January 10th: Being on house arrest isn't so bad when you've got a broadband connection. It gives me movies, video games, news and wall to wall smut. Everything a young man needs except for basic human contact but between you and me dear readers human contact is overrated.
That's right friends and readers it's your old pal Brian Foster, I'm back again and no one is more surprised than me. I was sure that after the events of the Graveyard Game my goose was cooked and I didn't really care if they locked me up for good. As you know I've been in the local lockup before and while it wasn't a pleasant experience it really wasn't any worse than Junior High with a slightly higher instance of random sodomy.
It turns out that all they could really charge me with for that Halloween night was trespassing and vandalism, everything else was circumstantial evidence and ugly rumors. Thing is I get charged with trespassing and vandalism a lot so there was no way I was going to get off with a warning this time.
I live in an apartment two floors above the pawnshop that employs me and since my landlady Claretha Vincenzo also owns the pawnshop in question this whole house arrest thing has been a real win win for her. My attendance has never been better and the rent is always on time. There are only two real drawbacks to the whole situation.
The first drawback is the electronic monitoring bracelet itself. Sure, they told me I can shower wearing the thing but I'm still paranoid. Which would be worse? Dying from being electrocuted by a faulty ankle monitor or having the police bust down my door while I'm toweling myself off?
The second drawback is that I started going through all the emails that had been building up over the last few months. That's how I met Leroy (REDACTED) and the rest of the Colonie Village Nine. You see he sent me dozens of emails each one begging me to watch the enclosed video file.
Finally I did, and this is what I saw...
THE NIGHT BLOGGER:
Slim To None
Hello Operator, Give Me Number 9
Al Bruno III
...the video was grainy and wobbly, the product of a cheap smartphone and low light. It was fall and leaves hung heavy in the trees. Eight teenagers, nine counting the person filming it all, stood around a campfire drinking beers they obviously weren’t old enough to buy.
I could tell they were in the Chalkies. The Chalkies is way back behind the local junior high, it isn‘t quite a forest and isn’t quite a landfill. Neighborhood teens were always partying and getting into mischief back there. Watching them brought back bittersweet memories of my days as a high school football hero. The days when I thought that life was fair and kind.
There was a radio blaring somewhere nearby so the audio wasn’t always easy to make out but I could sure hear it when one of the guys shouted. “Here we are! Class of 2013!” He was, to put it kindly, beefy. Now I don’t mean he was obese, he was just big like a bouncer or a defensive lineman. He was Leroy, the guy that sent me the emails and the videos.
Also, class of 2013? Damn I feel old.
“A toast!” one of the girls held up a beer can, she was blonde and slim, her name, I would later learn, was Gigi.
They all slammed their beers together, laughing and splashing foam on each other.
Then a gothy looking kid spoke up, “To the guys of 2013!”
The guys of 2013, all six of them, cheered. Now I know what you’re thinking- a Hispanic Goth? Hanging out with a jock?
Maybe there’s hope for this generation yet huh?
The image went wild, swinging around to reveal three girls, the blonde Gigi, a black girl named Tameka and the camerawoman herself, a thin brunette named Suzie. She shouted, “To the girls of 2013!”
A plain looking guy named Kurt raised his beer can, “And to the angel!”
The cheers were less than enthusiastic for that.
The radio still blared and the camera phone's viewpoint still shifted. Suzie made sure to give all eight of her friends a little air time and I got to meet the other three guys, Dave, Clayton and Bob. Funny how if you get enough people together there’s always someone named Bob.
The party continued but the atmosphere had definitely changed. I guess toasts to angels are a real mood killer for some folks. Personally I don't know much about angels but I do know a crazy redhead that insists she's the Devil.
Everyone mingled and talked but thanks to the subtle and witty lyrics of LMFAO there was no hearing a complete conversation.
“...might get a scholarship but my Dad doesn't want...”
“...still dream about the fire sometimes...”
“...and she stood me up! Again!”
“...no I haven't and I wouldn't...”
“...I wish he would get off that angel bullshit, it was just some guy...”
“...a new car? Sure but with what money?”
“...known each other for twelve years, ask me anything...”
A flare of static interrupted the song, it was loud enough to make all the kids flinch. Clayton said, “What the Hell is wrong with that CD?”
Everyone gathered around the expensive piece of electronics. Clayton fiddled with it but the static didn't go away, and then there was a shriek of feedback. Some of the kids shouted, some covered their ears. Turning off the CD player didn't help. In fact, I think it made it a little worse.
One of the guys screamed, it was Leroy I think.
The camera went wild, spinning back and forth and up and down. It didn’t focus on anything for long but I could make out each of the nine figures around the campfire.
The video ended...
...did you get it? Did you see what happened? I didn't at first. Here are the facts;
Fact: Since that night Suzie (REDACTED) has been missing. Searches of the Chalkies and the surrounding area have revealed nothing. Police feel the other eight teenagers are withholding information and the investigation is stymied.
Fact: Suzie (REDACTED), Leroy (REDACTED), Kurt (REDACTED), Clayton (REDACTED), Gigi (REDACTED), Bob (REDACTED), Dave (REDACTED), Tameka(REDACTED) and Julio (REDACTED) are known colloquially as the Colonie Village Nine. In 2001 they were all first graders in a classroom taught by a Mrs, Mcyntire.
Fact: In February of that year there was a major fire at Colonie Village Elementary School. A fire for which the cause is still unknown.
Fact: Nine students had become trapped in the building. No one could find them and they were feared dead.
Fact: They children were found some time later almost a mile from scene.
Fact: When interviewed all the children gave the same story, that a silent stranger had rescued them. Not a one of the kids could give a description of the good Samaritan's face but eight of the children were positive the man was wearing a suit.
All of them except for Kurt. He insisted, and still does for that matter, that they'd been saved by an angel.
Fact: As I said before, when the chaos began and the camera phone panned across the area nine figures were visible by the firelight.
But remember Suzie was filming. So who is our party crasher? I ran the video over and over again. If you looked carefully you could see him every once in a while; a lanky shape, at first watching from the treeline but slowly, almost timidly, drawing closer. He was only really clearly visible for a few frames near the end but what I saw made my blood turn to ice.
The uninvited guest was freakishly tall and wore a dark suit.
And his face? He had no face, no face at all.