Part 34 The Real Freddy

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I LOOSEN MY GRIP AROUND FREDDY'S WAIST as we wind down a suburban area thick with newer construction and green lawns. Taking another look behind me, I feel a sense of relief no demons are chasing us.

Freddy turns into an empty driveway in front of a beautifully modest-sized house and my relief turns to confusion. Where are we?

Freddy stops the bike, kicks down the stand and taps my hand.

Pulling my helmet off, I look straight ahead at the house. "Why are we here? What is this place?"

Dismounting the bike, Freddy pulls off his helmet, walks up to the garage and raises the door. "My Dad's house."

"What? Your Dad's house?" I ask, surprised as hell he would take me here of all places when I have never met his Dad.

"We're just stopping here for a second, and then we're off again." He reaches behind a shelf and pulls out a key. He unlocks the door from the garage leading into the kitchen.

Intrigued, I follow him through the kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances. It doesn't surprise me his family has a home like this.

We head down a hallway and into a room filled with motocross trophies—shelves and shelves of trophies with Freddy's name on them.

I'm actually woefully impressed. "Wow, I guess someone really likes himself."

Freddy crinkles his brow. "I tried to throw these away, but my Dad insisted he turned my old room into a shrine. Believe me...I could care less, I really raced for my father. It's all he had."

I walk over to the trophies and pull one from the shelf. 'Fastest Racer 2012' is inscribed on the front. "Where is your Dad? Is he here?" I ask, leaning over to read the inscription on another trophy that reads: 'ALL OR NOTHING.'

"No," he says, somber in his tone.

"How did you get the name Undead Fred? I know I call you that hoping to piss you off and I've heard the rumors, but I want you to tell me."

With a clenched jaw, Freddy opens a sliding closet door. A large standing safe sits forebodingly inside. He fiddles with the circular combination lock on the front. "I'm going to tell you something I have never told anyone Brenda," he says, hitting the first of the three security numbers. "I'm going to let you in on a piece of me that I vowed to never tell anyone. Not even my father knew, because if he did...it would have crushed him. He would turn over in his grave."

"He's dead?"

Freddy hits the second of the three numbers and stops. "He died just before I retired and started at OC."

"Oh, Fred, I'm so sorry."

"No one knew it, but I had decided this was the last race of my career. I had slipped in the ratings and knew it was just a matter of time. I wanted to go out on top." He pauses and shakes his head. "No, I needed to go out on top. Anyway, my opponent was this young kid. He fought his way to the top with pure talent. Reminded me of me, but he didn't realize that if you want to stay on top, you have to take advantage of every moment. You have to be ready to sell your soul." Freddy hit the final number of the combination and pulls on a brass handle.

The safe door swings open.

"It was the last hill coming into the checker. I finally broke open, but I realized he was going to win. Mid-air and I saw his weakness. I knew the cameras wouldn't catch it because he was too close. I kicked him low. We both landed and lost control. This was one of the most publicized crashes in motocross history because it also took out five of the remaining racers behind us. He died and I came back from a coma and won. I became Undead Fred and my father was so proud. He never knew the truth. You are the only person I have ever told that to."

I sink into the statement with surprise. My Aunt was right. Unsure of what to say, I step up and look inside safe. It is filled with all types of firearms. I have no idea what I am looking at. "You're freaking me out, Freddy."

Freddy reaches in and grabs a huge pistol. He rips a box of ammo open and begins to load magazines. "I know you backed me when I needed it. Soul Busters was your catch and I should have given you all the credit." He stops, takes a deep breath and pulls me in tight.

God, his smell... it catches me off-guard.

"You are completely right about me," Freddy says with a low guttural tone in my ear. "And for the first time in my life, I have questioned who I have become, who I want to be. I know this is a heavy thing to say, but I... I will die for you, Brenda." Freddy shoves the pistol under his jacket into a shoulder holster and grabs my hand. "It's time for the truth."

I stop. "He's going to come for me-there is no running."

With a heavy sigh, Freddy nods his head. "I know. But it's me he's going to find."

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