Erika and me had been friends since ninth grade. We were both an even match. Equally clever, equally pretty. We were even born within weeks of each other. And we both loved getting scared.

This was gonna be our last Halloween at Miller County High. We’d both turned eighteen earlier in October (probably why we love Halloween?), and we really wanted to send off our final Halloween here with a bang!

It wasn’t that Colquitt, Georgia was a bad place to celebrate. Not at all. We’d been to plenty of sweet costume parties over the years. And the city itself always had fun celebrations and haunted houses. But let’s face it, Colquitt was no Tallahassee. Less than thirty miles away from us, the Florida capital had everything Colquitt had, only better. They even had literal Halloween shops! And the college bars went nuts for the holiday, making Halloween a month-long celebration like Christmas.

I haven’t even mentioned their famous fall festival that was being held Thursday the eighteenth. It had everything. People in scary costumes, creepy music, even a haunted house right in the middle of downtown. Picture an elaborate horror carnival, and you get the idea. One with plenty of hot college guys too.

On top of all that, Erika’s older sister went to Florida State and was supposed to meet us at the festival. She was over twenty-one and could easily sneak us drinks when we went out clubbing later.

So yeah, the plan was set. I did have to tell my parents I was sleeping over at Erika’s. They just weren’t like us. Not like me I should say. My parents were Hispanic and fit the cliche of being superstitious as fuck. Outside of trick-or-treating, I always had to indulge in Halloween on my own. Luckily, for me, I had Erika.

And so that Thursday night, me and Erika took off in her SUV. Me, her, and whatever baby shots she could steal from her mom’s cabinet. We’d asked our friend Caleb to come with us… but evidently, they had some big shindig going on in Stanwyck that night. Probably one of his boyfriends would be there. Oh well, his loss I figured.

The fall festival was a blast. We’d had our shots before we went in… so yeah, nothing could top being drunk and experiencing the sheer exhilaration of going through that haunted house. Not to mention the fun me and Erika had checking out all the guys.

There were so many cool vendors and performers as well. They had a guy in a Michael Myers outfit, a woman dressed up like Annabelle (she couldn’t have been over four feet tall!), all the usual Elvira and Dracula impersonators. And all of it to the tune of creepy organ music! Hell, I think the organist was playing it there herself! It was amazing!

But soon, the inevitable happened. Our buzz began to wore off. And as it got closer to midnight, the festival started shutting down. Everyone closed up. And we needed drinks. Badly.

After trying over and over again, Erika finally got in touch with her sister. Of course, she was stuck at some bar called Outlaw’s. Too drunk to pick us up. She told us to come meet us over there. I didn’t want to, but what choice did we have?

So we left the festival on our quest for booze. By now our phones were dead, we had no GPS. And we got lost rather quickly. Somehow, downtown Tallahassee felt fucking bigger than Colquitt! And there wasn’t hardly anyone around… it was like everyone went home when the festival did. On a Thursday night in a college town, how was this even possible?

We finally found civilization up ahead. A small crowd was gathering around a street corner, right outside a closed antique shop.

As we got closer, we saw a few families and college kids gathered around a tall, slender man. He was some sort of a street performer. Like a living statue… you know kinda like a mime that’s somehow even scarier because they’re playing a certain “character.”

Dressed in a long black robe, the man stood completely still. A sharp, blood-stained scythe was in his bony hands. From what I could tell, he had white make-up all over his exposed flesh. Then again, I couldn’t get a good look at his face because the long cloak covered most of it. He appeared to be looking down and avoiding eye contact with all of us spectators.

It was a Hell of an exhibit, in my opinion. He was fucking creepy. The Grim Reaper alive and well in Tallahassee, Florida.

The lack of lighting made this human statue even more ominous. Hell, he seemed to have chosen this spot precisely because there wasn’t a street light nearby.

A small cardboard tip box full of spare change stood a few feet away from the man. Next to it was a sparse white sign. On it, long and crooked black letters spelled out Happy Halloween!

The crowd oohed and aahed at the statue. Everyone waited to see when, if ever, he’d make a move. I could tell some of the spectators were scared he would. A few of the parents even restrained their troublemaker children from running up to him. And I couldn’t blame them.

This living statue was so tall and angular. I almost wondered if his skin was actually fake and hiding a skeleton. His fingers were long as fuck, and his fingernails even longer. Jesus, they looked sharper than the fucking blade.

