That dark, female like voice was singing to me again...it was whispering and hissing at me, each lyric more warning and intense than the previous one. Ever since I first turned seventeen, which was almost four months ago, I began to go through hearing this song that seemed to keep replaying on its own in my head. No matter how many times I've attempted forgetting about it, or I tried to replace it with some other thought, the same hushed voice crept its way back to me. Unfortunately, it somehow always dodged the obstacles that I sat up in order to get rid of it, only so it could dig deep into my brain again. I didn't know who or what was making this voice seem to whisper to me, but whatever this hushed tone was...I only knew that it spoke the truth...and the truth hurts.
I decided that I needed some time away from my home back in Oklahoma, so I got my luggage all packed and I drove my souped up vehicle all the way to Kansas. Since I wasn't the type of guy that was used to traveling, I decided to stay in the first hotel that I laid my eyes on. That just so happened to be this place called The County Lodge, which I could've sworn that I heard from someplace else before. However, I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
I was an only child who lived in a two-story house with two loving parents. Unfortunately, I also had one heartbreaking uncle, who stole my wisecracking personality and my carefree glimpse towards life to begin with. If you saw how I was back when I was just a child, compared to who I was today at seventeen, you'd find it very difficult to believe that I was the same person. I often allowed my decently long and somewhat swirly, dark brown hair with dark gold like highlights to dangle in front of my pale face, so I could hide my true emotions from everybody else that was around me. My moss-green eyes weren't full of joy or laughter anymore either. Instead, they were overflowing day after day with pain and sorrow, being blurred with steaming hot tears over the littlest things.
"Spencer...Spencer!...Spencer, listen to me! Get up and look at yourself!
Let me make a guess, you feel you've lost your sense of hope?
And you feel that no-one's present when you're struggling to cope?
You have a futile strategy, you tell yourself you're 'fine.'
Well honey, ditch that method!
I promise you'll like mine..."
My uncle ruined me...if you ever heard his gentle laugh, studied the kind twinkles in his eyes, or took in his sweet grin, you would think that I'm insane for saying such a thing. However, that's three of the main things that I only focused on when I was just a little boy. I didn't look closely enough at my uncle and try to crack into his inner self. My uncle always wanted kids...but when my aunt and newborn cousin passed away due to difficulties during birth, he became dark...and cold...he was absolutely evil. His dark blue eyes seemed to drown in bitterness, and he never bothered to crack another smile again...but that was all just around me and only me.
What seemed like everyday in my eyes, my mother would go on and on telling me about how I was a miracle for her and my old man. Honestly, I would fake a realistic smile and pretend to believe her, but I never considered myself as a miracle by the time I reached nine. My mom was told by three different doctors that she couldn't get pregnant, no matter how much she and my father tried. Nevertheless, I eventually came along, safe and sound with love and care showering me daily...I might've not known it then, being just a baby and all, but my uncle wanted revenge for losing his wife and baby girl.
Ever since I first turned six, my life was completely yanked all around and shattered into billions of unfixable pieces by none other than my uncle. God...why did he have to be heartless to the point where he believed that sexually abusing me would make him feel better? I'm still haunted by the memories of when he would knock me down onto his bed and force my clothes off of me, no matter how many times I cried and begged him to stop. After each rape, he would quietly threaten into my ear that if I dared to tell anybody about him, he'd kill my parents right in front of me, and then he would come after me.
I ended up becoming so distant and quiet that all of my friends never bothered to come around or talk to me anymore. My grades in school began to go from straight A's to straight C's too, and I started playing hooky a whole lot in order to avoid all of my classmates and teachers just looking at me and wondering. Was I okay? What was going on with me? Why wasn't I opening myself up to the world? That was the old Spencer...that hyper, joking, gleeful young boy was gone...and I was now new, left alone to be curious about.
"It's not fair..." I whimpered to myself, rubbing my aching shoulders after I forced myself to get out of bed. Tears were already beginning to form in my eyes. "...Why did my life have to come crashing down?...My parents didn't even seem to notice how different I have become ever since my sixth birthday...and so much for graduating and going to college by the looks of my falling grades and unexcused absences. My life is just one gigantic tragedy after the other..." I berried my face in the palms of my pale hands and quietly cried. However, it wasn't long before I heard that hissing voice sing to me again, coming from the inside of my head.
