Alone In The Darkness is a novel I wrote in early 2016. I will be releasing a new chapter every Monday and Friday, starting on July 18th 2016. If you enjoy the book and would like to support me please click the link and purchase my book through Amazon. You can also find my book on the mobile reading apps: Wattpad, Jukepop, and Inkitt.

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Chapter Twenty

 

Nick’s hands were covered with black latex gloves as he sat at the kitchen table staring down into the large garbage bag. To the right and left of the bag were clear sorting bins and piles of green bud. A lamp light sat over the garbage bag as he quickly lifted and sorted the bud from the bag. His fingers rolled as he observed the color, looking for any brown dusty mold. He sorted left and right working both hands in rapid succession.

After a few minutes the garbage bag was empty and he dumped the trace dust and leaf material into the plastic container to his left. He took the bud from the other bin and placed it back into the garbage bag. He tore off a piece of duct tape, sealed the bag, and using a sharpie he marked the bag Sorted. He then placed the bag in the finished materials area just outside the kitchen.

“The sorted bud is here at the entry,” Nick said.

“Did you mark the bag?” Tyler asked.

“Yeah, bag’s marked. Is that going to the shop tomorrow?”

“I think it’s going to the med store. Are you moving on to hash?”

“Yeah, I’m getting prepped now.”

“Watch that color when you process. It was too green last time. Be careful to watch for that leaf material dropping out.”

He returned to the kitchen table and pulled the empty plastic garbage bin up to the chair. From a black duffel bag, Nick pulled out a white mesh bag and placed it into the garbage bin rolling the top over the edges. Nick took the plastic bin that contained the sorted bud and dumped the contents into the mesh bag. Using a small brush he dusted the bin ensuring that all of the contents were emptied into the container.

Nick walked over to the fridge and opened the freezer door. He pulled out a white block of dry ice and turned back to the garbage bin. Using a small hammer, he broke the dry ice into small pieces. Nick turned on the fan in the open window as the steam began to roll out of the bin.

From behind the kitchen table Nick pulled up the black container and placed it on top the surface. He reached down and pulled up the mesh bag from the garbage can and laid the bag into the black container. With both hands on either side of the bag he slowly began to rock the contents back and forth. A steady stream of steam poured out from the bottom of the bag into the plastic container. Hidden within the steam was a light, brown-green dust.

Nick lifted the bag to the side and fanned the steam out of the container. He reached over and flipped on the lamp and lowered his head to see the fine powder accumulating along the sides. He returned the mesh bag and continued to rock. He repeated the process three more times; each time, the fine dust accumulated.

The spent bud was emptied back into the bin to be sold as bulk waste. Nick flipped on the overhead light and pulled out a surgical mask lowering it over his head. He gently lowered a large painter’s brush onto the sides of the container to clear the fine dust. He meticulously continued around the edges of the plastic container and gathered the dust into a pile at the bottom.

He removed the lids of the empty mason jars and placed them on the kitchen table. Taking up one of the jars, he pulled out an old library card and began to scoop the fine powder into it. He continued this process until all of the jars were filled. He then used a fine cosmetic brush to gather up all of the trace powder into a final pile. From his back pocket he pulled out a small plastic bag and dumped the remaining powder.

He placed the bag onto the kitchen island, “Tailings for the cooks.”

“A treat for the next break,” Tyler smiled. Steven and Kora turned looking at the bag on the counter.

“It’s pretty green,” Steven said.

“It wasn’t the best bud and it seemed a little over dry. There’s a lot of green material in there, but I think it will finish well.”

Nick returned to the kitchen table and pulled out the heavy steel press. He removed the wingnuts and pulled off the top plate. At the bottom of the press he placed a piece of wax paper. He took one of the mason jars and using a chopstick, gently dumped the green powder into the mold. He placed another piece of waxed paper over the powder and lowered the top plate into place. He screwed the plate down and began to crank on the press handle. The press squeaked under the strain as Nick lifted the jack. Nick felt the resistance and pressed the lever two more times ensuring a tight fit.

Nick unscrewed the wingnuts and lifted the top plate. He remove the wax paper and pressed on the jack. On the top of the jack plate was a dark green brick of hash. Nick gently lifted the soft brick from the mold and lowered it onto a new piece of waxed paper. He folded the paper over the brick and moved the brick to the cardboard storage box.

He looked down at the press and saw some material caught in the corner. Nick reached down to his hip to pull his Leatherman out of the holster. His hand touched the holster to find it empty. His eyes shot to his waist and verified what his hand had already told him.

