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The Proper Way to Eat a Victorian Age Brain
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Writer Jessica Rinori
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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The Proper Way to Eat a Victorian Age Brain
A - A - A
2 | Darcy Family Mortuary Isn't the Ideal Hangout Joint
Jessica Rinori
Apr 17, 2018
26 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!v69tH63dw7sbnE4KdqkUposted on PENANA

“Ah, crap.” Adam threw his backpack on his bed and grabbed his shoes, pulling them back on. He got one shoe on and while yanking on the other, hopped on one foot to his bedroom door, swinging it open.copyright protection3PENANAiW7hkVDRYV

    “Mom!” He called down the stairs. “I forgot my history textbook at the mortuary! I’ll be back soon!”copyright protection3PENANAuu2DXJK0Wg

    Adam climbed out his window and swung his body under the closest fire escape bar, taking the steps down two at a time. Adam’s family lived in a old apartment building they had renovated and made into a house, and constructed a garage attached to the back of the building. They’d kept most of the old features of the apartment, like the fire escapes for example, Adam’s revolving door of getting in and out of the house.copyright protection3PENANA8osv3wggXB

    He grabbed his bike chained up to the drainpipe underneath the fire escape. With a running start, Adam headed down the street and eventually swung his other leg over the bicycle seat.copyright protection3PENANAbfxixSeaJc

    He was well old enough to have his drivers license but his parents wouldn’t take him to get his official copy and money was tight. Adding Adam to the family’s insurance was currently out of the question, let alone buying him a car. His parents had said maybe by the start of his senior year, but the very same senior year started a month ago and there wasn’t hope of a car happening anytime soon.copyright protection3PENANA5dG8RERBEN

    Adam had talked himself into being fine with the situation. He always tried to be understanding for his parents, not wanting to push things he knew he shouldn’t. He didn’t want to be extra trouble for them so typically, he stayed quiet. Between him and his younger twin sisters, Isabelle and Hazel, they were a lot to work with while running a family business. A family business of starting up and owning a funeral home and mortuary. That’s right.copyright protection3PENANASMbkifRyvO

    Adam was used to the looks he got when people found out what his parents, what his family, did for a living. It didn’t bother him anymore but it took some getting used to. It wasn’t every kid on the block whose parents prepared dead people for funerals.copyright protection3PENANA9G4HZBAeMj

    The mortuary was a five minute bike ride from his house and was where Adam usually spent his hours after school. Which would explain why his history textbook was probably sitting next to the formaldehyde on the back counter. Perfect. He’d go to school smelling like dead people again. Just what every kid wanted.copyright protection3PENANAqSx70oLRZq

    He passed the sign advertising for the business, sitting on a small section of grass right next to the driveway entrance that led out to the road. It was still lit up in bright white lights. copyright protection3PENANAEScQcv543B


    Adam steered his bike into the parking lot and jumped the sidewalk curb. His bike rattled against the wall of the mortuary, a few feet from the back door as he dropped it. Adam approached the door, ready to unlock it but paused in front of it. It was open.copyright protection3PENANAOXcm4cKQ3K

    He had locked it when he left, hadn’t he? Maybe it’d slipped his mind. He edged toward the door, running his fingers along the door frame and around the knob, checking for any kind of scrapes or dents. It all seemed fine. The door was only open a crack, the lock halfway pushed into the door frame. All signs of the possibility Adam forgot to lock up when he left with his dad a few hours prior.copyright protection3PENANAgICtzPYET2

    He reached for the door knob when a stringy, thin line of blobs on the ground caught his attention. He leaned down and inspected it closer. They looked like blood splatters only black, and seemed to have the texture of tar. It was shiny; brand new and very recent. Adam poked it and lifted his finger to his face. The black stained his fingers, but didn’t run off them. It ran, but was like jelly; thick and slow moving.copyright protection3PENANAgMgyJbQhGm

    A small tinkle of glass jars from inside the mortuary perked Adam’s ears. He knew he hadn’t forgotten to lock up. He pulled the knob and the half pressed in lock softly clicked. The glass tinkling stopped.copyright protection3PENANACvjORo0Bf4

    Adam crouched and ran around the other side of the mortuary. He reached for his phone, texting the two people—the only two people—he knew he could get over to the mortuary in a situation like this; best friends, Cal Lancaster and Harper DiMarzo. copyright protection3PENANAmvNZZmOY0I

    Cal told Adam once that if he ever needed help committing a crime, he’d be there in half a heartbeat. Adam had to assure Cal that he didn’t have any current or future or any plans ever at all to become a criminal but Cal shrugged and said it was just in case.copyright protection3PENANA1guhPesFv8

