Episode 014 - The New Guy Part Two
The rough plastic studs brushed coarsely across Jason's back as Not-Amy hauled him along the floor, his shirt riding up his torso. He thrashed and cried, but the thing held tight onto his foot as it pulled him down the dark hallway. The being that captured him looked like a seven year old girl, but had the strength of a demon.
“Quit squirming.” It snarled at him. “We’re almost there.”
In despair, Jason stopped his flailing. Looking up at the creature gripping his foot he realized the velcro on his sneaker had come loose. All he had to do was tilt his ankle ever so slightly and- pop! Jason freed his foot from the monster’s grip.
“What?” said the Not-Amy as Jason slipped away from it. He remained tethered around the ankles and wrists, but Jason managed to get up to his feet by pressing against the wall.
“Come back here!” the thing cried as Jason hopped down the hallway.
He had difficulty running with one shoe on and one off, but Jason was bigger than his pursuer and she seemed to move in a fitful manner, as if her feet stuck to the floor a bit. Jason managed to get several feet in front of the creature before he fell on his face.
The plastic studs scraped his cheeks and nose, but the force of the fall dislodged the bricks around his ankles just enough to free them. Scrambling back to his feet, Jason RAN to the middle doorway.
“No! Not there!” bellowed the thing as Jason dashed into the dark chamber.
Stumbling in the darkness he nearly tripped over a small object on the floor. His flashlight!
Jason managed to pick it up with his bound hands, but had difficulty aiming it around the room.
Still, it allowed him to see a few feet ahead as he plunged into the darkness.
Jason walked for a long while, occasionally stopping to hear if the Not-Amy were behind him. He detected no sign of it as he hobbled on one shoe over the nubby floor.
The chamber must have been ten times the size of the one where he found his sister’s doppelganger. Eventually he found something...a gigantic bed made of colorful bricks, complete with a quilted comforter made of the tiny plastic blocks. In it lay his mother. Or at least, it looked like her.
“Mom?” he asked, “Is it really you? Are you...are you YOU?”
The woman in the bed rolled away from him.
“Just give mommy five more minutes, JJ.” she muttered, “I didn’t sleep a wink last night. Just a little more shuteye...”
“MOM!” he shouted. “You can’t sleep! There’s a...a...monster. It has Amy somewhere around here!”
“That’s nice. Just feed yourself some cereal and I’ll be down.”
“Mom! NO!. NOO!” he cried. Jason climbed on the bed and shook his mother, but she wouldn’t move.
“Amy needs you! We need you! I NEED YOU.”
Jason’s tears fell on her.
If this was a movie, he thought, a tear would wake her up like magic. A single tear would bring her back. It would make everything better.
But Jason had cried millions of tears and none of them produced magic. Daddy died. Gone. Done. Forever. Buried away in a box under the ground never to be seen again by anyone other than worms. Jason and Amy would have to live without a father. And now it seemed like he’d lost mommy too. And maybe even Amy. Tears do nothing. They don’t work magic. They don’t bring back the dead. They don’t even wake the living.
“J.J.?” came a horribly familiar voice from the doorway. “Is that you in there? Let mommy sleep. She’s had a rough night.”
“Dad?” Jason called back. The door to the chamber stood only ten feet away, even though Jason must have walked for nearly twenty minutes through the darkness before he discovered the bed. Framed in light pouring out of the hall, Jason could make out the silhouette of dad leaning against the door jamb.
“Dad! It’s you!” he shouted as he ran towards the figure, faltering with only one shoe still.
“J.J.” said the voice of his father, “I’m sorry I was away. But I’m back now. I’m all better.”
Jason tried to hug his father, but his arms remained tethered.
“Let me fix that.” the man said as he touched the bricks constricting the boy’s wrists. They instantly fell away.
Jason threw his arms around Daddy’s torso.
“I knew it!” he cried. “I knew the doctors were all wrong!”
“Yes, son. I’m going to be fine. I just need one thing from you.”
“What?” asked Jason.
“My blood! Give it back!” snarled the figure.
Looking up, Jason saw the brick-studded face of that stupid plastic mannequin his sister had made.
“No!” shouted Jason, falling back onto the rough floor, disgusted with himself for being fooled twice. “No no no!”
“Just give Daddy the blood you took and everything will be ok.” spoke a voice from the hall - the Not-Amy.
