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Others [WRITING SERIES] TALES FROM THE SHIFT.

Clouder

The one and only
Aug 29, 2017
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After reading a friend of mine's own series, I caught the writing bug and decided to make a series of my own. So I wrote a story about some idiots at a gas station. Don’t read it, it’s boring. Also, since I’m indecisive and unoriginal, there’s also a poll at the end of new chapters to decide what happens next. Since you guys are new, you won't get one until Chapter 3 drops later (hopefully today, if possible.) So, without further ado, the first two chapters!

“And that was the #1 hit of the week, ‘Can’t Belong to You’ by Mason-Dixon! You’re listening to NOW 106.7, Chaney’s #1 music station!”


Del let out a sigh, turned off the radio and etched another tally mark onto an old lottery ticket she kept on the counter. That was the 34th time that song had played in the last 6 hours, and frankly, she was sick of it. Unfortunately, such was life as a citizen of Chaney, West Virginia. Nothing interesting. Nothing intriguing. Nothing but pure monotony. Did I mention that it was really boring as well?

It also didn’t help that Del was an employee at the deadest dead-end job on that side of West Virginia: The Fill-Er-Up gas station. A small middle-of-nowhere gas station for middle-of-nowhere people with nowhere to go. Del worked the night shift-- a shift where absolutely nothing interesting ever happened. If she was lucky, she’d encounter some lost vacationing family looking for snacks and some directions to Washington, DC or Philadelphia. It was truly a miserable existence-- one she now had to share with her new co-worker Wilt, a lanky wide-eyed kid fresh out of Chaney High who grabbed the first summer job he found. Wilt was currently sweeping the floor to make sure he didn’t die of boredom by doing nothing at all. Del decided to make some small talk with Wilt-- after all, she was stuck with him for the rest of this eternal summer. “Geez, it seems like they allow any type of crap on the radio nowadays, don’t ya think?”

Wilt looked up from his meticulous dance with the broom. “Hm? It kinda grew on me after they played it the tenth time. Don’t tell me you’re one of them oldheads who thinks anything that doesn’t sound like what they listened to as a kid is trash...” Wilt went back to sweeping, beginning to quietly sing the song to himself.


“Baby I know you want me as your boo,

But you know that I can’t belong to you~”


Del groaned and laid her head on the counter. That song was seriously getting on her nerves. She was preparing to toss something heavy at Wilt to make him shut up when a group of rowdy Chaney High students busted through the door.

“Yo Dub! What up man? You didn’t get too old for your bros, did you?” The teenagers began to chat up Wilt, who was their senior last year. After giving Wilt their brief update on the state of everyone at the school, they turned to Del at the counter. “Aye, lemme get ten on pump 6 and one of those 5-pack Black n’ Milds,” demanded one of them as he placed a crisp $20 on the counter. Del rolled her eyes and grabbed the cigars they wanted off the shelf. “Birthdate?”

“Uhm… October 17th, ‘84.”

Del shot him a glare. There was no way in hell any of these kids were anywhere near their 30s. The teenager picked up on her suspicion as well.

“...Did I say ‘84? I meant ‘94.”

Del still didn’t believe him, but why did she care that much? It’s not like the management cares what they do. The manager only showed up once every five years apparently, and he wasn’t due for another three. She rang them up, handed them the cigars and they left. She then looked at Wilt.

“Those your buddies?” She questioned, pointing at the obviously speeding truck that pulled out of the gas station.

“Kinda… they were a year behind me at Chaney High. They’re all a bunch of goofballs.”

Wilt was now re-arranging the candy bars on the station shelves. It seemed like that was how most of those nights were going to go.


Then it hit midnight.


The start of the worst part of the night shift.


Why?


Because after midnight, 106.7 only played Mexican pop hits until 5AM.


“Bebé sé que me quieres como tu novito,

Pero tú sabes que no puedo estar contigo -- ”


Del turned off the radio. Luckily, she kept a small collection of books under the counter to make sure she didn’t die of boredom completely. She pulled out the last book he had started on, The Metamorphosis, and picked up where she left off.


While she was deeply engrossed in her novella, a few customers busted in the station. Not just any customers though-- the same hooligans from earlier. Wilt-- who was for some reason still sweeping the same spot on the floor-- looked up. “Oh hey, y’all need somethin’ else from us?”

