The October evening was crisp, cool and shrouded under a slate gray sky. Streaks of red, yellow, and orange, remnants left behind by a setting sun, appeared smeared across the heavens as if hastily applied with a tortured artist’s brush. Trees, barren of foliage, swayed and creaked in the wind. Dead leaves were blustering about, infusing the air with the bitter tinge of decay-the unmistakable smell of fall.
From the woods lying just behind a well-kept, suburban cul-de-sac, came another smell. A faint, but pungent scent-marijuana-was wafting through the air. The smell moved in tandem with hushed conversation and stifled laughter.
Approximately fifty yards into the wooded area sat three teenagers, two boys and a girl. The three of them, lounging on the forest floor, were well into the stash of weed they were sharing via a homemade one-hitter.
The girl, seated between the boys, was clad in a fashionable white and pink sweat suit. The top portion was unzipped and open, revealing a tight, white sports bra. Her chocolate-colored hair, cut short with long bangs, conveyed a girlish tomboy nuance. Her eyes were dreamy, dark brown and full of promises. She seemed to fit right in with these two, exchanging playful punches and dirty jokes. Occasionally, she would stretch, arching her back against a fallen tree log. When she did, her jacket top would flop over to one side, momentarily giving her admirers more flesh to ponder. The two boys couldn’t help but observe how her flat belly sunk in and lengthened, accentuating her narrow waist and round breasts.
The boys, both clean-cut and wearing jeans and flannel shirts, seemed very comfortable in the secluded location. It was evident they knew it was safe to cut loose there. The distant homes were more visible since most of the shrubbery was dead and gone, still, the lay of the land had the trio sufficiently obscured and well out of earshot.
Laughing hysterically at a stupid joke and passing the one-hitter, the girl plopped her forehead on the shoulder of the boy to her right. He quickly stole the moment to make eye contact with his male cohort. A knowing glance was exchanged. She’s almost there. The pipe made its way around again - and again.
Eventually, nature called one of the boys from the social triangle. Walking off into the brush to relieve himself, the remaining pair quickly closed the gap between them. The girl was rather aggressive, taking control of the situation by straddling her partner’s lap. Whipping her stubborn jacket off, she began raking her fingers through his thick hair. His hands fell around her waist, but didn’t seem to know what to do there. Though she worked his flesh like pizza dough, he held her like a wine glass.
Upon the second boy’s return, he was pleased to see the two coupled on the ground, fully engaged in a lustful kiss. Standing there, he watched them paw at one another for a minute or two, waiting for the right moment. She was now lying on top, oblivious of the voyeur in their midst. It was when the kiss was broken, just long enough for the boy beneath her to give his pal a thumbs-up, that things took a turn.
Without warning, the boy, previously content with just observing, reached down and jerked the girl’s pants to her ankles. Unpleasantly surprised, she leaped awkwardly to her feet, cursing and spitting. Defiantly, the boy stood, smiling eerily at her. Pulling her pants back up, she looked to her lover for support and protection, but saw only a boy laughing and rolling around on the ground. Her look of shock was quickly overtaken with one of deep betrayal.
She squared off and kicked the prostrate male right in the face. Blood sprayed in every direction as his nose exploded in white-hot pain. Turning, she reached down and grabbed the largest stick she could effectively wield. Swinging it like a baseball bat, she lunged toward her remaining assailant. His hands went up in defense as he tried to duck and weave around her swings. Finally, she struck a solid blow to his left shoulder, causing him to holler out in pain. Winding up for a second strike, she was abruptly felled by a blindside tackle. She obviously hadn’t expected the first boy to recover so quickly.
Her forward fall was fast and uncontrolled. With her legs bound together by the bleeding boy’s grappling arms and her hands still clutching her improvised weapon, there was nothing left to break her descent. When her head collided with a rock, it let out a sound reminiscent of bowling balls coming together at the alley rack. It was a queer sound, one unnatural for a body to make.
The boys, still panting, still bleeding, stood frozen in place. The girl wasn’t moving. Rolling her over, they recoiled at the deformed appearance of her forehead. Blood was trickling from one of her ears.
Working together, after a bout of yelling and blaming, they buried her in a hastily dug and shallow grave. Panic came and went throughout the process, quelled by the one who happened to be in control at the moment. They swore at one another before swearing to one another that this secret would always remain buried-far deeper than she was.
With one boy still cradling his ailing arm, and the other wiping blood, snot and tears with his sleeve, they began the longest walk out of the woods they would ever know. But the horror show they had set in motion--had an encore.
There was a rustling sound emitting from the sepulcher of leaves and twigs. Not a sound of purposeful movement but rather, uncoordinated shuddering. The boys halted after only a few steps, looking back at the ground, then at one another.
She was not only still alive, but was seizing, evidently from the massive head wound she had endured. She was seizing in her grave.
Dismayed beyond all reason, the two responded accordingly, albeit differently. The one who was bleeding, bled more with screams of anguish and repulsion. The one with a bad arm became enraged, and used his good one to pick up a rock in order to finish the job. When his angst-ridden partner made a feeble attempt to stop him, he whirled around, completely fueled by rage, and threatened his unstable comrade with the small boulder. With blood already running down his chest, the weaker boy fell to the ground, submissively holding his hands out in front of him.
A pause had followed. A line crossed once was about to be again-from a different direction entirely. A few decisive moments crept by. Finally, the rock was allowed to fall to the ground with a harmless thud.
The boys then ran away fast, without ever turning around.