For the past couple days I’ve been staying at a friend’s place, and although Jeremy and I were not close friends, eloping from the warm winters of Texas just sounded like a good opportunity for a few beers and other related substances.
I don’t know where Jeremy is when I awake, but he is not in the apartment. The last time we were together was a few hours ago before I passed out on the beanbag chair in the living area after finishing the last of the whiskey. There was a third person with us. I’ve forgotten his name, but I remember how he looks. And now I’m in a room with a lukewarm cup of coffee staring at the books and the clothes mangled about the floor. My eyes are still a little disoriented from the previous night. It appears I’m not as tolerant of alcohol as I once thought.
What exactly happened last night? I can’t say for sure, but I have a feeling something terrible happened to Jeremy. I remember yesterday. We had been inside this place all day, no fresh air or anything, and decided to wander out and about. My friend mentioned to me that there was a nature trail around and without much more thought into the matter we walked off towards it. It was a good few miles from the complex. We traveled through crippling construction and tagged gas stations before finding the trail’s entrance.
Trash littered the pathway of this makeshift forest. I thought at the time it was a little irritating and if I were an environmentalist, I probably would have been pissed off. We came to what looked like an ankle deep lake. Jeremy was the first to jump onto the rickety bridge connecting our side with the other, and I slowly followed. I wasn’t afraid of drowning, but I did think of the unknown possibilities of what might have been underneath the water.
I remember snapping a few pictures with my phone as Jeremy went ahead. I wanted to capture the broken glass feeling of the water as the trash distorted it. I hopped off the bridge and traveled a bit further into the brush. He was examining an oddly shaped well when I arrived. My foot trampled over a fairly new receipt amid the trash. I became unnerved when I realized the receipt read the current date and the items purchased were bullets and a scope. I examined the well; graffiti tags all over the concrete. At the corner of the stone monument was what seemed like a house arrest bracelet. I could see the blood dried over the item. I shuddered at the thought of what might be below the murky waters. It wasn’t long before we looked at each other and decided it was best to leave.
I dropped the receipt and started out back to the massive puddle. The grass rustled as we left. I turned around and saw a young pale man with a rifle in his hand. I also noticed the scope attached to it. There was silence between us. I remember our eyes locking, reading each other to see who was going to move first. My leg had twitched as our new guest decided to break the tension between us.
“So how’s the Jerm doing these days?” A smile traced across his lips. and they dove into one of those weird, long-distance-couple hugs that take a while. I said nothing, only watched the two as they talked for a moment about old times. Jeremy explained to me that the rifleman was an old friend of his, and that he escapes to the woods for hunting when he can. Tensions were eased but I still felt a little uneasy with the newcomer.
I began to notice something strange about them both as we made our exit from the woods. We made it back to the apartment. I became less tense as we had a few drinks. I noticed subtle cues between my friend and the stranger: slight touches on the arm creating sexual tension in the room. I remember nothing else. I blacked out after a whole day of drinking. Now I had awoken, alone in an empty room.
There’s something around my foot. It’s the bloody bracelet from the woods, its red light blipping regularly. It seems I’m now being monitored. Attached to my ankle is a small post-it note. The word, “Run!” plastered in red all over it.
Whoever we picked up yesterday is coming back. If not here then wherever else I might go. The door handle to the front is jiggling. I can hear the keys trying to wriggle the lock open. Mother Mary can’t hear my prayers now as I grab a bat left in the corner. I try to stay composed, silent as I hear the creaking of the apartment door opening. My hands grip tightly around the weapon. I lift the bat and bust out the window. I’m on the second floor of the building. Muffled footsteps grow closer to the room as I jump, hoping I hit the grass when I land.