June 19, 2011

That One Night [4]

[...Posted by Ted H]

Aw snap...the crazys starting...


[That One Night]

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t get any answers when I returned to my room. Marshall was gone, the door wide open. It didn’t even occur to me that the window was open either until the breeze hit me, then I realized that the window wasn’t just open, it was gone. I checked around and figured my desk chair had been used to break down the window. Marshall must’ve jumped out after like some action hero escaping right before a bomb went off or something to that effect. For a moment I grew concerned, as if there actually was a bomb in my room and Marshall had just overestimated the amount of time left when he threw my chair out the window and made his dashing escape.

However I realized the most dangerous things that have occurred with Marshall around thus far has been him jumping out of a bush and Abby pissing on the floor. There was also that fact that Marshall was constantly coming across as bat shit crazy and while his jumping out a window didn’t signal any immediate danger to me, it was completely expected of him in the short time I’ve been around him. Still, having Marshall running around unsupervised wasn’t a sound idea, especially if he isn’t above throwing furniture out windows. I walked over to the window, hoping that he broke a leg or something so I wouldn’t have to track him down.

“Fuck,” I found myself saying as I surveyed the ground outside. The chair had broken apart when it hit the ground but there was no sign of Marshall. If he did get hurt from the three story fall, it wasn’t enough to keep him from moving, which meant I had to get my ass outside quick. How does someone even survive a fall from this height?

-He talked about someone being after him. How could they have gotten passed me though? And what could possibly spook Marshall that much where he would toss a chair through a window and jump?…Shit, I’m starting to buy into this…FOCUS!

Priority one was to track down my psychotic friend. Priority two was figuring out just how crazy he was, and how crazy I was becoming. And I guess priority three would be figuring out a good excuse to tell the school as to how a chair ended up breaking through my window. I’d be damned if I was gonna pay for that.

Deciding Marshall couldn’t have gotten far, I grabbed my jacket and ran down the stairs and out the front door to go after Marshall. Where to go first was the big question. The campus may be small, but looking for one man in the dark could take forever, especially if he’s moving. I decided to go check where he landed outside my window and see if there were any clues to where he went after. I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but how hard could it be?

Not ten steps out though, I found myself face to face with Paul, Marshall’s older brother. Not much seemed to have changed for him through the years. His shaggy dirty blond hair stuck to his head like it was painted on, and his nose was still slightly crooked, something Marshall told me all those years ago that his family couldn’t afford to fix. In short, he was ugly, and time only made that worse.

“Looking for Marshall?” I asked as he squinted at me, remembering me from somewhere but not able to go back as far as 12 years. “Small world,” he said as he gave up trying to remember and outright asked “Who are you?” He stood up straighter and cracked his neck as if he was going to fight me if I turned out to be someone he didn’t like. Either that or he wanted to come across as intimidating for a first impression. Remembering all those times he beat Marshall and I into oblivion on an indiscriminate basis, I proceeded cautiously.

“Steve,” I said as Paul shot his head in the air as if the dawning realization of who I was literally slapped him in the face. Like I said, I was Marshall’s only friend. “I assume he came for you then?” he asked. I nodded “Didn’t stay long though. Have any idea what’s going on?” Paul walked past me towards the door I had just rushed out of, ignoring my question. “He came all this way,” he said “I doubt he’ll go far before deciding to come back here.”


Paul sat down on my bed as I drew the curtain closed to block the broken window. It was cold out and that meant my lack of a window was going to make Paul‘s visit all the more unpleasant. I remained standing since my only chair had been disposed of.

Deciding to hell with foreplay, I cut to the chase “What is going on?” I asked.

“Marshall’s very sick.”

“No shit, Sherlock. I’m looking for specifics.”

Paul hesitated for a moment. “You remember how he just dropped out of life 12 years ago?”


“Well, he ended up in Juvi, our family kept it hidden. Three years. In there he must have met some fucked up people because the staff put him on medications for some mental issues. When they released him, he just kept getting worse. Completely off the wall, impossible to control. About a year later, out of the blue, he ran away.”

