Note: I will be posting a chapter from The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle each day until the book has been fully posted. I am doing this as a way to entertain those who have been coping with the new life of social distancing, social isolation, and quarantine in the world right now in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once complete, I will hold the book on in full on my site until 1/1/2021. On that day, it’ll no longer be accessible for free.
I ask people to share links freely while the book is available, but please do not copy or do anything else without expressed permission from me, the copyright holder.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook. Enjoy and I hope that you and your family are doing well!
The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle
by Jeremy C Kester
(c) Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved
Agnes pushed through a crowd of girls cackling over a story one of them was sharing about a boy she believed was her boyfriend. Emily and David followed quickly behind her trying not to draw any more attention.
“There’s the arson,” one of the girls huffed sarcastically about Agnes as the three passed. Agnes didn’t hear it. David turned with an angry look on his face. The girl did nothing but smirk at the reaction before turning back to her friends in a feigned sense of accomplishment.
Instead of confronting them, David chose to slink away and catch up to Agnes and Emily. He turned back a couple of times to look, and he thought that he noticed the girl staring at them. A feeling of disappointment flushed over him. Agnes would have stood up to them had she heard it. She would have fought even harder had the girls been talking about either David or Emily.
But David was not a fighter, though he truly wished that he was.
“So we’ll meet after class at your house, right?” Emily asked as the three entered the classroom placing their bags onto the desks.
“I guess so,” Agnes said as she shrugged. “I am not sure if Brandt will like that though.”
“I like Brandt,” David said cheerfully. “He seems really cool. Do you think he’d teach me anything?” Images of the incident minutes ago flashed into his mind. A stark difference though was the fantasy that David was able to confront the evil girls for what they really were: demons.
Agnes and Emily looked at David. Agnes was confused, but Emily was amused. She let out a laugh. “You?” she teased.
David shrugged. A heat flushed over his face. “Yeah, I guess that’s not a good idea.” His head lowered. With his fingers, David started playing with the straps of his bag.
Agnes smacked Emily. “Ow!” Emily yelled as she reeled back and gripped her shoulder. “That hurt!”
“Don’t be mean,” Agnes said as-a-matter-of-fact.
“You know that David’s not good with sports and anything physical,” Emily argued.
“It’s OK-“ David tried to cut in.
“Stop it, Em. Just stop it.” Agnes glared coldly at Emily. She had not seen her friend give her that look before. It was the look Agnes gave to anyone who was being a bully, to anyone who was picking on someone who didn’t deserve it. Emily blushed with embarrassment. She felt guilty.
David didn’t realize that his friends had stopped walking and were staring at each other. His mind didn’t focus much on the fact that Emily was making fun of him. He was used to it in a way. It was his friend and he knew that she never meant anything by it. By now his mind shifted quickly to the comics he had and how he felt suddenly thrust into one.
Emily rushed by him snapping him out of his sudden daydream. He looked around bewildered at her sudden brush by him. He saw Agnes, her head lowered walking back to David. “What happened? He asked.”
“Emily is being a bitch.”
David hit Agnes. Were it not that she was already upset about Emily, she would have barely noticed that anything had touched her in any way that was meant to hurt. She winced in response. “Don’t call her a bitch.”
“But she was making fun of you; she was being mean,” Agnes argued defiantly. She glared at David and was surprised for the moment that he had struck her. The wind blew her hair into her face. She brushed it away to find David standing firmly in front of her.
“She’s always mean. She always says things. I’m used to it. And I still like her because she is my friend. She’s your friend too, and you should let her be that way.”
“She was being mean to you.”
“I’m a fat kid. I’m black and I like comics. I’m used to it.” David turned away intending to walk away. He didn’t think that Agnes would feel as though he were trying to walk away without her, but that is how she took it.
Agnes remained quiet as she watched her friend begin to take steps away. “I’m sorry. Don’t stop being my friend.”
David froze in place. “I’m going to go find Emily. I think that you should say sorry.”
Agnes jumped at her friend and grabbed his arm. When she did, his heart jumped a little. He forgot for the moment how much he loved his friend. A hot flash of blood rushed to his face as he realized that he just stood up to her, the girl that he had loved since they were kids, the girl that he just discovered was training to be a demon hunter… for real.
A smile broke across his face that he struggled to contain. Next to him, Agnes walked quietly regretting the moments before. She had believed that she was defending her friends. She felt as though she betrayed them.
Cadence entered her mind. Cadence had fought so valiantly to defend her and yet Agnes now is helpless in defending her friends from herself. Each moment was relived over and over where Agnes second guessed what she had chosen to do. It wasn’t fear, she told herself, although it was. Cadence was just barely alive because of Agnes. No matter the reasons and causes, Agnes felt the blame. Now seeing her friends reacting in such ways bothered her only reiterating those feelings of guilt.
A few minutes they found Emily sitting on a small bench that the school had assembled for students some time ago. Student council members believed that it would encourage students to meet together within the school grounds. Teachers used those benches more than the students.
Emily held a book on her lap. Her hands rested on it toying gently with the front cover in a way that would tease someone into thinking that she was going to open it and start reading.
Her hair was tied back allowing Agnes and David to quickly see that her face held a frown upon it. She didn’t look up at all to even acknowledge the arrival of her friends. “We only have a few minutes before we have to be in class,” she stated plainly.
“Hey,” Agnes said meekly. Her head was lowered in embarrassment.
Emily didn’t reply.
David sat down next to her. “Did you do your homework?”
Slowly, Emily nodded. “Yes. Thanks for helping.”
“You’re welcome,” David replied as he tried to think of either a way to get the pair of girls to talk or to just get the subject to change altogether. What entered his mind was how Agnes was just holding his arm while they walked there and he wanted to scream it to his two best friends… even though one of them was Agnes.
Agnes opened her mouth just barely trying to release some form of apology. “I’m sorry” slipped out just loud enough to let her lips hear it.
Neither of the two of them realized that she had even tried to say something. Frustrated at herself, Agnes walked away. Footsteps quickly followed her. It was David.
“I don’t know what to say,” she yelled, her arms dropped. “I didn’t mean to make her mad or to get you guys in trouble or to get Cadence hurt or…”
David reached up and covered her mouth. His hand was warm and soft and the move froze Agnes’ thoughts in place. She felt embarrassed. She did not like being vulnerable, but there she was again being so.
“Don’t say that,” David chastised before lowering his hand away. “Not your fault. So don’t say that.”
Agnes sighed. She wanted to rebuke the statement. Nothing about the situation wasn’t her fault she was sure. Arguments over blame were not worth the energy. And she wanted so desperately not to continue arguing with her friends. She needed them. She nodded as she relented to David.
“But she’s being stubborn.”
“You’re stubborn too.”
“I am not!” Agnes rebuked.
“Are too,” David said calmly. “Both of you are stubborn. That’s why you fight all the time. All. The. Time.”
“But she started it,” Agnes tried to defend.
David started to walk away. Quickly Agnes turned to chase after him realizing that what she was doing wasn’t what she had intended. Right before her eyes her friends were walking away from her. “Don’t walk away!” she yelled nervously after David.
She was angry, confused, upset. Outside of being her typical emotions, the events of the last few days were only wearing her down. Everything upset her. She didn’t understand why.
“We have to go to class. I don’t want to be late.”
“Are you mad at me? Are you still my friend?”
“Of course I am your friend.”
Agnes hugged him. “Good.”
“You still need to say sorry to Emily. Now can I go to class now?”
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook.