April 11, 2012
By , Petersburg, TX
We’re running for our lives; well, I’m running while supporting my best friend, who I’m not sure I can trust anymore, so she can limp along faster. The footsteps behind us are loud and calm, taking their time. Each footfall is totally confident. I turn around, again. I can’t see anything, besides trees, again. We can hear whistling, and I start trembling. My friend notices and looks at me. I can tell she’s crying. Her breathing gets louder as she starts to sob. I beg her to be quiet and she tries. The whistling has stopped; we keep going, wanting to be as quiet as possible. The brush under our feet crackles no matter what we do, so we throw quiet away and settle for being as fast as possible. Someone appears on the other side of her. We emit an earsplitting shriek at the same time. Adrenaline takes over and we’re off sprinting faster than we thought possible, especially with her injury. Wicked laughter echoes behind us and running starts to feel useless. Suddenly we both stop. We turn around and search behind us for any sign of movement. After a few minutes of seeing nothing we turn around and start picking our way through the undergrowth. I’m supporting her again, so she can limp faster. Our “camp” is just a couple yards away, and we can hear everybody else. They’re being careful not to make a lot of noise, but it won’t help. Whatever is out there knows where we are now. We rush thee sound of the familiar voices, and stumble towards our friends.

“No, no, no, no. No!” They start to freak out when they see how we’re hurrying and the panicked looks on our faces. Four start to shake their heads, pretending like this isn’t going on. The other sits and sobs, whispering to herself. I bite my lip and nod when I see the question in their eyes. I help my friend sit down and we start to look at her leg. Her ankle is swollen and dark bruises blotch the skin. Lilli can’t even look at the knife wound. It’s bleeding profusely and doesn’t look like it will stop soon. I look around at the small group of friends that agreed that this could be a good thing for all of us.

“Let’s just leave!”Someone yells, but no one owns up to it. I collapse back onto a pile of sleeping bags while the last few minutes replay through my mind.
“They’re not going to come back. They’re gone.” Brooke says again. She’s been repeating herself for the past couple minutes. I refuse to believe her, refuse to even listen. I’m not going to give up, not when this is my fault. The guilt washes over me in waves and I feel sick. I cannot believe I thought that this would be good for anyone, and now my best friend and boyfriend are gone. They vanished and I can’t keep a small voice in the back of my head from saying that it’s what they deserve: they were going off together anyway. I shut it up immediately and glance around nervously, somewhat afraid that I mumbled that thought out loud. Everyone’s glancing around, either hiding dark thoughts that make them feel guilty like me, or making sure there’s no one hiding on the edge of our camp about t o spring. I’m shaking, and they sit me down closer to the fire. I’m between Lilli and James, he puts his arm around me, but I’m too shocked to care. Lilli raises her eyebrows at him and he moves his arm. She hugs me close to her and I can feel her shaking with me. I’m numb now, like I can’t comprehend what just happened. My mind refuses to let me, I can hear someone crying but it’s not Lilli. I’m confused until I realize the wailing is coming from me: I’m the one crying like a baby. I attempt to pull myself together, and once I have a sense of purpose it replaces most of my fear. I mumble something about needing a moment alone and walk to the edge of the camp. They don’t follow me, surprisingly and after a few minutes I leave. I follow the sound of whistling and find them. They’re tied up, back to back in front of a ramshackle cabin. A man is cooking something inside and talking to them the entire time. I hurry out, shoes crunching on the gravel as I hurr y to them. Taylor’s eyes widen, and he glances at the house worriedly. He tells me shouldn't’t be there, I retort that I already am so there’s no point in telling me shouldn't’t. Natasha hasn’t said anything the entire time I’m there. Tay’s pocketknife fell out of his pocket, I scoop it off the ground and run back to the trees. The man comes out of the house and doesn’t notice the missing knife. I take it as a good sign and when he goes back inside I hurry back to my friends’ sides. I find ropes and start to cut them, hoping that I’m cutting Tay loose. Tasha rolls her shoulders and gets up. The man is still inside, but I can hear that his voice is getting closer. Taylor is still tied up and I start frantically cutting at the ropes. He pushes me away with his shoulder. The man is at the door and has started yelling. I pause for a moment, and he throws a knife. I dive at the ground and it hits Natasha. She yells in pain, and I run to her. I pull the knife o ut of her leg and throw it back at him, so we can have a small head start.

“Hey, Sandra,” Tash nudges me and draws me out of my reverie, “Are you alright?” I stare at her incredulously, like she’s lost her mind. I’m not positive she hasn’t.

“Alright, alright?!?” Before I can stop myself I’m practically screeching at her, “Why in the world would I be alright?! What would make you expect me to be ‘alright’, what would give you the slightest idea that I’m ‘alright’?!!?” My group of friends is staring at me in shock, but I’ve already started exploding and there’s no stopping it now. “My boyfriend is being held captive by a psycho; I just saved my best friend,” You can hear the quotation marks in my voice, “who was sneaking off with my boyfriend. Oh, and my best friend has a knife wound in her leg. And I didn’t even help my boyfriend escape: Tay’s still back there in that clearing with that monster. So, yeah, I’m alright, Natasha. Why wouldn’t I be?” I turn my back on their hurt and startled gazes and stomp away from the camp. I have no idea where I’m going before I get there. The stream we used as a path glistens in the moonlight on the ground beside me and I sink down onto a rock dipping my fingers into the icy water. I know I could follow it all the way to the clearing, get in my truck and drive somewhere to ask for help. The group is still here and the idea seems amazing, like there’s no way it could go wrong. As long as the main group is here surely he won't notice that one person is missing. I get up and start walking in the direction of our cars and before I know it I’m running. My feet fall quietly and in about fifteen minutes I’m there. My legs are aching but I hurry into the clearing past the trees where the cars should be. I sink to my knees in shock at the sight of them. They’ve been destroyed; tires slashed, parts strewn about, windows shattered. I tremble, doubting if we’ll ever make it.

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