Reign Of Terror

Chapter 4 - "Excuse me, are those Bugle Boy Jeans?"

    The boys had exited the river at about nine o'clock. Dripping and tired, they washed up on the banks of the river totally out of breath. Sirens and dogs could be heard in the distance.
    "Where are we Ike?"
    Ike looked around trying to gather himself after his long swim.
    "I don't know. Close to home I think. Now that the sun has gone down we'll be less likely to be spotted."
    Speed shook his head and water sprayed everywhere.
    "We gotta get someplace safe and get some rest."
    Voices were heard not far from the boys' location.
    "I have an idea. I stashed some money I had been secretly stealing from Dad at the house."
    "Are you crazy Ike? That's the first place they'd look for us. And besides, there must be someone living in that house now."
    "Not for much longer Speedy. We don't have a choice. We need money and some wheels. We'll get to the house and get the money and head to Mom's old cabin."
    "I forgot about that place."
    "Then, we whipe Troutman off the face of the Earth. He'll pay for putting us in that hell hole."

    A young woman was on her way home after a rough day cleaning bed pans at the local nursing home. She was driving her nineteen seventy-seven green Chevy in a daze being totally mesmerized by a local talk show host whose two bi-sexual guests were discussing their love life on the air. Without notice a young boy, with arms waving hysterically, jumped out in front of the car. The young woman slammed on her brakes to avoid hitting the child.
    "HELP! HELP! Some guy's trying to kill me!"
    The young woman rolled down her window. Suddenly another young boy smashed her passenger side window and unlocked the door. Distracted by the smashed window and still in a daze from the long day at work, the woman turned only to be punched out by the older teenager. Within moments, the boys had the car and the unconscious woman.

    The search continued for the two escaped boys. At the Aikmen Bridge, a map was strewn across the hood of a police cruiser. Inspector Troutman studied the map with three officers. Captain Morgan approached with news on the search.
    "Inspector, they scoured the area that you suggested. The dogs were able to pick up a trail but it stopped just short of route 9. The search team thinks the boys may have taken a car. There was some broken glass right about the point where the dogs lost the scent."
    "Then we may already be too late. Gentlemen, we are going to the old Crenshaw residence. Follow closely behind my car and have another three cruisers meet us there. NOBODY I repeat NOT A SINGLE PERSON enters the house until I say so. Captain, find the owners of the Crenshaw house and get them on the phone. Tell them to get out of the house immediately. Tell them that their lives may be in danger. If their phone isn't working, try to get a cell phone number, a pager number, an email address, a fax number, a smoke signal or anything you can find to get a hold of them. Call a neighbor if you have to, but do whatever it takes. I want those people out of that house."

    The boys made their way to the old Crenshaw house. They decided to park the car under a huge tree in front of the house. The Southern Californian sun had been down for a few hours and being early December, the current residents of the house had their Christmas lights turned on. The lights lit up the whole yard but the house inside looked dark.
    "This could be a problem Ike."
    "You take care of the phones Speedy. I'll get the lights."
    "Okay. What about her?"
    The boys both looked at the driver of the car who was lying down tied, gagged and unconscious in the back seat of the car.
    "She'll be out for a while. We may have some use for her later."
    An evil grin appeared on Ike's face.
    "Let's go."
    To avoid making too much noise the boys climbed out of the windows of the car. Speed made his way over to the neighborhood's main telephone box. Thanks to the tools in the nursing home lady's trunk, he was able to quietly get into the box and cut all of the fiber optic cables to the entire neighborhood using a pair of wire cutters.
    Ike made his way around to the back of the house where a large power box had been specifically installed to handle all of the Christmas lights. Ike unplugged all of the chords and the outside of the house plunged into darkness. Inside the house, a husband woke from his very light sleep.
    "Will you get to sleep Bobby? You know I have that meeting tomorrow."
    The wife was annoyed. She had an early morning investors meeting that she needed to be in top shape for. She had even pulled out her black mini-skirt for the meeting which hang on a hanger on the back of their closed bedroom door.
    "But the lights went out Mary."
    "Well maybe the timer went off. One of the cats could have turned the dial or something. Get to sleep."
    The husband and wife both tried to get back to sleep. A few moments later, the husband thought he heard light footsteps downstairs. He sat up quickly.
    "Did you hear that!"
    The wife sat up and glared at her husband.
    "Robert, what you are hearing is one of the cats. Maybe if you busted your ass a little more you'd be able to sleep at night and I wouldn't have to be showing a piece of mine at this meeting tomorrow to help pay the rent. Now get to sleep!"
    In fear of losing his life or more importantly, his family jewels, Bobby tried to get back to sleep. It only took another minute to annoy his wife yet again.
    "Oh damn."
    "NOW WHAT?!"
    "I have to go to the bathroom. I'll be back soon. Sorry honey."
    The husband left the room before he could hear his wife call him a few more colorful metaphors. The husband made his way downstairs. He passed through the living room and headed towards the bathroom located off the main hallway. He totally missed Ike sitting on the couch.
    Ike walked over to the fireplace and grabbed the bellow from the fireplace's mantle. He stood waiting for the man to return. Moments later, a flush was heard  from the bathroom. The man soon walked into the living room and saw Ike staring at him.
    "Ho! Ho! Ho! It's the Dark Santa."
    Instinctively, the husband swung at the intruder but was knocked to the ground from behind by Speed.
    "I got a present for ya!"
    Ike jammed the bellow into the husbands mouth while Speed held the man on the floor. Ike covered the man's nose as the tool meant for blowing air onto the hot coals of the fireplace protruded from the husband's mouth. Ike stepped down hard on the arm of the bellow and the air rushed into the man with furious force. The air shattered the man's lungs.
    "Ahhh you gotta love the crisp winter air at Christmas time."
    Ike looked around the room.
    "I'll get the money. You check out the rest of the house."

