A Chapter by Louis McKraker

“I’m not doing it, Cameron!” Polly protested.

Everyone but the two of us had left.

The birthday party was over, the cake was almost gone, the ice-cream was entirely gone, and we were lying parallel on my front lawn�"our hands behind our heads for a cushion.

We were watching the last of the sun sink behind some horizon, as it painted the sky an array of amber and pink. Then, in another sky, there was only blue. The color of the approaching night.

“Why not?” I asked. “Because I’m going, regardless of whether you or any of them show up.”

“You’re just that stubborn, aren’t you?”

“I must be,” I agreed sarcastically.

“Well,” she started, standing to her feet, with a slow grunt, “since I can’t talk you out of being dumb, I guess I should head home, while there is still some light left.”

The street lamps were already glowing across town, but Polly didn’t like to ride home alone at night.

“You’re really going to let me go out there alone?” I asked again in a condemning voice.

“Yes, I am,” she returned, knocking the kickstand on her bike back into its inoperable position. “Goodnight, Cameron,” she said in a tone somewhere between stuck-up and fed-up. “I enjoyed your birthday party. It was really fun… Until now,” she concluded, as she mounted her bike and rolled down the driveway.

“Well, that’s just,” I started in on her, sitting up on the grass, but I honestly couldn't think of anything awful to say.

We were all too full of cake and ice-cream for such things. And, like that, Polly was off down the street, headed home.

Soon after, she vanished out of sight completely.

I went upstairs, to my bedroom.

I sat at my desk for a while, asking myself if I would really go in the woods on the other side of the park by myself.

Sure, I told myself. The others will be there. Even Marcus won’t have any reason not to show.

But, I considered, I may have to go into the woods by myself.

Polly seemed really upset when she left. From the time she said No, really.

But, as for the others, I just knew they would show up.

I just felt it in my gut. None of us would pass up the chance to show some mouthy out-a-town kid what for. And give it to him we would.

Eat that, Nikki, I thought in mockery. You’re likely all talk yourself. I’ll even bet you haven’t even been in there, really. Bet that was all talk.

We’ll master our world right before your eyes… Weirdo.

The phone rang down stairs, and I came back from my silent rant in Nick’s honor. A moment later, there was the sound of someone walking up the stairs.

Then Mom knocked on my bedroom door.

“Come in,” I chimed.

Mom walked in in her sock-feet, holding the receiver in one hand, a strand of long, brown hair stuck to one cheek. She had fallen asleep for a bit on the living room couch, and her eyes showed it. “Telephone,” she said in a peppy, I’m really awake voice.

I took the phone, and Mom was off, back down the stairs.

Probably to finish what one of my friends interrupted�"the door shutting behind her.

I put the handset to my ear, standing up to look out my bedroom window, to a bare, and not to mention barely-lit street beyond our front lawn.

“Hello?” I spoke.

There was a brief moment of nothing but silence on the other end of the line, before they spoke.

“Hey, Cameron,” Polly’s hesitant voice filled my ear. “It’s seven-forty-five. Did you know that?”

“No,” I admitted. “I didn't.”

She was quiet on her end of the line for a couple of seconds longer. “Are you still dumb enough to go out there on your own tonight?” she asked.

“I guess I am,” I told her.

She was badly mistaken. Regardless of what she put-on, she had to know as well as I did that Marcus and Squire wouldn’t let go of the opportunity to best this weirdo outcast know it all�"unless they were dead, or something like that.

No�"Not the three of us.

It was fifteen minutes till midnight when I slid out of bed and sneaked down the stairs, to the front door. I punched the code in, disarming the alarm, and made my way outdoors.

The night air felt nice on my face.

The days become really hot during the summer here. Even as we neared its end, the days were in the hundreds.

Nights are a little different, though.

We get a break from the heat of the day, and it is a blessing to us.

I peddled along in the night. I was cruising steadily along the sidewalk that runs beside Hansen Street.

I came to a stop at the intersection where Hansen crosses Murphy Avenue. I sat quietly at the crosswalk for a moment. I was thinking about how stupid I would look if I were the only one of us that showed up.

I also considered that maybe Nick would call it a quits, as well. I thought about how he might not even be there.

I thought about how stupid I might look to them the next time I see them if I sat at the park by myself�"none of them brave enough themselves. But I told myself that all of them were something worse.

They were hometown cowards if they didn’t show up.

Suddenly I heard my own voice in my head. The voice assured me that neither Squire nor Marcus would miss out on a chance to help me show-up that homeschooler. They would definitely be there with me�"even if Polly was not.

I stepped on one peddle and started to cross Murphy Avenue. That was when I heard the sound of someone approaching from behind.

I turned around and saw nothing but darkness beyond the light of the street lamps.

“Polly?” I spoke in a lowered voice. “That you?”

No one spoke a word in return

“Squire? Marcus? Is that you guys?”

Still, there was no return.

“Nick?” I staggered.

Again, no one answered.

No one answered, but something approached me from the shadows where the streetlight ended. Something approached me with heavy footsteps, and my pulse began to speed up.

Whatever it was it came closer. It still was under the darkness, but it approached still.

Not only were there heavy footsteps coming toward me, but another sound came hideously out of the darkness along with them.

It was a sharp, grinding noise.

It sounded sharp, whatever it was.

My brain said to run now. My body, however, was slow to react. While my instinct said to dart off on my bike, I was too frightened to move.

And then the figure began to reach out of the darkness. Some disfigured shadow reach out of the darkness at me. In sent my heart racing so fast it felt like it might explode at any moment.

Now the stretched shadow began to shift in shape. It went from large to thin, as it came into the street light.

The figure came into view as it moved toward me.

© 2020 Louis McKraker

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Added on June 21, 2020
Last Updated on June 21, 2020


Louis McKraker
Louis McKraker


My name is Louis McKraker. I was born in Central Alabama and began writing at age nine. I don't have much to say about myself, except I'm a Piscean. I prefer poetry over prose. I love storytelling... more..

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A Chapter by Louis McKraker

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A Chapter by Louis McKraker

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A Chapter by Louis McKraker