|Writing done by KristinGyaru.|
She sat on the floor, cross-legged and eyes watering, passing the rolled-up narcotic in her fingers to the dark-haired man beside her. He, in a similar fashion, sat on the floor, cross-legged, taking back the smoke from the dirty white rolled-up joint. He coughed as he passed the joint on. She thought to herself, why am I here? Two years ago, she considered people who smoked drugs dirty. She'd never even heard the terms blunt and cross faded. Two terms that had become all too familiar to her now that she'd been talking to Skylar, Joshua and Clayton.
"Pass it, Jack," Skylar declared from the left hand side of Amie. Jack took another drag on the roll-up, passing it to Sky who snatched it. "That's the good stuff," she declared again.
As she offered it back to Amie, she rejected the offer, taking it and passing it to the dark-haired man with even darker eyes. The man passed it straight on. "I'll be right back, gotta go take a leak."
He disappeared into the forest, coughing a little as he went off. Moment passed before a loud scream echoed through the forest and Amie jumped up, trying to see what had happened. The same dark-haired man ran back to them, pale-white and scared. "What happened?" Josh yelled. "Tell me!" He screamed, pointing a finger at Rick. "You did it?" Rick shook his head. "Then what did? And who was it? Tell me!" The fury in Josh's eyes was immense.
"I-I saw something run, but..." Rick coughed. "I didn't do anything, I swear." Rick remained calm. Being the oldest of the group he was something of a father to them, clam and down-to-earth even in the most ravaging moments.
"We're on private land, idiot!" Josh looked at Skylar. "Grab my keys, get in the van and take everything." Looking back at Rick, he scowled. "You take me to where you think you saw something, because we'll be in mighty fine hell if they find out we've been growing drugs on private property." Josh picked up a torch from his feet, turning it on so he could see under the velvet-black sky.
They walked, the only sounds were the owls and the harsh crunch of branches. "It was through here..." the torch light dimmed. They jumped over a fence, and what they saw was horrifying. There was mounds of unearthed dirt, a stick crucifix and blood, everywhere. "What the..." Rick began to lose his cool. "Why did you never tell me about this place, Josh!" It seemed to be a rotten mass grave.
Josh looked away, about to puke. He took his phone out and hit record, zooming in on the grave, and keeping it recording as he walked away. Rick followed. "What was that?" Josh asked.
"I don't know," Rick said. "But something's coming," he pointed.
It had been a few days since Rick and Josh had gone missing. Amie hadn't been to school, work or even outside the house. Her mother had been out for the days, and the whole house seemed to be a hotbox of cannibis. The door bell rang, and she sat up, putting the white rolled-up joint down in the ashtray and putting it out. Something in her hoped it was Josh, or Rick.
As she stumbled down the stairs, she heard it ring again and then they pounded at the door. She pulled her dressing-gown over her and opened it, her eyes squinted a little when the sun hit her.
"Hello, ma'am, are you Amie-Leigh Hailes?" Her eyes widened and she coughed, standing up straight, attempting to at least look as thought she hadn't been smoking drugs.
"Yeah," She coughed briefly, opening the door more. "What is it?"
"Mind if we come in? We've recieved news on the missing persons case involving a Joshua Ryan and Rick Hadley." She nodded, moving out of the way and letting them in. They entered the kitchen, smelling stale air.
As they sat down, she opened a window and sat opposite them, picking up a half-drunk bottle of Coca-Cola and drinking some.
"As you may be aware, two of your friends or at least mutual friends went missing three days ago." She nodded. "This morning Joshua Ryan arrived in Sherrif County Police Station, and he was transferred back here." His partner took over.
"During questioning he refused to answer the majority of things we asked. But he named his friends, and you were one of them. He looked dazed and we believe he was the victim of an animal attack. His friend, Rick, still hasn't been found and Josh refuses to talk of him."
Amie was relieved that Josh was alive. "Where's Josh? Can I see him?"
The officer on the right looked around thirty and had a bit of stubble and dark eyes, possibly from spending the night on the case. His tie was loose around his neck and his entire outfit seemed asymetrical. The officer next to him was his opposite, young and youthful in looks with bright eyes, clean shaven and a neat outfit. The officer with the loose tie spoke up as he took a notepad and pen out of his pocket. "I'm Officer Troy, head of this case, and we can't tell you anything until we get some information from you. This is Detective Walter, he'll be taking over the case as of next week."
