Sunday, February 11, 2018
(After playing the Call of Cthulhu original scenario â€œWhat Rough Beast â€¦â€ today from 1:30 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. with Yorie Latimer, John Leppard, Austin Davie, Ambralyn Tucker, Kyle Matheson, and Ben Abbott.)
The six children all had dinner in their homes after getting back from Anniston the night of Sunday, June 23, 1929.
* * *
Billy told his grandfather there was a prank-craze going around town and people were trying to get back at him for pranks. He asked his grandfather not to let anyone in the house or else they would probably do something.
â€œWho are these â€¦ these â€¦ oh, some of these boys from school?â€ his grandfather said.
â€œJust â€¦ people,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œWell, if I see any of these boys â€¦â€ his grandfather said.
He picked up the broom.
â€œIf those boys come around here, theyâ€™re going to get a swat!â€ he said.
â€œItâ€™s more people town,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œPeople around â€¦ who is teasing you and bullying you, boy?â€ he grandfather said.
He pointed the broom at the youth.
Billy squealed something unintelligible and ran out the front door. He took his bicycle from where it lay in front of the house and put it under the overhang in the back.
* * *
â€œHey pop,â€ Richard said to his father. â€œHave you seen the â€¦ whoâ€™s the guy who runs the ice house in town?â€
â€œWilbur Mayo?â€ his father said.
â€œHave you seen Wilbur lately?â€
â€œNo. He doesnâ€™t bring ice until next week.â€
â€œDo you know anyone whoâ€™s seen him lately?â€
â€œNo. I donâ€™t know.â€
Richard left the house and biked up to Wilbur Mayoâ€™s ice house. The building was built into the side of the hill and had a little lean-to on the side where Mayo lived. There was a stable and barn nearby. The horse and wagon were both there. Richard went to the lean-to and looked inside but didnâ€™t see anyone in there. He didnâ€™t hear anything either.
Then he biked up to Old Sanguis, the tiny abandoned town that was where their village originally began. He searched the nearest of the buildings until almost dark but found nothing.
* * *
Michael and Ella-Marie sharpened the ash stakes Michael had brought back.
* * *
Billy was in his room after dark when he heard a knock on the front door. He got up to go answer it but when he got to the living room, he saw his grandfather by the front door. A tall, dark-haired man in a suit stood there and his grandfather invited the man in. The manâ€™s hair was parted in the middle and he wore pince-nez glasses and held a hat in his hand.
â€œMy name is Christopher St. Jordan II,â€ the man said. â€œI have taken up residence in the Bennett Farm.â€
Billy turned, walked back to his room, and grabbed Mrs. Pineâ€™s crucifix. He put it behind his back and came out to where the two men talked near the front door. He went to them and overheard St. Jordan tell his grandfather that some boys from town were out at his house and did some damage. His man described the boys and Billy realized the description of one of them was obviously him.
â€œI am not concerned with who did it exactly, or getting the law involved,â€ St. Jordan said. â€œI just donâ€™t want it to happen again.â€
Billy reached the two men and his grandfather turned towards the boy, fire in his eyes.
â€œBoy!â€ he said loudly.
He grabbed Billy by the ear.
â€œWere you out there messing with this manâ€™sâ”€?â€ his grandfather said.
â€œNo no no,â€ St. Jordan said. â€œThere is no need for any of this.â€
St. Jordan told his grandfather the old house was still in poor shape but he had plans to get carpenters and surveyors to start repairs in a month or so. He didnâ€™t want any children to get hurt out there, playing. He also didnâ€™t want any more damage.
Billyâ€™s grandfather let go of his ear as the two men continued to talk, ignoring the boy. St. Jordan talked about starting a mortuary in the house to bring some more life into Sanguis. He said he was hoping to lay down roots and possibly even have a large family someday. He noted that since his family already had money, he was hoping to supply his services to the village very inexpensively. He looked down at Billy occasionally.
He thanked Billyâ€™s grandfather.
â€œIâ€™m sure youâ€™ll see that he is talked to,â€ St. Jordan said, glancing at Billy. â€œBut please â€¦ he is a young boy. He has a whole life ahead of him. Donâ€™t you?â€
â€œIâ€™m sorry mister,â€ Billy squeaked.
St. Jordan seemed startled by his high-pitched voice.
