The boy sprinted into the woods, the darkness causing him to nearly trip over his friend who was already crouched just within the tree line. He dropped down next to his friend as he tried to catch his breath. Humid summer air filled his lungs but offered him little relief. Though he was at rest, his body remained tense and ready to spring into action at any moment. They could see the red and blue flashing lights at the top of the hill, casting strange jerking shadows over the field. A spotlight panned across the trees trying to find them, but their black hoodies blended seamlessly with the night. His friend looked over at him, eyes wide and nervous, begging to know what had become of their other friend who was just behind them only a few minutes ago. Before the boy could answer they heard a voice announce over a speaker.
“We have your friend and we know who you are. Come out now! You are only making things worse for yourselves. You have no other option,” demanded the officer, his tone stern and foreboding.
The reality of the situation gripped the boy and panic welled up inside of him. He closed his eyes for a moment to steady himself. He needed time to think, but that was a luxury he did not have. Before he darted into the woods he had saw the line of police cars blocking their path between where they were and where they wanted to be. The full moon and the adrenaline rushing through his veins allowed every detail to stand out vividly in his mind. He was sure this night was going to end in complete tragedy for them. Clouds rolled across the moon, casting shadows over the landscape and his waning optimism.
He opened his eyes and looked over at his friend who was looking back and forth hopelessly as he weighed out their two options. Without any verbal communication, he knew exactly what his friend was thinking at that moment. The boy scowled and slowly shook his head. Their friend had known the risks and agreed to their terms so he was now on his own. The first rule was don’t get caught. The second was that if you did, then you kept quiet about the others and went down alone.
A sudden cold feeling crawled inside the boy’s stomach and slithered up his spine. It was a feeling he learned to hate yet never ignore. The boy shot his friend a wide-eyed glance and jerked his head back towards the woods. His friend knew exactly what the look meant and they both dashed deeper into the woods. Just as they started to run they could hear the sound of a German Shepard barking as it ran down the hill towards them.