5:31am, part 12

“I’d say this report is pretty damning,” Zeke said, holding up the sixteen page document to the moonlight. It started to rain slightly and he shielded himself with his other hand. Tommy stood awkwardly off to the side, waiting for a chance to speak.

“In what regard?” Milton asked, shifting his weight to one hip and glancing quickly at his henchmen. “Placing headless rabbits around town would amount to nothing more than a misdemeanor. You’ve overplayed your hand, son.”

“I won’t be your son for much longer. You’ve repeatedly harassed my friend, Tommy. I’d say that amounts to a consistent pattern of child abuse. So much for your path to presidency.”

“But who would stand up for you? This would seem absurd to any rational person!”

“Tommy, myself, his parents, we would all condemn you. And now you have the full weight of a forensic analyst against you. It’s only going to get worse,” Zeke said. “Plus, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that you meant the headless rabbits as death threats. That is how you meant them right? Even if you meant them as scare tactics, you would still be seen as a malicious person in the eyes of the law.”

Milton seemed to fold into himself for a moment while Tommy was trying to process all of this. Zeke must’ve been adopted. They didn’t look related at all.

“What do you want?” Milton asked quietly, suddenly looking ashamed. But there was no guilt in the man’s eyes, just shame.

“I want full emancipation from you, and a guarantee that you won’t hurt my friend. Deal?”

Milton gave a slight nod, and the group of half-hidden figures fanned out. Apparently, a deal wasn’t in the cards today.

“What about Lamarr?” Tommy asked even as he was backing away into the darkness with Zeke.

“I’m glad you brought the crowbars, because we’re gonna need ’em,” Zeke said. Tommy had already fished the crowbars out of his pocket along with two small cans of mace. They were going to need all the firepower that they could handle.

The rain started to gradually increase. They both turned around and ran for the other end of the cemetery.

“Keep your head down and duck behind the biggest tombstone you can!” Zeke whispered. Tommy nodded and soon found a large stone angel that was hugging an obelisk. After re-positioning the crowbar away from any sensitive parts of his body, he crouched behind the tombstone, trying to see through the torrential rain.

While Tommy was furious with Zeke, his survival instincts had kicked in to knock him off his high horse. He had to survive now in order to seek justice later.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed his shoulder from the base of the obelisk. Tommy responded by whacking the hand with his crowbar and fleeing to another gravestone. He could hear the sloshing of Zeke’s sneakers as he tried to keep up.

Another dark hand reached Tommy, this time grazing his hip bone with a row of sharp knuckles. Tommy smashed what was writhing in the darkness with the crowbar, and sprayed mace at his assailant, which wasn’t very effective because of the rain. But steel to a kneecap did the trick, and Tommy fled the bloody scene to the safety of an imposing structure. Zeke was already there, trying to bash open the lock on the metal doors so that they could enter.

Tommy released his anxiety with a breath as he heard crying from the other side of the doors. He was sure that the sound of howling wind meeting rain and the cracking of bones as they met his crowbar weren’t exactly comforting, but he comforted himself by thinking that at least babies could forget.

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