I lay there on my bed, letting my mind fall victim to a plague of sickening thoughts of the past month. Why did this have to happen to me? No, why did it have to happen to Jordan? He never did anything to deserve being pulled into such a mess. I've got nothing going for me; so why not me? Why Jordan? My mom would probably be gone for the rest of the day, so I had the house to myself as I let these thoughts occupy my mind.
I've never really been the kind of person to hang out with a lot of people, but then again, I haven't really had many friends to begin with. Out of the small list of friends I did have, Jordan was the only one I trusted and was closest to. We didn't have much in common. I came from a dysfunctional family, whereas he came from a well-doing and caring family. My parents were divorced, and rather neglectful towards me. My dad hated me, despite hardly being around to see me. My parents were always fighting with each other, while Jordan's parents were loving and almost the polar opposite of mine. Jordan even had better luck in his social life than I did; he was well known at school and always showed kindness towards others. He was a 4.0 student and at the top of our class. I was the kid who got left at the back of the crowd, remaining unnoticed by the others. As different as we were, Jordan and I were always there for each other; we were practically as close as brothers.
My story starts on a regular afternoon: hanging out with Jordan around town and walking to the park. We liked to talk about girls, video games, sports, and we often threw out an odd joke or two. Time flew by pretty fast, and Jordan realized it was getting late. I checked my watch to see that it was nearly nine in the evening. Jordan was worried that his parents would be concerned about the time. My mom wouldn't even notice I was gone, that is, if she was even home. We started back to Jordan's house, and he told me I could spend the night since it was pretty late already. He said his parents probably wouldn't mind. We could feel the cold wind hitting us in the face, so we zipped up our jackets and jammed our hands into our pockets and walked on.
Jordan's street was nearly a block or two away by now. He suddenly stopped walking and turned to face the dark alleyway to our left. He stood there frozen, staring blankly into the darkness in front of him. I glanced down the alley but saw nothing. He had once tried to scare me by doing something similar, but this time there was something strange about him. "Yeah, nice try Jordan. It ain't gonna work this time, ya dick." He didn't budge. I started to feel worried, and looked around to see if anyone was following us. "Jordan, you alright...?" I asked. Still no response. He stood there in a paralyzed position. His view was fixated on something, as if some entity in the darkness was staring back at him. I took another look down the alley. I could see the road on the other side lit by the moonlight, but the center was filled with an eerie darkness. I thought there might have been a wild animal of some sort, and Jordan caught a glance of the glow in its eyes. I still saw nothing, and I didn't want to get any closer. "Jordan... Stop it man, this isn't funny anymore," I said. No reply. I gave him a solid smack to the face and he came around, which gave me the biggest sigh of relief. "I thought there was something wrong. Don't scare me like that again.", I said.
He looked at me with confusion. "Scare you like what?" he questioned.
"You stood there staring blankly into space like you had gone mental," I said.
"I must have zoned out, but whatever. Let's get moving, or we'll be even later," he replied, then remained silent for the rest of the walk. I couldn't help but look behind me every few minutes, seeing if we were being watched or followed by whatever he might have seen in the alleyway.
We moved onwards until reaching his house. His mother and his dog, Axle, greeted us at the door. When got inside, both of his parents questioned him on his lateness. "We lost track of time, but we're all right", Jordan explained. I headed up to his bedroom while he asked his parents if I could stay the night. As I waited alone, my mind started to flood with questions about what happened earlier. Jordan came up the stairs a few moments later carrying an inflatable mattress and some blankets for me to sleep on. It was about 10pm and we both got into our beds and fell fast asleep.
We woke up the next morning at 7:30, half an hour before school started. We rushed to get ready, skipping showers and breakfast, and ran out the door. On our way to school, I noticed something different about Jordan just by looking at him. He seemed quieter than usual, and slightly bewildered. "What's up, Jordan? You look like you're about to burst out and cry like a little girl!", I jokingly prodded. Normally he would laugh at something like this, but there wasn't the slightest change in his expression. He solemnly said, "Nothing's the matter. I would like to walk in peace for once without having to listen to you." His gaze remained in front of him; he made no effort to make eye contact with me. He had never snapped at me like that before - not to me; not to anyone. I tried not to dwell on it too much, but I knew something had changed in him and something definitely was wrong.
