The Girl With The YOLO Tattoo

HER NAME IS RILEY AGNEW, she’s fun, wild, and never held a regret longer than 24 hours. Her hair is thick, curly and black—it’s low-cut so it hides her Yolo tattoo behind her neck perfectly. Nobody knows about her tattoo. She got it, although ostentatiously, during a rainy day with her friends; Jill Addison, Amber Bostwick, and Ava Reynolds, the three of them had lied to their parents that they were going out to the library to study. “Oh my God, Riley, it hurts! it hurts so bad!” Ava cried while it was her turn to be inked.

The guy who was inking her for the first time was recommended by Riley. He and Riley acquainted when Riley had one day decided it was worth it to walk out of sex-ed to visit a tattoo parlor. She told him to ink her friends but when it came for her turn, to fake it, and to simply run the ink machine around her previous Yolo tattoo while she pretended to be in pain in front of her new friends. “Riley, are you sure about this?….does this mean that we’re officially a part of the gang?” Ava said.

Riley’s gang was called the “Yolo” gang, which meant, “You only live[d] once.” And she got that tattoo behind her neck on her 13th birthday by the request of her father, who had been raping her since she was 8-years-old. He said that he wanted her to have the tattoo behind her neck because he did not want anyone to find out—just like their little secret. And that if she even attempted to tell anyone about their little secret that she would only live once before she could find out what would happen to him and their family.

After so many failed attempts to reveal to her mother what her father was doing to her—-namely, because her father was a stay-at-home dad and her mother was always absent because she was constantly traveling due to the fact that she was the face of a major fashion line; Grace & Dex—Riley decided that it was no longer worth it to fight what her father was doing to her. The way Riley has managed to cope with her abuse was by telling no one about it and by refusing to do her work during the time she was in middle school, but when she got into high school, by partying hard, getting more tattoos, and by making other girls suffer the way she had suffered.

And this gang of hers, although they’ve never been caught, has been rumored to be responsible for the disappearances of young high school girls. At her old high school; Pelham High, it was Riley’s job to find naive, athletic girls who were semi-cool to join the gang. Each girl she found, she branded, took them out to different bars, clubs, and parties in the woods, just to make them feel like they were a part of her gang. And for each of the girls who she took interest in, they went missing, never to be seen nor heard from again.

Riley, the girl with the Yolo tattoo behind her neck, has never been outed before by the friends she had accumulated—-because she was smart, manipulative, and cunning—-but that was before she met, Ava Reynolds. Ava was pretty, smart, very observant, and on the track team. In just a little under 6 months, Riley and her had hit it off. Ava reminded Riley of how innocent she used to be. And Riley reminded Ava of someone she always wanted to look like; tall, slender, blond, and full-lipped.

Despite her cunningness and the fact that her Yolo tattoo was perfectly hidden behind her neck so that no one would ever suspect her involvement with the Yolo gang, Riley had to leave her old High School because one of the members of her gang could not stand the fact that Riley was sleeping with a boy that one of the other members’ liked—which was never a part of the initiation agreement—so this member threatened to tell the other fellow member, the principal and the entire school about Riley if she did not pack her things and moved far away from Pelham High School.

Afraid of being exposed, and because her family had a lot of money and because they were used to moving Riley from school for strange reasons, Riley agreed to that member’s wishes and moved far away from Pelham High. She and her family moved to Forest-tree County—where, in no time, Riley was settled into the local High School; Forest-tree, and back to her usual manipulative and cunningly-recruiting ways.

The night stars must be afraid of something because they aren’t a lot of them out tonight, Ava wondered to herself. Inside the car was warm and foggy from the weed smoke that Jill was now passing down to Riley, as they continued driving to some party in the woods. “Jill I don’t know how you can drive straight at night with all the weed that you’ve smoked,” Amber said while sitting in the back seat of the car next to Ava. Jill replies, “That’s because I’m the white Snoop Dogg Muthafucka!” Jill then turned the music up. “Everyone shut the fuck up! this is my shit right here, bitches!” she yelled. The song playing was “Bad and Boujee” by Migos.

” Raindrops, drop tops (drop top)
Smokin’ on cookie in the hotbox (cookie)
Fuckin’ on your bitch she a thot, thot, thot (thot)
Cookin’ up dope in the crockpot, (pot)
We came from nothin’ to somethin’ nigga (hey)
I don’t trust nobody with the trigger (nobody)
Call up the gang, they come and get you (gang)…..”

