1986 Red Bordeaux Blend

This is inspired by the latest writing prompt over at Writers Digest.

Montgomery rolled her tongue in her mouth, feeling like a dead sponge in a dry sea bed. Her heavy head lifted from the wet grass. She dragged the back of her hand across her face. Clumps of mud fell into her lap. Her head felt swimmy, her face felt like cotton. Her dad’s empty bottle of 1986 Red Bordeaux Blend nestled in the damp grass by her bare feet. She grabbed its neck and pulled it close.

Where were her turquoise Chucks? Her hand clamped down on her pocket. Her phone was still there. She pulled it out, hit the button. She hit the button again. She wished she took the time to charge it before going to Maureen’s last night.

She groaned, clutched the hem of her bright dip-dyed jean jacket, pulled herself to her barefeet. The muscles in her calves screamed. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. Standing upright, the blanket of fog swirled and churned around her. She spun in a tight circle. Her face twisted in concentration. She squinted, could just make out a sign. A dark rectangle hanging above the mist, maybe thirty feet from where she stood.

Monty walked. Her swollen knees creaked. She walked faster. She raised to her tip-toes, waded her way closer. Maybe the sign was the one she always saw, driving in and out of their planned community. It was about the right size and shape. Maybe she hadn’t wandered too far this time. But where were the brick walls?

Where could have Maureen gone? She wouldn’t just leave her out here to sleep it off. Unless this was some kind of prank. God, this was probably a prank, Monty thought. She bet Maureen even took her shoes.

Beneath her feet, she felt slimy grass fade into cold, jagged pebbles. Something sharper bit into the meat of her foot. She sucked cool air between her teeth and jerked her foot back.

A pickup truck ripped by so close to her, she didn’t have the time to shout before falling back onto the gravel. Its headlights illuminated the sign. Her mind had only a half-second to register what it said before the mist swallowed the truck’s taillights.

In brilliant green and gold: GLENBROOK NORTH HIGH SCHOOL beneath a painted Spartan helmet.

“The school?” Monty whispered, leaning back on the ground. Now she could make out the hulk of the building behind it, the familiar outline and turrets. Except it wasn’t her school. Where was the new addition they built for the gym, two years ago? She looked around her again. She should be sitting in a parking lot. There wasn’t another Glenbrook North that she knew of. The skin on her arms prickled beneath the wet denim.

Movement between her shivering feet caught her eyes. A tattered label trembled in the dirt. Monty carefully pulled it away from the broken glass.  Mud and grit smudged the year, but she held a label from a Red Bordeaux Blend.


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