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“Are you excited Max?” Mom asked. Oh no. Mom asked Million a question. That was not smart. Leave it to mom to add to a conversation with a motor mouth.
“Aren’t you excited?! I can’t wait to swim! I am so psyched!” Million had been talking non-stop for the past twenty minutes with mom stepping in sometimes to add to the never ending conversation. I had tried to tune most of it out but that is practically impossible because he talks so incredibly loud. He had gone from talking about the landscape, to the puppy he was going to get next month, to his new videogame, then back to the landscape, then to swimming. He’s my friend and all but I really regret buying him that Monster Energy drink. It had been three hours since I stopped to buy his that drink and I still thought my dad was thinking about running off the road to commit suicide.
“Million, would you please shut up?” Di Di interrupted.
“I can’t. I just have so much energy!” Million was practically bouncing around in his seat.
“Well, try. I can’t hear myself think.” Di Di stuck her nose back into her book.
I could see my dad’s knuckles were white from clenching his fists on the steering wheel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who was annoyed by Million.
I looked outside. The landscape was actually pretty beautiful; the hill country of Texas. I imagined climbing those trees out there; I don’t know what the trees are called though. It was too bad that they were all roped off with houses near by. Even though the houses were really crappy shacks, the land around them was pretty.
“Oh I love this song! Turn it up Mrs. Rain.” Then that little twerp started singing Katy Perry.
“Um… exactly how much of that soda did you drink?” He stuck a completely empty bottle with the monster M on the front, right in my face, and I had my answer. I groaned. Note to self, I thought. Never give him caffeine or sugar or someone to talk to.
I just went back to staring outside. I was surprised to not see anymore houses. I heard the small van putter and gasp, and then it lurched to a stop. I looked frantically at Di Di. She stared back at me nervously. We were at least fifty miles from any type of city; forwards and back. My dad got out of the car and went strait to the hood. He flipped it up and disappeared behind a curtain of smoke; he gasped and sputtered just like the car and stumbled back to the drivers seat gasping for breath.
“Well kids, I guess we’ll be stuck here for an hour or two.” He said “Do me and your mother a favor. Go take Million on a walk to work off that energy. Casey you have your phone right?”
“I’ll text you when the car is fixed then you can start to head back.”
So Di Di, Million, and I trudged along until the car was out of site. This would probably be a good time to interject and tell you about how we got here and what we are doing because for an hour and a half, it’s just us walking and talking.
Eh-hem. Ok, it all started about a month ago when I finally convinced my parents to take my two best friends with us on our trip to Fredericksburg, Texas. I eventually won the argument and Di Di’s parents had already agreed to let her and her twin brother Maximillion come (Yes his real name is Maximillion). We were going to Texas just for fun and my parents promised to take us to Sea World and that place is EXTREMELY boring without friends. We had planned to go see all the shows, then feed the dolphins French fries instead of fish. Then we got stuck in the middle of nowhere walking down the road like homeless people or something. It was humiliating. What if someone saw us? What if some creepy person saw us and kidnapped us?! We had probably walked three miles, just talking about school stuff, boys, parent problems, and other girlie stuff that any boy (especially Million) would kill us to get away from. Then I made the mistake of asking Million about the puppy they were going to get. Oh well, I planned on tuning him out again anyway.
“I am so glad you asked. It’s going to be a Doberman and if it’s a boy I’m going to name it…Whoa; where are we?”
I looked around. It was a town; no sorry that was a major overstatement. It was three houses clumped together. A palm tree was flopped over in one of the front yard and the houses were totally abandoned. Half of the shingles were missing on every one and most of the windows were broken. Million jogged around to the back and out of site. “Hey guys, you better come see this.” He shouted.
Di Di and I glanced at each other and ran over to where he was standing. We stood in front of a massive graveyard. I mean MASSIVE. It probably held seven hundred people. The large iron gate was coated in rust and the pad lock had withered away into nothingness so now the graves were open to the public. Above it in big, bold, rust covered letters it read; LIFELESS RUINS CEMETERY.
