We strained over the handles of the wheelbarrow, pushing Sunshine over thick tree roots and fallen branches, his mask sitting on his chest. We’d rolled his anonymous victim into the trees and covered her with sticks where hopefully no one would find her for a while. At least it was more or less a straight path to the car, which was parked on a side road. And I’d already cleared away the stuff I’d had in the back seat when I picked out my “super secret bat lair.”
“Don’t worry about the trees,” I said as Shady paused to look around for the umpteenth time. “They’ll tell me if anyone’s around who means us harm.”
“The trees.” I grinned at her expression, but she still wasn’t having it. I was going to make her laugh if it killed me. I’ve often said, If you don’t laugh, you cry, and after everything she’d been through, I could feel how numb and all business she’d become. It was really unpleasant.
“Riiiiight,” she drawled as if she thought I was insane. Well, I won’t argue that point; I’m sure lots of people would probably agree with her. At least she stopped looking up every few minutes for some trace of our Slender anti-friend.
Getting Sunshine into the wheelbarrow had been… difficult. Getting him out again was awkward. I ended up crawling into the car and pulling on him while Shady struggled to tip the wheelbarrow into the open door. What the heck had Slenderman been feeding this guy? Steroids?
Luckily I’d stopped at a local hardware store and picked up a few things to fix up the place where I’d been staying the past few days, including rope. I tied Sunshine’s wrist behind his back, just in case he woke up before we got ‘home’ and hoped we wouldn’t be that unlucky.
Shady was quiet as I started driving, watching the passing trees like a hawk. I had a feeling she was not going to like where I’d been hiding myself. As I turned onto a dirt road, one side a fallow field, the other densely wood, Shady said, “Did you kill him?”
“Wildman? I thought you were a pacifist… no killing, right?”
“No, I didn’t kill him,” I said, a little angry.
“Victor did it, okay? Him and Executor showed up and… Victor killed Wildman.” I slowed the car to turn into the woods. There was a post on one side of the overgrown drive, a chain nearly rusted to red dust at its base. The other post had rotted to little more than a nub possibly decades ago. The driveway itself was barely visible underneath last year’s dead grass and the green blades that was coming up through it.
Distracted by the trees that were coming up on either side of the car, Shady fell silent and glared at the darkness. I pulled up between two massive bushes which obscured all but the bumper of my sister’s tiny Buick. Shady looked around almost wildly.
“What the hell?”
“Come on. You’ll see.” I pulled a fallen sapling up over the back of my car when I got out. Then I led the way toward what looked to be a dense copse of trees and bushes grown up over a small hill. As we got closer though, Shady slowed beside me and stared hard at the green mass.
“That’s a house,” she said, as we passed a wall that stood out from the surrounding growth.
“Yeah! Isn’t it cool?”
I stopped at a dark gap between the trees and led the way inside. The temperature change was abrupt, from the hot and humid summery day to the cool darkness among the trees. Shady was still wary, but honestly this place felt like the closest thing to home I’d ever found. Just the taste of the place was like... a drink of spring water, clean and refreshing despite the evidence of decay. I looked around for something we could use to bring Sleeping Beauty inside while Shady just stood near the hole in the wall and stared at the moss and fern covered interior.