"This tune is rocking my soul" Daniel said bobbing his head to the beat. Brandon cranked the bass up so they could really feel the wub wub. The whole room began vibrating to the beat of Soundtracks and Comebacksby Goldfish. The two lost themselves in the music, throwing their bodies to the rhythm, feeling the bass shake the very fabric of their being.
This awesome jamming session was abruptly interrupted by a loud banging on the apartment door loud enough to pierce the volume of the music. "Shit that's my land lord!" Brandon yelled ripping the speaker cord from the computer. He got up waving his hand around trying to clear the smoke from the room. "Where the fuck is the Febreeze?" Daniel gave him a blank stair and muttered "I think I played with it while I was coming down from that shroom trip..." Brandon's head turned from side to side searching for the scent reliever that just wasn't anywhere to be seen.
A second set of bangs made Brandon jump. "Open up assholes!" the persistent landlord scolded. Brandon opened the door smiling ad chink eyed "Heeey Red, how's the wife?" Red gave him a stern look. "On my ass, I'm guessing you have your boyfriend here for the same reason" Red said with a smirk pointing to Daniel who had nothing a but a screwy face to respond with. Brandon gave him a puzzled look "Why would invite someone over to get on your ass?"
Red's brow formed a wrinkled V on his forehead. "Alright look man I don't give a rats ass about you two throwing gay orgies with your weird ass music up here at.." he peeked at his watch "11:45? Awww fuck me...look guys if I hear Ann bitch about some noisy stoners upstairs again I'm gonna come up here and show you fagots what a REAL gay orgy is!" He slammed the door shut.
The moment the door shut the two burst into uncontrollable laughter. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Daniel asked. "The old guy just tries to throw words together to make a threatening insult. He says shit like that all the time." The two geeked and told stories of shit old people say that they think makes sense but just comes out totally senile.
Coming out a laugh Brandon let out a sigh and hunched his back, shaking his head "is there enough to pack a bowl?" Daniel leaned back looking at the video game case covered in THC, ash, and shake. "Nah man, looks like we are tapped out." Brandon stood up out of his chair and grabbed his wallet and keys off the coffee table. "Lets go pick up man" Brandon seemed to strain himself saying the words. Daniel stood up from the couch saying "You want me to text Santos?" Brandon looked reluctantly at him "He always hooks you up more."
Brandon didn't talk much the whole car ride. Daniel kept making attempts at conversation but Brandon would only give a quick response to put him off. "Everything alright man?" he finally asked. "Yeah man, I'm just burnt as fuck." Daniel knew if Brandon didn't want to talk about it he wouldn't get anything out of him. They had been great friends but they had conversations about anything too personal, it's probably why they got along so well.
As they pulled up into the parking lot of KFC the street light reflected off of puddles left over from a rainstorm earlier that night. Brandon pulled the key from the ignition letting out another sigh in the silence. "This Chevrolet is a piece of crap" and that it was. It has cost Brandon $500 and a one night stand with an elderly woman. No one else knew about the later of the two, except her: she would never forget it.
Daniel dropped his phone trying to respond to Santos "He wants to know how much your picking up" his gaze caught a shapely woman eating fried chicken and his stomach growled. "Dan, I have a mission for you. Give me your phone and go get chicken!" Brandon said lightening the mood. "Sounds good to me" Dan rushed out of the car and made a B-line for the entrance as fast as his long legs would carry him (which is pretty damn fast). Whenever Daniel picked up from Santos Brandon, their other friend Alex, or both would be with him; so Santos wouldn't be surprised to see him in Daniel's stead.
Santos lived directly next to KFC in an apartment complex like most people in Brimsfield did. Seemed like a sketchy place to deal out of, but its a prime location. Plus you got "the munchie food" nearby as Santos had always referred to it. Plus KFC was right down the road from Brandon's apartment so to him it was a match made in heaven...sorta. The alleyway leading to his door was riddled with cigarette butts, pistachio shells, and motor oil. Brandon swears one night he saw shell casings on the ground. Santos always had kind of a thug persona, though he is always very charismatic, being a "salesman".
