I closed my eyes against the wind, ignoring my stinging cheeks and nose. My fingers were numb from the crisp, mid-November air, but I ignored them as well.
Instead, I paced around the large boulder that my best friend and I discovered in the woods by my house when we were younger. You would think that as we grew older we’d find other hangouts, a coffee shop or a diner, but even at twenty we still used this boulder as our meeting place.
It was late, maybe around ten or eleven, but his message seemed urgent:
“Grab your bag and meet me at our spot as soon as you can.”
I stifled a yawn and pulled my jacket tighter to my body, shifting my feet every so often to regain feeling in my toes. Where the hell is he?
As if to answer my question my phone rang. I rolled my eyes before picking up.
“Max, where the hell are you? You sent me that text half an hour ago; I’m freezing my ass off out here.”
“Zoe listen to me,” his voice was low, “I don’t have much time to explain. Do you remember that box we found last week? The one with the photograph and—“
“The key? Yeah, of course I remember, why? Max, what’s going—“
“I found what the key goes to. Or where it goes to, I should say.” I let out an exasperated sigh.
“Jesus, Max. You’re scaring the hell out of me. Where are you?” I could hear the wind howling on his end of the phone.
“Let me finish, Zoe,” he paused for a moment and I held my breath. “Did you bring your bag?”
I looked at the backpack by my feet. “Yes,” I replied with impatience.
“Good,” he sounded relieved, “okay, listen carefully Zoe. I left the box in our hiding spot. You have to find the box and bury it,” his voice was growing urgent, frightened. “Bury it exactly where we found it, Zoe, but don’t open it. Don’t touch the key. Do you understand?”
“No, Max, I don’t understand.” My body was trembling, now, but not from the cold. “What the hell is going on?”
“We’re not alone in these woods,” he says. “Be careful.”
I heard something snap on his end of the line, and then what sounded like a high-pitched screech. There was a moment of silence before my best friend spoke again.
“They’re coming, Zoe. Hurry!”I was running before the line went dead. My body moved of its own accord, my mind too numb to control it. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew Max was in danger.