Chapter 10




1968   Janice Engelhart laid on her stomach across her bed, dreaming of being anywhere but in Nebraska.  Feeling sad, lonely, and out of place was a nor­mal part of puberty for most fourteen year old girls from time to time.  But when you lived on a farm that was miles away from the next one and school was out for the summer, you might as well be on the moon.  What was worse, thought Janice, was the fact that her moonscape wasn't made of cra­tered rocks or fairy tale cheese.  It was made of corn and steer manure, covered in a fine layer of plain old Midwest dust.  Nothing exotic about that, unless you were into studying the breeding habits of horseflies, one of which seemed almost as enthralled with the magazine she was reading as she was.  She was about to swat it away for the twentieth time when someone grabbed her ankles and half pulled her off the bed.  She yelped in surprise and rolled around to see a grinning Edward Engelhart still holding onto her feet.

          "Jesus Eddie, ever hear of knocking before coming into someone's bedroom.  You scared me half to death!"

          "Halfway's better than none at all I guess," he said, still not letting go of her feet.

          "Take your hands off me, you little pig," she yelled, try­ing to pull her legs away from him.

          "And what if I don't want to?" he teased.

          "Then I'll have to teach you a lesson, and some manners too, while I'm at it."

          "Ooo-oo-oh.  You're scaring me."  He twisted her ankles so that she had to roll over on her stomach again.

          "Cut it out, Eddie!”

          "Who's gonna make me?" he taunted, "Aunt Louise-ee?"

          "That's not nice, Eddie.  You shouldn't make fun of the dead!"

          "Why not?  She's a lot more fun to be around dead than she was alive, don't you think?"

          "Stop it Eddie, and let me go right now, you're hurting me."

          "Maybe I don't feel like letting go, you know what I mean?  Maybe I just want to have some fun with my little sister."  He twisted her ankles more, rougher this time, actually causing her some pain.

          "I'm going to scream if you don't let me go right this in­stant, you little bastard," she shouted, tears starting to form in her eyes.

          "I have a father, just no mother.  I don't think that makes me a bastard, but go ahead and scream.  Who's gonna hear you, your daddy?  He's out riding his noisy little tractor through the corn, pretending to be a farmer.  He couldn't hear his own farts right now.  And Jonathan's down at the pond, probably reelin' in some big old stinky catfish for you to eat for dinner."  He twisted her legs even more.

          "I mean it Eddie, let me go or else!" she yelled.

          "Say please, Janice."

          "Please Eddie, let me go.  There, are you satisfied?" she asked.

          "No, I don't think I am," he replied, sounding cockier than she had ever heard him.  He twisted her legs back and forth in a quick motion that sent searing jolts of pain into her knee and really made her scream.

          "Goddammit, Eddie!  You're really hurting me," she cried.

          "Say please, Janice.  Only real nice this time, and maybe I'll let you go."

          "Please, Eddie!"

          "No, not please, Eddie.  Please Triple 'E'.  Real nice now." he said to her, sounding almost intoxicated with his new found power over her.

          "Please, Triple E.  Please let me go!" she shouted.

          "That's better.  Now let's try it again, only with more feeling this time."

          That was it.  Janice snapped out of her state of helpless­ness and began to fight back.  She grabbed the National Geographic Magazine and threw it at Eddie's face, causing him to duck.  As he did, he lost his balance and fell forward, giving Janice enough slack in her legs to kick out at him.  She kicked as hard as she could with her left leg, and dug her heel into his crotch, sending a wave of pain into Eddie's groin that doubled him over and made him release her an­kles.

          Realizing that she was free, she rolled over and kicked at him again, this time flat-footing him right in the nose, snap­ping his head back and sending him spinning up against the closet door.  She lay there seemingly paralyzed for a mo­ment, watching him clutch himself with one hand between his thighs and the other across his face.  Blood was begin­ning to stream between his fingers as his nose was in the middle of a four-alarm gusher.  There was a look of surprise in his eyes that quickly turned to one of hatred and revenge.

          "You fucking little bitch!" he spat out, speckles of blood flying out as he did.  She had given him a split lip to go along with his bloody nose.

