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I handed him the ticket and took his donation shoving it in the drawer. I really didn't want to be at my dad's church festival. It was written all over my face. All I had was 15 more minutes left for my brother to take over the Admissions gate. I just wanted to go home and go to bed. I was still shook up about what had happened this morning. It's not every day an crazy woman comes up to your brother's car, attacks him and scares you half to death before dying from internal bleeding. At least that's what they said she died from. We were so small we didn't even have a real hospital. We had a clinic with a staff of about 10 people. Only about 3 of those 10 actually even went to medical school.
I couldn't stand it. About 80 percent of the whole damn build-a-bear town was here. I hated being from a small town. They all looked alike.
It sucks for a gay guy when the only two sexy guys in town were your adopted brother and a guy who no one knew anything AT ALL about.
Speaking of the devil.
There he was...THE Augustine War his hair braided in a single braid down his back. He had on a black t-shirt and some jeans. That's it. It was almost as though he knew he didn't have to try. He just had to walk in there and every girl would be staring.
The moon light seemed to cascade on him.
"Don't stare too hard you'll bleed."
I turned around. I knew I was fucking caught. I adjusted myself my package under the table. It didn't take much for me to get hard off of August.
Nooks was standing there. Nooks was this girl that also happened to be just as obsessed with my brother as I was for Augustine War. Nooks, of course was no where near my brother's type. She was bigger and heavy set. She had bad skin and didn't really have any style what-so-ever. It was normal to see Nooks in a bright colored t-shirt with some small town girl shorts on and flip flops. That's it.
I shook my head, "How can you not love him?"
Nooks looked over at where I was looking at. Nooks knew I was gay. She knew even before my brother knew. She was the one who actually convinced me to tell him.
"I mean, I have to admit, he's a looker. Those muscles, that face, that bronze skin tone," she said almost getting caught up her self but then retreating for a second, "But it's kind of unreal. Don't you think? No one he doesn't give the Valeries a time of day."
Valerie Stephenson and Valerie Thompson. I had grew up with them. Hell I grew up kind of with mostly all the kids in the school save a couple including Augustine. The Valeries had managed to get a nickname for themselves in the town. They were called the Dildo Duo. Everyone had sex with them. Sometimes both of them and a lot of time both of them at the same time. It was almost like a ritual. You had to sleep with one of the Valeries before you graduated. Even my brother fell for it. He slept with Valerie Stephenson and woke up with Valerie Thompson.
The Valeries had scouted him as soon as he walked into the park. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them as they approached Augustine who was still standing in the parking lot.
He didn't even shake them off. He just pretended not to see them wave.
"That's hilarious. Why do you think he's standing out there?" Nooks asked, "He looks like he's waiting for someone. He's always alone."
"He's cute and all but I can't just stare. Where's my brother? He needs to be releasing me."
"I never saw the day you'd turn down staring at that War kid."
"Yeah. I'm ready to go. I'll leave you and my brother here all alone...god will know what will happen and he HAS to stay here for 3 hours. All alone...that's if he ever gets here."
She jetted out of the door. I knew I could leave it up to Nooks to find Carter Jr. She would find him in probably less then 2 minutes. She had some type of radar when it came to him. She always did for that matter. I knew he would never like her. It was kind of sad because she did have a good heart, but that wasn't all that mattered sometimes.
Hence August and I.
I couldn't believe August was standing right in front of me at that minute. He had his shoulder rested against the open window pane of the toll booth. He looked me dead in my eyes. When we made eye contact he smiled.
Augustine War was smiling...AT ME!
I was so fucking short. I couldn't believe I was being so short with him. You ever spend so much time trying to think about what you were going to say to someone and then when you have the chance to say it everything kind of drifts away.
"We met yesterday..." he stated.
"Yeah we did. I remember"
"Great. Sorry I dipped out so quick. I had somewhere to be," he stated, "Um...how's your brother?"
I was standing here right in his face and he was asking about my brother. All of sudden as though my brother was called, he was standing right there. Nooks wasn't with him though. She probably never found him. He probably ended up coming over by himself.
He was standing right there beside the boy with his eyes set on him.
"I'm good...and you?"
August turned to my brother, "I was supposed to meet up with some friends of mine for this Christian carnival. They aren't real religious though. I guess they got cold feet..."
Carter looked over at me. It was almost like he wanted to push me into the conversation. I wanted to push myself into the conversation too but I remembered what happened last time.
Whatever the case I couldn't let that shit happen again.
"You have friends?" I asked.
