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    C James
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Changing Lanes - 43. Nemesis


Chapter 43: Nemesis


 



 

 

Jansen raced past the lobby, into the main pool area, and called out Eric’s name. Jansen kept running, only barely able to hear a distant reply, “Over here.” Smiling with relief, Jansen turned towards the sound of Eric’s voice.

Jansen raced up, and found Eric sitting in a lounge chair, cradling the tequila bottle. “I dropped it in the pool and all the tequila was gone before I got it out,” Eric said, in a slightly downcast voice.

Standing at the foot of Eric’s lounger, Jansen chuckled. “That’s alcohol abuse, dude. So, you feeling okay?”

Eric nodded, looking up at Jansen, who was backlit by the first tint of dawn in the eastern sky. With a smile, Eric said, “I’m better now you’re here.” There was one other thing about Jansen that Eric took note of; the dancer was between him and the pool. Perfect.

Eric leaped out of the lounger and raced towards Jansen, snaring him in his arms and sending them both hurling into the dark waters of the pool.

Jansen surfaced, only to be on the receiving end of Eric’s furious splash attack.

Relieved that Eric appeared to be just in a playful mood, Jansen ducked away, laughing. After taking a deep breath, he dove beneath the dark waters, circled back, and counterattacked with a water barrage of his own.

In the twilight of dawn, the two lovers laughed and played, their peril and concerns temporarily forgotten.

 

 

Entering the restaurant with his flashlight, finding it deserted, Keith heard the clatter of a pan coming from the kitchen. ‘Eric, gotta be,’ he thought, and darted through the metal swinging door. There, he found himself face to face with four men in the candlelit kitchen.

Looking up from the omelet he was preparing, The Scar stared at Keith for a moment, and decided that the teen posed no danger. “What brings you here, young man?” The Scar asked, as he flipped the omelet in the pan.

Keith stared for a moment at The Scar, seeing a one-armed, horrifically disfigured man. Then, he flicked the light a few feet to his right, where three large men stood at the ready, the omelets that they’d been eating temporarily forgotten.

Feeling ill at ease, and suddenly all too well aware that he was alone, outnumbered, and in a blacked-out building, Keith replied hesitantly as he began to back out the door, “I just smelled the cooking and I was hungry. I thought some of my friends might be in here, so I came in to look. Sorry to bother you.”

The mention of friends caught The Scar’s attention. Seeing a possible source of information, The Scar said in a friendly, jovial tone, “No problem at all, my good fellow. I would nary dream of sending you away unfed. We are all in this predicament together, after all. Please, join us. I’ll have this omelet ready in but a moment and I shall then be making more. Eat, and be merry, for on yonder dawn, we may have much to do.” The Scar concluded by pointing his spatula, with a theatric flourish, in the general direction of Cumbre Vieja.

A little taken aback by The Scar’s strange appearance and behavior, but tempted by the offer of hot food, Keith glanced nervously at the three henchmen, who had resumed eating and no longer seemed as threatening.

Deciding to remain close to the door, Keith replied, “Thanks, I’d love something to eat.”

Taking care to appear friendly, The Scar slid the omelet – one he’d intended for himself – onto a plate, and then added a fork before easing the plate across the counter, towards Keith. “One omelette au fromage, and if you would like another, just let me know,” The Scar said, gesturing to the cartons of liquid eggs.

Keith stepped forward to take the plate, and then stepped back to stand by the door, and took a bite of the cheese omelet. “This is really good, thank you,” Keith mumbled between bites.

“No problem at all, my boy. So, you mentioned some friends. Are you all trapped here, as are we?” The Scar asked.

Keith nodded as he attacked the omelet, “Yeah, but we hope to get out in the morning.”

The clatter of a falling fork rattling on a plate caused everyone to look at one of the three henchmen. Lowering his eyes, the henchman picked up the fork and resumed eating, cursing himself for his clumsiness. He had seen Keith with Brandon in the parking lot, and Keith’s words had jogged his memory. Recognizing Keith, and fearful that his employer might somehow discern that he’d failed to report seeing Brandon, the henchman had fumbled and dropped his fork.

