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The Proper Way to Eat a Victorian Age Brain
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Writer Jessica Rinori
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  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
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The Proper Way to Eat a Victorian Age Brain
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#2
2 | Darcy Family Mortuary Isn't the Ideal Hangout Joint
Jessica Rinori
Apr 17, 2018
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26 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!25gmQZLKqdmabfBECtahposted 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 protection35PENANAkwkc48esBb

    “Mom!” He called down the stairs. “I forgot my history textbook at the mortuary! I’ll be back soon!”copyright protection35PENANArEhH08HMT7

    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 protection35PENANA0gicwTQ8m1

    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 protection35PENANAqHxLUCT94v

    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 protection35PENANAkw9CeaKVXD

    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 protection35PENANA3YTlapf0yC

    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 protection35PENANA2ZjAKecEnh

    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 protection35PENANA9INjk1u4Xs

    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 protection35PENANAI0qCmA2CBB

DARCY FAMILY FUNERAL HOME & MORTUARY CENTERcopyright protection35PENANAfDAzelNrZa

    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 protection35PENANAI9TwsdyXiw

    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 protection35PENANAp0xPDUpFw1

    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 protection35PENANAgLFRlTc8kc

    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 protection35PENANAj3lcAOq8LI

    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 protection35PENANAFbJc0m6q1D

    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 protection35PENANArio79J0lSl

    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 protection35PENANAxboToYHO7t

    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 protection35PENANAwMEgYFC55D

    Cal called Adam within twenty seconds of him sending the text.copyright protection35PENANAIxV7E5RFqJ

    “Cal?” Adam whispered, dropping to the ground once he was safely on the other side of the building.copyright protection35PENANA0YVpRjoz8w

    “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 protection35PENANA2FjHVimxns

    “Cal, I don’t have time for this!” Adam ferociously whispered.copyright protection35PENANAb507dFc4kD

    “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 protection35PENANAOlBJLt392b

    “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 protection35PENANAF5RZMMh9kE

    “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 protection35PENANABvKCDXhP2B

    “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 protection35PENANAsQX4zIxDRA

    “Hey, woah! Not helping!”copyright protection35PENANAPxFGwstOBN

    “Okay, you don’t even know if they’re armed or whatever.”copyright protection35PENANAtdjdPWb6Md

    “It’s a mortuary, Cal. There isn’t a drawer in there that doesn’t have some sharp tool in it.”copyright protection35PENANAIf3FjDoRgf

    Adam’s phone buzzed in his hand. He checked his screen.copyright protection35PENANAr5N7Mkzf8b

    “Harp is calling me,” Adam reported.copyright protection35PENANA3BomPej0l6

    “Don’t even think about hanging up,” Cal threatened. “I don’t want to be the one to find your body.”copyright protection35PENANAe4liKFV8wc

    “I’ll be talking to Harper,” Adam assured. “Just get here.”copyright protection35PENANAnYhb54vFjE

    “Give me five minutes.”copyright protection35PENANAQmgfJ5t26P

    Adam switched lines.copyright protection35PENANA8lTuDD9yLG

    “I think there’s someone in the mortuary,” he answered the phone, keeping his voice low and quiet.copyright protection35PENANAK9E2kK6Qpq

    “What?” Harper shrieked on the other end. “Someone broke in?”copyright protection35PENANAufNKuwQYzW

    “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 protection35PENANANIhGcUkmt5

    “Can you see anything?”copyright protection35PENANA2eeGhzqopQ

    “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 protection35PENANAPT5CEA8uzI

    “Okay, Adam, all seriousness. Go home. What’re you doing back there so late?”copyright protection35PENANArmqJ3DEnZ8

    Adam paused. His reason was stupid, but it was the only one he had. “I left my history textbook.”copyright protection35PENANAt1mHIEg92G

    Harper’s line went quiet. “You’re joking.”copyright protection35PENANAZRz5teFCJe

    Adam started to shake his head then remembered he was still on the phone. “Wish I was.”copyright protection35PENANAlaBLTEoy2n

    “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 protection35PENANAGvp2d7HtgJ

