Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Seventy-three:

Jacob Mackenzie (Late night of September 13, 1994)

The door creaked open and I patiently for Chris to enter and walk over to me with another tranquilizer in his hand. He had a sly smirk on his face and on the inside, I was smiling right back. C’mon, just a little bit closer now, you crazy son of a bitch.

“It’s showtime, Mackenzie,” he said, coming to a stop as soon as he was a foot away from me. It sure is. The moment he crouched down, I saw my opportunity to kick the syringe right out of his hand, so I did. I could see the flames burning in his eyes as his nose and ears blew out smoke.“You motherfuck—”

He charged in for my neck, but I deflected him with my left hook. When he fell to the ground, I was able to grab the keychain off his belt loop. Although, before I could find the correct one to the cuffs, he sat upright, clutching onto the syringe. He was to inject me with it when I finally found the right key. Uncuffing myself, I lunged forward at him, knocking him down once again. On top of him, I struggled to hold both of his arms down. For a scrawny guy, he certainly puts up quite the fight. The more he resisted, the more tired I grew and he was able to push me off of him. Before he could pin me down, though, I grabbed the hand holding the syringe and redirected it into his neck. I watched as his eyes rolled back into his head as his body took a hard fall to the ground. For a moment, I stood, hunched, rather, over him, catching my breath and figuring out my next move.

“Hey, Chris! You need any help in there, Buddy?” I heard Ozzy’s voice say through the door. It sounded as though he was walking up the stairs. Good, so I still have time.

Not only did I grab Chris’s car keys, but he had a handgun on him, as well, that I decided to take. The only time I had ever shot a gun was when I went hunting with my grandpa, against my will. Grandpa was so proud when I had finally killed something after hours of being “too chicken” to pull the damn trigger. Although, after seeing that poor deer’s corpse sprawled out in the dirt, I vowed to never even look at a gun again. This was a matter of life and death, though, my life versus their death. Therefore, I took the lethal weapon, just in case of an emergency.

While on my way out the bedroom window, I picked the lantern near Chris’s head and noticed something peculiar on one of the floorboards. Etched into the wood was a pair of initials, inside a cartoonish heart. It was in the same spot Piper had appeared in, in my dream. A+P? Is that what she was carving into the ground before she got up?

“Chris, are you in there?” Ozzy’s voice echoed once more. He sounds closer. It’s time for me to get the hell out of here.

Sliding open the window, I stuck my foot out onto the trellis awning and tried desperately to keep my balance as I hoisted out the other. On my tippy-toes, I grabbed the lantern off the ledge, then shut the window, just before anyone could enter the room. Listening in, though, I could hear that Ozzy had brought company with him.

“Oh my God, Chris!” Jessie’s voice cried out, followed by her footsteps. “What happened here? How the fuck did he get out?”

“The better question is: where the hell is he now?” Ozzy questioned. As soon as he came near the window with his lantern, I switched off my own. Crouching down, I waited for him to leave, before carefully inching my way towards the edge of the awning. When my foot slipped, I could’ve sworn he heard me and came back, but I didn’t see any light shining through the window. Still, I wasn’t going to take any chances, so I continued my escape, without ever looking up.

Climbing down the side of the trellis, I could see into the dining room, through the sliding glass door. Inside, Adeline had been at the table, chatting it up with Ms. Ricci. I had half a mind to eavesdrop on their conversation, but ignorance is bliss, as they say. When Jessie emerged into the room, I emerged into the shadows and headed towards the side gate.

On the sidewalk, I looked around for Chris’s car but then hid behind a nearby shrub when I heard the front door open and the sound of multiple footsteps that followed. Peeking through the branches, I watched as Ricci’s group of teenage henchmen came running outside with flashlights in each of their hands. At first, I did my absolute best not to make a sound, but then I saw him, sitting in the front seat of a cherry-red Sierra.

My heart sank when one of the flashlights shined directly onto Pat’s frightful face. He had quickly ducked down, but it’d already been too late; they saw him. Ugh, I know I’m going to regret this. Pat, you owe me one, Buddy. I jumped to my feet and began running down the street. Looking back every now and again, I made sure they were focused on me and not Pat. Fortunately, for him, at least, they began chasing me on their bikes and one even shot at me. I think it might’ve been Ozzy, but it was too dark to be certain. Nevertheless, I continued sprinting, screaming at the top of my lungs for help, hoping one of the neighbors would come to my rescue. Though, apparently, everyone had better things to do.

When I realized I was on my own, I turned a sharp left corner into a large patch of forest, beyond the local playground. The more I ran, the more I could feel my legs beginning to give out. For a brief moment, I had lost them and was able to catch my breath behind a large sycamore tree. Cautiously, peeking around said tree, I could see the multiple white lights, illuminating the bushes. Although, they didn’t seem to be shining any of the in my direction. Still, I needed a way to throw them off the trail. I looked around my feet for some sort of heavy object to chuck and was able to find a grapefruit-sized rock. As far as I could, I threw it into stretch of bushes and shrubs, opposite of where the group of teens were walking. It was in the nick of time, too; I could hear one of their footsteps coming closer to me. C’mon, take the bait, I thought when they didn’t. Luckily, after a moment of hesitation, their footsteps traveled further and further away and I was finally a free man.

Rushing back to the playground, I came to halt once I had reached the swingset. I was now at a crossroads with myself. Do I continue running until I find someone who can help? I did see a bus station not too far from here. Or do I circle back to save Pat and the rest of my family? The more I thought about it, the more the answer became quite clear. I did already make him a promise. Before I could make it to the sidewalk, however, I was hit in the back of the head with what felt like a shovel, knocking me face down onto the cement. If I didn’t already have a concussion before, I certainly do now. The identity of my attacker remained unclear as I slowly lost all consciousness. On the bright side, my coma this time around didn’t last nearly as long as my previous one. However, on the not-so-bright side, I woke up in the living room of the Grace, tied to both of my parents. Although, I didn’t see Pat anywhere. Hopefully, that means he got away. Or maybe, he’s already dead.

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