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Dry Mouths


His lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear any words. I saw the ambulance lights, but I couldn’t hear the sirens. The only thing I could hear was laughing and screaming. I lost myself in the moment that she hit the water.

17 hours earlier

I fell out of bed at dawn. My stepmom partially punched the door and the walls are thin. I tried to push off the floor, but I was too tired. The door opened and in stumbled my younger sister, Lily. She collapsed on the floor on top of me.

“Why?”, I groaned.

“She pulled me out of bed”, Lily whined. “What are you guys doing on the floor? You need to unpack and get ready for school”, my stepmom Gloria said so energetic. “Which doesn’t start for three hours!”, I groaned. At some point I got off the floor. Gloria was jogging up and down, unpacking around us.

I stumbled into the shower. The cold water (a gift from Gloria) did the trick. I stayed in shower very long. It didn’t matter the water was slowly numbing my toes, I just didn’t want accept my new reality. It’s selfish. I know. I don’t blame my dad for remarrying. I just would have like a heads up before a move to middle of nowhere when I just figure out the whole high school thing. Lily took it even harder. It would be easier if my dad were here, hence the move.

I eventually got out of the shower. I changed and looked for my backpack. I dangled my head under the bed, torn through my closet, and even checked Lily’s room. I went downstairs and saw the Las Vegas style buffet. “Wow”, I said.

“Morning Jared. I wanted to go all out for you and Lily’s first day”, said Gloria. I walked up to the table and grabbed a piece of bacon. Like a potato chip. I grabbed a plate and sat down. I filled it with eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast.

“Hey, Gloria, have you seen my backpack?”, I asked with my mouth full. She pulled my backpack from behind the kitchen counter.

“You guys haven’t unpacked so I just packed your bags so you wouldn’t forget”. I coughed nearly choking on my food.

“Um, Gloria you know I’m 17, I can unpack myself”, I said. She sort of froze.

“I wanted to help out”. She left to the living room. I could tell she was upset. Lily came down.

“Have you seen my bag?” I grabbed my plate.

“We should leave soon”, I said chewing on toast.


Gloria dropped me off first. Wayneland High School. I’ve haven’t done much research, I probably should have.

“I’ll pick you up at 3”, said Gloria.

“Ok, see ya. Hey, don’t be butt”, I teased Lily. I slid out of the car and followed the herd of people going inside the school.

This is kinda new to me. I’ve never been the new kid. I’m sure about the procedure. I lived in city where you could meet someone on the bus, tell them your life story, and never see them again. Here seems like everyone knows everyone.

It wasn’t hard to find the office. I talked to the secretary. Apparently, the school assigned me a welcome mentor. I surfed my phone and of course, my thumb traced immediately to my instagram. Pictures of my friends.

“Anything viral?”, said a girl. I looked up from my phone. A girl, dark hair, with deep eyes stood before me. “You must Jared. I’m Nina and welcome to Wayneland High”, she announced. We shook hands. She wore an extremely bright, almost glowing bracelet.  “Follow me”. We left the office and into the hallways. The school was small. It kinda looked like the type of school in tv shows or movies. Constructed and framed. As we walked down the halls, Nina graced with some history. I zoned out when she talked about the sewing club. The hallway was lined with weird expression. Everyone was staring at me. Not “fresh-meat” stare, more like “confused”.

“Jared, are you listening?”, Nina said.

“Yes”, I lied. She stared at me. “Not really. No offense, but I don’t really need to know the fact Wayneland had a remodel in library”.

“Non taken. Not many people transfer here”.

“Well, with eyes like those, I can’t imagine why”. She chuckled.

“Forward aren’t you”. I followed Nina to my locker. “So, is there any useful info I can give you?”, Nina asked. I opened my new locker.

“If I say your number, that make me sound too desperate?”, I asked. She smiled.

“Yes, it does make you sound desperate. Your first class is at the end of the hall, last door on your right”. Nina walked away.

