Kessy Lane Book Excerpts
Writing by Don R. Goebel
With Tracy at the wheel, their van slowly made its way down the narrow path, driving awkwardly over the uneven ground as a dense fog made its way through the forest. Kessy, sitting in back next to Cristy, hugged herself, mesmerized as the fog engulfed the forest around them. “That is so cool!” From the driver’s seat, Tracy said, “We know we’re on the right path; all that fog is from the lake.” Riding shotgun, Jon said, “It’s gonna be impossible to see the cabin with it so close to the lake.” From the middle seat, next to Josh, Trevor suggested, “Run around it until we find a door.” “Yeah!” Kessy said. “It won’t be that bad,” Tracy said, and then continued, “Would be fun, though.” *** Cutting through the woods, Kessy wanted to get the jump on Jon and Tracy as they circled the cabin. She made her way through the thickening fog, hoping to sneak up behind them. She climbed through the forest, imagining their reactions as she forged farther and farther. Pausing for a minute, she tried to rub the dryness from the contact lenses in her eyes as she peered into the fog, searching for the shape of the cabin. Not seeing anything, her excitement shifted slightly, and she felt a touch of fear. In the wall of fog, she changed her direction, heading for the clearing. It was so quiet, only her heavy breathing filled the cool air. Navigating her steps through the branches and avoiding stumbling over rocks, Kessy concentrated on the forest floor that was right in front of her. Believing the clearing was only a short distance from where she was, she pushed ahead. After what felt like enough time, she stumbled out of the forest and onto the path with a wave of relief. Hugging her hoodie around her, she made her way back over the path. *** As they wiped off the beads of sweat that made trails down their foreheads, they sat on the couches and on the floor, still breathing heavily. They regrouped in the den of the cabin as the fog grew too dense to see through, comparing routes through the fog and around the cabin as they waited for the others. Sitting on the floor against the couch, Josh’s attention alternated from recounting some of his route to Trevor to searching the stairway for Kessy. After several minutes he disengaged from the conversation completely. The others broke off as he stood, peered up the stairs, still breathing heavily. The smiles on their faces slowly fell as the tone in the room shifted. He stood like that for another moment before heading up the stairs, standing in the kitchen for another moment before returning back down enough steps to see Cristy sitting on the floor. He called out to her, “Was Kessy with you?”
Matt caught the guy by the throat, flipping him like a clothesline. It threw the guy’s legs into Cory’s arm and spun Matt to the ground. Cory’s arm had lowered slightly but was still raised, and the guy’s legs slammed into his elbow, spraying the remainder of his bottle and throwing them both into the dirt. “FUUUUCK! GAAAAAD! FUUUCK!” Cory dealt with the pain for a few seconds and then began yelling as his eyes teared up. Matt held his upper arm where their attacker had hit, his soda gone. *** Chris raised his own can to his head while his free hand gripped his hair. He had witnessed it, but he still had no fucking clue what had just happened. Cory yelled in pain on his knees. Matt slowly opened his eyes but remained on his knees. The attacker, who seemed to appear out of nowhere, rolled over in the dirt, like the wind had been knocked out of him. The girls came back around the corner. “Who is that?” “That was scary!” Chris couldn’t tell who the attacker was. Cory’s embarrassment and pain shifted over to a biting anger. “I know that fucker! He was at that scene at the door Friday night!” exclaimed Cory. “Well, he just tried to ambush you! Looks like he succeeded!” Sarah gloated. “Matt clotheslined the fucking guy! He was gunning for Cory; he didn’t even notice Matt when he put him down!” Chris argued. Cory staggered to his feet, speaking through his teeth, “Yeah that . . .” He paused with the pain. “SHIT . . . was self-defense!” Matt leaned over, his head down as he still gripped his arm in pain. His shirt was shoved halfway up his back from the impact. He didn’t say a word or even acknowledge what was happening beyond dealing with his pain. Laura went past the two of them, reaching to the ground. “He was carrying this!” She held something in the air as Cory stood over the guy, still holding his arm. Chris walked over slowly, still uneasy of the whole thing. “It’s a photo!” She held it up as though he could see it from where he was. He hardly glanced at it before staring at the attacker. “You know him?” Laura showed Cory the photo, but he only gave it a heartbeat of attention before glaring back down at the guy. Undeterred, she brought it over to Matt, who was still curled to the ground in pain. The girls both waited for him, hoping he would give it attention. He ignored them as well. *** Slowly Matt straightened back up, still clearly in pain. His face was red as he held his arm. Sweat ran down his forehead, pulsating with the blood in his veins. His eyes opened partially and quickly closed again. Taking a deep breath through his nose, he could hear Cory talking to Chris behind him. “That’s what I’m saying! It’s the same fucking guy coming at me again! This shit is self-defense!” Matt heard the sound of shuffling as they picked up the guy. “What are you gonna do?” Sarah asked, but her question was ignored. She yelled at Chris, “Chris, he’s bleeding on your arm!” Matt felt the sweat dripping off his forehead. At the risk of it running in his eyes, he opened them to see what the guys were doing. He got a strobe-like view of Chris carrying the guy by his chest, but it seemed like he was being carried by his throat. When the pain in his nerves was no longer hammering, Matt finally opened his eyes enough to stare down at the photo still being pushed into his face. “Do you know what that is?” Laura asked. People’s legs? At first glance at the photo’s edge, all he could process was jeans and shoes. “He had this Polaroid photo with him. Someone on a floor somewhere, wearing a pink hoodie. People around . . . That’s really creepy!”
We’re leaving? Cory had left his camera on the floor. They’re moving too fast! They’re not gonna stop and look for Kessy? He felt as though those left in the room were waiting for them to leave. This is the time to have the photo! Where the hell is the photo? Jon desperately tried to remember who had the photo. Dammit! Tracy gave the photo back to Josh! This is the way it’s gonna happen? We’ve got the chance to find Kessy, and the guys are just gonna walk away? They were carrying her brother out of this place, and Kessy was still somewhere in it. Jon couldn’t believe they were going to leave her there again. She’s lying on the floor somewhere, terrified of all the screaming! Wishing someone would open the door and find her! And we’re gonna fuckin’ walk away? His eyes throbbed. His fists clenched, bracing the rest of his body. “KESSY LANE!” Yelling her name made his body tremble. It was dead silent. I gotta go again! She might hear me now! He braced himself toward the top of the staircase, shoving his hands against its walls. Feeling the muscles in his stomach quiver, he faced the stairs, sliding his hands off the wall and into fists. “KESS-SYYY! LAAAANE!” That fuckin’ buuurns! He hunched over, feeling the sweat stream off his forehead and down his face. His breaths came in labored gulps. His eyes welled, and tears streamed down his cheeks. He strained to hear her calling him. He heard nothing. I have . . . to keep . . . GOING! He reached the front door. His body ached as he faced the few left in the room. He clenched his shaking fists before his face. His knees buckled beneath him. Dragging her name out as he exhaled, he felt light-headed. “KESS-SSSYYYYY! LAAAAAANE!” Sweat dripped off his face and ran through his eyes, forcing them to close when he needed them to be open. He pulled his shirt to his face. Kessy! Where! The fuck! Are you? He wanted to continue his search; it was the perfect time to search the rooms of this cabin, with no one to resist. But his knees buckled again, and it became painful to remain standing.