Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chapter 12: Fourth Night, Part IV

Ethan grabbed the flashlight and set a brisk pace through Alexis’ room and into the master bedroom. He walked around the bed and stopped on the far side. Vernon stood beside him. “This the closet that’s been giving you so much trouble?” he asked, pointing with the light. Shadows crowded away from the illumination. Vernon watched them brood in the corners and nodded. “Alright then. When I come back out of there, I hope you’ll actually listen for once.”

Vernon grabbed his arm. “Ethan, don’t!”

He smiled and pushed Vernon’s hand away. “Don’t worry. Just give me a minute, then open the door. I’ll be fine, and maybe you’ll come around.”

Reaching out, Vernon tried to grab him again, but Ethan shrugged him off and stepped into the closet. He shoved clothes aside, stepped in and turned around. His knees buckled a bit as if something had bumped into his back. “Looks like we’ll need to get an exterminator out here in the morning. Some big rats in here from the feel. Give me about two minutes, then open the door.”

Vernon opened his mouth in protest, but before he could say anything, Ethan leaned out, grabbed the knob and pulled the door shut. Vernon saw the light swishing side to side through the crack near the floor, then it winked out.

Something thudded against the door. Ethan gave a muffled shout. Something clattered against the floor. And silence.

Uncertainty kept Vernon rooted to the spot. He knew he should open the door. But what’s the point? It’s not like there’s anybody in there anymore. He shoved a fist into his mouth to stifle a giggle. “Get a grip on yourself,” he muttered and jumped at the sound of his own voice. He took a deep breath and walked to the door. The knob felt slippery in his sweaty grasp. Vernon wiped his hands on his shirt, grabbed the doorknob, counted to five and yanked it open, taking a long step backward as he did so.

Vernon watched as the darkness rolled outward and went through its usual display of flattening and retreating from the overhead light. A part of him wondered how he could stand there and witness such a thing so calmly. Guess you really can get used to anything. Another wild titter threatened to bubble up. He forced it back down. Once it appeared the shadows had withdrawn as much as they were going to, Vernon took a couple of hesitant steps toward the closet. Ethan, of course, was nowhere to be seen. But a round piece of metal protruded from the darkness. He dropped to his knees and crept forward until his outstretched hand stood a few fingers’ breadth from the shiny object. He stayed still for several moments. Then his hand shout out, grabbed it and dragged it out. He half expected shadows to cling to it like some sort of glue that would snap back and yank him with it. But the flashlight pulled free easily enough and he scuttled backward without any interference. He clutched it to his chest and clicked it on and off a few times to prove to himself it still worked. He kept it pointed at the closet, watching the light drill its way through the darkness. Finally, tired of the game, he shut the flashlight off. Vernon stood, stretched and went into the living room. After a few tugs, he wrestled the door open and walked out onto the front porch.


Part V coming soon!

Labels: crack code warez pro crack code warez pro

Chapter 12: Fourth Night, Part III

Dark gripped his flesh with cold talons. He grabbed the doorframe with his other hand and pulled. Nothing. He tried again. Still nothing. A tug from the other side jerked him into the room up to his shoulder. The cold crept up his arm. Vernon turned his head. Shadows were trying to cover more of his body. Only the kitchen light kept them at bay. Wonderful. My luck, the lights will go out in just a second. He looked at Ethan, still leaning against the refrigerator. Ethan scratched his head and arched an eyebrow. “A little help?” he grunted, slipping a few inches back. Fingers started to cramp as he tightened his grip.

Ethan shook his head. “Do you really think this little display will prove anything, Vern?”

Vernon gaped at him and momentarily lost his hold on the doorframe. His shirt ripped as it raked across the doorway. Clawing for a new purchase, he managed to halt his progress just as the cold dark reached his jawline. One of his legs had been dragged across the threshold, increasing the pull on his body. He grimaced as the muscles in his fingers and forearm started to cramp. “Come on, Ethan,” he gasped. “Don’t just stand there. Do something!” The fingernail on his pinky ripped free. Tears started in his eyes, and he lost his grip. Wood bit into his arm as he wrapped his elbow and knee around the doorway. Another jerk pulled him a few inches back. Pain flared in his arm. I can’t keep this up. So much for a demonstration. I wonder if Ethan will try to come in there after me. The cramps spread up his arm. His hold started to slip. Vernon closed his eyes and took a deep breath as his grip weakened further.

Nothing dragged him backward. In fact, the pain and tension in his wrist had increased. Cocking one eye open, he found Ethan holding to his arm with both hands. His friend leaned backward, bracing one foot against the doorway just above Vernon’s leg. Muscles and tendons stood out in his neck and forearm. He muttered something through gritted teeth.


“I said, let go!” Ethan shouted.

“I’m not holding on to anything!”

“I’m not playing, Vern,” he grated. Sweat dripped from his forehead. “Either let go, or I do. I’m not going to give myself a heart attack over this.”

