Friday, December 21, 2012

Mike Talbots Haunted Adventure

Hi all my name is Michael Talbot until fairly recently I was just a normal guy trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to make ends meet, you know, mortgage, car payment, satellite cable bill (arsenal for the apocalypse). Normal stuff. Something happened where I angered one of the lesser gods and she has put me through one living hell after another.

“Well surprise, surprise, Poena I’m still breathing!!” (Why do I feel the need to egg her on, I’ve never been great with the fairer sex my brashness tends to get me in trouble, how my saint of a wife Tracy deals with me is beyond my reasoning capabilities. So back to the present, because of my past this group, Paranormal Examining Society has decided that I would make a great tour guide for certain haunted venues around the globe. They’re paying me a hundred bucks and a case of peanut butter kit-kats for every tour. They could have kept the money I would have done it just for the pb kit-kats.

I probably should have thought this out better, I’ve already dropped a hundred and twenty bucks into the gas tank of my fire engine red Jeep Wrangler to get here.

“Is this the place?” I asked as I stepped out of my Jeep.

A little kid nodded, his mother had a death grip on his shoulders, as she stared at the imposing structure.

“Michael, Michael so glad you could make it.” A small bald headed guy exclaimed as he ran up to me.

His name was Dwayne I think he was the one who had started the group, I’m pretty sure he shaved his head to look like Jay from a far more popular Ghost Hunting team, but hey to each his own. I used to want to be Luke Skywalker when I was a kid (wait let’s go with Hans Solo, he was much more rugged and he wasn’t trying to make-out with his sister).

“So do I just talk about the building from here?” I asked hoping.

“No to really understand Eastern State Penitentiary you have to go in.” Dwayne informed me, like I was crazy to ask.

“You got the kit-kats?” I gulped as I looked at the dilapidated, decaying, decomposing structure.

“There was a problem with customs.” He started.

“I’m outta here.” I told him, didn’t need much more excuse than that.

“Two hundred dollars.” He shouted.

“Warmer.” I told him.

“Two hundred and fifty and then I’m lucky if I break even.”

“Fine when do we start?” I asked.

“We? I can’t go in, I’ll contaminate the experience for the group.”

“You’re kidding right?”

He shook his head slowly.

“Hey kid, yeah you.” I was shouting to the one whose mother had his shoulders locked in a death pinch.

“I’m Peter!”

“You’re going to be my point man, the rest of you (there were 13 lost souls including myself) are going to form a defensive perimeter (around me - I added softly).”

That was how our adventure began, a big huddled mass of spooked out humanity.

‘Hold it together Talbot, think of all the ammo you can buy with two hundred and fifty bucks.’ I thought. Then I realized it was going to take me another 120 bones (wrong phraseology for the occasion) in gas to get home. I’d be lucky if I could get a box of Pop-Tarts when this was all over. Wonderful let the adventure begin.

“Are you an expert on the paranormal?” A woman possibly in her mid-thirties asked me, it was difficult to tell as she was dressed all in black like the specters we were looking for.

“Umm well I’ve had a bunch of paranormal experiences, so kinda.” I answered.

“Jack I told you this was a waste of money, ‘our guide’.” She said contemptuously to her traveling companion and by his whipped dog expression I figured Goth girl was his wife. “doesn’t know anything.”

“Yes, dear.” He said to his wife as he nodded in commiseration with me.

“Well, this is the lobby.” I said as we strode through the oversized double doors.

“Sheer genius.” She said sarcastically.

“Something’s wrong mister.” My little point man said to me.

I knew that was the case just watching the words come out of his mouth, mainly because I could see them. Yeah it was October in Pennsylvania, but it was a relatively balmy 50 degrees. Even in the dimming light I watched as goose bumps traveled down the length of his arm, as if the dead were caressing him.

“Whoa.” He said in a soft exclamation, the air had got so cold his words crystallized into ice and tinkled to the floor. Or that might have been me tinkling tough to say, I was plenty scared. “Neat trick mister!” Peppy Pete said.

“Yeah, yeah, good stuff.” I said as I rubbed my hands together.

“You guys have a good time.” Dwayne said as he pushed me in over the threshold. Nearly clipping my heels as he rapidly closed the door.

“Who’s got the flashlights?” I might have asked with a little too much lilt in my voice. I coughed to try to cover it up.

“Look at this place.” An older gentleman said as his light splayed across the far wall.

