Deleted Scene 3: On the Prowl

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The rising moon was just a sliver. Though the night was clear, the moonlight did little to illuminate the field—ideal conditions for Ned to slip unnoticed into the farmyard. He slunk silently along the back of the barn and peered around the corner.

The yard was still. A soft, blue glow emanated from a window in the front of the farmhouse. At the back, the windows facing the barn were black obsidian. Most likely the kitchen was located in the rear of the house and dinner was long over for a farming family.

Ned breathed in the early summer smell of tilled ground as he crept alongside the barn and then stepped to the large front doors. Slowly and carefully he lifted the lever holding the doors closed. When the left side swung just wide enough, he slid through the opening. The dry, sweet aroma of hay greeted him, followed by the musky scent of horses. Though he knew the pitch black interior of the barn would necessitate light for most people to get around, Ned’s cat-like vision allowed him to make out stalls, hay bales, saddles and other tack. Oh, and just what he was looking for—tools.

He padded to the pegboard wall and examined the various rakes, shovels, and cutters hanging from hooks. He stroked the handle of the scythe without removing it from the wall. That’s not what he was here for. Instead he selected a large shovel. From a can on the nearby work bench he found a small trowel.

Tools in hand, he poked his head out the barn door. The breeze kicked up and Ned froze as he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. His eyes darted in that direction and then he grunted a low chuckle. Someone had left clothes hanging on a clothes line. He raised his eyebrows, considering the suspended garments, then slipped out of the barn and latched the door behind him. After a brief stop at the clothes line to do a little shopping, Ned made his way to the road. He dumped his items in some dry brush and continued with his next hunt.

Not far down the road he found a private drive. Four wooden signs nailed to the same tree pointed the way to summer homes and cottages which likely bordered a lake. The dirt road snaked into the dark woods, but Ned didn’t need a flashlight and when he reached the first property, its floodlight seemed over bright. His gait barely slowed as he passed the small cottage—the place had no garage.

A small light on the porch of the next house glowed feebly in the darkness, shedding no light on the adjacent small garage. Ned drew his hand inside his sleeve to punch out the window in the garage’s pedestrian door, then reached inside to work the lock. The smell of gas and motor oil that wafted out raised his hopes, although once inside, he could see the interior was nearly filled by a pleasure boat. Just to be sure, he gingerly picked his way over obstacles until he completed the circuit and arrived back at the door.

Negative.

The dirt track curved to follow the shore of the lake and Ned’s gaze was immediately drawn to the next driveway lit by a flood light. Illuminated in the glow sat an empty trailer attached to an SUV. Closer inspection of the trailer’s tie downs convinced him he could find what he sought here. But the attached garage had neither windows nor a pedestrian door. He yanked on the handle to the large door, confirming what he’d already assumed: it was locked.

There had to be a way. He was certain he’d find what he needed inside. There were only two ways into the garage—through the house or through the large door. Breaking into the house seemed unnecessarily risky. If the garage door had an electric opener he may be able to force it open, but it would probably make quite a bit of noise. His eyes shifted to the SUV and his right eyebrow inched up. It could work. He approached the front bumper and pushed down hard, allowing it to bounce back up before shoving it down again and again. When the alarm blared to life, he dashed out of the ring of light and stepped behind a tree.

Seconds later, buried beneath the screaming alarm, he heard an electric hum and creaking aluminum. Peeking around the tree trunk, Ned watched the door roll up on its track and reveal twin dirt bikes. A man stood in a t-shirt and boxers on the landing leading into the house, key fob in hand. He pointed it at the SUV. Once the deafening noise ceased, the man continued to study the driveway for a few moments. Then he shook his head and went back inside.

As soon as the garage door opener groaned into action, Ned darted into the garage and ducked behind a couple of garbage cans. Even when the automatic light cycled off, he waited. He’d let the household return to an unguarded atmosphere; maybe soon they would even go to bed. Time was on his side.