â€œIâ€™ve been â€¦ Iâ€™m sorry,â€ Billy squeaked. â€œTroubled.â€
â€œIf you just tell your friend as well, I will see him sometime,â€ St. Jordan said.
â€œIâ€™m sorry, gramps,â€ Billy squeaked. â€œIâ€™ll just get to the good book.â€
He pulled out the crucifix and St. Jordan turned quickly away, putting his hand over his eyes.
â€œMy wife passed recently,â€ he said. â€œShe was Catholic. I must go.â€
He walked hurriedly out of the door.
Billyâ€™s grandfather gave him a talking to, telling him not to break things or heâ€™d whip him. He had never whipped the boy before. When Billy returned to his room, he found his dog, Blitzer, cowering under the bed.
* * *
Ella-Marie was woken in the wee hours of the night by a voice whispering her name.
â€œElla-Marie,â€ it said.
He opened her eyes in the dark room. A breeze blew in through the window.
â€œElla-Marie,â€ the whisper came again.
She sat up in bed and looked over at the window. A small figure with blonde hair stood just outside.
â€œElla-Marie,â€ Tommy whispered again. â€œCome here.â€
â€œWhat are you doing here?â€ she whispered back.
â€œWell, Iâ€™m hungry Ella-Marie.â€
â€œI saw you fly off into the night!â€
â€œYeah, I can fly now!â€
â€œI can turn to a wolf. Yeah. Itâ€™s great. Iâ€™m gonna live forever. Iâ€™m gonna live forever, Ella-Marie. Câ€™mere.â€
â€œWas that â€¦ you in the woods?â€
â€œI wanna talk to you. I wonâ€™t use my eyes on you, I promise.â€
â€œCome over here.â€
Ella-Marie picked up one of the ash stakes.
â€œCan I come in?â€ Tommy asked.
â€œNo, you donâ€™t come closer,â€ she said.
â€œWell, I canâ€™t. Itâ€™s rules. I canâ€™t come in. See, Iâ€™m not even using my eyes. Câ€™mere, talk to me, just talk to me. Iâ€™m not gonna touch ya.â€
â€œNo. No. Iâ€™m not speaking to you.â€
â€œElla-Marie, Iâ€™m so hungry.â€
â€œIâ€™m not speaking to you.â€
â€œWell, what have I done? What did I do?â€
â€œYouâ€™re not natural! Youâ€™re not of this Earth! Iâ€™m not speaking to you!â€
â€œWell, I might not be natural but â€¦ but you know â€¦ yâ€™allâ€™ll never find me. I got the best hiding place.â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œI got the best hiding place. Itâ€™s a great hiding place. Iâ€™m so hungry, Ella-Marie. Please!â€
â€œWhat do you want me to do?â€
â€œWell, come over here.â€
â€œI canâ€™t touch you while youâ€™re in the house.â€
â€œExactly. Go away.â€
â€œWell, if you come over here and you let me â€¦ you let me. Itâ€™s real nice. It only hurts for a second and then it feels real good.â€
â€œBut it does!â€
She got out of the bed and went over, pushing the sash down. Tommy sighed.
â€œI guess Iâ€™ll have to go talk to Jill then,â€ he said.
She went back to her bed and had a terrible time getting back to sleep.
* * *
On Monday, June 24, 1929, the six children all met at the tree house after breakfast. On the way, Michael and Teddy saw Harry Match in the Sanguis Grocery, purchasing a shovel, a pick, and a shotgun.
As soon as Billy showed up, he started shouting at the rest of them.
â€œHe came to my house last night!â€ he screeched.
â€œWhat?â€ Richard said. â€œWho?â€
â€œYou, too?â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œChristopher came to my house last night!â€ Billy screeched.
â€œThe man! My house!â€
â€œI was talking about Tommy!â€
â€œWho cares about Tommy!?!â€
â€œWait wait wait,â€ Michael said. â€œTommy came to the house last night?â€
â€œYes!â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œTommy came to my window and he was â€¦ he was â€¦ playing and he wasâ”€â€
â€œBig whoop! He was at your window!â€ Billy said. â€œChristopher was in my house!â€
â€œWait, in your house?â€ Michael said.
â€œIn my house!â€ Billy shrieked.
