Spring almost always brought around change and new opportunities. People opened up their windows, cleaned out their homes, and got ready for enjoying the warmer weather.
It looked like everyone had decided to be out and about one sunny Saturday afternoon. Kids were riding their bikes, adults were out tending to their yards, a few of them were jogging on the sidewalks in hopes to keep up their New Year’s resolutions.
The air was full of the desire for something new. Anything to change up the monotonous life that winter and lulled everyone into.
Sean and Chance didn’t get pulled into the lull that most everyone else did over the winter. While most stayed inside they ran off and filmed monthly shows for their website. They didn’t let a moment go to waste during what was considered the “off season” for most people.
They had several backers that funnelled money into their work. They used most of the money on new equipment and gas from traveling, but a lot of it went into feeding the two young men.
Sean was driving the large white moving van they found themselves living out of for most of the year. Music was blaring loudly through the stereo and he was nodding his head along to it.
He always managed to be in a bad mood during the colder months of the year. He was never built for snow and freezing rain. He argued that they should just head down south for the winter, but Chance had told him not to be so predictable.
Chance was snacking on some chips, keeping his eyes out the window. His eyes travelled along street occasionally catching on the people that were out. “Huh,” he muttered, trailing after two women bent over in a garden. “Are you sure it was on this street?”
Sean rolled his eyes. “If you don’t believe you can check the website again. I remember it being on Markey Street. Number 35.”
Chance popped a chip into his mouth before rolling up the back. He glanced at him before shaking his head. He then pulled out his phone and did a quick look through, through their history.
Suddenly he started laughing. He shook his head and slapped against his knee. “Oh, this is rich,” he muttered.
Sean glance at him, his eyes going wide. “What is it?” he asked.
Chance just kept laughing though. Tears were coming to his eyes and dramatically wiped them away.
“Come on, dude,” Sean yelled, reaching for the phone. “What is it?”
He held the phone away from him and shook his head. “Oh, you’re wrong,” he told him with a laugh. “The house you’re looking for isn’t even in this town.”
His shoulders deflated and he looked at him. “You’re joking, right?” he mumbled.
He only started laughing again. Sean looked so upset. “I am one hundred percent, not joking,” he told him.
Sean cursed and gripped the steering wheel. “We were supposed to be not even five minutes away,” he mumbled.
Chance reached over and clapped him on the shoulder, shaking him a little. “Don’t look so lost and upset,” he laughed softly. “We’ll just have to drive around and find a new one. It won’t be perfect, but it will be home.”
“Easy for you to say, your knees aren’t stiff, and your back probably isn’t killing you from driving the last six hours,” he mumbled, shaking his head. “I’m pulling over into the next gas station.”
As they pulled to a stop at a sign there was a thump in the back. Sean turned and gave Chance a look. “Did you not secure everything back there?” he asked. “I swear to god, if anything is broken…where’s the camera.”
Chance rolled his eyes and grabbed the bag at his feet. “I’ve got it right here” he assured him. He always hated when Sean got on his case about nothing. “If anything’s moving around back there it’s probably the backdrops. It’s hard to tie those things down. I’ll check to make sure when we stop.”
“You better,” he mumbled. He grinned when he saw a gas station coming up on their right. “And if you can try to secure it. Even if it means jamming something behind it so it won’t move when we stop.”
“That’s what I did,” he mumbled as they pulled into the gas station. He didn’t wait for the other to stop the truck before jumping out. He watched him go into the store for a second before heading towards the back.
“Alright,” he hummed, undoing the lock and then the latch, “let’s see who’s moving back here.”
Buck felt sick as he slowly opened his eyes. As he lifted his head a sharp paid formed a band around his head and made his ears ring. He quick laid his head back down against the cool floor of wherever he was laying.
There wasn’t much he could remember. One moment he was having a good time in a club, dancing with a few guys and the next he was being pulled into a bathroom stall…and then nothing.
Was he drugged? What had happened after he went into that stall?
He felt too sluggish to do anything else. So, instead he closed his eyes and passed out again.
Chance took the wheel after they stopped, and they started house hunting again. “Just keep an eye out for something,” he mumbled.
“No, I’m just going to sit here and twiddle my thumbs,” he mumbled. “Of course, I’m going to look for a house.”
