Chapter 10 – Temptation

Chapter 6: Support

We approached the house together, keeping an eye on separate directions. I’ll admit I was just a bit on edge despite the fact that I believed that she was only luring me in here to try and seduce me. I don’t think she would go as far as to push any limits of cheating, but I was considering every possibility.

I slowly opened her front door and the eerily loud was the only one to fill the house. Never have I been so sure something was watching me than in that moment.

“You’re home alone tonight?” I asked, looking around the front of the house. The feeling of dread was taking over my inhibitions.

“I am. You can only imagine how terrified the idea makes me.”

Glancing back at her, I could tell there was a mixture of emotions. She’s made it abundantly clear that she was not going to roll over and let Lisa have me, but in this moment I think she was overtly nervous. Whatever it was that I was feeling, she was just a kid. I knew that despite everything, I would have to stay.

“There’s no way I can ask you to stay here alone,” I finally said. “But I’m not going to stay here without Lisa.” Ariel’s eyes flashed down, knowing exactly what I was implying I thought of her.

“I’ll make sure to tell John.”

We continued through the house as I called Lisa. At first she was a bit defensive but when I explained the situation she was hesitant to walk alone to come over. I had her tell her parents that she was sleeping over with Ariel tonight so they would drive her here. As she was on her way, we continued to search the house.

At first, I was not alarmed. After all, it was more than likely the foiled attempt to get me alone that brought me here. Yet if she was intending to use this time to get closer to me, it was lost on me. We’ve been doing a scope of the house since we got here, barely sharing any words. It wasn’t until we got into the basement she actually decided to get closer to my physically. Her whimpering made me feel a bit of pity, so I let her hold my arm.

“If I’m being honest, Erich, I think there’s something sinister going on tonight.”

“I’m feeling that as well. Like there’s someone watching us from the shadows with an evil intent.” Clearly my words didn’t sooth her growing anxiety and she hugged closer to me. We both nearly fell out of our skins when we heard the knock on the door.

“Lisa must be here. Let’s not keep her waiting,” I said, prying her death grip off of me. Sometimes I forget I’m no longer an adult that has boundless strength. Well, boundless compared to a fourteen year old cheer leader. We made our way up the stairs and Ariel rushed to answer the door. I stayed behind in the kitchen to avoid unneeded drama with Lisa’s parents, if they were there.

That’s when I noticed the figures moving in on the house. They were wearing cloaks that faded into the darkness. If it hadn’t been for my eyes catching on of them, they would have advanced on us without detection.

The millisecond I heard the front door close, I panicked and rushed to the girls. Ariel hadn’t even begun explaining what was going on before I grabbed the two of them and herded them downstairs. Ariel’s family had a ranch house, so the only way we could stand a chance at hiding or barricading ourselves was in the basement. At this point, Ariel began to softly sob. Lisa gave me a stern yet frightened look as she awaited an explanation.

“Listen to me carefully. There is cloaked figures approaching and it could be more serious than a few robbers. There’s no time to play with our lives, we need to hide and stay quiet.”

Both girls simply accepted what I had to say at this point. Ariel showed us to a cleverly hidden part of the basement. There were a few large boxes with a drape over them. We were able to squeeze our bodies together and hide under the space between the boxes, allowing us to hear everything in the basement.

With our faces so close, the sweat and heat between the three of us was getting to bothersome levels. Breathing became heavy. I knew that if someone was listening, they would hear us immediately.

“We have to cool down or we’ll give ourselves away,” Lisa whispered. Ariel nodded, clearly worried about the consequences.

“I know this is going to sound absolutely terrible, but we have to take off most of our clothes and open the back of the blanket. If we hear anything enter the house we’ll have to risk it with the blanket all the way down.” As I finished explaining, I took off my shirt and started on my pants. Clearly this was a much harder task to ask of girls in high school who still have a semblance of shame and decency.

“This never is spoken about again to anyone. Alright?” Ariel whispered, trying to hide the fact that she was clearly excited about this.

“Deal. We don’t say a word. This is a dire situation.” Lisa agreed as she began to shed her clothes.

Ariel’s last answer made me realize this could still be a hoax. What if Ariel had simply sent classmates in cloaks to come around the house and me getting Lisa here ruined her plan? That didn’t make any sense considering she would have initiated this far before Lisa arrived. Plus her terror seemed real. For a brief moment I had allowed myself the fantasy that this was all planned, but when I heard the door upstairs start to unlock, my heart nearly exploded.

We were now down to our underwear and our bodies were sweating amidst one another. As the door began to open, I pulled the sheets down and covered their mouths to stop them from gasping. Someone was inside.

“They never changed where the key was. Parent’s have to be gone because they have no room to park inside. Let’s see if she’s asleep,” a muffled voice said. I could tell there was more than one of them. My only hope is that they’re only seeing is she’s asleep to rob the house.

“Ah damn, she’s not here.”

“She must be over at John or Erich’s place.”

“Hold up, I think the basement may be wise to check. We don’t want to say we didn’t look and she was down there.” Suddenly footsteps began to descend the stairs. I felt my throat begin to close up as they sprawled out through the basement, checking broadly for any signs of Ariel’s presence.

The girls were absolutely still. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the most action I have had with another human ever, so I was getting a bit excited. That would have been my main focus if I wasn’t nearly sure I was about to die if one of them happened upon our cramped spot.

“Well are we done here?”

“Yeah. Let’s go check out their places. I doubt we’ll be able to get inside like this. You never were one for remembering things.”

“Whatever. Let’s do this.”

With that the voices ascended back up the stairs and left. We basically sprawled out of the blanket in a daze of adrenaline and steam. The girls quickly clamored back up to me and for a long while we just existed. I thought of nothing in that time because I feel like my mind would have only been a shattered collection of thoughts. When the fragments finally came together, I stood up and helped the girls up.

“I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but now we have the advantage.”

“What exactly do you mean?” Lisa inquired while slowly grabbing her clothing.

“They’re going after us. I don’t know how involved everything is, but we know they’re going to John’s house. I think if we wait around they’ll be able to dictate our lives and cause us to lose our minds. We have to use the element of surprise while it’s still ours or we’ll basically be reacting to whoever these people are.”

“What if they have weapons?” Ariel asked, putting on the last of her clothes.

“If they did, they would be able to hurt us no matter what we did. This way we can at least control the situation in which we confront them.”

The girls looked at one another for a while before turning back to me.

“I don’t exactly know what to think about all of this yet, so I’m going to trust you know what you’re talking about.” Ariel said, nervously rubbing her head.

“You wouldn’t take this chance unless you felt you had to. I’ll be with you.” Lisa added.

“Alright. I’ll explain what I think we should do on our way there. Thank you both for sticking with me. Let’s figure this out.” Realistically, I couldn’t count on high school girls to keep their nerve with whoever these people were. They clearly scoped us out and knew our habits. I just didn’t feel safe leaving them where I wasn’t. If they had come back, these two might end up in serious trouble.

We came upon John’s house and saw them scoping the area out, just as I had thought they would. Our plan would enable us to grab hold of one of them in order to get rid of their anonymity. We had to strike now or forever lose our advantage…

Shroud of Darkness

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