Robin, Breana, Kortni, and Nikki were all at my house, and we were squealing like 13-year-old girls do at a sleepover party. It was my birthday, and I was just excited to see my friends outside of school, all together in one place.
We were playing Truth or Dare when the door opened and our friend Bryn walked in. I greeted her with a smile and a hug. “Bryn! I thought you couldn’t make it!”
She brushed past me and came up to Kortni, taking the bowl of ice cream from her hand and taking a bite. She savored the taste while we all stared in confusion, then gave Kortni the bowl back and excused herself to the bathroom.
We stared at each other in confusion. Bryn was usually shy but very friendly — never like this!
She was in the bathroom a while, but as young ladies, we decided not to ask what was going on. I put in some popcorn and brought it back to the living room, to find Bryn leaning over the couch.
“Hey, want some popcorn?” I asked her, to break the awkward silence of the other girls.
“No thanks. Do you…have any ice cream?” Bryn turned to me and smiled widely. It seemed like her face would rip in two — no human should smile like that! I shook my head.
“My mom said we can’t eat any more. Sorry.”
When the movie was over, we shuffled into my bedroom, unrolling sleeping bags sleepily and unable to stay awake. Bryn excused herself to the bathroom again.
Half and hour later, Nikki and I whispered to each other that we couldn’t sleep. I suggested we get water, so we snuck down the stairs — to find Bryn digging through the freezer.
She had claws two inches long, like dark polished nails. She was seeking out every small half-eaten container of ice cream we had and devouring it, licking her lips greedily. Suddenly, she jerked around and saw us there, frozen in terror. She gave us a piercing glare.
Nikki and I clasped hands and bolted up the stairs, shaking the others awake. We all huddled together, unable to sleep, until we heard the door open and close and knew Bryn was gone.
Around 3:30 the next day, we were all sitting in the living room, trying to process what had happened, when my phone rang. It showed Bryn’s number, so I quickly snapped it open. “Hello?”
Nothing but static. I put the phone on speaker so everyone could speak to her.
“Bryn? What happened last night? At the party, I mean. It was just crazy, and I — ”
“Turn on the news,” she said. The call fell through.
I closed my phone and Robin turned on the TV to the channel 6 news.
We all stared at the picture. The newscaster looked very sad. “A girl died last night in a car accident, around 10 p.m. She was found with ice cream all over her face. Her parents tearfully informed Channel 6 that the girl, Bryn Sanders, had never tasted ice cream before.”
The room was deadly silent.