The Grinding

The Grinding by Matt Dinniman Read Free Book Online

Book: The Grinding by Matt Dinniman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matt Dinniman
but Nif loved
him. He had been at some celebrity-filled, fundraising event she attended as a
little girl. That’s when she got the picture. She said he was the only one who
was nice to her.
    I clutched the broken frame. The corner of the
picture had bent and torn in the fall. Glass had scattered everywhere. When she
sees this, I thought, she’ll be pissed.
    That did it. I cried. I cried like a damn baby,
bawling and wiping snot on my sleeve.
    I felt ashamed. I had abandoned her. I thought of
the guy driving the tractor that had failed to bring the monster down. At least
he had tried something. I didn’t know who he was, but I bet he had a loved one
caught up in the beast.
    The phone rang.
    Great. It was probably someone I didn’t want to
talk to. Maybe Nif’s aunt—Cece’s mom. I let it ring out. A minute later,
it rang again. I sighed. She had to be terrified, not knowing what had happened,
where her daughter was. She deserved the truth as horrible as it would be to
tell her.
    I picked up the phone and stared at the number on
the caller ID.
    The phone clattered to the floor before I realized
I had dropped it. It wasn’t Cece’s mom.
    It was Nif’s cell.

Chapter 6

    Shit . I
scrambled, picked it up and answered fast.
    “Hello?” I said. “Nif?” Please be there.
    Noise. Lots and lots of noise, like the buzzing of
a busy factory.
    “Nif!” I called again.
    I could barely hear her voice over the background
noise, but it was her. My heart thrashed in my chest.
    “I can’t hear,” she said.
    “Nif!” I called again. Had she fallen off the
monster? Escaped? She must have. “Where are you? I’ll come get you right now!”
    “Adam,” she said, crying and talking rapidly. “I
can’t hear you. I don’t know… I need help, but… I’m in a van. A truck. One of
those armored bank trucks.”
    “You’re free?” I said, pacing back and forth in
the room. The glass crunched under my feet. “Tell me where. You need to get as
far away from that thing as you can.”
    “I saw things.” She said more, but her words were rambling
and incoherent. I tried to interrupt, but she just kept talking. “There’s a
bunch of us in here. Cece, too. Adam, she’s covered with her.”
    Her? “I
don’t understand. Tell me where you are!”
    “We’re still inside,” she said, sobbing. “In the
Grinder.” My joy at hearing her voice changed to panic in an instant.
    That word again. This time from Nif’s mouth. “H-how
are you calling me?”
    Her voice sounded odd, a mixture between panic and
something else I couldn’t figure out. “The bigger she gets… They lifted the
truck up into her, and we got in, and we pulled Cece in…to keep her safe, I
think, but part of Cece hangs outside, so she can connect, but she fills in any
way of escape. Adam, I can barely feel her. Those of us who are loose, we touch
her, and nothing happens. We’re locked in here. Adam, it’s like she doesn’t
want us anymore.”
    “Who’s she?” I asked. “Nif, I don’t understand any
of what you’re saying.”
    “We need help. Please, Adam…”
    The power blinked out, and it stayed out. The
cordless phone in my hand went dead.
    I screamed in frustration.
    I ran to our hallway closet and tore it open,
looking for that old, corded phone that connected directly to the wall. Please, please be here. I found it after
what seemed like hours, and I rushed, plugged it in and dialed.
    Nothing happened. I hung up and listened. No dial
tone. Either the phone was broken, or the phone line was dead. I cursed and
threw it across the room.
    I went outside, and a group of my neighbors stood
there in the gravel surrounding a boom box. They stared at me, mouths agape. I
must’ve been pretty loud in there.
    “I need a cell phone,” I said. “Please!”
    No one moved. “Please,” I repeated. “My wife is caught
up in that thing, but she just called me.”
    That got them moving. My neighbor lady with all
the dogs

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