Somehow, I remembered so vividly. This theme park was identical to the one that flashed through my brain when the woman had blown smoke onto my face - just much more vibrant and livelier.
"Yo, Ethan!" someone hollered with a thrilled tone from afar. I immediately turned around in search of the deep voice that called for me, only to catch sight of a group of five teenagers a few meters away, giggling and snickering while they pointed at a light brown plushie one of the boys had won from the claw machine across them. They stood out like a sore thumb in the midst of the crowd.
"Johnny," someone called from beside me but I continued to stare at the group, one of them looking weirdly familiar. Where have I seen him before?
"Johnny?" I hesitated but slowly turned and shifted my left foot to make my way to them.
"Johnny!" a hand roughly grasped my shoulders, causing me to jump out of my skin. "Y-yes?" I turned around to meet the face of a boy who looked to be very confused and irritated. "I've been calling you for the last minute! What's got your attention?" the boy slung his arm around my shoulders and squinted his eyes at the group of boys I was gazing at.
"Hm, Rikki just won that odd-looking toy he'd been ogling at for the past thirty minutes. Good for him, God knows how much he'd spent on that stupid claw machine." the boy clicked his tongue and sighed in playful disappointment before he released his arm from my shoulders and returned to the food stall in front of us, running his fingers through his jet-black hair as he leans in to inspect the small menu on the counter.
"Rikki?" I glanced back at the pink-haired tall boy who thrust the soft toy up in the air with a victorious grin on his face, his four other friends laughing at him wholeheartedly.
"Yeah, Rikki. Don't you remember? He was literally clinging onto the machine and would not leave it so the two of us had to buy food while the others looked after Rikki since he's barely sixteen. We can't have him walking around the park alone. Especially when we came 'parentless'," the boy snickered.
"So, what flavor would you like, Johnny?" he looked at me with an anticipating look. "Ah," I sighed in awareness. I was no longer Ethan in this world, but someone named Johnny.
I wondered if I was a friend of Ethan, my mission would be so much easier if that was the case.
"Everything looks good to me." I shrugged and scanned the area, my gaze lingered on the carousel. the boy groaned at my reply. "Come on, where did you get that habit from?
Ah, so I am friends with Ethan. I became giddier and happier at that.
"I've learned a lot of things from Ethan if you didn't know!" I pondered for a moment before snapping my fingers and turning to the boy with a smug grin on my face. "Did you know that the majority of your brain is just fats?" he peered at me in disgust.
"Guys!" the boy and I bent forward with an oof at the sudden weight on our shoulders. Someone literally catapulted themselves onto our backs. I quickly recognized him as one of the five boys from the group. "Hey!" the boy beside me winced in pain as he rubbed his back with his unoccupied hand. "I'm holding our dinner!"
"Oops. What did you buy us?" the other boy grinned from ear to ear as he looked back and forth between the brunette and I. I stayed silent, still slightly overwhelmed with my current situation.
When do I die again?
"Some Takoyaki to keep ourselves full for now. There are not many open food stalls in the carnival right now since we came late, so we'll have to dine in some other place later if you lads want to." the brunette clicked his tongue.
"Nick, hold this for me, please." The brunette held the box to the other boy named Nick. "Yeah sure," he muttered and took it in his hand, immediately popping a Takoyaki into his mouth. The boy I had yet to know the name of, paid for our food and beckoned us to the group.
"Let's head back."
"We bought Takoyaki!" the brunette in between Nick and I announced as we came closer to the boys. All of them turned around in delight, one of them making eye contact with me. It was Ethan - me. I instinctively knew.
Wow, I looked stunning. I really walked around with the looks of an angel in my past life? Phew.
Ethan smiled sweetly and I instinctively returned it.
"Wow Jay," one of the boys scoffed. I turned to look at him. "Surely, we'll be filled to the brim with just…that," he sarcastically applauded the brunette I finally know the name of - Jay.
"Be quiet. I wished Ethan sent you to buy us food instead," Jay pointed at Ethan, who watched amusingly. "-you'd come back empty-handed and whiny." Jay snapped, putting away his grey wallet into the back pocket of his black leather pants.
The boy with a brazen attitude blew raspberries at Jay, who ignored him and started distributing the Takoyaki evenly amongst the boys, shoving the cheeky boy's share into his mouth. Said boy almost choked on it.
"What about me?" Nick whines jokingly when Jay visibly skipped him. "I saw you eat yours back at the stall you can't fool me - here's yours," Jay turned and gave me an octopus ball poked with a toothpick, and I immediately thanked him before digging in. I moaned in delight at the burst of flavor on my tongue as I bit down on it. The group snickered at my reaction and I laughed in embarrassment.
