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  • Writer's picturemarikenney

Rewrite - Lock-In Massacre '99 Chapter 1

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

-I've been working on this book for the last few years. Still not where I want it to be, but trying to keep going. Here's a re-write of the first chapter. Enjoy!



A THURSDAY NIGHT IN ‘99


“Jesus. Ain’t. Real!”


 Mikey Bosarge’s strained twang tottered through the massive, empty parking lot of Gulf Coast Restoration Church.  Like a wet slap, his words smacked against the thick pines that surrounded the area, and his faded into the heavy vibrations of the cicadas and the mosquitos that buzzed in the night. The teenager stood, slack jawed, neck craned, and eyes focused up, as he tried to take in the vastness of the church in front of him. 


“Jesus, Christ.” He spat. 


He showed no reverence for this so-called holy place. Mikey hated the church. Mikey hated a lot of things. He didn’t know why. He just woke up one morning and felt angry and never let it go. 


He scanned the pristine, red bricks and aborted his eye’s journey on the unnaturally white smile of Pastor Frankie Willis. The Welcome Sign was a new addition to the church. God told Pastor Willis that the church needed it. He believed that the sign would bring many lost souls to his congregation. Pastor Willis, led by the Lord, of course, asked for a few hundred of thousands in donations to have the picture of him installed. Most of the richer congregants scoffed at the idea, but those from the poorer side of town, fell victim to the constant badgering from the pastor, who mentioned every Sunday morning, “Only those who truly Sacrifice for the church can see the face of God. And everyone wants to see the face of God, right?” 


“You. Ain’t. Real!” 


Mikey flipped the bird at the Pastor’s self-important smile. He held his middle finger up with a smug, satisfied look on his round, pudgy face. He hoped the man felt it, but Mikey knew Pastor Willis didn’t feel much of anything, besides the offering plate every Sunday.


Mikey put down his finger and haphazardly whipped the faded, purple JanSport from his back to the black asphalt. The spray paint cans inside clanged in protest. Mikey and his friend, Stevie Dunn, had stolen the cans only a few days before from the local True Value. Pete Ladner, the shop’s owner, had witnessed the boy’s loud and clumsy attempt at shoplifting, but he didn’t stop them. Pete knew Stevie’s dad and was afraid of the man. A lot of people in town were. 


“Where the hell is he?” As if the words summoned him, Stevie’s favorite song, “Nookie” by Limp Bizkit, boomed through the night air as his gigantic F-150 roared up the church drive. The truck transmitted a deafening grind and booming bass that disturbed the quiet night.   


Mikey flinched. Annoyance flashed on his face but soon replaced by fear, as Stevie barrelled the massive machine towards the empty parking spot where Mikey stood. He recoiled and fell hard to the curb, barely missed by the Goodyear tire as Stevie jolted to a stop. 


Mikey jumped to his feet and struggled to wipe the dampness from his khaki shorts. His mom was going to be pissed. 


“You almost hit me!” Mikey yelled over the noise. 


The sounds of the truck stopped, the door opened, and the slender, arrogant teenager fumbled and landed awkwardly to his feet, nearly tripping over his JNCO jeans. He tried to recover by leaning up against the side of the truck, casually. He looked uncomfortable.  


Mikey let out a deep laugh, “You look freakin’ stupid, man.” 


“Fuck you.” Stevie squeaked as he charged Mikey. He held up a hand and pointed square in Mikey’s face, “And I could have hit you if I wanted, bitch.” 


“You’re an asshole.” Mikey sputtered as he swiped Stevie’s hand away from his face. 


Stevie rolled his eyes, “Whatever, man. You got the goods?”  


Mikey reached for the JanSport on his back. 


“Oh shit.”


It wasn’t there. 


Mikey shuffled to the massive grill of the truck and peered under. Safely under the truck laid the purple bag. He reached for it, pulled it out, and opened the bag. He heard and saw no no signs of escaping paint.  Relieved, he held the bag out to Stevie. 


“Here’s the paint, you dumbass.” Mikey answered, exasperation in his voice.


Stevie shrugged his shoulders and grabbed the bag, “But I didn’t. Idiot.”  


Mikey grumbled.


“Don’t need your attitude tonight, Mikey. We’re about to make history.” Stevie stared up at the massive sign of Pastor Willis. 


“You know, my dad says the Pastor spent most of the money on liposuction for his fat-ass wife.” He gurned.


