Loner Chapter 2

14 Sep

The cafeteria clamored with murmurs and chair scraping as students settled in for their lunch, laughter and voices regaling the events of the morning, as well as smiles, and grimaces alike, at the food about to be eaten, all while sitting at large, round tables, encircling various clicks.

Tina Kurt settled in with her fellow cheerleaders, glancing this way and that, she had yet to glimpse the boy who saved her the previous weekend. Not that Tina wanted to see him, he was regular, extremely regular and remarkably unremarkable… looks anyways, but she still found it weird that he rescued her without even trying to cop a feel.

Though she meant to keep the whole incident to herself, the very next day she managed to tell her two best friends, Alice and Jennifer (also cheerleaders), who she made swear to secrecy, and soon after that she started to tell everyone and by the end of the week everybody from the cheerleaders to the mathletes knew what happened.

It was all she could talk about; she could not keep her mouth shut about the short, scrawny, pale kid who saved her life and didn’t even try to get to first base with her.

“I’m beginning to think you want him to make a move on you,” said Alice, a girl with short, dark brown hair, a coy smile spreading across her face.

“Of course I don’t!” said Tina, incredulously, “I’m way out of his league! I’m the hottest girl in school and captain of the cheer squad! I have higher standards than that.”

“All I know is,” said Jennifer, a pale girl with dark eye-liner and long, dirty blond hair, “If some guy saved me from some pervert, I’d have put out right there.”

Alice and Jennifer laughed. “I hope you wouldn’t, Jennifer,” said Tina, “You’re a cheerleader; you can do better than that.”

The two rolled their eyes. Tina was a good friend, but she was really clueless about the real world.

“You should look for a guy like Aaron Thompson. He’s the coolest, smartest, most athletic, most popular guy in school,” said Tina, “Notice I said like Jennifer, like! Aaron Thompson is mine!”

“I don’t know,” said Jennifer, giggling, “He’s always checking me out in math class.”

“Well, I’m not worried,” said Tina, “A boy like Aaron needs the hottest girl in school… and that’s me.”

Once again, they rolled their eyes. She meant well. “Tina,” said Alice, “Aaron is a senior. There are plenty of attractive senior girls. Just because you somehow got the captain position of the cheer squad, doesn’t make you the hottest girl in school.”

“Sounds like someone is jealous,” said Tina.

“Speaking of jealous,” interrupted Jennifer, trying to avoid an argument, “It looks like your plan to make Aaron jealous by flirting with his best friend didn’t work.”

“Yeah,” said Alice, “It only worked against you. You’re lucky that Byron kid was around to help you.”

Tina fell silent. Alice was right, as always. What would have happened if Byron wasn’t there? She would have been raped. It wouldn’t have changed anything; most kids thought cheerleaders were sluts anyway, but she wasn’t. She couldn’t speak for anyone else, but she wasn’t!

“It seems,” said Jennifer, “that you’ll have to come up with another plan.”

**********************************************************************

Meanwhile Russell sulked at his table of football friends. “I can’t believe you got beat up by that kid,” said Hector, a dark eyed, dark haired boy with a tiny dark moustache, “What is he? A buck ten?”

“Shut up, Hector,” said Russell, “He took me by surprise, and I got dirt in my eyes.”

“That rhymed,” said Ted, a tall brunette boy, smiling at his latest discovery.

“Yeah, yeah,” said Aaron as he combed his fingers though his dark, brown hair, “It’s alright man. It could have happened to anyone.”

“What are you talking about?” said Russell, “I got beat up by a little kid… A little kid!”

“It really is amazing, isn’t it,” said Howie Nelson, a tall boy with sandy-brown hair,  “A little kid like him taking on a goliath like you. It’s poetic… disarming really.”

“Don’t start, Nelson,” said Russell.

“You know what you have to do, right?” said Hector, “You have to have a rematch. Your reputation is on the line. If anyone from anywhere else hears about this, the team will be a laughing stock.”

“You know we could always just ask him to join the team,” said Aaron, jokingly.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Russell, “He’d get murdered.”

“I doubt there’s any chance of that,” said Howie.

“Well tell you what, tall freak,” said Russell, (Howie was 6’6”) “You go ask him and if he says yes, I’m going to break him in half.”

“Yes,” said Aaron, “Go talk to him, Howie. Tell him about the rematch after school on Friday at the flag pole. Tell him he can back out if he doesn’t think he can do it. I don’t think there is any way he can beat Russell again. This time.”

“Are you serious?” said Howie.

“Of course I am,” said Aaron running his fingers through hair again, “Go tell him. Either way, things will be as they should be.”

Howie nodded.

***********************************************************************************************************************

Byron sat at his own table, alone. He could feel the eyes of everyone upon him, but it was different than any other time; though there were always eyes on him, the feeling of these eyes was different. He could feel fear, anger, hatred, sadness, admiration, jealousy and so many other feelings that he was sure he had never felt before—from the eyes of peers anyway. It was certainly different than the usual feelings of apathy he had grown accustomed to. He longed for those feelings to return, these other ones made him sick.

He closed his eyes like he typically did at lunch and shoveled down his food. Sometimes he would take his pencil and jot a note down in his notebook if he thought of something funny or just draw after he ate, but now he felt like getting out of the cafeteria as fast as he could. However, before he could stand up, toss his trash, and set his tray on the washer carousel, he was interrupted by some… idiot.

