It Came From The Kitchen: Part 2
Even though we felt jumpy when we first arrived, the past two days passed without incident. In fact, it has been rather pleasant. The moon in the sky has been bright and full, the skies clear of any clouds, and the temperature was so comfortable that we spent these last few nights sleeping outside. I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors, and when I meditated the fresh air made my mind even clearer. The entire environment was a boost on our morale.
Right now Heero and I were in the living room. I was reading a book while Heero looked over some blueprints to an OZ base. The other three were outside doing who knew what, but everyone few minutes someone laughed, which was all I needed to hear to know that they were still alive.
We were also pretty comfortable inside the house, but we all stayed out of the basement (it was filthy after all), and passed through the kitchen as quickly as possible. After Quatre told us what he felt, none of us remained in there longer than necessary. It was silly after all and hell on my pride to be afraid of the kitchen, but Quatre’s ‘talent’ has yet to be proven wrong and this was not the place to try to prove otherwise. If he told me to walk backwards while clucking like a chicken, that’s what I’ll do.
I watched, amused, as Quatre chased Duo through the field. In our game of Truth or Dare, Quatre dared Duo to eat a dead worm. Duo complied with the dare, only to plant a huge kiss on him after he’d eaten it. Since the kiss wasn’t a dare, I figured I’d just lay here in the grass and let them argue it out. That was until Quatre caught Duo and started to choke him. Not wanting to be a witness to one of my fellow pilot’s murder, I decided to head inside and get something to drink.
I made my way up the steps easily, and opened the door that lead from the back porch to the kitchen. I didn’t have any special senses like Quatre, but I have a strong survival instinct, and that instinct screamed at me to stop where I was.
I glanced around the kitchen, but everything appeared to be in order. The tile was still as ugly as the first day I saw it, and nothing was touched or moved. Yet there was something different, and it was more than what I could see with my eyes.
I could just kill Duo! I can’t believe he kissed me after eating a worm! ACK! And a dead one at that! This was all his fault anyway. I had to get back at him for daring me to make out with a tree stump. It was covered with those fire ants! Of course I didn’t know that until they were biting me all over my face, which by the way was itching bad enough to make me want to skin myself!
“Quatre... can’t... breathe...”
“Serves you right,” I snarled, reluctantly releasing him. “That was a gross thing to do.”
“Hey,” he sputtered, coughing, “it was your fault!”
I got up and started walking back to the house. He was a step behind me. “No, it was your fault. You made me make out with an ant-infested tree stump, so this is me getting back at you.”
“Did it have to be a dead worm though?”
I couldn’t help my smile. “Yes.”
“I’ve created a monster,” I heard him mumble. “Anyway, I’m getting us some drinks.” He glanced around. “Looks like Tro already went inside.”
“Yeah.” I just happened to look at the porch windows to see Trowa. His back was to me, so I couldn’t see what he was doing, but it appeared he was just standing there in the doorway. “Duo, what’s he doing?”
Damn. Quatre didn’t realize how strong he was. He was really choking me there. I wasn’t kidding when I said I couldn’t breathe. This was still his fault, no matter what he said. At least the ants were ALIVE, not a dead, slightly decomposed worm. As if kissing him was fun either. Yuck. We’re good friends, but not THAT good of friends, know what I mean?
“Duo, what’s he doing?”
“Eh?” I looked up, confused. I didn’t see anything strange until I saw Trowa standing there, seemingly staring off into space. But that was as un-Trowa like as you could get. So I sped towards the door. I didn’t know what his problem was, but I would find out. “Quatre, don’t move!”
I threw the door to the staircase open, and thundered up the stairs to come to a screeching halt behind Trowa. It seemed he was having a staring contest with Heero and Wufei, but they weren’t looking at him. Instead, they were staring off into space too. In fact, they looked kinda... fearful.
So I snapped. “What god damnit?!”
All three of them jumped as if they didn’t know I was there. But I made enough noise that I was sure Quatre heard me, and he was outside.
“Nothing,” Trowa said, voice as smooth as cucumber. I bet I could catch him doing the horizontal polka with Treize and his voice would sound exactly as it did now. I wish I could be that cool under fire.
I was pulled out of my own thoughts when a bottle of water was suddenly in my view. I took it from Trowa, and stepped aside as he brushed past me and went back outside. I looked to Heero and Wufei for answers, but they already had their backs to me, heading for the living room. I sighed and gave it up as a lost cause. It there was anyone I could never get information from, it would be those three.
I snapped to attention when I heard a door open with no other movement. I waited another ten seconds, listening intently for any sound. When nothing happened I glanced back at Wufei, who had his eyes fixed on something in the direction of the kitchen. After another few seconds he shook his head, reached into his sack to slide out a knife. I slid my handgun outside of my waistband and followed him into the kitchen.
All of a sudden Wufei stopped and visibly relaxed. I couldn’t see what he was looking at however. The refrigerator was blocking my view. Once I stepped closer to Wufei, I could see that it was only Trowa. I was about to go back to looking at the blueprints, but the expression on Trowa’s face stopped me. He was looking at us but not seeing us. Wufei and I both glanced behind us. Nothing was there. We turned back to Trowa again and his expression still hadn’t changed.
