The Woes of Adrien of Sunbury

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


Adrien was upset, riddled with the frustrations of teenage life in Sunbury County High school, remote from most of the world, nestled in the mountains far away from the modern world. His house was likewise tucked away in the woods where he spent his time with his mother and grandparents. Every day he would go to school and have to suffer through the torments of other bored-to-death teens and, being a reserved and thoughtful person, Adrien would find himself at the mercy of his peers. They taunted him, called him a fuck-up and an idiot. Adrien believed their lies and by his second year he thought himself dull. 

"Why don't I get it," he asks himself. "How do I always make an ass of myself?"

Timid Adrien would become so immersed in these thoughts that he began to ponder them aloud on his way to and from high school. He didn't worry about who could hear him, he wasn't even thinking about it. He used to worry about his peers hearing his words, complaints about his life outside his home, but it wasn't a human that heard him on that day. Crawling out from beyond the frigid, winterly treeline came something truly foul. Adrien stopped cold when the smell hit him; Burnt fish scales with garlic, heady cigar smoke and just-over-ripe banana peels assailed his senses and his head snapped in it's direction.

"Wau'cha gripin' about, boy?"

The creature peeked out from behind a tree, away in the shadows of the morning before sunrays could crest the hilltops. It's eyes glowed a deep red, piercing at poor Adrien and searching him for issues.

"N-nothing," Adrien didn't know why; he looked at a short man in a tweed jacket and pipe hat, but he was terrified by it's presence. The man's face was round and appeared late-into-life, some blemishes spread across his cheeks and nose. Everything about this man appeared mundane and non-threatening, but the boy was stricken with terrible paralysis barely able to finish turning to see him.

"Whai heard you. I can see it on your chest, you got problems boy."

"I'm-m-m okay... I j-j-"

"I'll take away your problems."

Adrien couldn't finish speaking, he couldn't think about anything but his issues now, as though this creature were someone with great authority. Adrien couldn't see the man's entire body hidden at the foot of the tree and ringed with shadows but heard his voice as if speaking to an aggravated oppressor. Despite these feelings the boy did hear him speak very calmly and plainly, shuddering when the man inhaled and bracing once more when he spoke.

"Whael don't you tell ol' Roscoe about your woes an'ell see wha'tya can be done."

Roscoe spoke with eloquence, with a strange understanding of Adrien's language. Not different from the words he used but used in a different way. The trembling teen could no longer bear the pressure and gave up his troubles.

"Everyone picks on me because I make an ass of myself."

"Hwe can you do about that, sonny?" Roscoe scratched his chin and plucked a long hair out of the soft cleft. 

"I don't know... I just don't want to make an ass of myself anymore, and I want to be accepted by my classmates."

"Ih'e you give me somethin' Ah want Ah could make that happen." The squat gentlemen exuded a stronger scent of stale cigar smoke and then lit up a cigar from his pocket. Adrien couldn't see what he lit it with even while staring at him.

"I don't think I can trust you. A-a.. are you evil? Are you the devil?"

"Ahyehuehye," his laugh resounded cruelly, "Ah don't hurt anyone, 'Em jes' trying to live m'life, y'hea. Ah h'an fix your issue, a'll Ah want is th'eh salmon b'een roasted oar'er."

Roscoe pointed his thick, stubby finger at Adrien's school. The boy said nothing, Roscoe said, "Ye'll think about that. Ah won't hound yea." 

Then he ran the rest of the way to school. Sure enough the lunch for the day was roasted Salmon, Adrien thought throughout the day that the scent became stronger in some places. More than once he could swear he smelt one of Roscoe's cigars. Other than that the day carried on as usual, except with the added weight of a decision to accept or reject Roscoe's offer. He was afraid of the man, but felt some temptation to make corrections in his life no matter how fantastical it seemed.

In the meantime Angie told Adrien he looked pale and maybe he shouldn't have come to school today or ever; Joel made obnoxiously loud comments about the smell of trash throughout the school, and each time he said the word "trash" he looked in Adrien's direction; Jeremy Swept his leg in front of Adrien and pushed him onto the ground with a sarcastic, "oops" and blamed him for the incident to which Carol asked, "why do you let that happen to you"; and each moment punctuating the day made him feel shameful and haunted, that by the time lunch came around Adrien was fully willing to make the deal and without a second thought shoved his roasted salmon lunch into the spare pocket of his bag.

The boy went the rest of the day hungry and smelling of fish, with a greasy stain on his bag that he tried his best to hide against his chair but ended up staining his pantleg and caused an uproar when Joel made some callbacks to his trash repertoire, but this time including Adrien in his act.

That afternoon Adrien went back through the woods to his home, alone and disparaged. The sun roared above the wintry treetops and yet the boy's face was chilled, the greasy stain on his pantleg had spread to the hem and hardened in the cold air. It rubbed on Adrien's ankle and felt like a rough stone against his flesh. He held his backpack in front of his body and approached the tree where he had last seen Roscoe.

