I humbly present the penultimate chapter of my story, Dovecraft High: Home of the Orcas (AND AN UNDEAD AXE MURDERER). The concluding chapter of the story will be posted by the week’s end. It’s already written down in a notebook, so I just need to type it up. Promise. Seriously, like, really promise!
Previously on Dovecraft High: Home of the Orcas (AND AN UNDEAD AXE MURDERER):
After around fifteen minutes of preparation and goodbyes, Matt, Wyatt and I left the brickhouse looking like a merry band of retards. Let me run down what we had all chosen as our defense and weapons:
I had suited up in a pair of smelly old football shoulder pads that had been thrown in a cardboard box in the corner. The box, which must have been brought over from one of the locker rooms in the gym, also happened to have shin and elbow pads which I gratefully put on. I finished off by putting on a football helmet, which had also been in the box, although the face mask had broken off of it.
For my weapon, I took a grill lighter and three cans of stainless steel cleaner. For those who are unaware of their cleaning chemicals, stainless steal cleaner is quite flammable and comes in a spray can. I’m sure you don’t need me to spell out how I was going to use the two together.
A tiny flamethrower. That’s how I was going to use the two together, by the way. I held the lighter in my left hand, one can in the other and had the other two cans stuffed in my back pocket for extra ammo.
Matt took two of the round steel discs that are used on the bottom of scrubbers, strung them together with rope and put them over his body, causing the discs to act like impromptu breast and backplates. It was essentially the world’s most ghetto suit of armor. To protect his face, he wore a face shield that the custodians wore whenever they were forced to weed whack the school. It resembled a clear welding mask. Matt made sure that he wasn’t unarmed and took along a chainsaw that he used whenever he had to take care of the trees on school grounds.
Wyatt took…well, he took his clothes and that was it. He was convinced that we were still creating all of this to trick him and that Sackface was just going to be some huge clay figure like something out of fucking Jason and the Argonauts or something. His weapons of choice were his fists and his Southern accent, I guess.
But our piece de resistance was our gigantic, mobile, molotov cocktail. In the back room in the brickhouse, there was an old TwinTec scrubber. For those who are unfamiliar with what that looks like (you people seriously need to spend more time around custodial tools and supplies, I’m sick of explaining this shit) it’s one of those floor scrubbers that looks like a mini zamboni that you push around. It’s got a huge tank that you put soapy water into and it automatically shoots it down on to the floor as it scrubs. This was the floor scrubber where Matt got his makeshift armor plates from, actually.
Anyway, we took this scrubber and instead of filling the tank up with water, we filled it with gasoline (there was a cabinet full of gasoline in the brickhouse for all the power tools that custodians have to use). We then stuffed a long, thick trail of gasoline drenched rags into the gasoline and pinned them down with the lid so that half the rags were still sticking out and able to be lit at a moment’s notice.
We decided to bring this for a last resort, worst case scenario kind of thing but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see what kind of explosion that motherfucker would produce.
Since Wyatt was the only one with free hands, he was the one tasked with pushing our explosive scrubbing machine (that Matt had nicknamed Katherine 2. He had taken the loss of the original Katherine pretty hard, I guess.) He guided it towards the pitch black gymnasium, heading for the wheelchair ramp that would gain him access with the scrubber.
Matt and I inched forward towards the stairs, Matt with a twitching, nervous hand on his chainsaw and me with snapping my head around like an owl, portable flamethrower at the ready.
“I’m honest, boys, I’m excited as hell to see what you got cooked up in here,” Wyatt said as he trudged up the ramp, “with all them blood special effects you guys got going on, I’ve got a mighty fine feeling that this ‘monster’ will look kinda real!”
“I can burn him now and we can say it was an accident,” I whispered to Matt.
Matt gave a nervous chuckle. “I don’t feel like filing the paperwork for that kind of incident report.”
Matt and I made it up the stairs just as Wyatt arrived with Katherine 2. I went up to the glass doors that led to the gym to look inside.
The front doors led to the main lobby, which then led to the gymnasium proper. It was dark as shit, and I could only make out faint outlines of things inside the building. Luckily, none of the shadowy outlines looked like it was eight feet tall and carrying a large, murdery looking axe.
“See anything?” Matt asked. He leaned over and lifted the face shield so that he could see more clearly.
“Doesn’t seem like anything wants to kill us in there,” I said, “Not yet, at least. Come on, let’s make this quick.”
