I brushed my teeth, took a shower, and got ready for bed though I was in no position to sleep. Though I've been in this house for years there were still bumps in the night, and they terrified him. He slept with the light on. I walked out of my room to go get a drink and the next thing I knew the lights went out. I rushed to my room and jumped on my bed. The darkness was slowly killing me inside. The faint glow of the moonlight was the only light I had. My eyes started to tear up as I stared with all of my focus at the ceiling.
"Thump! Thump! Bang!" it whispered to me from the upstairs floor. It must have been my dad! He must be hurt! I heard the door to the basement open and the creaking of the stairs as someone crawled down them. I could hear their hands hitting the wall as they worked their way down the stairs. I felt my heart beat to the same beat of the footsteps. It was getting closer and closer. I squinted my eyes and I looked around the room for anything to protect myself with. I grabbed my baseball bat from when I liked baseball. I stood by my door as the shadow got closer and closer. Finally the shadow was standing outside my door and I ran at it and swung. I hit and hit and hit. I kept going and didn't stop. A hot liquid sprayed my face and hand, but I kept going. The shadow never got a chance. After fifteen minutes of violence, sweat, and tears I stopped and cried. The only thing I could think of was to go see if my dad was ok. Suddenly the lights came back on and my question was answered. My father was lying outside my room in a bloody, dead heap.
"D….dad?" I asked as I fell to my knees and started shaking him. I couldn't believe it. The only person left in my life was dead…and I killed him…a million thoughts rushed through my head, but only one stood out. I can't get caught with this… I get good grades; I'm going to collage… I can't get caught…jail is a bad place, I'm sure my dad wouldn't want me to get caught…I can't get caught. I had to get rid of this body and I knew it would be getting very heavy soon. I went to the garage and got the wheelbarrow and a shovel. I lifted his limp body out of his pool of blood and…brain…I didn't see…I didn't know… I wheeled what I could scoop up from his puddle and went to the back yard. I looked over my shoulder every 5 seconds as I buried parts of him. The trees that surrounded my back yard looked sinister. They're shadows danced in the sorrowful moonlight. After 3 barrows full of my dad's remains I thought I got most of him in the hole. I realized then that evidence was everywhere. I hurriedly undressed and threw all of my clothes into the dark pit. I looked around to make sure no one saw, for embarrassment of being bloody and in the nude. The moon was high above my head and my body was glistening in numerous liquids'. I took the wheelbarrow and shovel inside and jumped right back into the shower. I scrubbed myself for two hours. The blood stained my arms a little bit, but I could wear long sleeve shirts until it was gone. I jumped out of the shower and got an old dirty outfit that would have to be thrown out later and threw it on. I went up stairs and grabbed every cleaning bottle I could find. I went downstairs and got on my knees and started to scrub. It wasn't working. I needed bleach… I looked at the clock on the wall.
"Shit…" I muttered to myself. It was four in the morning. I needed to be ready for school in four hours. I left the stains for later and I surveyed the damage. The floor was still a disaster and blood and juices were still dripping down the walls. I took the clothes off and changed again, this time into some Pajamas. I laid in bed for the remaining three hours and didn't sleep one second. I got up an hour before I needed to. I needed to go to school, live my life, and hope for the best. My father is…was an off work construction worker. My mother died when I was eight and my father's raised me since. No one should notice he's missing…except… Mrs.Starford! Our neighbor… she checked on my dad every so often. I got dressed hoped over the nightmare and went upstairs. I grabbed my dad's keys and left. Usually I ride the bus but I wanted it to look like my father wasn't home. I parked a few blocks from the school and as I got out of the car I started my new life. I was a murderer on the run.
"Dude we still on for tonight?" asked mike, one of my best friends since I was in preschool. Our moms were friends…
"What?" I asked, completely confused. I had other things on my mind. What if the neighbor's dog gets in our yard again? Won the smell it? What if someone looks and sees the dirt? What if I didn't bury it enough…what if I missed something? What if…
"We're coming over today! Don't you remember Jake?"
Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap. My heart almost leapt out of my mouth. How could I have been so stupid? Of course that was today! Every Wednesday we would watch a new episode of "welcome", a reality TV show that showed people the lies they live in. We loved that show. Mike, Jace, Candice, and I. It was like a tradition. They'd come right after school and we would watch it on the TV…in my basement!
"Uhh… not today. My dad's…sick." I said thinking on my feet while having a mini heart attack. I felt like I was going to puke.
"We've done this forever man… were coming over today…"
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"I gotta get to class. Cya at 4!" mike said as he ran down the hall.
I said no… what am I supposed to do! I went to my next class with Jace and I sat next to him. We took notes.
"You're notes look bad. Like…gross…"
"I know… look, you guys can't come over today…"
"Today's episodes going to be great! I saw a commercial for it… wait…what?"
"I can't today, my dad's sick…"
"That sucks… does mike know?"
"I told him but…"
"yeah, ok ill talk to him… he's giving me and Candice a ride today so ill let them know."
"Alright thanks. I appreciate it."