â€œAll right, let me tell me tell my story first!â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œHouse!â€ Billy said. â€œNot window! My grandpa let him in!â€
â€œWhatâ€™d he say to you?â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œWhat if I canâ€™t tell him go out!?!â€ Billy said. â€œIâ€™m up **** creek!â€
â€œBilly, what did he look like?â€ Richard asked. â€œYou saw him.â€
Billy described a tall, handsome man, his hair parted down the center, in a nice suit. Richard was unsure if it was the same man he had seen in silhouette out in the woods.
â€œYou sure it was Christopher?â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œHe said it was Christopher!â€ Billy said.
â€œBilly, how did he talk?â€ Richard asked.
Billy looked at him and then pointed at Jebidiah.
â€œLike him,â€ he said.
â€œOh God!â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œDid he talk like he was not from around here?â€ Richard said.
â€œOf course!â€ Billy said.
â€œWhat did he want with you?â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œSo â€¦ heâ€™s not a Yankee though, right?â€ Richard said.
Billy ignored him and turned to Ella-Marie.
â€œHe knew me and Mike went out there and busted up the coffins,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œWhat did he want from you?â€ she asked again. â€œWhy is he at your house?â€
â€œHeâ€™s buddying up with my grandpa,â€ Billy said.
â€œOh god,â€ Michael said.
â€œYour grandfather?â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œYeah,â€ Billy said.
â€œDoes he have anything to do with this?â€
â€œNo. I donâ€™t think so. But I did find out this crucifix works pretty good. He left the house real quick when I pulled it out.â€
â€œThatâ€™s good,â€ Michael said. â€œGood to know.â€
â€œGood to know,â€ Richard said.
â€œWhich, by the way,â€ Michael said.
He poured out the numerous rough crosses and stakes heâ€™d made from his bag.
â€œHe also said his wife died,â€ Billy squeaked.
The children all took some of the crosses and stakes.
â€œAll right, now are you done with your story?â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œTommy came to my room last night,â€ she said.
â€œDid he say anything?â€ Michael asked.
â€œHe was right at the window and he was talking to me about how he was so hungry and he said he canâ€™t come in because I wouldnâ€™t allow him in. And I just said â€˜No.â€™ I just said â€˜Absolutely not, youâ€™re not natural. I saw you fly off into the dang sky.â€™ I just shut the window and I tried to go back to sleep. But he said he was gonna visit Jill.â€
â€œWho?â€ Richard said.
â€œJill!â€ Ella Marie said.
â€œOh yeah, Christopher said that he was wanting to make a family,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œOh no,â€ Michael said.
â€œOh no,â€ Richard said.
â€œOh no,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œOh no.â€
â€œHe wanted to put deep roots in the community,â€ Billy said.
â€œI wanna check on Jill,â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œIâ€™m not going!â€ Richard said.
â€œOkay, you donâ€™t have to.â€
â€œLook, I may have insinuated that I would be willing to shoot her father. As a joke. But he didnâ€™t take it as a joke.â€
â€œIâ€™m sorry, what? How is this going to help any of us?â€
â€œIâ€™m not going. Iâ€™ll go somewhere else, but Iâ€™m not going there.â€
â€œThis is a good time to talk about my idea,â€ Jebidiah said. â€œYou have brought stakes and spare crosses and I thank you for your effort. We should be equipped, wherever we go. I think, while some of us go look after Jill, some others of us should go explore places we havenâ€™t checked in the town.â€
â€œI propose that those who donâ€™t go to check on Jill go up to Old Sanguis. I checked one of the buildings there yesterday. I also checked the ice house but Wilbur Mayo wasnâ€™t in. Thatâ€™s the only place we havenâ€™t been in.â€
â€œThereâ€™s the abandoned places,â€ Billy squeaked.
They discussed where to go, Jebidiah noting it was daytime so they should be safe. They were all in agreement that they shouldnâ€™t stay out after dark.
â€œPerhaps thereâ€™s four places we want to check,â€ Teddy said. â€œI saw Match buying some â€¦ rather curious items.â€
â€œHe was buying a shotgun,â€ Michael said.
â€œWell, that changes things a little,â€ Richard said. â€œBecause heâ€™s able to kill us.â€
â€œI canâ€™t say I blame him!â€ Ella-Marie said.
She gave Michael a hard look.
â€œWe did break into house â€¦ three times now? Right?â€ Michael said.
â€œHe could also â€¦ kill us at any point,â€ Richard said.
â€œWell, weâ€™ll be ready,â€ Ella-Marie said, hefting a wooden stake.
â€œWell, Iâ”€â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œAgainst a shotgun!?!â€ Richard said.