“What did you do to my mom?” he implored.
“Mommy is sleeping. I’ll wake her up when I get what is mine!” said the plastic brick Daddy.
“Just wake her up! What do you even want from me?”
“He already told you!” said Not-Amy. “He wants the blood!”
“You mean...the old tissue?”
‘Yes” she hissed, “The blood, the tears. It fed the Balatron bricks. To make us whole Daddy needs it. He needs more!”
“No!” he shouted. “You can’t have it! It’s all I have left of him. It’s mine.”
The Daddy-simulacrum grabbed Jason by his shoe, but like the other it had come loose and the thing managed only to pull it off of his foot. Jason crab walked backward, banging his head against the bed.
The construct grasped him once more by the ankle and dangled Jason into the air.
It shook him and shook him. Trying to displace the tissue from his pockets.
Jason dropped his flashlight and the compass, but the tissue was wedged in deep.
“Give it up!” his captor roared at him, but Jason could only thrash about.
The thing howled in rage and tossed him onto the bed. Even though it was made of the same stiff plastic bricks as the rest of this nightmare-realm, the bed felt soft and giving, like an actual mattress.
His face awash in tears, Jason called for his mother to wake, but she did not stir.
“Give me my blood!” screamed the thing pretending to be his father, as it approached the bed, the Not-Amy right behind it.
“No!” cried Jason. “You get NOTHING! You aren’t my dad. My dad is DEAD!”
The construct stepped on the flashlight and rolled its blocky feet over it.
“Grah”, it grumbled as it tripped and fell face-first onto the ground. There came a clattering of plastic bricks. Jason peered over the edge of the bed to see that the simulacrum’s right arm had broken into a thousand tiny blocks.
Amidst the colorful plastic rubble Jason saw his compass on the floor. Its dial pointed away from the creature pretending to be Daddy.
Amy said it was so we could find him, thought Jason, but no...maybe that’s not what it’s actually for. Maybe it points to something else.
The needle aimed in the general direction of the hall...toward the third doorway.
Leaping off the bed, Jason grabbed the compass and ran toward the door. His plastic antagonizers pursued him, but their disjointed movements made it simple for him to outpace them.
Once in the hall, Jason looked at the compass. It definitely indicated toward the final door and not the “New Guy”. The studded floor felt uncomfortable against his feet, but at least he could run now that he had shed both sneakers.
The open black doorway appeared even darker than the unlit hall. Jason wished he’d managed to get the flashlight. It reminded him of the pitch blackness of the box from which the bricks had come. He could barely make out the needle of the compass in the gloom, but it clearly aimed directly into the room behind the black door.
“Amy?” he called into the room, “Are you in there?”
No answer came.
“I’m here, brother!” said the Not-Amy as it lurched at him from the shadows. He could only see the silhouetted form of the demonic semblance of his sister veering toward him.
Jason collapsed into a ball, his arms over his head in self-defense.
“Go away! Don’t touch me!” he screamed as the thing grabbed him by the wrist and roared at him.
“Father! I have the boy!” it cried triumphantly.
‘Throw him into the box!” commanded the shoddy reproduction of Daddy.
Jason shrieked as the construct hefted him upward and flung him through the ebon portal.
Blue light seared his eyes as Jason landed on the...grass.
Why is there grass? He thought, Where am I?
The ground beneath him appeared to be actual grass, the sky blue. He stood up to find himself in a wide meadow ringed with trees. In the center sat Amy at a little white table having a tea party with a stuffed bunny.
“Amy!” he called out, “You’re ok!”
She looked up at him and smiled.
“Jason. You’re here.”
Looking around at the sky Jason asked, “What is this place?”
“It’s called Amalthea.” she replied, forming the name as if she had just learned it. “But the meadow is my own place. I can be the queen here.”
“Oh.” said Jason, assuming that Amy was playing a game.
“And how did we get here? A minute ago I was in the hall- oh no.”
“They’re after us! We need to hide!”
“The fake-dad you made. And- um- there’s a fake you too.”
“Really?” asked Amy, “I didn’t know about that. It’s ok, Jason. We’re safe here. They can’t hurt us. They can’t even find us.”
“Amy. What is this place? How are we here? How is any of this real? You made a maze out of toy bricks. You made a copy of dad and it came to life. How? Why?”
“I don’t know. The man who gave us the gifts was magic, I guess.”
