These Truths, p.1R.M. Haig
By: R.M. Haig
? R.M. Haig 2017
Published by: Valhalla Earthrise
For my wife, Amanda
And my son, Aidyn
For standing by my side when
double indemnity made
perfect sense to me
& Brandon Messerschmidt,
without whom none of
this would've been possible
Since there has been some confusion on
the origin, nationality and pronunciation
of Gigu?re, the last name of our
protagonist, I feel it necessary to clarify.
Gigu?re, pronounced Zhig-gair, is a largely
French Canadian surname, and our
friend Jacob is of French Canadian
"Tonight, we run.
We'll hide in the dark
When the moon steals the light
From the dying sun.
It's a better thing
Than we have ever done"
"You don't know my mind,
You don't know my kind.
Dark necessities are part of my design"
-The Red Hot Chili Peppers
"There's no such thing as nothing.
There's no such thing as nothing at all.
There's no such thing as nothing.
But my finger's on the trigger,
And I'll turn off the world"
In The Depths Of Booger Woods
August 12th. 1991. 2:00PM
"Are you ready, Chucky?" Darkwing asked.
Chucky wasn't ready... he was scared, just like he had been every other time the boys pressured him into playing manhunt in Booger Woods. It was dark in there, and Chucky didn't like the dark.
"I dunno guys," he objected, his voice shaking. A red plastic flashlight slipped forward in the sweaty palm of his tightly clenched hand, forcing him to loosen his grasp enough to adjust his hold on it.
What if he dropped it while they were in there? What would he do then?
The midday sun was high, bearing down on them with its fiery rage like the glowing element of an electric oven overhead as they stood at the mouth of a small patch of wilderness that served as the southern border of Burlwood Meadows; the trailer park in which the three of them lived. The woods weren't very deep -- Route 4 was only a few hundred yards from where they stood on the other side -- but they were untamed and dense.
Once the boys crossed the tangled threshold of vines, the forest's canopy would choke off most of the light cast down by the fire in the sky, swallowing them up and wrapping them in the suffocating arms of what amounted to, so far as Chucky was concerned, nearly total darkness. It didn't seem that bad to the other boys, but when the wind was blowing and the greenish-black shadows of leaves danced around him, Chucky felt there was no darker place in all of the world.
If he dropped the flashlight, he wouldn't be able to see the monsters that lived in there coming if they snuck up on him. The monsters were in there; that he was sure of. He didn't know which monsters, but he knew there was at least one -- and probably more -- that called Booger Woods home.
Perhaps it was a mummy, or a wolfman. Maybe a zombie, or a murderous scarecrow that had escaped the post to which it had been lashed. Scarier yet (if that were possible) would be if it was that damned clown that lived in the storm drain... the one he had seen in the TV movie his mother insisted on watching last winter... the one that eats children. What was that clown's name?
Pennywise... that was it.
Pennywise terrified Chucky, especially when his teeth somehow changed from what looked like normal ones into rotten fangs. Fangs that seemed specifically designed for chewing on the flesh and bone of little boys, like him.
Chucky figured it was Pennywise that had killed little Gary Duncan last year, even though Momma said that was impossible. The movie had aired just a week before the police found Gary in the woods behind the horse track, just a mile east up Route 4. The news said he had been taken by a kidnapper, but Chucky knew that wasn't the case. That was just what they told everybody so people wouldn't be scared that Pennywise had come to Burlwood after the boys in the show had chased him away from Derry.
"That's Tim Curry," Momma said between sips of her cocktail. She tried to tell him that Tim Curry was an actor who had been in another movie called Rocky Whore Picture Show or something like that. The fangs were fake, she said, and the clown suit was just an outfit. Some people (including Chucky) were afraid of clowns, and they would get a cheap thrill out of being scared by Tim Curry pretending to be a monster. It was silly, and Chucky was silly for believing it was real.
Still, he knew Pennywise was out there; waiting for some little boy or girl to come along so that he could eat them up like The Big Bad Wolf had eaten up Little Red Riding Hood. And where had that wolf caught her? In the woods... possibly right there in Booger Woods, right behind their very own trailer park.
