by Jeremie Guy
Zach was the foundation in our house of friendship. When he died, we fell apart.
“It’s not right, still coming here,” said Shelia, crunching her boot into the snow.
An owl hooted behind us, providing the only sound. With nothing to say, I glanced at Emmanuel. He stared at the old wheel that was rusted the color of a ripe plum, its purplish color bright against the white snow. We’d come to this spot since we were munchkins. Zach had showed us where it was. The metal cart that the wheel fell from was a few feet away, rusted the same color as the wheel, and we often fantasized about how the two items came to be separated.
“Sheila’s right,” I said.
“It’s not like he was murdered here.”
No one responded, but the silence spoke. Zach died from an accident. Slicing a thumb and catching tetanus from an old wheel isn’t common, and it sure isn’t a reason to be scared, but we all knew the truth. Zach and Emmanuel were only playing, but Emmanuel pushed mighty hard and Zach steadied himself on the wheel. He didn’t see the sharp bit and it cut him something deep.
“Might as well of.”
Sheila gave Emmanuel a cold stare. Her words were icy enough to make his lips freeze. He bit his nail and stood, walking toward the trees.
She left in the opposite direction, and I followed her, but stopped and stared at the plum-colored thing one last time.