by Adam I. Bolenbaugh, (c) 1998
October 25, 1985: Rural LA, 7:49 P.M.
I look over at Vick. He’s busy dunking a donut in my coffee, his gun lying in his lap like a coiled snake. I cough. This car is getting cramped. Why the hell have we been staking this place out anyhow? Suburban house wife and local Tupperware pyramid dabbling in the occult, my ass. If the tip hadn’t come down from General Baker, I’d be on a date right now. I inspect the house for the hundredth time tonight; red brick walls, metal gutters, flower pots in the window sills. I turn the car key and the Ford purrs to life.
I’m about to step on the gas when Vick looks over at me and stops chewing. “Shit,” he says, opening his door and loading his gun.
Annoyed, I look over at the house. “Shit,” I echo.
The lights in the house begin to fade in and out, like they aren’t getting enough power or something. Then the whole neighborhood goes black.
“This doesn’t look good,” Vick says from the sidewalk. I kill the engine but leave the keys in the ignition. I get out of my car and stare at the red light now flaring through the basement window.
Guess I was wrong about this one, I think, as I pull my gun from my inner coat pocket. I check the chamber to make sure it’s loaded: six bullets and I’m ready to meet the suspects.
Vick stares over at me again. He’s a small man. Brown eyes, and black curly hair. He looks menacing as he squints into the beam of my flashlight. “I should have brought one,” he hisses through his teeth.
“Why? You afraid of the dark?” I say, trying to laugh but only managing a nervous snicker.
He flips me the bird but gives a little smile. “You’re on point then, oh fearless leader.”
I push my way past him, and walk up to the front door. The red light from the basement goes out. I stop myself from knocking, and instead kick the door open, the sound of breaking wood echoing down the street.
Vick is right behind me as I move into the dark room. I raise my gun, and sweep the left side of the room, as my temporary partner scans the right. “Wish I’d brought a light” he says again, pulling a lighter from his pocket.
“I have a feeling what we’re looking for is in the basement,” I say, moving towards what should be the kitchen.
God. Lit by candles, the kitchen looks like the set for a home-ec show. Except for the body parts on the bloodied cutting board. “Vick!” I give a little yell. “This is bad.” Vick enters the room; I don’t make eye contact. He asks if I’d identified the corpse yet. Swearing under my breath, I force myself to look at the horrid scene of gore in front of me. “Looks like it’s a male Caucasian, impossible to tell the age.” I feel my gorge rise. “Appears to be butchered and eviscerated.” Vick moves over to the stove and lifts the lid off a large pan.
“At least they cook their food first,” he says with a sober face. I don’t look in the pan. I know what I’d see.
Vick points to a door behind me. I hadn’t noticed it, all my attention focusing on the bloody spectacle before me. “Basement door, Bill,” he says.
“Lets get this over with,” I say, my mind shifting back two hours, sitting on a bar stool drinking Jack Daniel’s. I’d still be there, with Linda, if the phone hadn’t wrung. I let out a sigh and give the door a baleful stare. There’s a heart-shaped doily stuck on the doorknob, and I rip it off, crushing the piece of white lace in my hand.
I’m moving down an old wooden set of stairs. Vick is behind me, and his breathing seems loud in the eerie silence. I reach the bottom landing and all hell breaks loose. I don’t notice the candles glowing, or the thick incense burning. I barely see the five women at the other end of the room, or the strange glowing meat-hook hanging from the ceiling. All I see is the abomination which turns its head to stare at me. Only it’s not its head. . . It’s the severed head of the butchered victim upstairs, perched atop a writhing mass of pulsing intestines. The stench is more than over-powering.
The head begins to speak, its mouth choking up blood and bile. “Join us, friends.” Vick opens fire, the sound of his ..32-auto roaring over my head. The first three shots hit the Thing directly in the face, splattering gray matter everywhere. But it’s still moving. . . toward us. The smell gets worse as it nears. I feel my mind slipping away. Vick shouts something unintelligible and keeps firing. I’m roughly jolted back to reality as a huge fleshy mass of what must have formally been someone’s large intestine lashes out, striking me across the chest and slamming me backwards. I trip and fall, pinned between the steps and this. . . thing. My heart skips a beat as I hear Vick pop an empty clip, and I remember my gun. I level it at the twisting, heaving mound of guts and I open fire. The thing lashes out again, knocking the flashlight from my hand. It sails through the air wildly, casting its beam around like a casino light. Then it slams into a wall with a snap, and its light is extinguished.
Something wraps around my throat. I hear footsteps running up the stairs and am only vaguely glad that Vick escapes. I try to jerk away from the constricting death grip. . . But I’m too late. It presses a great ropy mass of flesh into my face. I begin to smother. My lungs are on fire. I open my mouth to scream, and five feet of undead intestines shoot down my throat. Into my stomach. . . farther. . . farther. It burns, and I feel my stomach rupture. I begin to thrash around, pissing my pants.
I hear harsh voices, but I can’t make any sense of what is being said. My vision is blurry, and I’m lifted off my feet, high into the air. I try to cry out, but my mouth is filled with something I try not to think about. I smell burning flesh before I feel heated metal slide into my back, like a worm on a hook. It’s too much for me, and things go black.
I’m dreaming. I know I’m dreaming. This is a nightmare. I’m trapped inside my brain. I can’t feel my body. I’m sure that if I had eyeballs I could see my brain encased in a silver canister. I saw them before, an entire room of strange shelves filled with silver canisters. This isn’t a dream. This is a memory. I’m burning up, and my bowels are on fire. Except I shouldn’t be able to feel that, should I? This realization wakes me.
I can see! I feel relief, and run a hand through my hair. Except it’s not a hand I pass over my bloody scalp, it’s my small intestine. Scream, my mind tells my body, only my body isn’t there anymore, and all I manage is a choking wheeze. I brace myself and look down. My head is perched atop a pile of viscera. It’s not all mine…yet I can feel it as I would an extension of my own body. I shudder, and my bloated mass shifts beneath me. Sensing motion behind myself, I turn my head in a one hundred and sixty degree angle and stare at my new masters.
There are five of them. And they turn to look at me, blood covering their faces. Their meal hangs from a large metal hook connected to the ceiling. It’s my body…decapitated and eviscerated. I glance from the cannibalistic buffet to the women, and back again. One of them smiles, casually gnawing on my arm. The sound of teeth scraping bone makes me flinch.
I’m horrified. I’m scared. But I’m hungry. . . . So hungry. . . My mistresses beckon me forward, and I feast.
An hour later I am sated, and I doze of with my chin resting on my pancreas. I awake when I smell smoke. Something is burning upstairs. I don’t see any of the women, yet I know they are in danger. Snarling, I make my way to the stairs and begin slithering upwards.
I’m on the first landing when gunshots ring out in the kitchen. I recognize the sound. It’s Vick’s gun. I reach the top landing and boil into the kitchen. Vick is standing over five corpses. he doesn’t look well. I roll across the floor, intent on comforting my friend. He doesn’t look happy to see me, and he backpedals toward the living room. Vick turns around, stopping about ten feet in front of me.
“Aren’t you glad to see me, Vick?” I ask, my voice low and rough.
“Fuck!” Vick says. “Is that really you Bill?”
“Yes, It is me.” He flinches.
“Fuck. . .” he says, and then he opens fire.
Another successful op.