Blake Smalls and Kyle Buchanan were eating their go-to lunch meal in their old dorm hall-Big Mouth Burritos. They’d been best friends since the seventh grade, and ended up getting accepted into the University of Oregon together. They went on to become leading members of their fraternity, and all Kyle could look forward to was the end of the term bash.
“I can’t wait for junior year.” He said with his mouth full. “We’re almost halfway done.”
“I know.” Blake said, checking his Iphone. His black hair fell over his eyes and he pushed it back. “Kate’s almost here. It’s our one year anniversary today.”
“Oh,” Kyle said, looking down at his burrito. “You got anything planned?”
“I’m taking her out to dinner at this sushi place.” He said, taking a sip of his Pepsi. “She loves sushi. I also got her this necklace with my initial on it.”
Kyle laughed. “What is this? High School Musical? What happened to those flowers I told you to get her? She won’t like sushi.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know what girls like.” He looked at his phone to check the time.
“Oh shut up!” Blake replied, looking past him. “Here she comes, don’t spoil it.”
Kyle turned around and there she was. Kate Evans. Her long auburn hair was halfway pulled up today so he could see her dark brown eyes. She wore her favorite dark, ripped skinny jeans with a soft yellow t-shirt that complimented her fair skin. She smiled as she approached them.
“Hey babe.” Blake said as she leaned down for a kiss.
Kyle watched it in disgust. He hated when they kissed.
“Hi,” she said and looked at Kyle, her smile slowly disappearing. “Kyle, always a pleasure.”
“The pleasure is all mine, Katherine.” He replied.
Kate hated when Kyle called her that. She wasn’t too fond of Kyle, but he’s her boyfriend’s best friend after all. “Bros before hoes” he once told her when Blake wasn’t in their shared frat room.
“Anyway, do you know what day it is today?” She asked Blake with a huge smile.
Blake scratched his head. “No, I can’t say I don’t.”
Kyle hoped she would get annoyed at Blake’s little game. He ran a hand through his blond hair as he watched her.
“Oh yeah! It’s Taco Tuesday.” Blake said with a blank expression on his face.
Kate glanced over at Kyle, and he shrugged his shoulders. She looked back at Blake, the look of disappointment plastered onto her face. “Right. Well, I’m going to go. I have class at 2 that I can’t be late for. Enjoy your Taco Tuesday.” She tugged her backpack tightly over her right shoulder and glared at the both of them. “With your stupid burritos.” She plugged in her earphones and stormed off.
“Guess she really thinks you’re not doing anything for your anniversary.” Kyle said with a smirk, watching her go.
“All part of my plan.” Blake replied. “I plan on picking her up from her place at around 7 tonight.” He starts to get up. “I have to make class as well. See you later tonight at the house, right?”
“Oh yeah, you’ll be seeing me.” Kyle looked down at his phone, the GPS app open. “Have fun.”
Blake walked off, leaving Kyle to his phone. He placed his earbuds in, and continued to play who he was listening to earlier, The Ink Spots. He continued to look at the GPS app, watching the blue checkmark move every few seconds. He watched it carefully as he pulled out his black notebook. He flipped it to a new page, and began writing.
It was now 5 o’clock, and Kate had just gotten done working out the Rec Center. She felt as though she needed to blow off steam because Blake forgot their anniversary. The first anniversary is supposed to be the important one. How could he forget? She thought as she walked to her favorite fruit bowl place. Maybe he’ll surprise me..I don’t know..might as well treat myself to an acai bowl though.
She walked in and was greeted by her friend, Bella, who smiled from behind the counter. They were roommates last year, and they’d been close ever since. “What do you think?” She asked, giving a slow 360 spin. “Only been here for two weeks, but I’m getting the hang of it!”
“I still can’t believe you work here.” Kate laughed. “I would like my usual please.”
“Kate would like her usual!” Bella yelled behind her as Kate handed her cash. “Sooooo, any fun plans tonight? Saw it was your anniversary!”
“Blake forgot.” Kate said through her teeth, looking at her phone. No messages. He hadn’t text her all day. “He won’t even text me either, Bell.”
She gave Kate a sad look. “Oh, honey I’m sorry! Maybe he’s planning a surprise? Do you know where he is?” She turned from the counter, and her long blue ponytail swished.