    There wasn’t any criminal activity on Adam’s part but he thought maybe now was a time for Cal’s so-called, just in case you do end up committing a crime. Harper on the other hand was not amused with Cal’s criminal logic that stated Cal would only be available if Adam were ever involved in any sort of felony. Harper’s logic was that she would be there at any time for Adam, no matter the situation, big or small, how dramatic or messy or absolutely annoying. This earned Harper a sheepish smile from Adam (who didn’t know how the conversation changed from their English paper topic to always being there for Adam), and a, “that’s what I was getting at” from Cal.copyright protection3PENANA27EmWvLX70

    Not sure who to call first, Adam quickly concluded sending a text in their group chat CHA-CHA, (standing for Cal, Harper, and Adam. Cal added the second CHA because, “there is no one Cha without a second Cha.”) would be the best way to tell them both at the same time.copyright protection3PENANA1twOsvahub

    Cal called Adam within twenty seconds of him sending the text.copyright protection3PENANA0wsuNhIgXe

    “Cal?” Adam whispered, dropping to the ground once he was safely on the other side of the building.copyright protection3PENANAoZm2miy7fF

    “Dude, you know I’m only coming because I’m your friend,” Cal said. He sounded like he was pulling on a coat the way his voice was so loud next to the microphone. “Otherwise, I would in no way be going to a mortuary at this hour of night. Seriously, do you know where you are right now? Do you know what this looks like?”copyright protection3PENANA7g9D5C9gTE

    “Cal, I don’t have time for this!” Adam ferociously whispered.copyright protection3PENANArTaUoXb7d8

    “It looks like the start of a horror film, right before the first jump scene,” Cal described, practically ignoring all of Adam’s urgency. Cal was ready for this. This is what he had been talking about with helping me with felonies, Adam thought. Either he thinks I’m going to die or something is going to happen with the person inside.copyright protection3PENANAmC8IFu0eBf

    “Right before it’s all about to go down,” Cal was still saying, “the first murder happens. That gets the town talking, they start looking for the killer—”copyright protection3PENANATIw2mCEvSy

    “Why are you saying that right now?” Adam whisper-yelled into the phone. “I’m the one about to be slaughtered by who knows what’s in there!”copyright protection3PENANAakskeQhqYv

    “First off…slaughtered? Nice word choice.” Adam could imagine Cal ticking off his fingers as he made his list. “Second…with an attitude like that, you most definitely are going to be slaughtered.”copyright protection3PENANAyk8H2Ob32N

    “Hey, woah! Not helping!”copyright protection3PENANAjVvPYSsDol

    “Okay, you don’t even know if they’re armed or whatever.”copyright protection3PENANAbyFDSUuaks

    “It’s a mortuary, Cal. There isn’t a drawer in there that doesn’t have some sharp tool in it.”copyright protection3PENANAGTNOAQCLTE

    Adam’s phone buzzed in his hand. He checked his screen.copyright protection3PENANAydA43zXvcl

    “Harp is calling me,” Adam reported.copyright protection3PENANAQnTw1MqvWL

    “Don’t even think about hanging up,” Cal threatened. “I don’t want to be the one to find your body.”copyright protection3PENANAYCELreC30w

    “I’ll be talking to Harper,” Adam assured. “Just get here.”copyright protection3PENANAIzJjEMSBh5

    “Give me five minutes.”copyright protection3PENANAX7tRDuD40A

    Adam switched lines.copyright protection3PENANAPZctLEInIJ

    “I think there’s someone in the mortuary,” he answered the phone, keeping his voice low and quiet.copyright protection3PENANATqjCKXoDzG

    “What?” Harper shrieked on the other end. “Someone broke in?”copyright protection3PENANAIxOcosG1wH

    “I’m pretty sure,” Adam said peeking around the corner of the building. No one had come out of the door and he hadn’t heard any other noises. “Cal said I’m going to get slaughtered and I’m pretty sure he’s right.”copyright protection3PENANAClHOPstyQb

    “Can you see anything?”copyright protection3PENANAiKCBnmzL09

    “I’m around the corner of the building,” Adam said whipping his head back behind the safety of the brick and mortar. He was cowering; he knew he was. “I can’t see anything, but someone is definitely in there. I heard them.”copyright protection3PENANAsIGgU4JB6f

    “Okay, Adam, all seriousness. Go home. What’re you doing back there so late?”copyright protection3PENANAjIB0xrt0Zj

    Adam paused. His reason was stupid, but it was the only one he had. “I left my history textbook.”copyright protection3PENANAbh4NTrasda

    Harper’s line went quiet. “You’re joking.”copyright protection3PENANABFThWOmFqs

    Adam started to shake his head then remembered he was still on the phone. “Wish I was.”copyright protection3PENANAUKbwKIXeIX

