Friday, July 29, 2011

Hunting Archie pt. 3 - 3WW

The mood in the car was somber, our usual banter tucked away for the time being. Tilly was slumped beside me, head back and eyes closed. It was his “leave-me-the-hell-alone” pose and I couldn’t blame him.

We’d pulled away from the curb just in time to see the tell-tale flashing reds coming towards us. Four cruisers zoomed by, followed by Maisie Hubert’s recognizable Buick.  I figured if Maisie was enroute to the scene than that must mean Sheriff Roberts was leading the calvary to save the day.  Too little too late by then again that was probably the idea all along. Let the townsfolk do what they want in order to guarantee his re-election then use their actions as a “platform” to clean up crime. 

I shook my head.
After tonight, I’m done. I’m getting out of Keller’s Point. I can’t live here, knowing that I’d helped to kill Archie. I don’t know about the rest of the guys but I can’t stay. 

I hadn’t noticed the swirling red and blue colors lighting up the interior of the car until the whoop of the siren broke into my thoughts. I glanced over my shoulder, cursing under my breath.
Tilly sat up with a “What the hell is going on?”
“I don’t believe this-“ Mark groaned, his eyes flickering to the rearview mirror. Fletcher looked through the side mirror and swore,
“Shit, I bet it’s that stupid sheriff.”
“What the hell is he following us for?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” Mark said, “But I’m gonna pull over-“
“Pull over?” Tilly and Fletcher both shouted.
“What the hell for?” Tilly demanded. He leaned in between the seats, his voice frantic. “Don’t pull over, man.”
“Uh, Tilly?” I started but he whirled around, fixing me with a glare,
“Shut up, Jake.” He shoved me back against the seat, “If it wasn’t for you and your ‘let’s-show-our-faces’ bullshit, we'd been at the cemetery by now.”
I shoved him back.
“Oh yeah, like your idea of taking off on a cop is any better-“
“Cool it, the both of you!” Mark shouted, glaring at the two of us through the rearview mirror, “I’m gonna pull over. You two sit back and shut the hell up!”

I didn't say another word as he parked and waited. I took another peek over my shoulder. The cruiser pulled up in behind us and both doors opened. I turned back to the front just as one officer came on Fletcher's side with a giant flash light, the other officer bending down to look in the car.

Sheriff Roberts' sour smelling, cigar-tainted breath instantly filled the interior and it was all I could do not to choke. I don't know how Mark held it together as the sheriff leaned in the window, chomping on his soggy stogie. We didn't say anything, just let him see our faces. 
The other guy kept flicking the flashlight around, hitting each of us in turn.

Sheriff Roberts worked the stogie around his lips before taking it out of his mouth. He turned to spit before speaking,
"So where're you boys heading?"
"What did you stop us for?" Tilly snapped belligerently. "We ain't doing nothing wrong!"
I groaned when Sheriff Roberts' head snapped in his direction, his face suddenly angry. He pointed a beefy finger at him.
"Shut your trap, Tillman Donalds! I'm asking the questions around here!"

I kicked Tilly in his ankle, silently warning him to shut the hell up. We didn't need to get hauled down to County on account of him antagonizing the sheriff. The beam of light stayed on Tilly's face, before flickering to mine briefly. I put up a hand to block the searing light.

"We're heading down to Cherry Beach." Mark offered. I silently swore at his blunder. Tilly threw up his hands in exasperation and gave me a wide-eyed look, like "Can you believe this guy?"
The sheriff picked up on it, too. He looked at Mark, then at Fletcher before he snorted,
"What do you think I am, stupid or something?" He glared at each of us in turn, "Cherry Beach is back the other way." Sheriff Roberts suddenly stood up, slammed his hand on the top of the car, while the other went to rest on his gun, "Get outta the car right now. All of you."

Oh lord.
I blindly fumbled for the door, images of being locked in a cell down at County, of all places. The fear seized my brain and I felt my throat close up. I couldn't think of anything to say, to get us out of this. Tilly suddenly dug his fingers into my arm. I winced and was ready to lay into him but he wasn't looking at me. He nodded towards the front seat where Mark and Fletcher were bickering, low and fast. Mark then met our eyes in the rear-view mirror but it was Fletcher who looked over the seat and said quickly,
"I'm telling him."
Before I could grasp what the hell he was saying he'd leaned over Mark and said, loud and clear,
"We know where Archie is."