I think he’s serious. His old friend looked like he might pop a vessel any minute. But for now, he kept his hold. Groaning, Vernon strained to help free himself. He pulled with the leg wrapped around the doorframe. He’d lost all feeling in the arm and leg trapped in darkness, but he tried to make them push, as well. Slowly, inch by painful inch, he scraped past the wall and back into the kitchen. Ethan’s sweaty hands made the progress difficult. Every few minutes, Vernon had to brace himself as Ethan let go with one hand, wiping it on his pants, then repeat the process with his other hand. At least he’s holding on. He slipped half an inch between sweaty palms. For now. Another lunge, and he managed to pull himself halfway out of the back room. He used the wall to support himself as Ethan pulled one hand free to wipe clear. Vernon had only a bare warning before the other slipped free.

He lurched backward, barely able to halt his backward slide. The abrupt stop slammed him into the doorframe. His free arm banged the wall. He heard a bang from the other side, felt his arm hit something. Light flooded the back room. Vernon fell to the floor and laughed at Ethan’s sudden, surprised expression. “Guess I should have tried that sooner.”

Ethan put both hands behind his neck and tilted his head back. “It would have been better if you’d just let go when I told you. I don’t know what you were trying to prove, playing tug-o-war with me like that.” His neck cracked as he turned it side to side. “I’d send you my chiropractor bill if I didn’t already know you don’t have any money.”

“I wasn’t trying to prove anything.” He stood and dusted his pants off. “I told you I wasn’t holding onto anything. Does this look like I’m playing?” He pulled at his shirt, exposing the tears. “Or this?” Blood dripped from his arm as he shoved it into Ethan’s face. Several gashes ran from elbow to wrist. Out of the cold night, the wounds were starting to hurt. Look like I’ve been manhandled by an eagle or something. He kept the other hand clenched in a fist. The pressure helped dull the pain from his missing fingernail. “What do you have to say about that?”

Blowing noisily and shaking his head, Ethan pushed the arm aside and stared him in the face. “Look, Vern, I’ve always tried to be a good friend. Sometimes that means telling folks what they don’t want to hear.” He leaned back against the wall. “I got to tell you, there’s something seriously wrong in your head. I know you’ve been through a lot lately. You lost a job. All your money’s gone. You had to move across the state, and your marriage hit the skids. I guess the stress just got to you.”

“Stress? You don’t know the first thing –”

“I’m not done.” A hard edge entered his tone. “My guess is you just snapped. Your wife and daughter left, and you concocted some sort of fantasy because you couldn’t deal with the fact they’re gone. Look at yourself.” He gestured at the bleeding arm. “You’re hurting yourself to make it true. I don’t know if you’re doing it on purpose or if you’re even aware of it. You sure seem like you believe all this, and I don’t think you’d make me bust a gut for some kind of make believe.”

“You still think I’m making all this up?”

“Maybe not on purpose, but yeah.”

“After everything I’ve showed you…” Vernon trailed off and shook his head.

“What have you shown me, Vern? Huh? A table with nothing under it? A cabinet with some mice and roaches in it?”

“That cabinet was empty, Ethan. You know that.”

“Of course it was empty. With all the banging and light, anything in there would have run off. Just because you didn’t see anything doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It certainly doesn’t mean there’s some kind of creepy crawly dark waiting to drag you away. It’s just part of this dream of yours, just like you grabbing the wall in there to pretend the darkness got you.” Vernon tried to get a word in, but Ethan overrode him, turning around to point through the living room. “I’m not sure I even want to know what was going through your head when you were trying to tear my house down.”

“I told you about that.”

“I know what you told me, but what was it really?” He waved dismissively. “I doubt you even know. But you have got to snap out of it, Vern. For your son’s sake if not your own. Face facts: You’re alone here now. Cheryl and Alexis aren’t coming back.”

Vernon laughed hysterically. “You think I don’t know that?”

“Not for the reasons you think. They’re not sucked away into the dark here. Your wife left you and took one of the kids with her. She left the baby with you. Looks to me like she just couldn’t take anymore of the stress y’all had been under and decided to split with her baby girl.”

“I’m telling you, they haven’t gone anywhere.”

“Snap out of it!” Ethan yelled. “Look, I’m going to prove to you there’s nothing here, then we’re going to go get you some help.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just come with me.”

Part IV coming soon!

Labels: crack code warez pro crack code warez pro

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.

++++crack code warez pro

Part III of Chapter 12 coming soon!


crack code warez pro

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chapter 12: Fourth Night, Part 1

Ethan Roodschild frowned at his coffee mug. He slouched back on the blue hide-a-bed, his gaze locked on the empty cup, motionless and silent except for periodic murmuring too quiet for Vernon to make out. He’s been doing that for better than half an hour. Why doesn’t he say something? Vernon fidgeted in his recliner, unable to take his eyes from his friend. If he can still be called that.