          "I told you to let me go, asshole," she said as she began to stand up, not sure what might happen next, but not wanting to be caught in a prone position again.

          Eddie began to straighten up all the way too, much faster than she had seen other boys recoup from such a direct blow.

She bolted for the hallway, but Eddie was too quick for her, slamming the door shut behind his back.

          They stared into each other's eyes for about fifteen seconds without saying a word.  Eddie's seemed to burn with a fire that she had never seen in her short lifetime, something way beyond the look that her father wore when he reached the 'five second warning' mark.  She thought his pupils actually seemed to turn red, just like in the pictures when someone used a flash and it caught everyone at the wrong angle.  They used to joke about that meaning that you could tell the people who were really vampires.  Although Eddie hadn't sprouted any fangs, she wasn't so sure that it was an old wives tale anymore.  The blood streaming down the front of his face didn't do anything to calm her imagina­tion.

          Suddenly Eddie roared out a scream that sounded way to deep for his size and age, and then he lunged towards her with the speed of a cat.  His outstretched arms pushed her across the room back onto the bed and against the headboard in a single thrust, sending stars into her eyes as her head snapped back against the solid oak.

          She was seized with fear, as she imagined herself as Louise must have looked, although she had never seen her dead in her room as her father had.  But she had surely heard the rumors, and had read the papers at the library.  Thomas had tried to keep their exposure to a minimum, and had made sure that there were no newspapers lying around the house.  He had even stopped them from watching the news at night until things had settled down.  Suddenly she knew that Louise's death was no accident.

          The next thing she realized was that Eddie was on top of her, pinning her arms down with his knees, and dripping blood all across the front of her blouse.  He seized a bunch of her hair in each fist and was pulling in op­posite directions, making it impossible to look any­where but straight into his face.  At the moment, she wasn't quite sure which hurt the most, her head, her arms or her scalp, but she screamed loud enough for all three.  Eddie just laughed.

          "Come on bitch, you can scream louder than that!" he said in between cackles, yanking her hair harder.

          Janice stared up at the bloody face that had once be­longed to her brother, but now seemed to be some kind of a mask being worn by a monster from another world.  She and Eddie had been at odds for some time now, and just as often as not, it had ended with Louise or Jonathan pulling them apart.  But they had never drawn blood before.  This whole scene had gotten way out of hand and she found herself trying to wake up from what obviously must be a nightmare.

          Then Eddie backhanded her viciously across the face and she tasted her own blood at the corner of her mouth.  No doubt about it, she thought to herself as she ran her tongue across her already swelling lip.  This is not a dream.

          "What's wrong bitch?  Don't feel like screaming anymore?  Are you too afraid?"  He wasn't laughing anymore and his hand was pulled up behind his right ear as he prepared to strike her again.

          "Please Eddie, don't . . ."

          He backhanded her again, only harder this time, leaving a ringing in her ears.

          "Please Eddie, don't," he mimicked.  He slapped her a third time with his open palm, and then yanked her head off the bed until she was within inches of his own face.  His hot breath rolled across her face in short bursts, carrying the coppery scent of blood mixed with rancid smell of stomach bile.

          Janice's arms were going numb from Eddie's knees cut­ting off her circulation.  The weight of his body on her chest was making it hard for her to breathe, leaving her too weak to fight him off.  It made her furious to be caught in such a helpless position, which just added to the mental anguish that had reduced her to uncontrollable sobs mixed with the urge to vomit.

          "You don't look so good, sis'," said Eddie, quieting down somewhat.  "You're starting to turn a little blue, kind of like what my balls must look like right now.  Of course it's kinda hard for me to tell with my pants on and everything.  Hey, I know what we can do!  We can check them out together.  You want to see 'em?  Bet you never seen a pair of real balls before."

          Eddie began to unbuckle his belt sending Janice into hysterics.  She began to thrust off the bed with all her remaining strength, still trying to knee kick him in the back.  What she really wanted to do was claw his eyes out, but her hands were so numb so could no longer move her fingers.  She knew instantly that it was a useless gesture of defiance.

