Horror Teens & Young Adult Thriller

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

They hated when people called them "friends." Any time they overheard someone referring to them as something so unbecoming of their relationship, they corrected them immediately. They'd snapped at me time and time again for it, until I learned to call them what they were: sisters. Nothing more, nothing less--their words, not mine. It was speculated around the school that there was something deeper going on, something sexual or romantic in nature, but they never commented on any of that. For the most part, the five girls kept themselves a mystery. I'd often wondered how I was able to get as close to them as I had. I was just some kid in their homeroom... I often mused that it felt like they chose me. I wasn't sure why I felt that way, but it always lingered in the back of my mind during our exchanges. 

That particular day, as Joy walked into the room with only Luna and Maeve (Kat and Bea missing), I wondered if I had ever seen the five of them apart... I couldn't recall an instance. 

"Morning Jacob," Joy smiled innocently, batting her long, dark eyelashes at me as she took her seat--right in front of mine. I nodded a greeting at her as she sat, my eyebrows furrowed as the other two girls took their seats as well, smiling at me as they passed. 

"Where are Kat and Bea?" I asked then, though I typically wouldn't have been so curious. The three of them seemed... off that day. I felt compelled to ask. 

Joy's dark brown eyes stared past me for a moment as she fiddled with the trim of her plaid skirt, flattening the fabric though she looked completely perfect and wrinkle-free. 

"They weren't feeling well," she admitted after a moment, her eyes softening around the edges, finally meeting mine. Each time I looked at one of the girls for long enough I felt an odd pulling in my chest, like I was being drawn in by their gaze. I quickly broke the eye contact and cleared my throat.

"That's too bad... how're they doing?" I asked then, noticing Joy had smiled gently again at my flustered reaction. I'd often gotten the feeling she liked me, but doubted my own instincts about the matter. I wasn't an expert on girls, not even close. In that moment, pondering Joy's feelings, I remembered how Bea and I had dated shortly in elementary school. It dawned on me then that it must have been around the time we stopped talking, that the girls got together and became inseparable. Joy, cat eyes still trained on me, leaned her elbows on the front of my desk, staring at me like she could tell what I was thinking. 

"They'll be alright. I bet Bea would like to see you, though," Luna piped up from across the aisle. She had a softer look about her as compared to Joy, though all of the girls shared pin straight, black hair that was all cut to the same mid-back length. 

I looked at her and shook my head, a slight blush gracing my cheeks at her insinuation that Bea craved my company, "No way. I'm sure you guys are taking good care of her."

Maeve, who was standing behind Luna's desk now braiding the girl's hair down her back, giggled at my embarrassment, which only caused for the other girls to join in. I hid my face with one of my hands, my blonde, overgrown bangs falling into my eyes as I angled my head down. 

"Bea likes you, y'know," Maeve grinned, caressing Luna's hair between her fingers, "You can't be serious... you haven't noticed?"

Joy nodded along as if to confirm what the girl was saying, reaching her hand out to me. She took my wrist in her hand and pulled it away from my face, uncovering how red I truly was at this confession. 

"I can see why, too," Joy admitted, biting her bottom lip playfully, her perfectly manicured fingers wrapped tightly around my wrist, "You're cute, Jake."

As she held onto my wrist, I felt as though my heart might beat out of my chest, seemingly holding my breath the entire time our skin met. I snagged my arm away gently and protested even more, no idea how I was supposed to be reacting to this information. 

"You guys are lying. Bea and I haven't had a conversation since we were nine," I said, the words rolling out of my mouth without much thought. I winced, wondering if I should have brought up when her and I had played house for a while. It wasn't like we had actually dated, it was kid stuff. Just holding hands on the playground and kisses on the cheek... nothing serious. 

"That's right!" Luna exclaimed, crossing her legs the opposite way, shifting her white linen skirt on her knees, "you and Bea had sandbox love."

