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Chapter 5

Nick and Ethan were already shooting against each other when they arrived.
“I got next” Morgan called out. He laughed watching Ethan flailing his arms all over the place in a pathetic
attempt at stopping Nick. Over and over this technique failed but no one ever said anything.
“Come on guy” Nick taunted. “Show me what you got.” He quickly stole the ball away and hot another
basket.
Ted and Morgan sat on a grassy hill across the street from the basketball hoop.
Morgan couldn’t get the damn bag out of his mind. Why the hell was Ted so nervous about the stupid bag?
I mean Ted was kind of an odd duck but he couldn’t remember another time him acting like that. Thoughts and ideas
of what could possibly be in the bag consumed his mind. The bag was big, much like a hockey bag would be, only
it wasn’t. He wasn’t sure what kind of bag it was, maybe something for camping?
And the other thing… ‘I’ve never talked to anyone about this before’. What did he mean by that? It was
driving him crazy.
“Nice ball Morgoh”. Nick said as he shot the ball. He was easily 6’5 and by far the best basketball player
Morgan had ever seen..
“Thanks man, got it for my Birthday”. He replied matter of factly.
They shot around, mostly just goofing off and the game they started, quickly ended with Nick beating Ted
and Morgan, 20-4. Meanwhile, Ethan wandered around, wheezing and complaining that Nick was too rough and he
shouldn’t play so physical.. Everyone just ignored him
“Good game guys” Nick laughed.
Ethan chimed in. “Yeah well they’re not on the basketball team. Not everyone is good at sports like you ya
know.” Nick dropped the ball where he stood.
“What the hell is wrong with you today man? You’ve been acting weird ever since we got out here” Ethan
just looked at him and waved his arms away dismissively.
It was funny watching the two of them sometimes. They were complete opposite of one another. Nick tall,
muscular, athletic, able to get any girl he wanted. Ethan, short, chunky, sucked at sports and had probably never
spoken to a girl in his life. They were best friends though even these little outbursts didn’t mean anything.
Morgan saw Ted sitting on the grass by the court and sat down next to him.
“Next time” He laughed. Causing Ted to smirk a little.
“Wanna come over for dinner tonight?”He asked this knowing full well that Ted wouldn’t be getting any
dinner at home..
“Alright, what time you thinking?”
“Probably 6. My Dad doesn’t get home till then, so”
They parted ways, everyone agreeing to meet up again after dinner.
“Morrgaaaannn” His mother called from downstairs. “Come down here and set the table like I asked you
to over an hour ago.” He looked at the clock hanging on his wall. Damn, it had been an hour already?

He went downstairs into the kitchen and began taking the dishes out of the cabinets and putting them onto
the table.
“Oh Ted’s coming for dinner tonight. Is that alright?” The look his mother gave him he knew well. It was
the same look she’d given him at the end of the school year when he told her she needed to bake brownies for his
class.
She sighed and said, “Tell me these things earlier, that way I can know how much I’m cooking.” Followed
by an emphatic “please!”. He agreed and set the extra plate for Ted.
6 PM came and went. To his right sitting at the table was his sister Charlene on opposite ends of the table
sat his mom and dad. Across from him sat an empty chair. He had called Ted five times already to see where he was
at but got no answer. They waited until 6:20 before his dad said “we can’t wait for him all night”, grabbed a dinner
roll and began to eat.
They finished up eating and he quickly excused himself from the table. “Where are you going” his mom
asked.
“Out, I’ll be back before dark don’t worry” He found Nick and Ethan already at the court. “Where’s Ted”
Ethan asked.
“I dunno, he didn’t show up for dinner.. I thought he might be here”
“No we’ve been here for like a half hour and haven’t seen him” Nick responded unconcerned.
Morgan was concerned though. “Look guys, he was acting kind of weird when I was with him earlier.”
“What do you mean he was acting kind of weird” Nick asked, grabbing the ball away from Ethan and
tucking it under his arm.
“ I dunno. Just different. Off. It’s hard to explain. He said he wanted to show me something but then didn’t
at the last second. It was weird.”
Nick had a inquisitive look on his face now. Not a look of genuine concern mind you, but more a piqued
curiosity “Well what was he going to show you?” Nick asked.
“I have no idea” he replied. “I told you, he never showed me. We went up to his room and he got this huge
bag out of his closet and when I went to open it he got all weird and pulled it away from me. He looked out the
window like someone was watching us and then said we should probably go”
“That dudes always been weird though” Ethan said. “I’ve known him for like 5 years and I still don’t feel
like I know anything about him. He’s always hiding out in that creepy house and. he looks like he doesn’t even sleep
half the time.”
Morgan had first hand knowledge of this.. Any time Ted had slept over his house, he’d often wake in the
middle of the night and to find Ted just sitting in bed staring off into space.
“Come on Ethan. The kids not even here to defend himself.” Nick said.
“What? It doesn’t mean I don’t like him. I’m just saying, he’s, I don’t know… different.”
“Maybe we should go see if he’s alright” Morgan said.
He didn’t even know why he said it and kind of regretted it. He wasn’t sure if Ted’s mother was home and
he wasn’t answering the phone when he called so there was no way to be sure. He hadn’t seen Ted’s mom in a
while, which was good he guessed. The last time he had seen her she drove by him as he was walking down the
street. Even then, he felt her gaze.

