Bible camp, p.4
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       Bible Camp, p.4

           Ty Johnston
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  All Mary could do was shrug as the tears continued down her face.

  Seeing he could get no real answer from her, Lance faced the door again, reached out and eased it open. The hinges squealed as if they had not been oiled in years.

  “Mr. Tucker,” he said again, though he didn’t expect an answer, and he didn’t receive one.

  Giving a nervous glance back the way they had come, and seeing no immediate threat, Lance pulled Mary inside and closed the screen door.

  Letting go of her hand and flashing the light around, he found themselves in a worn living room with ancient carpet and cheap, battered furniture. Shining the light around, he also found a giant floor television set like something out of the fifties. Moving the light around further, they found a dead body.

  Mary gasped.

  It was Tucker. He was sitting on a couch with torn cushions, his mouth hanging open, his eyes closed but facing straight ahead while one of his arms hung over to one side.

  “Weird,” Lance said, easing forward in slow steps and never taking the flashlight off the waxen sheen of the dead man’s face.

  “What ... what’s weird?” Mary stuttered.

  Lance stopped in front of Mr. Tucker. “He doesn’t look like he’s been hacked or stabbed or anything. He just looks ... dead.”

  “Like from natural causes.”

  “Looks that way.”

  Mary came up next to Lance, wrapping an arm with his. “Could it be coincidence?”

  “I don’t know,” Lance said. “Should we turn him over. Maybe he got stabbed in the back.”

  “There’s no blood, not that I can see.”

  Backing away, leaving Mary with the body, Lance shined the light around the room some more. “Maybe we’ll never know what happened to him, but we’ve got to find a phone, or a gun.”

  “Tucker,” Mary said, standing motionless and staring at the dead man.

  Lance turned the light on her. “What did you say?”

  “Tucker,” Mary said. “I’m starting to remember.”

  “Remember what?”

  “It was that old story, that old tragedy,” she said. “Remember me telling you about it?”

  “You mentioned something today, but what’s that got to do with --”

  She cut him off. “Tommy Tucker. That was the kid’s name. I just now remembered it.”

  “What kid?”

  “The one who was burned up in that fire thirty years ago.”

  Lance looked none the wiser. “I’m sorry, Mary, but I’m not following you. Look, there’s no telling when that psycho will --”

  The front window exploded inward, glass and wood sailing like shrapnel throughout the room as a heavy object flopped from outside onto the floor.

  Lance raised an arm to shield his face, but several small shards impaled his flesh through his clothing as he backed away. Screaming again, Mary threw herself against the wall behind Lance, protecting her from the worst of the spraying glass and splinters.

  When the thing through the window came to a stop, Lance shined his light upon it.

  He couldn’t help but cry out, and Mary kept on screaming.

  It was Gloria’s body, the throat sliced open so wide the head barely remained with the corpse. Her clothes now ripped from going through the window, blood seeped from her body out onto the floor.

  Shock flooding her system, Mary let out a last gasp of terror, then she went quiet.

  “He’s nuts,” Lance whispered, more to himself than to Mary. “He’s completely insane.”

  Snapping out of her terrors, Mary grabbed Lance by an elbow and motioned deeper into the house down a hallway.

  “Come on,” she said.

  For a moment Lance could do nothing but stare at the horror revealed by the glow of his light, but then he allowed Mary to tug him along.

  They bumbled their way down the hall, in their state of shock bumping into the walls and almost falling over one another’s feet. The end of the hall came all too soon, however, and they were presented with a choice, either a closed door on the left or a closed door on the right.

  Without thinking, lance twisted the door handle on the right and pushed.

  The door swung open, the flashlight revealing what was obviously a child’s room, a boy’s room. The bed was narrow and short, and the legs had been sawed off so the frame set flat against the floor. The mattress was bowed in the center as if its regular user contained far too much weight. Posters of clowns and old rock stars were littered upon the walls, and a small table next to the bed sported a blue race car lamp. On the opposite wall was a single window leading out front.

  “The other way,” Lance said, withdrawing. “Maybe that’s where the old man keeps his guns.”

  A heavy thumping noise towards the front of the house caused both of them to gasp.

  Wasting no time, Lance tried the other door, the one on the left. Turning the knob, he threw the door open and jumped through with Mary right behind as a shadow appeared at the other end of the short hall.

  Footsteps followed, and Lance slammed the door closed. Looking for a lock, he found none and braced his back against the door, giving himself a look of the room.

  An ancient, rumbled mattress without a frame was up against one wall, a small window on the other side. A battered dresser faced the bed, atop it a small television, but other than that there was nothing to the room, not even a closet.

  And there was no longer time to search for a firearm.

  The heavy footsteps came to a halt on the other side of the door, and Mary let out a cry.

  Lance pointed to the window with the flashlight. “Go. I’ll hold him off as long as I can.”

