Elder walks down the lonely road. The night is quiet and he hopes his plan is a good one. The rhythmical chirping of crickets can be heard all around him. He shudders in the cold night and pulls his hoodie tighter around him.
No one will understand me now, but later they will, he thinks.
Elder jumps out of fright when his phone buzzes in his back pocket. The buzzing is followed by a custom ringtone 'Stand by Me' by Bootstraps.
The song's been stuck in his head ever since his sister made him watch the new Power Rangers movie. His mind almost drifts off to one of its scenes but his hand automatically reaches for his back pocket and pulls the phone out.
It's Malachi, his roommate. Hesitation revs through his mind and for a moment he almost picks up the call. Instead, he sends his best friend a text and mutes the phone. He should have done that earlier.
If something bad happens tonight, I should be the only one that goes down for it.
As he nears the rendezvous point, his heart gets the memo and begins to thud heavily against his chest, almost as if it wants to break through.
A million possible ways of how the meeting could end plays through his mind. None of them is pleasant and they leave him scared. Elder wonders if maybe this was a bad idea. He jumped at the opportunity without really thinking of what would happen if it goes wrong.
He sees the young man he came to meet and moves towards him, the middle and index finger of his right hand crossed behind his back. A habit he picked up from his sister.
Okay, El. Let's do this.
"You got it?" he asks the guy, flicking his gaze to the dark backpack lying at his feet.
"Yeah, it's right here," the man responds.
It's dark and he can't see the young man's face but his heart is still beating impossibly fast. "I'm really sorry about this. I don't want to do this."
The guy gives an incredulous laughter and says, "But you are still doing it. I hope you are ready to face the consequences."
"Is that a threat? 'Cos you don't want to do that," Elder replies, despite his growing uneasiness.
"And why would that be?" the guy moved towards him slowly savoring each step as if he were a tiger about to prowl on its kill.
"Just give me the bag," Elder raises his voice and hopes that his voice doesn't give away that his hands are now trembling.
The guy picks the bag and throws it to Elder and he catches it and hoists it on one shoulder. The minute he turns, he is hit hard on the right side of his face with a blunt object. Oh shit.
A shriek that sounds almost like an animal's escapes him and he can taste copper in his mouth as he falls on the ground. His eyes swirl and the sharp pain that fills his head is unbearable. He looks up to see his attacker leering over him. He knows the person too well and is shocked that they of all people had done this to him.
"I trusted you," Elder coughs up blood. He tries to sit up but his attacker pushes him down with a leg and kneels beside him.
"I know and that was foolish of you," his attacker traces a finger over Elder's face.
"Please don't do this-," he doesn't have the chance to finish his sentence as he's injected with a syringe filled with a light bluish liquid.
Elder lays on the ground writhing in pain, his life slowly disintegrating before his eyes. He sees a kaleidoscope of his memories in his head and begins to foam at the mouth as his attacker grins and waves at him without remorse in their eyes.
His heart finally stops, mostly out of pain but also out of grief that he has been betrayed one of the people he trusted most in this world.