And thats why you always check the petrol...Chapter One Of Two.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Five friends, heading out for a week of relaxation and fun, a break from the life of a student...Till they realise they havnt the petrol to get them there...And they walk straight into the house of an axe murderer...

Submitted: September 13, 2007

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Submitted: September 13, 2007



And Thats Why You Always Check The Petrol...
Chapter One/Two.

By Anne Hastings Hughes.

'Maybe we should have taken that left.' Hanna said as she tried to read the map in the dark. The car stopped and Dave leaned his arm into the back and snatched the map from Hanna and Cara.
‘Hey!' Cara said as she and Hanna leaned over the seats. The rain poured down and the dark clouds blocked out any light from the moon. The thunder crashed and the lightning was one of their only sources of light.
Dave placed the map on his lap and Greg shone a torch on the map. Beth woke up and leant forward from the back with Hanna and Cara.
‘Why have we stopped?' she asked sleepily.
‘Because Cara and Hanna have got us lost. I knew we should have had the map. Women can't read them. Everyone knows that.' Dave turned the map over and then back.
‘Excuse me!' Hanna said, hitting Dave on the shoulder. ‘Women are just as capable of reading maps as men. We just do it differently. Anyway, everyone knows that men are big scaredy cats. After all. They never ask for directions.'
‘Yeah, alright Hanna, don't get upset.' Greg soothed his girlfriend.
‘Well, maybe we were meant to take that track up on the right and continue till we got to the forked road where we turn - left.' Beth said running a finger along the map.
‘We are never going to get to the hotel!' Cara cried as the lightning flashed and the thunder crashed again.
‘We'll get there don't worry.' Hanna said.
‘No, I think Cara's right. We'll never get there tonight. If Beth is right, then that turn was over - six miles or more back. We've not got nearly enough petrol. And Old Faithful is never going to make it there.' Dave patted the car's dashboard affectionately. They had all brought the car about three years ago at collage and she had been the best thing in their dull lives as she took them everywhere. She had earned the name Old Faithful because she was a really old car, Greg reckoned from the sixties or fifties. They didn't know much about the car except that she was reliable. The kids had decided to go on break for a week in Cornwall. They had got there that day from London and were all tired. And now as they sat, lost in the middle of nowhere without much petrol. Logical Beth yawned and said:
‘You know it would perhaps be easier if we asked if we could stay somewhere.'
‘Where?' Dave asked putting the map away with a sigh.
‘Well, there are always large houses that are in the middle of nowhere like this.'
‘Aren't they usually haunted though? Or at least have a murdering butler or a caretaker that comes from the darkness, shaking a ring of keys?' imaginative Hanna asked. Silly Cara giggled.
‘Then we should defiantly go!' she smiled.
‘Well, it looks like our only hope. We really don't have much of a choice.' Level- headed Dave said slowly looking around the hills in despair. ‘Let's just hope that its close by because we really are stretching it on the petrol.'
Dave started to go down the lane and as the windscreen wipers tried in vain to give them some sight, sharp-eyed Greg said quickly:
‘Stop!' Dave slammed on the brakes and they all looked at what Greg was pointing at. It was a wooden signpost. They tried to read the signpost when suddenly a flash of lightning lit up the red words and they all gasped.
‘Red Blood House.' Hanna breathed quietly.
‘Maybe there is somewhere else we could stay.' Cara said slowly.
‘I doubt there is any where else.' Greg said lowering his pointing finger.
‘Well, you wanted somewhere with a murdering butler Hanna. Looks like we've found it.' He turned up the drive and they went up a hill. When they got to the top the lightning flashed again and showed them a large, gothic looking house. It was massive and had towers and everything. Dave parked the car outside the steps and they all got slowly out. Dave shut the door and walked around the other side and stood beside Greg. Beth was helping Hanna and Cara out and they all looked up at the large oak door. It had a large brass knocker in the shape of a lions head and there was also a long piece of rope hanging down beside the door.
‘Ring it then, Greg.' Beth said.
He went up the step and put his hand up. He drew it back quickly though and came back to the bottom step.
‘What's the matter Greg?' Cara said teasingly. ‘Are you scared?'
‘No, not at all. I just think that, maybe we would be better to go on. You know, check out some other places.'
‘Greg. You were the one that said there was probably no where else.' Dave pointed out.
‘Well, you have to keep and open mind about these things haven't you? Think positive.'
‘Men!' Cara said walking up the steps and pulling the rope. A bell rang out and there was nothing.
‘Well, look what a shame, there is obviously no one here. Let's go try some where else.' Greg started down the steps but Cara put a hand up and said:
‘Sshh. I can hear something.' The others came up the steps and they all listened at the door. There was the jangle of keys.
‘Sounds like your old caretaker coming from the darkness with his keys.' whispered Dave to Hanna.
There was silence and then the sound of a key in the lock. Bolts were drawn back and the heavy door was opened with a creak. A white face poked out and a sharp voice said:
‘What is it?' It was a woman's voice but it was very creepy. Hanna shivered and they all took one step back. Dave spoke up saying:
‘Sorry to bother you on such a fowl night, but we're lost and we wondered if we could possibly stay the night?' The woman looked at them all suspiciously and after a minute nodded her head. Dave and Greg went to get their bags and came back up the steps. The woman drew the door back and they got their first good look at her. She was wearing a long black dress, had a stiff white collar on, her black hair was pulled back into a tight bun and her face gave her away as being about forty-five.
They all went in slowly and found themselves in a large hall. It was a covered in tapestries from the medieval times, but had furniture, such as tables from the 1800's. It was a large place with a wide stone staircase going up. The woman closed the door, locked it and shot the bolts. She then turned around and her face was lit up by candles.
‘Forgive me taking so long to come. It is a large house as you can see and I was in the back kitchen.'
She looked the five strangers up and down. There were three girls and two boys. The girls were all pretty. She looked at Beth and said to herself:
‘Clever type. Very sure of herself. Nice hair. wouldn't have died it brown myself. Doesn't really go with her complexion. Slim body. All of them are slim. What is it with young people today! don't eat enough that's the problem.' her glance shifted to a very nervous Hanna. ‘I know her type. Likes the idea of an adventure till it happens. Too much imagination. Pretty face, nice auburn hair but she cares for her looks too much. Sort who would go to a hospital if she broke a nail. That other girl. Think they said her name was Cara. Nice name. Again pretty. Doesn't look after her hair very well. Look at that wild mess. Suppose it's the fashion. My goodness though if I had dyed my hair half black, half white at her age my mother would have killed me! Ah! Now he looks nice. Strong and dependable. Seems to be with the girl with the badger hair. He has sensible hair. Sandy. Nice colour. Good looks. Yes, the name Dave seems to suit him somehow. And his friend. What was his name? George, Greg? No matter. Seems nice enough. Although that hair style is so soppy. Men shouldn't have their hair dangling over their eyes. Especially when it's as dark as his! Gives him a sinister kind of look. I wonder now. Looks like he's going out with the auburn haired one. Yes, they seem a nice enough lot.'
All these thoughts went through her mind in just a minute and as they stood there, dripping wet, she went forward and said in a loud, commanding voice:
‘I am Mrs McDermott. I am the house keeper here. Would you step this way. Leave your bags there. You can take them into your rooms in a minute. You must all be rather cold. Come into the living room.'