None of them said a word as the group all split up, grabbed what they wanted and put it all on the counter. A bunch of cheap newspapers, some bungee cables (why does a GAS STATION of all places have one of those?) and a pack of matches. Del rung them up, $6.16 total. One guy paid for the items, and they all gathered their goods and left. Wilt glanced at Del with a look of worry on his face.

“Did you see that other kid with them?” Wilt asked.

“No…. I don’t think so at least,” Del said, flipping to the next page in her book.


“There was a kid with them. He looked like he could be no older than middle school age honestly. When they were busy looking for what they bought, he tried to get close to me, but one of them-- I think his name was Henry, if I’m remembering last semester right-- pulled him away before he could get a word out.”

“So you think he was with them against his will or something, right?”

“I don’t know. Probably. We gotta do something, Del. You saw the stuff they purchased-- don’t you think that’s a little suspicious?”

“So tell me-- what do YOU think you could do to stop, like, seven strangely-acting guys from… doing whatever you think they’re gonna do to that kid?”

“I don’t know yet. But I have two options. I could easily go down there myself and see what’s up. I’ve been to a couple of their hangout spots before-- It woudn’t be a problem findin’ where they’re at. Or, I could go into town and find the kid’s parents and see if they know he’s gone.”

“Oooooooooooooor you can just call the police to make sure nothing’s going on and call it a day. Geez, what is it with people wanting to always be the hero?”


Wilt stroked the stringy hairs on his chin. He had a choice to make. Should he go out and make sure everything’s okay himself, or should he stay at the Fill-Er-Up and simply, let someone else do it?
 
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Clouder

The one and only
Aug 29, 2017
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Aaaaaaaaand, Chapter 2!
“Eh, I think I’ll just call the cops.”


Wilt picked up his cell phone and began to dial 9-1-1.


“...Well, there’s no response. I don’t think we have a choice. Del, you’re gonna come with me and stay behind a few paces in case it gets dangerous. Might also be a good idea to keep trying to get a hold of the police.”

“What, d’you think I’m crazy!?” Del snarled. “I’m not about to get ripped apart by the Bundy Boys out there because you decided you want to be Batman!”

“C’mon, Del-- the kid might be in danger out there!”

“You know what? If it gets you to shut up, I’ll come with you. But the moment it gets hairy, I’m out!”


And so, Wilt-- with Del in tow-- proceeded to one of the known hangout spots. And what do you know? There they were, outside of an abandoned, dilapidated wooden shed in the woods.

If the various fauna didn’t get you, then you probably would trip on a twig and die on the way there. It’s a miracle that those kids even managed to frequent this area and survive the round trip! Anyways, back to the kids...


They were all doing normal teenage boy things that teenage boys do past midnight.


Like tie smaller boys to wooden crosses--


“Wait, what’s going on here!?” Wilt questioned the group angrily.


But he got no reply. The boys continued to tie the small boy up, chanting something under their breath.

It was something about blood, and covenants, and maybe a virgin. It doesn’t matter, honestly.

Wilt was too scared to say anything more. He turned around to see Del frozen in fear, too. And she said she would leave when things got dangerous! What a liar!

“I think now’s a good time to dip,” Wilt said as he began to drag Del away from the odd scene. “We need to find a police officer who can sort this out. You were right, okay!?”

As they began to leave, Wilt felt a large hand clamp down on his shoulder. The large hand, belonging to a large boy yanked Wilt from his escape and threw him on the ground before all the other boys.

“I have found another sacrifice,” said the large boy. The other boys began to cheer and chant.


“SacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrificeSacrifice--”


“Shut up, will ya?” Said one boy, who was freakishly taller than all the others. “I can’t stand you all-- all chant and no action. Tie him to the cross, too-- don’t forget the chick over there, either.”

The boys swarmed both Del and Wilt, ready to hoist them up alongside the child.


But wait-- Del wasn’t there!


Del had actually managed to snap out of it and go into survival mode. Freeing the child, she toppled the cross on top of several of the teens, trapping them. How convenient!

“How did you let her ESCAPE? GET HER!” screeched the tall one.

