The wind blew an electric blue colored piece of paper violently at their feet. Noah, a somewhat tall teenaged boy picked it up and closely examined it.
"Looks like old Mrs. Gardner lost that dog again," he grumbled.
"Why doesn't she ever take care of it?" yawned Kevin, his short, thin best friend.
The bony boy sported a mouthful of braces and a messy auburn mop-top.
"God only knows..." replied Courtney as the wind blew her long flaxen ponytail.
"We should try and help!" Noah suggested as he scratched his jet black hair.
Kevin rolled his eyes.
"It's her fault, not ours! Plus, I wanna go home and play Guitar Hero anyway!"
"That's all you do all day, idiot!" Courtney barked back.
Noah just couldn't stand his two best friends constantly bickering. He was just about to break up their fight when something on the blue flier caught his eye: a $400 reward. "Guys! This is for money! This will be the easiest money we'll ever make!"
"Yeah! Just find that stupid dog and we'll be rich!" Courtney blurted out.
"This is so lame," Kevin mumbled.
"Can't we just go home and play Guitar Hero instead?"
The three friends approached the elderly widow Gardner's house. The doorbell rang and an aging, petite, frail woman appeared at the door; her eyes were red and moist. She had been crying excessively.
"Princess, my baby!" she wailed. Noah loudly cleared his throat.
"We want to help you find your lost dog." he firmly announced.
Mrs. Gardner stared, taken aback at them. "You will?" she hopefully asked.
Her hopefulness soon faded.
"No, no, no," she retorted.
"These city streets are filled with robbers, drug dealers, and even murderers... No it's too dangerous!" She paused, "Oh, my Princess is lost among those villains!"
Kevin laughed. "Yeah, right. It's gonna be easy. The easiest money we've ever earned."
This only made Mrs. Gardner more agitated. "You can't! You mustn't! You can't...don't!" She was cut-off as the wind blew the door closed.
The trio walked around the neighborhood with no particular plan.
"She's insane! Why shouldn't we help her find her dog! You saw how upset she was!" Courtney cried.
"She's just an old fart who doesn't know shit. Fuck it," Kevin scoffed.
"But wait... this is for $ 400..." Noah reminded his companion.
Kevin's hazel eyes widened.
"Awesome dude! I'll finally be able to buy the new Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock! Let's do it!" he cried out loud.
They walked through the long, dark streets, ghostly subdivisions and alleys, calling for Princess. A girl no older than five with brown pig-tails and wearing a Disney Princess T-shirt approached them.
"I'm a princess!" she announced as her mother pulled her away.
"Where's that fucking dog? I want my new Guitar Hero now!" Kevin whined.
Soon, they passed an enormous cemetery, with a solemn funeral in progress. They stared at the mourners dressed in black and the cherrywood casket being lowered into the deep, silent ground. Next to it was a pink spray-painted rectangle. That rectangle was apparently a marking for the next grave to be dug. Courtney felt a shiver down her spine.
"Let's get outta here..." she said as the wind picked up, guiding the group onward.
Shortly, they came upon a dirty alley with stray cats picking at and consuming the rancid garbage. The trio walked nervously into this dark, mysterious maze.
"Stay calm..." Noah whispered as a towering shadow lurked before them. The shadow revealed itself to be an obese, unkept man with a red bandana around his thick neck. "What are you doing in my alley?" he growled.
"We're looking for a lost dog..." they replied together.
"I think I've seen your dog. Let me see that!" he said as he aggressively snatched the flier out of Noah's trembling hands. He read it slowly.
"Yup, that's the dog." he hissed.
"Thank you sir!" Courtney cried.
"But, where did you see it?"
"Oh, down to the left. In that alley, right there young lady." he replied as he smirked a dirty grin.
"Guitar Hero 6, here I come!" Kevin yelped.
They walked deeper into the dark alley as the wind blew even harder. They heard a soft, whimpering sound by an overfilled trash can.
"Princess? That you?" Noah asked as a menacing looking pit bull approached them. "Are you sure that's her?" Courtney nervously asked.
"Yep! That's her!" Noah exclaimed with excitement.
"But, where's her pink glittery collar?"
"Dunno. She probably ate it." Kevin joked.
"Princess, come here. Your mommy's waiting for you..." both boys chorused as they slowly moved towards their reward money.
At that moment, Princess suddenly backed up and growled, exposing threatening teeth as a shadowy figure came up quietly behind the teens.
"Run!" Noah screamed as he and the others bolted towards the alley exit with the shadowy figure trailing. Behind them, they heard Princess barking, gaining on them as they ran for their lives. She suddenly stopped barking as the friends safely left the alley.
"Oh my God! Where's Kevin?" Courtney screamed, realizing that only two of them had made it out of the alley as the mysterious figure bolted past them. She began to shake hysterically.
"Did that guy get him?" they asked each other.
As the wind blew more violently, Courtney and Noah each took a deep breath and ran back into dark alley to find Kevin. Halfway down the alley, they spotted Princess panting with blood smeared all over her jaws.
"Awesome! Princess must have gotten that bastard!" Noah hopefully cried.
Courtney screamed at the top of her lungs when she saw a bloody figure further down the alley. Kevin was lying face down in a puddle of his own blood. His neck and back were covered in open lacerations. Jordan frantically nudged Kevin, who did not respond. Noah gulped and quickly flipped his best friend over. To his horror, Kevin was blankly staring at his friends, as if he were shocked, clutching the crumpled, bloody flier in his locked fist. The very flier with a picture of his killer on it. The howling wind blew his bloody, wet bangs back and forth. Courtney cradled Kevin's small, lifeless body, sobbing.
"This is all my fault... my fault..." Noah muttered with pure grief.
"We were only trying to get a reward..."
The wind blew softer and softer.