My white vans clapped against the blacktop, arms pumping like a well oiled machine,
and my backpack full of bottles bouncing rhythmically to every stride I took.
My friends’ silhouetted figures were illuminated by the dim school lights spread across the campus as we darted towards the worn soccer field, where our chasers couldn’t pursue us.
We all came to an abrupt halt at midfield, our breaths wheezing out puffs of mist from the icy air.
“Jesus Christ!” Ajax spewed out, bent over and struggling for a breath.
“How the hell,” another raspy gasp, “did they find us again!” We all bursted into incomprehensible gibberish, filled to the dome with panic.
Hands trembling, we attempted to control them as we scanned the area with glassy eyes, goosebumps arising on the back of our necks.
“I told you guys that woman on her phone looked sketch!”
“Dozens of people walked by on their phones! It could have been any of them, you idiot!”
“Holy crap, they had their headlights off and everything when they snuck up!”
“Where’s Raegan and Jess?”
“You still have the bag, Holden?”
“Is it me, or is the IPD becoming Big Brother from 1984?”
“1984? It’s 2017, moron!”
“I know the damn year! I’m talking about a nov-”
“Wait, I think I see someone!
“Guys! The hell is Raegan and Jess!”
We all fell silent and peered around at each other, squinting hard to make out the faces masked by the darkness.
Suddenly, Jace jabs his pointer finger towards the wooden park gazebo right next to the school grounds.
“Look!” He snaps in a hushed voice. Two small shadows sit on the grassy knoll in front of the gazebo, lit by the hanging lanterns above.
With scrunched knees pressed against their chest and their heads swinging like an owl on the hunt, little did they know how visible they actually were.
” I didn’t even know I took off like a rocket,
but soon realized I was when the distance between the girls and I began narrow with the baseball field dirt beginning to crackle under me with every stride.
Maybe Raegan will think I’m a badass after this?
I thought, Like one of those heroes from an action movie that swings in and saves the girl right before her ultimate doo-,” My vans skidded to a sudden stop,
kicking up a cloud of dirt with miniscule pebbles bouncing away. A searing light blinded me as my hand shot up to deflect it from my eyes.
Between the crevices of my fingers, when my eyes adjusted to the harshness of the light,
I will never forget the feeling of my blood running cold when a shining white police SUV rolled onto the knoll.
Time slowed as I stumbled backwards, whipping around leaving both Raegan and Jess behind, too succumbed by shock to flee.
They just sat there, helpless as the rumbling engine came to a halt by their side. It was all silent. Nothing was heard. Not the squashing of my vans pounding the wet grass.
Not the profanic shouts from my friends as they tripped over each other.
Nor the woop woop of the police siren, it’s red and blue beams gyrating throughout the park, radiating the ground, trees, and houses in a revolving, colorful hue.
My jacket ripped against the rough edges of the brick wall as I rolled my body
over. The last thing I saw was the menacing SUV standing across the field, idle; like a stalking beast letting his prey have a head start before it begins its hunt.
With flailing arms, my hands grasping at the nothingness of the air, I plummeted down the fall until I was consumed deeply into the darkness of the dense shrubs.
I lay still, arms and legs sprawled out, trapped between the stiff branches
that hold me captive. After a bit of struggling to free myself, I shambled my way out of the shrubs and cautiously slid back over the wall.
Patting the dust off my shoulders, I whipped out my phone from my jacket pocket as I stay hidden in the shadows.
Ajax texted the group chat, saying everyone should rendezvous at the neighborhood in Woodbury, it was a lot easier to hang out there.
I clicked my phone off and scanned the area, the coast was clear. I began striding down the path with my head on a swivel.
Suddenly, a police siren starts wailing in the distance and I freeze like a statue.
The police car zooms down the street in front of me, most likely another SUV hunting down another group of teen “vandals” running a muck.