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theSOURCE

The Girl Who Didn't Leave Skid Marks

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Here's a story that I've decided to post in sections. I can't get it out of my mind and it's getting in the way of my other works so I'll add chapters to it from time to time. Call it therapy if you like.

The Girl Who Didn't Leave Skid Marks

Part 1

 

I wish I was more technically minded, because I don't know for how long, or even if this is going to work. But I guess I should try.

Hello and greetings to the end of the world!

****, that sounds utterly stupid. And I don't know how to erase it either. Oh well, who's going to notice?

Hi. My name's Trace Petti and I'm the last man on Earth. Well, make that the last surviving human being on Earth. That I know of anyway. I say that because everybody I ever knew is dead now. Even the people I didn't know, and that would mean the whole population of Stonelake, are all dead and rotting in the streets. But it doesn't stop there. The last time the TV worked a special report was broadcast on all the channels to let anyone who was still alive know that most of the world population was either dead or dying.

I'd like to say that it was because of all the radiation from the nukes that were fired at the invading alien space ships. The aliens were killed alright, but all that radioactive fallout turned most of the people into flesh eating zombies. Then, when the zombies had killed off all the regular people, giant monsters came out of the oceans and ate up all the zombies.

I'd like to say that, but that's not how it happened at all. In fact, the way everybody died is actually kind of hard to describe when I think about it.

It all started about three weeks ago, when a massive sinkhole seventy-two blocks in diameter swallowed up downtown Chicago. I know it was that big because that's what the TV reporter had said. And it happened in broad daylight too. There were hundreds of videos all over the internet showing the buildings disappearing into the earth. Estimates were all over the place, but the best guess was that it was about a mile deep, so there was no hope of finding any survivors. It was a huge mess trying to evacuate all the remaining people as well. I think more people died in the packed streets and highways than were killed in the collapsed part of the city.

For two days the sinkhole in Chicago was all anybody talked about until a second one appeared just outside of Houston, Texas, and a third one near Devon in the UK. That really made everybody start to panic. There were murders and suicides and raping and looting everywhere. And it only got worse. Five days after the first sinkhole appeared the news reported that scientists had counted over 14,000 massive sinkholes all over the world. And according to the scientists that were being interviewed on TV the satellite images indicated that there was no recognizable pattern to the holes. They said that not only was this unprecedented in all of human history, but that they didn't have a clue as to what was causing the ground to collapse. Some holes opened up near populated areas and others in the middle of nowhere. Some were close to fault lines and others were hundreds of miles away from any unstable geological sites. About the only thing they were certain of was that the holes were very wide and very, very deep.

The internet got clogged with chatter about it being the end of the world. Old forums couldn't handle the load so new forums popped up every day. It seemed like everybody had their own theory, and everything from religious prophecies to a black hole being caught in the middle of the Earth was claimed to be the only explanation. The hardcore sceptics had a hard time countering so many wild ideas because even they didn't know what was really happening. Connection times got so slow that I couldn't read my email. It sucked.

But then the holes just stopped happening. Six days after the first sinkhole no more appeared anywhere. After waiting a few days -- I guess to be on the safe side -- the scientists and geologists and whoever-else set up camps near the holes with truck loads of high tech equipment. I got to see this first hand because a sinkhole had opened up right next to Stonelake, my home town. Everybody had been evacuated days before, but I hung around; living in a tent in the wooded hills nearby. I kept my distance while I watched them do their scientific tests and measurements, but after a couple of days of the same old routine I got board and decided to move on.

On the morning of the third day I was packing up my stuff to leave when I heard shouts coming from the camp. When I walked over to the spot I'd always watched from I instantly saw what had everybody excited. There was something that looked like a fog floating up out of the sinkhole. It looked just like the fog that's made with dry ice that's used in cheep horror movies and old rock videos, with the exception that it was a dark, sickly green color. Everyone in the camp was freaking out as this dark fog flowed out across the ground. I saw one guy struggling to put on a gas mask, while everybody else jumped in their cars and trucks and drove off like maniacs. The guy with the gas mask walked over to the fog and tried to collect some of it in a jar, but as soon as he got near he just collapsed to the ground and was covered up by it. I couldn't say if he was dead or not, but there was no way I was going to go down there to find out. So, I quickly shoved a few things in my backpack and started up the hill. I figured that since the fog was staying close to the ground my best bet would be to keep climbing up as high as possible.

After a day's walk I made it to a truck stop. When I went inside I found everybody staring at the news report on the TV. Apparently the green fog I saw near Stonelake was coming out of all the sinkholes all around the world at the same time. The clips of the aerial footage they showed really creeped me out. The fog was pouring out like a huge green blob and covering everything in it's path, and any living thing that touched it just fell down and was swallowed up by it.

Now, I have to admit that I'm not the most observant guy in the world, because even though I'd seen the fog for myself from a couple hundred yards away I hadn't realized what the newscaster pointed out next. He said that even in areas with strong winds it had been observed that the fog never rose more than two feet off the ground. He also said that the fog just kept on flowing in all directions regardless of which way the wind was blowing. I knew this was true because I had noticed a strong breeze that morning while packing up my gear, yet the fog hadn't been disturbed by it. In fact, the breeze was at the gas mask guy's back when the fog got him. If it was like a normal fog it should have been blown away from him by the breeze and not have been able to cover him up.

Anyway, we were all so mesmerized by the newscast that the sound of an old red Trans Am suddenly screeching to a stop out front made everybody jump. We all just turned around and watched as the driver, a real nice looking blonde chick, came running into the diner and started freaking out. She was crying and yelling something about the green fog having killed her boyfriend and her two cats, and saying that the fog was going to get us all if we didn't get the hell out of there. Right then, I felt kind of stupid not being the one to have warned everybody first. But in all honesty, I think her hysterics made the point better than I could have done; me not being much of a drama queen to begin with. As the girl went on with her sobbing and half-coherent warnings some guy looked out one of the windows and started shouting that he could see the fog approaching in the distance. This was enough to make everybody panic and haul ass out of the diner like a bunch of rats running out of a burning building. I used that analogy because when I was a kid my uncle's barn caught fire and I watched what looked like thousands of rats scurry out to safety. And I know I'm getting off track here, but since I don't know how to work this recorder that last part is going to have to stay in.

In less than a minute the place was completely empty except for myself and Lyla. Oh, Lyla was the girl's name who was crying about her boyfriend and telling everybody to leave. She told me her name during the car ride -- but now I'm getting way ahead of myself.

So after everyone had left, I walked over to Lyla and offered her some coffee. She looked at me like I was crazy, but I knew the fog wasn't going to reach the diner, at least not for another day or two. I'd watched for it the whole time I was making my way to the highway and I noticed that the hills I had just crossed were holding it back, kind of like a dam or levee. When she turned down the coffee I asked her where she was headed to. She started talking about wanting to die because her boyfriend was dead and she didn't have anything else to live for and a bunch of other nonsense. It didn't take much to snap her out of that attitude, however. I asked her if, since she was just going to lay down and die, she would let me take her car. That really p*ssed her off, and after giving me the finger she stomped out of the diner. I followed her to her car and asked nicely if she would at least give me a ride to wherever she was planning to go. She got in the car without saying a word and locked all the doors. I was certain that she was going to drive off and leave me there, but after sitting and staring at me for a while she decided to let me in. I almost regretted having climbed into the car when she peeled out of the lot and sped down the highway without any regard to the rushing traffic.

