Crossing the street and walking into the park, David wasn't so sure as to what the plan was for tonight. It was already nearing midnight and Chad had only agreed to come out 5 minutes ago.
They had chosen to meet at the park, because it marked the halfway point between both of their houses. As David walked towards the center of the grass field, he began to feel the cold air.
He wasn't exactly dressed for the cold; the wind wasn't helping either. And where was Chad anyway? It was already past midnight, which was the time they had agreed to meet.
David began to see the silhouette of someone walking towards him. Finally, he thought to himself. But then the figure stop abruptly by a tree. It seemed to be staring directly at David.
"Not funny, Chad," he said sounding a bit annoyed. "Mind coming closer, cause I'm definitely not walking anymore." But the dark figure made no movement. Wasn't it a bit too soon for games?
That's when he was hit on the back by something heavy and knocked onto the ground. His heart began to race as he scrambled to his feet and turned toward the direction of where the blow came from.
"Jesus, Chad, what's your problem!" David said catching his breath. Chad was laughing on the ground, and continued to giggle as he got up. David was starting to wonder why he left his bed.
"Should've seen your face, man." Chad wiped off his hands on his jeans and gave smile which exposed his pearl white teeth. "Had to sneak out, took longer than expected, sorry, bro."
"No, it's all good. I just had to deal with a creep by the-" David couldn't seem to finish his sentence when he noticed the figure which was by the tree was no longer anywhere to be seen.
"Probably seeing things, man." Chad pulled out two energy drinks from his backpack. "Want one? Cold as can be, especially tonight." "Sure," David said, grabbing the can from Chads extended hand.
"So, what's in store for tonight? Sneak into school? Wreak havoc at a party?" Chad had a wide smile as he said this. "Not exactly." David cracked open his drink and started thinking.
He took a sip of the bitter liquid, and as he swallowed an idea occurred to him. Not the best of ideas, but something new, at least. "Let's go out for a drive."
"Oh yeah? And with what car, genius?" Chad opened his drink and toasted to himself. "Dude, I'll just get my dad's car." David couldn't believe what he just said, but too late to take it back.
"Right, I forgot you drive and he lets you use his car." "No, but the keys are on the counter. And besides, it beats anything we'd probably do otherwise." This was shocking to the both of them.
"I'm up for it, don't get me wrong," Chad stood back up and placed a hand on David's shoulder. "But if your dad ever found out, he'd kill you and then come hunting for me."
"Yeah, that's only if he found out; which he won't. Now, come on, you're either coming, or you're not. All I know is that I'm going with or without you, bro." A bluff, of course, but it'll do.
"Jesus, fine, I'm in. Just pick me up around the corner from your place." Chad threw the can at a tree a couple feet away. "No problem, just give me five minutes." "Yeah, any day now."
David gave a hellish grin, turned around, and ran back home. Only a two block jog, which wasn't anything considering both friends were on their school's track team.
When he got home, he slowly unlocked and opened the front door. Judging from all the lights being off, his parents and younger brother were still asleep (like any normal person at this time).
He quietly walked over to the kitchen and grabbed the keys from the counter, minimizing the amount of noise they made as he lifted them and placed them in his pocket.
As he left, he made sure to lock the front door again. He then walked the few feet to his dads Toyota Corolla, turned it on, and pulled onto the empty street. It's a good thing no one's out.
He wasn't too nervous about driving; his mother had taught him how to drive a few months earlier. That, and there was only the occasional car here or there around this time at night.
As he turned the corner, he began to worry the slightest bit that Chad had gone back home. But that worry was quickly diminished as he saw Chad standing in the narrow light of a street lamp.
He pulled up next to him and unlocked the passenger door. "It's getting colder and colder," Chad said, getting into the car and putting on his seat-belt. "Where to now?"
"The tank's pretty full, but I'm thinking a cruise and talking wouldn't be bad." "Yeah, and I'm thinking that'll be boring. How about we go hiking?"
"Perfect, late at night, dark and cold." "No , man, it'll be cool 'cause we'll be able to see the city lights from up there." "Right, I forgot every place is lit up at 3 AM."
"No, but what places are lit up will make the entire valley look alive anyway." Chad put on the warm air and put up the radio. "Hiking it is then," David said as he started driving again.
While driving, they listened to music, but the occasional subject of what the future may hold was brought up. They weren't worried about school; both were student-athletes with good grades.
What concerned them was whether or not they'd keep in touch. They had been friends since freshman year of high school, and now, going into their junior year, they were as close as can be.
Maybe it was a little too early to be worried, of course, but that didn't mean they couldn't speculate. Considering both had shared so many experiences thus far, they'd likely keep in touch.
They'd gone to both of their first high school party together, they had shared their first blunt at a lake, and they even had taken care of one another when one of them was a little too toasted.
"You and I both know we're always gonna be there for each other, bro. That's just how it is," Chad said over the music. "Yeah, honestly, we'll probably throw wild parties together in college."
"See, nothing to worry about. It'll all work out in the end, just gotta let life do it's thing." They pulled up to a red light. Now the fun begins, thought David, here goes nothing.
Not bothering to look either direction, the rubber of the tires burned as they took off passing the light and any care they had. "Wasn't planning on waiting for pointless things," David said.
