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Tonight, of all nights the woods is not a place to be if you are most likely to get a heart attack and die. Wouldn’t you if you read about what happens next?
“Someone help! He’s going to kill me! Please, he’s got a gun!” didn’t I tell you? If you are beginning to fear this story, please stop reading… for your own sake.
Lilly ran across the forest as fast as her little feet could take her. Ignoring the snakes and the bears which called the desolate place home, she couldn’t turn back. If she did, she wouldn’t be able to live another day again. She had to get help. Maybe the sheriff would believe her when he noticed that all she was wearing was her underwear and bruises from her attacker.
She began to lose hope. Her limp little body began to tire, and then she saw it. She never thought that a road could be so beautiful. Wouldn’t you think so at a time like this? She was so close to being rescued, she could almost feel the warmth of her mother’s embrace. She could almost taste the hot chocolate and marshmallows. Nevertheless, she would never feel those things again.
If that rock hadn’t been there, if her foot hadn’t met its cold, rough surface she wouldn’t have tripped. As she fell, she could feel the cruelty of pain like a bullet shooting through her ankle or as you prefer, being bit by a cotton mouth. Either way you wish, she was on the ground sobbing and holding her bloody, shattered ankle.
She took a last breath of air when she felt a single twinge of pain. As she looked at her chest, she finally noticed the bullet hole and began to feel cool breeze engulf her body. She began to see shadows and the world went black as her limp body fell to the ground. A sly grin, swept over her killers face as he began to laugh.
I warned you. If you are scared now, don’t be an idiot and drop this story.
Lilly Graves was only twelve years old, and so was her twin brother…
“Brian! Hurry up, we have to go now!”
“Coming, Dad,” today was the anniversary of Lilly’s death, and it was still an unsolved murder. This pained Brian more than anyone because he knew his sister better than anyone else in the universe. If you have lost a loved one, you know what is going through his head. If you haven’t, I’ll keep it simple; it wasn’t fair, she was only twelve.
Before he had time to protest, he had already mounted in the back of the car and the cemetery was dead ahead. He could see the dull colors of the graves. What was it like to be dead? Is there really a heaven? And if so, did Lilly enter their gates? Was she happy? All of these questions were racing through the spaces and corners of his mind, but one stayed in its place; who would do such a thing?
As he dismounted the car, a cold chill seemed to have eaten him up, and he regretted not bringing his sweater. He looked up at his parents. How could they be wearing tee-shirts and shorts on a day as cold as this? His question was answered by what came out of his mother’s mouth.
“It’s blazing today! God, I love summer.”
It was getting late, and it was time to go home. Brian whose skin was now a tinge of purple was starting to believe he had caught some sort of disease. But as he entered the transportation, the cold feeling had disappeared entirely and his skin was back to its old happy color.
“Are you okay sweetie? You look sick!”
“I’m fine Mom, don’t worry about it,” he responded.
“Hey kiddo, looks like you’ve seen a ghost!” interrupted the man who called himself the father. If the reader has a parent like this, you do realize the embarrassment Brian must feel during parties…
The car roared and they drove off into the road, but Brian couldn’t help but look back into the grave yard. On Lilly’s tombstone was a girl wearing Lilly’s favorite dress and she was crying.
“Dad, you have to believe me! I saw Lilly!”
“Brian, she’s dead. I think you need to get over the fact that she’s gone. You’re sixteen now, you should know better that dead people don’t come back to life like that!”
“But it’s true! How come you guys were burning up today and I was a Popsicle,” his mother put her hand on his forehead. He instinctively pushed it away, “I’m not lying and I know I’m not crazy either.”
If you had been in their house ten minutes earlier, you would have been a witness to the conversation. Now Brian was alone in his room staring at the ceiling pondering with a single word in his mind; how.
I’m not crazy. I know what I saw. They don’t understand, I hope I never grow up to be like them, needless to say, Brian was angry, I have to find out. He put on his shoes, grabbed his jacket and flashlight and silently climbed out the window. Below his rightful chariot (known to most as a bike) awaited.
