Glyph awoke groggily. His eyes came into focus on some trees and bushes outside the cracked front windshield of the car. He shook his head for a moment trying to get a grasp on where he was, when his eyes ran across the driver’s license on the seat next to him. He picked it up and read over it one more time, as memories of his last hour began to flood back into his mind. ‘I won’t forget.’ He thought grimly and then shoved it in his pocket.
Glyph grabbed his bag and exited the vehicle. He checked the damage to the car, not knowing why; it wasn’t as though he could drive it anywhere. Reaching into the bag, he considered pulling out the gun. The memory of the girl he had carjacked with it sprang to mind, and he decided against it. Instead, Glyph pulled out his knife and belted it on.
He glanced around again, and could hear the cars on the highway nearby. ‘Time to find a better place to hide than this.’ he thought. It was only a matter of time before some highway maintenance guy found the car, and it probably wouldn’t look to good if he were camped out next to it.
Glyph set off through the trees until he came upon the eastbound section of the highway. Hiding in the brush of the median, he waited until the road was clear, then sprinted across it into the trees on the other side.
He wandered through the dense brush for a while until he came upon a chain link fence. There was a small playground on the other side, and beyond that was a road with some houses. Glyph climbed the fence hoping to make better time, but as he moved past a row of swings he noticed a group of kids standing beside the road a few hundred feet away. They were probably waiting for their school bus, but not wanting to attract attention he quickly glanced about for a different way to go. There were some more trees across a large mowed field to his left, so when he was satisfied that no one else was around, he started onto the field trying to act as though he belonged there.
About half way across he heard some of the kids yelling “Hey! Where you going?”
Glyph thought they were talking to him, but he quickly realized they were yelling at a couple of their friends, who were sprinting away from the bus stop in his direction. As the two kids raced onto the grass field, one with a bat, Glyph knew they were coming after him.
‘Dammit!’ Glyph thought as he looped his head through the duffle bag strap and ran for the trees. He did not want to have to beat the crap out of a couple of teenagers, and if he had to, he certainly didn’t want anyone around to see it.
He reached the tree line almost out of breath, with the punks closing in fast. After a few feet in, the ground started to angle downward rather sharply. He saw a small dirt path leading down the slope off to his right and followed it to the bottom of the hill. There, in a wide dirt clearing, was a kind of crude lean-to made of old logs and branches, like some kid had made a fort for a hangout. The path continued on out the other side of the clearing, but Glyph was out of breath, and knew he would have to make a stand.
As he cast the duffle bag off to one side, Glyph turned and saw the two teenagers as they reached the bottom of the hill. The one with the bat slowed to a stop, but the other one, which Glyph now recognized as a girl, kept charging. Half crouching in anticipation of the girl’s lunge, Glyph sidestepped at the last instant, pushing the kid away from him in mid-air. He looked back towards the boy who had stopped, just in time to dodge the bat swinging at his head. Leaping forward, Glyph brought his fist up into the boy’s chin, knocking him off-balance before he could swing again. Stumbling, the boy fell backwards to the ground, and Glyph immediately stomped the arm holding the bat; the sound of snapping bones filled the air. As the bat rolled out of his attacker’s hand, Glyph kicked it away.
The girl had recovered from her dive and jumped onto Glyph’s back. She began to pummel the side of his head with her fist. Glyph howled and, reaching back, grabbed the girl by her hair; then bent forward, flipping her over his head onto her partner who was starting to stand.
“Fuck!” Glyph screamed, touching the knot swelling up on his temple. Feeling slightly dazed, he took a few steps back and the two teens scrambled to their feet. They were just like the others, his landlord, the homeless bum, and the guy who tried to run his car off the freeway. There was no color to their eyes, just black, all black. The pair advanced on him. The boy’s arm dangled lifelessly though he showed no signs of pain. Then the boy took a swing with his good arm. Glyph grabbed the arm in flight and pulled it down and swung it up in an arc, forcing the boy to turn away from him. Glyph kept raising the arm behind the boy’s back until he heard the bones in his shoulder snap, then shoved him forward face-first to the ground.
By this time the girl had retrieved the bat, and before Glyph could react, he took a blow square across his back. Screaming loudly, Glyph dropped to one knee and rolled away, dodging the second swing.
“Fuck this!” Glyph screamed as he pulled his knife. Barely dodging the next swing, Glyph lunged forward and stuck the girl in the ribs, and again in her gut, using his weight to throw the girl backwards to the ground. Blood began to gush from the wounds, and the bubbly hiss noise told Glyph he had punctured a lung. The girl lay on her back, gasping for air. Glyph sheathed the knife and pulled the bat from her hand. “I’ve had enough of this shit!” He yelled. Stepping down hard on the girl’s upturned forehead to keep her head in place, Glyph swung the bat like a croquet mallet into the side of her face, crushing her skull. Bits of bone, blood, and brain matter sprayed out across the hard dirt, as he followed through with his swing.
He turned to see the boy struggling to pull himself up onto his knees, his arms hanging useless at his sides. “Leave me alone!” Glyph shouted at him.
The boy looked up at Glyph, and in a loud voice that was not his own said “I will find you Great One, and I will kill you!”
The hairs on the back of Glyph’s neck stood on end, and a chill went down his aching spine. “Why are you doing this?” Glyph screamed back, but the possessed boy just cackled in laughter. Disgusted, Glyph swung the bat into his head like a tee-ball, and the boy hit the dirt; either unconscious or dead.
