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Back in elementary school I was quite unpopular. I wasn’t interested in the typical boy stuff. I hate football, was not interested in cars and in general I was that loner teachers pet with too much knowledge for his own good. If I tried to hang out with other children it was mostly me either getting singled out or flat out bullied to the point of being scared physically sick of school or going outside in general. But I actually found some few people who didn’t care about my loner teachers’ pet status and still hung out with me. Their advantage was, that they all were still left alone and got spared any bullying of themselves just for hanging out with me. In the end there were three children that I could call friends at that time. Michael, my only male friend, Mandy a dark-haired shy girl to whom I related very much actually and Sarah. A dark blonde very intelligent and outspoken animal loving girl. Since we were from the same village, we usually spent most of our free time together. As long as the other children would leave me alone and not bully me. Sarah one day dropped news on us that basically changed everything back then. She was about to move away, but not only to another town, her family was actually emigrating to Ireland. Her father got a job offer there and had to make a fairly quick decision. Sarah told us only two weeks before she moved and it basically turned our young lives upside down. Now when I was in elementary school, times were a bit different. I know how that sounds but mobile phones were not commonly used and Internet access was kind of a novelty too – let alone owning a PC. We are talking the time when even that indestructible brick of a Nokia 3310 didn’t get released for another 5 years and we as kids in arguably the most rural area of Germany did not grow up with mobile phones or widespread internet access to begin with. To us her emigration to Ireland meant we would never ever see each other again. We were of course really upset about the news. To me it meant losing one of my already very few friends and in a to me hostile world this was more than just concerning. We had little time to spend on our last days so we planned on having one last sleepover at the day before Sarah's departure. We agreed on Sarah's home as the place to have the sleepover. The house actually had a guest room big enough for all four of us and we already had a couple of sleepovers there over the years. Plus, it allowed for a fairly quick get up and leave for Sarah and her family. We sat in the guest room with snacks and drinks prepared. A TV and video games, as well as some board games set up and just had as much fun as we possibly could.

I don’t know the exact time, but to me it felt pretty late when we had that glorious idea of playing one last session of truth or dare, or spin the bottle if you will. Of course, we had no bottle so we just used a pen and spun it on a sheet of paper. Well, safe to say, we had not many dares. We all were kind of scared of embarrassing ourselves even if it were just in front of our friends. The few dares we took were pretty tame. Like eating nacho-chips after we soaked them in orange juice and stuff like that. It went pretty uneventful until it was on Sarah to chose truth or dare and she picked the dare. Michael ordered her to tell us something she has never ever told anyone. We argued about how this would be more fitting for a truth choice but in the end Sarah herself was fine with that dare and thought for a moment. She seemed to just zone out for some reason and I could swear I saw her smiling for the fraction of a second. I thought she was just happy to have decided on what to tell us. Our eyes widened collectively in anticipation. But Sarah still hesitated. She continued to say that she wouldn’t know if she should tell us what came to her head since it was “kind of not good to tell anybody”. We assured her that everything would be fine and we were friends nevertheless. Plus, after all, we were sure that after this evening we would never see her again so it didn’t even really matter. Internally I believe we were preparing for some harsh truth bombs to be dropped on us. …If it just would have been that…

Sarah nodded shyly and took a deep breath.

“You all know how Luna once had given birth to 9 kittens and how they all died? Well, it was me. I saved them.” We others looked at each other in horror and confusion.

“What do you mean, you saved them?”, Michael asked.

“Well my parents told me that kittens are a big responsibility and having so many in the house would result in a mess a lot of stress and it would be pretty expensive too which is why we could not keep them. They wanted to give away the kittens to anyone willing to take them and bring the ones no one wanted to a shelter so that they could find new homes. I did not know anyone who wanted a kitten and I don’t like animal shelters. They put them in small cages and don’t play with them or anything. They would have had a bad life and who knows how the other families would have treated them. I know I would have played with them every day and kept them happy. Other families or a shelter would not care as much about them as I did, so one night I took the kittens from Luna put them on the couch, put a pillow on them and continued to sit on it for some time until they stopped moving and went silent. Then I took them and put them back into their box. They looked so peaceful and I just knew they were happy now.” Our jaws just dropped. Michael just couldn’t contain himself and partially scared partially angry asked “Could you even sleep after you have done this?”  Sarah just looked at him with an innocent look on her face, started to smile sweetly and just replied “Of course. I have done a good deed. After all, all pets go straight to heaven and heaven is the happiest place. So, I saved them.” This was just so wrong. And this was coming from a girl who was always very outspoken about her love for animals.