After talking with Jace I went to lunch and couldn't eat a bite. The rest of the day went fast. As soon as the last bell rang I bolted out the door like I was facing the clock. I never ran so fast in my life. I jumped in the car and sped off like the cops were hot on my trail. I went to the store and picked up 4 bottles of bleach. The cashier looked at me weird but didn't ask. I raced home and got to work. The carpet was unnaturally white where the blood and gore was, but it looked better then the dark red. I went to the walls next and scrubbed for 20 minutes. My hands were red. Eventually it was faded.
You would hardly notice it. This would be good for now. I turned around to go take another shower when Mike, Jace, and Candice walked down stairs laughing.
I felt my body freeze. I didn't even turn around to look at them. I slowly put the brush I was using and turned around slowly to read their faces. They didn't know.
"Hey were ready to watch!" mike said as he jumped over the couch and sat where I remember I laid the shovel when I had to use my hands to open the basement door.
"I said no for today…" I said as I moved towards them.
"I told you mike maybe we should just go…" Jace said as
"Nah! We're here! Let's just watch it!"
It didn't matter what I said. They were staying and that was that. If it wasn't mikes idea we wouldn't do it, and if mike didn't like something he didn't listen…I made it to the first commercial break, but I couldn't watch one second of the show. I was busy watching the grave I made… birds flying over head, squirrels sniffing around it. I was a wreck. They need to leave before they know too much. Candice and mike were completely focused on each other, talking about the progression of the show. Jace though… he was looking around the room with a questioning look. I looked straight forward but focused on him out of the corner of my eye! Jace was staring intently at the bleach spot on the carpet. Then suddenly the show came back on and his attention focused back to the TV.
"I need to go to the bathroom…" I said as I got up.
"It's your house dude, we weren't going to stop you…" mike said, his eyes never leaving the television set.
I went and got sick…twice. He knows. He might know. He can't know. Jace, one of my best friends, was very intelligent… and he might put two and two together… I thought about it and got sick again. I'll wait…
The show ended and everyone started to leave.
"Hey Jace, I didn't really understand the homework… would you mind staying and helping me? I'll take you home after."
"yeah, sure. No problem." Jace said, giving me a confused look.
So I took the fairly simple homework out of my book bag. I studied Jace more then I studied the work.
"I thought this was pretty easy… is there something else up?" he asked taking his notes out.
"I thought I told you guys no…"
"I know… I told mike…but you know how he is… I'm sorry. How's your dad?"
"What?" I asked. My eyes got wide with fear, and I felt my hand turning into a fist.
"Isn't he sick? Dude relax, it was just a question…" he said pushing his chair away from me.
"Sorry…that episode got me a little jumpy…" I said, letting my grip loosen as I noticed my homework was in that hand. Now just a crumpled mess.
"I wasn't really watching… it wasn't that interesting tonight…I noticed something. What's up with the bottles of…bleach?"
I looked over by my door and laughed. To me it was a nervous laugh. "Oh…I…I made a mess… I dropped some coffee one night and I never got around to doing it… you know my dad…" I gulped and composed myself before going on. "My dad always wanted me to clean up, and I wouldn't listen. Now that he's… sick… I decided to get it done." I finished, proud I kept together and thought of an excuse that was believable.
"Ok…wait…you don't drink coffee." Jace said looking up from his paper and into my eyes.
"Usually….I don't… it was last week, I had to study for that anatomy test and I needed a boost. I, ha-ha, was kind of relieved that it spilled because then I didn't have to drink the crap! Hahaha!" I choked on the last laugh. Jace just gave me a weird look but went back to the work. In my head I screamed. Coffee!?!?! I'd never drink that shit! I was so relieved that he believed it. We worked in silence for the rest of the time. I was happy to see that he didn't know anything.
"Alright well I guess I'll talk to you tomorrow!" I said as I patted his arm. I still had my book in my left and was going to study it tonight. He gave me another weird work and started up the stairs. One step…two…I was in the clear!…three….four….he was leaving!…he stopped…four…three…what?…two….one. He appeared again.
"Hey, before I left there was something that was bugging me… what's outside?"
"all day you've been staring out the window, at the same spot. I followed your eyes and noticed. That's when I noticed the carpet and wall stains…which aren't brown or black or anything coffee like… Jake… what happened."
I looked him square in the eyes and said in a low monotone voice. "You almost got away. We could have all lived our lives with no problems. Outside? That's my father in a hole I made for him, with the clothes I killed him in. the bleach stains are what use to be his blood. He sure drank enough coffee that his blood was coffee like, but you're right it wasn't blood. You know… after high school you could of done whatever you wanted… but I need to go to college…and jail doesn't look so good on an application…"
" Jake! What're you saying!"
"I'm saying that you can't leave this house knowing this information."
"Jake…you have to be kidding me… you want me…dead? We…we can talk to someone!" Jaces eyes were wild. He was started walking backwards, back toward the stairs. "We can find you some help!"
"It's too late for that. I can't go to jail, and I can't trust you to keep this. I'm sorry." I said taking a step towards him.
Then, as if the world knew, everything stopped. Nothing else existed other than me and Jace. We stared at each other. The birds outside were silent. You could hear our pores sweating. Then suddenly, like a bullet thrusting from a gun Jace exploded up the stairs as fast as he could. I was only a few seconds after him. After 6 steps I was only a step behind him and I drove my book at his head. He stumbled and fell on the steps. He flipped over and saw me going for another jab. He raised his leg with sheer force and kicked me straight in the stomach. I feel backward into thin air and fell down the steps. My arms flailed against the walls. As I tumbled down the steps. I felt the scream come out of my mouth, though I didn't mean to. Jace reached the top of the stairs, looked down at me, and then left.
