Gaslight (Part 8)

A flashlight pulled off the mechanic’s belt winked to life, illuminating both of their faces. Patch smirked mischievously. “Seems like your Chief enjoys pullin’ pranks. Ok! What does he normally do? Jump out an’ scream or…” the mechanic left the question open for the girl to fill in whatever Vas might be up to. He wasn’t above some good natured hazing.

“He doesn’t normally do anything on account of he doesn’t pull pranks, on account of he’s not the sort to prank, an’ I don’t think I’d like it so much. And I’d be right, I don’t like it so much.” The teen replied. “CREW CHIEF?”

Steps could be heard in the distance and the sudden scrape of metal on metal.

“Crew Chief??” Patch called out in the direction of the noise, his voice cracking. “C...c’mon...you’re scaring the kid!” There was no conviction in his tone. The old man tried his best to not appear spooked, but it wasn’t working.

Serena’s eyes narrowed into the darkness, straining to see. “Hello?” She tried. “If you think you’re gonna rob us, my Crew Chief’ll bite your throat out!” She warned.

“If that ain’t the Crew Chief,” Patch said to Serena in a hushed voice, “they might’ve already got ‘im!”
“They hurt the Crew Chief an’ I’ll bite their throat’s out,” she warned back in the same hushed tone. “Then I gotta find a tree.”

The sound of footstep and scraping metal stopped for a moment. Then continued as if changing directions.

“Oh, my friends, don't you know, how a long time ago ... there were two little children, whose names I don't know?” Said a hoarse and raspy voice, coughing.

Patch strained to make out the voice. It could be Vas, but he wasn’t quite sure. “Is that him?” he whispered nervously to the girl.

Serena’s eyes stayed narrowed. “Yes but no,” She said cryptically. “Yes it’s his voice only no on account of he doesn’t talk like that.”

“Terrific.” Patch whispered back. “Then I’m relieved but not.” he said, dripping with fear-laced sarcasm.

“And they sobbed, and they sighed, And they bitterly cried … ‘til at last they grew weary … And lay down and died.” The voice along with the footsteps and scraping metal stopped suddenly.

“Oh, babes in the woods, Poor babes in the woods, How sad is the story Of the babes in the woods.” The voice croaked and cracked, sounding as if he was just about to turn the corner.

“I don’t like this,” Serena said to herself out loud. “Come on, Mr. Kowalski, we have to find the crew chief, the real crew chief.” She tugged on his shirt sleeve.

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