          So did Eddie, but he slapped her again anyway.  Then he kneeled forward on her arms, thrusting his crotch out in front of her face, and finished undoing his belt and unzip­ping the fly of his blue jeans.  Janice tried to buck him off her one last time.  He responded by dropping back down on her solar plexus, draining any air she might have had left in her lungs.

          "You know, you never should have kicked the Triple E in the family jewels, bitch."

          Janice realized that his voice was getting louder again, but her vision was beginning to fade from a lack of oxygen.

          "You're going to have to pay for that, Janice.  Only you don't seem to have anything I really want.  Or do you?"

          Janice sensed that she was beginning to pass out, and she was surprised that the thought of doing so seemed almost pleasant to her.  It appeared to be the only way out of the nightmare she was in, and it wasn't like she was giving up really.  Eddie was hardly giving her a choice in the matter.  She began to give in to the darkness, and a strange sort of peacefulness began to replace her fear.  It was like she was in the bottom of an old well, and only a few beams of daylight were making their way through to her.  The last thing she remembered was that someone seemed to be tugging at the waistband of her cutoffs, but she couldn't think who that someone might be, then the last of the daylight disappeared completely.




          Jonathan cranked the little handle of his trusty old Zebco fishing reel a few more turns to get the line tight, then set his pole into the forked tree branch that he had pushed into the ground for a rod holder.  He reached down and washed his hands in the pond water, trying to get most of the chicken guts that he used for bait off his hands.  It had been a good fishing day for some reason that he really didn't understand.  It was early in the afternoon and hotter than hell, usually not prime fishing time.  Early morning was better, but he had to do his chores first.  Just before dark was even better, but dad wasn't one to go for that too often, un­less he came down to fish himself.  Jonathan couldn't re­member the last time that had happened, and it saddened him that his father seemed so lifeless these days.  Things just hadn't been the same since Aunt Louise had died.

          He looked down at his feet to the staked out rope that trailed off into the brown muddy water of the pond.  On the end of that line were five fat catfish, each weighing at least a couple of pounds, the latest victims of Jonathan's patented chicken stink bait.  He hoped to get a couple more before heading back to the house, but it was already two-thirty, and he would have to start back soon.

          The day just didn't seem long enough when the fish were biting, thought Jonathan.  Especially when you were alone, with no distractions like an ornery brother throwing rocks into the water or a whiny sister complaining about the cruel­ties of murdering poor defenseless catfish.  Jonathan was sixteen years old now, and he just did not feel he had the time or patience for their childish antics anymore.  Fishing was as close to enjoying his childhood as Jonathan got anymore, with most of his time spent hitting the books and helping his father around the farm.  He had a plan, and it was a simple one.  Get the best grades he could, get a schol­arship, and get the hell out of Nebraska.

          His dad had taught him that much, if nothing else.  'Keep things simple son.  The quickest way to get from here to there is in a straight line.  Don't be dilly-dallying around lookin' for a short cut, and don't let anyone else's candy-ass ideas get in your way.  Just do what you got to do today and be done with it.  Then get your butt up at the crack of dawn and start all over again.  You'll get what you want in the end, if it's worth having in the first place.'

          Jonathan looked into the distance where he could see the dust his father's tractor was raising as he methodically moved the watering pipes from field to field.  Nothing would get in his way; that was for sure.  He just wasn't sure that what his father was working so hard for was worth having in the first place.  To Jonathan, it seemed like the last thing in the world that anyone could want, let alone work so hard for.  It seemed stupid to him to have to work so hard and have so little to show for it all.  Land might mean a lot to someone living in New York City, but in Platte County, people would pay more money for a milk cow than an acre of farmland.  Still, he couldn't help but have respect for him.  No, it was more than that, he realized, it was more like unconditional admiration.

          Jonathan glanced back at his fishing rod and saw the be­ginning twitches of what he knew was a catfish nosing around his bait.  It couldn't be much else, the only other things in the pond were some shiners and a few largemouth bass that he had transplanted from another lake, and they didn't care much for a sponge full of stink bait.