“I don’t need this shit,” he muttered mostly to himself.
Sean rolled his eyes and sat back with the window rolled down. He hung out it, searching the lawns for signs that said ‘For Sale’ or maybe even abandoned. He didn’t care. He doubted there would be one in such a nice neighborhood though. As long as they got a house before the end of the day. He was tired of being in the truck.
Sean rolled his eyes. “Yes, you did,” he laughed softly.
“Does it have a fence surrounding the backyard?” he asked, leaning forward over the wheel to try to get a look at it.
“How am I supposed to know? Just pull over so we can check it out,” he told him. He was anxious to get out and check it out. They had been driving since three in the morning to get here and, well, they almost did it for no reason.
Chance hit him again. “Will you shut up,” he muttered. He pulled over to the side of the road and glanced out the window. There weren’t that many people out on this street. “I was asking out loud. Not asking you.
Sean hopped out and started towards the house. He grinned when he saw a woman stepping out onto her porch. He gave a small wave. “Afternoon!” he called to them.
“Good afternoon,” she called back. “You guys thinking about moving in?”
Sean glanced to Chance before letting out a laugh. “Yes, we are,” he told her. “We looked this place up on one of those house websites. It looked really good.”
She nodded slowly and glanced towards the truck. “Looks like you’re ready to move in already,” she pointed out as she went to lean on her railing.
Chance rolled his eyes in the background, crossing his arms as he waited for the two to finish talking.
“Well, we’ve been on the road for a bit,” Sean told her, glancing back to the truck. He let a soft sigh and shook his head. “We’ve been living out of this baby for a while. I can’t wait to retire it already.”
She grinned at them. “I hope you like the house,” she grinned, winking at him. She pushed away from the railing before heading down the steps and towards her car. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Sean grinned and leaned against the truck as he watched her go. “Maybe,” he murmured.
Chance walked up to him and hit him on the back of the head. “Keep it in your pants,” he told him. He grabbed the back of his shirt and started to tug him towards the house. “Let’s check this place out.”
He peeled himself away from the truck with a groan. “I’ve been stuck in a truck with you for I don’t know how long. I think I deserve to fantasize about the women we meet.”
He rolled his eyes and jogged up the steps to the house.
They walked into the house, happy that there was no keypad locking it. It was full of furniture already. Ugly stuff that looked like it belonged in the fifties.
Sean looked around, shaking his head. “How could anyone think that this looks good,” he mumbled softly. He walked further into the living room and ran his fingers across the back of the sofa. He shook his head and let out a small huff as a laugh. “I swear, my grandmother has the same sofa at her place.”
Chance grinned. “God, I miss your grandmother…and her cookies,” he mumbled. “Next time we’re in that area we should stop buy and get some more.”
“That’s the plan,” he told him grinning from ear to ear.
He walked over to him and put his arm around his shoulder. “Don’t worry about the furniture, it won’t be here for much longer. We’ll get this place looking how we want it to look.”
“Let’s see if it’s right first,” he laughed. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves like last time. We were a room short remember?”
He rolled his eyes and started to head to the kitchen. “Yes, I remember,” he called over his shoulder as he walked into the other room. “It’s not like you ever let me forget it. I wish this was more open. I like open concepts so much. Makes things easier.”
“Is it a deal breaker though?” he asked, looking out the sliding doors to get a good look of the back yard.
“No, I guess it’s not,” he mumbled.
“Hey! There’s no fence,” he called. He turned and started heading down the hall to the other rooms.
Chance grinned and hurried to the living room. He slipped out the sliding doors and looked around the backyard. It was large and the grass was thick but high. A wooden swing set sat in the corner next to a homemade sandbox. He grinned and put his hands on his hips.
He jumped when he felt Sean bump into him. “What do you think of it?” he asked him, grinning. “Think the kids will like it?”
He elbowed him in the stomach and started back inside. “I think it’s a nice place,” he told him. “How many rooms?”
“Two bathrooms, three bedrooms, and an office,” he told him with a wide grin. “Ever room has something in it though.”
Quickly he waved his hand and stepped into the living room again. “The only room I’m really worried about is this one. I think if we need to the other rooms can be worked around.” He looked at Sean and grinned. “I like it.”
