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Alone Again

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“Sit there and be quiet.  Uncle Brian will take care of you.  Stop crying.  It’s driving me nuts.”

“I want my mommy.”  Aiden sobbed.

“Your mom is in heaven now,” Uncle Brian said.

Aiden gave a low whining cry.  “I want to go back to Aunt Sally’s.  You said we were going to the park.  We should have been there already.”

Aiden always felt uneasy around Uncle Brian, but had never told his mom about the way he stared at him or held him too long when he hugged him, because his mom wouldn’t have believed him.  She had said he had an “overactive imagination”.  He wasn’t sure what that meant, but it probably meant he made things up.

“Shut the hell up.  I’m sick of your crying.”  Uncle Brian pulled over and walked to the back of the van.

Aiden tried to squirm out of his seat, but the ropes his uncle said were seat belts tied him down.

Uncle Brian took a roll of duct tape from a toolbox.  “I told you to shut up.  Now I have to punish you.”  He put a long strip of duct tape across Aiden’s mouth.  “If you behave, I’ll take it off.”

Through teary eyes, Aiden nodded.

Uncle Brian resumed driving.  From his seat, Aiden watched the unfamiliar road.

For the hundredth time since the funeral, he wished his mom was alive.  Aiden never knew his father, or as his mom called him “the good for nothing bastard”.  Now he lived with Aunt Sally.  He liked her, but she was always busy being a lawyer.

At school, the other kids acted weird around him.  He was different because his mom died.  They shied away from him, as if being near him too long would cause their mom to die.  He was alone, and would be forever.

“Don’t worry, Aiden.  Uncle Brian will take care of everything.  You know I love you.”

Aiden squirmed in his chair.

When his mom was alive, Aiden wanted to go over Uncle Brian’s house even though he didn’t like his uncle much.  What kid wouldn’t?  He had the latest Xbox games.  He had the coolest toys and action figures.

Once Uncle Brian had told him to go into his video drawer and get a DVD.  As he looked through the Sponge Bob and Shrek videos, there were a few boxes with naked people.  He gasped and put them back.  When he turned around, Uncle Brian had stood behind him with a wolfish grin.  “Find something in there you like?”

Aiden had shaken his head.

“If you don’t want to watch Shrek, we can watch one of the other ones.”

“I don’t want to watch TV anymore.  I want go out and play instead.”  He had run out of the house, trying to get as far away from his uncle as possible.

Kids always hung around Uncle Brian’s house.  Mom said that was because he was a big kid, but now Aiden doubted that.  Only a bad man would tie him up like this and lie about going to the park.

Aiden was hungry and thirsty.  The only thing he had eaten all day was Pop Tarts.  Uncle Brian had told him hours ago they were going to stop for food.

He felt claustrophobic from the duct tape across his mouth.  He needed to get out.  His nose could get clogged and he wouldn’t be able to breathe.  He tried to scream, but nothing came out.  Instead, the taste of tape filled his mouth.  He tried to spit, but his saliva went down his throat, causing him to gag.

He shifted his body.  Uncle Brian had to let him out.  He would promise not to cry.

When the van stopped, Uncle Brian walked to the back.  “Listen, Aiden, I know you’re hungry, so I’m going to get food.  Just sit tight.”

He couldn’t move even if he wanted to.

When Uncle Brian returned, Aiden’s stomach growled at the delicious scent of hamburgers and French Fries.  It was the sweetest smell in the world.

He knelt next to Aiden.  “If you promise to be quiet, I’ll give you some food.”

Aiden nodded.  He didn't want to take anything from Uncle Brian, but he was so hungry.

Uncle Brian removed the duct tape.

Aiden breathed heavy.  He wanted to scream, but wouldn’t risk not eating.

Uncle Brian handed him a cheeseburger and fries.  He ate greedily and gulped the soda.

He let out a loud belch.  He was still scared, but felt better with a full belly.

“I’ll keep the tape off your mouth as long as you keep quiet.  Uncle Brian has a lot on his mind, and you’re giving him a headache.  Okay?”

Aiden nodded.  He shied away as Uncle Brian ran his fingers through his wavy blond hair.

“Good.  We’re almost there.  Just hang in a little longer.  I’m sorry I yelled at you.  You know your Uncle Brian loves you very much.”

Aiden looked up.  “Where are we going?”

“A special place.  You’ll love it.  It’s where all the boys and girls want to go.”

“Can I go home?” Aiden asked.

“And miss all the fun?”

For a brief moment, Aiden’s heart filled with hope.  He didn’t understand why his uncle had tied him up, but he wanted to believe that instead of going to the park, they were going to an even better place.  Maybe the beach or a super cool arcade.

His good feeling did not last.  The look in Uncle Brian’s eyes made him squirm.  He sunk into despair.  They weren’t going to the park or any cool place.  Uncle Brian was going to hurt him, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop him.

He wanted to cry, but his uncle would tape his mouth again.  If that happened, he might stop breathing.

As tears welled in his eyes, a bright light shined in the back of the van.  Despite its intensity, it did not hurt his eyes.  It had a mesmerizing quality.  He stared at the shimmering light and his heart nearly stopped.

***

 

 

He was so close, he could almost taste it.  He had never tried anything so bold.  He had to have the boy.  Only eight years old, Aiden was so perfect, so precious.

