“He has to die,” said Ashlee. She scanned the little circle of girls. On a bright, warm, sunny spring afternoon they all felt a dark chill.
“What?” said Toree with a scrunched brow, looking at the others.
“Agreed,” said Sheree. She held a stern, determined look and inched closer to Ashlee.
“Gross!” said Bee, still twirling in circles to make her skirt flare out.
“Who are we talking about?” asked Toree.
With an overly dramatic eye roll and a groan of frustration, Ashlee said, “You know! Him! I can’t even say his name. It makes me angry because he makes me feel all weird inside.”
“But,” said Sheree, “he’s two grades above us.”
“And a boy,” added Toree.
“Gross!” said Bee, stumbling from getting dizzy.
“And initials aren’t a name!” shouted Ashlee.
Sheree touched Ashlee shyly on the arm. “What’s the plan?”
“Are we really going to kill him?” asked Toree.
Sheree stepped towards her. “Yes! Of course! He has to die. That’s what Ash just said. I will kill any guy that makes her feel weird inside.”
“I’m just asking! God!” Toree folded her arms and looked away.
“Besides, he teases us and it’s mean.”
“Gross!” yelled Bee as she pulled splinters from her knee. Then to herself, “But I kinda like it, too.”
Toree raised her hand and bounced up and down. “I know!”
“We aren’t in school, T,” Ashlee said. Toree put her hand down but said nothing. Ashlee said, “Well? What?”
Toree said, “Oh, nothing. Just that. Um. It’s probably stupid, so never mind.”
“God!” shouted Sheree. “Just say it!”
“Fine! My big brother has a crossbow.”
Sheree’s eyes got big. “We could lure him to the old stone barn and shoot him there.”
Ashlee nodded, “Not bad Sher. Not bad. Let’s go to my place and work out the deets.”
Bee stayed seated on the ground. “Boy are stupid and gross. So is killing. I’m going to dance class.” She popped up and ran off waving. “See ya! Have fun shooting him!”
The half moon slithered behind racing clouds as the three teenage girls tiptoed towards the ruins of the ancient stone barn.
“Shhhh!” said Sheree.
“I didn’t say anything!” whispered Toree.
“Quiet, both of you!” said Ashlee. She hoisted the crossbow to her shoulder. “No talking the rest of the way. Let’s do this.”
At the tumble-down entrance they crouched and moved silently behind a pile of rubble. They each tried to make their heavy breathing as the tension grew with each second.
A creak came from the upper level. Then the outline of a figure stood there.
A male voice said, “Ashlee? Is that you?”
The crossbow bolt leapt from the bow and vanished into the dark, leaving only a sharp thud behind. A gasp was heard, then the figure fell into the pile of boards and hay.
Sheree looked stunned. “You did it. You actually did it.”
The three looked at one another, then screamed to shatter glass as they ran from the barn.
Bee scampered down the ladder, followed by an older boy.
“Thanks, kid,” he said, smiling. “This could have gotten ugly for me.”
Beaming and shy, Bee said, “It was nothing.”
“What grade are you in?”
He nodded to himself, then reached into his back pocket. He held up a booklet, folded and worn. “Here, you might like this.”
Bee took it and held it up to the moonlight. The cover said “Romeo and Juliet.”
He gave her a little peck on the top of her head. “And look me up when you get to tenth grade.”