I laid there for a few seconds. I knew I had to get up and get him before he went and told anyone. He could be on the phone for all I know. I felt my body pick its self up. My left arm stung and my right hand was bleeding. My legs burnt but I could still walk, though I needed a lot of support from the railings. It took me three minutes on pure adrenaline to get up the stairs. Jace lived close and it would take him about 15 minutes to walk home, ten if he ran. It's been about five minutes since he left. I could feel the buzz of my adrenaline decreasing. My legs started to hurt more. The bleeding from my hand had also decreased. I grabbed my keys off the counter and limped out the door. I hopped in the truck and stormed out of the drive way, towards Jaces house.
I almost hit the speed limit 30 sign as I sped down the road going 60. What if he took a short cut? What if he called or texted someone? What if I stop him and theirs people around? Will I have to kill them too? There he is. I was at a stop sign and I saw him. He had his phone out and it looked like he was dialing or texting. It was just a flat road, two way street. There were no houses surrounding the street. He was walking down the street slowly. I felt my foot float from the break and to the gas. My foot almost hit the floor. It was a split second. Jace turned around, his eyes got wide and then he was gone, as if the car had eaten him up. I slammed on the breaks and put the car in park. I looked down at Jace. He had his eyes closed and his leg was bent a weird way. I leaned down and took his pulse. It was beating faintly. I picked up his phone that flew about 10 feet and placed it in my pocket. I then picked him up over my shoulder and put him in the trunk. I shut it tightly and got back in the truck. I surveyed my surroundings. No cars had come by and no people saw what I've done. I went home slowly, not to draw attention to myself. I got back home and slowly got out of the truck. My whole body was sore. I hung on to the side of the truck as I made my way to the trunk. I unlocked the latch when I heard a voice behind me.
"Jake? Sweet heart is that you?"
"Oh Mrs. Starford. How are you doing today?" I said as I relocked the trunk.
"I'm doing fine honey… listen, I came over today to return the book I borrowed from your dad and he wasn't home. So would you mind giving it to him for me? Tell him I absolutely adored It."
"anything for you Mrs.Starford." I said with a genuine smile.
"Oh Jake! I knew I could count on you!" she said as she handed me the book.
"Ok I'll see you later Mrs.Starford"
"Alright, be safe sweat heart." she said as she turned around and went into her house.
I waited five minutes. Then I unlocked the trunk and took Jaces body out. He started moaning. So I rushed him to my back yard. I laid him down next to my dad's grave. I dug a little deep into his grave and put the book in and put dirt on it until it was invisible. I looked down at Jace and he was motionless. I ran inside to grab my shovel when the phone rang. I thought about ignoring it until I remembered that Jace was using his phone earlier. I answered it and I heard the voice of Jaces mother.
"Hey Jake! I was calling to ask when Jace will be home, or if he will be home for supper." she asked, her voice seemed calm and trusting. She had no idea.
"Uhh… I don't think so. I'm sure we will order a pizza or something. He should be home later."
"alright, don't have him there too late, school tomorrow!"
"Alright! Bye!" I said as I hung up the phone. And darted back outside to only find Jace gone. I looked around. We had no fence and my whole back yard was almost like a woods. He could be anywhere. I checked around the house and by the neighbors' houses. He was nowhere to be found. I walked back to my dad's grave and noticed foot prints leading into the woods. I picked up the shovel and followed the prints, ready for a hunt.
It was getting dark. The sun was setting perfectly for Jace. You could hide behind a tree and the shadow would mask you completely. I knew that if he got away I wouldn't be able to stop him. I slowly walked through the leaves that crunched softly under my feet. I stopped and listened. I heard the soft sound of crickets chirping, the wind blowing though branches. Then to my left I heard soft crunching of leaves. I moved my way through the darkness as I felt my way through the trees. I saw something on the ground. Very shadowy and dark. It looked very human like. I moved slowly towards the dark figure. I raised the shovel over my head and took another step. I heard a dog howl from one of the neighbor's yards and I took an advantage of this and took my last step before I was close enough. I closed my eyes tightly as I pulled the shovel onto the shadow. I heard a crunch and continued to take the shovel unto the remains. I didn't stop for a minute until I felt something was wrong. I was hitting the ground; the figure was just a pile of leaves.
"What the…" I started as I felt a push on my back. It was heavy and was attacking my head. I forced it off and it hit the ground. I saw it drag itself behind a small tree. It was Jace, but he looked deformed. It appeared his body was swollen, his left leg was broken, and his face was covered in what appeared to be unrecoverable scratches to the face. The once very attractive looking Jace was now a creature of the dark. I moved my way towards him as he raised his arm. He slurred something but his mouth was filled with blood and was to swollen to understand. It sounded like "no" but I wasn't sure, but his eyes. His crystal blue eyes that gleamed in the moonlight I will always remember. They pleaded with me, begged me for mercy. I had no choice. I did 1 clean sweep to the head and he was once again unconscious. I dragged him back to where I set him before the sun set. I dug a whole next to my fathers and rolled him into the hole. I stopped and sat there for a minute. I got up and poured dirt unto the moving chest of what was once Jace. When dirt got in his nose and mouth he coughed. Eventually, the coughing got quieter and quieter until the loudest noise heard was a night owl hooting for those who could hoot no more.
