Through Brian's EyesPernell Rogers / Horror / Thrillers & Crime
Through Brian’s Eyes
Copyright © 2017 by Anthony Pernell Rogers
Through Brian’s Eyes
Kyle Stapley’s body seized upon hearing the high-pitched squealing sounds behind him. He stopped pedaling and released his handlebars. He’d heard those sounds before while playing video games like Grand Theft Auto and the like, but right now he wasn’t playing any game. This time it was real, much louder, and a lot scarier. His bicycle began to wobble. Either he got control of his handlebars or he’d be planted into the sidewalk. He steadied his bike and squeezed his hand brakes, forcing his rear tire to skid.
Loud crunching noises, followed by more squealing tires sent shockwaves through his body. Instinctively, he ducked his head just in case something was flying in his direction. He lifted his head and twisted around to see what the hell was happening behind him. The first thing he saw was his riding companion, Vance Gidwell, coasting toward him with his head turned backward, but it was the scene behind Vance that unnerved him.
A new burgundy SUV had collided with an older white sedan. The force of the accident sent the sedan to the other side of Catherine Avenue while the SUV sat cockeyed on his side of the street, just outside the creepy Southern Pines Cemetery. Steam billowed from underneath the SUV’s hood. As Kyle gawked at the crazy scene, he realized something, and asked,
“Vance, do you see Adam anywhere?”
Vance turned to Kyle and said, “Wow, that’s a bad accident. What did you say?”
“Do you see Adam?”
Vance turned back and scanned the gathering crowd. “No, I don’t see him anywhere.”
Kyle flipped his bike around and pedaled back toward the accident, and Vance followed close behind. Kyle was sure Adam had stopped to see what was going on. Adam Trenton always had a morbid sense of curiosity, and both Kyle and Vance found it to be an unusual quirk in Adam’s good-natured personality. The trio were best friends for many years.
Kyle found it somewhat odd that the accident took place outside the cemetery. Growing up, Kyle, Vance, and Adam often conjured up spooky tales about the well-kept, tree-lined cemetery. None of them confessed to it, but the fact was a few of those stories affected them much deeper than they cared for, and it made them apprehensive whenever they passed by it. To make matters worse, the only way they could get to and from school was to pass by the large burial ground. Although the cemetery layout was quite neat, it always seemed too quiet and desolate. Kyle couldn’t remember the last time he saw birds landing in the mature crowns of the trees, or even feeding off the bugs on the ground, and it seemed like feral cats and stray dogs often shied away from it like the plague.
For a town the size of Southern Pines, Kansas, death was a rarity so there was never much business in the old cemetery. The black wrought-iron fence surrounding the real estate stood about three feet high, and Kyle felt it was much too short to keep the dead inside. Behind the fence stood sparse, low-lying, leafy bushes, about the same height as the fence. They concealed some of the gravestones and tombstones around the ground’s perimeter, but they did a half-ass job of it. If someone really wanted to read them, all they had to do was lean inward or hop over the fence.
Today was Saturday, and all the boys wanted to do was ride their bikes up to their high school to chill out, take it easy, and talk about things teenage boys talk about, but now their plans had abruptly changed. Both boys approached the back of the SUV, but there was still no sign of Adam. Kyle remembered Adam bringing up the rear, but he couldn’t have been that far behind. Kyle’s eyes swept the surrounding area, then he noticed something beneath the SUV.
“Vance, look! Isn't that Adam’s bicycle wheel?”
Vance peered downward and said, “I think so. Where is he?”
“I dunno. I still can’t find him. I hope he wasn’t involved in this accident!”
They set their bikes down and began milling through the crowd in search of their friend. Kyle told Vance to check around the outside of the crowd while he made his way deeper into the group. He found it difficult to maneuver since the other adults wanted to get a clearer view of what happened. Through the chatter, Kyle heard Vance calling,
“Kyle! Kyle! Over here! I found Adam! Help! Somebody help!” His voice cracked with emotion.
Kyle pushed his way towards the rear of the crowd until he reached the cemetery’s fence. Vance was standing on the other side of the fence peering down at something. Kyle was well aware of Vance’s fear of cemeteries. It started when he was eight-years-old when Vance watched the movie Pet Sematary without his parent’s permission. That movie instilled a deep-seated fear of cemeteries within his psyche which he never outgrew. Something extraordinary had to be on the other side of that fence for Vance to jump over it voluntarily.
Kyle bounded over the fence and landed next to Vance, and that’s when Kyle noticed Adam’s sneakers on the ground. He stepped around Vance’s frozen body and realized why he was acting so strangely. There was Adam, laying on his side, beneath a blood-spattered tombstone. A few bystanders near the fence turned to see what the boys were staring at.
Venturing closer to his injured friend was out of the question for Kyle. The sixteen-year-old had never seen anyone hurt so badly, outside of television or the movies, and he was scared. Kyle turned to the adults standing just outside the fence, and noticed them all gawking at the sight. Why isn't someone calling for help? He wished his parents would have bought him a cellphone, but he was aware how old-fashioned they were, and the same went for Adam's and Vance's parents. The self-absorbed adults with cellphones were taking pictures or videos. Kyle felt his temper rising and prayed that someone with any sense of decency would call for help. Seconds later, much to his relief, he picked up the sound of a siren growing louder. It abruptly stopped nearby. Then he heard a second siren approaching rapidly, followed by a third.
Kyle knew that officers were nearby, but the crowd blocked his view. He hopped back over the fence and spotted an officer directing traffic. He sprinted toward him.
