USW: The Truth Shall Set You Free

Wanderings, Chapter 1

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Still standing by the side of the road, Jane, Shelly, Tommy, Terrence, and Terry are discussing what to do. An ambulance arrives and pays them little mind as it loads the three Bills into the ambulance, driving off into the night.

Tommy also has an odd realization, one that didn’t immediately hit during the strange series of events — he’s had his first erection in ten months.

The group gets into Terry’s car, ready to go to his street doctor contact. They drive to St. Louis to meet with Leland Sanford, arriving around 3 AM. Terry knocks on the front door and Leland answers, telling them to be quiet because his daughter’s asleep upstairs. His setup is in his garage. He takes Shelly first, gives her some local anesthetic and a couple of shots of whiskey, and starts stitching her bullet wounds. He indicates that she’s quite lucky; no vital organs were hit, and only a moderate abrasion on her left lung. It should heal on its own.

Terrence is next. He stitches the bullet wound in his shoulder, and puts some oinment and bandages on the burns on his arm.

Terry is last. He only needs a couple of stitches. Leland asks what happened to him. He explains the whole affair, which he acknowledges as rather far-fetched. After all, it’s the reason he went to a street doctor rather than an actual hospital.

At Leland’s offer, the group decides to spend the night in the basement. Leland says he will just explain to his daughter that some friends came in late and he forgot to mention it.

The group goes down first, as Leland seemed to be pondering something and said he needed to get something. He follows them with his laptop, and shows them a news report from earlier in the day — a CNN feed of a cult standoff in New Mexico. While the reporter speaks, a flurry of activity occurs as movement is seen. A shirtless African-American male walks from behind a trailer, and ducks back when snipers take a potshot at him. He’s not immediately recognizable — but the group can pretty easily recognize the young, light-skinned, tattoo-covered man as Terrence Johnson.

No further discussion is necessary. Everybody contemplates that as they go to sleep.

Jane and Terrence sleep fitfully, and go upstairs when they hear movement around 9 AM. Tommy and Terry awaken closer to 11 AM, and similarly go upstairs. Most people shower first.

They discuss a little about the night’s activities, and what they want to do during the week. It’s decided that Shelly will probably stay with Leland — she needs further treatment throughout the week — while Jane, Tommy, and Terrence return to Chicago by train. Terry, meanwhile, will continue to Stoon Lake, so that he can survey the landscape for the week and everyone can regroup the following weekend.

At some point, a skinny, teenage girl comes downstairs. She’s wearing black capris, a black Misfits T-shirt, and has dyed black hair. She asks Leland about these people, and when he answers that they’re friends he neglected to tell her would be coming yesterday, she leaves in a huff without breakfast. Leland explains that this is his daughter Courtney.

Shelly awakens closer to 1 PM, showers, and goes upstairs. She seems amenable to the general plan of Terry going to Stoon Lake while everybody else stays behind.

The group decides to leave tomorrow, staying one more night at the Sanford’s house. They spend the rest of the afternoon watching the History Channel while Leland works in his garage — in addition to his street doc “side project,” he runs a tailoring business.

Around 5 PM, the group hears Courtney come downstairs and go back up. Tommy glances and sees that she’s hiding a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps.

Everyone’s about to let it go when Tommy gets another erection. Having explained his predicament last evening, along with his intimation that he suspects this development reflects a supernatural awareness, the group contemplates what to do before Terry decides to let Leland handle it.

He goes and tells Leland that his daughter snuck some alcohol upstairs. He goes to talk to her.

The group hears Leland go upstairs, followed by a thudding sound and a panicked yell from Leland. Jane, Tommy, Terrence, and Terry run upstairs to see Leland running down the hall, shielding his head. His daughter is standing outside her room, holding a snowglobe. The snowglobe levitates from her hands and launches itself at the back of Leland’s head. Broken glass, water, and blood flings everywhere.

Leland runs for the phone to dial 911. Tommy runs downstairs. Jane and Terrence try to reason with her, while Terry freaks out and launches himself at her. He tackles her to the ground, she scowls at him and mutters obscenities in a deep, unnatural voice, and the dust lifts from the carpet and scours his face. He goes running down the stairs and out of the house.

Courtney stands and starts moving down the stairs, followed by Terrence and Jane. Seeing the mass exodus, Tommy follows, as well.

By this time, Terry has gotten into his car and is starting it. Courtney and Terrence both rush for the car, looping around to the passenger’s side. He has no intention to let Terrence into the car while Courtney is there, so he pulls away. She grimaces and a window buckles as the safety glass breaks, causing the lattice to push inward. Terry responds by driving straight for her, planning to brake before he hits her. Terrence leaps out of the way and Terry doesn’t stop in time, sending her flying. She lies motionless, and Terrence goes over to her. Her eyes snap open and she begins shouting obscenities and struggling, although she is too drunk to effectively overcome him.

He brings her upstairs, and the group — except Shelly, still sitting on the couch — gathers around her. She continues to speak in obscenities in that same deep, unnatural voice, and identifies herself as a demon. Terry says that’s not true, and she asks how the whole Bill Toge thing went last night?

Terrence then tells the demon to leave, and Courtney abides by starting for the front door. Leland grabs her and waits for the police to come.

Emergency crews arrive and take statements — all to the tune that Courtney started acting irrationally, drinking, and throwing things. Courtney, Leland, Terrence, and Terry are taken to the hospital for their sustained injuries (Leland, Terrence, and Terry were all hit by “thrown” objects).

The three men are treated and released, and they return to Leland’s house to discuss what has happened. Leland indicates that she occasionally runs with a rough crowd, but she’s never done anything he’d consider too weird. Jane, Tommy, and Terrence finally decide to examine her room. Leland supervises. The group first notes a legal pad on her bed. It appears to be a stream-of-consciousness rant on the weird people who always visit her father, followed by something which Jane recognizes as an automatic writing attempt. It ends ominously with “I NEED A DRINK.” Further examination finds a slim jim or lockout tool between her mattresses, and her diary in her underwear drawer. Terrences breaks the lock on it, and finds nothing untoward — basically a self-conscious, somewhat angry girl concerned over her parents’ divorce and occasionally dabbling in Oujia boards. The whole slim jim thing was taught to her by an ex-boyfriend, and it’s something she considers useful information, but has never really used.

Afterward, Terrence asks if it would be possible to examine her mother’s house, and Leland explains that she is likely to be upset enough regarding her daughter’s apparent breakdown that a group of strangers snooping is out of the question.

Finally, as the evening winds down, everyone goes to sleep in preparation for tomorrow’s plans.

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PsychicMayhem

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