Jace was a whole different story then my father. Jace had a family, friends, and would be missed. More importantly, he would be noticed if he was gone. I went inside and noticed it was ten. I called his mother. I heard her voice, she sounded a little worried. She seemed to always be over worried, but I believe today's was justified.
"Hello? Jake? Is Jace there?"
"oh, no… he left about thirty minutes ago, I offered him a ride but we got in a fight and left in a huff." did I just say huff? "Could you have him call me when he gets home?"
"oh sure… I guess I'll talk to you later Jake."
"alright bye…wait!" I hurried and said.
"Yes?" her voice sounded so hopeful. I didn't want to hear her after she hears he went missing…
"Uhh… you might want to call mike and see if maybe he went there."
"oh… ok… thanks Jake."
"no problem..." I said as my finger found the end call button. I lightly pressed it and set the phone down. It had a new, heavy weight to it, just like the new weight on my back. I sat down and starred at Jaces new home. I had a lot to do to get me out of this situation. I jumped back into the shower to wipe away the blood. Mine and Jaces. At one point I wasn't sure whose blood was whose. The hot water sprayed on my face and mixed with the salty tears of pain. It had to be done. I kept telling myself, it had to be done. I was getting ready to go lay down, because I knew I wouldn't be doing much sleeping, when I heard my pants vibrate. I checked and Jaces phone had 23 missed calls, 19 voice messages, and 12 text messages in his inbox. I knew all the calls and voice messages were from his mom and probably his dad. I clicked my way to the text messages. The last 6 were from his family asking him where he was. The last ones that Jace actually texted and probably saw were between him and Mike.
"Dude, can I come over I got something to tell you about."
"can't it wait till tomorrow? Me and Candice are…hanging out. ;)"
"no I don't think it can…"
"UHG W/E dude! Just give me like ten minutes."
"dude? Where are you?"
"are you coming over?"
Reading them sent a chill down my spine. If Jace would have gotten away I could be in jail right now. I suddenly remembered that you could trace cell phones. I went to the garage to grab a hanger. I destroyed the cell phone within 10 minutes. I took the GPS chip and destroyed it first. What was left of his phone went straight into the garbage can; I took it outside and put it in the garbage can. If I was right, they would trace the phone to the last activated place, which was on that street. I knew tomorrow I would be attacked with questions and that I would be a main suspect. I needed to get some sleep and act like I know nothing. I went to lie down and I stared at the ceiling for my second night of sleepless hell.
I was right. The school was swarmed with news vans, but I wouldn't exsepect anything else from Jaces mom. I heard a medley of professional voices as I walked into the school.
"Here at Ukindale High one kid won't be attending class tod… he was last seen with one of his friends when they go… the police have done a search on his phone, but it was deactivated before the search was finalized, the last known place was on the street close to his house at th… the police are not letting any other information at this time, but his mother said "Jace is a good boy, and I hope nothing bad has happened to him and… he's in our prayers and we here at channel 9 news hope he comes home safe and sound, back to you Jim."
I knew what was going to happen. Before I even got to my first class I had a pass to go straight to the principal's office. As I walked down to his office I composed my thoughts and what I was going to say. I felt the stares of my fellow class mates' drill into my body from every angle. I'm sure a thousand rumors have already spread across their minds. Like at every high school, everything is blown out of proportion. Form behind me mike came up and said "Duuuuude! I've heard so many things about you today. My favorite was that you ate Jace and made statues of bunnies from his bones!"
"what!? That's nuts!" I said, trying to keep my composure.
"Yeah, you were the last one to see him…aliiiiive!" he said in a creepy voice.
"It's not funny. He could be hurt…" I was genuinely pissed that he was taking this as a joke. If I didn't know where he was I would be worried.
"I…need to go to the principal's office" I said as I walked away.
He called after me "hey, can I order a bunny for my lawn? Ahahaha!"
I reached his office and I walked in. I had to do a double take because the office was a police headquarters. There was a coffee maker on the secretary's desk, paperwork everywhere you looked, and I don't think there was a quiet place in the room; the phones were ringing off the hook. There were a cloud of officers by the phones and spread throughout the office like a deadly gas. One wrong breath and I could be dead.
"We just got a call that someone saw him 9,862 miles from his last known location. I don't think any of the calls were getting are reliable." the secretary said as she took a sip of the muddy looking coffee.
"Well, we need to take everything into consideration. Take notes on everything" and officer who seemed to be in charge of this operation. I walked past them with a fast pace and walked into the principals work room. He seemed to be talking to two officers when I walked in. every nerve of my body screamed to turn around and run! Run till my legs fall off, but I continued straight at the chair in his office and sat down. His eyes drifted to where I was and stopped talking, mid sentence. He looked back to the officers, gave a slight nod and sat at his desk. One left the room, the other stood by the recently closed door. I saw through the glass window on the door and saw the other officer standing outside.
"Jake… I assume you know why you're here…" Mr. Carson said. His eyes we focused on me. He didn't really care about my answers; my reactions are what he was studying.
"I think so… it's about Jace right?"
