Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.
Fear was like jumping in the pool for the first time, but never getting used to the water. To the touch, it was a tickling chill at the base of her spine. Devin’s body seized. Every breath was a gulp; each thought a prayer.
“What?” Devin asked. She stepped back, twigs snapping underfoot. Lane brandished the knife, and suddenly, Devin bore a cold certainty that she had heard Lane correctly.
Neither Lane nor Blaire spoke. Blaire’s face was marred with makeup, nearly resembling a caricature, and it was almost as though she was in the midst of being wiped from existence. Lane, however, was steely. Her fingers tightened around the handle of her weapon.
Lane took a step towards Devin. Devin screamed, hoping that someone from the party might hear her.
Then she realized that there probably hadn’t been a party to begin with.
She whipped around and took off through the underbrush. She could hardly feel her feet beneath her, and stumbled in her heels. Devin’s veins began to course with adrenaline. Her bones burned with it. Sobs hitched in her throat. Leaves crunched beneath her. The woods were a cacophony, and yet Devin was deaf to all but the swell of her own lungs.
She had barely gotten ten yards before Blaire, having sprinted after her, wrapped her wiry arms around Devin’s waist. They both tumbled to the ground. Devin squirmed in the dirt, grunting. She couldn’t tell if the hair in her face was Blaire’s or her own. Blaire straddled Devin, pinning Devin’s hands with her knees. They were scalded by the snow. Devin bit Blaire’s forearm. Blaire cried out in surprise, and took to clawing Devin’s face with her nails.
For a moment, all Devin knew was the slip-slide of Blaire’s wet fingers smothering her face. A shrill scream broke from her lips as Blaire’s fingers dug into Devin’s eyes.
“Laney!” Blaire shrieked.
Devin couldn’t breathe. She fell back, unable to free herself from Blaire’s grip. Her chest ached, and the fear was like a broken machine that couldn’t be switched off. It twitched in her ribs. It threatened to explode.
Lane approached from their left. Blaire rolled off of Devin, but kept a firm hold on the collar of her dress.
“Please,” Devin begged, barely able to summon the will to do so. “Please don’t hurt me.”
“Stop whining,” the brunette commanded.
“I thought we were friends,” Devin whimpered. She was trapped. She felt the terror racing with her heart.
“You don’t make friends with the Devil,” Lane said.
With that, she jabbed the knife into Devin’s gut. Blaire was crying; yelling at Lane to kill her more; to kill her faster; and a yellow light was suddenly bobbing from behind Devin. Devin could not tell whether the light was where she was going or where she was coming from. Her hands were painted crimson, and all she could do was stare at them--caught in a silent film and wreaking havoc with her open mouth--as Lane stabbed her a second time.
Lane threw her hand back again in a driven haze. Before she struck, she was tackled. The force that had knocked her off-balance eluded Devin’s eyes. The knife smacked against the ground. Brisk wind rushed over Devin’s body. She felt as though she was drowning, and fought to resurface. She heard boys yelling. Devin’s head lolled to the side, attempting to catch sight of her rescuers. She was waiting for Lane to come back. She was waiting to be killed, and yet what she glimpsed was her attacker, being shoved against something tall.
It might have been a tree.
Blaire crept forward to finish the job. Her lip quivered. But it wasn’t long before she, too, was thrown to the ground. It was by something indistinguishable from the sky, and Devin felt herself drifting. She felt her body shrinking like a slug in salt.
“Trit!” Blaire screamed at the top of her lungs. It seemed that she only knew how to scream. Her exclamation dragged Devin back to Earth. Blaire hiccuped words with desperation. “What the hell? Put me down!” Though she couldn’t see, Devin imagined Blaire trying to wrestle out of her captor’s arms. “We have to finish the job, you know that!” Her teeth were gritted. “We had a deal. You promised not to get in our way!”
The sounds of a scuffle were muffled. “Trit!”
“Hey!” a male voice called across the wood. “Grab her and get ‘er to the cabin. Remember the plan?” The boy’s voice held a tremor; whether from effort, the cold, or something else.
“It’s hardly a plan,” another male voice grunted. He seemed less deterred by the situation. “But yeah, I got her.” Devin was startled by the voice, as it travelled straight into her ear. It was almost as though an angel had spoken from the heavens. The light was getting closer; it bobbed over her body and held itself there, like it was wondering whether to take her away. Devin’s eyes flitted shut. Again, she could only hear the sounds of her own labored breathing.
“Hey, just kick it, Devin. I’d carry you myself, but you’re heavy.”
Again, the world ripped through Devin’s veins like earrings through newly pierced ears. Full consciousness returned. Her resting heart sped to a pulse. She heard Blaire sobbing.
“We’re all going to die,” the girl muttered. “Won’t be long till we’re all dead.”
“Would you can it, Blaire?” came a distant male voice. “It ain’t right, killing a girl. At least we were moral enough to stop you from murdering somebody to save your own ass.”
“Fuck you, Drain,” Blaire whimpered. “A week ago, you would’ve thought that remark illogical.”
“Flashlight bothering you?” said the voice from beside Devin. She opened her eyes, only to be blinded by the light. A boy’s bent form flashed before her. He looked shaken, or maybe it was the world that was shaken.
“Did you stop the blood?” one of them questioned.
“You can’t stop blood. All you can do is slow it up.”
There was a pattering of footsteps.
“You don’t have to drag me,” Blaire complained. “I can walk.”
“Shay, gimme a hand with her? She’s heavy.”
“Yes,” Devin whispered. She could not stop shivering.
The trees had started running again, or maybe they were the ones running.
She felt herself being lifted. Hands propped beneath her arms and legs, thrusting her body towards the sky.
The flashlight clicked off.
Before Devin followed suit, she caught sight of Delaney George, looking shriveled in her pink dress. She was being escorted through the snow. They met eyes. Lane glanced away sharply.
Devin thought she couldn’t feel her toes. Then she realized she couldn’t feel anything.
She was drifting.
“Where’d the light go?” somebody inquired. He sounded scared. Devin couldn’t fathom why any of them would be more afraid than she was.
“Dying girls get their wishes,” Angel Boy reasoned. Devin felt her body surrender to the cold and pain, and with that bit of harsh irony, her mind’s night prevailed.