After Rip grabbed the girl and pulled the blonde teen into the back seat, Shel quickly closed the door. "C'mon, man." Rip said, "Goose this fucker."
Kevin Maco complied, pressing the IROC Z-28's gas pedal to the floor. The howl of the engine and the scream of the tires crushed the night silence that normally occupied the space of the lonely country road they were on. With rusty yet practiced ease, he kept the 'Z between the ditches while it chased its headlights into the night. In the back, Dave "Rip" Lewis held their newly acquired passenger down, keeping her futile struggles to a minimum. In the passenger seat, Shelby Hawthorne opened a beer and quickly filled a hash pipe with a part of their stash. Giggling gleefully at the prospect of having some young meat for entertainment, Shel could almost feel the razor in his back pocket warming in anticipation of the fun to come. Before he lit the pipe, he smiled at Kevin. "That was a good grab, my man. No witnesses." He gestured vaguely towards the back seat while lighting up. "Let's find someplace quiet and introduce ourselves to our new friend."
The driver nodded and kept a watch for a little used road or building that might suit their purpose. Time and distance passed quickly as the pipe burned and the squeals from the back decreased, to be replaced by the sound of a zipper opening and gurgling sucking sounds. Rip sighed in pleasure in the gloom of the back seat. Kevin chanced a quick glance in the rear view mirror. He saw only one head in the muted glow of the instrument lights. "Save some for us, man." he said to the grinning reflection. "I ain't been blowed in two years."
Rip Lewis smiled broadened in the dark. "Don' worry, man. Long as little missy swallows, ain't gonna be no problems. " More whimpers in the dark back, followed by a swift Smack!. "Not so hard with the teeth, cunt, or I'll take some o' them pearly's out."
As he returned his full attention to the road, Kevin almost missed the shadow of an old, unlit house set out in the fields. "Found a place."
After a quick pull-in to the dirt driveway and a fast look around the house, the three men were satisfied that the place was abandoned. Shelby and Rip dragged the girl inside as Kevin pulled the car around back parking out of sight from the road. A fast check showed no tell tale lights from nearby houses, and in the dim starlight, even the road was nearly invisible. After opening the trunk and getting a couple of road flares, he smiled and lit a cigarette. Inside the house, he heard the girl scream. He chuckled softly to himself, but it came out sounding foreboding in the dark.
He had known Rip and Shel for nearly two years, serving time together in a Vermont prison before escaping three days ago. Six armed robberies, four murders and a drug ripoff later, they crossed into New York driving the late drug dealer's car. He knew what was coming, and looked forward to it with unchecked anticipation.
But even though the night was warm, a shiver abruptly crept across the nape of his neck, and Kevin shrugged off the creeping feeling of trouble that kept repeatedly pushing its way into his mind the last few hours. He ticked the half smoked butt into the bushes. Time to party, he thought, walking up to and entering the battered farmhouse. He looked down on the floor where Rip and Shell were keeping the young girl busy. Yep, definitely time to party. And then, away back in what might have loosely passed for his conscience, he heard a strange, hollow voice.
How right you are.
It was Dark. It had to be, for sunlight was still too painful to bear at any intensity. Moss, mold, dust and webbing were home, and there was comfort in such an environment. Many years had passed since Its creation, back in the shadowed highlands not far away, and It had crept and sniffed Its way along the skin of this world, until finding what It wanted, what It instinctively needed. Here.
In the Dark.
The girl was dead, and that was that.
Kevin Maco had already taken three turns at her, obeying his seemingly timeless carnal obsession of violating every orifice of his women. Shelby went at her five times, not minding the spunk of his comrades in crime, even slipping into her backdoor as Rip was throat-fucking her.
Kevin was sitting in the corner, inhaling a butt in the roadflare glow when she died. She hadn't put up much of a struggle after the first time, and she was limp during most of that. Rip was having a wild go at her, had been riding her for nearly half an hour when she finally went. The eyes just sort of rolled back in her head, and she gurgled a bit as she choked on some of the leftover juices from the three of them. Rip didn't even notice, wouldn't have cared anyway, and pounded away for another five minutes before climaxing.