They all followed the woman into a richly furnished room, with large red curtains at the window. One was open and Dave suddenly remembered about the car.
‘Excuse me. But you wouldn't happen to have a garage would you? It's just our car sometimes leaks and well-'
‘Round the back. Take this key. It opens the side door. Take your friend with you. It is not good to be alone outside of this house. It is not good to be alone in this house either...'
Dave took the key and he and Greg went out. The girls turned to Mrs McDermott and smiled. She smiled back and asked them if they would like a drink or something to eat. They said they wouldn't mind a little something and she left the room to go to the kitchen. She came back in a few minutes later and placed a tray on a little coffee table. She poked the fire and then sat down. She poured out some tea and the girls helped themselves to the meat pie.
Beth looked around and said pleasantly:
‘This is a nice house. Do you live here alone?'
‘I do now. I used to work here for an old man but he died a year ago and left me the house. I actually rent this place out to a young man and his wife, but they aren't here this weekend.'
‘Sorry if you think I'm being nosy, but why did you say it wasn't good to be alone outside of the house. Or inside?' Hanna said picking up a cup.
‘Because it isn't. It's dangerous. This house is not safe. Accidents happen here.'
‘What kind of accidents?' Beth asked interested.
‘Bad ones. Their was a group of kids killed here twenty years ago. By a masked man. They were ever such nice kids. About your age. Came here like you did, to stay a night. On a night much like this. They none of them lasted the weekend. They tried to leave but they couldn't. Someone had punctured the petrol tank. I tried to tell them to leave. But they wouldn't.'
‘Well, how come you and the old man survived?' Beth asked.
‘Because I was twenty-five. The old man was in his sixties. He wouldn't bother with us. Doesn't like students that's it. Anyone under the age of twenty-two who is a student. Doesn't like them.'
‘Do you know who it is?' Hanna asked.
‘Well, sort of. He's masked you understand, but he hates students because his wife was killed by joy riders. A bunch of kids on holiday here, came round a sharp corner and knocked her down. Ever since then he has killed any students that come here he can find.'
Beth , Hanna and Cara looked at each other. They all had the same thought. ‘Rubbish!'
‘Oh I know what your thinking. This woman's gone a bit batty with living alone for so long. But I'm telling you it happened.'
Just then Dave and Greg came in, dripping wet. They sat down and helped themselves to some pie.
‘What's the matter babe?' Dave asked Cara.
‘Oh. Mrs McDermott just told us a story.' She repeated the story and Dave looked up at Greg.
‘Did you say a masked man?' Dave asked putting his plate down slowly and looking around.
Beth nodded and looked at her brother. ‘What is it Dave?'
Greg was the one that spoke. ‘Uh. I - we. When we were outside, I uh - I saw a - well I thought I saw someone. Dave shrugged it off and said I was imagining things. But as we were coming back round the house, we both saw him. He was in the bush by the door and was looking straight at us. Then he disappeared. We kind of got spooked and opened the door as fast as we could. We ran in and slammed the door shut and locked it well. We then came to you. We agreed not to say anything - didn't want to scare you.'
‘Well, he's back. I don't know how he does it. He just comes and that's it. I would advise you to leave now but I'm afraid that he will already have done something to your car to make it quite impossible for you to leave.'
They all looked at each other. Cara sat closer to Dave and Greg put a protective arm around Hanna. Mrs McDermott liked that. She liked to see men protecting their ladies...
‘Come, I have said to much. I will show you all to your rooms. I am afraid that the beds aren't made and they are all dusty, but I shall provide you with the linen and I will also ask if you mind sleeping in the same room. You should not be alone tonight. Any of you. I will also show you how to bolt the windows, the doors and I shall then lock the door from the outside and push the key under the door so that you have it.'
They all nodded and followed her up the candle lit staircase. The shadows played on the walls as they all carried a small travelling bag or two each and they came out onto a red carpeted landing which was very dusty. They went along and came to a large oak door. Mrs McDermott opened the door and walked in. she held it open and also held a candle in her hand. They all walked in and she closed the door and started to light candles.
It was a large room. Two large windows with the same curtains as down stairs. Five single beds were at different ends of the room. They were covered in dust sheets and Mrs McDermott went to an airing cupboard and got out pillows, bed sheets and quilts with covers. She placed them on the beds and then turned to the group.
‘I hope to see you all in the morning.' she left the room and started to close the door. Cara went over and said quietly:
‘Uh, Mrs McDermott, I - how were the people killed?'
They were all found at different times-chopped to pieces with an axe.' the door closed and lighting flashed. The thunder crashed and Cara picked up the key that Mrs McDermott had slipped under the door. She also shot the bolts and then turned to the others. They all looked at each other and smiled weakly.
Dave went over to the windows and bolted them as he'd been showed. He then closed the curtains and they all started to make their beds. They were all getting changed when their was a knock at the door. They all looked up. Greg and Dave went over to the door and Greg said:
‘Is that you Mrs McDermott?'
There was nothing but silence. Then there was the sound of heavy breathing. Dave and Greg pulled away from the door and looked at the girls. They stood there in their night clothes. Cara was the first to speak.
‘Go away!' she cried. Dave went over to her and took her in his arms. She hid her face in his shoulder and Greg went closer to the door. He was about to draw back the bolts when Hanna ran over and pulled his hand away.
‘What do you think you're doing?' she cried.
‘I don't know. I just felt, like I needed to go, like he was pulling me, willing me on. I needed to see his face. I -' he stopped as there was a knock on the door. They all looked back to the door. The knock came again and Mrs McDermott's voice was heard.
‘Are you all alright in there?'
Greg went back to the door and started to pull the bolts back. He picked up the key and unlocked the door. He opened it slightly to start and after two inches, slammed in shut. The others looked at him and he cried:
‘Its him! He's there!' and as he leant against the door another, louder thud came. They all ran over and Dave and Beth helped Greg with the door. Cara and Hanna started to push the bolts at the top and bottom. It took a minute as they couldn't keep the doors closed long enough as he pushed against it. They did get one in and once that was in the other followed. Then they tried to find the key. They couldn't see it in the lock and the bolts weren't going to hold out on there own. The key had slid almost fully under the door, but Cara's nimble fingers grabbed at it and she shoved it in the lock. They then piled up the large wardrobe against the door. They all panted with relief and sat down.
‘Well, that's one way to say goodnight.' Greg said. Hanna sank down beside him and hit his shoulder.
‘Its not funny. We could have been killed! He certainly had me fooled with that impression of Mrs McDermott.'
‘Do you think he's gone?' Beth asked.
‘I doubt it. He's probably waiting in case someone comes out to see if he is there or not.'
‘But what about Mrs McDermott-'
‘Hanna's right.' Dave said. ‘We shouldn't go out. And besides, he won't hurt Mrs McDermott. Remember he only hates students.'
They all sat in silence for a moment.
‘We should go to bed. We need our sleep. I want to leave as soon as possible in the morning.' everyone agreed. They all started to get into to bed. Hanna's bed was closet to the window and as she got into bed she looked out the window. She saw the man with his axe. He looked straight at her. Hanna gasped and backed away from the window...

