Draft of a short story in English class. We were writing about a dare or challenge in our life...so I made this one up. I love not knowing how my teacher is going to react about my story. -Snicker-

The King of Hearts

The other boys huddled around the graveyard after school, mimicking the tombstones with the silhouettes of their seating. Eerily, I joined the circle, and sat beside Allen, the one I trusted most out of the group. I had no idea he'd become the one to push me past my limits. A hand slithered against my back and I shivered, glaring at Lyle as he passed and narrowed his eyes, pausing and snaking his way over again to sit on my empty side. I grimaced and avoided his gaze, trying to start a conversation with Allen.

Lyle laughed in my ear and grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, sending his 'sweet' whispers my way. He murmured, "You like that Randy kid, don't you?" and my cheeks turned crimson. I shook my head and attempted to shove him off to no avail. Two more boys entered the circle carrying a large burlap bag that squirmed as it was dragged across the grass. My eyes widened and fogged as Lyle cackled and released me. "Good…" he grinned, "Then you won't mind killing him!" he shouted, standing quickly and laughing with the rest of the circle. I dug my face in Allen's shoulders and shook my head no, begging him.

"Not tonight…" I cried, "Not yet." Allen shrugged and stared up at Lyle with gleaming eyes. I'd never understand why he looked up to such scum, but I decided to put up with it a long time ago, because he was our leader. My eyes peered to the center of the circle where Randy lay motionless with his face on the ground. I didn't know if he was really unconscious or if he was just too scared to move in fear of being beaten until he was. Stumbling as I stood, I fell to my knees beside him and shook his back, gripping his hand. "Let's get out of here." I offered, and he nodded weakly, standing with me.

The circle hadn't really been paying attention, but a few heads shook and there were several scowls and shouts as we ran away from them to the cemetery gates. Heaving, I leaned against one of the stone columns and turned back to see Randy limping to my side. His leg was injured pretty badly, and I didn't want to leave him behind, but I'd never hear the end of 'the night I ran away with Randy Parkinson' if I did. "Randy?" I asked, scratching my head.

"Yeah…I'll make it." He muttered tastelessly, frowning as he waved and limped across the road, fading from the light of the streetlamps. Sighing, I returned to the circle, and a few clapped for me while others glowered at me and turned their heads, pretending they hadn't seen me. As one of the boys in this group, my duty was to be rough, tough, and buff. I wasn't any of those things, though, and neither was Allen…but he could almost get away with being tough, because he was good at scheming. I was a lanky and unentertaining quiet kid, not to be mistaken for a nerd. I was the kind of kid that everyone would treat like a dog and reward for doing a trick.

"Allen, it's getting late. I have to get back, okay?" I scratched my head as he continued laughing and gasping for air, laid out on the ground beside Lyle, who just shook his head at Allen and chuckled quietly.

"Oh, hey, shortie, did you kill him?" Lyle teased, standing and moving against me, faking a stabbing gesture behind my back much to the other boys' amusement. They gathered around, laughing and clapping their hands as he grinned, his eyes pinning mine. There was no escape from the invisible chains that retained me from freedom. "Of course you didn't…" he scoffed, shaking his head with a twisted smirk. I did nothing, like a deer in headlights. I could feel the heat of the stage overwhelming me in a musical to forget about reality for a few seconds.

Forest Hysteria

"I'm not going to do it." I whimpered as Allen dragged me across the cemetery grounds a week later, rolling his eyes. "Let me go, Allen." I demanded, though it was with no confidence, and I knew I wasn't getting anywhere. Somehow, I thought he'd have enough pity over me to make up a reason why I didn't come.

Lyle stormed around in the middle of the circle, laughing and pouring beer on everyone's heads and playing duck duck goose as if he were still in elementary school. The only difference was that he wasn't being forced into it, and it wasn't a game of PE…not to mention the beer.

"Devin!" he shouted, Allen shoving me into him and grinning behind me. I scowled at him and gave into Lyle's chest, digging my face into the smell of his cologne. Sadly, it didn't smell bad, and it made me want to stay until I realized who I was leaning on, and shoved Lyle away in disgust. He pulled me back into his embrace as if I was his prized possession and chuckled down at me, grabbing my waist.