After a little waiting he came out with a lit Newport hanging out of his mouth and smiling "Hey buddy how's it been?" He stuck his hand out to give daps and Brandon noticed a bag in his hand. Looks like he doesn't want to chill and talk for a minute Brandon realized. He gave him daps taking the bag and reaching into his pocket. Their he dropped off the bag and retrieved the wad of hard earned twenties which he put right into Santos hand. "Same shit different day." Brandon said.
Daniel's eyes scanned the menu back and forth for a good five minutes before he finally announced "I will take a chicken bucket." The girl behind the counter asked "you want anything to drink with that?" As a joke he replied "you have booze here?" she didn't seem to be very amused. "Uh no, nothing to drink..." she then asked "will that complete your order?" Frantically he told her "NO! I will take a second chicken bucket, extra crispy." He smiled at her but she matched it only with a glare. He twisted the debit card between his fingers "You guys have any desserts?" The girl immediately swept the card from his hand and slid it through the cash register.
"Your total is $16.70" she took out the receipt and handed it to him "have a nice day." The girl smirked as he turned toward the pickup area. The side entrance door opened ringing the bell which was followed by a cheerful voice crying out "Dan! How's it going dude?" Daniel turned to see his friend Jake approaching him. Daniel knew where their was Jake, Chad was bound to be with him. "Not much man picking up and gonna be chilling with Brandon tonight."
A girl called the number for Daniel's Order and he quickly broke eye contact with Jake. He didn't want to talk to him – not that him and Jake weren't cool – because he owed Chad money for a front a while back and didn't want to deal with his crap right now. As he turned toward the pickup counter with his friend Cait who just so happened to be handing him his order. "Daaan! Oh my god it's been so long, how have you been?" He smiled but in the back of his head he knew he needed to get out of here and back to Brandon's shitty Chevy. "Wow Cait I didn't know you worked here" of course he didn't want to be rude "everything been going well?"
Jake decided to butt in on the conversation "The three of us haven't been in the same room since high school" he said chuckling. Cait smiled and said "yeah, you two hanging out and lighting up like back then?" And as the words were spoken a wide hipped black woman placed a hand on Cait's shoulder. "This isn't social hour girly, you can talk to them at the end of your shift" Cait sighed, "you guys want to hang around till 12:30? After I get off we should all smoke for old times sake" before either of the gentlemen responded she disappeared back into the kitchen.
"So Dan, You and Brandon going to need any help with that chicken? Chad says he hasn't seen you guys for a while AND he just re-uped" Jake said smiling. Dan didn't want to blow blow him off, just Chad. Again, him and Chad were good friends, but he owed Chad money, not to mention Brandon just picked up from one of his competitors. "Dude you got my number, hit me off on my days off and we can chill" he grabbed the bag and rushed out of the door. The last thing he heard from Jake was "I didn't know you still worked" the funny part was that he didn't anymore(Okay he thought Jake was kind of a tool).
Brandon emerged from Santos alleyway right behind Chad's SUV. Brandon could even see the rear view mirror close enough to see that Chad was looking down toward his lap. He is probably counting bills, bags, or rolling a joint pray Brandon as he crept past the vehicle toward his own.
Just like Daniel, Brandon owed Chad money he would have had to pay off if he didn't just spend it. Chad, Brandon, Daniel and Alex were a close knit group of friends but the more bud Chad started to a sell, the more arguments occurred, and the more everyone began to resent Chad. Everyone was still good friends, but its hard to remain civil when it comes to money; especially drug money!
