• Andrea Rose Washington

Loss of a Friend

                Sade's knee bounced as she looked around the classroom. She wasn’t here, Caddie wasn’t here, and she never missed a day of school. Caddie always said she would preferably be sent home sick than never come in the first place. She wanted the perfect attendance award, up until today she had it.

                Sade kept checking her phone waiting for Caddie’s reply, but there wasn’t one.  This wasn’t like her…. something had to be wrong.  After class, she was leaving to go to leave; she needed to check on her and get their project! She had a free period next, so she could leave and be back before anyone noticed her missing.

                Mr. Jon drawled on and on and Sade willed time to go faster. Her knee bounced in time with her pulse as Mr. Jon talked about some war America was a part of.

                Finally, after what seemed like ages, the bell rang signaling the end of class. Sade was out of the door before the bell finished. Before she knew it, she was in her car on the road to Caddies house.

                She pulled up outside the house, ‘that’s odd’ she thought to herself. ‘both of Caddie’s parent’s cars and her car are sitting in the driveway. They should be at work.’  She parked her car and prayed that they all just slept in, but a nagging feeling told her there was little chance of that. Caddie’s mother was known for her morning runs.

                She ran up the front steps and knock on the door. After a few seconds of waiting, she started to bang on the door and pounded the doorbell.

                “Can I help you?” a soft but concerned voice called.

                Sade looked to her left and saw Caddie’s older neighbor Mrs. Light sitting on her porch. She was retired and liked to spend her days sitting in the pouch enjoying the fresh air. She spent her days sitting in small cube and

                “Yea, I’m looking for Caddie? She didn’t come to school today, and we have this huge project that we’ve been working on for two months due today, and she didn’t show up to school!’ she took a breath and kept going. “She’s not picking up the phone, and I need to turn it in by 2 pm, or we fail the senior year. I cannot fail my senior year! I got into Yale full scholarship! I cannot Fail! Have you seen her?” she asked

                “Take a breath young lady; I’m sure it’s going to be ok. But” she paused and thought for a second “Now that I think about it. I haven’t heard a peep out of that family all day. Which is odd, that family works like clockwork in the morning; they are all gone by eight am,” Mrs. Light mused.

                “Yea… I know, which is why this Is weird because I spoke to her last night she had it all packed up and ready to go! I need that project before 2 pm, or I’m going to fail.” Sade said.

                “Yes I know dear, you already said that.” Mrs. Light smiled at her.

                “I’m sorry, but my future is on the line here!” Sade stressed.

                Mrs. Light seemed to think something over in her head, then signed. “I have their spare key. I could let you in.”

                “Thank You!” Sade face could have broken with the smile on her face.

                “No problem young lady.” Mrs. Light walked down her steps across her lawn and up Caddie’s steps and handed the key to Sade. “I hate you see young people so stressed. But I will text the family and let them know you were in the house.”

                “Fine sure whatever! Caddie told me the project was next to her front door so I only need to go in like two feet!” Sade thrust the key in the lock and turned and pushed open the door and promptly wished she had not.

                In the days to come, she would repeat the story to her parents, the police and her new therapist. Though she never once would gossip it to anyone else who asked.

She never remembered screaming, she could hear it, but would never remember that she made the sound. The first cops on the scene and the neighbors who were home worked to calm her down. They told her Mrs. Light screamed as well, but she didn’t remember that detail.  She still doesn’t remember calling 911, she never spoke to them, she just screamed. It was another neighbor coming home for a forgotten file that called the police and was able to explain what happen.  

She did remember the arrival of the police officers and EMTs arriving on the scene and some of the officers pulling her aside, so she could no longer stare into the dead, lifeless eyes of her best friend.

