Jenny‘s brain has always been like a database for all sorts of information – from her aunt‘s friend‘s birthday to the exact casualty of some random battle in history class. Sometimes it was useful, but more often than not, she considered it more of a curse than a blessing. When you‘re surrounded by people with the attention span of a goldfish, it‘s hard not to look like an insufferable know-it-all. And yet at times, she‘d think to herself – how flaky can a person be?
It‘s also why people questioned why Sarah was her best friend, since she was the epitome of irresponsibly. Losing money, keys, and dignity more times than one could count, she would‘ve annoyed Jenny if not for their year-long friendship, dating pretty much back to nursery school. Besides, she had many redeeming qualities, which sometimes even made Jenny forget the shortcomings.
And yet, when Sarah was late to their Friday film night, she couldn‘t help but sigh while unpacking a bag of popcorn. They‘ve been doing this every month at 8 pm since forever, but Jenny still had to remind her in advance every time, and she'd still be late.
When the doorbell finally rang – way too frantically for her taste – Jenny was just putting the popcorn into the microwave. She pressed the button and went to let Sarah in.
‘Alright, I’m coming!’, she shouted and turned on the microwave. She walked to the door and looked through the peephole, which caused her to back away in shock. She looked again and was met with a disturbing visual of Sarah – hair messed up, face brighter than a traffic light, and completely out of breath. Quickly, she unlocked the door.
‘The hell happened to you?’, Sarah collapsed against the wall and raised a finger while regaining her breath. Jenny got her a glass of water, which she downed in one gulp. After wiping her mouth off excess drops, she finally spoke.
‘So, I forgot to ask mum for money for a taxi. I walked for a few blocks and kept noticing this guy just behind me. I thought I was imagining it, but he looked... weird. So, I started walking faster, and he did as well. Still, I thought it was a coincidence, but even after I made some turns he was still there. So, I started running, and I lost him. I think’, just as she finished, the microwave beeped, the smell of popcorn filling up the apartment.
‘I’m gonna get these. Lock the door and take your shoes off, okay? Mum just mopped this morning’, Jenny went into the kitchen as Sarah obediently kicked the worn-down sneakers off her feet, still catching a breath.
While pouring steaming-hot popcorn in a bowl, Jenny couldn’t help but think if there was a chance Sarah made the whole thing up and then scolded herself immediately. While a flake, Sarah wasn’t known for a liar. Besides, the genuine fear on her face would’ve been a challenge for the greatest actor in the world.
‘So, what are we watching tonight?’, Sarah walked into the kitchen. By the look on Jenny’s face, she realized she should know this. ‘We agreed on something scary, didn’t we?’
‘Halloween. The original one, obviously’, Jenny took as many snacks as she could carry in two arms. ‘Can you pick up the beers, please?’
Soon enough, the girls were settled in comfortably on the sofa, blasting the horror classic at full volume, just for the extra kicks. Just as the action finally kicked off, Jenny had to pause the film to get more popcorn and beer.
She got the drinks out of the fridge and went to get a bottle opener. Her eye caught something, which then tugged on her brain cells as if something wasn’t right. It took her a minute, but when she realized what it was, she froze dead in her tracks.
Recently her mum got a new set of knives for the kitchen. Thirteen, to be exact. Now as she was looking at them, she could only count twelve, the biggest one missing. Anyone else would shrug it off, thinking it’s in the dishwasher, or in one of the drawers. But not Jenny.
After all, she always had a good memory.
‘Sarah’, she shouted.
‘Did you lock the door?’