    “You’re risking your life for Mr. Taulman’s history textbook?!” She shrieked. “It’s a textbook. Very easily replaceable. Get up, go home, tell your parents and figure this out with them. You don’t need to be poking around the mortuary when some jacked up, messed up creep-o is lurking in there at this time of night. Like, who does that?”copyright protection3PENANAyUfCI83TBg

    Adam was about to respond when the back door slammed open. The person opened it so wide that the door hit Adam’s bike because he heard the bang of the metal door colliding with handlebars.copyright protection3PENANA3dVXvSMRxc

    Adam scurried to his feet, phone still clutched in his hand, running for the road, hoping to make his way to the shopping strip across the street.copyright protection3PENANAksWvYHdWVW

    Something grabbed the collar of his jacket and yanked him back. Adam halted to a stop and fell to the ground, choking.copyright protection3PENANAUtR96zi9sU

    A tall, skinny, extremely pale kid with ghostly white hair was crouched over Adam’s head, upside down in his vision. In the kid’s hand were two scalpels, pointed too close to Adam’s face than he would have liked.copyright protection3PENANApw7luCdgtL

    “Hang up the phone,” the kid ordered.copyright protection3PENANAtOdpjc7x93

    Adam didn’t wait a second longer and hung up on Harper in the middle of her sentence.copyright protection3PENANAu3xldDVwNo

    “You alone?” The kid asked, quickly looking around their immediate surroundings. The scalpels looked particularly sharp. Adam had seen his parents use them more than once on multiple occasions but now that it was pointed directly at him, the blade became more than a mortician’s tool.copyright protection3PENANAqcVxypaMGE

    Adam nodded, mute. He stuck his hands above his head in surrender, knuckles grazing the asphalt he was flat against. His phone was still tight in his grip. Pale Boy nudged the phone out of Adam’s hand with his foot, kicking it like a soccer ball at the bushes on the far side of the parking lot.copyright protection3PENANAx9sLzLYGj8

    Adam lifted his head and watched the phone soar. It entered the bushy prison with a small leaf ruffle.copyright protection3PENANAKNbh9pV5WI

    “Who was that?” The kid motioned at the bushes the phone resided in, with the scalpels he held.copyright protection3PENANAumVpUuP4gv

    “Um…my….uh, friend.” Adam stuttered, setting his head back on the ground.copyright protection3PENANAJOFbAeXyVg

    “Do they know where you are? They coming?”copyright protection3PENANAGF4SXeiTje

    Adam didn’t answer and the kid took that as a yes.copyright protection3PENANABOBxew13Bi

    “Get up.”copyright protection3PENANAzk6evGtsfo

    Adam scrambled to his feet and went along with Pale Boy who held the blades securely against Adam’s back. So securely, Adam thought the blades would draw blood. Pale Boy called it “motivation” as he walked behind Adam back to the building, through the door he had slammed open and into the hallway, opening up to the mortuary.copyright protection3PENANAJW4NO117Ul

    Pale Boy dumped Adam into a sitting position in the corner, the farthest away from any door or window. The all too familiar whiff of formaldehyde exploded up Adam’s nose and the normal cold temperatures he was used to, sent chills running over his skin.copyright protection3PENANAlw9X3ot5r4

    There was only one light on in the room, above the counter Adam sat by. The rest of the room was dark, making it difficult for Adam to see his capturer. copyright protection3PENANAn1oufUbJmq

    Adam noticed the kid walked with a limp, but it wasn’t like he had a bad leg; it was like he was injured. Adam watched the kid a little longer, trying to discover more about him.copyright protection3PENANA75mbTbdVi8

    “Wha—” Adam started but the kid whipped around and pointed the blades at Adam again. Even from across the room it was just as threatening. Did he know how to throw knives? Adam wondered. The chance was probably very slim, but even a slim chance was a chance.copyright protection3PENANAgEFqBJO5Og

    “Uh-uh.” Pale Boy shook his head. “You don’t get to talk unless I say.”copyright protection3PENANA9biyGxsRhP

    Adam pinched his lips shut but his brain was working fast. He analyzed his sort-of kidnapper. copyright protection3PENANAhoVEAOPOJ8

He had a limp. Adam could easily outrun him.copyright protection3PENANAX0NDromgua

But then again, he had caught up to Adam in the parking lot regardless of his limp.copyright protection3PENANAxEmPc3nFUE

Scratch number 1.copyright protection3PENANAvb2qQDfGrZ

He wasn’t paying much attention to Adam slumped in the corner. copyright protection3PENANAOpZB2r0oHu

He needed something. He was looking for something and Adam could use that to his advantage. To bargain.copyright protection3PENANAze8W3lZq1T

