9 - Livestock Shed

8 - Mowed Field 10 - Barn
He didn't go near the shed just yet, not sure what to expect. He went to the right of it so the watcher on the farmhouse would lose sight of him. Around the shed was grass. As Derrek closed in, he could hear the pig noises louder. It really wasn't loud and sounded very artificial, from a very cheap box. It came from inside the shed somewhere.
Derrek stopped as soon as he passed the corner. He glanced back swiftly, the watcher was on his phone. Come on, move a bit so I can get to the house unseen. He waited longer but the watcher remained there. Derrek took the time, to wipe his boots, arms and hands through the grass, getting some of the mud off. He also wiped his flashlight and made sure the glass part and the button were clear. Really not looking forward to this laundry session.
He peeked around the corner again, but the watcher was off his phone and on full attention again, forcing Derrek back. Damn, he's going to wait there. Maybe I can take a look at the front of the shed. Seems like another trap, but I don't really have a lot of options. I'll just take a look.
Derrek stepped along with the shed and quickly saw more of the red light to the front of the shed. Derrek froze. In the middle of the red light was another figure. A bigger man with a pig face, a big sickle in one hand. He was looking straight at him. That red light, like a satanic pigman. Shit… but why isn't he doing anything? Derrek remained still, he wasn't standing in the light.
Pigman turned his head a bit, his free hand came up and wriggled with the mask. He didn't see me. The mask is probably in the way. Derrek took a step back, making sure he was fully out of his line of sight. I can use that. But damn, that sickle. It could be blunt, but still, I can't rush a man armed with something like that.
Derrek got out his rubber gun, reloaded it with bullets and a new pressure tube. Full-on shooting didn't work last time, not sure if I should try it again now. He got a closed to the shed now, through some gaps he could still spot the pig figure. The pig squealing sounds came just beyond the planks, the red light came faintly through the planks but it was also somewhere in front of the shed, shining at the pig man.
At the bottom of the shed, Derrek spotted some looser planks. Could I fit through there? I can try pulling one free, the sound isn't loud, but if I can time it with a squeal, it could work out. Going to get scolded again for property damage, but hey, I just survived a tractor chasing me. I'll take it. Derrek took one of the planks with both hands, waited for the audio file to repeat and together with a squeal, he pulled at it. The squeak of the nails intertwined with the pig's squeal as the plank came free. The shed could really use some refreshment.
"Warren?" A whisper came from the front of the shed. Well, that tiny voice does break the satanic spell. Derrek lay down the plank on the grass and peered through the other gaps through the shed. Pigman was still there.
He wasn't moving. Derrek grabbed the next plank, it'd be enough for him to get through. He waited for the squeal again and pulled. Only one half came loose with another round of squeaks.
"Warren, this isn't funny." The whisper came again. Derrek peered through the gaps again, this time he was moving, slowly. I cannot go round without the watcher seeing me, better make this worth is. He prepared for another pull, but saw something stick out from the hole he had already made. The edge of a crate was nearby, close enough to reach. Derrek checked the gaps, pigman was only a few seconds from the corner. He let loose of the half-attached plank, which remained floating on it's two nails, and pushed against the crate. It scratched the floor of the shed.
Pigman stopped, just before the corner, and held up his sickle toward the shed. His other hand came up and wriggled with the mask. Derrek heard some mumbling, but couldn't make out any words. Those masks really are a hassle, you can't see anything through them. Pigman pulled up the mask and stood looking inside the shed. He was about three meters off but Derrek heard his breathing, heavy and hastened. This guys is scared himself. If I could get him to drop the sickle, I could take him. Derrek looked at the piece of wood in front of him. Can't go whacking him over the head with this, but it could be a distraction.
Pigman strode into the shed with small steps. Derrek picked up the plank and inspected it. The nails were still peeking out from both sides. He tried twisting them, they wouldn't budge. Really can't go whacking him with this, way too dangerous. He's deeper inside now, should be fully blinded by the light now. The light and box seem to be together in the back of the shed, can't reach those without running into him. Derrek eyed the edge of the crate again. He's already scared, a few quick scares should be enough to get him reeling. Let's do this. Derrek thought with a grin growing on his face.
