It was Autumn, almost Winter, and bitterly cold. Brandon and I sat across from each other inside his warm cottage, enjoying hot chocolate, and talking about his latest story.
“I just can’t find the right motivation for my story’s killer.” He blurted out.
“Well, people don’t just kill without reason. Do they?”
“Maybe you’re right,” he started, thinking of what to say next.
“But how am I supposed to come up with my murderer’s motivation if I don’t have any motivation?”
“Very funny.” I chuckled softly and then looked out the window.
The sun was almost completely set.
“I should probably start heading back before it gets dark.”
“Okay.” He replied “ Just make sure to stay warm. It’s cold out there.”
“Yeah you too and uh have fun writing your story, I’m sure it’ll have a great ending.”
I waved goodbye and then walked out the door briskly, still smiling. The cold weather made me shiver in the faint moonlight, as I wandered towards the familiar path that led to my home. I could feel a sneaking suspicion rising up in the cool air as my feet crunched down on the fallen leaves. Almost as if I could feel someone, something’s presence chilling my bones. If not that, I could’ve sworn I heard crying echoing distantly from behind me. Maybe I was being paranoid, I was always one to scare easily, even at the slightest things, or maybe something really was there. You see, there had always been rumors of this area being haunted, but I had never paid attention to that, not really at least. No one did. Either way, I needed to know what was going on. I forced myself to cautiously look back behind me but I saw nothing more than the shadows of the forest. However, I could still hear something lingering, getting closer and closer and that was enough. I had to get out of here and fast. If I could just get to my home, go from there, maybe I would be safe from whatever was out there. My heart pounded as I picked up my feet and ran. The next things happened so quickly I could barely make sense of them, like a jumbled up picture, blurred and hardly readable. I felt my weight shift beneath me and suddenly I went face-first into the ground, choking on a mix of dirt and tears. Shaking, certain I was about to draw my last breath I looked up at the figure hovering above me. But what I saw made my eyes light up with surprise. It was Alice. She looked frantic and even more fearful than me.
“ I was just with Brandon.”
It was as if she was caught in a trance. There was a look of horror frozen upon her face.
“Yeah me too,” I replied in confusion, then I realized that wasn’t the right response.
The way Alice was looking at me, I had never seen her like this before, something was terribly wrong. I tried again.
At that moment a surge of overwhelming emotions consumed me. Did I hear her right? No, I couldn’t have. That wasn’t funny. Not Brandon. I was just with him earlier. He couldn’t be gone. He couldn’t.
“No…” was all I could manage to choke out.
She looked back at me with a sincere face, tears trickling down it and she nodded slightly. Suddenly, I began to feel my own tears threatening to surface. I tried to hold them back but they came too fast and violently, too hard to control.
“I was going to visit him,” Alice recalled in a soft voice.
She took a deep breath and then prepared herself to tell the story. I could tell how hard it was for her, but even still she spoke up.
“He had called me earlier and we planned to hang out.”
I smiled remembering all the times we had hung out together. Alice, Brandon and I, had been friends for as long as I could remember. All this was just so abrupt, I still wasn’t sure it could really be true. I was just so disturbed by all of this that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t control the tears rushing down my face, or even bring myself to whisper another word. I felt so confused, so uncertain, so scared and so angry. What was I supposed to do?! Alice continued.
“ He called me again but this time the phone call was quite strange. He didn’t say anything the whole time. It was just silence except, two things, a bunch of shuffling noise in the background and the faint strained voice of Brandon, crying out for help. When I approached his house I knocked but there was no response. I tried the doorknob and to my surprise, it was unlocked so of course, I went in. But what I saw I will never forget.”
She stopped for a moment and broke down into tears again, a look of anger, boiling over the sadness of her expression.
“He was lying on the floor in a lifeless form, his blood oozing out of multiple bullet wounds in his chest and collecting into a large puddle on the floor. His eyes were lifeless and dull and cold and the shock that went through my body I can’t even begin to explain.” She almost screamed out.
There was a moment of silence and more tears from both of us. After collecting my thoughts. I responded with
“Did you call the police?”
“I didn’t even think about it. I was just so shaken up, there were two sets of footprints yours and someone else’s. I decided to come here first and then I was gonna call the police but I totally forgot.”
She pulled out her phone ready to dial the special numbers but there was no use, as she quickly realized that it was dead.
“Maybe we could use mine?” I suggested
I pulled out my iPhone and gently held down the power button. Of course. Zero percent. Just perfect.
“Welp” I sighed
“What do we do now?”
We both waited for a moment thinking of what we should do next. Then, my eyes lit up. I had an idea.
“We could go to Brandon’s? I bet his phone is still there! We can use it to call the police.”
“Yes, and we can look for clues there too.” Alice agreed.
We arrived at Brandon’s shortly as discussed. I couldn’t stand to look at the body. It made me want to burst into tears all over again. The whole room though, everything, the whole situation, practically this whole day it had given me an eerie feeling I couldn’t quite place, and to be honest I hated it. There was also something very strange about Brandon’s phone, Alice and I checked all over for it but it just wasn’t there. Hadn’t Alice said she had called Brandon before or what sounded like during the murder? How could that have happened if He didn’t have his phone? Around this time, my thoughts were interrupted by Alice coming running down the hallway.
“I found the house phone!” she exclaimed in excitement. “I’m going to use it to see where Brandon’s phone is!” And she dialed in his number. Softly but rising up each moment his ringtone began to chime. Alice stood in shocked horror as she realized where the sound was coming from… my front pocket. My stomach leaped there was only one thing I could do.
“I don’t think He’s gonna answer, Alice.”
Reluctantly I pulled the gun out from my coat pocket. My hands, shaking violently, slowly grasped the base and my fingers gripped tight around the trigger. In an instant, I pulled it and I watched as her shell shocked body fell limply to the ground. To make sure the job was done I shot her two more times for good measure and so there she was lying on the floor in a lifeless form, her blood oozing out of multiple bullet wounds and collecting into a large puddle on the floor. Her eyes were lifeless and dull and cold and I walked down the hallway satisfied, gun twirling in my hand. The same gun I had used to kill Brandon.