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CHAPTER 5 – Hero Moments

Buck doesn’t trust me. He doesn’t trust me to pay bills on time, he doesn’t trust me with the laundry, the man doesn’t trust me with scissors unless I’m under constant supervision. He certainly doesn’t trust me to depict the series of events that happen to him after we were separated with any kind of sincere accuracy.
When I told Buck that I was going to tell people our story he without hesitation hired a lawyer and ghost writer who have so kindly delivered the following to me to deliver to you, dear reader. I can’t verify if any of this is true because I wasn’t there. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Buck took cover between two nearby houses. One was definitely abandoned; the other was only probably abandoned. This neighborhood wouldn’t be featured on any “top ten up and coming…” lists in the near future. While dead plants, wide open doors, and dried human feces scattered about the property might seem like evidence of an unoccupied residence, those were in fact all rather speculative clues in comparison to boarded up windows, eviction notices, and police tape. Those were entirely more definitive around this particular part of town.

He couldn’t believe how short of breath he was from that small sprint. Buck knew he wasn’t the zenith of personal fitness but he didn’t get winded from eating a sandwich too fast, something he’d seen happen to Dave a couple of days prior.

He listened to the pounding in his chest and thought about how fast his heart was beating when he’d walked out of his bedroom with the shotgun. Buck wasn’t a coward in any regard, but he’d never been the action hero type.

There was a monster. It was killing someone in your kitchen he told himself what the fuck else were you going to do? He really liked the idea of doing the kind of badass thing you’d see Bruce Willis or Steven Segal doing.

Of course Buck then remembered how he’d slipped in Bryce’s blood before he could throw out a slick one-liner and landed flat on his back, shooting out the ceiling above and antiquing himself with the debris that was most likely the culprit for his labored breathing.

He threw himself up against the plastic siding of the house he’d decided looked less likely to be covered in hobo piss and tried to catch his breath.He choked and coughed as he inhaled.

Buck tried to shake the dust from his facial hair. A long well kept beard that collected almost as many compliments as it did things like spaghetti sauce or soups. Dave had once speculated he might be collecting secrets in there but Buck had dismissed this idea as he did with most of Dave’s nonsense ramblings.

Go on dick beast. Shoot my truck again. Buck thought as he waited, listening for another gunshot. He knew the general direction of the shooter from which windows had been shattered, he just needed one more shot to confirm and he’d know which way to go. He felt confident that Dave was running away from the gunman. Buck had to defend his truck.

He was protective of his truck. It was the only vehicle buck had ever owned and if it was going to be damaged, he was going to be the one to damage it, not some local tweaker.

He was the only person that knew how to get the lights to work, he knew the cause of every dent, chip, and scratch. In some respect, Buck felt about that car the same way that Dave felt about his favorite pair of boots.

From not too far away, Buck suddenly heard the sound of tires screeching and a loud bang.

That wasn’t a gun shot but… Bucks legs started moving before he could even finish the thought. He was dashing between houses in the direction of the commotion.

As Buck hopped over a fence into a back yard, he almost lost his balance. Correcting with a clumsy stumble that looked more like falling that running.

Jesus. How much did I have to drink at HT? He wondered as he took a hard right between the next two houses. The sound of tires screeching cut through the night again, much closer this time. Buck sprinted for the street he could see lit up by a porch light when BAM!

What the fuck!?

Another shot was let off. The gunman was right around the corner from where Buck skidded to a halt.

He stood frozen for a moment as he heard the Ping…Ping… of a shell casing bounce on concrete. The sound of The Dead Kennedy’s began to rise up from the quiet of late night downtown Las Vegas. The bullet had hit something electrical and somehow turned the radio on. The volume slowly crept from a dull hum until it was at full blast.

“RIDE! RIDE! HOW WE RIDE!“ Jello Biafra howled

Not the fucking radio! Man, fuck this…

Buck threw his hands up and leapt around the corner to face his trucks attacker.

“C’MON! STOP SHOOTING AT MY FUCKING TRUCK!” The Dead Kennedy’s played on as Buck squinted, temporarily blinded by the bare bulb porch light. He could just make out the shape of a person, the silhouette. No actual features.

That shape turned its attention to Buck who stood frozen with his hands in front of his face.