“Hi,” said a large boy with glasses. “My name’s Todd Muckleroy,” he extended his hand to shake Byron’s.
Byron glared at him. Todd was a chubby kid who looked like he just got out of a very important meeting. Dressed in a blazer and tie, with pleated dress pants, he made Byron cringe, mostly at the thought of this kid trying to have a normal school day.

Aside from the business attire, he had a thick pair of glasses and a bowl cut of shiny, brown hair that added to his awkwardly, nerdy appearance.

It was highly irregular for anyone to approach Byron in school; no one talked to him and, personally, he wanted it to stay that way.

“You are Byron Lucas right?” Todd asked sheepishly.

Not wanting to be friendly, Byron raised an eyebrow and said, “How do you know who I am?”

“I heard you beat the snot out of Russell Brown. Is that true?”

Byron was silent. He hadn’t told anyone. He was certain Russell wasn’t bragging about it, so… “What did you hear?” Byron asked.

“Only that you beat the snot out of Brown. What happened? Did he give you a wedgie?”

Byron laughed. Everyone turned to see the face of this kid, who moved to their town over the summer, who never spoke or smiled; this kid was laughing. No one had ever given him a wedgie; he was surprised they even existed. “Nope,” said Byron smiling, “Did he give you a wedgie?”

Todd glanced around the cafeteria. It was too late; everyone in the cafeteria was staring at them now, listening. “Well,” said Todd, “Yes, but it’s not just him. It’s all the jocks. They pick on me and my friends all the time.”

“Why?” said Byron, “Other than being kind of goofy and a little overweight.”

Todd blushed as he adjusted his glasses. “Because I’m a nerd slash geek slash dork. I guess the things that come out of my mouth often go over everyone’s heads.”

“Sounds to me,” said Byron, “You bring this on yourself. Now I’m going to leave this very awkward situation. Bye.” Byron grabbed his belongings and tray and headed towards the washer carousel.

“Wait,” said Todd, “I want to ask you something.”

Byron winced and turned around. “What?” he said, trying not to lose his temper.

“Will you teach me how to defend myself?” Todd asked.

Byron’s face softened. What was this? Feeling sorry for someone? Byron didn’t teach anyone anything. He didn’t talk to anyone. He liked his life simple, without people.

“I think you got the wrong guy,” said Byron, “I don’t know if you know this, but I’m not a big fan of people?”

“Well, everyone needs friends,” said Todd, adjusting his glasses, “I know I’m not the coolest guy, but if we can take anything from the Space Files episode 77 when Gerald and Makison have to set aside there differences and defeat a squad of Leathamites in a small shed on the planet Wardorf, that you can’t always be choosy on who you pick as an ally.”

Byron and everyone in the cafeteria stared at Todd. “This is exactly why you get wedgies,” said Byron, “Go talk to the emos if you want a shoulder to cry on.” He pointed to a table full of kids wearing black and chains.

“Um,” said Todd with a nervous laugh, “Those are the punks. The emo table is over there.”

Sure enough the table where Todd was pointing had a lot of students crying because Byron hadn’t known who they were.

“I can’t believe you don’t know who we are!” one cried.

On the flip side, the punks were giving him the finger, and the Goths, who were in between the two tables, hissed at Byron and Todd.

“We should probably leave now,” said Todd, his expression turning apprehensive.

“Whatever,” said Byron, “They’re lucky I was on my way out anyway.”

The two walked towards the staircase. Byron was walking to his locker; he didn’t know why Todd was following him. “Is there a reason why you’re still following me?” said Byron, not bothering to turn around.

“Well,” said Todd sheepishly, “You never answered my question.”

“Oh,” said Byron, “I guess I thought it was obvious. No.”

He continued on his way. “Wait,” said Todd, “I want you to take my card. It has my cell, my home number, my email, my student email, my blog email, my screen name and my fax number on it.”

“You have a fax?” said Byron, “Rewind that. You have a card?”

“Well,” said Todd adjusting his glasses again, “I am going to be a splendid business man someday, so I think it’s good to start now, you know, get used to doing things like that.”

Byron smiled. And his smile turned into a laugh. “You know what kid?” said Byron.

“It’s Todd,” said Todd interrupting.

“Whatever,” said Byron, “I am going to teach you how to defend yourself. You’re going to need it, if you keep doing stuff like this.”

Todd blushed. “Thanks,” said Todd, “Call me when you want to start!”

“Sure,” said Byron as Todd walked away. “What. A. Freak,” he said.

Byron finally made it to his locker. As he shuffled through his notebooks and papers, he felt another new person standing behind him.

“Hello,” said Byron as he pulled out a novel from the bottom of his locker, “What do you want?”

“Hi,” said Howie, “You are Byron Lucas, correct?”

“Pretty formal for a jock, don’t you think?” said Byron, not turning around, “Shouldn’t you say something like ‘Hey dude, you’re Lucas right?’”

Howie was caught off guard. “Oh… uh… well, Russell wants to have a rematch after school on Friday at the flag pole,” he said.

“Uh huh,” said Byron, “And if I say no?”

“Well…” said Howie, “It’s ok if you say no; they actually expect you to.”

“Well,” said Byron, “If Russell wants a rematch, he should come and get it, not ask someone who doesn’t agree with him to ask for it.”

“What do you mean?” said Howie.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not like those guys,” said Byron, “You want to be; you act like them, talk like them, but you’re not like them. You’re different. I feel that about you.”