Matt set down his chainsaw and drew out his keys. He unlocked the door and opened it. Wyatt took the liberty of walking in first with Katherine 2, which was okay by me. His skepticism would probably turn around pretty quickly if Sackface ambushed him with an axe to the brainpan.
“It’s pretty dang dark in here,” Wyatt commented.
Matt and I cautiously followed in. I held my breath, too afraid to make any sound.
“HEY ASSHOLE, WE’RE HERE AND READY FOR YA!” Wyatt yelled at the top of his lungs, followed by a raucous laugh.
Well, so much for that.
“Shut up!” Matt hissed, nudging Wyatt with the chainsaw.
“Well, shucks, I’m just trying to show this Sackface fella that we ain’t afraid of him. Gotta problem with that, boss?”
“Just keep pushing Katherine 2.”
We inched forward, making it to the center of the lobby. I had to squint to see, cursing myself that I wasn’t born with the eyes of a cat.
“This is retarded,” I said, “we need to turn the lights on.”
“I can see just fine,” Matt said as he bumped into Wyatt, dropping the chainsaw in the process.
“Fuck,” he said, picking up the chainsaw, “you’re right. Wyatt, go to the breaker box and turn it on.”
Wyatt walked over to the wall on the left side, making it to a blue breaker box. He stuck a key in the door and opened it up. He flicked a few switches and-
“What the god damned hell?” Wyatt said, frustration apparent in his voice.
He flicked the switches back and forth again. Still nothing. The clicks echoed hollowly throughout the lobby.
“Do we need to turn on a main generator or something?” I asked.
“No, the lights come on in the day just fine. There’d be no reason the maintenance people would turn off the generator at the end of their shift.”
We stood there as Wyatt continued to flick the switches fruitlessly, the only light coming from the pale moon as it peeked through the windows. I could just imagine the moon looking down on us and thinking, “Hahaha, what a bunch of dumbasses, they’re gonna get killed so fucking bad.”
“There may be a flashlight or two in the gym teacher’s office,” Matt said, pointing to the office door that was just a few feet away from the breaker box.
“For what?” I asked, “Do they play flashlight tag in gym now?”
“Uhhh, no. Sometimes the gym teacher just needs a flashlight…for things, I guess.”
“You have no idea whether or not there’s a flashlight in there, do you.”
“No. Not at all. Just figured I’d be optimistic. Maybe you could try the same?”
I nodded. I was just glad they weren’t playing flashlight tag in gym now. I would have been very pissed if I flashlight tag had become part of the curriculum after I graduated.
“Couldn’t hurt to check,” I said, leaving out the part that if Sackface caught up to us that it would actually, probably, very much hurt.
We squinted our way to the office door and opened it. Matt clicked the light switch, probably out of habit. Nothing happened, of course.
We went into the office, which was even darker than the lobby since there was no moonlight to help us out. I put the grill lighter in my back pocket, took out my flip phone and opened it to try and produce some light. It was a measly amount of light, but whatever, I tried.
I shined my phone around the tightly cramped office. It passed by a desk, a computer, a printer, a bag of balls (heh), a barrel full of hockey sticks, a severed leg, a shelf with rulebooks, a-
“Wait, what the fuck!” I said, shining my light back to the severed leg.
There it was, just chilling on the floor. A severed leg in a pool of blood, sitting in the middle of the office. I brought my phone closer to it, to examine the grisly details.
It was milky white and hairy, so it had to be a dude’s leg. The foot had a Converse sneaker attached to it, which is a shame because that’s such a waste of a perfectly good Converse shoe.
“Any idea where this came from?” Matt asked.
“Oh, of course,” I said dryly, “I can tell you precisely whose leg this is and how it ended up on the floor of this office. It’s one of my talents.”
“Sorry, sorry. Jeez.”
“No, I’m sorry,” I said, genuinely, “it’s just not everyday I see a severed leg. Can be a bit unnerving. Seems to be the theme of tonight, actually.”
“It’s so real looking!” Wyatt said, happily, “I’m proud y’all! Now just tell them hidden camera crews to come on out, because it’s best to quit while y’all ahead.”
“Oh, awesome!” I heard Matt exclaim.
He stepped over the leg and over to the shelf with the rulebooks on it. At the end of the shelf sat a bright yellow flashlight. He picked it up and turned it on and-
“Score!” he said, wagging the new found lightsource around.
“Thank God,” I said, “this was probably hell on my battery.” I put my phone away, brought out the grill lighter, and gestured out to the door. “Lead the way.”
