Chapter 2: “Third house down”
The dream was over. Cory had never felt so relieved to get something off of his chest. However, even in the safety of the day, the story made he and Ben feel a chill run down their spines. All Cory could do was hope that in telling his friend this nightmare, he could somehow make it all better. But Ben only could sit in shock of what he had just heard. In truth, he had never heard this dream spoken of before, and now had no more questions of why.
As the bus slowly crept further down the road, dropping off another student every few houses, Corey and Ben sat in utter silence. It seemed that the whole world had been taken over by the gloom of horror that our protagonist had spoken from his crumbling mind. Cory knew that telling his dream was a big mistake so, as he usually did when not wanting to talk, he looked out of the bus window and started thinking up one of his stories.
Nothing was coming to his mind. For an imagination that usually came to him even when he didn’t want it to, his mind was selfishly holding back. All he could now do to keep his mind off of his immediate troubles was to look at the passing world. It was not so hard to do. All it took was looking at all of the halloween decorations. Pumpkins, skeletons, cobwebs, and scarecrows.
Soon the bus crept onto Corey and Ben’s street. When Ben was on the side walk with Corey, and the noise of the bus had passed, he sat down on the curb, and gestured for his friend to do the same. The two boys sat in the cloudy cold gloom of their street as the sun sank slowly behind the suburban houses. Cory, still looking around at the sickening devil worship of halloween, and Ben simply mustering up the courage to talk.
“You know Cory?” Ben said, carefully thinking out his words. “You have been through some really hard times. I mean, with your mom and all.” There was an odd pause as the words sunk in. “But no matter how screwed up you think you are, your not really that far from being ok.” Cory tried his hardest not to burst into tears at the words he had so longingly wanted to hear. “And just so you know,” Ben continued. “I’m always going to be on your side.”
Cory nodded and turned his head so that Ben wouldn’t see his puffy eyes. Looking down the street He could see the evil scarecrow that had left his mind earlier that day, almost directly after hey had past it on the way to school. Now that he saw it without the safety of the bus, and only a few houses down he felt very uneasy. Whoever had put out something like that for fun, really knew their stuff, or they were just plain messed up.
Still, he had the strange need to cover up its face. It was looking at him. While the masked mannequin was facing them, he felt like there was something else on it that could actually see them. Maybe that was true, he thought. Maybe the owners had places a camera or something in the head so that they could make an internet video, or maybe just to perv on children and nobody would ever know.
“Yep, defiantly creeps.” Cory hadn’t even realized that he had spoken the words out loud.
“What did you say?”
“What? Oh! I was talking about how creepy that mannequin looks.” Ben looked down the street at the specter, eyeing it suspiciously. Cory suddenly remembered that Alex was probably on his way to pick the boys up, and they hadn’t even packed. With that in mind he got up and walked toward his front door, calling over his shoulder at Ben.
“Hey Alex is going to be here any minute! Go get your stuff. I’ll tell him to wait for you.”
“Uhu.” Ben almost seemed a zombie with how unfocused he was on Cory’s words. He was still looking at the Scarecrow. Cory reasoned that Ben just had the same idea as he did about it. And why not? That thing was horror movie worthy. paper mache scarecrows weren’t something you saw around their town very often.
As cory packed up the very few things he needed for the night, he started thinking of what Ben had told him. That he was still not too far gone. This swelled Cory with a new sense of joy and life. He now knew that he could live. These thoughts of course are something that we have all gone through. At a time of sadness in our lives, the comforting words of a friend has brought us back for a time. But we must not loose hope for our protagonist yet dear reader.
As Cory finished up and ran outside he saw that Ben was not back yet. Looking down the street he saw Alex’s car coming. A little too fast, he thought. Alex never was that good of a driver. As the car came to a sudden halt, Alex rolled down the window.
“Hey Cory. Long time no see”
“Funny. Hey don’t leave yet. We have to wait for Ben.” Alex looked at him with contempt.
“I’m not stupid you know. I can remember way back to when you two said that I needed to pick ‘BOTH’ of you up.” Cory looked in the back seats.
Alex froze for a moment. “Oh yeah. I forgot him.” The two friends burst into hysterical laughter.
“I’m just kidding. He’s already at my house with my brother.” Suddenly Cory remembered about Alex’s older brother.
“Oh yeah. I kind of forgot he was going to be there tonight.” Alex looked at him knowingly.
“Kind of afraid he’s going to be the adult, huh?”
“Well, yeah. Aren’t you?”
Alex sat back in his seat. “Yeah. I mean normally I wouldn’t be afraid at all, but recently he has been acting more like…” He paused.
“More like your dad?” Corey finished the sentence that his friend didn’t want to hear. Alex looked up at him. He didn’t seem to be on the verge of tears, but his face still held the look of close sorrow.
“Yeah.” There was a moment of silence between them, then Alex spoke again. “You know, even with them gone and my brother always at work, I don’t feel that alone. I mean, even with all this crap is happening to me, I know that I can get through it in the end.” Corey heard his friends words of self conformation and courage with shock. Here was someone that could almost relate to Cory’s position, and he was still stronger than him. What was the drive that kept Alex going? Of course, he didn’t have the same problem as Cory. Sure they had parents that were killed, but Alex hadn’t been put to the test of true horror as Cory had. He wondered how this bold young man would hold up against something like that.
At that moment Ben came down the road and got into the car without even acknowledging Alex’s existent. Both he and Cory looked at each other in slight wonder, then Cory, nodding his shoulders, got into the passenger seat. Alex looked over his shoulder at Ben and saw that his friend was doing the same out the back window.
“Hey, are you okey man?”
“Let’s just get out of here.” The words were sharp, but Alex knew that Ben wouldn’t act like this unless he meant it. And, if Ben had a reason for this odd behavior, he would tell them in his own time. Cory, however, had a different outlook on this. His mind always wondered about things, and he knew that he would have to find out the reason sooner than Ben would tell it. But Cory also knew Ben wouldn’t want to say it to everyone in the car. So, taking out his phone, he started texting him. But Ben sent a Message to him first.
“Hey, my parents are out of town for the weekend. Will you stay over tomorrow night???”
“Sure man. What’s the matter?”
“Cory, how hard were you looking at that scarecrow with the paper mask?” Cory now understood.
“Oh yeah! Freaky right. I think the people who put it out have a hidden camera in the face.” Ben didn’t reply for a minute, but soon cory felt the vibration of his phone.
“Cory! Do you remember when and where we saw it on the way to school?” Cory had to think for a moment. It seemed so long ago.
“Umm, no. Why?” Another long pause.
“Cory, We saw that thing on ‘Rock Street.’”
Cory thought for a moment before realizing something awful. Rock Street was ten blocks away. Why was that thing suddenly three houses down.