A blistering hot breath of air wound itself through my long, pitch-black hair. Summer had come on the North Carolina coasts, and this year would be the hottest yet. It wasn't even the start of June, and the temperatures had risen to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a huge storm bound to be coming off the east coast soon, because it'd only drizzled twice since May.
I inhaled deeply and let out a long, pleased sigh. I've come to love days like these. It's not raining. Not snowing. Not too much wind. It's uncomfortably hot, yet the perfect weather for my only passion: skateboarding.
My parents always tell people I've been boarding since I could stand, and I believe they're right. There's not a single place I go without my favorite skateboard. School, the mall, the grocery store, the movies. Heck, I don't recall I time I've ever left my room without it!
It's strange, none of my relatives can stand on a board without falling off a second later. I suppose it's just in my blood. I made a few friends that skate though, and I'm thankful for that. Using that stupid makeshift ramp my dad had built in our backyard had been lonesome. I still use it sometimes when my lazy friends stay at home and play video games all day. That's rare though, they enjoy boarding almost as much as I do. Almost.
My icy blue eyes snapped open at my best friend's voice, "You goin' or not, Blake?"
"Yeah, yeah, shut up Jonathan!" I yelled over my shoulder. I knew where he stood with my other two friends, even without looking. They were on the sidewalk, just next to the old abandoned road I rested on.
Placed over a steep hill just perfect for skateboarding, the ancient, cracked road hadn't been used in years. It's the only place we went skating since the closest park was at least a 30-mile walk for the four of us. Our parents worked late and were never willing to take us there. Besides, that place is full of idiots who can't even tell the difference between the nose and tail of a board.
"Get the hell outta the road if you're not going to skate!" Jonathan was always so impatient.
I flicked my middle finger to him, and threw my skateboard down onto the pavement, immediately jumping onto it. I left my friends' laughter far behind as I glided downhill at an incredible speed. It's heart-pounding. It always is, rushing down this hill, unable to stop without flinging yourself onto the sidewalk. The adrenaline rush is indescribable. All I can say is that I love the feeling.
As I approached the end of the road, something shifted beneath my feet. Without warning, my skateboard shook, and I was thrown forwards into the sizzling summer heat. I had no time to react before I slammed into the asphalt. I knew from earlier experiences that falling off your board onto pavement guaranteed at least a few scraped joints. I didn't know what happened when you fell off going at least 20 miles an hour down the steepest hill in all of North Carolina. I sure as hell found out though.
My head smacked into the road first. I never wore safety gear, and a helmet was no exception. I heard a loud crack and a jolting pain radiated through my entire body. My head swam, and a dull ringing sounded in my ears. My vision blurred several times before I could focus on a small bush a few yards away. It took a few seconds to notice the pain in my arm and leg. I couldn't move my head to look at my limbs, but I could feel the fire that burned through them. I felt something tickling areas of my body and I knew I was bleeding in several spots. My head, palms, right wrist, knees, and legs had the same itchy sensation running over them.
The ringing had stopped, and I heard my friends laughing like hyenas nearby. They didn't know the extent of excruciating agony that radiated through me. I rolled my eyes into the back of my head and tried to concentrate on anything but the pain. It was impossible. I had no ability to yell at Jonathan to call someone. An ambulance, my parents, anyone that could help relieve the misery. I felt doomed to stay lying on the pavement until my body rotted away.
After what seemed like hours, I heard the joking chuckles gradually turn into outright screams. Still dazed and confused from the fall, I couldn't make out what my friends were yelling. Maybe they had realized I'd gotten severely hurt, yet why weren't they running to help me? I pieced together a few words being screamed, but I still couldn't distinguish full sentences.
"Blake!", "Get!", "Truck!", and "Shit!" were the few words I heard repeated. Then it dawned on me. They were playing a joke. It had most likely been Jonathan's idea, he's always pulling pranks on people. I couldn't believe I lied on an abandoned road, half-dead, with my best friends over on the sidewalk making fun of me. If I could have thought properly, I would have made a mental note to give the three of them a kick to the crotch when I could stand.
I groaned and tried to move something, anything, but to no avail. My entire body was a sack of potatoes at this point; anyone could've easily thrown me over their shoulder and took me to get medical care. Yet, no one did.
The ringing rushed to my ears again, but it sounded different this time. Not ringing, but maybe...scraping? I winced and managed to lift my head for a mere second. My vision darted in and out of a haze, but I found myself focused on one thing the entire time: vivid green eyes filled with fear.
Tossed into the heat once more that evening, I glided towards the opposite sidewalk my friends were on. While I flew through the air, the piercing noise of a semi-truck's horn wafted into my hearing range. My limp body slammed into asphalt once again, and a large cloud of dust and tiny debris strangled my lungs. I coughed, inhaling more of the vile oxygen. I lie on my left side now, my head angled slightly upwards. My vision became clouded by both pain and dark, tiny particles floating around in the air. The dust cleared rather fast, leaving a scene of pure despair.
The first to catch my attention was my friends. Both had one arm outstretched, their fingers curled as if trying to grab something. Their eyes large, and their mouths open. I think they may have been twitching too, but it was still hard to see with my constant blurring vision. The next thing I noted was that Jonathan wasn't with them. His dark purple skateboard shifted as if hastily tossed and left to roll free.
My mind somehow began to work again, and the event revealed itself before me. I shifted my fuzzy gaze to the middle of the road. A long streak of crimson disrupted the dark gray pavement. Tiny bits of slimy pink littered the surroundings. I didn't want to, I really didn't want to, but my eyes forced themselves to follow the red trail to its source.
I'll never forget what I saw. My best friend's limp, mangled body virtually ripped in half from the force of impact. His entrails burst out of his torso and soaked in blood. If I hadn't been there, I doubt I'd have known who it was. I couldn't look away even though I tried. It is strange how the most gruesome things can make you stop and stare. Knowing that someone is gone from an improbable event astounds everyone. I was no exception.
I managed to squeeze my eyes shut, but I still saw Jonathan's dead body behind them. Choking on the tears that poured down my cheeks, I couldn't believe that my first and best friend was just...gone. Everything had happened so fast, it resembled a dream. A nightmare. Jonathan had always been like a brother to me. He'd always helped me out of the worst times and gave me advice on things I didn't have a clue on how to approach. If I was outside my house, he'd be with me. We were inseparable.
I felt a wave of guilt come over me. This was my fault. If I hadn't been so stupid and paid attention I'd never have fallen off my board. I wouldn't have just lied in the middle of a road until a semi-truck came barreling downhill and...
A new sensation washed over me and my stomach lurched. A slight turn of my head and I vomited blood over the burning pavement. I could hear my other friends yelling at each other to call an ambulance as I spilled the vital fluid across the ground. Eventually, I stopped throwing up and lied still.
Something frigid and wet dropped onto my face, followed by another. The rain had come. It mixed with my salty tears that I knew would never stop. He's gone. My closest friend. My irreplaceable, kind, caring, brave, hero... friend. Gone forever. The last thing I remember hearing was Jonathan's voice in my head. Something he'd said to me a long time ago, back when we were little kids.
"I love you."