    The only setback? Pale Boy had a knife. Two knives and whether he was handy with them or not, Adam didn’t know. Which brought Adam back to the question, if Pale Boy was a good knife thrower. Adam knew that he himself, was not good with a knife or any form of close quarters combat, if it came to that. Not that Adam had tried, but whenever it came to hand-to-hand combat in any video game, Adam always lost. If he couldn’t stay alive in a video game, how did he expect to survive it in real life?copyright protection3PENANA4w57XVKcCc

    “You own this joint?” The pale kid asked. He was searching through drawers slowly but kept slamming them shut and moving onto the next. He looked back at Adam, waiting for an answer.copyright protection3PENANAbqBb2EC33j

    Adam didn’t give him one and Pale Boy smirked.copyright protection3PENANAxCxGzB2z13

    “I’m going to tell you what I think,” he said. “From the way you’re sitting so comfortably in here, and the fact you were coming in through the back door, tells me you do. Probably, most likely, owned by your parents because you look like you’re still in high school. You help out here after school and on the weekends because it’s a family business and you just might end up taking over one day. Because of that, you have to find some time to do your homework, and what better place than the family business?”copyright protection3PENANAt6AzdxvXJ7

    The kid paused and looked back at Adam.copyright protection3PENANAaVxM6AqIDt

    “Am I getting close?” He asked, then continued without giving Adam the chance to respond.copyright protection3PENANA1b6zSGaUfc

    “But when you leave, sometimes you forget things. But, hey! That’s fine because your parents own the place and you can come back whenever and get it. Right?” Pale Boy dropped a heavy object on the ground and slid it across the floor with his foot, sending it right to Adam’s crossed legs. Adam’s history textbook. Or more accurately, Mr. Taulman’s history textbook. Adam grabbed it, set it in his lap and kept his eyes down.copyright protection3PENANAYIiyhw6MuQ

    “Looks like I was spot on.”copyright protection3PENANATELrqS2RAF

    Adam flicked his eyes up. Pale Boy had gotten closer, coming more into the light. Adam couldn’t look away from his eyes. They were yellow. Not traffic cone yellow, or neon 80s yellow, but more of a banana yellow. The yellow irised eyes were mixed with small gold and brown flecks, adding more texture to the kid’s eyes and emphasizing the solid color behind it all. Adam hadn’t seen Pale Boy’s eyes the first time because of how dark it was.copyright protection3PENANAlCRrcJ7nEn

    “What are you doing here?” Adam asked trying to keep his voice from cracking. He was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t.copyright protection3PENANAAD5ScnoiaT

    Looking at the boy entirely, he seemed off. Like something people would turn their heads and stare at. With his bright white hair and now yellow eyes, Adam was sure of it.copyright protection3PENANA94xUvYNyQo

    Pale Boy looked like he was going to cut Adam off and snap at him for talking, but gave up. copyright protection3PENANAeb15CdPKBu

    “Looking for some supplies,” Pale Boy droned. He was going through cabinets and drawers at a very slow pace, continuing around the room painfully slow. Adam assumed it was because of his injury but he couldn’t see any indication of where the injury was specifically.copyright protection3PENANA7b7d4jBtBL

    “Can’t go to a hospital?” Adam asked.copyright protection3PENANAmKPUFlStTI

    “Hospital’s aren’t really my scene.”7Please respect copyright.PENANAQ7gGH6xQ9k
    “You need medical attention and you decide hospitals aren’t your scene?”copyright protection3PENANAR7TSdw63hI

    “It was either this place or the vet, another two miles out of the way. So I settled with this, okay?” Pale Boy found some gauze and tossed it onto one of the chrome body trays.copyright protection3PENANAxpTEDYXerz

    “What’s your name?” Adam asked hopefully.copyright protection3PENANAZOkPIZaAt4

    The kid chuckled. “Nice try.”copyright protection3PENANAjkcddqKkt1

    “Okay, at least tell me where you’re injured? Maybe I can help?”copyright protection3PENANA20rWE4UCil

    The kid stopped looking through the room and swiveled his head in Adam’s direction.copyright protection3PENANAbi9v7SvisY

    “You’re pretty observant, I’ll give you that,” Pale Boy complimented. “But I didn’t say you could talk. Shut up, or I eat you.”copyright protection3PENANAnMjzZwZJRt

    He said it so seriously, Adam didn’t know if he was kidding or not. He laughed at the absurdity.copyright protection3PENANALTtdP8hJKA

    “Did you—”copyright protection3PENANA5WTfs17XjA

    “You want me to eat you?”copyright protection3PENANAWHmghlNg5E

    Oh. Adam’s body froze solid, his mind screaming.copyright protection3PENANAKQxd3nll66