“Probably at his stupid frat.” She replied, rolling her eyes.
“I bet he’s planning something for you. Blake wouldn’t forget something that important.” She turned back around and handed Kate her acai bowl. “Let me know. I can come over later tonight if you want.”
“Thank you. I’ll text you later!” Kate turned around and almost ran into someone.
Right into Kyle.
“Hey there, Katherine.” He said, his blue eyes shining.
“Hi Kyle.” She said, forcing a smile. Why must he always call me that? “Didn’t know you came to places like this.”
He shrugged, tucking his hands into his jeans pockets. “Thought I’d try something new. You heading out?”
“Yup, sure was.”
“Do you want a ride?” He asked.
“No, that’s-.” Kate stopped herself. He could tell me if Blake had made any plans she thought. And I’m willing to sacrifice a ride for that. “Actually, that would be great.”
Kyle smiled. “Great, let’s go.” He began to lead her out.
“Wait, didn’t you want to get something?” She asked him and he stopped.
He turned and looked back at Bella, then back at Kate. “Eh, maybe next time.”
Kate followed Kyle to his car, a small white Honda. “So, did Blake actually forget what today was or was he just screwing with me?”
They both hopped into his car, and Kyle looked in his rear view mirror as he started it. “Obviously he was screwing with you, Katherine. He made dinner plans for you guys tonight.”
She pursed her lips. “He hasn’t text me since I saw you guys earlier.” She looked at her phone to check again. Still nothing. “Oh, I live at 13th-.”
“13th and Olive. Got it.” He began driving, checking his mirror every few seconds.
Weird that he knows that she thought and tensed a little. Well the only apartment that starts with 13th is 13th and Olive. She sighed and relaxed at that thought and checked her phone again and still had no messages from Blake. “Maybe I should text him?”
“Huh, weird that he won’t text you. No, don’t he’s probably setting up the other surprise he has for you.” His hands clenched the steering wheel.
“Other surprise?” Kate’s heart fluttered.
“Yeah, he’s been planning it for days. It’ll be very special. He was gonna take you out to dinner and then give you this gift. He hopes you like it. I bet he’s getting ready at the house right now for you.” He looked over at Kate and smiled. “I’ve been sworn to secrecy though!”
She couldn’t help but smile back. Blake was doing all of this for her. He’s so sweet she thought. And Kyle was in on it too. Maybe he isn’t so bad after all. She looked out her window and saw her apartment complex, only for Kyle to pass it.
“Oh Kyle, you missed the right turn.”
He ignored her as he went down the street and pulled into an alley. “I’ll loop us around.”
She felt the car slowing down to a stop. She turned to look at Kyle, who was grabbing something from under his seat. She felt her heart skipped a beat. “Kyle, what’re you doing? Why’re we stopped?”
“Blake made such great plans.” He sighed, holding up a white cloth.
Kate leaned back up against the window as she saw him lock the doors. She felt frozen and her heart pounded against her chest.
Kyle leaned into her and whispered. “If only you were able to see it.”
Then it all became black.
Kate felt achy as she struggled to open her eyes. Her head was pounding, and her ears were ringing. As her blurry vision came to, her ears began to hear the faint music playing, the sound of trumpets in the background. Her mouth was gagged, and she felt achy.
“Stars shining bright above you..”
Her eyes fixed on the table in front of her. Two wax candles lit with a plate set in front of her, a bouquet of white tulips placed in the middle. Her favorite. She realized she was in a chair, and tried to get up, only to feel stuck by the ropes tied around her wrists from behind.
“Birds singing in the sycamore tree…Dream a little dream of me..”
Kate felt tears well up in her eyes as she tried to call for help, only to be muffled by the gag in her mouth. She looked around the small room in a panic, looking for an exit. But the only lighting was from the candles, and she could only make out the record player and a door that was on the opposite side of the room. The room felt familiar, but she couldn’t figure out why. She could no longer feel her phone that was placed inside her pocket.
“Just hold me tight and tell me..you miss me!” she heard a faint voice sing from outside the door. Kyle swung the door open. “Dream a little dream of me.”
He was dressed in a black suit and tie, a white smile plastered on his face. He was carrying a plate of food in his left hand, and held a bottle of wine in the other. She watched him in horror as he casually waltzed to the table and placed the food down. Steak and mashed potatoes, one of her favorite meals. She tried to scream, but it was muffled.
