The lifeless body of Devland was forever suspended over the white screen; unsupported- looming high above us in the parking lot and it did not decay in the wet acidic rain that poured eternally through the main road. My best friend died today, and as I stand here beside my remaining friends we all weep for Devland. I should’ve convinced Judas that going to a drive-in movie was a bad idea. Had we stayed at home, Devland would still be alive. We were in tears, but Judas was the only one who didn’t cry. Maybe he was just trying to keep his macho pride, but seeing Devland in this state numbed his senses. His posture was rigid, more so than normal, and the blood vessels in his eyes had popped, leaving a minute pool of blood in his eyes. I didn’t want to mention it, after all, none of us really felt up to the task of talking, especially Mallory. It’s safe to say she wasn’t handling it well. I can’t blame her for it either. “Why did this happen!? Devland wouldn’t hurt a fly! And yet someone had the moxie to kill poor Devland…,” she said. It hurt us all seeing our friend like that. At the very least we still have each other…. “Hey Tristram,” Said Judas. “What is it?” I said in a low breath. “I know this isn’t the time, but there’s some weird light near the ticket booth. Wanna check it out?” Said Judas. “Honestly I’d rather get the hell out of here,” I said. “That’s fine but it’s on the way out so it won’t hurt to look.” He said. As my shoulders tensed up and my jaw tightened I let out a disappointed sigh. Judas wasn’t going to let it go and I was beyond the point of arguing. Scared and frustrated to be dragged along by Judas’ plans once more, I convince Mallory to join us. With the acid rain slowly burning through our jackets, we make our way toward the ticket booth.
As we approach the ticket booth, we notice a television behind the glass. To our surprise, the volume is rather loud. What looks to be the weather channel is on. “Sudden outbursts of acid rain expected to occur midnight Jul 29th.” That’s today, but the time on the television says this was at six… “There is to be a city-wide curfew. Anyone caught outside past midnight is liable to legal subjugation. All the more reason to get home, as if there wasn’t enough to worry about…. “Tristram,” said Judas. “Whatever it is can it wait?” I said. “I guarantee you it can’t. Look.” My eyes were drawn to the gate and noticed that it was firmly shut. As if that wasn’t enough there was razor wire entwined over the chain link fence. ”What in God’s name is going on!?” I said. “I noticed it while you were watching the TV,” said Judas. When Mallory saw the gate she nearly fainted, but that was short-lived. Her normally sweet face puffed into what looked like a balloon that’s being squeezed to the point of popping. She screamed and screamed until we were convinced that our eardrums had burst, but we were wrong. We could still hear the booming thunder which would haunt us for the rest of our lives.
I knew from the second we arrived that something wasn’t right. For a drive-in theater, the lot was lacking cars of any sort. There were few lights and the ones that were there were dim and had a thick layer of rust on them. The strangest thing was that nobody was manning the ticket booth. To top it all off, we were stuck in here. I couldn’t lay my eyes off the gate, but more specifically the padlock on the gate. If an inanimate object could smile it would be doing that at this very moment. It had a smirk to it, the kind of sadistic smirk you get when you kill a colony of ants. The smirk that the padlock had was crushing, it knew we were the ants and that it had us begging hand and foot to make it stop. I’ve never wanted to destroy something so badly in my life. I’m going to break that fucking padlock. Maybe it was the padlock, or the acid rain or the fact our friend died but I felt as if some strange force possessed me, and with all the power in my body, I rammed the door to the ticket booth in hopes of finding something, ANYTHING that could get us out of this disaster. My friends’ jaws were left agape after my outburst. I yelled saying, “Find a key or a sledgehammer dammit!” but to no avail did we find anything. The drawers were empty, almost as if the place had been raided. Aside from the TV (which wasn’t large enough anyway), there was nothing practical enough to break the padlock, and I wasn’t willing to wait to see if the rain would corrode it. “Well… any ideas?” I said. Judas’ gaze was affixed to the floor. Mallory looked nervous but produced a bobby pin in her hand. “I’ve opened locked drawers at home with this, you think it’ll work for a padlock?” I really wish the TV was bigger but it was too puny to do any sizable damage. With a disheartened sigh I said, “What’ve we got to lose?”