Troy smiled a little, rubbing his brow. Walter looked sternly at Amie. "Where were you, the night they went missing? What were you doing?"
Amie sat back. "We were in the forest. We weren't doing anything, we were camping."
Troy looked. "Our friend at the station says otherwise. He says you were on the Mccormwick Estate, smoking drugs? And that's when Rick and Joshua went off, and that's all we got from him." He coughed. "Maybe you could... enlighten us."
"Yeah, that's right. We were there, we were smoking drugs."
Troy jotted it down. "Because of the nature of this case, we're going to overlook that you kids were smoking drugs. We just want to know what time, if the Mccormwick's knew and what happened. We can't contact the family in question either, we just need to know what you saw."
There was a silence for a moment before Amie cleared her throat and responded. "Nothing. I saw nothing."
"We find that hard to believe."
"Look, we heard a scream, right? Rick went off to answer nature's call. Then we heard a scream. Rick came back."
"Was it Rick who did something?"
"No, he had no idea. He and Josh went back to check but," she paused. "We drove off. We haven't seen them since. Can I see him?"
Troy looked at her sternly. "I'm afraid not. He's been admitted to hospital for his injuries. When he's out, we'll let him know you asked."
As Josh walked down the steps slowly, Amie stood opposite, next to her black car. He trembled a tiny bit as he reached the floor, the harsh sunlight sinking into his black shirt provided by the police station. "There you are," she smiled, opening the car door for him. He got in, sitting in the seat and looking at the two Vente coffees from Starbucks with the logo emblazened on the mug brightly.She sat in the seat beside him.
"One of them is yours," she said, taking hers. The black-tinted windows rendering the car dimly-lit. Josh took the mug nearer to him, swirling the straw. "Tell me everything." She looked at him, and he looked at his mug.
"I don't know," he responded. Taking a sip, he continued to look down. "Rick went. She was there, man. I don't know who or what it was. But, it was there. We found a grave near the growing place, it was... morbid. Officers say they can't find it, but..." he took out a cell phone. "I have it all on tape." He laughed, putting the mug back into the holder. "And nobody else can take that away from me." Amie clutched the steering wheel, putting her car into motion.
"You know, Josh, you can tell me everything." Amie said, still focused on the road. He didn't reply. There was a certain kind-of silence. The silence that melted all other thoughts, because it rang so loud.
They reached Amie's house, which was only a mile, maybe, from the station. Josh followed Amie's lead into the house from the car. The whole house was filled with a vile, stagnant air from the cannibis, and none of the widows had been opened much. It smelled similar to the death of a small rodent. Josh sat down in his familiar corner of the sofa, sparking up the lighter that he'd picked up, bemused by its flame. "It stinks of pot, Amie." She nodded, walking to the sliding doors leading out to the unkempt garden with stone slabs and an unused pool. The air entered quickly, replacing the old toxic air with something fresher, however it took minutes for the clean air to bleed around the room.
"I've been smoking a lot, Josh." She admited, sitting opposite him and picking up a half-smoked joint, and re-lighting it with a purple lighter. "I couldn't handle it all, you know, you went missing. I felt it was my fault." She took a drag. "We left you. We didn't go back."
"You couldn't, it was far in where we were."
"But we shouldn't have gone, we shouldn't have let you go on your own." She rubbed her cheek. "We should have gone in together!"
"It's done, it's happened. Quit beating yourself up. At the end of the day... Rick's gone. I came out."
She sank back into the chair, pulling her knees upwards, taking a deep toke on the joint. "Where did Rick go?"
He was taken aback. There was a shine in his eye that was almost like tears. "I don't know. I don't where I was. I have no idea how the hell I got back. But there's something out there. Something... not human. Not like us, no, nothing like us."
She took a drag. "What do you mean?"
"It was strange. She, no... it didn't look anything like you, or me. Or Rick, or Skylar. It had a grey tint to it. It was horrible." He sobbed, recalling the night. "It wasn't from here. It only... adopted the forest... it's not like you or me. We can't ever go back there." He cried, leaning forward. "We can't!"
He slinked back, and Amie sat up, finishing the rolled-up joint between her fingers, placing it in an ash tray, then going to sit by him, holding his arm. "Look, we won't go back, but I want to know, Josh! Either way, where are you stopping tonight?"
Josh had lived with Rick for the past year, and now that Rick had gone it seemed like his current residency was gone to pot. "Here. I thought you'd just say okay." She nodded. "Yeah of course."