The Thin Line
Mr's Pike's intro:
He started this story shortly before the Jonesboro massacre, and it was weird for him to see the stuff he was writing about showing up on TV. He says that he's often been asked if he worries about his violent tales inspiring copycats, but he says no, because his heroes have strong moral centres. He also has a beef with the cover art of his novels. He doesn't like the scary covers that the publishers keep choosing; he'd like to see a beautiful painting with his name above it.
So, our buddy Tim Klane is a high school basketball player. And he's good. Actually "damn good". And he even looks good. He describes himself as 6-foot-2 with shaggy dark blond hair, and "eyes as blue as a gloomy Monday morning." And the ego of a poet, apparently.
Everything is all good until the day that he realizes his cosmic ownership of a certain girl in school: Jane, a popular cheerleader AND the coach's daughter. They go out for a while, and one night after a date they fall asleep on the living room floor at her place. Coach finds them together in the morning and goes apeshizzle. He tries to attack Tim with various living room accessories, and forbids Jane from seeing Tim anymore.
Tim still attends basketball practice, until one day when Jane's ex-boyfriend, Tim's teammate Steve, bumps into Tim while he's airborne making a dunk. Tim goes down hard and ruptures 4 vertebrae and breaks his tailbone. When the coach comes to check on Tim's injury, he hints that it wasn't an accident...
During two months of recovery, Tim doesn't hear from Jane at all. He is depressed and angry. The day before he is going to return to school, he empties his bank account and buys two guns on the black market. Tim acts like such a psycho while he's buying the guns that he makes the black market gun dealer uncomfortable. Yikes.
After school, basketball practice and cheerleading practice are scheduled in the gym. Which is mondo-convenient for Tim, who wants to take out all of his enemies at the same time. He chains the gym doors shut and starts menacingly showing off his weapons. Jane's ex, and the causer of Tim's injuries, Steve, tries to talk to Tim, only to be shot through the thigh. It's apparently pretty gory. In fact, it's so gross that Tim can't go through with his plan of killing everyone. Too much blood.
Jane was supposed to be one of the first to die, but she approaches Tim and isn't even afraid when he rams the gun up under her chin and screams in her face. She didn't visit him in the hospital! She didn't call! Does he mean nothing to her?!? No, she says that he is still her boyfriend.
The cops show up outside and call to see what Tim's demands are. Poor guy didn't even really realize that he was holding hostages. But he pulls it together quick and demands a half million dollars and a van to take him to a plane. He chooses five hostages to take with him, including Jane and her father, the coach.
In the plane, he forces the hostages to put on parachutes and prepare to jump. Jane tells Tim that she loves him, and even though he hates her, he loves her too, and asks her to jump with him. They land safely with all the ransom money intact.
Jane and Tim got plastic surgery to change their faces, rented an apartment, and had a whole life together. Tim's attack on his school was a big news topic, and they would sometimes see interviews with the survivors on TV. Steve had had his leg amputated after the shooting. All the hostages from the plane survived, but the pilot did not. He hit a tree when he jumped from the plane and broke his neck.
Even though they were free from trouble, had loads of money, and each other, Jane and Tim lived with horrible guilt. Tim felt that Jane was even more burdened that he was, because she had chosen to share his guilt. As time passed, Jane became reckless, often stepping into traffic, or standing at the very tippy-toe edge of the subway platform.
Four years after they'd jumped from the plane together, Jane tempted death for the last time. She was struck and killed by a bus. After the funeral, Tim went home to his mother, who didn't recognize him until he spoke. Tim had made a killing on the stock market, and decided to divvy up all his money and leave half on Steve's doorstep and half on the dead pilot's family's doorstep.
Lastly, Tim stopped at the high school gym and found Jane's father, the coach, shooting hoops alone. The coach offers him a game of one-on-one, without recognizing him. Tim has lived in horrible agony from his back injury and hasn't touched a basketball since the the day he was hurt. Despite that, he leads the coach, 9 to 3, until the pain overcomes him and he collapses, crying. The coach helps him to the bench, and says it's too bad Tim can't finish the game; he was about to win. Tim says that they are both losers, and thinks "Jane is dead. We both killed her." and decides not to tell the coach that Jane is dead.
So, I overestimated my free time this week - friggin' Christmas eve is tomorrow! Whaaatttt?! - so the rest of the Tales of Terror will be posted on the weekend or next week. Hopefully everyone is gonna be too busy having holiday fun to be reading silly blogs anyway! Have a good one, everybody!!