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    Bitter Reckoning, Chapter 6

    The legion of shrieks and moans and whimpers coming from the violent wind that pelted the building, and which had managed to sneak past those plywood barriers in the office windows, mixed with Bette’s weeping. No one else spoke, no one else made a sound. Only Tina continued to sob softly as Katie held her to her shoulder.

    Rita had been the slowest to wake up from all the commotion, but now had come over to Bette and knelt down beside her, holding her shoulder, hanging her head. LoriAnn’s aggressive posture had softened some, and her mouth drooped in the corners. Martin kept rubbing his face, shaking his head, finally going to the burnt coals over in the fire pit from the night before and reviving the fire by stoking it and lying on more wood. Ryan Doyle had sat back down on his cot. At the moment he held his head with his hands, slicking back his fine strawberry blond waves and scratching his fair stubble. And Kit, she was still sitting on Tina’s cot, but had released Tina’s hands. She held stone-still, watching Bette and waiting for her to regain some control.

    Bette wiped her nose with the sleeve of her shirt and stared up at the blacked and decaying ceiling above her. Her guilt had doubled in just a matter of seconds once she realized that there must be something to what Kit had been saying all along. Something was in these ruins. Something had gone after Tina. And that something had tormented Alice, driven her away in fear, and most likely caused her mind to fragment, resulting in her losing control of the RV and crashing off the 89. And what if she had believed Alice the first time, she wondered. What if she hadn’t explained away Alice’s bizarre behavior as a result of drinking and drugs?

    She sat up painfully, patted Rita’s hand, and she made eye contact with Kit. Had she been right all along? But it was something her mind couldn’t admit to just yet.

    “Okay, this is what we’re going to do,” she began. “Martin, you and Rita go get Harlan up and bring him in here.”

    “Harlan,” Tina said.

    Everyone looked at her.

    “Does he have red tennis shoes, too?” Tina asked.

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    1. It’s a common trope in horror films for there to be suspicion surrounding all the characters, keeps you wondering!

      I offer this a day early and a little longer. I might have to skip a week or offer a very short chapter next week, so I’m buttering you up.

      Like I indicated in the last chapter’s comment, I think most of you have figured out part of the who/what is causing mischief, but not the why exactly. Hope the mystery keeps you coming back for more.

      Thanks for your comments!

      • I seem to have those brief “ah ha” moments of clarity, then as quickly as they arrive, they are, as the crumbs are continuing to be collected along the pathways to this story,

        let us see. harlan “recommends” tina to bette to work with bette, which brings me to the question.since it is established that tina is the focus and target of whomever or whatever is coming after her, what IS IT in tina’s generational past that has the spirits and beings gravitating towards her? was it another of tina’s ancestral past that has the spirits trying to communicate to her by showing and telling her ONE of their group is willing to kill to keep those who believe silent? is tina able to communicate with those restless spirits and if so can she convey their message of injustice and forgotten neglect to the world?

        is this the tale of generations paying for the sins of their fore/fathers? skinwalkers generally take the shape and form of animals but the spirits here are vengeful OR are they sending a message to tina by attempting to get her attention and call truth to the one who truly is the evil one amongst them all?

        and the putrid smell noted and described…can that be some form of decay that is not quite ‘dead” and continues to walk amongst them to keep guard over their restless spirits of the undead? so many possibilities and ways to interpret your vision and tale.

        again, another breathtaking adventure through your eyes by being able to visit a part of history. thank you for taking the time to share with us. Now, its OSCARS time….

      • Oh, how I have missed me some BenMac! Not sure how so much time has passed since I last read any FanFic. Hell, I’m not sure how long it’s been since I’ve read anything other than food labels and 5th grade homework, But something beckoned me back to the site, and I’m thrilled to see my favorite author still active and kicking ass!

        As per my usual, I’ve devoured these 6 chapters, and await the next installment with bated breath. In the mean time, I’ll be catching up on the other your other stories I have missed.