"Spencer, wipe away your tears! You're doing good! Now it's time to get through another successful day together. Get ready!
My love, if you obey MY rules, I'll see that you prevail.
Abandon those who 'care' for you, I'll love you like no other.
My vulnerable, my prey, my significant other..."
I took my head out of my hands and sighed at the new orders. This voice was controlling me, but I honestly felt like I needed it to get me where I wanted.
Taking my time, I carefully stood up from my brown bed and rubbed my eyes with my balled up fists. Kicking the remains of my drowsiness aside, I then slumped my aching shoulders and wiped away as many of my salty tears as I could. When I headed over to the body mirror that was beside the closet, all I could do was curiously study my reflection with more hot tears prickling up in the edges of my eyes.
I was too fat...at least that's what my uncle told me. Ever since I turned fifteen, he would curse and raise his middle finger, yelling at me at the top of his lungs with absolute rage about how fat I've gotten since I was that "perfectly thin" child. At first, I attempted to ignore his poisoned mouth, but it got harder for me when I turned sixteen since he started to pinch by skin and go on and on about how flabby I was. I began to grow depressed to a whole new level, but I wasn't going to go for a suicide attempt. That's just what my uncle wanted, I bet. He already took my happiness and positive look on life, so I wasn't going to allow him to take my own life away. Unfortunately, that meant that I technically gave up my self-image to him, and he molded me into this boy that could be mistaken for an elephant. Of course, I wanted to change that once and for all, and by the time I turned seventeen, I changed even more.
I was a bit taller for my age, and before I decided to change, I took the first step and weighed myself. I was 180 pounds, which my old man said was an absolutely healthy body weight for somebody my height, which was why I was excellently built and remarkably thin. However, it seemed like all I could hear were two voices: My uncle's voice, and this sudden female like hushed tone that came along by the time I began to exercise more often, and I pushed my food away as much as I could.
I called this voice Ana...I don't know why I picked that name in the first place, but there was this feeling inside of me that was telling me that it somehow fit "its" attitude perfectly.
"You call this thin? Spencer, you still have fat on you! It looks like we still have 'some' work to do, honey!
'Cause you're the darkest star within the galaxy of life,
Remove the fork and spoon, and all you're left with is a knife.
The knife that juts your shoulder blades and tears between your bones,
Creates the sighing of your ribs, your face the sallow tones."
According to the scale from when I first checked into The County Lodge yesterday night, I was now 120 pounds...but I didn't see any difference. Ana was still telling me that I had fat leftover, too. A gigantic jiggling stomach...huge, chubby thighs...layers dripping off from my face...but why did my old friends keep going on and on about how I was getting too thin? I would touch my ribs, and it felt like they were poking right through my skin. When my shoulders ached and I would try rubbing them, I couldn't help but notice that it was as if my fingers were pinching nothing but bones. I would slide my hands down my sides, only so I could feel how my hips felt as if they were suddenly exposed. I felt bones with my fingertips, but whenever I looked in a mirror, all I could see with my own eyes was complete fat.
I wiped away the rest of my tears and took in a deep breath, savoring it since most of Ana's whispers tell me that oxygen is my everlasting meal. Today was just another day for me...staying on my feet as much as I can and not taking in any food at all. That's all that I kept telling myself as I undressed from my pajamas. If I was thirsty, I could have just plain water. No soda, no milk, no juice...just water. I had to be thinner.
"You're results will be perfect before you know it...just keep following my rules, my dear..."
...I should've known that nobody could ever be perfect. My old friends practically begged for me to eat by the first straight month of me skipping lunch at school. Though when I refused, they started growing impatient, bellowing furiously right in front of me about how anorexia nervosa was only going to come my way. I never dared to believe them, however...and as much as I'd hate to admit it, they were right.