Once we had gotten to school it was 9:12am so we went to the reception area to get a late pass. We would usually make something up if we were ever late... Alarm clock broke, or maybe we missed or caught the wrong bus, but this time we just took our late slips without giving an excuse. We got to class, turned our late slips over to the teacher, and took our seats. Everything was going fine so far. I turned and noticed Jordan staring blankly into space again, just like last night. He turned towards me with that damned blank expression on his face again. I tried to break his stare by waving my hand in front of him, but he didn't move an inch. I moved back and forth; he moved with me, not letting his eyes break contact with mine. Then it happened. His cold, indifferent expression turned into a menacing, sadistic grin. He was staring directly into my mind, filling me with an extreme feeling of fear and panic. The room faded away; the students, teacher, desks, windows, that goddamn flickering fluorescent light at the front of the class. They faded into darkness and all that was left was Jordan, his eyes boring straight into my very being. I felt numb all over, and began to sweat. It was a cold, nervous sweat, and I began to shake as adrenaline rushed through my body. Then I realized what was wrong. This wasn't Jordan I was looking at. This thing, whatever it was, was wearing Jordan as clothing. I was waiting for the flesh of his face to tear open along the seams, for his body to burst open under the sheer pressure of what was living inside.
A dull hum began to drone in my ear, becoming louder and sharper until it became a well defined, repetitive ring. Something moved in the darkness, and walls began to emerge from a dense fog and close in on us. The movement in the distance became our classmates - rustling through their backpacks and beginning to stand up. I recognized the ringing as the sound of the school bell. Jordan, or whatever this thing was, snapped back to the center of his seat and faced the front of the class, wearing a calm expression on his face. I tried to look around, but my body was still tense and paralyzed by fear. Didn't anyone else notice what just happened? Jordan stood up and walked out of my vision, leaving me staring at the window behind where he was sitting. "Hey man, what's the matter? Class is over, let's go eat lunch," he said from behind me.
I don't know how long I sat there staring at the window, watching blurred objects move outside. The shock slowly dissipated and I looked down at my hands. They were shaking, and my palms were cold and sweaty. I stood up slowly, still feeling light headed. I took a moment to look around the classroom; it was empty. The teacher had already wiped the board and left. I walked out of the room and looked both ways down the hallway. Jordan was nowhere in sight. I began to grow anxious as I walked along the corridor. Who or what was this being that possessed my best friend? I refused to accept that Jordan was consciously choosing to act like this. One moment he's the person I have known for years, and the next, I find myself fixed on the cold, uncaring eyes of another being. It made me sick just thinking about it.
I walked out of the main building and felt the warm sun on my face. A cool, refreshing breeze passed by, and I took a moment before continuing to the lunch area. I sat down at a bench, trying to forget about earlier, and wondered where Jordan was. He came out of the office building carrying a lunch box. He sat down opposite me. "My mom came by to drop off a lunch box. Let's see what we got here," he said, as he opened the box. He pulled out two subway sandwiches and two cans of sprite. "Here's yours, man," he handed me my sandwich and soda, "Everything alright? You look a bit pale." I opened the pop can and took a long drink, which alleviated the uneasiness in my stomach. I opened the paper wrapping around the sandwich and took a bite. A mass of lettuce, grated carrots, and a meatball held together by a blob of melted Swiss cheese fell out of the side of the sandwich. It landed on the paper wrapping on the table and thankfully not in my lap. Jordan burst into laughter, pointing at my face. I had smeared a good amount of mayonnaise across my upper lip and chin, attempting to save the contents of the sandwich. I took a napkin from in the lunch box and wiped my face. Seeing him laugh made me feel that the worst had passed and things were taking a turn for the better.
We finished our lunch and tossed the paper wrappers and tin cans in the rubbish bin. As we turned to walk out of the lunch area, Christian, one of our classmates, stood up from a bench near us and lost his balance. One foot remained in contact with the ground as he spun around, arms outstretched, attempting to grab on to whatever he could use to stabilize himself. He latched onto the sleeve of Jordan's jacket, pulling them both down to the ground. While Christian struggled to gain his bearings, I reached down to give Jordan a hand. He stood up on his own and brushed off his pants, leaving me with an empty outstretched hand. He started walking away from where we stood, not saying a word. I felt unnerved by his silence. "Oh god, it's happening again", I thought. "I'll be just a moment dude," he said as he turned around to look towards me before entering the restroom. I sat back down at the bench and waited for him. Looking over to my right, I saw that Christian had managed to make it back on his feet. He headed off towards the seniors' common room. I snickered to myself at the thought of getting in there. What a joke, me, the unpopular kid being let into the common room.
