Today’s June 26th.
My most detested day of the year.
Not because it’s so hot sweat forms patches on my back – that's just how summer is around here. Not because I have to resit a chemistry exam tomorrow – that's just my inability to learn anything.
This date marks a one-year anniversary of an event I wish so hard never happened. It was the last time I saw my best friend, Jane. It was a hot day, just like today, and we were desperate to do something rather than melt in the sun. Which is how we ended up in the cornfield a couple miles from her house. We walked as far as we could and started messing around, taking candid shots like all girls our age. It was the perfect day out with a best friend.
And then she disappeared.
Practically vanished into thin air, as cliché as that sounds.
In our small town, it was the case of the year. Countless search parties, police investigations... her parents even called a private detective. But nothing came of it.
I was questioned as well, obviously. I was the last person to see her, after all. It wasn’t much use of them, though, as my stupid low blood pressure made me black out at a crucial moment. When I came to, she was gone, only her backpack slumped by my side.
Sure, the police were suspicious, but what was there for them to do? There was no proof of anything. Besides, why would I hurt my best friend in the whole world? After a couple interrogations disguised as gathering information, they crossed me off the guilty list.
If only that was true.
I do miss Jane, almost too much. The school year was unbearable without her by my side, even worse than this hell-like heat. Before then, I was the not-so-bright, health-problem-ridden best friend of the girl on the honour roll. Now I’m just a friend of a girl who disappeared. I feel like some people silently blamed me for this. They were probably thinking it would’ve been better if it were me. I wouldn’t even be missed.
Jane would’ve made sure I was.
And I can’t even honour her name properly.
It’s as if I’m talking about a dead person. Well, one has to face the facts. I might not be too bright, but if someone’s declared missing for a year, there’s very little chance they’ll turn up. Alive, that is. But until the body is found, they assume otherwise, even if only for their own sanity.
In Jane’s case, they will never find the body.
There’s nothing left of it.
That thing seemed the type to like the bones.
I don’t even know when it came. Jane was bouncing around, striking poses between the corn – she was always more capable to handle the heat than me. I was slouched on the blanket, not moving a muscle, envying her energy.
That’s when she pointed at something ahead of us, and scream. I couldn’t see it properly, but I could surely hear it. The growling’s forever etched in my eardrums, like something from the depths of hell.
It stood there on all fours, growling at us. Only when Jane moved or made a sound did it seem to register her. Something in me clicked and I froze, curled up in a ball like a fetus. Jane, however, just wouldn’t stop shaking and screaming.
I should’ve told her to stop moving. I should’ve told her to stay quiet. But I just closed my eyes and stayed still. I stayed still through her horrified screams. I stayed that way when I could hear the sound of flesh being torn off her bones. I stayed that way when everything stopped and the silence fell.
I even stayed still when whatever mess that was left of her dropped right next to me. And when the thing dragged her away. I waited for what seemed like forever, then got up, my muscles in agony, and slowly found my way back in the darkness of the night. I found the police waiting on my door, and my parents crying out of joy that I made it home safe. To Jane’s parents, who were waiting for me to tell them where their child was.
How was I supposed to tell them? They never would’ve believed me.
But it’s all my fault. It’s my fault my best friend is dead. It’s my fault no one will ever know what happened to her.
There’s only one thing I can do to make up for it.
I’m not so bright, not so healthy, just a shadow of my best friend who disappeared. Forever.
No one would care if it happened to me.
I’m going for a walk in the cornfield. Maybe I’ll bounce around for a bit. Sing a song.
It’s such a hot day, after all.