Ignoring the interruption and wondering just who might be amongst his guest’s friends, The Scar proceeded carefully, continuing to cook and making some small talk about the volcano until Keith was halfway through his second omelet. Then The Scar asked, “Even the famous are sharing our peril. Are you with Instinct’s party? I’ve heard that they are here.”

There was just something about The Scar’s sudden change of subject and overly casual way of asking a very direct question that made Keith uneasy. Not knowing what else to say, and wondering if The Scar might have seen Eric, Keith shrugged and replied, “I hadn’t heard that. I like their music… any idea where they are? I’d love to meet them.”

The Scar was not overly disappointed. He suspected that Instinct had already gone, and he had pinned his hopes of finding the two remaining bombs on the receipt Yuri had found. He would have liked confirmation, sweetened by a little revenge, but to him it was no longer the vital issue it had once been. The bombs were the foremost of his goals. “We must be leaving here soon, so please excuse us,” The Scar said in an icy tone, regretting that he had wasted his time and wishing to be rid of the intruder.

Keith mumbled, “Good luck, and thanks for breakfast,” as he backed out through the door. Keith was already exiting the restaurant, well out of earshot, when The Scar’s satellite phone rang.

 

 

Resuming his route, Keith jogged back towards his suite. Just before reaching it, he caught the sound of laughter in the tropical air. Turning, Keith raced towards it, emerging into the main pool area to find Eric and Jansen engaged in a riotous water fight.

Keith watched from the shadows for a moment, as Eric climbed out of the pool and tossed in a few lounge chairs, before cannonballing back next to Jansen.

Wondering if they were both crazy, Keith jogged to the edge of the pool deck. When Jansen looked up at him, Keith asked, “Is he okay?”

“‘He’ is right here, Keith,” Eric said in a slightly irritated voice, while treading water near the center of the pool.

Jansen swam over to Keith and replied, “He’s fine, just having fun. The tequila is gone and we were just having a water fight.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” Keith replied, not in the best of moods thanks to being slightly shaken by his strange encounter in the kitchen. “I think we better round up Eric and head back to our suite; there are some spooky people around.”

Recalling his own sighting of The Scar and his henchmen, and glancing around the darkened expanse of pools, Jansen nodded. “Good idea.”

“Killjoys,” Eric hollered, hauling himself out of the pool on the far side, the tequila leaving him in no mood to be rounded up. Grinning wickedly, suspecting the response he’d get, Eric called out, “I’ll bet there’s more tequila in the shop.” Laughing, Eric took off at a run, heading in the general direction of the lobby.

“Oh, shit,” Keith muttered, “We gotta catch him!”

Eric rounded the corner of the lobby building, racing past the doors. With a wild whoop, he kept going, the rush of exertion making the tequila burn in his veins.

 

 

As the first hues of dawn began to color the slopes of Cumbre Vieja, Yuri checked the map, which confirmed that he was less than a mile from the turnoff for Las Indias. He phoned The Scar, at last able to tell him that he expected to be at the resort within the hour.

After relaying the news to his henchmen to calm them, The Scar told Yuri, loud enough for his henchmen to hear, “Time is of the essence, so we will start walking now and meet you on the road above the resort.” To his henchmen, The Scar said, “Let’s go,” and led them out of the kitchen and into the twilight of the coming dawn.

The main reason The Scar had decided to walk was to keep the men calm. He knew he’d need them if the search of the storage unit proved fruitful. As they crossed the parking lot, he began to formulate a plan. Hearing a voice behind him, the Scar glanced back, stopping in his tracks when he saw Eric’s familiar face.

Eric raced into the parking lot, laughing as he looked over his shoulder, searching for any sign of Jansen and Keith. Mischief in his eyes, Eric looked around, picking a way to circle back into the resort and sneak up on Jansen and Keith, intending to push them into a pool for a water fight.

As he began to jog forward, Eric’s eyes fell upon a badly disfigured man, who was looking back at him from fifty feet away. Eric couldn’t see him clearly in the dawn’s twilight, but his euphoric mood changed in a heartbeat as he felt a sudden, overwhelming sensation of hate, an unbridled loathing that he’d only ever felt for one person. By virtue of his inner sense, in that moment, he knew. Reacting rather than thinking, clenching his hands and staring at the despised figure, Eric stopped in his tracks and hissed, “Jerry!”