We really didn't talk much during our four hour drive. Besides her name, I found out that she had moved to Stonelake to attend the small college there. That's where she had met Ron, the guy who was killed by the fog. They had hooked up a year ago, and it turned out he was the one who had given her the kittens that grew up to be her precious cats, which were also killed by the fog. Now that I think about it, Lyla talked more about her cats during that whole time than anyone or anything else. She did mention that Ron was an amateur song writer, but only after I found his portable multitrack recorder on the floorboard; the one I'm now using to record this. And the only other thing she said about him was that the beat-up red Trans Am we were riding in had been his. I really didn't mind doing most of the listening because I was happy just to have a ride. Lyla never mentioned where we were going, but I was hoping it was somewhere I could at least crash for the night. I hadn't had enough time to pack my tent when I ran from the fog that morning and I didn't like the idea of having to sleep outside without shelter.

It was around 8:30 p.m. when we stopped to gas up the car and get something to eat. Lyla insisted that I pay for everything since, as the way she saw it, she had saved my life by giving me a ride. I never carried any money with me, but I did have a credit card with about $200.00 left in it. So I decided to use it. I figured that if the world was coming to an end anyway then I wouldn't have to worry about paying it off. As soon as I agreed to her terms, Lyla got out of the car and started filling the tank with gas. When I asked her if she wanted a deli sandwich she grimaced, then said that she'd rather just have a soda and a candy bar. The only thing I'd had in all day was the coffee at the diner, so I decided that I was going to have a couple of sandwiches, no matter how stale they might be.

That was my first mistake. While I took my time standing before the deli case trying to decide what I should buy, Lyla had climbed back into the car and had driven off. It wasn't until the clerk came yelling at me to pay for the gas that I realized what was going on.

My second mistake was that I had left my wallet in my backpack, and I'd left my backpack in the backseat of the car.

 

Copyright Victor Ward 2013

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I await Part 2..... :tu:

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Great story

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Very good.....it reminds me of someone....

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Part 2

 

I hadn't realized it at the time, but for some reason I'd brought the small multitrack recorder into the store with me. The clerk -- a short, middle-aged woman wearing glasses that looked like she'd had them since her high school days -- was yelling at me as though I'd physically assaulted her. Seriously, she was so upset that I thought she might have a stroke or something. It's too bad that I hadn't yet figured out how to work recorder or I would have recorded her insanely shrill, cartoonish voice for prosperity's sake.

Even though I wasn't the one who had stolen the gas, I still tried to make it up to her by offering her the multitrack as payment. Yeah, I know that sounds kind of stupid now, but after what I'd gone through that day I wasn't really thinking straight. When I offered it to her she instantly stopped yelling and flashed me the most confused, WTF look I've ever seen on anybody's face in my life. After a few awkward seconds of silence she took out her phone and started calling the police. That's when I bolted out of the store. Lucky for me the sun was going down and I was able to duck into the shadows between the old abandoned storage buildings next door. Unluckily for me I hadn't had a chance to grab any of the stale deli sandwiches before running away.

I stumbled in the darkness between the storage sheds, tripping over garbage and chunks of broken concrete, until I came across a rusty old two-wheeler. It was just tall enough to help me climb to the top of the shed, where I hid and watched until the State Patrol eventually pulled up to the convenience store. I guess the clerk hadn't noticed which direction I'd run to, because after shining their spotlight around the storage sheds a couple times the patrol car turned around and drove off in the opposite direction. Not being in any hurry to go to lockup, I waited a good long while until I felt it was safe to climb off the building.

So there I was, feeling like a wanted criminal, with no money or credit, and no mode of transportation other than my two tired and sore feet. And worst of all I was hungry as hell. Judging by the lights in the distance, the off-ramp we'd taken to the convenience store looked to be only a couple miles away from a small town. But after giving it some thought I decided to take my chances on the interstate and hitch a ride as far away from there as possible.

There wasn't much traffic by the time I'd reached the highway shoulder, and the longer I walked the thinner it got, until only a random car would pass by now and then. To make things more difficult, night had already fallen, which lowered my chances of hitching a ride since most people would be too afraid to pick up a stranger walking in the dark out in the middle of nowhere. So it was no surprise to me that car after car simply passed me by without so much as slowing down, let alone stopping to ask me if I needed any help. I also made the mistake of walking too far away from the street lamps near the off ramp, because after a while all I could see were the approaching headlights. That worried me because I couldn't tell the difference between a civilian vehicle and a patrol car, and with nowhere to run except out into the prairie I knew I would easily get caught.

I must have been a little too tired and hungry, because for some reason I started to imagine Lyla suddenly pulling up next to me and telling me to get into the old Trans Am. She would be dressed in a black skin tight outfit like the kind that hot chicks wear in action movies. I'd get in the car, then she would drive me to her secret hideaway somewhere out in the prairie. As she drove she would tell me that she was a secret government agent sent to investigate the hole that had opened up next to Stonelake. After we'd get to her hideaway she would... I mean, we would...

Sorry, it was just a weird night for me. In reality she'd run off and left me to take the fall for a theft she'd committed, and yet, there I was, fantasizing about her.

And now that I think back to that night, I think it's the first time I noticed the weird glow in the sky. I know there weren't any clouds overhead because the stars were clearly visible. But even so, it looked like the atmosphere had an orangish-red tint to it. It was kind of like when there's a brush or forest fire and the smoke makes the sky look strange at night. The big difference was that there was no fire anywhere and I could see the glow no matter which direction I looked. I didn't know it at the time, but that's when things really started to go down hill for old planet Earth.

I must have walked for another three hours before a pickup finally pulled over and honked. I jogged to the passenger side door just as the driver had finished lowering it's window. The driver looked to be an older man, maybe in his late forties or early fifties, with a friendly grin and a hefty beer gut. By the look of his clothes and the unmistakable odor of straw and hay coming from the truck bed I figured that he had to be a ranch owner, or at least worked for one. With a raspy voice he asked me where I was going. I wasn't quite sure how to answer his question. I could never go back to my home town since it no longer existed. And the only reason I was in the position I was in was because I'd hoped that Lyla would have offered me a place to stay, even if it was for only a night or two. So the best I could come up with was, "Any place but here."

The old guy just nodded and said, "Fair enough. Get in."

This was the second time I'd managed to hitch a ride in less than twelve hours. As I climbed into the passenger seat I hoped that this time I wouldn't end up in any more trouble. The guy looked friendly enough, but then again, I hadn't expected Lyla to do what she'd done either. After we were on our way down the highway the old guy introduced himself as Dave. I thanked him for giving me a lift and told him that my name was Trace. I assumed that he must have been kind of hard of hearing because from then on he kept referring to me as Jess. But I didn't mind. I was just happy that I didn't have to walk alone anymore down that dark, creepy highway. Dave wasn't in much of a talkative mood, and by that time I was so tired that I quickly dozed off.

The sun was barely starting to rise when I woke up. Dave had pulled off the highway and was driving into the parking lot of a waffle house. The moment I saw the posters in the windows advertising various breakfast items my stomach began to growl loudly. Dave asked me if I would join him for breakfast and I immediately said yes. Then I remembered that I no longer had my wallet with me. He must have read the look on my face just then, because before I had a chance to tell him that I didn't have any money he quickly said, "Okay. My treat." Normally I would have felt embarrassed, because ever since I was young I had learned to rely solely on myself, and I hated the idea of having to depend on any kind of charity. But at that moment I decided to swallow my pride and accept whatever help I could get. I had still intended to tell Dave that I would pay him back for his kindness, but before I said a word he opened his door and hopped out of the truck. Silently, I followed him inside the restaurant.

