Deleted Scene 4: The Thrill of Victory

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Ned dug the shovel into the earth and hoisted the load over his shoulder where it landed in the center of the cellar floor. “Quittin’ time,” he said. He scraped the dirt into the growing pile in the corner. Cracking open a water bottle, he slid slowly to the ground. In five gulps he’d consumed half the bottle and grunted with satisfaction.

Last night had been extremely successful, he reflected.

He’d used his time in the garage wisely. First he found the garage door opener button (mounted next to the door—a no-brainer). Then he inspected both cycles, choosing the one that was clearly newer. Stealthily, he turned the bike around so it faced out, checked the fuel level, and even found a gas can to top off the tank. As he familiarized himself with the bike’s controls, a flash of bitter resentment burned in his stomach. His skills had been totally wasted when he worked for Honey’s father. But wanting to make sure his future ‘grandchild’ was taken care of properly, he’d insisted that Ned work for him.

At the docks. What a frickin’ waste.

That he made good money didn’t really matter since Honey spent it as fast as it came in. Before he left he was able to withdraw one hundred and twenty dollars from the ATM. He was surprised there’d been any money left in the account.

But she always had plastic. And that was how he’d found where she’d stayed the first night. Her and her ‘lay of the month’. Of course they were gone by the time he’d arrived at the hotel. Now the credit card company had been alerted not to give him any more information. The guy Honey was with must’ve thought of that—he couldn’t imagine her having the idea.

He wasn’t sure how he’d follow her after that, which is how he ended up wasted at that bar. But then he crashed and fate had seen fit to offer him help. His first reaction at Manitou’s offer was reluctance to let her get farther away, but the being seemed confident of her whereabouts. Perhaps Honey and the a-hole had just shacked up somewhere, assuming he had no way to track them down.

My, my, they were in for a surprise.

He’d see to it that Honey suffered. But he’d do it behind the scenes. It would all look like a string of bad luck, accidents, and technical difficulties. Her life was going to suck big-time.

Last night in the garage he’d been smiling at the thought of how awful he would make Honey’s life when heard the man inside the house ascend the stairs. By that time, his exploration of the garage had turned up a case of water, a large box of granola bars, and a plastic canister of pretzels. He couldn’t believe his good fortune. Again, fate smiled upon him. The family’s membership to a warehouse club was purely bonus—he bundled up as much as he could and strapped it onto the back of the motorcycle.

He was ready to go.

Ned sat very still, his senses attuned to the house. After what he deemed to be enough time had passed without hearing a sound, he decided it was time to leave. A muffled rumble from the house made him stop in his tracks. The sound came again. And again. Suddenly Ned’s face split into a grin. The dude was snoring; it was definitely time to go.

Next came the tricky part of his plan. He couldn’t be in two places at the same time, so he had to hit the garage door button and then hop on the motorcycle and start it. His pulse quickened and adrenaline coursed through his body. He broke into a crooked smile, his finger poised on the button.

He jabbed with his finger and then leaped to the dirt bike and swung his leg over the seat, twisting the key in the ignition. The engine cranked and sputtered. He gave it a little gas and it roared to life. As soon as he attempted to shift, it stalled.

A manic laugh bubbled up, stimulated by the chance of getting caught. The door was open completely now and Ned repeated the same procedure except when the engine caught, he gunned it a few times, letting it warm up a bit. No use in trying to be quiet now. He whooped as he let out the clutch and gave it some gas. The machine jumped forward and shot down the dark road.

Ned grinned at the gray wall in front of him as he recalled the excitement of the ride back to the cellar. He stopped to pick up the other things he’d left near the farm. When he reached his destination, he tossed his supplies into the cellar and then stowed the dirt bike behind the stone chimney and covered it with brush. Still jazzed on adrenaline, Ned had munched a granola bar and then began digging the tunnel.

Tonight he had some spying to do and then he needed to go back out and find some kind of tarp to transport the dirt out of the tunnel as it got longer. Though it wouldn’t compare to the thrill of taking the motorcycle, he still looked forward to sneaking around. After emptying the water bottle, Ned lounged against the small pile of dirt, and closed his eyes, a smile lingering at the corners of his mouth.

Seemed he was good at being bad. Who knew?