    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 protection35PENANA9fBJl4Y1HH

    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 protection35PENANAf2RROLwdjy

    Something grabbed the collar of his jacket and yanked him back. Adam halted to a stop and fell to the ground, choking.copyright protection35PENANABZ302g7JKo

    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 protection35PENANAtUE4EZ9C0R

    “Hang up the phone,” the kid ordered.copyright protection35PENANAjgUa7IWDWf

    Adam didn’t wait a second longer and hung up on Harper in the middle of her sentence.copyright protection35PENANAcxffxiwF2g

    “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 protection35PENANA4vbIzPIJrI

    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 protection35PENANAALZuV7dSL9

    Adam lifted his head and watched the phone soar. It entered the bushy prison with a small leaf ruffle.copyright protection35PENANA8XGndeGJUI

    “Who was that?” The kid motioned at the bushes the phone resided in, with the scalpels he held.copyright protection35PENANA0YebHO1pxt

    “Um…my….uh, friend.” Adam stuttered, setting his head back on the ground.copyright protection35PENANA87e7CafP20

    “Do they know where you are? They coming?”copyright protection35PENANAZaXFyaUfUO

    Adam didn’t answer and the kid took that as a yes.copyright protection35PENANAXUNc6u07Tx

    “Get up.”copyright protection35PENANAB2FPaiZp71

    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 protection35PENANAp6cmMKxHZr

    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 protection35PENANAvXmi9sNaAH

    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 protection35PENANAHbJn1UF0jN

    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 protection35PENANA2IUf5HZDoZ

    “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 protection35PENANA4TXqc7T0hu

    “Uh-uh.” Pale Boy shook his head. “You don’t get to talk unless I say.”copyright protection35PENANAHZGrmHl2IE

    Adam pinched his lips shut but his brain was working fast. He analyzed his sort-of kidnapper. copyright protection35PENANAPLnK0tr06P

He had a limp. Adam could easily outrun him.copyright protection35PENANA0bJXBW5vWm

But then again, he had caught up to Adam in the parking lot regardless of his limp.copyright protection35PENANA0DmG5IoqL6

Scratch number 1.copyright protection35PENANA5BRslRVMS2

He wasn’t paying much attention to Adam slumped in the corner. copyright protection35PENANABSdlPPhUkd

He needed something. He was looking for something and Adam could use that to his advantage. To bargain.copyright protection35PENANAhkRD1Wmpm8

    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 protection35PENANAvsJnU4fQQ7

    “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 protection35PENANASsZ6NPV5Kf

    Adam didn’t give him one and Pale Boy smirked.copyright protection35PENANAi2A9GB631t

    “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 protection35PENANAbxVUUQYaHP

    The kid paused and looked back at Adam.copyright protection35PENANAiAiiG67BbS

    “Am I getting close?” He asked, then continued without giving Adam the chance to respond.copyright protection35PENANARuUrDA3KD4

    “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 protection35PENANAdOB9JwZHHH

    “Looks like I was spot on.”copyright protection35PENANAxZhPhXVpy6

    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 protection35PENANAhpAbReLUZp

    “What are you doing here?” Adam asked trying to keep his voice from cracking. He was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t.copyright protection35PENANAZceBmX7lEP

    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 protection35PENANA2cOk15hWuQ

    Pale Boy looked like he was going to cut Adam off and snap at him for talking, but gave up. copyright protection35PENANA3MfEX7TJ2S

    “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 protection35PENANA915nDrkKNZ

    “Can’t go to a hospital?” Adam asked.copyright protection35PENANAAQboadus9Z

    “Hospital’s aren’t really my scene.”39Please respect copyright.PENANAMsu4cKIuM6
    “You need medical attention and you decide hospitals aren’t your scene?”copyright protection35PENANAidLySIFMsH

    “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 protection35PENANAEBJKYmci70

    “What’s your name?” Adam asked hopefully.copyright protection35PENANAiHQt51GAtQ

    The kid chuckled. “Nice try.”copyright protection35PENANAzL4kjX3ZJv

    “Okay, at least tell me where you’re injured? Maybe I can help?”copyright protection35PENANAGo6p94MlnT