“That’s an upbeat name.” Di Di said, “come on let’s go take a look.” She pushed open the gate and we stepped inside.
I bent down to examine a grave. All the headstones were simple grey marble but this was the only grave with flowers on it. Sure, they were wrinkled, old, colorless, lifeless flowers but it meant that this man or woman was loved. The tombstone said, TOMAS FIGMAN, 1781-1811 but below that, where it would usually say husband, friend, brother, and other stuff like that there was a poem:
THROUGH HATE-FILLED DARKNESS WE MUST BRACE
WE HEAR THE SCREAM FROM A BEAUTIFUL FACE
WE WAKE KNOWING OUR SOULS ARE SPARED
THOUGH FROM PAINFUL DARKNESS OUR HEARTS CAN’T BE REPAIRED
ALWAYS LISTENING FROM USELESS EARS
THE SCREAM IS THE ONLY THING WE HEAR
WHEN WE COME OUR HEARTS ARE LIFTED
THOUGH ALL YOUR KNOWINGS WILL BE SHIFTED
A cold shiver ran down my spine. That was easily the creepiest poem I had ever read. It was also the fact that I was reading it off a gravestone in a cemetery in the middle of nowhere.
“Di Di, come check this out.” I motioned for her to come over. She read the poem carefully then beckoned Million over from the grave that he was looking at. He read it carefully and looked shocked.
“What is THAT about?” He exclaimed. “That poem was on the other grave to!”
Di Di walked over to a grave in the row behind me. “It’s on this one too. The poem must be on every one. What’s it about though? All your knowings will be shifted? What the?”
I contemplated that for a minute. “I bet ten bucks it’s about dying but your memory living on.” I knew it didn’t mean that though. I didn’t know what “the scream” meant.
“You’re probably right. Now let’s get out of here. It’s really creepy.” Million exclaimed. Against Di Di’s complaints we quickly ran out of the cemetery. I hope no one’s mad that we stepped on their graves.
We walked slowly back to the road. We had only taken a few steps on the road when I felt something crawl over my flip flop. I looked down to see a gigantic, red centipede laying there on my foot; soaking up the sun. A cold shutter ran down my back. I shrieked at the top of my lungs and flipped it off my foot with one quick motion. Di Di just looked shocked. Million ran away as fast as he could go. The centipede slithered away under a rock. “Oh my god, that was so scary.” I said, panting. “Let’s go, please!”
We found Million sprawled out on the road five feet away from us. Di Di and I exploded in hysterical laughter while Million begged us to stop. “I tripped!” He argued. “Don’t laugh at me!” he was really embarrassed but I couldn’t help it.
“Sorry.” I said, wiping a tear away from my eye. “You’re just…so you!” I burst out laughing again. He got up with this really hurt look on his face.
“There is nothing wrong with me.” Million said quizzically.
“Oh come on, Maxie boy! Have a sense of humor.” Di Di pinched his cheeks but he squirmed away.
“I refuse to!” He yelled before stomping away down the road but once he saw that we weren’t following, he turned and ran back.
“You think we’re just going to follow you around like baby ducks?” Di Di retorted. “Heck, no! I wanna look around a little more.”
“I’m going to text dad. He should be done by now.” I informed them. I reached into my pocket, and…nothing. I had left my phone in the car! I was so dead! I made a deal with myself: To check out one of the houses and then head back. Since my friends weren’t looking I could lie a little bit. “Dad said the car is almost ready. Let’s check out one of the houses and then go back.”
I walked over to one of the houses; the one closest to the graveyard. The walls looked weakened enough to put your foot through but I was NOT willing to totally trash my converse. I had just gotten them the week before. No way. I thought that maybe we could climb through one of the broken windows but then I saw the shards of glass still stuck to the sill. You could rip yourself up on one of those pieces; I was not in the mood for bleeding to death.
