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Walking On Glass
I’m a fairly reckless and immature 16 year old boy. I love to joke around, especially with my best friend, Collin. Collin was always there for me, like pals should be. I was always there for him too. Always, except once.
“No way, dude!” I yelled with a grin on my face as I gave Collin a little shove.
“Haha, I know right?” Collin said with a little laugh and skip in his step like he was 5 again. I smiled at the sight of that and shoved my hands into my pockets. It was a cold, and I mean cold, December night. I could see Collin’s warm breath coming out as a white puff into the cold air. “The senior football team. Not bad, huh Mark?” he asked as he intentionally stepped on the back of my heel. I tried to sidestep it, but failed and ended up looking like I was trying to do some bad 80’s dance move.
“Not bad at all. Your brothers gonna be psyched!
“Yeah right. If he didn’t even get excited about getting into to Notre Dame, I doubt he will about me making the team. I don’t need him messing this up for me.” Collin and his brother always fought. His brother was one year older than him and practically looked the same as Collin- same dirty blond hair, brown eyes, and same few freckles on their faces. Collin’s brother, Sam, loved to pick fights and torment him about everything. I could tell Collin was thinking about it by the sudden scowl on his face. The scowl immediately vanished when I asked him about the football team.
“So, how did the try-outs go? Who was there?”
“They were pretty good. I rocked them, of course,” he bowed because that’s just his cocky personality. I’m used to it and have grown to love it. “But oh my God, you should’ve seen that Anderson kid mess up. It was the funniest thing ever, like legitimately!” I swept my dark brown hair out of my face, pulled my jacket on tighter, and half listened to Collin talk enthusiastically about the try-outs and people messing up and how hilarious it was. We were headed towards Collin’s house on Prospect Street in Georgetown. Usually to get to his house we cut up from M Street on the Georgetown stairs- now commonly known as the Exorcist Stairs. The bottom of the stairs are on M Street and the the top is on Prospect Street. The stairs are squished between a building and a big stone retaining wall covered in ivy. The building is an old Trolley house from when Trolleys still ran. The stairs were built so you could cut up from the bottom of the hill on M Street to the top of the hill on Prospect Street.
After about 10 minutes of nodding and laughing at Collin’s stories about football, we reached the corner of M Street. I could see the gap where the stairs started. As we drew closer, I could see the beginning of the black railing and the first brick step. The street lights against the pitch black walls and steps gave the place a creepy kind of look. I’m sure that if we stood at the bottom of the stairs, it would be like looking into a dark tunnel- we wouldn’t be able to see a single thing in front of us. The stairs were steep and there were a whole lot of them. I remember day after day climbing and racing Collin on them. Now that I look back on it, it was pretty dangerous to be racing up those stairs. If one of us slipped and fell all the way down, would it kill us? Could just one simple misplacement of a foot really end up costing your life? It would certainly be a long and painful way down. Would you catch yourself or just wait for death? Waiting for death to come as gruesome and ill mannered as possible. Waiting for it to sweep upon you and grab your life out of your very own grasp; for it to stalk you and pounce out at you at the perfect moment. The moment when you are at your most vulnerable. Would you catch yourself? Or would you wait for death? “Hey Mark, race ya?” I snapped back into reality and stared up at the stairs looming before me. Racing. Just one misplacement of a foot… At that exact moment I saw the most awful, terrifying thing. I saw a tall, shadowy, faded, black figure behind Collin. It had a long pointed hood on over it’s face. I couldn’t see anything besides it’s narrow, yellow, beady eyes staring back at me. It had a long black cloak reaching the ground and dragging. At the end of the cloak, where it dragged on the ground in the back, it turned into smoke. It was holding a knife. The knife was long and bloodied. It had a hook on the end that looked very sharp. There was some kind of message in a foreign lettering scrolled along the side of the knife handle. The knife was aimed right at Collin’s back. The figure was ready to kill him. His eyes were now focused right on the spot where he was ready to stab. I wanted to scream out, but my voice wouldn’t work. I shot my eyes back and forth between Collin and the figure. Collin did not seem to notice it at all. All that came out of my mouth was a small squeak. The black figure noticed my squeak and immediately looked at me with those vulture-like eyes. That stare was like dying ten times. It made it worse when an evil grin appeared on his face. I could see gnarled, black teeth peeking out from under the smile. I looked at Collin to see if he noticed now; he didn’t. He just kept on walking like nothing was wrong. When I looked back at the figure, it had vanished. My heart was beating faster than humanly possible. I started shaking, and staggering. Was it my imagination? Goodness, let’s hope so. It had to be if Collin hadn’t seen it, right? “Mark?” That’s when I then realized that I still had not answered Collin. I hoped my voice worked again.