The moment we walked in, the woman standing behind the checkout counter smiled warmly and said to Dave, "It's about time you decided to come back and pay us a visit." Dave walked over, gave her a friendly kiss on the cheek and started chatting away. I was too busy smelling the aromas of the various foods to pay any attention to their conversation, but whatever they were talking about, it was apparent that they knew each other quite well. After they finished exchanging pleasantries the woman picked up two menus and handed them to a young waitress who had just stepped up the counter. Dave then whispered something about his favorite table to the waitress and that made her giggle. Despite his age and appearance I began to wonder if old Dave wasn't some kind of local ladies man. Once we were seated at the table, I was tempted to make a joke about Dave's slick way with the ladies. But after giving it some thought I chose not risk insulting him and losing out on a hot meal.

The young waitress handed a menu to Dave first, then handed the second one to me with a wink. She was about to ask me what I wanted to drink when Dave quickly ordered her to bring a pot of regular coffee. After writing the order down in her pad she looked at me once again and asked if I wanted anything else. I was going to ask for a glass of OJ, when I noticed the look on Dave's face. I instantly took that look to mean that even though he was willing to pay for my meal I shouldn't feel free to take advantage of his generosity. So with a smile, I told the waitress that just the coffee would be fine. Before she walked away, the young waitress said that she would bring us the coffee and give us a minute or two to look through the menu.

After the waitress brought the coffee I waited politely for Dave to fill his cup before serving myself. Dave took a couple sips, then casually asked me where I was from. When I replied that I was from Stonelake he said that he thought the whole town had been swallowed up by the sinkhole. I told him that it had opened up at the edge of town, but nonetheless everyone had been evacuated. I then asked him if he'd seen or heard about the strange green fog that had oozed out of all the huge sinkholes that had opened up around the world. I was surprised to hear that he hadn't seen or heard anything about it. I was about to tell him what I'd seen happen to the guy with the gas mask when the waitress returned to take our orders.

It must have been due to my hunger, because everything on the menu looked so good that I was having trouble trying to decide what I wanted to eat. The solution I came up with was to ask Dave for his recommendation. He suggested that I try the Wagon Wheel Scrambler; a skillet with scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, hash browns, green peppers and fried onions. It sounded great to me so that's what I chose to order. I didn't catch the name of the dish that Dave ordered, but it was similar to mine, with the inclusion of a huge plate of pancakes and Texas Toast. As you can probably guess, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.

After Dave left a generous tip on the table and gave the woman at the counter a goodbye kiss, he and I walked out of the restaurant. As we got to the pickup, I thanked him for the meal and told him that I planned to hang around and look for a job in town. But apparently old Dave was still in a generous mood. With what I can only describe as a fatherly grin, Dave told me that I'd be more than welcome to come work on his ranch. He said that he could only afford to pay me minimum wage, but he'd be happy to let me stay there rent free until I got on my feet again. Being without money or a place to stay, I quickly accepted his offer. We shook hands, then I walked around the pickup and climbed in.

Everything felt so right somehow. After all the **** I'd gone through the day before, it really seemed that my luck had turned around.

I only wished that I'd noticed the three large sacks in the truck bed. The three large sacks that were seeping blood...

 

 

 

Copyright Victor Ward 2013

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Posted (edited)

I await Part 2..... :tu:

Your wish is my command my Lady. ;)

Great story

Thank you wolfknight. I hope you enjoy part 2.

Very good.....it reminds me of someone....

Thanks Cloudshill. I wonder who it reminds you of...?

Edited by theSOURCE

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Part 2

I only wished that I'd noticed the three large sacks in the truck bed. The three large sacks that were seeping blood...

Copyright Victor Ward 2013

This bit made me smile. I wondered when you were going to introduce one of your famous twists to the story. Now you've got me wondering! I'm enjoying this and look forward to Part 3 :)

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This bit made me smile. I wondered when you were going to introduce one of your famous twists to the story. Now you've got me wondering! I'm enjoying this and look forward to Part 3 :)

Wait no more SW :)

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Part 3

 

Dave slowly drove out of the parking lot, but instead of heading towards the highway on-ramp he turned onto the street leading into town. When I asked him where we were going he said that he needed to pick up some supplies from the co-op store; supplies that he couldn't obtain closer to where he lived. That struck me as more than a little odd, because every co-op store that I knew of only sold goods that could be found just about anywhere else. This piqued my curiosity and I wouldn't feel comfortable until I saw for myself what was so special about the co-op store we were headed for.

Once, while we were stopped at a red light, I thought I had spotted Lyla's Trans Am parked outside what appeared to be a run down motel about a-half block away. But after straining my neck to get a good look, I realized that it was just another old red clunker. I tried telling myself (silently in my mind) that the best thing I could do for myself would be to forget about her. I reasoned that either she was still trying to make her way back to wherever she'd come from (a place that she'd never mentioned to me), or that she'd chosen to stick to her original plan and had actually committed suicide. Wherever or however she ended up, I had to accept the fact that she was long gone and more than likely I would never see her again.

It wasn't long before we reached our destination. Since the store wouldn't be open for at least another hour, Dave took the opportunity to park the pickup directly in front of the building. He asked me if I had any experience being around horses. Feeding them. Cleaning up stables. I told him I had grown up around horses on my uncle's ranch and that he had taught me everything about taking care of them. Dave said that he would like to meet my uncle someday, but told him that that wouldn't be possible, since my uncle had died about four years ago. Dave went silent after that and bowed his head as though out of some sort of respect for a fellow rancher. Personally, I thought it was strange that he should feel that way, especially since he never knew my uncle. But then, my uncle had certain ways that I never quite understood either.

Dave didn't say much after that, so we spent the time waiting for the store to open in relative silence. I did try to start a conversation a couple of times, but in each instance Dave would give me a short reply, then look around as though he were trying to spot someone. Eventually, a woman walked up to the front door of the co-op store. She looked to be about forty-ish, and seemed way overdressed to be a simple clerk. The moment she unlocked the front door she looked directly at Dave and signaled to him. I was about to climb out of the truck when Dave stopped me and told me to stay behind. He said that he had some valuable supplies in the back of the truck and he'd appreciate it if I kept an eye on them. I told him that I wouldn't mind at all. He then climbed from the truck and disappeared into the store.

Just after Dave left I rolled the window down and kicked back in my seat. That's when I noticed a weird odor in the air. At first, I thought it was just the smell of old hay and straw coming from the back of the truck. But after a while, it grew stronger and more rancid. Even though Dave had parked in front of the store, there was no shade overhead, and the longer the sun shown down on the truck the worse the odor got. There was no mistaking the smell; it was the smell of exposed internal organs, like those that had burst out of an animal that had been run over by a large vehicle. I wondered if Dave had accidentally run over a squirrel or a cat or some other small creature. But as the truck heated up, the stench became too powerful to be coming from any small roadkill.

