by Flying Fox
Budsworth discovers what the suspect is
CHAPTER 8: A TRUTH HIDDEN FROM SIGHT
May 28, 7:12 A.M.
The rising sun casted rays of light into the gap of the small town of Foxvalley. Birds chirped happy morning songs, and the scissor sounds of crickets began to die away as the night drifted into its own nocturnal slumber. A light fog blanketed the mountains on both sides the valley. Budsworth drove up in front of the clinic. The door of the black Ford Taurus swung open. He stood up out of his car, slamming the door closed behind him. The sun rays gleamed in his eyes. Searing pain shot through them at the sight of the white morning
The Foxvalley Medical clinic stood behind him. Henderson wanted him to come by to check on all the strange things happening to him. The puking of the blood, the nasty slash on his arm, the tattoo. One of the front glass doors opened as Budsworth stepped in. It slid closed behind him, and latched shut. Light from outside illuminated the waiting room with a dull white haze through the window blinds. A clock hanging on the wall above the information desk produced the only sound in the room. The soothing ticking continued through the silent ambience of the room.
Budsworth rolled up his black suit sleeve. Scabbing covered the cut he had awoken with earlier that morning. The sound of footsteps arose from the hallway behind the door into the waiting him. Budsworth quickly removed the scabbing from sight, hiding it back under his sleeve. The door to the waiting room weaved opened and Doctor Reynard stepped into the waiting room with him, her eyes gazing at him. They looked almost astonished. “Agent Budsworth, what are you doing here?” Shea asked. The sparkle lighting her eyes gave away that she enjoyed his company, and the grin stretched across her lips.
“The sheriff wanted me to step by here so you can take a look at something.” Budsworth answered. Reynard gave him a strange look, one of her red eyebrows perked. She stepped up to the information desk, and placed a clipboard down beside the flat screen computer aboard the desk. Then she turned back to him, leaning her back on the edge of the clinic information desk.
“What is it?’ She asked. Budsworth sighed, and rolled up his right arm suit sleeve. It revealed the scabbed slit in his arm. Light pink stained the skin around the scabbing, painted by dried blood. Reynard eyes widened and she took a few steps toward him. He held out his arm in front of her so she could have a closer look. “What happened?” She asked.
“I don't know. I woke up with it this morning,” He explained. Then he remembered the dead man from downstairs. He laid out across the red painted floor. The skin torn and ripped the shreds. His lungs and intestines spilling into the outer world. Even Budsworth found it the most sickening sight he’d ever seen, and he’d been an FBI agent for almost ten years. He’d never seen what he saw this morning behind the B&B desk. The strangest thing of the man’s death is how it seemed connected to the dream he dreamt of last night. The hotel clerk looked as if he’d been mauled. The creature from his dream last night mauled him. He remembered how painful it felt, no dream is supposed to feel painful.
In his dream he remembered that, out of all his foolish attempts to stop the ending of his demise, the only one that succeeded is when he lunged out at it with his knife. The next morning a bloodied knife laid on the floor beside him. A knife that could’ve, just perfectly, slit through his arm. It hit him, almost like a semi truck going 80 miles per hour, what if I did it? Budsworth looked back at the doctor who continued to examine the wound in his arm. He had to find a way to extract blood from himself without her noticing. He could extract a sample of his own blood, and hand her the blood from him and the knife, but she might be suspicious if both samples of the blood came from him.
“I’ve got to go use the restroom, if you don't mind.” Budsworth stated politely. Reynard let his arm go with a nod. He stepped back away from her, and made his way to the restroom to the side of the waiting room. He stepped in through the door, and locked it behind him. Surprised struck him from the sheer size of the restroom. He felt scrounged in its small corners. The toilet and sink in front of him hardly gave him space to move. A trashcan sat under a towel dispenser beside the door didn’t help much with he small about of available space.
Budsworth leaned over the sink, stained a dark white from age. He raised the sleeve of his left arm. The sleeve uncovered another scabbing from a piece of flying debris grazing his arm from Hackshaw’s cabin. He raised the flip knife over his left arm, and slice down into it. A sharp pain erupted through his arm. It sliced through his thin layer of skin, quickly and painfully. It felt like something cold, yet oddly hot at the same time, slicing through the skin. Like ripping off a bandaid, but much worse. The skin slit and spilled scarlet blood. He raised the knife from his arm, the blade coated in the thick scarlet liquid. Budsworth turned and snatched a few paper towels from the dispenser behind him. He wrapped the towels around his bleeding arm before replacing the suit sleeve back over it. The blood would help the paper to stick to the wound until he could put an actual bandage over it. Budsworth reached into his inner suit pocket and retracted another plastic evidence bag. He dropped the flip knife inside and zipped the bag back closed and placed the bag carefully into the pocket on the opposite pocket of the evidence bags. He reached over and flushed the toilet before making his exit back through the door he had came from.
