'Filthy' Frank Fletcher had a nasty habit and a small penis. The latter gave him much distress. Being fat and ugly also didn't help much but he felt the need for compensation. This was one of the reasons he bullied other kids. He wanted to feel superior, to feel tough and in charge.
Girls looked at him with disgust even though he liked to measure them from head to toe. Many times he threw improper comments at them. The younger ones usually didn't say a word and hurried away. More adult girls showed him the middle finger or just told him to go fuck himself which he did, so to speak.
Frank liked the summer, it was his favorite season and not because of the sunshine or the beautiful songs of birds. He was oblivious to things which warmed the hearts of normal people. Not saying that anybody is normal because nobody is. Everybody has a certain amount of deviance in them. Some hide it well, others just don't care. Normality is an illusion.
The nasty habit which Frank liked to do was going out to Clearwater Lake, in the woods. He had a favorite hiding spot in the bushes where he sat down and watched the bathing girls. Young people often came to the lake from Linden and from neighboring towns to bathe or do some skinny dipping. This was Frank's favorite part, he liked the fact that nobody could see him but he can see anybody. He felt excited and in control just like he felt when beating somebody up.
On Saturday afternoon, he left his house and started toward the lake. Saturday and Sunday were the days when many people came to bathe or swim. The lake was situated in the forest north-west from town. In about twenty minutes anybody could reach it.
Frank walked through the crowded streets of Linden. He was eager to see some naked girls and maybe play with his pecker for a while. He walked to the western end of Main Street then turned slightly right onto a dirt road which was going towards the forest. To his left, in the distance, he saw the church, the Hershey house and beyond those, the farm where Jess was living.
He thought about her for a minute or so. Frank was mad at her because she kicked him in the balls. Many scenes came to his mind. First, he imagined how she could make it up to him. These thoughts made him smile and his penis harden but then he turned to much more aggressive thoughts. She won't do anything, he said to himself, because she doesn't like me. This made him angry, he started playing with ideas of revenge. What would he do if he caught her here in the woods where nobody sees them? Again, his mind was filled with filthy thoughts. Out here nobody would see us, he murmured while walking through the woods, I could do anything to her. He then smiled and continued, anything I wanted.
Soon the shining surface of Clearwater Lake appeared on the horizon. It was pretty big, long but narrow and as the name suggested, the water was relatively clear. There were a few small beaches on the lakeside but it was mostly surrounded by thick vegetation. Black Ash, Yellow Birch, and Red Maple trees surrounded the lake. These were the main species of trees growing on this part of the forest.
Frank headed right toward his favorite spot. It was a place with a lot of vegetation which provided a good view of the small beach below. He threw a careful look around to make sure that nobody sees him and then slipped into the bushes.
Down on the rocky beach, there were two topless girls sunbathing. Seeing them excited Frank, they were young and beautiful. In the water, he saw four boys and two more girls. These girls were also topless. The sight of them made his blood boil and his small pecker harden.
The two bathing girls came out of the water, the boys stayed some more and began swimming toward the middle. It looked like they were playfully competing who reaches the middle of the lake first. Frank wasn't interested in the boys, he was watching as the girls walked out of the water with graceful moves. One of them caught his attention because she had large breasts which were gently swaying side to side as she walked.
This was his lucky day, he thought and he already began playing with his penis. He could do this all day, the fact of being able to watch excited him like nothing else. The girls didn't notice him, it was almost impossible to see him from there.
About half an hour later, Frank got the surprise if his life. He was awakened from his excitement by an angry shout.
'Hey! Hey, you!'
Frank's heart almost stopped beating, he looked to his left and, between the leaves, he noticed movement. People were out on the path which went around the lake. He stopped moving, even stopped breathing because he was hoping that they didn't call out to him. But they did. Frank's yellow shirt betrayed him.
'What are you doing there?' asked a female voice.
'He's watching the girls!' said a strong male voice then Frank heard footsteps coming closer.
He wanted to run but his pants were down so he tried to pull them up with desperate moves. Due to the panic, he wasn't successful, he just fumbled with his pants then fell on his ass. The owner of the strong voice came between the bushes and with a manly grip he caught Frank by the shoulder and lifted him to his feet. Then, as if Frank was just a piece of rag, he pulled him out onto the path.
'Please, sir,' he whined, 'let me go!'
The man was young and big. He must have been about twenty-five years old and a gym rat for sure. His height was almost six feet and his jaw and shoulders were broad. His considerable biceps bulged as he pulled Frank along.
'Look here! Look what I've got!' he said to his friends when they exited the bushes.
