The Hatch – Chapter One – The Discovery

They were getting deeper into the beck, Jason could feet the mud squelch and squeal under his feet as Tommy led him further than they normally venture. Although the sun was blazing down on their left shoulders, Jason couldn’t help but give into the cold chill that ran through his body as he moved branches out of his way which whipped him at every wrong move, almost like they were telling him to turn back and forget about the Hatch.

“I swear, my brother said it’s down here somewhere, he said directly through the middle of the trees and straight on from there until you hit the clearing” Tommy explained as he whacked branches away with the rusty, metal rod.

“Your brother is full of shit, Tom” Jason spat back “Does he still hang about with that guy with the terminator arm?” he laughed

“You know that was a joke, so shut your mouth” Tom continued to whack away at the branches “I think we are getting closer”

“Better get there soon I’m getting scratched to crap here” Jason said unsnagging his clothes from the harsh vegetation.

They ventured miles into the sticks for a stupid secret hatch which might not even exist in the first place. He had heart the stories growing up, some seemed legit such as it being an old nuclear fallout shelter which had become forgotten, but some ideas were total insanity such as it being a bottomless pit. That always made Jason laugh, how would anyone now it was bottomless? did someone come back up from there saying “Hey people, don’t go down there because you’ll be going nowhere fast”. But if this hatch was there, what was down there? and why would it be left to the elements?

“We are home free, Matey” Tommy called out clearing the way with his rod like a chubby little knight chopping through an evil forest to get to the damsel in distress. Jason joined Tommy out in the sunlit clearing after almost half an hour of hacking through the wilderness. He could see where they were, the green pit, a place were teenagers would come hangout on a Friday night, drink beer, smoke weed and god knows what other shenanigans. He could see the old trail leading down from the main road, his mother would tell him to stay away from there all the time; “you’ll end up like that young Brooker lad” she would say to him. The green pit was a mass of long grass surrounded by a man made footpath where people would walk their dogs around the perimeter of the large area of un-kept grass.

Jason punches his friend in the arm quite hard, making him rub at it as if it was on fine as he hisses “what was that for?”

“you tit we could have just come down the old trail instead of getting torn to shreds back there” Jason scorned his friend.

“well i didn’t know we’d end up in here did I?” Tommy said scowling back at Jason before looking at the jungle of grass in front of him “come on, let’s see if we can find this thing” he said taking a long stride into the grassy pool. It was so overgrown that it made you doubt it’s depth, like you could just step into a deep take with a green grass topping but the grass only came up to above Tommy’s knees. Jason watched him as he waded through the grass like it was a swamp, he looked like a cave man striding into the ocean to catch his breakfast on a spear.

“you coming in or what?” He called back to Jason as he stabbed the steel rod into the ground sinking it into the dirt.

Jason and Tommy searched the long grass for almost an hour coming up with nothing, both boys started to sweat even in the dying sun as they searched for this mythical door in the ground, the humidity made the air feel thick and dirty in their mouths and their hair bush out even with the sweat running out of their scalps.

Jason could not get his mother’s words out of his head, “you’ll end up like that young Brooker lad” this brought back a memory he had forgotten, He was only 12, old enough to start forgetting key points of his short life? Adam Brooker was a boy who he was in his class when he was about 10 years old. He was scruffy and lived in the bad part of town. He would wear clothes day after day and you could see them getting more and more grimy at time went on. His finger nails all ways had dirt under them from his outdoor adventures. But this never stopped him being popular, he was the kid who would do all the things that the others wouldn’t. Jason remembered him stealing a teachers glasses off her face and running around the classroom with them as Mrs.Cloud tried to chase him blindly around the classroom. He remembered laughing along with the class at the time, stupid but still made him laugh deep down.

Jason was kept off school that day when Adam’s latest stunt went horribly wrong, He’d been walking home from school with some other kids. When they passing the trail down to the green pit they could see that some of the old kids had made a swing one one of the trees with a rope and an old, short plank of wood. The tree itself loomed over a steep hill which was almost like a small cliff with a distance of sixty feet from top to bottom. None of them dared reach for the rope swing  until Adam did a run and jump grabbing onto the rope and positioning his feet on the wooden plank. He was cheering himself on as he pumped his body to swing higher. It looked so dangerous, the others began to get scared seeing him swing out over the drop so recklessly. They pleaded for him to get off the swing, but their fearful pleas only made him swing harder. It was Kelly Chambers who heard the initial crack of the branch, she looked up seeing it starting to give. Kelly said before she could finish warning him the branch finally snapped and gave way with the force of his swinging. They all watched him disappear off the drop but didn’t see him land although Kelly, who has now moved away, heard him land. She said the sound of his body bouncing off the ground made her feel sick. When they looked over the edge they expected Adam to pop up out of the grass waving his arm and calling back up to them “I’m alright!”, the longer they stood looking down the more they knew that wasn’t going to happen.

“FOUND IT!” Tommy called out from the middle of the grassy pool “I’VE FOUND FUCKING THING!” He said stabbing the ground over and over, hitting solid metal under the dirt. Jason waded his way over to Tommy almost tripping over in the long grass a few times, he stood with Tommy looking down as the rod sank into the grass and dirt, stopping solid in the ground.