Through the gaps, he spotted pigman to the middle of the shed, just past the crate he had pushed. Derrek set the plank against the edge of the crate and shoved it as hard as he could. The crate hit something else, put up a bit of resistance and then seemed to topple it over. A clatter of wood came from inside, followed by a very manly high-pitched yelp.
"What the-" pigman released. Derrek came up, took a step back and hurled the plank over the left edge of the roof, hoping to hit the backside of the shed. He did. Derrek looked through the gap, just in time to see the pigman turn with another yelp from the sudden sound behind and above him. He didn't drop the sickle, but he started running franticly toward the front of the shed.
He'd forgotten about the crates. Derrek lost him through the gaps as he toppled over. A mixture of sounds erupted from the shed: high-pitched screaming, both scared and pained; a crash of wood on wood; but most importantly for Derrek, the ring of a piece of metal clattering. That's my cue.
Derrek rounded the corner with his rubber gun pulled. The light blinded him, but he spotted the sickle loose on the ground beside the work of art in the crates. He struggled to keep in a laugh. Pigman was intermixed with some wooden crates. The mask had, somehow, come down again, sideways. Pigman was still trying to get up, shouting into the piece of plastic covering his face. Poor guy, this really isn't his lucky day. He doesn't even know I'm here yet. Derrek watched the spectacle for a few more seconds, before pigman got off the mask. His eyes grew wide as he spotted Derrek with the gun fixed on him. He put up one hand as the other was still supporting him through the crates. Derrek was glad he didn't even glance at the sickle.
"I'm sorry," Pigman said with a tiny voice, "please don't shoot." His eyes started filling with tears. My, he's really afraid. Probably got talked into doing this by his friends. Derrek looked to his right, where he saw the farmhouse only barely. The shadow on top was visible though, a tiny light in his hand. Derrek stepped toward pigman, who started trembling in full. Derrek got beside him, holstered his gun and help up a hand.
"Don't try anything, or I will shoot you." Derrek said, trying a gruff voice. It sounded fake as hell in his own ears. But pigman sat there watching him, mouth open, eyes wet. Seemed to work. Derrek beckoned him with his hand, pigman got it and Derrek pulled him free.
"Did you hurt yourself?" Derrek asked, watching pigman's face strain as he put weight on his leg. The crate hadn't shattered, which was good for wounds, but it'd be one hell of a bruise.
"I'm okay." The boy said, his hand rubbing his leg. He clearly wasn't.
"Here, sit down on one of these. They seem sturdy enough from the crash they survived just now." Derrek said, the boy glanced at him but sat down. "Can you still move it up and down?" The boy stretched his leg outward with another pained expression, but it was moving. Good, he isn't fainting or anything so hopefully only bruised.
"What's your name?" Derrek asked.
"Peter," Peter pigman went through Derrek's head, he turned his face as a tiny smile passed over it. "Peter Warrick."
"So Peter, what are you doing here?" Derrek saw a flood of thoughts pass over his face. "The truth please. Or this could get a lot worse for you. Ashley already told me about Farmoween." Derrek said while plucking out her phone and activating the lockscreen which had the messages visible there. Peter looked stricken at the phone, Derrek pocketed it again. "So?"
"It wasn't my idea. Yves he—" Peter stumbled through his choice of words. Yes, come on, keep going. Peter's eyes went to the wall of the shed, where the farmhouse was. No, stop thinking, just spill. Need to get him on track.
"What about Yves? Ashley told me you planned this?" Derrek broke eye contact and walked around Peter to the back of the shed, he was sure he wouldn't try running with that leg. Peter's eyes followed him all the way, he searched for words but Derrek continued. "You know, harassing a cop is taken very seriously, even for kids. Nothing for your record, of course, you'll be free of that once you're of age. But kids sent to juvie never come out the same. I don't really see that as a solution, messing up a kids life that way." He said, stopping and fixating his gaze on Peter again. "But hey, it's your choice."
"I didn't plan this. Yves did, he came with the idea. Said we could have a blast and even make some money off it." Derrek's couldn't stop his eyes from frowning, money? They're getting paid for this?
