Jump to content


Author: Author
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

296 More Than Two Thumbs Up


About AmosLee1023

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Favorite Genres
  • Location
  • Interests
    Los Campesinos, Joji, human anatomy, art, writing, running, cooking, psychology, criminology, studying, and working.

Contact Methods

  • Public Email

Recent Profile Visitors

1,056 profile views
  1. AmosLee1023

    Chapter Six: Disappointed

    Chapter Six: Disappointed Liam got out of the car and shut the door, standing beside it as Carlos walked up to his house to unlock it. They were just ten minutes from the bar, but Carlos skipped it, because he felt that Ashe was a bad influence. Not as much as Sam, but he wasn't fond of Ashe's drinking, which reflected on Liam. That was why Liam was upset about them skipping it; he wanted a drink. Could use it. "Come on," Carlos called out and opened the front door. He looked back at Liam and beckoned, and Liam sighed and walked over. The two stepped into the house and Carlos flicked the lights on. His house looked like the ones he sold. Nice, white, barely lived in despite his three years there. He looked back at Liam. "Do you want a drink?" he asked. Liam gave a single shrug. "Do you have anything strong?" "Probably not what Ashe has." Carlos walked off to the kitchen, leaving Liam to look at the living room. It was simple. Normal. Clean. Because Carlos was out socializing a lot, it left the house pretty sad and lonely. The warm lighting made it feel a little more lively, though. The walls held small things like family photos, or random "Faith Family Friends" and "Home Sweet Home" pictures. Just things that were given to him that he put up for some life in the house. The family pictures were of his college graduation and siblings, who lived in Colorado. It didn't really matter what was hanging up, because it was all more than Liam had in his own home. His house's walls were empty because he didn't have a family anymore, and his office held papers and things of death for his writing. Carlos came back into the living room with some glasses of whiskey and handed one to Liam, who hadn't come over in a few months. Scratch that: hadn't been inside, for a few months. He'd come and ask for favors, but that was all. He just didn't like coming to the town, because of how different he was than the people who lived there. Trailer trash. To be honest, he and Carlos had only met through a Christmas party that Ashe brought Liam to once in highschool. They only hit it off because of some chatting and mutual interests, like you do in school. James was Ashe's brother, Liam was Ashe's friend, Sam was Ashe's one time fling, and Carlos was Liam's friend from Ashe's party. It all came back to Ashe, in the end. Liam took a glass and drank the whiskey, which tasted better than what Ashe had in his collection, but he knew that it wasn't as strong. He didn't have to look at Carlos to know that he was watching him expectantly. "So," Carlos said, "Tell me what's going on." Liam scoffed and shook his head. He shrugged. "...Just working on the Dewsome case." "Okay, Liam, I don't say this because I'm your friend; supposed to support you and all, but- maybe you aren't cut out for writing true crime," Carlos said and brought his cup to his lips. Liam gave him a look. "Wow. Thanks." Carlos sighed. "You know that's not what I mean. I just think that you need a break. For your mental health." "I'm fine. I've already written-" "This is your seventh, I know. You write pretty good, but it might be time for a vacation." Liam walked by Carlos to sit on his Hispanic friend's couch. Carlos was full of shit. There was no way he had actually read Liam's books. He was probably right about the vacation part, though. He watched his annoying friend walk over and sit beside him. Then take in a breath. "What were you and Ashe doing at that house?" Carlos asked. Liam looked away. He'd already decided that he didn't want to tell Carlos or Sam about Noah. Telling Ashe and James was enough, so he didn't need two more people in on the mystery. "...I looked up Noah's case file," Liam said slowly, lying, "Because it was the anniversary. And it just… didn't seem right. The way he was killed- the killer must have done it before." "Liam..." Carlos sighed and leaned forward on his knees, peering around at his friend, his eyes a dark brown. Liam looked at his friend before averting his gaze again. "I found three other kids, killed the same exact way. Two before Noah, and one after. They're all seven years apart, all drowned, all kids that no one would look for-" Carlos put a hand on Liam's knee, which felt a little weird, because neither Liam nor any of his other friends did much physical contact. Aside from Liam sleeping with Sam, but that was different. He still tried not to have much contact with her then, too. "I think you need to stop listening to Ashe and actually get some help," he said. Liam scoffed a little too heartily and looked at his friend, eyebrows knit together. "Not everything I do revolves around Ashe, Carlos. Did you even hear me? Four kids have been killed all in the same way, seven years apart, in close proximity of each other." "I heard you, Liam. But what does this have to do with your well being? Why don't you get that living out in the woods, all alone in a cheap trailer, and drinking alcohol for breakfast isn't good for you? Why can't you take care of yourself?" "I do. Can you listen to me?" Carlos huffed and closed his eyes. He pulled his hand from Liam's leg to put his head in it, irritated. He was Hispanic, but he didn't have an accent or speak the language; it had stopped with his mother. His black hair was combed neatly back, to further accentuate the annoyance in his face. He opened his dark eyes again to look at Liam. "I'm listening." Liam shook his head and decided to finish his drink before speaking again. "Those kids have all died, and the last one was found in 1999- seven years after Noah. Now it's 2006, and there's a kid missing again- same as the others; a forgettable kid disappearing after school. We," Liam sighed, "Me and Ashe went to talk to the kid's dad, about his disappearance, but he'd already killed himself. I lied, yeah, but I just wanted to talk to him about his son, because I think there's a serial killer out there, and I think that he has him. That's why. That's all." He watched Carlos's tired face, expression looking like a disappointed parent. "It shouldn't have been Noah," Miranda said softly, her face born of sorrow as she stared down at Liam, her child son sitting alone in his bedroom after she told the other boy to leave. Another boy, that Liam had been holding hands with just before his mother had come in, stopping their tiny words of young confessions. Liam stared up at his mother, his eyes wide in fear at being caught with a boy, but growing even wider as he listened to what she was saying; processing it. "It should have been you," she said, her expression disappointed and eyes… void, of any familial love towards the boy. It made his heart pound incessantly in his chest, so quick and hard that he didn't think it would stop. It made him want to puke. Then she repeated the words, with more confidence. "I should have been you," said the disappointed parent. Carlos sighed and dropped his gaze to the floor. It took a moment of silence for him to think of anything to say in return. Liam watched the glass in his friend's hand, his last sips of whiskey sparkling with the light of the room, telling him to drink it, because it knew that Carlos wasn't much of a drinker and would waste it. "What..," Carlos glanced back at Liam, "are you planning to do, exactly? Hunt down a serial killer? Do you know how… reckless that is?" Liam looked at Carlos's face, only realizing that his heart had been pounding anxiously, when it started to calm down. "Y-you actually believe me?" he asked, his voice full of pure confusion. Carlos watched Liam with his upset expression for a second before cracking a smile and groaning. The darker man pushed back to sit back in the couch, slouching beside Liam. He put his hand out again to start patting the noirette's back. "I guess I don't know, but you seem like you really believe it, so why shouldn't I? Even though you'll probably end up in a psych ward a year from now for a mental breakdown." Liam meant to sigh in relief, but he ended up laughing, because that was sort of what James had said, too. At least, sort of the same concept. And because he probably would end up in a psych ward sooner or later. Carlos gave in to laugh some too, which felt good, because their relationship had been straining. When they finished, Carlos cleared his throat of the humor and asked, "Why haven't you told the police? Why are you wanting to do this yourself?" Liam sucked his teeth. "I did. They didn't believe me. And the kid is in another jurisdiction, anyway." Carlos nodded while listening, looking at his glass. "Well, it's fair to say that you've really thought this through." Liam nodded in return. "I have." "...So why didn't you tell me earlier? Why'd you tell Ashe, but lie to me?" The hispanic looked at Liam and the other man shrugged, though guiltily. Because Ashe knew the whole story. Carlos didn't. There was a dead child come back to life, thrown into the mix, and Liam didn't want Carlos to think that he'd finally lost it if he told him. "Just… don't lie to me anymore," Carlos said softly, sadly. Liam glanced at him. His dark eyes were watching Liam, pleading for him to accept him as a friend just as much as he did Ashe, because even though Liam had been friends with Ashe longer, he had still been friends with Carlos for at least eight years. For some reason, it just… felt natural to keep things from Carlos. Like the fact that Liam's dead brother had come back to life. Liam nodded, although his mind told him that he was a piece of shit for doing so. "Okay," he said, making his head scream, "I'm sorry." Carlos gave a half smile while watching Liam, and then sat forward on the couch to stand up. He looked down at Liam. "I guess since we've got all of that out of the way, do you need anything before I take you back to your house? Like, groceries, or something? I know you and Ashe think that vodka tonics are for lunch, but they aren't." Liam smiled at that and almost declined, but then he remembered Noah. Noah, somehow alive again, as a child who needed to eat. So, he nodded. "Yeah… thanks." Carlos shrugged. "It's okay." He walked off to the kitchen with his whiskey, to waste it like Liam had predicted. He himself stood up and reached up to rub his eyes. They were still irritated from crying earlier. He felt like a pussy. Especially since Carlos had waltzed into his home and found him like that. The only real time he let anyone catch him crying was James, before he had met Carlos. He was staying at he and Ashe's house, like he actually did a lot, but Ashe had fallen asleep early and left him alone to his thoughts. It was two AM and everything just came to hit Liam. How much he hated his life. He was fourteen, and his dad was too depressed to work to provide for him. His mom had left him, his twin brother had been brutally murdered, and he was going nowhere in life. He was drinking beer with his only, immature best friend, eating rice cereal for dinner, working at the local library for some quick cash, and watching his dad sit around in a deep depression. There was no humor anymore. There were no jokes or laughter in the house, not even daily conversations. The water was going to be shut off and David wouldn't do anything about it. Liam was working at the library for three dollars an hour, trying to save up cash for the bill, which seemed impossible. So, he sat crying on the couch, thinking about what would have happened if Noah hadn't died, or, better yet, if Liam had instead. Like his mom had said. That was when James walked in through the front door after working late at a pizza joint, with a box of free pizza and another of some desert sticks. Even though Liam didn't know him too well at the time, he let the man hug him until he stopped crying. Then they pigged out on the food. Carlos walked back into the room and motioned for Liam. "Let's go; I'll pay for the groceries." Liam gave a breath and ran his hand through his hair before going to Carlos and following him outside, back to his car. At the grocery store, they just grabbed a basket, because Liam was a single person. So, Carlos thought. "What exactly is your… plan?" Carlos asked, looking at Liam while they walked through the bread. Liam grabbed a loaf. He did feel guilty, or pathetic, when using money from Carlos, but he knew that he wasn't really in a position to not ask him for help. "I want to find out who killed my brother. And I don't want to let him kill Joseph Carter," Liam said, simply. Not simply. His words came out with a bitter sting to them. One that made Carlos' expression gain some concern. "...Don't put yourself in any danger, Liam. If you find him, turn him over to the police. They'll have probable cause. Just don't let yourself get hurt by doing this." "I'm not." "You're not as strong as you think you are," Carlos said. Liam rolled his eyes, but he didn't argue. He knew that he wasn't strong. He didn't think he was. He knew that his childhood had messed him up in the head, but he wasn't going to let that stop him from trying to help Joseph. The drawing flashed in his head, of a stick figure stuck on a ratty mattress. Of the dog cage with traps inside. The man doing this- he needed to be put down. No, not put down. He needed to suffer the way his victims had. And then, by some mercy of God, spared- like the children weren't. So that he could be torn apart in prison by the other, less monstrous monsters, who also knew that he was an abomination. "...Liam," Carlos spoke and put a hand on Liam's shoulder. The noirette looked at him, Carlos's eyes looking into his blue. "Don't, space out like that." Liam blinked and looked around. He was still beside the bread. He looked back at Carlos. "...Sorry." He didn't know what he had done, but he had to admit that he did space out. Into a bitter, angry galaxy. Carlos shook his head and pointed off. "Come on, let's get this done. You're probably hungry." "I ate breakfast at Ashe's," Liam said. Carlos glanced at him and gave a good fake smile before letting him go. He started walking down the aisle again and Liam pressed his lips together and followed after. They got tuna for tuna sandwiches, because Liam remembered Miranda making them a lot for he and Noah, and then they got some other things. Hamburger Helper, some hamburger meat, milk, cheese, vegetables and fruit, etc. Liam would probably forget to eat anyway, so he was really just grabbing things for Noah. Carlos stuck his arm out in front of Liam at the frozen section of the store and a cart hit his outstretched limb. Liam had no clue that there was even a cart, only noticing when Carlos elbowed him in the hip from the cart hitting his arm. "Oh, I'm sorry," a woman said, from behind the cart. Liam looked passed Carlos to her, a short woman with hair curly and shiny from too much mousse, and lips lined with a dark red pencil liner. It looked like her young daughter was pushing the cart. "It's okay," Carlos said, but Liam could see that he looked a little uncomfortable, so it had probably actually hurt him. The woman gave her daughter a light scolding and pulled the cart away from Liam and Carlos, taking over the driving of it. The small girl looked at Liam, her eyes a hazel green. She didn't look away. It was like she was looking into him, or like she noticed something that he didn't. Her staring gaze made him feel uncomfortable, but he didn't look away from her, either. While she walked away with her mother, she kept her gaze on Liam, studying him. Then she brought a hand up and waved to him, and she and her mother turned around the corner of the aisle, disappearing. Liam tried to reason with the girl's gaze, but then he just turned his attention back to Carlos. "...Are you okay?" he asked, looking at his friend who rubbed his arm. Carlos nodded, looking down at his tanned skin. "That hurt. I actually really hate it when parents let their kids push the carts." "At least she didn't run over your ankles." Carlos looked up from his arm to Liam and scoffed. "That shit hurts," he said, like he had PTSD. Liam broke a smile and looked back down at Carlos's arm. "Well, it's not bruising, so leave it alone," the noirette said and reached out to touch Carlos's forearm. His friend scoffed again. "I'm brown. Know how hard it is to see a bruise?" Liam laughed and looked at Carlos's face, which had a full, stubborn honesty. "Ugh, shut the hell up," he said humorously. It made Carlos smile some, and then he looked down at Liam's hand, which was still on his arm. Had been holding hands- Liam let go and turned back to the coolers, glancing at Carlos before looking away, at the microwavable Pot Pies. Carlos watched him for a second himself before turning the other way to pull out his phone and look at it. "I need to look at this house in a bit," he said, and Liam got the clue. He opened the freezer and grabbed a few boxes to drop into the basket. Then he let the door fall shut and told Carlos that he was ready. l.l Liam had been gone for at least two and a half hours. It was a little after lunch now, so Noah was probably hungry. When Liam went into the house, he carried the groceries to the kitchen and put them on the cluttered dining table before calling for Noah. "Noah!" he called, taking the carton of eggs and opening the fridge to put them up. "Come here!" There was no reply. He shut the fridge and called again. There was still nothing. Rustling sounded behind him, and he turned to see the boy looking in the grocery bags, sifting through what all had been bought. "You got food?" he asked. Liam watched him for a moment, only answering when the child looked at him. "Yeah," he sighed. "And stop doing that." "Doing what?" "Disappearing." Noah giggled. "It's fun." "Get out of the bags," Liam said in annoyance and walked over to push the child away from the bags. The boy just appeared on the other side of the table, though, with the blink of an eye. He started looking in another sack, pulling out one of the cans of tuna. "Mm, can we have-" "Yeah, sure." Noah scrunched his nose at being cut off. He opened another sack and pulled out one of the boxes of hamburger helper. "Do you even know how to cook?" he asked, looking at it. Liam looked at him in silent offensiveness before continuing with the groceries. "Yeah." "Can you make Shepherd's Pie?" "I don't know, it doesn't really matter." Liam took some time to finish putting up the groceries before making the sandwiches. Something that he, for once, could get perfect. Putting the sandwiches on plates, he brought Noah his and sat down with his own. Noah bit into it right away. "...While I was gone," Liam spoke up, sitting back in his chair with his hands in his lap, already forgetting about his own lunch. "Did anything else happen? ...Like the bruises?" Noah chewed his bite for a long time, watching his brother with his special eyes. He put his food down and started pulling off his shirt, but with a slight aggressiveness like when a child was told to do their chores for the second time, or like if their parent didn't believe they finished their homework and made them pull it back out. But, Liam had started to realize, Noah was being stubborn like this because of the memories of the trauma. PTSD. And he was reliving it, every time Joseph Carter would be abused. There was an extremely alarming burn on his left shoulder, the skin bright red with irritation and inflammation, and shiny because the top layer of protective skin had been scorched away. Like when you scorched your hand washing dishes. And, it wasn't the only burn. The same burns covered Noah's torso, his skin scorched red. Some spots welted, like they would blister later. Over the burns were long, white stripes, white because they were welts. Like from a whip. Liam looked away. "The bruises on my back are gone," Noah said, but Liam didn't look at him again. Noah may not have them anymore, but Joseph Carter still did. He had been beaten, scorched, and whipped. A child's body couldn't last that long- it couldn't. It couldn't. He could go into shock from the burns. He could be thrown into the cage. He could be- Liam got up from his chair a little too quickly and left the kitchen, Noah's head following him as he watched his brother leave. He left to his bedroom and came back with the drawings in his hand, and Noah shifted in his seat uncomfortably. His brother put the papers down in front of him, on the table. "What else is there in these drawings? What else do you remember? What can you tell me to find this kid?"the man asked a little too urgently. Noah glanced up at him before dropping his gaze to the drawings. He pressed his lips together and then shook his head. Liam grabbed his shoulder and peered over him, like a parent when you were caught lying. Though, Liam never wanted kids, and he was not Noah's parent. "I need you to help me. You are seriously making me lose my mind, Noah. Did you see the outside of the house? What color are the walls? Tell me anything, so that I can find him." Noah breathed heavily through his nose, his cheeks lightly flushed at his emotions. He pointed at the first drawing but didn't touch it, like he was afraid to. "...The room was grey," he said softly. "I didn't see anything outside. I woke up here, on the bed." "Okay," Liam sighed, finally getting somewhere, "Now tell me something about the other drawing." "That's the kid," Noah said, "Joseph," and he pointed at the child drawn on the bed in the second drawing. On Liam's water bill. "The walls aren't grey anymore. There's… like… blankets, hanging up on them." Liam furrowed his eyebrows. Why? "...You mean tarps?" Noah shrugged lightly and shook his head. "I don't know." "Okay. What about the light? Why is it colored in?" "...It's red. I don't know why. It makes the room look red, so it's hard to see." Liam nodded, and then he let out a breath. That wasn't really something to work on, but it was some good information. That the room now, had something covering the walls, and the lightbulb was either red or painted that way. "What are these tapes for?" the man asked and pointed at the pile of VHS tapes. Noah looked at them and then his brother, and then back. The child scrunched his nose and shook his head. "I don't know," he said, but Liam could tell that he was lying. He didn't press, though, because he didn't want to make Noah throw another bitch fit. He picked the drawings up and took them to the counter, where he set them upside down. Then he walked back to his seat and sat back down, and Noah watched him for a minute before starting to eat his lunch again. Liam picked up his own sandwich, the bread getting a little texture from its time alone on the plate. He almost took a bite, but stopped himself and put it back down. He slid it over to Noah. "You can have mine," he said. Noah looked at him while eating and nodded a little. They sat in silence, Liam watching Noah eat his lunch, the sink dripping a little bit, which meant that Noah had probably gotten some water while he was gone and just didn't shut it off all of the way. "...Where's Mom?" the boy asked, looking over his sandwich at Liam. Liam shook his head. "I don't know." "I want to see her." Liam grit his teeth and looked at his brother. He tried thinking of something to say, but there was nothing. He gave a breath. "I don't know where she is. She forgot us, okay? She left a long time ago- she has a new life." He couldn't see what was in Noah's eyes. He continued, "I don't know where she is, and I don't care where she is. She's just gone." "...Dad's gone," Noah said softly, "She's not. I want to see her." Liam gave his brother a look and scoffed. "Why would you want to see her? You can't anyway- you're dead. You can't do what you want to, Noah." Noah watched his brother before looking down at his sandwich. He grabbed the plate and threw it, the sandwich flying off and hitting a kitchen wall, coming apart and making a mess. "I want to see Mom!" "Dammit, Noah, what the hell is the matter with you? Stop throwing these… tantrums! Go and pick it up!" Noah didn't move from the chair. He crossed his arms over himself. "I want Mom. I'll tell you more stuff if you let me see her. I want to see her." "No, Noah." Liam scowled at his brother. "Why the hell can you not get this into your thick skull? She left. Yeah, she left after you died, and she doesn't want anything to do with me. I don't want anything to do with her, either. If you think that I'll take you to see her, you're just stupid. And this isn't a game, either. You don't have a right to keep things from me- I'm trying to find Joseph, not deal with a spoiled brat, okay?" He looked at his glaring brother. "He isn't getting any better, you know what he's going through, you've felt it. I'm not taking you to see a bitch over some dumb deal." "Stop cussing!" "Oh my god, Noah, seriously? I have less than two weeks to find him! Are you really going to be this stubborn?" "You're mean," Noah said and a tear rolled down his cheek. Liam hadn't even noticed that the boy was about to cry, because he was so upset about Miranda being brought up. He hated her. "You're really mean." "Noah." Liam huffed and shook his head. "...Clean up that fucking mess." He grabbed the table and pulled himself up out of his chair, where he walked by Noah to his bedroom, to… just get away from him.
  2. AmosLee1023

