Miles To Go: Chapter 4

Miles To Go: Chapter 4

I rubbed my elbow some more as I moved around the basement. Dangit!!! I think I hit my funny bone or something when I fell, because my arm and my fingers feel all tingly and weird now. Plus, I got my good party shirt all dirty. I specifically picked this one out to look cool tonight, and that jerk made me ruin it by chasing me down here in this dusty farmer house trap thingy. Big butthole!

This basement was super dirty and dark, but I didn’t even want to complain in the back of my mind. If nothing else, it was providing me some decent shelter from the awful bullies outside. I guess I should be grateful. Even if I was a little bit grumpy about it all.

Why did Jason have to wreck everything? Was he really that insecure and jealous that people actually LIKED me and wanted to talk to me instead of him? I’ll bet he was. I’ll just bet he gets his stomach all tied up in knots and starts stressing out any time somebody wants to take the spotlight off of him and put it on them for a few seconds instead. The whole ego thing is so dumb to me. We could have shared the attention! Together, you know? Everybody could have had a good time tonight without bumping heads and making it all about him and his supposed mastery over everybody involved. But his control freak ego couldn’t handle that. Stupid alpha male mentality. What evolutionary purpose does it even serve anymore? Why does somebody always have to be the BOSS of everybody else? Do they even realize how LAME they look? On some ‘animal’ level, maybe something like that mattered a few centuries ago as a survival tactic in a group full of savages…but in this day and age…it just makes you look like a goddamn BUTTHOLE!!!

What’s the point of trying to control everything and always be the biggest bully in the room? What kind of comfort does that bring them? Punks! I’m homeschooled, and even I know that’s the kind of behavior that only makes you stand out because you’re making an ass out of yourself. Those people are like toddlers who were never taught to share. God…I friggin’ HATE people like that! Why can’t they just chill and let the rest of the world run without their heavy handed methods of trying to force everybody else to line up behind them. God…the *ARROGANCE*!!! It makes me want to GAG!

I was honestly starting to get myself all foot stomping mad until I thought I heard some bumping noises coming from upstairs.

At first, I wrote it off as just some random clutter falling over, or exaggerated sounds that didn’t have much meaning to them at all. I was all aggravated, after all. Not thinking clearly. Then, after hearing more noises and thinking about things a bit more…I realized that it sounded like some really slow moving footsteps being dragged across the floor just over my head. Almost like this…this ‘limp’ shuffling or something. It was the creaking of the floorboards that alerted me to the fact that whatever it was up there had some actual ‘weight’ to it.

It was only a few steps at a time, not moving with any real purpose or direction…but it definitely sounded like somebody was moving around up there. I wasn’t alone in this house.

I didn’t exactly know how old Ol’ man Simpson was…but that’s kind of how old people get around, right? Like…with a gimpy leg and stuff? I don’t know. My grampa died when I was young, but I think he sounded like that when he walked. Looking back at the packed suit case next to me at the bottom of the basement stairs, I took a few shaky steps forward in the darkness. I got a bit closer to the staircase, and then heard another few dragging footsteps from above. Just a few. Almost like whatever it was might be pacing back and forth, aimlessly, in a very small space.

I kept listening to the sound, afraid to make any noise of my own for fear that somebody might come down here and find me hiding.

And then…the noise just stopped.

Weird.

I looked back down at the open suitcase, clothes and stuff spilling out of it, and I started to think that maybe Ol’ Man Simpson didn’t go on vacation like the others said he was. But…at the same time, I could clearly hear the laughter and the music and the sounds of other teenagers partying and having fun just outside of these basement windows. It’s not like it was a big secret that they were out there. I don’t think Mr. Simpson would ignore all that ruckus and just let a bunch of strange kids party on his property without any adult supervision or anything, you know? It just doesn’t sound right to me. He’d tell them to go away. If nothing else, he’d chase them off his land just to keep from getting into any legal trouble with those dang police people if somebody gets hurt! I mean…that makes more sense, right?

I found myself being a little bit stuck on what to do. I couldn’t just crawl back out of the window I came through initially. I’m sure that Jason would beat me to a pulp the second he laid eyes on me again. I wouldn’t be able to duck and dodge and outrun him for the rest of the night. Certainly not with his goons trying to put their hands on me too. But…if Ol’ Man Simpson really is upstairs, and he’s just hard of hearing or whatever…then I can’t get caught by him either. He’d see me in his house, and maybe look out the window to catch all of the other teenagers partying in his yard…and I’d ruin everything. Everybody at school would totally HATE me for ratting them out! They’d never invite me to another cool party like this one again. Not even Deanna…who I’m pretty sure has the hots for me. Or…well…she’s a little hotter than luke warm for me, anyway!

Note to self…buy some weights and start getting buff so she’ll notice me more. Grrr…Jason’s right. I am kind of puny, I guess. But not for long. I’ll show him. I’ll show them all.