Howie was silent. Then he said, “That sounds kind of gay, dude.”

Byron smiled, “It does, doesn’t it? Well, I have somewhere I’d rather be. So like I said, if Brown wants a rematch, tell him to come get it.”

Howie turned and walked away. Byron thought to himself, ‘There sure are a couple of weirdoes at this school. I guess this could get interesting. Something to tell Alisa later… We’ll see what happens.’

Loner Chapter 1

7 Sep

Save the Cheerleader, Get Yelled At

Tina Kurt, dressed in only a pink bikini, sat on the swing set in the small park inside her home subdivision, Morris Lake. It was the last day of summer break and Tina was determined to make it the best of all. She rocked back and forth on the swing set, her hands loosely gripping the plastic-covered chains, her bare feet digging into the warm gravel and her blond pigtails floating in the wind as it breathed a warm August breath.

She tilted her head back and watched the sky as the sun sank slowly into the earth. She was getting a little worried. She expected him to come looking for her by now. She’d been hitting on him all day; didn’t he notice? Though Aaron was the most popular, most athletic, most intelligent guy at Morrisville High School, he seemed also to be the most shy.

Aaron had never had a girlfriend, but that wouldn’t last for long. Tina was going to be his first and he was going to come here today and make her a woman.

She’d been planning this all summer, however things had been very hectic. There was cheer camp where she accomplished her first goal of becoming the cheer captain this upcoming school year–a very difficult task. She had to do a lot to get there. But this was necessary to accomplish her next goal of becoming Aaron Thompson’s girlfriend.

Aaron, being the best boy in Morrisville High School, deserved the best and she was now the best.

Today was the day. She and her fellow cheerleaders had arranged a pool party at her house, and with her wearing her favorite, skimpy, pink bikini showing off her goods, she knew she got Aaron all hot. It was hard to tell at first. She flirted with him explicitly, but he seemed to shrug her off. But when she flirted with his best friend Russell, he seemed to get a little jealous. She told her guests to make themselves at home while she went for a walk. Any minute he would be here to take her to ecstasy.

She heard him. The shuffling of the gravel behind her made her gasp. Her face flushed as she thought about Aaron’s strong arms as he took her away from the park and back to his car to make her a woman and his girlfriend for his senior year, her freshman year. She would be the most popular and most envied girls at Morrisville… giggle.

She whispered, “Take me Aaron. I’m all yours.” As she turned around she was startled to see it wasn’t Aaron at all. It was Russell Brown, Aaron’s best friend.

“Sorry babe, I’m not Aaron,” he said as he grabbed her and pulled her off the swing, “But I’m just as good.”

Tina tried to scream, but Russell covered her mouth with one of his large hands and began to slip the other down the front of her bikini bottom. Tina’s eyes grew wide as she kicked and flung her arms, trying to knock Russell off balance. It worked, but he threw her to the ground so hard that he knocked the wind out of her and also ripped off her bikini bottom.

She gasped for breath as she felt the heat from the blood rushing to her face. Her voice would not come out. Russell positioned himself behind her, pinned her arms behind her back and spread her legs.

Tina was really scared now. Instead of starting high school as the youngest cheer captain in history and as Aaron’s girlfriend, she was going to start it as a slut. Her eyes began to water as she whimpered into the gravel, trying to bury herself to drown out the feelings…

“Shut up bitch!” he said, caressing her thighs, “You’ve been getting me so hot today. All that flirting, you can’t tell me you don’t want this!”

Her sobs got a little louder. “Please get off of me,” she said, “This is a big misunderstanding! Just get off of me and I won’t say a word!”

“I don’t care if you tell anybody,” he said, “You said it yourself, ‘take me…’ sounds like a slutty thing to say to me.” He smiled and snickered at his own joke as Tina buried her face back in the gravel. She wished she could suffocate herself right there and die, that way she couldn’t feel it… any of it.

Russell undid his trunks and pulled out his penis. “Don’t worry, baby. This is going to feel great.” He was about to penetrate, when something hit him in the back of the head. It was a rock.

He turned his head around to see the palest kid he had ever seen in his life. This kid had curly red hair, freckles and was so short that he looked like he was in middle school. His eyes were narrowed and he had a serious glare that seemed to paralyze Russell where he sat.

He had a rock in his hand, that he tossed up and caught. The rhythm mesmerized Russell for a moment, but then he remembered where he was and who he was.

“Beat it kid,” said Russell as he turned back to Tina, “You don’t want any of this. I’d break you in half.”

The next rock flew and hit Russell in the same exact spot. He turned back around, “I said leave kid! You don’t want to fight me!”

“No, I don’t want to fight you,” said the kid, “I have to fight you.”

Russell stood up. He wiped the gravel off his knees and sized up the kid. “What are you 4 foot 10 inches?”

“4 foot 11 inches,” said the kid. “But that is neither here nor there. Girl?” said the kid, calling around Russell, “Get up and run.”

“Tina,” shouted Russell, turning around, “You stay right there! After I kick his ass, I’m making you a woman.”

He turned back to face the kid to see that he was right in front him. “Hi!” said the kid, as he jumped up six feet in the air and kicked Russell in the head. The kick knocked Russell sideways as the kid turned in mid air and back-sided Russell in the chest before landing back on the ground.