“The annoying one,” The Scar muttered, and then yelled to his men, who were edging further away up the hill, “Get him!”

The henchmen hesitated. To their minds, the road to rescue and safety led uphill. Their every instinct cried out to keep going. Only the knowledge that The Scar controlled their means of escape spurred them into reluctant action. Drawing their guns, they raced past The Scar, following his extended arm towards Eric.

Even on tequila, Eric could perceive the danger posed by the oncoming gunmen. Turning, Eric launched into an all-out sprint, racing back into the resort’s grounds. The Scar’s three henchmen, fifty feet behind Eric, struggled in vain to keep up. As Eric neared the corner of a building, one tried to take aim.

Racing through the warm dawn air on the wings of adrenalin, tequila, and fear, Eric tore around the corner of a building, opening the gap between himself and his burly pursuers with every step.

The henchmen caught sight of Eric as they rounder the corner, and followed him as he raced seaward. One fell behind, stumbling as he tried to aim his gun, but held his fire; Eric was too far ahead for a pistol shot.

Sweating hard, Eric bolted down a dogleg path between two groups of suites, angling to his right, and then taking a hard right up another path. The pursuing henchmen were too far behind to see where Eric had gone, and continued running towards the main pools and the sea cliff beyond.

Reaching the main pool area, looking around its huge open expanse, they found no sign of Eric. Feeling suddenly very conspicuous, they returned their guns to their pockets and after a short discussion, based largely on their fear of their employer and Yuri, they decided to search for a few minutes and then return to the parking lot.

As the south end of the resort, Jansen and Keith, desperately trying to find Eric – who had evaded them after a chase near the lobby – turned back, taking a different route through the sprawling grounds, angling inland, towards the parking lot.

Eric, satisfied that he’d ditched his armed pursuers, slowed to a jog, the tequila burning in his veins. After a few moments, a wicked grin spread across Eric’s face and he sprinted towards the parking lot. Tearing out of a pathway and onto the asphalt, Eric whooped as he saw The Scar standing forty feet away. Swerving a little crookedly toward The Scar, Eric ran flat-out towards his quarry.

The Scar’s eyes opened wide, first in recognition, and then upon perceiving the fact that Eric was running towards him. Savoring the moment, The Scar slipped his hand into his jacket and drew his pistol. He’d have preferred to take Eric alive so as to ask a few questions before killing him, but The Scar was not about to quibble with what fate had given him.

Eric saw the gun coming up, feeling the burn of the tequila joined by a furious rage. He dropped his shoulder and continued his wild charge, shrieking like a berserker on the warpath.

Surprised by Eric’s unexpected response, The Scar hesitated for a moment too long as he took aim. Just as he was pulling the trigger, Eric’s shoulder slammed into the gun, jarring it from The Scar’s grasp and sending it skittering into a bush a few feet away. A split second later, Eric’s shoulder slammed into The Scar’s side, delivering a glancing blow, causing The Scar to stumble sideways.

Eric, unbalanced by the collision, stumbled for a few paces, lurching to an unsteady halt, and then turning to face his nemesis. “You filthy piece of murdering shit, you’re mine,” Eric snarled, as he advanced on his startled prey, lashing out with a furious right cross at The Scar’s face, and connecting.

The Scar stumbled backwards, stunned by the blow, rage mixing with astonishment as he caught a whiff of the acrid scent of tequila. That bit of information confirmed The Scar’s fears; he’d seen Eric on that particular liquor before, and The Scar began to realize that Eric might have no intention of stopping. Trusting in his self-believed skill at persuasion, The Scar held up his hand, intending to make Eric pause and gain a chance to speak.

Seeing a golden opening, Eric rushed forward and raised his leg, slamming a kick squarely into The Scar’s family jewels.

Blinded by the searing pain, The Scar collapsed onto the pavement. Eric leaped on top of him, raining down blow after blow on The Scar’s cowering form. Swatting The Scar’s arm away, exposing his head, Eric hauled back, ready to swing, aiming a devastating blow at The Scar’s ruined face. Just as he launched the swing, Eric felt something hook his arm, snatching him sideways, pulling him off The Scar.

Coming to a rest in a tangle or arms and legs, Eric struggled against his attacker, but felt a new set of arms pinning his own to his sides.

