Hey old friend. How's it been?
I suppose it's been a while hasn't it?
God, I still can't believe this is how you ended up. You were so brave too. So brave, and yet this happened.
I can remember it clear as day, too...
We all remember what happened that spring.
How could we ever forget...?
Once the long winter was over, during our 10th year in school.
You were so excited. You longed to play your games again around the small town we live in. Why did you have to love your games so much? This wouldn't have happened. I recall so very clearly what it was what you'd said too.
You had just come back from the church after morning mass, and you were bragging about something.
"You won't believe what I did this morning!" you boasted to our whole class. Mindy Sue seemed exceptionally interested. I know you were great friends with her. You shared your secrets with each other, you gossiped together. For her knowing that you were going to play one of your famous games again was more than enough to get her excited.
You went on. "Well, after mass concluded, I snuck up into the bell tower, right smack next to the bell, and I started to carve my name into the bell!"
We were all appalled by this, and you knew that. You knew that it was strictly forbidden to go into the bell tower and not ring it, and even worse to carve your name into it like you did!
This infuriated Manson especially. You remember the Mayor's kid. Destined to become the next Pastor of the town, and be second in command to his dear father. He scoffed at your claim and retorted, "How dare you! Why would you do such a thing and brag about it here?!"
"How about you go tell daddy and pray about it Manny?" he chuckled. Your responses to Manson always seemed to go like that. I know you weren't religious, but we never understood why you still mocked him for his beliefs.
He left anyway. You'd done your work, and you'd done it right.
You went on. "Anyway, I still haven't exactly finished it yet either..." your guilty smile was familiar to us. You'd always had that nasty habit of bragging about your games before you'd even gone through with them completely.
I spoke this time. "Are you going to leave it there? Or will you go back to finish it?" I shouldn't have asked that.
I still think you over reacted at that. It wasn't THAT big of a deal.
"Oh, you think I won't do it?!" You shouted. Your nostrils were flaring! I knew how stubborn you were, but I couldn't recall you ever being THAT angry about anything said about you!
"I'll go back there right now and finish it! You just wait and see!" and you stormed off from there.
Everyone was so excited. This was probably the baddest game you'd ever play in our little town. But I wasn't excited. I was scared. I didn't want to see you get in trouble for it.
I'm not sure if you really knew this... but I was following you that day.
I was waiting for you to do it, waiting to see how it'd turn out.
I watched as you climbed up into the bell tower from the front of the church. I was anxious as ever.
From a distance, I could see you engraving your title onto the bell. I had to hold back my urge to call you out to stop, knowing someone else would hear, and you would get into trouble.
Some time passed, and I saw the expression on your face change.
Before, you'd looked as if you were deep in thought, and as though you were working hard.
But then, a smug little grin made home where the previous look had housed itself. This wasn't just any smug grin. This was a smug grin that screamed satisfaction. You'd done it. Your name was located directly on the bell of the most sacred building in town.
Barely a second later, the bell rang. You hadn't begun to climb down yet. You were still up next to the bell for a split second.
You never had time to scream. It had just happened. And I witnessed it.
Not only was the image of my best friend disappearing from life filling my head, but also a question was occupying some space as well.
"How did the bell ring when it's no where near time for it to ring, and no one was there to pull the rope?!"
This caught other townsfolk's attention as well. Usually whenever the bell rings off schedule, it's their way of knowing something bad had happened.
In about thirty minutes, everyone was by the church, and we had to see if anyone was missing in case it really was an emergency.
Everyone began to panic when you never responded to if you were there.
All the kids in our class didn't say a thing on where he could be, or anything on the matter of the bell tower.
A search for you went on for close to two weeks, and then you were pronounced dead. No body was found, so they just made a memorial slab for you in the cemetery.
I'm surprised that during the search, no one at all asked me anything.
They didn't ask me if I saw you before hand.
They didn't ask me if I witnessed you fall from the bell tower when it rang...
...or if I dragged your body back to my house afterwards while my family was out. They didn't ask if I kept your corpse under my floor boards.
They didn't ask me anything.
So, of course they never found you.
You've been with your best friend this whole time.
And that's where you're going to be until everyone forgets about what you did at the top of the bell tower.
I just don't want you to get in trouble.
And now you won't.