|Note: This story is a part of a larger series of short stories and flash fiction. You can find these stories on the Oubliette home page.|
Pete saw a car in the distance lose control on the icy road and come to a stop on the side. As he approached, he saw the silhouette of the driver and slowed down to see if he needed help. The driver was tall and wore a wide-brimmed hat. When he motioned him on, Pete sped back up and continued towards the abandoned farmhouse where he last saw Griswold.
It had started to snow and the light from Chris’ cell phone had been distracting Pete for practically for the whole trip. He was texting Grace and Linda and they were regularly updating him on their attempts to contact Griswold.
“Griz hasn’t answered yet and there is no answer at his apartment.”
“He has a land line?”
Pete slowed the car as it approved the drive leading to the farmhouse. Pete turned the wheel and carefully navigated it. As they pulled up to the house, Chris gasped.
“There it is!” He said pointing at the house.
Pete looked quickly. The house was dark and only his headlights provided any light. The house had several windows on this side and it took him some time to see what Chris saw. In one of the windows, there was a pair of golden eyes watching them as they approached the house. Just as fast as he saw them, the eyes disappeared in the darkness.
“That wasn’t it.”
“What was it then?”
“It was probably some animal. Griz said that he found a cat.”
Pete put the car in park and left the engine running. He could tell that Chris was wanting to say something but he continued examining the house for any sign of what happened after they left. After a moment, Chris spoke up.
“His car isn’t here. Let’s get the hell away from this place.”
Pete could tell from Chris’ voice that he was nervous however Pete hoped to see it again. It was not because he wanted to see it but he wanted confirmation that he was not crazy and if it was still in the house, it did not follow any of them home. Pete thought to himself that it might still be in the basement which they could not see from the car.
Pete found himself saying, “I’m going back in.”
Chris gaped at him as if he kicked a kitten, “Hell no, that is whacked.”
Pete ignored him and opened his door. The cold winter air stunned him as he left the warm comfort of the car. He listened and heard the silence of the surrounding foothills which was broken by Chris’ door opening. Pete started towards the house but found himself facing Chris who quickly intercepted him.
Chris towered over him and declared, “There is no way I’m going to let you back in there.”
“I need to see if it is still there.”
“That is so whacked, man. Now, you get back in the car or I am going to pick you up and carry you all the way back to town.”
Pete glared at Chris. Chris normally had a fun-loving look about him but Pete did not see that. Instead, what he saw could best be described as a boulder. When Chris first joined the group, Grace told him that she could tell when Chris was being serious. She said that he had a certain look and Pete realized this must be the look. He also knew that Chris could do what he threatened. Not only was Chris at least six inches taller than him, he was 50 pounds heavier and that was all muscle mass. Pete knew that he had only one choice here.
“Fine.” Pete turned around and walked back to the car and got back in.
Chris joined him in the car and he still had the same stony expression as he sat next to Pete. He looked at Pete, “Don’t you ever do that again.”
“What do you think we should do?”
“I don’t know but staying here is not it.”
Pete had to agree. He put the car in reverse and carefully drove back to the main road. Once on the main road, Pete thought about what should he do next. Chris was on his phone texting back to Linda and Grace. Finally, Pete had decided on a plan of action.
“I’m going to drop you off at the Super Late and I’ll go over Griz’s apartment and see if he’s there.”