I stayed put in that basement, listening to the silence above. I’m sure that at least five minutes had passed since I had heard anything at all. I found myself trying to quiet my own breathing, even my own heartbeat, hoping to keep my lucky hiding spot sacred until I was able to go back outside. But…after a very silent and boring sixth minute of waiting for something that just wasn’t happening, I think I let my curiosity get the better of me. I couldn’t help it. What was up there, moving around in the main house? And why hadn’t it discovered me yet?

Awwww, man…I hope I’m not being stupid about this.

I was crazy nervous. It felt like every throbbing pulse of my agitated heartbeat was forcibly pushing the air out of my lungs as I reached a pair of shaky hands to the railing and cautiously took my first few advancements up the basement steps.

I hated the fact that the wooden steps creaked and whined obnoxiously beneath my feet. I’m not that heavy! Shut up, already! You know? But the scariest part of the whole ordeal was reaching the top of the staircase, and having to put my hand on the doorknob. I was trembling sooooo much when my hand touched it. And even then, I just held the doorknob still for a few moments before getting the guts to actually turn it and let the slowly creaking door open just wide enough for me to peek outside.

I held my breath.

No sound.

No movement.

Okaaaaayyy…so far, so good.

I could faintly hear the sound of a television playing in the distance, but it just sounded like mumbling and white noise from where I was standing. I wanted to hear more, but I was SCARED! Every time I opened that basement door, even just an inch, the loud, metallic, squeal from the hinges would flood the entire house and I was afraid it would alert whoever might be in here to my presence. Doesn’t anybody have some WD-40 in this house???

Still, whether it was dumb curiosity or utter desperation that compelled me to keep going…I found a way to grit my teeth and ‘cringe’ my way through the opening of that door. Just wide enough for me to actually poke my head through and get a clear vision of the rest of the house. Or at least the parts that were currently visible to me at the moment. Not that my vision wasn’t already severely limited by peeking from behind this jerky basement door.

After a couple of deep breaths…I opened the door even wider, and found myself secretly CURSING those hinges for being so darn noisy! But…eventually, I stepped out into the kitchen of the old place, not bothering to close the creaking door behind me. Lord know that I don’t want to live through THOSE agonizing moments again. I made sure to keep my ears open for any irregular sounds. The last thing I want to do is scare somebody. Or even worse, have them scare me.

I crept quietly through the kitchen and down a long hallway by the side of a large staircase, leading to the second floor of the old farmhouse. Everything as so dim. The furniture and stuff looked old and musty. Definitely ‘old people’ furniture. Made back when everything was super heavy and came with sharp corners.

I couldn’t really hear anything except for that TV in the living room. I had to get a few steps closer before I peeked my head around the next corner. I could see the broadcast playing in the corner in front of the sofa. It was loud and annoying, with the same thing playing over and over again in a constant loop.

"The following message has been issued by the Illinois state dept of health. An unknown virus has spread throughout Chicago..."

It kept on saying that ‘Nothing is known about this virus’, but it mentioned that it had ‘Turned civilians into zombie like creatures’. Is this the message that Brian was talking about at the party? What the heck is going on out by the city? Do they mean, like…just downtown, or what?

"...Until further notice, stay inside."

Stay inside? Maybe I shouldn’t go out there. Maybe I should just stay put and see what the TV says later. I tried to change the channels with this big ass remote that I found on the coffee table, but all the channels were playing the same thing. And no cable stations either. How do people live without cable stations?

That’s when I suddenly heard a ‘bump’ from somewhere else in the house.

A loud one.

Instantly, I froze up. I thought about crawling under a table or something to hide, but the fear inside wouldn’t let me move my legs. I started huffing and puffing and panting and whimpering, all at once…as I heard the ‘draaaag – STEP’, ‘draaaag – STEP’, sound of somebody walking towards the living room! I had waited too long! There was nowhere to run to now!

I saw this…really old, shabby, man come limping around the corner. And he looked RIGHT at me! I almost peed a little!

He had a beard, and there was blood in it. And around his mouth too. His eyes were so bloodshot, but his pupils were pure white. I could barely see them at all.

It was SO obvious that I had been caught, so I nervously stuttered…”H-H-Hi…I’m um…Preston. P-P-Preston Miles…”

The old man opened his mouth for a second, then closed it really hard. Like…I’m surprised that he didn’t shatter his own teeth doing that. He growled at me. This really deep, really funky, growl. Like some kind of animal. And then he spoke.

“Eat!” He said.

“Wha…?”

“Eat!”

“I’m…I’m sorry about being in your house, sir…”

“EAT!”

“I don’t…I don’t know what that means…” I felt like I was going to CRY, I was shaking so bad! But his voice just got louder.And he started slowly limping towards me.

“EAT! EAT! EAT! EAT! EAT! EAT!” He just kept repeating it over and over and over again.

“What are you doing? You keep away! I know Kung Fu! You’ll be sorry!” I said. But he just kept coming.

“EAT!!! EAT!!! EAT!!! EAT!!!