"I'd hardly call it love," I scoffed, smiling playfully at Luna, who was still having her hair braided patiently by Maeve. I noticed out of the corner of my eye Joy shifting oddly in her seat... her hand... it seemed to be somewhere between her...

Just as quickly as I had thought I had seen something, Joy stood up and rushed out of the classroom, disappearing in mere seconds. Another blush spread out across the bridge of my nose as I shook what I thought I'd seen out of my mind, scolding myself for even imaging such a thing in class. The other two girls looked after Joy with much less surprise than I, and that seemed odd to me as well. 

"She must be feeling sick, too," Maeve frowned, tying off Luna's braid finally. Luna, frowning too, ran a hand over her braid and then let it fall onto her back, standing from the desk. 

"I'll go find her, make sure she's okay," Luna smiled, stepping out of the class a moment later, waving a goodbye to Maeve and I. I supposed it made sense Joy could have caught whatever Bea and Kat had... the girls were always with one another.

"Seriously, Jacob," Maeve said then, turning to me with a serious look on her face, "Bea wants to see you. You could come over to her house with us after school... if you want..."

I chewed the inside of my cheek at her offer, wondering what the hell I should do. No obvious solution, and I had nothing to do after school anyway. The poor girl was sick, I'd thought, it can't hurt to pay her a visit. So, I agreed.

"Alright... but I'll only stay a minute or two."

Maeve smiled, obviously satisfied. I didn't see Joy or Luna at all the rest of the day until after the last bell, when the three of them were waiting for me at my locker. I was surprised they knew exactly which one was mine, and smiled sheepishly as I made my way over to the threesome. 

"You okay?" I asked Joy immediately, who did look a bit paler than normal. She nodded her head as she tucked a strand of her black hair behind her ear. I noticed her hand looked like it had a bit of swelling, and without thinking reached out for it. I cradled her hand in mine, looking it over. Her nails, previously perfectly done in pink and white, had been broken off, leaving behind a hazy film on her thin nail beds. There was some dark schmutz underneath her nails... dirt maybe? It looked fresh. Just as quickly as I had taken her hand, she snatched it away and tucked her hands behind her back out of sight. 

"I lost my nails in gym..." the girl offered, a blush rising in her cheeks, something I didn't often see from Joy, "took a nasty fall while we were outside on the trail."

Luna giggled softly, and Maeve elbowed her, adding, "Hush. We're just glad Joy is okay."

I nodded along with that sentiment, though I felt as though I had missed something. Truthfully, I just wanted to see Bea. I wanted to gauge for myself if what the girls were saying was true. There was something about Bea... from the moment I'd met her. She had this softness about her. She spoke to very few people, in very few words. When she did speak, her voice was like a summer rain, warm and inviting--breaking the crushing humidity of the world in seconds. I thought back for a moment as the girls began to walk me toward Bea's home.

"Jacob," I heard in her small voice, seeing a nine year old Bea in front of me once again. She was wearing a flowing pink sundress and clear jelly sandals with lots of straps. The teacher had scolded her for the shoes just that morning, and I had thrown a book across the classroom to redirect her attention. It had worked, momentarily. At recess, we had always found a patch of grass where we could be away from the other kids. I'd never liked sports, or even climbing the jungle gym. I liked to look out at the grass and find flowers, or watch bugs crawl over blades of fresh grass, drinking dew drops. I'd never met another child who liked to do that too, until I met Bea. 

"Hm?" I'd hummed in response, crouching next to an ant hill I'd been watching all week. She crouched down and held out her index finger, a drop of bright red blood falling down onto the dirt silently. I looked up at her face and then back at the cut, and back at her face. She looked... blank. Often when kids got hurt on the playground there were lots of crying and theatrics, but Bea looked completely calm. I liked that about her too, how cool she always seemed. I'd never seen her get worked up about anything and to me--a boy who cried and blushed and yelled at the drop of a hat--that was fascinating. I didn't want to be the center of attention, but my larger than life emotions didn't give me a choice. I wished silently to be as stoic as the girl was, though I never did quite get there. 