"Yo, Rip," Shelby said, laughing and pointing at the corpse, "Ya balled her to death, man. That's one fer the books."
Rip stood, hitching up his pants and smiled. "Shit, she jus' didn't know how ta party with a real man, needledick. You an' Kev jes warmed her up for me." He gave the battered body a kick with a booted foot. "Now she can cool down and tighten up fer later."
The three men laughed and sat back in the red glow to smoke some dope and relax. Neither Shel or Kev moved to dispose of the body. They knew Rip. He wouldn't let a little thing like the death of his victim get in the way of his fun.
Pain! Wonderful, white hot pain! It could feel it, smell it, thrive on it. How long had it been since that lovely coppery taste had crossed Its palette? Seeming eons, millennia, to its questing mind, though it had only been fifty or sixty years, and even then it was only an occasional fleeting morsel. Nothing like this. This was a banquet, a feast.
As It dwelt in the dark, the repast only intensified as wave after wave of fear, revulsion and terror swept over in delicious flavor. The very air became electric in the dark, and at the moment of wretched peakedness when the soul of the sufferer was absorbed into Its jellied consciousness, a quick flash of light lit the hidden den. In Its curious mind, a single word repeated over and over again in a gleeful litany.
Shelby Hawthorn needed a breath of fresh air. Five joints in thirty minutes had toasted his already frazzled brain cells, and the thought of watching Rip play with the corpse was a bit much, even for a man with eleven kills and seven rapes under his belt. "Goin' out fer air." he muttered, stumbling for the door.
Kevin nodded in silent understanding. I'm feeling a bit woozy myself, he thought. Must be fumes from the (prophecy!) flares. In his stoned state, he merely grinned at the strange mental intrusion and lit another cigarette from the flare.
Hawthorn stood on the front porch, pissing out onto the overgrown, weed tangled lawn and looking up at the cloud scudded night sky. Long way from home, man. he mused. Raised in the city, country space overwhelmed his senses, every sound ancient and alien to his noise hardened ears, every pleasant odor lost to pollution damaged nostrils. He thought about what was transpiring inside, and was slightly amazed and greatly disgusted to feel his member twitch at the thought of joining Rip for a little corpse crawl.
Zipping himself back up, he stepped off the porch and walked around the house, keeping a wary eye for anyone who might see him as they drove by, but he needn't have worried. The road was empty and silent. Good.
As he completed his circuit of the house, Shelby spied a cellar door built into the side of the basement wall. The brush around the entrance was trampled into a trail visible even in the dark. During their brief stay in the house, and while not taking turns on the girl, the three men had individually checked out every room and found only decay and old trash. In their excited and drug induced state, they neglected to look for a basement entrance. They just took it for granted that there was no basement and started in on the girl. He shook his head sadly in the darkness. Must be losin' my touch. Gotta get Kevin an' check it out.
Kevin was bored. He lit another cigarette and went outside to check on Shel. His partner was mounting the steps as he came out the door. Even in the dark, he could see a look of concern on Shel's face. He immediately went on guard and pulled out a .38 taken from the late drug dealer's house. "What's up, amigo?" he said in a low voice.
Shel gestured towards where he found the cellar door. "Found a way into the basement, Grass around the door looks a bit tramped down. Didn't hear nothin', though"
Kevin nodded in silent understanding. Any witness would burn them all. He exhaled a long breath and headed off in the direction Shel indicated. When they arrived at the door, one look, even in the darkness, confirmed what he had feared. Someone was in there.
Rip sat up, wiped the blood off his penis and knife blade with the dead girl's shredded panties. A quick glance around and he saw he was alone. "Chickenshit faggots," he muttered to the mutilated corpse as he stood up and dressed himself. "Don' go nowhere babe, I'll be back." He kicked a severed breast into the corner and went outside.