          He slowly picked up his pole just in time to feel the first big yank of a catfish taking the bait and beginning to swim off with it.  He jerked back hard to set the hook and soon reeled in another catfish enticed by his infamous stink bait.  It never ceased to amaze Jonathan how hard they fought, swerving from side to side, stripping off line from the lightweight Zebco reel.  This one was bigger than the others, one that had been around for a couple of more years than the catfish already on his rope.  It must weigh at least five pounds, maybe six.  He debated a moment whether or not to let him go, but decided to keep him.  Maybe seeing this fish would get his dad excited about fishing again.

          He tossed the fish into the grass, and then stepped on it so he could take the hook out.  At first glance it was obvious that the catfish had truly taken the bait hook, line, and sinker, so he opted for just cutting the line.  He could get his hook and sinkers back when he cleaned it.  He added his trophy fish to the rope, and then retied his line with the extra hooks and weights he had in his shirt pocket.  He placed another sponge cube on the hook, dipped it in the stink bait, and cast it out again, this time a little to the left of where he caught the last fish.  As soon as he thought the bait had sunk to the bottom, he tightened the line again and replaced the pole in its holder.  He washed his hands in the muddy water, and the ritual began again.  The race was on for one more fish before he had to leave.

          His eyes returned to the fields once again, and he felt re­morse for his father, beating himself to death on that old tractor in a field full of corn that might not even make it to market if it didn't rain soon.  He'd be out there helping right now, if his father had wanted him to.  But even though Jonathan was only sixteen, he appreciated the fact that sometimes a man just had to be alone.  Maybe riding that old tractor was the only peace of mind that his father got these days, but Jonathan didn't see how it could hold a candle to fishing.




When Janice regained consciousness there was no one in her room.  She tried to sit up, but instantly felt dizzy, so she dropped her head back down on the pillow.  Her chest and arms were sore, and she had a headache that would probably last a year or two.  Other than that she seemed to be in one piece.  Her first memory of what happened before she passed out was of Eddie slapping her face.  She reached up with her hand and gently touched her lips, which were definitely swollen.  She ran her tongue across the inside of her mouth and realized that a large portion of the flesh was chewed up from being raked sideways across her teeth.

          She looked around the room again, making sure that she was truly alone.  It was darker now, and she had no idea of what time it must be, or how long she had been un­conscious.  She lifted her head again, slower this time, and looked out her window.  There were storm clouds in the distance, off to the west, which accounted for some of the darkness, but probably also meant it was getting to be late afternoon.  She wanted to yell out to see if anyone else was in the house, but she was afraid the only one who would an­swer her call would be Eddie.

          Ever so slowly she sat the rest of the way up.  She waited for her brain to catch up with the movement, and then slid her legs off of the bed.  She began to feel dizzy and nause­ated again, but was determined not to pass out so she dropped her head between her legs and closed her eyes.  The feeling soon passed, and she raised her head up again.  When she opened her eyes, Eddie was standing in the door­way.

          "Are you all right, sis'?" he asked, as if he had just returned from town and dropped in for a visit.

          She stared at him incredulously, not knowing how to respond.  This didn't seem to be the same world she had been choked out of earlier, at least not the same Eddie.

          "No, I'm not alright, and you know it!" she said finally, still trying to clear out the cobwebs and begin piecing reality back together again.

          "Well, you've obviously taken a nasty fall.  Can I get you something?  A glass of water maybe?"  He was being so polite it made Janice want to throw up again.  This time she did.

          "Let me get you a towel or something, I'll be right back."

          When she looked up he was gone, but she could here him going down the stairs to the only bathroom that they had in the farmhouse.  She decided to try and stand up, barely making it on to her feet by leaning on the nightstand next to her bed.  She needed time to think things out, but right now she was more afraid of being in the house alone with Eddie than anything else.

          She contemplated making a run for the front door, knowing that Eddie would be in the bathroom that had been added to the back of the house, just off of the kitchen.  She de­cided that it was worth a try, even though she was still prob­ably too weak to make it when she heard Eddie's footsteps coming back up the stairwell.  Damn!

          There was no way she was up to another round of 'Beat the Sister', so she started for the doorway, reaching it just in time to shut and lock the door as Eddie arrived.  She pulled the skeleton key out of the lock, and leaned up against the door, more from exhaustion than anything else.