Curious to find the source of the stench, I climbed out of the truck to have a look around. That's when I discovered that it was coming from the truck bed. I peered over the edge and saw a thick plastic tarp wrapped around three objects the size of large gunnysacks. The tarp appeared to have been exposed from beneath a pile of straw by the rush of air during the drive down the highway. Whatever Dave had carelessly stashed back there was quickly beginning to petrify in the hot sun. I'd assumed that he was taking animal remains to be disposed of somewhere, though why he didn't just leave them on his property was beyond me. After all, that's something that most ranchers I knew growing up would have done.

I was about to reach in and lift the corner of the tarp to have a look underneath when Dave came walking out of the store, speaking to the woman who had let him in. As he stood distracted by her, I quickly moved toward the front of the truck and leaned against the fender, acting as though I hadn't noticed the increasingly nauseating odor permeating the air. I couldn't quite make out what they were talking about, but the woman seemed to be upset. Dave, on the other hand, would occasionally chuckle at whatever she was saying to him. After a moment or two, the woman stomped back into the store in a huff. That's when Dave turned around and saw me leaning against the truck. I couldn't say why at the time, but for some reason the look on his face gave me a chill, even though his voice sounded friendly when he said, "Well, Jess, you ready to go to work?"

I kind of half smiled as I replied, "Ready when you are, boss," thinking it would be best if I didn't correct his mistake regarding my name. After I got back into the truck I noticed that the only thing Dave had with him was a small plastic bag. After all the trouble he had taken to drive to this particular store, I had imagined him to at least walk out with a dolly full of supplies or farm implements. But whatever he had in the bag had to be no larger than a can of motor oil, or perhaps an automotive distributor. I watched nonchalantly from the corner of my eye as he placed the bag in the back of the truck, then climbed in. Without saying another word, he started up the truck and drove onto the street heading back to the highway ramp.

After traveling for three hours or so, we passed by the exit leading to the convenience store that Lyla had stolen the gas from. As we drove by, I leaned back into my seat and pretended to scratch an itch on my forehead in order to cover my face with my hand. I know it was silly of me, since the store wasn't in direct line of sight from the highway (and even if it had been, no one there could have spotted me inside of Dave's truck). But I was still a little shaken by the experience from the night before, and I didn't want to take any chances.

At least another hour went by until Dave finally turned off the highway onto a bumpy dirt road leading into the prairie. The truck bounced along the road for a few hundred yards before we drove up to an old tattered gate made of rotting wood and barbed wire. Dave stopped about a foot away from the gate, then tapped me on the arm. That was his way of telling me to get off the truck and open the gate, which I did without question. The first thing I saw was that the latch was on Dave's side of the truck. Since he had parked so close to the sharp, rusty wire, I decided that rather than trying to squeeze in between the grill and the gate, I'd simply run around the back of the truck to the other side.

The moment I stepped behind the truck bed the nasty odor hit me once again. This time it was stronger than ever. As I rounded the corner to the driver's side of the truck I spotted Dave's reflection glaring at me from the side mirror. I got the impression that he was studying me closely to assess any reaction I might have to the terrible smell. I had meant to ask him about what he had hidden beneath the tarp during our drive down the highway, but after seeing the look on his face as he watched me jog around the truck, I felt somewhat relieved that I hadn't mentioned a word about it. Doing my best to cover my revulsion, I ignored Dave's gaze as I passed by his window. After struggle a little with the wire latch, I managed to push the gate open. Dave drove the truck onto the property, then stopped a few feet away; allowing me to close and latch the gate shut.

As I climbed back into the truck Dave turned to me and asked me if I was ready for lunch. I told him that I wouldn't mind a small bite to eat. He laughed. Then he told me that I would need more than just a bite to eat if I expected to have enough stamina for the work he had planned for me. I didn't want to tell him that the smell from the back of the truck had me on the verge of vomiting up my half digested breakfast, so I just smiled and agreed with him. Thankfully, it wasn't a long drive to his home.

I was surprised when we drove up to the huge, two-story house surrounded by tall oak trees, which was standing in what was pretty much the middle of nowhere. The house was so large that it dwarfed the stable located just to the West of it. There was a wide, well kept lawn extending from the front that was dotted with ornate statues of horses and other common animals. That was not what I had pictured Dave living in. I had imagined him staying in a modest, but clean ranch house, with maybe a wife tending to her little vegetable garden off to one side. But this house was big enough to hold an entire family and then some. It hadn't occurred to me that old Dave might have been a family man.

We drove around to the back, where Dave parked the truck in front of a huge, freestanding, two-car garage. Dave then instructed me to walk around the house and wait for him by the front door while he 'took care of some things'. I did as I was told, holding my breath until I was far enough away from the awful smell coming from the truck bed.

I waited for around fifteen minutes until Dave eventually opened the front door from within. He welcomed me inside, then told me to have a seat in the living room while he washed up in order to prepare something to eat. Without thinking, as I followed him through the foyer I asked him if his wife would be joining us. He suddenly stopped and went absolutely silent. I felt like kicking myself for having been so presumptuous. For all I knew he could have been divorced, or his wife had died, or maybe he was simply gay. Whatever the case, however, I felt as though I had insulted him deeply somehow.

But then he turned and looked at me. His face looked sallow, as though all the blood had suddenly drained from it. His expression was blank, and his right eye would twitch occasionally as he gazed at me. I wasn't sure if he was having a stroke and I should call for help, or if I should run away from him as fast as I could. Just as I asked him if he was okay, his eyes started to blink, and the color began to return to his face. Then he made me jump with a boisterous laugh. He began talking normally, as if that brief episode had never happened. In a gruff, but calm voice he explained that his wife was spending some time with their two children in Emerson and wouldn't be back for at least a week. He then told me to make myself at home as he headed up the staircase.

I have to tell you, by that time I wasn't sure if I should hang around anymore. The guy had treated me nice enough, but after what I'd just witnessed I knew something weird was going on with old Dave. I thought about just walking away and going back to the highway to hitch another ride, but my main concern was that I didn't have any money, or even a damn sleeping bag to sleep in.

I walked into the living room, which was very well furnished, and sat down on the plush couch. I didn't want to turn on his TV without his permission, so I just looked out the window instead. The first thing I noticed were the dark clouds approaching from the horizon. Being familiar with this part of the country, I knew the rest of the day would be sunny, but more than likely there would be a storm overhead by evening. That settled it. I decided that it wouldn't hurt to spend at least one night in Dave's house.

I really wish I hadn't.

 

 

 

 

Copyright Victor Ward 2013

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*Note to self* - don't eat while reading! I could almost smell Dave's truck from here :lol:

It's a great story and I'm looking forward to reading Part 4 :tu:

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*Note to self* - don't eat while reading! I could almost smell Dave's truck from here :lol:

Sorry to upset your stomach with that last one SW.

That said, I can't say that this next chapter will be any more appetizing. ;)

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Part 4

 

It wasn't long before a mouthwatering aroma was making it's way from the kitchen. The smell was so pleasing that it made me completely forget about the horrible stench in the back of the truck. The meal Dave came up with was surprisingly good. It consisted of grilled brauts with homemade fries and sliced fresh tomatoes (okay, so I like tomatoes). Dave was jovial the whole time and showed no signs of the unsettling episode he'd experienced earlier. I'd decided to let that moment slide and forget about the strange look that had come over his face. I mean, maybe he had some condition that made him get that way once in a while? I used to know a guy who would zone out in a similar way because of seizures. And if there was something wrong with Dave, I wasn't going to pry, because it really wasn't any of my business. Besides, if there was something he wanted me to know I was sure that he would have told me about it.

