The Mad Batter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

A nightmare leads a man down memory lane to revisit a lost childhood friend and events that make him both smile and scream.

The autumn air had a bite to it as we sped through the streets of my long ago hometown. Our tires making that unique sound only knobby tires make on wet pavement. My long hair lifting in the wind, left my ears unprotected from the damp cold as we raced our BMX bikes as fast as we could pedal, crossing the east side of town in minutes. My best friend Danny was in the lead. 

The two of us were inseparable that year, having only gone to kindergarten together, we reconnected in 1979, our seventh grade. I was the invisible one. The kid that never stood out. The one whose name was rarely remembered as opposed to Danny, who was an affable kid and well liked. He was a natural athlete and had a knack for billiards. He could own a table for as long as he wanted, so we could often be found shooting pool at a hang-out called the Squirrel Cage or the seedy lounge above the bowling alley where we could smoke cigarettes and say “Fuck” a lot without being hassled, but tonight was Halloween and I had other plans.

We dressed up that night as characters from our favorite movie at the time called “The Warriors”. Danny was made up like a member of the titular gang, shirtless with a fake red leather vest and black jeans. I was made up like the leader of a rival gang called the Baseball Furies, with green pancake makeup, black lips and a big black eye. I wore my little league uniform and used a stolen bat from the old sea bag our coach used to haul the team's equipment in. We were both twelve that year but I was one day older than Danny and I never let him forget it, but he was faster than me. I pedaled my butt off and even cut through backyards to catch my screaming friend. When I finally reached his house I saw his bike dumped in the front yard at the same time I heard his front door slam.

Standing in the moon shadows thrown by the big cypress trees across the street, I watched his house and stifled a giggle.

Earlier that evening in his bedroom we sat on opposite beds and ate the best bits from our bags, tossing out the apples and tootsie rolls. After plowing through my take for the evening, I found a rubbery orange Circus Peanut at the bottom of my bag and bounced it off Danny’s forehead.

“Fag!” he yelled

“Dude, I got an idea.” I said, then added “Queerbait.”

We headed out on our bikes again.

 

“What are we doing down here?” Danny asked when we rolled to a stop behind an old dive bar called the Weeping Willow on the edge of town. I gestured toward the trail that led to the creek.

“Look!” I said in a loud whisper, and pointed to a silhouette down on the embankment.

“So? It’s an old wino. Who cares? Let's go, I’m cold.” Danny whined.

“Nah. I wanna see something first. Are you a chicken, Dude?” I prodded.

Danny didn't say another word in protest until I grabbed my Louisville Slugger and made my way down through the tall anise and sawgrass, the former stinging my nose and the latter grabbing my clothes as I got closer to the water.

“Dude, wait! What are you gonna do?” he half giggled out of fear and disbelief.

I smiled up at him and said

“Watch this!”

My first swing only clipped the drunk old man’s crown but it served to excite me even more. Danny stood still in stunned silence. I then affected my best Harry Caray announcer voice and started giving color commentary as I wound my bat up for the next swing. The old man just leaned forward a bit but didn’t fall over. I had a good trajectory now and made my second swing count. I was looking for a homerun and pointed to a spot in an invisible centerfield across the creek. My pilfered bat struck him square on the crown that time.

"HOME RUN!" I yelled to the frost ringed moon, now directly over us, then mockingly ran the bases.

Gore showered the rocky beach and the shimmering water below.

That delicious "crack of the bat" sound had traveled up my arm before it did my ears. There was a satisfying crunch and a slight give of the skull that changed me that night.

“Holy shit! Did you see how easy his head came apart?” I said in wonderment.

I only wish I could have enjoyed the moment longer but my partner in crime, so to speak, suddenly found his voice.

“SHIT!”

“FUCK!”

“SHIT SHIT SHIT FUCK... SHIT!” Danny said, just staring at the body on the blood splattered creek bank.

I gave the old man a couple more wacks, but the thrill was gone. Even though I was covered in sanguine splatter and bits of brain matter, I couldn't get the grin off my face. I had never felt this alive.

Looking up behind me to where Danny was, I noticed he just stood there with his mouth open. He pointed at first to what was left of the man’s head and then to my bat.

“I know, right?” I said excitedly 

As I bent over, to more closely examine the wino’s ruined head, I heard Danny move up the embankment through the brush. At first slowly but then in a frantic hurry. Always the calm one, I said

“Where ya going, Dude?” in an even tone.

Danny SCREAMED and sprinted the rest of the way to where we dropped our bikes.

From my vantage point across the street, I could see him through the big picture window in his front room. His large breasted big sister was holding his shaking body and trying to calm him down. Her honey colored blonde hair, perfectly feathered back, framed her round beautiful face. I thought she was an angel. I watched this scene for a while and then rode home.

“AHHH!” I screamed into the dark bedroom as I jolted awake and sat bolt upright.

“Honey! Are you okay? Was it another nightmare?” my sweet wife asked.

I shook all over. My heart was pounding in my rib cage and my Michael Bolten concert t-shirt was soaked through with sweat.

“I’m fine dear. And yes it was another bad one.” I said, getting my pulse back under control.

Three hours later and halfway through my second cup of coffee, I start to think about my childhood friend Danny and wonder how he’s doing these days. I guess we just grew apart after the seventh grade and then he moved away. We got up to a lot of mischief that year with putting a bag of bees in the teacher’s desk, stealing tobacco from the market and doorbell ditching just to mention a few things. We even snuck a fifth of whiskey into the classroom on the last day of school and passed it around. Danny was my Boo friend.

It's been many, many years since I was a delinquent twelve year old boy with impulse issues, but you know... it’s true. 

You never do forget your first kill. 

Happy Halloween.

 


Submitted: October 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 R.Guy Behringer. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Rob73

Great horror story.
The word screamed should be smaller in the text.
But the rest of the tale is well written.

Thu, November 11th, 2021 2:51am

Author
Reply

Thanks.

Wed, November 10th, 2021 9:38pm

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