Seeing a roadside marker Dixie had told him to look out for, he glanced down at the hand scrawled directions she had given him when setting this date, claiming GPS would die half way up the mountain (which it did, only adding to the ominous nag twisting away in Darren's guts), making note of the final few directions. He then made his final turn onto Broshus' street, Darren's tiny car splashing into murky water hard as it cut into a muddy road nearly invisible by the encroaching woods. He could feel his throat get tight with dryness, feel his hands grow slick with oily sweat, as the car moved along the choppy dirt and stone road, counting mailboxes until he reached the fifth. He pulled his car to the obscured driveway it marked; the opening grown over with heavy, leafy branches. He strained, staring hard to try and make out the lot number scrawled ages ago deep into a wooden post marking the property edge, thinking this would be the wrong place to go wandering up the wrong driveway.
"824 Warcloud Path... 824 Warcloud Path..." He muttered quietly to himself, finally satisfied he had arrived. He slowly rolled past the post markers, urging the car along the narrow steep trail as it quickly rose along a hillside. The ground was slick from the rain, tires having difficulty getting grip along the angled, muddy path. His tiny car slide a little here and there as it struggled up the rain slicked clay and stone, eventually making it to the top and onto firmer ground (though not by all that much). Once over he could see their home, as Dixie's directions foretold. The house was hardly eye catching, a decades old double wide sitting half tilted on a wearing foundation in the middle of a weed engulfed clearing. The once white exterior of the trailer had faded to a rusty cream hue; brittle paint chipping off in sheets along the battered shell, whole patches of the walls down to bare oxidizing metal; a few spots, not even that.
He drove his car along the property, pulling into a driveway once coming upon it; parking behind a beat up red pick up. He took a moment to catch his breathe before stepping out of his vehicle, a year of research having led him to this point. He liked to take these little victories for himself; quietly relishing in his successes that he knew no one else ever would.
He'd done a few of these before... Location interviews, that is... He and Chris had been running a fairly successful paranormal investigation show on the web for nearly a decade now; the pair having covered their share of oddball topics and subjects.
But this one was special.
Darren been tugging on that Florida thread for a long time now... Long enough that even he had grown tired of his constant obsessing over it. He understood why Andy and Steve had gotten so frustrated those months back, his obsession maddening to any who he bored telling. But he couldn't help himself... The curse of his life forever having been his inability to let go of things that struck him queer. Up until he and Chris had started the investigations (which had started years before the video taping and production aspects), this tendency of his had brought him nothing but misery and trouble (his father even blamed it for his divorcing Darren's mother, the boy's inquisitive nature leading him to unravel a string of infidelities that his father had been hoping to keep his mother in the dark on).
And perhaps this thread he currently tugged would do the same, his momentary relishing of victory cut short by the toothy gnaw of lurking fear at his guts; what could be a violent killer just waiting to meet him some fifty yards away.
He finally stepped out of the car, grabbing his bag before exiting the vehicle. He was careful as he did so, the ground littered with murky mud puddles made all the more difficult to avoid in the dwindling twilight. It took him a minute before reaching the front door, navigating around the treacherous mud holes harder than he had envisioned. But he arrived unscathed, carefully scaling the iron steps leading to the door. There were three in all, steel grates resting atop decaying steel stands. He could feel them slightly giving way under his weight as he stepped on them (doing little for his self esteem, as he was already feeling a bit chubbier). He knocked on the door once he reached it, its inhabitants taking a few minutes before opening it up to invite him in off the collapsing staircase.
It was Dixie who opened the door, smiling half stoned as she looked at Darren.
"You're early, mister." She said, smiling a goofy grin as she waved him in. Her work clothes had hardly done her justice, her feminine form even more appealing as she stood there shyly, wearing only a large t-shirt. Her hair was mussed and frizzed and her cheeks flush, Darren getting the impression he might have been interrupting something. He caught himself staring a bit while she was distracted by something across the room, his eyes tracing over her form.
"Thank you again for setting this up..." Darren opened nervously, extending his hand to the woman in friendship as he moved off the rickety steps.
"Don't go thanking me too hard just yet, you ain't spoke with 'im..." She replied, still grinning goofily as she accepted his hand. She had rough skin and a firm grip, hurting Darren's hand a little as she shook it.
"Speaking of, lemme go fetch 'im... Should be done getting dressed by now..." She continued, walking past Darren as she made her way to the other side of the room.
"Make yourself at home," she called over her shoulder as she disappeared down a hall.