Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Seventy-five:

Patrick Mackenzie (Late night of September 13, 1994)

Zack had soon left with his dad and I was all alone once again. My entire body shivered as I watched the house, intently. Other than the street lights turning on, there had been absolutely no movement from outside whatsoever for the past hour. Where is Carlos? It’s getting darker and darker by the minute and I’m freezing. They should’ve come out by now.

Realizing no one was going to be exiting the house anytime soon, I layed back down and took off my glasses to attempt resting my eyes for a bit. However, even though my body was exhausted, my mind was wind awake. No matter how hard I tried, I could not shake the thought of my entire family being slaughtered while I helplessly cower from inside this truck. The fact that said truck was dead silent did not help the situation either. Therefore, I fiddled with my jacket’s singular button, tracing the rim of it with my fingernail to give it an oddly stimulating sound. Surely, it didn’t make the time go any faster, but at least, it put my mind at ease.

A couple minutes went by and suddenly, I could hear a door being slammed, followed by several voices. Sitting up, I could see the many flashlights shining in my direction. However, I was unable to identify people on the other end of them considering they had yet step out into the light. One thing I knew for certain, though, was that none of their voices were that of my family members. I tried ducking down before they could notice me, but it’d already been too late. One of the flashlights directly upon my face and right then, I knew I was a goner. That was until I heard another, more familiar voice, shouting in the distance. It was Jake.

A tear came to my eye as I grinned from ear to ear. However, that smile quickly began to fade when I realized there still couple of people heading towards the truck. Hastily, I made my way over to the passenger’s side and got out from there. I ran into the nearby patch of forest and did not stop until there were absolutely no flashlights behind me. Even then, I ran right up to the point my legs were about to give out, then crouched behind a large bush.

My body was so full of adrenaline, I didn’t even notice I had left my glasses back on the dashboard of the truck. Oh well, it’s not as if I can see a thing in the pitch blackness anyway. Although, at the corner of my eye, I was able spot a light in the near distance. Unlike the flashlights, this one had a warm, orangish tint to it. A street light, maybe? Carlos mentioned a bus stop being on the other side of these woods. Maybe I can catch the last one if it’s not too late already. I took a deep breath in and out as I mentally prepared myself to start running again.

I was able to make it in the nick of time. The bus was still loading a couple on when I arrived. Officially out of breath, I sluggishly staggered my way over to the entry door. I couldn’t tell if I was about to puke or pass out, possibly both. As I was getting on, my knees finally caved and I stumbled on the first step.

“You alright, Son?” the bus driver asked.

I payed no attention, though, because in that moment, I’d been focusing on what had just fallen out of my coat pocket: the wrench Carlos gave me. Getting up, I turned my head back at the forest behind me. I can’t just leave, I thought. I should at least go back for Jake, make sure he’s okay.

“Hey, you alright?” the bus driver repeated as I looked back at him. “You need me to drive you to the police station?”

“No, thank you,” I answered, stepping off the bus. Quickly, I made my way back into the woods. Twigs snapped beneath my feet and branches whacked me in face. I didn’t care, though, because before I knew it, I was back near the road.

Peeking my head around a tree, I contemplated on whether or not I should’ve grabbed my glasses out of Carlos’s truck. It is just right there; I’ll be quick. Right when I’d made decision, however, a car pulled up in front of the house and two girls had stepped out of it. Their faces were blurry, of course, but I was able to note that the one closest to me was blonde.

Both girls went around to the back of the vehicle to grab something out of the trunk. The blonde blocked my view of it, but from the way they seemed to be struggling, I knew it was something heavy. Please, anything but a body. I crouched down and took a couple steps closer to the road to get a better look, hiding behind each bush along the way. Suddenly, though, the blonde turned around to face my direction, making me freeze mid-step.

“Did you hear that?” she asked her friend.

“Hear what?” her friend responded.

I remained perfectly still and perfectly silent. A minute that felt like years went by before she finally turned back around.

“Nevermind, it was probably just the wind.”

“C’mon, let’s get him inside quick before someone sees us.”

Him? Who’s ‘him’? Jake, is that you? Soon, the girls headed inside and I was able to return to my mission: getting my damn glasses out of Carlos’s truck. I made all the way towards the passenger’s door and was about to reach for the handle when I heard a door open and close once again. My body was far too exhausted to resume running, so I stayed right where I was, quietly, and hoped for the best.

The clacking of heels hitting the pavement rumbled my ears as the person stepped closer and closer towards the truck. I had half a mind to stretch my neck to see who it was, but I wussed out. Instead, I waited it out, hoping the heels would go in a different direction. Though, at last, the clacking stopped as soon as the person arrived at the driver’s side. I leaned far to the right to look underneath the truck. To my surprise, there was no feet. Where did they go? That was when I heard the click. I didn’t need even to turn my head to know there was a gun being held to it.

“Turn around, slowly,” the blonde girl ordered me. “Hands up too.”

I did as she said and swiveled myself around at a stagnant pace to face her. Even up close and personal, I still couldn’t quite make out any of her facial features without my glasses. Although, I was able to make a mental note of her voice, her sweet, silvery voice.

“You’re Patrick,” she stated as if she were telling me my own name.

“Yes,” I responded.

The girl lowered her gun, away from my forehead and sighed. I watched as she leaned against the truck and clicked the safety back on. “I can’t do this.”

“Does this mean you’re letting me go?” I asked, after a brief moment of awkward silence between us.

The girl sighed once again. “Yes, but only if you get as far away from here as possible and don’t ever come back. If you come back, I’ll have no choice but to shoot you.”

“I won’t, I promise,” I told her, already on my way back into the woods. “Thank you!”

“Don’t mention it,” she muttered. It was the last thing I heard from her or anyone else for the remainder of the night.

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