THE DASHBOARD CLOCK read 11:32 when we finally pulled up in front of Jeremey's house. My hands shook uncontrollably as I reached for the door. Jeremey got out first, and I followed behind him, the wind howling through the trees as we headed up to the house. I expected him to sit down on the porch for a while, but he went right inside.
"Jeremey," I called, grabbing the door and slipping in before it could swing shut. I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about anything, but I felt like I needed to talk about something. The chase, Joshua, what I saw in the basement... It all weighed so heavily on my mind, pounding to get out.
"Let's just go to sleep, Harper," Jeremey said, pausing in the living room but not turning to face me. His hands clenched into two tight fists at his sides.
I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out.
"We'll talk about it in the morning." He muttered something else under his breath that I couldn't understand. His head hung low, like there was something weighing on him too, more than the adrenaline and fear from the chase. "I need to sleep on this, okay?"
"Okay," I said quietly.
Jeremey sighed, and then he shuffled off towards his room, shutting the door behind himself. He'd slept in that same room since he was a kid. He could have moved to his parents' room—it was bigger and had a nicer view of the backyard—but he never did. The door to it was always shut. I assumed no one had been in there in years.
• • •
I hardly slept that night. Every time I started to drift off, visions haunted my half-asleep mind. Visions of a basement, and of a crate, and of a hand. And then visions of the girl from my dreams running through the forest, and myself chasing her, but always being a bit too far behind.
• • •
I woke up the next morning still completely exhausted. I knew I must have slept at least a little, because I couldn't remember when the hazy daylight started shining in, casting its ghost on the floor. Accepting the fact that I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep, I pulled myself off the couch and headed over to the window. I peeked through the blinds, out into another dim and cloudy day.
I considered heading out for a smoke, but decided on showering and brushing my teeth first. I still had dirt and grit under my fingernails, and something about the idea of cleaning everything from last night away seemed appealing.
After I showered and put on a pair of comparably clean clothes, I found my cigarettes and lighter on the coffee table and headed out to the porch.
"Hey Harper," Jeremey said as I swung the door open.
I nearly jumped—startled and still on edge from the previous night. "Shit, man. Didn't realize you were out here."
Jeremey didn't say anything in response, so I made my way over to the chair next to him and sat down. I took out a cigarette and offered him one, but he shook his head. I lit mine and started smoking.
"What time is it?" I asked.
Jeremey pulled his phone out of his pocket and set it down face up on the glass end table, pressing the home button. "8:46."
"Don't think I've been up this early in ages." I tried to laugh, but it came out more like a nervous cough. "How long have you been out here?"
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•• Wattys 2018 Winner •• Wattpad Featured Story •• One day, a wind blew into the town of Millstone and didn't stop. Slowly people moved away. It was like the town was trying to clear itself out, as though it was preparing for something sinister. Whe...