Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chapter 12: Fourth Night, Part II

Vernon frowned and nodded. He climbed out of the recliner, waited for Ethan to stand and lead him into the kitchen. He grabbed a flashlight off the table and pointed it downward over the edge. “Look down there,” he said, pointing at the floor. His foot sat near the leg. A few cautious, dark strands investigated his laces. Ethan nodded. Vernon clicked the light on. Shadows shrank away from the sudden light, but the glare birthed a strong shadow from the tabletop onto his foot. Unable to move up his leg, it contracted and clamped on his foot. Vernon stumbled as his foot slid under the table. His knee straightened and popped; his thigh bumped into the wood. Vernon hissed in pain and tried to draw back, but it wouldn’t let go. He swung the light down his leg. The beam slashed through the shadow, which parted and retreated under the table.

Panting, he stood up straighter, leaning to the left to favor his injured leg. Vernon clicked off the light and turned to Ethan with raised eyebrows. His friend responded with a frown. “Slip on some water or something?”

“What? You didn’t see the shadows moving?”

“All I saw was you waving that light around and trying not to fall.”

A sharp retort nearly escaped his lips before Vernon could bite it back. Trying to convince him, not get in a shouting match. Besides, it probably did look that way from where he’s standing. Maybe he needs to see it for himself. But he didn’t want to put Ethan in any danger. He sighed and ran his gaze around the room. His eyes stopped on the upper cupboard next to the sink. That might do the trick. He absentmindedly wiped his hand on his jeans and stepped across the room, motioning for Ethan to follow.

Darkness oozed back as he opened the cabinet doors. Vernon eyed the deeper shadows behind the other cupboards to the side. Probably not a real threat – there certainly wasn’t enough room to drag Ethan into even if he was alone – but who knew what mischief they could achieve? He flipped the other doors open and looked again. Too much light. He shut all the doors but one. Fainter than before, but they still looked fairly strong. He waved the flashlight at the shelf a couple of times for good measure. That should work. “Stick your hand in there.”


“You’ll see in a minute.”

Ethan shrugged. He stared at the shelf for a moment before reaching in up to his elbow. Vernon flashed the light inside one more time then stepped back. Ethan shook his head with a bemused grin and stood still a moment. He opened his mouth as if to say something; his lips curled into a grimace and he tried to pull his arm back.

“Wait!” Vernon lowered his voice and coughed into his fist. “Just wait a sec.” Ethan shuddered, but slowly reached back inside. “Now take a look in there and tell me what you see.”

Squinting, he leaned forward. Vernon could see his arm trembling as he studied the interior of the cabinet. Whatever he saw in there held his attention quite securely. Aside from his eyes scanning side to side and a periodic twitch of his head, Ethan remained stock still. Vernon held his breath. Is this it? He’s acting like he sees something. I wish I knew what he was thinking. He took a step, then stopped himself. Don’t need to interrupt. Just let him figure it out on his own. Shouldn’t be too long now, anyway. He leaned back on the counter, fidgeting with the flashlight. He suppressed a shudder at the memory of little shadows crawling over his hand. How much longer can he stand that? He flipped the flashlight end over end while he waited. He nearly dropped it when Ethan let out a sharp hiss.

“Something bit me!” Drawing his hand from the cupboard, Ethan leaned in closer, then shook his head and examined his index and middle fingers. Blood welled from three parallel cuts just below the nails. “Looks like I need to get an exterminator out here ASAP.”

“An exterminator? For what?”

“Looks like we’ve got some kind of infestation – mice, maybe rats and whatever was crawling up and down my arm a minute ago.”

“‘Whatever?’” His voice rose with incredulity.

“Yeah. Couldn’t get a good look at it. Not enough light; all I could see was something moving in the shadows.”

Vernon snorted. “Fine. I’ll give you all the light you need.” He flipped the doors open one by one, hard enough they bounced off each other, and shined the flashlight inside for good measure. Cups, bowls, plates and Tupperware gleamed back at them. “See anything in there to call an exterminator for?”

“Vern, calm down. With you making all that racket and flashing that light around, it’s no wonder they ran off.”

“What ran off, Ethan? What? Roaches? Rats? Spiders?” He walked closer and shoved the flashlight around the bottom shelf. “Where are they?”

“Like I said, ran off –”

“Oh, come on! Ran off where? There’s nothing in here, Ethan. You’d still be able to see some bugs, rat poop, something, anything. There aren’t even any spider webs.” Ethan shrugged and scratched his chin, but said nothing. Vernon sighed and nodded. “Fine. Have it your way. I guess I know what I have to do. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.” He walked to the doorway into the back room and reached one arm around. He crooked a finger at his friend. “I’ll need you to come over here, though.”

“For what?”

“To make sure I don’t die.”

Ethan gave an exasperated laugh. “Sure thing.” He walked over and leaned on the refrigerator. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Vernon said and flipped off the lights in the back room.

++++model smart warez

Part III of Chapter 12 coming soon!


model smart warez