“Oh sorry, I think I’ll pass. Maybe tomorrow.” I managed to stammer out even though I had a look of pure horror on my face.
“God Mark, you’re being really dull today. Whats with you? And what’s that look on your face?” Collin looked at me disgusted and worryingly.
“Whatever,” he said as looked at me funnily. “Anyways, how was your day?” Collin asked me, obviously trying to drop the subject.
“Fine. Nothing special. Ms. Williams totally busted Aaron in History for texting. That was pretty funny,” I said as I took the first step up the stairs with Collin following. Except nothing could be funny after that figure. Ever since I saw it, I had been telling myself it was just in my head. After all, I was pretty tired and last night I did watch Paranormal Activity. I just hoped that was the reasoning behind it.
Quietly we climbed the stairs. As we walked through the light being casted by a street lamp, our shadows were projected along the sides of the walls of the stairs. The grey stone arch with ivy growing on it also cast a shadow upon the stairs. Now not only did I have that figure on my mind, I also had the gory idea of falling down the stairs in my head. You would go crashing down, bending at every angle possible, breaking at every angle possible, I thought as I recalled what I had been worrying about earlier.
“Remember that time when Mr. Bird caught you passing that note to me about not doing your homework?” Collin asked me with a teasing kind of voice. Somehow, every time I hear Collin crack a joke, it always cheers me up immensely. It reminds me that at least one thing hasn’t changed, and never will.
“I was in 7th grade!” I laughed. It’s amazing that I could laugh considering what I saw about ten minutes ago.
“Still the look on your face when he read it- priceless.”
“7th grade! 7th grade, Collin!” I turned my head around and gave him the evil eye. The evil eye that figure gave me. I shuddered while Collin just laughed and shook is head.
I could now see the top of the stairs. Prospect Street. The place I had been waiting for since the bottom. My heart started beating quicker. It felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. Once I reach the top, everything will be okay. I won’t have to worry anymore. I won’t have to worry about falling or that figure. Once I reach Prospect, the figure will be behind me. It will be left in the shadows and I can peacefully go to Collin’s warm house and forget about it. Thinking about this brightened my mood exceptionally. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I almost wanted to turn around and give Collin a hug, but I didn’t. Instead I stopped on the last landing which was about twenty-five stairs away from the top.
“Hey Collin,” I said tauntingly. I can’t believe I was doing this. If that thing really was there to kill Collin, I better use these last moments with him wisely, I thought to myself, joking in a way.
“You said I was being dull and boring right?”
“How bout we race to the top?” He eyed me and smiled.
“I am so going to crush you.” He said as we both got on the same step and counted to three. “Okay, ready?” I nodded. “On the count of three. One...” I got into a position from where I could take off immediately.
We bolted. It was a short race and certainly nerve racking because right when we started, everything I was fretting about came back to me. The relief of seeing the top and nearing it got me over confident. I wanted to stop, I really did. I didn’t though. I kept going. I pushed harder and harder up the stairs till I was going as fast as I could. I couldn’t stop, even if I wanted to. The exhilaration kept me going. Two steps away... One step away...
“Ha! I won!” Collin screamed. He had put all of his strength into those last few steps and had pushed passed me by a centimeter.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m not the athlete here remember?” The stairs were right behind him. If he just took two steps backwards, he would fall down them.
“Yep, and I’m lovin it.”
“You are so full of it!” I laughed. I shoved him a little bit in a joking kind of way. That shove, that one little shove, was the worst, most terrifying mistake of my life.
He went back a few steps and started to wobble. His arms flailed, trying to stay balanced. “Collin!” I screamed. I ran forward and lunged. This was the moment. The moment that had been haunting me. No, please. Don’t do this to him, I begged to God or Collin himself, whichever one was listening. I prayed with all my heart in those few seconds. I reached out as far as I could to grab him. I could feel the tears welling up behind my eyes. My fingers extended. I was so close to grabbing him, so close. My fingers extended... and they grabbed air. I was half a second late. “No!” I screamed so loud I was surprised alarms didn’t go off. During that one scream, I saw a ghostly presence in Collin’s eyes and on his face. It looked almost as if he was being possessed. His face got very pale and his eyes had a yellow tint. For a split second, an evil, twisted, grin spread across his face. I stopped moving and stared, terrified. What was happening? Who’s face was that?! I am more positive than I have ever been about anything that that was not Collin’s face, but I most certainly did recognize it. I replayed in my mind everything I knew about possession and ghosts. Suddenly it came to me. It was the figure I saw behind Collin. The figure with the yellow, beady eyes, the knife, and the long black cloak like a shadow. The worst part of all; the figure was Death. It was Death possessing Collin and taking him with him. It was Death that I saw before we went up the stairs; the one getting ready to kill Collin. Now it was Death’s time. I had always heard stories about this happening in horrible, gruesome situations like these; Death coming and claiming people. It was real and true. Collin was not himself anymore. Well at least for these few seconds.
