My friend, he used to tell me he liked apples. Crimson, juicy, sweet ones, as well as green, dry, and bitter ones. Later, he would describe with relish the taste of the fruit, smacking his lips in mock-tasting, his eyes misty with the memory. My friend, he would describe how he and his old people would gather them at their farm - picking 'em in a huge basket, til it was so heavy his arms would shake with the effort of holding 'em up.
My friend, he was a 'yankee' as most of the school used to call him. He came from New York, a short kid with cornered eyes and a scared and obedient face. He annoyed most of us, who were used to do as we liked and listen to our own rules. We lived where nobody listen to fashion, and nobody bunched in groups. He was used to it, so he was seriously bullied in school. I still don't understand why I even became his friend. Maybe it's because he looked so pathetic, with that snot streaming down his nose after his shoes had been stolen as a prank. Maybe it's because he always looked up to me, even when I ignored him. I don't really know for sure. But the fact stands that I became his only and best friend.
Now we were facing a problem. He couldn't remember a thing except his childhood. He was in the hospital at the moment, the doctors trying to work on his recovering his memories. Damn it, we really needed to know that piece of information, but he couldn't remember a thing. I was becoming more and more annoyed at him and his lack of information and common sense. Of all people to hold information and it was him! And on top of that, I had to be the one to get the information from him. As if I could manage.
So here I was. He spouted different pieces of facts - school subjects, what color he liked. Anger was slowly building inside me, even though I understood it was wrong. I put a harsher harness over the fury, holding back emotions. It was wrong and stupid to be angry at a hurt person.
"I would take the knife and cut along my wrist. It was painful but it would feel good too. I felt like I was punishing myself for being stupid and useless." he mumbled. I sighed. I know everything about this guy, when we were in middle school, he had shared everything with me - every his secret. I was like his diary. He told me EVERYTHING. From when he was small and beaten by his father, to how he had his first experience with a girl.
"Father would bully me so much, cutting was the only way out...Is this the information you need?"
"No." he looked sad at this. I could help myself and raised my hands in the air and said "I don't need to know about your childhood, yankee. I only need to know about the case!"
"What case?" he really couldn't remember. It was really pushing at my nerves.
"Nothing. Just keep remembering." I stood up and walked out of the room.
That night I had a dream. It was a disturbing, horrible nightmare, that made me wake in cold sweat. I couldn't fall asleep with the lights off.
He looked at me with pity. My own pitiful friend, looked at me with pity. I suppose it was because I had been absent for a week, and couldn't sleep a blink during all those seven days. I looked back and probably had a fierce look in my eyes because he quickly looked away.
We sat in silence for maybe fifteen minutes, til he spoke again.
"There were four of them. A woman with long blond hair in a ponytail. There were also three men with her. One was burly and dumb. Another was short and skittish. The last one was tall with a rat's face - he was very close with the woman." he looked at me hopefully. I stared back in surprise. He looked like a puppy, trying so hard to make me have a good mood.
"I tell you! He's talking about the culprits! There were four of them, and the old woman said the same information! We're on the right track, he's remembering!" I spoke excitedly, my tongue barely keeping up with my thoughts. My senior officer looked doubtful, but after a bit more talking with him, I managed to convince him.
It's decided, once my friend's leg is healed, we'll go search for clues with him.
His memory does not improve, and the only information he knows is that there were four culprits. It's okay though, because we at least have a lead.
We looked up at the house. It was an old one. The windows were dark gray and one of them was broken. The door was rotten in one corner. The stairs were half crumbled. I looked at my friend, and asked, "Is this the house?" He was silent. He was looking it over, then began to walk around it. I followed - the view did not improve. In fact, it got even worse. In the back, the wall was actually broken and you could see inside. White sofas with a brown coffee table, chairs covered in green, and pink walls. To me, it looked haunted. It looked like a dead person who could still see and hear. The hair on my neck and arms stood on end.
He pointed inside.
"We entered through this hole."
"Yes, through this one."
We entered the house, but he could not remember anything else.
"Ma'am, I'd like you to remember anything that could have happened on Saturday morning, last week."
"I have already told another idiot, I don't know! I'm never here on Saturdays!" the old lady sounded angry, but something looked fishy about her. She wouldn't look into my eyes at all. She knew something, I could swear.
"That woman who lives a couple miles away from the place of crime. She knows something, sir."
When I came to visit him again next week, I found him playing with a knife.
"What are you doing?" he looked up.
"They killed him like this -" he stood up and made a thrusting motion with the knife. God, this was more than useful. I asked him in he remembered anything else.
"Yes," he said, "He struggled and roared as if a beastly animal. He managed to stand up and hurt one of the culprits with the same knife that had pierced his gut."
"They cut her open and took only the funny-looking organ that looked similar to a bean."
"I don't remember why they kept me with them. One of the men - the short and skittish one - told me I was their last resort."
By the end of the third week, we have gathered enough information about the victims - there were 12 in all. Eight women, two men, and two children. Now we only needed to know the culprits names, and information as to where they had gone.
I felt really awkward doing this. But it was the only choice - I had to ask the old woman. He couldn't remember anything else - or he was keeping it secret; but the lady could. I was blonde and had long hair. All it took was to put a bit of makeup, and take on the California accent.
She was cleaning something, when I stepped behind her. I cleared my throat, unsure if this was even going to work. The lady turned, and went pale as a ghost.
"Y-you! You should be dead, you!" What? Dead? The woman was dead? I grabbed her hand when she tried to back away. I asked her where my side-kicks where, in a low voice. The poor woman trembled, and in a shaky voice said, "I don't know, I don't know - I only did what they told me! I couldn't have let my poor grandchild die!"
"She cracked, sir. Told me the woman was killed along with the victims. Gutted and thrown into the lake a couple miles from the house. I s'ppose her body will be there. The lady also said that our friend here," I nodded towards yankee, "was about to join their little gang."
He looked at me long and silent. His face was red, and his eyes held that cornered look again.
He refused to answer. He just sat there for a couple more moments, looking at me sadly, then he turned away.
Later, I asked him again.
I held no control over my senior officers, so they drugged him. I begged them to give me one more chance, but, what can I do?
I was there at the questioning.
I was the one asking questions:
"What were the names of the four culprits?"
"What was the relationship between the men and the woman."
"Why were you among them?" his answer to this question shocked me.
"I wanted to earn easy money."
Another question, "Why was the woman killed?"
Another shocking answer: "She didn't want me to steal you." I asked why he would want to steal me.
"I always wanted you to be mine. If I could steal you and kill you and burn you, you would always be with me."
He told us some shocking things. They were painful truths for me.
I always knew he was a bit weird, but the fact that he had killed people for the past five years, shocked me more than even the fact that he wanted me to love him.
He had sold over 100 people's organs.
In fact, he was one of the three men. His leg was broken because the woman struggled.
He was put for death sentence.
Before his electric chair, the night before, I had a dream.
He repeated his statement about him loving me. In the dream, he killed the woman. Then he abducted me and murdered in the way he described during the questioning.
I woke in time to make it to the bathroom to throw up.
The next day he told me, "I really liked those apples you brought me when I was sick. If only I could taste them one more time."
To this very day, when I look at red apples, I remember the friend whom I could not hate even after his crimes.
Note from Author: Edit
My entry for Ave's contest. I don't know how it is, but I put a lot of effort into it. I hope it's at least a bit enjoyable.