"right, we need to know as much as we can to find where he is. They wanted to take you down to the station for questioning but I told them we could do it here. So tell me, Jake, what happened that night?"
I sat up in my seat and I began my story. "Well, I had him stay over to help me with homework. After, we watched TV and ordered a pizza. When we finished we played a board game. I accused him of cheating, and he made a joke about my ex-girlfriend cheating… which we both know she did. I got mad and we got in a fight. I kicked him out and after thirty minutes later I called to apologize for kicking him out, and his mom told me he never got home. I went and laid down and got up and came to school and saw the vans. I didn't know it was this serious yet. Does anyone have any idea where he is?" I thought it was a nice delivery. My voice didn't shake. I almost believed it. I wanted to believe it…
"right now we only know that the last known place where his phone was active was around a street towards his house. We believe he was kidnapped. We don't know anything other than that."
"I hope nothing bad has happened to him. I feel so bad about the argument." I said. I looked down at my shoes.
"Don't worry; the officers are doing everything in their power to find him."
"is there anything else I can do?" I said, as I stood up to leave. I didn't want to seem too anxious so I threw in "I have a test first hour, and I haven't really studied."
"ah I think that's all for now, thank you Jake." he said and he nodded at the officer. "If you remember any other details, know my doors always open."
I got up and against every nerve impulse, walked out of his office. I heard a faint whisper from Mr. Carson that sounded a lot like "I believe him."
The day was an uncomfortable mess. By the time I got home, I had over a thousand sets of eyes glare at me. They all thought I did it. Luckily for me though, no one knew I did it. After school was over I went to the neighborhood flower market. I got some red flowers I couldn't pronounce and some yellow ones. When I got home and planted them on the graves it looked like a beautiful fire had erupted in my back yard. I had an urge to extinguish them so I got the hose and sprayed the beautiful plants covering the secrets. Instead of them dimming and going out, they glowed brighter and had a majestic way of making you feel warm and cozy. I knew if I were down there, I'd want pretty flowers planted above me. This was the only suitable way I could think of paying my respects for my dear friend. Mrs. Starford called me the night after I planted them to tell me how beautiful it looked. Then we talked for awhile about gardening techniques. She is such a sweet lady. I was drained. I got to my bed, didn't even get undressed, and crashed. My body needed sleep. The next morning I woke up and saw a text message from Candice. It said "we need to talk."
The school day was just another blur. I think I took a test, watched a video, and got a B on a worksheet… I'm not positive… what would Candice want to talk about? Did Jace call her before; did I miss a text message? I told her to come over after school. Everything was clean and I drove my dad's car down the block and parked it in an empty lot. She came over and we went into my basement. We sat down on the couch and sat in uncomfortable silence. She attempted to break the ice with "oh, what beautiful flowers outside…"
"yeah, my dad's growing them." I left out that Jace was helping a bit too…
"Um… what did you need to talk about?"
"I…Uhh… wanted to know about Jace…" she said as she scooted closer to me.
"I already told the police everything I know…"
"no, I wanted to know if he ever mentioned me and him?"
"I guess not then, Uhh…"
"no, tell me…" I said, I stared at her with all attention. My worry transformed into confusion. Jace and Candice? But… it was Candice and mike…
"it's nothing really… we had…a thing…"
"how big of a thing?"
"big enough that … well…mike doesn't…satisfy…and I miss Jace…a lot." she got up and advanced to my side of the couch.
I sat motionless as she made her move. She crawled onto my lap and kissed my neck lightly.
Now my mind was all over the map. She knew nothing. I was relieved. Candice… wanted me? But there's Mike! And I guess Jace! But it felt so good…
"shh… let me take care of you…" she whispered lightly in my ear. We got up from the couch and she took my hand as she led me to the bedroom.
I slid Candace off of my chest and I slowly got up. I looked around my room and found my boxers. I put them on and heard Candice moan from my bed.
"Mmm well, I guess Jace was the wrong choice huh?" she smiled a tired smile at me. What have I just done?
"So you were sleeping with Jace?" I said as I stared out at the flowers.
"Yep, and it was nice… mike just… doesn't have it" she got up and found her clothes. She was wearing one of my football jerseys and she wrapped her arms around me. "Those are nice flowers… you plant them with your dad?"
"yeah, kind of…"
She was kissing my back and neck again, but it didn't affect me.
"We need to tell mike."
"WHAT? ARE YOU NUTS?" she squealed. She let go of me and turned me around so I was looking right at her.
"This was wrong! You're cheating on him!"
"yeah, with you! His best friend! Who's he going to be madder at?"
"there are bigger mistakes you can make then cheating!"
"like killing someone…for example…"
She looked at me. Her face was drained of blood.
"You… You… Is that what's on your bat? I thought maybe it was weird dirt, or you killed a mouse… is that real blood!?"
I stared at her. She knew… she wouldn't have known. She didn't know…
I made my way towards the bat and examined it. My father's blood was still on it. How could I have forgotten…? I didn't even dispose of the murder weapon! I looked back up at her.
"Is that… Jaces blood?" she screamed at me.
"No, my fathers."
She stared blankly at me.
"Jace never really disappeared, did he? You killed him… he found out about your dad…"
"yep… and now you are in the situation he was in."
"JAKE! You can't kill me!" tears were filling in her eyes. I scooted closer to her.
