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 Four

 

Steven stood in the living room carefully avoiding the filth around him. The walls were a dirty yellow color from years of captured smoking. The corners of the room contained pockets of mold peaking in from the long Pacific Northwest winters. The room contained a couch with torn cushions and stained pillows. The sole light source was a shade-less lamp in the corner pumping out a dull orange light that extended gangly shadows onto the walls. The dark corners and lines provided ideal hiding locations for nightmares to fester. He fought the musty smell that permeated the air, but there was no giving in. His lungs burned as he inhaled. He knew this smell, the last few years of dealing baptized him to this. It was the merging of neglect and lack of human hygiene. More than anything else, Steven hated meth dens. These were the worst places to go, filled with the lowest of the low. The poor souls resting inches from the edge, peering over a needle or pipe into the abyss below. Steven needed the money and he needed it now. His clock was ticking and his palms were sweating. His fingers rubbed together anticipating the soft feel of new money.

“Hey man, the cash is in here, I’ve just got to dig around a little,” said the voice from the room.

Steven knew the man from earlier sales, but the woman in the kitchen was new. She swayed at the entry with both of her hands raised to her mouth. Steven tried to ignore her, but he knew she was just some broken women turned into a dirty whore. Why did they always have to come in pairs? There was always some thin guy who ran the show and some woman hanging around like cobwebs. She was trash and he wanted her out of his mind. She was chewing her fingernail with a reckless abandon, moaning to the crunching rhythm. She was thin, too thin. Her clothes hung loose on her bony shoulders and he could see the sores on the legs and arms. Wounds picked, dried and picked again. Her hair draped across her face and into her eyes. He could hear her sniffing as she chewed and chewed.

Her voice was raspy, “What you lookin’ at hon?”

Steven glanced at her vacant face, “Nothing, just waiting here.”

She slowly ran her hand over her chest, squeezed her empty breast, before continuing down into her shorts. He could see her hand pulsing, “You like what you see?”

Steven felt sick at the sight, “No, I’ll pass.”

She smiled, “You don’t know what you’re missing out on.” Steven did. He had sold to women like her before. Part of giving up on trades included these types of women. Mainly he feared getting something that antibiotics couldn’t cure.

“No trades tonight.” Steven called into the empty room, “Are you almost done? I have a few more errands to run tonight. A couple more buyers to see.”

He could hear the man ruffling through papers and boxes, “You’re a busy man. I understand. Just another minute. I almost got it.”

A noise caught his attention and Steven turned his head to the right. Was it another voice? It was faint and distant, almost like a cry.

“You guys are the only ones here? I thought I heard someone else”

The man’s head lifted up, “Yes, it’s just us. Might be one of the neighbors. They make a lot of noises. No issues, I almost have it here.”

The woman shifted in the kitchen. She stood half hiding behind the wall. He could see only half her face, just one eye peering from behind the molding and sheetrock. Steven felt nervous and a sickness was rising up in his stomach.

The sound came again. Was it just his mind moving through the end of his earlier hit? He swore he heard something, something distant. He thought, was there a baby in this house? He listened again, this time keeping the woman in his view. He narrowed his eyes and strained to listen. Nothing. He was startled out of his focus.

“All right. I found it. It’s in here. Can’t be too safe these days.” Steven walked into the room to see the man holding a locked tin. Using a small key he opened the box to reveal a fold of cash.

“Do you have it all?”

“It was, was it 250? Do you have change for 300?”

Steven reached into his pocket, “Yeah I got a 50.”

Steven was too focused on the deal to hear the girl move behind him. She glided through the doorway and raised her arms up. By the time Steven saw the shadow in the man’s eyes, she had lowered the bat across his head. Steven fell to the ground with his arms outstretched. The small wad of cash fell out onto the floor. Steven sprawled out onto strewn newspapers, knocking a tray of needles to the floor. Steven didn’t move as his jacket flipped over his head. The man scrambled and picked up the cash. He hovered above, moving his hands quickly along his body into his pants pockets. He checked his socks and shoes looking for more cash. He grabbed the bags of ice and cash and pressed them into his torn gray sweatpants. He leaned over and began to pull on Steven’s leg with his butt in the air revealing his shit stains to the light.

“Fuckin’ do me a favor and grab his other leg.” The bat fell to the ground and the woman reached for his foot and began to pull.

They both strained to move him. The woman was breathing heavily with her back arched to the ceiling, “How much did you get?”

“Couple hundred and some bags.”

“Ice?”