I stuffed my locker quickly and rushed down the hall to my first class. I walked inside and it wasn’t hard to tell I’m the focus of today’s gossip. Everyone was just waiting around till the bell. I grabbed a desk near the back. I pulled out my notebook and pencil. I grabbed my phone and pulled up messages. I was about to text my dad when some came up to me.

“Hey man, what’s up?”, said a guy. We shook hands.

“Nothing much. I’m Jared”, I said. He pulled up a chair.

“I’m Rider. Where are you from?” “Boston”, I said.  

“Why come here?”, he asked.

“Didn’t have a choice in the matter. So anything fun to do around here?”, I asked.

“Actually, my girl and I are having party tonight. You should totally come, it’s at the house at the end of Tottwell road”, he said.

“Cool. Can I bring someone?”, I asked.

“Sure. You’ve been mingling”.

“Not really just the girl who gave me a tour is really hot. Nine something”, I said. A girl came over and sat on Rider’s lap.

“Hey, what about Nina?”, she said.

“Jared, this is my girlfriend Dora. I invited to the new guy to the party tonight and he wants to be bring Nina”, Rider explained.

“Well, I doubt that dry mouth will show her face. She knows where she belongs”, said Dora.

“What’s a dry mouth?”, I asked, confused.

“It’s a person who’s allergic to water. They burn in contact with water”, Dora snapped.

“How is that possible? Humans are 60% water”.

“Beats me, sadly Wayneland is the only school for cities that dry mouths tolerate facilities. So we get to deal with the freaks. Like you said they are essentially not human”. I wouldn’t say I was mad or sad. More like confused.

“Dude, if I were you, just stay away from her and them. They aren’t worth it”.


I went through the day and I noticed it. The bracelet Nina wore, I saw tracing the halls. At lunch, a guy “accidently” spilled his drink on someone else. That person was rushed to hospital. The other guy walked away. Dora didn’t kid about it. I saw the burns and it looked deadly. At the end of the day, I was at my locker. I saw Nina coming down the hall and she walked towards me.

“So, how was your first day?”, she asked.

“Good”, I lied.

“Is that all I get? Come on, I thought you had game”, she joked.

“I got invited to a party”, I said trying to act normal.

“Cool. Have fun”. It was weird. She’s the exact person I hit on 7 hours ago. Why should I treat her different?

“You should come with me, you know as my mentor”, I said.

“You’re talking about Dora’s party. I can’t. She hates me”, she said. I took her hand.

“I don’t. Come on, it’ll be fun”.

“You’re not going to let this go”. I shook my head. She pulled a sticky notes from her binder and scribbled down here number.

“Text me your address, I’ll pick you up at 7”. She walked away with a smile, but I felt the scowl behind me.


Nina was perfectly punctual. I didn’t realize how cool she was until we started talking. All the way up we jumped from a love of Harrison Ford to arguing the nature of the country.

We made it up the hill it good time. We felt the music pulsing a few blocks back. We followed the trail of glitter and red solo cup to the backyard. The lights reflected off the water slide.

“What the hell?”, said Nina. Her face turned pale with fear.

“Nina, I didn’t know”, I pleaded.

“Why should I believe that? You just like them”. Nina stormed off.

“I was trying not to treat you differently”, I  said.

“I am different! No matter they do or say to me, I will be always be different and I won’t apologize for that”. Nina continued on. Rider came out of nowhere and stopped her.

“Well, well, well. Look what crusty bitch washed up, tonight”, said Rider. Dora came from behind Nina. A bunch of people, soaked, surrounded her. “You should have stayed where you belong. Since you’re here, join the party”, Dora taunted

Two guys grabbed Nina and she screamed. I run up and punched off one guy. Another one tackled me to the ground. I was held down as two guys carried Nina to the pool. I screamed for help, but it didn’t matter. They threw her in, and the rest was a blur.

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