"People will miss me! Look for me!"
"no… you came here with one thought in your head. No one knows you're here either. Couldn't get caught right? At least you understand how I feel."
I advanced on her. She stood motionless as I made my move.
"Oh Jake! The orange goes marvelously with the red and yellow! I love it! Tell your dad that I want to enter those flowers in a show somewhere!"
"will do Mrs. Starford!"
"I don't know how you're able to sleep with such bright flowers radiating through your windows! Have a good night sweetie!"
Candice loves… loved the color orange. So now there's no trace of my father's murder… but cleaning it up left so much more behind. The only thing left, which will be gone by tomorrow, is Jaces remains of a cell phone. The garbage men come every Saturday. They will take my bloody sheets and the remains of Jaces cell phone. No trace will be left but my burning secret and my fire garden.
It's been two weeks since Candice's "disappearance". Mike was probably working hardest with the police. The last thing Candice told him was that she was hanging out with one of her other friends, my ex-girlfriend Jessica. Jessica had no idea where she was and she had no alibi. The police were still questioning her. We had an assembly about her and Jace. It was weird seeing both of them put together. Knowing what no one else knew. They were more worried about Jace then Candice. Jace was going somewhere, from a higher class family, and was a great athlete. Candice was just an average C student, from a broken home, who had run away before. Mike organized the assembly and had cops and teachers talk to us. It was about an hour. It was a nice way to spend my science class…
I got up to leave when I felt a tap at my shoulder. I turned around and saw Jessica.
"Hey! How have you been?"
I glanced towards the exit and saw that there was no line of escape for me. "I've been good. And yourself? This must be really hard on you."
"yeah, Candice was my best friend. But Jace was yours so… it has to be hard for you too."
"yeah, he was going places…" I started
"don't talk like that! He IS going places." she snapped with tears in her eyes. "Have you already given up? That is so like you Jake! Just like you gave up on our relationship."
"you cheated on me!" I screamed. I could feel the attention of the students switching from their lives unto ours.
"It was a mistake! We all make mistakes!"
"But that's not a mistake I can forgive ok? Its crap! I'm sorry Jess, I gotta go…" I said and I turned away from her.
"Don't walk away from me Jake!"
I didn't look back. I felt terrible. Not for her, but for mike. I remembered the last thing I said to Candice. We have to tell mike. We have to tell mike. I took out my phone.
"Yeah? Jake? What do you want, I'm busy." Mike said.
"Uh, could we…talk?" I chocked for a second, remembering Candice's text. We need to talk…
"I guess sure. What do you need to talk to me about?"
"this needs to be in person. Could you come over tonight…it is Wednesday…"
" I don't feel like watching fucking "welcome" if that's ok with you Jake? Sometimes the lies of life are easier to live with then the reality."
"I just need to talk to you. After… you can do whatever you want."
"fine, I'll be over at five." click. I heard the dial tone.
I really didn't want to do this. I don't know how he will take this, but I'm sure it won't be pretty. It needs to be done though.
He came at six, so I was over prepared for him. I restocked the fridge, cut the grass, tended to my fire garden, and put my dad's truck back down the street.
He came to the front door and walked in without me even saying one word.
"um…how have you been?"
"peachy. My girlfriend and best friend are missing, could be dead, but I'm doing wonderfully."
"look, we need to talk about something."
His face suddenly got serious and very focused. "Is it about Candice?"
"yeah, and Jace. Let's go into the kitchen."
He reluctantly moved from the front door to the kitchen table. He had no clue what I was going to say. I grabbed two pops from the fridge and gave him one. We sat there for a minute before he cut the silence with "so?"
"ok, I know this will be very hard to hear. And I know you won't want to believe me. But…"
I never really thought about how I'd tell him. I didn't think that far ahead. So I decided to just say it.
"Candice was sleeping with Jace."
His face was blank. He just stared at me. A minute passed.
"I know that it's hard to believe" I started when he interrupted.
"How do you know that?"
"Candice told me."
"two weeks ago…" I tried to stop myself but it was too late. I just told Mike where Candice was before she disappeared.
"She was here? Two weeks ago? She was here?"
"she was here?!" his voice was changing from unbelief to anger with every syllable.
"why was she here? What did you do Jake? Did you sleep with her too?"
His eyes were wild. His face was boiling and he looked at me as if any second he could charge. It had to be done.
The next few seconds were a blur. Mike cried out in anger and let out a battle roar. He got up, knocking his chair onto the floor and proceeding across the kitchen, tackling me to the floor. His fist pounded into my face once…twice… on the third attempt I caught his fist and pushed him off me. He was squirming under me." Mike! You need to listen! I'm sorry!"
"GET OFF OF ME!" he screamed as he got a clean punch to my gut. I clenched my hands to my stomach and he got free. He got up and was going for another attack. Before he got the chance I grabbed the closest object my hand could find and hit him in the gut. His rage had a sudden change. He took two steps back and I realized what my hand had found. It was a knife. He looked down on it and then at me with absolute terror.
He started coughing up blood and he fell to the floor.
He attacked me. I was defending myself. I went back out to the garage to get the wheelbarrow. It was still sunny out and I was worried that I would draw attention to someone.
I got him to the back yard and I flopped him into a blank patch of yard and I started digging.