Two girls and two boys were standing on the path, all of them looked about the same age as the strong guy. Their face showed surprise and indignation but when they saw Frank with his pants down, they broke out laughing.
Frank was almost crying from shame and fright, his face became as red as a boiled lobster.
'So,' began the big guy, 'Mr. Jerkoff Smallcock, what's the deal with the bush?'
They began laughing even more. One of the boys was holding his abdomen with both hands. Frank just stood there with his head down hoping for it to end.
'That's not a cock,' said one of the girls, she was a beautiful red-haired wonder, 'that's not even an excuse for a pecker.'
'You couldn't fuck a chicken with that thing,' said the other girl who was a tall and skinny brunette.
'Maybe chickens are the only thing he fucks, am I right Mr. Wankalot?' said the big guy and they broke out laughing again, Frank began to weep.
'Oh, look,' said one of the boys, he was also working out but wasn't as big as the one who caught Frank, 'momma's little boy is crying.'
'Come on Dave,' said the other one, 'does he look like a boy to you? Does he even look like a human?'
'You're right, Pete,' Dave replied, 'judging from the face, he might be a wild boar.'
'A mutant wild boar,' said the redhead and they laughed again.
'So,' said the big guy, 'what should we do with him?'
'Teach him a lesson,' said the brunette, 'looks like his mother doesn't teach him anything.'
'Ana is right,' said the redhead, 'he should learn that it's not polite to creep up on people. Fucking creep!'
'You mean like this?' asked the big guy and punched Frank in his guts.
The punch felt as if a freight train had collided with him. All the air went out of his lungs and he couldn’t breathe for several seconds.
'That's it, Bill,' said Ana, 'give him a lesson!'
Bill punched Frank again. This time, the boy's legs gave in and he almost collapsed to the ground but Bill was holding Frank's upper arm in an iron grip.
'Come on,' said Bill to Frank, 'be a man! You were a man in the bush, now be a man when you're out of the bush!'
'P-please! Don't h-h-hurt me!'
'What,' said Bill and put his palm to his ear as if having trouble listening, 'speak up, I can't h-h-hear you. Jenna, did you hear him?'
'No,' responded the redhead, 'he looks like he's out of breath.'
'No problem,' said Bill and prepared for another strike,' I'll help you breathe.
Bill hit Frank again and this time he let him collapse to the ground. Frank was holding his obscene belly and was struggling hard to breathe. His eyes looked like popping out of their sockets.
'I think that's enough,' said Pete, 'let's go!'
'Stay out of this place,' said Bill and raised a warning finger, 'if I ever catch you again around here, you're toast!'
Frank didn't respond, he was squirming on the ground like a worm. Before they left, Jenna went to Frank and gave him a hate-filled kick in the crotch. A long and low-pitched whining sound came out of Frank's mouth and he grabbed his balls with both hands. He felt paralyzed with pain and couldn't move for several minutes. Fortunately, the people he was watching were all in the water again and they were oblivious to what was happening on the lakeside.
After some minutes of agony, Frank stood up. His testicles were hurting so walking was difficult. He looked around and saw that there's nobody around to see him so he began his slow walk home. The pain somewhat subsided in a few minutes but he was still walking funny. His guts were hurting too.
Frank was walking home on the forest path and was thinking about ways to avoid the busy Main Street. He didn't want people to see him walk like a handicapped person so he decided to take a detour. Maybe the pain will go away if he takes a longer path and walks it off. Also, this way fewer people will see his crooked walk and red face.
He walked for some time through the woods and after about half an hour, the path reached the edge of the forest. Frank could see the church at his left, he was at the western part of the town's borders. It was a long time since he was here.
To his right, there was a small building which he remembered only vaguely. It was not far away so he started walking towards it out of curiosity. When he saw the door of the building open, he hurried behind a wild rose bush.
The same day and at the time when Frank got his share of bullying, the Gang was gathering in the Shed. Chris was ready to bring them the book and the news about the sheriff and Nate's father. After some thought and also consulting with his brother, he decided that he will tell everything. Even the part about Victor Whayman being a coward. Chris felt that he had to be honest with his friends.
They all sat down in a circle on the floor as they always did. Nate was weary and his face and eyelids were drooping. The lack of sleep was showing and he couldn't say when will he be able to get a good night's sleep again.
Andy's face showed deep sadness. The dream he had on Thursday night upset him. Just looking at Jess made him want to cry. He saw her again and again with his mind's eyes. She was standing beside his grave and thanked him that he had saved them. Maybe this is what he has to do, he thought, maybe his sacrifice is the only way to stop the demon. He sure as hell didn't want to see any of his friends die, especially Jess. A sad idea began to form in his troubled mind but he first wanted to find out what the journal contained. This was a thing they had to find out together.
