Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
… Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.
From “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Suess
~ 33 ~
The Great Escape
Kevin saw it coming as if in slow motion. There was Tim walking with what seemed like an intense purpose, heading right towards them fairly quickly, when suddenly from behind he saw Howie running with a weapon above his head and ready to strike. In that moment, the man everyone sought for advice, help and decisions had no idea what he was supposed to do. He guided Nick back to a lying position on the bed and reached underneath for one of the arrows just as he heard the scuffle.
Howie had hit Tim with all his might. He tried to get him on the back of the head but he got him in the back between the shoulders just slightly under his neck. The unexpected hit, made their captor groan and temporarily lose his balance before turning around, “What are you doing!” He shouted as Howie once again took aim and hit him in the chest this time, the poker stabbing him slightly but not nearly enough to do any harm. “Why?” Tim asked just as Howie aimed again but this time the hit was deflected by the much bigger man, making the fire poker fly out of Howie’s hands. “Why are you trying to hurt me? Why does everyone try to hurt me?” He walked towards Howie who tried to turn and run but it was too late. Tim grabbed his shirt and pulled him down to the ground.
“Kevin, what’s happening?” Nick asked alarmed but also seeming half dazed.
“I’m not sure.” He lied grabbing the arrows, “Stay here and no matter what happens just don’t move.”
“Nick, it’ll be okay.” He tried to reassure but knew he wasn’t convincing as he stood up and tried to run into the living room to help his friend.
Howie was trying to crawl away from Tim but it was useless, he was on top of him in no time flat and turned him around as if he was a ragdoll. “Answer me! Why are you hurting me?” He asked as he straddled his new ‘brother’ placing his hands over Howie’s neck for the second time in one night. “My dad was right!! I shouldn’t trust anyone!” He was crying as his grip tightened around Howie’s wind pipe. His arms were wildly flailing at Tim’s face trying to smack him off like a huge gnat but nothing was working, he was just too big. His lungs were on fire as he struggled to breathe while small spots danced in his eyes, signaling the beginning of the end. Just as all hope seemed lost, Tim let go and fell off of him screaming in pain, as a new body took his place. Kevin landed right on top of Howie knocking any wind he had left, right out of him.
In the other room, Nick heard the fighting and tried to sit up on his own but to no avail. It was the most frustrating feeling for him knowing his two brothers needed his help but he couldn’t do anything at all about it. He heard Tim screaming but couldn’t’ see anything, not that his vision was the best at the moment anyway. He was suddenly not feeling very well at all. He tried to roll onto his side in hopes that once he did he would be able to roll completely off of the bed and then make his way into the living room. He had done that once and managed to save Howie, maybe he had it in him to do it a second time, but even that had proved to be a bit much for him as he suddenly felt a huge pain in his stomach. He groaned and tried to call out for help but then closed his eyes and lost consciousness.
Kevin rolled off of Howie as quickly as possible and shook his friend as he noticed his eyes closed, “Howie, can you hear me?” He asked as he saw Tim trying to pull the arrow out of his lower calf. Kevin had hoped to hit him in the back with the arrow but he lost his balance and instead it landed in the man’s leg, but at least it hit him.
“AHHH!” Tim screamed, that’s all he was doing at this point. Screaming incoherently like a lunatic.
“Howie!” Kevin shook his friend. They were running out of time. He looked around and saw the fire poker on the ground not too far away so he crawled over towards it.
Tim continued to scream in pain as he finally managed to get the arrow out of his leg. He sat there for a second, messaging his leg as he cried and talked to himself quietly. It sounded like he was saying, “I don’t know mom…I don’t know…” which was further proof that Tim had checked out.
Howie started to move as Kevin made his way back towards him with the poker in his hands, “Howie!” He said once again just as his friend opened his eyes, “Are you okay?”
Howie wasn’t sure what the answer to that question was yet as he tried to find his voice. He let out a sharp cough and then sat up and nodded.
“I can’t mom…No, I know…” Tim was rocking as he continued to nurse his leg. He moved his hands to his ears, “SHUT UP!!” He screamed.
Howie stood up and then helped Kevin do the same as they approached Tim. Even though he didn’t want to, he knew he should be the one to hit Tim and get it over with. Kevin was too off balance because of his leg so he took the poker from Kevin’s hands, “Let me!” He urged when he felt resistance from his friend. “You might fall over.”
“I SAID SHUT UP DAD!!!” Tim was pre-occupied with the voices in his head as he sat on the floor to the point that he completely ignored Howie as he approached and then smacked him across the head as hard as he could.
Tim’s eyes closed as his head made contact with the ground. The screaming halted so quickly it seemed like he was put on mute.
Both Howie and Kevin stood there not even breathing as they watched the man just lay there on the floor, unmoving. “Do you think he’s dead?” Kevin finally asked.