    Chapter Five: Autophagy

    Eight o’clock at night, Ashe was passed out drunk in the kitchen and James had fallen asleep watching the kid show, because it was less than exciting. Liam was about to pass out, too, until Noah started talking to him. “I saw the grave,” he said. Liam looked at the boy. “What grave?” the man asked, although he knew which one. David’s. He’d seen how long Noah had stared at it, like it were some foreign thing from another life. It technically was. Noah knew he knew, too, because he didn’t say which one. Liam let out a breath. “What about it?” “What happened to him?” Liam shrugged. Diabetes. David had taken to overeating to cope with his grief when Miranda left him. It was okay, Liam didn’t blame him. But he couldn’t forget how it looked, seeing David eat, sleep, and waste away in his recliner. As he threw back the food, he gained another pound that made him confined to the chair. And then one day, when Liam was seventeen, David had just… died. Like an octopus in the most utter stress, eating itself away to cope- David tried to cope. “He got sick,” Liam said. Then he looked at the boy. “...How are you… here?” he asked, for a change of subject. Noah pressed his lips together and turned on the couch to face his brother. “When I walked home,” he said, “I didn’t know who you were.” “...A long time’s passed.” Noah shook his head and played with a coat sleeve. “I didn’t remember anything. ...I’m remembering now.” Liam furrowed his eyebrows. “Then how’d you know my name? And where the house was?” “I just walked and came home. I didn’t know know that was our house at first. And then I started remembering.” “...What all do you remember?” “Stuff. ...You don’t look the same.” “...I know.” Liam stood up a little too urgently, like he were escaping the situation, because he really was, and he walked to Ashe’s bedroom, where he snagged up his friend’s pillow and blanket. Bringing them back to Noah, he put the pillow on the couch and covered him up, the boy laying down. “Go ahead and sleep, we’ll figure something out tomorrow.” Simple words that people always told children. Just a little “go to sleep and we’ll talk tomorrow”, because children were foreign things that no one knew how to talk to. Especially a dead one. Noah watched Liam for a moment before speaking up. “This pillow stinks.” Liam chuckled a little. “Sorry. It’s probably just hair product or something,” he replied. His brother scrunched his nose at the man before shutting his eyes. His older brother made sure that he was actually falling asleep before getting on his phone and searching up Carter suicide. A result came up that made Liam shift in his seat. It was Joseph Carter’s father. But, the article was short and mentioned “His son had run away the day before”. So no one believed the boy had actually been kidnapped. They thought he’d run away because his dad was a drunk with a history of depression. At least he’d bothered to put out a few MISSING posters before outing himself. That still just meant one thing. Joseph Carter had been kidnapped and no one was looking for him. l.l The bruising on Noah’s face was gone by morning, under some strange circumstance. They all ate scrambled eggs for breakfast, Ashe looking like he’d died five times over as he drank some water. “Uggh, my head,” he whined. No one responded, eating their own breakfast. James started his second cigarette of the morning. “I’m gonna go and open shop,” he said. Ashe looked at him, his cheek red from sleeping on the kitchen table all night. “Me too?” he asked like a sick child. James eyed his brother before shaking his head. Ashe sighed in relief. “I’m gonna take Noah home,” Liam said. Ashe lay his head back on the table, and Noah looked at Liam. “What are we gonna do there?” Liam gave an honest shrug. “Look at some stuff.” “I’d go with you,” Ashe spoke up, “But I think I’m still a little drunk.” Liam shrugged a shoulder. “It’s okay. Come on, Noah,” he said. Noah finished his food before standing up from the table. “Thank you for breakfast,” the boy said to James, who gave him a look like it was weird hearing thanks, because it was. Especially from a stranger kid. He and Ashe met Liam after Noah’s death, but it was the scandal of the town, so they knew about his brother without needing to ask. Liam waved goodbye to Ashe and his brother and led Noah to the door, where he walked the child down the hallway and stairs to leave the apartment building. “Does Ashe drink a lot?” Noah asked, looking up at Liam while they walked to the truck. Liam twisted his lips. “...Kind of.” “Do you?” Liam shrugged. “You’re stupid.” Noah climbed into the truck and Liam followed, so that he could drive the kid home with him. He didn’t say anything, because he knew that Noah had seen all of the beer bottles in his house, so there was no point in arguing. He couldn’t say that he wasn’t killing himself like an octi, either. He was killing himself like his father. Like Joseph Carter’s father had. Other than that, Noah was quiet for the drive to the house. It was enough for Liam to come somewhat to terms with what was going on and his head to clear from the fog that was starting to take it. All of this, it wasn’t something someone should be subjected to. A dead relative coming back to life and then being thrust on the hunt for a serial killer- it was a little too much for Liam and his drunken mind. He was a fan of drinking to sleep and trying to write a last best seller. Not being someone from a crazy book. At the house, Liam helped Noah out of the tall truck and took him inside. Other than that, he really didn’t know what to do. There was no other information he could uncover. The dead children, they were cold cases. So details of their murders wouldn’t be accessible to the public. For Liam. He could go down the police department and ask for his brother’s case file, but that was all. Only because he was family. Only because it was still unsolved. If they would allow him the traumatizing luxury. “Is Ashe your only friend?” Noah asked Liam, his younger but older twin brother walking off to his office; their old bedroom. Liam glanced back at the dead boy that sat on the couch, hanging over the back of it to look at the man. He shrugged and nodded. “Kind of, I guess.” “Well, why?” Liam gave the boy a look. “Because it’s hard to make friends.” “What about his brother?” “James?” “Yeah.” “Um,” Liam shrugged, “I guess. I have some other friends, too, though. Sam and Carlos. I just don’t see them that much.” “But why not?” “Seriously, why are you asking so many questions?” Liam asked in annoyance. Noah seemed to look a little confused. Then the boy gave a single shrug. “Because I’m a kid.” Liam rolled his eyes. “It’s annoying, though.” Noah shrugged again, watching his brother with his special eyes. It made Liam sigh and look away, and then bring up a hand to rub his eyes in agitation. “Noah,” he said, “What do you remember about your death? Honestly, I just… Just help me out. This thing about not remembering is pretty shitty.” Noah turned from facing Liam to look at the black TV. “...I don’t remember.” “Bullshit, Noah! Argh, do you know how frustrating this is? I don’t know what to do! I’m not a cop, I can’t look at whatever I want to! Why am I supposed to find this kid?” Noah listened to Liam’s ranting but didn’t look at him. “You came back just to tell me to help some kid, but you’re not helping me find him! He’s going to die, Noah, just-” “Like me, I know,” Noah said, crossing his arms over his chest while facing his back to his brother. “...I don’t want to remember what happened.” “Well, you need to, Noah. Because now you’ve got me stuck on this- I don’t want this kid to die, alright?” Liam’s voice didn’t exactly help him mask his emotions. Noah glanced back at the man and he looked away from the sofa, because he didn’t want to look at Noah. Or Noah look at him. He had let Noah die. Not just die, but be tortured. Relentlessly. Starved, and beaten, and burned, and- He didn’t want it to happen again. Not knowing that another boy had died before he knew about the killer. Noah, 1992. Allen, 1999. And now this new boy, Joseph. ...What had Allen experienced? Was the killer still being as ruthless as with Noah? What about the first victim, Brent? Was his murder the most brutal? Or the lightest? He just didn’t like the thought that Joseph Carter was being hurt, and probably scared out of his mind; unknowing that his single father had killed himself. Unknowing that no one was looking for him. Was the killer giving him false hope? Or drilling it into his mind that no one wanted him? That that’s why he was kidnapped? It all just came back to Noah, and what he had felt. Did this man make him feel like he was nothing? “...He hurt me,” Noah spoke up finally. Liam turned away so that the boy couldn’t see the hurt on his face towards his own thoughts. “I don’t want to remember anything. ...He punched me a lot in the face, but it hurt for a long time,” the child said slowly, like his mind was trying to halt his words, but his mouth kept speaking them. “I remember how bad it all hurted when he did it. When I’m with you, it feels like he’s hurting me again, but then it goes away really fast. It stops hurting really fast.” “...What are you talking about?” Liam asked honestly and glanced at the child. He really didn’t know what he was talking about. Noah got up from the couch and suddenly started to pull off his shirt. Liam shook his head. “What are you doing?” he asked, but his brother didn’t answer him. Instead, the boy pulled his shirt off and turned around, so that his back was to Liam. And then Liam saw all of the bruises that lined his it. They looked very bad, and severe. The child’s pale skin was marked with giant bruises that were a dark purple with yellow, and a few even had red mixed into the wounds’ array. Liam couldn’t say what had caused the wounds, but they filled Noah’s back almost completely. Some were swollen. A baseball bat, maybe. “What… God, what happened?” Liam asked with full concern, walking over to the boy to look at the bruising. Noah looked back at him. “They don’t hurt,” the child said. Liam looked at his face. “What do you mean? Don’t pretend that it’s okay, okay? I’ll have to-” “I’m telling the truth; it doesn’t hurt,” Noah repeated. Then he reached an arm back to feel his back, his small fingers pressing down behind his shoulder, on a bruise. It looked like it hurt, but the boy’s face never looked pained. Liam knit his eyebrows together. “...What?” “When I went to the bathroom earlier, it hurt really really bad. But it doesn’t hurt anymore.” When he had gone to the bathroom before breakfast. He had taken a while inside, Liam remembered, but he let him because he wanted to catch up on some lacking sleep. “...When he hurted me, it didn’t ever stop hurting,” Noah said like earlier, “But these stop hurting really fast.” Liam shook his head, trying to register what was happening at the moment. “So, what- I don’t-” He still didn’t understand. Noah started pulling his shirt back on, because the house was chilly from their night out. “...I think he’s hurting the other boy,” the boy said, “I think this is what he’s doing to him. And, when I go to sleep, I have these bad dreams, but it’s not me in them. It’s another boy’s face.” Liam watched Noah for a moment before getting his phone out of his pocket to look up a photo of Joseph Carter. “...You think that the wounds showing up on your body are the kidnapped boy’s wounds?” he asked. Noah nodded. It didn’t make sense as to why the boy’s wounds had disappeared during his sleep, but… if they weren’t his own wounds to begin with, then, it… sort of made sense? So these bruises on his back would disappear, too. Maybe. If Liam was thinking right. He held his phone out to Noah after finding Joseph's MISSING flier, and Noah took it to look at it. Then he nodded and pointed. “That’s him,” he said. Liam ran a hand through his hair. “...So you’re having dreams about him?” Noah nodded again. Then he pressed his lips together at a thought. “...In my dreams, I don’t remember some things. A lot of it’s the same, but some things aren’t.” “Like what?” Noah continued looking apprehensive before shrugging. Liam sighed. “Noah, if you want me to find this kid, you have to help me.” “I did.” “No, what else do you remember? What changed?” Noah didn’t speak for a long moment. “...That’s all I remember.” His words made Liam upset again, and the man turned away from the boy with an angry groan. “Noah, why are you being so stubborn?” he asked, voice loud in anger. Noah didn’t say anything. The child’s silence and Liam’s frustration led the man to leave to his bedroom, where he slammed the door shut. “I’m not stubborn, Liam,” Noah said, stubbornly. Liam gave him a look while twisting the bread bag shut. “Yeah you are. Why didn’t you just tell Mom about the vase?” “Um, because I didn’t break it.” “No, you did, you just didn’t mean to.” Liam put the bread up and walked to the dishwasher. Because neither of the two had fessed up about who had broken Miranda’s vase, they were both stuck doing things around the house to make up for it. It was Liam’s idea to throw the ball in the house, but Noah had broken the vase. On accident. He could have apologized like their mother wanted, but Noah hated being in trouble, and didn’t want to take the blame. Even though it would actually stop the punishments. The way child minds worked. “Help me put the dishes up, Noah!” Liam said frustratingly. Noah crossed his arms. “No.” When Liam looked at his brother, Noah stuck his nose up. “If I do the stuff, then it looks like I’m actually guilty.” “No,” Liam said breathily, “It doesn’t!” Two hours passed of Liam sitting in his room away from Noah. He was trying to think of a way to find Joseph. He couldn’t go to the police, and he had no clues whatsoever to go off of. There was nothing. He was taken just after school, and gone without a trace. Things he already knew from Noah’s case. Then, two papers were slid through the undercrack of the bedroom door, the rustling of them getting Liam’s attention. He glanced over from where he sat on the bed, head in his hands. Two sheets of paper, but he couldn’t tell if they were blank or not from where he sat. The man sighed and stood up, where he walked over to kneel beside the sheets. Picking them up, he looked at them. It was a child’s scribbles, with a dull pencil that broke at one point, because then the writing was replaced by a pen of blue ink. Noah had written on the back of some bills, which pissed Liam off even more, but as he looked at the papers, he realized what exactly had been drawn. The first was a bedroom. There were no windows, and there was a single lightbulb with a chain in the center of the room. In a corner, a dog cage, with something over it that Liam assumed was a blanket, because Noah wasn’t a good artist. There was a single bed in the room, which looked like a small child’s, but it could have just been drawn that size. Liam decided that it was a child’s bed, though. It was bare, with ink scribbles over the mattress, probably to show filth or blood. Or both. There was a mouse running across in a corner, but that was the least of Liam’s concern as he looked at the walls of the room. They held planks nailed to them, with handcuffs that hung down, empty. Noah had drawn dripping blood from one. On another wall was a shelf, that held whips and things that went undistinguished because of Noah’s bad hand at art. There was a closet in the room, with gaps in the wooden blinds, where Liam could see a pair of eyes peeking through. It looked like a torture room, with a child hiding in the closet. It made Liam’s heart flutter with anxiety and he looked at the second drawing. It was the same room, but slight things were changed. There was a stick drawing laying on the bed, with their arms tied over their head to a hook stuck on the wall, and their legs pinned open by a bar at the ankles. The bed had no frame, so their feet couldn’t be tied to the posts, and that was probably the reasoning for the bar. Or it was just something to appeal to the psychopath that held the child hostage. The walls held the same hanging cuffs, but there was now a meat hook hanging from the ceiling, with a pair of handcuffs dangling from it. The dog cage was still there, but there were large spikes drawn inside of it. Liam didn’t know what they could be, but his mind told him that they were bear traps. Bear traps, lining the floor of a cage the size of a child. He grit his teeth. What sort of monster was this? What sort of man could do this to a child? ...He knew exactly who. He was a true crime writer. He knew that monsters existed. He just wished they didn’t. Especially this one. This one, who had taken his brother from him. Had ruined his life. Killed his father. Liam’s eyes glazed over and he wiped his cheek when a tear broke. He breathed deeply and looked at the haunting drawings- the child eyes in the closet, drawn wide with haunting terror. In the second drawing, there was no closet. It had probably been sealed over. There was an even more significant change in the rooms, though. In the second, there was a pile of VHS tapes on the floor, while in the first, there weren’t. And the lightbulb was colored in black in the second. What that meant, Liam wasn’t sure. He didn’t need to know, though. He knew that there was a child being tortured in a room of devices that they were never meant to see. He wiped his eyes again and shook his head, a tear dropping down onto the first drawing. At the bottom, it read “Me”, in terribly scribbled handwriting. Noah, hiding in a closet to try and preserve his life. So it was safe to assume that the boy in the second drawing, was Joseph Carter. Liam started wishing that he had already killed himself by now. Noah was gone, his dad was gone, their mom- why wasn’t he allowed to leave yet? “Liam,” Noah said from the other side of the door. Liam shook his head again and sat on the floor, dropping the papers to put his face in his hands again. There was a light knock against the door, but he didn’t open it. He was crying. He wasn’t crying, but his eyes were filled with tears that spilled over, rolling down his cheeks. He didn’t want to cry, though, so he grit his teeth and closed his eyes tightly. The door opened and Liam expected Noah to come inside, or to say something, but instead, it was someone else. “Liam, what are you doing?” Carlos asked, his voice completely catching Liam off guard. The man shook his head and laughed, but it didn’t come out as a laugh. He felt Carlos put a hand on his shoulder. “I… knocked, but you didn’t answer. What’s going on?” “Why are you here?” Liam asked, wiping his eyes and cheeks of the tears; bowing his head so that his friend couldn’t look at him. “Ashe, he called me about the body you guys found. It… sounded pretty crazy, so I just wanted to come by. ...Come on off of the floor.” Carlos grabbed Liam’s arm, but the other man pulled away. Liam sighed deeply and asked, “Is there anyone else here?” Carlos shook his head. “Not that I saw. Is there supposed to be? Hey, what are...” Liam could hear paper rustling, so he looked at Carlos and took the drawings from his honey fingers. His friend gave him a look. “...What? What’s going on with you? You lied about the money, Ashe told me you used it to go to that town. What’s happening?” Liam stood up and walked to his bed, where he shoved the papers underneath his pillow, hearing one of them crumple. “Nothing,” he said and turned back to Carlos, who still knelt beside the door. In his bedroom closet, Liam could see the door cracked open, with Noah peeking out at him, watching him with his haunting eyes. Like in the drawing. Hiding in a closet and peering out. “Liam,” Carlos stood up, “Come here. Come outside and talk to me,” he said and beckoned Liam over. The noirette shook his head and dragged a hand down his face. “Why?” “Because I’m worried about you. Now come on, you need some fresh air.” Carlos almost went to get Liam, but the other man reluctantly obeyed and walked over, leaving his brother to hide in the closet. Carlos put a hand on Liam’s shoulder and walked him out of the house, passed the TV that was still turned off. Outside, the two sat on the porch. Carlos looked at Liam, who’s gaze was on the ground. “...I know that I haven’t been around as long as Ashe, but you can talk to me, too. I worry about you, too.” Liam didn’t reply, so Carlos peered around at him, but he turned his head to the side. Carlos sighed. “Why don’t you-” “I don’t call you because you can’t be seen here,” Liam uttered. His friend gave him a look. “What?” “You’re all high and mighty; you get paid every week, and you have a nice house, and you get to go out and drink wine with clients-” “Liam, what are you talking about?” Carlos scoffed. “I may work a lot, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see you. What the hell is with the “high and mighty”? That’s so rude. And I don't drink with clients, either.” “You are high. Sam’s a junkie slut, Ashe is an idiot, and I’m here,” Liam motioned around at the yard. Carlos gave him a look and grabbed him, forcing his friend to look at him. “What the hell are you going on about, Liam? If you think that I’m stuck up just because I have a good job, that’s on you, but I’m not. I’m sorry if me not coming by a lot makes you think I don’t care, but I care just as much as Ashe does about you. I just don’t like watching you do… this.” Carlos looked over Liam’s face with his dark eyes of hurt. He shook his head. “Tell me what’s going on, what’s happening now?” Liam scoffed and looked away. “Now? I’m just… in a stupor.” “Yeah, I see that. ...Come on, come over to my house.” “I can’t.” “Stop fucking lying, Liam, you’re always making excuses around me.” Liam looked at Carlos with narrowed eyes. “Maybe because you’re better than me.” His words made Carlos laugh, but it lacked humor. “Why are you always downing yourself with me? Seriously, Liam, stop bringing up our social statuses and just be my friend. I’m yours.” The man got up and grabbed Liam, pulling him up to his feet. “Now come on, you don’t look good.” He started pulling the man to his car and unlocked it to get in. It looked relatively new. Liam opened the door to get in and looked back at the house, where he saw Noah standing at one of the living room windows. The boy rose a hand up and waved.
  3. AmosLee1023


