"I feel like we've been walking for hours," I grumbled.
"That's because you're old and out of shape. We've only been moving for about 4 minutes."
"I think I'm going to die," I cried. I could see pieces of my soul escaping with each drop of sweat. I hadn't had a bag of Cheetos or a drop of beer in close to 4 hours. I was beginning to wither away. "Please. Can we slow down?" I begged.
"And allow the Manhunters to gain ground on us? I don't think so."
It felt as if the Grim Reaper was so near that I could feel the blunt end of his scythe between my butt cheeks. If I didn't rest soon, I was surely going to shit my pants and die.
Billy grew impatient. "Let's go!" he shouted. "We're in this together, only a few mo—" Billy's sentence was interrupted as he was taken down by one of the Manhunters.
"I got you now, you thieving fartlicker!" laughed the Manhunter with a devilish grin.
"Chiz! Help!" cried Billy. "Don't let them take me back!"
I began to panic. What was I to do? "Uhh..." I hesitantly said. "I think it's illegal for me to hit a child, let alone touch them."
"But, they're going to torture me. Please! Do somethi--"
"Yeah, uh, I'm pretty sure there's a law that states that I'm not even allowed to hang out with you, so..." I interjected.
Billy let out a cry of pain as the Manhunter began initiating the Indian-sunburns. It was almost too gruesome to bear. He started with his forearms and then began Indian-sunburning the shit out of his leg. Enough! I must do something! I looked around for an instrument to break up this senseless violence.
Billy began losing consciousness from the excruciating pain. That was before the Manhunter ceased the torture as a trail of blood trickled down his face. His eyes rolled back into his head as he crashed downward onto the forest brush. I stared down at the blood-stained rock in my hand and then up to Billy.
He struggled to produce words as he fell in and out of consciousness. "Y-you saved my life," he murmured.
"I- I guess I did," I smiled. That's when we heard the rest of the Manhunters approaching. "We've got to get out of here!" I yelled, leaning over to get Billy back on his feet. But, it was no use. Billy cringed and fell back to the ground.
"Go on without me!" he mumbled. That's when I noticed the severity of the Indian-sunburn on his calf. "I won't be able to go on with an injury like this."
"I'm not leaving you behi—"
"Go! The graveyard is about 2 minutes west. I'll try to stall the Manhunters for as long as I can. No sense in us both being captured."
I looked at toward the sounds of the approaching enemy, then back to Billy.
"Go!" he shouted one last time.
I shot him an appreciative nod and headed West toward the graveyard. I was only a minute away when I heard his screams, but it was too late; I had to press onward.
Another minute passed, and I emerged from the forest with the elegance of a two-legged foursome. Ahead of me, I could barely make out the graveyard through the thick of night. Night had crept in unsuspectingly during my, roughly, 15 minute jaunt in the forest. I could hear faint voices in the distance.
“Hello?” I shouted as I approached the voices. “I need some assistance!” There appeared to be 5 children in all.
I grew nearer, and the children grew visibly wary. “We weren’t going to go in the graveyard; I swear!” one of the children yelled in a shaky tone.
“It’s… not that.” I put my hands on my knees and panted. “You’re… the ones… that don the name… ‘Ghosts of the Graveyard,’ am I correct?”
“Sir, are you okay?” one of them inquired.
“You probably shouldn’t be straining yourself. A man of your age can easily have a heart-attack,” another one cautioned.
“I’m twenty-thr—” I calmed myself down. “Never mind. Are any of you named Brendan?” Silence filled the air. “None of you? Do you know who I speak of?” I continued.
“Yeah, we know Brendan, but he’s a bit tied up at the moment.”
“Well, where is he? I need to speak with him urgently.” I grew impatient.
“We’re kind of in the middle of a something. We’re… hunting a ghost,” one of them hesitantly replied.
My face grew red with rage and my eye began doing that twitchy thing that occurs moments before you lose consciousness and wake up hours later staring at a dead hooker in your bed with no recollection of the events preceded that moment.
“Mister! Mister!” One of them hollered while gesturing me to calm down. “We’ll help you find Brendan! We just need you assistance in flooding out this ghost.”
There was nothing I could do. I was going to have to play another stupid game with these retarded children. “Alright, I’ll play your game if you promise to lead me to Brendan afterward.”
“Agreed. Follow us to that willow tree down yonder.” Little did he realize, he was actually pointing to a withered pine tree, but it’s not my job to correct the failures of our educational system.
We reached the tree and the children gathered around. The lot of children began chanting slowly. “One o’clock… Two o’clock… Three o’clock…” What on Earth were they doing? Had I become a part of some satanic ritual? “…Seven o’clock… Eight o’clock…” Billy was right; these children are wack-jobs. “Eleven o’clock… Midnight!” They shouted. Nothing happened as I suppose I should have expected. “The ghost is out tonight!” Startled, I look about, but saw nothing.
With that, the children dispersed into the graveyard. I grabbed one of them by the shirt collar before they disappeared. “What’s going on?” I inquired.
“We’ve got to find the ghost in the graveyard,” he giggled.
“By the cock of Zeus, why would you do such a thing?” I looked out into the depths of the graveyard. “I think it’s better that you leave the spirits of the dead to rest.”
“But, orders are orders mister. I must abide by Brendan’s law,” he said.
“There you go with Brendan again. Where is h—“
The boy wrestled his shirt collar from my grasp and started for the cemetery. “Help us find the ghost, and you’ll know everything,” his voice faded into the abyss.
I had no choice but to follow the gang of lunatics into the land of the dead. I began tiptoeing past the graves. I could feel a heavy pressure on my chest, much like the sensation of having a duck sit on your chest. ‘Eerie’ couldn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere.
“I found a gho—rarrghhh plsffft.” What in the shit was that? It sounded like one of the children had been ambushed.
I wearily continued. That’s when I saw it; a shadowy figure retreated behind a tombstone. I tilted my head in confusion. My heart was racing faster than a heart beating of normal speed, but I had to figure out what it was. Maybe if it were in fact a ghost, I could finally get the help I need.
Closer and closer, I approached. I had finally reached the tombstone, and began peering above it.
“Blarghhhh!” the shadow shouted. I fell to the ground and crawled backward on my elbows. I struggled to talk, but my face was frozen in fear. The silhouette approached until he was standing directly over me. Surely, this is the moment I die.
TO BE CONTINUED! YAY! Isn’t this fun, guys?! Don’t worry, I’ll wrap this shit up Monday.