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    Bitter Reckoning, Chapter 7

    A loud crack of thunder rattled the building’s fragile roof. In the office area, tiles crashed to the dusty floor. In the adjacent room, Tina looked up from where she was kneeling next to Martin and observed the dilapidated fireplace. Nothing there. But she was sure if she inspected the other room, she’d find the gaping hole in the roof much bigger, just where she’d observed the loose roof tiles yesterday.

    “Hold this to his head,” Kit said as she pressed Tina’s hand. “I’ll get some ice from his cooler.”

    Tina looked down into Martin’s face. He was wincing with pain. “We need to get you medical attention,” she said. “You might have a concussion.”

    “I got a hard head. I’ll be okay,” he said.

    Kit returned with a bundle of ice wrapped in a plastic bag. When she touched it to his head, he yelped.

    “It’s okay, I have you,” Tina said. She looked up to find Kit watching him with worried eyes. “The others?” she said softly.

    Kit nodded. “Stay here, let me check.”

    Kit rushed from the room, and Tina cradled Martin closer in her arms. She closed her eyes and tried to focus on her breathing as she was taking only shallow gulps of air. All around her, she could hear the approaching storm, the sounds mixing with Martin’s labored breathing. She felt numb all over, realized she was in a state of shock. Her mind was reeling with everything she’d seen and heard over the last thirty-two hours. She wasn’t even sure she truly comprehended what was going on, but a part of her mind—perhaps the most gullible part—was telling her to believe her eyes, to accept what Kit had told her a few hours before.

    #

    “None of this is your fault,” Kit had said handing her a cup of hot broth.

    They were sitting by the fire. Kit was agitated, Tina could tell, and she’d kept looking over to the doors as if she wanted to run after Bette and help with Harlan who’d become trapped in the stairwell off the classroom. But Kit’d stayed and began to unfold what had really happened to Alice.

    As Kit had related the tale, she didn’t use Alice’s name, but Tina could tell she felt sympathy for her. She explained how Alice had been targeted. How she’d felt something watching her from the shadows, hunting her in the dark. How she and Bette had argued, with Bette accusing her of being drunk or stoned or both. How in the middle of the night, Alice had ripped the keys from Bette’s hands and had driven off, only to die alongside the road outside of Bitter Springs.

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    Comments

    1. It’s the luck of the Irish this weekend! Looky here…ya’ll got a new story form CellaNox and an update from me! It’s a CellMac weekend, or maybe a BenNox one…I dunno! :)~

      Here’s the second to last chapter…a long one since I pulled a bit off the front of chapter 8 (the final next week) to make up for not posting last week.

      I figure most of you got this all worked out, but I can guarantee you that you’ll be surprised by one twist to be revealed next chapter.

      Getting so excited to see the climax!!

      Yeah!
      xoxo
      BenMac

    2. Well, that is going to be some last chapter, isn’t it? Wow. That is really hell breaking loose! That last image of Ryan will stay with me for awhile. It’s nearly midnight over here, there is no way I can go to sleep now – I better go looking for something light to read to get distracted.
      Reading the despription of Harlan’s face changing or morphing I had to think of the Polyjuce Potion from Harry Potter ;)
      Thanks for posting, BenMac, can’t wait for your finale furioso! I just hope that Tina will live.

    3. Well, that is going to be some last chapter, isn’t it? Wow. That is really hell breaking loose! That last image of Ryan will stay with me for awhile. It’s nearly midnight over here, there is no way I can go to sleep now – I better go looking for something light to read to get distracted.
      Reading the despription of Harlan’s face changing or morphing I had to think of the Polyjuce Potion from Harry Potter ;)
      Thanks for posting, BenMac, can’t wait for your finale furioso! I just hope that Tina will live.

    4. I posted this reply already, but after editing some typos my reply was gone – sorry if you see this twice:

      Well, that is going to be some last chapter, isn’t it? Wow. That is really hell breaking loose! That last image of Ryan will stay with me for awhile. It’s nearly midnight over here, there is no way I can go to sleep now – I better go looking for something light to read to get distracted.
      Reading the despription of Harlan’s face changing or morphing I had to think of the Polyjuce Potion from Harry Potter ;)
      Thanks for posting, BenMac, can’t wait for your finale furioso! I just hope that Tina will live.

