The Damned Summer (The Ruin Trilogy)

BOOK: The Damned Summer (The Ruin Trilogy)
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The Damned Summer

Book 1: The Ruin Trilogy

 

By Scott Weaver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No part of this
publication may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise, without written permission of the author.

 

Text copyright © 2013
Scott Weaver

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

To my family
and friends, whose help was immense in finishing this book

Chapter 1 Heroes Lie

 

 

In the small farm town known as Storm
Illinois, an old man sat at the kitchen table; listening to the knife as it
scraped across the toast. Watching it leave a smear of margarine in its wake.

“I miss real butter almost as much as a good
night’s sleep,” the man said aloud, taking a bite of the burnt bread.

A small dog known as Lloyd replied with a quiet
growl, licking its chops as it stared at the toast.

The man ripped off a large piece of crust, tossing
it to his only true friend. “You deserve a reward after last night,” he said
with a smile as the dog caught the scrap in its teeth. “You should have steak
in your mouth, not toast.”

“I’ll second that,” the demon said opening
the screen door and walking in from the backyard. He had a large stocky frame
that was covered with faded blue jeans and an old black T-shirt. The front
pocket of the shirt held a pack of nearly empty cigarettes and a cheap lighter,
and his head was covered with a worn ball cap advertising farm equipment. He
had a Styrofoam cup of coffee in one hand and a white paper sack in the other.
He looked like your average truck driver or factory worker.

Lloyd quickly swallowed his prize and started
to growl, showing rather large teeth for a twenty three pound dog.

“Easy killer,” the demon said. “I’m not here
to fight, I’ve still got wounds to lick from last night's little dream brawl. I
need a longer break before I go another round with the likes of you.” The fiend
spoke of the nightly fights he had with both the old man and his dog. If the
monster was able to get past them, he was free to plague the dreams of others,
planting seeds of disdain and hate.

The monster grabbed a chair and sat down
across from the old man.

“I didn’t invite you to breakfast,” the old
man said, sipping his tea.

“You never do, Frank,” the demon replied,
looking into his bag, grabbing something. “But, don’t worry, I’m used to people
being rude to me. It comes with the territory.”

Lloyd’s growling continued as he took a step
toward the creature from hell.

“I came to talk,” the demon said. “Could you
tell the short haired rat to take it easy?”

“It’s his decision on who he likes and
dislikes. There’s nothing I can do about that,” Frank said as he took another
bite of his toast. “Can’t say I blame him.”

“I brought you a muffin,” the demon said,
ignoring Frank’s barbed words as he sat the sweet smelling mini cake in front
of him.

“Thank you, but my doctor won’t allow me to
eat such things,” Frank replied, pushing the muffin away.

“That doctor of yours gives you more trouble
than I ever will. He’s the one you should be trying to destroy, not me,” the
demon gave him a smile that his five o’clock shadow seemed to amplify into a
genuine symbol of friendship.

“Why are you here, fiend?”

The demon took the lid off of his coffee and
took a sip. The dark, powerful smell of the brew overpowered the muffin. Frank
looked down at his warm, weak tea and tried not to yearn for the bitter drink.

The hellbeast swallowed the liquid as if it was
molasses. “Um,” he said, brushing his middle finger across his lips. “Still
hot.”

Lloyd let out a short bark.

“Speak your piece and get out,” Frank said
louder and quicker than he would have liked.

“Okay, okay,” the monster said to both of
them with raised hands. “I just wanted to see if you’d be interested in a
truce.”

Even Lloyd got quiet.

“No such thing,” Frank said as he sipped his
tea and did his best to keep his stone cold persona going.

“We both know you are close to the end of the
line,” the beast said. “I’m willing to leave you alone for the next year or so,
as long as I have your word you’ll keep your nose out of the fray.”

The two opponents looked at one another for a
moment as Frank tried to discern the demons motives.

“It’s my job to keep you busy,” the old man
said.

“Unless you agree to this deal,” the beast
replied.

Frank took another long, slow drink of his
weak, nasty tea.

Fiends aren’t known for their patience, which
was what the old man was counting on.

The demon slammed his fist on the table,
spilling dark coffee all over the linoleum floor. “Come on! This is your chance
to die in peace!” His chair tipped over as the creature came to his feet.
“There is nothing to think about, you dumb-shit!”

Lloyd’s reply to the creature would have done
a German Shepherd proud. Forcing the beast back to the screen door.

“Alright, alright!” The demon said as it
threw its muffin at the dog, making its way outside.

“What games are afoot?” Frank asked as he set
his cup down.

The demon looked down at the ground, his hat
touching the screen of the door as he chuckled. “Nothing that you can change
old man.”

“Then why go through the trouble of giving me
a deal?”

“Because we are going to win this round
regardless,” the beast replied, looking back up at the old man. “The only
difference you can make is if this is a clean win or a messy one.”

Frank let out a slight laugh. “You’re a
better liar than that. Giving me a deal like this has to have more at stake.”

“Look back at your past, Frank,” the beast
said through the screen. “You’ve always been a minor player when it comes to
the war. You’re nothing special, nothing important. You’re no hero. Lackey is
about the best title you could get.”