          Eddie knocked softly a couple of times on the door, while trying the handle.  Janice could feel her heart beating in her chest, as she began to pray that he would just leave for some reason, and never come back.

          "Janice?" he asked meekly, as if she was the one to be afraid of.

          "Go away, Eddie.  Please.  Just leave me alone," she pleaded.

          "I can't do that Janice.  We need to talk.  Open up the door so I can come in."

          "I need to be alone, Eddie," she stalled, "we can talk later."

          "We need to talk now, Janice.  You seem to be very up­set, and I don't want you to get any wrong ideas."  He was still talking quietly, almost gently Janice thought.  She also noticed he was still trying to open the door.

"Wrong ideas about what, Eddie?" she replied, trying to replay her memory banks as she continued to lean against the door.

          "You know.  Ideas that maybe I hurt you.  When we both know that I would never do that."

          "If you think that I'm going to forget about this Eddie, you can forget it!"

          "Forget about what?"

          "Forget about you hurting me, and hitting me, and…" she stopped in mid sentence.

          "And what, sis'?" asked Eddie from the other side of the door.

          "I'm not sure just yet," she trailed off.

          What really did happen, she asked herself?  She remem­bered Eddie being on top of her, and slapping her, and not being able to breathe, and him talking about his blue balls, and undoing his pants while he bounced on her chest.  The thought would almost be funny if it weren't for how she was feeling at the moment.  It was all coming back now.

          She concentrated with all of her remaining mental ca­pacities, trying to focus on the last few seconds before passing out.  Finally it came to her, someone pulling on her pants.  That someone had to have been Eddie.  He must have been trying to pull her off the bed or something.

          'Or maybe something else,' a voice said deep inside her mind.  She had no way of knowing now.  There was no way that little puke would even dare dream of, well, you know, she told herself, not even being able to speak the words to herself.

          "I demand that you open up this door right now!" shouted Eddie, his voice suddenly lower in tone and louder in vol­ume again.

          She needed time to think, but her mind had pretty much given up on everything but self-preservation.  She knew it couldn't be too long before either her brother or father re­turned, but she had a feeling that Eddie could give a rat's ass about that now.  He beat on the door again, sending shock waves through the door and into her body, reaffirming her assumption about Eddie.

          "Look Eddie," she said weakly to the door, "I… I… I'm sure you're right.  I must have fallen or something."

          There was no answer from the other side.  She continued.  "I don't know how I could be so clumsy," she said, and then she added with hope, "I just want to get cleaned up bef­ore dad gets back, he'll kill me if he sees me this way."

          "That's why I brought you this towel, silly.  Just let me in," Eddie replied, sounding a little calmer, but still very tense.

          "That's okay Eddie, I… I found something in here that will work."

          If she could only stall him until someone got home, she knew she could get through the rest of what might come later.  Right now she was too scared to even move away from the door, let alone think about what later might bring.

          "I don't be-lieve you, Janice," said Eddie slowly.

          "It's true Eddie, I swear it!" she pleaded.

          He slammed his fist once against the door so hard it made Janice's head bounce off the other side.  She let out a scream.

          "Last chance bitch, open up the fucking door, or I'm gonna…"

          "Gonna do what, Eddie?" came a voice from behind him.  It was Jonathan.

          "Just stay out of this, big brother.  This is between me and my sister," Eddie replied caustically as he turned around to face Jonathan.

          Janice had heard his voice also, and began to sob quietly with relief.  She was so drained physically and mentally that she slid down the side of the door and collapsed on the floor.

          "Our sister, Eddie.  I heard a scream, what's going on."  Jonathan's voice was stern, but somewhat matter-of-fact, having seen Eddie and Janice go at it hundreds of times bef­ore.

          "None of your stinkin' business, and what's that smell?" Eddie said, theatrically sniffing at the air, "God, do you stink!  Don't you have some fish to go and clean or some­thing?"

          "As a matter of fact I do, a whole stringer full.  But that can wait," he replied, looking over Eddie's shoulder towards Janice's door.

          "Don't mind her," Eddie said, "She's in one of her moods again."

          "Sounds more like you're in one of your moods again Eddie."  Jonathan replied flatly.