Matt just stood there. “Uh, why should I hold the flashlight?”
“Finder’s keepers, man.”
“I don’t want to hold it. You hold it!”
“Me!” I said. I held up the grill lighter and stainless steel cleaner and continued, “I only have two hands! I’m not Bhairava!”
You can Wikipedia that reference, kids.
“That’s a grill lighter,” Matt shot back. “I have a fucking chainsaw!”
“Oh what a bunch of daisy pullers,” Wyatt said, reaching for the flashlight, “leave it to ol’ Wyatt Doone! I’ll find them camera people soon enough!”
Wyatt stormed out of the office, flashlight in hand, leading the way. Matt and I shrugged at each other and followed him back to Katherine 2.
We made it back to our beloved Katherine 2 and Matt said, “Cool, now what?”
“We should go into the actual gym and check that shit out,” I said, “See if we can find any clues, see if anything weird is in there.”
“And how do we know we found what we’re looking for?”
“If I knew what we were looking for, I could answer that. But I have no fucking clue what we are looking for. Listen, I’m going to be honest, we’re probably going to die in there.”
Matt gave a resigned nod of acceptance.
“Welp, what are we waiting for!” Wyatt said, “Let’s head on in!” Wyatt bent down, grabbed Katherine 2 with his free hand, and bulled forward with her. He zigzagged a bit, as controlling the floor scrubber with one hand can be a bit unwieldy, but he quickly disappeared through one of the doorways and into the thick darkness of the gym. Matt and I looked at each other, gave each other nods of encouragement and crept forward with our weapons at the ready.
The gym was absolutely, positively, fucking pitch black dark inside. Dovecraft High apparently wanted to give off the feeling of a casino for gym class, because the gym had no windows. A tiny sliver of moonlight tried to fight its way through the doorway we had just walked through, but it was futile. I could barely see Wyatt and it gave the look that the flashlight was floating in mid air, making a crooked line through the gym as Wyatt trudged forward with Katherine 2. It seemed like he was heading for the center of the gym.
“Wyatt!” I hissed, trying to not be too loud.
“What?” He said, not trying to lower his voice, like, not even a little bit.
“Stop, stop! It’s too dark! We need to take it slow.”
The disembodied, magically floating flashlight stopped and swung its beam over to me. I had to cover my eyes as he managed to shine the light right into them.
“Welp, we’re here!” Wyatt said, still training the light on my eyeballs.
“I don’t think what we’re looking for is in my eye balls, so how about shining that light somewhere else, partner.”
The light slid away from my eyes as Wyatt started to survey the empty gym. It appeared before us like an imposing cavern. As Wyatt gave a panoramic visual tour of the gym with the flashlight. It looked like half the floor was stripped away, revealing the bare concrete underneath. The other half of the floor was the old hardwood floor, yet to be torn off. There wasn’t anything suspicious, no obvious clues as to where to look, no glowing neon sign with a blinking arrow that said, “Right here, guys.”
Wyatt had made a full circuit with the flashlight and shone it back towards us. This time, he was nice enough to shine it in Matt’s eyes, who winced and squinted as the light met him.
“So where is everybody?” Wyatt asked, sincerely, sounding disappointed there was no monster or camera crew or confetti.
I walked over to Wyatt, who stood like a lighthouse in the middle of the gym. When I made it over to him, I stuffed my grill lighter between my belt and my pants and grabbed the flashlight from him.
“We need to do more than to just stand in the middle and shine the light around into people’s eyes. We need to comb this place, really look for clues. Like Sherlock or some shit.”
I could see at the edge of the flashlight’s faint glow Wyatt raise his hands defensively. “Don’t let me stop ya, I am just here for the show.”
I aimed the light towards Matt and-
He wasn’t there. Just an empty space where he once stood.
“Oh, fuck! Matt! Matt!” I tried to yell without yelling to loudly to alert any nearby axe murderers of our presence.
“What?” Matt said, his voice three inches away from my ear.
I jumped and shined the light at the source of the voice.
“When did you get here!” I yelled, wanting to slap him.
“I followed you over here. What, you think I’m just going to stand there like a retard while you walk around with the light?”
I started to fan out from Katherine 2, holding the light above my head and shining it down in front of me like a prison spotlight. I suddenly realized that looking for something is a lot harder when you don’t know what that “something” is. Being a detective is a lot harder than I thought, and I realized how full of shit those CSI shows are.
“Man, those CSI shows are full of shit,” Matt commented.
