The whirl of wind had subsides. Charlie was shaking, lying on the ground as she tried to keep from blacking out. She needed to make sure Weston was okay.
“Charlie!” Jasmine nearby was panicking, her hands rustling through the leaves until she found her phone. Her hands shaking, she struggled to find the flashlight app then crawled over to her friend. “Charlie, are you okay?”
“Um-hmmm.” Charlie pushed herself up.
“Weston!” Jasmine called. “Boner!”
“Boner?” Charlie asked as she stood.
“It was just supposed to be a joke.” Jasmine faltered. “You know, like how Weston grabbed you earlier. It was all just supposed to continue. Weston was pretending the light wasn’t working then Boner was going to jump out at us and then that wind…what was that?”
Charlie trembled, the thing she had seen move in the night, the reason she tried to protect her friends, was Boner. Her skin prickled as she thought again how this was all a prank, all for a joke.
She found Weston’s phone cracked but still working and walked away from her friend shining the light. A body lie against a tree, it was Weston. Calling to Jasmine, she ran over to him sliding to the ground. He moaned at her presence, trying to say something, barely able to keep her eyes open.
Charlie spoke to him, asking him questions, trying to keep him awake. Gently she felt around his hair until she felt the wet sticky substance. He had a gash at the very back of his head.
“Jasmine! Call for help! He’s bleeding.” Still holding light up to him she used her other hand to search his pants pockets until she found a pocket knife. Tearing a piece of cloth from her top she gently lifted his head and wrapped it up the best she could. “Stay awake West, please.” She spoke to him like she used to with ease. Before she had these feelings for him, before they started hanging out separately, back when she could go over to his house and hang out in the pool without feeling the need to ask.
“I’m sorry.” Weston grasped for her hand. “I wasn’t going to–”
“To do what?” Charlie asked with urgency as his eyes closed.
Charlie called out to him a few more times, shaking him gently. Jasmine wasn’t there anymore. The two of them were alone. She hadn’t realized she was crying not until she started calling out for help. Yelling for Jasmine then Boner remembering he was yet to be seen.
Bright lights filtered through the trees, deep voices shouting each other where to follow. Two men lifted him from her arms on a stretcher. Another helped them as they walked away. Jasmine helped Charlie up. Together, hand in hand, they walked out of the woods toward Jasmine’s back yard.
Lights from the ambulance lit up the dark night. Weston and Jasmine’s parents were both outside speaking to each other. Weston’s mom hovered over the men with the stretcher, her husband trying to pull her back.
Charlie’s gut was wrenching. She had to get away from here. Then she saw her parents car parking on the street. Both her parents, wearing their coats over pajama’s, came out of the car.
“Where is she!” Her fathers booming voice caused Charlie to shiver and she wondered if it was possible to run back home, jump in her bed and pretend like she never left.
“Charlie!” Her mother screamed out, running across the lawn. Her father was more reserved in the way he quickly strode over, looking everywhere then back at Charlie again and again like he had a twitch in his neck.
“I’m so sorry!”
“It was all my fault Mr. DeLaurente.” Jasmin spoke up.
“Get in the car!” Charlie’s father motioned, still not looking at anyone in particular as he controlled his tone.
Charlie was in the car before she could tell Weston’s parents how unbelievably sorry she was. When they got home her father was so angry he didn’t even look at Charlie. Instead he walked straight up to his room and slammed the door.
“How bad is it?” Charlie managed to ask. There wasn’t any punishment possible her parents could give to her that she didn’t deserve. If Weston wasn’t okay she wouldn’t care if she was locked in the basement to become nothing.
“Did you see anything out there?” Her mother’s voice was still panicked, hands shaking as she touched her daughters shoulders.
“It was really dark. The boys were playing a prank or something, I think.”
“A prank?” Her mothers brow went up, creasing as she bit down on her lower lip.
“Everyone just really wanted to go to a party and I thought maybe this once. So we went on our way and then the boys were playing some sort of prank. But mom, I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t know. I thought I saw something. And I don’t know I guess it was Boner.” She bit her lip wondering where Boner had been.
“Mom I have to make a phone call.”
Unedited by B. Mauritz