The Firepit

I killed Jeremy, but not the others.

No, I’m…I’m not pleading guilty or anything, ok?

Self-defense then.

Well look at me!? Look what it-he did to my leg!

And Susan!

She’s ok right?

But she’s gonna be…

… Ok.

When can I go home?

But I already told the other cop everything.

This is bullshit!

… Yes.

… Yes.

Yes.

Fine. What do you want to know?

The beginning of the fight or the party?

Yeah I guess.

Ok.

So we got invited to a party at Jeremy’s new place. He’d just moved in, and we figured we should get everybody together and… break it in or whatever.

When we got there-

Yeah, Susan and Mike and I arrived together.

Mostly to save on gas, I guess.

No, Adam got there before us. He was coming from work, downtown, so he was there almost an hour before we were.

When we got there-

Yeah we had some beer with us. Why does that matter?

I don’t remember. Tecate maybe? Susan brought it and she usually gets Tecate.

I don’t know, she just likes it! Does it matter!?

Can I get on with it!?

Thank you!

Anyway, when we got there, Jeremy and Adam were already chilling in the kitchen. They’d been talking about going back into the woods behind Jeremy’s house.

I think Jeremy suggested it originally. He mentioned the firepit that he’d found back there earlier. He didn’t really push it though, I don’t think it was something he really planned.

I don’t know, but I get the feeling that he was still pretty much himself at that point.

You’ll get what I mean when we get there.

So Jeremy brought it up, but we were all pretty into the idea of a bonfire. It was a great night for it. Cool, but not cold. Mike wasn’t sure if we’d be able to get a fire going since it’d been so wet the last couple of days, but we thought we’d try it anyway. Mike took the car to go get some dry wood from the gas station, and the rest of us were just hanging out and drank some liquor.

No. Just Susan.

No.

No. I’m not.

Really? This is what you want to talk about? Really?

Ok. Thank you.

Not much happened while we waited. We drank some of Jeremy’s rum and Adam brought some snacks from his work. We talked about shows we were watching, some book that Adam had just read that pissed him off somehow.

I don’t really remember, we were just talking about whatever.

When Mike got back with the wood we went right out there to check things out. The firepit that Jeremy had found was back in the woods from his house just a bit. It was mostly cinder blocks and a few big rocks in a ring, overgrown with moss and random bits of plants. Ivy maybe, I don’t know plants very well. Anyway, it had rained the last couple days, so everything was kinda wet. Mike had the dry logs, but we didn’t have any kindling.

Yeah I know, I’m getting there.

So we tried a couple things. Jeremy ran back to get some newspapers, Adam and Susan pulled out some old receipts they didn’t need, and I had a pocket knife so I started whittling off of the dry logs for some little twigs and stuff to light. No matter what we did, nothing seemed to work. We got the tinder to burn, but we couldn’t get the logs to catch. Adam thought maybe we should look for something in the woods, something dryish that might burn a bit longer than paper. I was gonna stay and keep whittling, but Adam wanted to talk about something.

It was a whole thing with is girlfriend. He’d mentioned to me before. So I let Mike borrow my knife and take over whittling. Susan went off one way, Adam and me the other. We wandered around for a bit talking, grabbed a few things we thought might at least kinda burn, but like I’d said, it had rained. About ten minutes of looking, and I get this weird headache. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but we weren’t finding much so I asked Adam if we could just call it quits and head back. On our way back, we saw that there was a fire back at the pit already. At first we thought Mike and Jeremy must have got the kindling to light, ‘cause we could see the fire going when we got close, but when we got to the ring, Mike wasn’t there, just Jeremy.

Yeah this is where Jeremy started acting weird.

Yeah.

No, he didn’t seem that crazy yet, just…well let me keep going and you’ll see.

Anyway, so there’s Jeremy, sitting on a stump-chair near the firepit, just staring into the fire. We called out as we were getting close, but he didn’t seem to hear us. It wasn’t until Adam got right up to him that he seemed to shake out of whatever headspace he was in.

No, I didn’t think it was drugs at first.

Yeah, I figured.

Yes. I mean, I knew he smoked a bit, maybe took a pill or whatever sometimes, but I didn’t figure that’s what was up.

‘Cause he would have offered to share.

We didn’t see Mike anywhere, so we asked where he was and Jeremy just gave us this non-committal shrug and grunt thing, all while staring into the fire.

Of course we were worried about Mike, but what were we supposed to think? We’d known Jeremy for years. Adam had known him longer than we’d known Mike. Yeah we were a bit worried, but the way Jeremy was acting I thought maybe they’d had a fight. We didn’t think…I mean…it wasn’t even on our radar, you know?

Susan wasn’t back yet so Adam and I thought maybe we should call her in. We started yelling, calling out to her, and that’s when Jeremy suggested that maybe somebody should go look for her.

I didn’t know what else to do. I wasn’t even sure if anything bad had happened yet. I figured Mike and Susan couldn’t be too far away, so I just walked out a bit and started calling.