'This thing is getting weirder by the day,' said Jess and looked at the boys with questioning eyes.
'Yes,' Andy replied but kept his gaze on the floor, 'and time is running out.'
'I can't believe my dad knew about all this...' said Nate.
'Who knows how much more he knows, the sheriff too. Maybe we should talk to them,' said Danny.
'And what do you expect they will say?' asked Jess.
'They will tell us to stay home,' replied Andy, 'they’ll say that this is no kid's stuff.'
'No offense, but Mr. Whayman didn't want to help the sheriff anyway,' Chris said.
'I thought my dad was braver but maybe I should talk to him.'
'Yeah, try talking to him. Maybe you will persuade him to help. Tell him that you are going to die if he doesn't help,' said Chris without choosing his words.
Nate's face became sad again. Chris's words cut deep inside him. He knew that Chris didn't want to hurt him but, nevertheless, he succeeded.
'I don't know,' said Nate, 'I don't want to make him sad.'
'You will make him sadder if you die...'
'Chris, stop it!' Jess interrupted him.
'Sorry but that's the truth! If we can't find a way to end this, maybe all of us will die sooner or later. The demon will never stop and the sheriff will not be able to stop it on his own. Do you remember the picture from the book? Where the dead crawl out of the pit?
'Yes,' said Jess and shuddered.
'How can one man do it alone? The dead won't let it happen anyway. This is why we have to find some other way to defeat it.'
'And what should we do?' asked Jess.
'I say we should go and find the journal,' said Chris.
'You mean that we should break into the library?'
'Do you have a better idea?"
'I guess, I don't...'
'When should we go?' asked Danny.
'Tonight,' came the laconic answer.
'I can't go...' said Nate.
'It's all right, don't worry.'
'Please hurry,' Nate continued and his voice became worried, 'the ghost spoke to me last night. It said that I will die and go to hell.'
'Shit, then we have to hurry,' said Andy and looked up, 'Chris is right. We have to try everything and we can't let anybody stand in our way.'
'Agreed,' said Jess, 'let's stick together and do it!'
They stood up and Chris took the book from the library in his hand. The black book was placed under a dirty rug. Nobody wanted to take it home.
The kids headed out onto the field with the intention of going home. A loud shout startled them.
'Gotcha, you gang of pussies!'
It was Frank, coming out of the bush and heading towards them. He tried to move so they won't see that he's hurt, he tried to play the tough guy. When he first saw them, Frank became happy and his excitement grew again. Catching them all at once was like a gift from heaven. A godly gift for all his recent suffering. Now he can deal out his own punishment to all of them. It will be cruel, he thought, very cruel. The Gang stopped in their tracks and looked at him not with fear but with pity. They had much more serious things to deal with than him.
'Leave us alone,' said Jess in a calm tone, 'we don't have time for this.'
'She's right,' continued Andy, 'go home, Frank and leave us alone.'
'You don't tell me what to do!' shouted Frank and his face started turning red as he closed the distance.
'I will beat all of you, this time you can't escape!'
Frank reached their position, went straight to Andy and grabbed him by his shirt then raised his fist to punch. Andy broke free from the grip and made a step back. He was afraid but much less than on other occasions. They were all together after all. This way they can survive anything.
'Come here, you pussy!' Frank shouted and continued to try and grab Andy.
When he reached out with his hand, a thick piece of wood landed on the back of his head. His balance left him and he fell on his knees. For a few seconds, he was seeing stars of all shapes and colors. He looked back and saw Jess standing with a piece of plank in her hands.
'You bitch! You dirty bitch!' screamed Frank and grabbed the back of his head with both hands.
'Leave us alone, you ugly monster!' Jess screamed back.
Frank got up and began running towards Jess but she bolted towards the forest.
'I will fuck you, you dumb bitch!' he shouted in rage.
Chris was already waiting with a piece of board in his hands and when he saw Frank running after Jess, he swung it with all his force. The board connected with Frank's face. It almost flattened his nose. Frank screamed in pain and he fell on his back with a loud thud. Blood began flowing immediately after the blow.
When they saw him on his knees, he looked smaller and much less threatening. The kids gathered even more courage and they each grabbed pieces of wood which were laying all around on the ground. The next one to hit him was Andy, then came Danny and Nate.
'Stop it! shouted Frank but they didn't stop. The wood made soft thuds as it hit the flesh and bone. They were hitting Frank with all their might and hate. He was getting the payback he deserved for everything he'd done to them.