Russell flew back a couple of paces in front of Tina, who was now watching. With the wind knocked out of him, Russell doubled over, grabbing his chest, trying to recapture his breath when the kid delivered a final kick square in the balls. Russell’s eyes bugged out and his knees gave way to the pain as his hands moved down to clutch his aching sack.

Gravity did the rest as Russell fell forward, the kid delivered an uppercut right between his eyes, knocking him out.

Tina’s eyes popped open wide. She hadn’t run. She froze. Shocked and amazed, she completely forgot that she didn‘t have her bikini bottom on anymore. She stood up and stared at this boy, this scrawny, pale, freckled-faced boy who came to her rescue. Why? They had never even met before. In fact, she was positive he was brand new. She remembered seeing some moving vans coming and going for the past week. Was he from that new family?

She looked down to see Russell, her assailant, on the ground. It dawned on her: Russell Brown was unconscious. One of the school’s best players was unconscious. What if he couldn’t play this season? Their team would be screwed! All because of this loser…

“Hey, you!” said Tina, “What the hell are you doing? He’s one of our best… guard guys. What were you thinking?” But as soon as she had finished, stood up, and dusted herself off, the kid was walking away.

“Where are you going?” she shouted.

“Home,” he said.

“You’re just going to leave me here alone? What if he wakes up?”

“Well,” said the kid, “If he wakes up, all your problems are solved.”

“Well,” she said chasing after him, “Then how did you just happen to save me? Are you following me? Are you some kind of pervert?”

He stopped and turned around. “I live just around the corner,” he said, pointing in the direction he was walking, “And for the record, you’re of no interest to me.” He turned back around and walked away.

“What do you mean you have no interest in me?” She caught back up to him. “I’m the hottest girl in school, the head cheerleader,” she said, “You have no interest in me? I have no interest in you!”

“And here I thought you were stalking me,” he said, letting go a small smile.

“I’d never!” she said, “But could you just walk me home? I’m still a little shaken up. I don’t want him following me home.” She turned around to see if he was following them.

Byron sighed. “Sure. I guess it’s not that big of a deal. But this is a one time thing. I can’t come to your rescue all the time.”

“Shut up!” she said.

“And also…” he started, looking downward.

“What?” she asked, looking down to realize she was still naked.

She screamed and quickly ran back to grab her bottom, while the boy blushed, suppressing a smile.

Tina led the way, down the street towards her house. The road curved and whipped around, leading to stop signs and crosswalks. It wasn’t until they heard the thumping of bass from a two story house did the two slow down a bit.

Tina stopped abruptly, causing the boy to nearly run into her, but he stopped and sidestepped to avoid collision, ending up in front of her. Started, she spoke, “So this is where I live. I can make it from here… So… Thanks for stopping that guy from…”

“Don’t worry about it,” said the boy, “…Are you going to tell someone?”

“No. Like I said, I don’t want to cause any trouble for our team. How would it look if our team lost our first homecoming game?”

The kid stared at her and shrugged. “As long as your priorities are in order…” He turned around and started to head home.

“I’m Tina,” she called back to him.

“I know.”

“…What’s your name?”

“…It’s… Byron… nice to meet you… I guess.”

“You don’t talk to pretty girls much, huh?” she said blushing.

“Sure, whatever… I got to go. Gotta get ready for school tomorrow.”

“Morrisville High?”

“Yeah,” he said, walking away.

**************************************************************************************

From Tina’s front porch stood a tall, young man with dark, brown hair. A cold beer can in his hand, he stood watching from the screen door, wondering who this mysterious boy was. His brows furrowed when he saw Tina call back to him… ‘Morrisville High?’ he thought, ‘So I’ll get to meet this boy?’

He watched as Tina walked up the drive, turning her head this way and that to see if anyone saw her. Their eyes met, and he forced a smile as it met her joyful one.

“Who was that, Tina?” he asked, playfully.

“Oh,” she said, “He’s just some guy that I met at the park. He was nice enough to walk me home.”

“Oh?” he said, “Where’s Russell?”

“Oh?” she said, “Is he not here? I don’t know, did he leave?”

“He said he was going to follow you,” he said, “I assumed you two would meet up. He must have gotten himself lost.”

“Well, he’ll be alright, Aaron,” she said, “How about we go back to the party. Are you feeling tipsy, at all?”

**************************************************************************************

Byron walked around the block. The two had passed by his house, and it would have been faster to go back the way they came, but he didn’t want Tina having any idea where he lived. He liked things quiet. He was happy living alone with his father, little brother and computer. It was his life; high school was an unfortunate, full-time job for now and then… who knew?

It was the last day of summer vacation and Byron wasn’t ready to start school again. It wasn’t going to be any different. Byron would stayed away from everyone and they would stay away from him. His father worried about him because of this. When he, his father, was in school, he and his friends would go out and screw around the town, having adventures and getting into trouble.

Byron suspected he was more mature than his father ever was, because his father was still getting into trouble with his friends. Some weekends Byron wouldn’t see him. There would be a note with money in it and he and his brother would rent a movie and order a pizza.

Tad was Byron’s 8-year-old brother. He was a handful; he had almost as much energy as his dad, but with a tad more responsibility. Byron was Tad’s best friend and Byron tried to be a good brother to him.

Byron finished the loop and ended up at his house. He saw that the car was in the garage, so he knew his father was home and hopefully had some simple dinner prepared. His dad couldn’t cook and though he loved to try new recipes, they never turned out like they did in the magazines.

