“Physical Education classes don’t count,” Alyanna teased.
“But why not, you can’t graduate without them!”
“You mean, they’re the only ones where you got grades higher than a 90?”
Daniel laughed at the trap. She had been winning the game the whole night.
“All right next,” Alyanna challenged, “Craziest lies you said to get someone in bed?”
You mean like this, he thought. “I built a time machine,” he said out loud.
“Hmmm, I..I said I was the dean’s daughter,” she giggled.
“Captain of the football team.”
Alyanna raised her brows.
“And yes, we don’t have a football team,” he continued.
Both laughed. They already lost count of how many questions were answered or how many hours they have spent lying on the grass figuring out what makes the other tick.
He liked the exercise. He likes knowing their deepest secrets, their desires, their whole person. She was the one who suggested to play the game, some habit she got from old boyfriends. He was pleased. It felt like having a real girlfriend. Although, he did have girlfriends before. Countless. Only, he never took them to lounge at a grassy patch by the mountain while laughing at absurd truths– was it lies–they each spew out. She seemed to like the grass, though. He was pleased.
“Hey, I have an idea,” Alyanna exclaimed, her voice a pitch higher than usual. She stood over him, her eyes gleaming with excitement and reflecting the full summer moon.
“Let’s put those P.E. classes to good use.” She stood up, backed up into a tree, and whispered in the night, “Come find me.”
Daniel smiled a half-moon smile and felt his pulse race upwards. He almost wanted to dance. Then he started singing, “One, two, three, four. Come out here and tell me more.” The forest echoed with his voice as it combined with the sound of crickets mating and a distant howl.
“Five, six, seven, eight, ” Daniel continued, then pulled a short dagger from his coat.
“I turn naughty when I wait,” he slashed at a thick shrub that has leaves dancing with the wind. He ran around, hacking at tree trunks.
“Nine, ten,” he continued, eyebrows furrowed and nostrils flaring. He never got to ten before. “Eleven, twelve. Maybe, I will let you..” he paused, looking at the shadow that just crossed the meadow.
“Live,” he whispered, smiling as he walked to the open space lit by the bright sky.
“Thirt–” He saw the blood before he felt the arrow in his lungs as he tried to breathe.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Two arrows hit his kneecaps. He fell on his side, propped up only by the wooden weapon on his chest. He looked up to see the nearest tree and started crawling to it. He took his dagger out and tried to cut off the arrows impaled in his legs, coughing out blood with every deep breath.
“Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen,” sang a nearby voice.
Daniel strained to see as his vision started to blur. It wasn’t Alyanna. Or not just Alyanna.
Antoine. Therese. Nancy. Beryl. He wanted to count them, but his eyes kept closing.
“OPEN YOUR EYES!” Alyanna shouted. He did and saw she was alone, a crossbow in her hand.
“You will never see again,” she sang as she pierced his open eyes with two arrows at once.
She stopped counting. She stopped way before Daniel. She lay down with him on the grass, enjoying the gurgling sound coming from his mouth.
“Look, our only witnesses are the stars.”