After lunch Dave put me to work unloading bales of straw from a flatbed trailer he had parked next to the stable. The work was hard, but nothing that I wasn't used to. What struck me odd, though, was the fact that I was the only one there. Usually a rancher would hire at lease a half dozen guys for a job like this, that is, if they wanted it finished in one day. So the way I figured it, either Dave was strapped for cash and couldn't afford to hire any more hands, or he was simply in no hurry to get the bales unloaded.

I'd been working for about an hour when I noticed something else that seemed a little off. The whole time I'd been near the stable I hadn't seen or heard a single horse. There were enough stalls to hold at least ten horses, yet they all appeared to be empty. There was also a small horse van parked away from the stable that, at first glance, appeared to be normal. But after a closer look I discovered that a number of extra latches with heavy locks had been clumsily bolted to the rear doors. There were so many, in fact, that it actually looked comical. I began to wonder if Dave was actually a rancher, or just some guy who had recently bought the property and wanted to get into raising horse. Just the same, I kept on working, hoping that he'd at least pay me for the job.

Eventually, Dave joined me, and between the two of us we somehow managed to get nearly half of the flatbed unloaded right before evening rolled around. As I'd guessed earlier, by that time there was a nasty thunderstorm looming overhead. We managed to get to the house just as a heavy downpour of hail began slamming down around us. The first thing Dave asked me was if I was hungry. Even though unloading and stacking the bales had given me a good workout, I still felt sated by what I'd had for lunch, so I asked him if I could just take a shower instead. He tried to convince me to join him for some leftover stew from the previous day, but eventually gave up and told me that I could use the shower upstairs. He also offered me the use of his washer and drier to wash my clothes. That was something that I appreciated greatly, since the clothes I was wearing was all that I had (plus the fact that even if he had offered me some of his own clean clothes to wear they never would have fit me).

As soon as Dave had brought me a bathrobe, I went to the up stairs bathroom, quickly undressed and jumped in the shower. The sound of the thunder outside was deafening, and once in a while flashes of lightening would light up the entire room through the window. I'd heard of people being electrocuted while taking a shower during lightening storms, but there was no way I was going to go to bed as grungy as I was after working all day by the stable. Once I was clean again, I put on the robe, grabbed my filthy clothes and went down stairs to the washroom. I threw the small bundle into the machine with some detergent, turned the washer on, then joined Dave in the living room, where he was watching some old movie on TV. I noticed that he hadn't made anything to eat and he was still in his dirty work clothes. Thinking that he might be tired and was just taking a rest I decided not to mention it.

I sat down on the same couch as before and asked Dave why he wasn't watching the news. After a few moments of silence he turned to me and said that he had no interest in what was going on with the world. That seemed a little weird to me, considering that we were only about thirty miles away from the sinkhole that had opened up next to Stonelake. It was then that I realized I had forgotten about the strange fog that had poured out of the hole and had cover the entire area. I had seen the movie Dave was watching before and I knew it was about to end, so I asked him if it would be okay to change to the news channel once the movie was over. Again he took his time before answering me. He said that it would be okay, but also that he had no interest in watching it. He then quickly changed the subject and told me that I could sleep in one of the spare bedrooms upstairs. He said that he had intended to let me stay in the small room above the garage, but since it was raining so hard outside it would be better if I just stayed in the house. I thanked him for that, then leaned back into the couch and watched the rest of the movie.

Just as the movie was ending, I got up and went to check on my laundry. The washer had finished it's cycle, so I pulled out my clothes and threw them into the dryer. I was about to set the timer when there was a loud clap of thunder, followed by all of the power going out. Dave cursed from the other room, then told me to wait where I was until he would retrieve a flashlight from the kitchen. I didn't feel like stumbling around in the dark so I told him that I didn't have a problem waiting around. I could hear him mumbling curses as he made his way to the kitchen.

Then I heard him make a strange sound. It was like a half cough, half gurgling noise, as though he were choking on something. I called out to Dave, asking if he was alright. He didn't reply, so I called out again. When I heard him fall to the floor I realized that there was something seriously wrong with him. I made my way out of the washroom and slowly walked towards the kitchen, guiding myself by running my hand along the wall. The occasional flashes of lightening outside helped by illuminating the nearly pitch dark interior of the house. I finally heard Dave moaning as though in pain and used the sound to get to where he was. As my eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, I could see him kneeling on the floor holding tightly onto his left arm. The first thing that came to my mind was that he might be having a heart attack.

I asked him if he was okay, but this time he yelled, "Stay away from me!" The cry of pain he suddenly let out gave me a chill, because his voice seemed completely different than before; more guttural and burbling. I told him that he needed help as soon as possible, but he just remained on the floor groaning in agony. When the lightening flashed through the kitchen window I spotted the flashlight lying on the floor a couple feet away from him. Since he had apparently dropped it when he had his attack, all I could do was hope that it hadn't broken from the fall. I made my way around the counter, picked it up and switched it on. As I shined the light on Dave, what I saw made me shudder with revulsion.

His entire left arm had become a quivering green mass of writhing veins and pustules. What were once his fingers now looked like disjointed talons that curled and swayed in all directions as though the bones inside them had become fluid. There looked to be a gelatinous glop flowing through the nearly transparent veins that seemed to move on their own under a thin layer of greenish skin. As I watched in horror, one of the pustules burst open, spewing out a disgusting, viscus liquid that burned through his skin as though it was some kind of acid.

It took me a few moments before I regained my senses enough to ask him where the phone was. I told him that I needed to call for help because he really wasn't looking all that good. Dave slowly looked up at me and tried to speak, but all he could do was mouth the words. I felt so sorry for him, but there was no way I was going to get any closer. I shined the light around the room until I spotted an old cordless phone. I would have immediately reached for it had Dave not been kneeling directly in front of the counter where it sat.

Suddenly Dave started to painfully climb to his feet. I took a few steps back, glancing around for a possible escape route just in case he would attack me for whatever reason. As he stood swaying before me he slowly pointed to the back door with his good arm. Then in a strange voice he said, "You have to burn them!"

I had no idea what he meant, so with a shaky voice I replied, "Burn what?"

At that moment Dave had another spasm of pain and clutched onto his left arm. More of the pustules were bursting open, and the gunk that was pouring from them was literally eating his arm away. I wanted desperately to help the poor man so I grabbed a nearby dish towel and took a step forward. Dave once again growled at me to stay away from him. Fighting against the pain, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a set of keys and tossed them onto the counter. "They're in the horse van," he said. "There's a five gallon can of gas in the garage. Just set the whole van on fire. But make sure they burn with it!" Before I could say anything he turned away and began staggering towards the living room. When I tried to follow him to light his way with the flashlight he turned and growled, "Just do what I said!" He then walked off into the darkness.

I shined the light on the keys and noticed that they were covered with some of the slimy goop from Dave's left arm. I couldn't be sure if what he'd told me was due to delirium, or if there was, in fact, something in the horse van that he was completely terrified of and wanted destroyed. I wasn't about to touch those keys, but I was also curious to see what he had locked away in the van.

 

 

Copyright Victor Ward 2013

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Sorry to upset your stomach with that last one SW.

That said, I can't say that this next chapter will be any more appetizing. ;)

No worries.... I put my tea and bikkiies to one side this time......really! :lol:

Part 4

but I was also curious to see what he had locked away in the van. 

Me too! but I dread to think what's in there...... I'm enjoying this story :tu: How many parts does it have left to go?