Kevin and Shel were startled when Rip came angrily around the corner and began berating them. "You fuckin' pussies, boltin' outta there just when things is gettin..."
"Shut the fuck up, man." Kevin interrupted. "We got company."
Rip looked around. "There ain't shit out here but bugs and bushes. Whatta you talkin' bout?" Then he saw the wooden door built into the wall. Without another word, he reached out and viciously pulled it open. He pulled out his knife and used it to point into the darkness beyond the opening. "Whatta you waitin' for?" Kevin sighed inwardly and led the way.
As he went through the opening, he brushed aside a filthy old blanket that had been hung to keep light from escaping when the door was opened at night. Whoever's here wants to keep it secret, Kevin mused silently as he walked into the basement
The room was large and rectangular, but only one small area just inside the doorway showed any sign of recent habitation. Empty cans, old rags and stained wet paper littered the uneven dirt floor. On an old fruit crate in the corner, a candle burned dimly, dripping wax down on the remains of scores of others and emitting feeble light in the gloom of the basement. In the middle if the floor, a bundle of human shaped rags snored heavily. The room stank of rot and old piss. Kevin was reminded of solitary back in the joint. Same atmosphere. Rip walked over to the sleeper and kicked at it several times.
An old woman, about sixty and seeming totally filthy, moaned and sat up, trying vainly to shield herself from the blows. She attempted to stand and tripped on the rag blanket tangled round her. Shel approached, grabbed an arm, and yanked her to her feet, while Kevin kept watch to see if anyone else was lurking in the shadowed basement beyond the flickering candles' glow.
The old woman looked blearily around at the three men that had invaded her sanctuary in middle of the night. When her eyes finally did focus, her gaze was not on the intruders, but on a rancid bottle of wine simulation sitting next to the candle. She started to move towards it, but Rip punched her in the face. She fell back into Shel's arms and groaned. Kevin approached and tried questioning her as Rip began rummaging through the boxes of debris near the door.
"Yo, lady," he said softly, "what're you doin' down here?"
She didn't look up, just hung there in Shel's arms, sobbing. "C'mon, lady', What's up?" he tried again. Still no response. The smell of her was too much, so he backed away.
Kevin looked at Shel and shrugged, then walked away. Shel let her drop to the floor. "Okay, Rip," he said, looking for someplace to wash his hands and finding none. "She's all yours." Rip stopped rummaging and smiled. In less than a second he had crossed the dank cellar and began tearing at the old woman's clothes until the lower half of her withered body was exposed. "Best night I've had in years." he said, delightedly dropping his pants. "Two bitches in less than an hour!" As the other two looked on, he began to sodomize the woman, who tried to escape by skittering across the floor like an ancient spider. She didn't scream as he entered her filthy, shit-encrusted anus, but her lined face turned crimson around clenched eyes, and she sort of moaned sadly deep in her throat. Rip laughed at her torment while the two men turned away, and, using the candle, began to investigate the basement.
In the dark recesses of the stone walls, they found old toys and junk collected by the old woman while she lived here, but they also found older furniture and antiques that had obviously been here for some time. Thick layers of debris from above covered them, and it was only after someone wiped some of the deitris away that they became recognizable objects. "Hey Kev," Shel called out over the old woman's squeals and Rip's delighted grunts, "Check this shit out."
Kevin approached and looked. Pushed up against one of the uneven stone walls were two massive tables with marble tops. Each was about six feet long with stout wooden legs and probably weighed four hundred pounds apiece. The legs had sunk a few inches into the dirt floor. "Whadaya think they are, man?" Shel asked.
"Butcher tables." Kevin replied, "The kind you cut meat on. Haven't seen anything like 'em in years. Probably worth a few bucks if you got 'em outta here and cleaned up." Shel nodded in agreement, his eyes appraising the material comprising the tables. "Let's see if there's anything else." He looked back at Rip, and at the old woman who now had her face buried in Rip's crotch. "Let's not tell him unless he asks."
