She led us to this. Todd had his eyes on Savannah when the bulldozer broke through the wall. He couldn't misinterpret the look of exultation that passed over her face. She's in league with that guy. The realization startled him more than the shot that tore into his arm. He dashed away, streaming blood, in the opposite direction as Savannah.
Andrew struggled to support Biff's shoulders. Allie still had a grip on Biff's legs, and Andrew admired her dedication. Hard as it was for him to hold onto his heavy friend, he knew that it had to be harder for her, yet she hadn't given up.
They couldn't hold him up any longer. Biff sagged to the floor. "I can't do," Andrew gasped. "We're going to have to drag you."
Biff studied the bulldozer angling toward them, only a few feet away. Splinters peppered his face as it crunched over the debris. "Just leave me, guys, or none of us will get out alive."
"No." Allie echoed the word on Andrew's tongue. They managed to pull Biff out of the bulldozer's path just as the scoop powered past. The driver leveled the shotgun directly at Andrew's head.
Todd took a flying leap into the open cab of the bulldozer. He grabbed a hold on the man's shirt, just as he pulled the trigger. BOOM! Todd watched just long enough to see that his friends hadn't been hit. He got one hand on the gun's barrel and tried to push his opponent from the bulldozer with the other.
The man with the pale mustache offered little resistance. He laughed in Todd's face and kept a death grip on the steering wheel, turning it crazily back and forth. The bulldozer lurched around the room, crushing the floor, ripping into walls, and crashing into the fireplaces. The scoop stirred the embers far better than any poker could, and the fires spread to the aged wood of the lodge.
The bulldozer had cut a wide hole in the wall. They dragged Biff through, into the fresh night air, avoiding the beams crashing down around them, but not the curtain of dust and filth.
"This better be unlocked," Andrew muttered as they passed by Savannah's truck to reach Todd's Dodge Neon. To his relief, it was. Biff pulled himself into the backseat, relief flooding his weary face.
"The keys are even in the ignition!" Allie crowed.
Andrew looked back toward the lodge, steeling himself to go back in for Todd. He didn't have to. Todd came lurching from the smoking fissure, coated in blood, screaming like a maniac, but covering the ground quickly.
"I couldn't kill him," he croaked. "I couldn't even get my gun from him. Let's go." He dove into the backseat with Biff. Andrew hopped into the front seat with Allie, and she spun the car around.
"There's nothing we can do for Cleve," Biff voiced with an edge of bitterness.
"I've only got room in my car for four people," Todd said.
"He was in on it anyway," Andrew contributed.
Allie said nothing. Instead, she urged the car away from the lodge even faster. The tires tore into the gravel road with a noise like thunder.
None of them spoke again for several miles. They reached a paved road and passed by the convenient store where they had bought beer on the way in. Andrew pulled down the makeup mirror and tried to figure out how old he looked after meeting up with the mist. He decided on thirty. "We only spent a few hours in there, right?"
"It was only a few hours," Allie, still not looking as old as her alter-ego Lucinda, assured him. "I'm not even hungry yet."
Andrew punched the mirror away from him. "I can't do this. Allie, either turn the car around or I'm jumping out right now. Even if Cleve did want us dead, can we just let him burn to death in that horrible old place?"
Todd had been chewing angrily on his beard. "I'll go with you."
Biff just swore and wished for his legs back. Allie turned the car around.
Savannah's truck had vanished when they made it back to Blackberry Mountain Lodge. They saw some wisps of smoke still curling out of the crumbling front of the building, but it was still largely intact. Allie left the Neon's headlights on as Andrew and Todd ventured in past the idling bulldozer.
"Cleve!" Andrew yelled as loud as he could. They both winced and looked around for the man to come at them with his knife or Todd's gun, but he didn't appear.
"Let's not split up this time," Todd urged. They moved further in, calling for Cleve. It wasn't long before they heard a banging in reply.
"Help me!" a crackly voice called. "I'm under the stairs!"
"It doesn't sound like Cleve," Todd said.
Andrew shook his head. "It doesn't." Feeling with his hand, he found a double-bolted door behind the staircase. He drew the bolts back and heaved the door open.
Moisture sprayed over them as if they had just opened a water pipe instead of a door. Andrew and Cleve covered their faces as the mist passed by.
Images of Cleve convincing him to go to parties, to skip class, and to drive him to the store filled Andrew's head. He struggled to keep them from taking over his mind. The sensation quickly passed, and he scrambled to find Allie's lighter in his pocket.
"Andrew, Todd, thank goodness you found me. I thought I was going to die in here," the crackly voice said, now right before them.
Andrew found the lighter and flicked it on. Crouched on the floor of the closet he saw a withered old creature, hunchbacked, toothless, bald, and yellow-skinned with age. He recognized Cleve only by the familiar smirk, and it served to make the ancient man even more grotesque.
Disgust seized him. He scrambled out of the lodge after Todd, fighting his conscience the entire way. Allie and Biff greeted them with wide-eyed glances, but he couldn't explain it to them, couldn't burden them with his guilt. "Just drive," he choked.
Allie urged the car down the gravel road again. "Where should I drive to?"
Todd stared out the window as the sun rose on the Appalachians. He didn't know how he could explain what had happened or how he looked so much older now. He just wanted to forget that he had ever had a friend named Cleve. He wanted to forget this spring break night. "Just drive to the gulf coast. If anyone asks, we spent spring break at the beach."