          "Why does everybody always have to blame me all the time?" asked Eddie, trying to sound like the picked on sib­ling with hurt feelings.

          "Because you're a cold hearted little brat that's usually guilty as hell, that's why.  Now get out of my way," said Jonathan as he stepped past Eddie and knocked on Janice's door.  He noticed Eddie going into his room out of the cor­ner of his eye.

          "Janice?" he said softly.

          At first all he heard was silence, but then after straining his ear he could hear her sobbing.

          "Janice, are you alright?"  He tried the door and found it locked.

          "Is that you, Jonathan?" a weak voice replied.

          "Yeah, it's me, open up.  Are you okay?"

          Janice pulled herself up onto her feet by the door handle, beads of sweat beginning to form on her brow.  She went to unlock it, only to realize that she had pulled the key out of the keyhole.    She wasn't sure where the key was now, and began to look around for it.

          "Open up Janice," said Jonathan again.

          "Yeah, okay, just a second.  I've got to find the key."

          Her vision wasn't the best at the moment, but finally she focused enough to see it lying in the corner.  She nearly passed out as she reached down to pick it up, but fought off the impending darkness and stood back up.

          "I got it," she said.

          "Okay, so unlock the door," replied an impatient Jonathan, not knowing exactly why he had to see her for himself, but acting on impulse.

          She fumbled the key into the lock, and began to turn it, when her self-preservation mode kicked in again.

          "Is he gone?" she asked.

          "Who, Eddie?" said Jonathan, "Yeah, he's in his room, open the door Janice.  Dad's gonna be back any minute now, and he's gonna be pissed if he finds you two are at it again."

          Dad's gonna be home, she thought to herself, and Jonathan's here.  It'll be safe now.  Thank God.  She turned the key in the lock, and opened up the door.

          "Jesus, Janice!  You look like hell.  Did Eddie do this?"

          That would be the last words Jonathan would speak that day, as Eddie's miniature Louisville Slugger caught him un­derneath his right ear.  He dropped like a bag of grain, al­ready unconscious.  Janice screamed again, and tried to shut the door, but Eddie had already stuck the end of his bat be­tween the door and it's frame.  She leaned into the door with all of the strength she had left, but Eddie put his shoulder into it from his side.  Then he pushed up against the door and sent her flying back across the room.   She landed in a heap beneath her bedroom window, back up against the wall.

          She was sure Eddie was going to walk the few remaining steps over to where she lay, and beat her into a bloody pulp.  There was just no other way this nightmare could end.  She raised her arms up in a futile last show of resistance, too weak to do anything else.

          Eddie surprised her by shutting the door and sitting down on her bed, tapping the small baseball bat into his open left palm.

          "Tsk, tsk, tsk.  What am I ever going to do with you two?" he said calmly, as he reached over and smashed the small porcelain lamp that was sitting on her night stand, se­nding pieces all over the room and Janice.  She cowered into an even tinier ball, shaking uncontrollably.

          "When the Triple E says open the door, he means open the fucking door.  Surely you can understand that now, can't you?" Eddie asked, still talking as if he were addressing one of his own children.  Eddie stood up, contemplating his next move of intimi­dation and destruction when he saw the old Case tractor heading up towards the barn.

          "Damn!" he said to no one in particular, and began pacing around the small bedroom.

Janice had been reduced to a sobbing vegetable, and had no idea what Eddie was cursing about.  She was merely waiting for the next blow, hoping it would all be over soon.

          "Damn it all to hell!"  Eddie looked out of the window again and realized that his father would reach the tractor shed and probably into the house within the next ten minutes.  He hadn't planned on things going the way that they had today, but one thing had led to another and now he was going to be in deep shit if he didn't think of something.  God, how did he keep getting himself into these messes?  First Aunt Louise, now Janice, and Jonathan…


          Jesus, Eddie said to himself, Jonathan was still lying outside in the hallway, and there was no way he could get Janice patched up enough to escape the wrath his father would let loose for sure when he found her like this.  Damn!

          Okay Triple E, he began to himself, what ya gonna do?  What in the fuck are you going to do!  Okay, okay, let's see.  First things first, you gotta deal with the bitch.  At least shut her up for awhile 'till you got time to shake your way out of this.