Kevin looked at the depravity by the doorway and nodded silently.
More pain, yet somehow different. It sat in the dark and listened, tasted.
No, this was not the same, this was less fear and more resignation, as if the soul had grown so accustomed to horror and degradation as to accept it. It knew this, sensed it, and rejected the food because it was tainted with lifelessness. If there were to be more of the good food, more of the delicious morsels of before, It would have to create it for Itself.
It sent thoughts out, seeking a trigger, anything to release the terror and fear needed to advance and grow, to begin the food chain. In the dark, It began to glow, slowly yet definitely. It found what was seeking, and if It had any lips, they would have smiled.
Kevin was startled by the abrupt sound of breaking glass. He turned in the direction of the noise and saw Rip standing over the still form of the woman. He held the broken remnants of the liquor bottle in his right hand. He dropped it and came over. "Old cunt wanted a drink after suckin' her shit off my dick, so I gave her one." He laughed. "She didn't have many teeth, so I'll let her live for now. She might come in handy later in a threesome with the little missy upstairs." His attention turned to their investigation. "Find anythin' cool?"
Kevin gestured at the ground. "Found some of these old big bottles, the kind they used to use on water coolers, ya know?" Rip looked at the dusty collection with an ignorant eye, unsure of what he was lookin' at. "They worth anything?" Kevin thought for moment, hiding a smile and remembering that Rip was famous for brutality, not brains.
"Yeah," he answered, "probably some city collector might give ya twenty, thirty bucks a pop." Rip whistled appreciably. "Man, there's fifteen or twenty of these things. Good thing that old bat didn't piss in 'em or nothin'. Cheap wine would'a ate out the bottoms." He looked around. "Those tables any good?"
He started to answer, but the air in the room abruptly began to hum, as if a generator had suddenly been turned on. Shelby looked up from the corner debris he was crouched in and peered into the gloom. "What the fuck is that?"
Rip looked around, but didn't say anything. Kevin cupped his hands to his ears and attempted to find the source. After a few seconds, he gestured towards the old woman who had regained consciousness and was trying to get to her feet again. "It's coming from her."
Rip stomped off towards her, knife out, "Hey, bitch, what's hap..." The words cut off in his throat. A loud Pop! filled the dank basement, and a large clear bubble six feet in diameter formed around the woman. All three men stopped in their tracks and stared.
They could see the sphere clearly in the dim light, and in their adrenaline soaked state, could even glimpse the white skin of the woman's hands as they pressed up against the nearly translucent surface. She seemed to be speaking, but the sphere was airtight, and no sound came to their ears. Rip took a step forward, and the bubble shrank to about half its original size, forcing the half nude crone to a fetal position, Blood from her head wound pooled beneath her, and her mouth was open in a silent scream. Absolute terror and incomprehension filled her now lucid eyes.
None of the men dared speak. They could only stare as the bubble floated a few feet off the dirt floor. After a few seconds, Rip shook off his wonder and charged her, having had enough and being too ignorant to recognize the true danger. Kevin, the smarter of the three, shouted a warning too late.
In less than half a second the sphere collapsed down to the size of a baseball. It sat and quivered three feet off the ground, blood-filled and vibrating as if it wanted to shrink more, but could not compress its contents any further. As he threw up in pure instinctive fear, Kevin saw in his mind the picture of the woman's insides as they were forced out her mouth when the ball crushed her to a liquid pulp. Shelby vomited also, having never seen such appalling violence directed so quickly at one person. Both men could handle a room full of police or jailhouse killers, but to have an invisible enemy was too frightful for their sociopathic minds.