*to be continued*
© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hunting Archie pt. 2 - 3WW

I looked up at the early morning sky, noting the faint pink in the horizon. The sun would be peeking over the distant mountains shortly. The plan was to wait until he was inside and then take care of business. According to Fletcher, Vamps were supposed to be at their weakest during this time of the morning.
Really? And he would know this, how?
I didn’t even know these things existed outside of a cheesy B movie.
I rubbed the center of my chest. I didn’t want to do this.
Now that the time was near, I was definitely having second thoughts…

We’d found the crypt by accident one night when we were about twelve or thirteen. We were hanging and banging in an old abandoned cemetery on the far side of the river, out of the way of adults and anyone flashing a badge. There were a few markers left from days gone by, faded and worn. No one had been buried there in decades. The grass and weeds here high enough to choke the life out of everything else that attempted to grow there. The trees were thick and heavy with foliage. We didn’t care. It was the perfect hangout spot.

It was here, a few years later, where we drank our first case of Molson (courtesy of Archie), rolled our first spliff (courtesy of Tilly), looked at dirty magazines (courtesy of Fletcher), and sat in awe as Mark told us all about doing it with Sandy Peterson, the captain of the cheer-leading squad. He was quite descriptive, all the way down to the weight and  jiggle of her titties. I remembered having a lot of vivid dreams about her after that.

When Archie disappeared we’d stopped coming here. The consensus was that it didn’t feel right without the fifth member of our group. Sort of like Rolling Stones without Keith Richards.

It wasn’t until we decided to look for Archie that we had given any thought to the cemetery.  Fletcher suggested that the crypt would be the most logical place for him to hide in.
“Think about it,” He’d said over a double-double yesterday. “Its way out in the middle of nowhere and it’s probably underground.”
"I'm surprised nobody thought about it before." Tilly mused, stuffing the last of the Tim-bits in his mouth.
"Why would they?" Fletcher asked, "Nobody's thinking about a cemetery. They'll be too busy tearing up his house to wonder where else he might be hiding."

I added more sugar to my coffee, and kept an eye out for anyone that might be listening. Tim Horton’s is usually a hotbed of activity and damn near impossible to have a conversation in. Everyone talks really loud and fast. They try to over-talk each other and be heard above the din. We were waiting for Mark to get off work so we could get the plan in place.

Fletcher and Tilly went back and forth on their theories before I decided to bring up an earlier argument.
"I still want to drive by the house," I said quietly, "to make sure everyone there sees us. Just in case there's any questions about where we were and shit like that."
"Dude, we've been over this-" Tilly protested, throwing up his hands.
"Been over what?" Mark said from behind me. He came around the table, plopped down next to Tilly and put a fresh box of Tim-bits on the table. 
Fletcher pointed at me with his thumb,
"Knob over here wants to do a drive-by. Says its better that we show up at the mob scene before heading out."
"Hmmm." Mark took a swallow of his drink before answering."He might have a point. If someone says anything, they can say that they saw us there."
“Dude, I do NOT want to see my folks looting that house.” Tilly whined.
“I have to agree.” Fletcher nodded. “Its bad enough they’re gonna be there to begin with but to see one of them running outside, wearing Mrs. Dillon’s fur coat? That's really gonna blow.”
“Hah!” Mark threw back his head, giving a sharp bark of laughter.
“Don’t worry about it.” I said. “Maybe they’ll stay home." 
“Easy for you to say,” Tilly mumbled. “Your Mom’s got sense.”

Night fall found us cruising past the Dillon mansion and I was pissed to say the least. The scent for Archie's blood had whipped the townsfolk into a frenzy. The usually subdued, upper-crust neighbourhood, north of the downtown core looked like something straight out of an end-of-the-world horror flick. The lights were on in the two-story building, the windows on the upper floor smashed out, people throwing stuff out to waiting arms below. Others were running in and out of the front door, their arms filled with stuff, hooting with glee. Debris covered the once manicured lawn. Two guys looked like they were arguing over a lawnmower.