“Trowa, what is it?” Wufei asked. Still no response. But then there was a tingle in my mind, and an awareness of my surroundings kicked in. There was something wrong in this, the same sensation we felt on our first day here. That sensation was here now, trying with all of its might to make us understand. I felt my eyes unfocus, my mind open up, and all of my senses sharpened to understand what was happening...
“What god damnit?!”
I jerked, and suddenly I felt as if I had been put back into my body. Duo was standing behind Trowa, looking very much alarmed. Trowa said something to him that I didn’t hear, and reached into the refrigerator, withdrawing three bottles of water. He handed one to Duo and kept the other two as he left. I turned and went back into the living room, sitting down next to my blueprints but no longer interested in them. Wufei sat down where he was before, clearly in the same frame of mind I was in.
“Did you feel that?” he asked.
I didn’t answer, but he took my silence as assent.
I was getting agitated. It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t snowing, and there wasn’t water on the floor. Yet that wet, squishy sound wouldn’t stop. It was the middle of the night, I was tired, and I wasn’t in the mood for shenanigans. So if that was Duo playing some kind of sick joke, I was going to give him the ass kicking of his life.
Heero was about two feet away from me in his sleeping bag, seemingly unaffected by the noise. As much as I admired his ability to block out distractions, I wasn’t going to try to tolerate this.
“Duo, stop it. That’s annoying.”
“Duo, knock it off. I’m getting pissed.”
It continued still.
I got up, grabbed my flashlight and went to the kitchen with the image of throttling someone in mind. So you can say I was very surprised when I opened the door to find that not only was Duo not in the kitchen, no one else was there either.
And the noise had stopped.
Satisfied, I went back into the bedroom and laid down to sleep. Not even two minutes afterwards the noise started again, and just like before when I went to the kitchen it stopped. This time Heero had come behind me. For some reason, the darkness of the kitchen and the way his silhouette was framed by the moonlight, put a little fear in me.
“I’m sleeping outside with the others,” was all I said as I marched through the kitchen and onto the back porch.
Duo, Quatre and I weren’t making a lot of noise, so we were surprised when Wufei emerged from the house. I thought he was going to give us a lecture on how to be considerate to one’s neighbors, but instead he asked Quatre if he could share his sleeping bag and pillow for the night.
He dropped quickly to the ground, rolled to his side and seemed to have immediately fallen asleep. I knew he was pretending, but I decided not to question him about it. Instead, I sat up and watched the house, waiting for Heero to come and join us.
He never did.
I didn’t think we were being loud, but I guess I was wrong. Wufei came out, and every step he took was full of purpose. But all of that changed when he walked up to my sleeping bag. He seemed to be almost... embarrassed. It was obvious that whatever he was about to say, he didn’t like in the least.
“Quatre, is it alright if I... share your pillow and sleeping bag with you?”
“Sure Wufei,” I answered, scooting over so that he could take the other half. He slid himself in, rolled to his side with his back to me, and stilled as if asleep. I looked behind me to Duo, and he simply shrugged his shoulders. Trowa sat up and turned in the direction of the house, waiting for Heero I guess. Shrugging for the sake of shrugging, I laid back down as Duo continued to tell his ghost story.
I wonder why Wufei didn’t bring his pillow and stuff out here?
I had just finished my story when Quatre fell asleep. Whoever knew that he was such a horror freak? He has the entire Stephen King collection, and has read them so many times he nearly has them all memorized! That’s a lot of freakin’ books, I tell ya.
Jeez Louise, I’m restless! I could probably run around this field eight times before I break a sweat. I just felt antsy and the need to be doing something. This was my down time, and here I was dying to get back to the action. Argh!
I had just flopped to my side for the hundredth time when Trowa graced me with a look that Wufei would’ve been proud of. Taking the cue that I was starting to be a pain in the ass, I decided to go ahead and take a spin.
“I’m going for a run. I’ll be back in an hour.”
Fifty seven minutes later, I found Trowa still sitting there, waiting for something.
I watched as Wufei stalked off, not entirely sure of what to think. I heard the noise too, but I didn’t consider it threatening until Wufei started to yell. I knew Duo was outside with Quatre and Trowa, and I didn’t think anything strange was going on until Wufei stiffly walked out of the house without looking back. The noise was unusual, but this house was old and could create a lot of unexplainable noises. However, considering the way the noise just stopped when we entered the kitchen caused more questions to come up than answers.
I eventually went back to bed but I left the kitchen door open, thinking that a closed door caused the noise. As soon as my head touched the pillow the noise started again, the same squishing as if someone had mud in their shoes and kept shifting their weight from foot to foot. The squishing continued, exactly three point two seconds apart, never increasing or decreasing in speed or forcefulness.
There was a large metal air duct in the wall, but instead of it being at the top of the wall, it was at floor level. There was a wrought iron cover over the duct, made to look like a metal picket fence. The bars though were wide enough that you could stick your fist through without your hand getting stuck. The duct transferred sounds from the kitchen to this room, as the kitchen and this room shared the same wall. That, I thought, could amplify the sounds to be as annoying as they were. Yet, when I was on my way back to the kitchen the noise stopped again. So I decided to wait in the arch of the doorway for the sound to occur.
I waited there for the rest of the night with nothing to keep me company except silence.