  Mary hesitated, not wanting to leave her friend behind.

  “Go!” Lance shouted.

  Again Mary didn’t move, but then something heavy hammered into the door and she shrieked. Spinning about, she rushed to the window, her fingers busy in the lack of light trying to lift the sash.

  “It won’t budge,” she said over a shoulder.

  Again the door was hit, this time harder, visibly jarring the door and shaking Lance.

  “Look for a lock,” he said, tossing the flashlight onto the bed, nearer to her.

  Grabbing the light, Mary turned it around onto the window. Sure enough, a lock at the bottom had been engaged.

  Boom! The door shock harder than ever, actually knocking Lance away before he lunged back and pressed against the wood.

  “Hurry!” he shouted.

  Mary thumbed open the lock, then tried to lift the window but found it still would not budge. Too much ancient paint held the sash tight against the frame.

  “It won’t do it!” she yelled.

  Again the door was hit, this time with a cracking noise. Once more Lance was jarred, but he managed to keep his back to the door.

  “I can’t keep him out much longer,” he said. “You’ve got to do something.”

  Thinking, thinking, thinking, Mary could come up with nothing. She wished Ken was there, because he always came up with good ideas, at least when he wasn’t being a jerk. And she wished for something like a pocket knife, an item that would allow her to cut away the old paint in order to free herself.

  But wishes were fruitless, and she knew that, so she did the only thing she knew to do.

  She closed her eyes, held up her hands and prayed.

  “What are you doing?” Lance nearly screamed.

  The door thudded again, this time the crack louder than ever, like metal on wood. And this time Lance could not hold. The door burst inward, tossing the young man forward to fall face first onto a threadbare carpet.

  Standing in the doorway was a massive figure, its head nearly touching the ceiling, its shoulders and sides nearly touching the frame of the door.

  Lance rolled over, hoping to jump to his feet or to put up a fight, but suddenly the giant thing was on top of him stomping away with heavy boots.

  The first stamp caught Lance in the side, crackin
g ribs and causing him to cry out. The second blow landed on an arm, snapping it below the elbow and bringing another bellow of pain. The third strike caught him in a leg, bringing new levels of pain as bone was crushed.

  Lance could do nothing but squeal and scream like a tortured puppy.

  Mary’s eyes snapped open. Her prayer had not been answered. Or, at least, the answer had been “no.” There was no one to save her but herself while the monster was busy stomping and stomping and stomping her last remaining friend.

  Flipping the flashlight around, she lifted it over her head and brought it’s back down upon the single pane of the window. Glass shattered and the cool night air burst into the room.

  This brought up the giant figure’s head. There was little to see in the gloom of the room, but his eyes appeared as small moons as they stared at Mary.

  Then he reached for her.

  Without thinking, Mary threw herself out the window, shards of glass still in the frame slicing against her arms and sides.

  She fell a short distance and landed in thick grass, rolling away, losing the flashlight as she came up against a tree.

  Ignoring the pains caused by her cuts, she looked up to the window.

  No one appeared, but there was another stomping sound, a heavy noise like a piano being dropped onto something solid. A gurgle followed, then no more sound.

  Using the tree to pull herself to standing, Mary took off through the woods. She knew not what direction she ran, and her speed was not much in the dark with branches and sticker bushes constantly slapping or tugging at her, but she would not remain at the house.

  She had to move. She had to run. Where did not matter. She had to get away. She was the last one alive. All her friends were dead, each in a more and more gruesome manner. There was no telling what had happened to Abby, and poor Russ had taken a hatchet to the back of the head. Ken, thinking of him she nearly cried out, he had been stricken down with an axe. Gloria, her throat had been cut, perhaps more. And then there was Lance, literally stomped to death. Even poor Mr. Tucker had died somehow.

  It was enough to drive someone crazy, especially since it had all happened in such a short time. Mary’s mind was nearly broken, but she would not stop charging through the woods. She had no doubts her life would never be the same, but she had to get through the night simply to have that life.

  After a short while her lungs hurt too much and she slumped against a tree to catch her breath. Looking back, she could see nothing but darkness and the occasional glimpse of moonlight upon branches. She also heard nothing other than her own heavy breathing in her ears, another good sign she was not being followed.

  Once her breathing slowed, she shook her head, clearing her thoughts. Her arms hurt most of all from the cuts, and she could feel the slick of now-drying blood having flowed across her skin, but this and the pain she could face. She would have to. There was nothing else to be done.

  Looking around some more, she spotted a bright glow directly ahead. For a moment the view did not register, then she realized she was seeing the moon’s image floating upon the lake.

  The lake. Maybe there would be a boat somewhere, or maybe she could follow the shore until she found another house. Perhaps she could even swim across if she had to. She was a strong swimmer, and her only real concern was her sliced arms. Would her wounds keep her from swimming?