Budsworth stepped back up to Reynard, who at that time, sat in a chair beside the door leading to the hidden hallway behind the waiting room. She stood up from her chair the minute she saw him coming forth from the men’s tiny restroom. “I have some more evidence I need you to look over.” Budsworth explained. He pulled out the two red painted bags with knives in them. “I want you to find out who the blood on these knives belong to. We have reason to believe it is the same person.” Budsworth explained, handing the two evidence bags to her. She grabbed them from him, after flashing him a smile she began to head back towards the hallway. Budsworth grabbed her shoulder before could go. “Wait!” He ordered. He grabbed and sticky note from the waiting room desk. “When you figure this out I want you to call me,” he said, writing out his cell phone number on the small yellow piece of paper. Reynard grinned, her brilliant white teeth shining through her parted lips. She reached over and grabbed his hand and pulled the sticky note out of his firm grasp.
“Yes agent,” she seduced with a wink. Budsworth rolled his eyes.
“Just do it,” he ordered. She nodded and backup up into the hallway behind her. Her eyes glued on him. Budsworth sighed in relief from her departure. As long as he still dreamt of his wife at night he still felt as though he was married to her. Most nights he dreamt of her lying in the he bed beside him. Her sweet peppermint breath breaking down on his bare shoulders. Disappointment would swell up inside him when he’d awaken to find her still gone.
Last night, however, he didn’t dream of her. He dreamt of a demon, the memory lead him to remembering the memory chip he released from José’s room earlier that day. Even though he had strong suspicions it was him, that video could prove whoever, or whatever, it was that killed the hotel clerk. He had to get back to the Police station.
Budsworth exited back through the tall double doors to the street outside. A gleam from the sun reflected off of the hood of his car. It shined into his eyes, making him squint, barely able to see at all. Budsworth stepped up to his black Ford Taurus, resting in the morning sunlight on the side of the road. He stepped around the front of the car onto the driver’s side door. The door flew open when he pulled on the handle. Budsworth reached into his suit pocket and took out the memory card. He placed it on the arm rest beside him.
The police station stood only on the other side of the block. It didn't take no more than three minutes to get from the clinic to the front door of the sheriff’s station. He pulled into the parking lot in front of the station. The car parked between two different patrol cars, one belonged Henderson and the other for what Budsworth could only assume to belong to deputy Gregory. The engine died as soon as Budsworth twisted the car key and pulled it out. He grabbed the memory card from the arm rest beside him. The door of the black Ford Taurus swung open again, as he stood up out of the car. Budsworth fled up towards the front glass door of the police station. He shoved the glass door open and stepped inside. A wooden door further down the hall opened. Henderson peaked out, his face cross, like he had just let a mastermind criminal escape him.
“We’re interrogating Queens. I want to know if he is in any way related to the murder in the Bed & Breakfast last night. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten anything from the jackass. He just keeps giving me more of this ‘I plead the fifth’ type bullshit,” Henderson furiously muttered, staring down at the tiled floor. His gaze lifted off from the floor to Budsworth. “But he did say he wanted to speak to you,” Budsworth sighed, something told him this wasn’t going to be good.
“Do you have anything to plug this memory chip into?” Asked Budsworth, pulling the security camera memory chip out in front of Henderson. He glared at it for a few moments, and gave a slight nod. “Okay, I want you to set it up in the interrogation room. So we can all see it,” Budsworth ordered. Henderson gave another nod before heading into his office. Budsworth leaned his back against the door, waiting for Henderson to come back. He felt his stomach not up as he continued to wander about what they’d see on that card. Something in him tried to convince himself he couldn’t have done it, but his slit arm told everything. If he really is the one in this video, slicing that hotel clerk to shreds, the sheriff himself would see it. They’d have enough evidence to put him away for a very long time for man slaughter, but why would he rip a man to shreds and tear out his intestines, and why wouldn’t he remember doing it.