He had tried to hold back, but Ethan’s arrival had unleashed a torrent of words and bitterness that shocked even Vernon. After Ware’s visit, Vernon passed the remainder of his afternoon pacing through the house. He could feel the fog that had clouded his brain most of the day just waiting for a chance to come back. He found himself standing in the middle of the room staring at walls and windows several times. The only real solution seemed to lay in action. The fog refused to dissipate entirely, but as long as he was doing something, he could hold it at bay. So Vernon got moving. He checked every light and replaced the burnt-out bulbs in the back room. They lit when he flipped the switch. He breathed a sigh of relief and walked to the kitchen, leaving the light on behind him. In the hour and a half before Ethan knocked at the door, Vernon made at least a half-dozen circuits of the house, double- and re-checking bulbs and replacing three others that looked about to go out. He was pondering a fourth when a knock at the door interrupted him. Neither said a word as Vernon opened the door. Ethan stepped inside with a scowl for the damaged wall. His frown deepened as the door wedged shut with a wooden grinding noise. Instead of tearing into his wayward tenant, however, he simply sat on the love seat and watched as Vernon slipped into the kitchen to whip up a cup of instant coffee. He accepted the mug with a nod. Vernon sank into his chair and stared at his hands. What do I say? Where do I even begin? Then Ethan took the decision away with two simple words: “What’s up?”

A deep breath, and Vernon opened his mouth. He wasn’t sure what he intended to say. Perhaps an apology for the door or missing work. Maybe a comment about how his life was falling apart without his wife and daughter – carefully worded, of course. Or he could have just said that he didn’t know what to say. All perfectly good, safe ways to begin what would be a weird tale regardless of how he spun it. But what came out of his mouth was: “You killed my family.” Ethan’s eyebrows shot up at that, but he stayed silent while Vernon jabbed a finger his way and continued. “You knew this was a weird town. Why didn’t you say something? Even if we didn’t have any choice but to come here, some sort of heads up would have been nice. Cheryl and Alexis would still be here, and I wouldn’t be facing this nightmare alone. But no, you had to keep your mouth shut, and we paid the price.” Tears choked his voice. “Especially Cheryl and our little girl.”

“What happened to them?”

Vernon tried to ignore the question, tried to listen to the little voice whispering in his head that answering it would not end well. But his fear and frustration had found an outlet; he had the bit in his teeth and couldn’t stop now. He jumped from his chair and paced in front of Ethan’s seat. The words poured out in a torrent that offered every detail of the past few nights. Vernon told about their weird reception from Jennings Grove’s residents, the horror of losing Alexis and then his wife. He spoke of Cheryl’s final effort to save Ray and the subsequent nights of battles and narrow escapes. He showed every bruise and scrape he had gained in his struggles with the darkness. Finally, as he got to the morning’s fits and dropping Ray off with Kateri, the flood slowed and he forced himself to a stuttering halt. He dropped into his recliner, which answered with an internal sproing and a crack. Vernon ignored it, leaned back and stared at Ethan, waiting for the angry response. Instead, he got ignored. Say something, anything. Vernon glanced out the window. Night had fallen. He wondered what he would tell Ethan when it was time to go. It might solve a lot of problems if you just let him leave. Vernon shook his head. That wasn’t an answer.

“You know, this is a lot to take in,” Ethan said slowly. Vernon turned his gaze back on his boss and leaned forward in his chair. “You spin quite a tale, and you sure seem to believe it. But I got to tell you, I’m just not sure how to take all this.”

His eyes widened, and his jaw dropped. Vernon fell back, which set his seat to rocking. Ethan looked up at the squeaking springs with a small smile, but said nothing. Vernon closed his mouth and pushed on the floor with his feet. His gaze turned to the ceiling, he tried to let the swaying chair relax his nerves even as his mind raced ahead. Ethan almost sounded as though he believed the story, but that seemed rather unlikely. It’s not like this is the most believable story. I wouldn’t believe it if someone told me something like this. Is he playing with me? Or maybe just messing with my head? He chewed his lip. That’s not his style. He’s always been straight with me. Even if he thought I was completely deranged, he wouldn’t do that to me. So what is it? Vernon closed his eyes, tapping his thumbs together. No matter how hard he thought, he couldn’t find an answer that fit. He cracked an eyelid and snuck a glance at Ethan. He peered back with an expression that spoke of nothing but patience and hopeful expectation. He’d seen the same look on his friend’s face hundreds of times before while he waited for something to make sense. Is that it? Vernon sat up slowly. Metal inside the recliner squealed as he rose. Could it be that he wants to believe me, no matter how crazy it sounds? I just need to offer him some kind of… “Proof,” he said aloud. “You need some kind of proof.”

“It would be nice,” Ethan replied dryly.


Part 2 coming soon!

Labels: crack code warez pro crack code warez pro