Byron opened the fence gate and walked toward the front door, but then he felt someone behind him.

“Hey, kid,” said a voice, “I’m going to break your face.”

It was Russell again. He was standing on the other side of the fence, his fists up. Byron stared at him, his expression blank. “Don’t you have a party to get to?” said Byron.

“It won’t take long,” said Russell smirking, “Now that I know you know that karate crap, I can take you down easy.”

Byron smiled. “I guess I should enjoy this. I don’t get very many visitors.”

Then, suddenly, his dad came out. “Byron, you didn’t tell me you were inviting a friend over tonight.” Out the front door came Byron’s dad, wearing a pink apron and rubber cleaning gloves.

“What’s your name, sport?” said Byron’s dad, as he reached the gate, then turning to Byron, “I knew you would make friends here. I knew you couldn’t be completely alone forever.”

Russell began to laugh. “Your dad is such a dork!” he said.

“Oh?” said Byron’s dad… “I’m gonna kick your ass, you little snot!” Byron grabbed him and held him back. “Hold me back, Byron,” he yelled “Hold me back! I don’t want to go to jail for assaulting a minor! Hold me back!”

Terrified, Russell ran away. Byron shook his head. ‘Maybe later,’ he thought.

“I hope that wasn’t a friend of yours,” said his dad, “He’s a jerk. You can do so much better!”

“No dad,” said Byron, smiling, “You know I don’t have any friends.”

The two walked into the house. “I really wish you would give friendship a chance,” his father continued, “I had so much fun when I was your age.”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Byron, “You raised hell around your neighborhood. Dad most of the stuff you did was illegal.”

Is illegal,” said his father, smiling maniacally, “Not that I’m promoting criminal activity, but that’s what makes it so much fun.”

“Dad!” said Byron, “Geez! You’re not being a very good example for us kids.”

“Byron!” said Tad, running up to him, “How was your walk?”

“It was adequate,” said Byron as he rubbed Tad’s head, “How was Tetramon 4?”

“It’s ad-equate,” he said smiling, then going back to he game-man 3D.

“That’s what I like to hear,” said Byron smiling.

“Alright you two,” said their father, “I hope you’re ready for dinner. Tonight, I’m making lasagna!”

“Dad!” said Byron, worried, “When are you going to figure out you can’t use an oven?”

Byron’s father stared at him. “When I’ve given up on life, my boy! When I’ve given up on life!”

“I’ll be upstairs, drama queen,” said Byron, “Queue me for my next big scene, ok?”

Byron went upstairs to his room and closed the door. It was dark, he took a deep sigh as he stared at his tidy room. Nothing out of place; everything had a place. He saw his backpack hanging from his desk chair and remembered his first day of school. ‘Only four more years of this,’ he thought, ‘…And then what?’

He crossed the room to his window and looked into the dimming light. The stars were peaking out of the bluish, black sky and the concrete and asphalt looked so pleasant in the budding darkness. The street lights were on and the lightning bugs flashed their green bottoms below.

He couldn’t help but laugh. ‘That Tina girl… lost her bottom…’

He started thinking about his old hometown. His old dojang back in Blainesburg. And his old rival, Alisa. She was the best at their school, and she kicked his butt every class. It was true that Byron didn’t have any friends; nobody cared when he moved, but her. He remembered that last class he had. She beat him extra hard that day, not that he didn’t get some good shots in himself…

He remembered her last words to him when he left with his dad that night: “Hey, bonehead! Here’s my screenname, you better keep in touch with me. I’m online nearly every Friday night.”

Byron smiled. Maybe she was on right now. He walked over to his computer and turned it on, hoping to catch her online.

The Curse of Spring-Heeled Jack Part 3

27 Apr

Bartholomew went to bed early that night, with an unshakeable, eerie feeling. There was something strange about that day after leaving Ms. Berkley’s garden. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was watching him from the corners of his eyes, and when he turned to look, no one was there, like a ghost forever haunting his blind spot.

Bartholomew still lived with his parents in a little house in a little London suburb called Hollowfield. And after light supper, Bartholomew wished them goodnight and went to bed to ease his worried mind.

But even under the safety of his covers, in his bed, he felt the eyes of some invisible demon watching him from the darkest corner of his room. Bartholomew focused his eyes, afraid to shut them in case the whatever was to be right in his face the immediate moment he opened his eyes again.

But as the night wore on, he found his eyes neglecting their midnight duties, and like tired soldiers they drifted off to sleep in the silence of the dark room…

Bartholomew woke up, startled, struggling to inhale a decent breath for his lungs, as he felt the weight of something heavy on his chest. His window, which was closed before he snuggled into bed that night, was wide open with a deadly cold wind blowing in, but that wasn’t what made Bartholomew quiver in his bed. Sitting on his chest was a man, or what looked like a man. It wore a white ceramic mask with a cocky smirk drawn on and devil horns poking out of the forehead, and in the openings where the eyes were supposed to be, were two red glowing lights.

Barty couldn’t breath. It might have been because he had a man sitting on his chest, but he believed it was the crippling fear that emanated from the man that left him paralyzed.

A moment after his stunned awakening, the figure levitated upward, floating above him, uncrossing his arms and extending them towards the ceiling. They looked like metal, shining with silver claws–they were gloves.

Desperately wanted to scream, but the best he could do was little squeaks. The figure stared down from its position. It seemed to be examining him.

