"No, It's got to be just right. Where did you put the balloons, Chris?" The walls were covered with black and white decorations, dark red streamers hanging down from the walls. Chris sat in a dark wooden chair, fidgeting with his slender, stubby fingers. His guilty stance, with his bent back and his eyes that seemed to bleed from the inside and out, was obvious to the eye.
"Here you go, Kat." I marched in with a bag in my hand, winking secretly to Chris. He seemed to breathe for the first time since that morning, his clenched shoulders relaxing into the chair. Ever since we had turned 13, he had been afraid of Kat and what she would do to him if he didn't do as she asked. A mystery resolved around that strange behavior that I couldn't quite put my finger on. We had always been a close-knit group of friends, with Chris and Kat dating. They might have been keeping secrets from me. After all, they were a couple.
"Oh, well thanks Sidney. Appreciate it." Kat grabbed the bag and immediately began to rummage through it. She didn't care how she got the things she wanted and who she got them from, as long as she got them. She had always been a demanding person, but not the type to be scared of, necessarily. Sure, she was loud, and strange. But nothing you would be scared of. I mean, the only person we had to be scared of was Chris. That was why it was so strange; Chris, breaking out in sweat? Our Chris? He was never scared of anything. What could have possibly happened to make him this terrified?
I sat down next to him and stretched my limbs, sparing him occasional glances when he wasn't looking. He seemed preoccupied with himself, head down and eyes glassy and lifeless. I exhaled, letting the chilly AC cool me down. It had been a hot day, and we had all worked hard to get this party to work. It was Kat's relative's birthday, whom we had all forgotten the name of. From the looks of it, he loved black and white. Even the balloons were black.
Just then, someone strode in with an aura of menace and something sinister I couldn't quite place. A boy about our age, with auburn hair and a dark suit. His eyes were covered by clumps of hair falling onto his face. Even so, there was something almost familiar about him. Like we had met somewhere, a sense of familiarity that felt as if we had known each other since forever. Or that we were supposed to know each other that long. Suddenly he looked up, with a cold expression that chilled me to the bone, and eyes the color of-
"Gold! I told you to get only black. Why is there gold balloons in here?" Kat complained rather loudly, and I heard Chris chuckle nervously beside me. Then she looked up and her whole face lit up. "Oh, Rocket pop! We were just getting ready for your brother's birthday!" Grinning ear to ear, she motioned the strange boy to come over. So they were related. Gosh, this whole family was a bundle of strangeness.
With the same unwavering cold gaze, he walked over, not taking his eyes off me for an instant. We were drawn to each other like magnets. As Kat hugged him and kissed his cheek in greeting like she did everyone, he never glanced away. I broke out in cold sweat. I was beginning to get a bit fidgety and jumpy. Nobody else was noticing his intense gaze on me. It was like we were in a little world of our own. Everything and everyone else were irrelevant.
"Uh, Kat? I need to use the restroom for a sec." As I scurried away, swallowing harshly, I barely managed to tear my eyes away from his. I practically tore open the bathroom door and threw on the tap, splashing my face with water several times to make sure I was fully awake. I was.
"Sidney?" A familiar voice whispered behind me, and I spun on my feet. Chris stood before me, his head down and biting his lips, getting close to drawing blood from them. I rushed over and grabbed his shoulders tightly. So tightly that my knuckles turned white and a small wince escaped him. This was my chance to get an answer from him.
"Chris, what on earth is wrong with you lately?" He looked up at me like a scared animal, eyes wide and lips parted and trembling. It was as if he was a completely different person. He wasn't just scared of Kat; he was scared of everyone that yelled at him. He didn't answer right away, but he didn't squirm out of my death grip either. It was as if...he was used to the pain. Before I knew it, I was holding his arms down and tearing his shirt off him. Bite marks, scratches. Everywhere. On his throat, chest, back, arms. My throat felt tight.
I dragged him out of the bathroom, not even bothering to ask how this had come to occur. I already knew. But when we came back into the salon, it was empty. I felt Chris tense beside me. He was shaking again; but not because of fear. He was shaking because of the rage he had kept contained for so long. That was when he screamed for the first and last time.
After the papers came out about another missing girl, Chris slowly reverted back to his old self. He wrapped walls around himself and kept everyone else out. He snapped at anyone that came close to him or even opened their mouth in his direction. He got into fights again. But when he came back at night, he came to my house. And he sobbed and sobbed until he fell asleep. We never brought up the accident again. We didn't need to. It was etched in our hearts and our minds forever.