“Badass…” Erika exclaimed.

I looked over at her. I could tell she was just as fascinated as I was. Or should I say, just as terrified.

“Do y’all like it?” a soft voice asked us.

Startled, me and Erika turned to see an old lady standing right behind us. I hadn’t seen her at all when we got there. Judging by her quirky attire of faded jeans and a striped hoodie, I figured she was either a modest heiress or a homeless crazy person. Honestly, I wasn’t even say she was that old… maybe forty or fifty. Her face just looked haggard. Probably a smoker since childhood.

“Uh, yeah,” I stammered out.

Erika let go of my wrist as she looked back at the human statue. “Yeah, he’s creepy.”

The old lady gave us a toothy smile. “Oh yes. That’s Victor.”

The name seemed appropriate, I thought.

“He does this every October,” the woman went on. Her voice stayed low yet commanding. I imagine if she raised it, you were in trouble.

Erika faced her. “Wow, I’ve never seen him before.”

Her omnipresent grin never leaving, the woman gazed at us behind dark eyes. “Oh, yes. He’s hard to track down.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Victor changes it every night.”

“Every night?” I said in disbelief.

“Yes.” The woman’s smile somehow got bigger. “You see each and every October night, he chooses a new character to perform as.” Her hands moved around in a slow yet frenetic manner. Like she was a madcap teacher. “Tuesday it was Dracula, last night he was Freddy Krueger.”

“Wow!” I exclaimed. Who wouldn’t be impressed by that dedication?

“Victor’s amazing,” the woman gushed in her pleasant tone. “He truly is.”

The woman spoke with reverence. A sweet old lady voice with just enough personality to give her strength.

“He sounds like it,” Erika said.

“So every night is something new?” I asked the lady.

I turned and looked back. The crowd was gone. No families, no spectators, no tourists, no drunkards. Just Victor. And he wasn’t in the same spot. At least, I didn’t think he was. He seemed closer. His head tilted upward. Under the cloak’s hood, I thought I could make out a pair of bright eyes looking right at me.

I didn’t know I could get any more scared than I was when I first saw him. But I felt fear surge through me just then. Not just discomfort but horror. That wasn’t the October wind that was sending chills up my spine. That was the Reaper.

“Yes,” the woman answered me. “He does a character a day. He prepares so much for his performances. And he’ll even save the best for Halloween night.”

I only half-heard her because of the horror overwhelming my senses. My nervous gaze stayed fixated on Victor. Don’t fear the Reaper, my ass.

Erika grabbed my wrist, drawing me away from Victor. “Sounds like we should come here Halloween,” Erika told me.

“Yeah,” I said, my voice uneasy.

Feeling those bright eyes on me, I stole a look back at Victor. He was in the same spot. The same position. His head still looking on at me.

With a polite smile, Erika stepped toward the woman. “Can you please tell us where Outlaw’s is? I think we’ve gotten lost.”

“Oh,” the woman said. “Y’all ain’t from around here, are you.”

“No,” Erika replied. She flashed a smile at me. “We’re from Colquitt.”

“Oh my, I thought for sure y’all went to FSU.”

“My sister does.”

“Well, that’s good.”

The smile was still on the old lady’s face. It should’ve been cute, but the longer it stayed, the more I wished it’d go away. The smile was like it was painted on her wrinkly skin at this point.

Lost in thought, the woman looked down the street. “Now, let’s see here.”

I looked back at Victor. And he was still looking at me. I get the need to be a human statue, but couldn’t this fucker be permanently looking elsewhere?

With hands that looked like they’d clawed their way out of the grave, the woman pointed me and Erika down the road. “Go down there a few blocks and take a left on Bates Street. Outlaw’s will be right thee.”

“Thank you so much,” I heard Erika tell her.

I turned and watched Erika grab my arm. For a moment, the old lady and me made brief eye contact. Unlike with Victor, her eyes weren’t shrouded by anything. Neither was that smile.

“Come on, let’s go,” Erika begged me.

And with that, I let Erika drag me down the street. Away from the exhibit. Away from Victor.

“Good luck!” the old lady hollered after us, her voice still soft and pleasant.

Considering how quiet it was out here, we probably could’ve heard her miles away.

Turning, I gave one last glance at the quirky lady. But she was gone. Her and Victor both. Like an October mirage.

