“Hey Stuart, could you check on the props in the back to see what condition they are in,” Dolly said, trying to keep her voice even as she was rolling out. “I’ll be back in a second.”
She rolled out far enough to keep from her voice carrying too far and giving away what was going on. Still, she knew that she was going to have to keep it down because already, she was feeling a kind of rage bubble up in her and she didn’t want to alert Will and have him come out nor did she want to upset Stuart more than he already was. Dolly could tell that her emotions were showing on her face as Matt slowed down and sighed, looking around.
“You have some nerve coming here,” she said, keeping herself calm. “I hope you know that my inbox has been flooded with nothing but fat jokes and people telling me that I’m a pathetic loser who should just kill herself already for a week now. Was that not good enough or were you hoping to give these assholes a direct line to where they could find me?”
“I deserve that for not looking up more about you before I contacted you but I want you to know that it wasn’t my idea and if I’d known you were in a wheelchair, I wouldn’t have emailed you at all,” he sighed. “I know that doesn’t make it better but I am sorry for setting you up. The guys hand me their list of people they find and I try to keep them from picking on people that have things they can’t help but this one slipped by me. As far as the emails go, I know it sucks right now but as soon as they put up a new video, they’ll slow down and stop.”
“And it doesn’t bother you that this list they hand you means that you’re helping make someone miserable? How do I know that you aren’t helping them out now?”
“Look, I get it and you have every right to be pissed off,” Matt said, looking around again. “I owe you an apology and I’m willing to give you that but just so you know, there’s stuff you don’t know about the Kingz and why I’m doing what I do. I’m not asking you to believe me but for what it’s worth, I felt bad and I wanted you to know that.”
“Dolly, what’s going on?” Lydia said, stopping in her tracks when she saw Matt.
“Shit!” Dolly hissed under her breath. She cleared her throat and tried to sound casual. “Nothing. I’ll be there in a second. I just have to finish my chat here, okay?”
“Are you okay?” Lydia asked, stepping closer. Dolly thought of her bright white cat ears and knew they were obvious and visible from a distance. If one of those assholes was filming from a bush, Lydia’s life would quickly become a nightmare.
“We’re almost done,” Matt said, sounding more casual than Dolly had. “I just had to stop by to check on something small.”
“Let Stuart know we’ll be going in a couple of minutes here,” Dolly nodded to her.
Lydia nodded and looked at Matt before slowly going into the storage unit. Dolly turned her attention back at Matt and he frowned and looked at his feet.
“Tell me right now that your buddies aren’t going to pop out any minute now and make her life a living hell,” Dolly said, her voice low and angry. “She’s got enough to deal with at home and her parents will lose their shit if she ends up on the wrong side of one of these shitty pranks. You guys can make me feel like the loser fat girl if you want to but I’ll be damned if they’re going to make my friends into their little punching bags too.”
“There’s no one else here,” Matt said, quietly. “I walked here by myself and I didn’t tell them where I was going. I can’t stay or they will ask me about where I was. You don’t film on location, do you?”
“Are you vaguely telling me that we should keep a low profile here?” Dolly sighed.
“They won’t bother with you if you stay out of sight,” Matt insisted.
Before they could continue, there was a strange cry from somewhere nearby. Dolly immediately looked to Matt but felt a shiver run through her as she noticed that he looked confused too. The streetlamps had come on now and there was a strange scent on the breeze now. Dolly couldn’t place it but she got the sense that it was something she should be aware of. What she was most aware of was that they were sitting in the middle of a very small road and she was in a wheelchair and unable to get up. There was a loud bang somewhere else and she swallowed, feeling more and more like she was about to find herself in a situation that she couldn’t get out of.
“What are you guys doing here?” Matt said, slowly.
“We were filming but we’re done for the day,” Dolly said, looking around. She wondered if the shadows were always so deep around here. She wondered if they were always these kinds of weird shapes. “We have to go.”
Matt took a breath to speak but stopped and closed his eyes as he heard the sound of a horn blaring nearby. He didn’t turn around but the look on his face was enough to show that this sound was not only unexpected but also very unwelcome. Dolly could hear the laughter already even though the truck was only pulling up now. She wanted to be angry but already she was terrified of what these assholes were going to do. Lydia was in there and if she came out, they were going to see her in the cat ears for sure. And Stuart was going to inconsolable at this rate. And Will! They were going to see him the way he was if they got close. She looked to Matt and watched him glance over his shoulder and grit his teeth. Dolly saw Stuart and Lydia appear at the door but it took only a second before Stuart spotted the truck just pulling up. He pulled at Lydia who was now missing the cat ears but she stayed at the door, looking confused. Matt suddenly grabbed at the handles of Dolly’s wheelchair and began to push her in the direction of the storage locker, making a point to block Lydia’s view as the PranKingz began to file out, hollering in the background at him.
“You said you came here alone,” Dolly said through gritted teeth.
“I did and I took too long,” Matt said in a hushed voice. He glanced back at the boys approaching as they called to him. “Look, I’m just going to tell them that I was trying to get a prank on Blair and was going to get your help on it. Throw me under the bus and they might pick on you for a second or two but they’ll just call me a fuck up and it’ll be over quick.”
“I’m about to tell them to fuck right off,” Dolly said.
“No! Just let me do this and it will be better for everyone,” Matt hissed as the leader of them was getting closer. Dolly was about to argue but he shook his head. “Blair can’t doxx me. I live with him and his parents don’t know that. He won’t get himself in trouble.”
The leader, Dolly assumed it was Blair, smirked as he pulled out a camera and aimed it at the two of them. One of the other Kingz aimed a light at them, making Dolly and Matt wince and Lydia shrank away from it but stayed in the doorway. She tried to inch her way closer to Dolly without being seen.
“This is ya boy Blair, King of the Kingz,” he said, his voice dripping with the kind of insufferable smugness that made Dolly want to punch him. “Looks to me like we’ve got a traitor in our midst. Matty Boy here got a nice look at our Fatty Patty from last week and decided he just had to have another!”
“Dolly, we’ve got a problem!” Will called from inside the storage locker.
Blair began to say something but immediately fell out of character when the light behind him disappeared. In the growing darkness, his face twisted into an ugly expression that was only amplified by the dully light of the streetlamps. He turned his anger behind him to see only one of his cohorts who was looking confused.
“Jake, you prick, what the fuck are you doing? You ruined the fucking shot!” Blair hollered. His voice echoed off the storage units and was met with a strange cry in the distance. He became even more annoyed, shoving his camera into the hands of his other friend and pacing around. “Get out here, you dickhead! Think I was joking about having your sister’s nudes? You’ve got five minutes before I upload the whole batch to that fucking site!”
“Dolly?” Lydia whispered, getting closer to her now. She cowered next to the chair but began to move it closer to the door.
“Lydia, get back inside,” Dolly said in a hushed voice. “Don’t let them see you. Tell Will to shut up so they don’t notice him.”
“Are you in on this, Matt?” Blair shouted, his eyes blazing in the dark. “Admit it you, you worthless fucker! You put Jake up to this, didn’t you? You fucking lie to me and you’re going to be sleeping on the street again you-”
Blair gasped and a thin line of blood trailed out of his mouth. A large horn, slicked with blood had appeared through his stomach and he looked at it stupidly as his mouth gaped, the blood coming out heavier now. His eyes, wide, surprised and still angry, leveled once again at Matt before the horn was withdrawn and faster than any of them could react, a towering creature bathed in shadow behind Blair wound up and held its massive horns high before slamming them into his temple and thrashed about before standing up tall and letting out a piercing, primal call at the night air.