“What the fuck are you doing… have you lost your mind?” Keith gasped, as he and Jansen struggled to restrain Eric.

Eric kicked and squirmed, trying in vain to get free. “Let me go, we gotta get him, he’ll kill everybody!” Eric yelled.

Wracked by agony, The Scar was still able to perceive what had happened. Gasping for breath, he managed to sputter, “Thank you for saving me. He just went insane and attacked me with no warning. I’ve never met him before.”

“Sir, I…” Jansen paused, his eyes opening wide as he recognized The Scar as the man he’d seen with the three big, menacing men.

The Scar, after two attempts, managed to stumble to his feet. Wiping the blood from his lip, still stooped over in agony, he glanced around. Seeing no sign of his henchmen or his gun, The Scar found himself in a dilemma. He could stall the teens in the hopes that his henchmen would appear, but that risked Eric convincing them to apprehend him. Deciding that the prudent course was to deny and retreat, he said, “Today is this boy’s lucky day. I shall attribute this to rage brought on by panic over our circumstances, and I shall refrain from pressing charges. Take him away from me before I change my mind.”

Jansen and Keith knew that the police were not an immediate concern. Glancing about, fearful that they’d see The Scar’s henchmen coming at any second, they each grabbed Eric by an arm and began pulling him away. “Thanks,” Jansen said.

“The volcano imperils us all. I will be on my way. I don’t suppose that you have transportation yet?” The Scar asked, his speech a little slurred due to a split and swelling lip.

“We’re all stuck here. We’ve got somebody coming to get us, but they won’t be here for a few hours,” Keith replied, struggling as he pulled Eric further away.

“Let me fucking go, that’s Jerry Clump, we gotta get him,” Eric yelled, slurring his words just a little.

“My, he is delusional, isn’t he?” The Scar asked in a haughty tone. “He said I was Adolph Hitler when he attacked, and now I’m Jerry Clump. I suppose I’ll be Josef Stalin or Mao Zedong next. Is he on drugs?”

“Tequila. Near enough the same difference, for him. Sends him out of his head. Sorry sir, and thanks again for breakfast,” Keith said, as he fought against another of Eric’s desperate lurches. Seeing an opportunity and perceiving the need, Keith maneuvered a hand over Eric’s mouth and told Jansen, “Come on, faster!”

As they dragged Eric around the corner of the nearest building, heading for the Pavilion, Keith snatched his hand away from Eric’s mouth and cried out in pain, “He fucking bit me!”

“Eric, please stop fighting us. I know I did this to you, but please, think what you almost did to that man,” Jansen said, still looking around, fearing that at any moment they’d encounter The Scar’s henchmen, intent on revenging the beating of their friend. “He isn’t here alone; he’s got three big, tough-looking guys with him.” Fearing for Eric’s safety and that of himself and Keith, Jansen redoubled his efforts, dragging Eric backwards as fast as he could.

Shaking his wounded hand, Keith cringed as Eric yelled, “We’ve gotta get him! Let me fucking go…”

 

 

In the parking lot, still looking for his gun, The Scar heard footsteps and glanced up to see his henchmen approaching at a run. Pointing at one of them, he said, “Stay with me.” Turning to the other two, he pointed in the direction Eric had been dragged, “Go after them!”

As the two henchmen turned to give chase, they hesitated, not knowing who or what they were supposed to go after, and much preferring to begin their trip upslope to hoped-for safety.

Fighting back the rage and pain, The Scar remembered that they were armed and he was not. Seeing that his hold on them was slipping, he said, “Wait. You’re too late. It is more important that we leave this place. Help me up the road.” The henchmen were only too happy to oblige.

 

 

Helen looked up as she heard a commotion at the pavilion door. Jon opened it, and Helen saw a squirming mass of arms and legs as Jansen and Keith dragged a kicking and yelling Eric in. Immediately suspecting the proximate cause, Helen yelled, “Oh for the love of God, not again, not now. Tie him up, away from me. Eric on tequila is the last thing I need right now.” Jansen and Keith dragged Eric over to a roof support and Keith pinned him against it. Brandon rushed forward to help, and Helen said, “Somebody find some rope, duct tape, or anything we can use.”