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Posted (edited)

No worries.... I put my tea and bikkiies to one side this time......really! :lol:

That made me lol. I think I should post warnings from now on.

How many parts does it have left to go?

It's well over eighty-five hundred words long already and it's not even half way. So more than likely it's going to be a full novel. I guess that would make it a UM first, at least for being a work from a single author.

Edit: sorry, got the word count wrong.

Edited by theSOURCE

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It's well over eighty-five hundred words long already and it's not even half way. So more than likely it's going to be a full novel. I guess that would make it a UM first, at least for being a work from a single author.

Impressive B)

Part 5 next to come :)

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Part 5 next to come :)

It's two thirds done already. I'm really hoping you'll like it.

Now if only I can get away from writing silly poems and finish it.

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It's two thirds done already. I'm really hoping you'll like it.

Now if only I can get away from writing silly poems and finish it.

There's nothing silly about your poems. That last one you posted was beautiful.

I'm looking forward to reading the next part of your novel :tu:

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Posted (edited)

Sorry for taking so long. I've been a tad busy with life and stuff.

Very good stuff, I might add... :whistle:;)

Part 5

The moment Dave left the room I walked over and picked up the phone. I pressed the talk button and raised the receiver to my ear, but there was no dial tone. At first, I thought I had found myself in a real life version of the old horror movie cliche. You know the one, where the storm has knocked out all the phone lines? But after pressing a few more buttons I realized that the phone's battery was dead. I wasn't going to bother asking Dave if he had a cell phone since he had made it clear that I should stay away from him. So, I figured that my only alternative was to walk out to the van and see what had him so scared.

Since the rain was still pouring outside (and because I wasn't about to go out there in just a bathrobe), I decided to take my wet clothes from the dryer and put them on. After getting dressed in the washroom I headed out the back door towards the garage. Luckily the garage doors weren't locked, so I let myself in and looked around until I found a crowbar. Checking to make sure the flashlight was in working order, I walked out into the rain and headed straight for the horse van. The thunder storm had begun to move away, which made me feel somewhat relieved, since I didn't want to get struck by lightening just because of my insatiable curiosity.

As soon as I reached the horse van I was assaulted by an all too familiar stench; it was the same putrid odor that I'd smelled in the back of Dave's truck. I knew right then that Dave had stashed the smelly cargo inside the van when he had told me to wait for him at the front door of the house. Not being able to hold back my curiosity any further, I began prying off the latches one by one with the crowbar until I had removed them all. I took a deep breath, then holding the crowbar like a weapon, I pulled the doors open and shined the flashlight inside.

At first, I couldn't understand what I was looking at. There appeared to be three large sacks lying on the floor of the van, and whatever was in them was slowly twisting and curling in an odd and disturbing manner. Occasionally, something resembling an arm or a leg would pushing against the material from within, as though it were trying to tear it's way out. Their odd movements were so bizarre and unsettling that I couldn't tell if they were animals or human beings. And, if there were people inside those sacks, I wasn't about to commit murder by setting them on fire. I felt that I had to do something, but I wasn't sure what that 'something' might be.

Holding the light steadily on the sack nearest to the door, I held out the crowbar and slowly pushed it into the material. My skin crawled as I heard a low hiss come from within the sack and quickly withdrew from the door. I stood transfixed in the rain as I watched all three sacks suddenly become more animated. Making the situation much worse was the loud gurgling and hissing sounds that began emanating from inside the van. All I could think of at that moment was running to the garage to retrieve the can of gasoline.

Then, as quickly as the twitching and groaning had begun, it all came to a eerie stop. The sacks just lay there without so much as a twitch and the only sound I heard was the rain rattling on the roof of the van. The flashlight trembled in my hand as I scanned the light from one motionless lump to the next. A clap of thunder in the distance startled me for a moment, but that wasn't enough to draw my attention away from the frightening opening before me. Taking a deep breath, I once again stepped closer towards the van, prepared to jump away at the slightest movement. As before, I slowly pushed the crowbar into the sack nearest to the door. This time, whatever was inside of it remained silent and still. I jabbed it several more times just to make sure that it didn't have any surprises waiting for me, but whatever was encased within didn't so much as twitch.

It was right then that I came to the conclusion old Dave was right; they had to be burned. The rain soaked mud splashed beneath my feet as I scrambled back to the garage. Reaching the garage doors I nearly slipped and fell as I stepped onto the cement driveway. I was still shaken by what I'd seen and I knew I had to use my adrenaline rush to complete my task before I'd lose my courage and run to the highway like a scared little b****. Clutching the full can of gasoline I ran back out into the rainy night.

Reaching the open tailgate I noticed that the awful stench was stronger than ever. Struggling to control my nausea, I unscrewed the container's cap with trembling fingers. I was about to start pouring the gasoline into the van when I heard a splashing sound come from behind me. Quickly setting down the container, I spin around and aimed the flashlight towards the spot where I thought the noise had come from. There was nothing there. I waved the light around the entire area, squinting and straining my eyes as the rain drenched my face, but there was no sign of anything that could have made the sound. Convinced that I was letting my nerves get the best of me, I turn back towards the van and shined the light inside.

In the split second it took me to realize that the van was empty, I simultaneously felt something wrap around my right ankle with a powerful grip. I lost my footing and fell back onto the mud with a loud splash. Somehow, I'd managed to hold onto the flashlight, and when I aimed the light at my leg I was horrified to see what had taken hold of me. At first glance, it looked like a human hand. But after a second or two I noticed that the fingers were smoothly wrapped around my leg as though they had no joints, or bones for that matter. The hand was attached to a wavering, snake-like arm protruding from a hole in one of the sacks that had earlier been in the van. I was instantly reminded of what had happened to poor Dave's left arm, and began kicking and scraping the hand with my foot until I was free.

No sooner had I escaped the clutching hand when I felt another slimy arm wrap around my throat. Using the flashlight as a weapon, I began pounding on the sack that it had emerged from. Every time the flashlight struck I could feel something burst, as though it was filled with large rotting melons, and the sounds it made were like nothing I'd heard before: the squeal of a crying child mixed with the scream of a Mountain Lion. I was able to pull myself away from the writhing arm, but I'd damaged the flashlight in the process.

I slipped and fell several times until I finally managed to climb to my feet. I stumbled through the darkness, trying my best to keep away from the unseen horrors slithering through cold, muculent mud. By chance, a lightning bolt illuminated the surrounding area, and I spotted the gasoline can sitting undisturbed where I'd left it. As relieved as I was to discover that fire was still a viable option, there was no way I was going to risk getting caught by going back to retrieve the container. Hearing something slithering closer, I decided to run back to the house in hopes of finding safety, as well as a possible weapon to use against the creeping monstrosities.

As I ran in through the backdoor my muddy shoes skidded on the floor and I landed hard on my ass. Clambered back to my feet I quickly bolted the door shut and peered at the backyard through the window. I watched breathlessly until I glimpsed one of the blob-like sacks slithering closer towards the garage. Turning away from the window I started to make my way through the dark, occasionally stumbling against walls and furniture as I went. Eventually, I managed to find the doorway leading into the living room where I'd last seen Dave. Even though my eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, the room, for the most part, was completely devoid of light, and I got feeling that I was looking into an otherworldly inter-dimensional abyss.

