The car smelled like shit. The stained nylon seats behind her dirty clothes did not comfort Macy as she squeezed the wheel tightly, trying to stay in line with the forest road. Without the radio on, it was quiet- but it was the loudest silence this girl would ever hear. Each time a car passed by, she ducked.
“Relax.” Charlotte said from the shotgun seat. “Nobody’s looking into the car.”
“H-How do you know?” Macy asked, her voice falling apart at the seams. “Someone might see.”
“Nobody will see.” Charlotte insisted. “Now… keep driving. We just have to get out of Georgia.”
“And then what? I don’t wanna- I don’t want this happening! None of this is happening! None of this is real!” Macy began to cry out at the top of her lungs, sobbing as she swerved left and right and left again, nearly moving into the nearby ditch twice.
“You need to shut up.” Charlotte ordered, trying to be firm with her friend. “Your driving is terrible.”
“Then why don’t you drive?” The blonde yelled.
“I’ve never drove before.” She answered.
“You’re so pathetic… we’re so pathetic… we’re sixteen…”
“And we’ll be seventeen next year. Now drive.”
“What do you mean next year? This is it, Charlotte! Nothing fucking happens to us after this! I mean, have you ever heard of- of something like this happening, and then the people just go on with their lives?”
“Sure I have. Have you ever seen Friday the 13th?”
“That’s a fucking movie! Charlotte, I hate you! I hate you I hate you I hate you!” Macy slammed on the horn, the noon birds flocking away at the loud sound. Charlotte threw her hands up and grabbed Macy by the neck, straggling her as she just barely held the wheel with a few fingers.
“Are you an idiot? Macy, I thought you didn’t want to catch anyone’s attention!” She shouted in the girl’s face. Macy, gasping for air, turned to the young brunette, and cried.
“I’m shorry… I’m so shorrry, Charlotte…”
“KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE FUCKING ROAD!”
The two just barely swerved around a tree, Macy trying her best to get back on track, as even without Charlotte’s hands around her neck she was almost choking on her own snot and tears that still wouldn’t stop falling. Charlotte herself kept feeling the urge to cry, but was fighting it as hard as she could.
“We… something like that happens again, we could be dead, Macy.” She said.
“Maybe… we should be dead…”
“No. Stop thinking like that. We deserve to live. Macy, we deserve to live! Say it with me- We deserve to live!”
“We deserve to live!” Charlotte chanted, Macy joining in halfway through. “We deserve to live! We deserve to live! We deserve to-“
The two stopped as they heard the sound of a siren steadily approaching from behind their vehicle. Macy immediately burst into tears once more, as Charlotte turned around in her seat to see their pursuer through the rear window.
Inside his car, officer Colby Dunlap squeezed his walkie-talkie, one hand on the wheel as he used the device to clear a bag of chips away from his windshield.
“Both shooters are in the car. I’m in pursuit. No. No, Johnny, I don’t care if backup’s late- I can deal with two teenage girls, for fuck’s sake- I don’t- no, I don’t care what happened! I’ll handle it, okay? Jesus.”
Macy sobbed. “Charlotte… they caught us, Charlotte… what are we gonna do…”
“We’re gonna keep driving and get the fuck out of here!” The long-faced girl ordered, stretching over into the backseat to grab her equipment.
“What are you doing?” Macy asked. “Charlotte, are we gonna- can we kill ourselves?”
“Not a chance.” She said, raising the rifle up to the rear window.
“I said, I don’t need any backup-“ Dunlap barked, squealing as he was suddenly interrupted by a volley of bullets cracking through his windshield and tearing through the seats of his car. He ducked behind his steering wheel, dropping the mic in order to fasten his hand on the Glock in his holster, gritting his teeth.
In the car in front of him, Macy screamed and laughed behind the wheel. “I love that sound! Aha- Aha- a-huuunnnhhh…” she began to cry again.
“Keep your head down. He’ll fire back.”