“But…what did your parents say? Didn’t they get angry?”, Michael asked. “They never knew. They thought the kittens were simply too weak to survive.” After a short moment of silence Sarah continued to tell us how many kittens, puppies, hatchlings and so on she had saved. Whenever she encountered a little critter on its own she seemingly just assumed that they were alone and she needed to save them, by I guess in her head it was mercy killing them. As she continued talking her stories became more and more disturbing. She even told us how she once found a young bird that had been sitting all alone in its nest and she actually hanged it lynching style by tying her shoelaces around its little neck strangulating it and then hanged it in the tree! Her explanation was, that since birds live in the air it would only be fair to let the little birds life end in the air as well.

We others were just freaked out. I myself not so much about what she said, but more about how she was looking at us as she was telling us all this. She had that gleam in her eyes and an expression on her face that just-I don’t know how to describe it but the more she continued her stories the more she seemed to be proud of what she did! Her expression more and more became like she was telling us how she lived through the most awesome day of her life or how she went to an amusement park for the first time ever.

Sarah was completely bonkers. We just sat there staring in disbelief while she just went on and on. Mandy suddenly interrupted Sarah as she was just going on about how she buried a kitten alive in a plastic bag amongst its already dead siblings because she felt they should find their final rest together. Mandy claimed she was getting very tired and we should play at least something else. We all wanted to get out of this hell and Mandy found a way for us all.

Sarah reluctantly agreed but seemed a bit disappointed and sad since she just got cut off. I do not need to tell you how the rest of the evening was everything but fun. We were just shuddered and to be frank, we were scared of that girl we called our friend and who we thought we would know. It was still our last evening as a group and we decided to at least try to act like everything was fine. But of course, it wasn’t. When we finally went to sleep I could tell no one of us except Sarah of course could find sleep at all. I lay awake and heard the others twist and turn in their sleeping bags, sighing and I believe Mandy was even weeping silently for what felt like hours.

The next morning no one was talking at all. And when it came to giving our final goodbyes to Sarah we did not really know how to act towards her. No one really wanted to hug her, not even shaking her hand but after all until the night before we didn’t even want to let her go…and now we couldn’t get away from her fast enough. After an uncomfortable and awkward goodbye, we left for our homes. Not one single word was spoken between us and we silently agreed on refusing to talk about this matter at all.

This was nearly 20 years ago. Last year we had a class reunion, which many of us attended. Michael and Mandy were there too so except Sarah the old group was back together. And that evening our silent agreement was broken. The topic resurfaced over a couple of drinks and it became even more morbid than we ever expected. Since Sarah was not at the reunion we just thought she couldn’t be reached over in Ireland. However, the person responsible for tracking and inviting everyone walked up to us and told us that Sarah would not attempt any reunion ever because she was put in a psychiatric ward after she kidnapped and tried to kill an infant. Sarah had taken a child from a lower-class family and wanted to liberate that little kid from what she said “A live of misery ahead.”. We froze in shock. Sarah had taken her liberation of animals to the next level it seemed. Nothing could have prepared us for this. I downed my drink in one go, looked at Michael and Mandy and we just sat there in silence. It dawned on us, how we had the opportunity of telling her parents, our parents, maybe just even the teacher or basically any adult about what Sarah told us that night. It might not have changed much back then but maybe it would have been enough to get her early help that again could have prevented all this from happening in the first place. Michael, Mandy and I drowned ourselves in alcohol that evening and tried to somehow avoid talking about Sarah at all costs. This was actually the last time I saw any of them. We have not held contact after the reunion and maybe for the sake of our own sanity it was for the better.

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