A sick feeling swelled up inside him. If it was him, why didn’t he remember it? That;s the big question. Budsworth looked back toward the sheriff’s office. He still hadn’t to come around the corner carrying what Budsworth could only assume to be a laptop bag. He opened the door of the interrogation room behind him. Queen sat, staring at the wall. In front of him stood metal table. A double sided mirror sat along one of the side walls. A fluorescent light hung from the ceiling, shining down in a light blue beam that occasionally flickered. Budsworth sat down in a seat across from Queens. He reached into his “evidence” pocket a pulled out the pistol with Queens finger prints on it.
“I already told the sheriff, I didn't do it. It wasn't me. I had absolutely nothing to do with it.” Queens mumbled under his breath with his dry, cracked lips, probably from shouting his innocence throughout the night last night. Sleep-deprived bags slugged under his eyes. Budsworth didn’t want to believe Queens had anything to do with it. In fact he highly doubted Queens had anything to do the disappearances. The only evidence that supported him being there was the finger print on the pistol.
“Listen Queens, I'm starting to believe you. A whole shit load of crap has happened in this town recently that makes me believe you may be right. Something isn't right about this town. I awoke this morning to find the hotel clerk downstairs ripped to shreds, and a slit in my arm. The dead clerk a knife that looked like it could perfectly fit the slit in my arm,” Budsworth explained, pulling up his suit sleeve, revealing the deep cut. He looked away for brief moment, “but I don’t remember ripping him to shreds. That's something you'd never forget.”
“Damn, looks like someone really did try to set you up and did a damn good job at it too,” Queens said. The door into the interrogation room swung open. Henderson stepped in, closing the door behind him. A black leather strap to a laptop case wrapped around his shoulder. Queens watched him set the bag down beside the table, and pulled out the laptop.
“What’s he doing?” Asked Queens. Budsworth’s gaze switched back to him. He reached into his “evidence” pocket, and pulled out the memory chip.
“We’re going to figure out who really killed that hotel clerk last night.” Budsworth answered, Henderson set the laptop down on the table. A silver Apple logo shined on top, reflecting the interrogation room light. Henderson reached over the peril white hood of the laptop and lifted it. Budsworth put the memory chip in an access point on one of the sides of the laptop. A video appeared on the screen. In the bottom left corner of the screen it was dated, April 18, 17:36. Too far back. They sped it up to the time of yesterday, May 27, 23:04. The video showed José as he stood in front of a mini fridge in the back room, searching for something to eat.
His head arose at the sound of something not caught on the camera. The security camera shifted to the right to show Budsworth handing José some money for his stay. After José gave him his room key, he disappeared around the corner of the camera. José turned and looked at the phone as if it rang. He stepped up to it and put it up to his ear. His lips moved as he conversed with whomever spoke on the other end. He immediately stopped talking and stared down the hall as if he heard something.
After staring down the hall for a few more minutes, he finally dismissed it an returned into the room behind the clerk desk. The camera made a sluggish turn back into the room. José continued toward the mini fridge and pulled open the door. A lamp standing in the corner of the room, beside the doorway, tumbled over. The light bulb inside shattered to pieces, and darkness enveloped the room, except the shine from the moon through a window. They could see the silhouette of José, staring down at broken lamp. Two blood red glowing eyes came into view of the camera, stalking towards their hopeless victim. They looked exactly like the ones Budsworth seen in his dream last night. José took a few steps back, his face completely petrified. He reached into his pant pocket and yanked out something sharp. A sharp glint shined in the moonlight along the deadly end of José’s knife.
The creature lunged at him through the darkness. José blindly flailed his knife. The created the knocked back as the sliced through its arm. The moonlight lit the creatures fur a light blue. It almost appeared wolf in nature. It laid there for only a few seconds before raising back up off the ground. The eyes stood four feet from the floor, piercing through the darkness, hatred burned from within them. José stood in a defensive formation, ready to be attacked again, holding his knife firmly in his hand. Black liquid coating the knife glistened in the moonlight. Henderson looked down at the sleeve covering Budsworth’s skin. A strengthening look of wonder occupying his face. In the video, the creature jumped at José again, this time knocking the bloody knife from his hand. It landed on the ground only a few seconds before the killer dog pinned José to the wall behind him. The moonlight shined in on them from the window. A dark liquid bled from his shoulders, while the creature impaled into him with it’s long claws.
Terrifying claws raked down the victims body. Dark red blood splayed across the room. It splattered onto the walls, and even across the camera. The dog-like creature seemed to give a devilish grin as its blood red eyes started down at the carnation. José’s mouth hung wide open, shouting in agony. A black thick liquid crawled out of the corner of his mouth, dripping down onto his clothes. His eyes rolled into the back of his head. José laid there lifeless, claws raking across his body.