â€œI think as long as we donâ€™t go near thatâ”€â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œWell, weâ€™re just as prepared, arenâ€™t we?â€ she said.
â€œWe have sticks!â€ Richard said. â€œHeâ€™s not a vampire!â€
â€œIâ€™m mean â€¦ theyâ€™re still sharp!â€ she said.
â€œYeah, but â€¦â€ Richard said.
â€œI think as long as we donâ€™t go near the Bennett Farm again, weâ€™ll be fine about not encountering Match,â€ Jebidiah said. â€œBut, if he shows up any other places, weâ€™ll know that somethingâ€™s up there. It is good to know so we can be careful, even during the daytime if Match is around.â€
They decided to split up and headed out. As they got Teddy into the seat to lower him out of the tree house, he saw Match on the railroad, walking from town in the direction of the plantation. The man had a shotgun under his arm and was also carrying a pick and shovel. Billy also saw the man.
â€œLook, there he goes,â€ Teddy said, pointing him out to the others.
â€œSo, who wants to tail him?â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œWhat?â€ Richard said.
â€œWho wants to what?â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œWho wants to tail him?â€
â€œWho wants to tail him?â€ Billy squeaked again.
â€œTail who?â€ she asked.
â€œI donâ€™t have a gun,â€ Richard said.
â€œHe has a shotgun,â€ Teddy said.
â€œHe could be digging where the graves are!â€ Billy squeaked. â€œThey could have buried the coffins theyâ€™re staying in around the plantation and heâ€™s going to where they are.â€
â€œWho are you talking about?â€ Ella-Marie said.
They pointed Match out, at the edge of vision, walking down the railroad tracks.
â€œWhat is he doing?â€ she asked.
â€œI canâ€™t get caught out there again,â€ Billy squeaked. â€œMy grandpa will kill me.â€
â€œYeah, weâ€™re not going to let you out there again.â€
â€œI know. So whoâ€™s gonna tail him?â€
â€œIf he sees us, weâ€™re done for,â€ Teddy said.
They discussed making a change of plans. Ella-Marie noted they had a lot of concerns right then. Billy pointed out there were six of them. Jebidiah said he and Teddy could take other jobs to free up someone else to watch Match, though suggested it be someone quiet who was a good hider. Richard noted he would go trail Match and both Ella-Marie and Teddy were of the opinion he shouldnâ€™t go alone. Ella-Marie was insistent but, in the end, they realized there were not enough of them.
Richard told Billy which building he had checked in Old Sanguis. The boy squeaked that he would check it again and Richard protested but Billy pointed out he had plenty of time. Jebidiah warned Richard to be careful and if he was seen, to just flee as quickly as possible.
They all headed off.
* * *
Richard followed Match at a safe distance, barely keeping the man in sight and hiding behind whatever cover the woods afforded. Match never looked back but walked directly to the plantation house, going around the north side. Richard gave the place a wide berth but got to the side where he could see Match, at a distance, digging a hole behind the plantation house. He saw no sign of the shotgun.
* * *
Michael and Ella-Marie went to Spearmanâ€™s house on the north side of Sanguis. Jill Spearman was sitting on the front porch reading a book. She was dressed in a blue skirt and a long-sleeve shirt buttoned up all the way.
â€œJill?â€ Ella-Marie said as they approached.
â€œYes?â€ Jill said. â€œOh, hello Ella-Marie, how are you today?â€
â€œHi. Iâ€™m â€¦ I â€¦ uh â€¦â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œHow are you feeling, Jill?â€ Michael asked.
â€œIâ€™m fine,â€ she said coldly.
â€œAll right,â€ Michael said. â€œDidnâ€™t know. Tommy was sick, before he passed, and you hung out with him a lot. Didnâ€™t want you getting sick.â€
â€œYeah,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œJust concerned.â€
â€œIâ€™m fine,â€ she said.
She looked at him a moment.
â€œDid Richard send you?â€ she suddenly said. â€œRichard sent you, didnâ€™t he?â€
â€œNo!â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œYou tell Richard Iâ€™m tired of his advances!â€ Jill said.
â€œNo, I just had a terrible dream last night. That you were â€¦ you were incredibly ill and, like Tommy, and I just wanted to come check on you.â€
â€œI got a book on dreams! Wait! Wait here!â€
The girl ran into the house and returned with a book.
