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Fallen Victim to the Brown Bottle

He clenched his fists, and gritted his teeth, trying to fight off the truth. Sweat accumulated upon his dirty forehead and tears began to roll down his cheeks. Reality had finally set in, though he tried hard to think otherwise.

"Johnny. Johnny, don't do this to yourself. You can make it. JUst shake it off it's not that big of a deal, Come on Johnny boy."

He lifted his friend's head into his arms trying to revive him with his words, but nothing he said could bring his heart beat back.

"Come on! I know you, you're stronger than this. I promise once you wake up, me and you are going to go back to the way things were before. No problems, no enemies, just you and me hanging out like we used to. When nothing but card games and friends mattered to us. Remember when we used to stay up all night in the club house and play poker, even though we didn't know what the hell we were doing? Remember that? We were so dumb, come on Johnny don't leave me now. I can't live without you man."

His voice began to choke up and his crying became hysterical, a friend nearby tried to comfort him by putting his hands on his shoulders,

"Todd, he's gone man. Just leave it alone he's gone. He couldn't hold on, just let him be in peace dude, he's not coming back."

"Shut the hell up! Don't you say that, don't you ever say that. He's still here, he'll never leave us. Come on buddy get up."

"Hey I understand, I'm sad about this too, but if we don't leave now someone will see us and we'll get in serious trouble. This is our fault, and I'm not going to be blamed, I'm outta here. You coming?"

But Todd just sat there holding his lifeless friend on the ground.

"If you have no heart, you can go on. We don't need you, just leave! If you're more worried about getting trouble, you were never a real friend anyways."

"Well I'm outta here then."

And with that his friend runs away, leaving Todd and Johnny in the woods by themselves.

Todd had put all of his strength in Johnny since they were little. Todd took it upon himself to become Johnny's mentor in the game of life. Though they were the same age, only days apart, it was strange to have someone looking out for you like a big brother. He knew Johnny had the potential to be anything he wanted to be, and Todd just wanted the best for him. He knew that people would try to persuade him otherwise. And what happened today, was his worst nightmare come true.

Earlier that afternoon Todd, Johnny, and Chris, were in the club house awaiting he news that would change their plans for better or worse.

"Hey guys guess what?!"

"What man, Spill it."

"Well do you really want to know?"

"Hey quit messing with us, of course we wanna know. We've been waiting all day."

"Ok ok, well I was at home waiting for my mom to get back from the store. When an idea popped in my head."

"The idea we've had all summer?"

"Yeah, and this was the perfect opportunity. So my friends I present to you, a 1954 bottle of Bourbon, borrowed from my old man's liquor cabinet. Now we can finally have some real fun!"

Everyone was estatic, except for Johnny. His father had fallen victim to alcoholism and he knew what it did to you.

"I don't know about this guys. This sh*t will really mess you up. Are we ready for this I mean come on, we're fourteen years old, I don't want to stunt my growth."

Chris, being the rebel that he was gave a dirty look to poor Johnny.

"Look here boy, if you don't want to drink this, than I suggest you leave. Damn, alcohol isn't the only thing that can kill a man you know. Just 'cause it happened in your family doesn't mean it'll happen to us. Hell you could get hit by a car walking home today, so you see, death is around every corner. So why not take the risk ahead of schedule?"

Todd threw his cards on the table and said,

"Dang Chris. Now why you gotta go and say that for?"

"Look I'm sorry man, I was just trying to prove a point."

"If he doesn't want to drink, that's fine. It's no skin off our backs, you can still hang with us Johnny, you know that right?"

"I don't want you guys to think I'm a baby. I have reasons for not doing it, but I'll still hang with you guys, someone has to keep you in line."

Charlie intervined,

"Amen to that. Hey let's go down to the creek to do this. I don't want people in town to suspect anything."

"Alright, hey Johnny boy, fill that canteen up with water I suppose we'll get thirsty."

"Yeah, Chris knows from experience right?"

"Shut up Todd, don't make me seem like the bad guy."

Johnny just shook his head, knowing that trouble lied ahead. But he did what he was told and got the water.

After twenty minutes of walking they reached the creek, where they finally twisted off the cap.

"Ok who wants to go first?"

"Hey, I think we should cool off in this here creek first, I'm hot as hell."

So they all jumped in, except for Chris.

"I'll catch up with you guys in a second, I'm going to get some water."

He walks away cautiously, making sure no one sees him. Then, after unscrewing the canteen, he pretended to take a sip and then brought it down to his side where he poured some Bourbon into it. At that moment he thought it wasn't fair that Johnny wasn't going to drink. So he slipped some in without anyone noticing.

He walks back over to the guys, "Ok, let's do this guys."

They all sat in a circle, and passed the bottle around taking small sips at first. After it went around about three times, Johnny got up and said,

"You guys are crazy. I'm getting some water."

As Todd and Charlie kept drinking, Chris turned his attention to Johnny. And watched him sip his canteen.

"Damn Johnny, don't drink all that water now."

"Oops I already did."

"Hey Chris, I thought this was brand new and unopened, it was only half full when we started."

"Yeah well, I had a little bit before I came."

"Oh."

Chris had lied to them, and only later in the night would they realize.

After they finished off the bottle, the boys began to fell the effects, including Johnny.

"Hey man, you didn't even drink. Why are you so sick looking?"

"I don't know. I think I should go home though, I'm not feeling too good."

"The party just got started man, let's go swimming again."

"Yeah!"

But poor Johnny sat on the side and just watched from afar. He was looking pale and sick.

Todd became worried,

"Hey I think something's really wrong with Johnny. HEY MAN! ARE YOU OK?!"

"Yeah, but I think I'm gonna go home."

"Do you need anyone to walk with you?"

"No, I don't want our parents to smell the alcohol. You guys have fun."

And with that he headed for home. But it began to get dark and the forest was impossible to get out of at night. So half way through he decided to go back.

"Hey guys!! Where are you?! Hey, I'm coming back there."

But the guys were already going in a different direction. With each step he took, he became dizzier. So he reached for his canteen, until he realized there was no water left.

"GUYS!!"

But it was too late, once he returned to where he left them they were gone.

"Damn, How can I get across this creek at night?"

So he decided to swim.

The next day, Todd, Chris and Charlie were at home when they received a phone call from Johnny's mother,

"No Mrs. H, I haven't seen him since he went home yesterday."

Todd became increasingly worried. So he called all the guys and they went back to the creek, only to find what they've been dreading.

Which takes us back to the beginning.

"No good nothing, sorry excuse for a human. WE DON'T NEED YOU!"

Todd finally let go of Johnny. And lifted up his empy canteen. Hoping for a last taste of Johnny. Before it was really over. Once he opened the cap, an aroma filled his nostrils.

"This smells like that Bourbon from yesterday. How did you... why did you...what they hell? Chris. It's not OUR fault, it's his. Why did he do this to you Johnny?"

Later that evening the cops found Johnny's body and immediately labeled it an accidental death. Another teenager fallen victim to the brown bottle. People in town felt no sympathy, for they blamed Johnny for doing it to himself. But Todd knew the truth, it was no accident, in his mind it was inentional.

Back at Chris's house, he just sat in his room replaying the day's events in his head.

"Damn Johnny, you should've just drank with US. Now look what you've done to yourself."
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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