As Ben and Paul crested the rise Ben could see the bowl shaped depression below him; the same depression that contained the old wooden building. On the opposite side of the bowl he could see the steep dirt slope and the brambles he had fought his way through before. The route he had taken today, even though it was a three mile walk, was a lot shorter than the one he had taken a few days ago.
"Come on" said Paul, leading the way down the more gently sloping path.
Ben began to grow more afraid now that he was nearing his destination; drawing closer to whatever fate had in store for him. He couldn't turn back now. The promise of what was to come in the future was just too much. He knew that if he walked away from it he'd be tossing and turning for the rest of his life; there'd be no relief from that aching that tormented his soul. He just wanted it over and done with. Whatever the initiation was, it couldn't be that bad. He wouldn't have to take his clothes off, wouldn't have to be naked, and so whatever else they wanted him to do he'd do, like it or not, as quickly as possible to get it over with. Then... well, then he'd be part of the gang, and he'd just have to wait for the first opportunity to strip a girl. He wasn't religious, not in any sense, but he silently begged God that it would be today.
The building was further from this side of the depression than the opposite side, so Ben had plenty of time to assess it as they approached. It was longer than he had thought, and probably had more than one room. There was even a suspicion that there might be a second floor, or a roof space at least. On this side he could see a boarded up window, and to the front a door, with a rickety porch. It was toward the porch that Paul was leading him.
There was no shrieking today. In fact Ben couldn't see or hear any signs of life at all, and he wondered if maybe the building was empty. Wondered if Paul had been wrong about there being enough gang members present for the vote.
Paul paused to push the creaky door open, and he stood aside to let Ben enter first. Ben looked at Paul, and then at the gloom within, and hesitated.
"Go on" said Paul, gesturing inside.
Ben swallowed hard, girded himself, and then stepped under Paul's arm into the building.
"Door on the right, just go in" said Paul.
Ben's eyes took a little while to adjust to the dimness, and he took a few paces into the small entrance hall before fumbling his way to the door on the right. He pushed at it, staying back while it opened, and he was met by a ghostly light. Behind him he heard what sounded like the front door being bolted, and he turned back toward Paul looking scared.
"In! Go on!" said Paul, a more commanding tone to his voice now.
Beginning to lose some of his courage, Ben faltered, until Paul caught him up and gave him a shove toward the opening. It was enough to get Ben going and he took three bold paces into the room before regaining his balance and steadying himself.
It took Ben just a moment to take in the room and its occupants. Apart from himself and Paul, there were just three people present, all of them girls, all of them sat on an old faded red settee. The first was the girl with the long blond hair who had been kneeling on the captive's arm the other day. The second was the girl with the shoulder length black hair who had done the tickling, who had been about to pull off the captive's knickers. The third was the younger girl with long blond hair who had startled him on the ridge. Now he could see the two of them together it was obvious the two blond girls were sisters.
All three of them were smiling at him in a warm and welcoming way. There didn't appear to be anything sinister in the room, or in their smiles, everything seemed very friendly. Ben exhaled suddenly, and relaxed a bit. His eyes were adjusting better now. There were enough small holes and gaps in the wooden walls that once he'd recovered from the brilliant sunshine outside, it seemed light enough in here to see perfectly well. Even the ghostly glow from the black haired girl's laptop screen seemed to disappear.
"Hi" he said nervously.
"Hello, Ben" said the black haired girl, who put her laptop down on the floor.
"Hi" said the other two.
"How did you know my name?" asked Ben.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
A MrDouble Production:
Changes last made on: Tuesday, December 19, 2017