Ana was blindly tricking me...but I was too caught up in my own self-image to notice or even care for that matter. Ana technically ruled me, telling me not to eat anything and getting angry at times when I gazed at my reflection to see if I lost any weight. I've had old friends that told me that I couldn't possibly get any skinnier...but Ana told me that they were lying. 'You can never be too thin, Spencer...I'm your friend...I'm not going to lie to you like everybody else.' Ana quietly spoke in my head whenever my ex-friends or parents said that I was thin enough. "It" basically only talked to me like that whenever I looked into anything that could show me my reflection, or if I bothered to stare at a single piece of food. 120 pounds...I reached my new goal, but Ana told me that another ten pounds wouldn't hurt. 'You're not thin yet, my love! Lose another ten pounds!'
I stripped my pajamas from my body, getting a quick look at myself in the mirror with me just in my boxers. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before I felt like I was about to burst into tears, but I knew that "it" wouldn't want me to. So, I held back my steaming tears and got redressed in my baggy, dark green hoodie; a pair of my baggy, worn out, dark blue jeans; and my worn out pair of brown tennis shoes. Then I fixed my hair, ignoring some of the strands that were easily coming out when my comb stroked them. After all of that, I pulled up my hoodie, covering my head and sticking my hands in my pockets as I kept my pleading eyes nervously on the floor. I headed out, beginning my way to get downstairs to the feasting hall.
I was planning to take the stairs instead of using the elevator. Like Ana told me yesterday when I checked in and was told my room was on the seventh floor, 'You need all of the exercise that you can get, Spencer. Trust me, the stairs will be better for you.'
As I turned around the corner, I peeked up for a moment to see this girl leaning against the wall. She had red hair, drenched with hair grease, and she was dressed in a brown leather jacket, matching cowgirl boots that were covered with dirt, a baby-blue crop top, and a worn out pair of white jeans. Golly, girls like her were absolutely lucky to be naturally thin. A lit cigarette was being held in her right hand, between her middle and pointer fingers. Whoever she was, she must've heard my footsteps coming down in her direction, because her eyes instantly fixed on me when I slowly began my way down the next hall.
I quickly gazed back down at the floor, to nervous to look at somebody in the eyes. I listened to my heart heavily beat in my chest, but before I saw it coming, the girl stuck her leg out and caused me to collapse straight to the floor, face first.
"Have a nice trip?" Her voice struck me, all sassy and cold, and it wasn't long before I heard her laughing loudly at me.
Okay...that hurt me in more ways than one. Tears instantly prickled up in my eyes, and I quietly sniffled to myself as I tried my hardest to push myself up from the floor. However, my arms were in too much aching pain for me to succeed. My back felt stiff, and my shoulder blades were still remaining sore. I continued to quietly cry, not bothering to keep trying to push myself up. It hurt me too much, but I finally forced myself to turn my head to look at this redhead girl when I heard her laughter suddenly stop.
She placed her hands on her hips and stared at me with concern. "Hey," She spoke to me in the same tone. "Are you goin' to get up or what? It was just a little trip, you don't need to cry over it."
That "little trip" must've bruised my bones by the way my body seemed to feel all of the sudden. Though, I didn't bother to say anything back to this redhead girl, nor did I try to push myself up from the wooden floor. Nonetheless, it wasn't long before the door that the redhead was resting against to fly open. Another girl with lighter red hair that was pulled back in a greasy ponytail stepped out. Her emerald eyes instantly shot huge when she saw me just laying there, whimpering to myself like a puppy.
"Oh my god! Are you alright?" I could tell that she was much more caring than the other redhead.
"...I'm fine," I lied, and I hesitated when the emerald-eyed girl reached one of her hands down to help me up. I knew that I didn't really have a chance though. It was either taking a hold of her offering hand, or stay on the floor and possibly be treated like a useless rug.
"I'm Kitten Andrews," The kinder redhead offered me a small grin as she helped me up from the floor. When she released my hand after I was balanced back on my feet, she motioned me to look at the less kind redhead. "This is my...roommate, Vinny Winston. We're staying here with the rest of our group of friends for winter break."
I forced a small, shy grin. "...I'm Spencer Connors...I'm here for winter break myself."
