Just J

Read Online Just J by Colin Frizzell - Free Book Online

Book: Just J by Colin Frizzell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Colin Frizzell
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She walks around, avoiding imaginary furniture and admiring the finished wood that lies under about six coats of paint. I decide to leave and she doesn’t even notice. Outside, I see Arthur looking around the overgrown yard with the same stupid expression on his face as there is on Aunt Guin’s. I head to the beach.

Chapter Thirteen
    I arrive at the water as the sun slowly slips behind the bushes that stand watch at the top of the sand dunes about a kilometer away from the house. I head toward them. The beach behind the house is flat white sand, and it doesn’t take long for my shoes to fill. I could go back and get the sandals that I’m sure Aunt Guin packed for me, but instead I just remove my shoes and socks. The sand feels hot but pleasant, massaging my feet with every step.
    The disappearing sun turns the sky blood orange and promotes the sand to gold dust. Without the sun’s heat, the sand becomes cool under my feet. I climb to the top of the dunes like a queen in her treasury room.
    Near the top I sit to rest and admire the lake, now golden as well. It’s hard to distinguish where the sand ends and the water begins. I push myself down into the dune, which is as formfitting as a giant beanbag chair.
    From my perch, the house looks lonely and embarrassed. Its windows grab the colors of the sunset and hold them to distract from the peeling paint and overgrown garden, but the brilliant colors do little to improve it. The house looks like a vagrant with a marigold in his lapel.
    Maybe it can talk. Maybe I just wasn’t listening hard enough. Or maybe I’m losing my mind. I stare at the house, and I listen harder and harder. When I have a clear picture in my head, I close my eyes to try and heighten my other senses.
    â€œTell me what you want, talk to me. Speak, speak, tell me how you feel.”
    â€œBanzai!” The word blasts out over the dunes, echoing off the water. I spring up and open my eyes, and something hits me from behind, snapping my head forward.
    â€œBanzai” turns into “aggghh” and then “ouch” as a boy goes tumbling over me and rolls down the dune. He digs his feet in and comes to a sliding stop about three-quarters of the way down. He shakes the sand out of his long, dirty-blond hair. At least I think it’s dirty-blond, but maybe it’s just blond and dirty. His face has sand stuck to it, but I can make out some freckles and sparkling green eyes.
    â€œCool,” he says before looking up the hill to see what tripped him, which is how he finds me, still rubbing my head.
    â€œOh, sorry. I didn’t know you were there.”
    â€œWell, I was,” I tell him, which is a dumb thing to say.
    â€œYeah, I can see that now,” he says, which is pretty much the only thing you can say back. “I really am sorry. Are you okay?”
    â€œAside from the whiplash, you mean?” I snap. “What were you doing?”
    â€œJust jumping off the top of the dune.”
    â€œWhy?”
    â€œTo see how far I could jump.”
    â€œSounds like loads of fun,” I say.
    â€œYou should try it! You just run as fast as you can and when you get to the edge, you jump. You’re airborne for a few seconds, and then you slide into the sand. That is, of course, as long as you don’t trip over someone. Then it gets a bit more complicated.”
    â€œSo kicking a stranger in the head isn’t usually part of it?”
    â€œNo, that’s an added bonus.”
    He smiles. Through reflex alone, I smile back.
    â€œName’s Connor,” he says, climbing the dune and sticking his hand out as if he’s been waiting a long time to meet me.
    â€œI’m J,” I say and put out my hand so as not to be rude. He shakes it firmly before plopping down at my side.
    â€œYou’re not from ’round here, are you?”
    â€œUnfortunately, no.”
    He nods and looks confused. Perhaps he’s unfamiliar with

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