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“Boyd, I’m really starting to fear the worst here”
If Tania had a weakness, then fearing the worst was most definitely it. Given that he was so mild-mannered by nature, unnecessary drama was something he could do without. Moreover, he was convinced that hooking up with Edith would be far less exhausting. Now if only he could find a way of getting Jack out of the picture, it would be plain sailing. The pair were as thick as thieves so it stood to reason that they would share the odd interest. However, while Jack and Edith’s relationship appeared to be blossoming, he was stuck copping an earful from this whiny trout.
“You’re over-thinking things”
He had lost count of the amount of times he had made this particular statement but the results were always the same – deaf ears.
“I’m telling you, something is up. She would never be gone this long”
“Well what do you propose we do then?”
“Maybe we should go back and get the others”
Finally, music to Boyd’s ears. Chances were, Patricia was already back at the cabin, and at least there he could keep an eye on the competition. He performed his about-turn in record time and instantly commenced his homeward march.
“Great. Let’s head back. If we’re quick we can…”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?”
Of course he was. In his great haste to scurry back, he had forgotten to remain within ten inches of his needy girlfriend. She despised not being made to feel important and Boyd had been particularly slack in this department for the past few weeks now. Part of him just wanted to tell her to fuck off but logic got the better of him as this was neither the time or place for a full-scale row. Thus, he did as she requested and continued biting his lip.
While Jack and Edith had set out just moments after, their path had led somewhere entirely different and they were now thoroughly lost. In addition, Jack’s prosthetic limb had covered all the ground it was likely to for the foreseeable and a well-earned rest seemed more than justified.
“I’ve gotta sit down for a minute and catch a breath”
No complaints from Edith as they had arrived at a particularly picturesque spot overlooking the lake and here she could enter phase two of her seduction.
“I could give you a massage if you like?”
“Would you? That would be blissful right now”
“Sure thing. Is it your right thigh?”
“Yeah. Feels a bit tight”
“And how does this feel?”
Edith ran her fingers along the inside of his leg and started to manipulate the aching area. Instantly, he felt his knotted muscles loosen up.
There seemed no harm in making in-roads so she cranked things up a notch and slid her digits around his member, which had inevitably began to stir. Showing restraint wasn’t going to prove easy but Jack already had a long-term girlfriend and didn’t intend on succumbing to temptation, regardless of how tantalizing it was.
“What are you doing?”
“It doesn’t look like little Jack minds”
“I can’t do this Edith”
Thwarted. Jack’s girlfriend lived almost 500 miles away so she had figured out of sight meant out of mind. Alas, it didn’t.
“What is it? Does this not feel good?”
Like a child who has been refused ten cents and requests a dollar instead, she grasped his fickle girth in her left hand and began tugging it through his denims, in the hope that she could do away with his voice of reason.
“I mean it. Stop! We can’t do this”
“Why not? I’ve been practically throwing myself at you all evening and you didn’t seem to have a problem with it before”
“Flirting is one thing but I can’t cheat on Deryn. She was there for me when I had my accident and every step of the way during my rehabilitation”
“Fuck her! Stupid bitch”
Edith wasn’t hot on thinking before speaking her mind and this had a habit of coming back to bite her on the ass. This was one such occasion. Jack removed her hand from his groin and scrambled to his feet, not best pleased at her outburst.
“I’ve heard enough of this shit”
“Jack? Jack? I didn’t mean it”
Too late. He hobbled away, feeling more tense than he did at the commencement of her massage, but reluctant to let that show.
“So you’re just gonna leave me out here alone. Is that it?”
“Looks like it”
If Edith was a tad thoughtless, then Jack was more of your stubborn type. If he was honest with himself, he had given the thought of cheating on Deryn more than just passing consideration and his erection told no lies, but being a love rat wasn’t his style and he already knew he would have regretted his actions come sunrise. A demoralized Edith was left cursing her over-zealous approach and her first thought was to scurry back to her best-friend Bethany and pour her heart out. She would know what do as she was nothing if not level headed. Now if only she had the faintest idea how to get back. Little did she know that Bethany was unlikely to be able to offer any moral support after losing both her virginity and vitality in one fell swoop.
