Crisp New Pages – Episode 10 – The Finale

Entry 43.1.106 – 01/1o/2
Damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it dam oh god no. NO!


From now on you will no longer be journaling. It’s over Gerald. Sloppy, messy, dirty.


You fool. How could you be such an IDIOT?


Despite your planning. Your careful precise planning everything is crumbling around you. It’s crumbling right now.

You can’t fix this. You can’t. You can’t.

The truck dump went as planned. The enclosures, The shackles, the table, mixing equipment, all gone. They were wiped clean of prints. They were sterilized. Just as before. You even remembered to remove serial numbers. Each item was placed in a different location along three different highways in four counties. That part of your plan remained precise Gerald. It worked perfectly. Be proud.

Proud? Shut up, shut up shut up! Why can’t the rest work perfectly? Why? Why couldn’t you see that coming? You’re so close. A stupid mistake a simple stupid mistake. IDIOT! STUPID IDIOT!

It was the vats Gerald, the vats. You went too fast. You didn’t think. The vats are at least a week too early. How could you not see? You went through all the proper steps. You neutralized the solution with vinegar. You removed the basement toilet to so you could use the big drain pipe. A week early Gerald. The bones. The bones weren’t ready. One caught in the hose and ripped a hole. A hole. The basement is an inch deep in the solution. An inch deep. And the smell, that god forsaken smell Gerald.

This house is soiled now. Polluted. Unsalvageable. You can’t stay here. It’s not like it was before. Back when you started. They can see who is in the solution now. They can find out then they can find you and put them all on you and make you go away.

I won’t have that. I won’t. Not me, no, not me. Nope. No. No. Not me. Won’t have that.

Calm yourself damn it. It’s Gerald they want. Gerald is the one they want not me. I can still fix this. I can still fix this. I have to be the one to lock Gerald away. I’ll lock him away and throw away the key. Lock him up and start fresh. I’ve got the equipment.

Yes. Goodbye Gerald.

* * *

Bam Bam Bam Bam

Tremors of fear shook the boys with each violent beat against the door of what used to be their fort. Their safe haven. Silent screams were held at bay just behind their tongues. Their bodies were frozen.


One final punch to the wood brought the best friends back to reality and they scrambled to the opening in the floorboards. Kenny was small and quick and made it through first. Darren lowered his large body through the narrow gap with the most speed he could manage and when he settled onto his knees he saw Kenny stopped on his back in the hole under the fence. The hole leading to their salvation.

Kenny pushed at something with his narrow freckled hands. He couldn’t go through. Instinctively, Darren turned toward where the steps to the front door would be. He could see them through the dingy white latticework that trimmed the bottom of the raised shed. He heard no footsteps and saw no one in Mr. Heinz’s yard. Had they dreamt it? Had it just be their minds playing tricks?

Kenny was still pushing. His sneakers slid across the dirt and clay and through the dust cloud Kenny yelled out what was in their way. Someone had moved the granite stepping stones from his mother’s garden and stacked them over the hole.

In his mind Darren knew it had to have been Gerald. Who else would do this? But how could it be Gerald? How could he know?

“We can’t get out!”, cried Kenny.

“Move”, said Darren as he crawled on hands and knees over to the stones. Kenny did as he was told. Darren used his size and as he pressed against the rocks with his hands they lifted but settled back in place. He pushed his upper back against the wet ground under the blocked opening and pushed harder. More movement but every time he relaxed the progress was lost.

Kenny had made his way to the rear of the shed and was kicking at the latticework, trying to knock it free. Panic, so much panic. He needed to get out any way he could. He could see escape through the crossed wood. What he couldn’t see was a pair of soaked khakis coming down the stairs and around the side of the shed. Darren could see this. Peering down his body and between his feet, he was looked directly at Kenny. Directly at the khakis as they came closer to his best friend.

With a grunt Kenny sent one of his legs through the thin trim and there it stuck. The splintered wood caught on his jeans and kept him from freeing himself. As he pulled the khakis moved in front of him. Kenny dug into the the dirt with his palms and kicked at the trim to get that leg free. Instead two hands came down from above the khakis and locked around Kenny’s bound ankle. He screamed has his small, light body was ripped through the lattice work and Darren watched him as he was pulled through the wet grass toward Mr. Heinz’s back door.

Darren dug his heels in the dead soil under his castle. His thighs flexed and his calves burned and he yelled and gritted his teeth and the granite moved up and out of the hole. His way home was now open.

He spun his body so that he could crawl free and get help for Kenny. His upper body emerged from the hole into the rain and wind. Into his own yard. As he put his hand down to lift himself up one of the stepping stones slid over another wet stone and fell into the hole wedging itself against his hip.

He pushed at the wet ground. Kicked with his feet. He twisted his body. He did all this as he watched a pair of wet khakis walk toward him. He cried and he pleaded to be left alone. He could do nothing but look down at the grass. At the rain and snot dripping off the end of his nose. At two stained white walking shoes stepping in front of him. At dirty wet khakis bending at the knees.

He felt strong hands grab him around the arms, the nails digging into his flesh. His face pressed against the wet fabric of a yellow polo. He could smell old sweat. For a moment the entire world was sweat and yellow as his body was pulled free of the hole. The heavy granite scraping against his shin as it fell and he rose.

The nails dug deeper as the strong hands held him up, face to face with Phillip Heinz. This was Mr. Heinz, Darren’s next door neighbor. This wasn’t Gerald French. This wasn’t. It couldn’t be.

Hot acrid breath swept across Darren’s face as Phillip Heinz held him nose to nose. His eyes bloodshot, twitching, angry. Strong hands squeezed the arms of this large twelve year old. Strong hands pushed him against the fence. Strong hands moved to Darren’s neck. Spit and the rain hit Darren’s face as a sickening voice screamed,