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Tepper’s Mill Part 3

The rusted hinges on the metal door creaked loudly as I pushed it open with one hand, the chair leg held high ready for an attack. I let Cable go first with a light, and Sevina went after him. Aber ushered Luke quietly through and Mary held Gabe close as Jenni filed in last. I closed the door quietly, jamming a piece of broken furniture as a wedge just in case the stairs proved more unsafe than outside. I flicked my light on and I saw Aber click his on and we all moved upwards like a slow train, hand on each other’s shoulders in the dark cave of some unknown office building. The occasionally crunch was heard from underfoot and a few disembodies screams echoed through the tunnel of the stairs as they climbed higher. Jenni turned to me as we came to a halting stop.

            “What level do we stop at?” she whispered.

            “20.”

           I allowed her time to get the message through to Cable in the front by a series of hushed whispers and before long we were moving once more. A few more steps and we came to another stop.

            “Cable doesn’t want to go in first,” she said.

            I rolled my eyes and made my way to the front of the train, tousling Luke’s hair as I passed hoping to cheer a smile out of him. I shined my light up to Cable’s face and he looked scared. They all did and I could understand. It had been weeks since we were in this kind of predicament and the group had been used to the peace. I rubbed the doorknob and pushed but nothing happened. I tried once more but still it wouldn’t budge so I had Cable hold my light. With as much force as I could muster, I forced my shoulder into the door and it banged open loudly. I paused and counted the seconds as I listened, waiting for any kind of noise that would indicate dead on this level. I took my light back from Cable and allowed everyone to come in. The twentieth level was full of cubicles and many small places to hide but everything looked relatively in place. When the disease struck, it was a holiday so many people had been visiting family members rather than at work. That was the only good thing that came out of the apocalypse. Empty buildings meant safer refuge if it didn’t contain the dead which happened to fancy the large areas. A few chairs had been flipped over but otherwise everything was in place. There was a horrible musty smell, and a few dead flowers decorated desks as we walked stealthily. We circled each desk making sure it was clear before setting up a small camp in the far corner. Mary set up a few solar paneled lanterns and Jenni handed out snacks as me and Cable stacked chairs against the door for safe measure. I winched as I shoved the last chair against the door he gave me a worried look.

            “You alright?”

            “No, I’m not,” I said shaking my head and showed him the nasty bite mark reddening against my palm. He stepped back bumping into a desk and knocked a vase off the surface, smashing to the ground in a thousand pieces. The group looked over at us with fear in their eyes.

            “Nothing, just a mouse,” I called back smiling. Mary started talking about how mice were cute and Jenni was expressing disgust. I grabbed Cable’s shirt collar firmly and pulled him close to me when everyone went back to their own business.

            “Don’t tell anyone. Not even Sevina. Got that? This stays between me and you,” I said dangerously.

            “F-fine. Nothing happened I swear,” he stuttered and I let him go roughly.

            He hurried back to the lighter area of the floor without another glance back at me and I sat back against the desk. I squeezed my hand and allowed it to ooze out before taking the medical kit from my bag and applying a fresh wrap to my hand. Within the bag I noticed a pair of black winter gloves. Putting them on, I entered the little circle of light and drank deeply from a canister of water. The group grew quiet and Cable refused to look at me, huddled in Sevina’s arms.

            “What do we do next?” asked Mary. Luke was sleeping in her lap and I hesitated as I tried to come up with a rough plan for the next twelve hours.

            “We wait till the sun comes up. In the morning a group of us will go check the front, if they’re still there we need to find an alternate exit. Presumably one near the back of the building.”

            “Hark, what if both exits are blocked off. What next?” said Jenni.

            “I can’t afford to think there isn’t a safe way out of here.”

            Aber pulled a bottle of scotch from his jacket pocket and held it up. I chuckled a little which prompted a series of horrendous coughs.

            “You okay?” asked Gabe.

            “Sure my man, just a small cold coming on,” I smiled tiredly at him and accepted a glass of scotch from Aber. I grimaced as the amber liquid rolled down my throat and he offered me a second glass. I shook my head as much as I wanted a second helping. He gave Jenni a small shot and was gasped with disgust. 

            “Is that why you’re wearing gloves?” Gabe giggled shyly.

            “Sure is,” I smiled.

            I watched the group quietly from my spot on the floor and knew this was my chance to say good bye, to tell them it had been a hell of a go while it lasted. But I couldn’t muster the strength to do so as I watched Gabe chuckle and giggle as Jenni tickled him or Mary saying no to that glass of scotch even though every fiber in her body meant to drink that whole bottle dry in an attempt to drive away the stabbing want. Eventually after Gabe had fallen asleep and Jenni huddled up to Mary for warmth, did I finally pass out. 