The smell of the greasy fried chicken started to become embedded in the upholstery of the car. By this time Daniel's nose was burning with desire of the sweet, sweet processed meat. He ran his fingers along the rim of the bucket sensually, eying the picture of the chicken on it. He had to keep himself from drooling; it looked so good! His alluring gaze was broken by the sound of Brandon opening the driver door and slamming it shut. He rushed as he clicked on the seat belt and started the car. Daniel decided to inform him that "Chad's like right over there" to which Brandon readily replied "I'm already on it!" The old Chevy roared in the solemn KFC parking lot before the headlights pierced the dark. It happened to shine across the entrance to the establishment. As Brandon flew by Daniel eyed her in guilt when he saw the displeased look on her face.
They hydroplaned into the road before Brandon quickly swerved out from in front of a black SUV that almost looked like it was parked in the middle of the street. In the middle of the road no lights, tinted windows and no movement, Brandon couldn't see it till the lights revealed it in the darkness. "That was weird..." He said as he gazed at its silhouette in his rear-view mirror. "You know we just ditched Cait in front of KFC..." Daniel said leaning back in his chair."Was that her? I didn't know she worked at KFC. You shoulda told me she could came and chilled with us..." Daniel shrugged "Well you kind of flew out of the parking lot before I could say anything. Its not like we can't turn back now" Brandon seemed to ignore the statement. He had other plans in mind.
The two crept through the dark streets of Brimsfield rolling joint after joint and packing bowl after bowl almost in complete silence. Not even music serenaded the silence, only the flick of the lighter and the flickering flame reminded each other that they weren't alone. They found themselves wondering back roads that were lined with thick woods. They pulled over next to a gate that blocked vehicle access to a trail leading into the woods. They had camped up here earlier that summer. Up the street was a large house that for some reason had all its lights on at two in the morning.
Brandon finally turned the radio on while idling the car so the battery didn't die. Achilles Last Stand by Led Zeppelin was just starting. The two looked at each other and smiled. As the pace of the song hastened their heads and bodies began to rock to the rhythm, and more the song progressed the crazier they got. Eventually Brandon over did it to the point that he toppled the bucket of chicken bones onto the floor of his crappy Chevy, but he didn't care. He was high in the woods with one of his best friends jamming out to a great song. The only thing that would have made it better is if the girl he loved was with them. She like most people wasn't a fan of Zeppelin though.
Again the awesome jamming session was brought to an abrupt end by a loud set of bangs. This time not anywhere near them, but from the big house with all the lights, and they weren't normal bangs. They were gunshots, at least Daniel knew that. Brandon asked clueless "what the hell was that?" Daniel turned down the music and as soon as he did they heard several police sirens coming from the same direction they had. The two gazed at each other wide eyed and stunned before Brandon finally reacted and threw the car in reverse. With a quick three point turn they were speeding off down the road with the big glimmering house and the sound police sirens shrinking in the distance behind them.
Brandon furiously drove through the winding, tight back roads. He only wavered on sharp turns; otherwise he just wanted to get the fuck out of there. "Dude I think we are far enough away, you should slow down or you'll get us pulled over by some other cop" Daniel told him but then he looked into Brandon's eyes. They were fixed on the road with utter fear and determination. Daniel grasped his shoulder "Brandon, its alright dude we are okay...calm down" Brandon let out a sigh, the speedometer began to tick down, and they pulled over to the side of the road.
Daniel Stared at Brandon. He was breathing heavy and sweating. They've had worse run ins with the cops and Brandon isn't usually phased by this kind of thing, considering all they had was pot! After he shut the car off he peered down into his lap and regained a little composure. His gaze met Daniel's and he smiled halfheartedly and asked "want to go home, pack a bong and some play games or just pass out?"
The thought made Daniel smile and give a mitigated chuckle . These two would never let anything beat them as long as they could just run somewhere and smoke, drink, or drop something. Right now they were lacking the latter two, but the first option being abundant made them jolly as ever.
