The branches of the age-old oaks tangle with one another above the dirt path. Tam ran barefoot along the path, in and out of shadow. Her heart raced, and she often lost her footing while glancing over her shoulder. They were coming. They wouldn’t let her get away. Not after what she saw. Not after what they did. For years, Tam dreamed of becoming a Peach. From the first time she’d seen a group of them at a football game she attended with her father. Gracious in every sense of the word, the Peaches sat close together on the bleachers. Tam wanted to be a part of their world. The attention from those nearby. The feeling of sisterhood. She was an only child and longed for a sister of her own. These were not sisters. Sisters don’t kill sisters. Her chest ached, and her lungs begged for air. She began to sob again as she remembered Jill’s body sprawled in the circle drive of the President’s house. Tam could still hear Jill’s scream, cut short by the unforgiving stone below. The other sisters tried to make Tam admit that she’d witnessed an unfortunate accident. Jill was sitting on the balcony railing and, without warning, lost her balance. Tam couldn’t make herself tell the lie. She knew exactly what she saw. Jill stepped on the wrong toes tonight and paid for the mistake with her life. Tam just needed to make it back to her dorm room. She could just make out the street lights on the main road ahead.
As relief began to sweep over her, a hooded figure jumped into the middle of the path. “Gotcha!” she shouted as Tam came to a halt to avoid colliding with her. As she turned to run into the woods, a much larger person blocked her exit and covered her head with a sack.