This Kitten's smile suddenly vanished from her face, which had me instantly growing nervous on the inside. Nevertheless, it didn't take that long for me to realize that her eyes seemed to be gleaming off a mixture of concern and confusion.
"All by yourself?" She curiously questioned.
I bit down on my bottom lip and nibbled on it for a moment, thinking about my friend Ana. I wouldn't say that I was on this winter break all by myself, but I was the only one who could hear Ana's voice. If I dared to speak about that voice inside of my head, I could risk having Kitten turning on me and thinking that I was insane. I could tell by the uncaring look that was plastered on Vinny's face that that ship had already sailed, and she must've hated me.
Finally, I nodded my head. "Yeah...I felt like I needed some time to myself."
The curiousness still remained locked in Kitten's eyes, only seeming to be expanding. "But for this whole winter break? Don't you think that you would get lonely?"
Get lonely? I've been feeling all alone ever since the first rape that my uncle committed on me! I've actually never felt so wanted until Ana's voice first swiped across my head, whispering about how the method they had in mind would help me.
Nonetheless, I just shrugged and stuffed my fists back into my pockets instead of saying anything back. The last thing I needed was allowing my past or even my present to slip out on accident.
"Well...if you feel like if you ever want somebody to talk to, you can come to me, all right?" Kitten flashed me another grin, this one smaller though. "Maybe if you'd like, you can meet our gang at some point during this winter break."
Vinny then rolled her eyes and annoyingly groaned loud enough for me to hear. "Kitten, this is supposed to be a vacation! Stop trying to make everything terrible for me! It's already freaking bad 'nough that I have to share a room with you!"
I hid a frown from my face and didn't wait another moment to begin walking away, trying my best to ignore the hurtful words that were just lunged at me, as if I wasn't even standing there. This wasn't the first time that something like this happened to me.
"Thanks for the offer, Kitten..." I spoke as I kept walking like my life depended on it. "...But...I think I like it better just being by myself for awhile." I didn't dare to take a single glimpse back around as I continued my now fast walk down the hall, until I finally made it back around the other corner. I pushed the gray doors open when I came close enough, and I began my way down the stairs with Ana's voice sounding satisfied.
"Ow! Ow! Johnny, ouch! You're hurting me! Ouch!" Cassidy was wiggling all around like some little child instead of a preteen. She struggled with fixing her own hair whenever she wanted to put it up in some ponytail or something, so Johnny would help by doing it for her. Unfortunately, that meant that he had to run out all of the knots and tangles as gently as possible, but also hard enough to get them to get out.
"Cassidy, hold still!" Johnny ordered, wrapping one of his arms around her waist to keep her on his lap. "Your hair is as hard enough to comb with all of these tangles. Wiggling around like a worm on a hook ain't goin' to help with that. Just sit still, all right? You know me, your hair is safe."
I couldn't help myself to quietly snicker my teasing laughter, which had Cassidy's face beating red as she embarrassedly crossed her arms over her stomach. After getting beat up badly by Socs, earning him a scar on his face, murdering a Soc, running away with another member from our gang, and saving kids from a burning fire which led him to the hospital, Johnny still didn't get mad or irritated at anything serious. Instead, he got annoyed whenever his little sister wiggled around when he was trying to comb out all of the tangles in her hair.
I took in a drag of my recently lit cigarette and held it in for a few seconds. I then puffed it out into a perfect smoke ring, flashing a smirk at the giggling Jocelyn. She was already dressed, thanks to me, and she was waiting to get a move on as she sat there in the wooden crib. Her big brown eyes were looking at me, and she was drooling all over one of her toy rings. I might've hated little kids, but I couldn't help myself to have a certain spot for Jocelyn and Cassidy inside of me.
Unfortunately, my smirk swiped right away from my face when I heard two female voices furiously bickering back and forth from the hallway. I rolled my eyes, taking another drag of my cigarette as I continued to listen to the vicious tones. I knew those voices by heart.
Johnny's puppy eyes were huge, but he wouldn't look away from Cassidy's hair.
Cassidy turned her head, regretting it instantly when Johnny just so happened to hit another knot. She clenched her teeth tightly and her eyes clamped shut. Without waiting, she then slammed her paling fists down onto her lap and let out another, "Ouch!"
