It had been a very stressful day for Zach, from the beginning straight to the current moment. He had forgotten his school bag at home, and arrived at school to only then have noticed. He then proceeded to fail half of his classes for that day (because he had forgotten his bag). To top it off, he had a gigantic English assignment due the next day, as well as a horrendous amount of homework. As he was driving home with his friend Exhavior whom he had just picked up, he was thinking back on the day. “Maybe if I had actually gotten up on time instead of laying in bed pretending to get the girl of my dreams, then I would have gotten my school bag on the way out of the door”. He pondered that thought for a moment and then dismissed it. For one, he was never going to get Kenzie. For two, he was so stressed about school that he had been in too much of a rush and forgotten his bag. “It’s all the dang teachers,” he thought. “If they didn’t assign so much work then I would be fine, and I wouldn’t have forgotten my bag”. He shoved his fist into the air “Yeah! And then I wouldn’t have failed half of my classes for the day.” He glanced over at Exhavior to make sure that he was still, in fact, asleep like he had been for the last fifteen minutes. He then frowned. “No, it’s not the teacher’s fault.”
Because Zach had become so enveloped in his thoughts, he failed to see the blob of a figure jump out in front of his car. All that could be heard was the sound of something rather large being impacted and then tumbling over the car. Zach immediately hit the brakes and jumped out, frantically searching for what he had hit. It was at the moment that he saw the figure laying off to the side of the road and ran to it.
“Oh gosh, oh gosh, oh gosh!” he whispered to himself. As soon as he was close enough to get a good look he immediately recognized what-and who he had hit.
A deadly silence had settled over the highway as Zach leaned down and frantically began looking for a pulse, or any sign that Daniel might be alive. It was then that he noticed Daniel smelled awfully of liquor. Not only that, but he was covered in vomit. Unphased, Zach then opened Daniel’s mouth and started CPR.
“Come on, come on!” Zach screamed as he continuously pounded on Daniel’s chest. All that Exhavior could do was watch, horrified, as the events unfolded. Thirty minutes had passed before Zach lost hope and slumped beside Daniel’s body, weeping. “Why didn’t I see him on the side of the road?” he angrily thought.
“Why did you jump in front of my car?” he cried out. Zach and Exhavior jumped in fright when they saw headlights topping the hill a mile from where they sat. Zach was now the one who watched, alarmed, as Exhavior snatched up Daniel’s arms and started dragging him to the tree line.
“They can’t see the body, or else they will know that you killed him,” Exhavior yelled at Zach as he shoved him back towards the tree lining.
Zach and Exhavior crouched in the leaves and twigs that littered the tree lining and watched as the car slowed down near theirs but then proceeded to pass on without stopping.
“Okay, good,” Exhavior whispered.
“What are you doing, man?” Zach yelled at Exhavior, pointing to Daniel’s body.
“We have to hide the body, or else you will go to jail for killing him,” Exhavior said in a haunted voice.
“I didn’t kill him. He was drunk and jumped in front of the car!” Zach shot back.
“Sure, that’s what happened. And this just so happens to be the kid that beat you up your entire middle school and half of high school?” Exhavior replied snidely.
“We’ll just throw him into the river that runs along the back of these trees,” Exhavior said, his voice softer now. Exhavior comfortingly placed a hand on Zach’s shoulder.
“Dude, it’s either we hide him, or you are going to prison, the big boy house. Not only did you run him over, but you have now dragged his body away from the site. Sounds like a murder charge to me,” Exhavior said. Zach looked at him in astonishment and stuttered
“I-I didn’t move his body. You did!”
Exhavior smiled coyly and whispered, “And who do you think they will believe? The person who killed him, or an innocent bystander?” Exhavior’s threat hung heavily in the air as he started to drag Daniel’s body further into the trees. Zach, not knowing what to do, followed him further and further in.
An hour later, they arrived at the river. The water level wasn’t near as high as it had been in the winter and early spring.
“The water is low, but it will do. Throw him into the stream, Zach,” instructed Exhavior.
Zach looked at him dumbly and hoarsely whispered, “Throw him in?”
“Well, yeah. Throw him in!” exclaimed Exhavior. “What else would we be doing, throwing him a farewell party?” Exhavior sarcastically added. Zach slowly bent over and lightly tugged on Daniel’s arms. “You are so weak. Move over,” Exhavior said as he shoved Zach over and pulled Daniel onto the bank. “Alright, now push him into the water,” Exhavior instructed Zach.
Zach slowly approached Daniel’s body and gave it a light shove, sending it into the water to be carried away with the current heading into the ocean.
“If you’re lucky, the sharks will eat him before anyone realizes he is missing.” Exhavior said in a very light-hearted voice as he started the hike back to the car. “Are you coming, or what?” he called back over his shoulder. He started a light jog back to the car. As they ran, Zach couldn’t help but think about how he had just brutally murdered one of his classmates. “What if he was still alive, and I pushed him into the water ending any chance of him surviving?” he thought to himself.
They quickly arrived at the car and climbed in. They sat in silence a moment before Zach turned to Exhavior and asked, “What am I going to say about my car?”
“Just say that you hit a deer. It’ll be fine,” Exhavior responded. Zach just merely nodded his head and started driving to his house. They rode in silence all the way.
As they arrived, Exhavior turned to Zach and said, “I’m going to throw my stuff down in your room and then go take a shower.” Just as planned, Exhavior went to take his shower and Zach was left alone in his room. He had once again started replaying the events that had all just so suddenly taken place when his thoughts were abruptly interrupted by a high-pitched ring tone. He turned and instinctively answered the phone without thinking. At first, there was dead silence on the other end.
Then, in a very quiet whisper, he could hear, “You need to get out of there. He has taken this all too far.” The call had ended before Zach could even register what had been said. He was still just standing there with the phone to his ear.
“I knew they would chicken out and get to you.” Zach spun around quickly and was face to face with Exhavior. That is when Zach heard the police sirens, and then people banging down his door, along with feeling himself being shoved to the ground and being handcuffed.
From what seemed a different time dimension you could hear Exhavior giving details about his version of what had happened to Daniel. “I was woken up when Zach swerved off the side of the road and slammed into Daniel. Then like a madman he jumped out of the car and started dragging his body off into the woods.” Exhavior’s voice drifted away as Zach was being led to the police car. And it was at that moment that he understood it was all a set up. From the very beginning it had all been planned out, and he had been played like putty. And he knew that no one would ever believe him. Not when he was being accused of murdering the quarterback and valedictorian of his senior class. No, especially not because he was the second string quarterback and salutatorian.