Friday, August 19, 2011

Say what you mean (or at least what your characters would) and Last Stop Part 10

Before jumping in to the next installment I feel that I should caution you about the use of expletives. You know, dirty words, vulgarity. This part has one, as does the next (which by the way is the conclusion). Stephen King, often imitated, never duplicated, says to keep it real. Write what your characters may say, think and feel in their situation. Don't sugar-coat it. And so I take this advice as golden as many writers in the genre do. Real people say vulgar things, some often, some occasionally, and some only in certain situations, particularly when angry or terrified, as is the case here. So with that warning in mind, I caution you to continue with Last Stop.

Last Stop Part 10

          Upon returning to the kitchen, David had run several scenarios through his head as to what he might do in case he came across William. David was fairly certain he was capable of injuring the man enough to incapacitate him and allow escape. The worse case of course was to kill him, and when it came right down to it, regardless of all that had happened, David was unsure if he could take the life of another human being. Who was he to make that decision, and where would the nerve come from? What part of his psyche would he tap to put human emotion, right or wrong, and everything he had ever been taught about it aside and tap that primal instinct that was required. He was sure that if a confrontation presented itself, and particularly, depending on the state of Carrie’s being, which he didn’t even want to think of, his inner rage and will to live would take over leaving him safely on autopilot.
            As David approached the door at the far end of the kitchen, he noticed that the plot had changed once more. The door stood slightly ajar, unlocked, and uneasily inviting. Did this mean that Carrie was now free and safe? Did it mean she was harmed and either incapacitated or worse, and no longer a threat to run? Did this mean that she was no longer behind the door, and taken elsewhere so this ridiculous and mind numbing game would continue? David prayed the first question was the one that would be answered but knew that, based on the night’s events, it wouldn’t be that easy.
            David slowly eased the door open, the tenderizer still in hand and ready to be used. It seemed to be heavier and it made David aware of how fatigued he was. No doubt, aside from the mental exhaustion, he had put a lot of ground on his still bare feet throughout the night traipsing around the peculiar hell house, up and down stairs and running about. He wanted nothing more than to find Carrie, get them out and just return to their normal life, if that would even be possible, and sleep for three days.
            As David passed through the door, there was no light to allow a visual inspection of the room. The light afforded by the kitchen behind him gave just enough to see a fifteen foot pathway straight into the room, where David spotted a light bulb with a pull chain. Although the room was dark, it seemed rather unstill. David could hear shuffling-like noises and squeaks and scrapes, like metal on concrete, and it made him feel even edgier if it were possible, hearing these things in the dark and being unaware of their origins. His only recourse was to bolt for the light, pull the chain and hope that it worked, and be ready to retaliate against whatever or, more specifically, whoever, came at him. There was no doubt in his mind now that it would be William, and for the first time this evening, David gave thought to the man’s size and build, assessing how substantial he might be with what David could recall of the man, memories that already felt like they were from a year ago. Could he overpower him? William had the home court advantage, not to mention he probably wasn’t going about in his pajamas and barefoot, hoping that a kitchen utensil would suffice as a weapon.
David scoffed at how ludicrous this all seemed, and heard a noise suddenly that sounded remarkably like a person sniffling, then more scuffling and squeaking. Was Carrie hidden in the darkness somewhere in this room, gagged and bound? If he called her name, she might be able to make enough noise for him to locate her, and it occurred to him that he had been standing here for a vulnerable amount of time, silhouetted by the kitchen light, holding what could appear to be small sledgehammer. Perhaps Carrie could see him and, mistaking him for her captor, thinking he was here to finish her off, has remained subdued. David had no choice but to run for the light and hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
David bolted suddenly into the room, his bare feet stamping damp footprints onto the cold concrete. He swung the tenderizer around him haphazardly to block and defend against any would be assailant, and as he drew nearer to the light, the weapon clanged against something metal causing whatever it was to shift and scrape against the floor. The light was within reach and David groped at it, tried to grasp the pull-string, hit it and sent it circling. He could hear shuffling and now grunting noises nearly upon him as he grabbed at the string and yanked. The light fluttered on and David swung the tenderizer around in a wide arc around him. It connected with nothing.
The dingy, concrete-walled room seemed to disappear into darkness beyond the light’s illuminating capability, cavernous and stretching further then the house’s foundation. David glanced around and then downward and then sank to his knees, his lip quivering as he was about to shed tears at the sight before him.
Sitting on the cold concrete floor was a semi-circle of six, large, dog cages. Some of them had stains under and around them, dark and unidentifiable. Two in particular were what brought David to his knees and to tears. Two of them were occupied. Dirty and disheveled, but rather quite plump, one boy, and one girl, perhaps around the age of seven, sat locked in cages with thick foam pads under them and blankets to cover with, staring blankly at David. Neither one spoke but just kind of uttered word-like sounds. It seemed they may have been rendered mute by some barbaric, surgical method. Heavy padlocks on the cage doors held the poor children captive. David noted that Carrie was nowhere to be seen and drew his attention back to the kids. He felt utter sorrow and instant rage. What kind of monster would do this? Again, the blame goes to William.
“I’m going to get you out,” David squeaked, his mouth and throat dry. He grabbed at the lock on the girl’s cage, yanked at it knowing it wouldn’t simply open, then reached into his pajama shirt pocket where he had stored the keys he found in Muriel’s room. David felt pity for all the unfortunate souls he had come across this evening, and for the one that mattered most to him that he hadn’t found. Yet, he told himself. His mind began to wonder how he would continue his search for Carrie, be on the watch for William and now tote along the two children to safety and try to protect them from further harm.
He set the tenderizer onto the floor and sorted through the small ring of keys, trying to choose one that looked like it would fit the locks, found one and reached for the padlock on the girl’s cage. The two children watched, then became panicked and grunted protests, their eyes wide and David realized they were both making pointing gestures, not at him, but apparently behind him. Oh shit, David thought as he turned, attempted to grab the tenderizer from the floor, saw a pair of slender, bare legs and feet, and then felt a tremendous force clock the side of his head and upper ear, splitting it open. Darkness swirled around in his vision and as he fell backwards, the light bulb came into view overhead, seemed to steadily grow dim, and then everything went dark.

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