amusement park of sorts, and not just a lowly playground. “There’s a make-shift ice rink there too,” Britney added seeing that her new friend was once again dissatisfied. “We’ll just check it out for a minute. Have you ever been skating?”
“Actually, no,” Kenna replied, a little curious at the idea.
“Well, let me tell you, I’m not one to teach you,” Britney went on to say. “I fall on my ass every time.”
The pair continued with small talk as they neared the small park. When they came towards the playground, Kenna immediately heard what sounded like quite an event.
“Do a lot of people hang out at the park?” she asked, a little cautious of meeting even more people so soon.
Britney laughed a little. “No,” she answered. “Not really. That’s probably just the Colewells!”
Kenna raised an eyebrow to demonstrate her confusion at the statement.
“Oh, they are just four brothers,” the tour guide explained. “Bryce is the youngest. He is in our class.”
“I see,” Kenna said. “Well, it sounds like they make quite the ruckus.”
“Yea, they are always playing hockey down at the rink. They get a little into it I guess,” she agreed as they reached the park.
A few yards ahead of them lay a small- and but for two children- and otherwise deserted playground. And just beyond the set of six swings and the dilapidated wooden jungle gym sat a decent sized ice rink where four young men were skating. Well, not really skating, Kenna supposed, more so diving and brawling and slashing after a crushed pop can that they considered a puck.
“Let’s go watch,” Britney suggested, observing Kenna’s fascination with the game. “I’ll introduce you to Bryce!”
“No that’s okay,” Kenna disagreed as she tried to escape to the swing set.
“Oh it’ll only be for a few minutes,” Britney encouraged as she marched towards the hick hockey rink.
The blond sighed, starting to get a little annoyed with her new friend’s persistence. “Fine,” she said upon the exhale as she took a walk next to the stubborn brunette.