Daniel look around "I say we kill this bowl here then head back, its pretty peaceful here" he said twirling the glass piece between his fingers. Brandon tossed the lighter in his lap. "Kill it and I'll pack another" he gazed off out the window into the dark of the woods. It wasn't the normal dark he was used to. There was something alive about this darkness. It gave him the feeling similar to bad trips when he was younger; that chill that crawls up your spine giving you the idea that behind every corner, in every shadow, there is something evil stalking you. Just a feeling of course. He shifted his gaze away from the woods to the left mirror where he could see the police lights in between the trees even from all the way out here.
I'm really stoned he thought as Daniel passed him the cashed bowl. He peered down into it realizing now how dark it was. He hit the light above him and looked down into the bowl only to discover ash. He rolled down his window (with an actual crank, that's how old this car was) and tapped it out. "I know you know this considering its your car, but there's an ashtray right there" Brandon glared over "Maybe I just wanted to feel the nice early morning air. Speaking of which what time is it?" The light that shone into Daniel's face from clicking his phone on (to check the time) seemed dimmer than Brandon would have expected. His phone must be dieing he thought before realizing he hasn't charged his phone since Brandon picked him up the previous morning.
Before Daniel could say what time it was another set of bangs rang off echoing through the dark woods. "Okay dude what that fuck is that shit" Brandon questioned peering out his window. Daniel could tell they came from the same direction that they had. He knew that they were in fact gunshots. "Its like four in the morning, we should just head back...those are totally gunshots man. Daniel didn't want to say what they were because he knew how Brandon would react.
Immediately after hearing that they were gunshots Brandon Stared off into the woods in the direction of the bangs. Daniel knew that Brandon wanted to go back and find out what the bangs were without him even saying it yet. As he expected Brandon turned to him eagerly "wanna go check it out?" Daniel shook his head nervously; – he wasn't afraid, he just knew how passively relentless Brandon could be – he just wanted to go back. "How about we just head back. I'll roll up a game and you can chill and make some coffee" Brandon didn't even acknowledge his offer. He pocketed the bowl, opened the car door, and stepped out all without breaking his gaze. Daniel started to worry. "Come on dude that place is practically a set for a horror movie. Let's say what we always say (Fuck the police) and get outta here man!"
Brandon felt a chill come over him. Behind him he heard loud motors further up the road. He turned to investigate and in the distance he could see a plethora of red,white, and blue lights all poking through trees moving fast. These lights were encroaching on them quickly. Brandon was unsure of what these vehicles were, but based on the red and blue lights he knew he had to get the hell out of there. Daniel was already out of the car "yo I got the roaches let's ditch into the woods"
Brandon stared off into the eerie, dark woods then looked back to Daniel. "what the hell are you staring at lets get in there..." As they entered the sound of the motor turned into many motors. They stepped through the dark hearing twigs snap under their feet and feel spider webs slide over their skin, clinging to long hairs. Dew covered leaves dampen Brandon's hood. They both froze as a light revealed everything around them (including them). Behind them flood lights were shining onto the old Chevy. Brandon was suddenly forced to the ground and tried struggling before he realized it was Daniel. Together they looked as military troops were unloading from trucks. They began to secure the area. A few figures in the light began to search Brandon's car. Brandon saw the light reflect off his bong as it was pulled from the glove box. He felt a tear swell in his eye and he let out a small groan as he took his last look at ole' reliable one last time before they smashed it on the ground.
Daniel got up from laying down and began peering around the woods they were in. They weren't very deep but he knew he was enough in that the military wouldn't see him. He realized there was an clearing if they had gone a little deeper. He trudged through a bush before finally stumbling into the opening. The only light that could be seen was the little that could penetrate through the thick woods. Further into the clearing there was a drop the light shone over but not into. Daniel cautiously approached the decline twitching at every twig he snapped. From the road there was a lot of commotion that could be heard over the motors now. Metal clanging against concrete and jack hammers grinding up stone rang through the air.
