The Nightmare
The Nightmare
Author: Sleepykitten13
Before

I was 15 when everything changed. I was completely unprepared for my entire life to be upended. No one was. I still remember the expression my Dad had when he realized that what was happening. My nightmares won't let me forget. That face haunts my nights and then I wake to the real nightmare, my new life. Let me back track though, we'll start at the beginning.

My name is Katherine Hudson but my friends all call me Kitty. I started as a fairly normal 15 year old. I grew up in a small town in Indiana right near Lake Michigan. We lived a couple hours from Chicago. I lived near the woods and spent most of my weekends camping out there when I was in middle school, a fact that has saved my life more than once. I was considered kinda nerdy in middle school but things were changing since I started high school. I made the freshman cheer squad and had made friends with some of the popular kids. I still loved my old nerd friends though.

For as long as I could remember, it was just my dad and me. I was an only child and my mom died in a car accident when I was three. We had a large extended family but we only saw them occasionally on holidays since none of them lived near us. It didn't bother me though, my dad made sure that my childhood was awesome.

We had moved here after my mom's accident for a fresh start. My dad had found a great deal for a small farm house that included 15 acres of forest/swamp land. The land was too wet to build on so it wasn't useful for farming or building but I loved it. I loved spending time out alone in the forest. It was always my happy place.

After we moved, my dad got a job at one of the local steel mills and I was put into daycare. It was there that I met Sammy and Craig. They were my best friends. Sammy was a first generation immigrant. Both her parents moved here from Vietnam right after getting married. She had one brother, Cash who was a year older. Sammy was an eternal optimist. She always saw the best in everyone and the best of any situation. She was also a genius, literally. She was the smartest person that I had ever known. She had beautiful dark hair and eyes and a sparkling smile. One drawback that she had was a complete inability to filter. She would always said what she was thinking and feeling. I found it endearing but most kids that we went to school with found it annoying.

Her brother, Cash may have looked like her but that is where the similarities ended. He could barely pass any grade but was extremely popular due to the fact that he was a great football player. He was great at any sort of sport, actually. He was nice most of the time but would do whatever his friends told him to. Except when it came to Sammy. He would do almost anything to protect her.

Craig also had an older brother named Clay who I had been crushing on for most of my life. Clay was also a year older than us. Both Craig and Clay had dark hair. Their mom was Hispanic and they both took after her. Craig had brown eyes but Clay had managed to get their dad's Irish green eyes. They were both tall and kind and wicked smart. Craig was goofy and sarcastic. He could always make me laugh and knew how to cheer me up no matter what. He was regarded as a dork because he loved comic books and science fiction. He was also a bit clumsy. Clay was athletic and more reserved.

When we started kindergarten, we met April. She was the opposite of Sammy in every regard. Pale, blonde and blue eyed, she was our groups pessimist. She didn't like or trust anyone outside of our group and found most people annoying. She was extremely loyal to her true friends, though.

Lance started at our school a couple years later. Dark in hair, eyes and complexion, he and Craig became best friends over their shared love of comics and horror movies. He was brooding and sarcastic. He loved to write and I always thought that he and April would be a perfect couple but I found out recently that he carried a torch for Sammy.

Olive was our most recent addition to our group. She moved here in the beginning of 8th grade. She was nice and sweet but didn't fit in with most of our classmates because of her tomboy ways. She loved to play softball and had red, wild hair that she almost never brushed.

That was my crew all throughout elementary and middle school. We were the "weird" kids. All not fitting in for some reason or another. We didn't care, though. We had each other and we took care of one another. Then in the summer between 8th grade and freshman year, I had what Sammy referred to as a "glow up". My typically muscular body started getting curves and my chest filled out. Sammy insisted on taking me for a make over/ spa weekend where my straight black hair was cut and styled properly and some masochistic lady waxed my overgrown, bushy eyebrows.

"There, now you can see your beautiful blue eyes" she said when she was done.

"You look gorgeous!" Sammy raved after she forced me to wear a dress and get my make up done.

I regarded myself in the mirror. I had olive skin that was golden in the summer and paled in the harsh midwestern winters. I had my dad's blue eyes and sprinkle of freckles across my nose. My hair was the only thing that I got from my mom. Jet black and perfectly straight no matter how much I curled it.

"Thanks for this, Sammy" I said and she grinned.

"You have to wear that for the first day of school next week" Sammy insisted and I agreed.

She even came over early to do my hair and make up. I caused quite a stir at school that day. Even Clay said that I looked nice. I was overjoyed. Molly, Bree, and Juniper approached me at lunch.

"Hey, Kitty." Molly said.

I looked up from talking with Craig, surprised that the popular girls were talking to me.

"Hi Molly, Bree, Junie. What's up?" I asked with a confused look.

"We were wondering if you were still taking dance classes" Junie asked with a smile.