Darkwing and Launchpad thought Chucky was silly for believing in monsters, too. They were only nine, though... so what did they know? At thirteen, Chucky knew better than to believe everything a grownup said -- especially if that grownup had been drinking cocktails, like Momma was when she tried to convince him that Pennywise and the boys who fought him were all make-believe.
Sesame Street was make-believe, she said, because birds don't get as big as people and can't talk. Star Trek was make believe, because there's no such thing as a Klingon or a transporter room. Even Darkwing Duck (his favorite show) was make-believe because the characters are all cartoons; just made of drawings. In fact, most of the scary things he saw on television, in movies or in comic books were make-believe. Make-believe things only existed in someone's imagination and, therefore, couldn't hurt him.
What was left of Gary Duncan in the woods behind the race track wasn't make-believe, though, despite the fact that he had heard about it from the television news. Chucky knew it wasn't, because he had seen the flashing lights of police cars all the way from his bedroom window, and the track was a mile up the road; that's how many cars there were. They don't send that many police cars to a place for make-believe, they only send them when there's something very wrong. Gary Duncan himself certainly hadn't been make-believe, Chucky had seen him at school before he went missing and then turned up in those woods. He had been happy, healthy, alive and all put together... things that he wasn't anymore.
"Whoever it was that put him in those woods must've been some kind of monster," Momma said when they heard about it on the news. "Whoever it was must've been almost purely evil..." like Pennywise.
Pennywise wasn't a bird as big as a person, nor was he a Klingon, nor did he travel by transporter, and he certainly wasn't made of drawings. He was a clown, and clowns were real -- Chucky had seen some of them when the circus came to town. Pennywise wasn't like them, though... he was a monster. It was a monster, and it was just as real as Gary Duncan had been... Chucky knew it was.
"Come on, Chucky!" Launchpad snapped. "Stop being such a pussy!"
"Shut up, Launchpad!" Chucky whined, flipping the flashlight to his left hand so he could wipe his clammy palm on his shorts.
"I told you not to call me that, retard!"
"Hey!" Darkwing barked, jumping to his defense. "Don't you call him that either!"
"Don't argue, guys! Please!" Chucky begged.
Chucky hated it when Darkwing and Launchpad argued. He hated when his parents did it, too, back before Papa moved home to Tennessee. Argui
Usually, when Momma and Papa had fought, it was about whether or not Momma needed any more cocktails that day. Darkwing and Launchpad didn't fight as often as his parents had, but when they did, it was usually about him. That made him feel bad.
Launchpad was always saying that Chucky was stupid, or an idiot, or -- if he got really mad -- that he was retarded. Darkwing didn't like for him to say those things, and had told him so. Those were bad things to call someone, especially when those things weren't true.
Chucky wasn't retarded; he was just special. Momma said so -- even when she hadn't had any cocktails yet -- so he knew that it was true. Papa used to say that it was all of the cocktails Momma drank while she was pregnant that had made him so special. This seemed like it should've been a good thing to Chucky... that Momma had done something to make him special, like Darkwing Duck is special (the cartoon, not his friend -- though he thought his friend was pretty special, too), while most of the other kids in the world were just normal. For some reason, though, it made Momma cry every time Papa said it.
That didn't make any sense... why would she be sad that her boy was special? Drake-El and the lady duck, whose name Chucky had never heard, didn't cry when they thought about their son being special. Why should his Momma cry when she thought about him being special? He didn't know... but he wished one of his special powers would kick in and make him as brave as the other boys, he needed to find a way to be brave now.
"That's not cool, though, Chucky," Darkwing objected. "Calling him Launchpad isn't mean -- calling you that is!"
"Calling me Launchpad is mean!" Launchpad replied. "Launchpad McQuack is stupid... I'm not stupid! If anyone should be called Launchpad, it's him -- because he's the one that's stupid! That's why we're standing here instead of playing manhunt, because he's stupid and scared to go in the woods!"
"I'm not scared!" Chucky lied. "I'm just deciding which way I'm gonna go!"
"Well then decide, and let's go!"
