Billy tried calling Aris two more times before he decided something was wrong. The power was still out, and with every ring Billy became more anxious. He paced around his room checking out his window every few seconds. He could not see anything outside, but looking gave him something to do while the worry increased. Billy dialed Aris’ number again, and when there was no answer he decided the time had come to find out if there was something wrong, or if he needed to stop watching horror movies. He grabbed his jacket and snuck downstairs to the back door. The white metal door creaked when he opened it. Billy hoped his parents did not hear him; he did not want to explain why he was going on a search for his friend who could be going crazy somewhere in the middle of the storm. Once outside Billy put on his hood and ran to Aris’ house.
Before he reached Aris’ house, he saw a light in her front yard. He ran faster and found his flashlight lying on the soggy grass. Not good. He picked it up, and shined the light up into Aris’ open window. He cursed under his breath, turned the flashlight off, and headed into the house. Thankfully the door was unlocked and Billy crept inside. He figured Aris was not in the house, but maybe he could find out where she went. He went upstairs and into Aris’ room, careful not to make too much noise. He figured her parents were working in the basement. When he got into Aris’ room he shut the window and turned the flashlight back on to look around. Her phone was lying on her bed, the floor wet, and the bedspread a little damp. The wind had not been blowing very hard, so Billy figured Aris must have been gone for a while. He stood there for a moment trying to decide what to do. He could wait for her to come back, but there was no telling what the dark did to her. Billy looked out the window, and down the dark street. With no sign of his best friend, he worried something terrible may have happened. Billy knew he would have to go find Aris.
Billy went outside again and tried to figure out where exactly Aris would have gone. He assumed if she ran toward his house then he might have run into her, or seen any sign that she had went that way. He decided to run the opposite direction. Not since Aris had begun to act strange had she been in the dark this long. Billy was terrified of what she might do. Part of him still hoped that the whole theory was in her head, that she was just imagining all those weird sensations, and by coincidence had a new craving for meat. Even if that was true, Aris was out there believing she would go crazy in the dark, which meant she could be dangerous. He knew it was stupid to chase after her, but she was his best friend, and he did not have a choice.
He ran up and down the neighborhood with no luck. The rain still came down hard, but Billy pushed on. After two hours he was tired and ready to give up, hoping Aris went back home. As he turned to leave, he heard a noise coming from behind some bushes that sat away from the houses. He squinted to try and see through the dark shadows. As he got closer a squishing noise grew louder. Lightning struck overhead, and Billy thought he saw something white for a second. He turned on the flashlight, still in his hand, and pointed it at the source of the noise. He was not ready for the scene in front of him.
“Oh my God.”
There was Aris covered in blood, devouring Miss. Fluffkins, Mrs. Franklin’s dog. Patches of white bloody fur spread across the grass. The poor dog must have gotten out during the storm and chased after Aris, or maybe it was the other way around. Billy took a step closer and Aris’ head shot up revealing her glowing silver eyes. She growled, and blood dripped from her mouth as she exposed her teeth. She slowly got up still in a crouched position, and took a step towards Billy. His mouth hung open at the site before him. Aris was not crazy. This was all very real, though it would have been a lot better if she had just gone insane. He continued to shine the light on the remains of Miss. Fluffkins.
Billy snapped out of his shock when Aris started sniffing the air. “Aris?”
Aris crooked her head to the side and smirked.
Billy swallowed and shook his head a little as he bolted into the wet streets. The rain beat down on him as he tried to figure out what to do. In the dark Aris was different. She did not recognize Billy, and seemed like she was out for blood. He could not run into anyone’s house, because he would put them and Aris at risk. If anyone found out what was happening, who knows what they would do to her? He decided to try and make it back to Aris’ house. If he could lock her inside somehow, they would both be safe until he could figure out what to do. He took a sharp right turn, and ran faster down the road. He could hear feet slamming in the puddles behind him. He looked back and noticed Aris was running faster than normal. She was still crouched down a little, with a look of determination in her silver eyes.
Billy pressed on, but then he heard a growl and whooshing noise. Before he could look back a body landed on top of him, and slammed him to the ground. For a moment he thought that was the end. His best friend was going to rip into his flesh and slowly kill him. Then he remembered the flashlight still in his hand. He had not even noticed he had it anymore, but he had been gripping the light so hard his knuckles turned white. He shined the light in Aris’ face. She jumped back still hunched over, and gave Billy a growl. Billy backed away, still on the ground. Aris tried to shield her face from the light.
“A-Aris?” Billy’s hands shook. “Come on, give in to the light. Please Aris, I need you normal right now.”