“Whoa, exactly what I was thinking,” I said, “But, then again, their technology is a little more advanced than a dollar store flashlight found in a gym teacher’s office.”
Wyatt followed behind us, hands in his pockets, like was taking a leisurely walk through Central park. He even started to softly whistle.
We scoured around the outer walls of the gym, making a square. We then worked our way in a little more, making another circuit. We continued this process, shining the flashlight down on the floor, looking for some sort of clue.
After 15 minutes of this dumbfuckery, we had made it back to Katherine 2 the middle where we started. The only good thing that happened is that our eyes had adjusted to the darkness, so we weren’t so reliant on the flashlight.
“Well, it was a good idea,” Matt said, shaking his head.
“No,” I disagreed, “it wasn’t. It was fucking stupid and I don’t know why I expected some sort of god damned clue to jump out at us.”
“Well. I was trying to be nice, but yeah.”
I shook my head, growled in anger and kicked the ground in frustration. My foot just happened to catch the outer lip of where the hardwood section began. The hardwood plated that I kicked jumped out just a bit and shifted in place, revealing a bit of the bare concrete underneath.
But it was just enough for me to see the blood.
“Oh shit, look at this,” I said, pointing the flashlight at the freshly revealed concrete spot. It wasn’t much blood, just a tiny splotch, and it looked long dry.
“Blood?” Matt asked, with a gulp.
“I mean, I’m not a dried blood splotch expert but it certainly looks like it. Here, help me out.”
I set the flashlight down and started to lift the hardwood plate. Matt followed, came down down next to me and helped me lift it up off the floor. We set it to the side and I picked the flashlight back up to examine the concrete section we had unearthed.
The tiny blood splotch led to a thin trail of dried blood that led straight ahead underneath the next hardwood plate. We lifted that one as well, which revealed the blood trail snakeing to the right, directly underneath the adjacent hardwood plate. We uncovered that one and saw the blood trail, no noticeable thicker, weaving back toward the plated ahead of it. Another plate removed, another look at the ghastly blood trail leading straight ahead. It had thickened still, to about the width of my leg. We picked up the next hardwood plate and saw the trail disappear beneath a tattered pile of newspapers, wrinkled and torn with a large message scrawled on top of it, also in blood:
DON’T. TURN BACK. DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID.
“Uhh,” I began, “I’m not one to ignore warnings written in blood, but this just seems like one of those adventurous kind of nights.”
I leaned down and tore the newspaper off the floor, revealing a spider webbed network of cracked concrete. It looked like the concrete had been broken into shards and hastily put back together like a jigsaw puzzle.
I started to pick up one of the shattered concrete pieces when Matt grabbed my arm and stopped me.
“Is this a good idea?” he asked.
“We came this far,” I said, “and do you really think I busted my ass lifting those hardwood tiles to not see what’s underneath this? You think I did that to burn calories? This may hold the key to finding out why Sackface is here and how to get rid of him.”
“This is getting’ good,” Wyatt said sincerely, like an old grandmother suddenly becoming engrossed in her soap opera.
Matt shrugged and released my arm. I picked up a shard of concrete, and another, and the support for the others disappeared, causing the latticed slab of concrete to break apart into the hole that was hiding beneath it.
A cloud of dust rose, which I waved away. I shone the light down into the hole and saw a large black book.
“What the fuck?” I whispered.
“A book?” Matt said incredulously, “all this for a book? You realize there is a Barnes and Noble, like, ten minutes away.”
“I doubt it’s a Dan Brown novel that got misplaced. Who knows what kind of weird book that is.”
As I looked down into the hole, I felt a strange magnetic pull to the book, as if it had its own orbit that I longed to be apart of. I shivered as the urged quickly passed and I took a slight step back, afraid to even touch the thing. It gave me the creeps.
I still kept the light trained on it, however, as we stood in awkward silence, each person waiting for the other to make a move.
“So. You going to grab it,” Matt said, flatly.
“Me?” I spat back, “I’m holding the light!”
“Well, we can switch.”
“I’m not touching it.”
“You’re the one who’s interested in it! Now you’re just chickening out!”
“Oh, you both are more yellow than a canary dressed in a banana peel,” Wyatt said, “let ol’ Wyatt Doone handle it again.”
Wyatt pushed through us and grabbed the book from the hole.
That’s when there was a huge crash at the gym doors and a great, bellowing moan that may or may not have been from everyone’s favorite undead axe murderer, Sackface.