As the song was playing, Riley and Jill were shaking their heads, bouncing up and down in their seats, and shouting, “Call up the gang, and we’ll come and get you!” Amber shook her head in discontent and kept scrolling through her phone, aimlessly. Ava did not mind the music but she did agree with Amber that it was a little too loud. But, of course, she kept that thought to herself—because the last time she tried to tell Jill to do something, she grabbed her shoulders and shook her violently. She was trying to tell her what she saw behind the track-benches that day after track practice, but Amber did not believe her. In fact, she told her that she was flat out crazy, jealous of Amber and Riley and that Ava wanted nothing more but to see the gang broken up.

“Riley!” Amber yelled with her neck veins protruding from the sides of her skinny neck, “Tell her to turn it down I can’t hear myself think!” Riley then turned to Jill, handed the weed back to her and told her to turn the music down. Amber, relieved of the loud music, then happily reclined back into her seat next to Ava, while wiping out her phone again, this time, texting Chad Ackerman—-chad was to meet them at the party in the woods. “I’ll be there waiting for you baby, don’t worry,” the text from Chad read. “And I didn’t forget my fake I.D.! I’m gonna do something stupid tonight, baby!” Amber and Chad have only been together for 6 months but yet they were acting like they’ve been together forever, thought Ava, who was surreptitiously looking at Amber’s text messages.

Not too long ago, Ava had caught Chad cheating on Amber with Riley behind the track-benches after track practice on a really hot day, but she did not tell Amber about it right away because Riley told her that if she did that that would be the last time she would see her family again. Although Ava was a little surprised that Riley had made such an extreme threat like that, she still believed that if she told Amber about what happened between Riley and Chad that Riley would be understanding—-and still somehow allow her to be a part of her gang.

Tonight was going to be the night, Ava had assured herself many times, that she would tell Amber about what had happened between Riley and Chad behind the track-benches after track practice on that really hot day. And whatever happens, happens, thought Ava. Ava was more concerned about her relationship with Amber than she was with Riley—primarily because Riley just moved in 6 months ago while Amber has been her best friend since Middle School.

Meanwhile, as Ava was out with her friends pre-gaming for another wild night, Ava’s parents were in their beds sleeping. Usually, Ava’s mom is able to sleep peacefully, confident that her 16-year-old daughter was studying safely in her bedroom, but for some reason, this night was a little different. Ava’s mom wakes up from her sleep feeling worried about Ava—-“Ava,” She said to herself with her eyes wide open and as her husband slept beside her, “You’re so smart, honey, I hope you’re okay.”—–but instead of checking Ava’s room, she falls back to sleep.

Ava, while periodically shifting from whether she should tell Amber about that day and risk the wrath of Riley or not tell her at all and forever feel guilty whenever she sees Chad and Amber together, is presently thinking about that day with her three friends when they were getting their Yolo tattoos; one holding her shoulders down from behind, while the other two were busy flirting with the tattoo artist’s troubled-looking friends, in some dusty, glow light-infested basement. “Oh my god! this hurts so bad!” she remembered Riley saying when it was her turn to be inked. “Hey you guys don’t have to be here….ah!…and listen to me suffer… guys can wait outside…ah!!” But Ava did not leave—instead, she continued sitting on some dirty, ripped brown leathered couch and thumping through old, dusty tattoo magazines, while Jill and Amber continued flirting their asses off with the troubled-looking friends of the tattoo artist.

“Ava, can you hear me?” Riley called out to her, but she did not hear her because she was busy counting the rain droplets on her side of the window, while on their way to that party in the woods for hipsters—- which was a solid 1 hour, 18 gas stations, 6 bridges, 3 abandoned warehouses, 1 lost cat, and 5 police stations away from her house. At this point, jill returned the car volume to maximum and Riley turned back over in her seat, this time, staring at the prodigious trees outside her window as they came and went. The music was loud again, Amber was tired of fighting with Jill so she did not say anything about the music—she just kept texting Chad, while Riley was now staring outside of her window, and Jill was smoking another joint that Riley had rolled up for her a while back.

” Raindrops, drop tops (drop top)
Smokin’ on cookie in the hotbox (cookie)
Fuckin’ on your bitch she a thot, thot, thot (thot)
Cookin’ up dope in the crockpot, (pot)
We came from nothin’ to somethin’ nigga (hey)
I don’t trust nobody with the trigger (nobody)
Call up the gang, they come and get you (gang)…..”

Ava loved to count things. She used to do it out loud on their other trips to strange, new bars far away but since Riley said that it creeped her out, she stopped. Now she only does it in her head. “Ava I know you’re counting again,” Riley said out loud, as Ava stared vacantly out the rain-infested windows. “I can tell because you were nodding your head at every gas stations, bridges, warehouses, lost cats, and police stations.”