Nick began to look around the table and next to the chairs, “Has anyone seen my knife?”

“Did you check your bag?” Steven asked.

“I’ll check,” Nick said. He moved to the doorway where his bag was laid up against the wall. He lifted up the bag and began to run his hands through the contents. He couldn’t find the knife in the bag and looked back to the kitchen slowly scanning the floor to see if it had dropped. He stood and lifted at the sorted bag, nothing.

“I’m going to head out and check my car. I’ll be right back,” Nick said to the room.

“Dude, finish up and we can find it later.” Tyler’s hand gestured to the small mountain of bud left to process.

“It’s my dad’s old knife. I need to find it.”

Tyler’s voice showed his irritation, “Fucking delays all day long. Just be quick and get your ass back in here. We,” he motioned to the room, “need to finish soon. The first delivery is in a few hours.”

“I got it, I got it. I’ll be quick.”

Nick put his jacket on and left the house through the foyer. Tyler’s eyes followed him out. He walked slowly shuffling his feet along the gravel driveway. His back hunched and his knees bent as he scanned the area looking for a glint of metal. He reached his car and bent down to look under the wheels.

“Where are you?” he muttered to himself. He lifted himself up and opened the door, moving his hands along the inner seat and center console. He moved food wrappers and lifted spent Redbull cans from the cup holders. His eyes scanned the corners and cracks.

Nick stood again looking out over the lawn between the two houses. He walked to the grass and began to sweep his foot along the footpath. A light rain began to fall around him as the frogs sang in the distant creek. He closed in on the front porch of the head house when his phone rang. He pulled out the phone and turned back to the main house. Behind him a shadow gently swayed in the window. The eyes stared into the back of his head and then disappeared in a flash.

“Hello?”

“Hey man, you done tonight?’’ said the voice on the phone.

“I should be off in a couple of hours.”

“Are you scraping some product?”

“Yeah, I’ll take some off the top when I’m making the drop.”

“What we going to get?” The voice sound excited.

“I think some soft hash and a few bags of dragon. Listen man, I’ve got to jet and finish up here.” Nick continued to scan the yard in front of him looking for the silver handle.

“No issues, man. Should I get some people together?”

“That sounds good. I need 50 bucks a person to buy in. Maybe enough for four to six. I’ll text you when I leave.’’

“I’ll get some people together. See you then.”

Nick turned to the dark entryway of the house. He walked up to the front door and paused for a moment. His eyes flowed down the porch to the dirty window. His arm reached out and opened the door. His eyes were still adjusting to the darkness before him. He listened for movement in the hall, took a deep breath, and then entered the house.

He closed the door and for a moment closed his eyes to force his vision to correct. He opened them and quickly lowered to his knee as he heard a slight scraping sound. Ahead of him was a woman crawling slowly down the hall. Her hair swayed and dusted the floor as her arms pulled her forward. Her fingernails popped and scratched as she pulled herself along. Nick felt panicked. His eyes were wide and he scanned the hall for others. It was empty. The woman’s figure was thin and her shoulder blades shifted and protruded through the light fabric on her back. The woman ignored Nick as she slowly passed him in the hall moving to the front door. She lifted her arm slowly reaching for the door as Nick kicked with his foot connecting with her body and slamming her against the wall. She fell in a clump as the air escaped her lungs in a moan. The woman’s body tried to lift itself again but failed and curled up against the wall. A large smile came across Nick’s face as he silently chuckled seeing the woman give up.

Nick slowly turned back to the door. He approached it slowly and gently turned the knob. The door opened and Nick entered the room. The trash was still piled up and the man’s cold body lay motionless at the closet entry. He slowly lowered himself to the floor and scanned for the Leatherman. His eyes moved across the floor and to the corner where he left the girl. It was empty and he could see the bindings piled in the corner. Nick’s eyes went wide, but he dared not move. He continued to scan the dark walls of the room looking for any shadow or shape that may be the girl.

From behind Nick a slight creaking sound could be heard as the door slowly closed behind him. Behind the door Jennifer stood holding a wooden rod from the closet. She gripped the rod like a bat and held it over her shoulder. She took a step forward with the bat loaded behind her. Nick turned to the shifting sound and presented his head as the bat was lowered across his face. The rod depressed into Nick’s skull as it broke in two. Nick fell to the ground and was silent. Jennifer lifted the broken rod above her and brought it down again onto Nick’s side. A loud crunch could be heard as his ribs broke under the impact. The sharp end of the rod stuck into his side and blood began to empty out onto his shirt. Jennifer pulled again and lifted the rod but stopped at the top of the stroke. Nick was motionless in the center of the room as Jennifer lowered the rod, rapidly breathing in the dusty air.