Rip stood where he stopped, grinning at the horrific spectacle. He could see bits of bone and hair swirling inside. Cool! Wish it'a shrank slower! He was about to call Kevin over when whatever force holding the liquid suspended vanished with an low Flip sound. Gore flew everywhere, and Rip felt something wet smack his face. Wiping it away, he saw it was half of a flattened eyeball. Blood rained everywhere for several seconds, and minute chunks of unidentifiable tissue stuck to everything. He threw the eye away into a dark corner.
Shel wiped vomit from his lips and pieces of the woman from his face, hands, and arms. Even though he was the furthest away, he still was doused with the red juice. He opened his trembling lips to speak, but had no time. The two heavy butcher tables near him flipped up on their ends, moved by invisible hands. His eyes went wide with fear as the two heavy tables lifted off the ground and jockeyed into positions behind and in front of him. He raised his hands in an effort to ward them off somehow. His last thought was Whafuck?! as the two tables slammed together.
Kevin turned slightly at the sound of movement, and he could only stare as the tables floated around of their own volition. That can't be, his mind screamed, they must weigh three hundred pounds apiece! He took one step towards his friend and was about to shout a warning when the two tables came together. Shelby's body exploded out from the two opposing surfaces like mortar between two bricks. The tables separated with a slow sucking sound and then slammed together again, and again and again, the speed and force of the blows increasing . Kevin could see torn fabric and flattened meat sticking to the surface of the tables.
Behind him, Rip turned just in time to see his friend crushed, but unlike Kevin, he was not paralyzed by what he saw. Rip ran over to where the tables were repeating their grisly slam-dance and stopped, unsure of why he came and equally unsure of what to do. The tables seemed to be ignoring him, even though they seemed to be slowing down. Behind him, he heard a loud tinkling sound. Barely recognizing it for what it was, he turned his head in the direction of the water bottles.
Kevin Maco was backing away from the tables when Rip ran by. All he could think of was escape. He saw the bottles next to Rip begin to quiver, and then one leaped from its decades old roost and rose up over Rip's head. To Kevin's sight assaulted mind, it seemed as if Rip's head stretched out and was pulled into the long, thin throat of the container, much like a boiled egg can be pulled into a milk bottle. Through the glass he could see Rip's undamaged face looking back at him as his unfortunate friend clawed at his pinched-off neck. Rip clawed at the glass and staggered around in circles, trying to find a way to break the glass and release the constricting pressure. Kevin could see that, even if the bottle were broken, Rip would die anyway. His neck was less than an inch thick.
Finally, Rip just pitched over and died. The jar didn't break when it hit the dirt floor, but Kevin could see the blackened oxygen deprived features of his late friend distorted through the glass. It was more than he could take.
The candle suddenly blew out from an unfelt draft, throwing him into darkness. In the distant accelerated range of his hearing, he could hear the low hum begin again, and as he turned and ran for the door, he could just see the faint shimmering outline of the dreaded bubble forming around him. He ran quickly to the exit, and as he passed through the doorway and ran out onto the lawn, the hum vanished.
Rejoicement! So much terror, pain, fear, FOOD! Never in its whole existence had it gorged so on such succulent wondrous fear. The very fiber of its being quivered in ecstasy, almost orgasmic. It felt its power leap outward in a tremendous wall of energy that consumed the life-force of every insectgermmoldspore within a hundred feet of its lair. The dark no longer contained it, only amused. It had the ability to shed its environment and mold a new one whenever it wanted. That could wait till later, however. There was still one more thing to attend to.
Kevin ran around the house to the car. The IROC sat where he'd parked it, and in the early dawn, it looked wondrous beyond description. He chanced a terrified glance towards the house, and hoped the still burning roadflare upstairs would burn the place down so no one would find the bodies. He had his hand on the door handle and was about to open the door when another bloody hand grasped his through the open window. He found himself face to hammered, semen streaked face with the mutilated corpse of the girl as she sat behind the wheel of his car. Quickly, she leaned over and took a large bite out of his forearm, savoring it as she chewed the tissue. Through the burning pain Kevin saw that Rip had gouged out one of her eyes and had literally skull-fucked her corpse. It required no feat of power for him to break her grasp. Fear and pain did that for him.