I immediately wanted to slap myself in the face and proceed to the nearest intersection where I could hopefully get hit by a car. Only problem was that we were in Hoax. We didn't have drunk drivers and everyone was always extra careful to watch out for the few pedestrians we did have.
Augustine didn't seem too offended surprisingly. He looked at me with these edged eyes and answered swiftly, "Yeah. But I figured I could use some more. I was wondering if the offer to go out with you guys is still on the table?"
"Well I have to take over the toll booth," Carter Jr. pausing as though actually thinking what he was going to say next, "But my brother here is free..."
"Actually maybe we should just reschedule," I stated.
I didn't know why I said it. I just kept thinking about the old lady from this morning. I just wanted to go home. I didn't feel good about it still. People just don't see things like that and get over it. I was emotional.
I knew Nooks would kill me if she saw what a wimp I was being.
I couldn't help it though.
"Um...can I talk to my brother for one second?" Carter Jr. asked.
I looked at Augustine's reaction. I knew he found it weird. He had one of his intense eyebrows raised. His brown eyes stared into me as though trying to figure me out or something. If only he wanted to, I would let him know everything about me. Just...not...now...
Carter grabbed me by my arm and started to pulled me behind the toll booth. We hid out of sight so that Augustine couldn't see. He looked confused.
"So I try to convince you for the longest that you are too good for this guy and when we finally get to the point where I give in, all of a sudden you aren't interested anymore?"
"It's not that I'm not interested...I'm just shook up...about earlier."
"An crazy old lady that you didn't know died. I am left with the bruises. Look at my face. I'm not even worried about it anymore. Teddy, get over it."
"God...you don't understand. I'll go..."
"No you know what, you don't have to. I was wrong," Carter said stopping me, "I just want you to be happy ok? Just don't regret this in the morning."
I shrugged my shoulders and laughed a little bit. We walked out from behind the toll booth. I was expecting to see him...but he wasn't there.
Augustine had disappeared, before I even got the chance to talk to him again.
I started down the street. It was naturally quiet and naturally dark as hell. Our city was really isolated if you asked me. Mayor Quimby decided to dim the very few street lights in the city, probably trying to save money. Who knew. Quimby was a cheap ass. He was didn't know how to separate state from religion. He had the motto "If you don't pay taxes you are going to hell."
The darkness was thick.
I started kicking up rocks as I walked. I needed to hear something. It was too quiet. Not even the breeze was making any noise. Most people were at the church festival. That was the big whoop I guessed. Church festivals...
It was usually this dark but usually I got a ride home from Carter Jr. There was no way I was waiting that long though for him to get off of his volunteer duty.
I had made it to the end of the street. To the right was the park. The park became the cemetery if you followed it all the way down. If you kept following it long enough you would get to the street where Mrs. Devro was. I looked down there and I wondered. I wondered why the fuck that old lady did what she did. I used to know Mrs. Devro before her husband died. She was a sweet lady.
The street that led to the cemetery and Mrs. Devro's had no light coming from it. If I took the left I would end up at the school and if I kept heading that way possibly at my house.
As I looked down the hall I saw someone there.
I thought everyone would be at the festival at a time like this. Everyone in the town seemed religious. It seemed like I got tickets for everyone. I knew half those funds were going right to Mayor Quimby's pockets anyway since he so-called was helping the church.
The person just stood there. I started to walk and realized the person took steps as well.
"Are you following me?" I asked.
The person didn't say anything.
I looked hard at whoever it was. The hood and the figure came to mind almost immediately. It was the same woman from earlier in the morning. The same woman who ignored us when we were trying to get Mrs. Devro there.
"Listen lady...can you...c-c-c-c-an you please leave me alone?"
She didn't mean any good. It wasn't the fact that she wasn't saying anything. What scared me was the way the presence that she had. I couldn't see her eyes underneath her hood. I couldn't see her hair. I could see her lips though. She had dark lips. She had a dark complexion all together but her lips were especially dark.
Suddenly I heard a car coming. I struggled to move out of the way, crossing to the side of the street. It felt kind of good for a moment that a car was coming. It seemed to break the tension between the lady and I. I was brought back to reality that I wasn't completely alone in this city.
The car didn't pass...instead there was honking.
"You can go, what the fuck!" I stated, "I'm on the side of the street."
The car continued to honk.
I took a step into the grass. The mud covered my shoes. I was pissed. Yeah the city of Hoax didn't have any sidewalks on most streets. It was just road and grass. It sucked.
The car still didn't ride past me. It rode up to the side of me. I looked into the window.
I looked over at the car. It was Augustine. He looked in my eyes and smiled. He rode up beside me slowly until I stopped walking and turned to him.
