it’s probably dangerous to even be near

[Betty Williams: Declared missing November 12, 1966]

“Jay, we should not be out here. My dad is going to kill me if he finds out.”

“And how’s he going to find out? No one comes out here. It’s pitch dark and this is basically T.N.T.’s whole reason for existing,” Jay says as he pushes my hair back to continue kissing my neck. Sloppily.

“No its whole reason for it existing is to house a motherload of dynamite. So, it’s probably dangerous to even be near these bunkers.” The brute continues manhandling my neck and moves his obnoxious hands to my sweater as he tries to maneuver my buttons open. “Ugh,” I groan as I swat his arm and push him back to his side of the car.

“What babe? We haven’t been alone in weeks,” He whines like a spoiled toddler.

“And whose fault is that? You’re the idiot that got kicked off the football team.” He leans back with a huff. “I don’t blame your momma at all for grounding you.”

“It’s not my fault. Jim threw the first─”

“Shhhh!” I slap my hand over his mouth.

            “What was that for?”

            “You didn’t hear that?” He turns to roll down the window so we can listen closer. The fog from our breath fills the car as the November chill creeps in.

            “I don’t hear anything…” but as soon as he utters the words a high-pitched ringing pierces our eardrums. I wince and hold my ears, waiting on relief from the sound rattling my skull. Seconds that feel like minutes pass and when the ringing finally ceases I lift my head.

            To my left, Jay stares ahead, the veins in his arms bulging from the tightness with which he grips the steering wheel. His mouth hangs open in shock and a red light touches everything in sight. He begins trembling and I hear a sudden and rhythmic rush of wind outside. Whoosh…whoosh…whoosh.

Jay turns to me and blood seeps into the whites of his eyes, rendering them a rich crimson. And the ambient red light fades back to nothing. Nothing except our panicked breathing and the low, teasing glow of a crescent moon.

“His eyes,” mutters Jay.

“What eyes? I just saw that light. What the Hell was that?” I begin to lean out the window in hopes of a better view, but Jay snatches the back of my shirt.

“No!” he snaps.

“Wha─”

“His eyes, Betty. His wings…” He pleads for me to understand the message he’s trying to deliver. Bloody tears drape his cheeks and his body shakes, from the cold or terror, I’m not sure.

It’s clear the poor boy is in no shape to drive, so I slip out of the car to bring him around to the passenger side. My oxford meets the ground with shock. Every blade of grass delivers a static shock that travels up my body through the soles of my shoes. Even the air vibrates with a residual charge.

***

On the fifteen-minute drive back into Point Pleasant, I go over the events in my mind and carefully construct a less exciting reason for missing curfew. But within forty-eight hours, Jay has managed to tell part of the football team, still babbling nonsensically, in my opinion, but they eat it up. I stay quiet on the matter because I have a reputation to uphold.

That doesn’t stop two men in black trench coats from questioning me though. Tall with eerily plain faces, they prod for details and become frustrated upon realizing I won’t budge on my tight-lipped nature.

For some reason, they scare me more than the red light in the woods…

Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.

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