“She’s waiting for us,” Erika told me in a subtle demand.

“I thought they don’t close till three,” I responded.

“They don’t, but still.” She smiled at me. “We need drinks, girl.”

As we kept walking, all I could hear were our footsteps. There was nothing going on. How? It wasn’t even midnight and this was a college town. I didn’t hear no drunks laughing or cars cruising by. Hell, no one was even around us. All the stores were closed. The roads empty. Even the street lights were dim. Aside from a full moon, me and Erika were surrounded by darkness. It was like walking through a cavern out here.

The whole time all I kept seeing were Halloween decorations. Normally, I loved this shit. I loved the Halloween spirit. All these carved jack o’lanterns and witch figurines were usually fun. But right now they were freaking me out… as if I were a kid trapped inside a funhouse.

I noticed we passed a narrow alleyway. Downtown was a fucking maze. All these streets and alleys connected into something.

Uneasy, I turned. I came to a frightened stop. I thought I saw a tall figure about fifty feet behind us. They were well down the road and standing alone on the sidewalk. And the figure was watching us.

A loud bell erupted, shattering me from my fears. I jumped as I looked toward a tall city clock. And the chimes erupted eleven more times. Midnight was upon us.

I heard Erika’s drunken laugh. The really annoying one.

“Oh my God, you got scared by that!” she quipped.

Aggravated, I flashed her a glare. “I saw something.” I turned and looked back. But the figure was gone.

Erika followed my gaze. “Where?”

But it was too late. I knew it. “Nevermind,” I muttered.

“What?”

Still uneasy, I walked back down the sidewalk. In search of Outlaw’s.

Chuckling, Erika walked with me. “Maybe it’s a guy stalking you from the festival,” she joked.

“Don’t say that,” I groaned.

“Aw, maybe he’s cute.”

I couldn’t hep but crack a smile. Fucking Erika.

Up ahead, a huge jack o’lantern awaited me. His smile big and wide. A glowing candle inside gave him an eerie light. But fuck, at least it was a light. And holy fuck, a street sign loomed up above it.

I pointed Erika toward the sign. “Maybe that’s it!”

“Hopefully,” she replied.

We walked up to it. I stopped and focused on the sign. Aided by the glowing jack o’lantern and a nearby street light, I read it. Much to my disappointment, it was Greer Street. Not Bates. The old lady didn’t know her distances too well.

I groaned. “It’s not it.”

“That figures,” Erika commented. She gazed around the quiet area. No cars, no people. Just Halloween decorations surrounded us. “Shit, it’s quiet. Some scene, huh?”

Dejected, I looked over at a closed book store. “Yeah…”

“Where the Hell is everybody?”

I saw a glimmer reflect off the store window. A flash that was coming from right behind us. “What the Hell!” I shouted.

Confused, Erika faced me. “What?”

I turned and saw the Grim Reaper.

There Victor was standing about ten feet away from us. Still in that outfit. His face still hidden by the hood. His pale hands still holding that huge fucking scythe.

Erika glared at him. “Jesus, he’s fucking following us!”

I was too scared to chime in. Even with that black hood covering most of his face, I could still feel his cold light eyes on me.

And the scythe was held up high. Like Victor was getting ready to give us both a death blow. But he just wanted to tease us first.

Not quite as scared as me, Erika looked over at me. “Hey, come on, fuck this bitch.” She grabbed my hand in a tight grip and pulled me away.

I knew it wasn’t just the baby shots talking. Erika was always tough.

For good measure, she stole a look back at Victor. “Hey, leave us alone too, death boy! That long blade ain’t compensating for your little dick!”

“Erika,” I muttered, annoyed by her audacity. All the while, I kept my focus on the road ahead. Too scared to lock eyes with Death once more.

Grinning, Erika faced me. “Ah, whatever. He’s just a little bitch.” She looked around the district, desperate to find Outlaw’s. “Just trying to scare us.”

“He’s doing a good job.”

“That is his job.”

Our footsteps echoed like we were in an empty hallway. Only we were outside at midnight. In the city, and yet it was so quiet…

“Whatever,” I said, flustered. “Let’s just go to the bar and find Taylor.”

“We will, girl, damn.” Erika chuckled. “I wanna get drunk too. We’ll find out!”

And then I heard it. Our footsteps were out of sync. Like one of us was lagging… but it was different. These footsteps sounded heavier. Faster.