When the kids saw that Frank was lying on the ground barely moving, they stopped. They dropped their weapons to the ground and headed towards town.
As they were walking, Andy was lagging behind a few steppes. Chris was excited because they managed to beat up the chief bully. Nate couldn't believe that he actually had the courage to hit Frank. He was afraid now that after Frank gets better, he will have revenge on them.
Jess saw that Andy wasn't jubilating and he is behind them and she stopped for a moment so Andy could catch up with her.
'What's wrong?' she asked.
'I don't know, I just don't feel well.'
'But you've got to have some reason, right?'
'Yeah, I guess...'
'Well, spit it out then.'
'I have bad dreams on the foggy nights...'
'The dreams about the valley...'
'Yes, but they became stranger. The last one was really bad.'
'What was the dream about?'
'It was...,' Andy stopped for a moment and Jess saw that it was difficult for him to talk about it, 'it was about me...I mean us, all of us. The difference was that I was dead. I saw my own funeral and you were all there.'
'Oh, I'm sorry,' said Jess and seeing the sadness on Andy's face, she took his hand in hers.
Andy's heart skipped s few beats, he didn't understand what was happening but accepted it as it is.
'I know it's weird...'
'Don't worry,' she said and uttered a faint laugh, 'compared to all the shit that's happening around us that is the least weird. What else happened in the dream?'
'The weirdest part was when you thanked me for saving all of you.'
'Yes, I think that in the dream I sacrificed myself to get rid of the demon so the rest of you can live.'
'Oh, my God. I hope you don't have any stupid thoughts in your mind...'
'No, don't worry,' lied Andy then continued, 'the dream made me sad. You were all sad and I didn't like that. The worst part was seeing you sad.'
'That was very nice,' she said and kissed Andy on the cheek.
The boy's face turned red as a carrot. He looked at Jess but she was only smiling.
'Why do you think you have these dreams?'
'I don't know,' he replied and was a little surprised by the question, 'I think about it a lot. I guess that it's because I looked into the eyes of the demon when I was in the basement.'
'All right, but when we have found the hidden staircase in the basement, it was like the demon was helping us. Isn't it weird? Why help us find the book which can lead to its death...or something like that?'
'Maybe it's not that it wanted to show us,' Andy replied when a sudden idea struck him, 'maybe it is because I looked into its eyes. I felt like it sees everything about me, even my future. I felt naked...I don't know how to say it but maybe if it could creep into my mind, something from it stayed with me too and that is what appears in the dreams.'
'That's not a bad idea at all.'
The kids reached the edge of Linden and Jess had to leave the group. The others saw that Jess and Andy were holding hands but none of them bothered to comment. Had this been a usual summer, the comments and jokes would have flown around continuously. But this wasn't a usual summer. For Andy and Nate, it seemed like their last.
Frank managed to get up after spending a few minutes on the ground. Every inch of his body ached but he somehow got to his feet. The slow and painful road home lay before him. Everybody will see how messed up he is and they will laugh at him. All the kids he had bullied will point their little fingers at him and he won't be able to do anything about it.
Even worse, his mother will be mad at him. She will be furious but there isn't a damn thing he can do. Frank must endure anything that follows and then have his own revenge.
When he arrived home and entered the hall, Martha came out of the kitchen, as usual. It was like she had felt that something was wrong. Her eyes began blazing as soon as she saw the mess that was her son.
'Oh, my dearest God! What on earth could you have done again?'
Frank didn't answer, he was too upset and frustrated to come up with a lie. He didn't want to tell the truth either. Blood was flowing from his forehead and nose. His face was swollen, Andy hit him at least once on the face.
'Well,' she continued with both hands on her hips, 'I'm waiting? Don't you think that your mother deserves an answer?'
'I-I got beat up,' said Frank but it sounded more like a whisper.
'I can see that! I bet you got into trouble again.'
'I didn't...' he tried to come up with something but with no success.
'Don't even try to lie to me! I've seen enough! I won't beat you this time but you will sleep in the basement tonight. Get your ass down!'
'But it's not yet...'
'What did I just say?' she asked and looked at Frank with a piercing, hateful gaze.
Frank turned and went straight to the basement door. He threw one more hateful look at Martha then descended into the darkness. There he brooded for many hours. He was thirsty, he was hungry but most of all, he was hurt. What was just a fantasy until now, soon began to take shape in his mind as a possible reality. The rest of the night started to become pleasant. His mental masturbation which consisted of rape and murder brought peace to his boiling mind.