The receiving room was huge probably fifty by fifty feet. To call the paint peeling would be the same as saying zombies had mild psoriasis. ‘Chips’ the size of standard pieces of paper hung in suspension against the walls. Rusted rails looked down at us where the guards could hold the high ground and show the newly interned prisoners exactly where they stood.

“What was that?” The older gentleman with the flashlight asked.

I turned and checked the door it was locked like I figured it would be. I pulled out my cell phone, the glow of the screen somehow comforting in the pressing gloom of this place.

‘BT where you at?’ I sent a text to my best friend. He’d been getting me out of jams for longer than I cared to remember, plus he was like 6’5” 315 pounds of pure meanness.

Glared at me. “On my own, I guess. What’s your name?” I asked the older man.

“Jed.” He told me.

“What’d you see?” I asked him. I had my fingers crossed hoping it hadn’t been werewolves, vampires or zombies. A cat if it was alone might be an acceptable answer.

“It happened so fast.” He continued. “It’s tough to say, it was like this black mass darted past my light.”

“Why’s it always a black mass? No chance it could be like a heavenly white light?” I asked the heavens.

“Is this all part of the tour?” A heavyset man with a shirt three sizes too small asked. Had we still been outside I would have told you looking at his hairy gut was the single most scary thing, but that changed once we got inside.

“I was assured this would not be a tampered with investigation” Goth girl said nearly stamping her feet. “What should we expect next? A man in a sheet perhaps.” She said staring right at me.

I put my hands up. “Hey I have no knowledge of anything going on in here.”

“That’s my point exactly, You have no knowledge!” She added.

“You do realize the loudest person in the movies is always the first to go don’t you?” I asked.

She shut up, I could only wonder how much time I had bought.

“I really think my son is getting scared and wants to leave.” Pinching mom said. “I’m fine mom.”

“No, you’re not!” She said hysterically. “You really want to get out of here!” “I’m having a blast.” He told her.

She wrenched him by the arm and pushed past me. “Open it!” She shrieked at me, when she realized it was locked.

I shrugged my shoulders. “They didn’t give me the keys.”

She banged on the door a couple of times. “My son is nearly in fits, you need to let me...him out of here!” She screamed.

Jed came to the rescue. “Listen I have the itinerary for the tour here and how we are to get out, it says here that our next stop is Cell Block ‘C’.”

“Cool!” Peppy Peter said ripping his arm free from his mother’s claws.

She rested her head against the door. We both said “Wonderful.”

“Well let’s get this show on the road.” I said. “Jed lead the way.” Mostly because he had the flashlight, partly because he had the map and knew the way and thirdly he was the lead man and would announce danger before it got back to the main part of the group. I could only hope it wouldn’t involve, multiple screams and cries for help.

Small Shirt Sam was next. Peppy Pete kept trying for the front but his mother was holding him back and in front of her. It looked to me like she was using him as a shield. My gut told me we were in for a whirlwind of a night so I took a quick stock of my traveling companions, who would be chafe, and who would be helpful.

There was Jed, his wife and me, definitely on the plus side. Small Shirt and his wife. He was a plus if we ran into werewolves or zombies as it would take them a long time to eat him. There was Pete and his mom. That was a split down the middle. Goth and her servant (I mean husband) double negative. Three college aged guys, probably from a frat, they looked like they’d been drinking since the start of the school year. And a female who I hadn’t got a clear look at since I’d walked into the place. I didn’t remember her from the front of the building but then I hadn’t been really looking at the group.

For some reason her back was always towards the group, even when she was off to the side, she gave me an uneasy feeling but I attributed that to the building itself.

“Well we’re here!” Jed said excitedly, “I heard there’s a lot of activity in this area.”

The last time I’d been that excited about getting somewhere it had involved getting on Spinning Teacups and I was seven.

“Where’s Alan?” Goth women asked in a demanding tone. She was looking at me like I helped him escape from her clutches. “This isn’t funny! Alan you get out here or I’ll never allow you to paint my toenails again!”

The three frat boys did something I wished I could and busted out laughing. “Something’s coming!” Jed shrieked, uncharacteristically. At least I think it was uncharacteristic, he didn’t look like the type that was prone to fits.

We all could hear heavy footfalls running towards us.

“Alan?” Goth asked questioningly.

But it wasn’t Alan unless he had got past Jed by fifty yards, gained 100 pounds and was now wearing heavy boots as he tore through the shadows unaided by light.

Jed was backing up, as were we all. His light was pointed towards the noise wavering slightly. I was glad I wasn’t holding the light, it would have been moving as if a crack head standing on Jell-O was holding it.