“What did you say to me?” Spoke a calm, but very deliberate voice.

The words weren’t particularly loud but they weren’t marred in the punk rock racket coming from the truck in the middle of the street. They made their way to Buck so clearly that it was slightly unsettling. He didn’t immediately know how to respond.

The shape stepped forward eclipsing the porch light and letting Buck’s eyes relax a little. Bit by bit the features of the man began to reveal themselves.

He stood few inches over 6ft, the closer he got the more he towered over Buck’s 5’6-and-a-bit frame. He was Caucasian. Outside of his height he wasn’t a particularly large man. The most of him was made up of long gangly extremities that he covered in this instance with nothing but a loose fitting pair of jeans and a large butchers apron that, as Buck’s focus grew clearer, he could see was covered in dark red smears not unlike the dark red smears covering a lot of what he himself was wearing.

“I wasn’t shooting at your truck.” The voice stated in the same direct and emotionless tone.

A large dark black mustache grew over the man’s upper lip while the rest of his face seemed to be deliberately maintained stubble. His head was completely shaved.

Buck noticed the man clutched a knife in his left hand. It looked like a machete but Buck didn’t know a lot about knives. He didn’t know if there was something specific about the knife that made it a machete or if this one was just a regular big knife?

In the man’s other hand was the pistol. The weapon used to shoot up his beloved truck, but unlike the machete, the gun was pointed right at his heart.

He started to back away. The man raised the gun, now aiming at Bucks head.

“DON’T FUCKING MO…MmmmmMO…Mm. DON’T Mmmmmmm…” As the gunman raised his voice to Buck he found himself locked in a severe stutter “…MMMmmmm” His face tensed hip and his lips puckered.

“RIDE! OOOHOH! RIDE!” Jello weighed in from the truck.
Buck, suddenly a little puzzled, slowly began to lower his hands and make an assessment of the situation he was now in.

The man with the gun had seemed a whole lot more intimidating before Buck realized he had speech impediment. His mind was already formulating hilarious ways he could tell Dave about “the clown ass stuttering butcher”. He didn’t feel like he was in any real danger any longer and did what he felt in his heart of hearts was the best thing he could do to speed this whole thing along.

“Move?” Buck said mostly plainly, but with a hint of annoyed condescension “Don’t move. Is what you’re trying to say?”

“DON’T DO THAT!” The Man barked quickly back at Buck as he shook the gun. Knife still loose at his side.

“Look I get it” Buck replied, “It’s a pride thing? Right? It’s the whole midgets and barstools thing. I know you would’ve gotten there eventually. I’m just kind of in a hurry here so I gave you a boost up. Is that so wrong of me” Buck shrugged his shoulders in faux apology.

The mustached mans nostrils flared as he exhaled in cartoonish fashion before taking another deep breath and snorting like a bull a second time.

“I was not shooting at your truck” The man spoke with intentional syllable groupings in an attempt to emphasize how serious he was, but Buck didn’t care.

“You shot it 3 times asshole!” Buck took a step forward closing a little distance between him and the gun and the man matched the distance. The barrel of the gun was so close to Bucks forehead he could feel the heat still lingering in the metal from the last shot fired.

Buck tried to swallow his heart down out of his throat and started to consider that he might have been a little brazen previously.

Just because he can’t finish sentences doesn’t mean he wont blow your brains out chimed in bucks internal monologue that was somehow now speaking in Dave’s voice.

The Man tapped the gun against Bucks head

“I wasn’t shooting at your truck…” His voice was low and shaky now. His demeanor suggested his was holding back a tidal wave of rage. Buck could tell he had to focus on every single word to not stutter out of control again “…I was shooting at the gu gu guy that k k killed my pet.”

The man stuttered over a deep inhale through his nose as he gestured backwards with the machete at something on the ground.

Buck peered past him, and the gun, and his huge knife. There was a shape on the ground. But it didn’t look like an animal, not a dog or a cat, or anything that would immediately register as a pet in a normal person’s mind. And that’s because Buck wasn’t dealing with a normal person here.

It all clicked when he saw it…

Oh god…

Police Truck was entering its 3rd play through as Bucks eyes rested upon a black leather gimp mask (a la pulp fiction) that was still filled with a head but no longer attached to a body. The rest of the shape made horrible, terrifying sense now. It’s deflated sections, the dark liquid drying on the concrete around what used to be a PVC body suit. He knew exactly what had happened here, what that shredded mess on the ground used to be. It was the same thing that had happened to Bryce.

