One Reply to “3.28.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. In his head he could still hear the sound of the tyres screaming, could smell the burning of the rubber and the fumes from the strangled exhaust. His hands shook and he felt a cold wetness at his back and his shirt stuck to him as though a hand was pressing there. He swore under his breath and he rubbed at his eyes, as if it was possible to wipe out what he was seeing in his head, as if when he opened his eyes again he would see things different.

    It’s a bet or a dare. You can’t walk away from a dare and hold your head high as the rest.

    They were stupid, all of them. Always setting down dares, as easy as his father set down traps to catch night-time foxes or deer that leapt the fences of the yard where the chickens slept. And always Cutter got caught up in those dare traps. And he didn’t ever learn his lesson from all the trouble he got into, and the whippings he’d got from his father, and his mother shaking her head and looking sorry and like he’d done her a great hurt.

    Dare you to, they said. And they were talking about the Moorfoot girl and they were daring him to take her out and they were offering odds on how far he’d go with her. He had to bring back proof, of course. Her bra in his pocket, or her panties, the smell of her on his fingers, or best of all, a witness to the deed. She was called Sue and she wasn’t so bad once you got close to her. She smelled of flowers or sweets, and she dressed up nice.

    They went for a drink and he kept touching her under the table and she said she wasn’t some cheap date or a quick lay that he could be sure of. He could hear in his head how the conversation had gone. It was light then and easy. They had another drink and another. She laughed and pushed his hand away and he saw her differently then. He saw her as something more than a dare. Close up her eyes were blue and her lashes long and straight, so that she had a startled look to her always, and she had the whitest teeth, and her lips were wet and he wanted to kiss her. He’d never kissed the others. Not really.

    He stopped rubbing his eyes and the room was full of sparks then and he felt a little light-headed and he held onto the edges of the table to stop himself from falling from his chair. He said her name, and his lips made the shape of kissing and he hurt somewhere deep inside.

    It had been her idea. It was something crazy, she said, and she said how it would prove his mettle. That was like a dare piled on top of another dare. He said he wouldn’t and she touched him under the table and she said oh she thought he would.

    They stole a red Capri. It was parked on the street and in plain view. There were cameras on the street and maybe they were seen. He used a long bladed knife and it was no big deal. He fiddled with the wires inside and it started first time. Then they were driving away from town and she was telling him to put his foot down and she took off her panties and she tucked them into his pocket, and she put his hand there between her legs and she said he could go all the way if he was man enough.

    She was a surprise and that’s a fact. And he took his eyes off the road, just for a moment, just long enough he could see what his fingers were doing. The car leapt as though they had hit something and he slammed on the brakes and twisted the wheel and the tyres screamed and the smell of rubber burning filled the air and the car jerked and was suddenly still, and everything still, like it was a film that had been stopped and held. Sue was crumpled and limp in the seat beside him. She’d been thrown against the windscreen and a cracked silver halo was there where her head had hit and blood was on the glass.

    Cutter walked away, and he did not look back. He was unsteady in his walking and he was crying. He held his fingers to his nose and he smelled her there, and her panties were still in his pocket – that was all a part of the dare. And in his head, he could see Sue with her dress all indecent and her head thrown back and her eyes closed, and the lashes perfect and long, and he felt sick at the thought.

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