My back hit a wall, there was nowhere else to go, the rest of the group huddled around. We were about as close as we could get without calling it a Roman Orgy. The footfalls were getting louder and closer.

“Alan?” Goth whispered quietly.

The screams started. I don’t think it was me, but it could have been. A mass roughly human shaped but shaped as if from a malformed hand came towards us. It was easily double the size of a normal man and in what could be construed as it’s arms it cradled Alan or at least the body that housed Alan. His head looked like it was at a strange angle to the rest of his body. The mass stopped about ten feet from us and hurled Alan’s body. It slid to a stop at Jed’s feet.

Jed kept his flashlight pointed at the being, the light from it not illuminating the creature at all, in fact it seemed to pull the surrounding light out of the air making the place somehow dimmer. It’s mouth opened, how I even knew that was beyond comprehension the blackness of its open mouth darker even than it’s body.

The small female who I had not seen earlier stepped forward, the being before us grumbled out words that felt like an icy cold wind blowing over gravestones. “You do not belong here.” And then it turned, its heavy steps fading into the distance.

I did not know if that message was meant purely for the girl or for all of us.

I started to ask her, but Goth was shrieking so loudly I couldn’t. Just this one time I could empathize with her.

“Alan, Alan are you alright?” She asked as she pressed her foot up against his head. Rocking it back and forth on the hard stone surface.

“What are you doing?” Jed’s wife Grace asked as she bent down to check on Alan. “He’s alive help me get him up against the wall.” Grace said to the rapidly sobering frat boys.

“Mike what was that?” Jed asked, inadvertently shining the flashlight in my eyes. “Please tell me that was part of the tour, some sort of prop.”

I shrugged my shoulders. “You saw what I saw, do you think it was a prop?”

Small Shirt Sam spoke. “We gonna chase that thing down?”

I looked over at him. “You first.”

“We need to get out of here.” Pinching mom stated the obvious. “We should go back.”

“The door is locked mom.” Her son added. He seemed to be the only thing that was keeping her from losing it all together.

“I think we need to keep going forward, that’s the only way out.” Jed said as he was reading his tour map.

“Where to next?” I asked.

“The morgue.” He said shallowly.

“Of course.” I said.

I got intimate with quite a few people on the way down to the morgue. Unfortunately none of it was intentional. Some tried to act brave like what we had just witnessed was some sort of elaborate hoax. The rest of us, the ones that wanted to survive we knew better. There was strength in numbers, if even the only true strength was that the odds of any particular one of us being ripped from the group was decreased. Other than that I didn’t think any one of us could do anything against the entity that was in there with us.

Goth’s husband was sandwiched between two of the three young men who were keeping him propped up. His head was lolling about like a broken bobble-head might. He was conscious but definitely not aware.

“What’s the matter with him?” Goth screamed at me.

“Besides being married to you, I don’t have a clue.” I told her.

She took in a sharp intake of air at my comment.

“Shit did I say that out loud?” I asked.

I could see Jed’s head nodding.

The man on Alan’s left side, snorted at my reply.

“This funny for you?!” Goth ripped into the youth.

“It was.” He told her as he hefted a sagging Alan back up.

“According to this map, the morgue should be right there.” Jed said as he pointed his flashlight about 15 feet down the corridor.

I will swear that it felt like the hallway was narrowing as we walked, constricting might be a better word. I got the same impression of a light sucking void as I did when we had met our harbinger. (Now why did I use that word?) That brought a chill up my spine.

“Jed you need to find us another way out man.” I told him.

“The path goes through the morgue, there’s an exit to the next part of the tour through there.” He replied.

“Time to put on my big boy pants. I suppose.” I said aloud.

“Really? Is all the dramatic flair called for?” Goth asked. “Let’s just get this over with so my husband can get some air.”

“Any volunteers to open the door?” I asked as we cautiously approached. “I’ll do it!” Peter said excitedly.

“You’ll do no such thing!” His mother said as she gripped his shirt tighter. “I got it.” The frat brother that wasn’t carrying Alan volunteered.

He moved a few feet ahead of us. I noted that when his went to touch the handle a blue arc of electricity jumped from the handle to his hand.

“Fug!” He yelled (I would imagine he was shooting for a curse word), just as his body went completely rigid. We could have laid him on his stomach and used him as a surfboard he was that rigid.

“What’s wrong with him?” Pete asked his mother.