    Did he just say he’d eat me?! What is this, some sick cannibalistic joke?! What the— Adam let a string of curse words go in his head, plenty of which he’d never say in front of his mother in fear of being sent to the bathroom to get his mouth washed out with soap like he was a little kid again.copyright protection3PENANAWc2PsuQzsa

    The sound of tires rolling through the parking lot came from outside, headlights crossing through the windows, shining on the mortuary walls until they stayed still. Two car doors opened, then closed and the soft pad of two pairs of feet shuffled across the asphalt.copyright protection3PENANAapRwF8StpX

    “Does someone else know you’re here?” Pale Boy’s head jerked up. “You said no one else was coming.” His tone sounded scared but also like he was so done and tired of dealing with witnesses of his break-in.copyright protection3PENANA79OFnS2Jd9

    Adam said nothing, just in case Pale Boy wasn’t joking after all. He tried his best to stay expressionless.copyright protection3PENANAPamRZOmPoO

    Pale Boy limped to investigate the back door, disappearing down the hallway.copyright protection3PENANA0yeS4T0Wnq

    Adam let out his breath, moved the textbook off his lap and was up on his feet, dashing toward the door leading into the connecting funeral home. It was locked. He patted his pockets down for his keys but there wasn’t any jingling. There’s another thing his mom would kill him about. Maybe he dropped them in the parking lot?copyright protection3PENANAUvAIaYBdHP

    Footsteps echoed quietly in the hallway and the metal door closed. Adam grabbed a scalpel from the drawer and pushed it up his sleeve, resuming his criss crossed position on the floor with the book in his lap.copyright protection3PENANAnwZJoYxKOW

    Cal appeared first, leading the hostage train, then Harper, with Pale Boy right behind them, giving the exact treatment he had given Adam. Pale Boy motioned toward the ground with the knife to have Cal and Harper take a seat next to Adam.copyright protection3PENANAzOuNGyHHv4

    “I didn’t have an attack plan set up…at all…so we winged it,” Harper whispered taking a seat on the other side of Adam. She watched Pale Boy walk away back toward the cabinets. He found another needed piece of medical material he needed and tossed it next to the gauze.copyright protection3PENANA8qzJ8KHKYo

    “Who the freak is this guy?” She swatted a stray hair out of her face.copyright protection3PENANAzlVy5kxD5l

    Adam tightly smiled but still didn't say anything. He shrugged, eyes wide. He brought a finger up to his lips, letting Harper and Cal know. copyright protection3PENANAzEa3sQCay8

    “What are you doing?” Cal asked, whispering at Adam’s darting eyes. “Just talk.”copyright protection3PENANAfHyPqHz7ry

    Adam held up five fingers. Cal hit them away.copyright protection3PENANAw1UszZM6DR

    “No,” Cal whisper-barked, “you’re not going to charade it to us.”copyright protection3PENANArcwCgZtS91

    “Well I don’t want to die,” Adam responded. He immediately bit his lips together.copyright protection3PENANA1oIzd9hNhI

    “Okay, yep, I get it,” Harper responded a little too quickly and pinched her lips.copyright protection3PENANAlOJfgjf3pS

    “You,” Pale Boy called across the room. He pointed at Adam and Adam’s eyes bulged. “Get up and get over here. Find the gauze and something to stitch me up with.”copyright protection3PENANAVR4rtlrWeB

    Adam stood slowly and walked over to Pale Boy. Slyly, at the same time, Harper reached into her pocket and dialed 9-1-1.copyright protection3PENANAYfZHOdQ518

    Adam opened the cabinets the gauze and bandages were in. He set it down on the counter and Pale Boy came back and forth, moving the supplies to the metal tray. Adam glanced carefully to the side, back to Harper and Cal sitting on the ground. Harper whispered quietly in her phone, calling the police.copyright protection3PENANAOnWyCcRSgh

    “How are you planning on closing yourself up?” Adam asked, distracting Pale Boy from Harper and Cal.copyright protection3PENANAKb8PDCa4zo

    “That,” Pale Boy said, still moving supplies, “is where one of you is going to come in handy.” He leaned more on his left leg when he walked.copyright protection3PENANAFyEFftT6zU

    Adam reached inside a different drawer and retrieved a skin stapler, adding it to the pile Pale Boy had made.copyright protection3PENANAenhaWUnNND

    “Whoa,” Pale Boy said as soon as he saw it. “That looks like some high tech futuristic gun. That’s what you’re going to use?”copyright protection3PENANA4xPdnsQyxq

    Adam half shrugged and nodded.copyright protection3PENANAXdYBTd4MkD

    “You guys are too good for stitches around here?”copyright protection3PENANAHy1ZJXU6LH