Johnny sighed, but didn't bother to say anything about Cassidy's hair. Instead, he asked: "What in the world could Kitten and Vinny be arguing about this early in the morning?"
"I don't have a freaking clue, but I'm going to get them to shut their mouths before any complaints get filed or anything." I took in a deep, quiet breath and blew out my almost white bangs from my face.
Even Johnnycake knew those two female voices by heart, and Johnny was the kind of person who was afraid to dare himself to get to know others. Nonetheless, I'm glad that I found him sleeping in the lot that one dark and rainy night when we were just little kids. I ended up taking him to the Curtis' house, where he met the rest of the gang, and Mr. and Mrs. Curtis bandaged up his cuts that he got from "tripping" all over. When you grow up in such a tight neighborhood like ours back in Tulsa, you get to know each other real well. We were each just as close as siblings, but I already have it hard enough with being half-related to Vinny.
I continued to hold my cigarette inbetween my right hand's middle and pointer fingers as I grasped a hold of the door's doorknob. Johnny didn't bother to stop me from what I had in mind of doing, so I flew the door open and stomped out into the hallway. As I closed the door behind me, my eyes met just what I suspected to find. Kitten and Vinny were all up in each others beating red faces, teeth viciously clenched and eyes sharply narrowed.
I placed my free arm across my chest and irritatingly rolled my eyes.
"Hey! Moron number one! Moron number two! Can't you shut up?" I snapped over yet another one of their noisy, ridiculous argument about God knows what. Instantly, Vinny and Kitten stopped their bickering, but only so they could flash their death mock glares in my direction, as if they were ordering me to stay out of their business.
"God, what's with you Winston's and your morning cancer stick?" Kitten crossed her arms over her stomach.
In return, I offered her a tiny smirk as I took in another deep breath of my cigarette. I then shrugged, puffing out another perfect smoke ring.
Kitten pulled her lips back again, revealing her slimly grinding teeth again. "You Winston's must carry enough tar in your lungs to repave all of the parking lots in New York! How are you one of my friends again, Dallas?"
My small smirk instantly vanished, and my eyes flooded up with annoyance all over again. "Calm yourself, tiger. It's not like you never smoked before. But don't you think that I came out here to talk 'bout cancer sticks. Why in the hell are you two arguing? We seriously just freakin' woke up!"
"Dally," hissed Kitten, as she pointed one of her thumbs over at Vinny. "You need to teach your kid sister how to stop actin' like a bitch!"
My eyes narrowed, swarming with new confusion as I thought about Kitten's words.
"Look, Kitty," I heavily sighed, obviously growing more irritated. "If you're telling me that Vinny's a bitch, I already know that! But I haven't changed her since the first day she became a bitch, so what makes you think I'll be able to change her now?"
"I'm right here!" Vinny practically exclaimed at the top of her lungs. Kitten and I instantly locked our eyes back on her.
"Vin, what in the hell did you do this time?" I took another drag of my cigarette to help me from exploding from my own forming rage.
Vinny followed my example and took in a deep breath of her own cancer stick. "Nothing," She then simply shrugged, attempting to blow a smoke ring. "I just tripped some guy...it's not like I committed a serious crime like you practically do all the time, Dal."
My face seemed to instantly flash to a deep shade of red at that crack Vinny pulled at the end of her speaking. I warningly pointed a finger at her and said: "You better watch it, you freaking bitch! I'm already sick and tired 'bout how I have to put up I share some of the same blood as you!"
Vinny's satisfied smirk instantly vanished from her face, and she scowled at me again. Instead of saying another word though, she just turned away and stomped off down the hall. When she made it to the elevator, she still didn't bother to gaze back at me or Kitten. She just pushed a button and waited for the doors to reclose. After that, she wasn't in mine or Kitten's sight anymore.
"Dally..." Kitten motioned in the direction where Vinny just left, but she stopped when I shook my head at her.
My voice was hard and giving away my anger. "Don't bother, Kitten. Just save your breath, all right? Vinny is a badass New Yorker that'll never take her no-good ways out of her blood. Do you honestly think that she would listen to me?"