"Ahh Jake I knew your father wouldn't plant this wonderful garden! You shouldn't be ashamed sweet heart."
I dropped the shovel. Mrs.Starford had stumbled into our back yard. Into the garden she admired. I slowly got up and turned around. I needed to make sure she didn't see mike. She was wearing a yellow sundress and had red curlers in her hair. She was smiling. She must not of.
"what are you adding now?"
"umm… I think white."
"oh! I think white will look marvelous!!" her smile grew and she clapped her hands.
"I still need to get the flowers…" I said as I wiped the sweat from my forehead. It wasn't that hot, but my pores were screaming and pouring out. My hands were shaking as I wiped the dirt off of my pants. I scouted a little to the left, trying to hide Mike behind me.
"Oh what's that then?" she pointed straight at mike. He was ironically wearing a white shirt.
"That?…uh…" I was looking at it, thinking on my feet of what to say it was. It was too late. Her eyes got wide and wild.
"Jake! What is that?"
I never answered her. I just stood there and watched her run up to Mike. She put her head to his chest and then realized that she was now drenched in his blood. She let out a small scream. She looked up at me and shook her head. She couldn't believe her eyes.
"Oh Jake…oh Jake honey! We need to tell someone… oh sweetheart you didn't mean to do this did you? Lets… lets tell your dad!"
"why…OH MY GOD JACOB!" she was suddenly realizing why my father hasn't been out or seen her for a few weeks. Her aged eyes were leaking and he hand was on her chest.
"Oh Jake…oh Jake… this is awful! I don't feel so well…what…what should we do?"
"I don't know. I just don't know anymore."
There was a slight pause.
"Jake…how many people are buried here?"
"three." I said calmly, still thinking of what to do.
She looked me dead in the eye. She got up and walked straight towards me and hugged me. She was weeping like a baby. I was holding her tight and I felt that I was weeping too.
Suddenly she let go and took a step back. Her hand was holding her chest tighter. She looked up at me and her face turned ghostly white.
"I'm…I'm having a heart attack." she said.
"NO! NO!!!" I screamed at her. I ran in the house and took the phone outside I dialed 9-1-1 but I never pushed enter. I looked back outside. She was lying down, right in the middle of my burning secret, as if she had been meant to be there all along. I came out side and sat by her. Her eyes were closed. One hand was limp on her chest the other was holding my hand tightly. I sat there for about 10 minutes. I told her my story. With my dad and Jace and Candice and mike.
"It never should of come this far. No one was ever supposed to know."
"you're…a good boy Jake…" her lips slipped out. Her hand released from mine as I felt her heart take its final beats. Then it was silence. The only thing to be heard was my muffled cries into her red sundress.
it was an hour after Mrs.Starford had passed. I had composed myself and got up and finished mikes hole, scouted him into it, and covered his lifeless body with dirt. Then, above the other holes I made a special hole. I went to the flower market and got the white flowers she thought were brilliant. Then I bought a special group of flowers for her. I got blue ones. Bluish purple. When I got home and planted the flowers they looked controversial. All the colors went together perfectly into one blaze of fire… but Mrs.Starfords flowers, above the burning garden looked like a rain, about to extinguish the hell below. I surveyed my work and made a solemn oath that no one else would be made a part of my garden. The next person to know would just know and I'd do nothing about it. No one else deserved this fate. That night I moved Mike's car. I drove around my neighborhood for an hour until it was almost on E, then I parked it into the abandoned parking lot where I parked my dad's car. The police checked it out the next day when Mike never came home. They asked me at school again if I knew anything, but again I lied and said no. I went through my school day as usual, like a blur, and went home to find two cop cars parked in front of my house. I was driving my dad's truck again and decided to go see what they wanted.
I got out of the truck and walked up to the two officers. I tapped one on the shoulder as he whirled around, hand reaching for his gun.
"Whoa!" I said as I jumped backwards.
"Oh, it's just you. Look…we need to talk to you. Have you seen your father lately?"
"well, not really… actually now that you mention it no. why?" I asked feeling suffocated by the second officers stare.
"Well, his boss called us and said that he was scheduled for work two weeks ago and never came. Said it was unlike him. Can we come in and talked to him?"
"um…yeah…I don't know if he's home though, I just got here too…" I unlocked the door and let the men in. they took the same path Mike took into the kitchen.
"Oh what a lovely garden you've got out there!" the second officer said, the first time of him speaking.
"Why thank you."
"I thought your grass was on fire at first…" the first cop said as he examined the reddish spot on the floor. "Hey what's that?"
"oh that? Hahaha punch. I never got around to doing that. My friend dropped it and I have to clean it up still."
"…right…" the first cop said.
"Well he's not upstairs, can we check downstairs please?" the second officer said, never taking his eyes off of the stain.
I then realized that they weren't here for my father at all, well they were but they weren't necessarily looking for him. Three of my friends have disappeared in the last month and now my father's missing too. They were suspicious of me and this was there subtle way of getting in without a warrant.
"Sure." I said bluntly, opening the door.
We walked down the stairs I fell down and Jace fell up. It looked like they noted a chip off the wall of the hall. They reached the bottom of the stairs and stopped. They surveyed the room. Their eyes went from where we watched "Welcome" and to where me and Candice made out. Their eyes finally made it to where it all began.
"What happened here?" the first officer asked.
