Updated: Nov 10, 2020
'All we know for sure is that someone is responsible for this strange phenomenon. Will they be caught? Let's hope. So, to the listeners at home... if you know anything about these strange disappearances give us a call on 555-617--' Click.
Tripp twisted the dial on the car radio, skipping the station. An upbeat punk rock song played through the crackle of static.
'Hey!' Said Anna, kicking the back of his seat. He pushed back the hair that fell into his eyes as he glanced up into the rearview mirror at her disgruntled reflection. 'I was listening to that.'
'It's my car.'
'It's Dad's car. You're just driving it.'
His little sister was right, the car wasn't his, at least not for a little while. Their dad had promised to hand over the keys to Tripp for good, as long as he did well in exams at the end of the year. When they arrived back home, Anna fled from the car with a quick 'thank you' as disappeared inside. Tripp hung back for a while, leaning up against the side of the house with his head in his hands. The entire day felt like a blur, all he wanted was sleep but he had to go to the vigil tonight with his friends.
Over the last few months, several local women of all ages had begun to disappear from town without a trace. The cops had no idea why or who was causing it and deep down Tripp worried for his mom, Anna, and of course his aunt Maggie. From the corner of the yard, a soft crunch caught his attention.
Nothing. He looked off into the twilight for a moment and listened. The only sound a low chirp of crickets and the yap of the neighbour's pomeranian, Garfunkle. From behind a tree across the street, a silhouette loomed. It peered around the trunk and there it stood. Frozen. Watching.
“Hello?” Tripp asked again, standing up right now and taking a few steps down the driveway. “can I help you?”
The figure looked on, appearing to be nothing but a hazy, black outline at first. All apart from its wild eyes, which you could just make out from the glow of a nearby streetlight.
“Hey, you one of Anna’s friends?” he called out as he began to cross the street. “It’s rude to stare you kno—"
With a hard thud, he hit the floor. Desperately, he tried to claw his way back along the sidewalk, but something was pinning him down. It grabbed hold of his hair and yanked his head backwards into a chokehold.
“Wait,” a voice called out, “let me see him.”
Choking and clawing at the arm which wrapped around him like a python, Tripp lifted his eyes to see a woman standing over him. She smoothed her hands down the front of her jacket before crouching down before him.
“Hmmm,” she said as she clasped her fingers around his chin, shifting his face from side to side. “His eyes seem to be normal…”
“Get. Off. Me.” Tripped spat as he struggled to get free. The woman looked up at her accomplice and nodded, immediately their grip loosened. As he struggled to catch his breath, the second person stepped into view. He was a good six foot tall and built like a tank.
“Who the heck are you?” Tripp shouted up at him. What was with all these new people arriving in town lately? Was it something to do with all those missing people?
“Come on,” the woman commanded as she took off down the street.
“See ya ‘round, kid.”
Tripp scrambled to his feet. "Hey, what the hell!?" he called but the pair just continued on their way before vanishing out of sight.
Returning to the house he double bolted the door before climbing the stairs to his room. His body aching as he went. Six months ago, his parents agreed that a young man needed space, so they'd converted the entire attic for him. Never before had the stairs been so strenuous. No sooner than he'd burst through the door, he fell forwards onto the bed and groaned into the pillow. Just as he was embracing the comfort his cell phone shook in his pocket. One new message: Boston Aguera.
Where are you?
Thought we were meeting at the park...
Lemme guess. You spaced.
Get your butt here fast, dude.
Oh and wear something nice.
Ken's coming and she's bringing a friend.
Kendra has other friends? Thought Tripp as he unglued himself from the bed. The mattress springs creaked in relief. In the bathroom mirror, he observed his worn-out expression for a moment before splashing his face with water. As he mopped his eyes with a towel the faces of the mysterious strangers entered his mind. Who the hell were those freaks? he thought, and what was it they said about my eyes...? He leant in to examine the blue of his irises in the dull light, they certainly seemed normal. However, there was one thing he had learnt during his life in Denver Falls he considered as he twisted his fingers around the smooth edges of the sink:
If something seemed normal, it probably meant it wasn't.
To be continued...
Photo credit to Michael Shannon, Unsplash.
This story is copyright 2020 by Sim Alec Sansford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express consent.