“You don’t know about this?”
“Dude!” Jack exclaimed. “Why th’ hell wud I ask ‘bout it if I knew wot wuz goin’ on?!”
Benny shook his head; his mop of blonde curls swaying over his pimple-ridden forehead. “I can’t believe you’ve not heard about it!”
They were talking through the dew-swept growth of chipped and tattered trees near the edge of the reservoir; it was a cool day, with a slight breeze on the air that carried a whiff of rotten leaves and soggy dirt.
“So, where’s she at? She get knocked up or summink?”
“That dog! You must be tripping!” Benny scoffed, kicking at a clod of dirty left behind by a mole. The bottom of his torn jeans was instantly dirtied by the mud.
Jack shrugged. “’kay then, guess I’ll never know.”
“Calm your tits, dude,” Benny gave him a light-hearted shove. “I just wanted to get to the right place first.”
They clambered up a small incline, grabbing at brittle branches and plodding through mud so thick it was like swamp water. In time, they reached the top and Jack panted, wishing he’d brought his inhaler, as he saw a small, babbling stream cutting through the undergrowth.
“This is where she was last seen,” Benny proclaimed.
“The hell woz she doin’ way out here?”
Benny seemed not to hear him. He swept his arm across sludge-like rise they’d just climbed. “She walked right up here, late one night, and stood right here seeing exactly what you’re seeing now.”
Benny sighed, hands stuffed into his pockets. “This is where she told me she had a thing for me.” He glanced at Benny with a smirk. “Can you imagine? That eye-sore fancying me? God, I’d never hear the end of it!”
“Wait … you woz ‘here wiv her?”
“She just went on and on,” Benny continued, casually kicking a fallen branch into the stream. “Saying all this stuff, blubbering like a kid.”
Jack took a small step backwards. “Wot did’ju do?”
Benny turned towards him. “You gotta believe me, I never wanted to hurt her. But … people would’ve found out! How do you think the guys on the team would react knowing Hungry Hannah was after me?”
“What happened …?”
Benny shook his head with dismay. “I tried to tell her there was no way, that it just couldn’t happen, but she wouldn’t let it go. I tried to leave she grabbed my arm—” he lashed out suddenly and gripped Jack’ forearm tightly. “—just like this and said she’d do anything for me.”
“Leggo!” Jack wailed, unable to shrug off Benny’s grip.
“I tried to push her away, but she just wouldn’t let go. She was on her knees, screaming and pleading, and I just wanted to get away so I grabbed the nearest thing I could find—”
“Don’t …!” Jack started but his words died almost instantly as a moss-covered rock struck him up the side of his head. His body went instantly limp; a small trickle of bright red blood wormed its way down his face.
“And she went just like that …” Benny whispered. He released his grip and Jack’s limp, lifeless body tumbled face-down into the stream. “And she fell, just like that.” The current washed over Jack’s gawping face and slowly began to carry him away. “And she went away … just like that.”
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