    5. So, he’s coming for Tina and i hope Bette could save her.

      But i don’t understand one thing – if he it’s Harlan and he wants only some sort of revenge – why he not tried to kill Tina while he was driving with her to the the shooting? They were alone in his car and it was not hard for him.

    6. Hi BM:

      OMG, that was strong, very intense. 🤯

      Poor Alice, poor Doyle and now poor Tina, I hope she will escape.
      I suspected it was some kind of generational curse; it goes in many ancient cultures “the consequences of sins that we inherited from the parents”. 😥

      Now I’m worried about Tina. So, Harlan was fleeing because he was “changing” maybe into something no human. 😵

      Maybe Doyle wasn’t really trapped but abducted and killed in another place. As Harlan said in the former chapter “They have him now.” 😬

      But Harlan is not innocent, he brought them there to die, and now “they” are playing with Tina.😠

      I just could hope Tina will survive and I join BnTinmyhead’s wishes and comment from the last chapter “they have to survive this place in order for Tina to get those fingers where she wants them”🤣

      Thanks, BM, very nice chapter. I’ll wait anxiously the conclusion 👍

      P

    7. Hey BM (a.k.a., fellow pea in a pod). I was much smarter this time and read with all the lights on and music playing in the background. I’m sure glad I did because you were right, this %@#$ just got real.

      So many moving pieces, rolling at a fast clip, yet I had a clear picture of everything going on. Great job pulling that off.

      p.s., I kinda like CellaMac weekend, though you do deserve top billing. (Picture me bowing…I’m not worthy)

    8. My reply from last night got lost somehow, so here’ another try:

      BenMac, that is going to be some last chapter, isn’t it? Wow. That really is all hell breaking loose!
      Your last picture of a dead Ryan stayed in my mind for some time before I fell asleep last night. Well, it wasn’t the brightest idea to read the chapter just before going to bed around midnight.
      I tried to distract myself by thinking of Harlan’s face changing or morphing – that made me think of the Polyjuice Potion from Harry Potter ;-)

      Thanks for posting, BenMac, can’t wait for your finale furioso! I jsut hope that Tina and Bette will live.

    9. Glad I finished this during the day! The strategically placed walkie-talkie was a nice touch.

      Zhenya brings up an interesting point in that Harlan had an opportunity to sacrifice Tina when she first arrived; especially in light of the fact that no one was expecting her.

      I assume the goal of this vengeance is to rid the earth of the bloodline that caused the school tragedy. Can’t wait to find out the additional twist though!

      Excellent as always, my friend.

      Xoxo

    10. Hi BenMac,

      Fantastic update!

      I told you i usually don’t read scary stories or movies, but so far i don’t get nightmares 😃 , but you do a fantastic job to scare the shit out of me.

      Sad to read that it only have one more chapter .

      Looking forward to the last chapter!

    11. Hi BenMac,

      What a Fest of Great reading you have lead. Have loved reading BenNox and eagerly await your next posting. Additionally I have my favourite Pie back to accompany my favourite Cuppas.
      A new story promised too so that’s something to look forward too.
      Thank you as usual look forward to more.
      SG

    12. Harlan is going to “hell” with a very loud bang when he does leave this world, he has a lot to answer for, killing innocent people for revenge that had nothing whatsoever to do with the past, just an accident of birth. Sure hope you let Tina escape his wrath. Does Kit still have the rifle, they are sure going to need it to take him out with because he is still there, he never left. He is toying with Tina, hope everyone stays together and not leave her alone because he is very close by just waiting for an opportunity to kill her. I felt like he spiked that tea he gave her on the drive in with something to have her hallucinating, etc. Gosh, he is as crazy as a betsy bug to have planned all this. Didn’t he think all these killings would drive Bette crazy as hell with guilt over their deaths and worry Kit as well. I hope you will explain as much as you can about the shape shifting etc. That was him, at least his hand that Tina saw in that dark corner when she picked up the basketball and heard voices. OMG., oh please don’t let him kill her. GoodLord BenMac, how in the name of all thats holy do you sleep after writing all this stuff and having it in your head? I just heard some kind of noise outside and it scared the sh out of me. Merciful heavens!!!!! Thanks for the update, I think. One chapter left, I bet it will be a doozy!!!.

    13. Ok finally found time to finish reading this great chapter..sad to see it’s all most over…. lots of twists and turns already..cant wait to see what else could hapoen.. but also need to read more about those fingers..lol and it seems I’m not the only one..lol

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