“Not surprised.” Mikey lied. 


Nancy Willis had been the most beautiful woman Mikey had ever laid his eyes on.  He thought she was an angel. Stevie slapped Mikey hard on the shoulder and brought him back to the moment.  Mikey flinched and held his hand up for a return slap, but before he could connect with Stevie’s pompous face, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He put his hand down and saw two figures sauntering towards the two from across the large parking lot. They were far enough away, Mikey couldn’t make out who they might be. He turned to Stevie. 


“Someone’s coming.” Mikey pointed to the pair.


Stevie smirked, but turned around to see what or who Mikey had pointed out. 


“Do we need to get out of here?” Mikey hushed out. 


“Naw.” Stevie waved to the two. 


“Dude, what are you doing?” Mikey grabbed Stevie’s hand and pulled it down. 


Stevie, annoyance painted on his face, forcefully wrenched his arm from Mikey.


“It’s our patsies, you loser. Calm down” He turned back to the figures.


Ever since Mikey and Stevie embarked on their journey of mischief and mayhem in the town, they always knew to recruit a whipping boy. Someone had to be punished for their wrongdoings. The town wanted blood for the crimes, but couldn’t get the blood they wanted, so they took the alternative. Thirty-seven total classmates had served or were serving at the Hynes County Work Prison for Stevie and Mikey’s little “pranks”.  A prison in the middle of nowhere Mississippi, owned by Stevie’s dad.


“Oh. Right.” Mikey huffed out. 


Mikey moved and stood next to Stevie and saw Stevie flash his patented shit-eater grin. That’s what Mikey’s dad called the smile. Mikey didn’t know what “shit-eater” meant, but all he knew was that everytime Stevie used that smile, Mikey wanted to punch him in his self-righteous face. But in all fairness, Mikey wanted to punch a lot of people. 


As the dark couple walked nearer, Mikey recognized one of them. The kid’s slender frame and almost white blonde hair gave him away. 


Mikey kept his eyes on the two as he hissed,“You recruited Mr. Jesus Saves?” 


Stevie shrugged, “Jacob wanted to join. Basically chased me down at the Winn Dixie this morning.” 


“That don’t make a lick of sense.”


Mikey knew Jacob Maloney. He knew Jacob was smart. He also knew that Jacob would

rather rip his eyes out before he even did anything remotely bad. Jacob only wanted to enter heaven.  That’s all Jacob ever talked about in school, besides going to church. A wave of unease washed over him that only grew worse when he spied the small figure who walked next to Jacob. 


Mikey couldn’t tell who it was, because the small kid wore an unnaturally large hoodie that draped over his tiny frame. Only his lower legs could be seen. They were scrawny, bruised and puppet-like, as if someone or something else controlled his body.  The kid’s movements were all wrong. Mikey didn’t like it. He understood that puberty made people awkward, but this was far from awkward. This was unnatural. 


Stevie waved the two over and turned back to Mikey, he spoke under his breath, “Jacob will make for the perfect fall guy. He can say the devil made him do it.” 


Mikey scowled, “What about the smaller one? Who is he and why is he wearing that big-ass hoodie? It’s like 100 degrees tonight.”  


 Stevie searched his mind for a moment.  “Um, Brent? No..wait..Braxton? Bart? B..something. I wasn’t listening.” Stevie swatted at a pair of love bugs.


 “Freakin’ love bugs.” He spat out.


“Is he off or something?” Mikey kept his eyes on the kid. 


“Huh?” Stevie swatted at another pair of love bugs and wiped the remnants on his jeans.


 “Is he slow?” Mikey continued his protest.


Before Stevie could answer the question, Jacob and his little friend stood in front of the two, and brought with them the thick stench of rotting flesh. 


“Jesus!” Mikey and Stevie gagged and retreated from the smell.  


“Y’all smell like ass.” Stevie joked, keeping his hand cupped over his nose.  


The hoodie growled.


“Did that little boy just growl?” Stevie chortled.


The hoodie hunched forward and then lurched at Stevie, swiping and snarling. 


“Woah.” 


Stevie jumped back and tripped over his massive jeans. He didn’t fall but chaotically waved his arms in circles desperately trying to find his footing. Jacob quickly clamped his hand on the kid’s shoulder and dragged him back to his place next to him. Mikey couldn’t help but laugh. Stevie, once he found his balance, smacked Mikey in the back of the head. 


“Don’t laugh.” He barked. 


