There's a dead girl in the trunk and all I can think about is how white the trees are. There are no street lamps on this stretch of road, but the moon makes the birch trees glow like they're lit from the ground up.
"Not much farther," Jack says. I want to tell him he's driving too fast, to slow down so I can get a better look at the trees, but I know we've got to hurry. This dead girl won't stay dead for long.
"Hey." Jack grabs my knee and squeezes it. I like the way his hand feels there, but I can't tell him so. He's five years older than me and Mama says it ain't right, me and Jack together. But I like him, and I like the way his hand feels on my knee. "You okay, Charlie?"
I tip my head down, looking at his long fingers and how they fold around my kneecap, and smile. He calls me Charlie, not Charlene. Charlene never did fit me, but only he gets that."Yeah, Jacky. I'm all right." My fingers itch to reach out and grab his, but I can't. Ain't right, Mama says. And I don't know how Jack would react.That's the worst part.
L.J. also writes short fiction once a week at Tangled Fiction, a free fiction blog shared with writers Natalie C Parker and Valerie Kemp.