This story is heavily based on the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. If you haven't read it, at least look it up so you can get a summary of it before you read this. I'm not telling you anything about it, but as I said, this story is heavily based on it.
I stare awkwardly at the package that was dropped off at the front door to the RV. Normally, any packages would be dropped off at the door to the house. But not this time, I suppose.
It's about the size of a shoebox, wrapped with brown paper. The wrapping has a hurried send address; addressed to me, Beck Oliver, but there isn't a return address. I pick it up and head into the RV, setting it down on the couch before I sit down. I cut the wrapping open and lift the lid off the shoebox. Inside the box is a loose roll of bubblewrap. I unroll it slowly, only to find seven unpackaged audiotapes.
Each one has a black number painted in the upper right-hand corner, presumably with black nail polish. Jade's favorite color, I think. Black. Each side of the tapes have their own number. One and two on the first tape, three and four on the next, and so on. The last tape has a thirteen on one side, but nothing on the back. I reach for my old stereo that's sitting on the table next to the couch. Cautiously, I pop the first tape in.
Hello, boys and girls. Jade West here, live and in stereo. Remember me?
I'm stunned. Jade was gone. Just the name brings back pain.
No return engagements. No encore. And this time, absolutely no requests.
I'm silent, just listening to the tapes. Why did Jade make these? Why did I get these?
I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why. I'm not saying which tape brings you into the story. But fear not, if you received this lovely little box, your name will pop up... I promise.
I hit Stop, shocked and scared. A bead of sweat is on my forehead.
How could I be part of the reason why she.. I don't need to say it. But how? I did nothing wrong. Nothing wrong whatsoever.
I hit Play, because somehow, I felt like it was necessary for me to listen to all of these.
Anyways, the rules are pretty simple. There are only two. Rule number one: You listen to all of these tapes. Rule number two: You pass them on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy for you. When you're done listening to all thirteen sides - because there are thirteen sides to every story - rewind the tapes, put them back in the box, and pass them on to whoever follows your little tale. And you, lucky number thirteen, She laughs. It's a bitter laugh. I wince silently. you can take the tapes straight to hell. Who knows? Depending on your religion, maybe I'll see you there.
In case you're tempted to break the rules, understand that I did make a copy of these tapes. Those copies have been released to someone here at Hollywood Arts. They will be released in a very public manner if this package doesn't make it through all of you.
Don't take me for granted... again. You are being watched.
There's a long pause, and I wonder if I should take the tape out and put it back in. But I decide to wait, seemingly hypnotized by these tragic stories, none of which I've even heard yet.
Finally, she speaks.
I almost forgot. If you're on my list, you should've received a map.
I had received one, a couple of days before Jade's.. well, you know. I don't want to mention it.
Throughout the tapes, I'll be mentioning several spots in Los Angeles for you to visit. I can't force you to go there, but if you'd like a little more insight, just head for the stars. Or, if you'd like, just throw the maps away and I'll never know.
As Jade speaks, I'm uncomfortably aware of the map. It's in a desk drawer, and reluctantly, I get up and pull it out, then sit back down while the tape continues to play.
Or maybe I will. I'm not actually sure how this whole dead thing works. I should be, but I'm not. Who knows, maybe I'm standing behind you right now.
The first on this list is...
There's a long pause, and I sit uncomfortably, anxiously waiting to see when my name comes up, to see if I did any wrong to Jade. I couldn't have. I loved her.