    The kid stopped looking through the room and swiveled his head in Adam’s direction.copyright protection35PENANAlGAcaGdRgG

    “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 protection35PENANAIPsM9MKdLt

    He said it so seriously, Adam didn’t know if he was kidding or not. He laughed at the absurdity.copyright protection35PENANAIsSOR1TDnh

    “Did you—”copyright protection35PENANAxIX7U8N7Z4

    “You want me to eat you?”copyright protection35PENANAOHThu33egP

    Oh. Adam’s body froze solid, his mind screaming.copyright protection35PENANAIYhBN9CHNZ

    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 protection35PENANAYkIWrC5fK4

    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 protection35PENANAjzLdQggUvw

    “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 protection35PENANAJev1Pjas0X

    Adam said nothing, just in case Pale Boy wasn’t joking after all. He tried his best to stay expressionless.copyright protection35PENANAsZhaWJN1Zx

    Pale Boy limped to investigate the back door, disappearing down the hallway.copyright protection35PENANA6i7SwY8MSD

    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 protection35PENANAjCRPDH8N99

    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 protection35PENANAKB92M5Lz7L

    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 protection35PENANA7d4e5Acem5

    “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 protection35PENANARGIJwlrE9A

    “Who the freak is this guy?” She swatted a stray hair out of her face.copyright protection35PENANAOUcXWY3Ixb

    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 protection35PENANAtEoxTu86Iv

    “What are you doing?” Cal asked, whispering at Adam’s darting eyes. “Just talk.”copyright protection35PENANAcAbUkHfLmo

    Adam held up five fingers. Cal hit them away.copyright protection35PENANAmbiy8fwcX4

    “No,” Cal whisper-barked, “you’re not going to charade it to us.”copyright protection35PENANAnrJMZCh7J0

    “Well I don’t want to die,” Adam responded. He immediately bit his lips together.copyright protection35PENANACVBOPVw5HS

    “Okay, yep, I get it,” Harper responded a little too quickly and pinched her lips.copyright protection35PENANAu33NBc28o0

    “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 protection35PENANAcMrVyryQyh

    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 protection35PENANAQbdrZ2mw84

    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 protection35PENANAoC7spJFrS4

    “How are you planning on closing yourself up?” Adam asked, distracting Pale Boy from Harper and Cal.copyright protection35PENANAr5QT1pkzfT

    “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 protection35PENANAR644x47UAf

    Adam reached inside a different drawer and retrieved a skin stapler, adding it to the pile Pale Boy had made.copyright protection35PENANAYZR6shQ7II

    “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 protection35PENANAcaN24OspoH

    Adam half shrugged and nodded.copyright protection35PENANAifNnklssf2

    “You guys are too good for stitches around here?”copyright protection35PENANAHe2zkuQaCz

    “Dead people typically don’t need stitches,” Adam retorted, “they’re dead.”copyright protection35PENANATOKGROvjdT

    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 protection35PENANA1w9PUuamWp

    Pale Boy’s attention flew to Cal and Harper, and he marched over to them as best he could with his limp.copyright protection35PENANApEErdYW49z

    “Who called them?” He demanded.copyright protection35PENANAE2ooJfdezr

    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 protection35PENANA8AXipRMzeI

    “Either one of you tries to do anything or make any sound,” Pale Boy threatened, “he dies.”copyright protection35PENANAZDmE4AC1EM

    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 protection35PENANAAiPYHyeUNN

    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 protection35PENANAlVnjeNa0no

    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 protection35PENANAJn2616GE8l

    “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 protection35PENANAqJEfHmOWgB

    “We got a call from this address saying that there was a problem,” the first officer said. “What’s going on?”copyright protection35PENANAJBx7ULV5Mi

    Adam smiled and laughed nervously. He cleared his throat and felt a sharp poke in his side.copyright protection35PENANAuvFwBHDilL

    “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 protection35PENANAEMui2cEQ9V

    Adam was more than upset he didn’t have a license to prove his identity.copyright protection35PENANAsTx00sMWxy

    “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 protection35PENANAe23UzFBcXX