“Lilly? Can you hear me? It’s Brian! Are you there?” the graveyard was even more frightening by night and he was beginning to regret his decision. He began to lose hope when from the place he figured was Lilly’s tombstone he heard a faint voice.
“I’m over here!”
Brian turned around and sure enough was the pale little girl wearing the dress waving her hands above her head, “I’m over here!”
By instinct he ran towards his sister. He could almost feel the tears of joy welling up in his eyes. His arms spread out as he embraced Lilly like a bear would do to its cub. Unfortunately, not knowing that ghosts are made of and element called plasma; he ran straight through her and fell headfirst on the grass. He had to learn the hard way.
Slowly he managed to crawl up and stand on his feet. Facing him was twelve year old Lilly, in her snow white dress. It was too good to be true, “Am I dreaming?”
“If you were, you wouldn’t feel cold.”
“True,” he couldn’t hold it much longer. A single tear trickled down his face, “We miss you Lilly.”
“I know,” she whispered, “If I wasn’t a ghost I’d hug you just about now.”
They talked. They talked about what they each had missed. They talked about the neighbors moving, about the deer that crashed through the window and nearly tore down the science lab at the high school, about the movies and television. Even though they talked about nearly everything, it would not satisfy his curiosity.
“Lilly, who killed you?”
Shocked by the question she sighed for a moment and finally said, “I forget his name. But I can tell you one thing.”
“I can deal with that for now.”
“He had sailor’s hands,” the words seemed to be struggling out of her mouth.
“In what sense?” Brian pondered.
“They were rough, like sandpaper.”
Brian was about to say something to comfort his sister, when he heard voices from far away, “Brian! Where are you! Brian!”
Lilly took a moment to wipe away the tear that had sprung from her eye, “I think you should go. I’ll see you tomorrow night at home. OK?”
He said his goodbyes and ran towards the voices.
“You are in serious trouble young man! Do have any idea what we just went through?”
Brian couldn’t help but roll his eyes, “Yes, Mom. It won’t happen again,” he said in a voice that would resemble annoyance, “I’ll go up to my room now.”
“Don’t come out until dinner!”
“Yes Dad,” again with the rolling of the eyes.
As he closed the door behind him, he couldn’t help but laugh. He was going to see Lilly again. He saw her after four long desperate years. But his laughs had halted when he remembered what she had said that night.
They were rough, like sandpaper.
Suddenly his smile became a deadly glare. Who would kill Lilly? She was the sweetest, smartest girl on the face of the Earth. Who would do such a thing?
Being a Saturday, and having nothing to do, Brian figured it was a good idea to meet with Zeke. Zeke is the kind of guy who always has something funny on his mind (something us teenagers consider a beautiful talent). He had known Lilly and Brian since birth, making him official best friend of the twins.
Since his house was only a block away, he figured that his chariot would not be needed in such a situation. As he arrived at the door, he saw his loyal friend on the porch playing the guitar.
“Hey! Watcha doin’ here?”
“I’m sorry if I’m not smiling right now, but I really need to talk to you.”
Zeke dropped his guitar and stood up, “About what?”
A long pause had been born from the last words, but Brian knew he could be trusted, “Lilly. It’s about Lilly.”
“Well come in then,” said Zeke rushing him into the kitchen. They knew that going there was a mistake because the loyalist’s father was there.
“Well hello, Brian. I haven’t seen you in ages!”
“More like about a week…” Zeke whispered matter-of-factly, “We’ll be in my room if you need us.”
“What? You have got to be kidding me!”
“I’m not,” Brian was starting to regret the decision, but then he changed his mind.
“You saw Lilly’s ghost. Don’t worry, I believe you.”
“I couldn’t believe it at first, but then I went into the graveyard last night, and there she was.”
“Did you guys talk?” asked intrigued and curious Zeke.
“Yeah. She told me her killer had sailor’s hands,” Brian responded.
“Rough like sandpaper.”