    Oh no, no no, I haven't finished it yet 😁 I love how long you make them though! It's okay, it's always best to take your time. You don't want to rush it and then be "aw man, details alacking so I gotta REREAD AND EDIT UGGH". Good luck with life and everything!
  4. AmosLee1023


    So glad you're back! I literally just dropped everything to read this; you're such an amazing author and I've been obsessed with this story for like, two years. Glad that you're back and got published!! Such an achievement! ❤️
  5. Guys, my friend outed my sexuality in front of family.

    Then they came over today to tell me they have Chlamydia.

    Karma?? 😂😂👍

    1. BHopper2


      I would say that's one heck of a case for Karma. LOL.

      I hope it went well with the family.

    2. AmosLee1023


      It went a little okay, but I also planned on never coming out to them, so... Karma~

      Thank you :)

  6. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 1

    The child lay in his bed, curled up into a fetal position as he stared at the door across from him. It wasn't a door. It was a giant flab of flesh, glowing like when you put a flashlight under your hand, and breathing like a lung. It breathed slowly, filling with air and then flattening out. Then it breathed again. The boy was too scared to close his eyes, so he stared at the door that never left his room. It had been there for months. Haunting the child. Traumatizing him. As always inevitable, he eventually fell asleep. "It's the fifth drawing this month," the teacher spoke into the phone, her voice high and nasally. "If he does it again, we may have to suspend him. Your son is scaring the other children." "Alright. I'll talk to him. Thanks." The boy's father hung up the phone and slipped it into his pocket. He was tired of her calling. He hated her voice. Parent-teacher conferences were nightmares. He felt bad for the kids that she taught. Father walked through the living room to the kitchen, where his son sat at the kitchen table, his feet pulled up onto his chair. He was doing that a lot lately. Father tapped his son's head to get his attention, walking passed him to the sink where the teacher's phone call had stopped him from washing the dishes. "Feet off of the chair," he said. His son looked at him but didn't listen. "And what's this about "drawings"?" Father turned to look at his son, turning the sink on. "Why are you drawing those?" His son looked at the table and pressed his lips together. His father rose an eyebrow. "Well?" "...It's in my dreams," the child said. He looked back up at his dad. "Daddy, there's a door in my room. It's scary." "Well you'd better get over it because if you get suspended, you're gonna be grounded in there." The child frowned. "I don't like going in there." "You can't not like your room, it's yours." Father turned back to the sink, picking up the sponge and a plate to scrub, but then his son spoke up again, "I won't go in there." Father looked back at his son, who looked serious. He scoffed and put the sponge and plate back in the sink, turning off the water and grabbing the towel from the counter to dry his hands. "Alright. Let's go. Show me it." A child's stubbornness was always a little but funny, but it also earned a roll of the eyes. "...It only comes when it's nighttime," the boy said. His father gave him a look. "Let's go." His son reluctantly got up from the chair and walked with his father to the bedroom, where he stayed at the doorway and let his dad go inside. Father, adamant on proving the boy wrong, started looking around the room. "Hm. It looks normal." "...It's at nighttime." "Son," Father walked back up to the boy. He put a hand on the child's shoulder and knelt to be level with him. "You need to get over whatever... this is," he motioned around with his other hand. "I know you're not happy. I'm not happy. When you're unhappy, you see some dark things, okay? I saw things when I was a kid, too. It's just a phase. And you need to get over it." He watched his son, who's big eyes looked back at him. The man pat his son's shoulder before getting back up and slipping passed him, to finish his kitchen duties. The child reached into his bedroom to grab the door and pulled it shut to shut the room from him. Then the boy sat against the door with his knees up to his chest, looking at the hallway wall. l.l In the morning, Father made a plate of scrambled eggs for his son, putting the ketchup bottle beside it because children were weird and liked ketchup on everything. Then he went to his son's room to wake him up for school, but when he opened the door and stepped inside to wake him up, the bed was empty. He turned from the bed and called out for his son, but there was no reply. Then he left the room to start searching for the boy. He was nowhere. "Alright, Father," the first responder said, which already put them off to a bad start in the dad's mind. He wasn't fond of "Father" anymore. "We'll go out and look for the kid, but in all honesty, he probably just snuck out for some fun." "He's only eight years old." "Exactly. I get calls like this all of the time and it turns out the kid just snuck out to play in the woods, or to wander around; we'll look for him." Father looked at the plate of eggs, which were cold. The police hadn't come as quickly as he'd wanted. He looked back at the chubby officer. "...So, what can I do?" The officer cleared his throat. "Um, we usually ask the parents to stay home, in case the child comes back, which happens often; or in case there's a ransom call." Father watched the officer unhappily. "A ransom call? You think that he's either wandered off or been kidnapped for ransom? We have two hundred dollars to our name. I don't think it's a ransom." "Now, Father-" The dad almost told the officer to refrain from that word, but he didn't and just let his annoyance stir a little bit more. "I promise you, it's probably nothing. He'll probably come home on his own." "My son didn't just get up out of his bed and leave the house at six in the morning." The officer put a hand on the father's shoulder, giving it a little squeeze in reassurance, but it did nothing, so he just pat the man's shoulder and dropped his hand back to his side. "...You've just moved here, right?" he asked. The dad crossed his arms. "A few months ago. What does that matter?" "He probably just got lost exploring." "We just moved into this house, he's known this town since he was born." "Alright," the officer shook his head, "You don't have to agree with me, but these are the steps that we take as police officers. We need you to stay here." Once the officers left, the child's father sat waiting at the kitchen table for hours. There was no news. They didn't come by again. His son didn't come in through the front door. The plate of eggs just sat chilled, and the ketchup bottle sweating from being out of the fridge for so long. It was nearing sun down. The father stood up from the table and walked to his son's room, so that he could see if the boy was in there. ...To feel closer to his missing only child. He stepped into the room and sat on his son's bed, bowing his head and closing his eyes. Things like this, these are what made him hate the title "Father". They made him think, "Maybe this wouldn't happen if Lisa was still here." He sighed and opened his eyes again, but his breath caught when he saw the wall in front of him. He furrowed his eyebrows. ...He could actually see it. The door. A flab of flesh beside the closet. It was still and dull, no life going into its lungs. Father stood up from the bed and took slow, hesitant strides to the wall of flesh, where he reached out once close to it. He pulled his hand back before touching it in mortification. What was it? Carefully, cautiously, the father reached back out again and touched it. He felt it with his fingers before pressing his palm against it. It was cold. Not just that, it felt slick and wrong with whatever skin it was made of. The father stared at it for a long time before pushing his hand against it. He could feel it start to give, like a taut curtain. But it was too thick for him to tear open himself. Dropping his hand back to his side, Father stared at it longer, like it were a haunting, mystical alien. It wasn't there earlier. It wasn't. Why was it here now? Stepping back away from the door of flesh, the dad kept his eyes on it before turning and leaving the bedroom, where he walked quickly to the kitchen. He stepped passed the abandoned plate of breakfast and grabbed a butcher's knife from the knife block before rushing back to the bedroom. The flesh on the wall was still there, assuring him that he wasn't just seeing things. The dad tried and failed to stab the flesh, hesitating and pulling back at the last second, before shaking his head and trying again. His body tried to stop him, but his mind told him that he had to do it. He forced the blade into the flesh, making a sick sound as it slipped into it, and then the man dragged the blade down. He sliced the flesh open so that there was a space to slip inside. He didn't, though. The father used the blade to pull open the flesh, holding it to the side so that he could peer inside. From the surprising looks of it, there was a hallway. The floor and walls were metal, clean of whatever gore the man expected to see inside. He looked back at his son's bed, empty, haunting. ...He gave the hallway his attention again and slipped through the flesh, holding his horror the best he could until he was inside of the extremely cold hallway. The walls radiated bitter coldness, so cold it made the father's skin burn. He called out for his son but his voice just echoed down the hall. There was nothing. He held himself for warmth and started down the hallway, continuing down the cold metal until there was a door at the end. An actual, real door. With a handle and hinges. The father turned the doorknob and pushed the door open, stepping into whatever room it welcomed him to. The first thing that caught his attention was the warmth that licked his skin like a dog with a wound- it made him relieved. Then, he started noticing everything else. The giant forest that stood before him, with trees stained pink from the color of sundown that kissed them. The ground was dirt, no grass to match the trees. He was outside. Somewhere. He didn't know this place. He turned back to the door, but it was gone, like it had never existed. In its place, though, was a ticket stand. With a man on the other side. A real life man. The brunette smiled from behind the stand. "One finger," he said, with such a welcoming smile that the father didn't realize what he'd said. "...I'm sorry, what?" Father asked, looking the stand over absently. It looked like a child's lemonade stand, wooden and nailed together with a written sign that spelled "TICKET BOOTH" in a child's handwriting. The ticket man smiled again. "A ticket. One finger for one ticket." "I'm... looking for my son," the father said slowly, realizing now that there was nothing normal about this confrontation. The ticket man held up two slim fingers. "Then it's two, because you're here after hours." The ticket man reached underneath the stand and grabbed something, setting it on the surface top. ...It was a small guillotine. The father watched it for a moment before closing his eyes. It must be a dream. This is all a dream. He opened his eyes again and held out his left hand. The ticket man smiled at him before slapping the guillotine shut on two of the father's fingers. It wasn't a dream. The man screamed out in pain and pulled his hand to himself, and the blood was real. The pain, even realer. The ticket man wiped the guillotine's blade clean and put it away before picking up the father's severed digits. He used them to stamp two tickets with their blood, and then he held the small papers out to the father, who was yelling and screaming at him words of "What did you do" and "what's going on". "There's no need to be upset, sir, the children's fee is just a fingernail," the ticket man spoke. Father looked at his bleeding hand to see how bad it was, and then the ticket man's words hit him. He looked back at the man to ask him what he'd said, or meant, but... the ticket booth was gone. The man, too. Father took in deep, calming breaths, and wrapped the bottom hem of his shirt around his bleeding wounds. He looked back at the forest, the whole environment stained in pinks and yellows, and the trees blowing slightly, although he felt now air himself. What was going on? Was this really a dream? It had to have been, but why did that hurt so much? It must have been a nightmare. He slipped his phone from his pocket to call 911, but his screen was black. He tried turning it off, on, touching the screen, but it was just a worthless effort. It didn't work. Father put his phone away and slipped the knife into a belt loop. He regained himself and advanced towards the woods, walking into the trees and looking around, biting his tongue at the burning pain of his fingers. The forest was void of any life. There were no birds, rodents, or bugs, just fallen leaves coating the forest floor. There was something else unsettling, though. All of the nooses that hung from the trees. They were all empty, but the woods rank of something dead, like... like roadkill. The man walked for a long time, losing himself twice, before he amazingly found a cabin. It was a simple thing, small and wooden, with no mailbox in sight. The father walked up to the small house and knocked on the door. It was opened relatively quickly. When the door opened, the father was greeted by the ticket booth man, surprisingly enough. He tilted his head at seeing the father. "What's wrong?" the ticket man asked at the father's skeptical, confused face. "...I just saw you," Father said. The ticket man rose an eyebrow. "No, I don't think so. Would you like to come in for a minute?" Father stared at the man, watching him for any signs of abuse or assault. Why was he denying knowing him? The father ultimately decided to go inside. It may not be a dream, but none of this could be real. The ticket man held out a cup to the father, although the man couldn't reason as to how the ticket man had suddenly gotten it. He hadn't left the room, and he didn't go to a table- he just held two cups. Father reluctantly took the outstretched cup, peering inside of it. He was glad he did. It was black and thick like tar, with a dead fly floating in it. The man decided to hold the cup at his side. "I'm looking for my son," he spoke. It felt like those words were becoming more and more familiar the more he said them. "Is that all?" Ticket man asked, taking a drink from his own cup. Father nodded slowly. "Well, I don't know where any children are. You'll have to ask Security." Ticket man licked his lips, stained by the tar-like drink as though it were hot chocolate. It made Father nauseous. "...Where do I find them?" The ticket man pointed off to the side and Father followed the motion. He was outside again, surrounded by the trees. He looked back to the ticket man, but he was different. It was still the same face, but he wore a blue cap that read SECURITY, only the letters were backwards, like a mirror's reflection. "Yes?" Security asked flatly, noticing Father's confused staring. Father blinked and cleared his throat. "...I'm looking for my son," Father said slowly, confusion lacing his voice. His hand was void of the cup, he also noticed. "Oh, we get a lot of those," Security said and reached beside himself, grabbing and pulling a filing drawer out of thin air, like it were invisible. The man, the same man from the cabin and ticket booth, started sifting through files in the drawer. "Benjamin Kale?" he asked, looking in a file. "...No." "Adam Reese?" Father stared at the man, a young adult with dark hair. He brought his attention back to the trees. What was going on? What was happening? "Adam Reese?" the security asked again. Father shook his head. "Last one is Charlie Grayson." "...That's not him." The security man rose his eyebrows and shut the drawer, like he were annoyed or tired. He was just drinking some gross drink in a cabin! The drawer disappeared once more, to add to the questions. The brunette looked at Father. "Looks like he's not in the lost and found." "...What does that mean?" "That he's on the right track. You should be, too." Father blinked in confusion, but the Security was gone when he opened his eyes again. "...What?" Instead of the man, there was a painted, wooden sign in his place. It pointed two directions, left and right. It read, "School house right, certain death left". Father stared at it for a long time before going right. It was more trees, nothing to tell him if he was going in circles. He stayed right for a very long time, almost turning around to head back, but willing himself to continue. He couldn't risk getting lost. And that mindset let him find the schoolhouse, eventually. There was no name on the building, and it looked relatively old, but he could best assume that it was the schoolhouse. So he went inside. It hadn't occurred to him yet, but he'd just realized the lack of lightbulbs, both here and in the cabin. Yet, the rooms weren't dark. There were no windows in the front of the schoolhouse, but somehow light filled the hall, the same as the cabin. As though the lights were perhaps invisible as well, like the filing cabinet at the security. Letting those thoughts aside, Father noted that there were... no children. But he could hear them. It was like children were speaking loud and lively, but there was no physical evidence of such a thing. Until... A phonograph. A phonograph down the hall was the outlet of the voices. Father walked up to it in the empty hall, examining it. He was right. The voices were coming from this. But, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't understand what they were saying. It was all illegible, incoherent. It didn't sound like another language, it just sounded... wrong. Father left the phonograph of talking and laughing children, and started looking inside of the classrooms. They were all locked. Not locked, jammed. None of the doorknobs would turn. One classroom in particular, let out some speech, so Father tried that doorknob and- it turned. He stepped inside. It was the ticket man again- ticket man, cabin man, security- it was him, standing at the chalkboard and writing something. It looked like he'd written it so many times that the chalkboard was... filled with white chalk. "A dead man is a dead man, but a live one is a ticking man," he spoke while he wrote, as though he were teaching. But the classroom was empty. There were no children. The desks were old and empty, covered in dirt and soot instead of dust, and... one harboring a child's skeleton. Father stared at the skeleton for a moment before looking back to the... teacher. "...Ahem." The teacher looked at the father. "Yes?" "I'm looking for my son," Father said, looking down at his bleeding hand. The bleeding had slowed, almost to a stop, but his shirt was soaked in blood in that spot, the crimson spreading slowly up his white button up shirt. The teacher looked at the desks, each and every one, like there were actual children there. Then he shook his head and looked at Father, who glanced at him again. "Looks like he isn't here," he said, agitation lacing his voice, how Father's son's teacher always sounded when she called about the boy. Father sighed. "...Please, I just need to find him. Just tell me where he is, I know you know." The teacher watched Father for a moment before pointing a teacher's pointer at him. "Kids that run loose stick their heads in a noose!" he yelled angrily. Father blinked in surprise. "What?" He was in the forest again, standing in front of a noose hanging from a tree. From the noose, a hanging child; rotten and beyond recognition. Father screamed in alarm and fell back, staring at the child. From the copper hair, he could tell it wasn't his son. Relief flooded over him, but his heart still pounded. This was a dead child, no matter if it was his or not. It was still mortifying. Father managed to tear his eyes away from the body, trying to calm his quick breaths so that he didn't puke. Closing his eyes to concentrate on himself, his mind trained on a noise in the woods, a whistling. He opened his eyes again, despite not wanting to. He didn't look at the child, but he concentrated on the whistling. Getting up from the leafy ground, he stalked off to find the sound, holding his stomach as bile tried creeping up his throat. He eventually came to a clearing, where the trees ended. In the distance was again the ticket man, but in a blue jumper and wordless cap. He swept a cement platform just before a gate to a carousel ride, whistling a song to himself. Father made his way over. "Hey!" he yelled, getting the other man's attention. "What the hell is going on! There are dead children here! What are you doing?" The janitor looked at Father as the man walked up to him, and then glanced back to the platform, where he swept maggots from the surface. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. Father scowled. "Bullshit, tell me where my son is!" The most he had cursed in a... very long time. He hadn't ever said those words since highschool. The janitor stopped sweeping to look over the gate, at the carousel that was in service. He looked back to Father. "I shouldn't tell you," he said quietly, "But I saw a kid on the carousel earlier. Do you have a ticket?" The father furrowed his eyebrows before nodding slightly, getting the tickets from his pocket to look at them. He held one out to the janitor, who took it. Then the man in blue snapped his fingers in front of Father's face, making him flinch. When Father looked again, the janitor wore different clothes, a red and white striped dress shirt and black pants, and a hat the read SERVICE. The serviceman smiled. "One ticket?" he asked. Father nodded slowly. "...Yeah." Service brought the ticket up to his face and opened his mouth, dragging his tongue over the ticket to lick up the stamp of blood. The unsettling part wasn't him licking the ticket, it was him staring at the father while doing so. Service then pointed the ticket towards the carousel. "Enjoy your ride," he said, the gate squeaking as it opened, allowing access. Father walked to it, wishing that he could will himself to wake up, but it wasn't a dream, as much as he wished it was. The music of the carousel was a broken record, the result having no resemblance to any sort of music. But that wasn't as bad as what Father noticed next. This one took the cake for sure. It was the horses on the ride, alive, impaled by the ride and screaming in anguish. They thrashed their necks and kicked their legs, trying to get free of the torture, but they couldn't. Father glanced back at the serviceman, but he was gone. He reluctantly stepped up onto the carousel. He looked at the horses. One of them had a black spot on its back, where it looked like a child had sat on it, but an impression was left for some reason. Father touched the horse beside him and his hand left the same black, ashy impression. ...His son had probably been there. But how could he actually ride one of these? Father looked up at the roof of the carousel, but instead his eyes found a black ceiling. He looked back down and saw that he now stood in front of a bar's counter. The establishment was silent, no voices or audio from a television. Looking around, Father could see that there were heads on the walls- human, and adult. He looked back at the counter, where the ticket man stood, but in a totally different attire that made him apart from the other people he had posed as before. He wore completely black clothing, with rings and leather bracelets on his wrists, necklaces that jingled when the man leaned on the counter. He dark hair was brushed back out of his face, revealing more of his looks. He had blue eyes, whereas when Father first saw him, they were green. ...Were they really not the same person? "What'll you have?" the bartender asked. Father shook his head. "Nothing. ...I'm looking for my son." "Your son? A boy came in here, but I didn't serve him anything." "Can you tell me where he went?" "If you buy a drink. Just one ticket." Father looked at the mounted heads, of fathers and mothers, presumably. ...What had killed them? The bartender fixed up a drink and slid it to Father on the bar. The man looked at it. It looked like normal beer from the tap, overfilling from the large portion of foam. The bartender was watching him. "No, thank you." Father slid the cup back to the bartender, who tilted his head. "You aren't buying?" "...No." The bartender hummed to himself and he was suddenly standing just in front of the father, inches away from the man. He clapped his hands in front of the dad's face, his rings clacking together. Father opened his eyes to a staircase, to which he was at the bottom. Walking up the red stairs was his son. All of the nonsense didn't have to make sense, Father didn't have to understand it- he had finally found his son. He called out to the boy, but the child didn't look at him. He kept walking up the stairs. Father started running after him. With each step closer to his son, the stairs seemed to expand five times further apart, until his son was unreachable. Like a never ending hallway, the stairs kept gaining and gaining, and after a time, it was like Father wasn't making any progress up the stairs at all. The next step Father took suddenly slanted downward, making the man trip. He tried to catch his footing, but all of the other stairs he had stepped up suddenly slanted, too. He fell. Father tried catching himself as he slid quickly down the slide of stairs, but there was nothing to grab. As he got closer to the bottom, he saw that there were giant spikes waiting for him below. With adult, human remains. Father grasped at the wall to stop himself, to desperately save himself, and a rope suddenly slipped down beside him. He grabbed it, his body jerking to a stop, making him grunt at the force of it. Down below, he stared at his intended fate. He had just barely stopped before the spikes. Looking up, he saw that the rope wasn't just luck; the ticket man, in mounting gear, stood at the stairs just before the slope. "Go ahead and climb up, we don't have all day," the man called. Father started climbing up the best he could with eight fingers. Once he made it up, he climbed onto the step and stood beside his savior, who rolled the rope up. "...Why are you helping me now?" Father panted. The noirette rose an eyebrow at the man. "I'm not helping you, I'm a guide." The man suddenly lashed out and shoved Father, the man tumbling down the slope and screaming in fear, until he landed on a flat, safe ground. He opened his eyes, chest moving in quick, panicked breaths. He could have died. Father got up on his elbows, looking around at his surroundings with shaky breaths. He was in the woods again, with the hanging nooses. One held a child's corpse that looked fresher than the other, but they were still, undeniably dead. Father closed his eyes again and sighed deeply. He needed his son. Thoughts ran through his head of where the boy could be, of what was happening- he tried to make sense of what was going on in this place but he couldn't. Why was he there? Why were there dead children here? Could that happen to his son? Memories, of his child being born, screaming and wailing in discomfort of the world. He needed to be protected. That infant knew that he was delicate. Tiny fingers, with even tinier fingernails. Father opened his eyes and looked at the ground. ...He had to find his son. He stood up and started through the woods again. When he didn't think he was going to find anything important, he came across the cabin again. Without knocking, he went inside. And there was no one there. "Hello!" he called out. "I need to talk to you!" When there was no reply, he started walking through the living room, putting his ears to the doors that lined it. There wasn't even a kitchen visible, probably hidden behind one of the doors. The rooms were all silent, and when the dad tried opening them, they were locked. Except one. It was unlocked, but there were no noises inside. The father almost decided to forget it, but he couldn't risk it and opened the door. He was hit by the immediate stench of rotting. It stank of blood and dead animals, and guts colored the floor. Father groaned and gagged in disgust, bringing a hand up to cover his nose and mouth. When he looked up, the ticket man stood in front him, watching him. "I'm sorry, I-" the father tried to speak, but he almost vomited and had to shut his mouth. It seemed like the ticket man wanted to apologize instead. "Sorry, I didn't think I'd have company," the brunette spoke, slipping passed the father and closing the door, shutting the stench away from them. He looked at the dad. "Was your son in the lost and found?" he asked like he didn't have a room full of gore. "...No," Father said, walking away from the room so that he could get in a deep, clear breath. The ticket man followed him, bloody footprints being left from the guts that he had been stepping over. "Oh, sorry to hear. So you haven't found him yet?" "No, I haven't. …What am I supposed to do? I don't know where he is, and everything here comes and goes when it wants." Father shook his head, sighing. The ticket man watched him, peering at the older man. "Do you believe on God?" Father looked at him, surprised by the question. He pressed his lips together. "...Not anymore." "Really? Everyone else here did." Father sucked his teeth. "I just- I need my son, that's all I care about. Would God let something like this go on?" The ticket man rose his eyebrows and smiled before shrugging. "You'll have to find the judge," he said. "He's in charge of the good children." Father looked at him. "Good children?" "The ones who know what they're doing. The judge should be in the courthouse." Father closed his eyes and let out another breath. "...Where is that?" The ticket man pointed and Father looked. A courthouse, far from any trees. Father didn't have to look at the ticket man to know that he was gone, so he just walked up to the courthouse and went inside. There were no pews, or pillars, or any decorations. It was just a single, giant and empty room. Two cages hung from the ceiling, with adult bodies inside. One looked like it had been skinned. The other, a skeleton. "Hello!" Father called. The floor was dirt; the place was like a mausoleum. When the father looked at the front of the room, the ticket man stood there in a black robe. The hood of the clothing cast a heavy shadow over their face, almost making his features indistinguishable He looked at the father. "You've come this far?" he asked, something in his voice telling Father that it was weird, being here. There were only two adult bodies here. Was it that hard to get to this point? Father grit his teeth at his thoughts. He was making it sound more like a video game or something, now. "Your son is ready for you," the ticket man added, "He took a detour and got into some trouble, but he's managed to make it just in time." "...Time for what?" "The verdict." The man suddenly fell, crumpling into a pile of clothing on the ground, dirt blowing from the small action. Father stared at the robe for a moment, confused, but then it was suddenly thrown at him. It wrapped itself around his face, blinding him, and constricting until he could barely get a breath. He clawed at it, trying to get it off, and managed to tear it off of him, throwing the clothing to the ground. He gave a breath that he didn't even realize, once he saw what was in front of him. It wasn't human at all. It was... something that would never happen in real life. A giant... monster, stood before him, on four legs although it looked like it could stand on two. It was hideous. Puss and some other substance leaked from its mouth, giant teeth jutting out from its lips, from an extensive under-bite. It had no eyes, just a layer of scarred skin to fill the absence. And it rank something more putrid than the room of gore in the cabin, from giant blisters on its rough, sharp skin. One popped, gushing a stream of blood and puss down its arm, so hot that steam trailed from it, and the monster stomped on the ground like it hurt. Father backed away from it and retched, but there was nothing in his stomach to puke out. Then it charged at him. Father covered his nose and stumbled out of the way, the thing lumbering passed him, the ground vibrating and the walls shaking, dust falling from them. Father looked at the monster, watching as it turned its humongous body to face him again. It was slow. It was a quick runner, but it was slow to turn around, like the building wasn't big enough for it. It charged at him again. Father tried to run passed it, but the monster grabbed him with a giant claw and slapped him back, sending him flying through the air until he hit the wall. All of his air was snuffed from him and his head spun. He coughed, trying to get some breaths, trying to will his vision to work right. He couldn't see, everything was in doubles. He could hear the monster scratching the floor, letting out a giant roar of excitement. It didn't come at him again, though. Did it not know where he was? Father groaned and got up, his back aching worse than anything he'd ever felt. His head pounded like the worst migraine. He had to do this. He couldn't die here. That thought was too real. He could actually die there. He had a knife. What he could do with it, he hadn't the slightest idea. He had it, though, from the kitchen. Slipping it out of his belt loop, he looked down at the slightly warbled blade from his healing vision. He was going to die here. And his poor son. "Hey!" Father called through his disorientation. The monster didn't waste any time running for him. Father used the wall as support to give himself a running boost, which helped because his body wasn't up for it and he stumbled, but managed to keep upright. As the thing charged at him, dodged out of the way and it hit the wall. Then it started turning back around. Father examined it with his clear vision. It all looked rock solid. Its skin was made of thick scales, and it showed no weakness on its body. Then he saw the blisters. It was the most grotesque idea ever, but Father ran to the monster while it turned and stabbed a blister on its front forearm. He backed away when it started spilling over, the monster roaring out in pain and stomping against the ground, making the courthouse rumble. Father could feel the heat from the blister from where he stood. He backed away some more, to avoid the stench and getting trampled. But then he went back in. He had to finish this. With each busted blister, the monster got more agitated, but it couldn't see its attacker, and it probably couldn't smell him, either, over its own stench. It was being burned. It seemed that the longer the hot puss stayed on its skin, the deeper it penetrated. After a time, it fell onto its side, weak. Father could see something large working its way up the monster's throat, forcing the thing's mouth open and slipping out. It... looked like an oversized, soft-shelled egg. Father stared at the abomination and saw it move, whatever inside pushing the side like a baby in its mother's stomach, kicking her. It prompted the father to kneel beside the egg and cut open its soft exterior. His son lay inside, in a fetal position, wet from whatever fluids were inside with him, and unconcious. His father gasped in surprise and grabbed his son, shaking the boy lightly to wake him up. "Wake up, baby," he urged, nudging the child and wiping his hair from his face, the dark strands stuck to his forehead like after a hard day in the heat. He didn't wake up, though he was breathing. It wasn't enough for the father, but he stood up with the boy and carried him out of the courthouse. He expected to see the forest upon exiting, but was greeted by the ticket stand instead. The ticket man, inside. "Ticket?" the man asked and held out a hand. Father watched him for a moment before stepping up to the booth with his son and getting the last ticket. The man behind the stand took the ticket and looked at the stamp of blood before nodding. He looked at the child. "And the child's ticket?" "...He doesn't have one." "Well, it's a finger for an adult and a fingernail for a child. Do you want to pay?" The man held up a set of pliers, the tip stained with blood. The father glanced at his son before shifting to hold the boy better. He held out his hand of three fingers and the ticket man used the pliers to rip off a fingernail. "Ah!" Father hissed in pain and waved his hand, biting his bottom lip. The ticket man touched the air and the door that the father had arrived in appeared again. He then opened it. "Congratulations," he said. "You must really love your son." Father looked at the man before carrying his son to the door and stepping inside. There was no cold, metal hallway. He and his child were suddenly standing in the middle of the boy's bedroom. He looked at the closet, but there was no door of flesh. l.l The ticket man looked at his puppet, the thing's blisters torn and ripped open. He hummed to himself as he stitched the felt back together. "And one was won," he said to himself, lifting the puppet up higher to admire it, the sewing needle sticking inside of it. He smiled.
  7. AmosLee1023

