Sam Wildow


“Oh, that was a really bright idea!”

“You thought of it!”

“I did not!” she shrieked.

“Don’t look at me – look at the road!” he cried, pointing in front of him and out the front windshield. 

“But I’m trying to yell at you,” she growled.

“Well, do it while staying on this side of the yellow lines,” he muttered. 

Sarah turned her turned her attention from Derek to the blacktop and yellow lines shining underneath her head lights.  She glanced in her rearview mirror and, even though an empty, black abyss was all that stalked them, she continued to press her foot down excessively on the accelerator. 

“Maybe you should slow down a bit,” Derek suggested warily, his muscles tensing as he grasped the passenger side door.  The car hurled itself around a sharp curve.

“Maybe you should shut up,” Sarah grumbled at him. 

Derek scowled at her as he felt his body lift itself slightly out of his seat.  The car seemed to nearly take off flying as it swiftly plummeted down a steep hill. 

“Seriously, Sarah, no one’s following –” Derek attempted to reason with her.

“Oh, would you please –”

“There!” Derek abruptly shouted, pointing out the window again.

Sarah’s eyes followed the direction of Derek’s finger as she instantly released the gas pedal and punched the brakes.  Their bodies lurched forwards in their seats while the car screeched to a halt and the back end of the car fishtailed into a field.

“Nicely done,” Derek commented. 

Sarah ignored him for the moment and returned to strongly abusing the accelerator as the car sped down a dirt path hidden between two seven-foot-tall seas of swaying cornstalks.  The hidden path was approximately half a mile long and eventually led to –

“A graveyard?!” Sarah shrieked, possibly breaking the sound barrier.  “You want us to hide out in a graveyard all night?!”

“Well, we’re gonna be dead, anyways, if that farmer finds us,” Derek said, “so he’ll only have to move us about six feet in that case.”


“Alright!  Sorry!” Derek said, suppressing a stressed groan.  “Look, do you have any better ideas?  The trees over there and all these cornstalks here hide the cemetery from the road.  No one will see us or your car.”

“You do realize that we’re probably hiding in that farmer’s crops right now, right?” Sarah inquired.

Derek paused.

“I didn’t think about that…”

Sarah groaned.

“Come on, Sarah,” Derek said, “we’ll be fine.” 

“No,” she said, “you were right before.  We’ll be six feet under.”

Derek frowned at Sarah’s words as she pulled the car around into a little spot between the cemetery and the corn field.  She put it into park and got out.  Derek opened his door but didn’t get out. 

“We don’t actually have to hide in the cemetery,” he said, a frail waver in his voice.  “We can just stay in the car.”

Sarah kept walking towards the entrance to the cemetery and didn’t turn around to face him.

“What are you?  Scared?” she called back to him.  She gripped the gate at the entrance and shook it slightly.  It didn’t budge. 

Derek groaned as he forced himself out of the car and slammed its door shut.  He went up next to Sarah and took his turn shaking the gate.  It remained stuck in its spot.

“Great,” Sarah complained, crossing her arms.  “We can’t even get the freaking gate open.  Really awesome plan, Derek.”

“I’m telling you,” Derek said, aggravated, “we can just stay in the car.”

“No,” Sarah said stubbornly.  “Your plan is to hide in this stupid graveyard, so get me into the graveyard.”

Derek paused, glaring at Sarah.

“Don’t tempt me,” he said. 

For a moment, they simply stood and shared a looks of frustration and annoyance with each other.  Derek broke away first and turned to the gate.  He firmly gripped one of the bars that made up the gate and then grunted huskily as he yanked it towards himself.  It shifted nearly an inch. 

“Nice,” Sarah commented, crossing her arms with an edge to her voice.  “Now if only my waist was as wide my thumb, it would be perfect.” 

Derek pretended the bar was Sarah’s neck as he seized it again and jerked more rigorously on it.  This time it opened nearly an extra three inches.  Derek was unable to stifle a small smirk as he went on forcing it open, and Sarah rolled her eyes impatiently at Derek’s expression. 

“There,” Derek said, once the gate was open over a good two feet.  “Now, do you want me to pull that stick out from up your butt, too?  ‘Cause it’s really starting to show…”

The previous looking of annoyance, only more potent this time, clouded Sarah’s face. 

“That’s probably a ‘no,’” Derek remarked before squeezing himself into the cemetery through the gap he had created. 