“Don’t be an ass.” Mikey retorted.


Stevie rolled his eyes and turned back to Jacob.


“What’s wrong with you, kid?” Stevie leaned close to the hoodie, but kept his hand clamped around his nose. Stevie couldn't make out any features. Only darkness and the rancid scent of death. The hoodie snarled.


“He’s hungry.” Jacob drawled out. 


Mikey didn't like the way Jacob sounded. His voice carried the same weight as his Uncle Jeff's after he returned from Desert Storm. A voice devoid of emotion and humanity. Mikey didn’t like it. His skin crawled.


“Can he not talk?” Stevie asked, now from a safer distance.


“He’s a foreign exchange student.” Jacob whispered. 


The hoodie grumbled.


Mikey stared at the hoodie and tried to make out the child's face.  He felt a surge of unease run through his body when the bright church lights reflected off the child's large, unatural smile. He'd never seen teeth so big before. He backed away.


“Anyway, we need to start. Y’all just stay downwind from us.” Stevie glared back at Mikey whose eyes were narrowed and his brows scrunched. 


“What?” Stevie sneered.  


“I need to talk to you.” A melody of agitation played on his voice.


Stevie looked annoyed, but relented to Mikey's request.


“Jeez. Fine."


Stevie faced the two patsies and barked, "You two stay here."


He turned to follow Mikey, but stopped and turned back to Jacob and his little friend and said, "Don’t be weird.”


Jacob responded with a half hearted salute and the hoodie swiped and growled at Stevie's retreat.


Stevie followed Mikey around the back of the F-150. Thankfully, the smell did not follow. 


“I don’t like this.” Mikey hushed. 


He peeked around the truck and glanced at Jacob and the hoodie. The hoodie jerked and fought to get out of Jacob’s grip, but the lanky Christian kid was stronger than Mikey thought. Mikey turned back to Stevie. 


“There’s something wrong with that kid.” Mikey hoped Stevie would listen to him, but once again, Stevie erred on the side of danger. 


“Come on, man. Don’t be a little bitch.” He whined. 


“I’m not being a little bitch!” Mikey protested.


He continued, “There is something wrong with that kid. This is weird, man. You have to at least say you think it's weird, right?” 


“Yeah, it’s weird. But it’s not like they have trench coats or anything. Let’s just get this started and we’ll bail if it gets weirder. Deal?”  


“I don’t know -” 


“Dude, don’t be a pussy. It’s fine.” Stevie walked away and left Mikey. Mikey looked out into the empty parking lot and thought how easy it would be to just run away. He could leave Stevie there with Jacob and the kid. Stevie would be mad, but Stevie tended to always be mad. 


“Come on, man.” Stevie’s voice squealed. 


Mikey swallowed his anxiety down and followed Stevie back to the odd pair.  Mikey knew that if anything went down, he could easily take both Jacob and the kid down. He didn’t want to, but if he had to, he would do it.  Mikey approached Stevie but stayed a few feet behind, just in case Jacob lost his grip on the kid. 


Stevie stopped before the stench hit him. 


He jutted out his chin and barked, “We got to do this fast. Mikey and I will take Pastor Dumbass.” He pointed to the sign on the side of the building, and continued, “You two take the other side. Paint whatever you want. The dirtier, the better. Maybe sprinkle in some Satanic stuff. Really freak them out.” He laughed. 


Jacob scowled. The hoodie growled. Mikey crossed his arms over his chest and inched further behind Stevie. Stevie pulled the bag off his shoulder and pulled out two cans. He handed one to Mikey and then threw the bag to Jacob and the hoodie. Neither one expecting the toss, let the bag fall to the ground. 


“Take your weapons.” Stevie ordered. 


Jacob, keeping his hand on the hoodie, leaned down and picked a paint can out of the bag. 


“Here.” 


Jacob held it out to the hoodied kid who cocked his head to the side,  as if confused. 


“Is he dumb or something?” Stevie chortled. 


Jacob and the hoodie flipped their attention to Stevie as a low hiss emanated from the dark hoodie opening.  The hoodie growled as Jacob dragged the kid to their assigned spot. 


“That kid is wild.” Stevie laughed and walked to the church wall. He looked expectantly at Mikey. 


“You gonna boost me up?” 


******************************************************************************

“You know this used to be like protected land. But Pastor Willis came along and was like, naw man. I’m gonna tear this shit up.” 


