Meet Margie and Amy: two school girls, both 14 years of age. Amy was just a few months younger than Margie. She had a way about her that seemed to always manage to get caught up in some mess of trouble. Margie, however, was a bit more discerning, though Amy still managed to have her participate in a mischievous scheme that would eventually lead into the Twilight Zone.
It was 3:30. The school bell was ringing for the last time until the autumn of that year.
It was an unusually hot day in rural Oklahoma, especially for May. Kids all around screamed and chattered amongst one another in excitement.
Margie and Amy were best friends, both 14 years of age. Amy was just a few months younger than Margie. She had a way about her that seemed to always manage to get caught up in some mess of trouble.
Margie, however, was a bit more discerning, though she still let Amy lead her into mischief at times.
"Hey, Margie, hey, wait for me!" Amy begged as she tried to catch up with her friend.
"Yeah? What's up?" asked Margie. "What's the hurry?" Amy asked.
"I have to get home and help my mom cook. We're having dinner tonight with one of my dad's friends or something. I'm not exactly thrilled about it, but I can't really get out of it," she answered.
"Well, maybe you can," Amy said mischievously. "Yeah? How?" She laughed with a devilish grin.
"Just tell her you have… something to do with a friend tonight," she said. "Well, I'd love to try and get out of it, but really, what else would I do tonight?" she asked.
"Just meet me at that old abandoned house on Reno tonight, and bring a flashlight," said Amy.
"Well, what are we going to do there? I don't want to get into any trouble," said Margie.
"Come on, Margie, just say you'll be there tonight," begged Amy.
"Oh, ok. 9:30?" "Yes! 9:30 is good, it'll be getting dark at about that time."
"I'll leave at 9:00, just to make sure I get there on time."
So they departed from each other and started towards their homes.
"Mom, I'm home, where are you?" asked Margie. "Oh, hi honey. How was your last day at school today?" said her mother as she stepped in from the other room.
"Good, I guess. Hey, mom, would it be ok if I went… over to Amy's house tonight?"
"Margie, every time you hang out with that girl you get into trouble, she's a bad influence on you. I don't want you hanging out with her," said her mother.
"But, mom, it's the first day of summer, we want to do something fun together," Margie begged her mother.
"Which means you have the rest of the summer to do something 'fun'. And tonight, I need your help in the kitchen," said her mother, who seemed to not be giving in. "And I will help you with that, but can I leave right after dinner? We aren't going to get into any trouble, I promise. Can I go tonight? Please?"
"Oh, ok. You can go," her mother said as she sighed.
"Thanks, mom!" she shouted as she hugged her mom. "I'll be leaving around nine."
"But, you'll have to sleep at her house tonight, I don't want you walking home in the dark that late."
"Ok, mom," said Margie, feeling a little guilty; for she would not be going over to her friend's house, she would be sneaking around an abandoned house late at night.
The hours ticked by slowly, causing Margie to lose her patience. She was still wondering what Amy's mischievous plans were for the night. She even considered backing out of it at a certain point, but then decided she really did want to go. Maybe Amy did get into trouble sometimes, but she did know how to have fun.
Nine o'clock came, still and eerie. The air was thick, seeming as though the light of the flashlight was shining right onto it. It was a ways down the road to the abandoned house she was to meet Amy at. She got on her bike and placed the flashlight in the basket attached to the front, leaving it turned on to guide her way through the darkness. She slowly peddled through the yard and onto the road. The gravel crunched beneath her tires as the steady light from her flashlight shone eerily on the road ahead of her. An owl in the distance made a sorrowful hoot that seemed to cut like a knife through the still night.
Finally, Margie came upon the abandoned house. It was larger than she had remembered, and creepier, too, especially in the twilight setting. Where is Amy? She thought to herself. She looked down at her watch, but she could not see it in the darkness. She was getting spooked more and more as the minutes ticked by.
She was walking around trying to find Amy, quietly calling her name when suddenly someone placed a hand on her shoulder. "Hey! Who are you? Are you a ghost? Get away from me!" she screamed.
"Margie, calm down. It's just me, Amy!"
"Oh, Amy. You nearly scared the life out of me," said Margie, gasping for breath.
"You thought I was a ghost!" said Amy, who was laughing hysterically.
"Ok, ha ha, very funny. So what are we waiting for? Can we just get it over with, whatever it is that you want to do?" asked Margie.
"Don't be such a stick in the mud! You're just mad because I scared you!" Amy said as she started to laugh again. "Ok, if you're really in such a hurry, let's just go into the house real quick and take a look around, it'll be fun. Do you have your flashlight?"
"Yeah, right here," she said as she switched it on, "let's go."
They headed towards the old house and walked up the creaky, wooden stairs and onto the porch.
The windows were broken and the door was barely hanging on the hinge.
The two girls walked slowly and silently into the house. The smell of dust lingered heavily in the air.