“I don’t’ know.” Howie was about to hit him again but just couldn’t do it. It was one thing to defend himself but another to just hit someone who was already unconscious.
“Let’s get Nick and get out of here before he wakes up!” He said looking at Kevin who nodded as he never took his eyes off the motionless form on the floor.
Howie did his best to help Kevin walk back into the bedroom but his arm was really hurting him to the point where he wished he could just chop it off! He wasn’t sure how on earth they were going to manage to get Nick out of there but they had to do something. “Nicky, we need to go buddy!” He said as they entered the bedroom. They didn’t expect him to be asleep.
They both looked at each other alarmed as they approached the bed. Howie helped Kevin sit down beside Nick as he stood in the doorway just making sure Tim didn’t’ move. “Nick…” Kevin said firmly as he tried to get his friend into a sitting position before he even opened his eyes. The blonde didn’t even stir with the movement. “Nick!” He said more urgently and angrily this time, still nothing.
“We’re going to have to carry him out of here, Howie.”
Howie turned to both of them, temporarily taking his eyes off of Tim. “Why isn’t he waking up?” He asked panicked.
“I don’t know but he’s not doing well. He’s breathing but it’s…” He couldn’t’ finish when he realized he could barely feel a pulse, “If you can get his legs, I will get his arms.”
“Kevin how are you going to do that?”
He honestly had no idea how he was going to do that. He’d be forced to put weight on his ankle which he knew would potentially destroy it for good, but he had to. There was no other option. He just had to be sure not to pass out from the pain. Not until they got into that truck and were on their way out of there.
“On three…” He said to Howie who nodded as he once again glanced through the door to make sure Tim was still on the ground. Thankfully he was.
“One…” He braced himself, “Two…” He grabbed Nick under his arms and took a deep breath, “Three…” He stood up and followed Howie just a step as he put his weight down on his ankle, screaming out in pain and falling to the ground with Nick in his arms as he did.
Howie stood there with Nick’s legs in his hands, as he watched Kevin writhing in pain. “I can do it myself, Kevin.” He bent down and placed Nick’s legs back on the ground and then pat his friend on the shoulder. “If you can get yourself to the truck, I will get Nicky there.”
Kevin shook his head, “You know you can’t. You have to leave us here and go.”
“You heard me! Go to the damn truck and get the hell out of here! Get us help.”
“What if he wakes up?” Howie asked, pointing to Tim.
Kevin looked at his friend in desperation, “You know it’s our only chance, D. I am not leaving Nick alone, you have to go.”
Howie knew his friend was right, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave. “What if…” He said only to be interrupted by Kevin.
“He’s going to die, Howie!” Kevin screamed as he held onto Nick as if he were a security blanket. “Go to the truck and try to find the rifle, and then bring it to me!” Kevin sounded out of breath. “GO!!” he screamed which got Howie moving.
He ran out of the bedroom and looked at Tim as he lay on the ground. Maybe he was dead, was Howie’s hope as he ran right past him and out the door towards the truck. Nothing had gone right for him since this thing started but just this once he was hoping for two things, 1) That the rifle was in the truck and 2) That the keys were in the ignition. When he got out there he was happy to see that fate had finally given him a break as both the rifle and the keys were in there waiting for him. He grabbed the gun and ran back inside, handing it to Kevin as he adjusted slightly under the weight of Nick’s body.
“Do you know how to use that thing?”
Kevin shook his head, “I’ll figure it out if I need to.”
“I don’t want to leave you here.”
“I know, Howie… but you have to. We’ll be okay. I won’t let anything happen to us.” When Howie looked down at Nick, Kevin continued, “He’ll be okay too. He’s not going to die on me. He knows I won’t let him.”
Howie nodded, “I’ll be back with help!”
“Don’t’ you dare come back, but yeah, sending help would be great!” he paused for a second, “Now go!” he ordered, trying to sound much braver than he felt.
Howie gave them one final nod and long glance. He felt the need to remember every detail of his friends; just in case this was the last time he’d ever see them. He hated thinking that way, but it seemed like the only logical way to think.
“See you soon!” He said, reaching down and giving him a hug and placing a loving hand on Nick's shoulder lightly squeezing, “You need to wake up, Nicky. We’ve been through too much for you to quit now!” He whispered and sighed deeply before turning and running out the door.
When he passed Tim he made sure he was still motionless and then continued out of the house and into the truck.
A sense of relief washed over Kevin when he heard the truck start and then peel away. Relief was followed by panic knowing that at any moment Tim could wake up and when he did, Kevin would have to aim that rifle and shoot him before he had a chance to kill them both. His grip on Nick tightened “We’re going to be okay little man…I won’t let him come near us.” He placed his hand on Nick’s chest, making sure he felt it rising, “Just a little longer then it’ll be all over…” He reassured his unconscious friend and himself as he held Nick tight and stared out into the living room watching for any subtle movements and praying there were none.