He wondered if Nick or Ethan had ever even met Ted’s mom. They weren’t as close to him as Morgan was.
If they were hanging out at someone’s house it was usually Nick’s or his own.
Nick basically told the rest of them they were going. He was a good guy, despite his tough looking
appearance and his obvious popularity. He was the still the type of guy that would look out for the little guy,
regardless if you were in his social circles or not. He had just won the all time scoring title for the high school
basketball team the Pine Hollow Hornets, yet his best friend was still Ethan.That should tell you something.
They walked slowly over to Lafayette and climbed up the steep hilled driveway. The Dodge colt was now
gone and Morgan wondered if it was Ted’s mom, aunt or both that were not home. The large front door was open to
the inside leaving the torn screened door open to the elements. Nick knocked on the wooden frame of the screened
door several times.
“Obviously someone’s home, the doors just open.” He said. Morgan wasn’t so sure though. He had known
of several times where neither the aunt or mom had been home and Ted leaving the doors open and unlocked. There
wasn’t going to be much anyone wanted at Ted’s house anyways.
“Hello” Nick announced as he walked inside. Over his better judgment Morgan followed, trailed by Ethan.
He would never have gone into the house alone, not in a million years. His curiosity was getting the better of him
though. HAving Nick there didn’t hurt.
They walked into the living room and saw that the T.V. was on but the sound was off. The coffee table was
littered with half folded clothes, empty bottles and a green ceramic ashtray overflowing with cigarettes.
Ethan picked up one of the bottles and held it in front of him. “What the hell is this?” One side of the rust
colored bottle had large grooves from the head down to the base, which looked like someone or something had
clawed the hell out of it.
“What does that say?” Nick’s eyes squinted in the low light of the room as he struggled to make out the
words on the front of the bottle. “Immolare?” Suddenly the bottle fell from Ethan’s hands onto the floor with a loud
thud. Time seemed to stop, their mouths aghast with horror, looking slowly around wondering if someone had heard.
“What the hell was that?” Nick scolded.
“I…” Ethan paused. “It wasn’t.. I swear, it just fell out of my hands. I didn’t do anything.” Ethan was
clumsy enough but the whole thing just seemed odd.
“No one touches anything else” Nick picked the bottle from floor and placed it back onto the table. “Got
it?”
A faded flowered colored sofa, stained by years of smoke ran the length of the room. Beside the sofa was a reclining
chair which was broken. Morgan tried sitting in the chair once and nearly fell into the floor. The padding underneath
seemed to have worn away completely.
Something was off. No one else had been here but him and where earlier, there was a complete wall
separating one side of the house from another, now there was a convenient little hallway that led into the kitchen at
the far end of the living room. He looked closely at the wall, nothing seemed to be out of place and it was as if there
was never any wall blocking the entry to the kitchen at all. The man made wall in the living room to the front door
was still there, ugly as ever, but he knew that it wasn’t like that earlier.
They walked through the living room through the short hallway with a bathroom to the right and a kitchen
with a small dining room straight ahead. When they got into the kitchen the first thing they noticed was the sink
filled with dishes and the counter filled with half eaten food. The smell was enough to make anyone gag.
“Someone’s cooking something” Ethan said. Leave it to him to be able to smell something in the oven over
the smell in the sink. Morgan opened the oven and saw a large pot roast cooking.
“Helllloooooo” Nick called out again.

They went to the back of the kitchen which led to the back stairwell and headed towards upstairs. When
they got to the top of the stairs, Nick went towards the closed bedroom door to the left just as you got to the top
landing.
“No. That’s his mom's room. Don’t go in there.” Morgan said.
Nick ignored the mom's bedroom and went into Ted’s room. The bed was made and him and Ethan sat on
the flower patterned comforter. Even in the dead of summer, he knew, Ted wouldn’t sleep without a comforter. If he
slept at all.
“Where do you think he’s at?” Ethan asked. “Someone’s gotta be around, I mean they’re cooking dinner for
Christ sakes. Who leaves when you have a nice meal like that cooking?” He licked his lips, breathing in deeply, as if
he was eating it now.
“Maybe something happened. Like they needed to get out in a hurry”. Nick said getting up from the bed.
“I’m gonna go check outside and see if I see anything. Stay here, I’ll be right back.”
With that he was off, down the stairs through the kitchen, through the living room and finally out the front
door.
The two of them sat quietly for a few minutes, neither really sure what to say. Finally Ethan broke the
awkward silence
“Hey where was that bag you were talking about?” Ethan asked. Morgan’s heart dropped a bit. Of course
he was curious what Ted had to show him but he wasn’t there. You don’t just go snooping through your friend stuff
when their not there. He looked at the closet door which was now closed.
“Let’s see what it was.” Ethan said.
Morgan didn’t have much of an ‘off’ switch when it came to things like this. Usually his curiosity got the
best of him. Most times he wouldn’t even have to think about it and just got to the closet rip that bag open and
satiate his craving to know whatever ted hid in there.
“We can’t” he said unconvincingly.
“Why not? Maybe it has something to do with why he isn’t here” The kid had a point. He almost agreed
with him but suddenly all he could think about was the time his mother had him frozen at their doorstep. His heart
quickened and the palms of his hands cold and clammy.
Ethan went to the closet door and open it, causing a cascade of towels, clothes and shoes to spill out.
“Man, what the hell, Ethan. Leave his stuff alone” He barked.
“Alright Morgoh, I’m sorry, chill out it was an accident. Help me put this stuff back in the closet then
before Nick comes back. “
Ethan lazily began throwing the stuff back into the closet. Morgan knew that Ted would realize someone
had been in there. He had the sneakers on top of everything else and Ethan was picking everything up in big piles
and tossing it inside. He pushed Ethan out of the way and said “Let me do this. You don’t think he’s not gonna
notice someone’s been messing in his stuff they way you’re just throwing it in their like it's garbage? He began
taking the stuff Ethan had already thrown into the closet out, placing it in small piles around him. He looked at
Ethan and shook his head. Ethan just smiled and sat back on the bed.