Charlotte curled up as nine millimeter rounds began to burst into the car, Macy’s screams growing louder and louder with each one as her driving became more and more erratic. Though incredibly stupid on a road that was growing increasingly more populated by trees than signs or guard rails, it served to help the two girls as Dunlap struggled to hit much of anything.
“Fucking bitch!” He screeched pointlessly, trying to stay on the road. He dropped the mag from his pistol and threw his empty McDonald’s drink aside to set it down in the cup holder, fondling a fresh magazine from his belt and inserting it into the handle of the gun. As he clicked it shut, he looked up to see the girls heading straight for the next turn.
“They’re getting away!” He yelled at himself, slamming on the gas to keep up with the two of them. But as he rounded the turn, and his tires curved right, Charlotte grinned behind the sights of her AR.
With one final bang a hole was placed in the officer’s front right tire, as the car spun out of control and he leapt out of it, just before it headed straight for an evergreen and collapsed. Charlotte laughed as she looked at him crawling from her rearview mirror, straightening herself back in her seat as she sighed in relief.
“We did it, Macy! We’re gonna be alright!”
“Ha… aha… yeah…” Macy replied, her communication ability just barely functioning. She steered carefully and yet mindlessly, like a taxi driver at the very end of her shift. Then, Charlotte began to laugh.
“W-what is it?” Macy asked.”
“It’s just… pfffff- we just killed a bunch of people and then got in a shootout with a cop, but you still have your seatbelt on.”
“Ah… aha… hahaha!” Macy laughed. The two both laughed. They laughed and laughed until suddenly something very grim appeared right in front of the car.
It walked on the hood even though nobody saw it get there, and it stood completely still even though the girls were going about as fast as they could in Macy’s bullet-ridden Nissan. It spoke so inaudibly that nobody could understand what it was saying, but it was so loud it made the killer’s ears ring. And even though it had the body of someone they’d never seen before, it bore the face of one of their former classmates.
Macy screamed. The car crashed into a pine tree, Charlotte’s vision cutting out as everything got a chance to stop for just a moment. It felt like no time at all had passed when she opened her eyes and saw she was still inside the car. Macy was next to her, alive, but bleeding from her head. Charlotte wasn’t very smart, but thought she could probably still live if they found her treatment. She spoke to her.
“Macy… are you okay?”
“I’m not… okay…”
“Good, good, you’re not… crazy. Listen, we-“
“We are… crazy.”
“…Yeah. I guess so.”
“We… killed… people. Our classmates.”
“…Mhm.” Charlotte murmured.
“What the fuck… is wrong with the world?” The young girl asked. “What’s wrong… with us?”
“Macy… we have two options here. Accept what’s happened and move on, or end up like all the others and make our one act of defiance the final chapter of our life. The one thing we did right. I don’t want that, Macy. You know just as well as I do how fucked we are. Now are you gonna use this opportunity to finally make something of yourself, to prove to the world it can’t beat you- or are you just gonna give up?”
“I’m gonna give up.” The short-haired girl declared.
“Why?” The long-haired one replied. “Why give up, what’s the point? You can’t ever have a normal life again, neither of us can- but did you ever really want that anyway? I sure didn’t. So why? Why give up now?”
Macy couldn’t cry anymore. The only thing coming out of her was blood, and all that was left in her eyes was the most terrified, unthinkable fear.
“My mom’s gonna find out I killed people. She’s gonna find out I’m a terrible, terrible mass murderer. A school shooter, like in the news. She’s gonna see me, her daughter, with a gun, just- just- just killing everyone she thought I considered friends. For no reason. Just shallow feelings and anger. She’s going to find out I’m the worst kind of person in the whole world. Charlotte… how can you live with that?” She turned to the girl as much as she could manage with her head limp on the dashboard. When she saw her, she had only the most determined look on her face.
“I want everyone to know.”
“I want… everyone to see what they did to me. I want them to feel guilty. And more than anything… I want to be known, Macy. As I said- I’ve accepted this place we’re in. So I’m going to make the most of it. The whole world will know me. Who knows, I might go and do it all again. Shoot up some other place. It’s all I want. All that makes much sense.”