“Who even was that guy?”
“I don’t know that either. All I know is we’re safe here. Safe in Amalthea.”
“Where is that? What is that? Who told you about all this?”
“Amalthea is the place where we’re safe. It’s a whole new world where nothing can hurt us. I wished for it and the box made it for us.”
“The box?” asked Jason, “The box that man gave you? You used it to make a wish?”
“Kept pulling more and more bricks from the box, Jason. You were right. That little box couldn’t hold so many. After a while the bricks started putting themselves together. When I got home from school I found the hallway in mom’s room.”
“I found it too. It’s too big. It’s bigger than our entire house.”
“I know.” Amy continued. “I don’t know how. It’s magic I guess. But the bricks were all coming out of the box. So many came out that the box got bigger until it was the size of a door. I had already made a wish for the box to give me a new daddy and it did. But he wasn’t right, was he?”
“No. He was NOT.”
“So that’s when I made another wish. I wished for a safe place to go and have a tea party. And I wished that you would come find me here. And you did.”
“Amy,” Jason started, “what now? What are we going to do?”
“Jason. We can just stay here. I can have anything I wish for here. Look. You usually have a peanut butter and jelly after school. Let me get you one.”
She nodded toward the table and a sandwich appeared on a small plate, cut diagonally just how Jason preferred.
Jason reached for it and said, “Who told you what this place is called, though? You’re the only one here.”
“Jazzy did.” she said, gesturing toward the little white bunny.
“Amy, that’s a toy.” said Jason as he regarded the stuffed creature. It was soft and round, with a vest made of crushed blue velvet.
“Oh, and I guess that means I can’t be helpful?” said the rabbit toy as it stood up in its seat.
“WHAT?” Jason gasped.
“Oh, I’m sorry kid. Is a talking rabbit the weirdest thing to happen to you lately?”
“Ummm....no...actually. But still...what are you?”
“The name’s Jazeroth. But you can call me Jazzy, apparently.”
“Amy,” asked Jason, “You made this too? How are you doing all of this?”
“I’m not.” she responded, “Amalthea is a magical place. Jazzy was here when I showed up and he explained it all to me.”
“What does this have to do with those Balatron bricks?”
“Well,” said Jazzy, “those bricks are the building blocks of Amalthea. And somehow somebody from your world figured out how to swipe them. But you and your sister can put a stop to that.
“The way I see it, you just gotta close the door.” the rabbit explained. “That oughta shut off the link between the two worlds.”
“Why don’t you do it?” asked Jason.
“Hey kid. I’m just a stuffed bunny. The door has to be shut from your side. I don’t even got thumbs. Besides. I’m from here. Who knows what’ll happen to me on your side of the door. Nosiree. I’m staying put.
“Well, fine. We’ll do it, but what about the Not-Amy and the New Guy.”
“I got no clue who that is.” said Jazzy.
“The...brick people.” replied Jason, “They want to kill us or replace us or something.”
“Oh those mooks. Well, I’m pretty sure they’ll become normal toys once the door is shut. Then they won’t be able to hurt you.”
“Pretty sure?” Jason asked. “PRETTY SURE?”
“Look, kid, I ain’t got all the answers. You can stay here forever for all I care.”
“No. We have to go home. Even if it means dealing with those monsters.” Jason grabbed Amy’s hand, “Come on. Let’s go home.”
“No. I’m not going. This world has everything I could ever want. There’s no reason to go home.”
“But what about mom and d- what about...what about mom?”
“Mommy is gone Jason.” said Amy, “She’s just as gone as Daddy.”
“That’s not true!” he pleaded, “She made us breakfast this morning. She’s going to get better she’s just...what’s the word?”
“Grieving?” offered Jazzy.
“Yeah. She’s griefing.Mommy is sad, but she’s getting better. We’re all sad. But we’ll get better soon.”
“I don’t care.” said Amy. “Without Daddy I don’t want to go home. I tried to make a new one and you see how that turned out. I’m done with Amon Heights. I’m done with the kids looking at me like the sad girl with no daddy. I just want to stay here forever.”
Jazzy got off his little chair and trudged over to Amy to place a paw on her shoulder.
“You have to come home.” Jason implored, but Amy refused to budge.
He pulled on her arm and cursed at her, tears in his eyes. “Don’t leave me alone again. I need you, you stupid little brat!”