There was no rancid smell int he air. Adrien peered on either side of the tree, one emblazoned in golden light from the mid-afternoon sun from downhill, and the other soaked with darkness rising up the hill. The boy's eyes focused, narrowing at the very base of the tree and gradually seeing the slightest hint of a gnarled smile, teeth very neatly clenched around a wet cigar. Then the scent hit him, this time boiled with egg and potato liquor. 

"H'waaaeeell, you came through f'me boy? Gimmie-gimmie, nhgghnghng."

Adrien opened the pocket of his bag and Roscoe was right there with his hand inside the pocket, snatching up the fish that was half his size with dry, fat fingers and dropping the cold, greasy meat into his impossibly large mouth. The boy stood right before him as he did this and trembled horribly until he fell to his knees, realizing that Roscoe's mouth was large enough to swallow him whole.

"Mnghhll," the creature belched and tipped his raggedy pipe hat, his scalp was covered in a mat of thick, unwashed hair. "S'he'ye wan'o be popular and no've an ass o'rself?"

The boy wept thinking he had made another mistake, but despite his tears and the growling in his stomach he nodded and plead.

"Please..."

The world then went black and by the time Adrien returned to his senses it was morning again. Roscoe stood beside him in the darkness of the pre-dawn mountainside. His odor was extra pungent this close, puffing on one of his cigars and scratching his crotch. His blackened eyes gazing up at Adrien from two tiny pinholes of red light. 

"Thenk'eh for the meal, boy. Enjoy yea life without them ol' bags, right."

The horrible creature hobbled into the woods, pleasedly stuffed with fish. As it crossed the trunk of the tree the darkness covered it and Adrien was alone.

He continued on to school but felt off-balance. His hips and back ached, he felt aged. Adrien no longer felt comfortable carrying his bag on his shoulders and held it in front of him, but noticing the grease stain still present he turned it around to hide it and found the stain was completely hardened by the cold. When he got into the building he went directly to the bathroom, entered the first open stall, dropped his pants and sat down falling into the toilet seat and getting his rear wet. 

He winced and yelped, standing to look at the seat. The top seat was down. How could he have fallen in? Then someone called out to him, a voice he wasn't sure he could be hearing.

"Adrien, was that you?"

The voice was soft, caring. A boy in my class, he asked himself.

"Y-yeah."

"Are you alright, what happened?"

He hesitated, but decided he would be found out soon enough and so, "I.. f-fell into the toilet."

"Aw, again?"

Again?

Adrien shook his head and asked aloud what he thought was a mistake, "again?"

"Yeah, you forgot your prosthetic once and fell into the toilet. Do you need to see the nurse?"

The timid boy shuddered and his thoughts began to spin. He felt the wet upon his skin and realized his rear end was gone. No cushion, just bare flesh from his back to his legs and the necessary life-processes equipment. He declined to go to the nurse and dried himself off. Coming out of the stall he was met with a concerned expression on the face of Joel. Adrien winced again and Joel smiled.

"I'm glad you're okay. Wanna walk to class with me so I have an excuse to be late?"

The two boys walked together and entered the classroom to find glances of relief and the teacher saying, "oh good; Please take your seats gentlemen". Joel helped Adrien get to his chair, a soft pillow set in place to support him during the long day ahead. Instead of getting bullied, Adrien found everyone to be so helpful.

This time Angie told Adrien he was looking great and she's glad he could make it; Joel brought his friends to sit with him during breaks and shared some chips; Jeremy helped Adrien on his way to the cafeteria and Carol brought his bag saying, "you've got a stain here, can I wash this for you". Adrien put his pillow down and had his roasted salmon. The smell made him gag but he was so hungry he didn't hesitate to eat.

The boy was whelmed by the end of the day, Carol took his bag to be washed and Joel was bringing his books home for him. They walked through the halls on the way out chatting and clambering when they were stopped by a wall of other teens waiting for something.

"What's going on up ahead," Adrien asked for the first time in a long while concerned for his classmates.

"What did you forget, silly?"

He stared at Joel blankly.

"When you got into that accident and needed a prosthetic we held a fundraiser."

Adrien went pale as memories that he didn't remember returned to him from where they never lived, each word from Joel's lips uttering a horrible realization while the cold sounds of flesh on stone began to echo back to their conversation.

"We raised so much money that you donated the extra to the school and made the student's and teacher's lives easier."

The clapping was getting louder, the unmistakable crash of force from hands upon the doorframe ahead; Adrien had remembered it all but Joel finished.

"We installed a stone mold of your butt above this exit and everyone slaps it for good luck like you asked. You remember we all laughed but you said you were serious and so student's have been doing it to get good scores and make wishes and junk."

Joel laughed about it again as they got up to the door, Adrien couldn't fathom his strangeness and felt panic coming on. Jeremy was there to say goodby and looked the trembling boy over seriously, remarking.

"Hey, buddy. You look like you're about to freak out. Wanna slap your butt for some good luck."

Adrien cried and Jeremy lifted him up; sobbing and defeated, he slapped his own butt.


Submitted: January 13, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Alma R.. All rights reserved.

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