He staggered backwards, hands outstretched in a pleading motion, but the girl made no move to exit the car. She just sat there, chewing his flesh thoughtlessly, over and over, as if she had forgotten to swallow. Kevin bumped into something and fell, landing hard on his wounded hand. He glanced up feverishly at the obstacle. It was a round, stone well, covered with a large piece of iron. From cracks in the ancient masonry, he could see a faint glow emanating, and even with the sun almost up, he could see the glow intensify. He scrabbled to his feet, crying now in rage and fear. Without thought of where he was going, only knowing he had to get away, he ran off down the dirt driveway, away from the main road and the charnel house he had just vacated. He ran hard, eyes clenched shut from the exertion, occasionally tripping on the uneven weed patched surface. Images of the last few minutes repeated in his mind, and there was no stopping them, they were forever etched into his psyche. On he ran into the beautiful rosy morning , and he had only gained about fifty yards of freedom when his feet left the ground.
Kevin Maco lifted slowly at first, then faster, rising higher and higher into the morning sky. His sneakers still made slapping sounds as they came down, but there was nothing beneath them, he was running on an invisible surface that levitated and allowed him no gain in distance. He merely ran in place and floated up into the sky.
When he could run no more, he fell forward, and again, the invisible surface held him up. He lay there for several seconds before rolling onto his back and opening his eyes and staring up at the sky. I made it, he celebrated, I must be over a mile away now.
It took a moment or two for the unusual coldness of the air to crack through his fear. He could only see sky, so Kevin sat up and looked around him. The force that suspended him vanished, and he fell, screaming and completely insane, towards the ground six thousand feet below.
Back at the house, four long clapboards ripped free of the structure and flew off in the direction Kevin had run. Halfway to where he had left the ground, they came together to form a long, hollow, square lance. They cruised gracefully, ten feet off the ground, while high above them, the tiny outline of a falling figure grew larger. A mad race was on. The boards accelerated, whishing through the air, vibrating like a tuning fork as the air currants passed through the long hollow center. It would be close. When the impact point drew near, the boards arced upwards before diving down into the ground, where they formed a twelve foot vertical pole in the center of the dirt road. The shadow above quickly grew larger, and in the early morning silence, a faint screaming sound increased. The pole leaned over of its own a second before impact, ensuring a perfect bullseye.
Kevin Maco ceased to exist a split second after his body hit the pole. The old wooden boards shattered at the top when he hit them, but they impaled the body neatly as it slid downward at terminal velocity to explode in a spectacular cloud of internal organs, gore and dirt. When the dust settled a few moments later, a still beating heart was stuck at the very top of the cracked and shattered boards, and long, stringy ropes of muscle tissue and intestines draped downward like ribbons adorning some twisted Maypole. After a few seconds, the boards fell away, letting the grisly totem drop onto what remained of the man. It slowly stopped beating as it lay in the obliterated corpse, then lifted into the air, a trophy for the victor, and flew off towards the well, where the iron lid lifted to allow it passage.
Back at the body, animals emerged from the underbrush and began devouring the ruined flesh and bone amid much hideous crunching and tearing.
It disposed of all the bodies in the same way, by calling the denizens of the forest to rid the world of their carcasses.
It compressed the car into worthless junk in the same manner it had killed the old woman, twisting the metal until no trace of its original shape or its owners presence here could be found.
The prophecy the Elders had talked of at its creation had come to pass. The world was its hunting ground now. It was strong enough to lure unsuspecting others to its lair when it grew hungry, and was free to travel if it chose, to seek out a better environs.
But it liked it here. This was, after all, Home, the only place it could really call that. And Home is where the heart is, even though It had no heart in its own jellied body.
But It did have Kevin's, and that was close enough.
back to the Short Story Page.Just Desserts, 11 June 1998