Kitten's eyes narrowed furiously, and she clenched her hands into tight fists at her sides. "Dal, even Johnny sets Cassidy straight when she gets mouthy! Some brother you are to Vinny! You should know that the only reason she's like this is because she wants to be like you!"
"Oh, so you think that I don't know that?" I challenged through now clenched teeth. "Well, you're wrong! If you're like me, nothin' can hurt you! You get a tough rep, and nobody will try to tango with you!"
Kitten closed her eyes and shook her head a few times. When she reopened her eyes, she rolled them at me.
"Well, congratulations, Dally. You got your dream rep, but you're losing your own kid sister." Kitten flatly stated, but her face gave it away that she was being serious. "I know that you're thinking that you don't give a piece of crap about Vinny, but you just better watch it, Dally. You never know what could possibly happen to her, and if something ever does happen to her, I know that you'll never forgive yourself."
I just stared at Kitten, my eyes narrowed all over again as I bit down on my tongue a little. Kitten began to back up, still giving me her serious facial expression for a few more seconds before she finally decided to turn herself around and head off to the elevator.
When I finally decided to walk back into mine, Cassidy, Jocelyn, and Johnny's room, I didn't realize that somebody was watching from the opposite end of the hallway.
"What happened out there, Dally? I heard a lot of yelling," Johnny nervously said to me, now holding Jocelyn in his arms. Cassidy was sitting on her and Johnny's bed, cross-legged with her brunette hair now pulled back in a ponytail. Her eyes were just like Johnny's, an innocent little puppy's.
I took in another deep drag of my cigarette, hesitating. Kitten's words wouldn't leave my mind, no matter how much I wanted to kick them out of there.
"...This vacation is certainly off to a great start," I sarcastically huffed, rolling my eyes.
Confusedly, Johnny battered his eyes a few times. "What's wrong, Dally?"
I shook my head at him, considering that I didn't believe what anything was wrong with me. At the time that is.
"Nothings wrong," I simply shrugged. "Let's just get downstairs to the feasting hall and fetch some breakfast."
Johnny bit down on his bottom lip, nibbling on it for a couple of seconds before he finally nodded at me.
"Can you carry one of Jocelyn's bottles for me, Dal? This hotel is bound to have some milk for her to drink."
I nodded, already heading over to the black garbage bag that had Jocelyn's supplies in it. "Sure, Johnnycake."
"Thanks," Johnny offered me a small grin, right before he glanced over at Cassidy. "Come on, Cass."
After I fetched one of Jocelyn's baby bottles, I coolly strolled after Johnny, Cassidy, and Jocelyn out of our room, closing the door behind us. Though on the way out, I could've sworn that I heard some kind of shuffle like noise coming from underneath one of the beds. Nonetheless, I just shrugged it off, thinking that it was nothing.
God, sharing a room with Two-Bit was even more horrible than I thought that it would be. First, he kept twisting and turning underneath his double bed's covers, whining to me about how he couldn't get comfortable. Second, Two-Bit claimed some time around midnight that if we switched beds, he would be able to stop wiggling all around and get comfy, even though both beds were exactly the same. I ended up doing it just to shut him up, no matter how much I just wanted to curse him out. Lastly, Two-Bit snored like a tractor at one moment, and then talked in his sleep the next. Man, why couldn't Brawn No Brain let me share a room with Soda? It isn't my fault that Ponyboy's nightmares aren't going away! That shouldn't get in the way of mine and Sodapop's friendship!
Waking up to Mr. Roberts' recorded wakeup call definitely didn't help my rough night at catching any sleep. My eyes were killing me, and waking up with how well rested and joyful Two-Bit seemed just made me angry. Actually, the only thing that was keeping me from killing Two-Bit was that there were witnesses in this hotel, and I didn't want to get arrested.
To help wake myself up, I decided to take a quick shower. The warm water was definitely helping me, just like I suspected it would. Just as I squirted some shampoo in the center of my other hand's palm, I heard the bathroom door squeak open.
"Hey roomie!" Two-Bit's voice rang from the crack. Thank God that the glass doors of the shower were that blurry made kind, so nobody could see you and your bareness, but you could still see everything else from your side.