“Fucking stop, it was Jerry! He’s here,” Eric yelled, still fighting.

“Find a gag, too,” Helen said, and then asked, “What was Eric doing?”

“Beating up a guy in the parking lot, but I don’t think he hurt him too bad,” Keith replied.

“Don’t blame him, I did it. He didn’t know it was tequila,” Jansen said in a plaintive voice, trying to defend Eric.

“You idiot. Don’t you see what you’ve done?” Helen yelled in exasperation, and then asked, “Are you sure the man is okay?”

“That’s Jerry Clump, let me go!” Eric shouted, trying and failing to kick Keith’s feet out from under him.

General Bradson, who had been watching in puzzled concern, stood up when he heard the name. Jogging over to Eric, the General said, “Jerry Clump? Are you sure?”

Helen stomped her foot. “Don’t believe him. You’ve never seen him on tequila. He goes insane and you cannot believe anything he says. He’s out of his head.”

General Bradson, his blood beginning to run cold as certain things began to make a chilling sense, looked Eric in the eyes and said, “Describe him.”

Calming slightly, Eric stopped squirming and said in an angry voice, “One arm. Face like melted wax, kinda twisted too. No hair. No ears, just nubs. He had a gun.”

General Bradson nodded. “That’s what he looks like now, and I don’t see how Eric could know that, unless­–”

“The three guys who chased me had guns too,” Eric said, in a calmer tone. “I lost ‘em, then I went after Jerry. It’s him. I know it’s him, I felt it.”

Chase, who had been listening from a few feet away, joined in to say, “When Eric is that sure, I’d believe him.”

“Me, too,” Jon said.

Remembering the men in the restaurant, Keith said, “I saw him earlier, too. He made me some omelets in the kitchen and asked about Instinct, wanted to know where they were. I said I didn’t know. He’s got some guys with him, big mean-looking dudes, dressed pretty much the same; they didn’t talk at all. The one-armed guy… he talked funny. Kinda gravely sounding, but like… formal, melodramatic.”

“Definitely him,” the General said. “The description fits perfectly. I met with him many times in the Cape Verde Islands and in Somalia.”

“That’s what I’ve fucking been trying to tell you, Jerry’s here. Now let me go,” Eric growled.

Do not let him go,” Helen shouted. After pacing for a moment, she said in a quieter tone, “I’ll accept that Jerry is here, but don’t let Eric loose; he’s had tequila. Now, we’ve got armed men outside somewhere; that’s our most immediate problem.”

“Oh shit,” Jon said, snatching up the AK-47 from the table.

Still pinned by Brandon, Jansen, and Keith, Eric said, “I saw three goons, plus Jerry.”

“So four, maybe more,” Jon said, his eyes narrowing. A tense silence followed.

Helen picked up the RPG and said, “We have the RPG and the AK. Did any of you see anything other than pistols?” Eric’s shaking head was all the answer she needed, and she snapped off the RPG’s safety.

Jon said, “We’ve got one round for the RPG, and one clip for the AK-47.”

“They’re looking for us,” Eric said. After thinking for a moment, spurred by growing anger, he added, “Maybe we’re going about this wrong. They don’t know we’re armed.”

Jon smiled coldly. “Ambush? I was thinking the same thing.”

General Bradson walked over to Jon and took possession of the AK-47. “Whoa, hold on there. If there’s any ambushing to be done, I should be the one to do it. I have a little more experience at it, and we can’t rush into this. We have no idea whether or not the opposition is limited to handguns, or how many there actually are. He had at least thirty men at his disposal in Sudan, and if he airdropped in here, he could have a lot of weapons and troops. First thing we need to do is reconnoiter…” the General’s voice trailed off, as his eyes defocused for a moment, his brain clicking into overdrive. A few moments later, he pulled out his satellite phone and called Felecia. “Fel, get a recon screen out, stat. I’ll explain in a minute, but do it immediately: we’ve got company and so might you. Your former boss is here, with troops.”

Felecia didn’t hesitate, she raced from room to room, sending out five two-man teams, while telling the rest to arm up and prepare for an attack. Once that was done, she returned her attention to the phone and said, “He’s on the island, you’re certain?”