“What the hell are they doing?” Tilly yelled. 
I looked around his shoulders and shook my head. Mark pulled over, Fletcher jumped out and started filming the mob scene with his Blackberry. I climbed out as well, amazed by what I was seeing. The prized rose bushes of the late Mrs. Dillon were crushed underneath the horde that was intent on clearing out the house before the police came. I heard Tilly shout "Mom!" and startled, I spun around.

Mrs. Donalds sashayed by like she was on the catwalk in, you guessed it, a dark fur coat. Her bleached hair was up in curlers and she was in her pajamas. Fletcher maintained his pose, filming everything. Mark and I hurried after Tilly as he marched over to her, fury lacing his tone.
"How can you do this?"
Mrs. Donalds clutched the coat tighter around her neck, her face haughty.
"Quite easily! Do you think your father can afford quality like this?"
"Dad's here, too?" Tilly asked, looking around. "I don't believe this!"
"No, he's not here," Mrs. Donalds sniffed indignantly. "He's decided to become all high and mighty, refusing to get even with those snotty Dillons after all this time."
"Oh, so that makes it okay for you to do so?" Tilly roared, incredulously.
Before she could answer, a car pulled up with the driver beeping impatiently. We turned to look. It was Mrs. Francetti, Mrs. Donalds' bridge partner. She leaned out of the window,
"Come on, Moira, let's go! Did you get that fancy necklace I wanted?"
"I sure did!" Mrs. Donalds squealed happily, pulling out a handful of glittering stones and waving them proudly. "And earrings for both of us!"
They shrieked with excitement while she bustled over to the other side of the car. 
"Mom! Dammit-" Tilly lunged but Mark and I held him fast. It wouldn't do to have him being seen jumping on his mother. The two women drove off, swerving to avoid a couple of other women who were heading to their cars as well. Tilly shrugged us off with a "Get off me!" and stormed down the sidewalk to cool off.

Mark and I looked around. The mayhem didn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. I didn't see his or Fletcher's parents among the crowd but then again, I didn't want to look too hard. Seeing the mother of one of my friends was bad enough.
I blew out a breath.
"I think we need to get out of here."
Mark nodded and jiggled his car keys,
"Yeah, let's go."

*to be continued*

© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson July 21, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hunting Archie - 3WW

Mark held the flashlight over the crudely drawn diagram. Tilly and Fletcher flanked either side of him and I stood just off of Fletcher’s left shoulder. We were squatting on the ground, underneath a copse of trees. Sunrise was not too far off and we had to be inside the crypt before our fallen friend made his appearance. 

I didn’t want to do this but I knew, for everyone’s sake, that it had to be done. I just don't like the idea of ambushing someone I used to ride bigwheels with.

Archie got infected with some sort of “virus” and his condition went undetected for almost a year. We figured it happened during his trip to Florida over Spring Break because he dropped out of school before the week was out and that was the last we saw of him. 

At least, the Archie we knew and grew up with.

Archie’s “condition” was eventually passed off as some kind of mental illness but he had been seen attacking Jennie Mason right after prom night. Her family had been paid a lot of hush-money which they'd used to leave Keller's Point. 

No one saw him during the day, only at night and then only in the seedier areas of the town. There were whispers of Archie attacking some of the addicts, the ladies that worked the streets and the occasional drunk, rolling them for whatever change that they might have had. Nothing could be proven, of course.
No one said anything against Judge Dillon’s son. 

Everyone just shook their head and muttered under their breath about how Archie got away with everything. Judge Dillon turned a blind eye to his son and expected everyone else to do the same. He knew people, the judge was fond of saying. Anyone messed with Archie, he’d say, and there would be hell to pay. And everyone believed him, too.

I admit it. We couldn’t figure it out at first. 

When the freights rolled in, a worker or two would disappear. Several of the local farmers reported that “a pack wolves” were killing off their livestock.  Mrs. Turner’s poodles, Samson and Delilah, went missing from her backyard while she was watching Jeopardy. Even Gramps saw something outside his window one night and swore it was Archie Dillon. 