Sarah did not immediately follow Derek but merely continued to stand outside the cemetery fuming.  Derek, at first, made a move to walk around the eerie graveyard but happened to glance back at Sarah and notice that she was stuck being an infuriated statue.  Derek shrugged his shoulders and let out a weary sigh before he thrust his arm through the gap, grabbed one of Sarah’s crossed arms, and dragged her into the cemetery.  As soon as Sarah was within the bounds of the vastly tall and ominous fence, she wrenched her arm from Derek’s grasp, and he went to work at closing the gate slightly. 

“How will we get out?” Sarah asked, distracted for a moment from anger.  She was more frightened at the thought of being trapped than upset with Derek.  “It took you forever to get that thing open.” 

“We’ll dig a tunnel underneath,” Derek replied wryly.  “We’ll be much more inconspicuous that way.” 


“We don’t want anyone to notice an open gate to the cemetery,” he said honestly. 

“They’ll notice a gate open a few inches but they won’t notice a puke green car sitting outside of the graveyard?” Sarah inquired, exasperated. 

Derek paused for a second.

“I thought your car was more of a blue color…” Derek commented, glancing back at it. 

Sarah rolled her eyes while she groaned, irritated at Derek again. 

“Oh, yes,” Sarah remarked sourly, “we’re being much more inconspicuous this way.  Bravo…” 

“Whoa,” Derek said, walking away from the gate now, “don’t get too heavy with the compliments, now.  Don’t want me to feel good about myself or anything…” 

“Excuse me for being worried about getting shot by some crazy farmer,” Sarah muttered, following Derek closely.  The cemetery was too dark and ominous for Sarah to remain a stubborn statue alone by the entrance.  Scraggly trees stood scattered about the graveyard swaying silently in wind.  Sarah imagined all the pointy branches as claws of a dead beast reaching out from where it was buried in the earth.  She quickened her pace behind Derek. 

“I think he looked more like the type to hack his trespassers to death,” Derek said nonchalantly, sensing Sarah’s fear and delightfully increasing it. 

“Didn’t you see his rifle?” Sarah asked quietly, shivering.

“Yeah,” Derek answered, “but that’s just to slow people down with.  The hacking comes later…” 

Sarah said nothing in response.  Derek looked over at her and noticed her rubbing her bare arms with her hands. 

“How could you possibly be cold?” Derek asked dryly. 

“It’s past midnight!” Sarah said, defending herself.

“It’s July.”

“Well, you have a hoodie on,” Sarah pointed out, “and I only have this t-shirt.”

“You should have come more prepared,” Derek said, making tsking noises afterwards. 

“Excuse me for not knowing that we would be hiding out in a cemetery all night,” Sarah snapped. 

“Okay, fine,” Derek said, stopping in his tracks.  Sarah had been following him so closely and so quickly that she bumped into him.  She took a small step backwards as he grabbed the bottom of his sweatshirt and stripped it off over his head.  He held it out for Sarah.  “Here, take it.”

Sarah did not immediately take hold of it; instead, she merely stared at it.

“No, I’m fine,” Sarah insisted, beginning to act shy all of a sudden.

“Take it.”

“I’m alright –”

“Take it before I change my mind, you little brat,” Derek snapped, shaking the jacket at Sarah.

Sarah gave him the usual, stinging glare as she took Derek’s sweatshirt and put it on.  The corners of Derek’s mouth lifted slightly, and Sarah narrowed her eyes.  He continued to smile as his eyes flickered past her and spotted something in the cemetery. 

“Look,” he said, pointing at something behind Sarah. 

Sarah turned and curiously searched for what Derek had been pointing at.  She saw gray, old gravestones that were eroding, masked in hideous weeds, and missing chunks.  The words engraved on the headstones had faded and didn’t look like English anymore.  Ragged and disheveled bushes had wildly dispersed themselves about the graveyard, but two in particular were almost successful in hiding a white stone bench.  Almost. 

“The bench?” Sarah inquired.

“Yeah,” Derek said.  He took Sarah’s hand and started off towards it.  “Come on.”

“Alright,” Sarah said calmly, allowing Derek to tow her to the bench.  “Will it hold us?  It looks like it just might crumble beneath us.” 

Once they stood by it, Derek began testing the seat to make sure it wouldn’t fall out beneath them.  He pushed on it, he kicked it, he shook it – he would have jumped up and down on it but then he would have had to let go of Sarah.  The old, stone bench survived Derek’s tests so Derek took a seat on it, patting the space next to him for Sarah to fill.  Sarah did what he wanted. 