Of course, there was only one way that Chucky would even consider going once inside Booger Woods. There was a natural path that broke diagonally to the left from where they stood which would lead him, eventually, to a small vernal pond. He knew because, when he was younger, he and his mother would sometimes go there to have a picnic. Afterwards, she would watch him swim in the water there. It wasn't swimming, really, because the pond was only about two feet deep, and even that was only in the spring. Sometimes there would be no water at all in the pond, Momma said it depended on how rainy it had been lately.
He was never scared of the woods back then, but that was because Momma was with him and he was too young to appreciate the true dangers that monsters represented. It was also before Pennywise came to Burlwood and did what he did with Gary Duncan's parts.
Plus, back then, he and Momma just called it the woods. It had been Darkwing and Launchpad that christened it Booger Woods, after a scary place they heard about in a Charlie Daniels song. Chucky didn't like that, because according to the song there were things that crawl, things that fly, things that creep around on the ground -- and they say the ghost of Lucius Clay gets up and he walks around. Chucky didn't like to go to places where ghosts were known to get up and walk around. Especially when the place was so dark that a ghost, or Pennywise, could be hiding anywhere... just waiting to snatch him up and tear him to little pieces.
"Okay," Chucky finally conceded, realizing that his friends would only argue more if he told them he didn't want to play manhunt anymore. Moving the flashlight back to his right hand and pushing the switch forward to turn it on, he took a deep breath and prepared to run. "I guess I'm ready..."
"Okay," Darkwing declared. "Remember, we get a full minute this time so we have a chance to find a really good spot... that's sixty seconds."
"I know how many seconds a minute is," Launchpad said, "I'm not the one that's stupid."
Darkwing didn't acknowledge the comment this time, and Chucky was glad. His mind was already racing about the things that could be waiting for him in the cool shade beneath the trees of Booger Woods. He didn't want to have to deal with their arguing again.
"Okay, then. Ready," Darkwing began. Chucky nodded to him, taking another deep breath. "Set... go!"
"One, two, three," Launchpad began, counting way faster than real time. That wasn't fair, but there wouldn't be time to get upset about it.
At three, Darkwing sprung forward and started hauling balls into the forest. Chucky let out a yelp with that big breath he had taken and forced his shaky legs across the threshold of brush -- into the darkness of Booger Woods. He followed the path, his heart pounding like a kick-drum in his chest as shadows raced by, each of them looking like a monster in the periphery of his vision. To his horror, Darkwing darted to the right -- off the path, and into the wild.
Alone, now, each step he took propelled him deeper and deeper into the horrific place. With every inch, he moved further and further away from Darkwing... away from Launchpad... away from Momma, and away from the safety of his house, where he wished he could be. He wanted to stop and race back, but his body was on auto-pilot, now, running at full bore in desperate strides that he wouldn't be able to control until he was clear of the woods altogether. He wouldn't be safe until he broke free of the shadows and ended up on Route 4, just a mile from where the police had found Gary Duncan... Gary Duncan, who had been all chopped up and spread around in the woods by the old horse track.
Distantly, Chucky heard Launchpad counting. He was at nineteen, now, though it certainly hadn't been that many real seconds.
The fact that he was alone started to sink in, and he was scared -- so scared that he started to scream the biggest scream he could ever imagine making. He screamed so loud that it hurt to do it; hurt his throat, hurt his ears, hurt his chest and the lungs inside. It sounded ridiculous; a girlish wail in soprano with a fine vibrato brought on by the bouncing of his stomach with each hurried step. Interspersed with it was the manic rustling of last year's leaves, crunching under foot as he ran. That sound seemed like snarling to him... the snarling of hell-hounds hot on his trail, and closing.
In his mind, he saw all of the monsters he had feared were there; the zombies, the vampires, the werewolves, the mummies, the ghouls and the ghosts... Lucius Clay, up and walking around. Then, there was that goddamned clown... Pennywise... showing its awful teeth and reaching for him with its white-cotton-gloves. Gloves that were stained with the blood of little Gary Duncan... Gary Duncan, whom it had torn to shreds and left in little piles in the woods behind the horse track just a mile up the road.
"Stop screaming, Chucky!" Darkwing ordered from somewhere off to the right. "He'll be able to find you just by following the noise!"