“What do you think?” he asked her, his blue eyes wild with excitement.
Kate didn’t know what to think. Was this a sick joke? Was Blake going to reappear from the other side of the door? She whimpered out of fear, and confusion.
“If I take your gag off, promise me you won’t scream again?” he stroked a piece of her hair out of her eyes and she shuddered.
She nodded as he reached his cold hand up to her mouth, and took off the gag.
She gasped at his touch and her lips began to tremble. “K-Kyle what’s h-happening?”
He gestured to the candle-lit dinner. “I made us a surprise dinner date. Made your favorite.”
He laughed as he sat down across from her. “Yes Katherine. Don’t play stupid with me.”
Kate watched him in confusion as he poured her a glass of wine. A chill ran down her spine as she heard the next song play. She felt like she was going to be sick.
Kyle bopped his head to the beat of the song, mouthing “Anyone!” when it came up. He smiled as he cut up her steak that was cooked well done, just the way she liked it.
“You can blame me..try to shame me..and still I’ll care for you..”
“I love this song.” he said to himself as he continued cutting. “Something about Ima Thomas, ya know?”
“Irma.” her voice was barely a whisper.
He laughed. “Irma, yes. My bad.”
Kyle focused on cutting her steak as Kate continued to look around the candlelit room. It was set up to look like a dinner date, but instead of Blake it was Kyle. It didn’t look real, it didn’t even feel real. She felt numb as he looked up at her with a genuine smile.
She took a deep breath. “Is this some prank?”
His hand clenched around the knife he was using, and his smile turned into a frown. “What? No.”
She gulped. “Why’re you doing this?” All she could feel was fear. Fear of what he would do to her. “I don’t understand.”
“Why? Katherine, don’t play stupid.” he said, his tone hushed. “Katherine, I love you.”
Kate stared at him in horror, and disgust. “What?”
“Anyone who knows what love is..will understand.”
“I love you.” he repeated casually as he stuck his fork into the steak on her plate. He lifted it up and looked at it before looking at her. “Your steak is going to get cold. Open up.”
Kate looked at the piece of steak blankly, and began to laugh. “Very funny, Kyle. Where’s Blake?” Kyle dropped his fork as she started to laugh uncontrollably. “Come on, where is he? Hiding?”
“It’s just you and me here, Katherine. Blake’s not here. You’ll never see him again.” his tone was serious.
“Do you realize how crazy you sound?” she laughed again. “This is a joke. And a really bad one.” she shrugged her shoulders to gesture her hands being tied and the gag that was around her neck. “This is fucked up. You know I can’t stand you, yet you and Blake set this up-.”
Kyle jumped from his chair out of anger, making her flinch. “BLAKE IS DEAD. I SET THIS UP. FOR US.” he slammed his fist down, making the table shake. “I kidnapped you so we could be together. For forever.”
Kate felt tears of fear prick her eyes.
“I’m in love with you..ever since the day I met you.” he continued, his voice becoming soft as he went to turn off the music. “You know, I was supposed to ask you out first. But Blake insisted that he does it because he felt as though I didn’t deserve you.” He then began to pace back and forth. “He was a real asshole for that. He wouldn’t stop talking about you and your anniversary and I had enough.”
Kate watched him as the realization hit him. A sob escaped from her lips as he looked down at his hands.
“I shot him. I-I shot Blake.” his voice broke.
“You’re lying.” Kate felt confident in herself as she sniffled.
Kyle reached behind his pants and pulled out a small black pistol. He placed it down on the table, and she began to panic as her heart sank.
“You’re sick.” she said, trying to get out of the chair was trapped in. All it did was move back and forth as she struggled. “You’re a fucking psycho.”
Kyle let out a strangled laugh as he stepped toward her, his finger pointed to her. “No sweetheart, just madly in love. And I know you feel the same way.”
“You’re disgusting.” she cried as she looked around the room. “Help! Please somebody!”
He sighed as he walked up to her and forced the gag back into her mouth. “No one can hear you out here. We’re in the woods, miles away from any help. I’m surprised you didn’t recognize this place.”
Her eyes went wide. This was Blake’s parents’ lake house. The one they went to last summer where Blake told her that he loved her for the first time.
