Chapter 9:

Free Panic NOT in the Disco

Zero.


“Three.”Bookmark here

Enang ran to the corner of the living room. She’s trembling, gritting her teeth as she pointed her machete outwards with her right hand and hugged herself with the other. Shivering. She looked from right to left, with every cycle stiffening her limbs as the sound of the monsters marching outside dawned on their doorstep.Bookmark here

Something like a flash mob, like the kids would say. Although, no one was having fun. Everyone else in the room was holding down the door, while those that remained at the back screamed at them to do a better job or to hold their positions. Pretending to be dead was out of the question.Bookmark here

“Seven.”Bookmark here

Uncle remained in his seat amidst the chaos, internalizing one of those shows again. He was doing some hand signs while mouthing some words.Bookmark here

“I need to tap into my inner potential, my willpower, my chakra.” He took a sharp breath. “Greater Protection. Strength Buff. Greater Speed. Greater Reflexes. Luck. Extra Luck. Maximum Luck. Maximum Virility. God Help Me. God Help Us. I Can’t Do This—Buff. Oh God, I Am Gonna Die. Stone Skin. Nerves of Steel. Maximum Metal Joints. Super Supermarket Sale. Super Smash Br—no, that’s a game, dammit. I need to find better buffs.” Bookmark here

He seemed fine. The new guy, Joey, was different. Bookmark here

“Thirteen.”Bookmark here

“You fucked up!”Bookmark here

“It’s your fault!”Bookmark here

“We could’ve been better without you. Now, we’re going to die!” Bookmark here

One of the men held Joey by his collar and shook him. He punched his face. He punched his face again. Jesus, that was a lot of punching. Yet, Joey didn’t defend himself. He let his arms hang by his side as he received the blows with a nervous smile, begging, saying sorry for the things he’d done. He would only clench his fists right before the punches would land to brace himself for the pain. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry…”Bookmark here

The man spat on the floor, reeled back, and punched Joey again. “No, you’re fucking not. You’re probably happy. You’re fucking smiling. You’ve doomed us all, and you’re fucking smiling. I’m so fucking disappointed in you, man.”Bookmark here

“It’s all my fault… I’m sorry. I was...” Joey grimaced at the pain that bloated his face. He kept his smile on to avoid squirming. “Please, just tell them to calm down, and I’ll make this right. I’ll sort this out. I’m good at fighting. I’ll kill them all to keep us safe.”Bookmark here

He dropped him to the floor. Joey fell and gave them a good laugh. He pointed at them, wiped the blood dripping from his busted lips, but the same man spat at him again. Bookmark here

“You better fucking do it.” He turned to the crowd and raised his voice. “Joey told us to calm the fuck down, and grab anything that could be used as a weapon. The girls will be at the back. He would protect you while the rest of the boys would be by the door.”Bookmark here

“Seventeen.”Bookmark here

Enteng counted seventeen people along with George. Six of them might as well be non-combatants, and eleven could pick up a weapon and probably fight. Maybe ten. Yeah, ten of them could fight. Bookmark here

Enang had been surrounded by the other young girls. She’s a sweet kid, but she’s probably too occupied right now to even notice them. Uncle had a eureka moment, scrambled into the kitchen, and walked to Enteng’s side with his trusty kitchen knife, a handful of super glue, and a thick headband. Bookmark here

Everyone didn’t notice the man that beat up Joey. He shook his head, visibly clicked his tongue, and turned to Joey to let out some steam. Enteng had to do something. Bookmark here

“So, what’s the plan?” Uncle nudged Enteng. “I was trying to escape when the monster got here, so I was able to, at least, assemble a makeshift rope that could help us down from the second floor. I say we take Joey, Sis, George, and leave the rest of them to die.”Bookmark here

But should they escape again? Should they run? Bookmark here

It would never end. They would be on the run. Soon, they’d run out of food, force themselves to fight, and get slaughtered like cattle. His legs twisted him to the ground once again. He gazed at the door. This was it. He grinned. This was his end. George was safe. Uncle would be fine and could escape on his own, maybe along with Enang. At least, he would die in the blaze of glory. He couldn’t care less about everyone else. Bookmark here

“Nah.” Bookmark here

Enteng smiled at Uncle. Uncle didn’t smile back; he busied himself by smearing glue over the outer surface of his headband. He could at least get Joey since that was what Uncle wanted. Bookmark here

“Help me at least to calm them down and save the poor guy.”Bookmark here

He turned to Enang. Bookmark here

“Let me borrow your machete for a bit.” If he died, then this might urge her to escape with Uncle and probably live. Bookmark here

Enang agreed. She skittered forward and handed him the machete herself with a firm gaze. Sweet kid. She needed to live. He might as well kill their leader to give them ample time to escape. Bookmark here

“Here’s a Greater Intimidation Buff.” Uncle tapped Enteng’s shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.Bookmark here

Enteng patted his head. “How does that work?” Bookmark here

“You’ll see.”Bookmark here

“Alright.”Bookmark here

The man kicked Joey again. Right, he forgot about him. Bookmark here

Enteng marched forward. He caught the attention of some of the boys manning the door with clubs in their hands. He sighed, slouched, and lowered his chin to bring out his grave authoritative tone. This worked with the younger ones that he handled before retiring. Bookmark here

“I need you all to calm down.” His attention jumped from one person to another as he tightened his grip on the machete. “Someone, please open that door for me.”Bookmark here

One of the boys, probably the youngest one, nodded and rested his trembling hand at the doorknob. The man that kicked Joey turned, scowled, and stepped to block his path. He’s taller than him, but he’s not as jacked as Benok. A white line appeared. Bookmark here

He scoffed and spread his arms wide to shadow him. “Who the fuck do you think you—”Bookmark here

Uncle punched him in the face. Bookmark here

“Greater Intimidation.” Bookmark here

Enteng grinned as the man fell to the floor, cold. Uncle snatched George from the table and disappeared into the shadows. Sweet kid. Pretty violent, though. He signaled the boy to open the door. He readied himself and stole a glance to his back. Bookmark here

Enang was confused, just realizing that Uncle knocked a muscled man out cold. Joey was apologizing to everyone for Uncle punching a guy in the face. And Uncle squatting on the floor with a bright smile as he busied himself with his arts and crafts project. They’ll be fine. Bookmark here

He wanted to believe that. Bookmark here

Because that would not be his problem anymore if he got hit in the head and everything turned black.Bookmark here

He bolted out of Uncle’s house, yanked a spear sticking out of a fresh body, and ran forward even before counting the monsters that were coming at him. Bookmark here

This was a good night to die. Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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