    Pale Boy listened closer to what they were saying. Harper DiMarzo, that must’ve been the girl who called them.copyright protection35PENANAYBJtUMFzDO

    “Yeah, she came to help me after I couldn’t figure out the alarm code.”copyright protection35PENANAu6H16ItSE1

    “You didn't call your parents?”copyright protection35PENANAqT4uND9pQ6

    “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 protection35PENANAnOI6hDTXcw

    “Is she here? Can she come tell us that herself?”copyright protection35PENANALHCtIIccBR

    Adam froze. Poke.copyright protection35PENANAe1KivyWFXM

    “Yeah, absolutely,” Adam said a little too quickly. He turned around and shouted for Harper to come to the front.copyright protection35PENANAMkAurR7lOk

    “How about we come in and talk to her? Can we come in?” The first officer asked, taking a step forward.copyright protection35PENANARA1u4KdgWO

    Adam shook his head. The officer raised an eyebrow.copyright protection35PENANA7bQSumqq1o

    “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 protection35PENANAcNJNiaFqwt

    “Can you tell us your name?” The second officer asked Harper.copyright protection35PENANAKn4MR9w4pt

    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 protection35PENANATxEJp85Qz7

    Pale Boy looked at Harper curiously from behind the door.copyright protection35PENANAeLVXyd8dDE

    She’s talking too much, Adam thought after he received a hard poke that felt like it drew blood.copyright protection35PENANAHo2MbTVHYl

    “Why don’t you tell them what you're doing here?” Adam asked.copyright protection35PENANAbSTPBjYH9y

    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 protection35PENANAPnjKlSXt6B

    “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 protection35PENANA7O09Bb3xS2

    “So then why did you call 9-1-1?” The first officer asked.copyright protection35PENANAS4VMUw5See

    Harper drew a blank. She willed her mind to move fast. Thankfully, something came to mind.copyright protection35PENANAr3CKNXDLrK

    “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 protection35PENANAnzznIayMHr

    Hard poke.copyright protection35PENANAPAvKmphsiw

    “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 protection35PENANAGJzjunh89I

    “9-1-1 is for emergencies, kids,” the first officer said.copyright protection35PENANATwhtT0EsNm

    Harper and Adam nodded in unison.copyright protection35PENANAUCWpnjPEL8

    “We’re really sorry,” Harper said. She actually sounded convincing.copyright protection35PENANAasSKLn82vi

    Pale Boy pressed the knife deeper into Adam’s side as if to say, Get rid of them.copyright protection35PENANALpO2SI3wbQ

    “Thank you for coming all the way down here, officers,” Adam wrapped up. “We’re sorry to cause you all the trouble.”copyright protection35PENANAS5sPvP8kuU

    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 protection35PENANAtFmlp8Jyae

    Adam smiled, relieved they were leaving. “You too.”copyright protection35PENANAQWEEZxn23y

    Adam and Harper backed into the mortuary and Pale Boy shut the door, a smile splayed on his face.copyright protection35PENANASWDlL8bUtF

    “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 protection35PENANAOXkbjKj2iu

    Harper couldn’t help herself. “Excuse me?copyright protection35PENANAh9qVNpsbrw

    Pale Boy ignored her, waited at the door until they heard the police car pull away before he motioned back at the mortuary.39Please respect copyright.PENANAJ1GiI3DLZ7
    “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 protection35PENANAKktnFewQ90

    “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 protection35PENANAwYXR9hBsjU

    “One each,” Cal negotiated.copyright protection35PENANAWA3mwRMZ2e

    “You did nothing,” Pale Boy spat back.copyright protection35PENANAvMyYaedH5n

    “I stayed quiet,” Cal replied.copyright protection35PENANAHBlFtuX5Wg

    Pale Boy teetered his head. “Fair. You did. Okay fine, one each.”copyright protection35PENANAZTR3gnU2nX

    “What’s your name?” Adam spurt out before even thinking about it.copyright protection35PENANAgSKPRV35C8

    Harper punched his shoulder. “We’re supposed to think about it.”copyright protection35PENANAskKO0eiXjf

