Home > The Prelude of Ella and Micha (The Secret 0.5)

The Prelude of Ella and Micha (The Secret 0.5)
Author: Jessica Sorensen



I remember when I was younger and everything seemed so simple. Not that my life was ever simple, but there was a time when I didn’t have to worry about the future or how my life would end up. Only the day ahead of me mattered. As long as I knew the sun would rise in the morning and set in the evening, everything would turn out okay. There was a sense of freedom in that, in the lack of concern in what lay ahead.

“If you beat me through the sprinkler,” my best friend Micha shouts from across the front lawn of his house, “I’ll let you have the last piece of cake.”

“But my mom said not to get wet!” I holler back, inching across the grass. “I don’t want to get grounded again!”

“Where’s your daredevil side?” Micha yells back, leaning over as if he’s on a track, getting ready to race.

Water rains across the grass between us, daring me to do it, daring me to get wet even though I know I’ll get in trouble.

“Fine!” Without warning, I sprint across the grass, water soaking my bare feet, shorts, shirt, and hair.

Micha laughs as he runs into the spray with me. “You cheated!” he calls out, chasing after me as I dance around in a circle, staying just outside the sprinklers’ reach. “That’s not fair.”

“No way!” I laugh. “It was totally fair and now you owe me a piece of cake.”

We laugh as we keep running around, chasing something that can only be seen by our childlike minds. There’s an invisible sense of freedom, with no regard to the consequences of what will happen after I have to go inside and show my mother that I disobeyed.

That freedom was something that stuck with me for at least a year or two.

But then I got older.


The complications of life that I was blinded to at such a young age became painfully visible. It didn’t happen slowly, but as quickly as the beat of a heart, like a blindfold had been ripped off my eyes. Suddenly, I could see that bad choices sometimes equaled irrevocable outcomes, and I spent a long time blaming myself for what happened.

Looking back, I realize the painful events I went through weren’t in my control. Sometimes things just happen, and we can’t change them. Nor was it always my fault. But at seventeen years old, my mind wasn’t ready to grasp the concept. If it had, maybe things would have been a bit easier. Perhaps I wouldn’t have fled and left everything—everyone—behind.

In the end, I did run, and it irrevocably altered the entire course of my future.

Chapter 1

14 years old…


I trudge home from school an hour early with a dark, bluish-purple bruise splattered across my cheek, a thin cut across my bottom lip, and a pink detention slip inside my backpack. It’s not the first time I’ve been sent home over a fight, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. I have a knack for fights. Not because I’m a bully. In fact, I’m the polar opposite and tend to get into fights with the bullies whenever they’re picking on someone. I’m not trying to be a hero or anything. I just have a vast dislike for people getting picked on. Plus, I like the rush that comes from jumping in and doing something instead of standing by and watching.

There are always consequences for my actions, although not usually from my parents. By the time I get home, my mother will probably be sedated from the intense meds she’s on for her Bipolar Disorder. And my dad will either be at work or at the bar trying to drink away the fact that my mother has a mental illness. Neither of them will care about the condition of my face or the detention slip.

No, my ass is going to get reamed by Micha Scott, aka my best friend since forever. Aka my best friend who thinks I’m his responsibility for whatever reason.

I still have a couple of hours before school releases and he shows up at my house so when I arrive home, I decide to de-stress after chores. The first thing on my to-do list, though, is a painkiller to alleviate my headache.

Going into the kitchen, I drop my backpack on the table, grab a bottle from the medicine cabinet, and pop two pills into my mouth. Then I fetch some ice from the freezer and place it on my eye, holding it there while I hurry and pick up the week’s worth of garbage littering the floor. Most of the contents that end up in the trash bag are empty bottles of vodka, tequila, and beer. I do find some stale takeout wedged between the fridge and the counter along with a few pots and pans on the table that are caked with month old grease. The fridge was open when I entered the kitchen, probably left that way by my mother. Thankfully, there’s hardly any food inside that could have spoiled.

After I shut the fridge, I sort through the past due bills I collected from the mailbox and try to figure out which ones to pay this week. Then I make out the checks, leaving the signature line blank for my dad to sign whenever he gets home. It’s exhausting thinking about money, and the process makes me kind of regret getting sent home early.

So much for de-stressing.

Once the kitchen is polished and the checks are filled out, I lose the ice pack and peek in on my mom in her bedroom. She’s sprawled out on the mattress, snoring, with her arm draped over the edge of the bed and a bottle of pills next to her. Tiptoeing to the bed, I pick up the bottle and count how many pills there are inside. Three less than from this morning, which means she’s okay and hasn’t taken too many.

Keeping track of the pills is something I’ve had to do for a couple of months now, ever since she accidentally took too many and ended up in the emergency room. After they pumped her stomach, the doctors and nurses put her on suicide watch for twenty-four hours, even though my mother insisted the overdose was accidental—that she’d forgotten she’d already taken her dose in the morning. The doctors didn’t seem to believe her, but I do because there’s no way she’d intentionally want to die. How could she? She’s my mother.

I put the medicine bottle in the bathroom cabinet then leave the bedroom and wander into my room. The purple walls are freshly painted with black skulls thanks to Micha, who decided the other day that my room was too girly for him. It’s cool, though. I dig the skulls. Plus, I’m not a girlie girl at all. My typical outfit is holey jeans and a dark T-shirt. Sometimes I wear a hoodie. I never wear makeup and almost always put my auburn hair up in a ponytail because doing anything else with it is a pain in the ass. Sneakers are my choice of footwear. Right now, the pair of shoes I’m wearing match my walls.

Collecting my sketch book and pencil from the dresser, I flop down on my bed and attempt to unwind by getting lost in my art. But, after a while, the silence of the house gets to me, so I turn on my stereo that’s about twenty years old. I cruise the radio stations and choose a classic one because my only other options are country and heavy metal. Then I situate myself on my bed again and continue working on the sketch that’s for my art class. A vase. So boring.

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