"Coffee… had a big test and was exhausted. Spilt it all over. My dad was mad." telling that lie for the second time was easier. One day this will be easy.
"Ahh…" they both mustered. They didn't want to believe me but it looked like they did.
"Ok, well I guess he's not here. Listen, the next time you see your dad tell him to call into work ok?"
"yes sir." I said as I followed them back up the stairs and to the door.
"We know you must be going through a terrible time right now. We have reason to believe the disappearances' of your friends are connective, and you may be next. Just be extra careful."
"ok, I will. Thank you officers." I said as I opened the front door for them to leave. I watched them get into their cars and leave. I wanted to know what they thought and were saying to each other. Later that night it appeared I had another knock at my door. I opened it and it was the last person I expected. It was Jessica.
"hey, have you seen my grandma? I just went over and she wasn't home. I called her a few times and her never answered."
"no… I haven't seen her since yesterday…" I started to close the door when her hand caught me.
"Can we talk?"
I stopped closing the door and said. "Yeah?"
She didn't say anything till she nodded inside and said "may I come in?"
I thought about it and widened the space between her and inside. She walked in and I shut the door. I didn't want her here and I didn't want her to know about my burning secret. I felt it burning inside me and I wanted to just explode.
"Have the cops came yet? Question you?" she asked sitting in the same chair I did when I talked to mike.
"yeah… they think it's one of us. I feel like everyone in my life is leaving me right now…first you, then Jace, Candice, Mike… and now I don't know where my grandma is…" her eyes were filling with tears. I wanted to touch her, hold her. Tell her everything would be ok. But I knew that was a lie.
"Same here… you know…my dad's been gone for about a week…I think. I never see him."
"well lucky for you. When you did see him it seemed like he always beat you, the drunk…"
"yeah…I know." the fire was growing stronger. I could feel my insides burning.
"I really miss the old gang too… in my opinion I think they were always mean to you. Mike was just an ass to everyone. Candice liked to be a bitch to you. I never really understood why some days she was supper nice to you, the next she was a witch. And Jace… He just wanted to prove he was always better then you!" she laughed, remembering the old, good times. She was reminiscing, but kept stating the truth.
The flame was building up to my chest. It was tickling my throat to the point I needed a drink.
"I really do miss them. All of them. They had their faults; hell…everyone does… remember how we met? Only eight years old, and my grandma moves next door to a cute little boy with the beautiful eyes." she was staring at me, no, past me. Into my soul. She let a few tears slip and she brushed them away with the same hand that her grandmother used to grab her chest. Her hand brushed mine. She smiled at me and said "right now we shouldn't be fighting. We should be protecting each other from whatever's doing this."
"right." my eyes were getting watery so I kept my head down.
"Well… thanks for listening to me and my feelings." she got up and smiled at me again and gave a sad laugh. She walked over to me and hugged me. At first I did nothing, and then remembered how her grandmother hugged me.
Then she said what made me snap. "I miss you…You're a good boy Jake."
You're a good boy Jake…
"no… no! Let go of me!" I screamed at her. She dejectedly stepped away.
"NO! I'm not a good boy! I killed them! I killed them all! You are right! The damn bastard use to beat me every few nights when he got drunk. So I decided that I wouldn't take it anymore. There was a power outage about one month ago and I decided that would be the night. I took my old bat and when I saw him coming I attacked him and killed him. It felt so good to have that pain taken out of my life I decided more had to be done. So I left clues and hints out for Jace, Mike, and Candice. I killed all three of them! Jace was making me feel stupid about homework, Candice came on to me and we slept together behind Mikes back. She brought back the pain of you cheating on me. Then I killed mike when he attacked me when I told him. I left the bait out and I knew he'd take it. It's been so nice without them. I've never been happier! And then it happened. Your grandma came into my back yard. Mike was lying in my garden." I nodded towards the window. Though it was dark now, my garden glowed ominously, as if it knew it was no longer running. "I didn't kill her. I never wanted her dead. She was the mother I never had. She had a heart attack and I sat with her and told her my story. The blue flowers are for her. The rest are for them, for the hell they should be laying in."
We both stood there in a stunned silence. She had her mouth agape and her eyes were wide.
"You…you… buried all of them in your back yard?"
"yes…" I said. The fire had finally died. It was an empty feeling.
"I can't believe this… we have to tell the police…"
"go ahead. Go. I have something to do."
She nodded slowly, confused, but she didn't care. She ran out the door as if she was walking on hot coals. I sat there for a minute. I was caught. I went into my garage and grabbed the gasoline and a lighter and headed for the back yard. In the far distance I could hear sirens. I spread the gasoline all over the flowers and grass and onto myself. I went to the base of the grass and set my fire garden, my secret, and myself on fire. The fire climbed onto my numb skin and burnt. I screamed as I fell to my knees. I saw the flames dance around my eyes. My lungs were filling with smoke and my body was crumbling. The sirens were getting closer. I closed my eyes and had my mind wander off, into a deeper darkness. My mind faded and eventually crumbled into nothing. The police, with Jessica, came ten minutes after the fire went down and into burning embers. Jessica screamed at the sight of my body and one of the cops that came to my house escorted her off the premises. The other officer looked at the remains and looked at the beautiful blue flowers, not touched by the crippling fire of the garden.