Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Seventy-six:

Sue Mackenzie (Late night of September 13, 1994)

There I was, sitting in Joey Grace’s old living room, tied up both my husband and oldest son, putting all my trust into a man I just met not even an hour ago. The few guarding us as we waited were a couple of homely teens, Carlos, and some guy with an excessive amount of tattoos. It all felt very cult-like with how them and their lanterns were positioned. I felt as though were being sacrificed to their fucked up version of God. Although, I guess, in a way, we kind of were.

The one standing closest to me was a girl who looked to be around Jacob’s age, but was painted up like someone of my age. I had actually seen this girl before; I just couldn’t remember where exactly. She leaned against the empty bookcase, filing her fingernails, appearing bored, somehow. How can she be bored amidst all this? Is the kidnapping of my family not exciting enough for her?

“Excuse me?” I uttered to her. They didn’t bother putting duct tape on us this time around. “Excuse me?”

The girl stopped filing and rolled her eyes at me. “What?”

“What exactly are we waiting for?”

“Adriene.”

“Adriene? I thought Adriene was already here and that’s why you brought us down here in the first place?”

The girl sighed and rolled her eyes again, but this time she continued on with her nails. “She likes to make an entrance. Now, quit yapping before I slit your throat, myself.”

“I told you we should’ve taped their mouths shut,” the boy to her left murmured.

“A.G. used the last of the roll,” the girl responded.

I did as I was told and shut my mouth. To be honest, I was done talking to the little brat anyway. A couple more minutes of silence went by before I finally heard the clacking of Adriene’s heels, coming from the kitchen. Turning my head towards her, I noticed she had walked in the room with the same smug look Adeline had upstairs.

“Sorry for the wait, everyone,” she said as if she were late to some soiree of hers instead of an execution. “I had some other business to take care of.”

“Whatever, can we just get on with this already?” The man with the tattoos voiced, arms crossed, leaning up against the windowsill.

“Oh, I’m sorry Samuel, do you have somewhere better to be?” Adriene said in a rather condescending tone.

“Yeah, actually. I have a wife and a kid. Remember?”

I could feel the wrinkles beginning to form in the center of my forehead as I looked at him with confusion. Although, the confusion wasn’t because he had a wife and a kid, but more so why a family man took on a dangerous job. I mean, one wrong move and he could be where I’m sitting at this moment. Unless, he took it beforehand, which still made no sense to me.

“And what about you, huh? Don’t you have a daughter to get back to at some point?” the man continued. You’re pushing your luck now, Buddy.

Adriene’s face burned a glowing red, yet she managed to put on a happy smile. “Fine, Sammy. If you wanna speed this up so bad, why don’t you go help Adeline fetch the other one?”

The other one? What does she mean by “the other one”? Slightly, I turned my head towards Jake. “Jake, where’s your brother?” I whispered to him, hoping to God he would know the answer.

“I don’t know,” he, unfortunately, whispered back. “Last I saw him, he was outside, but I think he got away.”

“Hey!” Adriene shouted at us from behind the couch. As I glanced up, I quickly noticed the pistol in her hand. “I suggest you two pay attention, especially you, Sue. You’re not gonna wanna miss this.”

Suddenly, I could hear the faint sound of something or someone being dragged across the kitchen tile. Sammy had come back into the room with yet another teen I somehow recognised but could not place in my memory. He was a tall and lanky kid with short, frosted hair. Although he was a stranger to me, he did not take his eyes off Jake. As I examined his face more and more, I noticed the throbbing bruise under his right eye.

“Did you do that to him?” I whispered to Jake, despite Adriene’s previous orders.

“Yep, right before I injected him with tranquilizer,” Jake answered, before being hushed by the Debbie Harry wannabe.

Both Sammy and the boy came to a stop behind the sofa, making it impossible for me to identify who they were dragging. However, when told Adriene told them to bring it and I finally did see who it was, my stomach turned and my throat tightened. They got Amelie. Her mouth was taped shut and her hands were tied behind her back. I could see the unquestionable fear in her eyes. She probably would’ve tried screaming if she hadn’t been pumped full of drugs beforehand. I knew I shouldn’t have let her go to that bake sale alone.

“Surprised, Sue?” I heard Adriene ask, but I was still too focused on Amelie to pay her any mind. Therefore, she stepped in front of me and crouched down in her skin-tight dress to start her villainous monologue. “Well, you shouldn’t be; you’re the reason she’s here. In fact, you’re the reason they’re all here. You see, when most people hear about a case of murders that have already been closed, they tend to leave it as just that: closed. But not you, apparently; you just had to keep digging and digging. And for what? To relive the good ole’ days? To prove that you still had it in you? Tell me, Sue; I’d genuinely like to know. What was the reason?”

“I was trying to protect my family,” I uttered, softly.

Adriene turned her head and cuffed the rim of her ear. “I’m sorry; what was that, now?”

“I was protecting my family,” I said a bit louder.

“Really, huh?” She smiled a devilish grin before standing back up. “And how’s that going for you so far?”

All of a sudden, I heard the front door open. I couldn’t quite get a good view of who it was with Jeff’s head in the way. Although, once I saw the light reflect off the gold badge, I immediately knew it was Ace. I wonder what he’ll make of all of this.

“Where the hell did you run off to?” Adriene asked, redirecting her attention towards him.

“For your information, I was tucking my son into bed,” Ace explained, entering the room. “What’s going on? Why is Amelie here?”