Chucky didn't care, he wanted Launchpad to be able to find him; wanted this stupid game to be over so they could go far, far away from this place and play something less scary. Basketball, baseball, football or tag -- anything but manhunt, and anywhere but Booger Woods. Launchpad was at forty, soon the manhunt would be on and this game would be closer to being over.
Still screaming, Chucky blew passed the place where the pond used to be. It was dry, now, in the heat of this rainless summer, save for a patch of muddiness that felt like quicksand underfoot. Thinking it would swallow him, he ran harder, even though it felt like his lungs were going to explode. Eventually, his screaming stopped because he simply could not spare the air for it to continue. He coughed and wheezed, his cardiovascular system not accustomed to such sustained periods of effort and panic.
Before long, the path dissolved around him and he was charging through a maze of brush and vines, shoving stray branches out of his path as he zig-zagged around trees and ducked under hanging brambles. Still, he ran, charging forward without a thought or plan as to where he might be going, certain that the monsters were about to catch him and tear him limb
"60!" Launchpad's voice emphasized in an echo, barely audible now through the thick blanket of forest between them. "The manhunt is on!"
Chucky wondered where Darkwing was... wondered where he was, and how long it was going to take for Launchpad to find him. His run had slowed to a jog, his body unable to maintain its frenzied flight thanks to the steady diet of Coca-Cola and Twinkies he had forced upon it in days prior, when he had no notion that he would have to flee through the wilds for his life this afternoon.
It was just as he was realizing that he couldn't keep up this running for much longer that Pennywise finally got him! He felt the clown's arm wedge between his legs; his right foot catching it near the elbow as it came up to take another stride, the wrist slapping against the back of his left ankle, tripping him up. His upper-body, captive to the inescapable forces of inertia, careened forward as his tangled legs folded underneath him. The Earth seemed to race up to meet his face, slapping him hard with its leafy palm as he crashed and slid several feet through the burs and twigs.
Finally grinding to a stop in a crumpled heap, he became aware that he had lost hold of his flashlight. A bolt of pain in his right wrist accompanied the realization, prompting him to grab it and squeeze it tightly. A tingly and warm sensation came over it, masking an undercurrent of agony that froze him in place on the ground.
"D-W!" He bellowed, gasping and writhing. "Help me, please!"
No one came immediately, and Chucky worried that Pennywise would have him eaten up before they got to where he lay. He pictured the clown looming in the distance, blood dripping from its fangs like molten rubies as it approached. The sound of its footfalls sent chills through his body, each chill traveling a circuit that led to his throbbing wrist where they all collected and climaxed in pulsating explosions of unbearable pain.
Time seemed to drag out and stretch into infinity, the clown probably taking pleasure in seeing him lay there in mortal terror and pain... waiting for it to come and rip his cock off, just like it had done to Gary Duncan. How long would it let him live? Where would it spread his parts when it was eventually through with him? Tears streamed down his face as he started to sob in fear and pain for what felt like forever before --
"Gotcha!" it bragged, in a voice that sounded much like Launchpad's. Chucky summoned the courage to look up to the sound, squeezing his wrist as tightly as he had squeezed the red plastic flashlight before.
Instead of Pennywise, he saw Launchpad's small and wiry frame... frozen in place near a tree. He was just standing there, silent, his face showing the same terror that Chucky felt. He was paying no mind to Chucky's crying, staring down at something on the ground. It was something that frightened him, and it was right there... just a few feet away.
Silently, Darkwing emerged from the woods behind him. He stepped slowly and cautiously, also staring toward the thing -- whatever it was. He stopped and lingered, his eyes wide and unblinking, his mouth hanging open in a way that only added to Chucky's sense of foreboding. Bending at the waist, he reached out and grabbed hold of the thing half-buried in the brush and leaves. Chucky's heart was booming, now, even louder than before, in a deafening and uneven rhythm. It was so loud that he could hear nothing else as Darkwing lifted the thing from the ground and held it in the waving rays of light breaking through the dense forest canopy.
There, in the depths of Booger Woods, stood the leader of their group... clutching in his hand a small, pale and bloodied arm.
September 8th, 2016. 1:00PM
These Truths by R.M. Haig / Actions & Adventure / Romance & Love / Thrillers & Crime have rating 2.9 out of 5 / Based on40 votes