The Shadow Of Friendship

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The blood was gurgling. Pumping out of her and out onto the road, Theresa had just been hit by a bus. The road was empty, the street empty and Theresa breathed her last dying breath looking up at that clear blue sky as she exhaled her final breath. Her head slit open from the collision where her head had struck the side mirror of the speeding bus, and she now laid dead in a pool of her own blood. Spoiling her school uniform.

At the very same time as Theresa’s warm body started to cool in the middle of the deserted road. Her best friend and school mate Jon was off sick, at home with the flu, several blocks away across town. Bored and only just woken up from a fever induced sleep, he reached for his phone across the bed, grabbing it off his nightstand. He flicked through it checking his mail, & messages and seen a message from Theresa.

It read; ‘On my way over, get your ass out of bed. I’m bringing your homework from math.’

The message was sent seventeen minutes ago, Jon mumbled to himself as he scratched his head rubbing his face to get the sleep out of his eyes. Coughing and sitting up in bed, he flicked to his contacts and rang her. No answer.

He left a voice message; “Hey, where the hell are you? You should be here by now, don’t tell me you’re flaking out of me just because I’ve got a cold. Ring me when you get this.”

Back across town, in the road, Theresa’s eyes had begun to glaze over. A crow was standing next to her corpse pecking at her shoulder, and just then as the bird was about to peck a third time, her phone rang. And the bird cawed, jumping back and flapping its wings in fright.

Theresa’s phone lit up; ‘You have one new voice message.’

The crow cawed again pecking the phone. Flapping its dark wings over poor Theresa, and the black wells of the crow’s eyes lit up with a haze of blue. As the sirens came rushing down the street to rescue the now deceased young girl.

*

Several hours later, it was all the buzz around town. A young seventeen-year-old girl had died at the back of the school, on her way home from class from a reckless driver. Everyone in town traumatised, her parents demented with grief, teachers and friends in shock. And Jon, stood at his window with a lump in his throat – tears gliding down his cheek silently as he punched at the wall. His parent’s downstairs hands to their mouth as they listened on to their son’s screams.

A week later Theresa was buried. Jon didn’t go the funeral, he couldn’t. The pain still heavy in his heart. He wasn’t sleeping, eating, or studying. And nothing in the world could numb his anger at that driver, or at the last message he sent, a message of such callous nature. As if she wasn’t coming to visit because she had better things to do.

He couldn’t believe he had sent it, it tortured him knowing he thought so little of her in her last moments. He slapped himself across the side of the head, letting out a feeble moan as he fell back into bed. Holding his phone close looking at old pictures of her.

Caroline, Jon’s mum opened the door asking him to go to bed and try to get some sleep. He nodded and waved his arm at her in the dark of his room, turning away from the door, pulling the covers over his head. The door closed and his mum left him again. He drifted off uneasily into a light sleep catching a glimpse of a tree outside his window blowing, and a bird sitting idly on its leafless branches. Watching him.

A couple of hours later across town, in the dusk of night, everyone slept. And a lone bird flew across the clouded sky of autumn landing on a fresh grave, in the cemetery where the earth had been dug only a few hours earlier that day. The wind blew and the crow shivered turning its head to the gravestone gazing upon the engraved words on the stone.

‘Here lies Theresa Robbins, may she rest in peace.’

The crow hopped forward shuffling its feathers and pecked at the earth of the grave. And the ground rumbled in the moonlight. Another caw and another and Theresa reached up and rose from the grave. A hand broke free out of the muddy earth and the sky cleared, as the crow cawed once more.

Outside of the graveyard, a single car passed by its headlights gleaming across the fence of the cemetery. As a silhouette floated along the pathway up to the gate. And Jon stirred in his sleep, turning as he snored, pulling the covers further up as he felt the draft move along his bedroom floor. He awoke instantly, seeing the passing lights of street traffic move along his walls and the light of the moon on his door.

A tapping began on his window. A constant, light tapping on the glass of his window. He ignored it and shifted in bed. The crow stood on his window ledge tapping, and tapping, and tapping. He cursed and turned to meet the noise, catching a glimpse of the bird it cawed in thunderous joy and flapped its wings at him. He jumped up and shooed the bird away and stumbled back to bed falling back to sleep.

A few minutes passed and Jon was snoring again, dreaming of shadows and nightmares as the latch on his window slowly opened. And a strange fog clouded up his windows, a spectre outside in the cold night air traced a finger along the fogged up windows drawing a heart in the bottom right corner and a J in the middle of it. She called out.

“Jon. Jon. Jon?”

He was fast asleep. The spectre grew restless and knocked on the window, pleading to the sleeping boy. She pushed at it opening it and leaving a handprint on the latch, entering his room.

“Jon? Can I come in?”

He snorted as he snored.

And Theresa glided into his room landing softly on bare feet of the wooden floor. The cold winds were rising again and the breeze blew her white flowing dress and dark hair in the gloom. She tip-toed up to the foot of his bed and wiped her dry bloodied hands along the bottom of his covers. Her dark eyes, bloodshot & glassy and filled to breaking point with tears.

“I miss you, you dork.”

Her pale skin pimpled up as the sight of Jon gave her Goosebumps. She knelt down beside him and stroked his hair.

“I love you,” she said and left him, with a soft kiss on his warm cheeks.

When Jon awoke the next morning, he still felt her presence, but all that was left was a message on the window. And a bloodied handprint on the latch.

“Theresa?” He said.

As the crow cawed one last time.

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