After the four of us got out of the car and got the pat down, Fletch and Mark explained their theories to the Sheriff and deputy, completely omitting the fact that Archie may be a vamp. I listened, wide-eyed, as they went on to say how we felt that Archie might be afraid to turn himself in, how we were going to convince him to do the right thing, yada yada, yada.
They checked the car, didn't even clue in to our "supplies" and told us that we had no right interfering in police business and we were lucky not to be heading down to County.
“But, Sheriff, he’s our friend.” Fletch said quietly, “We’re only trying to help.”
The rest of us stood there like tree trunks, waiting to see what would happen next.
The sheriff mulled it over before deciding to come out there with us. He wouldn't make us any promises about our friend but would take every precaution necessary in apprehending him.
I didn’t know whether to be scared or relieved.
We’d barely got back into the car before Tilly erupted with a “You son of a bitch!!” and lunged through the seats at Fletch. I caught an elbow in the face when I tried to pull him back. Through the haze of pain I heard Tilly’s muffled curse as Fletch responded with a solid dose of medication, the five-knuckled kind, causing his head to snap back. He fell over on top of me but his rage was too much and, kicking and scratching, he hurled himself up again.
“Tilly!” I yelled, grabbing a flailing arm, “Shit, calm down!”
Another struggle ensued, causing Mark to swerve, throwing us first to the left then the right before he slammed on the brakes. We lurched forward, me and Tilly almost sailing over the bucket seats. Fletch hit the dashboard, shouting, “Fuck!!!” while Mark swung around, one hand on the wheel, and trying to hit all of us with the other, “Knock it off!!”
“How could you, Fletch?” Tilly shouted, ignoring Mark. I grabbed and held him good this time. He was breathing so hard that I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Mark drove on, his eyes flickering to us in the rearview mirror. The cruiser was right behind us, the headlights so bright, I knew they saw us fighting in here.
Fletch swiped at the scratches on the side of his face, wincing. He smirked at Tilly,
“You fight like a little bitch, Till.”
“Stop already!” I barked, yanking Tilly back down. I glared at Fletch,
“This better be good.”
With a muffled curse, Tilly yanked himself away, ruffling his hair in agitation.
“It is.” Fletcher reached into the glove compartment for some napkins, “None of us really want to put Archie down, right?”
He sat sideways in his seat to look at the rest of us.
I saw where he was going with this.
Mark drew the same conclusion, nodding as I counted off the whole scenario out loud,.
“Roberts gets down there, sees that Archie’s a vamp, Archie sees all of us as a threat, attacks and the sheriff’s forced to shoot him, right?”
“Exactly.” Fletch nodded. i shook my head and looked out of the window.
“And that makes it any better?” Tilly asked heatedly, “What about showing him mercy? Doesn’t he deserve that at least?”
“What other choice we have?” Mark cut in angrily. “We do it ourselves and live with the guilt? Thanks but no thanks.”
“I don’t like it.” Tilly grumbled. “We’re setting him up-“
“Yeah, well it’s kinda out of our hands now so get over it.” Fletch snapped, putting an end to the conversation. I looked over at Tilly. He met my eyes and shook his head before turning away.
We rode the rest of the way in a sad, heavy silence…
We waited for Roberts and Webster to come up so we could go down into the crypt. I reached into my pocket and pulled out some gum, pierced the aluminum backing before popping a piece in my mouth. I held it out but Mark was the only to take the offer.
Mark clicked off the flashlight and we turned as Roberts huffed his way through the tall grass, grunting with exertion. I stifled a laugh. Fletcher snorted in disgust, rolling his eyes before turning away.
The Sheriff bent over to catch his breath, pulling his hat off his head.
“We could’ve drove right up to the damn door.”
“Yeah, well, that wouldn’t have been too smart now, would it?” Tilly sneered. Fletcher elbowed him in the side. He turned, ready to argue again, when Webster came out of the trees, his face annoyed.
“You better hope he’s down there.”
“Or else what?” Mark asked. “You gonna-“
“Quiet!” I hissed. Everyone froze. “Did you hear that?”
I swore I could hear everyone’s heartbeat. Or maybe mine was just thumping so hard it drowned out any other noise. My eyes burned as I tried to see in the darkness.
The crunch of footsteps came from beyond the thicket closest to the crypt. We zeroed in on the sound, eyes and ears straining to hear anything out of the ordinary. I glanced over at the Sheriff who snapped upright, hand already on his gun. Webster was in a similar pose. Their expressions were almost wolf-like, their eyes alert for their prey.
My stomach tightened.
Assholes.A dark figure, slouched over and staggering, appeared from the farthest side of the stone building. I waited, my throat closed in fear, for him to turn and see us. There was a faint screech, a metallic clang and the whump of a door closing.
Archie was home.
*to be continued*
© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson August 3, 2011
3 Word Wednesday: Appear, Dose, and Pierce