Junie was a sweet girl with brown hair and eyes. She and I had taken dance together when we were little but she had dropped out a few years ago.

"I just quit this summer." I revealed.

It was hard for me to quit but I finally had to admit that I didn't have the body of a dancer, especially after my body filled out.

"That's actually perfect!" Bree said loudly.

She was the epitome of an cheerleader, blonde, blue eyes, perfect everything.

"What do you mean?" I asked even more confused.

Molly rolled her eyes at Bree. Molly was their leader, nice but a bit narcissistic. We all knew better than to challenge her.

"We were just discussing that we need more people for the freshman cheer squad and we thought that you would be a great fit. Do you want to join?" Molly clarified.

"Sure. That sounds like fun" I said.

"Good. Try outs are tomorrow." Molly added before they walked away.

I watched as they sat with the rest of the jocks.

"Are you going to start being like them now?" April asked with a sneer as she looked at their table.

Clay and Cash were there along with Clay's girlfriend, Lisa, and Shawn, Allen, Nick, Sara and Hope.

"Clay, Cash and Allen are nice" I said.

Allen was a guy from our grade who was always kind to us.

"Allen's nice as long as no one else is around. Shawn is a bully and you know it" April countered.

She was right. Shawn was the worst.

"True but Sara and Hope are okay" Sammy piped in.

April shrugged, "They seem like followers, ya know? Nick gives me the creeps though and Lisa is just pure evil. I'm sorry, Craig. I know that she's dating your brother but seriously, she's twisted." she said.

I didn't say anything but I agreed with her. Nick was best described as smoldering but he was always watching me in a way that reminded me of a predator watching his prey. Lisa was from our grade but she and Craig had been dating for over a year. She was manipulative and cruel.

"Don't worry April. I doubt that I'll make the squad but even if I do, you all will always by my crew" I promised.

I tried out the next day and was surprised to find out that I had earned a spot in cheerleading. I kept my promise to April though and still sat with our group at lunch. When Bree invited me to her party after the homecoming dance a week later, I asked her if I could bring my other friends.

"Sure, the more the merrier" She replied with a smile.

"I don't know" April said when I told them at lunch.

"Come on, it will be fun. We already said that we would go to the dance as a group. It will be so fun to go to our first high school party together" Sammy begged.

Lance looked doubtful but he could never say no to Sammy.

"Fine, I'm in" he relented.

"I'll go as long as we go together" Craig said as he looked at me.

He had been acting strangely towards me for the last few months. I couldn't figure out why and he would pretend not to know what I was talking about when I brought it up.

"I'm game as long as I don't have to wear a dress" Olive said and we chuckled.

Then Sammy turned back to April.

"Please, April? I'll do your biology homework?" Sammy offered.

"Fine, but I doubt that it'll be any fun" April snarled.

"Yay!" Sammy cheered.

"Cash said that he was going with Sara but he offered to drive a few of us. Do you think that Clay would drive everyone else, Craig?" Sammy planned.

"He's going with Lisa but I'm sure that he wouldn't mind driving us. Kitty, do you want to ride with us?" Craig asked.

"I'd love to but Sammy wants to get ready together and I already promised that I'd ride with her and Cash" I responded.

Craig looked extremely disappointed.

"I'll ride with you all" Lance said quickly to Sammy.

"That leaves April and I with you, Craig. Should we meet at your place?" Olive asked and everyone agreed.

We planned out the rest of the dance details since it was this Saturday.

"The game should be over by 4. We can go grab a quick dinner and then get ready. The dance starts at 7 so we should have just enough time" Sammy planned.

We decided that all the girls were going to spend the night at Sammy's place afterward since her parents were the most laid back and wouldn't make us have a curfew. The rest of the week seemed to drag on for forever.

Finally, Saturday came around. I got up early and got ready in my cheer uniform. Dad smiled when I came out.

"You look great" he said and I grinned.

"Thanks, Dad. You remember the plan for tonight right?" I checked

He nodded and responded, "You're going straight from the game to Sammy's to get ready for the dance and you are spending the night at her place afterwards."

I had decided that he didn't need to know about the party.

"Yep" I said.

"We better get going. I can't wait to see you cheer" he added.

"Dad! I'm only on the freshman squad. We just do a few of the cheers and the pregame routine" I sighed.

"So? It's going to be great. And you better have Sammy's mom take pictures of you before the dance or you'll break my heart" Dad said dramatically.

I rolled my eyes but agreed. The rest of the day went wonderfully. Our routine was nearly perfect. I didn't mess up any cheers and our team actually won. I waved to my Dad in the stands at the end of the game and blew him a kiss. He grinned at me proudly before taking off. I caught a ride with Cash, Sammy and Lance to meet our friends at the local diner for a quick diner. We got there before Clay, Craig, April, and Olive so we got a big table and waited. They finally showed up 30 minutes later.

