It was 3 A.M. and my cell phone on my bed side table had been relentlessly ringing and vibrating for the past hour. I finally answered. A low, raspy female voice came on the line before I could even say a word.
“…she is gone.”
I thought to myself for a second and realized that it was my best friend’s mom. My heart fell into the pit of my stomach and my eyes welled up with tears; gone? I was angry and shaken.
“What do you mean GONE?!” Mila’s mom could barely hold herself together long enough to tell me what happened. She was absolutely hysterical.
“I don’t know what I did wrong! I always loved her and supported her! Did I miss something? Am I a bad mother? How could I not have known that she wanted t-to… kill herself?!” I paused for a moment, crying harder than I’ve ever cried in my life because now I know that my best friend of seventeen years committed suicide.
Weeks had passed by and life was just getting back to normal — or so it seemed. Senior year still sucked and everyone had seemingly forgotten about their dead classmate. How could anyone forget about something so tragic? Life never slows down for anything, not even a f*****g tragedy, and that has got to be the worst part about living.
It was the weekend and I was living large while my parents enjoyed a date night out, except… I was stuck at home doing homework — what a buzz kill. I rolled over to my laptop and clicked on Spotify to break the silence. My cell phone started to ring — unknown number. I didn’t answer because I don’t usually like to answer unknown calls. I went downstairs to make a snack and when I came back up, five missed calls from this unknown number.
“What the hell, man! At least leave a voicemail,” I shouted. Not even 2 seconds after I had shouted my phone seemed to have rang the loudest it had ever rang. I hesitated to pick up, but I slid over the green answer button anyways, speaking softly.
“…hello?” No answer.
“Hello? Who is this?” Still no answer.
I slowly became impatient, “If you aren’t going to say anything, I am going to hang up the phone!” Static engulfed the phone as I heard a voice coming in and out.
“H-.. i-.. com-..”
I quickly said, “I can’t hear you, you keep breaking up!”
A demonic yell came over the speaker, “HE. IS. COMING.”
The call ended. I threw my phone across my room and sat in the corner on my bed trying to catch my breath.
The weekend came to an end and everyone returned to school. Monday went quickly and it was already sixth period before I knew it. I sat in the back right by the window, so I often caught myself staring out into the trees and not paying attention to the daily lesson.
The bell hadn’t rang yet and the class was clammering, creating almost a white noise. My full attention was in the trees until my shoulder was tapped by a class mate passing me the homework basket. I put in my papers and passed it along, returning my sight to the orange and brown leaves outside. I saw the most horrifying image; Mila was just lifelessly hanging by a noose from one of the trees.
I grabbed my bag and exited from the classroom as fast as I could. I sprinted the entire way home that day, scared s**t less of what I had just seen. Dinner was unusually quiet that night, no one had much to say, especially me. We sat in silence until dinner came to an end and everyone departed to their bedrooms for the night. I was scrolling through old Instagram photos of Mila and I from years ago. She was always so happy and had a warmness to her which she would pass on to you. It started to make me angry the longer I looked at the photos of us.
Weeks before Mila committed suicide, she had stopped using social media completely and stopped hanging out with me; those should have been things that I noticed a lot sooner than I did. I just took it as she wanted to be alone. She had dropped a lot of weight, always had purple bags under her eyes, and started wearing dark, baggy clothes, which a lot of the shirts she wore were long sleeve. How come I never noticed once that something was wrong with her until now?
The week just kept getting worse as it progressed. I was starting to see and hear things I didn’t want to. Why was this happening to me? The kids from school were dropping like flies right in front if my face and I was running from what seemed to be the apocalypse. I returned home that evening to an eerily quiet house.
“Mom? Dad? I’m home!”, I exclaimed. No answer from them, so I went upstairs to investigate. Their door was cracked open and it was still dead silent. Afraid to see what was behind the door, I barely pushed it open with the toe of my shoe. A wind of decay rushed past my nose and I tried not to throw up. My parents were not home, but my dog Tiny was dead on their bedroom floor with a note. The note just had an address written in horrible print. With tears streaming down my face, I violently ripped the note to shreds and hugged my dead, rotting dog.
It all felt like a horrible nightmare. My best friend dying, the kids at school dying, my dog dying. Who’s next? My text buzzer went off. I looked at the screen with a confused, yet horrified look.
My home screen read, “Text Message from: MILA<3”.
I didn’t want to know what the text said, but something was strongly compelling me to read it. I finally clicked on the message after five minutes of staring at her name and it read, “Why did you rip my note?”
How did this person possibly know that I ripped the note? “WHO IS THIS?! U R SO SICK FOR PRETENDING TO BE MILA!” I texted back.
“Ash, what are you talking about?! It’s Mila, dude!”
It couldn’t be Mila; Mila was dead and this person was playing psychopath with me through her phone.
“I don’t believe you! Prove to me it’s Mila. Tell me something only Mila would know!” I responded back.
“OK, easy! Remember in fifth grade when you peed your pants walking home from school and I gave you my jacket to cover your bottom?”
How the hell could this be Mila?! I began to type out my new response, “Yes, of course I remember. I thought you died? Your mom called me the night it happened and she told me you killed yourself! Please explain this to me. I’ve been losing my damn mind for the past month!”
My phone buzzed once more, “You see, that’s why I need your help, Ash. I gave you that address in secret so He wouldn’t know. I need you to come get me! Please! I am so scared…”
How could I ignore my best friend? I needed to go save her.
“Send me the address again but in a text… OK? I’ll come get you as soon as I can!” I sent. She sent me a text which included an address that was forty minutes from my house. It all struck me as super odd, but I needed to save my best friend — she would do the same exact thing for me if I were in her position. My parents had taken my dad’s car to leave earlier, so I stole my mom’s car and sped down the wet street. I knew she would kill me when she found out I stole her car, but it was worth it because of who I would hopefully be bringing back home with me later.
I arrived to the address and there was just a two-lane high way surrounded by dark, thick forest. I pulled to the side and parked the car, I texted Mila.
“Uh, dude.. There’s just forest here. Where am I supposed to go?!” I waited twenty-five minutes and still didn’t get a response from Mila. I decided to enter the forest for the sake of my best friend.
I walked for at least half of a mile until my phone finally lit up with a text. “Come and find me.. ;)” it read. What kind of sick game was Mila trying to play on me and why?! The ground behind me began to crack as if I were being followed. I started to run, but the thing just kept up with me.
I took a quick side step and hid behind a tree, hoping whoever was following me would just keep going. But, the cracking stopped. I began to run again and surprisingly there was no one behind me again. At this point, I’m completely lost in this huge, dark forest.
Typical horror movie setting…
I had ran for at least another mile before I stopped to text Mila again.
“I am so done with this game, man! I wanna go home!” I sent.
“You can’t go home, Ash :)” is all she replied with.
I quickly responded with, “What the hell do you mean I can’t go home!” I was angry and terrified at the same time. I was back to thinking that a sadistic psychopath had lured me here. I began to hear something breathing deep and loud close to me, but it didn’t sound close human or even animal like. So I am back to running, but this time this thing is chasing me again and even faster. Its grunts and growls behind me frightened me enough to make me fall down.
I broke my wrist and my knee was just oozing blood — impaled by sharp part of a tree stub. I was stuck in excruciating pain and left with ultimate fear that only God could put into people. This thing dragged me by my short pixie-cut hair for miles, grunting and growling — drooling large quantities of saliva and who knows what else onto me. I was a human rag doll who was slowly losing blood and dying, but I wasn’t scared anymore. I was… home.