“Now that I’m all nice and situated,” Derek began, “Sarah is going to tell Derek what’s been bothering her…”

“Nothing besides the fact that we’re about to be viciously murdered by a crazy farmer,” Sarah muttered, her eyes intentionally avoiding his.  “And what kind of moron talks in third person?”

“The kind of moron that’s freakishly handsome,” Derek answered with his macho pride.

“There is definitely something freakish about you…” Sarah muttered.

It was Derek’s turn to stare spitefully.

“That’s a discussion for another time, though,” Derek said keeping his eyes hooked on Sarah.  “There is something else upsetting you besides our rapidly approaching demise.  You’ve been anxious all night long and odd all week long.  Your crazy cow-tipping idea was just something to distract you from addressing something else.  You’ve forgotten that I know you.  I know you more than you know yourself.  Talk about one pain-in-the-butt burden…”

Sarah said nothing.  She gazed down at her hands – neither of which Derek had a hold of any longer.  She slowly reached out and tenderly touched one of the leaves of the decrepit bush, and it became dust within her fingers.  Her hand fell back into her lap, afraid to touch like she was afraid to speak. 

“You’re going to have to tell me eventually,” Derek insisted.  “I’ve trapped us in here.” 

For a brief moment in time, Sarah actually smiled. 

“So that was your plan with shutting the gate?” Sarah said.

“Of course,” Derek admitted.  “The only way to get you to talk is to force you into a corner and beat it out of you.” 

A small laugh escaped from Sarah’s lips before she lapsed back into a weary silence.  She was still for a moment before she spoke again, and this time Derek did not attempt to rush her into speaking. 

“Derek,” she began hesitantly, “you’re my best friend.”

Derek tilted his head to the side, thinking that statement over, and then nodded his head.

“You have a very unorthodox way of showing this,” Derek said, “but I follow you so far.”

“And we’re going to different colleges next year,” she continued, bit by bit. 

“I know this,” Derek said.  “Actually, I’ve known this for a good amount of time now.  I thought you knew this, too.”

“I’ve kind of avoided thinking about it,” Sarah admitted. 

There was a pause.

“Until now,” Derek commented.   

“Yes,” Sarah said.  “I finally made myself.  It’s just getting so close to the end, and time has started sprinting like it’s reached the end of a marathon.  And it’s like we’re running, too – right straight towards the edge of a cliff.  And we’re just expected to jump off of it, giving up everything that we know and losing the life that we have now…” 

Derek sat quietly for a moment as he considered what Sarah had said to him.  The air was motionless all around them.  No wind blew nor did any ghost breathe for fear of rustling a leaf or a blade of grass.  The earth held its breath. 

“Look, Sarah,” Derek began slowly, breaking the silence, “I know how you’re feeling and thinking that college is the end to everything that you know.  And for some things that’s true.  But if you don’t jump off that cliff, you’re never going to know what else is out there for you.”  He looked her right in the eyes.  “You’re going to be stuck in a cemetery for the rest of your life.” 

Sarah let a small chuckle escape again.

“And besides,” Derek continued, “you’re not losing me.”

“You’re moving away from me,” Sarah said. 

“It would be impossible for you to lose me,” Derek said, “even if I were to move continents, instead of just measly miles, away from you.  I will not let you forget this freakishly handsome face.” 

Sarah was quiet for a minute.  She gently breathed in the thin, night air surrounding her. 

“I don’t want this to be it for us,” she said, barely above a whisper.

“And it’s not gonna be,” Derek said firmly.

“How do you know?” Sarah asked.  “How can you be sure?”

Derek sighed deeply.

“I called one of those psychic hotlines,” Derek replied.  “Apparently, we’re also going to become rich and famous.  Who knew…?”

Sarah couldn’t fight her smile, but she also couldn’t fall into Derek’s humor just yet.

“I’m being serious,” Sarah said earnestly. 

“So am I,” Derek answered honestly.  “You go find yourself at your college, and I’ll go find myself at mine.  Things will change, but I’m going to change right along with you.  Our friendship has made its way through all of our screw ups, failures, and downright stupidity, so I’m pretty sure it can make it through college.”  He took a moment to turn right towards Sarah and look her deep in the eyes.  “If you can just hold on, Sarah, we’ll jump off together.  And nothing else will matter.”

They did not speak for a long while after this.  They did not need to.  Derek put his arm around Sarah’s shoulder and pulled her in, and she relaxed against his chest with closed eyes.  In that space of time they felt the true meaning within Derek’s words.  They had to jump, but they were not going to do it alone. 

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