“You obviously didn’t love Blake as much as you thought you did.” he said as he pulled his chair up to face her. “I know more about you then he ever would.”
“How could you? He was your best friend.” her voice cracked when she said it.
“Yeah.” he said as he grabbed the gun from the table. He twisted it around, and admired it before looking back at her. “He was. But he got in the way. And so did his parents. I didn’t want to stab them, but they had the gun. You’re never supposed to get in the way of true love.”
Kate cried and tried to think of a way out. She knew this cabin and where it was, but she just had to play it safe and smart. Be smart she thought. Be smart in order to survive. She straightened herself upright and looked at Kyle, who had a faint, hopeful smile.
“You’re right.” she felt disgusted as she said it.
He laughed, and then grabbed the right side of her cheek. Tears welled in his eyes as he stroked her face. “You-you love me?”
She forced a small smile. “It’s always been you, Kyle. I didn’t think of it before, but now it makes so much more sense. I pretended to hate you so Blake wouldn’t get jealous.” It hurt her to say his name.
He smiled as tears began to fall from his face. “I knew it.”
They laughed together, her eyes boring into his. He leaned to kiss the top of her forehead and she eyed the gun. Get the gun. But he pulled back to look at her again, this time their faces only inches away apart.
“Can I kiss you?” he asked as he placed the gun back into his pants pocket.
Be smart. “Only if you untie me.” she said. “I want to be able to touch you. It’s been too long.”
He smiled and eagerly began to untie her. Her wrists ached as she felt the ropes become released. He helped her to stand and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her towards him. She closed her eyes to brace herself for what was to come. His lips found hers, and she had no choice but to embrace it. She placed her left hand on his neck and kissed him back. Her eyes opened and she watched him kiss her. And it made her feel sick.
She clenched her right hand around his waist, inching it towards the gun. Kyle paid no attention as he kissed her more. With all her courage she kneed him right in the groin and snatched the gun. He let out a cry as he fell onto his knees. She lifted the gun up towards him in a quick motion and he stared up at her in pain and shock.
“You really think I could love someone like you?” she spat as her hand shook.
“Katherine, please.” he begged, his hands in a prayer position. Tears fell from his eyes. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to be the one you love. I’m sorry. Please don’t do this. I would never hurt you.”
Her finger found the trigger as she looked into his eyes. “You can go to hell.”
“I’m begging you, Katherine. Don’t do this!” he cried as he leaned forward.
“You killed Blake! You killed his parents!” she yelled at him as she felt herself cry too. She took a shaky breath, trying to bring herself to pull the trigger. “You kidnapped me!”
“So am I.” she squeezed her eyes shut as she heard the loud bang pierce her eardrums.
Her ears rang as she opened her eyes to see Kyle laying flat on the floor. He was clutching his left leg in pain and anger. She wasn’t aiming to kill him, but aiming to buy herself time to get help.
“You bitch!” he screamed in pain as blood spilled from his calf.
She ran to the door, clenching the gun in her hand. She slammed the door shut behind her and ran to the front door before skidding to a stop. Car keys. She looked at the key ring hanging next to the door. This was her ticket out. She escaped from the cabin, not giving it a second glance as she ran to Kyle’s car. It was pitch black outside, she could barely see. She unlocked the car and frantically began starting it. She tossed the gun next to her seat, and instead of hearing a thud she heard it bounce off.
She looked over and there he was. His body was motionless in the passenger seat, a single gunshot in his forehead. Kate screamed in horror as she stared at her dead lover. His face was pale, his brown eyes looked into hers but saw nothing. Her hand covered her mouth as she cried. How could Kyle have done this to his best friend?
“I’m so sorry Blake. I’m so sorry.”
She abandoned the car and took off running as fast as her feet could carry her. She followed the trail that would lead her back to town, hoping to find help.
Just get away from the cabin. Get away from Kyle.
It was so dark that she could barely see what was in front of her. There was no way Kyle would find her out here. Te twigs snapping under her feet could give her away at any moment.
Just keep running.
Bright lights flashed from behind her, but she kept pushing. She was not going to die today. She darted off the trail and fled into the trees. She heard the sound of a car come to a stop as she hid behind a tree to catch her breath.
“Katherine!” she heard Kyle wail.
She ducked behind a tree as she heard twigs snap in her direction. She covered her mouth to hide her breathing as she listened.