Buck woke up again. He was feeling a little better but still couldn’t pinpoint where he was. He tried to sit up, but he couldn’t move his hands or his feet. He tugged his hands to the side and found that he was definitely tied up.
He twisted his hands trying to feel what was binding them together but it only tug and tore at his skin more. He groaned and settled back to where he was lying down.
There had to be a way to get free. He blinked a few times, wishing that it wasn’t so dark and that he had his glasses on and not contacts. They wouldn’t have helped him see but at least his eyes wouldn’t have felt so dry.
All he wanted to do was find out where he was. It was dark, it smelled bad, and it was a little cold. That’s all that he could go on. Was he in a basement? That would explain a lot. He didn’t know how long he was out for. It definitely had to be long enough for someone to get him out of the club, into their car, all the way to their house, and to the basement.
He let out a groan, his head hurt just thinking about it. He rested it against the floor again. There wasn’t much else he could do. It was sickening to think that someone had done this to him. He could hear his father’s voice in his head telling him that he was an idiot.
“Well, dad,” he mumbled into the darkness around him, “I’ll try harder not to be an idiot next time.” Though, he was doubting he was ever going to get a next time.
In a fit of sudden panic, he started to thrash around, trying to loosen the restraints. If he could get them a little loose then he would be able to escape. Just a little looser.
He froze when he heard footsteps. He squeezed his eyes shut and waited for the inevitable.
When no one came he forced himself to relax. He couldn’t panic. If he relaxed, he had a better chance of getting out of there. It was all just a waiting game. All he had to do was surprise his attacker.
Chance stood outside the basement door, contemplating going down and checking it out. He was about to when he heard the front door open again. He leaned back and watched as Sean came in with the camera bag. “Think we should use the basement?” he asked.
“No, it’s too much,” he told him as he set the bag on the floor. “Alright, we have to move some of this stuff now or we won’t have time to get everything in here before night. I checked, both neighbors are out. If we move quickly then we won’t have to worry about them watching us.”
“One could only hope that they’re out for the rest of the night, so we won’t have to worry at all,” he laughed.
“We have never been so lucky,” he chuckled. He tapped the couch. “I’ll pull the truck around. You start carrying some of the smaller things out. I want this place ready by…” he looked at his watch, “seven. Sound good?”
“Yes sir,” Chance said mockingly. “You should have pulled the truck out while you were out there.”
“Shut up,” he mumbled, shoving his shoulder. “Just work on getting everything ready.”
It took them almost until seven thirty to get everything out and all of their stuff in. The house looked completely different than it did before by the time they were done with it.
As Sean was setting up the camera and making sure it was adjusted to see in the dark. “We go live in a half hour. We need to finish everything. Go get him.”
They didn’t go far though and his heart was hammering hard in his chest. He listened for any footsteps coming near the door. Was this it? Was he going to die? He squeezed his eyes shut and waited for someone to come in, but no one did.
“Okay, calm down,” he whispered to himself as he started working on the restraints again. He didn’t know how much time he had but he was sure it wasn’t too long.
Before he could get the restraints undone the back of the truck opened and he quickly stilled and closed his eyes. He tried to even his breathing out as someone climbed in. He listened as the other man grunted and untied things around him.
It took every fiber in his being not to flinch as a loud scraping noise went by his head. He then heard a thump and then two voices.
“Why do you always get the heavy stuff first?” one man asked. He sounded older, or at he was the rougher sounding one.
“It’s easier to move this stuff in before everything else,” the other one told him.
Their voices were getting further away, and Buck quickly opened his eyes again. Even though the sun was heading down the light was harsh, and it made his headache even worse. He tried to get a good look around without lifting his head, but it was nearly impossible.
He went to work on his restraints again, feeling them getting looser. Then the men came back, and he shut his eyes again.
It continued like that for what felt like hours. Buck was sure he was alone for now. He opened his eyes, glanced around, before he started working on the ropes tied around his feet and hands.
He almost had one of his hands free. All he had to do was pull it through the hole. He tugged and bit down on his lip as it felt like his thumb was about to be torn free from the rest of his hand.
It didn’t matter though. It probably would make getting his hand out easier. “Almost there,” he mumbled. He felt a pop and then his hand slid through.