        Always xxx

    2. Nice surprise to find out next chapter earlier than Sunday.
      Ok, BenMac i must admit about little trick – you always be one of two authors in this site, which story i give score five from five even before i read them.
      1) I don’t like Rita – can she be next victim?:)
      2) I don’t understand also why all telling the story about Bette and her father after fire like kidnaping. He has full right (after her mother died) and full sole guardianship about his daughter.
      3) Bette still doesn’t complete believe Tina about Harlan
      4) Alice and Doyle – Harlan? Who’s next?
      5) “Long fingers” – i like that.
      6) “You are my family, and I promise on that sacred bond, that this body”—he motioned down his front—“would never harm you or your friends.” – this body, bot if you’re werewolf (think yourself)

    3. Hi BM

      This chapter is more than wonderful.

      So, Harlan was the one obsessed with the assassination of the girls, even before Bette; what is weird for me is that Harlan has been hurt three times and always mysteriously or miraculously heals very quickly (has him a pact with some evil? or has him some power to heal himself?). 😱

      Harlan forcing Doyle to get the falling drone from the second floor, that was stupid (or on purpose) it was already known that Doyle could get caught and died, as Tina mentioned in the former chapter, the walls were about to crumble.😬

      Harlan is an angry and bitter man, he may have cut the wires of the radio, apparently, he wants them to stay there in the school for a while, and after the accident of Doyle, they may need to remain there until finding him or his body.😵

      Is Tina really targeted? Weird again, the material was shot by Doyle and Tina was loading it to the computer and she saw the face of the ghost girl, someone is messing with her head, skinwalkers could do that.🤔

      Poor Bette, having a pedophile as a father (who even told her that her mom was a prostitute) maybe he started the fire, and she didn’t even know her mother, that is very sad.

      In the middle of the horror, love is blossoming, which is really nice😍

      Thank you so much for the excellent chapter, I hope you will be able to post something next week, but no pressures, (who am I kidding?).

      Waiting anxiously for the update.


    4. What a fantastic update!

      There are stranges things happening and the only one i suspect have somthing to about it is Harlan. Interesting he was the one that was obsessed with what happened to those girls.

      Further more why is Harlan so stinky and seems to recover from his injures so fast? I don’t trust him.

      I hope that they will find Doyle, maybe he isn’t that injured but it doesn’t look good.

      So Tina & Bette admitted they like each other and will go on a date.

      BenMac, i hope you will be able to post a short chapter this week.

      Thank you for the update!

    5. Might be reading too much into it but I’m starting to wonder if that was even Tina who had that encounter with Bette. Apparently some entity can shape shift and that encounter was just a bit odd…specially what Tina said about liking being a bit scared of Bette….out of place after all that has happened. Poo Bette if that wasn’t real Tina or if something had happened to Tina for her to change her behavior. Could it be Ghost sickness, is that why Kit wants her cleansed?

      Also mayb that stank is because it’s the dead spirit (chindi) and not Harlan we’re witnessing in the stinky parts of the story. The description of the smell reminds me of corpses and decay.

      Lovely story BenMac! Thank you for spending time writing!

    6. Wow! What an update! The plot thickens right when the storm is about to hit them.
      Great writing, BenMac.
      At the moment I’m suspicious of everyone, just like they all were with the destroyed radio ;)
      I’m happy to wait longer than a week for an update. Your story is so worth it.

    7. Okay, so my first mistake was trying to catch up on your story in bed, in the dark, late last night. My second mistake was reading it on a windy night after everyone else in the house was asleep. Every creak and banging noise had me thinking I could smell something decaying. I actually whispered WTF? It freaked me out enough, I had to investigate and discovered it was my gassy dog sleeping several feet away,

      You’re hitting just the right tone, BenMac. I found myself reading faster and faster at the scary points. By the way, your hint dropping is very subtle. Well done! Can’t wait to see how this unfolds.

    8. This is really strange stuff. How the heck does Harlan seem to escape serious harm when others don’t. I am making the assumption that he is causing all the problems they are having. Didn’t trust him from the very beginning, still don’t. I think Kit also suspects him of duplicity. Just wish Bette would pay attention to her thoughts, Kit seems to be on to something. At least she has changed her attitude regarding Tina. Scary stuff. Thanks for posting. Take care.

    9. Wow just got caught up..something or someone doesn’t want them to leave…maybe a little of both….love this story…and love that Bette let her guard down just a little to let Tina in…put they have to survive this place in order for Tina to get those fingers where she wants ‘ll be waiting..

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