My Best Friend (Short Story)

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By Lilliandra Winters

I have a best friend.

You may not think that’s a magnificent thing, but for me it’s rather odd. I never had friends growing up. I’ve always been a bit weird. I tried as hard as I could to make friends, but I never fit in with anyone. Any time I tried too hard, it backfired hard and usually in my face. It left me with a lot of… scars.

For awhile I even stopped being me. I pretended to be whatever people wanted me to be just so we could be friends; just so I could feel what it was like to have a friend. It typically didn’t work, but there were moments in my life where I had a friend… kind of. I can still see their faces clearly in my mind when I close my eyes, but they either used me, didn’t really care or… I dunno. Sometimes it was just a joke. I was bullied, picked on. I was so utterly alone.

I was desperate to be loved.

Desperation can do several things to a person. It can make you stupid, which it did for me. It can also make you bitter. Yeah, bitter. It can make you build up walls high enough and thick enough that it doesn’t matter what they fucking do. Fuck them. Before you get ahead of me, this isn’t some school shooting or revenge story. Just listen.

With my armor of not giving a single fuck, I was finally left alone. I preferred it that way. If people weren’t going to understand me, then they didn’t deserve my time. I would like to say I had better things to do, but that isn’t true. I would hide in my house and play video games, read or listen to music. If you pretend long enough, then it becomes the truth… right?

One day, my life changed. I met her at my stupid, part-time retail job. She pointed at the gaming shirt I was wearing and told me she loved that game. I just kind of stared at her awkwardly and nodded.

‘Cool,’ I said and she walked away.

Right, whatever. I went about my life and didn’t put stock into it. However, the next time we worked together, she asked me what other games I played. Standing in an aisle, at first I looked around thinking she was talking to someone else, but I was the only one there. She had this “yeah, you” look on her face.

I stammered out an answer of my favorite games and what I was currently playing. She had heard of most of them and wanted to play a few. She asked my opinions on a few others and before I realized it we were working and talking at the same time. I even remember smiling. After my shift, I scolded myself.

We don’t make friends and we certainly don’t get our hopes up.

This continued, however, every time we worked together. She would seek me out and we would chat as much as we could get away with. She coaxed my number out of me for texting and connected on social media. I did everything I could to keep that hope at bay, but I started thinking about her when we weren’t talking. I’d share stupid stuff to her that I knew would make her laugh. It was awkward and annoying but it felt so good.

The day she invited me to her house was a shock. I just stared at her and she laughed at the look on my face. Pizza and beers. I could even crash there so I didn’t have to drive home. Before I could think about it my stupid mouth flew open and accepted. My mind swirled about what she could possibly be up to. Was it a prank? What did she have to gain? Maybe hurting people was just amusing?

I showed up, of course. I even brought a bag of overnight stuff, but I left it in the car. She was renting a nice house in the suburb which I found odd but she assured me she got an amazing deal on it. I mean, you can’t beat a nice quiet place… right? It wasn’t what I expected. I expected some trick, but it wasn’t. It was pizza, beer and video games. All night. I even stayed the night in the guest room. It was the best night of my life. I woke up and she made breakfast and coffee and we laughed like we’d known each other forever.

I was this utter whirlwind of emotions. I didn’t want to accept her as a friend, but how could I not? We loved a lot of the same stuff, she loved talking to me about things she loved that I didn’t understand and would do her best to explain it to me in a way that made sense and didn’t make me feel dumb. We spent so much time together, we were practically inseparable. Other people at work even warmed up to me a bit, but I kept them at a distance. She was my best friend… the sister I never had and always wanted. She defended me, stood up for me and loved me for who I really was.

Shut up, we are getting close to the point of the story.

This goes on for months. She invites me over one night and when I show up, I can see that she’s upset. She doesn’t open up about it and I don’t press, but as the night goes on, I finally make her tell me what’s going on. She was near tears and told me that bills were adding up and her raise wasn’t as much as she had hoped on top of the rent going up. She was going to have to move in with family across the country.

I was crushed. I had finally found her and now she was going to leave me. I couldn’t let that happen.

“Well, what if I moved in? …Yeah, this house… hush.”

She was shocked and gave me the biggest hug. I didn’t have much to offer in pay, but it was enough to cover everything. Plus, I needed to get the hell out of my parents’ house. I was sure as shit too old to be living there still, but it’s expensive to be on your own. So, I moved in quickly. Don’t call me an idiot. She wasn’t a stranger. I knew you wouldn’t understand.

We’ve been living together for months and it’s been perfect. We adapted to each other pretty quickly. We had our separate spaces and our hang out spaces. I never got tired of her presence, but she would be exhausted from being around people all day at work and needed breaks to recharge. I was never offended. There was nothing to be offended about. People need what they need. You gotta take care of yourself first.

Where was I? Right!

Plus, we didn’t have room in the living room for all my retro gaming stuff, so we put it in the basement. Uh? Yes, this basement. Stop interrupting me. So, we’d lived together happily for months.

It was bliss… but then something weird happened.

It was as normal a night as any, but my stomach was terribly upset so it kept waking me up. I drank some Pepto and came down for some milk and crackers, hoping it would settle but I heard weird noises coming from the basement. I thought maybe she had brought home a guy or something, but then I got paranoid and went down to check on her.

I pushed the door open and my brain couldn’t process what I was seeing. I’ve never seen so much red at once. The blood covered everything. I stumbled backwards and slipped in it. It was so thick and sticky. Hitting the floor was a jolt to the senses and combined with the smell of copper and rancid meat, I threw up, adding to the noxious mixture of odors and gore, but that is when it caught my eye. A glimpse of movement and a wet smacking noise I couldn’t identify right away. It reminded me of the noises I make when I get amazing ribs. I was shivering from the vomit and I could feel the sweat beading as I squinted to see what was happening behind the bar.

She finally stood up and… I can’t even think about it again without shuddering. She was covered in blood and chunks of meat. Her mouth opened impossibly large, filled with rows of the sharpest teeth I’ve ever seen. Her jaw was unhinged down to her chest, slowly moving back up to adjust back to normal. Her stomach was stretched as if she were suddenly 9 months pregnant with twins.

I gawked, her nakedness was the last thing I noticed, well that and her eyes were a haunting yellow before they returned to their traditional blue. If my jaw could have hit the floor, it would have, which seems an odd thing to say given what I saw. Anyway, our location at least made sense. We were surrounded by grandparents whose hearing wasn’t great. Her? Oh she stood there looking normal, well mostly normal. Tears streaming down her face. She never wanted me to see that.

Why are you laughing?

Ohhhh, you think I’ve made this all up.

Hey, don’t laugh to hard… you’ve drank a LOT and I don’t want you puking. You don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to, but I assure you this is 100% true. What do you mean, did I kill her? Look at me, do you think I could have taken her on? Did I escape? Ha ha…. HA HA HA HA HA HA… escape? Oh, that’s good.

Hey did you figure out my name yet? Where you know me from?…. No? You used to bully me in school, you were pretty fucking awful…

Anyway, to answer your question, I didn’t escape. She’s my best friend, my sister. She didn’t want to hurt me, she was just afraid of what I’d think if I knew the truth… You stopped laughing…

She should have known that I’d never run… I love her… by the way… don’t look behind you.

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