    “Dead people typically don’t need stitches,” Adam retorted, “they’re dead.”copyright protection3PENANAKQfz4D2UbA

    Another set of tire wheels pulled into the parking lot. This time, the lights flashing through the high windows were cycling red and blue.copyright protection3PENANAl8OjJHxOuR

    Pale Boy’s attention flew to Cal and Harper, and he marched over to them as best he could with his limp.copyright protection3PENANAscpuc9s6fd

    “Who called them?” He demanded.copyright protection3PENANAO044A8HC3S

    Harper started yelling trying to get the cops attention. Pale Boy marched back to Adam as quickly as he could and slammed Adam’s body against one of the metal body trays, holding the scalpels against his neck. Harper stopped screaming.copyright protection3PENANAdo01HKIezd

    “Either one of you tries to do anything or make any sound,” Pale Boy threatened, “he dies.”copyright protection3PENANA61pwvBFYIU

    Heavy knocking echoed off the back door. The police called from the outside, telling everyone inside the mortuary that they had ten seconds to come out before they came in.copyright protection3PENANAbwVfBvoi8r

    Turning his words to Adam, Pale Boy leaned close to him. “I’m going to be right behind you. You’re going to answer the door and get rid of them. If you don’t I’m going to kill everyone here. Including the cops.”copyright protection3PENANAalPbmwW5Lv

    The back door handle jiggled. Pale Boy dragged Adam off the table and pushed him toward the back door. Adam opened the door, Pale Boy behind it so the cops couldn’t see him, but kept the blades pushed against Adam’s side.copyright protection3PENANAjRxIn3k212

    “Hi, officers,” Adam said as calmly as he could. His whole body was getting hot from his racing heart. He tried to stand as casually as possible without seeming like he was too much behind the door.copyright protection3PENANAXdzSsanQtv

    “We got a call from this address saying that there was a problem,” the first officer said. “What’s going on?”copyright protection3PENANAhER7QeDMjo

    Adam smiled and laughed nervously. He cleared his throat and felt a sharp poke in his side.copyright protection3PENANAiCfPlDSFFU

    “That was my fault,” Adam explained. “This is my family’s funeral home and mortuary. We own the building. I had to come back to get my history textbook and had a little problem with the alarm code. My name’s Adam Darcy.”copyright protection3PENANAIC7iuAtSrW

    Adam was more than upset he didn’t have a license to prove his identity.copyright protection3PENANAoJAfQqutdN

    “The call came from Harper DiMarzo’s phone,” the second officer said and looked behind himself, shining his flashlight on the car parked in the lot. “Is that her car?”copyright protection3PENANASvq8lMLdsq

    Pale Boy listened closer to what they were saying. Harper DiMarzo, that must’ve been the girl who called them.copyright protection3PENANA7a3ftyPWqg

    “Yeah, she came to help me after I couldn’t figure out the alarm code.”copyright protection3PENANATPZu5PVzj8

    “You didn't call your parents?”copyright protection3PENANAnbENjZA4c2

    “I didn’t want to bother them. I’m always forgetting the code and I bother them a lot with that. Harper comes and visits a lot so she knows the code for the back door. She has a way better memory than I do.”copyright protection3PENANAukdxzG5pDw

    “Is she here? Can she come tell us that herself?”copyright protection3PENANAFxlE1ruW0N

    Adam froze. Poke.copyright protection3PENANA5nYJbiILmV

    “Yeah, absolutely,” Adam said a little too quickly. He turned around and shouted for Harper to come to the front.copyright protection3PENANAORg1pQIvfm

    “How about we come in and talk to her? Can we come in?” The first officer asked, taking a step forward.copyright protection3PENANA1VTnAUO4RP

    Adam shook his head. The officer raised an eyebrow.copyright protection3PENANARWdQFo8oav

    “I mean, she’s almost up here,” Adam reasoned. He called Harper again and this time, a small shuffle came from the mortuary. Harper appeared behind Adam a few seconds later.copyright protection3PENANAjZmA1MqJhF

    “Can you tell us your name?” The second officer asked Harper.copyright protection3PENANA6jBZHbUwfL

    She had a stupid grin on her face, she almost fooled Adam that she was fine. “Harper DiMarzo. Or do you need my full name? I can give you that too. Harper Monterey DiMarzo. Monterey is a family name on my mom’s side. It’s her middle name too.”copyright protection3PENANAl7IzYoX7M8

    Pale Boy looked at Harper curiously from behind the door.copyright protection3PENANAC68ZG9L6T3

    She’s talking too much, Adam thought after he received a hard poke that felt like it drew blood.copyright protection3PENANAMZnnZ4yTAO

    “Why don’t you tell them what you're doing here?” Adam asked.copyright protection3PENANAFWVnvULt1y