    The Ticket Stand

    "The child lay in his bed, curled up into a fetal position as he stared at the door across from him. It wasn't a door. It was a giant flab of flesh, glowing like when you put a flashlight under your hand, and breathing like a lung. It breathed slowly, filling with air and then flattening out. Then it breathed again. The boy was too scared to close his eyes, so he stared at the door that never left his room. It had been there for months. Haunting the child. Traumatizing him." When a father's son goes missing, he has to venture into a world of nonsense and horror to bring him back.
  8. AmosLee1023

    Chapter One: Hide and Seek

    Chapter One: Hide and Seek Beep beep beep beep- Liam reached over the bed to shut off his alarm. Then he lay in bed for a few long moments, his eyes heavy and begging for more rest, his mind just as weak. Waking up at five in the morning just to write was the biggest mistake. He never got anything written with his head throbbing in lack of sleep. This morning was even more unforgiving because he had passed out drunk last night, and his head was already paining. Get up, Liam. The man breathed out heavily through his nose and sat up in his messy bed. He put a hand to his head with a heavy hiss of pain and mentally went through what he would have done differently last night: put an end to his menace of an alarm, not invite Ashe over so he wouldn't have such a dry hangover, written something worth...something, because his deadline is impending and he hasn't written a single chapter in a week. “Fuck,” he grumbled to himself and started climbing out of bed. He stumbled but caught himself and headed to the bathroom. Dirty clothes scattered across the bedroom floor, along with old beer cans and bottles, none of which he knew when they got there. He just seemed to drink a lot more lately. And Ashe didn't help, because the bartender knew his liquor, and he liked it strong. The bathroom was no cleaner. Dirty clothes lay in the corner of the small room, hidden by the side of the door. There were empty shampoo or body wash bottles tossed about when Liam found they were empty, because he just hadn't a care in the world. He stepped to the toilet and unzipped his jeans, pulled himself out of his boxers to pee. The house was silent, besides the tinkle of his urination and his sniffs from sleeping without a blanket. He could hear some other faint sound, but he didn't dwell on what it was and just put himself away before turning to the sink. There, he started washing his hands, forearms, face- drank some of the tap water to help his headache to no avail. He brushed his teeth and took some pills, and then splashed his face with some cold water to further wake up, because he just felt beyond shitty. He looked at himself in the mirror. His face was pale, water dripping down his chin and catching in his morning stubble. Droplets gathered at the tips of his black eyelashes before falling and hitting his cheeks like tears. His lips looked full and red because of his spicy toothpaste that always irritated them, making it look like he had been making out with someone for a while. He sighed heavily and looked at his eyes. Grey irises lined with the grey of sad health and insomnia, he wanted to see his brother's eyes but never could. Fraternal twins, Liam had grey eyes while his brother had a lighter, more beautiful and unique color between grey and blue. Liam always wanted his brother's eyes as children. Now, he could hardly remember just what they looked like, exactly. Liam left the bathroom and the unknown sound got louder as he headed to the living room. His real goal was the kitchen, but he had to go through the living room to get there. And evidently, as he entered the living room, he found a snoring Ashe on his couch. No wonder he didn't have a girlfriend. His snoring was horrendous. In the kitchen, Liam started some coffee and got a glass of orange juice to wait. Rather than a 'glass', it was one of the plastic cups laying around from he and Ashe's drinking shenanigans last night; because he hadn't washed his real dishes in days. And for breakfast, he mixed up some instant potato flakes with hot tap water and some salt- bam, mashed potatoes. Sitting at the kitchen table, the man ate his potatoes and drank his juice, staring off into space while he listened to Ashe's persistent snoring and the coffee's Liamant spitting. The coffee smell stung his nose like a beautiful flower. “No, Mom said this much coffee- not anymore,” Noah scolded Liam near the coffee pot. Noah held a small measuring cap of four tablespoons, filled with coffee grains from the Folgers bin. Liam gave his brother a look. “She said that's just for one person- I wanna make some for Dad too,” he said. Noah gave an exaggerated sigh. “Then you just do it again! Like,” the boy poured the grains into the machine, “That's for one person,” he filled the cap again, of four tablespoons, “And now it's two people.” Noah looked at his brother to see if he understood, but Liam was looking away because he hated it when Noah was right. As if on cue of the childish tension, the two's father, asleep in his recliner in the living room, gave a loud, hearty snore that made the two crack up into a laughing fit. Liam sat at his desk with his coffee, sipping the hot delicacy lightly to not scorch himself. It was bitter, like he always made it. He could never make it right. In front of him on the desk were photos, notes, and copies of the case file on the Dewsome case. The murder/investigation of ten yearold Marsha Dewsome, whose murderer was her own uncle, remaining unsolved for five years. Liam was stuck on the first chapter of her story. He knew how to start it off: Marsha was walking home from school, when a man offered her a ride home. The first sign that it was someone she knew, because she accepted. Liam just couldn't bring himself to start writing because... he just couldn't. As if to save him from writing, Ashe came into the room, with Liam's jug of orange juice in hand. Why they weren't best friends. “Hey, you wanna help me open shop?” he asked, his voice slow from sleepiness. Liam gave him a look. “I have a story to write.” “Aw come on, Lizzy said she ain't coming in today, and I hate being there alone with James.” James, Ashe's older brother, who rightfully owned the bar. He was stern, demanding, and always got his way. He should have been the place's bouncer. Liam huffed and looked at his computer screen. The cursor blinked sitting in place, waiting to write something for the dead girl whose case information lay scattered on Liam's desk. The man ultimately stood up from his seat and turned to Ashe. “Put that juice back up- you better not be drinking out of the carton,” he said. Ashe rolled his brown, naturally big eyes and left the room to put the orange juice back into the fridge. Liam went back to his bedroom to grab a sweater and pull it on. It was always colder out here at the house; it was Liam's dad David's, whom had left it to him when he got sick. Miranda, the boys' mom, left the family not long after the incident. Last Liam knew, she'd remarried in Michigan and had another kid. Last he knew. “Oh fuck, Liam, I'm late! Hurry, come on!” Ashe yelled, his voice warbled from a sleepy hangover. Liam left his bedroom and slipped passed Ashe, who was patting his jean pockets and looking around for his car keys, to pull on his shoes. Liam was ready. Ashe wasn't. “Dammit!” “Just let me drive, come on.” Liam snatched up his own car keys and stepped outside, seeing Ashe lumbering after him in the corner of his eye. Walking up to his beat up Chevy, Liam hopped in and Ashe followed. The truck was a gift from their friend Carlos, the only one out of the group to actually get some good money. Sam had a good job at the clinic, but it was only a matter of time before she got caught for forging prescriptions. Liam started up the truck and started driving down the muddy road to town, which was about an eight minute drive from the trailer out in the trees. David always liked living in privacy. It was okay, too, because Miranda was a stay-at-home wife while he went out trucking, so the boys were never home alone to get kidnapped or hurt. That's how it was supposed to be, anyway. “Shit man, James is gonna kill me!” Ashe whined. Liam shook his head. “I think you're supposed to know by now that being drunk every other day doesn't look good on the job resume.” Ashe scoffed. “Dude, you're drunk like, every day.” “With good reason; my boss is up in-” “Yeah yeah, cut it with the “I've got a rich sugar daddy up in the high state”.” Liam gave Ashe a sideways glance. “You saying “sugar daddy” is enough to make anyone's dick fall off. My publisher.” “Well, Liam, not everyone can have a rich publisher, okay!” Ashe leaned forward to turn on the radio, which had some awesome rock music playing. Liam rolled his eyes and sat back. “Anyway, Carlos gets a shit ton more money than all of us. Stop griping at me.” Liam could see Ashe glare at him in the corner of his eye and he just picked up the speed. The faster they got there, the faster James could yell at Ashe and embarrass him in front of everyone. Carlos worked real estate in the nice side of town, which was why no one really saw him much. He couldn't be seen in the dumps to often. Bad for business. They reached town a few minutes later and pulled up to the bar. The OPEN sign was turned, and apparently they were about fifteen minutes late. Whoops. “Get out, get out,” Ashe said and clambered out of the truck. Liam got out after and followed Ashe inside, where James was making some pitchers of tea; some regulars sat nearby and talked to him, their cigarette smoke making up the place. When James saw Ashe and Liam come in, he pointed at his brother, a cigarette between his fingers. The action of pointing made a stick of burning ash fall off of the end. “You're late, asshole. And where the fuck is Lizzy?” he asked, the regulars turning their heads to look at Ashe, like it was a show. It always was for them. If the two had an argument that fell short of amusement, they'd all groan and shake their heads in disappointment. Ashe puffed. “She said she ain't coming in today! I don't know! I brought Liam, though.” “I don't fucking want Liam, I want you and Lizzy to do what I pay you for!” James looked at Liam, who watched him in hopes that he'd just send him home. “No offense Liam,” he added, to which the noirette shrugged. Then Liam looked back to his brother. “Get your ass over here and wash some fucking dishes- you're on bathroom duty tonight, too.” “Aw, James!” Ashe cried, his life visibly draining from him. His brother pointed his burning cigarette at the sink, which was piled from the lunch and dinner services yesterday that Ashe had probably skipped out on washing. As Ashe stalked off to the sink, James rose his cigarette to get a deserved puff, but it had burned away to the butt while he made the teas and griped at his brother. He sucked his teeth and snuffed it out. Liam walked up to the counter to sit on a bar-stool. He may have been dragged there, but it didn't look like he was being forced to participate in the punishments. “Hey, Liam,” James greeted. He was still an eighties kid at heart, who spent some good time at the mirror greasing his hair and making it look good. He was handsome,give or take. Nice eyes and body, but a pretty nasty scar on his left cheek from a bar fight that got out of hand back in the day. He had the same green eyes as Ashe, but his hair was black while his younger brother's was an ashy red. Liam and Ashe grew up together, to an extent, and James, being eleven years older than the two made him their babysitter, so he and Liam were well acquainted. “Hey, James.” “How's your new book coming along? Ashe says it's a good one.” “They're never “good ones”. It's the Dewsome case.” “Ah,” James took the pitchers to put them in the fridge and lit a new cigarette, taking quite a few puffs before smothering himself with a long drag. All of his years smoking made his voice a little dry, but apparently that and his scar had girls lining up to sleep with him. He may even have a kid by now. Or two. Or three, plus. “That one down south,” he continued, “What year was it?” “1994.” “Mm. Sure do remember that one- threw everybody into a panic. Even the college girls were scared.” Liam shrugged and nodded. He was twelve when Marsha was killed. James was about twenty three; he'd never gone to college, but he'd been known to sneak a hot car ride with a few of the girls there. Liam remembered the case like it were on his forehead. He'd watched it all unfold on the news, read the papers, listened in on the gossip- all up until they caught the man responsible. Her uncle. And now he was even writing the book on it. “Hey kiddo,” James said, taking a drag of his cigarette that would undoubtedly help set him on the course of cancer. “Don't let it get to you. I know it's about that time.” Liam chuckled, but a pain in his chest choked it. He dropped his gaze down to the bar. “About that time.” He didn't notice, but he had been having more trouble the last few days. Tossing more drinks back than usual probably meant something. “Can I snag a drag?” he asked, reached out for James's cigarette since he didn't have his own. The bartender handed it over and the other noirette took a puff. He looked at the clock on the wall. “...You got today's date?” James pulled up the date on his phone and clicked his tongue. “...Twenty fifth.” Liam nodded, smoking James's cigarette. “Well,” he sighed, blowing out a stream of smoke. “I guess it's that time.” James lit another cigarette, leaving Liam the other. He lit the tip and puffed from it. “They'll get him some day, kid.” Kid, even though Liam was twenty four now. The noitette shrugged but didn't say anything. His chest was constricted and he couldn't trust his voice to come out alright. James pat the man's head before leaving to serve one of the regulars, and Liam looked at Ashe to watch his friend wash the dishes. His phone went off in his coat pocket and he pulled it out to look at it, which was better than watching Ashe try and hide a plate he just broke on accident. It was a phone call from Sam. He wasn't a prick, so he answered despite not wanting to. “Hey,” she said softly on the other side of the phone. “Need me to come over tonight?” From the chatter in the background, Liam concluded that she was working and sneaking a phone call. He took a drag from the cancer stick and winced when it burned his throat. He blew the smoke out. “...Yeah,” he said simply, looking at the cigarette that burned between his fingers. “Okay, I'll-” “Can I come over on your lunch break?” He snuffed out the cancer in the ashtray on the bar. “Well, yeah, of course,” Sam said through a smile. Liam nodded, watching as the cigarette's smoke slowly disappeared. Lunch break was at noon. In Liam's truck, Sam fucked herself on his cock, her arms wrapped around his neck as she straddled him, her forehead pressed again his and her long bangs tickling his nose. She moaned a little too enthusiastically, her minty bubble gum breath hot against her friend's face. She tried to kiss him, but Liam turned his face away, grunting in pleasure when the girl slipped further down his cock, rolling her hips against him. She slipped her hands into the back of Liam's shirt collar, where her nails scratched him. He pushed her away from him, her back hitting the steering wheel and making it honk. She laughed. “What?” she asked, biting her bottom lip. Liam huffed. “You scratched me. And you're high.” She laughed again. “So? Isn't it better?” She looked into Liam's eyes with her dilated brown. Putting her hands on his chest, she started moving up and down again, the sound of her wet pussy on his cock and her moaning filling the truck once more. It'd be better if she didn't play with toys that were too big for her. There wasn't as much friction as Liam was hoping for. The man grabbed her hips and helped her move, making her go faster so that he could hurry up and come. Sam leaned forward and kissed him, holding his face so that he wouldn't turn away. He let her, because he decided he was more focused on finishing this and getting some real pussy, or at least going home and getting drunk. Sam brought a hand down to play with her clit while she fucked Liam's cock, breaking the kiss and straightening up more so that she'd be at a better angle for him to rub against her nerves. She moaned and tossed her head back. “Oh, Liam!” she gasped, her pussy clenching around the man's cock as she worked herself to an orgasm. It helped add to the friction, and Liam pushed his hips up to fuck against her, shoving his cock deeper inside. Thrusting up against Sam, he fucked her while she orgasmed, the woman clutching his shirt tightly as she played with herself. Liam fucked her harder until he came, his cock pulsing inside of her and spilling cum into his condom. Sam climbed off of him before he was completely finished and started fixing her clothes, pulling her panties up and smoothing her dress's wrinkles. Liam jerked himself to completion before slipping the condom off and dropping it out of the window. He tucked himself away, thinking about how much he hated sex with Sam. He looked at her, who was already gazing at him with her stupid dilated eyes. “...You know what day today is?” he asked, feeling as stupid as he thought she was because he even bothers to fuck her. She hummed. “Nope.” “It's the day they found Noah.” “Mm, who's that?” “...My brother.” Sam reached out and pat Liam's cheek. “Aw, sorry.” He shook his head and looked at the parking lot. They were just outside of the clinic, but it was relatively empty because it was a Tuesday. He glanced back at Sam. “I gotta go,” he said. She smiled at him and climbed out of the truck, giving him a wave before turning to leave into the clinic. Liam started the truck and drove back home. He didn't have a reason to be at the bar, and Sam was even more disappointing than expected, so his new goal was to get home, take a shower, and get drunk. At the house, that was just what he did. He took a shower, had a rightful orgasm, and went to the kitchen to get some beer. Popping it open and taking a drink, he paused with the beer just at his lips when he heard a clatter from outside. “Fucking raccoons, man,” he dropped his hand to his side and went outside, going to the trashcans. “Get outta here!” he called and kicked a can. A raccoon popped its head out and he grabbed the can, shaking the rodent out. It took off running when it hit the ground. Liam shook his head. “Fucking rodents.” Bringing the beer back to his lips, his took a few drinks until something else sounded, from the backyard. A loud squeak. “What the hell?” The man walked around the house to the backyard, where he opened the gate and slipped inside. The swingset David put up for the kids was still there, rusted from years of neglect and rain. One of the swings were rocking. “Who's back here?” he called out, looking around. The yard was empty, but one of the lawn chairs were knocked over. Liam walked over and picked it back up, looking around the yard once more. “Hello?” He gave the yard another quick look over before stepping up to the back door and going back inside. Immediately, he saw that the bathroom's light was on. The door was open and he could hear running water. Going into the bathroom, he turned off the sink and shut off the light, before opening the closet in the hallway and getting one of David's gold clubs. There was definitely someone here. “Get the hell out of here! There's literally nothing to steal!” he called out, peeking in rooms to see where the perpetrator was. Nowhere. They weren't anywhere. In the kitchen, the fridge was open and his orange juice was on the floor, spilling a mess. “Goddammit.” Liam dropped down to his knees and started cleaning it up with paper towels. “Motherfucker. If you're still here, you'd better get the hell out!” he called, but the house was silent, along with outside. It was probably just some stupid teens. Grabbing some more squares from the roll, Liam turned back to the puddle to lay them down over it, but just beside the puddle, in front of him, were small, muddy and bare feet. He furrowed his eyebrows and looked up. A naked boy covered in mud, standing just before him, so dirty that he could barely see their skin color. Liam blinked a few times and sat back, staring at the boy. “...What the hell? How'd you get in here?” he asked, completely dumbfounded. The child got down on their knees and looked into Liam's eyes, the boy's eyes grey- no, blue- a shade just between to two colors. ...Only one person had those eyes. “...Noah?”
  9. Guess I'm back guys; I have some new stories in the mod que because I'm shit and didn't work on updates for the others 😌