Stevie waxed poetically as he swayed, perched on Mikey’s trembling shoulders. 


“Can you hurry?” They had only been out there for fifteen minutes, but for Mikey it felt like hours. Stevie’s boney posterior poked into his shoulders and caused a sharp, numb pain to radiate through Mikey’s entire body. Sweat dripped and fell onto Mikey’s pudgy face.  


Stevie showed no concern and continued his rant, “And you know what’s messed up about this whole thing? They didn’t even need to build this church. Can you believe that nonsense? The old church was only like ten or fifteen years old, or whatever. Like. It was fine.” 


“Dude!” Mikey protested. He moved his weight from one side to the other, in a desperate attempt to ease his pain. 


“I guess it didn’t have enough parking spots, but whatever? Carpool. Like damn. Also, they made some woman kill herself last year. You remember that goth kid, Mariah? She was supposed to graduate this year.


“Hmpf” Mikey strained as Stevie shifted his weight forward. 


“Yeah. Well, her mom went to this church and the Pastor said her mom was possessed or something, and then she went nutso and killed herself. Mariah quit school and got her GED or whatever.  I heard my dad talking about it with his prayer group.”  


Stevie wiggled, Mikey strained. 


“Dude, you’d be surprised how much shit I know about everybody in town because of that group of lard asses giving out prayer requests. Found out Pastor Davey, the young minister dude, is so into porn. Like all the time jerking it with one hand and praying with the other. I’m surprised. He married Kara. She was homecoming queen last year. She’s hot. He has a hot wife at home. Dude. Makes no sense.”  


Stevie finished his monologue and dropped the paint can to the ground, narrowly missing Mikey who in turn dropped Stevie from his shoulders. Stevie landed hard and awkwardly on his knees.


“Asshole!” Stevie on his feet now, pushed Mikey. 


“Your boney ass nearly paralyzed me!” Mikey pushed back. 


 The two stood for a moment until Stevie smiled. 


“You wanna check out my artwork?” 


Pastor Willis’ once bright smile, now replaced by a large, cartoonish penis that jutted out from his teeth, and just under the sign the words “HAIL SATIN” were spray painted in Stevie’s messy script. 


“I couldn’t get up to his head, but I think it looks pretty good.” He smiled. 


“Yeah. Sure.” Mikey answered, rubbing his sore shoulders.


 “Go check on Jesus Freak and smelly kid, and then let’s jet.” Stevie directed , not taking his eyes off the sign. 


“Why can’t we just leave now?” Mikey asked. 


Stevie, not moving his gaze, answered, “Because I asked you to do it, numbnuts.” 


“God, I hate you.” Mikey flipped the bird. Stevie, without moving his head, picked up his hand and flipped the bird back. 


“Go.”


“Fine.” Mikey huffed. 


 Mikey made his way to the opposite side of the church. He didn’t know what he would find. As he reached the corner and peeked around, Mikey only found emptiness. 


“Did you see where they went?” Mikey barked back to Stevie. 


Stevie yelled back “Nope!”


“They’re not here.” Mikey called out. 


“Well, find them!” Stevie screamed back. 


Mikey felt the anger rise within him. He thought about running up to Stevie and just punching him, but instead, Mikey turned and walked the length of the church. As he made his way to the back, Mikey heard shuffling from the treeline that butted against the back of the church yard. He slowed his walk and peaked around the side. At first, all he made out was the dimly lit back of the church, but just on the edge of the treeline, he saw Jacob leading the kid out from the woods. Mikey moved closer, pushing his body as close to the wall as possible, trying to gain as much cover as he could. 


Mikey watched as Jacob turned and kneeled, as if he were praying, in front of the child. A low grumble escaped Jacob’s throat. Mikey wanted to run back to Stevie and the two would leave the weirdos to whatever they were doing, but when he saw Jacob start to take the hoodie off the child, Mikey reacted. Mikey burst from his hiding spot and rushed Jacob, grabbing the back of his head and pulling him away from the child. 


“What are you doing?” Mikey yelled, hand gripping Jacob’s soft hair in his thick fingers. Jacob scratched and pulled at Mikey’s hand, but with the adrenaline coursing through Mikey, Jacob was no match.  Mikey turned to the kid. He shuddered as he saw a thick, white viscous liquid dribble down the child’s legs. 