  She would never know unless she tried.

  Pushing off the tree, she bound down an incline through the woods, heading for the lake.

  After a few minutes she popped out of the trees into a clearing. With the stars and the moon above, she recognized she had stumbled upon the picnic area again with the dock sticking into the water.

  Glancing around, she found no sign of Russ’s body, and while thoughts of what the killer did to poor Russ made her shiver, she was at least glad not to see her dead friend again.

  Catching her breath for a moment, she rushed towards the dock. Maybe once she was out away from the land she would be able to see a light from somewhere else around the shore, maybe another house or camp site or even a boat.

  Pausing one last time to listen, to make sure she was not being followed through the woods, she then rushed toward the dock, sprinting from the grass onto the wood, the planks bouncing beneath her feet. At the end of the dock she came up short.

  Something floated in the water in front of her. Being night, it was nearly impossible to make out what was there, but it was not small, about the size of a ...

  Body. A headless body. A body dressed all in black. It was Abby. There was no longer any doubt all her friends were dead.

  Instead of screaming once more or becoming frantic, Mary merely backed away slowly.

  There was no escape. Of this she was now convinced. It made no sense for her to cry and wail, for it would do no good. She would be dead before the sun rose again. She could feel it in her soul.

  A sound from behind further convinced her. It was but a scuffing sound, a shoe scraping against wood, but it was enough. He was coming, this killer, this figure from the dark who had destroyed all her friends in one night.

  With a last look out across the lake, and not spying any lights or any other signs of hope, Mary bowed her head and turned slowly.

  With her eyes downcast, she could make out nothing of the killer other than the heavy work boots he wore.

  She expected to be struck down at any moment, but when it did not come, she realized there was only one thing left to do.

  Mary dropped to her knees, closed her eyes and folded her hands in front of her face. “Our Father,” she began, “hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Please --”

  A crunching noise cut her off. She opened her eyes into slits.

  The boots were now closer, directly in front of her. The killer must be looking down right on top of her. Yet he had not harmed her.

  Suddenly wanting to see the face of the person who would slay her, Mary opened her eyes wide and thrust back her head, staring up.

  He was gigantic, close to seven feet in height. His shoulders stretched nearly as broad as he was tall, and his chest and stomach were solid like massive tree trunks. His arms and legs showed strength through the sewed-together army jacket he wore and the jeans encompassing his legs. Most strange of all was his lack of a face. Bandages covered his features, dirty bandages stretched this way and that as if put on by someone who was not sure what they were doing. These were not bandages meant for healing, but for hiding.

  “It’s you, isn’t it?” Mary asked, her voice low. “You’re Tommy, the one they hurt in that fire, the one they called Tank. You didn’t die, did you? And Mr. Tucker, he was your dad, wasn’t he?”

  The only answer was a pair of black eyes like marbles staring out from the mess of bandages, long hair sticking out in all directions from behind.

  The giant figure glared into Mary for long moments, then it raised an arm, hefting a long-handled, blood-stained axe up to a shoulder.

  Mary could only lower her head and continue her prayer, her words to the Lord spoken low but coming fast as she wished to finish before she died.

  Then she heard a heavy sigh escape from the killer’s chest, followed by the sound of more footsteps, these going away.

  Mary finished her prayer without opening her eyes. She sat there looking only at the darkness behind her lids, her hands still gripped together before her face. Eventually she began to shiver, the night’s cold wrapping its arms around her, and then her legs began to cramp from their position, but this she ignored. Her mind was in another place, enraptured.

  Only when the sun came up the following morning did she stir, the warmth from above bringing alive her chilled flesh.

  She lowered her hands and looked up.

  The killer was gone, long gone.

  And she was alive. He had spared her. For whatever reason, he had not killed her as he had the others. Had it been because she had been praying? Had it been because
she had spoken with him, had identified him? Had he picked up on sympathy?

  She could not know. All she did know was the Lord had spared her. For whatever reason, God had given her the opportunity to live, and she would take it.

  Groaning at the aches in her legs and the wounds upon her arms which continued to sting, she forced herself to stand.

  She looked out upon the lake once more. Abby’s body was gone, probably having floated away. Here and there signs of life could be seen and heard, several deer drinking on the other side of the lake, birds singing away in the woods, and other of God’s creatures.

  She wrapped her arms around herself, grimacing as her arms hurt, then she turned from the lake, from the dock, from the dead. She walked towards the path leading up to the camp and the cars. She would not search for the keys, nor would she try to find a phone. She would walk out of there, however long it took.

  Other e-books available from the author

  Bible Camp

  Bible Camp 2

  Bible Camp 3

  Bible Camp 4

  Bible Camp 5

  Bible Camp: The Collection

  20 Tales of Horror and Fantasy

  guns ’n money: The Collection

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