  10. AmosLee1023

    Chapter Four: Joseph Carter

    Chapter Four: Joseph Carter James and Ashe closed shop early. “You’re saying that this is Noah?” Ashe asked skeptically, looking at the child that spun himself on a bar-stool. “Believe me, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this since yesterday- I… there’s no other explanation than… it being him,” Liam said. James leaned forward on the bar. “Alright, so if it’s true, there ain’t no kids missing around here,” he said. Liam nodded. “I know. So either we’re too late, or it hasn’t happened yet. Or, it hasn’t been reported.” “So wait, how is this kid Noah?” Ashe asked, still staring at the ghost child. Liam sighed. “...He has his birthmark, his eyes, he says things that Noah used to say, he… said something about the day he disappeared that only we knew. And,” Liam stopped the child from spinning to grab one of his hands, “he dug his way out of Noah’s grave. I saw it.” Ashe looked at his brother, who gave an honest shrug and shook his head, probably thinking something like “this didn’t happen back in my day”. The redhead looked back at Liam. “So what are you gonna do?” Liam breathed. “Try and stop him.” “How the fuck do you think you’re gonna stop a serial killer, huh?” James said, making… Noah, look at him. Liam tossed a hand up. “Somehow.” “James is right, man,” Ashe said, “This sounds pretty weird. Like, really pretty weird. Like, tripping on drugs weird.” “It’s not weird, it’s stupid,” James said. Liam shook his head. “If you guys aren’t gonna help me, I’m gonna do it my-” “Oh, woah- that kid’s bleeding,” Ashe said suddenly and pointed at Noah. They all looked at the boy and it was seen that he had a bloody nose. The boy looked at the men before touching his nose and looking at the blood. He looked at Liam with his special eyes. “...Ow,” he said. Then, without warning, he suddenly passed out and fell off of the bar-stool. The brothers came over from around the bar and Liam picked Noah up from the floor. “Dude, what the fuck!” Ashe exclaimed like the kid were dying. His brother pushed him. Liam shook his head. “I don’t...” he didn’t know what to say. What happened? “Alright,” James said, “We’re going to the house- come on.” He walked to the front door and Ashe put a hand on Liam’s back. “...Come on.” They all got in Ashe’s car because it had an extra seat and drove to he and James’ apartment. They shared it, because James couldn’t risk Ashe getting into any bad trouble. Once there, they all headed inside. The apartment was cleaner than Liam’s house, but there was still beer that littered the place, and the room stank like it was born in cigarette smoke. One more cigarette and James would probably have cancer. Liam lay Noah on the couch in the main room and James got something for him to clean the boy’s nose, because Ashe was dumb and didn’t know what to do. “Take off his coat, give him some air,” James said. Liam unzipped the coat and pulled it off of the boy, dropping it to the floor. Ashe pointed from where he stood over the couch. “...What’s that?” he asked. Liam looked at where he pointed and rose his eyebrows. “...I don’t… know.” He hadn’t noticed before, but now that Noah was stripped of hiding in over sized clothes, it appeared that there was bruising on his wrists. That wasn’t there before. “Anyway,” James said, “We should let him rest. And figure out what the hell is going on.” Ashe nodded. “Agreed.” Liam watched Noah for a moment before looking at Ashe and James. “...You guys believe me?” Ashe laughed wildly. “Um, no? How the hell does anyone believe that? Like, what the fuck?” “Shut up, asshole,” James smacked his brother upside the head. “It doesn’t matter if we believe it or not. What else you got?” he asked Liam. Liam gave a breath and sat in a chair. “I looked up Noah’s case yesterday.” Ashe and James looked at eachother when he said that, because they knew that it was a touchy subject, especially because yesterday was the anniversary of Noah’s death. Liam saw their faces but continued anyway. “And he was kept alive for two weeks before that bastard killed him. So, if he’s got another kid, we have two weeks to find him.” James and Ashe were quiet for a while before they both took their own seats. James sat back. “What did he do to him?” he asked. Ashe looked at his brother and gawked in shock at how he even asked that, but shook his head and let it go. “...Kept him tied up and tortured him. Starved him. ...Hurt him.” Liam knew Noah’s case more than the Dewsome case. Noah was his only brother, after all. The coroner found that he’d suffered third degree burns to his chest and back, and had been whipped repeatedly. He’d also suffered cuts and shallow stab wounds, of four inches or so, to the abdomen. “Then I’d say we don’t have the luxury to ignore something like this, fake or not. If there is a kid in trouble, he’s gonna have one hell of a bad time.” “And we only have two weeks to find him.” “If!” Ashe cried, looking at the two like they were alien. “If all of this is even real! There ain’t even a kid missing!” “None of them went missing from the same town, idiot!” Liam called out his friend. “And they’re all worthless kids! If he’s already missing, his deadbeat parents probably don’t care enough to report him, or the police think that he just ran away!” “Yeah, Ashe,” James smiled smugly, “You’re trying to pick a fight with a guy that writes crime for a living.” “Shut the hell up, douche bag,” Ashe muttered. Liam closed his eyes. “It’s gonna be hard to find out if a new kid is missing, because the cops’ll probably just blow him off. And none of the kids were taken from the same town.” “...Don’t they say that killers have like, some kind of geographical ritual or some shit?” Ashe asked stubbornly. Liam looked at him and blinked. “...Yeah, they do. Get me a piece of paper,” he said. Ashe clicked his tongue and got up to get a notebook and pen, handing them to his friend. Liam took them and looked up the towns of the missing children online. Writing them all down, there was a vicinity around them. There were three towns that could be the home of the new victim. And that meant that somewhere, in this hand drawn map, was the home of the killer. Liam circled the town names and looked at the brothers. “These places- these are the guy’s hunting spots.” Ashe sighed and got on his own phone, searching something and scrolling. He scrolled until his eyes widened, and he looked back at Liam. “...Um… there… is, one,” he said. His brother looked at him like he were lying, and Ashe showed them his phone. James took it and read allowed. “Joseph Carter, missing since yesterday. Didn’t get home from school.” Liam pointed. “That’s the MO. What town?” James recited the town. “It’s an hour and a half away. Pretty shitty place.” “Well… I guess we’re gonna have to go there.” “No, no we, Liam!” Ashe whined. His brother threw the TV remote at him. “Stop bitching.” “Fuck you, asshole!” “Ashe, knock it off!” Liam scolded. “The kid’s sleeping, jeez. And fine, fuck you if you don’t wanna go. I don’t mind.” “Liam...” Liam shrugged his friend off. He looked at Noah. The boy was still sleeping, but his nose bleed had stopped. James spoke up. “It’d probably be best if you left the kid here when you left,” he said. Liam looked at him. “I won’t leave him with Ashe, I’ll watch him. ‘Tell you if anything changes.” Liam pressed his lips together. “...Is this really smart?” “Nothing’s smart. So take Ashe’s dumb ass with you.” “James, I’m not going!” Ashe yelled. l.l “You blew me off of drinks but need money?” Carlos asked, quirking a dark eyebrow at Liam. Liam sighed. “I need to finish that book- the deadline’s coming up. Sorry.” Carlos shrugged and shook his head, pulling out his wallet and sifting through his paycheck. Ashe watched over Liam’s shoulder like it were a girl’s ass. Carlos pulled out some bills and held them out to Liam, who took them and put them in his pocket, away from Ashe’s invading eyes. “What do you need money for?” Carlos asked his friend. “Gas. I need to talk to the Dewsomes about some stuff on the case,” Liam lied. It wasn’t a total lie; he needed gas money to get to the town Joseph Carter had been snatched from. “Well, don’t do whatever shit Ashe offers you.” “Hey, I don’t do drugs, alright? That’s all Sam’s nasty ass,” Ashe defended. Carlos rolled his eyes and put his wallet up. “Be careful, I heard there’s some black ice outside of town.” Liam nodded and waved. “Thanks, Carlos.” “No problem.” Carlos looked at the two before going back into his house. Ashe looked at Liam. “Can I have like, a twen-” “Hell no,” Liam scoffed and went to his truck. Ashe disappointingly followed. He’d taken Liam to get his truck from the bar and left his car out front, because he wouldn’t get a ticket because he worked there. Once they were in the car, Liam drove them to get gas and snacks before making the drive to the town. And Carlos didn’t lie, there was some black ice that made the drive a little shitty. But, they got to town. Driving through the neighborhoods, there were some missing fliers for Joseph Carter. He’d not come home after school yesterday; brown hair and eyes, he was freckled. And just ten years old. “What are we doing here?” Ashe asked, looking at the passing houses. “You’d better not talk to that kid’s parents.” “Why not?” “Um, because they’ll think you’re crazy? Who wants to hear that their kid’s been taken by a serial killer? Honestly, Liam, this is crazy.” “Even if it’s crazy, it’s wrong to let this happen again.” Ashe looked at his friend. “Liam, I know you’re still upset about Noah- I was there when you were getting into trouble! I saw all of it! You have to let this go.” Liam didn’t look at Ashe. He turned on the radio to drown the man out. “I’m not letting another kid die like that,” he said. Ashe shook his head and looked at the road. The Carter house was in the trailer park. It looked pretty bad on the outside, rust and moss growing on the sides and the porch falling in. There was a dog chained up that barked when it saw the truck roll in. Ashe looked at Liam. “I don’t think they’re here.” “You’d say that.” Liam parked the car and got out to walk up to the trailer, stepping up to the porch and knocking on the door. The dog tried to get him, slobber flying from its mouth as it barked and snapped at him but alas was held back. Ashe came up the porch behind Liam and put his hands in his pockets, waiting to see if anyone really was home or not. After all of the knocking, no one answered. “Hello!” Liam called. “Anyone home?” He looked at the windows, which were covered with tin foil. No one responded. Ashe looked at Liam. “...I told you so.” Before Liam could gripe at him, his phone started ringing. He pulled it out and answered it to James. “Hey.” “Hey. Y’all better get back here, something’s going on with the kid. Weird.” “...What kind of weird?” James was quiet for a second, like he was preoccupied. Probably with whatever was going on. “Just… you need to see it yourself,” he answered eventually. Liam looked at Ashe. “...We gotta go back.” “We drove all this way for nothing?” Ashe scoffed. Liam narrowed his eyes. “You didn’t want to come over anyway.” He hung up his phone and put it away before hopping off of the porch. Looking at the dog again, he saw that its food bowls were empty. If someone was leaving home, they would make sure their animal had something to eat. Liam looked back at the trailer as Ashe came down after him. “...Something’s wrong,” Liam said and stepped back up the porch. Ashe scoffed again. “Like what?” Liam tested the doorknob- it was open. He turned it and pushed the front door open before stepping inside. Ashe groaned. “Liam, stop.” “Shut up,” Liam said absently, looking around the living room. The trailer stank like stale smoke and dog piss, and the lights were on. The living room was a hoarder’s nest that stretched across the sofa and floor, of things like lamps and other random junk that probably didn’t work, but whoever kept them insisted on their valency. The television was on, playing the news, but no one was in the living room to listen to it. Another sign something was wrong: who leaves on the lights and television? “Liam, stop!” Ashe grabbed Liam’s arm, but his friend wretched himself free and walked through the living room to the kitchen, which had its light on as well. Immediately, the smell of rancid food hit their noses. Dirty dishes piled in the sink and stacked over the counters, leaving no room for any sort of home cooking. Flies buzzed in the room, but few were hovering over a dirty pot of molded, rotten soup. Maggots crawled on the floor around the trashcan. The rest of the flies took their proper place on the body that sat at the kitchen table, slouched in a chair. Ashe freaked out. “What the fuck! What- is that real? Liam!” Liam swallowed down his own shock and stepped carefully to the table. The body was of an adult male. On the table, an open bottle of scotch. On the floor where his arms rested at his sides; a gun. In the back of his head, a bullet wound. An exit wound, determined by the blood splatter on the wall behind the man’s body. A suicide. “U-u-uh, yeah, he’s really fucking dead!” Ashe yelled, making Liam look at him. His friend was on a phone call with the police, apparently calling them sometime during the panic. Liam looked back at the body. The blood was dark and clumpy, coagulated. And his skin looked pale, his fingers and hands to his forearms marred by purple blotches- lividity, a time stamp. He’d been there a while. ...Why kill himself? On the table in front of the man’s body was a picture of a boy, just a normal school photo. The boy was smiling, though. Joseph Carter. This man was his father. Noah. Liam looked at Ashe, who was still freaking out to the operator. “Ashe, we have to go,” he said. Ashe looked at him with wide eyes. “Huh?” Liam snatched his friend’s phone and hung up before rushing back out of the trailer. Ashe ran after him. “Liam, what the hell are you doing! We have to wait for the police!” “They’ll want to keep us for questioning! Something’s happened to Noah!” “Noah? Liam, that isn’t Noah!” Ashe cried in disbelief. “Noah’s dead! I don’t know what that is!” Liam looked at his friend and grabbed him to drag him to the truck. l.l Noah looked beaten. There were bruises on his face and his bottom lip had been split. Liam looked at James. “...What happened?” he asked. James shook his head. “I don’t know. They just showed up.” Noah suddenly gasped awake and sat up on the couch. The child looked around the room before his eyes fell onto Liam. Without warning, the boy started crying. Liam walked over to the him, leaving Ashe to tell James what had happened at the trailer, the man’s voice quick and shaky- he had never been one for horror movies. “What’s wrong? What happened?” Liam asked Noah. The boy wrapped his arms around the man and bawled. He couldn’t get any words out. Glancing back at his friends, Liam saw that James was taking Ashe away to the kitchen so the man could calm down, though James wanted very much to know what was happening with Noah. Liam woke up to Noah crying. He rolled in bed and looked at his brother, who slept across from him in the bedroom. “What’s wrong?” he asked through a yawn. Noah looked at him and sniffed. “I had a bad dream.” “Oh… Wanna sleep with me?” Noah shook his head. Liam twisted his lips. “...What was it about?” “I don’t wanna talk about it,” Noah said softly. Liam watched his brother for a moment before closing his eyes again. “I had a dream,” the boy cried. Liam put a hand on his head. “...Of what?” Noah didn’t tell him. He sat up on the couch and rubbed at the bruising on one of his wrists. He didn’t look at Liam, but he stifled his crying and sniffled before asking, “You didn’t find him. Did you?” Liam sat beside the boy on the couch. “...Tell me about the marks,” he said. Noah grabbed the coat and pulled it back on, zipping it shut. “I don’t know.” “Bullshit.” “Stop cursing around me.” “Then tell me, because I know you know.” Noah looked at Liam before looking at the television, like he were trying to turn it on with his eyes. Liam nudged him and the boy pressed his lips together, huffing through his nose. He wiped his tears away with a coat sleeve. “...I remembered when he took me.” Liam gave the boy his full attention, like a detective who got his first good lead. “What?” “When he took me. ...When you left me.” “Race you!” Noah yelled at Liam, who gave him a look. “Race where? Mom’s supposed to pick us up.” “Well, genius, it’s been twenty minutes- if she was picking us up, she’d be here already.” “He’s right, you guys should start walking. We’re all heading home,” said Ms. Lisa, the teacher on duty. There were just a few kids left, all the others being taken by their parents or the bus. Liam groaned. “I don’t wanna walk today,” he said. Noah pat his brother’s arm. “I’ll race you~” his twin sang. Liam rolled his eyes to look at his brother and groaned. Then he started running, leaving Noah in the dust. Noah laughed and ran after. “I’m gonna beat you!” Noah cried enthusiastically, running after Liam, who was a pace in front. Liam looked back and stuck out his tongue. He looked forward just in time to hop over a rock jutting out of the road, but his brother wasn’t as lucky and tripped on it, falling onto the pavement. Liam laughed at his brother and kept running. “I’m winning!” he called happily. Noah sat up on the pavement to look at his knee, a hole tearing in his jeans. He looked after his brother and called out a, “Liam, wait!”, but Liam was adamant on winning for once and kept running ahead. “He put… something over my mouth and I fell asleep,” Noah spoke. Liam looked at the child’s bruised face. “...And then what? What else do you remember?” Noah stared at the floor before looking at Liam. “Nothing.” “You don’t remember what he looked like? Smelled like? Sounded like?” “No. ...I don’t want to.” James came into the room with some pizza slices on a plate. Ashe had his head on the kitchen table, trying to fall asleep, a bottle of scotch in front of him. Noah took a slice of pizza and ate it slowly, still depressed. Until he was allowed to watch TV, which he put onto a dumb cartoon. James looked at Liam. “Find out anything?” he asked. Liam looked at his pizza and shook his head. “No. The guy used chloroform to knock him out.” “What about the bruises?” “Nothing.” “Well,” James pulled out a cigarette, lighting it and taking a long, much needed drag. “I don’t think we’re gonna figure out anything for a bit.” “Joseph Carter was taken yesterday,” Liam spoke, “So we have at least thirteen days to find him.” James rose an eyebrow and nodded. “Yeah, that’s kind of a while.” “It felt like forever… with Noah.” James blew out his smoke and glanced at Liam. “We’re gonna find him. Give it time.” He held his cigarette out to the man and Liam took it to take a drag, the nicotine numbing his rampant nerves. “Fourteen years is time. He’s been doing this since 1978. That’s almost thirty years.” Liam took another drag before passing the cigarette back to James. “You’re the one who’s so adamant on saving this new kid- you said Noah’s back, and that this guy’s a serial killer, and that he’s got a new kid; stop whining. You said all of that. Stop trying to back out.” Liam looked at James, who smoked the cigarette like it was nothing. “I don’t even want to believe myself.” “Well, you don’t have to believe it. Ashe don’t believe it, and he followed you into a dead man’s house.” “Do you believe any of it?” “Yeah,” James said and looked at Liam, “I do. But that doesn’t matter. Because my dead brother didn’t come to my doorstep and tell me that a kid was gonna get kidnapped. Yours did.” Liam sat back in the couch and looked at the TV. Should he believe it?
  11. AmosLee1023