Brian was shocked, “Wait a minute, how did you know that?”
“There are two people in this neighborhood that have hands like that. Mrs. Welling…”
“But she died last year! And she loved Lilly!” Brian interrupted.
“And,” Zeke stopped and covered his face with his hands.
“My father, he was a soldier in the Navy,” Zeke began to cry. Brian had never seen his best friend weep before. In between sobs he would whisper her name.
It all began to make sense. The day Lilly died, Zeke’s dad gave her a ride home. He always hugged Lilly instead of shaking her hand like he did to Brian. Mr. Crawford killed his sister. He decided to ask Zeke a question.
“I’m meeting Lilly tonight at my house. Why don’t you come over?”
The sobbing oversized baby uncovered his mess of a face and responded, “Yeah.”
It was midnight and the boys were getting tired. There was still no sign of Lilly.
Zeke, scared from the events of the afternoon, was quiet. Then he spoke, “Why Lilly?”
Brian gazed at him through his lightly closed eyes and said, “What do you mean?”
“I understand that he was still missing my Mom, but why take an interest in her? I guess it was because he jealous.”
“Why would your Dad be jealous?”
“Promise you won’t kill me,” Zeke pleaded.
“I promise, just tell me what he was jealous about!” Brian, no fully awake, was sensing that what was about to come out of Zeke’s mouth would be something that he wouldn’t want to hear at a time like this.
“Okay,” Zeke took a deep, long breath, “Lilly and I were going out.”
“Sssssshhhhh, quiet,” he whispered, “You’re going to disturb the neighbors! Who knows what you’ve done to disturb them before.”
Brian began to tone down as he realized the intensity in his voice, “Why didn’t Lilly tell me about this?”
“Because I didn’t want you to be overprotective…” said a voice that in the back of both their heads, recognized as that of Lilly’s. They turned around and saw her in her ghostly appearance. She grinned and said “Hello!”
“T..tte..Teddy-Bear?” stuttered Zeke.
“In the Plasma!”
Zeke sprung up and just like Brian before him ran through her. But unlike Brian, He tripped on a skateboard and fell face first on the wooden floor sliding until his head finally collided with the dresser. Holding his throbbing and very painful head he said with a grimace on his face, “You really should clean up your room..” this made Lilly laugh.
“Wait a minute… Teddy-Bear? Why did you call her that?” Brian was beginning to feel certain uncomfort.
“She was cuddly!” said Zeke as humbly as he could possibly manage.
“Oh, for the love of…”
“See, Brian? This is what I was talking about. All we did was cuddle!” snapped Lilly.
“I think we need to talk about something here,” said Brian, “Zeke will you do the honors?”
Zeke had enough courage to let the question out of his mouth, “Did my Dad kill you?”
Lilly’s smile stopped. She began to remember everything. The car, the old shed in the woods and how he roughly threw her on the ground and began to rip her clothes of. She struggled and tried to scream, but his hand was tightly enclosed on her mouth. She remembered opening her eyes, she finally recognized the face of the man who killed her, “Yes,” and a ghostly white, shining tear trickled down her cheek.
It was the next morning, and as the sun crept over the hills and into the window, their minds were made. Lilly’s case would be solved, they were to go to the Sherriff’s office and report who actually murdered Lilly Graves. This seemed like a simple plan, so easy that practically even you could do it (not to offend anyone in the audience…). It was so easy, that it troubled Brian why Zeke was missing in the morning. Brian knew that Zeke had gone home to teach his father a lesson.
Quickly he jumped out of the bed and raced to the front door to find Zeke still preparing to leave, “What the hell are you doing?”
Zeke turned around and in a severe tone of voice responded, “I’m going to teach that murderer a lesson about reality.”
“Lesson? What Lesson?” then Brian suddenly realized what he was talking about, in an assuring yet calming voice he said “ We both know that he did it, if you go over there and do what I think you’re gonna do, you’re gonna end up in the hospital. Or worse, right next to Lilly!”