"Yeah. Well my whole name is Theodore Michaels. Everyone calls me Teddy though," I stated nodding my head, "I'm surprised you remember."
"Of course I do," he explained, "Why do you think I wouldn't?"
I wanted to suggest the fact that maybe because you ignored he for almost a year...
It didn't come out that way though.
"No reason. Listen, you mind taking me home. There's this lady that I keep seeing. She's really creeping me out," I explained.
Was he blind?
"Right on the left hand of your car?"
He didn't say anything. He just turned and looked over at me. What the fuck did he mean? I looked past him at where she was walking. No...woman. I looked up the street and then down the street. It was a clear street. There was no way she could have disappeared.
It was impossible!
There was no way he couldn't have seen her. She was just there a few seconds before him. I hated this.
I had to be seeing things. I needed to lay down...sleep.
"A weird lady," I explained, "She was there this morning. This morning when Mrs. Devro died. It was fucking crazy. She didn't do a damn thing but here she was."
"Oh Mrs. Devro died? She's a neighbor of mine..." He said putting his head down all of a sudden, "That's crazy man. Hey, get in. I'll take you home...
He said it almost as though he felt bad for me or something. I felt bad for my damn self. I knew he could probably read the worry all over my face. Now he was probably thinking I was crazy or something. I couldn't believe I was just letting him get to me like this.
I got into his car. It was a really nice car. It was nicer than most cars in Hoax. He didn't have much on. He wasn't playing any music or anything. There was a unique smell of lemon on the interior. On the dashboard there were hyacinths of several different colors.
"I'm not crazy," I told him as he pulled off.
"Sure you aren't," he explained and looked over to me. He smiled, "It really sucks about Mrs. Devro man. Were you there?"
I nodded, "Yeah. It was crazy."
I shook my head, "I really would prefer not to talk about it."
Here I was talking to Augustine War and I was probably offending him. He got real quiet as though that wasn't the answer he wanted to her. He was the guy I had been crushing on for the longest time. I don't think any girl who liked him had gotten as far as to be in his car before.
"I...I didn't mean to offend you," he started off.
"I'm just saying," he continued, "I'm used to death. I don't mind it. I've been around it all my life...you believe in ghosts?"
The way he asked it was chilling. It sent something down my spine. I crossed my arms as he did it. I wasn't completely sure what he was talking about but I knew that it was something I didn't really want to talk about.
"No. Do you?"
"Yeah," he explained to me with his face looking back at me and smiling, "Yeah I believe in ghosts and all that stuff. Spirits too. You know there's a difference. My dad always told me to be careful of them you k now. He's very superstitious. There are things worse than ghosts though...those are the ones you ought to really be scared of."
My palms started to sweat. The way he was talking wasn't like was just jabbering. He seemed to know what he was talking about. It seemed everything he was saying was for a reason.
He paused for a moment and then started laughing.
"I'm sorry. Fuck I did it again... I'm kind of deep. I'm such a fucking idiot! I say the dumbest shit and it scares people. That's exactly why I don't have that many friends," August said hitting the steering wheel.
"No, no. I mean it did scare me, but it just seems like lately a lot of things have been happening. Everyone's trying to excuse them. It's nice that someone actually thinks there are things in the darkness too."
"Things like what? What have you seen?"
He seemed really interested. A part of me wanted to talk about it. The other part of me didn't want him to think I was crazy.
"Sorry, I'm overstepping my boundaries again," he explained, hitting the steering wheel again, "Look we are at your house already..."
I didn't expect him to be how he was. He seemed to doubt himself so much. I always thought Augustine War was the type of guy who was certain of whatever he did. Here almost as shy and as nervous as I was. His hands were shaking a little bit. He was so cute. I had to admit. It seemed to humanize him...even if just by a little bit.
"How did you know where I lived?"
He paused before speaking.
"Ok, I have to admit, I didn't just figure out who you guys are," Teddy explained, "I actually have been a fan of your dad's sermons for a while. I always wanted to meet his sons, but I never got the chance. I've just been waiting for the chance for you to introduce yourself to me...but you never did and I was too shy..."
"What. I spoke to you a lot of times."
"I know, but it always seemed like you didn't want to keep up the conversation."
"I thought the same thing about you."
We laughed a little bit for a second. Augustine had a hard laugh.
"Well, let's start over. Just call me Teddy alright."
"Yeah, def and just call me War."
He nodded and smiled as I got out of the car in front of my house. I looked over at him. He was handsome. I looked around as he got to the car. War. It was simple I guess.
I looked around the house.