He now knew where the blob thing had gone and what it had turned into after it smashed through his and Dave’s kitchen window, its why he thought he saw Bryce on the way home.

His stomach sank.

I did this. He thought as he lowered his eyes to the ground and the feet of the crazed man in front of him. The man still pointing a gun to his head.

Now, Buck had no clue as to the whether or not the relationship between the gimp and his assailant was entirely consensual, but by the looks of things he decided that it was a fair assumption that The Gimp was being held against his or her will and that this man was less upset that The Gimp was dead, and more upset that he hadn’t been to one to do it.

Buck searched through the tidal wave of guilt he was experiencing over being the central cause of two deaths that day and found the desire to try and make good, to somewhat balance the karma of the past 24 hours.

Buck had missed out on one hero moment and didn’t want to let another one slip past him.

Bryce is dead, he thought The Gimp’s dead. Nothing can change that. Only thing left to do is make sure this stuttering creep doesn’t hurt anyone else.

Buck clenched both his fists and readied himself to beat the living hell out of his captor, but just as he was about to raise his eyes and lunge, he saw a flash of white and a sharp pain shot through his right temple. The Butcher had cracked him square with the butt of the machete.

He hit the ground and the world swam above him, it was like he was underneath everything. His arms and legs suddenly felt like they were attached to lead weights. All the sounds were overlapping. As The Dead Kennedy’s echoed in the mix it almost sounded like Jello Biafra was talking to him.

“Looks like you’ll have to do” Said Jello in his unmistakable tone of voice.

Buck felt the cold concrete on his bare back as his shirt slid up. He was being dragged.

No no no no no… He tried to struggle, but his head was still realigning from the hit it’d just taken.

“It t t t t t took weeks to prep the la la la la laerrrMmmmmm last one” Jello struggled through a reverberating stammer.

No no no…he thought before managing to mumble Jello Biafra doesn’t have a stutter”.

Things were starting to get clearer for Buck; he was retaining his motor skills, his vision less blurred. He could see that the man who definitely wasn’t the singer of The Dead Kennedy’s had holstered his gun but still kept hold of the machete. His gun hand now held bucks ankle as he heaved him down the path and towards the garage.

While he didn’t look too muscular, the man possessed an absurd amount of strength to be able to move Buck so easily.

Buck reached up and tried to pry loose the fingers that wrapped around his ankle but The Butcher swatted back with the machete narrowly missing Buck by an inch or so. He clumsily tried a second time and caught the sharp side of the blade to his left pinky finger, the blade slicing through the skin and bone with little resistance.

His severed finger spun through the air in what might as well have been slow motion. It flipped end over end before landing somewhere on the ground near Bucks head.

A sick smile appeared on the mustached man’s face, he liked hurting people.

Buck scrunched his eyes closed and brought the injured hand up to his chest crying out in pain. He vocally explored a variety ‘Fuck’ variations before bringing his free leg back as far as he could and kicking forward with the explosive force of…of a man who’d just had his finger cut off by a lunatic S&M butcher with a stutter.

The kick connected square in the man’s crotch causing him to emit a high pitch squeal that rivaled the trucks stereo that was still playing the same Dead Kennedy’s song.

The mustached man let go of Bucks leg and crumpled up on the ground sobbing in pain.

“My balls…my b b b b b balls…how could you?” tears were clearly welling up in his eyes and it was unclear whether or not this particular stutter was legitimate or a product of the violence that had just been inflicted on his genitals.

Buck and Dave had very few rules in their friendship, but one of them was a very stern but fair rule that friends don’t hit friends in the dick. It was one of the worst pains a man could feel and as much as they both gleaned sick amusement in regularly tormenting each other they both understood that there had to be a line, and that line drawn was a mans dick and balls. Buck felt the slightest twinge of guilt as he scrambled to his feet. Standing over the man, he swung his leg back and kicked the man again in the crotch.

“WE’RE NOT FUCKING FRIENDS!” He screamed, punctuating the kick before turning around to try to find his missing finger.

