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“She’s dead!” Jamie said. He rolled the ball around in his hand. “She’s already twenty minutes late. She’s dead.”
“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions J-man.” Desmond took a final sip from his frozen coffee. In his other hand he held the medium-sized frozen coffee for Kyane. The components of the coffee had separated into a cream layer at the top, followed by the syrup and milk layer, with ice at the bottom. “But we better just do this without her. I still need my grade to go up if I wanna keep playing.” He placed the frozen coffee on the ground in front of the alley. The sweat made an instantaneous circle on the concrete. He wiped his hands on his pants. “Okay, ready.”
The two teenagers walked up to the police tap. Desmond lifted the rope. Jamie ducked under, then Desmond went under. They both turned their cell phone flashlights’ on and began to scan the area. Jamie got a better look at the scratch marks in the concrete. “This place looks picked clean,” Jamie said.
“Yeah. What did he want us to get anyway?” Desmond waved his flashlight over the trash can. A gleam from the bottom blinded him. “What the hell, man?” Jamie turned to see Desmond. He looked down and saw what was blinding Desmond.
“I got it,” Jamie said. He knelt and picked up the item. “Hmm, it’s weird.” The item was a claw nail. It measured five or six inches tall, with a sharp tip.
There was a clicking noise.
Desmond put his phone away and got close to the claw. “What the hell is that, man?”
“A claw,” Jamie said.
“Yeah, but a big claw. Something from like Animal Planet or something.”
“Is this what Mr. Ayer wanted us to find? A claw?”
“I don’t know. But It could be from, like, anything. Lots of stuff has claws.”
“They’re not usually this large.”
The clicking noise got closer.
A stench wafted through the air.
Desmond covered his face. “Man, did you just fart?”
“No,” Jamie said. “Why?” He looked around. The alley was vacant except for the two other them.
“Somethin’ stinks. You don’t smell that?”
Jamie pointed to the dumpsters near them. “This alley is between two restaurants. Food will eventually rot, and then stink.” Jamie could smell a stench. Yet, the stench he smelled was the mix of two tonally opposite, rotting food, along with a pile of throw up in the corner.
“Yeah, I know how food works. But that’s not it. It smells like iron, and something else.”
“I don’t know then,” Jamie said. “Well we have this claw, I guess we can call it.” Jamie placed the claw in his pocket. “It’s sad Kyane couldn’t make it.”
“Oh well, man.” Desmond walked to the police tape. “Let’s go.”
“Go where?” said a raspy, muffled voice from above. They both looked up to see a black hooded figure with amber yellow eyes. The figure cocked its head to the side.
“Ahh, well… ahh well home.”
“Yeah, we were just leaving.” Desmond lifted the police tape up.
“Did you take anything?” the figure said.
“No,” Desmond said.
Without a warning or tell, the figure sprung off the roof of the coffee house, and landed onto the concrete with a slam, and an indent. The figure did not seem to be a phase. Jamie slowly began to back up. He lifted his phone to place it into his pocket. His light caught a flash of the figure’s hand. It had claws not dissimilar to the one they had just picked up. The tips were broken off. Jamie then smelled the iron stench. A stench of blood. “Did you just lie?” the figure wheezed. The figure’s head cocked to the other side in a single tick.
“No,” Jamie said. His body was cold and shaking.