“Hold on!” I said as I grabbed Erika’s shoulder to stop her.

“What?”

Everything was silent. I heard no footsteps.

“What’s wrong?” Erika continued.

Conquered by dread, I turned. And I saw what I knew I’d see.

Victor. He was completely still. Like my vision was a spotlight that made him stop dead in his tracks. Only now he was closer. Maybe five feet away from us.

And the hood wasn’t concealing everything. I made out rugged pale skin. I could see bright eyes zeroed in on me. I could even make out the sliver of a calculating smile.

I froze in fear. I didn’t know what to say. This up close he looked even taller. The blade so much sharper.

But that didn’t scare Erika. She glowered at Victor. “Hey, beat it, creep!” she hurled at him in her most obnoxious and irritating tone. A voice that had scared away our most bitchiest of rivals and most annoying of exes. A voice that did absolutely nothing to intimidate Tallahassee’s Grim Reaper.

Victor’s posture remained the same. He never said anything. The blade still held up high over us. Erika’s words hadn’t affected him. He just lurked in that same spot.

One thing I could tell about Victor was that he was a Method actor to the fullest. He didn’t look to be breaking character anytime soon.

“Leave us alone or I’m calling the cops, asshole!” Erika warned him.

With that, Erika led me away. “Just walk faster,” she commanded me in a harsh whisper.

I did as I was told. Our collective, frenetic footsteps overpowered the nocturnal silence.

And like a mirage, I saw it just a few feet away. Another road. And the street sign was a sight for our weary eyes: Bates Road. We were one step closer to mixed drinks and hot college boys.

“Holy shit, there it is!” I said.

“Hell yeah!” Erika replied.

Our footsteps continued echoing through the landscape. It sounded like it was just us. I breathed a sigh of relief. “I think we’re okay.”

“Yeah, we’re fine,” Erika commented. She flashed a grin. “I scared the grim reaper away.”

“Nicely done.”

“That’s my skill-“

The shrill, sharp sound of a blade sliding against a window swarmed us. An unpleasant slide meant to terrify and taunt like a killer twirling a vicious knife. Only this weapon sounded much bigger. Victor’s scythe.

Alarmed, me and Erika whirled around.

Victor was standing right behind us!

I was surprised to see him this close. It was like he’d been floating behind us all along. How else had we not heard him! Not until now, that is.

And again, he was completely still. The cool wind ruffled his robe. But he never moved a muscle. All the hood would allow me to see was the big eyes. And the sly crooked smile.

He’d come to a stop as soon as we honed our spotlight vision on him. He still had the scythe pressed up against a hardware store’s long glass window. We’d stopped him mid-taunt.

I saw the pissed Erika about to take a step toward him. I snatched her arm. “Let’s just go!” I pleaded.

Her glare never left Victor. “No, fuck that!” She broke away from me and marched up to the grim reaper like she was gonna challenge him to a street fight. I wouldn’t put it past her…

“Hey, we’re serious asshole!” she shouted at Victor. She got closer to Victor. He was still unresponsive. Like he was in a catatonic state of permanent creepiness.

“The joke’s over!” Erika continued. She stopped inches away from him. He was so much taller than both of us. But like a Pit Bull, Erika never let height bother her. “Fuck. Off.”

For a moment there, I thought Erika’s obnoxious bravery had worked.

Sure, Victor was still standing there. But he didn’t look quite as intimidating. I could see his smile was gone. His pose much less confident.

Erika gave him a smirk. “Pussy.”

And then like a gunshot erupted to signal a race, Victor lurched forward and cried out a most horrific screech. He sounded like a lunatic imitating a ferocious bird. It was horrible. Somehow, that fucking cry traumatized my mind more than the scraping scythe. And to this day, I’ve never forgotten either of those noises. Especially in my nightmares.

Terrified, Erika ran back toward me.

Victor chased after her. His dark shoes glided along the pavement. He drew the scythe back, ready to strike at her flesh.

“Run!” I yelled at Erika. I’d never seen her so scared before. The smug confidence had been replaced by a primal fear. A fear one could only get when they felt they were being hunted down by something so much more powerful then they were. Something that wasn’t human. A feeling our oldest of ancestors probably had when running away from powerful dinosaurs.

I knew Erika needed help. She was tough but not fast. And Victor was getting closer. The hood was still somehow shrouding his face. But even from here I could see that fucking evil smile return. His teeth were jagged and long. They looked sharper than the blade he held.