“I don’t care!” he screamed. His eyes a burning red, so hot that if you looked directly into them, they would burn your soul. In a more serene, but just as severe, tone of voice he said, “I’d rather be dead than under the same roof of a murderer. I’m sorry Man, but this is something I have to do,” and with that, he peddled as fast as he possibly could homebound. Brian, being a sensible boy, decided to follow him.
As the door slammed open and then shut, there stood Brian and Zeke. Mr. Crawford was reading his Sunday newspaper when he looked up and with a glare said, “So there you are.”
He forcefully closed his newspapers and walked towards the boys. Zeke’s hands were clenched so tightly, it seemed that all the life was taken out of them. Brian’s glare was so full of hate, it felt like acid if you stared at him. Zeke had enough courage to speak to his own father, “You killed Lilly.”
Surprisingly to the boys, he just grinned and said, “Yup, and you’re not getting away with it.”
“Oh yes we are! Nobody kills something precious to us and gets away with it!” sad Brian in a menacing tone.
Mr. Crawford began to laugh and the boys realizing their m mistake began to back away slowly. Finally he said in a confident tone, “You’re not getting away with it because nobody is going to hear you scream.”
Zeke once again clenched his fist and gritted through his teeth, “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Oh yeah? Well it never stopped me from getting rid of that wretch!”
“Lilly wasn’t a wretch!” Brian cried and lunged towards him, but Mr. Crawford had plenty of experience in fighting and Brian was sent flying to the other side of the room. As he struggled he began to slowly but painfully stand up on his two feet. He opened his wincing eyes to see that Zeke’s father was holding a gun and gesturing Zeke to stand next to his friend. Zeke slowly walked towards his friend and kneeled as his father had suggested.
“Now, I know that you met Lilly’s ghost last night and she told you I killed her,” he said threateningly, “I followed you last night kiddo. I heard you in your bedroom. Now that you know my secret, I’m not going to let you two get me in jail.”
“You’re not getting away with it. If you kill us, it’ll have your name written all over us,” said Zeke.
Mr. Crawford turned to him and menaced, “Listen here you ungrateful, little son of a…”
“Son of a WHAT, Dad? The son of a murderer? The son of a criminal?” and in doing so, the criminal forcefully beat his son in the face with the back of the gun. Zeke managed to control himself and not to show any emotions. Slowly and expressing tension he said “The son of a coward?”
Brian had always admired his friend’s bravery. Now he admired him the most. He could hear the soft clicking of the gun as the killer was loading two deadly bullets (if only they’d known that it had been empty). He pointed the gun directly at Zeke and said, “I never really liked you.”
Zeke closed his eyes, waiting for the bullet to strike him true when the door busted open and a menacing voice screamed, “Drop your weapon, you’re surrounded!” Mr. Crawford turned facing the direction of the officers and then turned to Brian. He looked at him with a face that clearly said “you are going to hell for this!” Brian’s face said “not before you”.
Ingeniously, before he and Zeke had entered the house, Brian called 911 that there was suspicious activity going on at Zeke’s address. So in truth, they never really gave up their original plan, they just adjusted it a little. As I have said before; Ingenious!
As Brian saw the man who killed his sister enter the car in hand cuffs. They couldn’t help but smile. Justice had been served and the boy’s were happy. Zeke turned to him and said, “You know, I actually never trusted him.”
“I suppose so. I mean, you’re his kid. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?”
Zeke chuckled for a bit and said, “Thanks, Man. I really missed Lilly.”
And with that, Zeke followed the Sherriff to the station to testify. As Brian walked on home alongside his parents (being supportive to all police officers, they ran to the Crawford residence as soon as they had heard the sirens) he sighed. His breath was cut short when a cold breeze had seemed to close its arms around him. As they detached from his body, he heard a tiny and finally happy voice say, “Thank you, Brian. I’ll see you next year.”
As Brian looked up towards the clouds, he chuckled. It seemed to him that a girl with wings was waving from while she sat on a cloud. Brian smiled and waved back.