"Who's paying you?"
"I don't know, Yves was arranging that."
"How much?"
"500 dollars. Each." What the hell? What kid wouldn't do that?
"And what were you supposed to be doing?"
"We just had to be here this evening, draw out the cops and scare them a bit. The place was already decorated and costumes prepared for us. My mom would kill me if I ever got a mask like this."
Huh, that's a lot of prep just to scare someone… and a lot of money.
"Did you see any of the people who set this up?"
"No," he glanced toward the shed wall again, "Yves organised that, he got the key this afternoon. He did say they were a bit shady, but they paid even before the act."
"He went alone?"
Peter nodded, "They told him to." So some precaution, a single description of a person is almost never enough. Everyone notices different things, general descriptions like height, weight, complexion, and age were good pointers but some details like walrus mustache, crooked nose, unibrow, o-legs, bitten fingernails, yellow teeth, smelly breath,… could topple a case. Let's hope Yves is as willing to talk as this one.
"You did well, Peter. I will put in a good word once we bring you in." Derrek took one of the zip-ties from his pouch. He should have brought more handcuffs. Peter pulled back as Derrek got close.
"What? Why can't you let me go, I helped you?" Peter grew some backbone and threw in an angry glare.
"Your friend almost chopped me to pieces with his tractor. You're all going to be brought in, and your help won't be forgotten." Derrek grabbed his arm.
"They'll know." Peter said, mostly to himself. "Snitches—"
"Get stitches, yes, I know the saying. Don't worry, you're not working for a mob here. Kids always get off easy, especially if you work with us. Make sure your friend talks about the people who paid you, and all will be fine." Derrek didn't hesitate and zipped both arms behind the boy. He used three zip-ties for it, one on each arm and one keeping the two together.
"They paid for our silence too."
"Kind of broke that already. Now, do you think you can walk?" Peter looked at him like he asked him to lick his elbow. He tried some pressure on the leg, but his face turned sour. "Hmm, thought so." Derrek said. "I'm going to lock you to the shed. Please don't go pulling on it. I don't think the shed can take much, wouldn't want to dig you out from beneath this roof." Peter didn't resist as Derrek zipped a pole from the shed's wall to Peter's zip-ties. He made sure to give him some wiggle room. Alone, he won't get out of this, but someone with some strong shears can get him out easily. Even with the reinforce zip-ties. Let's hope Ashley is still locked, I can bring her here and lock them in together.
"Are all of you good friends?" Derrek asked.
Peter hesitated for a bit. "Warren is a dick." Agreed. "I thought it would be him just now, would have been perfectly possible. I heard the tractor stop not so long ago, but couldn't see where he went. This mask really has tiny holes, can't see a thing. Warren always annoys people, weirdly some people like that. Like Ashley." Something passed over his face. Was that regret? Shame maybe?
"And you like Ashley?" Derrek asked. Peter inhaled sharply, his eyes snapped to Derrek's. Yep, teens are so obvious.
"I don't like like her, you know? Just…" He broke eye contact. "Either way, she only has eyes for Warren. And Dina only for Yves, I'm really the fifth wheel." Dina? That's a new one, probably the girl inside with the screams. Figures they're close together. And fifth wheel… hopefully that's literally.
Derrek wanted to question further but saw the somber expression on the boy's face. He really got dumped out here alone. I know how it feels, son. Don't worry, things will get better… well, somewhat.
Derrek coughed and wanted to move to the front of the shed, but he remembered the girl's phone. "Do you have your phone on you?" The boy looked toward his right pocket.
"Down there." He edged over so Derrek could reach it. Derrek got it out, saw the lockscreen again. All right, hackerman, round 2. 1-
"4832, please don't try something else. It will delete all content on too many attempts, really sucks." Derrek put in the code and the screen unlocked. Derrek tapped the green icon which looked like a chat app. There were no unread messages, last thread was Farmoween. It had the same messages Derrek had already seen on Ashley's phone. Derrek frowned.
"You didn't get any other messages?" Peter face sunk a bit again.
"No, I was expecting something too. Guess they forgot." Derrek cringed a bit. Damn, seems like that wasn't the first time either. Poor guy.