"Don't blame you." Chad laughed as they sped down the empty main street. He took out his phone and recorded it for the sake of social media; people needed to know they were moving at 100mph.
Seeing a car cross the intersection ahead, David made sure to slow down just enough so that he could look both ways before passing by the next red light. Tonight was going to be a good one.
Then out of no where, like a fist thrown from someone in your peripheral vision, headlights from another vehicle came from the side and smashed into their car, immediately causing them to flip.
The sound of metal crunching and glass shattering was accompanied by the endless pain of David hitting his head against the steering wheel and headrest; the car must have rolled a dozen times.
Barely conscience, and vision blurry, David was hanging upside-down from his seat; the stereo was playing Highway to Hell...what a coincidence. He began to check himself for any wounds.
No extreme bleeding (other than his head, which would likely need stitches) and no broken bones that he could feel, which just might change as soon as the adrenaline wears off.
Happy to be alive, he looked to the passenger seat and prayed to see Chad still in one piece. Shit...no, David began to panic. The passenger door was torn off and chad was nowhere to be seen.
With blood pooling below him on what used to be the roof of the car, David unbuckled himself and fell onto the sticky, red substance which his body was losing at a steady pace.
No need to try and open the door, the windows of the damn car were broken, so David just crawled on out. As he pushed himself into a sitting position, he noticed he had little energy, if any.
As he looked up, he saw the car that had hit him was a Toyota Corolla, just like his dad's. Oh shit, he thought, dad's gonna kill me. Then he realized how ironic that would be.
The other car looks to have flipped over too, except it's now on it's wheels. But the engine's nearly torn out and it's on fire along with the front two seats of the car.
Noticing the car was on fire, David realized he needed to check fast if anyone was still in that car. (He planned to save anyone in the back seats. As for the front, it seemed they were gone.)
It took strength he didn't know he had to stand fully upright, but as he did he began to slowly jog to the car. On his way there, he saw what must have been Chad's body on the sidewalk opposite.
David was only ten feet away when a sudden flash blinded him, followed by a pressure wave that knocked him down along with the wind out of his lungs. I should just die already, he thought.
There's no time for that. Coughing, he forced himself up and began to backtrack towards where he had seen Chad's body. (Whoever was in the car couldn't be saved now.)
As he was limping to the sidewalk, he noticed Chad's body was no longer there. No, what in Hell, that's not possible. He could feel his heart tearing it's way out of his chest.
He began to look around, half expecting to see Chad standing around, and half expecting to at least see someone from the other car still alive. But no one was in sight.
Looking at the car that had just exploded and his dad's totaled car, he began to fear tonight was going to be much longer than he'd expected. Where could Chad have possibly gone, he thought.
That's when he saw a shadow moving across the opposite end of the street. The shadow looked to be carrying something; not just anything either, something big.
The outline of what was being carried resembled that of a body. David shook his head, I must be seeing things. Then from the very same point that the figure had walked to, a van appeared.
It sped away in the opposite direction of where the crash had taken place. Then, that's when the sirens started coming into range. Police and fire department would be here any moment now.
He began to think fast: should he run, or should he stay? If he stayed, he'd get the medical attention he obviously needed, but he'd also likely go to jail and face charges.
From who, he thought, anyone involved is either missing or dead. With that, he sat down on the sidewalk and resigned himself to thinking of an excuse for being in this crash in the first place.
Chad. Where in Hell is Chad? That van, the man carrying what must have been a body. What does it mean, David kept repeating to himself.
He had an idea as to what it meant, but he couldn't get himself to face such a dark concept. Why would anyone do such a thing, anyway? This is real life, that kind of thing doesn't happen.
Then the first police cars and firetrucks arrived, followed by an ambulance. The firemen got to work with the car ablaze and paramedics began checking the wrecks for any injured, or dead.
Two police officers and three paramedics walked over to David. "Are you okay," a medic asked, but that only made David laugh. "We're here to help, just relax and you'll be fine."
They brought out a gurney and helped David take a seat, then he was rolled into the back of the ambulance and taken the the nearest hospital. The next few days would be a blur to him.
His parents would come to visit him while he was in recovery, along with detectives who had more than a few questions for him. Of course, the first few days were mostly quiet, as he was in shock.
But eventually he spoke, and eventually he made a full recovery and was taken into custody. His father was initially angry over the car, but anger isn't permanent.
As for his mother, she was just happy to see him alive instead of in a casket. David had told the detectives everything that had happened. Well, mostly everything.
He couldn't get himself to speak of seeing the man in the park, and then seeing a very similar shadow carry away what he believes to have been Chad.
As for who else was involved, the detectives said the only other body was that of what used to be a man found in the drivers seat of the car which had hit them.
The detectives knew David was the one speeding past red lights, that's why he was now in a jail cell; that and driving without a license.
But from the evidence gathered at the crash, the two vehicles needed to have been perfectly in sync to have hit each other in the way they did. It was as if the other car intercepted David's.
But none of that would matter in the long run: David would face time in jail, and no one would ever find Chad's body or hear from him again. And David would never forget the shadow that night.
The shadow of a man that seemed to have stalked them. Perhaps they wanted Chad for something, or maybe it was just another kidnapping, one that went to an extreme that David couldn't fathom.
Whatever the case, it's something that David would try to bury in his pass. Nothing would ever get him to speak on the matter again: the friend he once had, taken by a phantom.