Jimmy - By William Malmborg

Chapter One

Sometime during the night the violent storms were broken and replaced by a calm, gentle rain. Later people would say the rain had been there to cleanse the town, and had, in fact, washed away the terror and madness of the previous week. For many, however, this was not the case. For them the terror and madness would remain forever, and no rain, no matter how powerful, could wash anything away.

* * *

It began on a clear cool Monday in May of 2010. Samantha King, an eighteen-year-old senior, was walking home from school. It was a pleasant walk, one that usually didn’t take more than fifteen to twenty minutes. Today was looking like twenty because her backpack was full, the teachers having loaded her down with homework despite the fact that there were only two weeks left before graduation. It was insane.

Graduation. The word sent a chill down her spine as she walked along the wooded road. It seemed like just yesterday she had been in third grade drawing pictures of Santa and his reindeer for the class Christmas book. Amazing how quickly time went.

Graduation in June, and then in August she would be heading to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Then, after four years of that, she would finally be able to live on her own, supporting herself with a career she loved, and possibly raising a family with a man who cared for her deeply.

The thought of graduation wasn’t the most exciting event floating around her mind though. That spot was reserved for the upcoming Saturday night, which would be spent in the school gymnasium. Prom. Not only would the dance be enjoyable, but it also was the night she planned to lose her virginity. At the moment, Steven, her boyfriend, was not in on this plan, but she doubted he would have any objections. The two had been going out the entire year, and it was time they did more than just kiss and lightly touch each other. The question was how would she present herself to him so he would make a move on her? Or would she make the move on him? No. The guy needed to make it or else it wouldn’t be right. But what would she do?

In her mind she always pictured the two of them in a motel room sitting on a bed. She would have loosened her dress a little and let it hang down from her breasts. He would then put his hands and lips on her. The lovemaking would progress from there.

A car sped by along the road and pulled her from the thoughts of that future night, which was probably for the best since a warm tingle had begun building between her legs.

Now, rather than thinking about that night, she looked ahead and saw the rotting mailbox for the old Hood place jutting up from the roadside weeds. A shiver went down her spine.

The Hoods had been a strange family that thought World War Three was imminent. For years they had been preparing themselves while trying to recruit town and county members into their small militia. September 11, 2001 had been the start of the war according to them, but rather than stay and fight, they had retreated to a more secure location somewhere in the Rockies. No one had seen them since. Their house had remained, and because no FOR SALE sign ever went up, everyone assumed they still owned it. Even if a FOR SALE sign ever did go up it was doubtful anyone would buy the place. Nine years of abandonment had ruined the structure, and one would have to invest more than the property was ever worth just to make it livable.

Samantha slowly walked up to the driveway and turned her head. Long grass and overgrown bushes between the house and the road made it nearly impossible to see the first floor. On the second floor she noticed a new broken window.

Something moved in the bushes to her right.

Samantha’s heart jumped as she spun around, her eyes expecting to see a cat or some other small creature from the woods.

Nothing.

A kid perhaps? Someone who had been throwing stones at the house and then hid when she came walking around? Perhaps he was even responsible for the broken window?

“Hello?” she called.

Nothing.

Samantha decided not to stay and find out who was lurking in the shrubbery. The house was creepy enough without the added threat of someone jumping out at her; so creepy in fact that