Max was a relatively normal 17-year-old boy who enjoyed playing video games and hanging out with his only friend Jarod. Somehow, they always managed to get the best ideas when they were together, such as stealing someone’s laundry and replacing it with someone else’s, or trying to do backflips off their roof into the neighbour’s pool. Never thinking about consequences of what they were doing and just wanting to have fun.
After school one Friday, Max and Jay walked the long way home, as they wanted to discuss the weekend. And suddenly, it seemed like they had found their first activity to start it off with as they walked past an old and sealed off house scheduled for demolition. Max easily got over the fence but had to help his friend, as he was a bit unfit and heavy. After successfully trespassing onto the property, they got through the front door that was already unlocked and stepped inside.
Jarod quickly pulled up his nose and gagged, “God it smells like burned shit in here lets leave.”
“Not a chance, this place is awesome!” Max shoved Jay forward and had a look around the old house. There were old tables and shelves that were almost disintegrated from wood rot and the wallpaper was peeling, leaving the rotted and splintering wood showing, parts off the ceiling were broken and on the floor and almost everything had mould on it.
“C’mon, there’s nothing left in here; the place has been emptied. Besides, we could be playing some Need for Speed right n-“ Max hit his friend on the shoulder and told him to be quiet as he wanted to look around some more, looking through what seemed like the ruins of a study. A piece of paper was littering the floor and had a crude drawing of the house on it. It looked like a child’s representation of “my home” with a big red X where the basement should be.
“Hey, Jay! This place has a basement and I think I found a treasure map.” Max chuckled, “X marks the spot, right?”
As he said this, he knew that it was probably just some toys that belonged to the kid who drew the map.
“Maybe we shouldn’t… I mean we don’t know if there’s like spiders.”
“Why do I even hang out with you, you're so lame sometimes.” Max went to the staircase and opened the small basement door that was behind them.
“I’m not going down there; I'll just wait here. Go get yourself killed, I’m good,” Jay decided to sit lean against the wall as his friend just sighed “pussy” and went downstairs. To his surprise, the staircase didn’t even creak as he went down it, like it does in the horror movies he watched. The light switch didn’t work as he was flicking it on and off.
“I don’t know what I expected…” continuing to the back where there seemed to be a small box, strange noises filled the room and then went quiet.
“Max?” Jarod slightly peered around the door into the dark hallway that was slightly lit before, now blacker than the darkest night he had seen during a power outage.
“Yes Jay? What do you want… pussy, I found something cool, come look.”
A cold chill went through Jarod’s spine, instead of sounding playfully insulting, this time his friends voice sounded scolding and hateful. But knowing it's his friend, he slowly went down. Gulping as it got darker and darker, with each step it sounded as if the boards creaked and groaned, like the tortured moans of suffering people.
“I swear, if you jump out and scare me, I’m gonna... I'll deck you… I swear.”
“Shut up and come look. It's awesome, really.”
As he reached the bottom, he could barely make out a silhouette of his friend's body. Feeling something press against his chest, he took it. It’s a small box that felt heavy for its size.
“Let's go see what’s inside, Jay. I bet it's something cool.”
He turned around and headed back upstairs and felt Max follow close behind. Almost pressed against him, the feeling of breath against the back of his neck as he took each step, hearing the boards below his feet creak but not under his friend's, making him feel even fatter then he was.
It felt like he had been walking for way too long until he finally reached the exit and could see again. The small box in his hand was decorated and engraved, he opened it and looked slightly confused, and a cold sweat came over him at seeing a barber's straightedge razor inside.
“It's just a old razor… that was worthl-“ his breath felt like it vanished as he turned around to see Max and saw his face. Dripping in crimson blood, dried and flaked on his skin like it had been there for days, a big X carved over his face tearing his eyes out of their sockets and splitting tendons that dangled and dripped down the open gashes in his pale white flesh. An almost blissful smile was on this horrid visage of his best friend, literally going ear to ear as his cheeks had been split open from the grin.
As Max opened his mouth and spoke in a sputtering hellish tone, blood poured from his mouth with every word.
“X marks the spot Jarod,” a sickening giggle came from the blood-filled throat of his friend as he lunged forward and tore into Jay’s face with his teeth. His pained screams sounding inaudible to him as his features started peeling off the bone. The bones cracking from the forceful bite that slowly turned into a horrible chewing motion before the teeth pulled away, and his face nothing but a ground up pile of loose flesh and bone sticking through what little skin was left.
The smile returned to Max’s face as his friend’s body dropped to the floor slowly. Straining to breath through the massacred meat of his ruined face. Jarod let out what little cries he could. As he felt the rusted and serrated edge of the razor carve into his chest a large X. His senses overloaded from pain, but not allowing him to pass out and be free of this he was left there. Laying in tortured pain, not able to scream for help or move as he heard footsteps walking away from him and back down the basement steps, the door closing as the footsteps faded completely. Alone. Scared and in constant pain. He died.
A news article released a few weeks later after the house was demolished states that they found the corpse of a young male, not releasing to the public the state in which they found it or of the messages carved into the corpse’s chest:
“X always marks the spot”
The rest of the house including the basement was thoroughly searched for evidence of what may have happened, but nothing was found. Nothing and no one. The only evidence that may lead to a possible killer was footsteps leading out the back door, erratic and spread but footsteps nonetheless. Whoever killed this poor child, whatever did this, got out?