Susan had died in a tragic automobile accident.  He grieved along with everybody else, but they hadn’t known that he had disconnected her brakes.

He wished there was another way.  He didn’t want to kill Susan, but it was all her fault.  She was a great older sister, but when she forbade him from seeing Aiden ever again, she had forced his hand.  How could she do that to him?  Perhaps she had seen some of the photos he kept hidden in his house.  Regardless, there was nothing that would stop him from having the boy.

He had always cherished Aiden above all the others.  From the day he was born and he had held the tiny infant in his hands, he had developed a special bond with his nephew.

He had made sure his sister Sally had left the house before picking up Aiden today, their special day.  He didn’t want to kill Aiden, but it had happened with some of the others, so he couldn’t chance anyone knowing he had been with Aiden on the day he died.  Officially, he was attending a conference out of state.  After he was done with Aiden, he would return to the conference and make sure people saw him.  If Aiden did not live past today, he would grieve along with the others and would be outraged not just by Aiden’s murder, but the terrible atrocities committed to him before he died.

They were almost at the cabin.  He wished he would have more time with Aiden.  Just thinking about it aroused him and made his heart race.

“What the hell,” Brian muttered.  Up ahead, a woman stood in the middle of the road.  “You crazy bitch!  Get off the damned road.”

His eyes bulged out of his skull as he got closer.  “Can’t be.”  The woman on the road bore an uncanny resemblance to Susan.

“Get out of the way!”  When she did not move, he swerved to avoid hitting her.  He then floored the accelerator, wanting to put as much distance as possible between him and the crazy woman who looked like his sister.

He glanced at Aiden, who was talking to himself.  “Shut the hell up.  Don’t make me tape your mouth up again.”

Brian steadied his nerves.  Don’t be silly.  That’s not Susan.  Just some crazy bitch walking in the middle of the road, drunk or high, trying to kill herself. He had attended his sister’s funeral.  She was dead.

He reached the top of the hill.  Once more, Susan stood in the middle of the road, directly in his path.  “No way.  I killed you already.  You can’t be here.”

He cringed at the sight of her face.  She glared at him.  He was no longer sure if he killed her the first time, but he would finish the job this time.  He smiled and pressed the accelerator.  She did not move as he drove the van straight through her.  He was expecting a loud thump from the collision, but there was no sound.

“Where did you go?” He breathed hard.

He jumped, his shoulder hitting the driver side door, when a familiar female voice said, “I’m right here.”

Susan sat on the front passenger seat as he remembered her, not battered and mangled like she should be.

“Why aren’t you dead?”

“I am, brother.  I just came back to make things right.”

Just then the thing that looked like Susan transformed.  Her eyes became pitch black.  Her mouth grew impossibly large.  Her tongue slithered out of her mouth like a monstrous deformity.  She howled, a sound that made his head feel like it would split.

Brian shrieked.  "What the hell are you?"

She raised her hands, and sharp claws formed.  "And I thought you loved me."   Her voice sounded rough, still like Susan except behind a dozen filters.

With his left hand on the wheel, he punched her with his right, but she grabbed it with her clawed hand and squeezed.  He howled in pain.  With her other hand, she tore at his face and chest, ripping a massive gash into him.  Blood quickly saturated his clothes.

He lost control of the wheel.  The pain was too intense, the gaping wounds too massive, and his horror at the monstrous Susan to sever.  The van veered off the road and onto the dirt path.  Brian attempted to turn back onto the road, but it was too late.  The van hit a rock, tumbled and flipped front to back and side to side down the hill.

 

 

***

Tears streamed down Aiden’s face.  “Mommy.”

The brilliant light formed his mom’s unmistakable face.

“Do what I tell you.”

“I will, Mom.”

The ropes that tied him to his seat loosened.  Slowly, he crept out of his seat, not wanting to capture his uncle’s attention.  The van swerved, causing him to fall to the floor. He sprung to his feet.

“Come toward me,” his mother’s voice said.

Aiden nodded and walked to the back of the van.  The rear doors sprung open.

“Jump, Aiden.”

Aiden shook his head.  “I can’t.  I’m scared.”

“Trust me, Aiden.  I will never let anyone hurt you.”

His heart beat fast and his hands trembled.  He closed his eyes and jumped, landing lighter than he expected.  He tumbled before coming to a stop.

He looked up as the van spun out of control before it went down the hill.  Moments later, it exploded.  He got to his feet.  Other than a few scratches, he felt fine.  His mother had protected him.

Aiden walked with his hands in his pockets to the edge of the cliff.  Down below, Uncle Brian’s van burned.  He stared in fascination as Uncle Brian crept out of the van.  His face was a bloody mess.  His jacket had caught on fire.  He slowly crawled up the hill.

“Aiden, please help,” Uncle Brian said in a weak croak.

Aiden shook his head.  “You tried to hurt me.”

Please, Aiden.”

Heat radiated from the burning van. Uncle Brian tried to stand, but lost his balance and fell down into the burning wreckage.  He felt no remorse.  His uncle was a bad man.

As he watched the wreck he felt at peace for the first time since his mom died, knowing he would never be alone again.

 

Bio: My debut novel "Two For Eternity" was released in 2011 by Weaving Dreams Publishing.  My novel "Blood Street" is scheduled to be released in November 2012 by True Grit Publishing.  My

short fiction has appeared in various publications including Sinister City, Alien Skin and shortstory.me.

 

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