Out of the corner of Macy’s eye, she saw something outside of the window. A figure- another strange apparition or hallucination? No. She recognized the shape of the belt. The thin, metallic object in its hand.
“What is it?”
“He’s coming back…”
Charlotte whipped around to see the cop limping towards the car, gun in hand, the angriest look on his face just dying to hurt the two of them. To hurt anybody. She hated that look. At least when she killed people, she did it with a smile.
“Can you walk?”
“I can do anything at this point…”
“Get out and surrender. While he’s distracted, I’ll blow his head off.”
“Good. Now quick, go.” Charlotte leaned down to pick up her rifle.
“If he tries to kill me, can I die…?”
Charlotte frowned at her accomplice like a disapproving mother. “Yes. You have my word.”
Macy stepped out of the car, hands in the air. Officer Dunlap immediately stuck his gun in her direction.
“LEMME SEE YOUR HANDS! LEMME SEE YOUR HANDS! LEMME SEE YOUR- GET ON THE GROUND! ON THE GROUND!”
It was very very hard for Macy to think. She eventually put her knees to the pavement, not knowing how much the man had to yell at her before she complied. Charlotte scoped out the situation, realizing what would be best for everyone, and decided she should just let Macy be taken in. It’s what she would want, and would allow her to tell Charlotte’s story to everyone without her having to herself.
“Where’s your partner?”
Charlotte carefully slipped out of the vehicle and began to sneak away, taking with her only her rifle. Her school backpack, filled entirely with magazines, would stay with the car as a memento of this one day of her life. Not the worst, or best day- just another day in the life of one human being. That is what Charlotte wanted people to have to see. A life in which any day could be spent in horrific violence just as easily as it could be spent going to a convenience store. A normal, human life anyone could have. She wanted to force people to cope with one idea- that murder was not so much a limit that could be reached, but rather, a single ordinary action that alone was not worthy of defining one’s life. Regardless of whether or not she believed this to be true, she wanted people to think about it- and be afraid.
As Charlotte escaped the scene, she wished for Macy’s safety. In addition to her previous message, she would also prove one more thing today- that she was more than capable of mercy, and simply had standards to whom it should be given. But as she left, she heard a laugh, followed by the cop’s words.
“You’re the one- shot at me, made me fucking wreck- YOU ALMOST KILLED ME! And all those kids at the school? How do you think they felt, huh? HERE’S how, you little BITCH!” The cop howled with laughter as Macy managed to cry again.
The man’s first gunshot would have rang loud, had it not been drowned out by the following six.
Charlotte felt a bit weak for running- but she reminded herself this was all to extend her spree- her life- to go on as long as possible. It felt like she passed by hundreds of thousands of trees as she ran deeper and deeper into this green labyrinth, away from all society- if she truly was an animal, a monster- this would be where she belonged, more so than any man. And she couldn’t deny she loved it here. It was so peaceful. But that thought was useless. She didn’t want peace. And she definitely didn’t want to be an animal. At least… that’s not how she wanted others to look at it.
An unknown amount of time passed, and then at last, stopped in the middle of nowhere with her back to a tall tree deep in the Georgia woods, Charlotte cried. She cried just like any girl would. Like any human would. She then giggled. She was human. And nobody could prove otherwise.
But then, a faint green light shone from in front of her.
It smelled like flowers, and made the sounds of bristling grass billowing across an entire planet. A second girl’s body appeared in those woods, feet floating just above the grass.
Charlotte looked up in front of her, and saw the small, untouched face of her friend- of Macy- and was terrified.
“Charlotte. I guess… I’ve got no choice, but to follow you. You were… always my only friend, after all. So I’ll stick with you… for now.”
Charlotte clenched the barrel of her rifle, propping herself up as she shook in fear at the phantasm that had appeared before her.
“Y-yeah… Yeah, of course! Y-You’re coming with me… and we’re gonna live.”
When people kill, they are not condemned to hell. Rather, they suffer a much more terrifying fate… bearing witness to those unable to, their very prey, the looming dead. With a friend’s promise… Charlotte’s reign of terror henceforth began.