Deleted Scene 9: Eliminate All Threats
Ned let out a string of profanity. How could things have gone so terribly wrong?
Somehow the kids had survived asphyxiation. He didn’t understand. And worse, they’d somehow escaped. Now Manitou insisted that before he’d tell Ned where to find Honey, he must help the monster eliminate all threats to its continued freedom. Ned couldn’t comprehend why a fierce beast was concerned about a teenage girl, but he didn’t much care. He was weary of this fiasco and wanted to be gone.
Immediately after finding the empty cellar, he got rid of any evidence that he’d been there. He expected cops to swarm the area at any moment and wondered if he’d even have a chance to set any charges in the vicinity. Then he entered the monster’s lair from the beach and carefully made his way to the cavern at the end. He hurled the statue into the center of the pool, breathing a sigh of relief as it disappeared beneath the dark water.
To his amazement, the forest around the cellar remained vacant. No crime scene tape. No investigation whatsoever. Still, he exercised caution as he fabricated the explosives and set the detonators out of sight.
By evening, he was exhausted, and ready to take out his frustration on anyone who got in his way. He positioned himself at the edge of the woods near the embankment where the monster’s cave was located. Lightning flashed, clearly showing the empty beach. A low rumble of thunder vibrated the ground where Ned sat, back against a tree.
At least an hour passed. The wind buffeted him in his perch atop the bank and he expected the skies to open at any minute and release the coming deluge. The anticipation of conflict along with the tension of the hovering storm stretched his nerves taut. Just as he thought he might snap, a light glimmered on the shoreline to his left. His eyes remained fixed on the spot and soon he could see more than one light bobbing along the beach. Ned pulled his feet under him and duck-walked behind the tree. He had no fear of making noise as the wind whipping through the trees made it impossible to hear anything aside from the hiss and swish of leaves.
In the next flash of lightning, he was able to discern three silhouettes—two larger and one smaller. Noting the long hair dancing in the constant gusts of wind, Ned was certain the smallest was the girl. Not long after, his night vision revealed the old man and the boy who was in the cellar with the girl last night.
He watched with smug satisfaction as the group approached the cave and entered without hesitation. The only thing better would have been if the Indian boy was with them. But one loose end would not be hard to tie up—he considered it a win to take out three with one blow. Ned snickered. One blow.
And it would be one big-ass blow.
He rose and walked a few paces into the forest, then bent to push aside the brush he used to conceal the detonator. He smiled. Pressed the lever.
His muscles tensed, awaiting the tremor; the blast.
Son of a B! Could he not catch a break here?
Ned reset the detonator and tried again.
Cursing, he began following the wire back to the shoreline. Close to the cave, Ned found a large limb downed by the wind which had broken a connection. He bent to fix it and with his head down, nearly missed another light flitting across the sand and rocks below. As the beam traveled the bank, he instantly sunk low to the ground.
Could it be?
Maybe he could catch a break.
He congratulated himself as the skies lit up, revealing the Indian boy. Fantastic. The boy would follow the others into the cave and Ned could eliminate all of them.
Except that’s not what happened. Ned frowned as he watched the boy pass the cave and continue down the shoreline. He traced the boy’s light for quite a distance—certainly farther than he should’ve been able to—then saw the boy turn and head back toward the cave.
Was he their lookout? Patrolling the beach?
Not if Ned could help it.
He quickly twisted the wires together, his eyes on the shoreline. No one was going to ruin this for him. Not now. Not when he was so close. Fueled by those thoughts, he launched himself from the bank and hit the boy with enough force to knock him to the ground. Momentum hurled Ned beyond his target and he hurried to his feet, prepared to fight.
The boy lay still.
Ned raised his eyebrows and approached warily, mindful of a trap. He nudged the body with his foot. When the boy remained motionless, Ned laughed. He considered kicking the kid in the head but considering the field of rocks where the body lay, there was a good chance Ned might hurt his foot. Instead, he scoured the area for a rock just right for head bashing. As he rose with a nice sized boulder in his hands, a disturbance in the lake drew his attention. Although the wind had been rippling the surface of the water for hours, this motion was different: roiling, heaving, swirling.
Seconds later, two points appeared amidst the agitated water.
Ned took a step back. He dropped the rock.
He jerked his head to the left at a shout and saw the old Indian running toward him. With one last glance at the horns rising from the surface of the water Ned ran for the embankment.
He scrambled for hand and footholds as the old man approached quickly—much faster than Ned would have expected. Finally getting hold of a tree root, he pulled himself over the lip of the bank, his legs dangling. As his feet kicked, struggling for purchase, he felt an iron grip close on his ankle. Straining to pull himself forward, he dragged the Indian with him up the slope. Most of Ned’s body was now over the edge and he flipped over hoping to twist the old man’s arm, forcing him to let go.
But the older man clung stubbornly.
Ned propped himself up on his hands and took careful aim, then rammed his foot squarely into the man’s chest.
The old guy let go and flew backwards. Ned leaned forward and watched him drop. The body smacked hard onto the rocks and despite the racket of the impending storm, Ned heard the distinct crack of breaking bone. The old man didn’t move.
A shiny black pool beneath the man’s head showed in stark relief during the next burst of lightning. Ned stared out over the water but the horns had disappeared and the surface was again only buffeted by the wind.
The boy’s body was gone.