Two friends explore an urban legend by taking a wrong turn on a bike path, but what they find may lead to no escape!
Boxed In by Morgan Moore
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It was an average day in the small town of Xenia. The weather was warm and humid. In the sky the sun was just beginning to set, bathing the small town in a mix of blue, orange and pink light.
Two boys, both in their mid teens, walked down one of the bike paths, holding gas station slushies. They walked and sipped until they reached the town bike hub and moved over to a shaded area for a bit of rest.
“Jeez it’s hot today.”
“No kidding. I feel sticky and grimy too. Definitely going to need to wash up when I get home.”
“Well then we should get going.”
They started down the paved path, but they soon stopped when confronted by a diverging pathway. The path wasn’t paved like the rest of the trail they were on, rather this part of it led off into trees and bushes. It almost looked like a jungle to the boys.
“What is this Kyle?”
“Oh… it’s just this path… it always creeps me out… ” Kyle replied, his voice soft but his words were heavy and hung in the air between the two.
Kyle peered down the path, but to Daniel it looked like any other part of the land surrounding the city… dirty and overgrown with wildlife, the ground covered with dead leaves and trash. Normal everyday Xenia.
“What about this is creepy?” Daniel asked.
Kyle turned his head away from the pathway to look at his friend. “You’ve never heard about Patty Short Daniel?” Kyle asked.“Who?” Daniel responded. Kyle chuckled a little bit. “Yeah, I guess that would make sense. How could you have heard of it with you having only lived here for a few months now.”
He was right. Daniel had moved to Xenia in March and while his dad was quick to get comfortable in the town due to his job, he and his mother had mostly just been at home when not running errands.
Daniel had only met Kyle since they lived on the same street, his parents electing not to have him start in a local school since the school year was almost over. As such, Daniel hadn’t really interacted with anybody else his own age.
Kyle took a loud sip from his slushie.
“Well, it’s hard to say how much of it is true, I only heard it from my friend’s older brother, but it is something really messed up.”
“Then why bring it up?” Daniel questioned before taking a sip from his own cup.
“‘Because you asked about why that path freaked me out. Aren’t you a little curious? Or are you just scared?” Kyle replied, his tone still the same soft and heavy mix, but it gained a bit of its normalcy when he questioned the bravery of his friend.
“Well if you stopped to tell me then you might as well finish the story. Besides, I’m not scared… ” Daniel told Kyle.
“Alright… alright. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Kyle responded before taking another sip. The two boys looked at each other and then towards the path. “There was this girl named Patty Short. My friend’s brother and her went to the same school together when they were about our age. Anyways I guess she started to uh, develop early, if you know what I mean, and she started getting attention from a lot of people.
Well I guess she started to lean into it and became popular… like mega popular with everybody; boys especially. So she starts to date a lot of boys and I don’t mean seriously date, just go out with them and mess around. Time goes on, and she eventually found somebody she liked. Liked liked.
Things got intense, and while she seemed to be really happy, there were some who were totally jealous. Well one boy in particular really didn’t take kindly to the idea that this girl he was head over heels for was now unavailable, and this pissed him off royally… and he began stalking her… staying in the distance and trying not to be seen by her everywhere she went. Really freaky stuff.
Just before school let out for the year, Patty vanishes. Some people say they saw her around town, some say they saw her leave town one night on the bike path, but nobody knows for certain… she just disappeared.
Now my friend’s brother said he knew the truth… that the boy who would follow her saw her walking one night down here and somehow got her to go down that path. They walked on and come to an abandoned house, and Patty got talked into going inside.
Things didn’t go as planned, and when Patty tried to get away from the psycho he knocked her out, stuffed her in a rain water barrel, and buried her in the backyard… but she wasn’t dead! Well, he kept her alive down there with just the tiniest hole for air and whatever food and water he brought her. She was now completely his.”
Kyle finished and took another loud sip.
Daniel however stood in silence… stunned, horrified silence. He had gone pale, and goosebumps popped-out all over his arms and legs…and his expression… pure terror.
“You… you can’t be serious.” Daniel finally spoke out.
“I am. I mean as serious as I can be… it’s an urban legend after-all… or some crap like that.” Kyle replied nonchalantly.
There was a silence between the two, amplifying the growing cricket song as the sun sunk low in the sky.
“So… what happened?” Daniel asked. “What do you mean?” “Like, did they find her?” “Oh… I mean obviously they tried to find her… but some people say she was dead… or that her family had found her and kept it secret… moved away. Most believe she may still be alive in that barrel, waiting for her boyfriend to find her.” Kyle explained.
“What about the boy… did they catch him?” Daniel questioned.
“Nope. Everybody knew it was him, but I guess the cops could never pin it on him.”
Silence once more fell between the two boys.