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The Butterfly Casket Part 3

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Barry cleaned the machete-like blade with a silk piece of cloth, rubbing it with holy water he kept on hand in his jacket pocket. He removed his jacket and set it against a bar stool and rolled the sleeves of his white shirt up to his elbows. Turning to Mr. Holmes pinned down on the carpet, he first admired his successful work of art. The sub-demon was stapled to the ground, a silver peg threaded through each hand and foot. There was no blood, there never was as demons bodies were dead and had no use for internal functions or fluids. Only their insatiable lust and hunger drove them from the mindless, maddening depths of hell to plague the earth like a parasite. The couch was flipped, a few bar stools stood face down with some sparkling broken glass littering the floor as the tussle between the two had gone on rather lengthy. But Barry managed to get the upper hand and once the first peg was down, the rest were rather simple. But Barry didn’t escape flawless. He had a deep gash across his hairy chest and a slash across his eye and nose. He would live though. Smoke hissed out of the demons hands as the silver continued to burn.

“I had you pegged down as a solid class two. Maybe I should have expected a low three. You got me pretty good,” Barry said waving the blade at the demon with a small chuckle. It hissed at him but could do no harm to Barry anymore.

“Where’s the Boleyn Demon?” he asked.

The demon said nothing and turned its face away from Barry. Barry slashed the blade across the demons chest and it howled in agony.

“You have no idea what is in store!” it growled through the pain. Barry slashed again, deeper and the wailing from the thing pierced his ears.

“NOOO IDEAAAA,” it repeated.

“Where is the Boleyn Demon!?”

The demon looked at him, a moment of clarity in its eyes as it stared with hatred and greedy bloodlust. Barry understood that it knew nothing but that didn’t change Barry’s mind. He lifted the blade high and sliced the head clean off in one fluid strike. He wiped his mouth and dropped the blade against the muddied floor. He grabbed the nearest bottle of rum from the broken bar and poured it into his mouth, wincing at the burning sensation but the pain in his chest eased away. The basement was a mess; completely destroyed Barry would have no other alternative than to burn it to the ground. Make it look like an accident. But that comes with the job, he thought. He dumped the rum onto the carpet, watching it all soak up before lighting his cigarette. He took his time, gathering the materials around the demons human looking corpse and he stashed them away neatly folded back to their original spots. He gazed once more at the horror show and flicked his cigarette onto the alcohol. It caught, lighting a small blaze that soon started to engulf the rest of the basement. A few alcoholic bottles shattered in little miniature explosions and Barry hiked out of the house. He was sneaking behind the backyard fence when he heard a noise behind him.

“Hello, Barry.” Barry didn’t need to turn around to understand who was behind him.

“Levinstein,” he said with shock rippling his voice.

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The Butterfly Casket Part 2

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             147 Peacoat Drive. That was the address of Mr. Holmes and his late wife. But Barry refused to exit his car, glaring at the nearly empty three story mansion-like house in the dim streetlights on the otherwise clear, cloudless night. Only one light was on, the front window, and Barry could only assume it was the kitchen. Demons, he thought, it all comes back to them. Barry had only recently been introduced to the horrors of the world thanks to an unmentionable friend, but he was already getting the hang of detecting and tracking them. See, Barry had the Gift. The Gift was what his ‘friend’ had mentioned, a sense of the unordinary, the ability to feel the otherworldly connection in the fabric of time and space. Barry himself could still barely understand what it all meant but when he came close to the dead, they spoke to him, spilling their secrets like a waterfall after a rainstorm. But it wasn’t like talking to a human being, no. For Barry it was using his senses, his third eye to reveal the unseen. That was how he found out Mr. Holmes true face. The demonic expression of the cruel world they lived in. Barry flicked his cigarette out the car window and rolled it up slowly. Reaching into the back seat, he revealed the silver dagger that reassembled more of a machete and a leather bag of five solid silver pegs. A true and only way to kill a demon is with silver. Remember that, and remember this. The demon is not human, nor will it ever be. You kill it, you sever its connection with the host and you pray that mother won’t come hunt you down in a couple of years. The words of his ‘friend’ rang in his ears and he slid the blade into his easily concealable leather jacket.

“But that’s the wheel of the game. You track, you spot, you kill,” he muttered opened the car door, finishing the ghostly whispers in his ear.

He strode up to the police car, completely ignoring the fact that it was so out in the open it might as well have had a neon sign on it. He bumped the top of the roof and the uniformed cop jumped visibly, dropping the smoke between his quivering lips.

“Rough night, Lax?” Barry said with the queer smile he managed. Lax was shaking his head, rubbing his fingers through a thick mat of messy brown hair.

“This shit is fucked up. I don’t wanna be out here all night. Crazy fuck’s got it out for the entire town and I’m probably next,” he said with glistening, red tinged eyes. Barry could see his eyes darting to every shadow behind him. He remembered a time when he too was as scared as poor Lax. Barry sighed and leaned into the window.

“Go home to your wife, buddy. I’ll take it from here. I’ve been meaning to go over a few facts with him anyways. And don’t tell Phil. He’s liable to have a shit fit if he knew you were breaking during duty,” he whispered. Lax didn’t even try to argue. The key was already in the ignition before Barry could even finish his sentence.

“Be careful, Barry. This guy’s real sick, real messed up in the head. I would hate to hear about you in the Boleyn Times.”

