Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Sixty-nine:

Jacob Mackenzie (Night of September 13, 1994)

I woke up, in an empty room, handcuffed to a radiator. My mouth had been taped shut and I was still too drowsy from whatever Adeline gave me to even try to move. Outside the door, I vaguely heard voices, conversing with each other. Although, I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying over my throbbing head. I think I might’ve hit the floor too hard when I passed out.

“Look who’s awake,” Chris noted as he entered the room. Before he could shut the door all the way, I noticed Jessie and Ozzy, standing out in the hallway, looking in. Now, I really wish I knew what the hell they were talking about. “It’s about time, too. For a moment there, I thought Adeline might’ve given you the wrong dose.”

“Ow!” I shouted as he ripped the duct tape from my lips as if it were a band-aid.

Chris, of course, showed no remorse, and, instead, just laughed at my expense as he sat down, in front of me. I then watched him whittle the peel off of a tangerine with his switch blade.

“Chris, what’s going on? Why I am chained to this thing? Where’s Adeline?”

“Oh, have you not put the pieces together yet? Well, let me spoil the ending for you,” Chris began, popping a tangerine slice into his mouth. “You see, your mom stuck her nose where it shouldn’t have been, so now you and the rest of your family have to die.”

“What?” My heart began to race as tears flooded my eyes. “Why?”

“Oh, it’s nothing personal, just a precaution,” he said, now offering me a slice. When I refused, he shrugged, then took a bite of it, himself. “We don’t know how she’s told all of you and we don’t want to chance anything.”

“Chris, if this is another one of your sick jokes, I’m not laughing.”

“Unfortunately, for you, I’m dead serious,” he chuckled. “No pun intended. We’re just waiting for the boss to get here to give the order.”

“The boss?”

“A.G. She should be here any minute now,” he answered, glancing back at the door. Before I could get another word in, he re-taped my mouth, then stood up to leave. “Chit-chat time is over. I’ll be waiting out here if you need me. Not that that matters.”

As soon as he walked out the door, I screamed as loud as I possibly could through the tape, hoping someone from the street would somewhat hear me, but it was useless. I was on the second story and my cries for help were too muffled. Why would Adeline do this? I thought she liked me. I really thought she liked me.

After awhile, I finally gave up on trying to be saved and grew immensely tiresome. I shut my eyes and slowly slipped into a deep sleep. When I reopened them, I saw Piper, sitting on the other side of the room, fiddling with Chris’s blade.

“Hi, Jake,” she half-smiled, carving something into the floorboard in front of her. I was too far away from her to tell what it was, though. “Long time, no see.”

“Piper,” I uttered, instantly realizing that the tape was now gone. Although, my hands were still cuffed to the radiator. “What is this? Why do I keep seeing you?”

Without saying a word, Piper stood up and made her way over to me. She sat beside the radiator, leaning her head against the corner of it.

“I’m so sorry for what happened to you. You didn’t deserve any of that.”

“What makes you so sure? You didn’t even know me.”

“I wish I could have. I also wish I could have helped you, somehow.”

You still can, you know? But first you have to bust out of these,” she explained, pointing at the handcuffs.

“How?”

She smirked. “Remember when you fell off the jungle gym in the fourth grade and you dislocated your shoulder? Then the school nurse had to pop it back into place?”

I nodded, curious as to where she was going with this. After exchanging a couple of looks with her, though, it finally hit me. “No, I can’t. I can’t do that.”

“You have to; it’s your only way out of here, your only chance at survival.”

“Even if I could, that would only free one hand. How would I get the other one out to pop it back in?”

“You’re a smart kid,” she told me, standing back up. She then tapped her fingers on top of the heater. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

Like that, I snapped back into reality and woke up. The tape was still clung to my mouth and I was still alone in the room. It was only a dream. Nevertheless, I knew what had to be done. Holding onto left hand with my right, I took a long, deep breath through my nose, before squeezing as tightly as possible to pop my thumb out of place. When it did, I screamed, in agony, as the tears came rushing down my face. Hyperventilating behind the duct tape, I slid my disfigured hand through the cuff. Suck it up, Jake. You are nowhere near finished yet. I looked over at the heater with blurred vision, and placed my hand on the side of it to use as a guideline. I had to hit it just right, just hard enough, so I did. Something about putting the thumb back in its socket felt even worse then taking it out. I can’t possibly do this to the other hand; neither one would be able to function for weeks. Therefore, I simply placed the free hand back behind my back and had no choice, but to play the waiting game.

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