The next morning was cold and wet. The rain still came down though the storm had gone. Cara was the last to wake up and when she did she saw all the others packing.
‘What are you doing?' she asked sitting up.
‘We don't want to stay here and be chopped into pieces.' Hanna said as she tried to shove all her clothes back in her rucksack.
‘Well, what about the housekeeper?'
‘We'll give her a tenor for letting us stay and then leave. She'll be fine.' Dave grunted as he and Greg moved the wardrobe.
They waited for Cara to change and pack and then they started downstairs. Funny, the old place wasn't at all scary in the daytime.
‘Ah, Mrs McDermott, thank you for letting us stay last night. We really do appreciate it and we're sorry if we kept you up at all last night, but you know. We were having some trouble.' Greg said politely and was surprised when Mrs McDermott said:
‘What noise?'
‘Well, you know. The masked man coming and giving us all a bit of a fright.'
‘I heard absolutely nothing.'
‘Well, it did happen.' Dave said coming forward.
‘No doubt it did. Come, have some breakfast. And by the way I do not think it would be the best idea in the world if you were to leave.'
'Well, what are we meant to do then?'
‘You must stay.'
‘He will only have disabled your car in someway and also, if you tried to walk to the nearest town, it is through marshes and there are many quarry's and sudden drops around here. No it would be advisable for you to stay.'
‘You mean risk it with a few quarry's and one or two drops or be hacked to pieces?' Dave said in a disbelieving voice.
‘Well, I think you would regret it if you were to leave. After all he would only find you. You would most probably have an ‘accident' with a fall.'
‘Well, I think it is a chance we are just going to have to take that chance.' Dave walked towards the door but Cara's voice said:
‘We will stay.'
Dave turned and looked at her. ‘Babe, are you nuts? There is a homicidal maniac out there with an axe, and you want to stay?'
‘Well, he could get us out there too. Come on Dave. We can call for the police and they can come out. Then we will be safe.'
‘Will they even come out for a stupid thing like this? They will probably think it was a hoax. Some kids messing around with their time.'
‘Yeah, Dave's right. The police won't listen.'
‘Even if we get Mrs McDermott to ring them?' Hanna asked.
‘It's worth a try. I'll go ask her.'
Mrs McDermott had left the five when they had been discussing this latest bit of conversation but she came in now and looked at the kids.
‘We would like to call the police Mrs McDermott. They can help us we're sure and maybe they can even catch this madman.'
Mrs McDermott looked at Dave surprised. ‘But there is no telephone Sir.' she said after a minute.
‘What?' Beth said entering the conversation for the first time.
‘There are no phones, no TV's, no CD players and no lights.'
‘Great.' Greg say running a hand through his hair. ‘Well, couldn't some of us go and get the police?'
‘Well you can try if you want but I doubt you'll make it I am afraid. But then again. You won't make it if you live here.'
‘Well, I think it is worth a try. Who is going to come with me?' Dave said as he walked towards the door.
‘I'll come.' said Cara walking over and picking up her bag.
‘I'll stay here with the girls then.' Greg said. Mrs McDermott disappeared for a moment and then came back with some food.
‘This will keep you going. And here is a map.' she handed the things to the pair and then Dave and Cara opened the door and set off. There was no one around. Or so they thought. But you should always be careful as you never know what is in the bushes...