                She remembers sitting on a neighbors porch a few houses down. The sight shocked Mrs. Light to the point of a heart attack, and they rushed her to the hospital. They said Mrs.Light  More police showed up until it seemed like every police offer in their small town was there. They even had the crime scene team from the neighboring city come in. The crime scene was much to advance for their small town. And many had never seen a crime scene this gruesome. That fact became apparent as a 5-year veteran ran out of the house and emptied her lunch all over the grass. Vans following and all heading into the house.

She remembered her parents showing up her mother pulling her into her arms. They wanted to take her home, but the police said she needed to stay around to give her statement to the new police coming. Caddie’s father was chief of police of their small town and his second in command called in for more backup. Too many people in the town had personal ties to the victim. It helped that Caddie’s father was a retired general from the Army.

What she wished she could forget the screamed of Caddie’s older sister Cara, she twenty-two and lived in a town with her boyfriend, who had just joined the small-town police force. Cara’s screamed as she tried to fight her way into her childhood home ripped through Sade’s heart like a razor. Her boyfriend held her as she broke down on the lawn. She was able to pull herself together just enough to ask for her brother. He was nine, and no one had yet to mention him. Sade herself never saw him in the carnage that was the living room.

They told Cara they had yet to find him, Cara then whispered something into her boyfriend’s ear, and he nodded tensely.  Sade watched as he let go of Cara and she sank to the ground staring up at the house. Less than two minutes later he came out of the house carrying Cody, his head covered with a white sheet.

The surrounding neighbors let out shouts of relief as Cara wrapped her arms around her brother. They left the house at once; the EMTs needed to get Cody to the hospital to make sure he O.K and Cara refused to let him out of her site.

                Word spread like wildfire around town. The slaughter of Caddie’s family was front page news in neighboring towns and cities for months.

The Police tried to get as much information as they could from Cody but he didn’t know anything. His father hit the panic code, and he locked himself in the small space under his bed. Cara had explained that when they moved into the house, their father had a panic space built in all of the rooms.  

                Sade couldn’t return to school for weeks after that day. She couldn’t function; she couldn’t close her eyes without seeing her dead best friend’s eyes once again. The horrible scene.

                Caddie’s body was devoid of any clothes, and she was missing patches of skin all over her body. Her bones were protruding from her skin. They craved her up, and Sade prayed that she wasn’t alive when that happened.  Caddie’s mother and father were in no better shape. They took Caddie’s father eyes, tongue and opened his body and took his organs.  Caddies mother lost most of her internal organs and patches of skin as well.

                The police told her Caddie’s father past came back to haunt him. From his time in the Army, he put dangerous people away. Somehow his name leak and some of the family came for revenge.  The attack on his family was the first of five others.

                Five other families were all attacked in a manner that was similar to Caddie’s before they were able to get the rest his the unit in safe keeping.

                Cara and Cody left the small town as soon as they could. Cara never stepped foot back inside of the house. They had an aunt on her mother’s side who lived right outside of New York. She took them in the right after the funeral.  Cara’s boyfriend braved the house and packed up everything Cara said she wanted to keep. He moved to New York a few weeks after Cara and Cody. They got married two years after that. I was invited to the wedding, and I went, Cara asked me to be a bridesmaid in Caddie’s place. We cried for a full ten minutes when we finally saw each other again.  Both of us missed Caddie more than we could ever admit. Thankfully Cody started to adjust a few months after their deaths. Cara said he was finally close to normal but still hated the dark.

                The town wasn’t so lucky. Their deaths were like a dark cloud that the town couldn’t get from under. They burned down the house, once Cara said she would never set foot in their again. It wasn’t like anyone would live there again. Mrs. Light moved in her with daughter two states over. It took a few years, but her house finally sold.  They turned the empty lot into a community garden to bring light into the dark action.

                ‘It’s been ten years since the day’ Sade thought as she stood in front of the garden. She was now Special Agent Sade, and her life was focused on catching evil before they could harm the innocent. 

                She rolled Caddie’s necklace between her fingers and looked at the flowers “They got them Caddie…. They got them.”  She whispered.

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