Jake struggled against the hands that held him tightly.
“Shut up!” Hissed Jerry. “You’re going to get us caught and I’m not going to play hero again.” He looked to the entrance, wiping sweat from his forehead.
“Who do you think he is?” Austin wiped shaking hands down his jeans.
“I don’t know and I don’t care. I just want out of here.” Jerry’s eyes widened as the entrance to the funhouse appeared to suddenly be covered in a blanket of gloom and despair. Jerry pushed the boys further into the funhouse. “G-Go!”
The boys crawled along the dirty floor as metal scraped against the floor breaking the dusty silence.
“You boys ain’t supposed to be here.” A low voice drawled. “Tis tres-a-passin. Now I’m going ta have ta teach yousa lesson.”
Jake shivered, slinking away from the sound. Austin yanked on his hoodie, dragging him along to keep up with Jerry. Dust swirled around them. The broken mirrors sent odd distracting shadows as they crawled along searching for a way out. Footsteps creaked somewhere to their left. The boys froze holding their breath in the deafening silence. Austin jiggled the floorboards looking for a loose board. Sweat streaked their faces and their breathing shallow as they crept along.
The air became stuffier the further they went. Jerry’s body jolted as he kicked a piece of glass. He stuffed a fist in his mouth to keep from swearing aloud. The footsteps halted and the boys dared not move. The silence stretched on. Exhausted arms and legs twitched as the silent minutes dragged. After several minutes, Austin dared to move forward feeling the boards again.
Suddenly mirrors to their left came down with a tinkling crash sending clouds of dust into the air. The boys coughed and choked.
“To hell with this.” Jerry pushed himself onto his feet, running blindly into the darkness. Austin and Jake weren’t far behind. Austin veered to the right. They lost sight of him until he yelled out in surprise. Jerry and Jake paused, groping around unsure of what was going on.
“Guys! I found a way out!” Jerry and Jake followed Austin’s voice until they tripped over his crouched body.
“What the heck man?” Jerry grunted pushing Jake off his outstretched legs.
“Shut up! There’s a loose board that I tripped over. You can feel cool air from the opening. Hurry up and help me move the boards around it so we can squeeze out. Jerry get that side, I’ll get this side. Jake look out for that creepy guy.”
Austin and Jerry pried at the boards. Jake peered into the darkness straining every part of his body to search for the man who chased them but the only sounds in the funhouse were from the creaking and breaking wood.
Jake hugged himself. “Hurry up guys.”
“Almost done.” Austin coughed.
“There!” Jerry yanked the final piece away. “Let’s get out of here.”
Jerry wiggled into the open space with Austin following in his wake.
“He’s probably gone by now Jake. I think he was only trying to scare us off.” Jake lowered himself into the hole after Austin.
“I hope so.” He sighed in relief when his feet touched the grassy dirt below. He glanced back to see a face with a ventilation mask break out from the darkness.
“Found you.” The man growled snatching Jake by the arm and jerking him back up.
Jake shouted out. Austin and Jerry rushed forward, wrapping their hands around each leg pulling back with all their might. Their hold on Jake slipped as their sneakers skidded in the loose dirt.
“Don’t let go!” Jake pleaded as more of him disappeared into the fun house.
Jerry gritted his teeth. “We’re going to get dragged in with him if we keep holding on. We can’t do this on our own we need to go get help!”
Austin’s eyes widened. “We can’t leave him! We won’t get back here in time!”
Jake cried. “Please guys! Don’t leave me!”
Jerry’s face hardened. “I’m not being taken by some psycho.”
Jake sobbed as he begged “Don’t let go! Please help me! I don’t want to die here!”
Austin shut his eyes, willing himself to hold on. “I won’t let go, Jake!”
Jerry’s hold slackened. “I’m sorry. I can’t.” Jerry let go and the momentum made Austin lose his grip and fall to the ground slamming his head. He lost his grip on Jake’s other leg.
“You coward!” Jake screamed as his whole body disappeared into the hole.
Austin rolled over onto his stomach. “How could you do that? We had him!”
Jerry gaped at the hole. Jake continued to scream “you coward!” until a loud thud silenced him. Jerry crawled out from under the rickety building, dusting himself off. He shot Austin a dark look.
“I look out for myself. I’m not getting killed for him. I’m getting out of here.”
“But what about Jake?!”
“Not my problem!” Jerry’s face flushed red. “Jake was slow and weak! I’m not! I’m leaving with or without you but I’m not staying and getting killed by that psycho too.”
Jerry bolted back to the fence. Austin crawled out and ran after him. He glanced back one last time, a rock forming at the pit of his stomach, before he pumped his legs harder, running all the way home.
TO BE CONTINUED