"Sorry, it just felt like I haven't tasted good food in so long," it was kind of true.
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. Feels like my hard-earned 20 bucks didn't go to waste." Jay chuckled lightly.
"So, are we not going to eat anything else?" the boy with faded blond hair swung his arms around Jay, who nonchalantly nibbled on his food. The boy looked awfully alike with Nick. Were they twins? "I don't think any restaurants are open right now. It's five minutes to midnight. Unless you guys want convenience store food," Ethan glanced at his wristwatch.
"We can order pizza from the twenty-four hours pizza chain and hang out in the park for a little longer," Nick suggested, receiving nods from mostly everyone. "Don't Johnny, Rikki, and Dylan have curfews?" Jay reminded us, an earful of groans and whines followed.
I have a curfew?
"That sucks," I muttered and shoved my hands into the pockets of my windbreaker, the wind was getting stronger by the minute. "It is what it is. Come on, I'll send the three of you lots home." Ethan wrapped an arm around my shoulders and nudged his chin to the exit of the theme park. He was so tall compared to Johnny, I had to crane my neck to meet his eyes.
"What?! No fair! What are the four of you going to do without us?" the pink-haired boy named Rikki whined loudly at the thought of being left out, clutching his new soft toy tightly in his arms.
"We might go to the arcade, don't know yet," the blonde teased, earning a hard nudge in the shoulder by Nick. "Don't play with him, Silas. You know how cranky he can get when he wants something." Nick yelled below a whisper as Silas pouted and rubbed his shoulder in pain. Now that the pair were standing next to each other, I was sure they were twins, despite the difference in hair color.
"He's just kidding Rikki. We're all going home." overhearing the twins' conversation, I tried to persuade Rikki, who instantly grinned at my reassurance and hopped to the car, arms linked with Ethan's while the rest of us trailed behind.
"He always had a soft spot for you, you know that?" Dylan, the boy with sass, languidly licked the mini lollipop in his hand as he side-eyed me. Where did he get the lollipop from?
"Hm, I wonder why." I nonchalantly replied, Dylan and I walked side-by-side to Ethan's car without another word exchanged.
A couple of hours passed; Ethan drove all of us home, neighborhood by neighborhood, me being the last to be sent home. Our houses were so far away from each other's that it made me wonder if Ethan will ever ask us for gas money. I'd only assumed he – or I was rich.
Meeting my 'new' parents and older sister was smoother than I thought. Before I knew it, I was already dressed in the fanciest pajamas I've seen and tucked into my plush comforter, momentarily forgetting about my mission as I drifted to sleep.
"Hm? Where am I…" I murmured as I looked around anxiously, brows knitted together. I stood in the middle of an unfamiliar room. The walls were painted a pastel purple and everything was soft-edged; it was oddly calming.
"Your first day went well, I supposed." I flinched and turned my head to the familiar silvery voice belonging to a woman.
"It's you," I breathed out in relief. The woman hummed as she strolled around the room, gently grazing her slender fingers over the small decorations littering the room. She was no longer in a red dress but a modish black jumpsuit.
"Have you met yourself?" she finally asked.
"Yeah, I'm glad I looked hot." I hummed in delight. The woman stifled a laugh and I was slightly offended.
"What?" I scoffed.
"Apologies – it's no laughing matter. However, I wouldn't call someone with your appearance hot, heck, you've barely even seen your own face," she bellowed, her crimson lips turning into a heart shape. My eyebrows knitted together in confusion. "What do you mean-"
"Anyway, I'm here to inform you of something I didn't have the chance to before," the woman clears her throat. "Yeah, you literally blew me off into this world with a mere good luck," I retorted. She gave me a dirty glare before she continued, "The day of your death," my eyes glowed in anticipation. Oh, the irony.
"You'll be murdered on the last day of the carnival," "When will that be?" I asked.
"That is all the information I can give to you for now. The day the carnival ends and which time of the day it will be is for you to find out. It is very important, Ethan. remember that," the woman stated, the mood in the room becoming serious in an instant. I dropped to the corner of a bed in the middle of the room and nodded tiredly, my eyelids getting heavier every second. "I understand." "You only get one chance to fix this and move on,
don't mess it up."
My eyes snapped open at the shrill call of the alarm on my nightstand, accompanied by my older sister's yells for me to get down for breakfast.
What a peaceful sleep that was.
Sighing tiredly, I sat up from the comforting pillows and reluctantly freshened up for my first day of school, as Johnny.
Hello! I update every day ^^ please rate my story and comment if you have any questions about my novel. Cheers!!
Your gift is the motivation for me to make better chapters <3