“Ava stop staring at Amber like that!” yelled Riley, with her body turned around in the passenger seat. And this time Ava heard her. Riley’s beautiful blond hair swayed to and fro, her sea blue eyes, her lashes, long and dark, her full lips sexy and inviting, briefly hypnotized Ava. “I wasn’t staring at her,” Ava tried to defend herself. Amber then looked over at Ava and said, “Oh my god, Ava, were you staring at my text messages with Chad, too?…..because that’s so not cool!”

Riley smacks her lips and then rolls her eyes and said, “Ava I saw you, stop lying! And what were you even thinking about?” Jill then looked in the review mirror and caught a glimpse of Ava’s large brown eyes—and in her head, told her not to say anything about that day after track practice. Ava opened her mouth and was about to say, “You wanna know what I was thinking, actually….what about you and Ch—” when all the sudden, Jill cut her off and turned the music volume down to zero. “A….va,” Jill said rather nervously with her voice cracking, “What are you talking about?” Amber looked at Jill and Jill gave her a disowning look and then she looked at Riley and Ava and she could feel the tension between the two them. Ava was not nervous at all, instead, she was staring at Riley with bitterness and disgust, while Riley was returning the exact same expressions to her but with more anger in her face.

“Guys what’s going on?” Amber asked, truly unaware of why all the sudden there was so much tension in the air. But nobody answered her. Jill just kept driving while staring hatefully at Ava through the rearview mirror, meanwhile, Riley and Ava were squinting their eyes and grinding their teeth together. Just a moment ago everything was chill; the stars coming and going, trees dancing and whistling with the winds, and rain droplets retiring themselves and catching a free ride to the party on Jill’s car, but now everything was different.

Ava’s conscious just provoked her to do the right thing for the sake of her friendship with Amber, Riley’s confidence in Ava not to expose her secret is on the brink of tearing her apart, and Jill’s feelings of betrayal just surfaced after being oppressed by the good weed that she was puffing on. “Oh my god!” Amber yelled with those veins of hers protruding from the sides of her skinny neck, “Can someone tell me what the fuck is going on?!” Ava opened her mouth to speak but before the words could come out, Amber’s phone started to ring—it was Chad Ackerman. Ring-ring-ring!

Presently, Chad Ackerman is sitting alone in his vintage 1970’s Ford Mustang while at the party in the woods. His thick, luscious brown hair briefly bounces up and down before staying perfectly still. Chad, with his strong Jaw, retro, leather jacket, and tight blue jeans looks at his phone, waiting for Amber to answer. The phone continues to ring but she does not answer. Chad wonders, why, for a quick second, but then concludes that Amber was probably busy with something—and that if he waited a little while longer she would answer. The phone ringed again, and yet, no answer. No worries, though, Chad decided to distract himself by thinking about his fancy vintage mustang. Its color is a gorgeous dark ivy green metallic—also know as Jade Black. The powerful engine and the transmission, which is 351c and 4 bbl—together roar like angry lions in the Savannah when Chad takes it out for a spin. He usually never drives it, unless when he’s trying to release steam from all the pressure that his dad puts on him—pressure, like him getting good grades, playing three sports, and going to an Ivy league college, but, tonight was a special night; he was planning on impressing Amber with his mustang, and hopefully, that she would like it so much that he might even get a little lucky too.

Amber pulled out her phone for all of them to see and Ava said, “You should probably answer, Amber, he’s gonna wanna hear this too!” With only less than a mile away from the spot where Chad and countless other hipsters like him were waiting at, Jill pulled the car over to the side of the road. “You fucking bitch! I swear if you tell her I’m gonna seriously hurt you!” Jill said out loud. “Tell me what, Jill?!” Amber asked. The phone kept ringing. Rin-ring-ring! “Amber pick up the fucking phone!” Ava shouted at her. “Not until you tell me what’s going on,” Amber replied. “Amber if you do not pick up that phone and tell Chad where we are right now, we will not get out of here alive. So for the last fucking time, pick up that fucking phone!” Ring-ring-ring! “Hello?” Amber said as she finally answered Chad.