“Hey.” Di Di called impatiently. “The door IS open. Use your brain.”
I walked over and glared at her. “Come on in. I’ll even hold the door for you!” She said sarcastically. On my way in I took the liberty of pushing her. “Un called for!” She hissed at me before stepping inside but leaving the door wide open.
I swiveled my head around trying to take all this in; it wasn’t humanly possible. I would need six heads! The outside of the place seemed like a total dump, cockroaches and all (Maybe even some centipedes. Yuck!). Inside was an entirely different story. It was like someone had made the place look like crap so as to hide what the true history of this place was. Don’t judge a book by its cover I guess; even if the cover is missing pieces, falling apart at the seams, and is crawling with bugs. Oh sorry, I forgot to actually describe the inside to you. Ok, where was I? Oh, yeah! The inside was even an entirely different color from the outside; everything was coated in metallic silver, while the outside was brown and the color of rust. The place was definitely a laboratory; no doubt in my mind. The smooth tile floor was so shiny and clean I almost felt bad about stepping on it with my dirty shoes. Panels lined the walls; different colored buttons gleamed and flashed brightly next to hundreds of dials and switches. Above the panels gigantic T.V screens, tens of them, were mounted; showing security tapes of different grocery stores, news broadcasts, strange things that I think were U.F.O sightings, and other pictures that I couldn’t explain. This was definitely other worldly. I was freaking out so bad but I couldn’t talk. I was frozen in shock. None of this made sense, if this place had been abandoned a long time ago, than why were the TVs working and why was everything so clean? This place had a serious mystery around it. It was all so confusing!!
I had been looking around for such a long time that I forgot I breathe. When the reality of what was happening finally occurred to me I gasped for breath and almost passed out. Di Di ran over to me.
“Are you ok? Isn’t this amazing?!” She seemed so happy.
“Yes, I’m fine. I just can’t breathe!” I said through gritted teeth.
Million lay unconscious on the floor just outside the door. What was his problem?
I grabbed his arm and dragged him inside. That was when I saw him. Just out of the corner of my eye I could see a figure sitting in the shadowed corner; he was sitting, waiting, I had a feeling I knew what he was waiting for. I was screaming so loud inside my head but outside I tried to keep my cool. I let go of Million’s arm and turned to Di Di. “Well, this is pretty cool, but we should probably get your brother back to the car and forget this ever happened.” I said nonchalantly. Di Di picked up on my hint and tried to stay cool too even though she looked as scared as I felt.
“You are so right let’s go!” Di Di said but it was too late. I saw another shadowy figure that was ten times as big as the one that was waiting, creep up behind her and raise something over its head.
My mind totally flipped out. “Oh my god Oh my god. What is gonna happen next? Are we gonna die? I’m too young to die!! We are all going to die!! I am so stupid!!!” I was being such an idiot that I didn’t notice the figure creeping up behind me. He must’ve been twice as large as the one behind Di Di. The figure behind Di Di was taking a long time to kill her. He still had the thing over his head. It must be very delicate work banging some one on the head with something sharp.
“Di Di look out!” I screamed and pointed to the thing behind her. She turned around but the monster was already bringing the weapon down on her head. It looked like a crowbar. Ouch! It hurts just thinking about it. I cringed then I felt something collapse against my scull and pain erupted out of my head. My vision blurred and I fell to the floor; still conscious and screaming bloody murder. I say Di Di being carried away over the shoulder of the beast which only made me scream louder. I felt rough hands grab my ankles and drag me away. I fell silent and my heart pounded harder in my chest. I never knew my heart could beat that loud. I couldn’t feel my arms or legs anymore. They had gone numb. My head still throbbed and hurt like crazy. The last thing I remember before falling deeply into a fit of unconsciousness was the pain and the lingering thought that still remains clearly in my memories to this day and will stay in my memories forever; WHERE ARE YOU MOM AND DAD?