His right hand was on the handle and with some unseen force the handle depressed and the door slid open, the freaky part was that frat boy still hadn’t moved, his feet were dragging in the heavy dust as the door swung open.

“Oh shit, are you seeing this?” The kid on the left side of Alan asked.

It would have been impossible not to considering Jed’s light was directly on him.

“Derek man what are you doing?” The kid on Alan’s right asked.

Derek’s head, with difficulty, turned to us, his mouth opened but no words came out, it was the eyes though, those will haunt me forever.

“My God!” Grace yelled. “His eyes...they’re black!”

Well, I was now officially freaked out. I’d seen scary movies with this particular effect and it always scared the hell out of me. Seeing it in real life, well that will put the fear of the devil in you. I noted that as a group we had moved to the far side of the corridor, not so that we were closer to Derek but rather so that we could see into the room he had now entered.

I had been under the impression that I had the fear producing juices at full operating power, that was of course until Derek’s feet began to lift off the ground and then I found a whole new threshold of nightmare nectar. His feet lifted completely up and got to the point where they were parallel to the ground, if he were to stick his hands over his head he would have been in the classic Superman pose.

“This can’t be good.” I said. I ran the ten feet to get to him. I grabbed each of his legs by the calf and wrapped them under my arms. I could feel a pulsating power reverberating throughout his body. It was a nauseating sensation, as if he had thousands of maggots crawling under the top most layers of his skin.

Then he started to pull away from me, his hands dropped from the handle and he started to get sucked into the morgue.

“Help me!” I yelled as I arched my back trying to get leverage.

It was more moments than it should have been before I heard the approach of feet, by the time Jed got next to me I only had the very ends of Derek’s boots tucked up under me. Jed grabbed his right leg, I had his left and then as if someone had turned the vacuum cleaner on high Derek was ripped from our clutches, I ended up with one untied Timberland in my hand, Jed had nothing to show for his efforts except a ripped fingernail.

“What the…!?” One of the men holding Alan asked as he had rushed forward. “He’s...he’s gone. Jeets man what just happened?”

“I don’t know.” Jeets replied never coming closer.

I felt someone press by me but didn’t take my gaze from the room in front of me. The girl who I had not seen walked silently into the morgue. I don’t know why I followed that hooded girl in there but I did.

“Derek?” One of the frat brothers called out. I got the sense the morgue was huge and the question asked should have echoed through the large chamber. Instead it sounded as if he had yelled it into a pillow. The sound was swallowed up, much like his friend.

“Jed let me see your flashlight.” I asked sticking my hand backwards. I was trying to keep an eye on the hooded girl as she walked deeper into the room. I felt the cylinder as he slapped it into my hand. I immediately turned it to where the girl should have been. She had vanished as completely as Derek had.

“Anyone know the girl’s name?” I asked as I pushed in deeper into the room using the flashlight to probe even further.

“What girl?” Grace asked.

A chill like an icicle held in the hand of a dead man dragged up my back. (Which seemed appropriate considering our surroundings.)

“The girl with the hoodie, haven’t seen her face yet.” I answered Grace, hoping that just maybe she was a very unobservant person.

“This is ridiculous are you purposefully trying to scare us?” Pete’s mom asked.

“Me? Are you on the same damn tour as I am? I didn’t create that black mass or make a frat boy levitate.” I almost yelled, okay if I’m being honest almost shrieked, luckily I clutched a little harder to my man-card.

“Fraternity.” One of the frat boys said off to my side.

“What?” I asked.

“We prefer fraternity not frat, would you call your country a,...”

“I get it.” I said holding my hand up, “there are kids here.”

“You’re not pulling our leg about this girl?” Jed asked.

I shook my head solemnly. “She’s as real as anyone here.” I added, I purposefully reached out and touched Jed’s arm just to make sure, he didn’t look too pleased about it.

“We’re leaving!” Pete’s mother said.

We all jumped when we heard banging from the far side of the room.

“Let me out of here.” Drifted over in muted volume.

“Derek?” Frat boy 2 asked (I don’t care what he said about shortening the name.)

“Jeets help man!” Came a little louder.

I swung the flashlight over to a row of gleaming chrome. “He’s in one of those.” I said as we looked at the body lockers.

“No way man, I ain’t going over there.” Jeets moaned.

Peter ran over before his mother could stop him, he pulled the handle to open the door and then pulled out the tray. Derek looked like the first prop of the day as he sat up, he was far too pale and shook too much to be human.

“Hellll....helll....helllllp me.” He was chattering.