"Two-Bit!" I bellowed. My face was beating red already, both from rage and embarrassment. I ended up forgetting about the shampoo that I squeezed into my hand, and I clenched it into a tight fist, causing the decent amount of shampoo to go all over my wet arm.
I could hear Two-Bit's obnoxious laughter suddenly booming out. That had me rolling my eyes.
"You never give anybody privacy, do you?" I irritatingly hissed through slightly clenched teeth.
Again, Two-Bit laughed loudly. "There's no need to get your swirls in a knot, roomie. I'm just tellin' you that I'm going to head downstairs to catch up with the others in the feasting hall!"
"Stop calling me 'roomie' unless you want to lose your tongue, Mathews!" I commanded, more annoyance slipping into my voice by the minute. "And fine! Tell Soda that I'll be down in about ten minutes!"
Two-Bit flashed the shower that cheesy, huge smile of his. Laughing once more, he said: "You got it, roommate!"
God, I was seriously going to mangle him when we got back to Tulsa. However, I didn't get a chance to string any words together and threaten Two-Bit with them. He had already reclosed the bathroom door, and I could hear the main door of our room open up, shortly closing again after a few seconds.
I cursed to myself, going on with every cuss word that I could think of as I squirted some more shampoo out. I scrubbed my hair, getting the shampoo all over each strand and washing it out with the warm water after letting it settle for about a minute. After that, I picked up a bar of soap, but just as I began to rub it against my skin, I could've sworn that I heard the main door of mine and Two-Bit's room slowly squeak open.
"Hey, Two-Bit!" I called out, but I couldn't see anything since I was busy washing my face. "Is that you out there? Did you forget something?"
Strangely, there was no response.
I went on cleaning my face with the bar of soap. "Two-Bit, I know that's you! You're not foolin' me, so you might as well say something back!"
Still, there wasn't any word coming back to me.
I opened my mouth to call out again, but before I could get a word out, I picked up the sound of the bathroom door squeaking open. Without any hesitation, I quickly gazed over my shoulder, opening my eyes back up to notice that the bathroom door was cracked open again, but nobody was standing there.
Confusedly, I narrowed my eyes a bit. "Two-Bit? What are you tryin' to pull this time?"
Instead of me getting a verbal answer from that Mickey Mouse loving freak like I suspected, I heard the sound of the TV being turned on.
Not waiting for another second to slip by, I dropped the bar of soap and quickly turned the warm water off. After that, I slid open the shower door and grabbed two towels, quickly wrapping one around my waist, and I used the other to start drying off my upper body.
"Two-Bit!" I called out. "If you're trying to scare me, you're failing miserably!"
Nonetheless, I still didn't get any response. That was really strange, because if Two-Bit was attempting to pull one of his pranks, you would be able to hear him at least trying to hold his noisy laughter back. This time, I didn't hear anything, except the sound of the TV.
I annoyingly rolled my eyes, expecting to open the door to see Two-Bit pounce out and holler "Boo!" or something like that. But when I pushed the door open and examined the room, I didn't see anybody.
Confusedly, I cocked an eyebrow, and I began to slowly turn my head from left to right. Though, no matter how many times I studied the room, my eyes wouldn't meet anyone. I was all alone.
I touched my chin with my index finger, thinking hard about how this could've happened if I was all alone. Then it hit me...Two-Bit must've snuck back in and did all of this, quickly leaving the room again before I came out of the bathroom, all in order to attempt scaring me.
"God, will that Mickey Mouse freak ever grow up?" I groaned, face-palming myself and shaking my head a few times. I then went on cursing a bit to myself, but I stopped when I paid attention to what was on the TV.
The channel that was turned on was the news, and there was a woman standing in front of someplace that I could've sworn I saw before. She was dressed in a long, brown, fur-trimmed winter jacket with black mittens, and her long blonde hair was peeking out from her pulled up hoodie. I could tell by the looks of her bright red face and squinting, pale blue eyes that it must've been absolutely freezing out there. Since I saw the words "Breaking News" on the screen, I decided to leave the TV on as I began to get dressed.
