It was a lovely spring day and Rachel and Elizabeth were meeting their friends up at the park. The sun was shining, a soft breeze blew, the park smelled of freshly cut grass, there was some weird guy playing bagpipes in the distance, and there was the oddball sitting on the fence reciting Romeo and Juliet to himself. All was well and functioning in Newport News at Riverview Park. It was around lunch time and the gang was going to hang out for a little then catch some lunch somewhere. That meant it would be a lovely afternoon of traditional teenage bonding.
The two girls were getting a little tired of swinging and started to take a stroll around the trail. They were just walking along, giggling like two teenage girls will when Rachel's voice became a little more anxious. There was a figure walking towards them that was hauntingly familiar.
"Okay. Liz. If we turn around right now and book it the other way, we'll get away. We can make it." Elizabeth, being the good soul she is, disagreed.
"Rachel, no. We will meet her, talk for a few minutes, and then we'll carry on our separate ways. It's just Carlie. You need to calm down."
"Well I like my plan better. I think it produces better results. What if we can't get away from the beast?" She said with a smirk.
"Then we'll make something up. Then we can run." She rolls her eyes at Rachel in her amusement of the thought.
"Oh so noble and honest you are Liz. Oh gosh. Here she comes. I can feel the coldness of her soul from here. The pits of doom will trap us for eternity! Run while we still can Liz!" That got Rachel a sharp jab of elbow to the ribs and a hiss for silence from the ever-honorable Elizabeth. Carlie approached and began making casual conversation with Liz.
"Oh hey you guys!"
"Hey Carlie… what are you up to here?"
Rachel risked a look into her dark eyes and could have sworn she saw the demon inside Carlie attempting to burst out and eat their souls.
'Oh wait,' Rachel thought, 'Never mind the demon, it was just her smile' All the while Carlie and Elizabeth were discussing their earlier mornings, Rachel began to think Carlie was invading her mind, taking over with shadows, creating dark, demonic images and shadows in her brain. She felt fingers prying her thoughts and filling them with fears. She felt the creeping coldness and the blood rushed from her face.
Then Rachel clinched her eyes shut for a few moments, opened them and breathed, relieved it was all in her head. She looked like she'd seen a ghost. Liz sensed Rachel's growing impatience and anxiety and began to bring the exchange to an end. Carlie obviously had other plans as she began to walk with Rachel and Elizabeth. Rachel took particular notice how Carlie decided to walk right in between them, forcing Rachel to walk off the path by herself. After a minute or two, Rachel didn't even bother listening anymore and began to zone out into her own little world.
Seconds later her shoe laces shattered her world as she tripped and came crashing down. Her face met grass and dirt and an unattractive groan escaped her lips. Elizabeth attempted to turn around and go to Rachel's aid, but Carlie kept her walking, a little more aggressively then before.
"Fine then! Whatever. I'll just tie my dumb shoelace and catch up with you guys later. Stupid Carlie. We could've run, but nooo…" Rachel grumbled to herself as she tightened her laces. "Will you guys wait up?!" Right as she was about to chase after them, a heavy, strong hand clamped itself over her mouth and an even heavier, stronger arm crushed itself around her throat. Her vision blurred and speckled, her lungs were burning, and her mind went blank. She collapsed and the mystery man took her away.
"Hey wait a second. What happened to Rachel?"
"She probably got frustrated and turned around."
"Well hang on Carlie. I'm kind of supposed to be with her. Let's just head back the other way. I'm meeting up with people over there anyways." Liz began to get a strange feeling about Carlie. Her sixth sense was telling her something was wrong. Especially since Carlie was so persistent about getting further away from Rachel. She turned and began to walk the other way when a soft cloth was put against her face. Elizabeth panicked, took in too many breaths, and was out cold in seconds. She breathed in a chemical that shrouded her mind instantly.
The two girls were deep into their subconsciousness while they were being taken to an underground basement like area. There they were carefully unloaded from a truck, and brought down the stairs. The tall staircase was in the corner and the walls were soundproof. Nobody would disturb them.
Rachel came to first. The first thing she noticed was a cold cement floor, stone walls, an aching in her neck, and a tugging sensation on her wrist. As her vision became less fogged and her mind less groggy, she realized one of her arms was chained to the wall. She gave some experimental tugs and knew that she was not breaking out anytime soon.
The second thing she noticed was how large and spacey the room was. It looked like there were some strange contraptions on one side and the other looked like an experimental lab or something. That's when she noticed Elizabeth. She was sitting upright in a chair. Her ankles and wrists were locked in place with metal restraints and a leather strap going across her chest kept her still.
