Ninth Life

"What do you guys want to do tonight?" The voice next to him asked.

"Well," Devin thought aloud. "Practice is over, we've got three nights to kill. I think I'm goin' home for the weekend."

"So," Another voice started as the figure slipped off his practice jersey, and slipped on his normal clothes, "meet ya at Tony's around eight tonight then?"

"Works for me, Bobby." Devin replied. "You in, Dillon?"

The freshman in question shrugged. "Ain't got anything better to do, so I'm game."

The rather short, 5'11'' sophomore running back now turned back to the first voice. "What about you, Germane?"

"Why of course," His fellow sophomore and team's wide receiver answered.

The four football players for West Virginia University each got into their cars and drove towards their hometown of Manassas, Virginia about three hours away. They had been friends throughout their lives, and decided to go to the same college to be together. Bobby was a junior, while Devin and Germane were sophomores. Dillon was the youngest, being the freshman. It was four o'clock on Devin's car stereo. He turned the radio and allowed the music to drive him home.

At about 7:15, Devin arrived at the small, white, two-story house. There were two windows in the front, and a door between them. It always reminded Devin of a face. He slowly got out of his "Mountaineer Blue" '99 Chevy Blazer and walked to the front door. Before he could knock or ring the doorbell, a woman, about 50, opened the door. "Devin! You're home!" The woman exclaimed. "Marcus, our son's home!"

The boy smiled and gave his mother a kiss on the cheek. "Hi, mom."

Devin moved past his mother and embraced his father. "Hey pops."

His graying father, also in his early fifties, smiled. "How's my star running back?"

"Pretty good, dad. Mind if I stay here for the weekend?" The son asked. "I don't have practice until Monday afternoon."

"Sure, dear." His mother replied. "Are you staying for dinner tonight?"

"Well," Devin began. "Germane, Dillon, Bobby, and I were planning to meet at Tony's Pizza in about thirty minutes. I'll be more than happy to tomorrow though."

"Okay, honey, are you going to go take a shower now?" His mother asked.

"I was planning on it." Devin smiled.

He darted upstairs, grabbed a towel, and took a change of clothes from a duffle bag he brought, finally waltzing into the shower. Twenty minutes later, the nineteen-year-old escaped though the fog of the bathroom with his hair cleanly styled and his face cleanly shaven.

"Alright," Devin started as he entered the family's living room. "I'll see you guys later."

"Okay, sweetie, have fun." His mother said. "I love you."

"Have a good time," His short-spoken father said.

Devin closed the door of the house and started the Blazer. He put it in drive and proceeded his way to Tony's Pizza. First, Devin took a right onto Park Lane, went past two lights, and took another right onto Kinder Street. From there, he took a left at the first light onto Hamlin way, and pulled into the local get-together spot in Manassas. About ten minutes later, Germane and Bobby walked in, followed by Dillon.

"Always a punctual one, aren't ya, DC?" Germane asked as he sat down at the table. DC, or Dark Cat was what people knew Darin by. He got the name because of his full name, Darin Cougar Knight and living so close to the nation's capital.

Darin shrugged. "I try. What do you guys want on the pizza?"

"Pepperoni." Dillon said.

"Sausage." Bobby said.

"Cheese and pizza sauce!" Germane exclaimed.

Darin rolled his eyes as he walked up to the register to order the pizza, he returned with drinks. "I was thinking we could go catch the Osbourn game tonight against Osbourn Park."

"We're facing OP tonight?" Bobby asked.

"Sure are." Devin answered. "The girl at the register told me that everyone was getting together at Bunnyman's Bridge after the game tonight, too."

"Sounds like a date." Dillon smiled as he saw the pizza finally coming. The four guys began to split the pizza apart, taking a portion for themselves. So how's the team look this season?" Dillon asked, while taking a bit of his piece.

"Who's? WVU?" Bobby asked as Dillon gave a nod. "We're unstoppable with future NFLer Knight over there."

"Yeah," Germane agreed. "DC will probably leave school and join the NFL with his skills."

Devin couldn't help but smirk. "It is good money."

The four left the pizza parlor and headed towards their old school. They arrived during the fourth quarter of the game, with Osbourn on top of their archrival Osbourn Park 17-14. The game came down to the wire as the home team prevailed by the same score after a blocked field goal at the end of the game. They guys joined with the rest of the fans in mobbing the field after the upset victory.

As security finally ushered the fans off the field, the four guys bobbed and weaved their way though the parking lot to get to their cars.

As Devin opened his door, he called to the other three, "We're goin' straight to Bunnyman's Bridge, follow me out of here, I've got an idea."

The other three agreed in unison. "Okay."

Devin led the caravan left out of the school and went straight for about a half hour. He turned the car off as he arrived atop the bridge and got out. Behind him, the other three did the same. "You guys know how people say this place is haunted?" He asked.

"Oh yeah, people just don't say that it is. It really is." Germane responded.

"I don't think it is." Devin snapped. "But regardless, with everybody coming down here tonight, I think we should give them all a little scare."

"What are you thinking of doing, jumping off the bridge down behind them?" Bobby questioned.

"You're a bright one, Mr. Lawrence." Devin answered. "That's exactly what I was thinking." Germane and Dillon nodded in agreement with the plan as they all hid against the bridge. People began to arrive under the bridge. "Let's throw something down there first, get them a bit freaked out." Devin suggested. Bobby picked up three pebbles and threw them down, hitting a short girl in the back of the head. A crowd had gathered around her, and Bobby threw another two pebbles below. The four guys began to chuckle at the reactions of the people.

"You guys ready?" Germane asked.

"Seems like a long way down." Devin replied.

Bobby rolled his eyes. "Don't be a little scaredy-cat."

Dillon nodded. "Yeah, cats always land on their feet, DC."

Devin shot a glare. "Never said I wasn't going to do it, I just said it was a long way down. Come on, let's do this."

With that the three ascended the bridge, and leapt off. All four let out howls, scaring the people below. As Devin finally touched the ground, he felt a burning sensation run though his body. He heard a pop, and could not move his leg. As he let out a meager scream, he realized that the muscles in his knee were torn, likewise was the picture of his athletic future.

But Dillon had been correct. The cat had landed on his feet.