Blood spilled out of the rips in his skin onto the cold floor, forming in a dark red puddle below. The blood stained, grinning jaws of death culled into José stomach and wrenched out his intestines. More blood splayed across the floor and onto the window above him. The bright red painted entrails flopped out of the killer maw down onto the bloody floor. It reached its long narrow snout back into the stomach cavity and ripped out a lung, shredding the whole bottom half of it with its deadly jaws.
Henderson reached across the table and paused the video. He sat back in his chair for a few moments, terrified by what he’d just seen. “What the hell is that?” He asked. His gaze shifted back towards Budsworth, who only gave him a shrug in response. Then he glanced back at Queens. “You're free to go.” He said. It shocked Budsworth that Henderson would just let Queens go like that. Sure, Budsworth believed he didn’t do it, but Henderson never even asked why Queens finger prints were found on Mill’s pistol.
Queens sat there in the chair staring at the paused video. It was paused on a horrifying frame of the creature ripping guts from the bloodied cavity in the stomach. He looked back up at Budsworth. His eyes confused, yet filled with wonder and an essence of terror. “What the hell is that?” He asked, “and where’s the restroom, I’m gonna...” it was already too late. Queen vomited across the floor beside the table. The sight almost made Budsworth vomit as well, but he couldn’t let what happened at the bus happen here in front of Queens and Henderson.
“We’ll find out, just get outta here. Your not responsible for anything,” Henderson announced.
“What? Hell no, I'm not going anywhere alone if something like that is out there,” Queens added, “I want to figure out exactly what’s going on here, anyway. Do you think this is linked to the disappearances of the Johnsons?’
“I said, ‘we’ll find out’ which means we will, and we don't need your help.” Henderson announced. Queens gaze drifted to Budsworth, who wasn't really all that sure letting him go now was a good idea. He still had some questions to ask him. Sure, he didn't kill the B&B clerk, but he still new more than he was putting on. What about the fingerprints on Mill’s pistol?
“Hold on sheriff. Before we let him go I have a few more questions to ask him.” Budsworth stated. Henderson stared back at him, only giving a slight nod, his attention completely occupied by the killing machine on the video. He only sat there staring it down. As if he were tying to make sense of something that made no sense at all. Well, that was their situation. Nothing added up. Budsworth felt partly relived that it wasn't him in that video, carving the clerk to bits, but it only brought this bigger mystery. What was that thing, and why did Budsworth wake up with that deep cut in his arm? Henderson’s cell phone rang. He stood up from the table, and stepped out of the room to answer it. Steven Queens gaze stayed glued to Budsworth.
“So you said you have some questions for me. I've already said all that I know. And the sheriff said I'm good to go, so I'm going.” Queens grumbled. His chair made a loud SCREECH as he pulled it out from the table. He stood up and looked back down at Budsworth, sitting in the seat across from him. “Did you vomit after the attack?” He asked, “And I mean blood, not your dinner from last night.”
Budworth’s eyes locked with his for a quick moment. “How did you know about that?” He asked, astonished. Queens grabbed ahold of the door knob and twisted it until the door unlatched. He turned to glance at Budsworth one last final time before walked out.
“Follow me, I'm going to the library. There’s something I need to show you.” Questions began floating more rapidly through Budsworth’s mind. He followed Queens out of the room, latching the door closed behind him. Henderson rushed past him, he seemed in a frantic hurry to get somewhere. That call he received must’ve been important.
“Henderson hold up!” Budsworth called to him. “Where you going?” Henderson halted and turned to look at him.
“I need to get out to the Holt’s house. I just got a call and he said that one of the boys from the football trip showed up. He said he won’t tell him anything, so I'm heading there right now to go and take a look.” Henderson explained. He opened the door leading into his office, Budsworth followed him in. Queens leaned again the door frame behind them.
“Well, Queens wanted to show me something at the library, but if you need my help I can come.” Budsworth offered. Henderson grabbed his car key off his desk he glanced back at Budsworth and shook his head.
“No, you go on right ahead. I got this one,” Henderson assured him. They both stepped back out of the room. Budsworth closed the door behind him. Deputy Gregory stepped out of his office into the hallway.
“Sheriff is everything okay?” He asked. Henderson turned back to him, then glanced back at Budsworth.