Meanwhile, Mike had barricaded himself in the upstairs bedroom and his fortifications were looking far less than sturdy with Olaf’s shoulder barging them incessantly. He was now ruing his decision to choose the only room in the cabin without a window to exit through and all that was left was to pray that his opposite number tired of his pursuit. Olaf Lund wasn’t the type to grow weary, particularly with the scent of fresh meat in both flared nostrils. However, with an entire bed frame, two closets, and a chest of drawers propped up against the only way in or out, even his immense might was finding it hard fashioning an opening. Sooner or later, he would succeed, and Mike knew this only too well. Thus he began frantically rooting around for anything that would serve as a makeshift weapon. The best he could come up with was a plank of 4×4 perched in the corner and it had the added bonus of a rusted nail protruding from the top for extra leverage.
The obstructions were beginning to weaken and he knew it was just a matter of seconds before he would be required to test out his makeshift weapon. Mike’s major wasn’t close quarters combat and getting high was the only thing that he excelled in particularly. However, one thought of the decidedly short work that this freak had made of his spotter A.J. was sufficient to encourage his very best game face. As expected, Olaf found a way through, and stepped through all the rubble to claim his next trophy. This presented Mike with his one chance and, with his adversary currently off balance, he took it with significant verve. One direct hit to the face was all it took to send Olaf stumbling backwards as the nail entered dead center of his brow. Sensing a brief opening, Mike clambered across the mess and slipped past him into the hallway, wasting no time whatsoever in making his exit.
Needless to say, his subordinate behavior didn’t go down well, and Olaf let out an almighty growl as she dislodged the 4×4 from his cranium. Considering the atrocities he had already committed in a reasonably docile mood, this was to be rather unfortunate for the next sorry lemming who stumbled into his path. However there appeared to be a silver lining as, over in the corner of the room, was a fully stocked box of staples and he had been hunting high and low for fresh ammunition. Rejuvenated, he replenished his supplies, clicked off a few test rounds, and smiled that ungodly smile once more. Game was back on.
Holden had done remarkably well to make it two-hundred yards with severely damaged legs but his upper body strength was now all but depleted. Thus he decided to take a short breather and concealed himself beneath shrubbery just to remain low-key. His heart sank in his chest as he heard incoming footsteps and he dared not breath a solitary breath until they had passed. Had he known it was Mike, then perhaps he would have been more willing to show his face, but ignorance was bliss on this occasion. Regrettably for Holden, Olaf only a few yards behind, and stopped in his tracks when he picked up this familiar scent once more. Growing increasingly suspicious, he scanned the close proximity for any movements, and Holden dared not move a solitary muscle, despite the agony he was currently feeling. There were to kinds of luck for Holden: bad and none. Thus it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to him when his own bowel started threatening to betray him.
A single fart would have grave repercussions and Holden clenched his cheeks for dear life so as not to let one pass. By now Olaf was no more than three foot from his position and sporting a fully loaded staple gun which he was simply itching to put to nefarious use. The stomach cramp was crippling and tears streamed down both Holden’s cheeks as he desperately attempted to hold in this wantaway gas, while internalizing his whimpers. Baked beans may be a great source of fiber and the ideal food for a campsite expedition, but they can become your worst enemy in a heartbeat as Holden was about to discover to his mortal detriment. Eventually his clenched sphincter could take no more and one brief but telling toot slid out into the public domain. Perhaps Olaf didn’t hear it? Negative, he heard it.
Lifting the foliage to reveal his cowering quarry, the mountain man wasted no time in introducing Holden to his little friend. There was nothing he could do to prevent what happened next, with two shot kneecaps, and precious little left in reserve. Olaf hoisted the teen up against the nearest oak and soaked in every last drop of his panic, while allowing his blood red eyes to do the talking on his behalf and they were never anything less than vocal. Pinned against the tree and now openly voicing his consternation through way of one final spirited scream for help, his misery was about to end in the most miserable fashion conceivable. With finger firmly on trigger, Olaf fired several rounds into Holden’s chest, then moved his attention to his open mouth. He had heard about enough from his victim so used the next few staples to secure it shut, while pressing his grubby thumb into the boy’s trachea for additional discomfort.
Still not satisfied, he then turned his attention to Holden’s eyes and placed the open stapler against his frantically flickering left pupil, before unloading another flurry with sufficient force to force the punctured orb way back into his skull. Death couldn’t have come soon enough for Holden but Olaf had no intention of wrapping things up just yet after suffering the indignity of coming off a poor second to Mike back at the cabin. He repeated the process with the right eye, by which point the excessive bleeding around his brain meant that it was now only a matter of time. Holden’s struggles were now starting to subside and his interest started to wane accordingly. Killing in cold blood just wasn’t the same without a captive audience so a quick neck break concluded their one-way interaction. This was perhaps a little more humane a denouement than Olaf would have preferred but he still had other fish to fry and revenge to exact now also.