“Oh my god.” Mikey pulled back his free hand and punched Jacob square in his sharp nose. Bright, red blood flowed down his pale, gray skin. Mikey let Jacob fall and then he was on him. Mikey hit him hard and fast, a continuous blow of kicks,  punches, and pummels. Mikey liked this feeling. It felt good. It felt right.


“Dude?!?” Steve’s voice broke through the night, as he rushed to Mikey and pulled him off the whimpering Jacob. 


“What the hell are you doing?” Stevie rushed out, still holding tight to Mikey. 


“Jacob was messing around with the kid.” Mikey wrenched from Stevie’s grasp. 


“Like diddling?”  Stevie answered. 


He nodded. “The kid had jizz on him.” 


“Fuck. Gross.”  Stevie pulled his leg back and kicked the crumbled Jacob, hard. 


“Where’s the kid, now?” Stevie asked. 


“He’s right there.” Mikey pointed to an empty spot of church ground. 


“Where?” Stevie searched. 


“I don’t know. He’s gone.”


“Let’s just leave.” Stevie suggested. He looked bored now. 


“We can’t leave this kid out in the woods.” Mikey protested. He wouldn’t let Stevie win this argument. 


“You’re in trouble.” Jacob squeaked out with a giggle.


“Fuck off, pervert!” Mikey pushed Jacob back to the ground as Stevie kicked him again. 


“He’s going to kill you.” Jacob sputtered.


Suddenly, a sharp pain shot through Mikey’s hand. He looked down and saw the hoodie clamped on his hand. Mikey flailed and ripped his hand from the child.  He pulled his hand to his face, his middle finger was gone. Only ripped skin and a jagged piece of bone were left as blood spurted from his torn palm.  


Mikey screamed and held his hand out to Stevie, splashing him with fresh blood. Stevie screamed and toppled backwards, tripping over his pants. Mikey, now in shock, stood holding his hand up, eyes wide with terror. 


Mikey couldn’t think. He couldn’t move. But the hoodie could. In a flash, the thing pounced, and its teeth landed in Mikey's soft neck. His neck spouted thick, red, blood - like a horrific waterfall down his shirt and pooled at his feet. In one swift bite, Mikey’s head bounced off and splattered onto the clean church lawn. 


“Dude?” Stevie’s voice shook out. The front of his pants now wet with piss. 


The hoodie gazed up from the puddle of Mikey’s body and locked onto Stevie.


Stevie screamed, but was up on his feet.  He galloped towards the front of the church, holding the excess fabric of his jeans in his hands.  He fumbled around the front, but as soon as he made it to his truck, the evil thing was on him. He screamed, but his cries for help were cut short when the hoodie dug its teeth into Stevie’s smug face. The thing ripped and shredded as bursts of dark, red blood spewed from the child. 


Jacob followed the chaos and stood in awe as the kid ripped Stevie’s arm from his torso with a sick, wet snap. He couldn’t watch anymore. Jacob ran to the opposite side of the church. He gasped for air as he flopped down to his knees. He held his hands up to pray.


“God, if you're real, if you're more powerful than this evil, please, please. Just stop it.” Jacob kept his eyes tightly shut and his thin lips pressed firmly together. He waited and listened for God’s answer.


“Jacob?” 


“God?” Jacob opened his eyes and saw Marcus, the night security guard. 


“Jacob, what are you doing out here? Were you the one who messed around with the sign?” Marcus approached Jacob. He held out his flashlight even though the church grounds had enough lighting it easily erased any starlight. 


Jacob stood to his feet.


“I thought you were God.” Jacob seemed disappointed. 


“What’s going –”


The thing jumped from around the corner and landed on top of Marcus’s shoulders, violently jamming its long-black claws into his eyes. Jacob turned away as the thing pulled the top of Marcus’s head off, like a grotesque champagne bottle, splattering pieces of brain and scalp all over the green grass. Jacob heard Marcus fall to the ground with a wet splat. 


Jacob turned and saw the evil thing standing before him, now covered in thick red blood and gore. Jacob shuddered and the thing growled and advanced upon him. 


“Please, no.” Jacob squirmed and pulled out a blue flier. Poorly edited clip art of Jesus Christ riding a skateboard littered the piece of paper. The words, "Friday Night Youth Lock-In: Get Locked In With Christ” written in comic sans on the bottom of Christ’s skateboard. He held it out to the creature. 


“Tomorrow night, there will be hundreds of kids locked in the church. Unprotected. Easy

pickings.”


The growl softened.


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