"Liz. Pssst hey Liz." Feeling foolish whispering since they were the only ones in the room, Rachel started yelling at the top of her voice. "Liz will you please open your eyes! You are freaking scaring me right now! Hello! Yoohoo! Wakey Wakey!" She heard Liz let out a soft moan as her green eyes slowly fluttered open.
"Rachel. Shut. Up."
"Before you start criticizing me, I would look around and try and figure out where the hell we are…" With that Rachel got the reaction she expected. Liz started testing her restraints and gazing around the room in a controlled panic. Her eyes grew wide in distress.
"Rach, do you think we're lab rats?"
"No idea kid. But I suggest we figure out a way outta here. That table has a lot of odd liquids and equipment chilling over there. I don't want to be here when that stuff starts coming out." Rachel began to pull at her chain some more. She tugged so hard on the shackle, the sharp edge of the metal dug into her wrist, and a drop of blood ran down her arm.
"Rachel will you quit it. We're stuck and that looks painful."
"I'm just ignoring it. I'll break this thing." With that spoken defiance and in her stubbornness, Rachel tugged some more, creating more red trails down her arm.
A slam of a door made both girls jump and they heard footsteps making their way down the stairs on the opposite side of the room. It was none other then Carlie, the witch herself, with the same threatening grin and glint in her eyes. Without meaning to, Rachel let out a low growl as Carlie approached.
"Woah! Down girl. You sure are scaring me." She chuckles to herself in her mockery of Rachel. With a shout, Rachel goes to charge, but is yanked back by the chain further cutting up Rachel's arm. There was the same amount of anger and adrenaline pumping through Rachel as there is fear and desperation.
Liz on the other hand just went to spit at Carlie with impeccable accuracy.
"Alright that's enough. This can be very quick and easy if you guys just shut up and settle down."
"Yeah okay. Says the spider to the freaking fly."
"Ever poetic aren't you Rachel… you've got a little something on your arm there." By then enough blood had stained Rachel's wrist fairly red. Rachel came up with a new idea. The shackle wasn't completely tight and she could slip out with the help of her own blood. She gritted her teeth and knew what she had to do to save herself and her best friend.
"It's alright Rachel. Carlie is just jealous." Liz decided to contribute to the not so friendly banter.
"Elizabeth you shouldn't stoop to Rachel's level. She's just a bad influence on you. Now hang on a sec and we'll get this show on the road."
"No! You aren't going to hurt her at all. I promise Liz, nobody is going to hurt. Ever. Don't touch her Carlie. I sware to god."
"Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, nobody ever said I was going to hurt her. I'm going to help her. She is going to be better off after today."
"I wonder why I'm having a hard time believing you…"
"Rachel, you'll see. Or well maybe you won't, but she will."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm going to give her a life where she never knew you existed!"
"WHAT?" Elizabeth perks up real quick at that and shoots Carlie a look of death. "How is that even possible? I won't forget Rachel." Rachel's mouth continues to hang open in complete shock.
"Simple you two. First I have to inject this to relax your entire body and cause an artificial sleep in which your brain is vulnerable to change. Then I inject this other thing of my own design that targets every memory associated with a Rachel Allie McHenry." She laughs a demented laugh as she holds up two menacing needles. Rachel was still at a loss for words as Carlie advances with the first needle of a clear liquid. Liz struggled in her binds.
"Carlie. Don't you do it. Please! Just stop right now! What did I ever do to you?! Why should you even care?" Rachel begged through tears and watched in terror. The needle went into Liz's arm, slid right in, and her yelling was silenced. Rachel cringed. She watched the clear liquid drip into her arm, sentencing Elizabeth to an artificial sleep, closely resembling death.
"Rachel, you have influenced her enough. You never liked me. Not one bit from the very beginning. Liz atleast made an attempt until you corrupted her. You made it impossible for anyone else to get to her."
"WOAH! That is a lie. She makes her own damn decisions! She's got other friends and definitely has the ability to make up her own mind. Is that really your argument?! That's pathetic! Dammit Carlie. Just stop now and we can all get out of here and forget about this."
"No. You're saying that because you know the only one will truly be hurt is you. You'll have all these amazing memories, and she won't even know your name. That great history you guys have had. Gone. Poof. See ya." With that she goes to pick up the second needle of black liquid and laughs a chilling laugh. Rachel started her growling and shouting again and pulled at the chain. She felt half her hand make it through. With one more tug she yanked her arm free and charged straight for Carlie. Tackling her to the ground, Rachel knocked the needle away and pinned Carlie down, snarling some harsh words to her face.