As he made his way closer to the decline a foul odor wafted into his nostrils. He knew the smell from when he and Brandon were teenagers. They always took shortcuts through the woods when walking around town or trying to duck the heat. A frequent path they took ran along the train tracks and that seemed to be a popular place to dump animal carcasses, bags of rotting meat, and once even an entire person whom they swore was there. They called the authorities (for once) but when they went to check it out the scene had to have been tampered with and the body stolen. At least that's what they swore by. The smell of bodies gave him the same knot in his stomach that it had last time.
Brandon couldn't help but shake in the cold night air. Being racked with anxiety helped. Having smoked weed only made him more nervous. He rolled over and pushed through the brush getting a look at the military setting up rebars supporting welded metal plates that spanned the road. They were lining the top of the wall with some kind of string. As the spool caught a reflection off the flood lights they seemed to have a blue aura even at a distance.
Two Black H1 Hummers followed by an armored van came rolling up from the direction of the big shining house and pulled over. They pulled a young woman from one SUV and a older man from the other, both of them handcuffed and forced to their knees. Armed forces surrounded them as two men in suites approached them. They began speaking to them, Brandon wanted so badly to know what the were saying.
This was the kind of thing he waited for his whole life. Something crazy going on, something like in the movies. The government setting up weird technology in the woods after mysterious gunshots; he couldn't have written better himself!
One of the men in suits waved off a soldier who in turn waved off the armored van. Two soldiers wearing special gas masks and covered in a plastic material that almost resembled bubble wrap circled around the back of the van. They assembled poles with a kind of rounded claw at the end that formed a perfect circle when closed. They opened a window on the back of the van and stuck the pole inside. They seemed to begin struggling with something in the van.
Now that Brandon was focused on the van he noticed that there was custom work on the body. There were access hatches spanned horizontally across the back cabin of the van. They opened these hatches in sequence as they moved the pole toward the actual door. They seemed to be really dragging something toward that door. The back door was hydraulically locked and made a loud pssshhh noise as it unsealed and opened. As they pulled the end of the pole from the back it revealed that the claw was around a person's neck.
The person had blood trailing down from their head and as it stepped down from the truck it kept reaching for the soldiers that were taking it from the van. Brandon could hear the woman being held prisoner shriek with terror when they pulled the person from the van.
She began to weep and yell "Noooo don't hurt him! He is just sick!" The men in suits pulled handguns out and each put a bullet in the person's back. The person then turned its attention from the soldiers to the two men in back still disregarding the wound on their back. This gave Brandon chills all over his body. In his mind he already figured out what it was. The shorter of the two men in suits nodded to the taller man and the soldiers began to push the person toward the metal wall put in the middle of the road (which was still being extended on both sides).
The woman began sobbing uncontrollably. The soldier released the grip around the person as the other threw an incendiary grenade toward the persons feet. The bright flash blinded Brandon for a moment.
Daniel was in too much of a rush to be disorientated by the flash or to even take notice of what the military (or whoever they were) was doing. He knew they needed to get out of there. After what he saw he knew it just wasn't good to be here. He knew it better than anything he has ever known. He picked Brandon right out of the brush startling him. Being as disorientated as he was he thought Daniel to be an attacker and instinctual shoved at him. Daniel shook him "Dude let's bail, now!"
Brandon wasn't a particularly heavy guy (he was actually very skinny only weighing around 140) making it very easy for Daniel to drag him onto his feet. After Brandon regained a little composure he began to walk on his own. This wasn't fast enough for Daniel who kept pulling him along. "Come on man we need to go!" Daniel felt his sweaty hands slipping from Brandon's hoody.
It was in this moment that Brandon's vision returned to him and he regained complete control. Daniel felt resistance as he tried to drag Brandon away from the scene. Suddenly Brandon broke free of Dan's grasp and ran back toward the scene. Daniel could see how close Brandon was getting to the military and he knew he had to stop him. You fucking idiot he thought to himself as he ran down his friend in the woods.
Of all the things racing through Brandon's mind the most prevalent was wondering what was going to happen next...Sure enough he found out.