“Riley its in the glove compartment,” Jill said to Riley. “Amber get out and run! Now!” Ava yelled. But Amber did not move, the situation just froze her. “I’m gonna fucking kill you! you just couldn’t keep your pretty little mouth shut, could you?!” Riley started to say, while Jill handed her the revolver from out of the glove compartment. “So what I had sex with Chad behind the track-benches after track practice, Amber didn’t have to know…but you want to be a fucking hero! Well, I have bad news for you, you little bitch, there is no happy ending in this story. We were just gonna get rid of you tonight, but seeing that you’ve brought Amber into this, now we’re gonna just have to get rid of the both of you! And no one is ever gonna find out. I’ve been doing this for a very long time and no one has ever found out!….”

The rear right side of the car opened up, it was Jill now telling Amber and Ava to step out of the car. “Get the fuck you….you two lesbians!” Then when Amber and Ava were out of the car, Jill slammed it shut. Bang! the sound of the door slamming shut reverberated throughout the woods. “Jill grab the rope from the trunk and tie them up—-they can die together for all I care,” said Riley.

Amber, with a scared look on her face, somehow managed to slip her phone into her jacket without Jill nor Riley noticing. “Move!” Riley instructed Amber and Ava while pointing the revolver at them. The way she held it; frim and confidently, showed Amber and Ava that that was not her first time handling a revolver. “Keep moving—there! into the woods, next to that big tree with that dying branch hanging off of it. Jill, with a demonic look on her face, then hurried to the truck and pulled out the rope and the shovel that her and Riley had stuffed into the back of the trunk before they picked up Amber and Ava for the party. “Jill where the hell are you?!” Riley yelled, while Ava and Amber were slowly walking towards that tree with the dying branch—just like Riley instructed them to do. “I’m coming, slut, relax!” Jill replied.

“You have no fucking idea how many times I’ve done this….now you guys are gonna get it and no one will ever find out, ” Riley started to say. “And just like I always do; I’ll come back to school tell everybody that you two were lesbians and that you went on a trip together and that you never told us where the two of yous were going. And for a week everyone at school is going to be sad but then, slowly but surely, they’ll get over it, and forget that you two ever existed. And as for the police, I’ll just tell them the same time, but this time, that you two got matching tattoos and decided that it would be fun to run off together—to live happily ever after like the two lesbians you are!” As Riley continued spilling her guts, Amber and Ava whispered something to each other. “Is Chad still on the phone?” asked Ava. “Yes, he is,” Amber replied while tapping her right-side pockets and with tears pouring down her face. She just couldn’t believe what was happening to her and her best friend. “Good,” Ava said, “Let’s just keep her talking, okay?” Amber nodded her head, agreeing with Ava—because, after all, Ava was always the smart one.

“Jill where the fuck are you?!” Riley called out. “I’m right here, you fucking bitch! Calm the fuck down!” Jill replied, angrily, with the rope and shovel in her hands. “Okay, stop!….that’s far enough you two sluts!” Riley shouted. “Now turn around.” Amber and Ava then turned around. “Jill give the shovel to Ava….and you, Amber, keep crying all you want, no one knows that you’re here.”

After a while of digging, Ava looked up and saw plenty of stars—twinkling and flying pass, above their heads. Then she saw the head lights from the car shining through the woods, illuminating all four of them. And the wind, too, she felt them, gentle and quietly making all the trees dance around them. “Okay, that’s enough staring! get out of the fucking hole,” Riley yelled at Ava, who was no slowly crawling out of the hole—and dirtying her hands, knees, and gray converses’ in the process. “Jill get outta here, I don’t want you to see this,” Riley turned and said to Jill, who was numb at this point. It’s as if for a split second, her conscious was telling her that it was wrong to—“No! I can’t shoot them!” Jill replied, unaware of what was just asked because she was so out of it. What?” Riley said with a confused look on her face. “I just said that you should leave, that’s all. What the hell is the matter with you?”

“Oh shit, I’m sorry, I thought you said I should shoot them,” Jill replied while staring vacantly at Amber and Ava. “I’ve never killed anyone before….I wouldn’t know where to begin….I mean, how would that even work out—” Shut your fucking mouth! you talk too much, you know that?” Riley yelled. “Okay, fine, ” Jill said. Riley then cocked the revolver and pointed it at Ava. But instead of shooting Ava first, she then slowly turned the revolver towards Amber. Ava and Amber, as they both were standing in the hole with their hands tide behind their backs, somehow managed to lock their pinkies together. “Look what you’re making me do, Ava,” she said. “If only you had kept your mouth shut maybe I would have spared her life.”

The last thing that Chad Ackerman heard on the other end of the phone was two loud bangs! before he quickly hung up the phone and frantically dialed 9-1-1.


Main photo from Unsplash and taken by photographer, Allef Vinicius


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