“Just don’t get yourself taken. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for sending you out here.”

Deloris Hatfield [Body recovered January 27, 1967]

By: Breanna Leslie.

Point Pleasant, WV 

“You got the money, redneck?”

“I still don’t feel right about paying a girl to do this,” says Jimmy.

“Shut up,  you wanted someone smart. And you won’t find anyone smarter. It doesn’t matter if I have tits or not,” I say with smugness and deservedly so. I’m tired of trying to prove my intelligence and make a case for not getting married and having babies after graduation.

“Jesus. Here, take it,” says Jimmy, pulling the money from his back pocket. “Do you really think you can figure any of this out?” I ignore his insecurity and pilfer through my backpack for my biggest hunting knife and a flashlight.

“You better hope I can, five kids now and no one has found anything yet. Those creeps are behind it, but the useless cops in this town need the evidence handed to them on a silver platter before anything is done.” I do an ironic showgirl spin, shaking my butt in my dirty overalls, “I’m the platter. Well, figuratively at least.”

Jimmy rolls his eyes. He must have heard the scandalous rumors about me. At least he’s one of the more accepting rednecks. Or maybe, me kissing girls behind the bleachers is less important than finding his cousins.

“Just don’t get yourself taken. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for sending you out here.”

“Awe, now don’t go getting sentimental on me,” I say as I throw on my backpack and double-check my boot laces. Jimmy kicks the loose gravel at his feet, hesitating to leave me to my task. I hate chivalry and I hate being underestimated even more. “Get out of here you big lug. Unless you’d rather go spy on the suits yourself. The suggestion must be enough to push him along because he makes a quick break for his truck door.

“I’ll be back here at the first sign of daylight. Just don’t get caught. You got your camera?”

“Got it, Mom.” I wave him off as I set off through the brush line. These woods are thick. I guess that’s what you get when the government doesn’t want anyone poking around their bunkers. The kids always say there’s still dynamite laying around in a couple of these. I’m more concerned with the prospect that these government goons are keeping all of our friends locked up in one.

But it’s quiet. Only the sound of crunching leaves beneath my feet and a few breaking branches off to my left, probably a squirrel. My hands are numb from the cold, but the rest of my body burns with adrenaline and fear. I follow a deer path through the forest until I can see the outline of the bunker everyone has been talking about.

A couple of stoners said they saw weird men in dress clothes going in and out of it the other day. Stoners or not, that’s an awfully specific thing to hallucinate. I hear a distant electric hum coming from inside and the ground vibrates beneath my heavy boots the closer I get.

Squatted down, I emerge from the trees and sneak to the entrance. The steel door reveals a soft red glow around the edges. Fully expecting it to be locked, I pull on the handle.

“Shit,” I whisper. Inside, a maze of technology I’ve never seen or imagined furnishes the bunker. A round disc placed in the center catches my attention because it emits the red glow that lit the doorway and hums louder the further I immerse myself in the room.

A sharp blow meets the back of my head just as my foot touches the disc. The red glow merges with the trail of blood darkening my eyes. It’s the last thing I see.

Written By: Breanna Leslie

Breanna Leslie is a former therapist turned aspiring writer. She earned a master’s in psychology in 2015 but ultimately decided she would like to be more present for her family. Currently flexing her writing skills as a stay-at-home mother of two toddlers, she has been published in the literary magazine Write Bitch Write and Lulu Publishing’s Share Your Scare anthology. In her spare time, Breanna enjoys blogging, painting, running, and drinking an absurd amount of coffee. Her goals for 2020 include gaining experience in the freelance world, more short-story publications, and finally submitting her YA novel for consideration.

Website: https://btlesliewrites.weebly.com/

Blog: https://hereatjeffersonhouse.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/breetleslie/

Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.

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