â€œYou said I was sick?â€ she said, flipping through the book.
â€œUh â€¦ yes,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œI-I just â€¦ I just wanted to make sure nothing was wrong with you.â€
â€œNothing about being sick.â€
â€œI dreamed that you had rashes all over your body. Do youâ”€â€
â€œDo you mind? Do you mind if I just check your arm? Please?â€
â€œWhy would I â€¦ it was a dream, Ella-Marie.â€
â€œI know but â€¦ you should know â€¦ my dreams are just â€¦ they can seem kind of real sometimes â€¦ so I just â€¦â€
â€œWell, I donâ€™t have no rash.â€
â€œAre you sure?â€
â€œOkay. No nothing?â€
â€œNo. Iâ€™m fine, Ella-Marie.â€
â€œEven â€¦ even around your neck?â€
â€œNo. I donâ€™t have no rashes, Ella-Marie.â€
She looked at Michael.
â€œWhy donâ€™t you go away?â€ she said. â€œThis is girl talk, anyway!â€
Michael walked away.
â€œThat is my brother,â€ she said.
â€œThatâ€™s right,â€ Jill said. â€œHeâ€™s a man. You donâ€™t talk about lady things around a boy!â€
â€œHe goes wherever I go,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œYou donâ€™t talk to my brother like that!â€
Jill closed the book and went into the house. Ella-Marie went after her, entering the house and seeing Jill walking down the hallway to the back of the house. Mrs. Spearman was in the kitchen preparing something.
â€œWell, hello Ella-Marie,â€ Mrs. Spearman said.
â€œHello,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œHello Mrs. Spearman.â€
Ella-Marie walked back to Jillâ€™s room and found Jill putting the book back on the shelf.
â€œAll right Jill,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œListen to me.â€
Jill spun around.
â€œElla-Marie, what are you doing in our house?â€ Jill said.
â€œJustâ”€â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œI did not invite you in.â€
â€œJust listen to me.â€
Jill crossed her arms.
â€œWell, that proves one thing,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œListenâ”€â€
â€œWhat is the matter with you, Ella-Marie?â€ Jill said.
â€œLook, Tommy came to visit me last night. And I know youâ€™re not going to believe me but you need to listen to me, Jill.â€
â€œTommy is dead.â€
â€œAnd there are some things you donâ€™t discuss in front of boys, Ella-Marie. Private, personal stuff.â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œRashes? Youâ€™re asking me to look and show you rashes? When your brotherâ€™s right there?â€
â€œHeâ€™s my brother. Can you get over this?â€
â€œNo. Heâ€™s a boy.â€
â€œI tell him everything.â€
â€œYou need to shut up and listen to me.â€
â€œYou need to shut up.â€
* * *
Michael entered the Spearman house.
â€œOh, hello Michael,â€ Mrs. Spearman said. â€œWhat are you doing?â€
â€œOh â€¦ I just saw that â€¦ my sister came in and I was wondering if I could wait on the couch for her,â€ Michael said awkwardly.
Mrs. Spearman looked at the boy a moment.
â€œAll right,â€ she finally said.
â€œThank you,â€ he said.
He sat on the couch and tried to overhear the conversation.
* * *
â€œAll right, Jill,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œHe was talking to me. And he said that he would come visit you. And I am just worried about your safety, okay? Even if it sounds crazyâ”€â€
â€œIâ€™m worried about you, Ella-Marie,â€ Jill said. â€œIt does sound crazy. It sounds very crazy. But why would â€¦ Tommy died. I know you liked Tommy. He was always telling me.â€
â€œOh, I did not! You are very much mistaken.â€
â€œItâ€™s just like Richard likes me.â€
Ella-Marieâ€™s jaw dropped.
â€œBut you gotta just let go,â€ Jill said. â€œHeâ€™s gone. He died. Itâ€™s very sad. I miss Tommy.â€
â€œIâ€™m just here to tell you heâ€™s not,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œAnd you need to watch out for him and donâ€™t invite him in. If he shows upâ”€â€
â€œI would never invite a boy into my house.â€
â€œWell good. Thatâ€™s â€¦ thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m saying.â€
â€œAre you all right, Ella-Marie?â€
â€œCome here. Come sit down. Come talk to me.â€
Jill had a nice conversation with her, trying to calm Ella-Marie down. She didnâ€™t seem to believe Ella-Marie but she also didnâ€™t seem to not believe her either. Ella-Marie handed her one of her ash stakes and the little girl took it and put it on the bed.