Flinging the bat off into the woods, he checked his watch. ‘Twenty-nine minutes. Son of a bitch.’ Glyph thought, shaking his head and staring at the lifeless bloody bodies on the ground before him. He turned, unable to stomach the horrific scene any longer, scooped up his bag and ran down the path further into the woods. After several minutes of running, he slowed down to catch his breath. Up ahead he could see the path led to the side of a convenience store along a rural road. ‘I either have to make some distance or find a really good place to hide.’ he thought, especially considering the two bodies he left back there; the cops were sure to be here soon.
Glyph took note of the blood splatter that covered the bottom half of his shirt. ‘I can’t be seen like this.’ He decided, and took the duffle bag from his shoulder. Glyph changed into a clean shirt from his bag and took a moment to jam the blood-covered one into the hollow of a rotting log. His hands began to shake as he picked the bag back up from the ground. The memory of what he had just done to that boy and girl flashed in his mind again. “Fuck that.” Glyph said aloud, and pulled the pistol out of the bag, checked to make sure it was still loaded and tucked it back into the waist of his jeans.
He let the tail of his shirt hang out of his jeans to conceal the knife and gun, and started off toward the convenience store. Walking out onto the road, he tried to flag down the first person to drive by. ‘Sure hope this guy stops.’ he thought, waving his arms frantically now. The pickup truck coming toward him slowed to a stop and the driver rolled down his passenger side window.
“You need some help?” the driver asked Glyph.
Looking directly past the elderly man driving, Glyph watched as a guy came bolting out of a hardware store across the street, “Something like that. How about a lift?” Glyph replied, his eye on the man now running through the parking lot towards them.
The driver scratched his beard thoughtfully, “Sure. Hop on in.”
Glyph hurriedly entered the passenger side, and the old man started to drive down the road, seemingly oblivious to the insane wild man who just missed grabbing the truck’s rear bumper, and was now chasing after them. Glyph realized how lucky he had been that the man driving the truck didn’t try to run him over. With a start, Glyph checked the driver’s eyes once again. So far he was looking and acting normally.
“You lost or something?” the driver said. Glyph checked the side mirror, making sure they were leaving his pursuer behind.
“Uh, yeah.” Glyph said trying to think of what to do next. ‘I can’t just off this guy’ he thought, ‘but if I don’t, he might tell the cops where he took me, not to mention I don’t have a lot of time here.’ Glyph slid his right hand slowly around to his back and began to grasp the grip of the pistol. ‘This is wrong.’ He thought.
“Where you headed?” the man asked, obviously trying to fill the silence. Glyph began to sweat; he wasn’t really sure where he was. As he was trying to think of what to say, they passed a road sign.
“Hodgeton” Glyph replied reading the sign. ‘Eleven miles’. He began to slide the gun out of his pants.
“That’s right on my way.” The older man said, and smiled in amusement. “I’m just passing through myself, hope to be in Massachusetts before night fall.”
Glyph stopped, and pushed the gun back down into his pants. ‘It’s doubtful this guy is going to hear about anything.’ He thought, and checked his watch. ‘Forty minutes.’
“You look familiar.” Glyph commented as they wound their way up into the mountains. There was something about the way the old man looked at him.
“I get that all the time, I just have one of those faces.” The driver replied. Glyph nodded and turned to stare out the window. The old man asked a few more innocuous questions, followed by a weather report he had heard on the radio not too long ago. Glyph answered politely but didn’t dare volunteer any other information about himself. After about ten minutes, they came upon the small town of Hodgeton, NJ.
“Some place you need me to drop you off at?” The driver asked, as Glyph constantly scanned for an inconspicuous place to be let out.
“Yeah, I got family up here, but it’s been awhile.” Glyph lied, as they made their way through the town, which was all of a half-mile long and looked to be at least a hundred years old. Then he spotted an abandoned barn up the road a ways in an overgrown field. “There it is. Up ahead, there on the right.” The old man slowed to a stop at the next driveway, and dropped him off. “Well, thank you so much, I really appreciate it.” Glyph said.
The old man looked slightly puzzled. “No problem. Good luck to you.” He looked as if he were going to say something else, but then nodded at Glyph and pulled away. Glyph started walking down the driveway until the pickup was out of sight, then he quickly doubled back towards the barn. Jumping a dilapidated fence, he sprinted to the overgrown and decrepit barn. Glyph took one last look around to be certain he wasn’t followed, then quickly ducked inside.
The roof was partially collapsed, and vines had long ago ripped holes in two of the walls. He sat down on the ground beside what used to be a horse stall and checked his watch. ‘Fifty-six minutes.’ He visually scanned his surroundings, and brushed away a spider crawling on his leg. Reaching into his bag he pulled out his smokes and lit one up.
Glyph just stared at the old wall in front of him blankly, acutely feeling the pain in his back and head. He didn’t know what to think anymore. He probably killed both those kids. At least not everyone was out to get him. He shuddered to think what may have happened if all those kids had decided to come after him. Then he thought about the boy who called him the Great One, and got chilled once more.
‘This is no joke, I’m either completely psychotic, or this is really happening to me.’ He thought. He put out his smoke and checked his watch. “I think it’s time for me and Ishea to have a long talk.” He said, and the air around him suddenly got sucked away and everything went dark once again.