But as the tall one was busy chewing out everyone else, Wilt slipped out of their grasp and grabbed a bungee cord, which he then used to tie two of them together by the neck, which made them pass out.


Don’t ask how. I’m not a doctor. I think it had something to do with pressure points or lack of oxygen.


Anyways, there was only about eight of them there, so Del used another bungee cord to trip three more.

Now all of them were knocked out, laying in a pile of newspapers that was supposed to be used for the small boy. Wilt had grabbed the small boy and told him to run back home and find some adult or police officer that could help sort out that mess.


But one was still standing.


A very tall one at that.


That’s right, the tall boy had somehow avoided the cross and both bungee cord attacks, and was standing over everyone with a box of matches.


“Well, nothing went as planned, it seems. I think I like this outcome better though-- more sacrifices for me!” the tall boy gloated as he threw a lit match on top of the newspapers, setting them ablaze.

The boy began to walk off, but not before Del noticed the shiny bottle cap badge pinned to his shirt.

Not only was it shiny, but it seemed to glow in a strange way words could only hope to describe.

However, Del felt a strong desire for that badge. For some reason, she needed it. She had to have it!

“Wilt, I have to have that badge that tall boy was wearing!” Del cried.

Wilt was incredulous. “Are you insane? Do you not see the blazing fire all around us? We are only mere seconds away from a forest fire, and you wanna go trinket-chasing? Not to mention there’s KIDS LAYING IN A BURNING PILE OF NEWSPAPERS!”

Del paused for a moment. “I don’t know why, but I feel like it’s very important. We’ve got to go chase him down. Plus, isn’t that little boy still out there looking for an adult? What if that guy finds him? Who knows what he might do to him! We got to find him and get that badge!”


Wilt sighed. Should he stand his ground and try and put out the fire-- or at the very least, rescue the kids? Or should he fold under pressure and go find the tall boy like Del said?
 
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Clouder

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Aug 29, 2017
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Chapter 3. Things are getting real!
“No, Del. We’ve got to at least get these dudes out of here before they burn up!” Wilt declared, grabbing hold of a particularly obese kid. He tried to pull him out of the ablaze stacks of papers, but alas-- this boy was much too heavy!

“Del, go back to the town and find something to put this out! A fireman, a pail of water, a fire extinguisher-- something!!” Wilt cried in panic. “I’ll try and curb the fire!”

Wilt abandoned the futile cause of moving all the kids out of the fire and instead focused on frantically trying to stomp out the fire, only managing to stop a few flames as the fires licked at his (now sullied) white and blue sneakers. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the flames quickly outnumbered him, racing up the trees around him.

“...You know what? This really isn’t my problem,” Wilt said to himself as he jumped out of the path of a falling, fiery branch. Taking one last look at the destruction, Wilt took off as fast as his spindly legs could allow. He sped through the glowing forest, ducking and dodging stray branches. Alas, however, he wasn’t able to dodge them all; the branches he didn’t escape grabbed his skin and tore at it, leaving scrapes all across him.

One branch did more than scrape-- it tripped him, sending him skidding across the ground. To make it worse, a wind sprinted through the forest as well-- bringing the fire with it.

But, it wasn’t all bad, as Wilt heard the rumbles of thunder in a distance, which meant rain and relief was coming this way.

Or, at least, that’s what Wilt would have heard, if it wasn’t for the fact that the fall led him to eventually crash against a stone, which knocked him unconscious.


“Wilt? Wilt! He’s stirring, I just know it!”


Wilt opened his eyes to the sight of a sterile hospital room, surrounded by a nurse accompanied with a doctor and a group of strangely-dressed men in what looked to be a military uniform.

“Wha… what happened? To the forest? The fire? The kids!? Wha--”

Wilt’s frantic questions were quickly hushed by one man in uniform, who quickly covered his mouth.

“Ma’am,” one man in uniform began, “We’re gonna need an audience with your patient. So we’re gonna check him out, and we’re all gonna have a little chat, k?”

The nurse happily nodded.

Well, it might have been happily-- probably not, since she had a Beretta aimed at her head. And an AK-47, for good measure. The man then motioned for her to leave the room.