Mike hadn’t stopped running since his narrow escape five minutes ago and this was the closest to athleticism as he had come for years. Glancing anxiously behind him to make sure there were no approaching mountain men in the vicinity, he crashed against the nearest tree and started coughing his guts up. Before he could catch anything like a second wind, he spotted movement in front of him and this claimed his full and undivided attention. After a moment of squinting his eyes, he began to make out the shape and was massively relieved to confirm it as Edith. She hadn’t noticed him as she was too busy sobbing her heart out after Jack’s earlier rebuff. It took a few moments for him to conjure up the puff to call out but eventually he mustered a half-hearted call.
“I haven’t got time for it Mike”
She could see that he was struggling for breath and also noticed the fresh blood spattered across his sweatshirt. Suddenly she had a little more time for him.
“What the fuck? What’s going on Mike? Why are you bleeding?”
“Who’s is it then? Oh God, what’s happened? Where’s Bethany?”
“I dunno…[PUFF]…listen. You can’t go…[PUFF]…back there”
“What the fuck’s going on Mike?”
Her whimpering tone suggested that she knew only too well that she wasn’t going to care for his reply.
“There’s some maniac psycho back at the cabin…[PUFF]…fucker killed A.J. man. Right in…[PUFF]…front of me”
Ordinarily Edith wasn’t the coolest head in a crisis but, judging by Mike’s severe fatigue, she figured that someone had to take charge. Wiping the tears from her cheeks, where they were instantly replaced by more, she got her shit together pronto and started to formulate a plan.
“We got to call someone Mike. Have you got your cell”
“No signal. I’ve…[PUFF]…tried”
“Well there’s a phone back at the cabin”
“No…[PUFF]…fucking way. I’m not going back there. Did you hear what I said? Deranged…[PUFF]…nutbag anyone”
“Holden’s van. If we can get to that, we can drive for help”
“Did you hear what I said? I’m not…[PUFF]…going back”
“Well I just left Jack a few minutes ago. I’ll go get him alright? He’ll know what to do. Back in five”
“No fucking way. I’m coming with you”
Tamara was no stranger to being naked but the chilly autumn air had begun to take its toll after twenty minutes of bare back sprinting. She had no idea where she was, what she was running from, or where she was headed but anywhere had to better. Judging by Holden’s guttural screams, which were the last thing she heard as she bolted into the undergrowth, things hadn’t panned out well there and, had it not been for a spot of flash thinking, that could and would have been her. Unlike Mike, she had the lungs for cross country, and was beginning to ease off the gas as she worked out that she must have covered 5 km already. That was her sole consolation right now and about to be snatched away from her as she jogged over to the next checkpoint beacon.
Inexplicably she had managed to complete a full circle of the woods and the last thing she wished to see right now was Holden’s overturned camper no more than thirty yards from her coordinates. The dreaded insecurity snuck straight back in and she suddenly felt incredibly exposed and vulnerable, realizing that nothing about her current position was at all secure. On the plus side, it was deathly quiet and the only sound was the chirp of crickets and intermittent gusts of the cold September wind, each more bracing than the last. There was no sign of Holden but, from what she could make out, it appeared Bethany had been in better shape. Cautiously she shuffled forward into the clearing for closer inspection and this confirmed it to be Beth. She had aspirations to become a nurse so the sight of blood didn’t usually faze her in the slightest. However, this was no simple grazed knee. There, right before her in a deep red bouquet, was a lesson about the perils of unprotected sex that would make most girls her age instantly sterile, but she held it together and side-stepped past the shambles and headed straight for the cabin.
The lack of a front door was unnerving, particularly given that whatever done this to Bethany may still be inside so she slid up against the side wall and edged around to the nearest window for a closer inspection. News was no more encouraging here as A.J.’s obliterated body was the closest to a welcome her eyes received. There was a phone in the kitchen which she couldn’t see from her angle and that appeared her best next port of call. Taking great lengths not to make a solitary sound, she negotiated the perimeter to the rear entrance where the hardwood door was still in tact but wide open and swinging back and forth in the gale. She had surprised herself with her plucky spirit up until now, but wasn’t feeling quite courageous enough to make this particular short journey into the unknown. At least she was in a well-lit area here, not confined, not in any clear and present danger apparently, and in one bitterly cold piece.
