The Party's Over - Part Two

Eli never imagined woman could look the way that these women had. All of them, Ready, willing, and perfectly able, in every way!  He envisioned Porter's sadistic story about making one of them crawl around the floor, like a bug. Just to get paid. These woman would do anything to get next to him! He kept that thought on the back burner for now. This being his only distraction. They could be just as lethal and damaging to an athlete's career, as steroids. He reached into his pant's pocket, held the electric button down on the limousines' tinted glass window, and tossed the scrapes of paper with their home phone numbers into the wind.

The driver's name was Manny. He'd been working for Mr. Round since 1968. Now, at the  age of 45, he had finally made enough money working for the Round Family, to buy his own ranch, in Montana. He was originally from Cuba and entered United States borders, illegally. Manny worked the Miami strip, valeting cars for a night club. It was there that he met Mr. Round's father, Jonathan Neiman. He swore that Manny was Desi Arnez AKA Ricky Ricardo. He offered him a job as his personal driver, pulled some strings with INS, and was made a U.S.. citizen.   He's been with the family, ever since.

The privacy window that separated driver from passenger in the limousine, slide down. "Mr. James? We're just about through the town. Where am I going, Mr. James?" Manny asked. "Stay to left at the fork in the road, for 10 miles due East. I'll let you know when your close. It's a little bit tricky to get to my parents farm, and please call me, Eli. Your name is Manny? Is that right?" he said. "Manny! Manny Veras. It's an honor to meet you, young man. I've heard and read alot about you." he said. Manny had met many famous people through his work with the Rounds. "Read about me?..Where?" Eli queried. "Sports Illustrated. Didn't you know?" "No, No, I didn't. What did they talk about?...I never interviewed with any reporter?"

Manny reached over and handed Eli the magazine. "There's a story on Page 45, with a photo of you too! Here, Have a look." Eli took the magazine. He turned on the over-head lights and began reading. The magazine used the photo from the school's display case, along with other photo's that had been shot during Eli's football days at Havertown High School.  Eli had no idea that this article had ever been written. Among 50 possible First-Draft picks, Eli's name sat at the No. 1 slot. "Can I keep this Manny?" Eli asked. "Yes, You can!" Eli loosened up his neck tie and looked around the limousine. There was a small refrigerator underneath of the leathered cushioned seats, that was filled with tiny bottles of booze. The kind that they hand -out on airplanes. As well as, bottles of Champagne. "No Water" Eli sighed. "We're almost at 10 miles, Eli. Let me know when we're close to that turn." Manny said. "Do you see that shadow on the left?...That water tower?" Eli told him. "Yeah, I do! Man, That's creepy!" Manny  replied. "Yeah, I know!...That's the turn on the left. It's a dirt road that winds down the hill and then dead-ends. We live at the bottom of the road, on the right." Manny slowed the long car down, turned on his blinker and entered the dirt road, slowly.  Manny turned on the high-beams for better clarity. This road was made for pick-up trucks and tractors. This luxury vehicle's suspension was really getting hammered. "It's really beautiful out here!" Manny offered. "It is peaceful, Manny." he said. "There on the right. Do you see the lights on at the farm?" he asked. "Yes, I see them." He turned into the driveway. A shadow walked in the path of the vehicle. Manny stopped. "What's the matter?" Eli asked the driver. "I thought I saw a man walk in front of the car. It's ok, Eli" he said. Manny continued to drive down to the back of the house, as Eli had requested. The lights from the barn turned on. The porch light had been left on for Eli. The folks had already gone to bed, hours ago. Baron came out of the barn to investigate. 

Manny stepped out of the vehicle and walked around to the other side of it, to open up the rear door for Eli.  "It was a pleasure meeting you, Eli. Good Luck, young man." Manny offered, as he closed the door, then extended his hand. "Thank you." Eli replied, in a modest tone. Then watched as the long, black limosine's head- lamps faded into the hillside.