    After searching the downstairs of the house and finding nothing of interest, Speed quietly made his way upstairs. The wife was sound asleep dreaming of all the ways she could impress her investors at her meeting. She was totally unaware of her impending doom.
    As Speed walked down the upstairs hallway, he bumped into the husband and wife's wedding picture which hung on the right hand wall. It fell to the ground and the glass shattered. The wife woke up from the sound of breaking glass.
    The sound of glass being stepped on in the hallway echoed throughout the house.
    "If that was our wedding picture, I'm going to kill you!"
    Only footsteps could be heard from the hall. The footsteps grew louder. They certainly weren't footsteps of someone running to the bathroom for a midnight relief. They were slow, heavy, deliberate and were getting closer.
    "Honey?" The woman asked in a much lower and more concerned tone.
    The door to the bedroom opened ever so slowly. A darkened doorframe was all that was seen. The woman's breathing became quicker and more intense.
    "Honey?" Her voice had been reduced to a whisper.
    Time stood still. A heartbeat was all that was heard. It was a beating that grew and grew. She gasped for breath as a figure appeared. All that was felt was a quick twinge. The woman looked down to notice the fireplace poker skicking out of her chest. It was a strange sensation that quickly came to an end. Speed looked serenly at the dead woman. All he could see was his mother as he looked at her face. The blank stare of death in all of its sincerity looked deep into Speed's soul and a flash of sadness swelled in his heart. Ike burst in the room.
    "I've got the money. Let's get out of here before company shows."
    Ike looked down at the dead woman.
    "Nice work Speedy."
    Sirens could be heard in the distance.
    "Let's go, we're running out of time."
    Speed just stood and stared at the dead woman.
    Ike grabbed Speed and pulled him out of the room. They ran outside and back to the car. The nursing home woman was awake and was sitting upright.
    "Ah look Speedy, our friend is awake. Stay here."
    Ike grabbed the woman out of the back seat of the car and carried her fireman's-style back into the house. He tied her to a chair, walked over to the gas stove and pulled out the gas line. He then taped a wooden match to the edge of the front door. When the front door opened, the match would light. He did this all in clear view of the woman tied to the chair. Her eyes grew large and her screams were muffled by the gag jammed down her throat.
    "Sorry lady, but you're too much of a risk to take with us. It's too bad, you're a nice looking chick."
    He started to walk away and then stopped and looked back at the woman.
    "By the way, do you like to cook? Ha ha ha ha!"
    Ike climbed out one of the kitchen windows and then back into the old Chevy.
    "Let's go Speed!"
    Ike drove slowly out of the nighborhood.

    The woman in the chair knew her time was short as the house was filling with gas. She held her breath, desperately trying not to breathe the deadly air. Then she heard sirens and saw lights as the police arrived at the Crenshaw house.
     They missed the old Chevy by only a couple of minutes. The police got out of their cars and gathered around Troutman.
    "I want someone with infrared to check this house out. I don't want any of us going inside and being surprised by someone."
    Moments later, an officer returned to Troutman.
    "Sir, infrared shows only one person alive in the house - a person sitting in a chair."
    "Ok, get that person out of there. When it is clear, I want to inspect the house myself. Don't touch anything! Move it!"
    The team of four officers armed with handguns made their way to the front of the house. The nursing home woman heard the officers at the door and grunted frantically. She shook and moaned and tried to make any sound possible to stop the policemen from entering the house.
    But then she became absolutely motionless.
    The doornob to the front door turned ever so slowly.
    The door opened and the woman closed her eyes tightly knowing that the pain was coming. The match ignited the natural gas line. In an instant, the entire house was reduced to rubble and another four officers were dead including the nursing home woman.

    The Dark Haired Man looked on in horror.