"What happened?" Sammy demanded as soon as she saw them.

Craig shook his head and I noticed Clay's stormy face.

"Sorry, it's my fault that we're late, Lisa and I broke up." Clay said softly.

Sammy exchanged a look with me. She's the only one that knows that I have a huge crush on Clay. I glared at her and she looked away quickly.

"Oh, Clay. I'm so sorry. Are you okay?" I asked as Craig looked at me, intently.

"I'm fine. We've been drifting apart lately. I just don't like some of the mean things that she does." Clay said and we all nodded.

"You don't have to drive us to the dance if you don't want to" April offered, hopefully.

"No. I want to take you but is it cool if I hang with you all? The rest of my friends have dates and I don't want to third wheel." Clay asked.

"Of course you can" I said a bit too quickly.

Sammy grinned while Craig frowned at me. We ate quickly and then left to get ready. Sammy did my hair and makeup again.

"Wow! Clay is going to have to fall for you tonight" Sammy said after I put on my dress.

"He just broke up with Lisa. I don't want to be a rebound. Plus, I doubt that he thinks of me that way. I'm just his little brother's friend" I said but I smiled at myself in the mirror.

"Thanks for the help, though" I said and she grinned.

We got to the dance and met up with our friends after picking up Lance who kept telling Sammy how pretty she looked.

"Wow, Kitty" Craig said with a shocked expression.

"Is that a good thing?" I asked with a smile and he just nodded.

"You look beautiful, Kitty. You too, Sammy" Clay said with a grin.

We had a great time at the dance. We all took turns dancing together which is something we always did. Even Cash gave Sara a break and danced with us. We left for the party afterwards. By the time that we got there, the party was in full swing.

"This is chaos" April complained as we walked in.

Almost everyone from school was there.

"Just stay together" Lance said and used the excuse to grab Sammy's hand.

Craig grabbed my hand and I took Clay's. We all linked hands and walked through the house until we found an open couch. April and Olive plopped down.

"I'm going to go find Bree to say hi" I said.

"I'll come with you" Craig volunteered and I nodded.

He followed me through the party until I found Bree, Molly and Junie in the kitchen by the keg.

"Kitty! You made it!" Bree said as she hugged me.

"Thanks for the invite" I responded as Molly hugged me too.

"Here. Let's get you two some drinks" Junie said as she handed Craig and I each a cup of beer.

"Thanks" I said and took a small sip.

I wasn't a big fan of drinking, neither was Craig but I noticed that he chugged his drink and went to get a refill. I spoke with the girls for a few minutes while he drank two more cups of beer.

"Here, Craig." Allen said as he came over and gave Craig a bottle of vodka.

Craig took a couple of huge swigs before I could stop him.

"I'll see you around." I said to the girls as Craig got yet another drink.

I grabbed his hand and pulled him away. He stumbled after me but followed without arguing. I turned and looked at him.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He grinned lazily at me.

"I'm just having fun, darlin" he slurred.

I rolled my eyes and shook my head. His Dad was from the south and Craig picked up a bit of his accent. Evidently, it became more pronounced when he got drunk.

"You are so beautiful. I love you" he said as he pulled me closer.

"You're drunk" I replied, feeling shocked.

"Maybe but that doesn't mean that it isn't true" he replied.

I shook my head, he was just wasted. There was no way that Craig loved me like that. I would have noticed.

"Let's go find everyone else" I said and he nodded.

We found everyone right where we left them. They all looked bored except for Cash. Sara had ditched Cash as soon as we walked in so he looked sad.

"Is he drunk?" Clay asked as we walked up.

Craig was hanging on me and I nodded.

"Seriously, Craig?" Clay asked.

"Go away. Kitty and I are having fun" Craig frowned at him.

"Do you all want to get out of here?" I asked and everyone except Craig nodded.

"Come on, Craig. We're leaving" I said.

"Okay, baby" he said and I just shook my head in confusion.

We walked out together and I helped Clay get Craig into the car.

"He won't get in trouble with your folks will he?" I asked

"No. I'll cover for him. Come on, Lance" Clay responded.

The boys took off while Sammy, Olive, April and I got in Cash's car. We had a fun night at Sammy's. After April and Olive fell asleep, Sammy and I discussed Clay.

"He's single now. Are you going to ask him out?" Sammy asked.

"I don't know. Craig's been so weird lately, how would he react to that?" I asked and Sammy shrugged.

We talked for a bit longer and then fell asleep. We got up late the next morning and decided to leave so we could all get our homework done.

"Bye Sammy! Thanks for everything!" I called as I walked out to my dad's waiting car.

I had no idea that I would never see my friends again.

Comments (1)
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Catherine Greene
Woah to the last line...
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