The night air was filled with the familiar sounds of Summer. A nocturnal concerto performed by the insects that resided in these mountains, resumed their strange evening ritual of clicks and morroca noises.  A lone Coyote's howl could be heard coming from the mountains behind the farm, followed by other predator's howls from his pack. Eli had a brush with this pack, a year ago. He encountered, eight of them behind the barn. This Lone Coyote, the one he had just heard, was massive in size. It towered over Baron, at least a 9 inches more off of the ground. If it stood on it's hind legs, he would measure an easy five and a half feet tall, and his body weight had to have been one hundred fifty or more. He had testicles' the size of grapefruit, and his canine fang's; three inches deadly. Eli's father tried keeping chickens, several years back. It worked out fine for the two seasons: Spring and Summer. During the Harvest, when the food supply in the mountains wasn't enough to satisfy the hungry pack's appetite. They set their sights on our coop. Dad managed to clip that coyote in the ear, with his rifle, and kill two others from the brood.  To this day, you can always pick it out from the others. The tip of it's ear is missing. It remained the Alpha-male, despite his deformity.

Eli now turned his a focus towards the bottom of the hill, near the entrance of the dirt trails, that were now completely inaccessible and forgotten.  He stopped for a second, as he heard the faint sound of a motorbike, buzzing the valley floor. He listened again, as the bike started getting closer, and closer. He walked back out into the blackness of night, unsure of what it was, that he was hearing. His pace quickened, as his mind and body braced for what was about to happen next.

He saw a faint light bouncing,  up and down on the abandon trails, below. The eerily familiar mosquito noise sound the engine makes, made it the moment feel, surreal and dream-like. He watched in disbelief, as it's head-lamp appeared at the bottom of the road, and began making it's way up the gravel and dirt road, towards him. Eli's eyes widened; as it got nearer. He couldn't see who was steering it. The bike's head-lamp was too bright and hid the driver.  The buzzing sound got louder. Eli couldn't trust what he was seeing.  He picked up the broken piece of wood, that was once the mail post and waited. It buzzed by too quickly for him to get a look at the rider. He followed the bike with his eyes, as it slowed down, then circled back.

The rider let out a wolf call, and whistled at Eli. Much like the way, construction worker's whistle at an attractive woman. It got closer to Eli, then stopped.  The beam from it's single headlamp, blinded Eli's attempt to get a good look at the rider. The dust that had trailed behind the bike began to settle,  but offered no clear view of it's operator.  

.  "Looking good, Killer!...How was the party?" he asked. Eli couldn't see the driver's face, but recognized the voice. It was Jackson Wane. Eli walked towards the front of the bike, slowly.  He had concealed the wooden mail post, behind him. Then swung the post, as if it were the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded! Right into the side of his face. Eli felt the piece of wood tremble, as it made contact with Jackson's skull. Then explode into toothpicks around them both.   Jackson yelled out to Eli. "Personal Foul!...Number 1, Offense!...Six feet under penalty!...My turn!" Jackson, growled back at Eli.

Jackson reved up the dirt bike's throttle handle, as the rear-wheel began spinning in place. Eli searched the ground in front of the bike, panic-stricken, looking for something he could use to hit Jackson with, again. In the distance, the sound of a rifle being fired rang out. A bullet shattered the head-lamp on the bike. Eli quickly dove into the ditch, head-first.

  Jackson took-off laughing, into the darkness, as the mosquito sounding engine faded, and echoed back,  as if it were travelling through a tunnel. 

"Eli!...Answer me?...Eli!..Eli!" Harold shouted out across the yard. "Eli!...Are you injured? The man charged across the dirt lot, towards the road.  Baron ran along side of him. "Go on, Boy!" he commanded the animal. 'Find him!" Baron quickly responded to his owner's request, and began homing -in on Eli's location. It didn't take long. The dog stood at the top the drainage ditch on the side of the road, where Eli had took cover, and began barking and whinning.

"Good Boy!...Baron!" Eli's father praised the animals keen sense of smell.  He quickly scanned the area, for any sign of the intruder, with a round loaded in the chamber and ready to be fired.  He then climbed down into the ditch, after him. Eli had struck his head on a large stone, when he entered the canal. Although the impact wasn't hard enough to render him unconscious, it did cause a gash, that was now bleeding out. 

