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Friendship Sad Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.



The light crested on the horizon beyond the fields and trees. Sunset scenery encompassed the very essence of beauty in Veronica’s vision. Her days ended verily on the cusp of the magnificent departure of the sun. Yet, as this exit of exquisiteness fell to the darkened night sky, her mood was not enlightened, but sorrowed. James would never again see such wonders and it was all her fault.


“I see you. Don’t think that I don’t.” James peered cautiously around the corner of the building seeking his tag nemesis. He was going to be victorious again. Beating Veronica in this cloak and dagger type hide and seek game was what he looked forward to every weekend. Methodically he would scope her out. She was getting better at it; however, he was still able to edge victory after victory over her. She had won, one time and he swore that it would be the only time. This was his game, and he was going to win each time. To prove his prowess and stealth like intensity, when he reached her ‘fortress’ last weekend, he adorned her with six cylinder or slimy silly string. Veronica was pulling that stuff out of her hair all week. This week he had a belt of canola oil glitter balloon- grenades at the ready. This would be epic. He also had added some different colored food dye for impact.


(He can’t see me … he is bluffing. Uncle John’s Gilly suit is awesome. The little cove is perfect. I am going to stay here the entire game. He is so competitive that he will not rest until he has searched this entire field. He is going to be expecting me to play offense, which is how he keeps winning. I am going to play defense; he will totally walk right into my little trap, and I will nail him. This super soaker is loaded for bear, and he will smell for days after we are done. I am claiming my second victory today. It is mine.) Veronica stayed still and nestled in her little hideaway. She was bound and determined to take home a second trophy. Watching him sulk all week was what gave her the idea of taking it to the next level.


‘Okay, maybe I don’t see her. Where has she placed herself this time?’ James methodically placed each step. The field was open and dangerous to cross. ‘I will stay in this area a little longer. I don’t think she went this far. I bet she has circled back. I will nestle into this cove and wait a bit for her.


(Oh, this is good. He is totally sitting right in front of me and doesn’t even know it.) Veronica could barely contain her giggles. (He is going to be so mad.)


Thirty minutes passed. Neither player moved. James began to fidget. He knew that Veronica was going to come by soon. She would never think of looking in the cove. She had gotten braver, but there were still bugs in here and she hated bugs. Veronica began plotting how she was going to push her super soaker into position and lather James in this fragrant mixtures of random things she found in the house before today’s game. She was actually surprised he had not reacted to the odor when he assumed his position, it was quite staunch. Perhaps he thought it was a dead animal or fecal matter. Whatever it was, she was pleasantly surprised that he had not reacted.


When sixty minutes had passed, James began to think that he had miscalculated his opponent. He repositioned himself and sat down to think. ‘I would have thought she would have been here by now. Did she really go across the field, and I have been waiting here and losing ground on her. What if she is closer than I think and I have missed something?’ James whispered part of his thoughts and just as he finished “What if she is closer than I think and I have missed something?” Veronica popped up with grand enthusiasm, finger on the trigger and sealed James’ fate. She completely soaked him and got her concoction all over him, head to toe. With victory in her grasp and joyous celebration, she failed to hear his painful screams of agony as the fluid from the soaker got him all over his face and in his eyes.


“STOP STOP STOP. ARRG. STOP” James’ voice was tormented with grueling pain. Curled into a ball to protect his face from further impact; Veronica finished off the soaker … dancing around chanting her victory song. ‘Get up you baby.’ She commanded. ‘You just got bested by a girl …. AGAIN!’


Twirling around in vigorously taunting and goading, Veronica did not notice that James was not responding to her arrogant celebration right in front of him. Suddenly she stopped and turned to him, ‘What’s wrong? Did you get a little wet? Do you smell bad now? Are you going to cry like a baby cause you lost?” As she finished her verbal attack, her demeanor instantly changed. ‘James?’ ‘James?’


Crying uncontrollably in a ball, holding his hands over his face, barely able to catch his breath. James could not answer her. Veronica approached with anticipation of a (gotcha) but what she found was red blisters and welts all over any exposed skin. Panic hit… “JAMES!” Rolling him over and getting him to lie flat, she reached for her phone and called 911. She explained to the operator what happened and within 10 minutes paramedics were on the scene. Veronica explained again what had happened and the paramedics took her super soaker with them for analysis.


After notifying James’ family, Veronica made her way to the hospital. She arrived in time to hear the doctor tell them that though each of the ingredients in the soaker are pretty harmless, an eye flush would do the trick, when combined with each other, they created quite a poisonous reaction. That James would live; however, he would be blind for the rest of his life. The doctor explained that the welts and blisters were concerning but was sure that they would dissipate over time and would leave no scaring.


Slowly, Veronica entered his room. Tears flowing from her own eyes. She apologized to his family and to him, though he had been sedated because of the pain he was in. She explained that she did not even consider this as a possibility and assumed responsibility for whatever they decided to do. She asked to remain with him for a while, to sit with him … seeing the remorse in her face and knowing the games that they played together over the years, they were afraid that this or something would happen … his family left them alone.


‘James, if you can hear me … I am so sorry. I just wanted to win and …’ catching her voice as it cracked, ‘it doesn’t matter now, whatever you need from me, if you will let me, I will always be there for you. Always.”


James’ hand moved to hers.



April 14, 2024 00:57

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3 comments

Brian Haddad
22:02 Apr 24, 2024

I'm here via the critique circle. Overall, this is a cute story that, while tragic, does have a rustic sweetness to it, especially at the very end. If you don't mind a little constructive criticism, there are a couple of simple things that I think would improve the writing quite a bit. Clearly some of my opinion will be just that: subjective opinion. So feel free to ignore my thoughts here! It took me some time to realize (and I hope I realized this correctly) that between the first and second paragraphs there is a jump back in time. Some ...

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Karalee Ratliff
21:23 May 03, 2024

Thank you for your input. I do read all opinions and evaluate on how to improve. I appreciate all feedback. Thank you.

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Unknown User
00:45 Apr 25, 2024

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