“Katherine..” he repeated, his voice now distant. He dragged his wounded leg behind him as he continued searching for her.
Kate took a deep breath to prepare to take off again.
I’m not going to die today.
She pushed herself off the ground and began running again. She didn’t keep track of how much she ran. Tree branches sliced into her arms as she pushed them out of her way. The brush became so thick that it became harder to get through, but she kept running. She wasn’t going to stop until she reached the road.
She tripped over a log and catapulted forward, a gasp escaping her mouth. She scrambled back up to find herself in a ditch. She looked around and saw the main road, almost crying from relief. The moonlight illuminated onto the paved road as she began to search for a mile marker. There had to be one not too far away.
“Think think think.” she whispered to herself as she ran up the road. If she couldn’t find a mile marker then maybe she could find a person.
As if someone answered her prayers, a car came into view. She waved her hands in the air, flagging it down.
“Please help me!” she ran up to the car. “This guy is trying to hurt me! He killed my boyfriend and now he’s trying to get me!”
The light in the car switched on and Kyle looked at her in confusion. Kate hated herself for not noticing it was him pulling up. She tried to run away again, only to hear a loud bang. She fell onto the ground. A sharp pain began from her back, and warm liquid began to gush from it. She couldn’t move. Her vision became blurry.
“Man, you’re faster than I thought.” Kyle said from behind her, his voice faint. He placed pressure on the gunshot wound. “Bullet went straight through your shoulder. You’ll live.”
Kate began to fall out of consciousness as Kyle grabbed her ankles. He started dragging her back to the car.
“You won’t get away next time, Katherine.” he grunted as he placed her in the backseat. “I’m sorry I had to shoot you. Oh well, now we’re even.” He gestured to his leg that had a makeshift tourniquet placed around it.
But all Kate saw was darkness.
It had been two weeks since Kate went missing. Bella stood outside of University, handing out flyers to passing students. “Have you seen this girl? Have you seen this guy?” She would point to both Blake and Kate as she handed out the paper.
She only got shaken heads in return, but she kept passing the Missing Person’s flyer. Blake’s parents were found stabbed to death, and police believe Blake did it and ran away with Kate.
“Still nothing yet?”
Bella turned around to see Kyle who had a sad look on his face. “No, not yet. You still haven’t gotten any messages?”
He shook his head. “They’re out there somewhere, as long as we have hope that they’ll come back.” He looked at the flyer. “I miss them so much.”
He held his black notebook tightly in one hand and his car keys in the other.
Bella gave his arm a tight squeeze. “I know. The police haven’t stopped searching. They found Blake’s car tire marks at his parent’s cabin. They couldn’t have gotten far.”
He gave her a hopeful smile. “I’ve got to head home now. If you need someone to talk to or anything let me know.”
Kyle walked to his car and began to drive home. His leg was irritating him, but he pushed through the pain. He checked his mirror every so often to make sure he wasn’t being watched as he hopped on the freeway. The drive from Eugene to Cottage Grove wasn’t too far, maybe about 20 minutes including taking the backroad to his parent’s house. His mom left him her house when she died, and he will forever be thankful for it. He swung open the front door to the small two bedroom house.
Everything looked just how he had left it-nice and tidy. He went into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water and a peanut butter granola bar. He casually closed the pantry door and headed to the closed-off basement. He unlocked the padlock after a couple minutes of struggling to get the key.
“Gotcha something.” he called from the top of the stairs.
Kate struggled to open her eyes as she tried to sit up from the mattress.
“No let me help you.” Kyle rushed next to her.
She winced from the pain in her shoulder as he sat her up.
“Take it easy. Drink up.”
She grabbed for the water like a dehydrated animal and chugged it. Her throat felt sore as the coolness went down it. “Thank you.”
“Do you need to go to the bathroom?”
She shook her head. “You know what I need.”
He frowned. “I’m not letting you leave.”
“Please Kyle. I won’t say anything, I won’t tell anybody.” her voice was only a whisper.
“What did I tell you?” he brushed her matted hair out of her eyes.
Her lips trembled as he pushed himself off the bed. “That-that-.”
“You’re mine. For forever.” he said sweetly. “I’ll come back down again in a few. Have to start making dinner. Steak and mashed potatoes, your favorite!”
Kate began to cry as he walked back up the stairs and locked the door shut.