Eli's father knelt next to his son, who was now lying face down in the ditch. "Can you hear son?...Eli?...Eli?" his father shouted, as the concern for his only son, grew. "Dad?...Yeah, I can hear you." Eli responded back, dazed. "Are you able to stand?...Are you hurt?" "I can feel something sticky in my hair?" Eli reported. "Hold still! ..I'm gonna lift you up!..Ready?" he asked. "Yeah, Yeah...I'm ready." Eli's father stood up behind his son, placing his two strong arms underneath of his, and lifted.  Both of them were now standing erect, inside of the drainage ditch.  "I didn't bring a flashlight with me. No time!..It takes two large strides to get out of here. You ready?...I'm right behind ya!" Eli's equalibrium had been disrupted from the sharp blow to his head. He staggered some, as he navigated his way out of the ditch, his father had a firm hold on him, from behind. Then guided him upwards, towards the road. Harold placed his son's left arm over his shoulder, and the two of them, walked towards the farmhouse. "Eli?...What the hell is goin'on?" Harold was now growing intolerant of the situation. "Who was that?...Does this anything to do with the boy that came lookin' for you earlier?" he asked. "What?..What ya mean, earlier?..Who?" "Someone  stopped by just after you left for the party. He kept insisting to see you!..So, I got my rifle and ran him off the farm!...Kept goin' on about how you took him for a ride, But, that's all he could remember! Crazy bastard!...I fired off a warning shot!..Baron chased him back to the road." his father explained. "Took him for a ride?..What did he look like?" Eli was lucid, but the bizarre events that were taking place here on the farm went beyond the limits of both, his father's and his, imagination.

"I know this is going to sound crazy, Even I can't wrap my head around it." Harold paused, and turned to look at Eli, then said, "He looked like that kid that got killed, awhile back. The one that went through the guardrails, and died?" Harold starred at his son, for a few seconds, still puzzled about what he'd just said. "Who?..Andy Wanes?..No, No...It can't be!...It's dark out here, Dad!.. It had too be somebody else?...Dad?...He's dead!" Eli tried to convince his father that who he thought he had seen and spoke to, had to have been somebody else. "Your grandfather told me a story once..scared the hell out of me! I was only 15 at the time. I thought he told that tale, to keep me out of the Thompson's barn. But, turns out. He was tellin' the truth." His father began telling Eli the story about an old barn that burnt down. A drifter, loner, broke into the barn, lookin for a place to sleep for the night. He crawled up inside of a stall, next to the Thompson's mare, Daisy. He got drunk, and fell asleep with a cigarette still burnin, between his fingers. Set the hay, that was in the stall with him, on fire. Burned him and that mare, alive!  When they re-built the barn on the same foundation from the one that had burned down, it stirred up something?...something very bad!" he spoke in a voice that was fearful and hesitant to continue. "This...a...drifter...that died was a..serial killer. He'd been roamin the country after the war in Europe. He was a soldier, some say...Anyhow, he'd gone completely insane...when they found his charred remains,.... they found small human skulls. Childrens' skulls. He'd been keeping their heads with him.  That shook up alot of folks around here. Well, I paid a visit to that barn, with a friend of mine-Jacob Ross. I saw what I thought looked like a man. I began apologizing to him for trespassing and it turned around to look at me. It wasn't a man...It was a shadow, shaped like a man, and where it should have had a face, it had many faces inside of it. It kept changing! The dam thing, kept changing it's face! Then I heard a voice up in the rafter's say, "Your friend's a coward! He just pissed himself, and left you for dead. But, I ain't gonna kill ya, See. I need something from you, there tellin'me!" - Well, I never stuck around to find out what it is that it needed from me! - I'd seen it years later, in town. I was playin dice with some of the boys, from the grainery. This stranger walks into the pool hall. He was dressed like the rest of us. Nothin unusual about him. We let him shoot a few dice, and he threw a few winners. So, we let him keep at it. He'd won me alot of money, while everyone else lost their shirts to this guy. Some of the fellas, thought he'd had a pair of loaded dice and been cheatin', So they took him out back, roughed him up and took back their earnings. I knew this guy hadn't cheated. I'd played cards with these clowns. They were just sore, because they'd lost their shirts to this guy. Well, I went out back to check on him, to see if he was still breathin. I liked the guy. I had no beef with him. But, when I got to the back of the building, he'd left. So, I left with my cash that I'd won, and still had my earnings for the week. I hopped into my pick-up and headed back home to you and your mother. I got down the road, a ways, and I saw him, standing on the side of the road, just looking at the stars. I pulled up next to him, leaned over and rolled down the window. "Hey Buddy?..You need a ride?...Whatcha lookin at?" I asked him. He raised his hand and pointed at the North Star. He began tellin me about how the sailors used the stars to navigate through the waters of the planet. I thought that was an odd thing to talk about?  But, I went along with it. Well, I offered him a ride. He accepted.

Eli's father confession left him dumb-stricken. This thing?.... He'd just told him about. He'd seen it too!

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