    The second officer looked at Adam, a little disappointed the kid had stolen his next question, but nodded, allowing Harper to proceed with her answer.copyright protection3PENANACEEKDkTprN

    “Adam forgot his history textbook here so when he got here, he called me asking what the alarm code was after a couple of failed attempts. One more time and the company would have notified his parents and that’s the last thing we want. He’s always having to ask him for the code. That way if I know it too, it gets him out a trouble a lot.”copyright protection3PENANAtdMQBLU9Fv

    “So then why did you call 9-1-1?” The first officer asked.copyright protection3PENANAXlsTIYNusO

    Harper drew a blank. She willed her mind to move fast. Thankfully, something came to mind.copyright protection3PENANA34sHP62Jwt

    “When I got here, Adam had left the back door opened, but hadn’t gotten the code to work. He had gone around to the front to try to see if his parents had stashed a spare code reminder somewhere in the front desk of the funeral home. So when I showed up and saw the back door unlocked, I thought someone broke in.”copyright protection3PENANAwZGiQh4KrJ

    Hard poke.copyright protection3PENANAgp4JiNH6i9

    “She hadn’t realized that it was me but before that, she called 9-1-1 just in case I was in danger. But we’re all fine here.”copyright protection3PENANAVleo34u5N0

    “9-1-1 is for emergencies, kids,” the first officer said.copyright protection3PENANAyj0fCQwGBX

    Harper and Adam nodded in unison.copyright protection3PENANAqSnvBFjjMC

    “We’re really sorry,” Harper said. She actually sounded convincing.copyright protection3PENANAtHYI51Mz6z

    Pale Boy pressed the knife deeper into Adam’s side as if to say, Get rid of them.copyright protection3PENANAAFSBUvrrc3

    “Thank you for coming all the way down here, officers,” Adam wrapped up. “We’re sorry to cause you all the trouble.”copyright protection3PENANAoDVM9xrsRd

    The officers both gave Adam and Harper another suspicious look. “We’re glad you’re safe,” the second officer said, “Have a good night.”copyright protection3PENANA5kU3204Ozb

    Adam smiled, relieved they were leaving. “You too.”copyright protection3PENANAnaRgLLMdcY

    Adam and Harper backed into the mortuary and Pale Boy shut the door, a smile splayed on his face.copyright protection3PENANAhBBdnKKPdB

    “I’m actually quite impressed with the two of you. You were both perfect and I didn’t have to kill and eat anybody.”copyright protection3PENANA3iWYmYYqNy

    Harper couldn’t help herself. “Excuse me?copyright protection3PENANACbIusufeIs

    Pale Boy ignored her, waited at the door until they heard the police car pull away before he motioned back at the mortuary.7Please respect copyright.PENANA7yftZmAEBA
    “What are you doing here anyway?” Harper asked Pale Boy after she was situated back on the ground next to Cal and Adam. “Are you some pedofile of the dead or something? Some creep?”copyright protection3PENANAc04OdrzXhM

    “Let’s go with, ‘or something’,” Pale Boy said and paused. After a minute, he said, “since you did great with getting rid of the cops, you can ask me one question and I’ll answer it.”copyright protection3PENANAzk5viruhSh

    “One each,” Cal negotiated.copyright protection3PENANAPvtyZV3f9M

    “You did nothing,” Pale Boy spat back.copyright protection3PENANAHmMLaZdKXv

    “I stayed quiet,” Cal replied.copyright protection3PENANAxwPC284wqX

    Pale Boy teetered his head. “Fair. You did. Okay fine, one each.”copyright protection3PENANAOfshOsdRHm

    “What’s your name?” Adam spurt out before even thinking about it.copyright protection3PENANADoIpaTooDl

    Harper punched his shoulder. “We’re supposed to think about it.”copyright protection3PENANATaSJNUSRri

    “Sorry, but I’ve been calling him Pale Boy in my head and I’m kind of getting sick of it,” Adam responded, rubbing his shoulder.copyright protection3PENANAPgyhymKLdr

    “Pale Boy?” The kid asked. “Really?”copyright protection3PENANA7RQQg1JFpn

    Adam nodded. “That’s my question. What’s your name?”copyright protection3PENANA1jyT2lOUdg

    Pale Boy bit the inside of his cheek and looked at Harper, Cal and Adam. “Julius,” he responded.copyright protection3PENANAd2wLk474Ql

    “One name?” Adam pressed. “No last name? What are you, Beyoncé?”copyright protection3PENANAwYcmOtny8N

    “Everyone knows that Beyoncé’s last name is Knowles,” Harper muttered to Adam. “That was a bad example.”copyright protection3PENANAW96u38PR33

