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Zip Code 01890: ‘The Fells’

Zip Code Stories

The Middlesex Fells. (Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Paul-W)

The Middlesex Fells. (Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Paul-W)

Radio Boston and The Drum, Boston’s Audio Literary Magazine, have teamed up to ask you to write a story that captures an essence of your neighborhood in a project called ZIP-Code Stories. We are happy to announce that this round’s ZIP-Code Stories winner is Kim Savage of Winchester, Massachusetts with her story “The Fells.”

For the next round of ZIP-Code Stories, we ask you to write a story that begins with the following:

 “She saw something at the water’s edge and —“

The story can take place in any Massachusetts ZIP-code and may be fiction or non-fiction. Stories must be 5o0 words or less, and the deadline for this next round is July 31 at 10pm EST. For full rules, see our submission FAQ.

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“The Fells” by Kim Savage

Statistically speaking, girls like me don’t come back when guys like Donald Jessup take us.

According to my research, in 88.5 percent of all abductions, the person is killed within the first 24 hours. In 76 percent of those cases, it’s within the first three hours.

So when they found me alive after three days, everyone in town called it a miracle.

They liked it even better when they found out Donald Jessup didn’t want me at first. He wanted Liv. But I took her place. Not only did they have a miracle, they had a martyr. A Teenage Mutant Ninja Saint.

Liv says all I do is talk about it. Which is ironic, because I’m the one who has trouble remembering.

I don’t blame Liv for being annoyed. At least I got nice articles written about me in The Winchester Star (Local Girl Saves Pal from Kidnapper! Heroine Found Alive in Middlesex Fells Reservation!).

I think Liv reminded Donald Jessup of a deer, all knees and angles and big brown eyes. In his messed-up brain he thought he was Zagreus, the great hunter. Zagreus was his avatar in “Prey,” which he played 24/7 in the basement of his mother’s house. My theory is, he couldn’t get enough of virtual “Prey,” and decided to bring the action to life.

It rained nonstop that March, and the Aberjona River overflowed, and the high school gym flooded. The track warped in places where the water underneath forced it up, so the track team had to run in a pack all over town. If you were really hardcore, like Liv and me, you ran in the Fells.

Our game went like this. Liv passed me, I fought to catch up, and I got faster. She made me faster. Except that afternoon I wished she would slow down. Because the cold was inside my thighs, making them thick, and my sneakers couldn’t get traction on the rain-bloated leaves.

A membrane of ice stretched across a pocket of still water. Liv leapt over, kept going. I halted at the edge, yanking my hat over my ears and knocking my earbuds and MP3 player down with them into the puddle.

“Wait!” I called.

I thrust my hand into the water. My fingers grazed rubber and I followed the cord to its source, extracting the slim metal rectangle from the muck and wiping it on my pants. The last leg of Rock Circuit Trail was ahead, layered with skeletal shrubs and stones. I hadn’t wanted to take this trail, but Liv had begged. Now there were just 10 more feet, one sharp turn, and everything opened to a fire road where the running was clean and easy.

Leap over. Keep going.

“All set!” I cried as I rounded the curve. A shard of sunlight cut through the trees and blinded me. I blinked through the pain until I saw the man with Liv.

That’s where the remembering stops.


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