by AJ McCall
Ivan's voice bounced against the trees, seeming to make the leaves atop shake.
"Jerome!" he yelled again. Still no answer.
Ivan swallowed hard, rubbing the silver bracelet on his wrist. I don’t need two siblings missing he thought.
A twig snapped; his head swiveled. Nothing.
An image of a smiling girl entered his mind, and slowly his brother's face appeared next to hers. Ivan pushed it aside. Jerome wasn't missing he was probably somewhere up ahead. No need to worry.
Ivan took a deep breath, continuing through the ancient gnarled wood.
He walked farther until he spotted a blur of a figure up in a tree. He squinted, recognizing his brother’s jacket. Ivan sighed in relief.
But Jerome didn’t seem to hear him. Ivan jogged over to the tree.
"Jerome-" Ivan’s mouth went dry and his heart seemed to stop beating at the sight of his brother’s body impaled through the chest by a branch. Blood trickled down his nikes.
Ivan turned to run. The ground heaved up and the tree's roots lashed out, grabbing and pulling him back. Ivan’s cry was lost as the roots constricted around him like a boa, snapping his neck.
The roots impaled him on an empty branch beside a girl whose limp hand swung into his. Two bracelets clinked softly together.