“What’s going on, man?” he asked the bus driver.
“I must’ve run over something and the tire just blew out,” the bus driver replied. He shined a flash light at the damaged tire to show them. He sighed in disappointment and with a bit of exasperation.
“Don’t you have a spare tire or something?” asked AJ, impatiently, who just wanted to go back to his warm and cozy bunk bed.
The bus driver looked up at AJ apologetically. “Spare tire's flat too. Sorry, but I guess we’re gonna stuck here for a while.”
“Are you kidding me?” cried AJ and Nick in unison. Brian and Howie exchanged wary looks.
“This is the second time the bus broke down!” Nick exclaimed.
“That ain’t my fault,” the bus driver replied defensively.
“We’re never going to make it to the next show,” Brian added gloomily.
“Isn’t there any other way to get to a hotel at least?” asked Howie hopefully.
“Well, the next town should only be a few miles from here. So if we start walking, we should be able to make it in a few hours. We could try and cut through these trees here and it should lead us to it,” said the bus driver pointing at the wooded area in front of them.
The Boys went back in the bus to get their stuff to haul to the next town. Dressed in warmer clothing the Boys and their bus driver started their journey through the woods.
“Damn, I’m hungry,” Nick said, hearing his stomach growl.
“I doubt there are any Chick-fil-A’s out here, dude,” said AJ, waving his arm at the vast trees around them.
Nick shrugged and dug in his backpack to look for a snack but had no luck.
Brian led the guys and their bus driver through the woods. The sound of owls hooting and coyotes howling made them a little nervous.
They reached the crest of the hill and they saw an abandoned mansion’s silhouette against the moonlight. They got to the front steps of the mansion and stood near the front door.
“Alright, the bus broke down and I’ll get it fixed. Y’all just chill here for a minute, while I go look for a gas station or somewhere to get a spare tire. I’ll be back, Backstreet.” Before any of the guys had a chance to protest, the bus driver disappeared into the woods.
“Great, now what?” said AJ, when the guys were left alone. He nodded his head at the mansion.
“You think anyone’s home?” he asked, reaching up to open the door when Nick yanked his arm back.
“Are you serious? There could be an ax murderer or some psycho living in there!” Nick said, gaping at the decrepit state of the mansion.
“You’ve been watching too many horror movies, Nick,” Brian said, shaking his head.
“I really have a bad feeling about this,” Nick continued.
AJ snickered. “You're just scared."
“Shut up! I am not scared!” Nick retorted. “I just have this bad feeling!”
“Yeah right,” AJ continued. Nick was about to hit him when Brian got in between him and AJ.
“Will you guys knock it off?” Brian said, “It’s too late for this. We have no choice. We have to stay here.”
“Let me see if I could get a hold of management,” Howie suggested, opening his cell phone. He noticed he had no bars. “Hello? Damn, no signal.”
“I’m tired and freezing and I just want to lie down!” AJ said, crossing his arms across his chest to keep warm.
“Let’s just go inside, it doesn’t look like someone’s living here anyway,” Brian said.
“And I’m sure we won’t be able to find any other places to stay at…unless you guys prefer to go back to the bus. But then again, the bus driver probably took the keys with him, so we’d be freezing our cojones off,” AJ said, reaching up to push the door open. He opened the door wider to let the other guys in.
They entered a large atrium that led to a spiral marble staircase. The Boys took out their flashlights and inspected the foyer of the mansion.
“Alright, me and Jizzle are going to look down here for rooms, you guys can go upstairs,” Brian said to Howie and Nick, pointing his flashlight up toward the stairs.
“Why do me and Howie gotta go upstairs?” asked Nick shining his flashlight up the staircase that led to darkness.
“Don’t worry, Nicky, Howie will protect you from the boogie man,” AJ snickered, knowing Nick was afraid of the dark. Nick flipped him off before he stomped toward the staircase.
“Fine! Howie and I will go upstairs and you guys can stay here,” Nick said, waiting for Howie to lead the way. AJ and Brian watched as Nick and Howie made their way upstairs.
AJ and Brian continued into the lower half of the mansion and walked a little ways and went through a door. They entered a large ballroom where an old black baby grand piano sat in the corner. The floor had a swirl painted in purple paint.
“Whoa, check it out,” AJ said, pointing his flashlight up toward the ornate, crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
“Hello!” Brian yelled hearing his voice echo in the large ballroom.
“Sh!” AJ hushed him, “We don’t know if anyone’s here.”
“Nick’s been rubbing off on you!” Brian said with a laugh. “Come on, there's a door over there.”
They crossed the ballroom to open a door at the other side and entered a large dining room. A smaller chandelier hung above a long rectangular dining table that seated 12 people.
“Damn, whoever lived here was probably really rich,” AJ said.
“Probably?” Brian repeated laughing, “I’m sure he or she was filthy rich.” He looked around and saw a painting of a beautiful woman in a red dress hanging at the opposite corner.
“She’s hot,” AJ commented under his breath. “Wonder who she was.” Brian shrugged.
“Come on, let’s keep going. We gotta go back out through the ballroom, cuz it looks like there’s no other way out.” Brian and AJ went to the door when they suddenly hear the piano playing in the ballroom. He and AJ exchanged nervous glances but Brian quickly shrugged it off.
“It’s probably Nick trying to scare us,” Brian said rolling his eyes. He opened the door. “Alright, Nick, you got us, you—” he continued, but as soon as he stepped out into the ballroom, the piano immediately stopped playing. No one was in the room except for him and AJ.
“Do you really think that was Nick?” asked AJ, getting a little nervous.
“I…don’t know…but if it is, I am so going to get him back!” Brian said. He and AJ left the ballroom.