"Get lost…" I hissed, spitting in his eye. He cleared the muck out of his eye and took a swing at me, pushing me to the ground. No one made a noise, and they all stared. Grimacing, I wiped the blood from my mouth and shook my head at him, slowly standing again. Suddenly, the crowd began to laugh and holler. I narrowed my eyes at them as Lyle approached me and my arms were tangled behind my back by Allen, who whispered mentions of hate into my ear. Straining to ignore him, I stared Lyle in the eyes, though it wasn't any better for my luck.

"Get lost…? You want me to get lost…? I don't think you know how it feels to be lost." He snickered, grabbing my arm back from Allen and dragging me through the graveyard. We eventually lost the crowd until there was only Lyle, Allen, and I, but I noticed a few had run up ahead. Where are they taking me? I shuddered and gnawed at Lyle's arm, but he only grabbed me by the cheeks with his free hand and spat in my eye this time. It felt repulsive, and the rest of the walk was a fog of saliva across the grass.

"Allen!" I screamed, hooking my nails into his arm and gritting my teeth. "This isn't you! Let me go!" I begged, but he only laughed at my resistance and shoved me further, gripping my hair with his fingers. Before long, it got darker, and I quickly noticed we weren't in the burial ground anymore. "Lyle, Where are we?" I calmly questioned, because by now I'd gotten exhausted and he'd slung me over his shoulder like a rag doll.

"Why don't you take a look for yourself…?" he cackled, throwing me onto the ground face first and running past me through the gravel, the only remnants of his existence in the laughter that he and Allen shared as they sprinted ahead.

"Lyle…" I groaned, rubbing my aching head and squinting to see through the dark. "Allen?" sighing, I sat up straight and peered around me, wiping the disgusting goop out of my vision and yawning. It's late… I realized, shivering and making it to my feet, stretching out my arms. I was in the middle of a forest, and there was no one in sight.

As I walked, giggles and sobs and screams filled the air; in the bushes, in the trees, and what seemed like it was right in front of me. I shivered and ran where the paths took me until I was clobbered from behind and sent into the ground again. I didn't even resist, but I lay without moving and let tears fall down my face.

"Tomorrow night, you'll kill that boy…" Lyle whispered hoarsely in my ear. By now the noises from the woods had stopped, and I noticed I'd wandered far from the path, and was in fact quite close to having fallen in a steep ditch. Thankfully, or unfortunately, Lyle had stopped me. He allowed me enough room to flip over onto my back, but he remained hovering over me with eyes that were the only thing visible in the scarce light. "I absolutely hate that you're fond of him…"

The King of Hearts

The yard was completely silent besides the crickets that chirped throughout the grass, and I took a few deep breaths, in and out, which ended up as a lot more than I had first intended. My heart was slowly and painfully being forced through my chest, beating wildly and quickly, the sound echoing through my head.

Hiding in the shadows of a tree across the road, I waited for Randy to turn his lights out. It was getting way too late to be prowling around the neighborhood of the suburbs (not that I hadn't been doing it a lot lately), and it wouldn't take long for Allen's parents to notice we were gone. Before we left, we'd been as noisy as two teenage boys could possibly have been, and they wouldn't fall for us having fallen asleep so early. I crossed the street when he finally turned his light off and waited on the steps for a while before I entered the house through the living room window.

Creep up the stairs, into his bedroom, cover his mouth, and plunge it into his chest a few more times. Make sure he's dead, leave the house, and walk until the end of the street. When I turned the corner, I ran as fast as my feet could take me, unleashing the desire to flee that I had longed for every moment I had to walk down that street. Hot tears streamed down my face, but I ignored them, and pedaled my feet quickly across the ground until I reached Lyle's house.

Knocking loud on the door, I fell into Lyle's arms when he answered. I didn't care who it was, even if he was the one who made me do it. I needed someone. Slowly, I relieved myself from him and peered up to the crowded room of boys. They all stared; I guess they expected I had chickened out.

"Oh, it's okay, Devin, it's not like we expected…" he covered his mouth as I dropped the bloody knife on his carpet and broke out in sobs. Shrieks are heard; they gasp and stand and act hysterical, freaking out. Some of them join me in tears, and in sobs. They didn't actually want me to do it, I realized, because they knew no one would be stupid enough to kill someone over a dare. Lyle wanted me to, though, and I knew he was the only one serious about it. He grinned and wrapped me into his embrace again. The king had found his prince of darkness.