It continued to stare until it finally hissed out a word, “Es vos vultus mihi?”

Bartholomew shivered so hard that the springs of the mattress could be heard.

“Es vos vultus mihi?” it repeated.

Bartholomew didn’t understand. He couldn’t even place the language. Had he been able to, he would have answered any question he could, just to get rid of this monster.

The creature paused, as if comprehending Bartholomew’s ignorance. It took off its mask and Barty nearly fainted. Underneath the mask was a horrible face, a skeletal head with hanging skin and empty eye sockets, its mouth missing teeth and its tongue green with a decaying breath panting out.

A purple haze breathed out of the creature’s mouth, encapsulating Bartholomew’s head. He fell unconscious, waking up in an empty meadow with nothing but a tale and two chairs, Bartholomew sitting in one of them. There was a lovely tea set of silver on the table and a platter of biscuits in the middle.Bartholomew was tempted to grab one, but when he saw the figure appear in the chair in front of him, he thought better of it.

He appeared with skin and old, Victorian style clothing, looking like a proper gentlemen of the time. Giving a nod, he spoke. “Greetings,” he said, his voice gentle and refined, like one who was groomed with all the advantages of the noble elite.

Bartholomew was astonished, but he managed to utter a reply. “Hello,” he said, “Where am I? And who are you?”

“I’m the one you were looking for. I hold the title of Spring-Heeled Jack.”

“Title?” said Bartholomew, as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

“Come now, Bart,” said Jack, “I know you saw me that day in the garden of my mistress. I also saw the way you were looking at her.”

Bartholomew blushed. “I’m, sss, sorry, sir,” he said, “I didn’t mean anything by it. I was…”

“Only caught off guard by her exquisite beauty? Yes, I know. Just as I was so very long ago…”

“Long ago?”

“I have held the title of Jack for a long time now. Way before you, your parent, your parent’s parents… You get the idea, I’m sure,” he continued as he poured two cups of tea. “One lump or two?”

“Err, two,” said Barty, as Jack put two sugar cubes in Bartholomew’s cup before handing it to him.

“The title, Jack, is one not lightly carried. To be Jack means surrendering to a more chaotic personality. A trickster, wrong-doer, scoundrel, ect… But also it entails serving the mistress, as she is the one who gave the title in the first place.” He sipped his tea after giving it a stir.

“So…” said Bartholomew, beginning to feel more comfortable, “Why are you telling me all this?”

“Well,” said Jack, setting down his tea, “I am no longer the hansom, young rascal you see before you. I am old and

decayed and well to put it bluntly, dead.”

“OK?” said Bartholomew

“I have grown tired of this preoccupation, capturing young people to satisfy my mistress so she can eat them and maintain her youth, it started out as good sport until the last fifty years. It is all meaningless, you know? I’ve been trapped for approximately 108 years as Jack. I do not recall my original name, nor do I have any faith that I deserve my old name. I have done a lot of bad things, Bart, and I am ready to see my place in Hell. Though I cannot leave unless someone takes my mantle as Jack.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” said Mark, “But I don’t want to be Jack.”

“I’m afraid you don’t have a choice,” said Jack, “My mistress chose you. You will be her pleasure as well as her hunter, until she grows sick of your face. I’ve delayed my duties for far too long. It is now time for you, Bart, to take my place.”

And with that, he placed his palm on Barty’s head and said, “Nunc detur tibi nomen Jack.”

It burned. Barty cried out as he felt a hot blade etch into his skin.It twisted and turned and went on for what seemed like hours, searing his skin, cutting deep, deep till he felt the scratches on his skull itself.

“Barty! Barty!” shouted his father, shaking him awake. “Wake up, Barty,” he said, “You’re having a bad dream!”

Bartholomew woke up and rose so quickly that he head butted his father in the jaw. He rubbed his head to feel the sweat pouring out of every pore, hot, while the rest of his body felt cold and clammy. He panted as he apologized to his father, who was still rubbing his bearded chin.

“Are you alright, love?” said his mother; she looked like she had been crying.

“I saw Jack, dad,” said Barty.

His dad sighed. “It was all just a bad dream Bart,” said his father, “There is no Jack; he’s just a fairy tale.”

Bart’s mother tried to grin, but she couldn’t stop wiping her face. “I’m alright, mother,” said Bart, “It was just a dream, a really horrible dream. I’m fine now.” He smiled and tried to give his mother some courage as he desperately tried to find his own.

“That’s my boy,” said his father.

“Don’t hesitate to call us,” said his mother, “If you can’t sleep.”

“He’ll be alright, honey,” said his father, “He’s my son after all.”

“Yes, of course,” said his mother, still wiping her eyes, “Sleep well dear.” Bart’s parents left his room, their trepidations lingering with Bartholomew as they closed the door behind them.

‘Was it all just a dream?’ Bartholomew asked himself. He looked at the mirror that hung on his bedroom door and he could see something on his forehead that looked like a star. He jumped out of bed and got a closer look. On his forehead was the the satanic pentagram.

The Curse of Spring-Heeled Jack Part 2

27 Apr

“Thank you for allowing me to come over, Ms. Berkley,” said Bartholomew as the two sipped tea on her garden porch. Ms. Berkley smiled, the few wrinkles on her face betraying her age, however her young, blue eyes, so captivating, dispelled any discomfort of his own attraction for her.