    “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 protection35PENANAei85lotgrQ

    “Pale Boy?” The kid asked. “Really?”copyright protection35PENANAdIJYxBTBGv

    Adam nodded. “That’s my question. What’s your name?”copyright protection35PENANAJ9QuXRIgO1

    Pale Boy bit the inside of his cheek and looked at Harper, Cal and Adam. “Julius,” he responded.copyright protection35PENANAv2kE8G3BWu

    “One name?” Adam pressed. “No last name? What are you, Beyoncé?”copyright protection35PENANArada8KL1ls

    “Everyone knows that Beyoncé’s last name is Knowles,” Harper muttered to Adam. “That was a bad example.”copyright protection35PENANAx5CnAzejQ3

    Adam looked at her. “What are you, Sia?” He tried again. He saw Harper nod out of the corner of his eye.copyright protection35PENANAll6F0em3Pi

    “Better,” she whispered.copyright protection35PENANAyhsLsBweCS

    “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 protection35PENANAG9YixySMSI

    “No,” Cal piped up. “How’d you get hurt, Orange? What happened? Let’s see.”copyright protection35PENANAPd4WT4af80

    Orange? Adam mouthed to Cal. Cal smirked at his own joke.copyright protection35PENANAyHi1tKC0Ze

    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 protection35PENANASGoQZWpRIh

    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 protection35PENANAAyuEuoJFES

    “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 protection35PENANAGczYe3JQ3I

    “Coyote?” Julius offered. copyright protection35PENANA5VotMnqbf8

    “Are you just throwing out options hoping we’ll believe one?” Adam’s skepticism of Julius was building with every passing second.copyright protection35PENANAtPHYubmeR0

    “Okay, you got me,” Julius confessed. “It was a zombie attack.”copyright protection35PENANA6xdGwrKghN

    Cal’s jaw dropped.copyright protection35PENANAZnJnRvLhH1

    Harper’s forehead folded in on itself.copyright protection35PENANApbQ79livza

    Adam laughed. copyright protection35PENANAwGIKnfb7vt

    “What’re you talking about?” Adam asked.copyright protection35PENANAUuQESIaEZR

    “No freaking way,” Cal said at the same time Adam asked his question.copyright protection35PENANAFp3wwcRPIr

    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 protection35PENANAZf8IZvXaCt

    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 protection35PENANADxXubQcluc

    “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 protection35PENANAd9BgG7tyWb

    “Whatever,” Julius said. “You guys came at a superb time because I can’t fix it myself.copyright protection35PENANAZWq8FpDCAg

    Cal turned his head around, pushed himself back in the chair and slapped Adam’s back. copyright protection35PENANA6dO4IZUVlp

    “Alright, Darcy,” Cal said yanking Adam to his feet. “Look’s like you’re up.”copyright protection35PENANA7zzIPfQiNN

    “Me? What, why me?”copyright protection35PENANAuNKUVpkz2U

    “Your parents are morticians,” Harper explained, agreeing with Cal’s choice.copyright protection35PENANAP88EcQE7MZ

    “That doesn’t mean I’m medical. I don’t even know the first thing!”copyright protection35PENANAwTz5CoksH8

    “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 protection35PENANAfcVZ6Qprqr

    “I’m not helping him,” Adam said, looking back at his friends.copyright protection35PENANAlfAtUNkyU6

    “Yes you are,” Julius said. “Police may be gone, but my eating you still hasn’t changed.”copyright protection35PENANAyr07wCwR5d

    “Why do you keep saying that?” Harper asked.copyright protection35PENANA0lpVlwMKYc

    Julius stared at her. “Is that your question?”copyright protection35PENANAcjsMNmz7Uu

    Harper threw her hands in the air. “Why not? You’re sounding really creepy and it’s making me super worried.”copyright protection35PENANAetVfAsR6kX

    Julius nodded like he agreed with Harper’s point. “Adam fixes my back and then I’ll answer your question.”copyright protection35PENANAkkiKfDh2nf

    Harper stepped to the side and gestured at Julius to Adam. “Let’s get going.”copyright protection35PENANAeAyHml3WtYYour story here...

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