“Stay away, you old CREEP!” I said, and I managed to duck down low and squirm right past him as he reached out for me with both arms! I ran out of the living room as fast as my little legs could carry me! That dirty old pervert was going to BITE me! What’s his problem? I mean, who DOES that?

However, as I was heading for the front door, I was suddenly startled by the sound of shattering glass. A big old rock had been thrown through the glass embedded in the door…and a hand reached in to open it from the outside. I stopped in my tracks so fast that I actually bunched up the carpet under my feet and fell back on my butt. It was the that I saw JASON coming into the house with two of his goofy minions, looking down at me and looking to do me some major harm.

“I was actually going to wait for you to come out on your own, twerp! But since you refuse to rejoin the party…my friends and I figured we’d bring the party to you instead!”

I barely had time to scramble to my feet before he grabbed me around the collar of my lucky shirt and yanked me up to my feet. I just knew he was going to punch me somewhere…and it was going to hurt something awful. I just slammed my eyes shut and braced for the impact.

Then…

“EAT!!! EAT!! EAT!!”

One of Jason’s friends said, “What the fuck is that?”

“Oh SHIT!” His other friend said. “It’s Ol’ Man Simpson!!!”

“EAT!!!” He said. “EAT!!!”

One of Jason’s friends shouted, “Let’s get the fuck out of here!” And ran back out of the front door, but the other boy just stood there, trying to explain himself to the old man while Jason held me still.

“EAT!!!” The old man shouted. “EAT!!! EAT!!! EAT!!!” It was, like…the only word he could say. But the hatred and evil in his eyes said so much more!

The other boy attempted to reason with him, but the second the old man was close enough…he grabbed him by the shoulders and BIT HIM IN THE FACE!!!

Omigod! The screams! The painful screams! The blood splattered every which way, and the old man just kept taking more and more bites out of him. I thought I was going to throw up.

Jason was so astonished that he let go of me, and I immediately took the opportunity to get away from him and start running up the stairs! But…just as I was reaching the top, I heard Jason screaming for help. He tried to follow me upstairs, but the old man had grabbed a hold of his ankle and was trying to drag him back down again.

“EAT!!! EAT!!! EAT!!!”

“Ahhhh!!!! Help me!!! PLEASE!!!” Jason screamed, crying from the terror he was experiencing at that moment.

I could have just left him down there. The punk ass! But…dangit…I’m just not that big of a butthole.

I ran back down the stairs and I reached out for Jason’s hand.

He was crying sooooo much! I was doing everything I could to pull him loose, but my muscles were too puny to get the old creep to let go. “Don’t let go!” He screamed. “Pull me up!!!”

“Ungh! I’m TRYING! Ungh! Hang on!” I said, squinting my eyes and gnashing my teeth and digging my heels into the carpeting on the steps. But Ol’ Man Simpson just kept pulling back, and he bent over to take a big old bite right out of Jason’s leg! I could see the blood running out of his pants leg, and he cried out in pain as he tried to kick the old man off of him. I was pulling so hard. Soooooo very hard! But it didn’t do any good. Eventually, with a harsh pull and a growl…Ol’ Man Simpson snatched Jason right out of my grip and dragged him back down to the bottom of the steps.

I didn’t see what happened next.

I refused to look.

I only know that Jason was screaming one minute…and then he stopped.

“EAT!! EAT!!! EAT!!!”

Terrified, I ran up the stairs and found one of the nearby bedrooms to hideaway in. I slammed the door shut, just as I heard those heavy footsteps approaching the top of the staircase! I felt tears rolling down my cheeks as I locked the door and tried to hold it closed by pressing my back against it. I felt all scared and snotty, but I tried to hold it together while my brain attempted to process just what the heck was going on. Why was that old man BITING people??? I just don’t understand! Does it have something to do with the ‘virus’ thingy? Is that what it does to people? Did I catch anything while rummaging around in his basement? This is SO messed up!

I heard the footsteps come RIGHT up to the door…and then they stopped.

I waited for about 30 seconds without saying anything, but he KNEW I was in there! I could tell.

I could hear the sounds of him sniffing the door, and I just tried to hold my breath long enough for him to get bored and go away. Then, I felt the whole DOOR shake as he pounded his fists against it!

“I’m SORRY, mister!!! I’ll leave your house, I promise! Just, PLEASE go away!!!” I cried.

“EAT!!!” He yelled.

“Don’t eat me! PLEASE, don’t eat me!!! I don’t even TASTE good!!!”

“EAT!!!”

“Go eat Jason! He’s downstairs! Yeah…go eat him instead!” I wailed.

“EAT!!! EAT!!!” He pounded on the door with his fists again, and I could feel it hurting my back. I was soooo scared! I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t big enough to fight him. I don’t know if I was fast enough to even run away from him. But…as I looked around the room…I noticed that the bedroom window led out onto the roof. It was slanted, and probably dangerous…but it might be my only means of escape.

The window! Yeah…I can go out the window!

 

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