This story is by Jessica Arrillaga and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
When the girl’s phone started to ring, Rasmound saw it as a golden opportunity. He grabbed it from her pocket. He grabbed it and looked at the screen. “Sweetie Buttkins”, it said. Probably her boyfriend. The girl looked like a slut, and Rasmound hoped she was dating an older rich man, with a house and a nice car. He took a moment to practice his deep voice, then answered the phone.
“Now you’re gonna listen up quick,” he growled. “I have your girlfriend–”
“Who the fuck are you?” asked the boy on the other end. Rasmound’s heart sank. The kid sounded like he hadn’t even dropped his balls yet. “Look,” said the boy, “give me to Cassie.”
So that was what the girl’s name was. “I have your girlfriend at gunpoint,” finished Rasmound. He’d actually lost his gun a week ago in a bet, but he wasn’t about to admit that.
“Huh?” said the boy. “I don’t give a shit. Just give me over to Cassie.”
Rasmound guessed he hadn’t heard him correctly. “I have ‘Cassie’ here and I will blow her head off if you don’t cooperate!”
“Well, tell Cassie she’s a skank, that she’s a fucking whore, and I’m done with her shit! Jesus.” Rasmound heard a female voice in the background.
He switched tactics. “You owe me $100,000, boy, and you’re going to pay up or I will fucking hunt you down.”
“Fuck you,” said the boy. The voice piped up in the background. “Mom, it’s nothing, jeez!” said the boy.
Rasmound heard a rustle. He turned to see a deer in the bushes. “Shoo, get out!” he whispered. Nearly gave him a heart attack. Nobody really strayed too far into this part of the forest anymore, but the abandoned houses gave him the creeps.
“You don’t know who you’re fucking with! My gang can come beat you up ’til you can’t get up,” said the boy.
Sure they could. Rasmound hung up. “You!” he barked to Cassie. “Take this phone and call someone who’s got my goddamn money!” Cassie quivered. He shoved the phone at her. Then her face hardened. She called a number.
Rasmound grabbed her chin and made her look at him. “Here’s the deal. You’re gonna tell them to cooperate and you’re gonna give me the phone and you’re not gonna say another word, got it?” She nodded numbly.
“Donnie!” she said to the phone. “Suck my balls! Suck my balls you fucking dipshit!” Then she started crying. “You’re not my boyfriend!” she wailed accusingly. Rasmound had had enough of this.
Rasmound grabbed the phone from her. “Listen up–” he started.
“Hey, you, fuck off! Have you been seeing her? Fucking her? I’ll blow you’re fucking face off, asshole!” Rasmound cringed at the immature sentiment.
“You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” he said, trying to stay cool, which was a lot harder when he had a fucking toddler yelling in his ear.
He heard sirens in the background. Shit. “Did you call the cops?” he snarled.
“Did you call the fucking cops? Answer me, boy!”
“Hell no! What’s your fucking problem?” There was a creak, like someone at “Donnie”‘s house had opened a door.
“Do you really think your little friends can put a tack on me? How about you run home to mama and throw a tantrum at her?”
This turned out to be a mistake. Donnie started whining like a three-year-old. “Well you’re so smart, you think you can fuck with us? We’re the biggest gang in town! We’re the SI-80!” Rasmound hadn’t heard of the SI-80. He suspected it was for middle schoolers pretending to be big boys.
There was another rustle. “Goddamn it!” said Rasmound. He turned around and saw no-one. He didn’t believe in ghosts, but on a night like this, it was hard not to wonder.
“You’re a pusher and we’ll fuck you up before you can say ‘don’t fuck me up!'” said the boy.
“Shut up!” said Rasmound exasperatedly. He swore he felt someone watching him.
He put his hand over the receiver. “Oy, who’s there?” he barked. “Scat!” No response.
Just then, he heard sirens — this time not over the phone; he could see the lights from here. “Shit!” he said. “Shit, shit, shit.” He grabbed Cassie and dragged her behind a rock.
He barely had time to take in the fierce eyes of the ghost — no, an old man.
BAM! Rasmound was knocked back violently. He hit his head hard on a piece of bedrock. He tried to get up, but he was too dizzy.
For a while, everything was empty. Then, he noticed something wet on his shoulder. He tried to move it, but found he couldn’t. Out of the darkness, someone hoisted him up by his hands and put him in handcuffs. Not again. He tried to resist, but he started to collapse instead. After that, everything went black.