â€œThis will be for your protection, okay?â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œFrom â€¦ from boys coming into my room?â€ Jill said.
â€œWell, all right.â€
The conversation steered towards Richard with Jill trying to learn what he was doing and how he was. She assured Ella-Marie if Tommy Hill came around her house, Ella-Marie would be the first to know. She promised and crossed her heart. Ella-Marie thanked her and left, finding Michael in the front room on the couch.
â€œThere are you are!â€ Michael said. â€œWhat were you doing back there?â€
â€œI was warning her â€¦â€ Ella-Marie started to say.
Then she noticed Mrs. Spearman in the kitchen, looking at the two of them. She grabbed Michaelâ€™s arm and took him out of the house.
* * *
Billy walked Teddy and Jebidiah up the Tallapoosa Road, Jebidiah pushing Teddyâ€™s wheelchair, until they reached the rutted path to the ice house. He left them then, heading on up the road while the other two boys continued up the path.
â€œHow should we approach this?â€ Teddy said.
â€œIt wouldnâ€™t be a bad idea to check Wilbur with your compact,â€ Jebidiah said.
They discussed him doing it discreetly, as he had done to his own friends before.
â€œWhy are we here?â€ Teddy said. â€œWe have to give him a reason to think that weâ€™re here naturally.â€
â€œOh, thatâ€™s true,â€ Jebidiah said. â€œI didnâ€™t think about that.â€
â€œYour parents need ice!â€
â€œYes! It can only be the best ice so we must look for a while.â€
â€œAnd you brought me because my wheelchair can transport it.â€
â€œWe are fascinated by ice! We could tell him we are interested in his job. We want to be ice boys.â€
â€œI would love to grow the ice.â€
They soon came to the ice house, a large building built into the side of the hill. A lean-to stood on the side where they knew Wilbur Mayo lived. The ice wagon was gone, as was the horse in the stables next to the building.
â€œMaybe heâ€™s out?â€ Teddy said.
â€œI guess that means we could just go in!â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œDonâ€™t you mean â€¦ â€˜The door was open when we came?â€™â€ Teddy said.
They went to the lean-to and found the door unlocked. Teddy opened it and they looked in the tiny room which had a bed, a pot-bellied stove, and a few other items. Mayo obviously didnâ€™t have much money. They gave the place a cursory look and Teddy found something disturbing. When he pulled the covers back on the cot, he found blood on the manâ€™s pillow.
â€œHey, Jebidiah, I think I found something,â€ Teddy said.
Jebidiah came over.
It was not a lot of blood but seemed to be at least two separate stains, both of them dry. They were towards the middle of the pillow towards the bottom, where a personâ€™s neck would be situated at night.
â€œThis is â€¦ this isnâ€™t good!â€ Jebidiah said. â€œThat means heâ€™s very close to becoming one of them. Heâ€™s been visited, twice, it looks like to me.â€
â€œWe should probably speed up the process and get out of here quickly,â€ Teddy said.
â€œBut if itâ€™s only two, we need to warn him, somehow,â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œDo we want to take the chance that it isnâ€™t the third?â€
â€œHmm. Thatâ€™s a good point.â€
â€œIâ€™d say, if youâ€™re bit twice, youâ€™re probably just gone for. You only got one more strike.â€
â€œThat is a harsh and realistic expectation, Teddy. I applaud you.â€
â€œIâ€™d help anybody with one bite, but two? Youâ€™re just kind of on the fence.â€
â€œHeâ€™s out anyways. Do you think we should check on the ice house and see if itâ€™s unlocked?â€
They found the ice house unlocked. It was very cold within. There were slabs of ice covered in sawdust. It felt nice and cool in the place. They started searching.
* * *
Billy bicycled up to Old Sanguis and began to search each and every house carefully. It was in the last house, the furthest away from Sanguis, itâ€™s back to the river, that he found something several hours later. A few dirty blankets were on the ground along with a few tins of food and can opener. There was a can of beans, two cans of peaches, and a can of some kind of beef and broth. There was also a large, clay jug.
Billy took the cans outside, opening them with the can opener, and poured them on the ground. He then removed the blankets and hid them elsewhere in the abandoned house.