We were all almost as frozen, as he was, us figuratively, him literally. (Did that need explaining?)

“Cool! He has ice on his hair!” Peter said as he touched the man’s head.

“Peter don’t touch him!” His mother shrieked, I think she ripped my eardrum in the process. “You don’t know where he’s been.”

“Never have truer words been spoken.” I said to her, not believing I was agreeing with her.

Jeets and Frat Boy one who was also known as Reginald finally rushed over to help their friend. Alan who finally seemed to be getting his legs back under him was leaning up against Goth although she seemed none too pleased with the burden.

I had my light on Derek as his ‘brother’s got him down, I was watching their movements when something else grabbed my attention, something had moved inside the locker Derek was in.

“There’s someone still in there.” I said as I held the light higher.

“Or something.” Jed said as he grabbed my arm and kept me from advancing although I hadn’t moved and was unsure if I was going to.

Peter swiveled from watching the frat boys to looking inside the tray. “Gee mister there’s nothing in there, I think you’re letting this place get to you.” He said a smile beaming across his face. I wanted to pinch his cheek...hard. (The darling boy.)

“Shut the door.” I told him as Jeets and Reginald got their buddy down and were as masculine as possible rubbing him down to get some heat into him.

“For God’s sake, help him.” Grace said as she wrapped her girth around the boy sharing her heat.

Normally Derek I think would have been embarrassed right now he was extremely thankful.

“There’s the exit.” Jed said pointing across the room, he had dipped my light down so he could orientate the map.

“That leads out?” I thought I had asked it, but maybe I had just been thinking it. Peter’s mother seemed to be the one that had voiced the question.

“What’s that noise?” Triple S asked.

“Please be the ice cream man.” I said.

Jed was looking at me strangely.

“I said that out loud again didn’t I?” I asked him.

He nodded.

I swung my light to the tapping, okay scratching but tapping sounds WAY less terrifying.

“It’s coming from the lockers.” Peter said. This time he headed back to his mother without her incessant barking.

‘Smart boy.’ I thought.

We were once again a huddled mass as the scratching increased, it sounded like metal shavings were being ripped off the inside of that door. Then the door handle popped free, the clang as it fell to the ground was all the impetus I needed.

“Time to go.” I told the group.

“I second that.” Jed echoed.

“What if they need help?” Alan asked.

“Altruism is greatly over-rated.” I told him.

The door silently swung open, which was strange in itself because it had moderately squealed when we got Derek out. A bone white arm shot out.

“Oh shit!” I said startled.

“What?” Jed asked.

“Really?” I asked Jed. “You don’t see that?”

“I see the door opening.” He said staring hard at the door.

The arm moved further out. The top of the hooded girls head poked out.

“Nobody sees this?” I entreated to the crowd.

“Same as Jed.” Trip S said, just an open door, probably wasn’t shut all the way or it was busted.

Hoodie girl had pulled herself half way out when she finally looked up. That was at the point I guess I had gone insane, she had no face, no eyes, no ears, no mouth and no damn nose. It was as flat and smooth as if someone had taken a belt sander to her features and erased them from her countenance.

“Jed point the friggen way man, we gotta go!” I yanked him and put him in front.

He couldn’t see what I did, but he could pick up on my terror easy enough considering it was coming off me in sheets.

We were out of the morgue proper when I heard something wet plop down against those cold ceramic tiles behind us.

It was a good hundred feet as we raced (okay shuffled fast) to the exit. It was difficult traversing the hazards strewn throughout the hallways.

“Something’s coming.” Peter said.

“Can you see it?” I asked not daring to turn around and impale myself on some exposed rebar.

“No but I can hear it.” Fear was finally creeping into his voice.

Then came a blood-curdling scream (and it wasn’t from me). I turned so had Jed, somehow he had got the light back and was quick enough to catch Trip S being hurled against the wall. His head slammed off the concrete and shattered much like a melon would under Gallagher’s mallet (hope that reference isn’t too old - look it up on youtube). Blood cascaded down all around us.

“RUN!” I yelled stooping to grab something, anything, ended up with an old walker, not a very formidable weapon when dealing with specters. It was too late for Trip S, parts of him were dripping down the wall. He would never shop the boy’s department for clothing again. We were within 20 feet of the exit and the thing behind us still hadn’t shown itself but it was gaining. Unfortunately I couldn’t see it.

