What could that noise possibly be? As I fumbled around for my phone, I just kept hearing the same annoying thuds repeatedly. It was 4 a.m. who could possibly be up at this time. As I stumbled out of bed stubbing my toe along the way I saw a faint light coming from the neighbor's house down the street.
Was that the Johnsons’ house? Was that a moving truck? To be completely honest their son Thomas, who was a year younger than me has always creeped me out. I can say I am definitely not sad to see him and his family go. Why the sudden move though? Also, who moves at 4 a.m. in the morning? Whatever it was I didn't have a good feeling about it. As I stumbled back into bed, the feeling from that night came racing back. That feeling in the very pit of your stomach. That feeling where you just know something very wrong has happened. Just like that all of the memories of that summer night hit me.
Alyssa had been missing for almost six months now. No matter how hard I tried to forget that entire weekend I could still picture it as if it were last night. Alyssa's long dark hair soaking wet from jumping in the lake. Her contagious laugh after having way too many drinks. She was always the life of the party but never in an out-of-control way. Her energy was just contagious, and I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say a single bad thing about her. Which is unheard of when you are seventeen and in high school.
Then the next morning she was nowhere to be found. At first, we all thought maybe she just fell asleep outside or maybe she fell asleep in one of the cars. We all fumbled our way outside to see if we could find her. We figured she could not have gone far right? After thirty minutes of us calling her name and searching that feeling that I was feeling tonight hit me. At that moment I knew this was not going to end well. As we all headed back to the kitchen, we prepared for what we knew was about to happen. It was time to call the parents.
While we made the dreaded calls, I noticed it. The look on Thomas's face. The strangest thing about it is that it was not even anything specific. It was just a kind of emptiness. His eye had such a blank darkness to them that it sent chills down my spine.
Then I started to really think. I just had this terrible gut-wrenching feeling. One I wish I would not have noticed. As I started to replay that morning and how everyone was frantically searching and calling Alyssa's name, he was just kind of there. Searching sure, but not really searching. It was like he already knew she would not be found. Although as I looked around at everyone else, I seemed to be the only one who noticed.
As we all sat waiting in the kitchen, I looked around again and realized Thomas was gone. As I made my way upstairs there, he was. Just casually packing. Not even the frantic I am ready for this nightmare to be over packing. No. He was folding each piece of clothing he had brought neatly one by one. As I paused confused, he just looked up and gave me a blank stare then went right back to what he was doing.
When the police and everyone's parents finally arrived, it became real. Everyone went over the events from the night before. After many glaring eyes from parents as we spoke about the alcohol consumed, we headed out again. We spent hours searching the wooded area surrounding the lake house, boats, neighbors' yards yet we found nothing. No clothing. No jewelry. It was like Alyssa had vanished into thin air. As I looked over you could see the pain shooting through Alyssya's parents' eyes. I believe at that moment they knew as well. Their daughter was not coming back home.
How could this be possible? Just hours ago, she was dancing around the fire singing with all of us without a single care in the world. How could she just be gone?
One by one we were all questioned by the police. They asked us what we could remember in detail leading up to the last moment we remembered seeing Alyssa. It seemed that after 1:00 a.m. she just vanished. As we were going over the events from the night before they showed up. The dive team. We all watched as they geared up and headed into the lake to find her.
Right at that moment, I turned and just so happened to catch a slight grin pass over Thomas's face. It was a look of accomplishment. Just as fast as it came it went though and his face went right back to the blank stare, he had had all morning.
When it was his turn to be questioned by the police, I just kept thinking surely, they can see what I see or was I just projecting? Was I making this up? Was he really just scared and concerned? He answered all their questions the same way we had all done. Explaining that he remembered seeing her by the fire but that he had gone to bed before everyone else. Did he? Now that I am thinking about it more, I do not remember seeing him after Alyssa had jumped in the lake so maybe he had gone to bed.
The sound of my alarm startled me. Had I just been sitting here for three hours replaying that night in my head again? Is this what the rest of my life would look like? Just never being able to let go of that night. Right as I was about to get ready, I saw the glimmer of headlights coming down the street. As I looked out my window there they were. All packed up and on their way. As they passed, Thomas caught my eye and at that very moment I knew he had done something terrible and his family knew as well.