Prompt: You receive a phone call from your two best friends. “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.” Nervously, you grab your coat and car keys.
After I left the committee meeting, I cursed under my breath at my phone that had been ringing non-stop for an hour. Checking the messages, I learned several things: I should answer on the first ring, my friends can be cryptic, and I was about to break a promise to myself.
As I drove to the far edge of town, a place I vowed never to return to after graduating high school over a decade ago, my mind raced with the possible stupid things my friends could have gotten up to that they couldn't share over the phone. Thoughts of drunken escapades filled my mind, but I wasn't expecting to see my high school best friends, Kyle and Lance, standing in the woods next to a bonfire smoking God only knew what. It looked like Lance, the oldest of our long-ago pack, hadn't gone to sleep in three weeks.
"What's going on, you guys? I just left a really important meeting for this. If this is about rekindling memories of weed-induced hallucinations like high school, I'm out of here," I said, growing more irritated by their silence.
"Dude, come here. Things happened. Bad things happened, and I don't know what to do anymore, man," Lance said, picking scabs on his arms and shaking even though it was a balmy 85 degrees.
I looked over at Kyle, who apparently was as clueless as I was, and we shrugged our shoulders and followed Lance. We walked for what seemed like miles before we stopped in front of two perfectly-shaped mounds.
"What's this?" I asked, my voice cracking. I stole a glance at Kyle who, I noticed, was still wearing his suit and tie.
"Graves, man. Graves. Don't you understand? I killed them," Lance said, waving his arms. His eyes bugged out from his skull, and his hair was in oily clumps, hanging down by his shoulders. Dirt caked his cheeks and hands. He reeked of feces.
"Who's graves?" I asked, trying to maintain a level of calm. I wished Kyle would say something, anything, to take the tension from this situation, but the Kyle I knew - full of jokes and surprises - was not in the woods with us.
"These chicks, man. I killed 'em. I killed 'em. They didn't listen, so I killed 'em."
We all circled the graves and stared at them. I didn't know what to say, much less what to do, so I turned on my heels before something caught my eyes. I turned back toward the graves and squatted, resting on the balls of my toes.
"What the --?" I asked, more to myself than anyone else. A swatch of red hair caught my eyes, but when I reached down to get a closer look, it was fur. I looked up at Kyle, ever-silent Kyle, and at Lance, who was still lost in his drug-induced stupor.
I grabbed a nearby stick large enough to double as a makeshift shovel, and I start to dig around the graves, making sure to not stab a body. As soil shifted and clumps of dirt fell, the body of Lance's victim was revealed. I exhaled and stood up and walked away, leaving my friends and the bodies of the two lifeless cats behind.