Sixteen

Sixteen; Why is that number so significant? Two little boys, hidden under a bed, waiting patiently, waiting with a fear of what was to come. That night was meant to be special, it was meant to be remembered as a good time, but instead it marked their hearts, with memories of bloody murder, memories of the crimes they witnessed before their very eyes. Those little boys, thought that it was all over, but now at the age of 16, could it all be coming back to haunt them?

"This story is just amazing. You can actually feel their emotions. By the 3rd paragraph I was just ready cry!"

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1. Sixteen

 

The shoes were polished, that's what Harry remembers so vividly. Even after six years he can still remember those shiny leather boots, his reelection stared back at his frightened face.

 

He remembers Louis' tiny fingers hung over his quivering lips as they cramped under his single king mattress. Harry had been meaning to clean under his bed for a while, but never got around to it. Until that moment, being surrounded by old toys and hidden school books Harry hadn't realised the importance of cleaning up when being told would ever be so important. That night was meant to be perfect. The boys had planned to stay up till ten, playing video games, watching their favourite movies and pigging out with gummy worms and Doritos.

 

By the end of the night they were feeling sick, but it wasn't from sugar over load like they planned. The mention of blood, and more importantly-the smell made Louis sick even six years later. It was the thing he remembered the most. His little eyes popped out of his head when they ran into Gemma's room to find her screaming for mercy as the masked killer slashed her to death. Every stab meant something, every time he raised his blade Louis closed his eyes in fear until he worked up the courage to grab his friend's hand and run.

Those little legs ran as fast as they could up the Styles' staircase and straight into Harry's untidy bedroom. Harry was scared out of his wits, maybe he was more affected, because of witnessing himself becoming an orphan right in front of his eyes. Louis held one finger against his lips, signaling for the other boy to be quiet. The atmosphere quickly changed, the screaming stopped, all the boys could hear was the sounds of their own hearts beating out of their little chests, and the faint footsteps that threatened coming closer.

 

Harry gave Louis one last scared look just before they knew they were no longer alone. He felt his friend's hand gently fold over his mouth, as he was just about to scream. They were going to die, that's all he that was running through his mind. They were going to die just like the others, too small to fight back, too small to do any damage. Harry had seen his father fight the killer, trying to save his family but even him; a strong, large man didn't stand a chance when it came to the slasher's weapons of choice.

The trembling fingers brushed against his dried, quivering, tear stained lips, as the killer inched closer and closer to the bed they used for shelter, he was toying with the boys, making them sweat, looking around for them, waiting for his chance to pounce.

Harry started praying silently, thanking God for his short fulfilled life, one that until that very day, he had found extremely satisfying. He prayed that Louis' mother wouldn't cry for too long, that she would remember his friend for the good things, and would track down the bad man who took this kind boy away from the world. He didn't realise that Louis was praying the opposite; he was the optimist in the situation, praying this was just a bad dream, praying that they would somehow escape, and the man would pay for what he had done.

 

Those shiny shoes, peaked under the bed, inches from Harry's snotty nose, the pair stared down at their reflection, afraid of what they looked like, the fear in their eyes scared them, the fear of having their lives taken, fear of being left till last, and having to watch their best friend being killed right in front of them. Harry gave Louis one last look before shutting his tear filled eyes one last time, before it was over completely.

----

Six whole years, it has been six whole years to date, and Harry still remembers that fateful night as if he was re-living it, every day he walked down the school hall, rushing past Louis and all his football mates, watching the girls swarm around him, giggling and having the time of their lives. It hurt knowing Louis had moved on, he had put their past behind them. Sure he was secretly glad that his old friend was happy, he deserved that happiness, but what he didn't know, was Louis was still hurting.

 

He couldn't stand the sight of Harry, the way he just slung in the corner of every room, the way he buried himself in those dark coloured hoodies, with his nose in a stupid book. Louis hated Harry's outlook of life, the way he looked screamed depression, the way he acted made Louis remember what he had fought so hard to forget.

 

The boys had stayed friends through the final years of their childhood, the world couldn't get enough from their story, the two little boys who survived a sadistic murderer by hiding under a bed, it was golden news according to them, but for the boys it only made it harder to grieve, Louis still had his family, the same family who didn't understand at all.

At first they were wary of his feelings, his mother would be almost joined to his hip, double checking he was alright, that was until he snapped, he screamed, kicked and yelled. "I am not fine!" She would never understand what he had gone through, ever. He had his family, but they never treated him the same way again. In a way he lost them the same day Harry lost his.

Harry was taken in by his aunt Penelope, she was a sister to his father, a young one at that, with only 15 years between her and Harry, they were more like siblings than anything. She raised him on her own, watched him grow into a young man, watched him struggle, watched him conquer.

Harry thought the world of his aunt, and although she could never know what it was like that fatal night, she never tried to understand which was what Harry appreciated the most; she was just there when he needed her, and not when he needed to be alone. She was the first to praise him when he came out of the closet, she was the one who comforted him when Louis pushed him away, they boys had remained friends through the interviews, through the memorials and services.

 

They had remained best friends through the therapy sessions and the times where their classmates boycotted their existence, it wasn't until eighth grade, the first year of high school when Louis started pushing for avoidance, Harry was just too big of a reminder to the pain he had seeping inside of his soul, he couldn't move on when a part of him was still dragging him down, Harry unfortunately was that very part that he needed to remove. The boys soon drifted far away,

 

Harry slunk into the shadows, spending most nights at the library, or watching bad reruns with Penelope, where Louis was the life of the party, he spent every waking moment with girls hanging off his arms, with people to see and places to go, it didn't take him long to fit into the it crowd and become the striker on the football team. He didn't forget though, not completely, there was always the thought in the back of his mind, slinking forward every so often. June 16th; the date that changed his life forever, the string of numbers that haunted him even today.

 

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