“I really enjoy this recap of your dysfunctional family, but could you please get to the part where you explain what would cause Marshall to jump out my third story window?”

Paul flashed me a look as if to say he wouldn’t hesitate to punch me in the face. “A month ago we found him. He had gotten caught up with some weird cult. They were seeking the power “to see” or something, but had gone crazy and killed each other instead. Marshall was found half dead, almost catatonic, the only survivor. Cops called it a mass schizophrenic episode gone wrong…Marshall said something else killed everyone, but no one bothered listening. He was later released into the care of our family again.”

“What made him come here?”

“We were going to commit him. We tried to keep the plan hidden but I figured he knew anyway. Often he was heard having a conversation with himself. When we asked who he was talking to, he said it was our baby sister. The miscarriage our mother had 17 years ago was apparently having a regular conversation with him. Then he got paranoid and violent, saying that what killed everyone at that cult had found him and was coming for him. He then took our dads car and drove off. Our dad has a GPS on the car in case it’s ever stolen. So I followed him up here. Found the car crashed about a mile down the road. Apparently he came here for you.”

Paul sat back, allowing me to take it all in. There was something he wasn’t telling me. Something important, in addition to the hundred of little things he wasn’t filling me in on. I wanted to ask him so many questions, like how Marshall knew to find me here or why Abby would have a breakdown upon sight of him, but decided against it. “How long you think before he returns?” I finally asked. Paul shrugged “An hour, all night maybe. The kid is off his meds, so I really don‘t know.”

-Well this sucks

Paul wasn’t exactly my favorite person 12 years ago, and that wasn’t going to start changing either. Staying up all night waiting out the return of a head case in an almost claustrophobic dorm room didn’t seem all too appealing either, especially with the shit the college would give me about the window tomorrow-scratch that-later today. I had finally bothered myself to look at my cell phone to confirm the time, which was now way past two.

I decided now was a good time to at least check on Abby. I walked towards my door and turned back to Paul. “I’ll be right back. I just wanna-”

“No,” Paul said quickly “You’re not going anywhere without me. We’ll wait for him here.” Something was defiantly up. Paul didn’t want me finding Marshall without him being present. “I’m not gonna hide him if that’s what you think I’m gonna do,” I said. “No,” Paul repeated. “I want to go check on someone else, completely unrelated to your brother,” I said, conjuring forth the most serious poker face I could muster. “I don’t care,” Paul said as he folded his arms. “Then come with me, I really don’t care anymore,” I said. Paul shook his head. “Finding Marshall is more important. We don’t leave this room.”

-There is seriously something he isn’t letting me in on…

Screw him. I turned towards the door and figured how fast I could open it and rush out of sight in case Paul was really this serious in keeping me here. I could be in the free in clear if Paul were to go into a reclined position on the bed. I turned back towards him to see if he was-

-Something’s behind Paul

At least I thought I saw something. I saw behind Paul what looked like his own shadow-except the thing had pale yellow eyes that blinked. They fucking blinked-twice-as if to make sure I didn’t imagine the first blink. My eyes went wide and Paul immediately shifted himself to look behind, which momentarily obstructed my view long enough for the shadow to disappear. All this took place in approximately 1.5 seconds.

“What?” Paul asked as he looked back at me. “Nothing,” I said with a blank stare half thinking I was just seeing things, half expecting the shadow to return. Just as I dismissed it as my imagination, Paul was airborne. “Hey!” he screamed as he flew up and landed on his back on the ceiling, then dropped straight down onto the bed. Even though the mattress broke his fall, that still looked painful.