I remember shouting, "Dave, we have to get out of here!" just before something began pounding on the walls from the outside. I couldn't tell exactly where the sound was coming from, but I got the strangest feeling that it -- or they -- could hear anything I said. Stepping carefully into the dark room I once again spoke to Dave, though at a much lower volume. "We have to leave now, Dave. We have to get you to a hospital."

When I heard Dave reply I nearly stumbled back in fright. "No! You get out if you want! I'm not going anywhere!"

"Dave, you're sick. And there's some ****ed up things out there trying to get in the house. I can't leave you here..."

Now, I hate to admit it, but I actually let out a slight yell when the lights suddenly came back on. But given the circumstances, I'm sure anyone would have done the same thing had they been in the same situation, so I guess I really shouldn't feel so ashamed.

With the house now fully illuminated I leaned back against the wall and took in a deep breath. There may have been nightmarish monsters trying to find a way into the house, but at least with the lights on I could feel safe while I looked around for something to use as a weapon. I'd begun to feel better until I looked over at Dave...

...or I should say what was left of him.

Instead of a human being leaning against the base of the fireplace there was a pulsing green blob covered with dozens of finger-like appendages moving in all directions. The most horrific looking part of the thing would have been the single human leg being absorbed into the blob had it not been for Dave's head sitting squarely atop the sickening green mass. Worst of all -- despite his face being hideously distorted -- was the huge grin on Dave's face. The sight was too much for me to take and I immediately bent forward and began to vomit. I couldn't stop until I'd expelled the full contents of my stomach on the carpet. Once I was through, I looked over at Dave through tear filled eyes and watched as the last of his leg disappeared into the green grotesque he'd become.

Then I heard him say, "It won't be long, Jess. The world's changing, and you and me, we'll change right along with it..." It sounded like he wanted to say something else, but his head had begun to sink into the blob, and the only thing I heard were bubbling, gurgling sounds.

That was all I could take. I rushed to the front door and grabbed the handle. Then, I remembered what was crawling around outside and froze. Thinking quickly, I rushed back to the kitchen and began searching all the cupboards for another flashlight. Unable to locate one, I rushed up stairs and began searching room by room for something to use as either a light source or a weapon. The last room I walked into was Dave's studio, and in one corner was a gun case with several rifles. After smashing the glass doors with a chair I yanked out a shotgun and began looking through the drawers for ammunition. Luckily, I found a nearly-full box of shells, so I loaded the rifle, then stuffed as many in my pockets as they could hold.

I ran back down stairs and was about to head to the front door when I noticed the green blob that had once been Dave slithering into the foyer. I aimed the rifle at the thing, but for whatever reason I found that I didn't have the heart to shoot at it. So, I decided to go out the backdoor instead. It was a good thing that the lights were working, because the moment I reached the backdoor I spotted three light switches next to the doorway. I watched through the window as I flicked them on and was relieved when I saw the entire backyard stretching all the way to the horse van become completely illuminated. The rain was still coming down, but there was no sign of the crawling abominations anywhere. After undoing the bolt lock, I slowly opened the door and stepped outside. The first thing I looked for was the gasoline container, and I let out a sigh of relief when I saw that it was still sitting in the van.

I had only taken two steps forward when one of the blob-like sacks came crawling from around the corner of the garage. It looked far worse in the full light than it did in the dark. Protruding from the sack were what appeared to be two arms and legs that could possibly be described as human, though they moved in a disturbing tentacle-like fashion. The sack itself looked like a gunny sack that had somehow become fused with whatever was inside it. There was no human head to speak of, but there was something rolling around inside the sack that may have been the remnants of one.

Without hesitation I took aim and fired a shot at it. The moment the round struck, the sack instantly exploded into bits of limbs and various internal organs. I was completely amazed at how easy it had been to kill the damned thing. Wasting no time, I began running through the rain to retrieve the container of gasoline. In my haste, I slipped and fell in the mud just a few feet from the van's open doors. Picking myself up, I'd started to brush the mud off my face and clothes when I inadvertently looked back at the thing I'd just killed.

I couldn't believe what I saw; the other two sack-things were picking up bits of the one I'd shot and were somehow attaching those pieces to themselves. In moments, the two remaining sack-things were now twice as large, and worse, they were quickly heading towards me.

Copyright Victor Ward 2013

Edited by theSOURCE
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What happens next?!?!?!?!?!

Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry, hurry!!!

Just kidding! lol

But hurry.

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It sounds like Jess has got himself into a spot of bother :D I'm intrigued to find out just how he gets out of this one.

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Oh my!.......... :unsure2:

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What happens next?!?!?!?!?!

Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry,hurry, hurry, hurry!!!

Just kidding! lol

But hurry.

Yes ma'am! I'll get right on it! Sorry to keep you waiting! :blink:

BTW, I'm glad you enjoyed it LL. :):D

It sounds like Jess has got himself into a spot of bother :D I'm intrigued to find out just how he gets out of this one.

Indeed, SW. But don't worry, the next chapter is already in the works. :yes:

Oh my!.......... :unsure2:

Umm.... Thank you? :unsure:

:)

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Sorry for taking so long to post the next chapter. There's so many things to do and so little time. :hmm:

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Part 6

Once again I took aim and fired, but this time I was a bit off the mark and only managed to knock an arm off the approaching thing on the right. The other sack-thing quickly snatched up the arm and began attaching it to itself. This seemed to anger the one I'd just wounded, and the two of them began struggling over the still-twitching appendage. That gave me the opportunity to turn back and run towards the van to retrieve the gasoline container.

Reaching the van I was relieved that the container hadn't been knocked over when the grotesque creatures had climbed out through the open doors. I held my breath as I frantically searched my pockets for my lighter, then let out a long sigh when I found it in perfectly working order. That was two for two, and all I had to do was set those disgusting things ablaze to make a perfect hat trick. I began to feel my confidence building as I checked and reloaded the shotgun. My plan was to fire at the two of them while they were fighting over the severed arm, blast them into scattered pieces, then pour the gasoline on the whole mess and light them up before they could reconstitute themselves. What could go wrong? I wondered. It seemed like the perfect plan.

Regrettably the sack-things had a plan of their own. When I turned to take aim, what I saw nearly made me p*** myself. Instead of two separate sack-things there was now just one huge monstrous mass with a multitude of arms and legs. The sight was so ridiculous, yet simultaneously so terrifying that I froze for a moment as I watched it begin to lumber towards me.

Raising the shotgun, I fired directly into it's center, but the round had no effect and it simply kept on approaching. I fired a second, then a third time, only to watch as the thing absorbed each shot with nothing more than a slight shudder. Firing once more, I struck both an arm and a leg, which went flying off and landed in the muddy ground. This made the monster stop it's advance to turn and pick up the severed bits. Upon seeing this I started aiming for it's limbs, hoping that if I could scatter enough of them I could slow it down long enough to douse it with the gasoline. The more limbs I shot off, the slower the monster could maneuver through the muck. Once again, my new plan was working perfectly...

...that is, until I ran out of ammunition. Searching through my pockets I realized that I had lost most of the shells when I had fallen in the mud. My heart was pounding as I searched desperately through the muck for any rounds I could find. By chance, I noticed a small reflection a few feet ahead of me; a few feet away from the monster as well. It was a round lying in the mud which was reflecting the back house light. Summoning what courage I had left, I scrambled towards the glittering object.

