August

I walked through the small forest at the foot of the hill behind our little house. There was a thin dirt path that I would follow whenever I walked here. On the other side was a small clearing, filled with pastel-colored flowers. That was where my friend was.

I pushed past overhanging tree branches and bushes until I could see the pretty flowers at the end of the trail. I walked faster and soon, sunlight washed over me and I was shin-deep in flowers. The white cross stood directly opposite me. I walked up to it and sat down, cross-legged, like a little child.

Alexandra Maria DeLaren

1992 - 2007

Beloved daughter, friend, and sister

"Death is only the next great adventure."

I closed my eyes. But no matter how tightly I closed them, the tears leaked through.

A sunny June day. No school. I rush into the backyard with my sketchpad and pencils, ready to draw. I plop down, cross-legged, flip to a blank page. No sooner has my pencil touched the paper than a voice calls out to me.

"Hey."

I look around, see a beautiful girl with crimson hair and blue eyes staring at me over the fence that divides our property. She's smiling. She has the most perfect teeth I've ever seen.

"Hello," I say. I notice that she's wearing a deep-blue sundress. It looks gorgeous on her.

"What're you doing?"

"Just drawing," I say, showing her my sketchpad.

"I can tell," she says with a cocky smile. "Do you live in this house?"

"Yeah," I say. "Me and my mom and my dad."

"Oh," she says. "I live over there." She jerks her thumb towards the new house behind her. "You don't have any brothers or sisters?"

"No," I say. "Just me."

"Lucky," she says, pouting. "I have one older brother and sister. They're twins."

"Cool," I say. There's a bit of awkward silence for a while.

"What's your name?" she asks.

"Lucy," I say. "Lucy Lane."

"I'm Alexandra," she says with a smile. "Call me Alex." Before I can say anything, she jumps the fence and lands lightly on her feet on our side. I'm amazed that she can actually do that in a dress.

"Can I see your drawings?" she asks, holding out her hand for my sketchpad. I reluctantly hand it over.

"Oh wow," she says quietly, flipping through my drawings. "These are amazing. You're really good." She hands the sketchbook back and sits cross-legged across from me. "Can you draw me?" I just stare. She smiles a huge smile, displaying those perfect teeth.

"Sure," I say.

I open my eyes. I touch Alex's white cross, and stare up at the sky.

"I miss you," I whisper. A gentle breeze blows through the clearing, rustling the trees all around me.

I miss you too, it whispers.

The End

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