One cold night... (Winner of The Daily Slice horror contest 11/19/13)
| “Officer, I’m glad you’re here. He’s in the back, by the trash bin. It’s a fucking mess.” Richard was shaking as he spoke while the frigid wind seeped ever deeper into his pores. He wrapped his flimsy rain jacket tighter around him and blew into his hands in a warming prayer. He just wanted to go home.
The officer slammed his door shut on the cruiser and stared at Richard with what seemed like a mixture of curiosity and contempt. Richard couldn’t blame him; he didn’t want to be here either.
“Alright, what’s your name son? Do you know what happened?” His voice was crisp and rigid as he stared down at Richard accusingly, as if he knew every secret he’d ever kept from his parents since he was a child, and now would be the time for payback. Richard swallowed hard.
“Uh, Richard. Richard Stolls. I have no idea what happened, I mean I was just cutting through the alley to get back to my apartment and…” before he could finish the officer interrupted him with a loud grunt, and shook his head. On the other side of the cruiser, a second cop got out. He looked a bit more trusting to Richard as he stood up and shivered in the evening shower. Richard really wished he was speaking with him instead.
“It figures, they never know anything. Stay here with Officer Travers, Mr. Stolls. I’ll be back,” he said gruffly, as he turned and walked off into the shimmering rain that was drowning the alley in a biblical torrent. The officer was huge, well over six feet tall and built like a lineman. The murky mouth of the alley swallowed him out of existence nonetheless.
For an awkward moment, Richard and the other officer just stood there looking at each other through the stalling shower as if neither of them knew why they were really there. But Richard knew better than anyone what had happened; Shit just had its way of finding him, everybody else was just collateral damage.
“Welcome to my toilet bowl, Officer …” he spoke and winced as the words left his lips.
“What did you say?” Travers asked, his eyes reflecting a rising anger that was palpable in the budding moonlight. The storm was passing by into what would surely become a frosty evening.
“I was just saying that was a welcoming rain tonight, wasn’t it Officer?” It was the best he could come up with but it seemed to work.
“The rain is for cleansing our sins. So, what did you see exactly back there Mr. Stolls? Did it scare you?” Travers was now staring at Richard with a stern look on his face. Richard couldn’t help but feeling that something was wrong with his stare, something with his eyes. He looked down at his feet and trembled even more against the glacial night air.
“Well, yeah. I’m still scared. I feel like I’m going to implode or something worse. Like I said earlier to Officer …”
“Knise. Officer Knise. Continue.” Travers nodded at Richard, his eyes never leaving Richards own, but they seemed more relaxed now, more peaceful. They appeared to glow in the early evening moonshine, a hint of silver and gold upon a shimmering ocean in some other part of the world. They were hypnotic and all at once inviting; he could tell him anything, anything at all if he wanted to.
So he did.
He hadn’t been lying to Officer Knise; he’d simply been going home after buying some beer when he’d stumbled upon what was left of the nightmare in the alley. It wasn’t really a body he tried to explain; it was more like a gelatinous blob that had somehow found it’s way into this world; a ravaged fragment of a head along with some blackened entrails and scarlet viscera, forming a pulpy stew; all of it surely putrefying in the belly of some savage beast, and not just lying there passively in an alley across the street from his home. What kind of creature could do that to someone? He had nearly missed it. In fact, if he hadn’t seen the ragged eye hanging out of its socket staring up at him, he might have walked right through all of it and he wouldn’t have been the wiser. Even then, maybe he’d have missed all of the blood on his carpet. Maybe he’d…
He shouldn’t be here, right? He was so exhausted now.
Someone tapped him on the soldier. Richard was startled out of his trance like state as he turned around to stare up into the crimson eyes of Officer Knise.
“There’s nothing there, Mr. Stolls. Nothing anymore, I should say.” Knise stared down at Richard, an eerie grin creeping across his face while a forked black tongue slid along his lips. There were far too many teeth in that grin Richard thought somewhere in the back of his mind, a mind that was no longer his own.
“Well Travers, what should we do with this one?” asked the thing that had once been Officer Knise.
“Nothing personal Mr. Stolls, but you taste so much better when you’re scared.” And then Travers was at Richard’s neck, bathing in the crimson ecstasy that erupted outwards as his fangs tore him apart.