“If I’m so irrelevant, then why bother with
me at all?”

“Because this could be your last hooray,” the
beast said with a laugh. “You’re at death’s door, with nothing to show for it.
You gave your life to fighting evil and no one will remember you. You never
achieved anything of consequence. You have no legacy. In your mortal delusion,
you could see this as your chance to make a difference. Your chance to leave a
mark.”

“And you want to set me straight,” Frank
replied. “Make sure I don’t make the wrong decision. Make sure I don’t do
something that is beyond my means.”

The demon smiled at him. “I’m not going to
bullshit you, friend. If you decide to be a part of this fight, you’ll make it
harder and nastier in the end. My side will still win, it will just be more
painful for you and the ones you will begin to care about.”

Frank looked to Lloyd.

“No,” the demon replied. “Not just him. There
will be others if you decide to get involved. They will all die regardless. All
you can do is stay out of it and never know the ugly details. You and your dog
will live out your remaining days in comfort, if you stay out of it.” The demon
raised his hands up. "C'mon, don't you think after all this time you
deserve just a little piece of retirement?"

“Well, I guess that’s about all I need to
hear,” Frank said as he picked up the muffin the demon had left on the kitchen
table and took a bite out of it.

The fiend watched him chew up the tasty cake
for a moment. “So does this mean we have a deal?”

“You’re so smart,” Frank said as he got up,
walking towards the demon. “You figure it out,” he closed the wooden door,
silencing the fiend.

Chapter 2 Leaving Innocence

 

 

She lay in bed, waiting to make sure her
parents were asleep. It had been storming but it was starting to pass. Soon it
would stop raining and then she would sneak out. Roaming between the cornfields
that surrounded her parents’ house, walking in the wet grass in the dead of
night, alone and free, at least as free as she ever felt.

Distant lightning illuminated her bedroom
wall, displaying her awards in academics as well as athletics. She sighed in
annoyance as she thought of her perfect image of a student, an athlete, and
most importantly a daughter.

“Boring bullshit,” she said to herself,
getting out of bed and slipping on her running shoes. Quietly opening the
window, she climbed out and slowly made her way across the slippery roof to a
nearby oak tree. Gracefully, climbing onto the tree, she made her way to the
wet grass beneath.

Jumping to the ground, she looked at the sky.
The wind rustled the branches above her, loosening a brief cascade of raindrops
on her. She smiled, shivering with cold surprise, feeling more alive than she
had in months. Flipping her long hair back she made her way towards the field,
away from her isolated prison.

She walked on a strip of grass between the
neighbors’ fields. Old trees stood between the fields like natural property
markers. Her walk had taken her about half a mile from the house by the time
fear’s cold fingers touched her spine.

She stopped dead in her tracks as dread came
upon her for some unknown reason. Looking around, she saw nothing, until she
heard the scrape of a butane lighter.

The sound was behind her, coming from a
silhouetted image leaning against a tree. The small flame lit a cigarette,
illuminating the smoker’s face as he stared at her. The figure was considerably
larger than her, well over six feet tall. The fear got sharper for a moment, until
she recognized him.

“Jake?” She asked, not quite sure if she was
safe or not.

Smoke expelled from his mouth. “What are you
doing out here, Sarah? Lose your dog, or something?”

She shrugged her shoulders trying to hide her
apprehension of the neighboring bad-boy. “Felt like going for a walk. Why, what
are you up to?”

“Felt like a drink,” he replied, sitting down
on a rock and pulling out a small bottle. The metal glint of the whiskey flask
gleamed in the moonlight as he took a drink.

Relief washed over her as he sat down, he
obviously wasn’t going to try to rape her. “What’ve you got?” she asked. Taking
a step closer.

“It ain’t no sport drink,” he smiled.

“Don’t play tough with me, Jake Simmons. We
might not hang out anymore, but we grew up together. I still remember back in
second grade when that hornet stung you. You cried like a baby.”

Smoke escaped his mouth as he chuckled. “You
wanna talk about the past, honey? How about that time we played doctor in your
dad’s garage?”

“That was your idea,” she growled. “I had no
clue how it was going to play out.”

“You still went along with it, though,” he
lifted the flask to his lips again.

She looked off at the rows of corn, saying
nothing as she fumed with anger. She wanted to walk away from him, but she
didn’t, for the rest of her life she would wonder why she had not.

“That was my first step onto the wrong path,
ya know,” he took a drag of his cigarette.

“What?” She asked, looking back at him.

“Getting you to take your clothes off,” he
replied. “That was my first official bad boy move.”

She looked at him for a moment as he took
another drink. “You’re pretty drunk.”

“Yep,” he said with a swallow.

“Well, share the wealth you nasty boy,” she
sat down next to him and grabbed the flask.

He kept a hold of the whiskey as she tried to
pull it away. “You sure?”

She looked into his pretty gray eyes. “Yeah,”
she whispered.

“There’ll be no going back, after this.”

“Why would I ever want to go back?” She
asked. “What is there in my safe, quiet, structured life that I would possibly
miss?”