“Sir, we’re gonna need you to come with us,” said the man with his hand over his mouth. The man motioned for another uniformed gent to come over, who took a bottle of salve from his pocket, uncorked it, and began rubbing it on Wilt’s eyes. Surprisingly, it was very relaxing as the salve slowly worked its magic, robbing Wilt of his eyesight. Then, another man came over and took out some more salve, this time motioning for the one covering his mouth to pull his tongue out. The tasteless salve was then applied to his tongue, where a numbing sensation spread across his mouth; in a matter of seconds, Wilt’s tongue appeared to be dead in his mouth, not being able to move it a bit.

“Should we take away his smelling and hearing too?” said one voice.

“Nah, we should be fine. Just don’t discuss anything we don’t want civilians to hear,” replied another one.


The men picked Wilt up and carried him out of the hospital, tossing him into what felt like the back of an 18-wheeler. They drove for hours until they finally stopped and opened up the back of the truck.

“Wait, you mean we did all that to take him to the PENTAGON? Everyone knows where the Pentagon is! It’s literally an enormous building smack-dab outside of DC!” protested one voice.

“Oh my god, would you SHUT UP!? Now he actually knows we’re at the Pentagon!” said another one, following it up with an audible smack!

More men carried Wilt inside the facility, deep into a dark, secret room with only a table, a chair, and a window into another room. After a while, Wilt’s sight and speech came back.

“Hey, could I get a drink of water? I’m really thirsty,” Wilt requested.

But alas, he wasn’t given any water to alleviate his thirst. Instead, a businessman with a clean, bright red suit walked in the other room. This man was middle-aged and tall, with full, rosy cheeks that enclosed a cheery smile, bright red hair with a gray streak and wore a white tie and black shirt combo under the suit jacket. However, his eyes were gaunt and empty. He then began to speak to Wilt over the intercom.

“Greetings. My name is Hannibal Heffernan, director of the CIA! It comes to our attention that there was a little… incident in your town of Chaney. Something about a fire?”

Wilt wanted to get everything he had seen off his chest. “Look, you guys gotta believe me! There were these boys, and they were sacrificing people, and this tall one set fire to everyone! What happened to them? You gotta believe me! Did any help come in time--”

“Enough, enough! No one’s doubting what you saw. I have a request for you, son.”

“What is it?”

“Forget about everything you saw last night, and don’t tell anyone anything. Don’t ever discuss this again.”

“W-what?”

“You heard me. ...An asylum had a security breach. It’s handled now. Don’t talk about it ever again.”

“Or what’ll happen?”

“You’ll disappear. I won’t kill you, that’s simply much too suspicious. But I will destroy you. No matter how much you try, nobody will believe you. Eventually, you won’t matter at all.” Hannibal had slowly grown a sinister smirk(?) across his face, but noticed his reflection and quickly snapped back to a benign smile.


“Anyways, I hope we don’t have to resort to any of that foolish threat stuff. Surely a proud American like you will be able to understand that this is still a matter of national security, so we’re just trying to keep the country safe at all costs. Of course, you can say no to hushing up! That’s fine. We’ll even take you back home. But just know, as soon as we find out that you’ve gone and yapped about this stuff-- and believe me, we will find out-- it’ll be nothing but hell on earth for you. Deal?”

Wilt clenched his fists. They’re definitely hiding something. But what? Is it worth risking everything to find out the truth?
 
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Perfect Chaos Zero

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Apr 26, 2017
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Awesome. This is pretty cool! I love to see any form of creativity in this community and writing "for reals" is something we REALLY don't get enough of!

Very refreshing to see. Also option 1 or 2 in poll ftw

65-P4-00448.jpg

Find the truth!
 
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Clouder

The one and only
Aug 29, 2017
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Chapter 4! Or as I like to call these chapters, a transition chapter.

“...Alright, deal. Can I get some water now?”
“Good, good! I love when people cooperate with me… it’s such a rarity these days. Your generation is so disrespectful! Also, I talked to your little friend who was screaming to the authorities about the incident prior to our meeting. She’s bound by our same agreement… along with the other people who came across the incident. Anyways! I’m done with this man, get him a drink and get him home!

...After all, we wouldn’t want you to miss your shift, would we?”

Director Heffernan left the room, and before Wilt fully knew what was going on, more uniformed men had blinded him with more salve.