"Will you kiss it?" Bea had asked me, which made my face go so red I thought I might faint from embarrassment. Still, I nodded my head, took the girl's hand in mine, and leaned down and kissed her wound, licking away the small drop of blood. I remembered how she smiled at me, thinking about it long after that moment. Even at just nine I could tell how much that gesture had meant to her, just from the way her green eyes glowed. It hadn't been long after that that we broke up like all nine year olds eventually did, and things got weird for a while. 

Eight years later, the five girls had seemingly befriended me at the beginning of high school, and each year I grew closer with them. Now, all of us 17, we had a good thing going. I blushed quietly as I walked beside Luna, Joy and Maeve, standing closest to the street on the sidewalk. They'd all squealed at how gentlemanly I was for such a gesture, but I truthfully hadn't thought of it at all. I just sort of ended up there, just the way I ended up on the outskirts of their group... not quite in on everything, but close enough to be in on maybe a third of what was going on? It was nice to be a bit of a sidekick to them... there for them whenever they happened to need me. I felt like maybe that was the little boy in me talking to Bea, remembering her smile on the playground that day like he was there all over again.

"Bea's place is just through here," Luna explained as the girls led me off of the sidewalk and toward a patch of woods. There wasn't any kind of trail, and the girls started stepping over the hedges, weeds up to their knees as their loafers sank into the damp earth. 

Skeptical of it all, feeling as though they were trying to make a fool out of me, I laughed.

"You're joking, right? This is the middle of nowhere," I grinned, ruffling my hair as the cool autumn air, moist and sharp made my scalp get goosebumps, a shiver rolling over my spine. 

"No," Joy smiled calmly, gesturing into the dark wood, "this is the way. Promise."

I stood before the girls trying to justify this to myself, though that was certainly a struggle. Suddenly something, like a stone, sank into my stomach and told me this wasn't right. I took a small step back, rubbing my neck in embarrassment. On the off chance this really wasn't the way to Bea's place... I didn't wanna stick around and see what was in those woods waiting for me. 

"Yeah.. um... I think I better just head home, actually," I chuckled out nervously, rubbing at the back of my neck with my palm. The girls, calm as ever, looked between one another, as if speaking in some unspoken tongue. Joy was the first to step back over the hedges, coming toward me slowly. 

"Come on..." Joy sighed, grabbing me before I could wriggle away. She held me by my neck, her other hand on the small of my back. I was a good four inches taller than the girl, but she still closed the gap between us with ease. Suddenly our lips crashed together, and I felt her tongue slip against mine. I'd never felt so sleepy in my life, my heart rate slowing immediately under her touch. I tried to push her away, but my limbs had already gone soft, and the next thing I knew I was being dragged through the woods, Luna and Joy holding either of my ankles. The sound of crunching leaves was insanely loud, ringing in my ears, mixing with the soft hum of the girls singing. They whistled a tune I was unfamiliar with, talking and giggling every now and again, though my brain wasn't awake enough to make out their words. All I could do was lay there limp, and allow them to take me wherever we were going... which I doubted was anything to do with Bea.

But, a while later to my surprise, I heard Bea's voice--as calm and gentle as ever. When I finally opened my eyes there she was, with her evergreen eyes, holding my face in her hands, her head surrounded by a frame of pine trees, the sky growing dark. 

"You're awake," Bea smiled, as I tried to sit up, more groggy than I had ever been before. It wasn't until I fully lifted my head that I saw she was naked... completely nude as she crouched beside me. And then, the other three girls were completely bare as well, standing just a couple of feet away. Even then, when I should have been more concerned with my wellbeing, I was immediately flustered seeing their bodies, and snapped my head away.

"W-What's going on?" I stuttered out, meeting Bea's eyes again in order to keep my eyes away from all the skin. It was then, that my vision really cleared and I saw the blood all over her face, running down her chest. My breath caught in my throat, "wait... are you okay?"

Bea's smile deepened then, her eyes glittering.

"I'm okay, Jacob..."

"The blood..."