          "Listen up bitch," shouted Eddie, "And listen good.  If you don't want to end up just like Louise, keep your trap shut about everything that happened today."  He reached down and grabbed one of her arms enough to lift her and make her open her eyes.   "Do you hear me?"

          Janice looked at him through her tear laden eyes and just shook her head yes.

          "You don't know shit," he shouted, and then laughed quickly to himself.  "Kinda like always, huh?  Shouldn't be too hard."

          He threw her arm back across her face and turned to the door, taking the skeleton key out of the lock.  Then he went out and locked the door from the outside, putting the key in his pocket after he did.  He looked down at his brother Jonathan, just beginning to show signs of consciousness again.  He jabbed him in the ribs with the Louisville Slugger, which produced a groan of pain from Jonathan, as he opened one eye slowly.

          "I'm only going to say this once, brother.  So listen the fuck up," shouted Eddie, smacking him in the thigh this time.

          "Crawl your ass into your room, and don't come out until I tell you to, or I'll cave your head in permanently this time!"

          Jonathan began scooting back towards his bedroom on the smooth wood floor, still groggy from being knocked out earlier.  Part of him was afraid of Eddie, and part wasn't, but it was easy to tell who had the upper hand at the moment.

          "That's it.  All the way in."  He smacked the bat at Jonathan's feet, meaning to hit him but missing as Jonathan backed up into his room.  Eddie reached around the other side of the door for the key but didn't find one.  No prob­lem, thought Eddie, knowing that the same key fit all the doors.  For good measure, he swung the bat one last time, catching Jonathan's left leg at the calf.  Jonathan rolled over on his side and howled in pain.

"Stay put, fuckhead!" Eddie spat out as he slammed the door shut, and reached into his pants pocket to recover Janice's key.  He quickly locked Jonathan's door and ran back past Janice's room and down the stairs.

          He went straight to the front door, not knowing whether he was going to run or hide.  He saw his father's tractor get­ting ever closer and he began to panic.  He quickly latched the screen, then closed the front door and locked it.  His ol' man would be madder than a pissed on hornet when he got to the house and found it locked up, but he could hardly be in any deeper shit than right now.  He needed time, but he doubted there was enough time in the world to save his ass from this mess.  Damn it!

Eddie began to go from one window to the next, starting in the front room, closing and locking them as he moved along the walls from the front door into the dining room.  By the time he reached the back door in the kitchen, he realized he was only prolonging the inevitable, but he latched the screen and locked the door anyway.  Then he ran up the stairs and into his room.

          He slammed the bat against wall to his right, leaving a hole in the plaster and fine white dust across his hand.  He heard Janice scream again in the room next to his.  That's the last thing that he needed right now, he thought to himself as he slammed the bat into the wall on his left and shouted for her to shut up.  Damn!  Damn it all!  What was he going to do?

          He walked over to his window, where he could see his father pulling up into the tractor shed.  Damn!  "Oh shit, oh fuck!" he exclaimed out loud.  He slammed the bat into the wall one more time, then he threw it across the room, taking out the window on the other side of his room.

          "Shit, shit, shit!  Why does this always happen to me?"

          He threw himself on his bed and began rocking back and forth, rapping his arms tightly around his body as if in a solo bear hug.  The fear of being caught, with nowhere to run, crept through him like a fog.  He had felt like this after he had thrust Aunt Louise against the wall, but it had turned out all right.  That nosy lieutenant had zeroed in on him, but he had simply kept quiet after that, and no more had been said as far as he knew.

          He hadn't meant to do that to Aunt Louise, it had just happened.  He hadn't even touched her, although he had wanted to.  All he had done was think the thoughts.  But no one had been able to figure out the mystery and he had been spared.  As time passed, he had gotten a little bit cocky, even experimenting with his newfound powers on the farm ani­mals.  He didn't seem to have much control, he soon found out, it was more like the power had control over him.

          This time he knew that things would be different, just like he knew that he was different.  There would be no un­explained mysteries this time.  He had boned his sister, and bashed his brother.  There would be hell to pay, his father's idea of hell to start with.  Damn!