Barry smiled and tapped the top of the hood, watching Lax speed down the side street barely slowing for the stop sign. The eerie calmness of the night stretched over him suddenly and a gusty breeze blew by sending his pant legs flapping. He lit another cigarette, watching the house. The light stayed on, glowing through the darkness like a beacon for moths. Mr. Holmes, aka a class two sub-demon, was not the biggest issue Barry had to deal with in town. But it was his closest lead yet to solving the rising body count of supernatural murders. Philsby didn’t know this. No one did. Only Barry and his mentor. Maybe in other parts of the world, similar people with Gifts did this for a living but as of now, they were the only ones. There was a class system in place for the order and strength of demons, five being the highest and most dangerous, one being lowest. Though Mr. Holmes was only a sub-demon, a familiar for the real deals, he was still just as strong when pushed. Sub-demons were also sloppier, tending to let their hunger take over and leave a messy trail behind like a child in a highchair.

The cigarette in his mouth was nearly wasted, the ashes almost touching his chapped lips, so he threw it to the ground with dissatisfaction. Smoking worked less and less each time he started a hunt. He jogged up the nine steps to the tall, regal looking maroon colored door and knocked once, twice. Three times. Barry heard a panicked shuffle and then a chair smack to the ground. I guess it was too much to ask for a simple, easy hunt. Holmes was spooked.  He pulled the silenced gun from a holster off his hip and fired at the lock. With one good kick, the door swung open wide and the kitchen light clicked off, bathing the hallway of the house in complete solid darkness. Barry readied the gun as he entered the house, anticipating an attack from any direction including the ceiling. He closed the door and shoved a loose shoe as a wedge to keep the busted frame from reopening. Last time he had left a door open while on a case, it ended badly. Barry first noticed the smell, the rancid sour meat smell mixed with the odor of rotting feet. He fished the gray bandana from his shirt collar and affixed it over his nose. As he made his way further into the house, it groaned loudly, moaning as Barry entered the kitchen. He flicked the light but nothing happened.

“Goddammit,” he muttered picking the flashlight from his coat pocket.

The demon hissed cursing in its native demonic tongues as Barry made his way around the fallen wooden chair. He saw a flash to his left and fired two shots into the darkness, the flashlight whirling around like a drunken fairy but nothing was in the corner.

“SSS….BBBAAARRYY….EAT THE FLESH OF THE GIFTED ONESSSS….”

Barry shivered but pressed on. It wasn’t the first threat he had ever heard, nor would it be the last. The house seemed to breathe inwards and out as he swept the entire first floor, moaning and groaning echoing around him like stereo volume being turned up and down. The second floor was just as much a waste of time as the first, knowing full well where the demon really liked to hide. The basement. It was the cliché from every slasher flick he had ever seen and Barry always cursed the fact that in the case of demons, that was a completely accurate myth. But to Barry’s surprise, the basement wasn’t dank and creepy but rather elegant and well kept. The carpet was a beautiful creamy tan with a set of black couches and chairs sitting atop it and a beautiful deep red bricked fireplace. There was a bar to Barry’s left and it was the first place he checked, quickly flashing his light over the marble counter top. Empty.

“Barryyyyy Marshhh. Barrrryyyyy Marrrrsshhhhhh,” said the eerie, demonic two toned voice behind him. The hair on the back of Barry’s neck stood up as he turned. Mr. Holmes, the sub-demon, stood behind him, elongated arms stretching to the carpet. His face was twisted, expressing evil and torture as he gazed at Barry with a sharp grin and yellow eyes.

“I know you aren’t the Boleyn Demon, but rather just the simple little lap dog for the real master,” Barry said. The demon’s smile faltered.

“Am I not great enough to dominate this town myself?” it hissed.

“It became so clear once Palmina’s corpse entered our morgue that she was not the victim of the Boleyn murderer. She had similar lacerations to her mid-section, similar but not exact. And her intestines were only partially chewed, ripped with the teeth of some being. A true demon, well they would have removed the organs and used a knife, a fork. True blooded demons are not barbarians. They are a sophisticated evil,” Barry said shrugging his shoulders. Mr. Holmes cracked its neck and watched Barry through simmering, hateful eyes.

“And though you tried, you actually almost had me fooled as a human being. I wonder, would you tell me the name of the true face of evil in this town or will you die miserably at the end of my blade?”

Its eyes flicked but it said nothing and Barry wondered not for the first time why he was even doing this job. Was it because she asked me too? Was this all Levinstein’s fault I got dragged into this mess? He hated to admit that she, a woman, was able to teach him the skills he needed for this job but she was brilliant until the day she died and he had never loved anything more than he had her. He wanted to quit, leave the life and be with her but that could never happen and he would never be able to stop until he found the one that killed her.

“I guesssss we should start thissss dance thennnnnn,” it said jumping at Barry.

“I guess I’ll lead,” Barry grinned.

.  .  .  .  .

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Welcome!

I want to extend my greetings and welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy my work as much as I did writing it. I will be posting as much as possible but do not fret if I am away for a little bit as work calls. I will try to post on a once a week basis but that could change. Thanks!

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