“Here at the resort. Eric just had a run-in with him and described him perfectly, so did the other guys who met him. There just aren’t a lot of one-armed melodramatic Frankensteins running around with armed goons. It’s him, Fel. He found out where we went and followed. We had one spy on board, so maybe there were more. If so, you have one in your midst. Or, it could be a tracking device, a local informant, anything. How he found us doesn’t matter now. The problem is; he’s here. I’m guessing that he airdropped in, using Flight Two and at least some of his Sudan base force. He had at least three men with him here. If they came by air, they could have dropped troops on your side of the island, too.”

“What’s your tactical situation, Walter?” Felecia asked.

The General gave a fast rundown. “Twenty-two people, holed up in the pavilion. One AK with one clip, one RPG, plus my pistol. Frankenstein’s men were seen with pistols, as was he. The size of his force is unknown as is their current location and intent. We do not know if he is aware of our current position or capabilities, but are assuming the worst. We may try an ambush if the opportunity can be created. I’m heading up onto the roof. Good luck and I’ll see you soon, Fel. Let me know what your recon finds.”

Felecia, given a moment to think, had one other question. “Walter... we’re missing three people and a bomb. That strikes me as kind of overly coincidental now that we know Frankenstein is here.”

General Bradson couldn’t reply directly, due to being within earshot of wedding-party members who knew nothing about the bombs. “Affirmative on that, Fel, but nothing we can do right now, even if it is. Gook luck and good hunting.”

Once the call was over, Eric said, “Guys, I’m fine. Now would you please get the hell off me?”

“Wait,” Helen snapped, walking towards Eric. Stooping down, she looked him in the eyes and asked, “How long since you had any tequila?”

Eric shrugged. “A few hours, I guess. I’m okay, really. I swear I’ll behave. We’ve got Jerry and his goons to worry about.” Eric knew he’d just exaggerated regarding the time, but he had no desire to be tied up with The Scar around.

Helen nodded at Jansen, Keith, and Brandon. “Okay, let him go, but keep an eye on him.”

Eric remained sitting as the three guys let go. Glaring at Jansen and Keith, he said, “Way to go, guys. You got me, but you let Jerry get away. But, hell, I’d had a drink of tequila and he only fried half an Australian state and tried to do the same to New York and L.A., so I guess I was the bigger threat, huh?”

Jansen and Keith slumped down, sitting on the floor to face Eric. His eyes lowered, Jansen said, “We didn’t know. I’m sorry, Eric. I should have trusted you. I just saw you wailing on that guy and thought you’d flipped.”

Seeing the hurt in Jansen’s face and feeling a tug at his heartstrings, Eric said in a soft voice, “Yeah, I heard what you said to Keith; you were trying to save me from Jerry’s goons. Thanks.”

Jansen reached out to grasp Eric’s hand. “I’m just glad you didn’t get shot. Going after that guy, when he was armed… You’re either insanely brave… or just insane.”

Eric shrugged. “Okay, I’ll cop to the latter. Tequila does make me a little gonzo. Thanks for looking out for me,” Eric said, and then turned to Keith to add, “Sorry I bit you.”

Sending a pointed glance in the direction of his brother’s neck, Keith replied with a chuckle, “Looks like I wasn’t the only one who got bit, but I think he enjoyed it more.” A shared laugh went a long way towards healing any remaining issues between Eric, Jansen, and Keith.





 

© 2009 C James

Please let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.

Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"

 



 



Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.

Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.

A big "thank you" to to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice , and to Captain Rick and Talonrider for Beta reading and advice .
Any remaining errors are mine alone.


Copyright © 2009 C James; All Rights Reserved.
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So I am sitting in my living room swearing at the top of my lungs about Eric's stupidity not to mention Janson's. My nephew and foster son come running downstairs to see if someone is here or I am ok. It appears you are doing a great job. Or maybe I should take a,break. Nah. Thanks for your work. By the way when did u write these two books?

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Omg, I gnawed off my fingers (b/c last night I chewed all my nails), reading this chapter. Holy hell. lol

 

My heart was in my stomach the whole time Eric was running and Keith was eating breakfast with Frankenstein/Jerry/The Scar. Omg...thank God the boys got away, but wow!! Way to go Eric!!!!! Wish he could have beaten him more! :)

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