lt_shea62truck: (what is this fuckery)
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Just as Kenny breathlessly stumbled into the bar, Tommy was headed out back for a smoke.

"Don't go out there," Kenny warned him before coughing into his fist.

Tommy fixed him with a confused look. "Why not? Are you okay?"

Shaking his head, he cleared his throat and waved him further into the room, away from the back door. "There's some weird shit going on in the woods."


"The hell were you doin' in the woods?"

"I don't know!"

"Whaddya mean you don't know?"

"Look, I don't know, I just--"

Flustered, Kenny bellied up to the bar and ordered a bottle of scotch. Without a word, he grabbed it and motioned for Tommy to come with him upstairs.

"Jeezus, what's the big deal?" Tommy asked as he followed. He'd never seen him act like this before, all jumpy and nervous, his eyes darting as if on the lookout for someone -- or something -- he didn't want to meet. "Seriously, Lou, what's wrong?"

Kenny wouldn't answer. He just kept walking until he reached his room. Quickly digging his key out of his pocket, he unlocked the door, glanced up and down the hallway, and pushed the door open.

"Get inside. Quick."

Tommy ducked into the room. Kenny followed and shut the door, locking it. The room was nearly pitch black but for the dim evening glow coming through the windows, but even before Kenny turned on any lights, he pulled down all the shades. It was only then that he switched on a small lamp on his bedside table.

"Lou," said Tommy, disconcerted by his friend's behavior, "what the hell is goin' on?"

Kenny uncapped the bottle of scotch. Not finding a glass in the immediate vicinity, he took a swig straight from the bottle.

"Remember when we were out by the woods last week?"

"Yeah. When it got real foggy and creepy."

"Right. Well. Things just got creepier."

Tommy exhaled a short, dry chuckle and rubbed his temple. "Okay. Don't start talkin' to me like you're a trailer for a goddamn horror movie. What exactly d'you mean by creepier?"

Kenny went up to one of the windows and peered out from behind the blinds. He could see the dark mass of the forest not too far away. Moving back from it, he sat on the edge of the bed.

"You're probably going to think I'm crazy," he began with some uncertainty, "but ever since then, I've been having this strange sensation like somebody's been...following me. Never back at home, like at the firehouse or anything...just when I'm here. I've also been having these odd chills, and I'm pretty sure it's me and not the central air conditioning. I haven't been outside until today. I was just having a smoke on the back porch. And-- and the next thing I knew...I was in the forest. And I had no idea how I got there. It was like I-- I lost a chunk of time or my memory or something."

As Kenny spoke, Tommy pulled up a chair and sat down. It really wasn't like Kenny to make shit up. Especially weird-ass shit like this.

"That wasn't even the strangest thing," Kenny continued. "There was some kind of-- entity in the woods."

Tommy frowned, goosebumps suddenly prickling his skin. "Like-- a ghost?" If it was a ghost, Tommy isn't coming back to Milliways for a long time.

But Kenny shook his head. "I don't think so," he said. "It was too solid to be a ghost. Or at least it seemed that way."

"What did it look like?"

"I only caught a glimpse of it because I was too busy hauling ass, but-- I'm pretty sure it was wearing a suit."

Tommy blinked. "A suit."

"A suit. A black suit. And a tie, I think."

"A black suit and a tie. Was it a Blues Brother?"

"I'm not kidding around here, Tommy."

"A Reservoir Dog?"

"Tommy!"

"Okay! I hate Tarantino anyways."

Kenny took another swallow of scotch, the liquor warming his insides, keeping the chill at bay. "Am I going crazy, Tom?" he asked after a while.

The question startled Tommy. "I-- I dunno what to say," he began, rubbing his palms together, as they'd suddenly turned cold and clammy. "I mean, if you're seein' things-- well, you know me, pal, I had my share of that, but since I stopped drinking, it ain't such a problem anymore. Maybe you should lay off the sauce a bit?"

Staring down at the bottle in his hands, Kenny's neck flushed. Was it shame? Or just the effects of the liquor? Or both? "It's the only thing that keeps me warm. I can't. Not now."

Tommy shrugged. "Okay," he said. Despite being Kenny's closest friend, he wasn't one to meddle in his troubles, knowing that he preferred to deal with things on his own. But this was something completely new to Tommy. "Look, I'm sure it's just some Milliways bullshit. Y'know? Stuff like this must happen all the time and people get used to it."

Kenny frowned up at him. "People get used to being paranoid?"

"Uh. Well. When you put it that way--"

Miserable, Kenny rubbed his face in his hand. "Listen, just don't tell anybody, okay?"

"No, no, I won't."

"I don't want it getting around."

"Of course. Don't worry 'bout it." Tommy eyed him for a moment, then got to his feet. "Are you comin' downstairs or are you gonna hang out here?"

It took a while for Kenny to respond. "I'm just going to stay here."

"Maybe we should go back home--"

"I said I'll stay here," Kenny snapped.

"Okay. Jeezus. Just askin'." Tommy was legitimately worried at this point, but he started toward the door. "Well, then, I'll see ya when I see ya... --What's this?"

"What's what?"

"This."

Sheets of paper seemed to be spilling out from under the closet door. When Tommy pulled the door open, about a dozen or so pages fluttered out, all of them covered with manic scribbles of circles crossed out with X's. The sight of it was more than a little unnerving.

"The hell is this shit?"

Kenny's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. "I don't--"

Words failed him as he got up, a little unsteady on his feet, and came closer, horrified.

"I saw that mark on a tree today. But I don't-- I don't--"

"You don't what?"

"I don't know why I did any of this."


A long, deathly quiet pause.


"That's it," said Tommy, and he snatched up the sheets of paper. "These're goin' in the fireplace downstairs, and you are coming home. C'mon!"

Tommy grabbed Kenny's arm, but he pulled away.

"No!" said Kenny, staggering back. "I told you, I'm staying here!"

"Like hell you are!"

"You're not the boss of me!"

"...Seriously? That's what you're telling me right now?"

"...I said it, didn't I?"

"C'mon, let's just go."

"Goddammit, Tommy, what part of 'I'm staying' do you not understand?"

"All of it! Jeezus Christ, Lou, what the hell? In all the years we've been working together, I can probably count on one hand, one hand, all the times I've seen you scared shitless. Something here is scaring you, Lou, and I don't fuckin' like seeing you scared. Okay? So how 'bout you put down that bottle of scotch, and come downstairs, and we'll go home. Alright?"

Kenny hesitated as most of his senses seemed to come back to him. Tommy had a point: something was not right here.



"Do I have to leave the scotch?"

Tommy grit his teeth and yanked it out of his hand. "Leave the scotch," he said firmly, and set it down with a thunk on the table. "Let's go."

Kenny nodded sheepishly. With a deep sigh, he left his room with Tommy, and after Tommy tossed those mysterious scraps of paper into the fireplace, they left the bar.



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Lt. Kenneth Shea

June 2013

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