Daniel occasionally took small sips from his drink, his stomach feeling uneasy due to Kyle’s story. It couldn’t be true… could it? The story he had just heard was too horrific… yeah bad things happened to kids, but he just couldn’t wrap his head around this one.
“Wanna go down there?” Kyle asked suddenly. “What?” Daniel responded, startled. “You want to go down the path… see for ourselves if the story is true or not?” Daniel looked on in disbelief. “But I thought you were creeped out by it… why do you want to go?” Kyle chuckled a little bit. “Yeah, but you know what they say… you gotta face your fears! Are you too scared to go down there?” He asked Daniel teasingly.
Daniel gave his friend a scowl and started down the path without him. Kyle chuckled again and started down the path as well.
The duo walked through the trees and overgrowth for a while, batting away at mosquitoes. By this point the light was scarce, but there was enough to see where they were going.
Minutes passed and Daniel was beginning to think the story was simply made up, and this uneventful walk through the overgrown weeds of Xenia wasn’t helping.
But after one final stretch of bushes, the boys found themselves standing before a dilapidated house surrounded by a half-standing fence and piles of trash… but most menacing of all were the blue plastic rain water barrels that stood at various locations in the yard.
Daniel couldn’t believe his eyes... everything Kyle described in the story was here and then some.
“Jesus…” He muttered, the slushie in his hand dropping to the ground.
“It’s true. Everything is true.” Kyle said flatly.
The two boys looked at each other, and in a move spurred by adrenaline and youthful stupidity, began wandering the property.
They poked their heads into some of the barrels only to find them filled with brackish water. They looked at the house in unison.
“What do you think… wanna go check it out?” Kyle asked his friend.
Daniel looked at his friend and then again at the building. He couldn’t believe that Kyle wanted to go in… this was the guy who had said he was afraid of the path to begin with.
“Well?” Kyle asked again.
Daniel found himself unable to speak. On the one hand he was scared utterly shitless and wanted nothing to do with this horror show… but, and he hated to admit this, he was curious. He had already gone this far, why not go just a little bit more? His eyes fell on the garage attached to the house.
“The garage. I say let’s check out the garage.” Daniel responded sternly. “Alright, it’s your call… lead the way.” Kyle replied.
Daniel gulped… of course Kyle would make him go first. He had been egging him on for the majority of the day. As much as he wanted to leave, he had told himself he simply had to close this chapter, he had to have the knowledge if the story was true.
The young man began to move towards the garage slowly, his heart pounding faster and faster with each step.
When he reached the garage, Daniel found himself unable to reach out and open the door. His fear paralyzed him, as his heart began to feel like it was going to burst out of his body. Standing there he could feel every inch of his body tensing up and sweating bullets.
He forced himself to throw an arm forward and open the door with a fury.
Daniel walked inside and looked around. The floor was unpaved, only dirt and some weeds covered the surface.
Besides some broken shelves and trash, nothing else was present… no girls in barrels or maniac kids… just good ol’ neglect. Daniel sighed and scolded himself for being such a scaredy-cat.
He turned around to leave, and stopped in his tracks. In a corner by the door was a chunk of earth that had been dug up. Thunderous heart pounding became the soundtrack to Daniel’s own private horror film… one he was living in!
His brain told him to run away, but his body didn’t listen… and unbelievably moved towards the hole.
When he got to the hole he peered into the darkness. Inside was a wooden box, half covered with dirt and looking just as decayed as the vast majority of the garage and yard. But that didn’t catch his eyes the most… no, that dubious honor would go to the puncture holes in the box and a rectangular cut out near the upper edge of the box… through which Daniel saw two, cold eyes. Dead eyes.
Daniel backed away quickly, his breathing becoming ragged. His mind raced in every direction… It was true, everything Kyle had told him was true.
Daniel finally gained enough of his faculties to move towards the door.
WHAM! Daniel found himself on the ground face down. Blood began to spill from the back and side of his head. Standing over him was Kyle, a shovel gripped in his hand.
“I’m sorry Dan, but I have to. You should have just said ‘no’ to coming down here. Shame, I liked you, I really did. That’s kinda the problem though. We’re starting school soon and, well, I just know you’re going to be popular with everybody and that would mean we wouldn’t have any time together, and we can’t have that. So, here we are. But don’t worry, I’ll visit you as often as possible. Besides, you’ll have company when I’m not around.”
Kyle smiled, tossed the shovel down, and exited the room.
The young man exited the garage as Daniel laid there, blood pooling around his body. His eyes were wide open as his body twitched.
After a minute or two Kyle returned, dragging one of the barrels with him. He laid the barrel down on it’s side and with some effort, and a few well paced kicks, managed to stuff Daniel inside.
Kyle righted the barrel, walked over to the door and exited again as the sun set and night took over.
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