(The crickets started up again, then the frogs. I held my breath. All at once there was a sound in the reeds, a swish, a splash: thunk-a-thunk. They were throwing rocks. The frog fell silent.)
My mind was blank, but still racing and I knew that somehow, I had to get away. How I see it, I only had three options: die with the rotting motherfucker, die by the alive motherfucker or not let my balls turn to ice and actually run for my goddamn life – and right now, the former sounded like a pretty fucking good idea. I looked around for my boys with waterblind eyes, seeing their blurred figures try their best to hold their breaths and not freak out by the ridiculously dead corpse floating with us.
Thunk-a-thunk. I was surprised that they hadn’t run out of rocks to throw yet, like they had some unlimited supply of ammo you see on those fake war movies. I tried to glide over to the others, not afraid of being noticed by lover boy and his pack of dumb weeds. It was obviously dark as shit and the water were as dirty as my old baseball. The weight of my jacket weighed me down though, making it even harder for me to hold my breath as I floated over to the two. I managed somehow, finding myself tapping Digby on the shoulder once, before gripping his shirt and using all of my might to pull him with me towards the shore. He did the same to Jeff.
I soon realised that the rocks had stopped hurling at us, but the familiar Midwestern accent still roared, laced with the sound of swishing of the reeds and water clapping against my ears. All I could make out was “alive” and “circle.” I wasn’t as dumb as people thought, just didn’t give a damn about school, but I could put together what they were saying. They’re wondering if we’re still alive and that they were going to circle around the lake to make sure, and once they knew that we weren’t dead, they sure in hell would make sure that were.
My feet found soft, but solid land underneath them so that told me that we were at shore. I climbed onto the sweet, soft terrain, promising to myself that I would never want to see or be in water again, and breathed heavily, trying to get life back into my lungs. I used the rest of my strength to pull Digby from the water, Jeff right behind him. They both coughed out water, sobbing a little, and cleared their throats while I rubbed their backs for support and looked around for lover boy.
“Hey,” I said, slapping Digby on the back and watched him wince in pain. “We gotta get outta here before they come and send us to kingdom come.” Digby looked over his shoulder, still breathing kind of heavy and looked at Jeff, who nodded in reply to let us know that he was okay. I coughed and slowly stood; my legs weak and shaking. The hairs of my neck stood too in protest of the cold, but of also the sound of twigs breaking further in the woods. Digby and Jeff jumped to their feet on cue.
“Dammit man, why did we fucking mess with this guy?” Jeff coughed and started to jog away from the opposite direction where the sound came from.
“Hey, it wasn’t my fault. Damn Digby over here took the wheel before I could do anything!” I whispered harshly, punching Dig on the arm before I took off running to follow Jeff. Dig followed close behind, which wasn’t surprising since he’s been running all his life. “If it wasn’t for him thinking that was Tony’s car, we wouldna be in this shit.”
“Shut up, man. Maybe if you were strong enough to pull the wheel away from me, we wouldna be in this.” What a stupid statement.
We dodged branches, spider webs and roots as we ran through the woods and let me tell you now; we hadn’t the clue of where we were going. My jacket was obviously still wet and it was still slowing me down. I thought about chugging it to the side so I’ll have some more endurance, but the evidence would be clear as day and if our footprints weren’t enough, then I don’t know what else would.
I couldn’t hear if lover boy and his posse was still following us since our own sounds of breaking twigs and leaves overthrew any other sounds, but I still had a hunch that those bastards were still behind us. I saw Jeff slow down, picked up his pace, and slow down again. I ran up beside them, breathing so hard that I thought my neck was going to explode but man did Jeff look awful. Underneath that lean, semi-muscular body of his, he had the endurance of a man who ate a truckload of donuts and the only time he would keep his pace was if he was pumping his girlfriend.
“You alright man?” I coughed, jogging next to him and saw Digby run pass us. That son of a bitch.
“Yeah… yeah, I’m alright, man, just not used to bein’ chased by a couple of low-riders who wants to rip my balls off.” He coughed, which I assumed was supposed to be a laugh.
“Yeah, well if you don’t match up with Digby’s speed, you’re gonna have more than your sac ripped off.” I laughed. I could still see Dig. “Dig! Slow down, why don’t cha?” He didn’t hear me.
Then I tripped over my own feet, or maybe a root, I don’t know but all I knew was that it hurt like a son of a gun when my chin collided with a rock. I covered my face, muffled my screams of agony and felt the wetness of blood run against my palms. I rolled on my back, rolling to side to side as Jeff stopped beside me after calling for Digby, which that time he heard but with a yell like that, it would give us our location.
“Holy fuck, what happened?” Dig asked once he got to us, averting his eyes to the way we came to see if lover boy was there but then turned his attention to Jeff and me.
“What are you, stupid? He tripped and banged his face into that pretty rock over there.” Jeff laughed, oblivious to our current situation. Then again, we were all still pretty drunk. “C’mon, champ, you can still run.”
I glared at him with teary eyes, moving my hands to cover my chin as a spitted out blood from my mouth. “Shut up dick. I know I can fucking run.”
“Hey guys,” Digby started and picked up the same rock which bashed my face in. “We got some company.”
I knew that it was lover boy. I sat up and Jeff turned around. Lover and his pack of roaches looked angrier than before, like they were possessed or some shit. They were breathing heavy; lover’s hands were in a fist. He took a step forward.