"Good morning, Kansas! I am your reporter, Linda Frost, and I am reporting from Fair Fill-Ups where just a few hours ago, sixteen-year-old Belinda Foster was found dead by her mother, Mrs. Monica Foster." The female reporter spoke into her microphone.
I quickly yanked my shirt on like my life depended on it, and my huge eyes glued onto the screen all over again. Fair Fill-Ups?...That was the last gas station where we decided to stop on the way here to The County Lodge! By the looks of the background, I could see something rusty-colored further back in the white snow, and the windows of Fair Fill-Ups were now smashed.
I listened carefully, not taking my eyes off from the TV as I pulled on a pair of my jeans.
"The power cords and security lines seemed to be cut, and by the looks of the amount of blood was at the scene and how Belinda's body was found behind the front counter, the doctors are reporting that her skull was smashed in with a weapon that was something like a hockey stick, or a baseball bat." Linda Frost closed her eyes and sighed. "I wish that I could say that this is shocking, but those escaped mental patients on the lose, I can't say that anything is difficult to believe right now."
Escaped mental patients? I could've sworn that I felt my jaw drop all the way down to the floor. No...this couldn't be true...this just had to be some cruel, twisted joke!
"Only a year ago, Mr. Jonas Foster; Belinda's father and Monica's husband, was found all slit up by what the doctors suspected was a chainsaw. Mrs. Foster is heartbroken, for now her husband isn't only dead, but her baby girl was taken from her just last night. Now all she can hope and pray for is for her son, James Foster, to get back home from college as soon as possible, before these escaped mental patients attempt anymore of their tricks."
I could've sworn that I was paling more and more with every word that Linda Frost was reporting.
"Remember, ladies and gentlemen, if you have any idea where these psychopaths are, call the cops right away and give them as much information as you can. And whatever you do, do not risk your life in some self-defense game with any of them. Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Miller, fourteen-year-old Michael Bonds, twenty-year-old Ella Kyles, and fifteen-year-old Dylan Oliver were recently found dead just a couple of weeks ago, each from a different type of injury and weapon. As for ten-year-old Piper Morgan, sixth-month-old Wendy Smiths, and twelve-year-old Ricky Loomis, they're still missing from what we suspect is still the escaped mental patients continuing revenge. The police are still doing everything that they can to find these poor children so they can return safe and sound to their families."
My heart must've taken a trip around the entire globe and back.
"Please stay as safe as possible, and don't forget to call the cops even if you have the slightest clue where just one of the escaped mental patients. I'm Linda Frost reporting from Fair Fill-Ups...back to you, Ryan."
I didn't hesitate after Linda disappeared off the screen to quickly grab the remote and turn the TV off. Quietly, I breathed, taking in everything that I had just heard with my own ears. The gang and I were on a vacation in a place where there were escaped mental patients on the lose! And not only that, but five people were already killed, and three other people were still missing! But what could I do about it? I couldn't tell the gang...I knew that most of them would say that I was probably just messing around anyway. Besides, we were one of the roughest gangs in all of Tulsa, and we've survived everything our hometown has thrown at us since day one. If those escaped mental patients tried coming near any of us, we would be ready.
At that thought, I formed a smirk and chuckled as I finished getting dressed. No escaped psychopaths would bother coming to The County Lodge, right? I mean, not many people were even staying here, so why bother?
I wasn't going to bother telling the gang...I didn't want to worry or scare any of them, especially after we drove all this way and just settled in the night before. None of us could ever go through something that massive, right? I mean, sure...we've been through murderous rumbles and all of that, but we wouldn't ever have to go through what seemed like an actual horror film. Just because the news reporter thinks that this Belinda and all of those other people were killed and kidnapped by some escaped psychos didn't mean that they actually were.
I finished drying off my hair, no longer smirking since Two-Bit came wandering back into my head. I had to talk to him about this trick that he pulled on me. I left mine and Two-Bit's room, closing the door behind me and no longer thinking about the news report since I didn't think there was anything to actually be worried over. Unfortunately, I didn't pay any mind to notice that a pair of evil eyes were spying on me, hiding in the closet.