I looked outside of the ticket booth between the rain, the locked door, and Devland, I was now acutely aware of my own mortality. I suggested that we rest for a couple minutes before making the journey out into the rain. Until now I hadn’t thought of the potential property damage that I’d be charged for, although I suppose now that was the least of our concerns. Mallory and Judas looked uneasy. Mallory was trembling while Judas was still looking at the floor. They looked like different people entirely. Their skin had become pallid. Mallory’s lips were quivering and she was hunched over into an almost fetal-like position. Judas looked as if he was becoming catatonic. I hope my outburst didn’t scare the others too much… “Guy’s are…“ Judas started tearing up. The room went silent. The blood pool in Judas’ eyes slowly expanded. “Judas are you alright?!” said Mallory. “It doesn’t matter anyway, cause we’re going to die here and it’s all my fault.” I did my best to refrain myself but I couldn’t. I told Judas how pissed I was for dragging us along. I insulted him just like he would insult me if I didn’t go along with one of his schemes. Seeing him wallow in his mistakes was a strange comfort until I realized his shame would soon become violence, he raised his fist and before I knew it all I could see was darkness.
“Tristram wake up! Please for God’s sake, wake up!” As the black fades away, Mallory’s voice becomes increasingly louder. I feel a migraine setting in…”I’m up Mallory, I’m fine.” “Thank God you’re awake! And you’re not fine! Your cheek is swollen!” I felt around my cheek, she was right, it was swollen, pretty badly too. “Where’s Judas?” I said. Mallory’s face tightened and her relieved smile turned into a grim expression. “He stormed off after you yelled at him,” she said. Man, I wish I hadn’t done that. “He said he’ll find a way out with or without us.” She said. “We need to find a way out too, who knows if he’ll even come back at this point,” I said. “But Judas…“ I interrupted her. “You really think he’ll come back after that?” I said with frustration. “I don’t want what happened to Devland to happen to Judas!” she said. Mallory didn’t look like she was willing to budge on the matter, and truth be told I didn’t want Judas to get hurt either. “Alright, but where do we start looking? We don’t even know how big this place is.” I said. “This place isn’t that big. While you were asleep I found this brochure about the theater and there was a map on the back. The only place we haven’t been to was the restroom. Maybe there’s a supply closet near there?” she said. “And maybe there’s something inside to break the padlock,” I said. “Hopefully…” she said in a soft voice. We were running out of options as of how to escape. I took Mallory’s advice and agreed to head to the restrooms to see if there was a supply closet and hopefully find Judas.
Devland and I had been friends since high school. Our school wasn’t the best and because of Judas I would tend to get caught up in the wrong crowd. That same crowd bullied me constantly and I felt helpless. Devland would usually hang out at the bleachers with Mallory during physical education; he’d always find some excuse not to do exercise. During class one day, the teacher had to check on a kid that vomited, leaving the rest of the class to head back to the classroom. Judas and his crowd stopped at the gate blocking the way out after the other kids had gone out. I was confused and had to beg the others to let me go through. Judas was on my side too. The others said that Judas and I would be in for a beating if Judas didn’t hit me. We were both shocked. Judas gave me a sad expression and there was a part of me that knew he didn’t completely want to follow through. Before he hit me he whispered, “Please don’t tell mom.” He knocked me out cold. Everything faded to black and when I awoke, Devland and Mallory were by my side. They told me everything would be okay. They took me to the nurse and stayed by my side the entire time.
The outside of the restroom was the last time we saw Devland alive. We were going to leave the theater after finding out it was deserted but Devland had to use the restroom. We patiently waited for him but he was in there for quite a while. Judas went inside and called out to him but he didn’t answer. The acid rain started to pour and that was when Mallory and I saw Devland hanging from the white screen. It all feels like a lifetime ago.
Rarely do I have qualms with public restrooms but I could feel my stomach churning the closer we approached this one. There was no visible supply closet on the outside of the restroom and I was somewhat skeptical that there wouldn’t be one inside but we’d come this far and I was getting real sick of the acid rain. The inside of the bathroom was poorly illuminated; the few lights that were there were faintly lit. Mallory was clutching at my jacket tightly, and I was sweating bullets. We stayed mostly quiet with the only audible sound being our breathing growing steadily heavier. The stalls were all open. Judas wasn’t inside any of them. The only thing that stood out was an odd symbol on the mirror in one of the stalls. It was a circle with what looked like three eyes and zodiac signs around the rim of the circle. I wanted to write it off as graffiti, but it seemed way too complex for that. As we were about to give up, we looked in an open spot where the last stall should be and to our surprise, the sign on the wall said maintenance room. We reluctantly entered.