She gestured a little ways away and I saw her... Kat... dead... in a pile of dried leaves. 

"Not mine," Bea replied simply. 

I felt my head begin to pound, my breaths coming quickly all of the sudden. I could feel that stone in my stomach from earlier, now probably about the size of a bolder. As much as I wanted to run away, I found myself stuck to my spot, staring into Bea's eyes. 

"We had to kill her..."


"She didn't want to turn you... now she doesn't get a vote."

I tried to process her words as she started unbuttoning my dirty jeans, climbing over me as I froze in place. She exposed me, pulling my underwear down before I could think, forcing herself onto me. I gasped, my face suddenly drenched in sweat, warmth pooling under the skin of my cheeks.

"Bea... what is this?" I cried, trying to push her away as she moved, bobbing on my pelvis, though I was no match for her in my current state and I slowly felt the world start to darken around the edges. I could hear the girls moaning, their voices slowly escalating to screams. I realized then I couldn't escape... there was no point in trying. I could feel her sucking the life out of me. With each movement, I felt a sickening mixture of pain and pleasure, my heart hammering so fast I knew any minute it would stop. I longed for that release, though I could feel I was closer to giving Bea what she wanted than getting what I wished for. 

When I opened my eyes again, I groaned, completely relinquishing myself to her--though she was no longer the girl I'd known. She was a dark shadow, a cloud looming over me.

I heard an incantation in my mind as she swallowed me up: Satan so sweet, embrace us once more. I realized only as my heart stopped it was the girls chanting, with eyes glowing sickly green in the underbrush. I felt my body completely relax into the ground, as if i were about to be embraced by the weeds. Though, when I opened my eyes, I saw everything washed in green, my heart completely still, but my mind sharp as ever. Bea smiled, still in my lap. I understood. Finally. 

I was officially one of Them.

April 28, 2023 15:45

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03:51 Apr 29, 2023

This is so good. Great prose and character development that really pulled me in. Really zooms in on a lot of little details that people pay so much attention to in high school. "sandbox love" lol, that was funny expression. This feels like the beginning of a new dark YA fantasy novel.


Brynn Helena
11:45 Apr 29, 2023

thank you so much!! i actually stole "sandbox love" from one of my favorite horror films of all time, 'jennifer's body.' it has always been one of my favorite phrases to describe childhood romances. glad you liked this one, thanks for the comment! :)


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Levi Michael
22:30 Apr 28, 2023

Hey Brynn, Your character development was what pulled me along through this story. Jake’s memories of Bae felt like watching them through an unfocused soft light(in a good way, if I’m not being clear). Great structure. The very first paragraph hints at the sexual nature. The broken nails and dirt on her hand teased some kind of nefarious doings. Bae’s pleasure at Jake’s unflinching kiss on her wound clearly foreshadows a dark side. And when Jake was finally set upon, I was genuinely worried for him. Nuance and subtext are definitely one o...


Brynn Helena
22:41 Apr 28, 2023

hi levi!! glad you saw the two through that sort of hazy, memory film i feel like we all view our pasts through. like when in a movie they cut to a flash back and the colors are brighter, and the sun is shining, and everything looks a bit overexposed. i was thinking of those scenes in inception where cobb's kids are playing wistfully in his memory, wanted to evoke that sort of thing! almost dreamlike. thank you so much for all of the generous compliments you just gave me, i feel like the people on this site are always so kind. so helpful too...


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Mike Panasitti
18:24 Apr 30, 2023

Jake, in a ceremony at once erotic and horrifying, becomes one of "Them." What a way to create ambivalence in readers! You bear all the hallmarks of a brilliant author of horror.


Brynn Helena
19:18 Apr 30, 2023

thank you so much!! i've always loved horror, it's my favorite genre across all media. i like the idea that you don't quite know how to feel about jacob's "turning" of sorts. i've always loved a story that makes me go "well what now?" after i've finished reading it, and i tend to write what i'd like to read myself. glad you liked it, thanks for the feedback :)


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