    Adam looked at her. “What are you, Sia?” He tried again. He saw Harper nod out of the corner of his eye.copyright protection3PENANA7g5E1qJ9uz

    “Better,” she whispered.copyright protection3PENANAu0yGnn9LWi

    “To you,” Julius said, “Yeah, I’ve only got one name. It’s all you need to know. Is your second question why I only have one name?”copyright protection3PENANAySsEnvNcnQ

    “No,” Cal piped up. “How’d you get hurt, Orange? What happened? Let’s see.”copyright protection3PENANAgv7la8MTig

    Orange? Adam mouthed to Cal. Cal smirked at his own joke.copyright protection3PENANAtMh1tFoDqk

    Julius hesitated for a second too long. He pulled off his shirt and turned around so they three of them could see his back. “Animal attack.”copyright protection3PENANAVYdoDATqNh

    By the look of Julius’s wound, Adam was stunned he was still standing upright. Four massive black bloody gashes slashed diagonally across his back, red puffy skin  that was threatening infection. The liquid seeping from Julius’s body matched the substance Adam had found on the pavement outside the mortuary.copyright protection3PENANAg3NnpXwbQO

    “An animal attacked you and you walked away with four insanely clean cut lacerations, minus the shredded skin, and no other bumps, bruises or scratches on you? How does that work? I’ve never seen an animal make that big of a gash that lives in this area,” Adam analyzed.copyright protection3PENANAsjBKl5pJIP

    “Coyote?” Julius offered. copyright protection3PENANA4EOh2rRWRF

    “Are you just throwing out options hoping we’ll believe one?” Adam’s skepticism of Julius was building with every passing second.copyright protection3PENANAe8I1v7Y2iP

    “Okay, you got me,” Julius confessed. “It was a zombie attack.”copyright protection3PENANARK9svuxUeg

    Cal’s jaw dropped.copyright protection3PENANAKiUyAX0sTR

    Harper’s forehead folded in on itself.copyright protection3PENANA77ZP9vW7xf

    Adam laughed. copyright protection3PENANAXo06RvApqP

    “What’re you talking about?” Adam asked.copyright protection3PENANAGa7BJIyJas

    “No freaking way,” Cal said at the same time Adam asked his question.copyright protection3PENANAAhAA7J54QD

    Adam raised his eyebrows at Cal then looked back at Julius. “You seriously think I’d believe that? Right after you offered up coyote?”copyright protection3PENANAkN2kUUQujg

    Julius shrugged but winced as soon as he did. “Worth a shot. I was looking for bandages and somewhere to stitch myself up. This is the closest place I could find that wasn’t swarming with people, but was close enough and wasn’t a hospital.”copyright protection3PENANAj0rrBb99Uk

    “Well I hate to tell you but I don’t have stitches. I have a skin stapler gun and it’s going to hurt like crazy if you use it.”copyright protection3PENANABvCb5JVbNM

    “Whatever,” Julius said. “You guys came at a superb time because I can’t fix it myself.copyright protection3PENANAP7zRsuLjZ5

    Cal turned his head around, pushed himself back in the chair and slapped Adam’s back. copyright protection3PENANAAi61KHcUR7

    “Alright, Darcy,” Cal said yanking Adam to his feet. “Look’s like you’re up.”copyright protection3PENANAetCQFIAAUn

    “Me? What, why me?”copyright protection3PENANAmJvWBYqmhp

    “Your parents are morticians,” Harper explained, agreeing with Cal’s choice.copyright protection3PENANAsRIyTsg6n7

    “That doesn’t mean I’m medical. I don’t even know the first thing!”copyright protection3PENANAdCAQsfz2Pt

    “But it does mean that you know the right way to hold a scalpel and that puts you in the lead out of the three of us.” Cal pushed Adam forward. “So good luck.”copyright protection3PENANAqbdW7OUybc

    “I’m not helping him,” Adam said, looking back at his friends.copyright protection3PENANAXE3FcX8t3v

    “Yes you are,” Julius said. “Police may be gone, but my eating you still hasn’t changed.”copyright protection3PENANAAh7a7AqHDf

    “Why do you keep saying that?” Harper asked.copyright protection3PENANAa4rn1zbV7n

    Julius stared at her. “Is that your question?”copyright protection3PENANA851bKe8THc

    Harper threw her hands in the air. “Why not? You’re sounding really creepy and it’s making me super worried.”copyright protection3PENANAphtxsA7ShL

    Julius nodded like he agreed with Harper’s point. “Adam fixes my back and then I’ll answer your question.”copyright protection3PENANA8sQzQR92Mg

    Harper stepped to the side and gestured at Julius to Adam. “Let’s get going.”copyright protection3PENANApVmq66Ef0lYour story here...

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