A few minutes passed by and Jordan still hadn't returned. I stood up and headed towards the restroom to check on him. I thought of calling out his name, but figured it would be awkward with others standing around. No one was at the urinals, so I checked the stalls. They were all empty. Jordan must have slipped out when I wasn't looking, but why hadn't he come back to the tables? I walked back outside and looked around, finding only a group of preppy students chatting with each other, but no Jordan. I felt nervous as I wondered where he might have gone and what he could be doing. I heard a scream from the hallway to the right, and Jordan's girlfriend came running out crying with two of her friends following her. I ran down the hallway and saw the doors to the common room closing shut. This wasn't good.
I opened the doors and was stunned by what I saw. Christian was lying on the floor, knocked unconscious, with a small pool of blood forming under his head. Jordan knelt above him, relentlessly driving his fist into the side of his classmate's head. I looked up from the unconscious body being senselessly beaten, and every muscle in my body froze. Instead of seeing a furious look on his face, I instead witnessed the familiar malevolent grin accompanied by a gleeful laugh. I didn't want to believe what I was seeing. I turned around and reached for the door, wanting no more of this. My hand missed and I fell to the ground, my vision blurring around me. "Why won't this just all go away?" That was my last conscious thought before I blacked out completely.
I woke up on a bed in the infirmary. The nurse must have heard me moving and came over to check on me. After making sure that I was alright, she said I was better off than the other boy. "The other boy...?" I thought, "Oh, that's right... it was Christian." What happened slowly came back to me. I asked what happened to him. The nurse said that the fight was broken up by a teacher and an ambulance was called to take Christian to the hospital. After the nurse checked me out of the office, I looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it had been an hour since school was released. I walked home, this time by myself.
It had been three weeks since that incident. Jordan returned from his suspension a week ago, and things seemed to have return back to normal, apart from the occasional rumor about the fight. I went over to Jordan's house on Sunday. I mentioned that Christian was due back from recuperation the next day, but we didn't talk about the fight between the two of them. When I arrived at school that Monday, I saw Christian getting dropped off by his dad. He still had a lot of bruising and was wearing a neck brace and a few small bandages. Jorden didn't show up though, most likely wanting to avoid Christian on his first day back.
The bell rang and sounded the start of the first period. Students started to head towards their respective classrooms. I was on my way to English when I noticed a group of people forming around a section of lockers. There were a few faculty members trying to keep students at a distance from what ever happened. "Another fight?" I thought. I hadn't heard anything going on before, though. I got closer to the crowd, but couldn't make out what was going on.
I turned around in the opposite direction and saw Christian sitting on a bench with a teacher kneeling in front of him holding him reassuringly by his shoulders. He had a catatonic look on his face, and I heard the teacher speaking softly in a calm voice to him. I turned back and tried bending down to see if I could get a glimpse of what happened, but the area was still too cluttered with people. I got a classmate's attention from in the crowd and asked him what happened. "Someone broke into Christian's locker and did some real fucked up shit", he responded. I pulled him out of the crowd and looked him in the face, "Tell me exactly what happened." "I don't know man, I only saw it for a moment, alright? Someone shoved a bunch of bloody animal parts and shit in his locker. Shit... man, it's fucked up," he said as he frantically stumbled out of the crowd and away to a classroom.
Think of how this all sounds: Your best friend begins acting possessed, then has a psychotic breakdown and bludgeons a classmates face to a bloody mess. He ends up absent on the day that they find a pile of bloody, dissected animal bits in the locker of said classmate. I took off out of the school gates without hesitation, going straight for Jordan's house. I ignored the burning in my legs as I ran, thinking only of what had happened. I had no clear idea as to why I was going to Jordan's, but something clicked in my mind and I immediately felt that he had something to do with the gory mess in the locker.
I was getting close. I ran up the dirt path from the road towards his house. The front door was left wide open. Anxiety struck me like a brick wall as I walked closer, becoming increasingly distressed. I took a step through the doorway and heard a splash under my foot as it landed on the wood floor. I looked down to see that I had plunged my foot into a puddle of blood. My tongue caught in the back of my throat and my heart pounded faster. The puddle lead across the floor into the kitchen. Part of me wanted to run away that very instant, but I continued to walk slowly towards the kitchen, following the dark red path. The cutlery drawer was pulled out and the handle and knives were streaked with blood. I grabbed a knife, fearing what monster may be lurking in the house. The path of blood lead out of the kitchen through another door into the hallway. As I followed it to the base of the staircase, a nauseating stench in the house became more apparent. I held the knife out in front of me with both hands, turning around to see if anyone was there. The house was silent and I stood there for about a minute. As I turned back to face the staircase, there was a loud thud at my feet, and something warm splattered against my face. There at my feet was a decapitated, skinned animal carcass, about the size of a dog; it was still wet with blood. I heaved, but nothing came out.