    Chapter Three: Shoes

    Chapter Three: Shoes The child ate his cheeseburger quickly, scarfing it down like there was no tomorrow. Liam couldn't even eat, his burger still wrapped and sitting in his lap while he processed everything. This child, who was Noah's perfect mirror image, had dug himself out of said child's grave. Noah, who'd died fourteen years ago. Who'd been murdered fourteen years ago. Liam put his burger back in the McDonald's bag. The boy sat on his knees in the truck, leaning his shoulder against the seat so that he could face Liam while he ate. He looked at the man. "Am I getting shoes?" he asked. Liam looked at him like he were a ghost. Was he? Liam looked out the windshield, eyes wide. Could anyone else see him? "Liam?" "Shh!" Liam held up a hand to the boy, silencing him. "I'm thinking!" Something about that must have been funny, because the boy giggled while he took another bite. Who could Liam talk to about this? Carlos? Ashe? Definitely not Sam. Carlos was a well off real estate agent, would he want to believe Liam? He was also mexican, and had a heavy belief in the paranormal- so would he believe him? Ashe was an idiot who believed anything, but what if he told someone? "That's it," Liam said, making the boy look at him passed his hand. He started up the truck and started driving. "Where are we going?" the boy asked. "Back to the house." "Why?" "Because I don't want people to think I'm crazy." "You aren't." Liam looked at the kid, who had just finished his burger. He shook his head and looked back to the road. He couldn't believe it, and he didn't know what to do. He couldn't tell his friends. He couldn't tell himself that all of this was fake. He shook his head again in disbelief. "How did you walk all that way?" "I just did." Was he wrong to not take the kid to the police? Was he wrong to sort of start believing him? The kid was real. Liam had felt him, and he felt like real live flesh. The boy had bled, and he was hungry. ...He wasn't a zombie, that was for sure. But what if he was a different kid, who just... thought he was... Noah? That one- that one sounded plausible. At the house, Liam helped the boy out of the truck and took his dirty socks to wash, which made him actually wash a load of his own laundry, too. The boy sat in the living room eating Liam's burger and watching TV, which was playing Spongebob. Liam came into the room and shut the TV off, making the boy look at him. "You have to tell me about that guy," the man said. The child swallowed a bite of his burger. He looked down at the food. "...He's g-" "I know that part, but how do you know? Why don't you tell the police? Who's the guy? Did he bury you as some joke?" The boy stared at Liam, his nose scrunching. "He didn't bury me." "Then who did? That's one sick fucking joke. Do you know who-" "You buried me." The boy put his sandwich in his lap. "You did." Liam glared at the kid. "None of this is funny." "I know!" the boy yelled at him. "Then stop lying to me!" "I'm not lying to you! Stop calling me a liar!" "Then who's going to hurt someone?" "I don't remember!" Liam ran a hand through his hair. He sighed. Turning, he turned the TV back on and left to his computer. Going online, he looked up... he hesitated before looking up: Noah Taylor murder case. There weren't as many hits as there would be if he looked up Marsha Dewsome, because she came from a well known family and nice neighborhood. Noah was from a struggling family that lived in a trailer outside of town. "Noah Taylor, abducted on his way home from school in 1992, was discovered two weeks after his disappearance drowned in a lake near the outskirts of town. He is believed to have been kept alive for the duration of his disappearance, until his drowning. His body was discovered three days after he was killed. Autopsy and forensics showed that Taylor had been kept in a confined space during his captivity and suffered multiple abuse, such as sodomy, torture, and starvation." "No! Noah! Noah!" Miranda screamed, trying to wretch herself from two police officers that held her at bay of her son's nude corpse being zipped into a body bag. Liam couldn't breathe. His father kept him behind him, but hearing his mom's screaming and all of the wailing sirens told him that his twin brother had been found. Dead. David had grabbed the chief investigator by the collar of his shirt and was screaming in his face, making more officers run over to try and detain him. "How dare you bring us here! How dare you show us the body of our son! I'll kill you! I'll kill you!" he spat in the investigator's face, towering over him from his bigger build. Officers started pulling them apart. Family is always the first suspect. The closer you are, the guiltier. The detective thought that showing them the body would bring out a confession. He was wrong. Because they hadn't done it. All he'd done was traumatize a reeling family. "My baby!" Miranda screamed. A crime that heinous could never just be one. No, the killer would grow a taste for it. Worse yet, there were no mistakes at the crime scene, or with Noah's body. This killer had done this before. And he would again. The boy was right. The man was going to hurt someone else. Liam left back into the living room, where the boy had finished his second burger and changed the channel to another cartoon. "Kiddo," he said, getting the boy's attention. "If you're telling the truth, which is bat-shit crazy, then we only have two weeks to find that kid." The boy watched Liam for a moment before smiling. "See, you're not that dumb, Liam." Liam waved a finger at the boy and shook his head, like it was so stupid he hadn't thought of it before. He ran back to his office and got back on his computer. If the cops found any cases similar to Noah's, they would figure out and announce that there was a serial killer on the loose. But, no one ever looks at the poor children. If the killer had killed anyone else, before or after Noah, it would be a low profile case that everyone dismissed, because no one cared for those beneath them. Being a true crime writer was beginning to pay off. Liam paused, closing his eyes. ...If it was all true. If there really was a serial killer on the loose and this child knew, then... how did he know? That was the one question Liam hadn't answered yet. Who was that boy watching television? Something told him he already knew. He didn't want to know. Something kept him from calling the police, and something made him let the kid stay here despite his great similarity to Noah. Dead Noah. But, there's no plausible explanation! How did a kid dig himself out of a grave? How did he know Liam's name? His parents' old phone number? Look like Noah? Have his eyes? Have his birth mark? ...The only plausible explanation is that... it is Noah. Liam opened his eyes and looked at his computer screen, where the article of Noah's death was still plastered. Confined space; sodomy, torture, starvation; two weeks. How could someone do that to a child? Liam put in a new search: Boy missing two weeks, drowned. Three boys. Three boys apart from Noah came up in the search. Brent Hal, aged 10, 1978; Ashton Grayson, aged 9, 1985; Allen Green, aged 9, 1999. All from small beat families, but not the same town. All faces that no one would miss. All... Liam grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down the years of their deaths. 1978, 1985, 1999... Noah was 1992; Liam rewrote the years. 1978, 1985, 1992, 1999... He let out a slow breath and shook his head. All of the murders were seven years apart. This crazy, sick fuck waited seven years to snuff the life of a child. Like it was some sweet ritual- he woke up once every seven years with the intent to take a child from their family and torture and murder them. And this was seven years after Allen Green's death in 1999, the child killed after Noah. ...If the killer still hadn't been caught, then... he would kill another boy. Liam pulled out his phone. He had to call the police this time. This wasn't a matter of: Don't call the police because they'll call me crazy, no- now it was a matter of: there's a serial killer on the loose ready to take a new victim. He called them. l.l "Even if what you're saying is true, there's no missing children here," the Lieutenant said, standing in the front yard of the house with Liam and an officer. The child had gone and hidden in Liam's bedroom when he heard the knocking on the front door, and he wasn't happy with Liam calling them. Liam shook his head. "He's going to take a kid, alright? You have to put out a warning, or at least state that there's an actual, real life serial killer on the loose!" The officer looked at the Lieutenant. "...He doesn't look like he's lying." The lieutenant waved him off. "Anyone who lies thinks their telling the truth." Liam glared. "So you think I'm lying?" "Aren't you that true crime writer? I don't think you're lying, I just think you may have gotten some fiction mixed up with reality," the Lieutenant said. Liam scoffed. "I don't write fiction, and I know what I'm saying, okay? If you guys weren't so high and mighty and up in your asses, you may have realized it earlier and stopped the last kid from being killed!" "Alright," the Lieutenant gave Liam a rude smile, "We'll be taking out leave. Looks like you think you're the detective now, huh?" "If I am, I'm a better fucking one than you," Liam spat and the Lieutenant went for him, but the officer held him back. The officer cleared his throat. "Let's all get back to what we were doing. Lieutenant, I think there's something you were needing to do at the office," he said. The lieutenant straightened up and fixed himself. He looked Liam up and down before nodding and going to his car. The officer went to his own. Liam growled. "Yeah, piss off and let another kid get taken, huh?" he yelled at them, watching their cars pull out. He spat at the ground and shook his head before going back into the house. "Okay, kid, they're fucking gone," he called, giving the door a good kick that he wished the Lieutenant could feel. The kid came out of the bedroom. He, for the first time, had an emotion opposite of just giggling or smiling a little. He was mad. "You weren't supposed to call them," he said. Liam shrugged his shoulders. "They didn't believe me anyway." "I know they didn't believe you! I knew they wouldn't!" "Then how about you try and come up with some answers, huh? Every time I ask you something, you say you don't fucking remember!" "Because I don't!" "Whoopdie fucking doo!" The boy stepped back into the bedroom and slammed the door shut. Noah slammed the bedroom door shut, locking Liam out. Liam looked at David, who watched with an eyebrow raised from his recliner. "What'd you do?" he asked the black haired boy. Liam rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. "Nothing," he said. Then he huffed and gave the real answer. "We were gonna go to the game store together, but he was being too slow so I went without him." "Well. That's rude." "He was being too slow!" "Bud, you still gotta apologize." David looked down at whatever he was messing with in his lap. Liam knocked on the bedroom door, which used to be his parents'. "Sorry, okay? Come out and... we'll get you some shoes." "I'm not lying," the boy called from the other side of the door. Liam twisted his lips. "...I know. We just have to find out if or when he's going to take the kid." If he didn't have him already. If he already had the kid, then their two weeks has already started. The door opened and the kid looked out at Liam. Liam sucked his teeth. "The bank's actually closed, so uh... I can't get any money out." "You suck." "...Yeah. Come on, let's get you to bed. It's late." "We're going in the morning," the boy said. Liam rose an eyebrow before nodding. "Okay. Come on." Liam stepped into the bedroom and made up the bed for the kid before going to the couch to get his own rest. l.l In the morning, the kid was still in bed, not a figment of Liam's imagination. That meant that everything else was real, too. Liam drove the kid to the bank and got some money out of his account to buy breakfast and clothes. They got some cheap breakfast from McDonald's and Liam took the kid to a second hand store, where it was proven that the child was real. "Aw, you're getting tired of hand-me-downs, huh?" a woman asked the child with a smile. Liam swallowed. He was real. The woman had her hand on the boy's head and could actually see and feel him. Liam wasn't crazy. But the idea of a ghost coming to life was crazy enough to make him crazy. The woman gave the boy a smile before slipping passed and leaving the shop. Liam cleared his throat and pointed off. "Go on and pick some clothes," he said. The boy watched him for a long moment before stepping away and going to look at the racks of clothing. Liam walked off to look at the shoes. "I said you can have mine," Liam said to Noah as the two looked at shoes to buy. Noah had dragged him there with ten dollars from their dad before he'd gone to work. Miranda would let them walk to town while she stayed home doing her own things. It let them burn off the excessive energy. "I don't want yours- Adam said that they have this cool new pair here." "Noah, I don't think this is the place." "Shh!" Liam grabbed a pair of tennis shoes and went to look for the boy. He couldn't find him. He sifted through the clothing racks and peeked around the other customers there, but he couldn't find the kid. "Hey!" he called out, which garnered some unwanted attention. He pressed his lips together and glanced around. He left to another part of the shop and called out again, but the boy didn't come out. Now Liam was getting a little scared. "Noah!" he called. "I'm here," the boy said, suddenly standing beside Liam. There was no way this disappearing act was sane. Liam pointed at the boy. "Stop doing that." The boy smiled, like it was funny. For him, it was. He then held up some clothes. "I got some." Liam took the clothes and motioned for the boy to follow him before going to the counter, where a very old lady was working. He put the clothes down and she started going through them. "Everything's fifty cents," she said absently while counting how many things were placed down. Liam also counted, looking at the boy when he counted to seven. "I didn't say get a lot of clothes," he said. The child gave a single shrug. "You didn't tell me how much." Now Liam felt bad for only getting one pair of shoes. When the woman stated the cheap price, Liam paid and took the child to the bathroom so that they could dress. While he waited on the kid, he decided to check his phone. There were a few texts from Sam, but Liam ignored them and saw a text from Carlos, asking if he wanted to meet up later. Liam had to decline, because he had a kid to watch. He decided to get online and look up any new missing children. None matched the killer's MO. ...Were they too late? The boy stepped out of the bathroom dressed in clothes that actually fit. He still wore the jacket, because it was big and warm. He looked up at Liam, holding his old clothes in his arms. "…I think I remembered something," he said. l.l Liam held the door open for the kid, letting him inside the pretty empty bar before stepping in after him. Ashe looked over from where he stood at the bar and smiled and waved. "Hey," he greeted. Then he looked at the kid. He furrowed his eyebrows and looked back at Liam. "...What's going on?" he asked. Liam grabbed the kid and brought him over. He cleared his throat. "I gotta talk to you in private." Ashe looked at Lizzy, a bigger girl with too much metal in her face, and pointed at the bar. She rolled her eyes and nodded, and Ashe motioned for Liam to follow him to the back room, where they kept props for Halloween. Liam brought the boy in with him and Ashe crossed his arms, watching the child before looking at Liam. "...What's up?" he asked. Liam looked at the boy. "...This kid says that there's a kid in trouble." "Okay, well, tell the cops." "Believe me, I've tried. And… it's more than that." Ashe gave his friend a look. "Like, how much more?" he asked slowly. The door to the room suddenly opened and James stepped inside. "Bro, Lizzy says you're hiding out," he said before noticing Liam. When he saw him, he rose an eyebrow in question, and then he noticed the kid. "...What- wow, that resemblance is… uncanny," he said. Liam closed his eyes and shook his head. "...It's not just a resemblance. It's… Noah."
  12. AmosLee1023

