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Adermoor Cove Part 1: The Rainbow Beret - 4. Chapter 4

Brendan tossed and turned throughout the night. It was unusual, not being able to sleep. He went to bed at the same time every night and got up at the same time every morning - but he couldn’t stop thinking about Lane. The more he replayed last night's events in his head the more he began to think there was something with Lane he’d missed.

Ignoring the voice that told him to leave well enough alone, Brendan got in his truck and drove to The Rainbow Beret. He peeked inside and saw Lane was not at the bar; his Mustang was still parked in front of the Mountaintop Inn, which could only mean Lane was in his room. Brendan crossed the parking lot and knocked on the door harder than he meant to.

Lane opened the door and leaned against the doorframe. Brendan inhaled the smell of marijuana.

Lane looked high as hell. Except for a pair of boxers he was completely naked. His eyeliner was streaked, as if he’d been crying a lot.

“I told you to stay away from me,” Lane said wearily.

“Not until you tell me what I did wrong. I thought we were having a great night. Are you just not interested in me?”

Lane’s face softened. “It’s not that, okay? I know that’s what it looks like but it’s not.”

“So what is it, then? I think I deserve an explanation.” And then Brendan saw the duffel bag and suitcase sitting on the bed open. “Are you leaving?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Where are you going?”

“Maine.”

“What, why?”

Lane took Brendan’s hand and gently pulled him into the room. He closed the door and sat on the edge of the bed. “I wasn’t trying to lead you on last night or be cruel. I’d love to spend more time with you, get to know you better. But that’s impossible.”

“Why?” Brendan asked. “Are you on the run?”

“Yes.”

Brendan sat down next to Lane so their hips were touching. “From who?”

“Not from who. What.

What? What the hell is that supposed to mean. Brendan thought back to what Pamela had said about Lane being trouble. Is this what she meant?

Lane was staring off into space, his jaw clenched, his hands bunched into fists. His whole body had become rigid. The expression on his face was a mixture of pain, anger, terror, confusion, and guilt all infused together. “I don’t know what it is or who it comes from,” he said in a voice barely louder than a whisper. “I know it wants to kill me but I don't know why. It infects people like a parasite, and possesses them. I know it’s coming for me again, I can feel it. So I’ve been on the run, from city to city, hotel to hotel, job to job, trying to outrun it. But somehow I know it’s out there, looking for me, and I can sense when it’s getting close. It's like this overwhelming sense of dread. And I can feel it now.”

Lane looked at Brendan. “I don't expect you to believe. If you think I’m crazy then I don't blame you - I want you to think I'm crazy. Then I want you to stay away from me. Because this thing tends to take the ones I love and use them against me.”

Crazy, Brendan thought. He’s fucking crazy. “I need to go,” he said.

Lane’s eyes gleamed with tears. “Yes, I think that would be the smart thing to do.”

 

                                             …

 

Brendan’s father, like Brendan, had been a big man with big fists and a bad temper. What he’d told Lane about his father being abusive had been true. Those fists had been like hammers and they would knock Brendan about with a blind, drunken fury.

He dreamed those fists were knocking his head about -

“I’m not going to have a fagget for a son!”

-and each time they connected with his skull the world trembled.

Darkness.

He was awake, lying in his bed, the blanket drenched in his sweat. He didn't move, expecting to feel Jacob McCoy’s fist to “knock the fairy” out of him but nothing happened.

Still, something was wrong. The flesh along his forehead prickled. He had the distinct feeling someone was watching him.

Brendan slowly got out of bed. His eyes were adjusted enough he could make out the familiar objects of his bedroom: the dresser, the lamp, and the closet door. He got down on his knees and reached under the bed. His fingers crawled across the carpeted floor until they found the handle of the baseball bat.

He turned on the lamp, crept into the hallway, and flicked on the light in there. He gripped the baseball bat in both hands. The house was still. Quiet. Nothing seemed out of place and yet the feeling he was in danger hadn’t gone away.

He turned into the bathroom on his right, flicked on the light. No maniac brandishing a knife leapt out at him. He pulled the shower curtain back. Nothing.

He tiptoed into the living room. He flicked on the lights and let out a shout.

Almost completely covering the wall across from Brendan was a dark stain. Dark fluid dripped from it, falling onto the floor; whatever the fluid was it had stained the carpet as well.

That's not mold. Both his mother and father had been Catholics. He’d gone to church to appease his father but hadn’t stepped into a church since he’d gone out on his own. But he knew what his eyes were showing him and what he was seeing wasn’t natural. Tightening his fingers around the handle of the aluminum baseball bat, Brendan approached the stain. He felt as if his mind was detached from his body. His body ignored his mind, which was screaming shrilly to run, to get the fuck out of the house. Instead he lifted the baseball bat up and pressed the flat end of it against the rotted plaster.

He barely had to press before bits of the wall came loose. They fell to the floor; more of the black fluid oozed from the small hole he’d just made. He sniffed at the smell of rot. The wall wasn't like this before I went to bed. What the hell happened? What the hell is it?

When he pulled the bat loose there was a nasty squelching sound. The ooze clung to the end of the bat like half-dried mud. Then something crawled out of the hole: a bug the size of a cockroach. Only instinct told him it wasn’t a cockroach or anything from this world. It looked more like an arachnid with eight legs and pinchers - so far that was all Brendan could make out, all he wanted to discern.

More of them were coming out of the hole, scuttling down the wall at great speed; rivulets of the fluid was bleeding from the wall. Repulsed, and afraid for his life, Brendan began to step backwards, heading back towards the hallway. Like an army of ants, they crawled across the floor towards Brendan. Somehow he knew they meant to do him harm; it was him they wanted.

There were hundreds of them now, on the ceiling and walls, on the floor. Brendan’s paralysis broke and he threw the bat at the creatures and ran for the garage.

Throwing open the open, Brendan punched the switch to his right. As he got in the truck and started it (he kept the keys tucked in the sun visor) the garage door slid open with a mechanical cranking sound. He backed out of the driveaway and watched the single bedroom house he’d bought shrink into the night through the rearview mirror. He was heading towards downtown Denver with no real idea where he wanted to go only so long as it was away from the house.

Then he remembered Lane.

Was this what he had spoken of?

Unable to breathe, Brendan pulled into the parking lot of a gas station and fought to catch his breath. He rolled down the window and inhaled the cool night air.

Ten minutes passed before he was able to think properly. Lane’s words kept passing through his mind.

I told him he was crazy. I abandoned him. I have to warn him.


 

Copyright © 2019 ValentineDavis21; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Marty

Posted (edited)

Well, I certainly didn't see that coming! :o 

I'm just wondering how much of the last month Brendan has to live is now left for him to try to help Lane. Assuming he can actually help him... :unsure2:

(Oh! And I've only just noticed the zombie tag in the story description. I don't normally bother reading zombie stories, so I'm actually glad I didn't spot it earlier, as I'm actually enjoying this story.)

As an aside: I was glad to see you starting to use italics for people's thoughts in this chapter, @ValentineDavis21. They certainly make things easier to follow. :thumbup:

Edited by Marty
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I always have formatting issues with the whole copy and paste thing. I will try to be more contientious of that in the future.

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