“What would you say would that thing in that video really be?” He asked, “a bear?’
Budsworth could see why he’d think that. I really looked more like a wolf to him, but they don’t inhabit this area. The closest thing to that in this area would probably be a bear, or maybe a mountain lion. Maybe that was it, a mountain lion. If he remembers correctly the thing int he video had pointed ears, like a cat. He found it even less likely to be a bear. Even though they do live int his area, black bears are going extinct. Besides that, black bears don’t just wonder into B&Bs and start killing clerks, but neither would a mountain lion. The only thing that really made it look so much like a bear was the terrifying four foot height it had even when it was on four legs, but mountain lions stand about just as tall. Those eyes it had looked nothing like a bear’s. These ones were the color of blood. In the dream he had last night, when he saw those two eyes up close, they were more of cat-like with black, slit pupils.
Henderson was still awaiting an answer. Budsworth new it wasn't really a Mountain lion, but what else could it possibly be. “Probably a mountain lion. They seem more common in this area, especially when it comes to vicious animals,” Budsworth answered. Henderson nodded and turned back toward deputy Gregory.
“Deputy, I want you make some flyers looking out for a possible mountain lion. Make sure to post them up around town. I want to catch this thing before it takes any lives. Use the printer in the back room.” Henderson announced. Gregory nodded and sped off down the hall to follow his orders. Budsworth, Henderson, and Queens made their ways out onto the sidewalk outside the sheriff’s station. Queens and Budsworth stepped up to the black Ford Taurus. “Hey Agent Budsworth,” Henderson called from the open door of his car. Budsworth opened his driver’s side door, and turned turned back toward him. “If anything happens, call me,” He announced. Budsworth nodded, and he plopped down into he driver’s side seat of his car. The vehicle rocked when Queens sat down in the passenger’s side seat beside him, slamming his passenger side door.
Both cars pulled out onto the street behind them. They drove onto State Road 9, driving separate directions. Budsworth turned onto Sandhill Drive on the edge of town, where the library stood down the street. He pulled out in front of the building, parking on the side of the road. The driver’s side door flung open as he stepped out. The sun shined down upon the marble white pillars of the library, making it almost impossible to look at the building without squinting. Budsworth stepped up to the front doors of the library. The passenger side door of his car flung open, as Queens followed closely behind. Budsworth pushed the library doors open and stepped inside. Queens followed only a few steps behind, after getting out of the car and slamming the doors closed behind him. Darkness surrounded the building, not a single light illuminated from the darkness, excepted the light from windows surrounding the walls lit up a few short feet of the floor ahead of them.
Queens climbed behind the information desk and flicked a few switches lined up side-by-side along the wall. The lights of the ceiling flickered on. The soothing sound of a running air conditioner flooded the silent halls and canyons of books. Budsworth stepped up to the information desk, and laid his arms down upon the top of the desk. He stood across from Queens, who momentarily retreated into the back room behind the desk. He returned back only a few seconds later, his face looked dead serious. In his hand he carried the neckless Budsworth had seen yesterday. The one that, after he touched it, boiled the deranged fox tattoo into the skin just below his shoulder.
In Queen’s other hand he carried a newspaper. He laid it out in front of Budsworth. “This will either be the answer to your question, or it’ll sprout more,” He explained, pointing down at a photograph on the paper. It was an older newspaper, dated October 22, 1958. Under the newspaper’s date it read , “Death of man and his girlfriend puts town into the dark.” An old black and white photograph plastered tot he page below that. It showed a couple of FBI agents, as they stood over a body covered by a bloody sheet. In the background, behind a strip of white police tape, he saw something peculiar. Himself, standing in the center of a crowd.
“What the hell?” Budsworth muttered under his breath. “What kind of sick joke is this.” The phone in his pant pocket rang. Budsworth reached back into his pocket and pulled it out to answer it. “FBI agent Budsworth, who is this?” He asked.
“Agent, this is Doctor Reynard from the Foxvalley medical clinic,” Of course, he nearly forgot that he gave her some things to test out. He could still feel the relief of finding out that the killer in that security camera footage wasn't him. Instead they saw this mysterious creature, what ever it really was. “I tested the blood of those knives and it’s a match, Budsworth. The blood on both is by the same person.”
“Wait, wha…wha…what?” Budsworth shuddered. The door of the library opened as a familiar tall, soulless-eyed, Native American stepped through the door. They three of them all locked eyes. Budsworth froze. The cell phone slipped them his hand, plunging on the carpet floor…