I saw the evil smile vanish off of Collin’s face when he fell backwards and landed on
the stairs on his back. I heard a loud crack and saw first shock in his eyes, then they went black. His eyelids fell over his eyes and he went limp. When he fell, Death disappeared, already knowing he was gone and didn’t need to help to make it happen. I was already historically sobbing and screaming. All I could do was watch Collin twist, turn, bend, and break. He was already bloodied and on the verge of death. I was stunned and scared. I couldn’t move a single muscle in my body. I was no longer in control.
Halfway down, I saw Collin’s feet against the wall and his head against the other wall. His knees bent up and smashed his head. I saw more blood than I could ever imagine. I didn’t even know this much blood could come out of someone. Collin’s hair was soaked and matted. He was nearing the bottom when my muscles and nerves started working again. I sprinted down the stairs, holding on to the railings and trying not to slip. If it was even possible, it seemed darker than before. The streetlights above Collin illuminated the bloody mess like a spotlight.
When I reached the bottom, Collin was already lying on the ground motionless. His face was flattened, bruised, and bloodied from being pressed between the the walls, stairs, and his own body. His clothes were torn and stained. He looked like the most ungodly mess I’ve ever seen. Seeing my best friend like this was far more worse than any horror movie; worse than even seeing Death himself. I had a feeling this was going to happen except I pictured myself in Collin’s place. I almost wish I was so I wouldn’t have to see one of the people I love the most like this. My heart ached and my hands shook violently. I bent down hoping and praying he wasn’t dead. Praying that there was still time to call the hospital and get him fixed. Praying that this was not the end. Praying that Death was not his, that he was still mine, my best friend. My tears were staining the front of my coat, but I didn’t care. I got down on my knees and put my two fingers against his limp and bloody neck, trying to find a heartbeat. I waited praying, ‘Please Collin, don’t go. I need you.’ I’ve never cried so hard in my life. My vision was blurred by all the salty tears in my eyes. In my head, and maybe even out loud, I screamed at Death and myself. I thought I was going to suffocate from all the tears. I half hoped I would. Dying seemed like a good choice right now. I dropped my fingers sobbing, and collapsed on top of Collin’s dead body.
It’s 11:30 pm now and I’m still clutching Collin. It is as empty and vacant as a place could get. All house lights are off and there isn’t a single sound on the street; not a single bark or meow. All I could hear was my heartbeat, drumming it’s way into my head. My best friend has died and it’s all entirely my fault. If I hadn’t pushed him, Death would not of had him die that way and it would not of been my fault! We would have of arrived at Collin’s house and he wouldn’t of been under my supervision anymore. It wouldn’t of been my fault. It was my fault though. I want to punish myself for it. I want to make myself feel the brutal pain Collin did. I hate myself for killing him. I don’t care if it was an accident or I had help from a sick spirit- I hate myself more than anything else in the world. Out of the corner of my eye I see a glint and reflection of something shiny. I pick my head up and turn around to see what it is. It’s a jagged piece of broken glass. It’s a pretty big piece too. I stand up and go over to it. The piece of glass looks like it came from a broken window. I pick it up and examine it. It’s pretty sharp and it feels pretty strong. How did a piece of broken glass this big get here? It doesn’t matter now. I look up at the sky, moon, and stars. The night is cold and lonely. When I look closely, I can see a face in the sky that is looking down on me. It’s looking at me with caring and concerned eyes that I don’t deserve. “Stop looking at me like that!” I scream up at the face. I can see the face much more clearly now. “I don’t deserve your sympathy! I don’t want your sympathy!” I sob, still holding the piece of glass. I’m holding it so tight, I can feel the glass starting to break my skin. At that moment I realize who’s face it is. It’s Collin’s. My best friend’s who is now dead because of me. “I’m sorry Collin.” I say as one last warm tear escapes my eye. With that, I plunge the glass as hard as I can into my heart and hope that Death will take me too.