‘Want another game?' Beth asked as she picked up the cards and shuffled them again.
‘Nah I've had enough of rummy and poker. You two can play on though if you want.' Greg got up and went to the window. It had started off as a nice sunny day but in the past hour the clouds had returned and the sky was black with anger and hatred.
‘Almost looks as though it is frowning down on us.' Hanna giggled as she placed a card on the table.
‘Does doesn't it.' Greg said turning from the window.
‘I wonder how Cara and Dave are getting on. Maybe there at the police station now, telling everything.'
‘Most probably. I very much doubt that our friend bothered to follow them. I had a look at our own map and the police are over seven miles away. No. I doubt that he followed.'
‘Did they take their torches? I know its only half past one, but it is awfully dark. Mrs McDermott has already had to light the candles. I do hope her headache is better soon. I looked in on her about half an hour ago and she was moaning in pain.'
‘She'll be alright. And I think they did take some torches in their rucksacks little Beth so no need to worry about that.' Greg sat down again and as he did, Beth cried out and made the other two jump.
‘RUMMY!' she showed the defeated Hanna who sighed and threw the cards on the table.
‘That is the ninth time in a row! I don't know how you do it!' Beth smiled and looked up at the mirror that stood behind Hanna. If only she knew! Beth thought with a giggle. Greg followed her gaze and he too realised but neither said anything to Hanna.
Beth looked out the window and watched the falling rain. ‘I should think they are there now.' she said taking a biscuit. But no Beth, no. they are no where near...