Olaf was now growing decidedly weary of hide and seek and primed for another spot of activity. The night was still young, he could still smell human funk in the air, and his blood rage was nowhere near sated yet. So he was thrilled to discern Mike and Edith a couple of hundred yards in front, particularly given that he had unfinished business with the former. Reinvigorated, he picked up the pace, but stealth had never been his strong suit and it wasn’t long before the pair were made very much privy to his flanking maneuver. For Mike this was particularly distressing news, given that he had only just recovered from his last cross country sprint, while Edith wasted no time whatsoever in hitting the ground running and was now more than content to leave things down to survival of the fittest. Any solidarity went straight out the window as they both headed off in opposing directions.
Olaf now had a choice to make and this one didn’t take a great deal of deduction as, not only was Mike looking visibly the more frail of the two, but he had already done plenty to incur his wrath. With forward momentum on his side, it took seconds for Olaf to catch his prey and, realizing that outrunning him was not an option, Mike attempted to scramble up the nearest tree to safety. Climbing had never been his forte but it’s amazing what one can achieve with a hulking juggernaut all set to tear you limb from limb. He managed to reach a point just out of his opponent’s grasp and breathed a sigh of relief with what precious little air was left in his lungs. However, had he witnessed the ease with which Olaf had flipped a 2500 lb VW Splitscreen Camper just minutes earlier, he may just have held onto the oxygen.
While intelligence was something that Olaf Lund had in scant supply, he was nothing if not a resourceful huntsman. Resting his entire body mass against the tree, he commenced to push into it with every last gram of his considerable bulk. Felling a two-hundred year oak was ambitious even for him as the roots were far too deep and sprawling to become compromised. That said, the bark wasn’t quite so stubborn in its resistance and soon began splintering beneath his concentrated weight. All that Mike could do was to oversee this feat of superhuman strength and pray that the apple fell far from the tree once the bough broke. With one last almighty shunt, the tree began to topple backwards and this was all the encouragement Mike needed to vacate his higher ground. Landing awkwardly on the hard ground, he hardly had time to register the stress fracture in his right ankle before feeling Olaf’s harsh grip around the afflicted area.
Swift discipline was the last thing on Olaf’s mind after their previous altercation so Mike’s bawling pleas for compassion fell on the deafest pair of ears in twenty acres of dense woodland. Of uppermost priority was ensuring that a repeat performance of earlier couldn’t be facilitated and two snapping the teen’s fibula clean in two guaranteed that escape was taken swiftly off the table. Next up were the flailing arms and these offered little resistance as Olaf yanked both in turn from their spurting sockets. He then commenced to use both limbs to pummel his foe way beyond the point of submission, not that tapping out was any longer an option. Mike had perhaps a couple of minutes to endure before the inevitable bleed out but they weren’t about to be made easy for him. Turning him onto his back, Olaf took a moment to get up close and personal, slobbering his thick bile into Mike’s open mouth before performing his next trick.
After absorbing a little more of his quarry’s fear, Olaf thrust his foul fingers into Mike’s mouth and gripped his squirming tongue way back at the tonsils. In a single jerking motion, the organ came free in his hand and he held it aloft with tremendous pride before returning his attention to the task at hand. Mike could no longer see his tormentor as both eyes were bathed in his own blood. However, that still left four other senses to assault and one of those was next under scrutiny. The force Olaf applied when relinquishing Mike of both his ears was sufficient to relinquish him of over half of the skin on his face. Wildly convulsing, this was now deemed suitable retribution, and release was finally granted Mike courtesy of one final blow to the chest. However, the prize for defeating this particular adversary was the winding down heart muscle and it had beat its very last a full second before he scooped it straight out of its harness and chowed down on the gristle.
If there was one thing that sullied triumph this unanimous then it was the lack of an audience. All that Olaf had been provided with as a child was harsh cruelty; callous beatings from his father for being such a blight on humanity. Never once was he loved, cared for, nurtured in any way conceivable – just punished. Of all his victories to date, this should have been by far the sweetest, but still all he felt was vitriol. Boyd and Tania were currently feeling a great sense of accomplishment after reaching the end of an alternative trail that led back to the cabin, both Jack and Edith were both heading there also, one with a great deal more haste than the other, and Tamara still wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing as she cowered around the rear of the building. Olaf’s vicious fury was about to get one final workout.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2016