-------

“You see, kids-- it’s very important to have a dream for the future,” Ms. Osborne, Del’s fifth-grade teacher had began that day. “Then as you grow up, you chase those dreams and make them a reality, y’hear?”

“Yes, Ma’am!” cried all the kids in the class in unison.

“Good! Now, would anyone like to share a dream they have?”

The young Del’s hand shot up among the throng of students.
“Yes, Delaney?”
Del “I wanna be a famous singer one day, like Jennifer Lopez! Or Mariah Carey! And-- and-- I wanna perform in front of millions of fans!” Del said excitedly.

“...”

The class erupted into roaring laughter.

“Don’t be stupid, Delaney! You can’t even sing a lick!”

“How does she expect to be a singer when you can’t even sing??”

“You’re so dumb, Delaney!”

“In fact, that’s a good name for her-- Dumb Delaney!”

“♬ DUMB DE-LA-NEY! DUMB DE-LA-NEY! ♬”

The students continued to jeer and chant while Del quietly slumped back down into her desk, tears beginning to form in her eyes.

“Now then, stop all that!”
Ms. Osborne’s voice rang through the classroom, clear as a bell.
“If Delaney wants to be a singer, then let her chase her dream in peace! I don’t want to hear anything about this ‘can’t even sing’ or ‘Dumb Delaney’ nonsense in this classroom, or even this school! Y’hear?”

“Yes, Ma’am...” the class groaned in unison.

After class that day, Ms. Osborne had asked Del to stay behind.
“So, you want to be a singer, huh?” she questioned. Del quietly nodded.
“Well, if you work hard and practice every day, I think-- no, I know you can do it! And then when you’re on your stage in front of millions, you can laugh at all the people who laughed at you today. Don’t let them get you down! Instead, prove them wrong, y’hear?”

Del gave a wide grin. “Yes, ma’am!”


Despite Ms. Osborne’s words that day, Del never learned how to sing. She tried for years and years, standing up to the boos and jeers from her peers whenever she appeared and tried to sing on stage.
It always ended the same way-- with those tone-deaf notes turning into tears. Eventually, Ms. Osborne and her words were drowned in the words of the people who didn’t believe in Del.

And so, Del gave up on her dream.
But the problem wasn’t that she simply gave up on it.

The problem was that she never found another one.

Now, here she was at a dead-end job in a dead-end town. Dreamless, and striving for nothing. Just playing out the same existence every day. Going through the motions, as one would say. Wake up. Eat. Do not much of anything. Clock in and work the night shift.

And here she was again this night. As usual, doing the exact same thing. Reading a book while the radio droned out the same pop songs over and over. The same monotonously monotonous monotony. She needed a change, and fast.

Then Wilt staggered in.
“Whoa, sorry I’m late. Can I get a drink out the store fridge? Just take it out my paycheck,” he said, pointing to the back of the store where the fridge was located.

“No. We don’t give rewards to slackers,” Del replied, looking up from her book.

Wilt leaned over the counter and lowered his voice. “They said they talked to you too. I took up the deal, how about you?”
“Hmph.” Del went back to her book. “I have no reason to care about what happened to some crazies one random night. I only even told the authorities because the fire might spread to the town.”
Wilt walked behind the counter and motioned Del to follow him to the break room. She groaned very audibly, but complied with his wishes.
“What.” Del asked(?) dryly.
“I know we’re not supposed to talk about it, but don’t you think it’s weird? Y’know, if it’s really just some crazies who started a cult in the middle of one of the most irrelevant towns in an already irrelevant state, why does the CIA care enough to bring the only witnesses to DC and tell them to keep hush about it?”
“Look, WIlton. I’m not sure if you’ve caught on yet, but let me tell you again. I. DO. NOT. CARE.”
“Don’t be a hypocrite, Del. Wasn’t it you panicking about the little boy? Or wanting to get the badge?”
“That was then. This is now.”
Wilt noticed Del’s eyes slightly light up at the mention of the badge.
“Really, now? Don’t you want to go searching for the badge? Or at least talk to the kid? Because as far as I know, the CIA never talked to the actual almost-victim of that cult. C’mon, Del-- I want to know the truth about everything that happened that night. Shoot, we could even dig through the rubble of the place where the fire started! Whaddaya say?”

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