          He began to rock back and forth even faster, his thoughts coming at him like bullets shot from a Gatling gun.  Too fast to think about, but slow enough to acknowledge as they hit the back of his mind.

'You’re different from the rest, Eddie.'

          'You're smarter than the rest, Eddie.'

          'Your mom left you, Eddie.'

          'Your father blames you, Eddie.'

          'Your brother thinks you're a fool.

          'But you know better, don't you, Eddie?'

          'You'll need him later, won't you, Eddie?'

          'Louise was a bitch, Eddie.'

          'You had to kill her, Eddie.'

          'Your sister's a cunt, Eddie.'

          'A tight little cunt, ain't she, Eddie.'

          'The only one you've ever had, ain't she, Eddie?'

          'Didn't know it felt so good, did you, Eddie?'

          'Your old man's going to beat you, Eddie.'

          'Unless you stop him, Eddie.'

          'They're going to lock you up, Eddie.'

          'With all of the crazies that went nuts waiting for Nebraska to win a National Championship, Eddie.'

          'We're talking Romper Room, Eddie.'

          'Padded walls and no more pussy, Eddie!'

          'Cornfields, Cornhuskers, and corncobs up the ass, Eddie!'

          'A whole world of fools, running your life, Eddie!'

          'A whole world of fools, ruining your life, Eddie!'

          'Unless you stop them, Eddie.'

          'Unless you stop them Eddie.'

          'Unless you stop them, Eddie…'

          Eddie rocked to and fro even faster, so hard that he rolled off his bed.  His mind was awash with sensations, both good and bad, and even at the age of twelve, he knew he must be crazy.

           He scrambled to his feet, and looked out his window again.  He could see his father heading towards the house from the barn; he could sense the intensity on his face, scrutinizing every detail as he performed his daily inventory.  He had only stood up to his father once, the night after Aunt Louise had died.  In the end he had finally backed down, even changing to his 'best behavior' mode for a few months.  For some reason unknown to Eddie, he could find the cour­age to challenge the rest of the family at will, but he held an unexplainable fear of his father.

          Now all that he wanted to do was hide.  He didn't care what the voices in his head said.  It didn't matter what power he felt he might now wield.  All he wanted to do was hide.

          Would it be under the bed?  No, that wouldn't do.  Out in the fields?  No, there would always be tomorrow, or the day after.  Damn!

           Edward Eugene Engelhart was actually scared for the first time in his twelve years of existence.  He wasn't sure what he was afraid of anymore as he jumped back on his bed and began to crawl under the covers.  He knew that the thin little summer quilt wouldn't be enough.  Not near enough.  So he began to imagine heaping on more layers.

          At first it was the clothes out of his closet.  One arm of a winter coat seemed to reach through the crack between the closet door and it's frame and throw the door open.  It leapt from the hanger as if it had a life of it's own and flew across the room to land spread out on top of Eddie.

          Within seconds, all the other clothes in his closet did the same thing.  As if on queue, the drawers of his bureau followed suit, opening up one after the other, the underwear and socks flying like bats out of a belfry at dusk.  Once they were empty, the drawers themselves flew out and landed on top of the pile of clothes on the bed.  Framed pictures, books, lamps and curtains, still in the hanging rods, began to add to the mound.  Loose pieces of plaster, spider webs, fuzz balls and anything else that wasn't nailed down added to the growing pile.  Eddie fell into a trance as the weight of objects on top of him begin to make it hard to breathe.

          But it wasn't enough, or if it was, Eddie had no way of knowing it.  With each bit of additional weight he felt more secure, yet he seemed to have an unquenchable thirst for more.  There was nothing left in his room so he began to draw on things in the sparsely decorated hallway, adding to his security blanket.  He fell even deeper into his trance, creating a vacuum that soon began to draw upon items from downstairs.  This went on for several minutes, until the weight became unbearable, and he finally slipped into total darkness.  He was no longer aware of what was going on around him, and no longer caring.  It was as if he was safe now, submerged under an increasing mountain of debris, and nothing could hurt him.  It was totally dark, warm, and quiet.  Almost like being back in the womb of the mother he never had.  The womb he wished he had never left.


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