The anger poured into Jennifer’s face, her eyes narrowed and she lowered her face to Nick’s body. The words strained out of her lips, ‘’Fuck you, you shit.’’  She spat on his face.

A moment passed and Jennifer began to calm her breathing. She held the sharp end of the rod out and lowered herself to Nick. The blood was beginning to pool around Nick’s head and chest. Her hand extended out carefully and she felt down his pant pockets pulling out his wallet, phone, and keys. She checked the phone.It was a burner and the screen was locked. She tossed it back down on to the floor. She opened the inside of the wallet and placed the cash and driver’s license into her pocket along with the keys.

She walked across the room to grab the bindings. She quickly tied dirty knots around his feet and hands. She whispered to him as she worked, “Maybe one of the people in this house might come in here and show you a good time.”

Jennifer left the room, pulling the door closed with a click. She turned and her hand went to her mouth as she stifled a scream. The body against the wall was curled up but squirming in place. The feet and arms struggled against the ground as if trying to claw their way out of the house. Jennifer watched the sight, taking in the depravity. It was the woman from earlier. She was even thinner than Jennifer had suspected. Her hair draped along the ground and Jennifer could tell she used to be a beautiful woman. Jennifer quickly scanned the hall for any other bodies but found none. She turned out the front door and left the house.

She didn’t know what time it was, but it was still dark and not yet morning. The night was quiet and she hid herself against the column on the porch. Her eyes moved over the long grassed lawn and across to the cars parked in the driveway. The air was clean and smelled of wet pine needles and forest dirt. To the right of the porch were tall pine trees encased in blackberries and thorns. She looked to the left to see an open field stretching out. Shadowed apple trees stood ominously in the bare grass. The evening was wet and cold as bumps appeared on Jennifer’s arms. She rubbed her hands along her arms and huddled her shoulders as a light breeze fell over her.

She knew she had to get out, but couldn’t risk running into another person. Jennifer watched the main house as she crept around the porch and into the fields. Around the back of the house were piles of rusted metal and scrap. She reached her arms out to steady herself and moved to the back of the house. All light was now blocked as she stood looking out to the field. The moon light above fought through the clouds giving a dull grey color to the sky. It was barely enough to navigate in front of her. She could see the dark silhouette of the hills around her. There were no lights anywhere and no houses that could offer help. She stood alone in the darkness.

To her right, back towards the house through the deep rows of naked alder trees she saw a road off in the distance. A pair of car headlights could be seen twinkling through the branches. She could hear the very faint sounds of road noise. She reached into her pocket and fingered the car keys. She knew that the road was the way out. She turned back leaving the empty fields behind her and made her way back to the dark house stepping carefully through the soft ground and mud. Her eyes focused in front looking for holes or depressions in the ground. She could hear her feet squishing on the ground as water pooled around her shoes leaving footprints and marking her path through the grass. She reached the house again and looked up and was overcome with terror at the sight of a man standing in the window. She muffled a scream and quickly crouched, staring through the tall grass at the window. Her eyes adjusted to the distance and she could see it was the man from the hall. He was standing in the window swaying softly but lost in his mind. Jennifer couldn’t believe that this place actually existed. She had heard stories about communal houses filled with people taken by addiction, but this house was filled with horrors – empty horrors – and ghosts. They were not human anymore. Her mind wandered trying to understand why this place was here, why these people chose to spill out in this manner. She shook her head and moved low to the ground avoiding his view, turning towards the porch.

She inched her way around the house and hid along the brambles. Above her the trees swayed in the breeze and she felt pine needles falling from above. Her eyes fixed on the cars in the driveway. She didn’t know which car was the man’s. She looked at the keys and saw the Honda logo. The Honda was parked in the back and she assumed it had to be his since he was the last to arrive. She watched the main house for any movement in the windows or doors. She slowly followed the gravel along the driveway. Ahead she could see the opening in the trees where a small bridge crossed a creek. Off in the distance over the trees she could hear an early morning logging truck engine braking on the road. From the trees, early morning music could be heard as birds called and frogs croaked. She took another look to the house to see if there was any motion. She lowered her head and took a deep breath. This was her moment to escape. She had this one chance to get away. She set off running through the open clearing alongside the driveway. The ground was uneven and she stumbled clipping a large tree root. She caught herself and grasped the keys tightly accidently pressing the unlock button. Ahead of her the car flashed in the driveway. She quickened her steps knowing she had revealed herself.

 

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