He was getting ready to mount his bike to leave when he noticed the houses in Old Sanguis were built on foundations, each of them being a foot or so off the ground. He had found no doors or trapdoors that led under the house, so he guessed there were no basements. He looked around each of the houses for some way to get into the crawlspace underneath, but there were no entrances.
He looked at his pocket watch. It was 1 p.m. He headed back down the road towards Sanguis.
* * *
Teddy and Jebidiah had thoroughly searched the ice house, only finding a place they felt, from the scattered sawdust, the ice had recently been removed. Teddy thought they would have found a body but there was nothing else in there unless it was hidden under hundreds of pounds of ice.
â€œI have a question,â€ Teddy said. â€œSo, if heâ€™s been bitten twice or thrice, who has he invited into his shed?â€
â€œWell â€¦â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œWe should ask him.â€
â€œVanzant seems like it was too recent to invite in. That new fellow, Christopher. People around here are friendly. If they knew it was a new neighbor, my guess Wilbur might have invited him in.â€
A shadow appeared in the doorway. Jebidiah looked towards the door, terrified. It was only Billy.
â€œWhy wouldnâ€™t you say anything?â€ Teddy said to him. â€œWhy would you just walk in like that?â€
â€œItâ€™s Billy!â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œA little too late for that one, son,â€ Jebidiah said.
Teddy looked at Billy with his compact but saw the boy in the mirror.
â€œDid yâ€™all find anything?â€Billy squeaked.
â€œWe found that Wilbur might be â€¦ infected,â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œWhat did you find, Billy?â€ Teddy said.
â€œI found out â€¦ nothinâ€™,â€ Billy squeaked. â€œBut â€¦ we might be doing some more vandalism.â€
â€œThe â€˜weâ€™ you use in that sentenceâ”€â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œMe!â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œOkay,â€ Jebidiah said. â€œThatâ€™s a better clarification.â€
â€œMaybe one other person,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œWhere and why andâ”€â€ Teddy said.
â€œOld Sanguis,â€ Billy squeaked. â€œThe houses: theyâ€™re built up a little bit.â€
â€œAbove the ground.â€
â€œLike houses are.â€
â€œI canâ€™t get under there. Thereâ€™s no crawlspace or anything.â€
â€œWhy are you wanting to get under a house?â€
â€œYou canâ€™t just crawl under the foundation?â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œIunno,â€ Billy squeaked. â€œIâ€™ll check back. Thereâ€™s still plenty of day. I just want to check on you guys.â€
â€œWell, the only thing we found is that Wilbur Mayo has been bitten at least two times.â€
â€œNot nice, actually. Very bad.â€
â€œNot nice, Billy,â€ Teddy said.
â€œYep,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œSo, we thought we may try to talk to him about who heâ€™s invited or check him with the mirror,â€ Jebidiah said. â€œIf he has been bitten two times and not three than we should try to help protect him.â€
Billy looked around and found an ice pick and a mallet among other tools in the ice house.
â€œIâ€™m going back to Old Sanguis,â€ he squeaked.
â€œAre you stealing!?!â€ Jebidiah asked.
â€œIâ€™ll bring â€˜em back,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œShould we accompany him?â€ Teddy asked Jebidiah. â€œHe seems adamant.â€
â€œI â€¦â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œTo destroy houses?â€
â€œTo destroy houses. Oh my God. Well â€¦â€
â€œIâ€™m mostly - Iâ€™m gonna look for loose floorboards this time,â€ Billy squeaked. â€œThatâ€™s what the mallet and ice pick are for.â€
â€œDo you really want to accompany Billy with theft and vandalism or should we wait on Wilbur?â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œHmm,â€ Teddy said. â€œWhy are you breaking boards?â€
â€œLooking for stuff,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œLooking for what?â€
â€œYou said you wanted to do this, because the housesâ”€â€
â€œMaybe thereâ€™s a coffin under there or maybe theyâ€™ve dug out below the foundation.â€
â€œAnd maybe thereâ€™s gold under my feet, Billy.â€
Teddy looked down. Billy reached forward and flicked his nose.
â€œHa!â€ Billy squeaked. â€œMade you look!â€
â€œI think we should wait for Wilbur and make sure heâ€™s safe,â€ Jebidiah said. â€œBut youâ€™re the tiebreaker, Teddy.â€
â€œThis seems like fools gold,â€ Teddy said.
â€œI love the pun!â€ Jebidiah said.
Billy headed back to Old Sanguis without the other boys.
* * *