"Ey bro, you want me walk you to the front door or something?" he asked.
At first I thought it was sweet. I even fucking smiled. Then I realized how pathetic I was being. How could I look like a fucking idiot.
"I can walk..."
"I didn't mean anything about it. There's no shame in being afraid. Sometimes that shadow is something to be scared of. I mean if you invite me in..."
"Thanks, but I'll be fine."
He nodded and smiled at me, "Ok, well I'll at least watch from here and make sure you got to the door safe."
I felt like the biggest pussy. How many guys watched their other guy friends walk to the door because they were scared of the darkness?
He actually did though. He sat in his car and watched me walk to the door. I turned back and looked at War. His eyes were staring intensely. I could almost see him staring into me. Just as I got to the door I stopped. I just kept wanting him to stop me. I wanted him to say something sweet...just like the movies so that I can go in my room and hug my pillow.
Please stop me...please stop me...please stop me...
I wanted him to give me some sort of hope. I wanted him to give me any sort of hope for that matter.
Just say bye one last time. That would even count.
"Hey!" he yelled back, "How about I pick you up for school tomorrow?"
I had a ride for school. Carter ALWAYS took me to school. Still, War didn't know that. He definitely didn't have to find out about it either.
"Sure..." I said, acting nonchalant.
I went to sleep that night thinking about just him. It was a good sleep but I was awoken by some type of giggling. At first I thought I was still sleeping. The giggling sounded like it was coming from my room. The moon had sent a light in from my window that left some sort of light in my room.
However half of my room was completely pitch black. It could be an entire animal in that side of my room and I wouldn't know.
I paced myself...the darkness engulfing me.
I wasn't alone. I knew I wasn't alone. I grabbed at the covers. I didn't even know what time it was. Was it 3 hours after I had gone to sleep or was it 7 hours? Was my brother and my dad back yet?
Should I scream? Should I cry? Should I try to challenge whatever the fuck was in the dark shadows of my room.
The laughter got stronger!
It seemed like the dark shadow in my room seemed to be spreading too. I knew this presence. I knew my life was at stake as I grabbed the sheets of my covers. There was no fooling it.
The darkness was all around me. Have you ever looked into pitch blackness? Yes...there was something there. It was no escaping the giggling. Only it was like a child's giggling. It was a little child's giggling. I had never heard anything so eerie in my life.
I grabbed onto my sheets.
I tried to gather what I knew about it though.
Yes...it was in the room with me.
No...I wasn't dreaming.
Yes...it was a negative...maybe even demonic energy.
I could feel it all in my soul. I could feel the pure evil from this energy. It made my body tremble. I felt cold. I blew out and there it was again. I could see my breath. I could see my FUCKING breath!
Then I saw it. A single hand crawling out from the shadow. It slid across the floor. Of course it was attached to something else, but whatever it was attached to was still in the shadow.
I did the only thing I was raised to do in a time of need.
My voice trembled... "The Lord is my shepherd... I shall not want ... He makes me lie down in green pastures ... He leads me beside still waters ... He restores my soul ..."
The laughter got loud. He was right there in the darkness. The creature was right there the darkness. It's laughter sounded just like an infant's would now. It sounded like an infant who was entertained. The menacing voice of death was attached to it.
The hand was gray. I couldn't see too many details but it started to stretch out even further and then another hand came out of the darkness with it.
I screamed out my psalm, "Even
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death!
I fear no evil; for You are with me! Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me!"
It got so cold I felt my fingers numb around the cross that hung from my neck. Carter Jr. had given the cross to me. Carter thought it would be a good gift when I got confirmed into the church. I loved the cross. I carried it tucked under my shirt wherever I went.
Run! No...I was numb!
Hide! No...no where to go!
I felt unable to move, even though now it seemed the darkness had surrounded me. The only thing lit was my bed. The Darkness had COMPLETLEY engulfed everything else! Run! No. Hide? No. There was no where to go. The hands were now on my sheets.
Hide? No...No...No...the darkness was too close now! It was way too close. It was so cold! God why was it so fucking cold?
I could see them now that they were closer. They were at the foot of my bed. They were dead hands. I remembered now...where I had seen the hands. Yes...I completely remembered. I knew where I had seen the fucking hands before.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the
Now I saw them. I had recognized the hands and the now I saw the face that appeared at the foot of my bed. It began to crawl up my body.
It began to crawl through my
legs. I couldn't move!
I couldn't fucking move!
It got so fucking close to me. The entire person was here right in front of me...ON ME...ON MY LAP!
Here right in front of me was Mrs. Devro...