Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Seventy-seven:

Jacob Mackenzie (Early morning of September 14, 1994)

Pops being in a stand off with Chris and Ma stabbing Jessie in the eye with her nail filer were not things I was ever expecting to see in my lifetime, but there we all were. Bullets were flying all over the place and somehow all I could think about was where Adeline had run off to.

“Jake, go wait for us outside,” Pops demanded, still pointing the gun in Chris’s direction, even though he just shot him. I guess he wants to make sure he stays down. “See if your brother’s still out there too. We’ll be out in a minute.”

Following Pop’s orders, I ran as fast as I could out that front door and to Chris’s car across the street. He didn’t have to tell me twice. Opening the car door, I noticed Chris had another hand gun in his glove compartment. Jesus Christ, how many guns does this guy have?

“Hey, Jake,” I heard Adeline’s voice say behind me. She said in a tone that so sweet and innocent as if wasn’t just an accomplice in my family’s attempted murder. As I turned around, I could see that she didn’t have a scratch on her and was smiling.

“Stay back,” I told her, raising the gun at her.

“What do think you’re doing with that gun there?” She took a step closer to me.

“Adeline, I mean it! I’ll shoot you!”

“Shoot me?” The expression on her face seemed oddly confused. “What about homecoming?”

“Homecoming? You think I’d still go with you after all this? You drugged me, tried to have me and my family killed. Fuck homecoming!”

Disregarding my warnings, she took yet another step. “You don’t want to hurt me, Jake. We both know it. So why don’t you put the gun down, huh?”

My hands began to grow shaky as I swallowed my tears. She was right; I didn’t want to hurt her. Even after everything she’s done, I couldn’t bring myself to pulling the trigger. Nevertheless, Adeline was shot in the head, but not by me. Wiping her blood away from my eyes, I saw that it was Ma who open fired. I also noticed that Adeline had large knife behind her back the entire time. “I’m so sorry. I just couldn’t do it,” I said to Ma as she met me halfway in the street.

“I know, Sweetheart,” she replied, bringing me in for a hug. The feeling of her warm embrace made tears building up in my eyes stream down my face.

“Hate to break this little lovefest up, but we sort of need to go,” Mrs. Romano interrupted.

“Yeah, Jake, you have the keys?” Pops asked, halfway in the driver’s seat. I threw them to him and he stuck them in the ignition.

As Ma and I were getting into the car, ourselves, we noticed Pat walking out of the woods, then running towards the car the moment he saw us. “Pat, thank God, you’re safe,” Ma said when he crashed into her arms. “I was so worried.”

“I was hiding in the woods, but then I heard gunshots. Is everyone okay?” Pat inquired, pulling away from Ma.

“Yes, we’re fine,” Ma answered. “Are you?”

Pat nodded, then began looking around. “Where’s Carlos?”

Ma then scoured for him as well.

“He must still be inside,” Pops observed.

Suddenly, Pat started running towards the house. Ma tried to grab and pull him back, but he slipped through her grasp. She called out for him to come back, but he ignored her. Therefore, I made the quick decision of going after him. I could hearing for me to come back as well, but like him, I didn’t look back.

The living room had been nearly cleared out by the time I came back in. Chris, Ozzy, and Jessie were nowhere to be found. The only three people left, who were still breathing, were Romano, Carlos, and Sammy. Sammy had a couple of bullet wounds in his hip and stomach. Frankly, he was not looking so hot. Carlos was preoccupied with being choked out by Romano to help him out. At least, that was until Pat came up behind Romano and whacked him on the back of the head with a wrench. Although, I don’t think he hit him hard enough because he still got back up as if it were just some minor inconvenience. As he started walking towards us, I stepped in front of Pat, shielding him from whatever wrath was about to come his way. Surely enough, Carlos was able to shoot Romano in the right side of his chest in the nick of time. Pat and I both sighed with relief as the sound of police sirens echoed behind us.

“Oh sure, now they show up,” I commented, viewing the red and blue lights through the translucent window curtains.

“Could one of you help me find something to put pressure on all of these,” Carlos asked, bent over Sammy. He’d been covering up his friend’s two lower bullet wounds while Sammy covered the one in his shoulder. “We gonna get you out of this, buddy; just hold tight for little while longer.”

Both Pat and I rushed to the kitchen, actively avoiding the puddles of blood left on the floor. We searched high and low for some sort of wash rag or paper towels, but it was one of the few places in the house that had been wiped clear.

“Are both of you hard of hearing or something?” Pops had entered the room and looked as if he were about to both Pat and I upside the head. Although, his expression quickly changed when he noticed Sammy lying on the ground, in agony. Thankfully, he’d been wearing a tank top underneath because he then took off his dress shirt and tore it in half. One half was to cover Sammy’s stomach and the other was for his hip.

“Thank you,” Sammy said, softly. He slowly kept going in and out of it, shaking like crazy.

“You’re gonna see that wife and kid again, man. I gonna make sure of it,” Pops told him, making Sammy smile one last time before passing out completely.

Luckily, the paramedics hurried in right at that moment. The rest of us watched as they hoisted Sammy up onto the stretcher and carried him out the door. We followed closely behind them. Outside, Ma and Mrs. Romano were talking to, who I assumed was a state police investigator, while getting their head injuries checked out on the back of an ambulance. I also quickly noticed the neighbors beginning to form a crowd around the scene. Of course, as soon as it’s all over, now they’re concerned.

There was one person in the crowd, though, who immediately stood out to me: Piper. I stopped in my tracks as she stared me down, blankly, from afar. For a split-second she smiled at me, then I blinked and she was gone.

“Jake!” I heard a familiar voice shout behind me. I turned around to see that it was Brian running up to me and nearly knocking me down as he gave me a giant bear hug. “Thank God, you’re alright.”

“Brian, hi, what are you doing here?”

“Well, when you didn’t show up for class, I sort of began to worry. I had a feeling you might’ve ditched with those burnouts. Looks like I was right; this is where they usually hang out now,” Brian explained, glancing up at the house, then down at his feet. “But when I went home and saw that you still weren’t there, only Pat, I started to suspect the worst. I thought maybe you were—”

“Hey, hey, don’t think like that,” I told him, grabbing his shoulders and pulling him for another hug, seeing that he was about to cry. To be honest, though, I think was to more so calm me down rather than him. Had it not been for Sammy and Carlos being traitors, I would’ve been dead, along with the rest of my family. It wasn’t exactly an experience I’d like to think about for as long as I shall live. “I’m right here. I’m right here.”

“Anyway, my mom was the one to call the cops,” Brian continued as we separated. He turned his head in the direction of the ambulance both of our now were. “Also, I’m sorry about Adeline. I know you had a thing for her.”

I looked over Brian’s shoulder at Adeline’s body still lying in the middle of the road. Forensics may have already covered it with tarp, but I still had drops of her blood on my cheeks and her last words on my brain. Even when dead, she still managed to have me under her spell. “Yeah, I’m sorry too.”

All of a sudden, I could a sharp pain coming from the back of my head, right where I was hit. The adrenaline had officially worn off and I was seeing spots. I would’ve face planted on the sidewalk if Brian hadn’t been there to catch me. “We need a medic over here!” he shouted as everything went to black.

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