“Well, I so glad that you would be honest enough to come by and fix any mistake you made last time you were here,” she said, winking at him. He had that uncomfortable feeling again. Maybe it was because he was so young and she was so much older, but if he wasn’t so preoccupied with his monster hunt, he would be easily persuaded to stay a while longer and inch his way to her upstairs room.

She was extraordinarily lovely, her light blond hair teased and flowing like a willows branches down to her shoulders, and her light green sun dress, with its low-cut front made her look like a dryad from the fantasy novels he used to read as a child.

He blushed, as he felt hotter and hotter from the conversation and he couldn’t help but think she was looking to get a little lucky herself, but surely a beautiful woman such as herself didn’t have trouble finding a man to sleep with.

“Wow, that sun is beating down, isn’t it?” he asked, trying to find a more innocent subject to dwell on.

“It is,” she said, “Maybe we should go inside where it’s cooler.” Her suggestion was well received, but Barty’s conscience calmed his animalistic appetites saying, “Sorry, but I should really get to work. I have a lot of other houses to hit this afternoon.”

Ms. Berkley smiled. “Well, I hope we get to do this again sometime.” She batted her eyes and leaned forward as she stood up from her seat.

Her cleavage was nice…

“Yes,” said Barty, “I’d like that.” He shook her hand, picked up his tool bag, and walked silently to the spot he saw the legendary myth, kicking himself the whole way there.

She was begging for it. She wanted it worse than I did.

But I’m not that guy. I’m really looking for Ms. Right.

But what about Ms. Right-Now?

I did the right thing. That’s all that matters…

Bartholomew looked down at the ground at the edge of the hedges. It was dark green with grass, except for a muddy imprint of a boot. It was deep, as if the figure was very heavy, but as Barty remembered it, he looked no more than 170 lbs. ‘There’s no way that that man made this print…’

Dropping his bag, he ran around the hedge to the other side, but there was no landing print. He didn’t find one for another hundred feet near the end of the block. He looked towards the other side. He could have jumped over this street, I think.’ He was about to cross when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

He jumped at the touch, warm and inviting as it was. “Are you alright, Bart?” asked the familiar voice of Ms. Berkley. Relieved, Bartholomew sighed. “Yes, I’m fine,” said Barty, “I, I guess I didn’t make any mistake after all,” he said.

“Oh? Well I hope next time you don’t need to fix a mistake the next time you come over.” She winked and strutted away.

Damn… that ass…

Oh stop that, said Barty’s conscience.

The Curse of Spring-Heeled Jack Part 1

27 Apr

The name had been scarcely heard for generations, only a murmur of the rumoured scoundrel survived after the first attacks, but every once in a while a new story would perk up, as it happened to Bartholomew Craig not so long ago.

Bartholomew, a young man who just graduated high school, spent the bulk of his time working landscape in the suburbs of London. Mowing grass, raking mulch, trimming hedges, it all kept Barty quite busy, so busy it left him with little time to spend with his friends during this last summer before university.

It was quite lonely; the most interaction he had was with his clients who had hired him to look after their yards. One, in particular, Ms. Berkley, a retired socialite and rather easy on the eyes for a woman her age, was his favorite, for not only was she pretty but she gave him the most generous tips.

It was in her yard that he saw an unknown man, or what he supposed was a man until it leaped clear over Ms. Berkley’s six-foot high hedges. Barty couldn’t forget his jet black hair and exquisitely, shiny black suit; he was obviously a suitor of the woman of the house, but what Barty found most peculiar (besides his ability to jump over the hedge, of course) was this white, ceramic mask he was wearing.

It had devil horns protruding from the forehead and a cocky smirk drawn on the face. There were holes for eyes and nostrils, but Barty was sure he didn’t notice any eyes behind it, but that was overshadowed by his incredible agility and anything beyond that seemed inconsequential besides.

He related this to his parents, who chuckled and said, “It sound like you had an encounter with Spring-heeled Jack.”

‘Spring-heeled Jack?’ Barty thought. ‘Spring-heeled Jack was only a fairy tale, wasn’t he?’

There was only one way to find out: he would have to make his own investigation.

The Mothman Reborn Epilogue

20 Apr

Daryl woke up to find his body healed. He looked whole, as if he hadn’t been in a fight at all. ‘Was it all a dream?’ he thought as he stood up. He didn’t know. He couldn’t figure out how he ended up in a ditch outside the power plant if was a dream, but he was completely unmarked. He did know one thing though, he felt a lot stronger, more than he had ever felt before.

He looked towards the city. The festival must have shut down for the night; his mother must have been worried by now… He faced towards home and walked down the road in the peaceful darkness.

It was an old house. It needed a lot of care, with the grass growing uncontrollably and the paint chipping unbearably, the house resembled a dying shack than a home, but with his mother working two jobs, she had little time to do  anything about it and his father had left them a long time ago.

Daryl walked inside to find his mother, asleep on the couch, the TV on, the news blaring like a megaphone. He looked over to her sleeping body, seeing her shiver, he draped a discarded blanket lying on the floor on top of her. Tucking her in gently, he turned his attention to the TV and was about to turn it of when he saw what looked like a door with claw marks running across it.

Daryl felt his heart stop as he turned the volume low and sank into an easy chair.

The Holler residence appeared, looking normal until the newsman interviewed the Hollers themselves. disheveled and frightened, they retold their story, claiming they were visited by the mothman.