Margie shined the flashlight before them, revealing a metal chest.
"Let's open it," said Amy, always quick to land head first in anything that seemed exciting to her.
"Well, ok," Margie said hesitantly, "but after this, we have to go."
"Alright, let's go open it!" she said excitedly as she walked towards the chest.
Amy held the flashlight as Margie attempted to open the chest. She pulled hard until she finally managed to pry the chest open.
The chest was filled with very odd pictures; odd, yet somehow intriguing. They were pictures of a circus, sometime in the 1920's. There were jugglers, tight rope walkers and clowns.
"I guess who ever lived here before was in the circus or something," said Amy jokingly.
"Amy, do you hear something?" asked Margie. "Yeah, I do. It sounds sort of like… oh, never mind, it couldn't be… could it?" said Amy
"It isn't real; it's just our imagination, or our minds our playing tricks on us or something. I've read about this you know," said Margie.
"Margie, I don't think it's our imagination…" said Amy.
After a few moments had passed, there was no denying what they were hearing. I t was some kind of circus music. "Amy, I don't like this," said Margie. "Yeah, I know what you mean," said Amy.
"Don't look at the pictures, Amy," said Margie, "something is weird about them. I can't really put my finger on it, though."
But Amy could not take her eyes off of the pictures. It seemed to her as though the pictures were moving almost, or coming to life, you might say. Margie could not get her to stop looking at them. She was becoming hypnotized. Suddenly, the flashlight fell out of Amy's hand with a loud thud. She was slowly slipping into another world.
"Amy, Amy! Hold onto my hand!" Margie screamed. But it was too late. Amy had vanished. Just like that. Margie cried in bewilderment. She could not fathom what had just happened before her eyes, but she knew she needed to go home. She needed to explain everything to her mom. It wouldn't be easy. In fact, she didn't exactly know how she would even start to explain such a thing that she herself couldn't even begin to understand. But she had to try.
She got on her bike once again, traveling much faster than she had on the way. Gravel was flinging every which way as she was tried to avoid the thicker spots of the road in order to peddle at a faster speed.
When she got home, she was shocked to see her mother sitting on the front porch, who looked just as surprised as Margie.
"Margie, where have you been? Your dad's out looking for you and Amy this very moment. Are you okay? Where is Amy?" said her mother as she ran to embrace her daughter.
"Mom, she's gone. Amy's gone," said Margie, with tears in her eyes.
"What… what do you mean, Margie? What happened?"
Margie hesitated. She wasn't so sure anymore if she should tell her. What could she say?
"We went down to the river to go swimming. It was dark, and I couldn't see her, and before I knew what had happened, she was gone. She… she drowned… I tried to find her, but, the river carried her away. " said Margie. She couldn't believe herself. How did I just say that? She thought to herself, she'll never believe it. But she did.
No one talked about it that much, but everyone believed it. And almost everyone blamed Margie for Amy's death. No one ever actually said it but still, Margie felt it. When she went back to school that fall, she felt alone. No one wanted to be her friend. They acted as though she was a murderer. She wanted them to know the truth. But to this day, she has never told a soul.
The days, months and years following passed by slowly. Margie never really forgave herself for that night. No, it wasn't her fault for what had happened, but she couldn't help but think, what if? What if I had pulled her away? Would she still be here? What if I had stayed? Somehow, I feel like I could have helped. But I ran. I never even had the chance to say goodbye. She was just there one second, and gone the next. Why her?
It had been twenty years since the incident. She had never been able to step out from under the ever present cloud that lingered over her. She was harboring the deep, painful truth inside of her. She didn't even feeling like she was living. She finally decided to venture back to the old, abandoned house. At that point, she didn't care what fate awaited her there.
She walked up to the doorway of the house. She stood there for a few moments while memories of the dreadful night came flooding back to her. She hesitantly entered the house. It really hadn't changed much at all. The metal chest was still there, beckoning her to open it. She couldn't resist. She knelt down and pried it open. The pictures were there as she and Amy had left them. "Oh Amy," she said quietly," could you ever forgive me? I never even got to tell you goodbye. The guilt that I feel is overbearing. I should have talked you out of it that night, but instead, I went along with your senseless plan." Suddenly, she heard a faint sound of music. She recognized it as the same circus music she had heard right before Amy had suddenly disappeared twenty years before. She looked down at a picture that was sitting right on top. It was a sorrowful looking girl of about 14 years of age dressed as a clown. She looked so familiar to Margie. The clown in the picture looked right at her and waved as if saying to her, "Goodbye, friend."
Margie and Amy had been torn apart in a worse way than they could ever have imagined. How could they have known what would happen that night? The guilt she felt would never completely escape her. Amy could never come back. She was in a certain point in time that she could never escape from and would forever be in one of the most sorrowful places… located in the Twilight Zone.