I saw movement at the top of the stairs and quickly looked up. A figure stood there, silhouetted by the glare from the window behind it. It was like nothing I've seen before. It at pointy ears sticking out of the top of its head, and its long arms extended down to its feet. It just stood there, watching me. I couldn't manage to take my gaze off of it, nor could I move. I was paralyzed, and began to lose sense of time. I don't know how long I stood there staring at it. Eventually, my eyes adjusted to the brightness from the window. I could start to make out distinct features of this thing that stood before me. Its arms had more joints than a regular human's, and appeared to limply dangle there as if the creature made no effort to use them. It had the muzzle of a dog, and its upper part was covered in animal fur. I was still clueless as to what it was. My eyes soon became completely adjusted to the lighting, and I gradually became filled with horror. This wasn't some sort of otherworldly beast. No, it was assembled in this world. I could see the seams of torn flesh where one arm met with another - the clear difference in skin tone. I had no interest in wondering where the additional limbs came from. The furry hide of a canine was draped over the front of this thing's bare human chest. Blood dripped down from it until it reached a pair of dark-red stained jeans. I recognized the face of what was once the dog named Axle, now positioned over this thing's face as some sort of a mask.
I knew who it was, but there was no way I would ever accept it; I couldn't. I began to panic, and this must have also been noticed by the beast. It started to make a growling sound at me, and arched its back, preparing to pounce on its prey. I was that prey. I broke eye contact with it and realized I was still gripping the knife that I took from the kitchen. The beast leaped from the top of the stairs, and I raised my arms. There was gashing sound and I was knocked back on the ground; the weight of this monster was bearing down on me. The mask made out of Axle's head became detached from the wearer's face, and I could see clearly now that it was Jordan. I felt a warm liquid run over my hands. His body slowly became relaxed and he made no effort to fight back. I looked down to see the knife penetrating Jordan's gut. I looked back at his face. It was Jordan looking at me this time, not the monster that had possessed him before. He smiled at me - not a sadistic grin, but a calm smile of relief. His eyes slowly closed and he lay his head on my chest, becoming completely motionless. The blood was still rushing over my hands. I didn't know what was going on anymore, but I couldn't stand the pressure. I pushed the body off of me, leaving the knife where it had entered his abdomen. I walked out of the house in a state of pure shock. It was as if all that happened suddenly vanished from my mind, and my only initiative was to begin walking to my house.
I got home and took off my blood soaked clothes, then hopped in the shower. I watched Jordan's blood wash off of my body and flow down into the drain. After I got out of the shower, I put on a clean pair of clothes and threw my bloody ones into the trash can. I walked out of the bathroom and down the hallway towards the room, turning the message machine on by habit as I passed by it. I froze in the doorway of my room when Jordan's voice began to play on the machine: "Hey, I know you just left, but I'm glad you came over to visit. I'll be by your place tomorrow, maybe around 5 in the afternoon." The machine beeped, and the automated voice announced that the message was sent around 8pm last night. I must have been on my way back home from Jordan's house when he called. I glanced over at the clock. It was 4:58pm; two minutes away from when he said he'd be by. I sat back on my bed, blocking the violent memories of what had happened, retaining only the thought that Jordan wouldn't be coming back. I wanted to cry, but I didn't have the energy to. I stared at the clock on the wall, watching the second hand tick closer to the next minute. I began to immerse myself in thoughts of hanging out with Jordan. We were at the park, laughing at something; maybe a stupid joke that one of us told. As the minute hand reached closer to the hour, the dream world where Jordan was still alive faded away as I drifted back to this sad and lonely reality.
Here I am now, at the end of my story. I lay here alone in my house, my best friend wiped from my life. What now? Who will I hang out with over the weekends? I have no one that I can trust to tell my secrets to anymore; no one to care enough to listen to what I have to say. I close my eyes and roll over, hoping that when I wake, this will all have just been a nightmare.
There's suddenly a loud, powerful slam from the front door. The sound resonates down the hallway and through the walls of the house. This is followed by a slow scratching sound along the wall, getting closer and closer to my bedroom door...