“Hey! Excuse me sir! Excuse me, but my friend was hit by that SUV, and he was knocked into the cemetery. I think his head hit a tombstone and he’s bleeding a lot. Can you help him?” The officer followed Kyle around the SUV and over the fence into the cemetery to offer his assistance.
Kyle asked Vance if Adam moved at all, but Vance never answered. He glanced over at his friend and was met by another unexpected shock…Vance was near tears. Kyle knew Vance very well. He was a shy person who tried to stay out of the spotlight if he could. A highly intellectual kid who preferred playing video games at home rather than going outside. However, Kyle and Adam had a way of coaxing him to join them. Tears began falling freely, rolling down his cheeks and caressing his face. Then Vance suddenly bolted. He hopped back over the fence, ran back to his bike, and rode away without saying anything to Kyle.
Stunned, Kyle stood there speechless as he watched Vance abandoned him, however Kyle wasn’t mad. He knew Vance was scared. Nevertheless, he was bothered by the way Vance could leave a friend like Adam in that condition.
It didn’t take long before the gathering crowd began bugging Kyle. He scanned their faces and gave the camera-yielding folks something unexpected; he extended his middle fingers. He could care less what they thought. They were objectifying his friend, and he was pissed off. As they persisted, he released his temper and shouted,
“Why don’t you help my friend instead of taking pictures of him? You’re all worthless. I wished you’d just get out of here and go home.”
The officer paused his examination of Adam, looked up, and said,
“You heard the young man. Everyone not here to help should leave. You’re contaminating this scene.”
The crowd’s chatter increased as it began to break up. Just then, multiple ambulances arrived, and Kyle watched the paramedics scramble then disappear from his view. He held his breath. Were they coming over to help Adam? Right after that thought shot through his head, a couple of them crossed over the fence and began their evaluation. The officer leaned in and whispered something to the paramedics. Kyle didn’t hear anything but whatever the officer said reflected on the paramedic’s faces, and it didn’t look good. Then the officer stood up and stepped back to give them plenty of room to work.
They were very careful while examining Adam, with one of them focusing on his head, moving it carefully to evaluate the extent of the injury, while the other was using his stethoscope, moving it around Adam’s chest as if searching for a heartbeat. They shared a worried glance, then one of them quickly rummaged through their medical case bringing out something that resembled a mini defibrillator. Immediately Kyle sensed something was very wrong. Moving swiftly, they carefully turned Adam onto his back, braced his head, and tore open his shirt. They applied a clear substance to the paddles and rubbed them together then placed the paddles on Adam’s chest.
“Clear!” shouted one paramedic.
Adam’s limp body arched skyward then lowered with a thud. A paramedic checked for a pulse. Seconds passed, which felt like hours to Kyle, and then they setup for a second time.
Kyle could almost feel the electric shock coursing through his own muscles. Adam’s body jumped once again. Kyle squeezed his eyes shut until he heard Adam’s body slam back onto the ground. A paramedic lifted Adam’s wrist and held onto it, feeling for signs of a pulse. Kyle felt a tugging on his heart as tears began welling in his eyes.
“I’ve got a pulse,” the paramedic called out.
As they stowed the equipment in their case, Adam’s body jumped up violently. Everyone jerked away including Kyle. Adam’s body remained arched in an unnatural position, and had to be forced back down by one of the stunned paramedics.
“What was that?” one of the paramedics asked.
“Whoa, I don’t know. He was really stiff and it was really hard pushing him back down. It’s almost like he was suddenly struck with rigor mortis. Check for his pulse again.”
Another check confirmed that Adam was still alive. Kyle was still in shock, surprised by Adam’s sudden reaction. Maybe it was something really bad, but he didn’t know for sure, but one thing was positive…he’d never seen anything like that before. One of the paramedics jogged back to the ambulance while the other stayed with Adam, and shortly the paramedic returned hauling an orange fiberglass board. He placed the board close to Adam’s body, then the two men slowly rolled Adam to one side and slid the board beneath him, moving his body as little as possible. They strapped him down, gently cradling his head between two orange immobilizing blocks and carried him to the ambulance. Kyle watched his friend get loaded inside and taken away with the siren blasting. Of all the things that happened this eventful afternoon, Adam’s last strange convulsion stood out in Kyle’s mind.
Kyle remained at the cemetery as the other ambulances pulled away with other victims of the accident. The smoky exhausts of roaring tow truck engines was very prevalent as the damaged vehicles were lifted onto their beds then driven away. Stragglers were milling around the crash scene and the officer that assisted Kyle was one of them. The officer stared at the bloody tombstone Adam’s head smashed into, and Kyle hopped over the fence to join him. The inscription on the tombstone read,
1989 - 2015
May God Have Pity on Your Soul
That name meant something to Kyle, but he wasn’t sure why. The officer looked over and smiled, but Kyle couldn’t return it. Suddenly, Kyle blurted out,
“Do you know what caused the accident?”
“Not yet, son.” The officer shook his head and commented, “Brian Kinkaid! Oh boy! A lot of people are glad he’s dead.”
“He hurt a lot of people, and the State of Kansas had the last word.”
“They executed him?”
The stunned cop paused, then said, “Yes, that’s right. They executed him.”
“Oh. If my friend hadn’t hit his head on that tombstone, he might have been fine.”
“I’m sorry about your friend, but we need to begin our investigation. I hope your friend will be okay.”
“I do too,” Kyle said, hanging his head as he turned. He hopped back over the fence once more, and headed for his bike.