Aris gave a low moan and her breathing increased. She shook her head back and forth and squinted at her best friend. “Billy?”
Billy’s eyes widened and he leaned forward trying to shine more light on Aris. “Yes, come on.”
Her eyes still remained silver, but her shaky form managed to crawl towards Billy. “I can still feel it Billy. It wants control.”
“No! Look at the light! Come on, you can get through this.” He crawled the rest of the way, and put one arm around Aris while shining the light in her face with the other hand.
Aris cried in Billy’s arms.
Billy looked around. Thankfully no one heard them. But there was no telling how long they could sit in the middle of the street before someone noticed. A loud crack of thunder caused them both to jump. “Come on. We need to get you inside.”
Aris nodded and slowly got up, trying to control the temptations inside her. The two walked a few minutes until they reached her house. It took all she had not to give in. She had no idea how she was going to keep it up until the lights came back on. Once they got into her house they went upstairs, and Billy led her into the bathroom and shut the door.
“Small room, less shadows.” He sat the flashlight on the counter pointing up, so the light could flood the bathroom.
Aris sat down on the toilet lid and leaned on her knees, trying to stop shaking. “Billy you should go.”
Billy shook his head and knelt down in front of Aris. “There is no way I’m leaving you again.”
“I killed Mrs. Franklin’s dog! I almost killed you.” She looked him in the eyes. Billy saw Aris’ eyes were still silver, but seemed duller than before. “When I’m completely in the dark these feelings take over, and I can’t control myself anymore. I want blood, and I won’t stop at anything until I get it. You saw me Billy, I was digging into that dog and I would have done the same to you. That’s all I could think about. It’s too dangerous to be around me.” The blood on her face was washing away from the tears as she spoke.
“Aris, I’m not leaving you until this is over with. If I had been here before then maybe you wouldn’t have left. I could have stopped you. You don’t have any control like that, but I can help you through this. We’re going to figure out why this is happening. We’ll figure out a way to stop it. We have too.”
Aris knew Billy would not back down from this. Part of her was scared she would hurt him, but the other was glad he was going to help her through this. “Fine. Stay. But don’t get mad when I say I told you so, while ripping you into pieces.”
Billy smiled and grabbed a washcloth from under the sink to clean Aris up with. He ran it under cold water and handed it to her. As she wiped the blood off herself, Billy leaned against the wall trying to figure out anything to make the situation better. They had to figure out what caused this to happen. It could not have just popped up over night; something had to have caused it. Billy wished he could figure out something fast, because he was not sure how this all worked. Aris could get worse over time, and possibly lose control completely.
Billy watched Aris rinse the rag in the sink; there was so much blood, even with the rain outside falling. “So you remember everything?”
Aris nodded. “I wish I didn’t.” She stopped, turned the water off, and stared in the sink. “I liked it Billy. Ripping Miss. Fluffkins apart felt good…every bite. All that blood. I craved it.” She licked her lips. “Still am.” She shook her head. “This isn’t right, people shouldn’t want to eat living things like this, but even saying it, I don’t believe it.” She looked at Billy again, her eyes remained the same. “I’ll do this again Billy. I know I will…because I want to.”
They stood there for a few minutes staring at each other. Billy was scared. He had been scared since he saw Aris devouring Miss. Fluffkins before. That was not his best friend anymore, but he knew she was still in there somewhere. Billy was frozen against the wall; he was getting lost in Aris’ eyes. It was not the look he saw when she chased him, but something more of curiosity, as if she was planning what to do next. They stayed like that until a few moments later when the power came back on.
Aris immediately stepped back and blinked, her eyes were normal now. She gave Billy a strange look, but said nothing. He grabbed the flashlight off the counter, turned it off, and opened the bathroom door. He checked to make sure Aris’ parents were not upstairs before giving her the okay to go back into her room.
Billy noticed Aris’ parent’s room was empty. “They wouldn’t notice if you burned the house down would they?”
Aris laughed a little. “Probably not. At least not until it reached their precious lab.”
Billy sat down at the end of Aris’ bed, keeping the flashlight next to him, just in case the power went off again. “You don’t think they could help do you?”
Aris sighed. “I don’t know. Even if they could, they’d probably wait to find a cure just to run experiments on me. I think they would end up doing more damage than good.”
“Maybe the hospital?”
That time she laughed a little. “Yeah because I’ve always dreamed of living in a soft white room.”
Billy put his hands through his hair. “Sorry, I just don’t know what to do.”
Aris sat down next to Billy. “Me neither.”