Right as Victor swung the scythe, I grabbed Erika and pulled her away just as the weapon would’ve sliced into her back.

The force of his swing sent a gush of wind against us. So much wind it seemed to push us forward.

“Come on!” I yelled at Erika.

I felt her trembling in my grasp as I led us away. Erika breathed heavy. Even in the cool night air, I felt sweat drenching her skin.

And behind us, I heard Victor get closer. The unrelenting footsteps got closer. His screech of a battle cry erupted right behind us.

I saw Erika turn and glance back at him. And then I heard her piercing scream.

Horrified, I turned to see Victor pull back his scythe for another swing at us.

Fueled by my adrenaline, I held onto Erika and turned on to Bates Road.

I felt more wind crash into our backs. The gush much harder and faster than before. Victor’s blade had missed us by inches. If I was a step slower, he’d have emaciated us at the same time.

Together, me and Erika ran down Bates Road. I heard another one of Victor’s eerie cries echoing after us. The sound of the scythe jabbing against a metal trash can made me cringe. Especially the loud slicing screech the scythe made as Victor slid the blade all down the metal.

Bates Road was even darker than where we were. But I didn’t care. Someone in this void of darkness was Outlaws and so-and-so.

Tired and out-of-breath, me and Erika stopped near an alleyway. Both of us turned and looked for Victor. We didn’t hear him any longer… but we knew he’d be back. He’d keep looking for us.

“You think he’s gone?” Erika asked, her voice full of hope. But I knew there was no way she actually believed it.

“I don’t know,” I answered.

I watched Erika lean against the alley. She was exhausted. Sweat kept pouring down her face. I’d only seen her this bad at the clubs on techno night.

“We just need to find so-and-so,” I continued. “Outlaw’s has to be here.”

Breathing heavy, Erika leaned up away from the alley. “Alright, just hold on a sec.”

My face froze in fear.

The old woman emerged from the dark alleyway. Her smile still plastered on her face. Only this wasn’t a cute smile. It was a cryptic grin. Her footsteps were soft. She stalked with stealth. And she was creeping up behind Erika.

I couldn’t get words out. I wanted to yell Erika’s name. I wanted to reach toward her and pull her away like I did earlier! But the terror was too much! I couldn’t be the hero. I was too fucking scared.

Erika saw the horror on my face.

And judging by the way the old lady’s dark eyes looked on at me, I could tell she knew I was fucking terrified too. She knew I’d be too afraid to do anything to stop her.

“Sarah,” Erika began. She took a step toward me.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to take us away. But I stumbled on my words. I lifted my arm in slow motion. All I could do was look into that old bitch’s harrowing eyes.

In that dark alleyway, I could make out a silver object in her wrinkly hand.

Concerned, Erika reached toward me. “What’s wrong?”

The old lady revealed a heavy lead pipe.

Before I could do anything, the old woman slammed it over the back of Erika’s head in one efficient hit.

Blood shot out through the darkness. I could see it coat the alleyway with red paint.

Erika hit the ground, unconscious. Blood tainted her blonde hair like red dye.

And then I heard the old lady give me a chilling laugh.

Horrified, I just looked at her.

She pointed the blood-stained lead pipe at me, marking me with both the weapon and her wicked laughter. And those dark eyes.

“No!” I screamed. I looked down at my best friend lying in the dirt with a bleeding gash in the back of her head.

Tears slid down my face. If I’d have helped, if I’d just said something instead of been a total chickenshit, I could’ve saved her.

Wielding her pipe like a dagger, the old lady approached me. Her laughter continued. More manic and deranged than ever. It blared through the alley as if it were blasting off speakers.

Behind the tears, I looked back at Erika. “I’m sorry, Erika.”

A huge slam behind me startled me.

Screaming, I jumped back in fright. Then I screamed louder.

Victor stood right next to me. The hood still hid his face, but the smile of jagged teeth was clear as day.

Letting out his shriek, he yanked the scythe back away from the alley wall.

I looked back-and-forth between Victor and the old lady. Between the horrifying smile and the deranged laugh.

They stepped closer toward me, cornering me against a wall.

With a wild screech, Victor held the scythe out toward me. I watched the sharp tip inch closer to my face.

Then my eyes scurried over to Erika. She was bleeding so much a pool had formed around her.

