The dark silhouette stood over me. I had already unloaded one shit into my pants, and I felt I was overdue for round two when the shadow offered out his hand. "I'm terribly sorry, mister. I thought you were part of the search party." He shook his head, "I mean game." The silhouette stepped out of the shadows and revealed itself as a young boy.
"I preble bleh mah." I struggled to find my tongue which was lodged somewhere in my esophagus. "Sorry, I actually am part of the game." The child looked perturbed. "I mean to say, I've been forced into this game, you see? I need to find this boy named Brendan, and in order to do so, I mus--"
"Brendan? What business do you have with a child? You're like 80-years-old."
I repeated an Inuit calming mechanism in my head to subdue the rage boiling inside me. "I'm seeing these visions. I hear Brendan is learned in the ways of paranormal phenomenon... And mayyybe, there might be some candy in it for him if he helps me out," I hinted.
"You're not making a strong argument for yourself," the child remarked. "Are you acquainted with a Mr. Chris Hanson?"
"Listen, Brendan. I need your help. I don't know what's happening to me, but I fear I may be losing my mind."
"Alright, alright. I'll see what I can do. Tell me of these visions you speak."
I went on to tell him every detail of the day's previous events. "It's seems you've made enemies with both the Red Rovers and the House of Manhunters. Building up your reputation so quickly isn't the best idea 'round these parts," Brendan cautioned. "It's a dangerous game you're playing, Chiz. If it weren't for these unavoidable circumstances, I'd suggest you leave town. But don't you fret, I know of the origin of these visions."
"You do?!" This is the best news I've heard since TGI Friday started offering two dollar drafts on Tuesdays.
"I used to know a man who had similar visions. He would wake in the middle of the night and venture to the pool. He would creep around the pool and swim cautious laps as if he were attempting to traverse the water unnoticed. When asked what the meaning of it was, he would simply respond, ‘Shh! I'm a minnow and if I'm not careful, the shark will have me for lunch.' The man believed he was being pursued by sharks. Strange as it was, I was intrigued with this man’s unfortunate syndrome. I studied his pattern every night until I discovered that his vision coincided with the rule set of the children’s game ‘Sharks and Minnows’. I came to the conclusion that this man was suffering from childhood nostalgia. He had trouble letting go of the leisures of his past. That’s when I confronted the man. Told him to, ‘let go of the past’. To essentially, ‘embrace the sharks.’” Brendan paused for a moment. “Know why it was so simple for me to come to this conclusion? Why I cared so much for this man’s debilitating condition? Because, Chiz, this man was my father.”
I looked at him in astonishment. I can’t believe this child really held the key to freedom. “S-so what do you propose?”
“Embrace the impending destruction of your childhood… Embrace the destructive power.”
A bead of sweat trickled down my face. Though, to my dismay, I soon found out it was not the revelation that caused my increase in temperature; it was the rapidly approaching lava that began to pursuing me from the rear. “It’s back!” I cried.
“Embrace the fire, Chiz!”
I turned toward the lava, but the heat was too intense. “Ahhh, it’s singeing my ball sack!” I screamed as I began retreating.
“Chiz! You can’t run forever! It will eventually engulf you in a fiery vengeance far more painful!” Brendan’s voice faded as I fled the cemetery.
Just like before, I was on the run from the persistent molten lava, and as before, I came to the conclusion that the water tower was my best bet. But, what about the Red Rovers? They’ll never let you pass. I clung the hope that the beast rested at this hour.
The water tower peeked its head above the trees. I was almost there and no sign of the Red Rovers. That’s when I heard someone scream, “There he is! The traitorous nerd!” I looked over my shoulder as three members of the House of Manhunters began their pursuit. Why were these children out this time of night?!
My legs began buckling and hope drained my body like… well, never mind. The water tower seemed so close, yet so far. But I had to continue lest I die a horrifically painful death. The nearer the water tower, the faster my legs moved. I can do this! I’m almost there! Only a few more… That’s when the Red Rovers emerged from the forest in formation. My legs slowed to a jog. And, if things couldn’t get worse, there was a familiar face among the formation… Billy…
My feet felt like magnets until I eventually stopped completely. Red Rovers in front and a vicious alliance of lava and Manhunters approached my flank.
“Chiz!” I heard Billy yell. “I’m sorry! I never meant for it to end like this!” his voice cracked. “I had no choice but to join Red Rover. It was the only way to gain refuge… to gain protection from the Manhunters. I’m sorry!” But, his words meant less to me than an infomercial selling masturbatory socks.
A hollow sound reverberated around my stiffened body. Echoes of blood cries and crackling fire meshed into a horrific, hellish resonance. The world was a blur as I attempted to grasp the concept of my certain death.
Just then the girl from the House of the Manhunters played in my head. What she said upon our initial interaction… “I'd like to think we've bestowed upon you a chance to prove yourself. To prove you aren't just one of them." She was right! Until now I had been one of them. One of the fugitives… one of the prey… constantly running from my problems instead of facing them dead on.
I felt a rush of energy lift me up as I proceeded toward the Red Rovers. I built up speed and I faced their formation with a new sense of determination. I could see fear in their eyes as my feet tore up the ground. I studied the line searching for a weak link. That’s when I noticed Billy nod as he let go with his right hand in defiance and a last act of camaraderie. The soldier next to him shot him a confused stare and gripped his lifeless hand. Now was my chance.
I lowered my shoulder and hit the wall. I could feel the two boys’ arms shattering against my shoulder as they fell to the ground. I paused and looked back. Billy was writhing in pain as he attempted to piece together his dismembered arm. “Go!” he yelled, “Now’s your chance!”
I looked back as the Manhunters and hot lava were still in pursuit. I reached the water tower and began scaling the ladder to the top. The Manhunters began climbing below me as the lava crashed against the water tower. I finally reached the top and looked over the edge, the world was engulfed in molten fire, yet nothing was being harmed.
“Embrace the fire!” I heard Brendan’s voice echo. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath… and then I jumped. Down into the lava I fell, but I could no longer feel the heat as I approached. I had finally come to terms with my loss, the end to my childhood. That’s when the world went black.
I awoke from slumber. “It was all a dream?” I thought as I breathed a sigh of relief. “All… a… dream…”
“No it wasn’t,” a voice interjected. I looked up and saw a woman in white. “You really jumped from the tower. Broke both your legs and released an unhealthy amount of your bowels.”
“Wuh?” I struggled to comprehend the situation.
“Sir, you are in the hospital. You seemed to have a life-threatening amount of LSD in your system... In scientific terms, you were tripping out of your fuckin’ marbles.”
“How could this happen? I hadn’t taken LSD intentionally in like 4 days!”
“Well, sir,” she continued. “We found this note on your unconscious body. Tell me if it makes any sense to you.” She handed me the note.
If you're new to my blog and a bit confused, here's the background story: Intro, Choz 1, Choz 2, and Choz 3.
"That doesn't mean you're out of the blue, sir," the nurse continued. "You still have pending assault and battery, manslaughter, and illegal substance abuse allegations."
Normal posts resume whenever the fuck I feel like, but most likely Wednesday.