It Escapes Me
By: Chris Darkes - September 24, 2014
Category : Shoe Factory Road
I’ve been writing a lot recently about inspirations for Shoe Factory Road, real life scary stories, haunted places, and eerie people. So that led me to begin thinking why didn’t I just start sending you a teaser to the next episode of Shoe Factory Road ? Well without further ado, I present to you a preview of the next episode…
Rain fell hard as the floodlights from Old Orchard’s State Penitentiary cut through the darkness. Sirens blared through the stark, paint chipped hallways. Bill “The Butcher” Cottington, an escaped inmate, dodged strobes of light in the courtyard as he ran for the exit. Convicted on seven counts of murder: including mutilation, torture, and kidnapping. A life sentence was in the cards. That is, until now…
The sound of guard dogs chasing and howling became muffled by the rain slamming across the grass. It was the kind of storm that would drown out your own yells. Just as the spotlight raked over a section of the fence, Bill appeared right behind it. Silhouetted by the distant arching lights behind him, he had timed the strobes perfectly. In one move, he mid-leaped into the chain-link fence and threw his orange jumpsuit over the barbed wire. A few spikes of razor wire spilled through, as Bill’s hand gripped down hard. A quick twist of agility put Bill over the wall with ease. By the time the spotlight crossed back over the area, all that remained were the tattered remnants of the jumpsuit, whipping in the torrents of rain.
The prison was surrounded by endless pine and maple trees. A long, secluded back-road sat between the trees and the prison, and curved up ahead. Spanning almost as far as the eye could see, the surrounding forest blocked almost all moonlight, with the occasional slice peaking through. Bill had cut his hand badly, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from running full-out. As the prison fell away in the distance, Bill raced up the dark road; lined only by the occasional street lamp that must have been 50 years old. He kept running until his veins felt like tar. His heart was echoing so loud it was pulsing his brain. He figured he had been running nonstop for at least an hour. Crazy what desperate people do. The road was shaped like a python, and should have lead him to the main part of town. Bill remembered passing it on the prison bus in. As he sprinted through the violent rainstorm, the empty road seemingly went on forever. Then, like clockwork — faint headlights blasted around the corner like two parallel flashlights in the night.
This was his chance. As long as it wasn’t the police. Perhaps this could be his next victim. After all, he had been in prison for six months without killing. Too long if you asked him. The pavement shimmered the headlights. Nearly blinding, now only 1000 feet away. He arched his left thumb in the direction of the vehicle approaching. A smirk smeared across his face. As he squeezed his hitchhiker thumb, blood came oozing down his palm. The rain washing it away. Now the car’s features became a little more evident. A turquoise blue station wagon with the pedal floored. Wherever the car was headed, it was in a hurry.
Bill had to get this ride if he wanted out. The car swung by close enough for Bill to see who was behind the wheel. A blue collar type man who looked like he had just seen a ghost, a female sitting shotgun (around the same age as the man, and just as shell-shocked), and a four year old girl who’s face had been glued to the scenery out the window. Bill locked eyes with the little girl for a quick moment as the two of them were caught catching a glimpse of the other. It was as if this girl had seen him before. The car sped by without hesitation. Crimson tail lights peeled themselves off Bill, as he spun to watch the car trail off to a vanishing point.
Bill caught himself standing there, alone. The rain didn’t let up. Not one bit. Wild fingers of lightening cracked. He took quick shelter in the woods. Out of sight. The huge, dense trees hanging over acted as an umbrella , even if some were stripped of leaves. He crouched down to collect his thoughts. The plan: get an unassuming trucker to drop him off at a rest stop. There he could clean up, change clothes, and boost a car. No such luck as not a single truck or car had come down the road before or since that station wagon.
The police had probably already sent out an APB and began their manhunt. The pressure was mounting. The clock, ticking. He had to leave town, and fast. Maybe the main part of town was an option. There he could catch a bus and vanish, he thought. Too risky. The cops probably began their search there, anyways. Then he noticed something. A faint smell of hickory smoke. Where could that be coming from? The smell was permeating. It had to be from the woods. Following the smell, he advanced inland. The sound of rain continued to pound on a million tree branches, as a thin fog rolled in. Deeper into the woods.