“Yep.” He heaved and pulled. They dragged Steven across the floor as his face ground in the dirt and carpet. Loose needles caught on his jacket as he passed over garbage, dirty plates and soiled newspapers. They entered the kitchen and laid him near the wall, next to the table that was piled high with clothes and pots.

“Go get the plastic wrap.” The girl crossed the kitchen and began to open drawers pulling items out onto the floor. She spun around holding the plastic wrap up in the air. Steven began to stir on the floor, his legs softly moving as he uttered groans searching for consciousness.

“Hurry, hurry! I think he’s starting to wake up.”

The man lifted Steven to a sitting position and sat down behind him pulling both arms back. Steven’s face was exposed to the kitchen. He let out a sigh and his eyes began to open. He could begin to hear the voices in the room. His mind fought to bring him back to reality and to warn him of the danger.

“Quick, pull out the plastic,” he cried to the woman. “Now wrap his face!”

“I don’t know…I don’t know if we should do this,” the woman nervously said.

“You better put that plastic on or you’ll be next.” The man’s eyes were wide and spit flowed down his lips. She knelt down and began to wrap Steven’s face in the plastic. He slowly resisted, feeling the foreign material on his face.

“Wrap it tight. This boy’s going for a ride.” The man’s knees dug into Steven’s back stretching his arms and opening his chest. The woman lowered herself pressing the plastic into his face. Steven took a breath and felt only resistance as the plastic formed a hold over his face. His body tried to pull again and again but to no effect. Panic set in and messages fired from body to brain and back again. His eyes opened for the first time. Through the plastic he could see the cloudy face of the woman struggling and contorted in the light, gaps in her mouth where teeth should be. There was a tightness in his chest as his arms wrenched back, feeling as if they might break loose and float away. Bony knees pressed on his spine sending pain running down his back and through his legs. He began to choke as his body strained and his lungs heaved.

Panic set in and Steven began to kick wildly towards the woman. He connected with a kick to the stomach and she crumpled to the floor. The pressure on his face relaxed and through the weave of plastic, he pulled a small draft of air. It was enough to subside the need for oxygen. He gathered his strength and pulled his head forward. The man behind Steven fought against this new found strength as Steven launched his head back and connected on the bridge of the man’s nose. Blood began to pour out across his face. He lost his grip on Steven and brought his hands to his face, cupping his nose. Blood poured through his fingers and each breath sent droplets out sprinkling the floor.

In one motion, Steven leaned forward removing the plastic and stood in the kitchen. Where moments before he was lying helpless at their mercy, he now reached into his pocket flipped the safety and pulled out his gun. He swung to the man whose eyes met the barrel. There was no pause in his mind. Steven’s focus was survival and he wasn’t about to let two drugged out skeletons take that from him. He didn’t think about the future or the law or the lives of these people. Steven cocked his head as he pulled the trigger. The bullet ripped through the man’s face releasing blood and matter onto the wall behind him. Steven turned to the woman who put her hands up to him in an effort to block steel with flesh and bone. He released the slug and took the woman’s right index finger off before grazing her right temple. Two more pulls of the trigger silenced her screams. He stood in the room, smoke flowing from the bodies and the strong smell of powder in the nose. His face was shadowed by the light and dark lesions of wet blood dripping down his cheek. A silence flowed over the room as life left the two quivering bodies.

Deep within Steven’s mind reality bubbled over. You need to move. Steven stood there breathing heavily still shocked at what just happened. You need to move. He released another breath. Move!

Steven dropped to the floor and pulled the cash from the man’s pants. The extra 250 dollars the man flashed was two twenties and a wad of ones. His need for money caused him to break his rules; he had walked into a trap. He knew never to let anyone get behind him in a deal. Steven collected the cash and bags. He pulled a cloth rag from the table and retraced his steps. He began to wipe down the railing and TV edge. He walked to the living room entry and ran the cloth over the entire molding. A quick look back and he opened the door wiping the knobs on both inside and out.

The widowed woman in unit 335 had muted her rerun of Jeopardy. Alex Trebek’s face was paused on the screen ready to correct the contestant’s wrong answer. She was leaned over her couch with her thumb separating the blinds of her main window. She looked out and watched Steven carefully wipe down the door entry and railing with the rag. She had heard the yelling and noise and turned up the volume, but the gun shots proved a different distraction. She watched Steven cross the green lawn and walk down the street, he got into his car and sped off into the night. She reached for the phone.

The ringer buzzed against her ear. “911, what is your emergency?”

“I would like to report a shooting.”

 

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