    Chapter Two: Resurrection

    Chapter Two: Resurrection The boy didn't say anything. He didn't speak or move, besides putting a hand in the orange juice puddle. Liam slowly stood up, watching the child, who kept their special blue-grey eyes on his own grey. “...Stay right here. Don't move, okay?” Liam watched the child for any sign that they were going to bolt, or if they were even listening to him, but the boy did nothing. The man left the child to his bedroom, where he snagged up a blanket and brought it back to the child, rushing to see if he was really seeing the boy. There was no boy beside the orange juice puddle. ...He had really just imagined it. ...How? “...Kid?” Liam called out cautiously, looking around the kitchen and living room. There was really no boy. He clutched the blanket tightly. He'd imagined it. How stupid of him. Finally going crazy on the fourteenth anniversary of Noah's death. How pitiful. He spun and threw the blanket angrily at the couch, but it hit something else, and there was a loud thud against the ground. Liam looked at the ground with wide eyes. Underneath the blanket, was a form, and two short legs sticking out. ...He'd thrown the blanket at the boy and knocked him down. But, he wasn't there a moment ago! Was Liam going crazy or not! “Stop running around, kid!” Liam grabbed the blanket to pull it off of the boy and- ...no boy. Nothing. He dropped the blanket and pulled out his phone. ...What would he tell the police? There was a ghost running around? Or there was a random boy in his house? “...Please stop playing games with me,” Liam whispered to himself and closed his eyes. He breathed. “Stop playing, Noah!” child Liam screamed at his brother, whom he had been trying to find for a least an hour. He knew his twin was in the same room, but every time he went to look in the hiding spot, Noah slipped out and found somewhere else to hide. If Liam looked under the bed, Noah snuck off to the closet. And so on. Liam was close to tears. “I hate being It!” he cried, standing in place with his hands clenched at his sides. He was done trying to find Noah. “I'm just over here, Liam,” Noah called out. Liam knew better, though, and crossed his arms. “You aren't playing fair! Stop cheating!” “I'm not cheating! You're just too slow,” Noah said from behind Liam. “You're just too slow,” the child said from behind Liam. Liam jumped and turned around. The muddy child was behind him, looking up at the man with his unique eyes. Liam pointed his cell phone at the child. “Stop running around, got it? Got it?” he said sternly. The boy gave a little nod. Liam stared at him before shaking his head. “What's your parents' phone number, huh?” The boy didn't speak for a long time, before reciting the phone number. “923-112-0981.” Liam dialed the number in half way before realizing its familiarity and pausing. “...” He looked at the child. “...You're lying, that phone number isn't in service anymore.” The child stared up at Liam. “...I'm not lying.” “Yes you fucking are!” Liam barked, although the child didn't respond. The man dipped down to pick up the blanket. “Put this on, I'm calling the cops.” The child didn't move, keeping their hands to their sides. Liam growled and tossed the blanket around the boy's shoulders, tucking it so that it would stay and keep the boy covered. It was very long, but it covered the child's nudity. Then Liam dialed the police. “There's a...” Liam watched the boy, who's eyes stared at him. He couldn't say it. He couldn't say “there's a kid in my house”. The words were just... stuck, in his chest. “Hello?” the operator asked. Liam cleared his throat. “...There's-” “Don't,” the child said. Liam stared at the boy. “Don't, please. I'm sorry.” “I'm sorry, Liam,” Noah said, offering his upset brother a smile. Liam glared at him. “You don't play fair, Noah. You never play fair!” “I know, I said I'm sorry.” “That doesn't make you not a cheater!” Noah pulled his brother into a hug and his brother hugged him back. “...I'm sorry.” Liam hung up the phone and dropped his hand to his side. He pressed his lips together, watching the child's face. “...What are you?” he asked softly, looking at the child's eyes. The boy stared into Liam's. “...Sad.” “No, I don't mean...” “I'm sad, Liam.” Liam's breath halted. He shook his head. A tremor went through him, powerful enough to almost make him sob, but he didn't. He stared at the boy. “How do you know my name?” “Liam...” the child stepped forward, looking up at the man. “He's gonna hurt someone else.” l.l Liam didn't accept that the child was Noah, and he couldn't believe that what he was seeing and hearing was actually real, but when he closed his eyes and opened them again, the child was still there. At least the vanishing game was over. “...Don't trip,” Liam said of the beer bottles on the bedroom floor. The child didn't seem to mind them, stepping right over and to the bathroom. Ditching the blanket at the bathroom door, the two went to the bathtub and Liam started the water, turning on the shower head. “Just um, wash up. I'll find something for you to wear.” The child nodded and climbed into the tub, standing underneath the pouring water. Liam watched for a second to make sure the kid was okay before going into the bedroom, where he started looking for clothes. Anything to fit a child. The kid looked to be at least nine or ten, and he was short and skinny. Liam got the smallest t shirt he could find and cut some old pants down to size. They were just some old sweats, but they had a drawstring that would hopefully make them not fall down. As for underwear, the kid could live without while Liam figured out what to do. Carrying the clothes back to the bathroom, Liam saw that the child was still caked in mud. He set the clothes down and went over. “Wash up, kiddo, what are you doing?” He grabbed the scrubber and put some soap on it. The child just watched him, the water making some light streaks through the mud to show their skin color, which was light. Liam huffed and started scrubbing the child down, struggling just a little with some mud that was really stuck on. “Why the hell are you naked and muddy?” Liam asked. The child didn't reply. “Ow!” the boy cried when Liam scrubbed their hand. He looked at the boy, who had pulled their hand away. “...What?” “It hurts.” “Well, let me see.” The child held their hand back out and Liam looked at it. The boy's nails were bloody and torn, broken. Liam looked at the boy's face. “What the hell happened?” he asked a little too seriously. The child pulled his hand back to him. “...It was dark,” he murmured. Liam furrowed his eyebrows. “What was?” “The box.” “...What bo...” Liam looked the child up and down. Muddy, with broken nails, and they were in a box. “T-tell me what happened?” The child looked into Liam's eyes. “I woke up in a box. And it was dark.” “...And then?” “I got out.” “But, why are you all muddy? What- what happened?” “I...” the child's eyes rolled and they suddenly fell. Liam caught them before they could hurt them self and shook the boy. “Hey, hey!” He put his ear to the boy's mouth, where he heard an intake of breath. He wasn't dead. “Hey, wake up,” Liam pat the child's cheek, but he didn't wake up. Picking the boy up out of the tub, Liam put him on the floor and opened up the medicine cabinet, where he started rummaging. Smelling salt! “Wait, what is it?” Noah asked their dad, who was failing at concealing his snickering. “It wakes people up if they're asleep, you have to smell it,” David said. Liam rose an eyebrow and looked at his brother. Noah straightened up and shrugged. “Okay, I'll smell it,” the boy said. David snickered more and tore open the small package, revealing the pink stick inside. Then he put it up to Noah's nose and the boy sniffed it before coughing and choking. David burst out laughing, and so did Liam. The boy looked at his twin while laughing. “Are you okay?” he laughed. Noah breathed out harshly through his nose, trying to get the smell out. “Ugh, no! Dad, that's gross!” “It woke you up, though, didn't it?” David bellowed, slapping his knee. The child gasped awake and Liam moved the smelling salt away. The child coughed and scrunched his nose. “...Ew...” “You okay?” Liam asked. The boy gave a tiny nod. “...You fainted. Have you eaten or anything?” The child's stomach rumbled. Liam sighed and pulled the boy up to his feet. “Let's finish washing you up first, okay? Then we'll find... something, to eat.” He lifted the boy back into the tub and finished washing him. When he was scrubbing the boy's back, he saw a birthmark just under his left shoulder blade. But he pretended he didn't. Once the child's hair and body were washed, Liam dried him off before fixing up his fingers. It looked like he'd scratched his way out of something. His right ring finger's nail was gone, leaving pain and blood underneath. The boy must have been adamant. Ten band-aids later, Liam dressed the kid and brought him to the kitchen. He looked like Noah's copy. His hair was black, his eyes were Noah's eyes, he had his birthmark, his face. Liam gave the boy toast and mashed potatoes. “I don't... have anything else,” he said. The child didn't answer, just eating. Liam also gave the child was juice was left in the orange juice container, before finishing cleaning up the mess and the mud on the bathroom floor from when the child fainted. Then he returned and the boy was still scarfing down his food. Liam sat in front of him and cleared his throat, getting the boy's attention. “How'd you get here?” he asked. “Uh waffed,” the child said through a mouth of food. Liam made him swallow it before he said it again. “I walked.” “From where?” “The box.” “Where was the box, kiddo?” “...The graveyard.” “Alright, what are your parents' real phone number?” Liam asked flatly, getting his phone. The child swallowed another bite and repeated the number. “ 923-112-0-” “No, your real number!” “That is it!” “You're lying!” “I'm not!” the boy screamed. “I'm not lying, Liam!” “How do you know my name! What are you?” Liam rest his forehead in his hand, closing his eyes. “...What are you?” “Sad,” the child said, but the tone of their voice made Liam look at them. The boy was crying. His bottom lip was trembling and he gave a single sob. Liam sighed and shook his head. “That's not what I mean,” he murmured. The child started sobbing and Liam got up to walk to the boy, putting a reluctant hand on his shoulder. The child hugged him around his waist and cried against him. Liam sniffed. What the hell was going on? “...Sorry for yelling at you, kiddo,” he said. The child ignored him. The two stayed like that for a while, the boy crying against Liam until he fell asleep, his arms falling to his sides. Then, Liam picked him up and carried him to the bedroom, where he lay him down on the mattress and covered him up. Then, he started picking up the room, much to his laziness and morbid depression. He did not want to be cleaning right now. Once the bottles and cans were gone, he tossed the clothes into a pile in the corner for the time being, because he'd never bothered to buy a laundry basket. Ring, ring, ring... Liam answered his phone, which showed it was from Ashe. “Hello?” he asked while picking up the last article of clothing. “Hey, man, you left me! What the hell?” “Sorry, I have a life.” “You left me to have sex with Sam, that's like, not worth leaving me here.” “It is to an extent.” Liam left to pick up the bathroom, too. “Well, come back! Don't leave me here with James!” “Dude, he's your brother. I'm taking the day off of being social for myself. See ya.” Liam hung the phone up and started washing out the tub, which had mud at the bottom. Then, he went to his desk and got on his computer, going online. In the search bar, he started doing his own investigating. Missing boy; black hair, grey/blue eyes, Caucasian, 10 years old. The only thing that came up was Missing: Noah Taylor, black hair, grey eyes, caucasian, 10 years old. That wasn't what Liam was looking for. Everything that came up led back to Noah. His time missing, his murder... But there was no plausible explanation for it. He should have called someone; the police, DHS, someone, but Liam just couldn't bring himself to. He instead started typing more on the Dewsome book, Those Close to Us. “Marsha was running late for school. Her father ushered her out of the front door and her mother drove her to school, and they were in such hurries that there were no “I love you”'s spoken. Mrs. Dewsome returned home, where Mr. Dewsome was just leaving for work. There, she did her normal routines; washed the dishes, did the laundry, made the beds, walked the dog, and put a meal together for Marsha for when she returned home from school. Marsha was due home at 2:40 PM. It was normal for her to walk home, because she liked to walk her friends to their houses along the way. But, when 3:00 hit, she wasn't home. Mrs. Dewsome called the school, and they reported that she had been there all day until school let up. They also reported that she walked home with fellow classmate and friend Sally Havel. Mrs. Dewsome waited another twenty minutes for Marsha to come home, because it wasn't uncommon for a child to get carried away with their friends. She still didn't return home. Mrs. Dewsome called Mr. Dewsome home from work and when he arrived, they drove to the Havel house to ask about their daughter. She had never arrived. As Sally told them, she and Marsha parted ways a block before the Havel house. That was the last Sally saw of her friend, who continued on the route to home. Mr. and Mrs. Dewsome made the dreaded call to the authorities,” Liam wrote. “You were supposed to pick them up!” Miranda screamed at David, who looked offended. “Me? Me? I was at work! How the hell are you gonna stand there and blame me! You shouldn't have been sitting around on your ass doing who-knows-what!” he yelled back at her. Liam sobbed, standing between them. He grabbed his dad's arm. “Daddy, it's my fault,” he sobbed, rubbing his pouring eyes with his other hand, his nose dripping. “I didn't mean to leave him!” he cried. David scowled at Miranda. “You were supposed to pick them up!” “I wouldn't have to if you were here! You're never here!” she screamed and lashed out at her husband, slapping him hard against his chest. Liam bawled and looked to his side to look at Noah, but he'd already forgotten he wasn't there, and that that's why this was happening. The child looked back at his parents, David trying to get a hold of his wife as she slapped and hit him in a rage of blind fury. “This isn't my fault!” “Mommy, stop it!” Liam cried when his mother hit David hard across the face. Her husband threw her down against the ground. “I'm calling the police!” David yelled through his own glassy eyes, looking down at his wife's tear stained, furious face. Liam's bawling cries filled the room with his mother's heavy breathing. “Because this isn't helping find our boy!” Liam tossed the beer can into the trash and grabbed another, laying down on the couch. Then there was knocking on the front door. “Who is it?” he called. “Ashe!” Ashe called back. As Liam was wondering how he got there with out his car, Ashe called, “And James!” Liam set his beer on the floor and got up from the couch before going off to his bedroom. Looking inside, the child was still sleeping. He shut the door and went to let Ashe and James in. Before Ashe could say anything, Liam held up a hand to stop him. “Don't be too loud, I have a shitty hangover,” he lied. Ashe bought it, though, because he bought anything, and laughed. “We're here to get his car,” James said. “After we find the keys.” Liam rolled his eyes. “Good luck with that. Bedroom's a mess, don't go in there.” Ashe went and flopped down onto the couch, laying where Liam had been and picking up the beer to drink it. Liam shook his head. “Look's like you're finding the keys,” he said to James. James was already walking to the couch, where he grabbed the back of it and picked it up, dumping his brother out onto the floor. “Find the fucking keys, Ashe, this ain't your house,” he scolded. He basically took up the role of parenting Ashe as they grew up. Ashe spilled some beer on his shirt and scoffed at his brother. “Dude, really?” James walked around the couch and kicked his brother, who rolled on the ground with a groan. Then, looking under the couch, the idiot said, “Well, they ain't under here.” Liam rummaged through old junk mail on the coffee table for the keys. There was no telling where Ashe had left them. “Are they in your fucking pockets, Ashe?” “No! Jeez, you guys have no confidence in me!” “Who the hell would?” James walked into the kitchen to look for them. Liam heard a noise from the bedroom and hoped it was just him. He stood nearby so that he could stop anyone from going in if they'd noticed. If the kid was awake, hopefully he could take a hint. “Yeah, a fucking raccoon messed up my place earlier,” he called. Ashe looked at him and laughed. “Man, that sucks. You cleaned up pretty good, though.” Liam shrugged. Just as James called out an, “I found them!”, there was a clatter from the bedroom. Ashe rose his eyebrows. “Dude, is it still here?” James stepped out of the kitchen and looked over. “Is what?” “Raccoon,” Ashe said. Liam sucked his teeth and shook his head. “No, it's gone- the place is like, really falling apart lately.” “You know what diseases those things carry?” James easily pushed passed Liam and went into the bedroom, his brother following not far after. Liam also went inside. “Guys, there's really nothing here,” he said, looking at the empty bed. What a little shit. Glancing around the room, he personally didn't see the child anywhere. Apparently, neither could the other guys. “I told you,” Liam spoke, “It's gone.” James looked skeptical, but Ashe was over the moon about his keys, which he'd apparently put in the blender for whatever reason. Liam grabbed both of their arms. “Come on, y'all should get going,” he said. Walking them both outside, Ashe turned to him once they were at the cars. He offered a smile to the writer before hugging him. “I'm not really that dumb, so I know what today is,” he said, patting his friend's back. Then he pat Liam's head. “If you need anything, you can come by the bar. James got some good liquor in earlier.” James nodded and reached out to pat Liam's shoulder. “On the house.” Liam put his hands in his pockets. “Well, if it's on the house...” he broke a smile that made Ashe cheer, but then he looked back at the house. “I've gotta get a move on with this book,” he said. James nodded. “Yep, come on, midget,” he grabbed his brother and pushed him in the direction of his car, to which the redhead scoffed, his face flushing. “I am not short, asshole,” he griped, although he was a few inches shorter than his brother and friend. James shrugged him off and got into his own car, and Liam waved to the two before heading back into the house. Inside, he went to the bedroom to look for the kid. “Hey, still here?” he asked. The kid popped his head out from under the bed. He always seemed to be looking into Liam's soul with his eyes. “Who were they?” the boy asked, laying his head against the floor, the rest of his body still hidden. Liam rose his eyebrows and breathed. “My friend Ashe and his brother James.” “Ash isn't a name.” “No, but when you put an “e” at the end, it changes things. Come on out of there.” Liam waved the kid out and he picked his head back up to crawl out. Once he was out, he sat against the bed on the floor. Liam walked over and knelt in front of him, the boy staring at him. “...You up for a drive?” he asked. The child gave a tiny shrug that made the over sized shirt fall off his shoulder. l.l Liam had given the boy a coat, because it was cold and wet outside. It made him look tiny, but it stayed on pretty good and kept him warm. Inside the truck, the kid sat criss-cross and watched out the windows. Liam was driving him to the cemetery. It was ten miles by driving. That means the kid walked at least two and a half miles to get to the house- if he was telling the truth. It all sounded too wild to be the truth, though. “You doing okay?” Liam asked the boy, glancing at him. He didn't have any shoes to fit the kid, so he was wearing socks that went up to his knees. The kid nodded, despite his socks being dirty from walking to the truck. Liam looked back to the road. ...There was just no plausible explanation. “Before,” the man said, “You said, “He's going to hurt someone”. Did someone kidnap you? Did you run away?” The child was silent for a minute before answering, “He's going to hurt him.” Liam looked at the child. “Who? I can't help if you don't tell me who this guy is. You don't want me telling the police, right?” The boy didn't respond. Before Liam could ask again, they arrived at the graveyard. Liam got out of the truck and walked around to help the kid out, picking him up and setting him on the ground. “Okay, walk me,” he said. The child started walking. He paused to pull up one of his socks that were trying to fall off, and then continued along the graves, looking at each and every one of them. He paused at one that Liam knew and looked as though he were reading the tombstone. David Taylor: Loving son, brother, father, and friend. With all love and kindness, you've gone. Liam pressed his lips together and looked away. He missed him. That's how it's supposed to be, though. The child buries the parent. David was glad when he was dying, because he still had a son to bury him. He'd said to Liam once, shaking his head and crying, “A parent is never supposed to bury their child”. Liam agreed. Those were true words. The boy reached out and touched the tombstone, keeping his hand on it for a moment, before letting his hand fall back to his side. He started walking again, looking at the stones like he hadn't even stopped. Liam followed him. Until the child stopped at a very specific grave. Noah Taylor: Beautiful son, brother, and friend. Taken too soon. It wasn't the child stopping at the grave that made Liam's heart stop and his gut turn. It was the hole in the ground, where something had crawled through. There was no plausible explanation. The child looked up at Liam with his haunting eyes. “Do you believe me now, Liam?” he asked.
  13. AmosLee1023

    Life Was Known

    Liam Taylor is finally at the stupor of his life. His deadline is approaching for his latest true crime work, his best friend is any and all liquor, and his real best friend is his supplier. He's still haunted by what could have been, and what should have been, after the event that tore his family apart. That all is, until a young boy comes into his midst: his dead twin brother, Noah. And a serial killer with a new potential victim.
  14. AmosLee1023

    Chapter Twenty: Finale

    That does sound interesting, I'll think about that!
  15. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 19: From Heaven

    Wow thank you!

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..