The pain was unimaginable, but it was a small price to pay for freedom. He pushed himself up so he could get his feet untied but was stunned when he saw one of the men standing at the end of the trailer staring at him.
A grin crossed his face and he climbed into the truck. “You’re a feisty little one, aren’t you?” he asked with a terrifying smile. “I guess it’s our fault for not drugging you again the second time around.”
Buck reached out for him in an attempt to hit him, but the man caught him by the wrist and twisted before anything could be done. He gritted his teeth before letting out a cry as he was shoved onto his stomach and his arm was twisted around his back.
“You’re not going anywhere, pretty boy,” he growled in his ear. “Sorry.” He tied him back up before glancing over his shoulder.
“Chance? What are you doing? Did he wake up?” the other man asked.
Buck grunted and tried to move out from underneath him, but his efforts looked like a fish trying to flop back into the water.
“What do you think?” Chance, apparently, muttered. “Get his feet, we have to get him inside.”
“Glad he didn’t escape,” he laughed softly as he grabbed Buck’s feet.
Buck tried to kick against him, but his hold was tight. “Let go of me,” he told them. “You won’t get away with this.”
Chance tapped his face. “Oh, don’t you worry about us getting away with anything. You just sit back and enjoy it while you can.”
“Yeah, and even if you do escape your father was the one that sent us after you,” the other man told him.
Buck stilled. “What?”
“For your alternative lifestyle,” he laughed softly.
“Shit Sean? Was that really the reason?” Chance asked.
“Yeah,” Sean told him.
They dropped Buck on the floor inside the dark house.
“Gave us five thousand to get you here and will pay us another five thousand if you die. I really hope he’s watching. I don’t want to have to make that phone call.”
Buck stared up at them from the floor. “You’re lying,” he said, shaking even more now. His father had paid for this. Wanted him dead. “No. Let me go. This is a misunderstanding.”
Chance crouched down next to him and propped him up. He grabbed a scissors and started to cut off his clothes. “Look, I know it’s shitty, but you’ll have fun. I’ll chase you around for a bit…you even have a chance of escaping. I mean…” He looked up at Sean. “No one has escaped yet but who knows.”
Soon Buck’s shirt and pants were cut off of him and he had a harness fitted around his chest with a camera in it. As he was being manhandled by the other, he looked around the room. It was filled with horror props and the walls were covered with what looked like canvas paintings of an old abandoned hospital.
Chance left the room leaving him with only Sean.
“So, what you want to do is run away from him for as long as you can. If you leave the house in any way, then we kill you on the spot. Of course, that’s what we’re already trying to do but I’ve got a gun and I’m a quick shot. If by the time sunrise comes and you’re still alive we’ll set you free. I don’t want to hear you whining to the police about any of this though. Understand?”
Buck stared up at him before nodding quickly. All he had to do was survive until sunrise and then keep his mouth shut.
“We have five thousand riding on this so if you don’t die, I’m going to be disappointed,” he told him. He cut his restraints before pulling him onto his feet. “When I give you the go ahead you state your name and your age. That’s it. After that you have twenty seconds to hide.”
Buck stood there and watched as Sean gave him the thumbs up. All he had to do was cooperate and he would be in the clear. “I’m Buck…Buck Hanson. I’m nineteen years old.”
“You’ve got twenty seconds to hide, Buck Hanson,” Sean told him with a wide grin. “Welcome to House Hunted.” He watched the boy run off with a laugh.
Buck quickly moved to find a hiding spot and found a closest. It wasn’t the most original, but he didn’t know the house and hoped that Chance was stupid.
His breathing was coming in quick and he covered his mouth to control it. If he didn’t quiet down, he would be found for sure.
“It’s on,” a teen called to his friend. He pointed at the screen of his computer. “I told you, this is wicked insane. Look, idiot’s hiding in a closet.”
The other teen looked over his shoulder. There were two feeds going, one that moved around the room and another the seemed to be attached to the victim.
“Is it real?” he asked.
“If it is, it’s fucking messed up,” he laughed as he looked up at him. “I’ve seen it only twice before. First time I think I threw up it looked so real.”
Buck heard footsteps outside of the closet and he closed his eyes. “Please,” he whispered. He held his hands around his stomach and tried to stop himself from crying, but he couldn’t help it.