He followed the smell a good two miles in. The murky forest made it nearly impossible to navigate, as branches twisted and snapped around his legs. A small wooden cabin appeared in the faint distance. The chimney billowed tiny parachutes of smoke. An ax wedged in a tree stump next to pile of wood, neatly stacked. That smell was incredible. Someone must have been cooking a late-night snack. Bill was cautious though, as the area was probably going to begin crawling with cops any moment.
Though, 6 or 7 miles miles from the prison wasn’t a bad place to be. The old Chevy pickup, parked off to the side of the cabin, was a viable option to get even further. Maybe it could be a quick boost. OR maybe he could satisfy his craving for killing, eat a home cooked meal, and then head out of town on a full stomach. Now the plan was coming together.
Bill continued traipsing towards the cabin, still trying not to lose his balance over the rotted trees. He approached the stump. With all his might, he muscled the ax to his fingertips. He forgot how great a feeling it was, gripping the handle with both hands. Admiring the blade. He then turned his attention to the cabin. As light slashed through the tiny windows, he leaned against the cedar. A quick peak inside revealed a rustic cabin with a rocking chair, a crotchet rug, and a metal pail dangling over the fireplace. Small streams of smoke corkscrewed from it. Whatever was in that bucket smelled like chili. The game of cat and mouse began to take shape. He tightened his grip on the ax and smiled at the possibilities.
Casing the perimeter, Bill noticed the garage attached to the back. The cabin had a back door with a broken screen lifelessly whipping in the wind. A dim light shimmered through the garage window. Bill inched closer: a construction lamp hanging from the bare wooden rafters. Behind him a tree branch CRACKED. Bill snapped his neck in the direction of the noise. Startled, he raced behind a huge fallen tree.
His heart was beating again rapidly. Moving a fern out of his view, his eyes scanned the surrounding area. The tiny cabin lights didn’t improve his vision. A small forest creature must have overestimated its weight when climbing. Then something scurried across the forest. The sound inching closer. Bill was ready for anything, now gripping the ax tightly. Blood running through him like electricity. Closer the sound moved. Closer. And finally… BOOM! The sickening sound of a bear trap snapped with all it might. Coughing up leaves and branches in its wake. Quickly followed by the sound of an animal gasping its last breath. Bill’s eyes went wide. A hunter who’s about to be hunted, he thought to himself.
The back door flew open. Someone ran to the trap. Bill hesitated to move for moment. Waiting. This could reveal how many people lived here. He listened intently. Not moving a muscle, but…nothing. Bill wanted to peak, but in a flash the screen door opened and quickly shut. Now was his chance. The element of surprise. With his back to the tree he craned his neck to view the screen door. Nobody there. Bill spun around the dead tree, never taking his eyes off the door and raced towards it. He hesitated a split second, but the thought of killing again was too insatiable to back down. Pulling the screen door ever so gently, Bill held the ax firmly in his other hand, ready to swing at any moment. He wedged his foot between the door and the frame to slide the rest of his body through first, before closing the door in a whisper.
The room he entered was a different angle of the earlier image. The fireplace still roaring. The rocking chair. The crochet rug. But from this angle he noticed something else. A pair of binoculars on the window ledge. Out of curiosity, he looked through the viewfinder. The angle was on the tree stump Bill had taken the ax from. Bill pulled away from the view letting it sink in.
He slowly turned his head as his body followed, looking for clues. On a small shelf sat a bunch of books. Books on hunting, psychology of serial killers, medical books, taxidermy, and “The Most Dangerous Game.” Wedged in between these books was an old scrapbook. Pulling the scrapbook out, he placed it on a nearby coffee table. After making sure nobody was behind him, he leveled the ax on one shoulder and thumbed through the pages. Small newspaper clippings. All the articles were about convicts. More specific—serial killers. All who had gone missing.
For now this is where I’ll leave the story… I’ll follow up with the rest soon.
Just Kidding…here is part 2 of Shoe Factory Road Episode 2!!