Jed’s light was bobbing up ahead as he made great time, something snapped in half not a stride from me, I turned wanting to face my demise instead of being shredded from behind. I figured I could delay it just long enough for the rest of the group to get free. I was slightly dismayed that Goth couldn’t share this moment with me but can’t have everything I suppose. I swung my aluminum walker not hitting anything. It did however make a cool whooshing sound as its sliced through the air.

In my peripheral vision I realized that the flashlight was not moving anymore, I turned as much as I dared to see what was keeping us from our forward momentum, I nearly dropped my weapon of mass destruction. The flashlight was on the ground spinning and the group was gone.

“What?” I asked trying to figure out what had happened.

The light came to rest pointing back the way we had come. Faceless was staring back at me, no more than a foot away. I’m sorry, I’m a big bad ass former Marine but I was screaming like a little girl those last ten feet as I pushed through the exit door.

I ran ten more feet before the biggest blackest bestest friend in the whole world grabbed me.

“Whoa Talbot man you alright?”

“BT, BT is that really you?” I asked reaching up and touching his face.

“You gonna be taking me to dinner now?”

“It is you.” I said hugging the giant.

“What the hell is going on here? I got your text, so I called your wife. Tracy said you left some cryptic message about leading some group down here on a tour.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll explain maybe let’s just get a little further away from this place first.” I told him. It looked like the door might be opening up ever so slightly.

“Yeah but Talbot, your missus she checked the name of the paranormal group you said you were leading there’s no such group. And certainly not walking through Eastern State Penitentiary, it’s condemned, no one is allowed in there anymore.”

“Wait....what? So I’m not getting my two hundred and fifty bucks?” I asked him.

“I don’t think you’re getting it man, there’s no paranormal group and certainly no tour.”

“BT I just spent the last hour or so in that effen place, I can assure you there was both.”

“Talbot I’ve been trying to find you for 24 hours, Tracy most likely has the National Guard on the way.

“I’d rather have Marines.”

“Are you alright, my friend?” BT asked stooping down to look carefully into my eyes.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be alright BT.” I told him as we walked away from my latest waking nightmare.

“So how’d you know I was really in there?” I asked BT, he was driving my Jeep home and me. Most of the ride I had my head pressed against the passenger side window looking out not really focusing on anything.

“This Jeep man, anything short of an apocalypse and I knew you wouldn’t leave it behind. You know man your love affair with this car borders on the creepy.”

I ignored his comment; he didn’t like to drive so he couldn’t know the affection a man can have for his ‘ride’. “How’d you get here?” I asked.


“You took a cab from New York?”

“You owe me a shitload for cab fare.”

“Thanks BT.” I said solemnly.

He glanced over quickly. “You know Mike I’d do anything for you. You’re the one real white friend I have I can’t afford to lose you.”

“Kiss my ass BT.”

“I mean without you around as a bad example the women can’t see just HOW good I can dance.”

“We gonna do basketball jokes now too?”

“Naw man too easy, I must have 3 or 4 feet on you.”

I saw what he was trying to do, I was wrung out from my encounter and he was just trying to get me to move on. “Just know that I appreciate it.”

“I didn’t do anything you wouldn’t have.” He replied in a more serious tone.

And he was right there was nothing I wouldn’t do for family and BT was most certainly a part of my family. “Is Tracy pissed?” I asked.

“Let’s just say that I have a ride waiting at your house so that when I drop you off, I can get in and go.”

“That’s not very protective of you.”

“Hey man you’re on your own there, last time I pissed Tracy off, well let’s just say the bruise hasn’t gone away.” He said as he absently rubbed his sternum, Tracy’s favorite finger prodding spot.

It was a few more hours of comfortable silence before we got home, BT wasn’t kidding his wife was in the driveway talking with Tracy, they both turned as we approached.

I stepped out, gave a hug and kiss to BT’s wife and headed towards Tracy, she wrapped me up in her arms.

“You alright Talbot?”

I nodded.

“Any idea when this is going to end?”

I shook my head.

“You two want to come in for coffee?” Tracy asked as she turned me around.

Henry my English Bulldog was waiting for me by the gate, his stub of a tail flipping back and forth.

“It’s good to see you too.” I told him as I got down on my haunches and squished his face.

BT had declined the coffee. “Good to see you again Tracy.” He told her. “We still on for next weekend?” He called out.

“Sounds good my friend.” I told him as I turned and waved. I watched their car go down the driveway. I hoped I could fulfill my promise and see them next week, I never quite knew what my wayward pissed off demi-god had in store, only time will tell.

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