Story -

TANK

TANK

     Tank Mason stole old man Deeter's civil war sidearm from a trunk hidden underneath the floorboards of a dilapidated shed that sank into a gnarly grove of deciduous Mockernut hickory and Sumac. Old Man Deeter's Back Forty was a collage of creeping vines flanked by elderly oak and magnolia. It was a piece of land where fatherless boys could hunt coon and widdle punji sticks, or hide until the coast was clear. So Tank Mason clung to the shadows like a confederate ninja. All black-maple stealth and moonshine. His pocket knife, at the ready. As always.
His bottlecaps, wrapped in a greasy rag from Bubba's Garage. Then stuffed in a poke in a Poplar.So... with his eyes fixed on a distant lamp burning without passion, behind a dingy curtain on the second floor of the main house... 
Tank Mason crouched like a hobo in a dugout; after Boxcar Beans for breakfast. Clenched and polluted. His hand-me-down overalls, caked with creekbed clay and dead leaves from last Fall. Huck Landry who's family owned a junkyard about 10 miles NW of Odetta and a Barbershop on Main St. across from Chet's Bait and Tackle, once told Tank his MeMaw had said that Old Man Deeter's neck of the woods had sour water and that's what killed his wife.
MeMaw Tilly went on to say that messin' around up by Deeter's Place was never a good idea, even before his wife died - something about when she, herself was only a 'Little Debbie', way back when... and some boy come up missin', walking home from school. " Maisie Gelder told the sheriff she saw Petey Cunningham cut through Deeter's on his way home...." and tweren't neva' seen again!
But oh well....
When the lamp in the second story bedroom window went dark, Tank was at the door of the shed on Old Man Deeter's property. Not to be denied. He didn't even care if the shed was empty. If anything it could be converted into a fort or a clubhouse where he and Huck Landry could hang out and leisurely thumb through lingerie catalogs fished out of rubbage bins, along with Tank's collection of National Geographic Magazines with all the topless natives fetching bushmeat.
Pocket knife in hand, Tank shimmied the tip of his 5-inch blade between the door and the frame, flicking splinters as he put his weight into it. While doing so, it occurred to him how curious it was that the door seemed to have never had a handle or knob or latch. It was just a wooden barrier with a seam, weathered by time and profound neglect. And yet somehow… 
still very Aunt Sadie’s fingernail polish red. Or the oldest red in the universe. Tank thought both.
Truth be told, it was more of a ‘ shack ‘ than a shed. Now that he was close enough to really have a sense of it’s dimensions. It was a strange elongated box. And The box belonged? to the door. It had mites and pill bugs and spiders to be sure, but the Door was pristine. As if ‘ The Door ‘ was Outside the jurisdiction of invasive, noxious weeds from Japan.
With a final push/nudge/pull; Tank Mason’s pocket knife had found a sweet spot that only leverage and a corn-fed delinquent with a serious case of the heebie-jeebies could truly appreciate. Then there was a creaking noise like ancient knuckles popping after centuries of long idleness followed by a sudden budge/croak/snap. And just like that, the inexplicable door began to groan/creak and swing away from the bulk of the riddle that would soon be repurposed to suit the needs of unsupervised country boys with the necessary security clearance.
And Password. No Girls Allowed. Unless they're Jennifer Hawkins.
Tank was a shoe-in for Captain, should the shack prove Clubhouse worthy. But while living in the moment, Tank Mason’s inner monologue was abruptly discontinued; for whatever lay ahead demanded the Captain’s undivided attention. The darkness standing vigil at the entrance was profound. 
Over his shoulder, nightfall sprawled over the countryside with a sliver of moon casting liquid mercury over the landscape, striping the canopy with restless strands of tinsel. The Whole Night of the World was pale compared to what stood before him filling the doorway. Filling it like a Gorilla! Tank thought. But behind him, the Night was a white-hot maelstrom of molten clouds and scintillating fireflies bleaching the pitch. While before him, a darkness long thought extinct, held its breath like a Monolith. 
Tank Mason detached the flashlight from his absent father’s tool belt and took three steps back, to buttress his resolve. Then flipped a switch in his head and stood imperfectly still. They dock a point for trembling but a jury of his peers would be pissing their pants about now, so Tank’s a ninja and that was important.
Before him was the darkest thing Tank had ever seen in his life. And it was FOX NEWS all day, every damn day at the Mason house, so that’s saying something. He was Not ready. 
So dark, it defied… something he couldn’t think of at the moment, it was...his mind could not understand how That much darkness could possibly fit in there? Or something along those terrible lines. And Tank thought It Was terrible. And he thought it had no idea he was there. Not because his shadow-walk was a thing of Legend, but more as if the Darkness was only concerned with Doing what it Was. Then he thought it was a good thing to not be noticed… And ran.
He had only imagined finding an old gun underneath the floorboards in there. He was thinking ahead. And now he didn’t care. Tank was running so fast he thought he just might have superpowers. But now was not the time to… Tank noticed he was home. 
Abruptly happy in the most terrifying way to be happy when you’re terrified. He was just a kid after all. A kid outta breath and maybe about 2 minutes to say goodbye to whoever he was before he snuck outta the house. He already missed that Tank, but the shed had other plans for him so he only had 2 minutes to take his place and clock-in forever. That guy was a hard act to follow. Probably laughed more than the new Tank would ever think possible. Bet he even left the house. But Tank thought “ Why on earth would he go and do a fool thing like that? “

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