Hello, my name is Staci. I'm a successful defense attorney who lives in a nice penthouse in New York City. I have a great life now, but there's one thing that keeps me from having the perfect life. It's a horrible childhood memory. One that I will never forget... No matter how hard I try.

It was the summer of 2000, and me and my best friends were having a slumber party. There was Haley, Erica, Madison, and Angela (but we all called her Angie). My parents were out at a party, so we had the entire house to ourselves. First, we played some board games, like Monopoly and Boggle. Then, we ordered some pizza from Domino's and watched some cheesy horror movies. I was having such a great time, and so were my friends. 

But after a while, we got bored, so we started thinking of a new game we could play.

"Hey! Let's go out and play hide-and-seek!" Madison suggested.

"Yeah! That'll be fun!" Haley and Erica agreed in unison.

"Sure! I'd like that!" Angie chimed in.

I wasn't so sure if we should. It was 11:00 P.M. and it was really dark out. But I didn't want to seem like a chicken to my friends, so I agreed to play. We all went outside into the warm night and tried to figure out who would be It first.

"Not it! Angie and Madison cried out in unison.

"Not it!" Haley cried next.

"Not it! You're It, Staci!" Erica said as she and the rest of the group ran off to hide. 

I covered my eyes and counted to one hundred. As I walked around the house, searching for my friends, I felt really scared. It was so dark that I could barely see a thing. I continued to search, but I couldn't find any of them. It was like they vanished into thin air.

Just as I was about to give up, I saw someone standing by the forest that was behind my house. I could tell that it was Haley because of her green skirt.

"Found you, Haley!" I screamed as I ran up behind her.

But Haley just stood there, as if she didn't hear me. "Hey, Haley, I found-" I said as I put my hand on her shoulder. But as soon as I touched her, she turned around to face me. I gasped in horror.

Haley's eyes were blank. Her blue eyes were gone. Her entire eye was white. 

As I backed away from her, I bumped into someone. I turned around and saw Erica, Madison, and Angie behind me. Their eyes were the same way.

"Join us, Staci. It's so wonderful not to see." They all said in unison.

"H-How can it be wonderful not to see?" I asked, my voice quivering.

Slowly, Haley approached me. "You don't understand, Staci. The world is so evil and wicked. People do horrible things all the time. It's better to be blind to the wickedness of the world. Ignorance really is bliss. Please, Staci. Join us." Haley repeated.

Suddenly, to my horror, a large group of other kids came out of the forest. Their eyes were blank, too.

"Join us. Join us." They were all chanting.

Terrified, I ran away as fast as I could. When I turned around, they weren't following me. They just stood there and chanted. I ran back to my house and called my mom at the party. I told her what was going on. I wasn't sure if she believed me, but she could tell I was upset and said she'd be home soon. 

After an hour, Mom got home and I told her everything. She followed me to the forest, but they were all gone. My friends and the group of children were gone. My mom ran back to the house and called the police to report my friends missing. The police searched the entire forest, but they found no trace of my friends or the children. 

To this day, the police still haven't found my friends. The town believes them to be dead, but I still believe they're alive and out there in the forest somewhere. And I still remember Haley's words. Sometimes, when I can't sleep, I wonder if Haley was right.

Is it better to be blind from the world's wickedness?