Just as I reached for the shell a cold hand with snake-like fingers wrapped around my wrist. Luckily the slippery mud on my arm prevented the hand from getting a firm grip and I was able to pull away. I stood up quickly and with trembling hands began trying to load the round into the shotgun.

Then I just stopped.

I don't know how or why, but something inside me told me to stop what I was doing and look to my left. Swallowing hard, I blinked my eyes a couple of times, then slowly turned my head. Not more than three feet away from where I stood was the monster in all it's impossible, hideous glory. The main mass of the thing was about three feet wide and at least seven feet long, and had a flattened ovoid shape like the body of some hellish, giant insect from an entomophobiac's worst nightmare. Holding the whole thing up off the ground was a mixture of human-like arms and legs that slowly wavered from side to side. There were also three arms jutting from the top of the thing that moved in an hypnotic, snake-like manner in the air.

Though I was frozen with terror at the sight of the thing before me I had no idea that I was yet to witness more of it's transformation. Directly in the center of the thing's body, a large bulge began to rise, until it had grown to the size of a basketball. There were no discernable features on it, but I did notice that something was moving around just beneath it's hybrid burlap-human skin. Then, one by one, an eye lid began to appear and open on it, until there were six nearly-human eyes staring at me; none of them in the proper order to hint at a human face.

But as much as that disarray of eyes was enough to make me nauseous, the worst had to be what I saw next. It started with a small slit at one end of the bulbous head that slowly stretched across it's surface until it was about a foot wide. With a sickening tearing sound, it ripped violently open, exposing a hideous, mismatched agglomeration of human teeth. A viscous drool oozed down both sides of the slit as it opened up into what I can only describe as a mouth from hell. When the mouth slammed closed, then slowly opened again, I spotted three tongues slithering around inside of it's grotesque maw, looking like deformed, slime covered vipers.

That terrible sight was enough to snap me out of my daze. With the round still in one hand and the shotgun in the other I made a crazed dash for the open van. I didn't look back, but I knew by the heavy splashing sounds that the huge abomination was only a step or two behind me. With a loud yell born of primordial fear I dived between the open doorway and went tumbling across the floor of the van; losing my grip on the shotgun in the process. Just as I managed to stop my forward momentum I felt the entire van shudder as the monster smashed into the bottom of it's frame. Apparently the thing's mutated arms and legs no longer had the ability to propel it upward through the open doors.

Jumping to my feet I began to laugh as though I'd lost my mind. I waved my middle finger at the thing sloshing around in the mud below and yelled, "Owned, you ****er! Yeah, your rubbery legs really came in handy, didn't they? You can't even jump up to..."

My words suddenly caught in my throat as I saw two of it's snake-like arms slowly reaching over the edge. Before I could react, one of the monster's hands found the shotgun and pulled it out of the van. With the rifle gone, the only weapon of defense left to me was the container of gasoline which, unfortunately, was sitting less than a foot from the doorway. Holding my breath, I lurched forward and managed to pull the container away a split second before one of the arms had found it. Though I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the gas, I was somewhat relieved that I was still in possession of it.

A lot of crazy thoughts began to run through my head at that moment. For some odd reason I started to imagine Lyla suddenly driving up in her old Trans Am just in time to witness me setting the monster on fire. I pictured myself leaping triumphantly over the burning mutation, landing right next to the passenger door, then climbing in and riding off with her into the rainy night.

It's too bad that's not what really happened.

As I stood lost in my ill-timed daydream the monstrous thing had nearly pulled itself completely into the rear of the van. Wrapping it's hands around my ankles, it pulled my legs out from under me, sending me crashing to the floor on my back. The container flew out of my hands and went tumbling around the inside of the van, splashing everything, including myself, with gasoline. Winded by the fall, I was unable to kick myself free from the clutching arms that were dragging me closer to the monster's terrifying mouth. I let out a scream of both pain and terror as the drooling jaws clamped down hard on the heel of my right foot. Pulling my left leg free, I kicked the thing's grotesque head, until I mashed out two of it's eyes. That caused the monster to roar in pain, allowing me to remove my heel away from it's hideous teeth.

Unable to stand because of the pain I scrambled back away from the monster across the floor until I reached the front wall of the van. My eyes began to water from the powerful gasoline fumes, but I kept my sites on the writhing, screaming monster nonetheless. The thing was running it's fingers over the two glop-filled eye sockets as though it were searching for the missing ocular orbs. When it's eyes failed to reconstitute themselves, I had another one of my brilliant ideas. I reached over and picked up the container, which had been lying on it's side, and checked to see how much gas was left. I figured that if I could douse the monster's eyes with gas, effectively blinding it, then I would be able to make my way back to the safety of the house.

Examining the container I found that there was very little gas left in it. That meant that I would only have one try at blinding the monster. I tried to stand up, but the moment I put weight on my right foot, the pain made me fall back down on the floor. Gritting my teeth I tried again, and was soon standing on my left leg.

It was then that the monster locked it's four remaining eyes on me and roared viciously in a half human, half animal voice. I leaned back against the wall, tightly clutching onto the gas container, and waited as the thing pulled it's remaining bulk into the van. With an angry yell I charged forward, aiming the open top of the container at the monster's snarling face. Unluckily for me, my shoes were still soaked with mud, and instead of hitting my mark I slipped on the floor of the van. The container flew out of my hand as I landed flat on the thing's back.

For the brief moment I was lying on the monster I felt something undulating beneath it's skin. It felt as though it's bones and internal organs were in a constant state of re-organizing themselves. Thoroughly repulsed by what I felt, I grabbed onto one of it's waving arms and pulled myself off of the disgusting monstrosity; landing heavily in the mud below with a loud splash. I was unable to get to my feet, so I started sloshing through the mud on my hands and knees, frantically trying to reach the safety of the house. The thing had pulled itself off the back of the van and was quickly catching up to me, and I was certain that I wasn't going to make it.

Suddenly, through the pouring rain I saw the two head lights of a vehicle speeding directly towards me. I dived to one side as the vehicle zoomed past me, barely missing me by a few inches. The next thing I heard was a horrible crunching sound and an unearthly roar as the monster was crushed beneath the wheels of the vehicle. Then the driver backed up the car and lowered the window.

"Well?" said a familiar female voice. "Are you just going to lie there in the mud? That thing could put itself together at any minute."

"Wait," I replied as I climbed to my feet. "I have something to do first."

With a painful limp I walked over to where the mashed thing lay and reached into my pocket. Withdrawing my lighter, I ripped off a part of my gas soaked sleeve, lit it, and tossed it into the center of the writing mass. The monster screamed horribly as it instantly burst into flame. I knew that there wouldn't be enough gasoline on it to completely incinerate it, but I figured that the fire would cauterize parts of it, making it impossible for it to recombine it's broken, scattered appendages.

Limping back to the vehicle, I opened the passenger side door and climbed in. I looked over at the driver and noticed a tear running down her cheek. "Are you okay?" I asked softly.

"What about Dave?" she said with a sniff.

"He didn't make it," was all I could think of saying.

The woman from the co-op store then wiped the tear from her face, turned the car around, and drove away from the stables. I wanted to ask her a thousand questions, but I decided that that wasn't the right time nor place. Instead, I leaned back in my seat and rubbed my sore foot.

In a few short minutes, the three of us were heading down the dark highway...

Copyright Victor Ward 2013

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Ugh... that thing is getting grosser by each chapter! :wacko:

Well, dang it... who's the 3rd person???!!!!

When is part 7 going to be done???

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