I was moving to see if he was alright when he started moving again. This time he flew strait into me, knocking us both down. “Grabbed me…Something GRABBED ME!” Paul frantically yelled. At that point Paul and I flashed each other the same concerned look while I had a dawning realization:

-Maybe Marshall isn’t full of shit after all

“No!” Paul yelled as I saw him getting dragged by his leg by the invisible force to-

-O fuck

-the open window. The curtains ripped themselves away from the window and Paul started going out through the opening. Paul grabbed the window ledge for dear life, his hands getting cut to shreds by the shards of broken glass, but the strength of his assailant was proving too much. I had just enough time to spring to my feet and dive for his arm as he was pulled loose. I placed my feet on the ledge and pulled back on Paul. At first I seemed to be winning but then it became a standoff as neither myself nor the attacker were making any ground in our game of Tug-O-Paul. Paul was screaming in agony the whole time. I was soon standing perfectly horizontal off the ledge with nothing under me to support. The counter-force of Paul’s kidnapper was the only thing keeping me in the air as I balanced the heels of my feet on the ledge.

As easily as this battle had begun, it had ended, as I suddenly and painfully toppled to the floor with Paul’s weight dropping on top of me. Nothing else was going through the window except a calm breeze coming in from the outside. Paul had stopped screaming, rightfully so, I thought I just saved his life. I started to push him off of me when-

-Bones. I was pushing on bones. I looked down to see what Paul was, and I was looking down at a skeleton. The game of Tug-O-Paul had ended in a draw. His skin went out the window while I managed to save everything else. “Thank you for saving me!” Paul‘s skull said as it shot up and looked right at me. I somehow knew if it could, that skull would be smiling. I couldn’t bare to look at the skull any longer, so I diverted my attention to Paul’s midsection and watched as, with nothing to hold them in place, all of his organs fell out and onto my legs.

Frantically, I kicked the bones and organs off and jumped up, crashing into the door. I felt for the knob, not daring to take my eyes off of Paul’s skeleton as it proceeded to drag itself after me. I turned the knob and squeezed myself out the small opening I made before pulling the door closed. “Come back! I need new flesh,” Paul said as he fruitlessly tried scratching at my door.

I couldn’t comprehend what I had just witnessed. Hell, I didn’t want to comprehend it. I wanted out of this loony nightmare I seemed to have wandered into. I looked down the hall and there it was again, the shadow, whatever had killed Paul. It was a black cloud floating a couple feet from the floor. It was shaped like it was wearing a cloak with a hood up over the head. Where its face should have been were the same pale yellow eyes I had seen before.

Not feeling like I should get acquainted with the-

-Ghost? Wraith? What the fuck is that thing?

-I decided to just get the hell out of there. I burst my way into the stairwell and jumped down the steps three or four at a time. I descended to the first floor and crashed through the door into the hallway. Most of the first floor hallway’s lights were out, but I could see well enough as I started running-

-Well enough to see black shit float passed me and reform as the shadow-ghost-thing right in front. I almost fell over as I immediately shifted myself and ran the other direction, just so the shadow thing could do the same trick again and be right in my way. I decided this thing was too fast to outrun and stood where I was.

-Maybe I should’ve gotten acquainted with it

The shadow shifted and arms formed with what seemed to be claws at each end. It reached each arm straight out and shrieked. I thought Abby’s screaming was bad. That was nothing compared to the sound that emitted from this thing. I don‘t think there exists a single creature in this world, even in death, that could emit the same shriek that this shadow thing just sounded.

My body was practically paralyzed after the shriek and my brain was screaming for my legs to start moving. The shadow then grew out until blackness covered from wall to wall, floor to ceiling, and started to rapidly float my way, swiping its claws the entire way.

I wasn’t exactly educated in the science of floating black ghost shit, but I figured I wouldn’t like getting hit by that oncoming wall. I knew I wouldn’t be able to outrun it either, so my only hope was the nearby door, Abby’s door. I prayed that Karen didn’t lock it behind me after my earlier visit as my legs finally started moving again and I reached for the knob. I barreled my shoulder into the door as I quickly turned the knob and toppled into the room, slamming it closed as I fell. I then sprung up to my hands and knees and waited.

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