Buck mumbled obscenities to himself while he scanned the surrounding area. Cursing the man who unbeknownst to him was slowly pulling himself to his knees.

While Buck’s crotch shot had managed to knock the machete out of his hands, the pistol he’d been holding Buck hostage with was still tucked neatly away in his waistband, or it had been. Now it was shakily being aimed at Bucks back.

The Kicks had left him quite shaky. His shooting arm swayed back and fourth as he squinted through crocodile tears clouding his vision.

Buck knelt to get a closer look at the area he thought his finger had fallen, pulling out some bar napkins he’d stashed in his pocket and pressing them on the wound. He winced in pain and began to process the fact that finding his finger might prove to be a lost cause.

“You know, fuck you dude…” He began to berate the man but as he turned to hurl a slew of clever insults at his aggressor it became clear that he wasn’t out of the woods yet.

For the butcher, the time for taking another hostage was over and now was the time for killing. A foul grin oozed across his face as he pointed the gun at Buck and pulled the trigger.

Click.

Then silence.

The gun was empty, and the sick expression left the man’s face indefinitely.

It was the straw that broke the camels back for Buck. The search for his finger was forgotten. Right now he was going to make sure this guy wasn’t getting up for a 3rd round.

Buck cocked back the hand that still had all its digits and leveled The Butcher with a huge downward punch that broke the skin on several of his knuckles.

Chances that the man would be getting up from a hit like that were slim-to-none but to be sure Buck punched him a second time while he was down. Then again a third time to be absolutely certain.

He looked down at the white napkins that wrapped the nub where his finger used to be, they were completely red with blood now and his whole hand throbbed.

“Shit!” lamented buck, rubbing his eyes as he shook his head.

He scanned the ground again but the finger was nowhere to be seen. Lost in the debris that dressed the front yard. No one shape was easily discernable. one folded dead leaf looked as much like any of the discarded candy bar wrappers. Anything could’ve been his finger.

Buck picked up the gun and tucked it into the back of his jeans before widening the search further out into the yard. The gun was empty but he felt better about it being in his possession than leaving it next to a crazy person who probably had more bullets to load into it.

Even with the porch light Buck was still having trouble. He couldn’t see a thing. Realizing he needed something brighter he remembered the LED flashlight he kept in the glove box of the truck and looked over its direction. It was still very loudly providing a soundtrack and Buck knew that was eventually going to attract some unwanted attention so he made his way over to fetch the light and attempt to quell the racket.

The truck looked terrible and Buck allowed himself a rare moment of honesty about its actual condition before reaching through the broken window and turning the volume knob on the radio to it’s off position, which apparently no longer existed.

“Police Truck” roared on leaving the only course of action to be disconnecting the battery, which was as easy as unhooking a section of precariously placed chain that prevented the hood from flying up and covering the windshield.

“FUCK YOU!” Buck yelled in the direction of his would be captor and threw up his middle finger as he walked around to the hood. He technically didn’t have a middle finger on that hand any more but that didn’t diminish how severely he meant it.

Back up the drive way something was happening. From shadows behind the wet spot on the drive way that surrounded the severed gimp head something was moving. It was dark, but reflective. It had four limbs, but didn’t move like a person. Where you’d usually see strict joints there was a loose fluidity.

Buck peered passed his wounded hand that was still raised in the direction of the house and felt every hair on the back of his neck stand up straight. He knew what he was seeing and he knew what was about to happen. He’d already seen it once that evening and didn’t want to have to see it again. It was the monster that had killed Bryce, but now somehow it looked like the gimp.

It kills you, and then it becomes you he thought suddenly understanding a little more about the creature.

Buck backed up around to the driver’s side door and reached for the keys and made an attempt to turn the engine over. The truck wheezed, but failed to start.

“c’monc’monc’monnnnn just one last time” Buck whispered aloud as he tried again.

The monster hadn’t paid any attention to the sound as it edged closer to the body of the butcher.

The truck roared to life and Buck threw himself into the drivers seat, immediately putting the car into drive and pressing his foot all the way down on the gas. The tires spun as he took off in the direction of the house.

His heart pounded in time with his bleeding hand but he knew he couldn’t worry about a finger; he needed to meet Dave back at the house and get Bryce out of the kitchen.

Buck had a plan. He just needed to get back to the teleporter.

 

 

 

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