“You’d be surprised,” he let go of the flask.
“You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

“How poetic,” she took a drink. “Damn,” she
hissed. “That’s strong.”

“The first shot is always the stiffest.” He
took it back, taking a deep drink.

“How about you give me one of those?” She
asked, pointing at his cigarette.

“You’re moving a hundred miles an hour,
sweetheart,” he tapped out a smoke from his pack.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet, sweetheart,” she
replied with a smile, taking the little white stick. “Light me up, baby.”

He flicked open his silver lighter and did as
she asked. She inhaled deeply, almost coughing as she exhaled.

“I’m impressed,” he said with a nod.

The whiskey and smoke buzzed in her head as
she smiled at him. Her heart racing as she looked into his eyes. “I’m full of
surprises, Jake.”

He looked back at her. “Why did you and I
fall out of touch?”

She took the bottle from him and took a big
swig. It went down a little easier this time. “What difference does it make? We’re
getting back in touch now, aren’t we?”

“Yeah,” he whispered, taking another drag of
his smoke.

She mirrored his action, followed by another
long drink of the whiskey. “I hate my life.”

“You shouldn’t.”

“What the fuck do you know?” She asked him.
“You come out here and get drunk all the time, I bet.”

“That’s something to be jealous of?”

“That’s freedom,” she took another puff of
the cigarette. “You don’t have other people forcing their ideals onto you.” She
took another long drink.

“You’re right. I do whatever the hell I want
whenever the hell I want.” He flicked his spent smoke into the night. “And I’m
better off for it.”

“Damn right,” she flicked her cigarette after
his.

He looked at her. “You should go home.”

“No,” she replied. “You should come here.”
Sliding her hand behind his neck, she pulled him closer. Their lips met and
their hands began to explore one another’s bodies.

Her other hand moved toward his waist,
sliding past a small sharp rock that had once been part of an ancient knife.
The jagged edge brushed across her finger, making little more than a paper cut
that she wouldn't even notice until much later. The force of her movement sent
the shard off its four-hundred year perch and into the grass below, where its
owners bones lay beneath it in the earth.

"Everything I touch,"
she suddenly thought, as apprehension
frosted at her mind for some unknown reason.
 

Refusing to let caution take her over yet
again, she surged forward, going for the button of his pants and almost ripping
it off as she pulled his jeans down. Her shorts were much easier to get off and
she quickly helped him. Before either one of them knew it she was on top of
him, ripping her shirt off. She gasped in ecstatic pain as her virginity was
lost.

She concentrated past the sting and started
to thrust her hips back and forth as the pain was replaced with pleasure. After
a few moments of heavy breathing and moans he grabbed her hips and began to
slam into her.

She screamed in rapturous delight as they
both climaxed.

“Oh, my God,” she gasped, bending down and
kissing him on the lips. “That was amazing.”

“Yeah,” he replied, breathlessly, pushing her
off into the grass.

She looked around for her shorts as he pulled
his jeans up.

“It’s getting late,” he said. “We better get
home. I’ll see you later.”

“Is that it?” she asked him, standing naked
in the grass.

He stopped, looking at her for a moment. “Do
you want it to be more?”

She thought about it for a moment. “No,” she
shook her head. “No, Probably not.”

“Alright then,” he said, walking off into the
darkness.

She turned and walked the other way,
forgetting about her clothes as the consequences of her actions started to sink
in.

It was harder to climb the tree in bare feet
but she managed. Making a beeline to her bathroom, trying to ignore the plaques
of her achievements on the wall as she walked by. After taking a quick shower
she put on her pajamas and climbed into bed. A tear fell from her eye as she
rolled into a ball and went to sleep. She dreamed about being a little girl and
having a tea party with her father.

“I won’t be coming to your tea parties
anymore,” he told her. “The tea is too bitter.”

“I’ll do better next time,” she promised in
her small voice.

“No,” he said, standing up. “It will always
taste like this now.” He walked out of the room.

His words hurt but somehow she managed to
find her voice. “Good.”

He stopped in the doorway but didn’t look
back. “You think you are a big girl now, but you’re not. You’re nothing but a
bad girl.” He disappeared down the hallway.

She looked down at her cup of tea as his
footsteps quieted. Tears slowly traveled down her face and fell into the cup.
“I’m not a girl,” she told the cup. “I’m a woman.”

“Bad woman,” her father’s voice echoed from
the cup.

 

 

Jake walked in through the front door of his
house and closed the door behind him. His mother sat at the kitchen table,
smoking a cigarette in the dark.

“Well?” she asked.

“She showed up,” he replied, taking off his
shoes.

“And?”

“And we had sex.”

She was about to inhale on her cigarette
before his reply but stopped. “Did you take advantage of her?”

“No, it was all her.”

She put the cigarette back to her mouth.
“That’s unfortunate.”

“Then why did you send me out there?”

“Trials are a part of this life, my boy,” she
put out the spent cancer stick. “The only thing we can control is the decisions
we make.”

He let out a sigh. “This is such bullshit,
mom.”

“No,” she replied, leaning forward, letting
the moonlight show her worn face and hairless head, both telltale signs of the
chemotherapy. “The bullshit is yet to come.”

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