The footsteps stopped outside the door. Buck swallowed as he heard something scraping against it. Suddenly the door opened, and he was face to face with Chance in a mask that flashed lights off of it.
Blinded by the light he barrelled forward and knocked the other into the wall before he started running. He hit a wall himself but quickly pushed off it and ran down a hall.
Heavy footsteps were following him, and he didn’t dare look back. He ducked into a bedroom and quickly slipped under the bed.
He covered his mouth again to stop himself from making a noise. He didn’t think he was going to be able to hide under there forever, but it would slow the other down hopefully. He saw muddy work boots stop in the doorway and then the flash of a knife.
Quickly he tried to shrink away as the other stepped into the room. He waited until he was at the foot of the bed before pulling himself out from under the bed as quickly as he could.
He made it to the door before Chance grabbed a hold of him by his hair and pulled him back.
“We have ninety seconds before the signal jumps again,” the head agent called to the team of people working around him. “If we waste another second then this guy is going to be dead.”
“We’re going as fast as we can, sir,” another agent told him. “They’re good at hiding.”
The head agent sighed and looked at the screen. Buck Hanson was being dragged through a room and towards what looked like a hospital bed. “Come on kid, keep fighting,” he muttered.
Someone stood up quickly. “Sir, I think I pinpointed their location,” she grinned. “If we leave now, we can be there in a half hour.”
“We better leave now then,” he said. “Load up a team and let’s roll out! Call the local police and get them on the scene!”
Buck cried out as he was dragged across the floor. “No!” he yelled, trying to tug himself out of the other’s grip. He felt his hair tearing from his head, but he didn’t care. He looked at where he was going and saw that it was a hospital bed with restraints built into it. “No! Please…no!”
“You can’t run anymore,” Chance called through a voice changer. He laughed and pulled him up onto the bed.
Buck squeezed his eyes shut before tugging one last time. He fell to the ground as Chance was left with a clump of his hair. He scrambled off the floor and started running away. “I don’t know who’s watching through this thing,” he said, looking down at his chest as he ran. “But this is all real. All of it. These psychos are trying to kill me. My father…my father Buck senior paid them to do this. Please. Someone, send help.”
He found the bathroom and slipped inside. He locked the door and quickly hurried to hide against the wall.
“I don’t know where I am,” he cried, burrowing his face against his knees. “I honestly don’t. I just know that their names are Chance and Sean. They drugged me and kidnapped me. They’re trying to kill me. Please.” He tried to hide his sobs, but he couldn’t. He just kept begging please towards the camera, hoping that someone with a heart was actually watching.
Chance got to the door and started to pound on it. “You think you can hide in there forever,” he called. “You’re wrong.” He started to slam his shoulder against it.
Buck flinched with every hit. “Please don’t,” he whispered. “Please.” The door started to splinter from the hits, but it was still holding up.
“Leave me alone!” he shouted at him. “Please! I haven’t done anything wrong!”
It went on for another five minutes but then it stopped suddenly.
“Check the house,” one of the officers called before they spread out to search the area.
It wasn’t long before they found the door that was nearly broken down. The tried the handle but it was locked. “Is anyone in there? It’s the police?”
The only response they got was whimpering.
They broke down the door and aimed their gun at Buck before realizing who it was. “Someone call for an ambulance,” an officer called before kneeling down next to him. “We’ve got you. We’ll get you out of here.”
Buck looked up at him, his eyes wide with panic. “Are they gone?” he asked.
The officer sighed and helped him up. “Yes,” he whispered. “I’m sorry.”
“The famed House Hunted duo are still at large after they brought their last victim, Buck Hanson Junior, into a house and tortured him. Thankfully they failed to do much damage to him, and he was saved by the police. These are the detailed descriptions he gave to the police. If anyone has any news or idea of their location or any other information that might lead to their arrest, please call the number on the screen.
“In related news, Buck Hanson Senior is being taken in for questioning after his son told authorities that he was the one to pay the two men the money to take him in- “
Sean shook his head as he shut off the motel TV. “The pictures don’t even look like us,” he told Chance, looking over at him. “They’ll never catch us.”
Chance laughed softly and shook his head. “Let’s hope you’re right,” he grinned, showing him the laptop. “We’ve got our next bid.”