Chapter 46: Old Dogs & New Tricks (Lizzy)

Published on 11 June 2024 at 15:12

“Dead meat? Are you a high school bully from a Hallmark movie or something?” Jimmy’s comment only made the guy madder, as all his remarks today seemed to. In response to the snarky comment the man tugged hard on the makeshift leash, throwing Jimmy off balance and sending him sprawling to the dirt. Jimmy coughed a few times, badly winded from the impact, but he soon caught his breath again. The angry man stood over Jimmy, glowered down at him and asked, “Got anything else funny to say?” In a remarkable show of restraint, Jimmy actually kept his mouth shut and just shook his head. “Didn’t think so.”

 

The man put a foot on top of Jimmy, pinning him to the ground and leaving yet another footprint on his shirt. He turned his attention to me and then pointed at my pants. “Empty your pockets,” he ordered me. I obeyed. When I pulled out Mrs. B’s phone, the man angrily snatched it from my hand and scowled until he looked at the screen and hit the power button a few times. “Who did you call before the phone died? Did you call the police?” The threat in his tone was unmistakable. My knees knocked as I answered. This was the most afraid I had been since I moved here. “I didn’t call anyone. Honest.” The man stared at me harshly but I think he believed me. He took his foot off of Jimmy and roughly yanked him up to his feet. “Start moving,” he ordered. And then once again we were walking through the woods headed towards the unknown.

 

“I hope you said your prayers tonight kid, because you’ve really gotten on my bad side.” To emphasize his point, the man pulled the pants leash even tighter around Jimmy’s neck. Jimmy, usually extremely pale and pasty, was starting to turn a harsh pink and red color from the neck up.

 

“Really?” Jimmy asked sarcastically, his words sounding a little gruffer than normal as they had to surpass the pants noose around his throat. “And here I thought we had been getting along fine. I guess I had that backwards.” Jimmy made eye contact with me as he emphasized the last word. Our eye contact was brief, as the man had yanked on the pants again and sent Jimmy stumbling back a few steps.

 

“Keep being smart-mouthed and see what happens. You don’t think I’ll kill a kid?” The man’s words chilled me to the bone but they didn’t seem to have the same effect on Jimmy. “I don’t think so. If you did though, at least I had a good last meal. I had pancakes and salami.”

 

The man yanked on the leash again but Jimmy’s words were starting to sink in, the edges of his message starting to come into focus. “Christ kid, don’t you ever shut up? I’ll bet your brain was scrambled long before I hit you. Your mom was probably smoking dope when she was pregnant with you.”

 

Even as he choked on the pants, Jimmy snorted and tried shaking his head. “What great insight,” he said sarcastically in a choked voice, “I haven’t heard dime-store psychology this bad since the last time I was at a strip club.” The man tripped Jimmy and sent him to the ground once more, then he stood over him and laughed a surly and mirthless laugh.

 

Strip club. Backwards. Psychology. Salmi. It all started coming to me then, little by little but picking up the pace. Jimmy had said that finding the pants by the strip club was reverse psychology from the crooks. So he wants me to use reverse psychology…about what? Salami and pancakes…that’s what he told JB to feed the monster in his closet. But he said he didn’t want to talk about it and….

 

….and then I got it!

 

As Jimmy stumbled back to his feet, slower than before as the fight was slowly being drained from him, I reached into my pocket and I pinched my leg until tears sprang to my eyes. When I had a few tears rolling down my cheeks, I steadied my nerves and I ran to where Jimmy stood. I jumped in front of him, arms out, a pitiful attempt to protect him like I saw in Pocahontas.

 

“Please, stop hurting him!” I shouted the words in a weak voice and blinked to try to squeeze out a few more tears. They came quite easily as I was actually pretty frightened at the moment. “If you promise to let us go and stop hurting him, I’ll show you where his dad keeps their money. He’s rich.” The man glanced from me back to Jimmy and his eyes searched him appraisingly. “He doesn’t seem rich to me,” the man said in a slightly slower tone, as if considering. “His clothes are garbage and he has no manners.”

 

“His dad makes him dress poorly as a punishment. He has bad manners with everyone.” The man frowned in thought, the right side of his mouth pulling downward into a partial sneer. “I don’t know,” he said, sounding only half convinced.

 

“Lizzy, don’t!” Jimmy begged from the ground. “Don’t, my dad will kill me. It’s okay, we can still get out of this.” As if to prove his point, Jimmy bolted, getting three steps away before being violently jerked to a halt. That painful act of desperation, however, seemed to have the man convinced. The angry man met my eyes, his own boring a hole into me. “Where does his dad keep the money?”

 

As Jimmy writhed and cried and begged from his place in the dirt, I gulped and hoped that I had read this all right. “It’s in his bedroom closet,” I said meekly. I looked down, as if hiding my face from the shame of betraying a friend. From the ground, I saw Jimmy muster the strength to give me one big slow wink.

 

“Lead the way,” the man said, pushing me forward and then dragging Jimmy along behind him like an old worn out dog. We walked on in silence. Between big wet sobs, now and then Jimmy would beg the man to change his mind or ask me to take it back and say I was lying. The man punished Jimmy each time he spoke, but each time it was with less attention and conviction. I could see it in the man’s eyes, he was already spending that mystery amount of money. He probably thought the score was going to make the dry cleaner robbery look like petty cash in a birthday card. The man led us back to the street and from there I was able to take us quietly all the way to Jimmy’s house.

 

Jimmy was whimpered out by the time he was dragged all the way back to his house. Had JB not been by earlier to dismantle all of the traps, I’m sure Jimmy could have gotten the upper hand by now. This mission has been one wrong turn and bout of bad luck since the beginning. We were now on our last hope. Whatever the heck he had in his closet.

 

“This is the place?” The tone of the question showed disbelief and annoyance. “This place is a dump. No rich guy lives here.” Thinking fast, I remembered an episode of Jerry Springer that Jimmy had mentioned the other day. “This isn’t where he lives. He just visits here. Jimmy’s mom…she isn’t the guys wife.” The man’s eyes lit up again. Besides just a score here, he was probably already picturing the sweet blackmail money that he could get too. After a moment the man nodded and then untied Jimmy. “Let’s go,” he said while pulling out the gun and putting it into Jimmy’s back. Over his shoulder, the man looked back at me with menace on his face. “Don’t you go running for help or your friend is never coming back. You hear me?” I nodded that I understood and then I sat down on the ground and didn’t move. Jimmy and the armed man began to climb up the secured gutter on the side of the house, quickly closing the gap to the second story window to Jimmy’s room. The man roughly dismantled Jimmy’s roach rescue hot wheels track and a second later they both disappeared through the window.

 

I sat there silently, feeling frozen with indecision. Should I run for it? Should I yell for help? Should I stay here like I was told to? Did I do the right thing? These questions quickly formulated in my brain and bounced around until it made me panic and second guess myself. I probably would have continued freaking out had my thoughts not been suddenly and ferociously interrupted by the sounds of screaming and growling and begging and one very loud gunshot.

 

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Closet Monster
a month ago

Time to die. I'm done eating salami and pancakes and now...I FEAST ON FLESH! In all seriousness I really want to know what this monster is