“Then stay here with me, because I’m never leaving.” she replied.
“Ok. I will. But I’m going to get mom to come here too. She won’t get out of bed, but I can make her. I can get her to be here and we can...I don’t know...build a castle or something. We can live here together.”
“Sure.” said Amy as she took a sip from her teacup.
“I’ll be right back” Jason said. Amy did not reply.
Turning around, Jason saw the door...the box...whatever it was. Just as it did in the hall, the thing resembled nothing more than a solid black rectangle standing in the field. He walked around it one time, expecting to see the back side of the door, but the rear of the portal was nonexistent. He reached his hand through the back of where he was sure the door stood but felt nothing.
Walking back to the front brought the inky black doorway into view once more. Jason looked back at Amy for a second. She was laughing quietly at something that stupid bunny had said.
I’ll be back for you Jason thought before he entered the door.
Once more Jason felt the discomfort of plastic nubs on his bare feet as he entered the dark hallway.
“Back already?” said the voice of the New Guy, towering over Jason. Behind it stood Not-Amy.
“I want my mom.” said Jason, defiantly.
“Your mommy can’t help you.” taunted the Not-Amy.
“Give me the blood and I will reunite you with her.” said the New Guy.
“Is that really all you want?” said Jason as he pulled the tissue out of his pocket and held it up in the air.
“Yes, son.” grumbled the construct, “Give it here and all will be put right.”
Why doesn’t he just take it from me, thought Jason, I’m just a kid.
The two menacing figures stood before him, but didn’t move any closer.
“That’s it.” Jason said, “You’re afraid!”
“Us afraid of you?” snarled Not-Amy.
“No...you’re afraid of the door...” He waved the tissue around, the tiny drop of dried blood visible on it. “You want this dirty tissue? Come and get it.”
“Don’t play around, son.” said the New Guy.
“I am NOT your son!” said Jason as he wadded up the tissue and tossed it into the black door.
“No!” bellowed the mannequin as it reached out reflexively. It tried to snatch the tissue, but moved forward too quickly and fell face first into the door. The thing managed to stop itself from going in entirely with the stump of its right arm, but it was too late. Once the New Guy’s head passed through the portal the rest of it crumbled into millions of tiny colorful plastic bricks.
“Daddy!” roared the Not-Amy. “You killed him!” It lunged at Jason, but he slipped to the side as the thing rushed into the doorway as well, passing entirely into the nothingness.
Fearing that the thing might come back out at him, Jason reached reflexively for the door and slammed it shut with a heavy bang.
The world around him fell apart.
A rain of bricks fell around him with thousands of clicks and clacks as they hit the floor. For what felt like forever brick after brick clattered all around him, drowning his cries and obscuring his vision.
When the plastic rain ended Jason found himself standing in his own upstairs hall, just outside of Mommy’s room. On the floor in front of him sat the wooden box.
Jason tore it open to find only a wooden interior. No bricks. No inky blackness. Just an ordinary wooden box.
“Jason,” came his mom’s voice from downstairs, “Is that you? I didn’t hear you come in.”
“MOM!” Jason bounded down the stairs and wrapped his arms around her.
“Hey kiddo. I made you your PB&J. Come eat.”
As he devoured the sandwich and a glass of chocolate milk Jason looked at Mommy. She certainly looked better than she’d been in a long time.
“Honey.” she told him, “I’m sorry I’ve been checked out since we lost your dad. It’s been really hard on me, but I know it’s even tougher for you. I promise I’ll try to do better.”
“I know you will, mom.” Jason said between gulps of milk. “I know it takes time and I’m sad all the time too. But after a while isn’t it supposed to hurt less?”
“It is, love. It will. And we’ll be there for each other. I promise. No more wallowing in self pity. I’m here for you. From here on out it’s just you and me, kid.”
“And Amy.” Jason added.
“Who’s Amy?” asked Mommy.
Nothing is Wrong is a horror anthology podcast. Listener discretion is advised.
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Intro and outro theme
Music Provided By Mediacharger
Artist: Darren Curtis
Background Music Provided By Mediacharger
Music Created By : Myuu
Song Title: Growing Shadows
Additional music was Stars and Warriors by Ezietto https://soundcloud.com/ezietto78
Nothing Is Wrong is written and recorded in Haddon Heights, New Jersey on Lenapehoking territory.