"We really should head back Dave!" Cara cried as she wrestled with the tree branches that groped her wet body. The rain had turned to hail and both were soaked to the bone. Cara had some trouble keeping up with Dave and also some problems in making him hear her.
"Please! Dave I want to go back!" Cara cried again. But as she looked from her leg which she had been untangling from a plant she saw the cloaked and masked man in front of her. His axe had blood on it. Fresh blood and she couldn't see Dave anywhere.
The man started forwards and as he did, she started backwards.
"Go away!" she shouted and turned on her heals. She ran back the way she had come. She and Dave had covered about five miles and trying to remember every path was getting difficult.
Cara ran as fast as she could. Her rucksack weighed her down and her tired and cramped legs fell on the uneven ground. The masked man seemed to have no problems at all which puzzled Cara but didn't make her stop. She continued to call out for Dave and she wished she had her torch with her as she proceeded through the dense wood.
The masked man was getting closer now. Closer and faster. Cara couldn't run much longer. Her thighs were aching and her arms and calves were scratched to pieces. Her coat tore for the third time on a tree causing her to waste valuable seconds taking it off. Her shorts and t-shirt were soon wet in the rain that hammered down and yet the man kept on gaining on her.
After a moment, Cara found herself looking at a fork in the woods. She didn't know which way to go. She couldn't remember though she tried her hardest. The man was coming and she had to make a choice. One of these roads was going to get her back. The other was going to get her into even more trouble.
The man was coming around the tree now and Cara started off down the left hand fork. A voice though called her and she turned and saw an injured Dave coming towards her. He signalled her to follow him and she backtracked to the right hand fork. They ran down and Dave got them out of view of the monster.
About half an hour later they stopped. There was no sign of him and they both needed to rest. They sat on a rock and looked around. They were using Dave's one torch and the sky was pitch black.
"Dave what happened to you?" Cara asked as she got a first proper look at his cut arms and legs.
"Well I thought you were behind me. But it turned out you - were him. And well - he came at me. But I managed to get away. Then I was worried he would come after you so I - I came and I got there just on time."
"You mean that you ran - all that way with all these cuts - for me?"
"Well, I had also dropped my wallet." he joked. Cara kissed him and finished wrapping his coat sleeve round his leg.
After a few more minutes rest they started off again. They had decided to return back to the house rather than walk to the village and were by now about a mile off.

© Copyright 2017 Anne Hastings Hughes. All rights reserved.

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