Fighting my fear, I confronted Victor.

He pulled the scythe back. Ready to commit his death blow.

I took a deep breath. Just like me and Erika used to do in yoga… I prepped. And relaxed.

Right when Victor swung the blade, I ducked and avoided its fatal touch.

The weapon clanged against the hard wall. Victor cried out in frustration.

Using all my might, I kicked him in the chest.

He slammed back against the other side of the alley. His cries were filled with pain rather than sadistic glee.

No longer laughing, the old bitch came hurtling at me.

I shoved her to the ground. I even got to see her tumble into Erika’s blood. I saw the disgust in her dark eyes. The smile wiped off her face.

I wanted to laugh but knew I didn’t have much time. I reached toward Erika’s body.

A loud screech sent me jumping back. I watched Victor lift up his scythe.

I needed help. Even fighting an old lady, I couldn’t take down both of them. I turned and hauled ass the other way. As fast as I could. I left that alleyway far behind. The old lady. Victor… and even Erika. Get her help, I told myself. Just get her help. You can save her.

Behind me, I heard the old lady throw the pipe to the ground. I wanted to tune them both out, but I couldn’t. No matter how far I got away, their voices echoed from the alleyway. Victor’s shrill cries in particular. His cries reminiscent of a frustrated beast.

And regardless of all that happened, regardless of how she’d attacked Erika with such brutal coldness, the old lady’s voice was still so Goddamn soft. Still so pleasant. “It’s okay, Victor,” I’d heard her say. “It’s okay, sweetie.”

The delicate voice haunted my mind as I raced over to Outlaw’s. Even inside, I didn’t feel safe. I could hear the old lady. Victor’s screeches. The wind from each of those manic swings of the scythe. And the paralyzed helplessness, I’d felt watching Erika get knocked out.

Everyone thought I was crazy. No one wanted to believe me. But I was right. When I showed the police that alleyway, Erika’s blood was everywhere. Even that lead pipe. But there was no Victor. No old lady. The Grim Reaper and his accomplice had vanished into the night.

That was all last night. The investigation into Erika’s disappearance is ongoing, and there’s been no answers. People remembered seeing the old lady and Victor. They know what Victor does around Halloween. The moving statue guy. They just don’t know who he is. There’s no records of him anywhere, no real name, no nothing. I heard the police couldn’t find them. But as I write this at eleven o’clock on the loneliest Friday night I’ve had in years, I can look out my bedroom window and see them.

I told the police they’d come back. I told them they had to. Because every night, Victor had to put on a new exhibit. It was his life. His October ritual.

And this latest exhibit is his most disturbing. Because it has Erika. Erika’s still alive. I see her bound-and-gagged in duct tape, her body strapped down to on an old operating room table. Her terrified eyes look right at me. Eyes that beg me to come outside and save her.

Raised just a few feet above her vulnerable neck is a long, blood-stained machete. It’s held in place by Victor. Tonight, he’s Jason Voorhees. Complete with the crude clothing and ominous hockey mask. He’s ready to lower that blade straight into Erika. He’s ready to decapitate her right in front of me.

Standing right next to him is the old lady. The blue sweater and ruffled curly hair gives her “part” away. Jason’s mother. Pamela Voorhees. Erika in the role of Jason’s latest victim. The cardboard tip box was waiting right by the table. As was the sparse Happy Halloween sign.

Even the wound on Erika’s head had all been mended up. All three of them even wore make-up. All of them were playing their parts to perfection.

I see the old lady look at me through the bedroom window. The smug smile still on her face. And I know Victor is looking at me too. They’re waiting for me. I notice the old lady has been glancing at the cell phone on my desk from time to time. One call to the police, and I know Erika will be dead. The only question is how long will Victor stay in place. How long before he finishes his Jason performance with one fatal chop.

They followed me all the way to Colquitt, Georgia. In the boondocks.

My parents are asleep, and I don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s suicide to go out there. But I can’t let Erika down. Not again. Not after how I bitched out on her last night. I abandoned her. Now I have to save her! My best friend is alive and she needs me!

I’m taking a deep breath. The yoga routine. Just like me and Erika used to always do. I’m logging off now Reddit. I have to go out there and face them. They’ll kill her by daybreak, and they’ll kill her if I call the police. I have no other choice! I can’t let Erika go. I can’t leave her to die again.