The Dark Ones

The Dark Ones by Bryan Smith Read Free Book Online

Book: The Dark Ones by Bryan Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bryan Smith
Show me an abandoned old house out in the woods that’s not a little bit creepy. Ain’t any such thing. It’s just a house. And it’s been here fucking forever. You think you were the first to find it? No way. Maybe some Black Sabbath–listening stoner from 1973 or whatever painted that thing.” He nodded. “Yeah, I can see that.”
    Derek didn’t reply.
    It was too easy to imagine. So easy he could see the scene vividly in his head—some lanky longhair with a head full of acid and Sabbath tunes crawling around up there on the roof with a bucket of black paint.
    “BOO, BITCHES!”
    Derek shot to his feet as Jared dropped his beer and whirled toward the source of the sound. Derek turned in the same direction, unconsciously positioning himself so that Jared’s bulk was between him and the intruder. A dark form moved out of the shadows near the side of the house. It was carrying something long and dangerous-looking.
    Then Derek got a look at the intruder’s face and groaned. “You asshole.”
    Smug laughter. “Scared ya, huh?”
    Derek showed Kevin Cooper a middle finger. “Fuck you, douche bag. Hold on. Is that what I think it is?”
    “Yeah, if you think it’s a fucking sledgehammer. If you think it’s a bag of fluffy bunnies, I don’t know what to tell you.”
    Kevin approached the porch with the sledgehammer propped over one shoulder. He grabbed a brew from the Bud carton and popped the tab.
    Derek frowned. “Where in fuck did you get a fucking sledgehammer?”
    Kevin knocked back half his first brew in one go and belched loudly. “You know that shed behind the Carlton place?”
    “Uh huh.”
    “Broke into that. Found some funny shit. The most massive collection of Playboy magazines you’ve ever fucking seen. Snagged a few of those. And there was a mannequin. Like a full-sized lady mannequin. Weird shit. And there was this.” He lifted the sledgehammer off his shoulder, set the heavy end on the ground, and leaned on the handle. “A fucking monster-ass sledgehammer.”
    Derek grabbed another beer. “So why’d you take it?”
    Kevin smiled.
    “Oh.” Awareness dawned. Derek looked at the house. The shadows at the far end of the porch, where the boarded front door was located, seemed more sinister now, as if something lurked there. Some kind of . . . thing .
    But that was ridiculous.
    Wasn’t it?
    Kevin climbed the steps to the porch and turned to face them. “I’m getting up in this bitch tonight. Who’s with me?”
    “Um . . .”
    “Don’t be a pussy.”
    The magic words . What guy his age wouldn’t rise to that provocation?
    He sighed and glanced at Jared, who shrugged.
    Jared looked unperturbed. “Whatever.”
    They joined Kevin on the long porch and approached the door.

E IGHT

    A little earlier . . .

    Her husband’s snoring brought Suzie McGregor out of her light doze. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand and saw it wasn’t yet midnight. Kurt turned over in his sleep. The shifting of his bulk caused the headboard to thump the wall. Suzie looked at him. Even in this darkness, his form a dark outline beneath the heavy blanket, she felt that familiar reflexive disgust. He’d been a real stud before they were married, powerfully built and fit, but over time all that muscle had turned to mush and he’d become immensely fat. As always, she couldn’t help comparing him to Tom Bell. They were the same age, but Tom worked out and kept himself in shape. It was a rotten shame that bitch wife of his had found out about them. Tom wasn’t just fitter and better-looking than Kurt, he was an infinitely better lay. Suzie clenched her fists in frustration. She needed a man again.
    She glanced at her husband.
    A real man.
    She thought of Tom again and slipped a hand between her legs. She closed her eyes and moaned softly.
    Yes, here we go . . . this is nice . . .
    She shifted her hips and moaned again.
    What the hell—self-love is better than no love at all . . .
    A loud creak snapped her

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