“Oh, haven’t you heard? Your mistress is planning on killing her,” Jeff answered. I tried not to smile too widely.

“What? That wasn’t part of the deal, Adriene,” Ace responded.

“Well, no, not at first, but then this one decided it’d be a good idea to confront me earlier about my horrible crimes and tell me how I wasn’t going to get away with it,” Adriene explained, waving her gun around as if wasn’t carrying a lethal weapon in her hand. “And well, you know how I feel about snitches. But if you have a problem with this, then please, feel free to join your wife.”

Ace didn’t say another word, but from the look of hurt and betrayal I saw in Amelie’s eyes, I could tell he had already made his decision and so did she.

“Good, then, now we can get to the fun part,” Adriene continued, pivoting her feet back towards me. “So I’ve thought long and hard about how I was going to go about this, who I was going to kill first. Then it hit me. Sue, since you’re the cause of this, why don’t you choose?”

“What?” I inquired, making sure I heard that correctly.

Adriene smirked. “You heard me. Who’s it gonna be?”

“Now, wait a minute,” Jeff intervened. “You can’t actually expect her to be able to choose.”

“Well, let’s explore her options here. Shall we, Sue? It’s either your husband, your son, or your newfound best friend,” Adriene said, pointing her gun at each one of their heads. Afterward, unexpectedly, she pointed the gun at Carlos, who had been sitting on the sofa next to her. “Or possibly my newest traitor.”

“Excuse me?” Carlos rightfully questioned.

“Yeah, boss, what are you talking about?” Sam began. “Carlos is one of your most loyal—”

“Cut the shit, Sammy. Do you both really think I’m that stupid?” Adriene laughed, hysterically. “I know you were the last one guard Patrick Mackenzie. I know you were the one who helped him escape.”

Carlos bowed his head. “He was just a kid, Adriene.”

“Well, congratulations on having a moral compass. Now, that kid is now gonna be the death of you,” Adriene replied, shortly before looking back at me. “I’m still waiting on your answer, Sue. Either you choose or I choose for you. Honestly, I’m good either way.”

Tears trickled down each side of my face as I went back and forth between Amelie and Carlos. Although, when I glanced over at Carlos, he had been nodding his head, making me cry even harder. I’m so sorry. I was about to give Adriene my answer when I heard the gunshot. However, it was not Adriene who pulled the trigger. In fact, she was the one who got wounded in the arm. I turned my head towards Sam and saw that he was holding the smoking pistol.

“Go, get out of here,” he ordered Carlos, shortly before getting shot in the shoulder by Ace. Fortunately, he got away before Ace could shoot him anywhere more severe.

Carlos pulled out his pocket knife and began cutting away to the zip-ties holding my family and I together. Although, not even halfway through, he was interrupted by Adriene’s children of the corn. The boy shot at him, while the girl actually hopped on his back and held a knife to his throat. He stood up and tried to fight her off by backing into the bookcase. As this was going on, Jake had nudged and pointed out to me that Carlos dropped his knife in arms’ reach of me. Thanks to Carlos, I did already have one hand free and would’ve been able to grab it if it weren’t for Adriene stepping on said hand.

“Oh, no, you’re not getting away that easily,” she said, putting her pistol at my head. Little did she know, Jeff also had a free hand and a handgun Carlos gave him moments he brought us downstairs. He shot her in the chest, making her drop to her knees and making me go deaf in one ear, but only for a couple minutes.

My hand was free once more and I was able to reach the knife and free all three of us. As we stood up, Jeff pointed the gun at the two boys, going back and forth between them, so that they would drop their own weapons and surrender. Soon enough, one of them did and backed away slowly, hands up. The other one, the one that got into a scuffle with Jake, was much more determined.

“What are you doing? Pick your gun back up,” the boy said to his friend. “It’s two against one, pick your damn gun up.”

“You don’t have to do this anymore,” Jeff interrupted the kid. “Look at her; she’s dead. You’re no longer under her rule and I can help you find a great lawyer for all you. First, you have to put the gun down.”

“Here’s the thing, though: I never did it for her,” the kid shrugged, shortly before clocking the gun back and pointing it at Jake. “Now, if you excuse me, I have some unfinished business to settle.”

“Don’t make me shoot you, Kid!” Jeff warned again, stepping in front Jake. Before the kid could even fully pull the trigger, Jeff shot him in the leg, making him yelp.

As the other boy was paying attention to that, I grabbed the girl’s nail filer and stabbed her in the eye with it, freeing Carlos of her surprisingly strong grip.

“Thank you,” Carlos said, rubbing his neck.

“Don’t mention it,” I told him, looking back over to Amelie who had been screaming through her duct tape this entire time. Before walking over to her though, I felt a hand grab my ankle. It was Adriene’s. She opened her mouth to speak, but all that came out coughs of blood. Not long afterward, she stopped breathing, then moving all together. I pried her cold hand from my leg, picked her gun up off the floor, then continued on over to Amelie.

“You were right for not going to that bake sale,” she commented as I removed the tape from her lips. I then cut the her zip-tie and we both started making our way towards the door.

“What about him?” I stopped and looked back at Ace, rolling around on the ground, fist fighting with Sam. Before long, Carlos got involved as well.

“Leave him,” Amelie responded, without a second thought and already exiting the door. I followed her, then Jeff followed me. By that time, Jake was already outside and, unfortunately, so was she.

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