JULIA TORRES & KYLIE PRESTON-MENDOZA
Staff Writer & A&E Editor
This is going to be a short series written by Kylie and Julia. Each paper there will be a new chapter, enjoy!
Jada walked over the rundown mailbox at the edge of her driveway. Well, her friend’s driveway. She had been living in one of the empty rooms of Kayla’s house for the past few months. After the incident, she had taken her best friend’s offer and moved in.
The white metal box was leaning at an awkward angle, having been hit way too many times by Kayla’s brother, Isaac, whenever he visited. It was his way of greeting the house when he arrived but the old mailbox started to show signs of not putting up with his child-like behavior for any longer.
Jada sighed and knocked it back so it was standing a little straighter and picked through the envelopes. Jada internally groaned. It was just bills after more bills. Such a surprise. However, as she was walking back into the house, one caught her attention. The envelope was smaller than the others and much more expensive looking. Jada could see red paper shining through the thin envelope. Her first reaction was to think that the mail man had accidentally put it in their mailbox instead of someone else’s but there, smack in the middle of the bright red paper was her name in elegant writing.
Pulling her thin sweater tighter around her she half jogged back into the house, fingers itching to open the envelope. She and Kayla would worry about the bills later. Maybe.
Locking the door behind her and turning on the lights in the kitchen she sat down at the table. The house wasn’t really much to look at. It was in a poor neighborhood, nothing important happened here, which was one of the reasons why she had accepted the invitation to live here. The hauntingly quiet streets kept the panic attacks and memories at bay.
Jada threw the bills off to the side, she didn’t want to worry about that now, and held the small mysterious envelope. It was too small to be a package of anything, even a letter. Holding it up to the bleak light of the kitchen she saw the shadow of an even smaller piece of paper inside. Ripping the top of the red envelope out came a red raffle ticket and a note on what looked like very expensive parchment.
Setting the raffle ticket aside, she set her attention on the note. It was small, not the size of a normal sheet of notebook paper. It looked like an old piece of paper, burned at the edges to give it a more ancient look. There were golden swirls surrounding the paper as a fancy border. The writing on the note was also made out of gold and Jada discovered that as she shifted the piece of paper in the dull light of the kitchen that the gold writing would shimmer and shine, becoming almost transparent at a certain angle. There was a huge “CONGRATULATIONS” splattered on the very front of the note, now what seemed to be an invitation. There were smaller words under it as well.
You are invited to a weekend of paradise on Island Elysium!
There were instructions in smaller text under that indicating that a ferry would be picking her up and taking her and three other winners to the so-called paradise. Jada raised an eyebrow. She had never heard of such an island, much less remembered entering in any kind of raffle.
She set the note/invitation down and reached over the table to where the raffle ticket had fallen. It looked normal, nothing out of the ordinary. Still, her heart rate sped up when she saw her name written on it, along with her phone number. In her handwriting. It was impossible, and yet there it was, staring right back at her.
And out of all of the things that she could think of what came to her mind was that the color of the raffle ticket was the same color her car had been the night of the…accident.
Jada jumped in her seat, the old wooden chair creaking as she leaned back. Kayla was walking from the room down the hallway. She entered the kitchen and went straight to the coffee pot in the corner and began preparing herself a cup with her eyes still closed. And her hair flying everywhere. And in her clothes from last night.
“Sleep well?” Jada asked with a smirk and settled back into her chair, pushing a long dreadlock back.
Kayla mumbled a response. It seemed her outburst a few seconds before had used up all her energy for the day.
Jada smiled. Even if she and Kayla were completely different they were like sisters. They had grown up together, along with Isaac.
“What is that?” The drowsy teenager asked as she sat on the chair. “A raffle ticket? From what?”
“I don’t know,” Jada admitted. “But apparently I won a trip to Island Elysium otherwise known as paradise.”
“Hm.” Kayla squinted at the note now. “Well, seems whoever sent you this seems to be a bit, er, excited for you to win.”
Kayla gave her the note but signaled to the back of it. And surely there seemed to be a little something written. It wasn’t written with the fancy gold writing as the rest, instead it was in black ink and seemed to have been scribbled on in a rush.
Dear Miss Smith,
Opportunities like these don’t come often and it would be very unwise for you to waste this one. I would be very disappointed to not be able to give you the experience of a lifetime on my island. I hope you take the chance and accept. Live life to the fullest.
It was not signed which was odd, considering it was coming from, supposedly, the owner of the island.
Jada set the note down with wide eyes to meet Kayla’s smug look. She stood with her coffee mug and walked back to her room, humming and ruffling her wild afro. She had been bothering Jada to leave the house more often and now it seemed that the dirty work had been done for her.
And while Jada considered it plenty odd that a random raffle ticket, well apparently not so random since it had her information, had come to her home along with an invitation to a weekend of relaxation, she was interested in going to this Elysium place. As much as she hated to admit it to Kayla or anyone else, she needed a break from normal life.
The flashbacks worsened every day and just hearing the screech of tires, which was very common in the neighborhood late at night, made her shoot up in bed in a frenzy. Having just lost her brother to a drunk driver, Jada avoided anything that reminded her of the night it happened and the opportunity to do just that had appeared at her feet. Would she take it?
To be continued……
Julia is a junior at San Marcos High School…
A & E Editor
Kylie is a junior at San Marcos High School..