"Elizabeth and I would never forget eachother." Her victory line was shattered by the laugh of Carlie. She just kept laughing and laughing, putting Rachel on edge and making her skin crawl.
"Oh man Rachel. Beautiful attempt. But I do have a back up plan. I always do. I think you might recognize this little friend of yours I created. Have fun." With another chuckle she whistled and a giant beast pounded down the stairs. It was huge. It resembled a tiger except completely altered in every way. It was packed with muscle. Stitches lined its body where muscle was artificially packed in. Its jaw was slack and filled with teeth, and its claws were extended like blades, bloodstained. Its eyes had no life, but an endless black pit full of darkness. Its mere presence put shadows in your thoughts and clouded your mind with fear and agony. It almost had the appearance of smiling, a blood curdling smile with the demonic screech to go with it. It had the resemblance of a creature from the furthest depths of hell.
Rachel saw it and froze. Within the second the beast slashed at her with a paw and sent her flying into a wall. She sunk down and couldn't decide if she was in a dream. The cold floor felt real. The throbbing pain in her arm felt real. The burning and stinging of the cuts in her back and shoulder from its claws felt real. Every ounce of pain that shot through her body when she moved felt real. She decided she wasn't in one of her nightmares and the thing that placed a paw on her back was undeniably real. Rachel couldn't move and watched in horror as Carlie casually picked up the second needle, checked the reading one more time, and walked over to Elizabeth.
With another laugh and a victorious smile shot towards Rachel, she injected the blackness into Elizabeth. Rachel's pleas turned into sobs, sobs into cries, and cries into angry screams.
"You…you…" That was all Rachel could say before the beast hit her again with a heavy paw. The pounding of her head and the pain continually shooting through her body caused her to black out.
She woke up in her mom's van on the way to school. Her arm was in a cast and sling and she could feel the stitches in her shoulder and back. Her face was mildly bruised and scarred as well. She could move no part of herself without re experiencing everything that had happened those few days back.
"I guess you're tired huh? I would be too after being attacked by some stray dog at the park. Luckily a class mate found you and called 911. You put up a good fight though. Running through bushes and jumping out of trees. I was so happy you were alright."
"Yeah. Crazy stuff." Rachel didn't have the heart to tell her mother the truth. Nobody would've believed her anyways. The only thing Rachel could really think about, the only thing she had thought about since that day was if the dark liquid worked. It was haunting her every thought and creating a new pain in every moment. She would find out today. As they pulled into the student drop off, Rachel's heart began to pound. She was so nervous by the time she got to the band room door, she forgot all but her name as she walked in.
"Oh my gosh! Rachel are you okay? What happened?" A million voices started asking her questions and surrounding her. The pressure of it all made her feel dizzy and her mind started playing tricks on her. The room was spinning and the panic she felt created false visions. A friendly giraffed colored boy came to save her from the angry herd of questioning Mr. Pringles. It was Mike, a good friend. He didn't ask about her injuries, but just gave her a gentle hug. It was what she needed.
"Hey is Liz here yet?"
"No not quite. Did she get hurt too?"
"I hope not. It was all meshed together. I'm not sure what was what anymore." With that the door opened and Elizabeth walked in completely unscathed and looking fairly normal. She went over to Mike and started talking with him. She looked over at Rachel and gave her a funny look. She said something to Mike.
"Hey Mike, who's your new friend?"
"Liz. Shut up and stop joking around."
"No I'm serious." Elizabeth walked over to Rachel and gave her a funny look. "Hey I'm Liz, are you new here? I don't remember seeing you before." With tears welling up in Rachel's eyes she responded as best as she could.
"Nope. I guess not. I'm Rachel. I guess we'll be hanging out a lot if you know Mike too." Liz laughed an unknowing laugh.
"Yeah I guess we will. I think I've seen your face somewhere. I don't know. You just seem so familiar. Crazy stuff sometimes. You don't seem too bad." Elizabeth smiled. Rachel was doing her best to hold in the cascade of tears about to break through. Carlie had done it. She had taken away her best friend and only Rachel knew about it.
"Maybe I have seen you somewhere. It's a small world."
"Ah well. Later Rachel! I'll see you soon! You've been sucked into the nerd herd now!" That small comment sparked hope in Rachel's heart.
"Okay! Bye Liz! I hope so."
Rachel whispered one final thing under her breath as the tears fell in a steady stream over her bruises and onto her neck. The droplets made their way down to her heart where they hit hardest of all.
"Remember. Please Remember."