By Shane Ivey, (c) 1998
Teddy often sat in the silence of a darkened bedroom, a room rank with the smells of teenage sweat and filthy clothes, lit only by the pale glow of a monitor and disturbed only by the soft sounds of gasps and grunts from the computer’s speakers. He typed quickly and his breath was quick, his breath was hot and shallow, and moist. His eyes would often be narrow with concentration, his whole being focused on the images that scrolled past, downloading, uploading, always waiting with his teeth half-bared and sticky in impatience. He sometimes would lean forward as the intensity of his gaze turned yet more tense, and he would exhale in a low hiss. This was his church, his worship, and the glistening images and the sounds of ecstasy and degradation were his deity, for a time.
Teddy never saw the men who watched him, grim-faced men in dark suits who sweated and stank in the endless stillness of their own observation. He would never see them, but strange cameras clicked and whined away the hours as he sat before his console, his altar, his shrine to breathless heat and hatred. The men wore bland, bored expressions, staring, waiting. Only one of them was not blank, as he sipped a cup of lukewarm coffee and looked at the others and wondered if their memories haunted and chilled them. He spoke into a tiny microphone. “Zero three thirty four hours. Subject is viewing a digitized film of a woman trying to fuck a German shepherd, and the rest of us are bored as hell. You think that says something bad about him, or us?”
A tinny voice replied in irritation. “You’ll break my heart, Kelley. Now shitcan the philosophizing.”
Teddy’s destruction began when he was fourteen years old, lying with a broken nose on a detention hall floor. Air conditioning units rumbled overhead, and dust motes shone in a beam of harsh light which pierced the shade. The teacher stood over him, flushed and angry. They were alone. “That’s a lesson to you,” the man said huskily, and his voice held a different menace than his fist. “Now get up. You know what to do, you little faggot, you little cocksucker.” Teddy looked up and knew fear and loathing, hatred and helplessness. An old book lay open on the table, its pages yellow and limp over a cracked spine to reveal the words most sacrosanct. He knew what to do.
Not long after he met a girl named Ashley Miller. She was young and pretty and conciliatory, and they both knew that she wasn’t the sort who talked to kids like Teddy, but she talked to him anyway. She would laugh and chat and sometimes he would make jokes and he would forget what he had to do, and one day he told her about secrets that he knew.
“He wants me to be his priest,” Teddy said.
“His what? Who?”
“You could come, too. You could see his hands.”
He touched her, his wet palms licking her face as he forced himself to breathe. She cringed, then she screamed and shoved him away.
The next day Teddy kneeled in an ill-lit room, the air choked with dust, the slough of a thousand or a million dying bodies. His eyes were slitted, his pupils dilated, his breath shallow, his skin dry and hot, his brain afire, his mouth slick and oily. The teacher was gone, for a time. You know what to do, you little cocksucker. He looked up at a luminescence of bloated decaying flesh. “You are too slow,” the voice told him. “Finish your task, and I will judge it. These morsels are not enough. Let them know My name that I may find them, and feed.” The words of the old book seemed to rise fluid into the air and drift, poison truth, into the ether. He knew what to do.
He sat alone again in his room, dazed, insensate, sending words out to the world. The screen flickered and died, and the sound with it, as power was cut off to the house. He did not stir. Softly the door opened and two black-clad figures appeared, and then a red pinpoint of light formed upon his forehead, gleaming through the window-pane. He did not stir. One intruder drifted in with quick steps and went to the console. He produced a wire cutter and in slightly over two seconds severed the computer’s links to the outside world.
The figure looked up with a start as he heard a tinny voice report in his earpiece: “She’s down, subject is down. Marks look the same. Beta team, report.”
The agent in the doorway kept a submachine gun trained on Teddy, whose eyes turned dully now to regard the men with a trace of comprehension.
The man in the doorway hissed coldly. “On the floor, now, you little–“
“–bastard. You know what to do.”
Teddy’s eyes and mouth widened in hatred, and then they dulled and were swallowed by something else. The voice seemed to come from the chair, though it was not Teddy’s. “You are too late. The doors of my temple have opened wide.” The chair creaked with the weight of bloating luminescent flesh. A massive hand grasped the agent’s face, silencing his scream as a hungry tongue and glistening teeth met his own.
The window shattered inward as a bullet slammed into the back of the hulking thing that once was Teddy. The other agent’s eyes widened for an instant as the thing turned to him, and then his weapon flashed and the swollen flesh erupted in oily blood and fetid meat.
“Beta team, report!”
The agent’s gun clicked as it emptied the last round into the shivering dead mass. He stared with wide eyes. His partner writhed on the floor, somehow holding in his screams as he grasped the ruin of his face. Teddy’s bloody hand lay weedy and weak nearby, the dead glow already fading to darkness.
“Kelley, what the fuck is going on over there?”
The bizarre phenomenon continued today of copycat killings and mutilations, all bearing similar patterns of unusual tooth-marks, with savage attacks occurring in New York, Atlanta, Great Falls, Vancouver, Istanbul, Nottingham, Singapore….
At this time the FBI has offered no official statement. All representatives of the vaunted Behavioral Sciences unit declined to be interviewed officially, but Special Agent Jean Qualls acknowledged the common circumstances of such widespread attacks are most unusual. She would not divulge any details, however, saying only, “We are on the case.”
Now here’s Nightly Report’s Jeff Chambers with the Lifestyle Report.
Thank you, Trudy. You’ve probably heard about it before. It is a problem of growing concern among internet users: Junk Mail. It costs us time, and as every company manager can tell you, time is money! Over the past few days millions of computer users logged on to find the same unsolicited mail in their virtual in-baskets, a piece of bizarre apocalyptic correspondence called the–let’s see if I pronounce this right–the “Y’golonac mail,” from the weird name in the subject heading and in the body of the message. Religious experts are at a loss, and most say this is probably just a prank by some bored kid.