He’d called me to complain about it.
“Why was that fool-ass Dillon boy outside my window at ten o’clock at night? I don’t know what’s going on, but that sonsabitch is lucky I didn’t shoot him. Ain’t gonna be no indecision on my part next time, you hear me, boy? Ima shoot, Judge Dillon or no Judge Dillon.”

What the hell was wrong with Archie?

No one made the connection until he was caught feeding off a girl behind the seven-eleven by a young employee who’d been taking out the trash. The boy, curious about the rocking car and slurping sounds, sneaked up to the car but Archie growled and bared his fangs, his mouth smeared with blood. The boy then screamed and Archie had panicked. He’d pushed the girl out of his car and tore out of the parking lot. 

The boy had waved down a passing patrol officer who called for backup and an ambulance. He was unable to give a description of the car but it all came out when the paramedics reported that the girl gurgled and blubbered about some “pimply Vampire” in a blue Mustang. Her neck had several gashes in it, the flesh quivering and oozing with milky-white pus. The infection crawled across her skin, spreading right before their eyes. One of the  techs had vomited on the girl after seeing that and had to be sedated.

It would’ve been swept under the rug right then and there but everyone knew the Dillons owned such a car. But, then again, who would believe such a tale? 

The next day, the mutilated remains of the freight workers were discovered in the junkyard. Jarvis Clayborne, owner and third generation junker, called Sheriff Roberts, wailing up a storm, and told him that he’d seen that crazy Dillon boy there a couple of nights ago, in that fancy car of his. Jarvis, mindful of the rumors about the boy, had stayed in his trailer where he was safe. 

While Sheriff Dillon and his team cordoned off the area, Jarvis had snuck in a call to Maisie Hubert, owner of The Tribune, giving her an all-exclusive. He'd told her that Archie had lugged some dark-colored bags from the trunk of his car. He didn’t think anything of it at first until he did his daily checks and made the grisly discovery. Maisie had been properly horrified and promised it would be front-page news that same morning. 

Once it hit the stands, all hell broke loose. 

The girl in the hospital was immediately put under police protection. Other people, emboldened by the news story, told of seeing Archie lurking around their homes at night, especially if they let their pets out. A town meeting had been held over at community center to discuss it. During the meeting, a lady claimed she was attacked as she left the bingo hall, but she was too fearful to report it. 
"It was that nasty Archie Dillon, that's who it was!" she sobbed to the eager Maisie Hubert. 

Children were kept home and Hank’s Gun Shop sold out in record time, everyone armed and waiting for Archie to make an appearance. To add fuel to the fire, there was talk of other people, in the surrounding counties, either missing or turning up dead, with the same savage wounds. 

It was also said that all of them had been seen with someone in a blue Mustang. 

According to gossip, Judge Dillon had been enraged and threatened Maisie with defamation of character, demanding that The Tribune issue an apology or he will see to it that they were shut down. Maisie and Dennis, her husband, wrote that up in the papers the next day. Sheriff Roberts, seeing his opportunity for re-election, immediately distanced himself from the judge and assured the townsfolk that his department would be making an announcement shortly regarding the arrest of their suspect. One by one, all of Judge Dillon's "friends" abandoned him. The stress of it all became too much for him and, as fate would have it, he suffered a heart attack and died in his sleep. 

This was all that Sheriff Roberts and every ignorant vigilante in the surrounding counties needed to hear. The judge was still on the slab down at the morgue but now with him out of the way, they planned on tearing the Dillon house apart until they found Archie.They wanted to put our friend in the ground before dinner. Enough was enough.

We knew though, if our friend was caught, he would be tortured, if not killed on the spot. No trial, no jail time, no nothing. They would make an example out of him, parade him down Main Street like a trussed up Christmas pig.
We thought about it and decided that we would be the ones to take care of him. We’d seen enough CSI and vampire flicks to know how to handle this.
It would be quick and easy, without all the fanfare.
What other option did we have?

*to be continued*

© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson July 14, 2011
3 Word Wednesday - Indecision, Fate and Option