Well nobody answered me, so I went out a bit further, then a bit more, calling out as loud as I could. My headache was getting really bad at this point and was getting really pissed. I think that might have been when the neighbors on the wood’s edge started calling in to complain about the noise.

Yeah, I found her. Sort of.

After five minutes of stumbling through the woods yelling, I heard her yell back from the opposite direction. I felt like an idiot, so I jogged back to the fire real quick. I got there just as she did too, She’d gone back to the house for a bit to use the bathroom apparently. She was a bit embarrassed about the fuss, but while she was trying to explain, I noticed that Adam wasn’t there anymore. Jeremy was still there, just sitting there staring into the fire like before, but Adam was gone.

Yep. That’s where I started to think something was really wrong.

I asked him where Adam was; he didn’t answer. So I asked again; still nothing. I had to grab his shoulder before he’d even acknowledge I was there.

Sure, at that point I was starting to think he might be high or something. I shook him a bit and spoke slowly,

“Jeremy, where’s Adam?”

He just shrugged.

Susan had been away for all this so she didn’t know what was up. So I’m trying to explain to her that Adam and Mike are gone while I’m still trying to get Jeremy to say… anything at this point. Well Susan sees me freaking out, ‘cause I was kinda freaking out, and she’s trying to calm me down. And that’s when I got hit with the rock.

Yeah, he got me in the back of head.

You’re damn right. I don’t even remember falling. I didn’t even realize I was on the ground at first. I was just suddenly very dizzy, and my head felt like it was in three or four pieces. Couldn’t see anything through the blur. I could hear Susan screaming, and Jeremy was yelling.

When I finally shook my head clear… or clearer I guess… I look up and see Jeremy his on top of Susan. He had a bloody rock in his hand, and he was kinda straddling her. So she’s kicking and screaming and just trying to wrestle the rock out of his hand while he’s trying to bash her face in.

I tried to stand, but really I just kinda stumbled and crawled over to where they were and threw my arms around Jeremy, trying to pull him off her.

He threw me off.

I was still reeling I think.

I don’t know, I just was trying to get him away from her.

Next? Next he was smacking Susan’s face with the rock. I’ve never heard a rock hit flesh before. It’s weird. You’d think it be louder. It should be louder.

Sorry. I saw him hit her, and hit her again. I pulled myself up, and rushed Jeremy again. This time my head was clearer, and I managed to tackle him off her.

I’m not sure. The details are a bit of a blur. We were wrestling, him trying to hit me with his rock, me trying to not get hit. We rolled back and forth over the ground, and I guess we must have gotten pretty close to the firepit. Jeremy starts trying to disengage and get free. I’m desperate for anything to get him to stop, so I start kicking him. I got him in the balls a couple of times, and that made him drop his stupid rock. We were pretty disentangled now, but I’m still on the ground kicking, and Jeremy is kinda propped up on the edge of the firepit, holding himself out of the flames with his hands braced on the cinderblocks. I figured kicking him into the fire would be a good idea.

I don’t know. Fire burns. I was desperate.

So I kicked him again, as hard as I fucking could, and he slipped over the edge of the stones and into the center of the pit.

The look on his face.

… I’ve never seen anybody look at… anything like that. Never. Never.

He grabbed hold of my leg, and then… it was like something gave, or like… ok have you ever… have you ever seen toothpaste come out of a tube, but in reverse? Like a youtube video. There must be a youtube video of that. That’s what it was like. Jeremy was the toothpaste, the fire in the pit was the tube. He just sort of… folded back into it.

No. He didn’t yell. His mouth was open, but there was no sound at all. Or maybe there was sound and I just wasn’t hearing anything. While I’m watching Jeremy get sucked back into the tube, I’m digging my fingers into the dirt, because he still had hold of my leg.

Well look at it!

I don’t know.

I don’t!

He had ahold of it, and he pulled it with him, into the fire.

Yeah it hurt.

No, it didn’t burn. It didn’t even feel warm. It felt cold. Like I’d just put it in an ice bath. Then it felt like… like I was overextending it. You know the feeling. You push a joint to the limit and it tells you ‘no, don’t you fucking dare.’ Well it was like that, except it just kept going. That wasn’t even the worst of it though.

My head.

I said I’d had a headache earlier, well that shit spiked, hard. I felt like my head was being split open all over again. Then stuffed full of jagged, rusted metal, and then blended on high.

I’m not sure.

It just stopped.

The fire was out. Just gone. It was dark, and I was screaming my lungs out. My head didn’t feel like tetanus puree anymore, but it still felt like I’d been hit with a damn rock, and my right leg felt like my bones had been ripped right out of it.

I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see anything. It was dark, and I couldn’t stop crying. I just lay there until the other cops showed up.

I don’t know.

No I don’t expect you to believe me, but you asked.

I have no idea what happened to Mike and Adam.

If I had to guess: they’re wherever Jeremy ended up.

A book?

No, I never saw anything like that at Jeremy’s place.

Why?

Fine. Can I see Susan now?

What?

You can’t be serious?

But I…

No no no no…

I didn’t do anything wrong!

 

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