Daryl’s body shook. ‘Was that me?’ he thought, ‘Was all that real?’

Another voice answered from inside that made him shiver, ‘Yes, it was.’

The Mothman Reborn Part 5

20 Apr

‘Where are you going? Weren’t you going to destroy Kevin, his family and the rest of this shit-hole town?’

‘I’m not going to do that,’ thought Daryl, ‘I’m going back to my body and I’m never doing this again.’

‘Our body, you mean,’ it said, ‘You can’t get rid of me now, and I can control you and everything myself if I have to.’

“I won’t let you,” Daryl said aloud.

‘Oh? You really think so? Your body is as good as mine. You’re weak! It’s why that Holler kid picked on you so bad. You couldn’t do what needed to be done because you’re a scared little bitch. When we get back to my body, I’m locking you up so tight in my subconscious that even in my dreams I won’t hear your insignificant bitching.’

…”You really think so?”

Daryl saw his body right where they left it. With a flash of light, they entered inside. Daryl found himself in an empty white room.

“Hello, Daryl,” said a voice behind him.

Daryl turned around to see a light-blue man standing behind him, with large black eyes and slits for nostrils. His arms and legs were long, with three digits on each. His mouth was large with great sharp teeth.

Daryl smirked. “You must be the jerk who hi-jacked my body. What’s your name?”

“You don’t need to know that. You’ll be locked up in here forever.”

“Not if I lock you up first,” said Daryl.

The being laughed. “I am intelligence! I know more about the mind than anyone else. What makes you think you can beat me?”

“I spend enough time in my head,” said Daryl, “I think I take you.”

“I will miss your misguided notions.”

The being changed into its white, red-eyed form; it’s mandible chattering like a hungry bug.

Daryl grinned as he turned into the black form he took on at the Holler house.

“Cute. Your pitiful form vs. mine. Ready to lose yourself, boy?”

“Shut up and fight, body snatcher!”

Daryl’s hands grew and stretched, gripping the creature inside. It burned and Daryl released him quickly.

It had changed into a spiny ball of fire. Unrolling itself, it changed its hands into missile launchers, shooting enormous ionic orbs towards Daryl.

Daryl, shrank and twisted around them, moving closer. The being’s arms shifted again into swords, slashing out at him. Daryl’s left arm became a large shield. He pushed forward as the being jumped over the shield and cutting Daryl’s back.

Daryl winced. “Had enough?” said the being.

“You wish!”

Daryl threw his shield at the being. It dodged. Daryl raised his fists and shot ionic darts out of his knuckles. The being charged forward with his own shield, catching the darts like a giant board. Then Daryl’s shield hit him in the back of the head, sending him forward into Daryl enlarged fists.

The being, fallen and dented, stood up as if unphased. “You show a lot of promise. But that means nothing if you’re gone.”

“Funny,” said Daryl, panting, “I was going to say the same thing.”

Daryl’s knees shook. He felt weaker somehow. And why did the being look like he was getting bigger?

“You alright?” asked the being, smiling.

“I’m fine!” said Daryl, defiantly, “Just worry about yourself.”

Daryl’s hands elongated and sharpened as he charged into the being, slashing and tearing into its shadowy body, but to no avail. It wasn’t affecting him at all, and the whole time he seemed to be growing.

“You amuse me, Daryl Leroy Kerns. You can’t hurt me that way. It is pointless for you to continue. Just give up.”

“I won’t give up!” Daryl tore into the being again and again, ripping and shredding through the shadowy body as quickly as he could, but it was useless. Its body reassembled and linked and fastened together as if a master seamstress was hard at work fixing a ravaged rag doll.

Daryl grew extremely tired from all of this, and though he was causing the most damage, the being grew bigger with every strike.

“Have you figured it out yet, Daryl?” asked the being, his mouth wide and eyes calculating, “I’ll just tell you then: the longer we fight, the greater my hold on you. I have been absorbing your life force, your spiritual essence. Soon I will have undisputed control over your body and you will be a distant speck of a memory deep in my subconscious.”

Daryl’s face filled with terror. It had been a distraction the entire time. This battle was nothing but a time waster, allowing the being to assimilate into Daryl’s body.

“Too bad you’re too exhausted to do anything about it,” it said, creating a large ball of energy in its hands. “Any last words before your soul is disintegrated?”

“I’m not done yet!” Daryl shouted.

“Stupid boy,” said the being throwing the ball at Daryl. The ball of energy passed right through and Daryl felt some of his strength returning.

“What?!” shouted the being, “You… You should be gone.” It created another ball and threw it, but Daryl only absorbed it. Comprehension dawned on Daryl’s face.

“You miscalculated, creature,” said Daryl, smiling, “You may have been absorbing my essence and gaining control of my body, but it seems its a two way street. Now that I know what to do, I think I will be taking my body back now.”

The being smiled. “You’re so naive. Just because you know the trick doesn’t mean you can replicate it. Try it! I dare you!”

“Since you asked so nicely…”

Daryl ripped into the being again with his claws, this time taking a great chunk out of it. The being screamed at the touch and fell. Again Daryl ripped and tore into the being, tearing out chunks and strips, absorbing them and growing until the being was nothing but a head.

“Please,” said the being, “Have mercy on me!”

Daryl smiled his wide toothy smile. “No,” he said, and opening his mouth he swallowed what remained of the being.

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