The Final Final Chapter


IT MUST HAVE been a lightning strike, maybe some psychic child. It's usually something stupid like that. One minute I’m dead forever; the next I begin to shake and squirm.

I open my eyes in the dark lake, try to swim up to the surface, surprise surprise, the kids have chained me to a big hunk of stone. I vaguely recall how that went down.

I flail around at the bottom of the lake—snapping the thick chains. Then, I break the surface ominously, doggy paddle my way to the shore. I never learned how to swim properly. Also, you try to swim in Frankenstein boots, tell me how you make out.

The moon is full and blood red. This fills me with glee! As you know, there is no better time to seek revenge on camp counselors than under a blood red full moon!

Great! Step one, find something to jam into their eyes, hearts, lungs … some kind of weapon, even an oar from one of the boats. I scan the ground for a machete, a chainsaw … even just a Phillips-head screw driver. Nada. I settle on a big stick.

A big stick. Its not even sharp.

Alright, I've worked with less before. I've beat people to death against oak trees while they were snoozing inside sleeping bags. When the sleeping bag gets opened, the people leak out like goo. I've crushed skulls in with stale loaves of bread. I've chopped heads off with hedge clippers. Not to toot my own horn, but occasionally, I've pulled a head right off the base of the neck... POP! As as easy pulling up some carrots out of the ground.

I'm determined. You can say that about me. Driven. A very motivated individual.

At the edge of the lake, I'm surprised, the rowboats are all gone. The docks are all gone, too. Heh? How long was I dead this time? It varies.

Flashes of what has happened to come back. I get an ax to the head. I get set on fire. My own pitchfork used against me, stabbed through my gut.

Oh, it gets worse every time. I come back for vengeance, I butcher a bunch of them, but ultimately I end up right where I started. Back in the lake. There I am—no matter what I do. Still cursed. It's not healthy how angry I am about all of this.

You'd do the same thing if you were me. I promise you. I stomp into the dark woods in my heavy boots, breaking through the brush. Crushing plants. Scaring some squirrels.

I'm certain every few feet that I'm gonna stumble upon some teenagers smoking weed in the moonlight. That always happens when I rise out of the dark water. A stray stoner in the moonlight, sitting on a log. Its good, it gets me back in the swing of things. Hopefully it'll be a few stoners. That would be nice.

I'm hoping I'll be able to kill them with something a little better than the stick. Maybe they'll have a bong. I hope so. I'd love to kill them with their own bong. The farther I walk into the woods, the more I'm in disbelief. Nobody. Not a single teen.

Odd.

Then I notice strange lights ahead. Did they put in a baseball field at the camp? Is there a night game? I get a little chill thinking about it. Yeah, they'll all be out there on the field, all those scumbag camp counselors and I'll be able to get my hands on some baseball bats and smash their skulls in one by one. I'll hide under the bleachers and rip some of them underneath, ha! Maybe I'll be sneaky and scare the shit out of somebody for bonus fun.

"Bernie...Bernie, where are you?" A blonde would say ...

The chick'll come walking 'round the backstop and be calling his name … giving up quick—she'll go to get herself a drink of Gatorade. The cooler will be clogged. She'll Open it up, look inside. No Gatorade. It's Bernie's head.

I'll be cracking up in the woods. Pissing my dead pants watching the reaction. "Eeeeekke!!

Whoa. This is gonna be great.

Excited, I walk quick, and come out of the trees—into the camp. What I find troubled me very much. It's not a baseball field.

The lights are from a parking lot. It's a Home Depot.

I stare in disbelief at sign, "Your Home Improvement Super Headquarters"

Where's the camp?

Where are the kids?

I’m a voyeur at the edge of the woods, stalking my prey. There’s a fat man watching a young kid load lumber into his pickup truck for him. Other people, loud talking woman pushing shopping carts loaded with flowers and bags of mulch. Children running, screaming, picking up river stones from the center island of the parking lot. A young girl dragging her feet as she comes into view under the bright lights. I wonder if she’s going to college and working, must be. This might be her second job. Jeez … the economy. I’ve never seen such people—look how carelessly they walk across the asphalt. Have they no idea that a supernatural killer lurks just out of view breathing loud as hell and contemplating murdering them with a stick?

The stick.

Oh, how embarrassing. I throw it into the woods. I walk around the back of the Home Depot, as slowly and as ominously as I possibly can.

By the loading dock, there’s a few punk teenagers smoking cigarettes and talking smack as they break down cardboard boxes.

“Oh, finally,” I say. I’m pleased, some teenagers to butcher.

Who knows they might even be former camp counselors. Could they be? I studied them for awhile. I tried to look for some distinguising characteristics. Hmmmm, some goatees. One was taller and had a diamond earring. The other kept saying, “Seriously.”

The other kid just kept smoking. Ok, diamond earring, saying 'seriously' a lot and smoking what I believed to be menthol cigarettes. Shit, I couldn’t figure out if any of these things were things that the camp counselors used to do.

I’d have to kill them anyway. Yet, I’m reluctant. Usually I would have immediately come at them, first kill after a long nap … yet, I just can’t bring myself. I hesitate. I think about it. Then I think about how I can’t believe that I’m even thinking about it. Am I past my prime?

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About Bud Smith


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Bud Smith lives in NYC, and works heavy construction in New Jersey, building and maintaining power plants and refineries. His books are the novels Tollbooth and F-250, the short story collection Or Something Like That and the poetry collection Everything Neon. www.budsmithwrites.com
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A lonely but hopeful series of characters awaiting some attention:

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A lonely but hopeful series of characters awaiting some attention
by Juan Zapata Jr