If this was a maintenance room, then color me surprised. The only thing we could see was a ladder leading downwards through a hole. “Maybe this is our ticket out of here,” said Mallory. “Yeah maybe,” I said sullenly. We went down the ladder, the climb down was interminable, it felt like we were descending into hell. When we made it to the bottom, there was a tunnel. And at the end of it there was another ladder. There were lights in the tunnel too, they were blinding and felt as if the light had pierced my retinas. The ladder was apparent due to the black glossy shine. If it weren’t for that we’d assume the tunnel was a dead end. The walk toward the other ladder was arduous. We were both tired and felt the tension in our bodies acutely. It felt as if we’d never make it to the end of this ordeal but we did. We made it to the ladder and climbed, and climbed and climbed until out fingers had blisters and when we made it to the top we saw the night sky and the still dripping rainwater.
We were on the ledge of the white screen. We saw Devland’s corpse and two other figures. Judas was one of them, as for the other… “Judas! Thank God you’re alright! What the hell are you doing up here?” I said. He didn’t answer. His back was turned to me. His body looked as if it were gradually floating up. I could slightly see something above his neck. Oh no. Without hesitation, I Rushed toward Judas. The other figure steps out from behind Judas. I stop dead in my tracks, paralyzed by fear. The figure is revealed to be a man in a trench coat with that weird symbol I saw in the bathroom on the lapel of his coat. “Beautiful isn’t it?” he says. I stay silent. “The rain boy, the rain. It’s rare that this happens but when it does I try to preserve it as long as possible.” He says. “Not much of a talker huh? Ah, that’s right, I didn’t introduce myself. Call me Seth.” He extends his hand. “C’mon it’s proper to shake hands.” I stare at him and say “Why is my friend about to hang himself?” “Of course, I feel you are entitled to know. He’s about to be a proud member of the Zure Regen. Your other friend over there is already a member.” he said. “So you killed him?” I said. “A bit presumptuous don’t you think? He was the one who demanded it, and I merely wish to prolong this wonderful rain. Don’t you know that it won’t last unless someone ‘chooses’ death on the night of the rain? That Devland fellow must’ve hated himself. I had to use the restroom and heard his plight of how stupid he was, and how someone named Mallory would hate him. He even proclaimed how much he wanted to sleep, and I brought him a blanket. A blanket that would last for an eternal slumber. I mean you no harm Mr.…, what was it?” “Tristram,” I said. Judas was slowly tying the rope to his neck. “Tristram do you wish to stop my celebration of the rain?” said Seth. I stayed silent. “So be it. This may not prolong the rain but I won’t allow you to stop it,” said Seth. He drew a knife. “Judas,” he said and clicked his tongue in an unusual fashion. Judas put down the rope and faced us. His eyes were rolled upward and he shuffled toward us in an almost zombie-like fashion. He stopped next to Seth. “Tristram I’m sorry but this is how it must be,” said Seth. He handed the knife to Judas and clicked his tongue once more.
Judas was shuffling toward me. I tried calling out to him but my words fell on deaf ears. I backed up but I was slowly losing space to stand on. Mallory was paralyzed by fear. She couldn’t bring herself to move and stared at the zombie-like Judas, like a deer in the headlights. Seth laughed as Judas swung the knife wildly. I stumbled and Judas had me pinned to the floor. His expression was blank; all signs of his humanity had been lost. He held the knife with both hands trying to stab me in the heart. I grabbed his hands pushing away with all my might until Mallory screamed and rushed toward Judas. She kicked his head and he fell limp with knife in hand. His eyelids shut. I grabbed the knife from his open hand. With Seth still laughing I tackled him and he lost his balance. I grasped onto my final chance and with all my strength I kicked the bastard off the ledge. He plummeted and screamed to his death. I breathed a sigh of relief as that monster was finally gone from this world. Mallory called out to Judas and the color was slowly restored to his face. His once white eyeballs have regained their normal hue. “Let me sleep, Mallory.” Judas passed out. The violent rain stopped and I could faintly see the sun rising. Don’t worry Judas, I won’t tell mom about this.