"Promise me one thing, will you?" Derrek said while pocketing the phone. He got out his notepad and scribbled down the code. "After this, find yourself some better friends." Peter sat watching him for a few seconds but gave him a curt nod. He's been thinking that himself. Just needs a little push. We all do sometimes.
Derrek pushed himself into the darkness outside the shed, he went back round to the back, where he'd pulled off the plank. All right, Derrek, you really need to take out the mastermind, mister watcher, Yves. They'll be scattered then. If I can make a run for the back door from here, I can startle them a bit. But he's probably seen me leaving the shed just now.
Derrek peek out from behind the shed toward the barn. His night vision was getting better, the tractor was in front of it, but nothing else he could see.The barn is also an option but I'll lose time with moving Ashley. If Warren hasn't released her yet, that is. I'm guessing not. He'll be staying nearby probably, not wanting to leave Ashley alone… Which makes it a perfect time to enter the house. Derrek peeked further beyond the shed and saw the farmhouse. The shadow on the roof was gone. A small light, reflected on an opened window, was visible on the first floor. Got a bit chilly? All right, here goes.
The barn was straight in front of him, the farmhouse more to the right. Derrek felt his leg muscles strain as he started running for the house. His eyes trained on the first floor's window, where he expected, and saw movement. The light moved erratically and caught on the window glass and another piece of glass, round and small. Derrek's heart skipped a beat as he recognized its shape. Scope! Gun! His mind shouted at him, he ducked to the left in reflex.
A shot fired from the window. Derrek didn't feel any sudden pain, except for his leg muscles straining from the effort. What the hell, they're shooting?! I need to get away. He ran to the left, circling away from the house, toward the barn. He glanced at the window, the wooden barrel was pointed straight at him. Can't turn back to the shed, he'll have a clear shot then. Need to move irregularly, moving target. He pivoted and jumped to the right, then ducked low again to the left. The door isn't far off, but the closer I get, the clearer the shot will be.
Another shot rang. Derrek didn't hear an impact on the ground, he only heard his heart beating in his ears. He was glad he wasn't in the fields, the ground was sturdy here. Derrek kept jumping around. Screw it, I'll make for the barn. A bit more to the left and I'll be past his view. Damn, move.
He jumped back a bit, another shot rang, no pain. Close one. He sprinted forward again, checked to the right and saw he passed out of sight from the window. The wooden barrel pulled inside. He stopped for a second, looking at the door. The door, I can try—
The window to the back opened, on the same level. Fuuuuck! He couldn't circle away from this window, it was straight above the door and with full view to the barn.
Another shot rang. Damn, I'm really using up all my luck today. The barn was some ten meters in front of him, the tractor, which had almost killed him, was closer, a good five meters. He ducked low again and made for the tractor. No further shot came, but he still dived behind the tractor. His arms caught most of the fall, a shock still went through his shoulders, back, bottoms and little toes. His face hit a patch of grass, covered in mud. Aw man, how do they do that in the movies. Ground isn't soft to land on. He spat out some of the sand he got in his mouth as he got up slowly, his body scolding him. He took a few shuddering breaths, his heart still beating wildly in his chest.
Staying low, he dared a peek from behind the tractor seat. The window was still open, a wooden barrel still aimed toward him. I need a window to get to the barn. It's not that far anymore but I'm done pushing my luck. He checked the ignition, empty. Of course. He gave his body a few more breaths to get ready for another run. Deep in, another in, and full out. In, in, out. Come on, Derrek. He got bit higher and waved his arm once, hoping to cause him to fire. The teen didn't. He's good, only taking a sure shot. Would make a great sniper.
He peeked again, only barely making out the shape behind the window. Wait, he'll be struggling to see something too. I can use that. Derrek got out his flashlight, forwarded the slider to max brightness. He got ready to run, aimed his flashlight toward the window, averted his eyes to save his own night vision, and pressed the button.
An exclamation came from the window. Derrek didn't check the window again, he turned off his flashlight and ran.
If I ever survive this, I'm taking up cardio again.

Continue reading: 10 - Barn

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