Chapter 33:



Everyone screamed. That’s what it sounded like. Umi was better described as laughing. The man was doing something else entirely. To Frankie, it just sounded like another wail. Turn after turn, splash after splash, it was too fast to tell either way. When at last they reached the bottom, heartbeats pounding, Frankie found herself frozen still.

Six seconds.

The ride lasted maybe six seconds.

Approximate wait time: two hours, one minute.

Frankie freaking hated theme parks.

As the ladies stepped off, wet and shivering- except for Umi, who was quite used to this- the suspicious man headed straight to pick up his possessions. But just as he could turn his head, the woman who had sat next to him the whole time finally noticed.

“Do I- know you…?” Umi asked as politely as she could. He jolted, stiffening in place before careening around like a rusty ship as he forced himself to greet her with a sad smile.

“Brice Gills.” He spoke understatedly. “The swimmer.”

“Oh, cool! I think my mom used to watch you.”

“Yeah, probably.” He turned back around to pick up his hat and glasses. Frankie watched him carefully.

“I hope you’re having fun! Ever been here before?”

“Nope.” He would’ve sounded somber were it not for how little he seemed to care. “But I’ll be staying for the day, and the whole day, so kindly don’t interrupt me. Have a good one.” He took ten steps and was out of sight, swallowed up by the crowd.

“You too…” Umi told the chlorine-filled air, before she guided her attention back to the girls. “So, how was that?”

“Gimme our money, Kate.” Frankie mouthed abruptly. “You promised.”

“Hey, you spoke up! I think you’re doing better.” Umi praised.

Katie handed her the bag. “What’s the matter, Frankie? Why the shift in attitude? Um… are you feeling better?”

“We were in line for a really long time.” She secured the collection tightly. “I finally got an idea.”

Pope Evaristus
Steward McOy