“You know it could just be a rock, right?” Jason scoffed, he was tired and just wanted to go home, take a bath to wash the sweaty stickiness from his body.

“Only one way to find out” Tommy said as he began to rip up fist fulls of long grass, tossing them aside. Jason let out a sigh and began to help his determined chubby friend who was rummaging like there was a sandwich in it for him. They uncovered much of the dirt but before Jason could suggest ways they could dig Tommy sank his fingers into the moist dirt and started scooping up clumps tossing them to side with with dead grass they had ripped up. It didn’t take too long until Tommy uncovered a flat surface, too flat and smooth looking to bed any rock. Jason sank to his knees opposite his friend and began to claw at the dirt. The surface felt smooth under his finger tips, smooth and cold and the damp mud began to streak along the surface. They uncovered a lot of the surface, even the hint of valve wheel to one side. Tommy’s brother was right all along, it was a hatch of some form.

“I don’t believe it” Jason said when they stopped and stood up, staring down at the partially dug up hatch door.

“It’s too late to do much more, we should head home” Tommy said doubles over, muddy hand on the knees of his dark blue jeans “We can collect something’s and come back tomorrow, shovels, water and food, I’m bloody starving”

They covered their findings with the blades of grass they ripped up in case someone was to find it before they get back to work tomorrow. They walked up the trail and along the main road back into town as the sun completely vanished. Tommy talked about what could have been down in there and his theories were each as mental as the others. Jason was always much more of a realist, he didn’t believe in monsters, ghosts or anything of the kind where as his friend always looked deeper into things such as horror movies where at the end of the day there was nothing more than just an idea someone had decided to write down and make into a motion picture. His idea that Godzilla could really happen were always fun to listen to but Jason never pondered such ideas.

“Look man, it’s probably nothing, just an old abandoned fallout shelter, but it’s somewhere we can maybe turn into a den, hang out all day, show off to girls, we will be the lads with the shelter everyone will want to hang out in” Jason told him as they got to the road which they both lived on opposite ends of.

“yeah you’re right there i guess” Tommy said giving in to Jason’s shut down of his fantastic theories, “Meet up back down there tomorrow?” he asked.

“I’ll bring a shovel and food, you bring water and whatever else you can”

“Bacon and sausage?” Tommy asked with excitement

Jason shook his head and smiled “Ham and cheese” he said

“Hmmmmm, that will do” Tommy started to run off down the road home, he shouted over his shoulder “Bring some music too” Jason turned on heel and took the walk home

When Jason woke up in bed, his head down to his waist glistening in sweat as the heating was in need of repair. He wiped the perspiration from his eye lids with his equally perspired hands which just made things worse. Getting up out of bed he felt a motions lash him with a hint of breeze over his body. He stood, taking a moment to wake up a little, looking around his bedroom. Comic books littered the floor in front of his T.V, some of his favourite titles which he would happily share with Tommy more often if he wouldn’t get mayonnaise all over the pages. Spawn, Swamp Thing and Toxic Avenger were among his favourites. Above his bed was a poster of the amazing lita, a female wrestler who he would one day marry.

He walked groggily into the bathroom to get a drink of water, as he drank from the glass she could see how pail and sickly he looked in his reflection. He actually felt sick, was it from the sun? or the intense heat that was microwaving him from the inside out? he downed the water fast and desperately before filling up his glass one more time. He did the same thing but this time he let out a deep burp which could have been mistaken for his fathers after taking a gassy mouthful of beer. He covered his mouth and listened for any stirring from his family in their rooms. He made his was quietly back too his room, acting as though he just dropped a spoon in the kitchen at 3 am, you know that face you make when it happens. Silently he closed the door and got back into his bed actually feeling comforted by the damp. cold sheets. It wasn’t long before he was fast asleep but in the clutched of a violent fever dream. He felt the grass tickling his bare feet and the ice cold wind blowing over his body as he stared down at the hatch.

“Blaaaaaaaaaaaaab!” He could hear in the distance, He looked around him but the sound seemed to be coming from nowhere.

“Blaaaaaaaaaaaab!” it was closer this time, or just louder as the he could feel a rumbling coming from the hatch as he stepped onto the the steel, it was the dead of night but he could see everything so clearly and the rumbling got louder and louder and shaking much more violently under his feet.

“BLAAAAAAAAAAB!” It was right next to his ear this time, he turned his head to his left and the source of the sound was as clear as day. The nightmarish form of Adam Brookes was standing right in front of him, his dead skin grey and shining, his neck was almost non existent as his head had been pushed down into his torso, giving him a disturbing hunchback form as opposed to the straight standing dare devil Jason once knew. His eyes were a brilliant white, no iris or pupil to be seen. His hair blonde, dry and sticking up apart from his crown which was busted wide open, slick, grey brain matter and blood running out of the cracked egg and down the right side of his head. He was unmoving and staring at Jason blankly, his mouth twisted into a sick, frantic grin as he opened it to speak one last time.

“Blaaaaaaab…….”

 

 

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