The Mothman Reborn Part 2

6 Apr

The Mothman Reborn Part 3

Daryl huffed as he ran as fast as he could towards home, but he couldn’t help but be a little distracted by the buildings as he passed by. Point Pleasant, West Virginia, home of the Mothman and his… prophecies… and also the home of the annual Mothman Festival. Shop owners were busy hanging mothman streamers and flags. One owner had brought out a mothman statue made out of toothpicks.

‘Focus,’ thought Daryl, ‘Must get home before Kevin finds me.’

Daryl ran; he ran until his muscles felt like jelly, ready to fall off his aching bones. He was getting close. He was just outside of town, close to the abandoned power plant where the mothman was supposed to reside. Daryl stopped, looking left and right, he didn’t see any sign of Kevin. His head turned toward the power plant, its red brick, smoky from the years of disuse, windows broken and angry-looking with crooked teeth of glass and metal, boarded up doors, and lot of discarded materials littering the overgrown grass.

It looked so desolate and lonely…

‘Kapow!’

Daryl’s glasses fell off and his teeth rattled as he felt a fist connect to back of his head. Tumbling forward, Daryl caught himself before falling to the ground face first, but not before stepping on his fallen lenses.

Kevin laughed. “Oops! That’s too bad; I bet a nigger like you can’t afford a new pair of glasses, huh?”

Daryl turned around, eyes watering, all of his strength forced upon them to keep from crying.

“Awe, you going to cry?” said Kevin, “Let me help you!”

He punched Daryl again in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. As Daryl leaned forward, Kevin kicked him in the face. Blood, Daryl tasted blood as he fell to the ground, and felt little bursts of air escape his mouth as Kevin kicked him repeatedly in the stomach.

Daryl tried to cover his head and chest, but he felt his fingers and wrist crack under the relentless assault, eventually he stopped trying and passed out…

Mothman Reborn Part 1

6 Apr

I want to first preface this (because I understand there were a few people interested in reading this) that I am pushing real hard to finish it up tonight. There should hopefully be a part 3 (final part) tonight, but we’ll see. Until then, please enjoy the first two parts:

 

The Mothman Reborn: Part 1

The clock’s hands moved slowly. Daryl Kern’s dark eyes leapt from the pages of his notebook to the white face of the clock in the front of the classroom every few seconds, hoping that by some feet of magical time travel, he would find the day to be over. But instead it seemed the more often he jerked his head towards the upper wall’s center, the slower the tiny black hands circled the face.

He scratched his head, his fingertips meeting the long curls of his budding afro. He didn’t particularly like his hair and was hoping he would get the time to cut it the following weekend. Of course, he was going to have to wash it first, as he inevitably understood that it would be matted with blood by the time the day was done.

Thinking about it made him shake in his seat a little, he cupped his face in his hands, trying to keep anyone from seeing his eyes welling up. Daryl had a problem. His name was Kevin Holler.

Kevin had bullied Daryl since they were 11. They had a lot of classes together, and if Kevin wasn’t threatening him or shoving him in the hallways, he was throwing spit wads at him in class. They were almost unnoticeable, the spit wads, until Daryl would rake his head with his fingers only to be greeted by the gooey feeling of wet, saliva filled pulp.

Gross to say the least, but far worse were the instances outside of school that made Daryl shudder. Kevin would go out of his way to stalk Daryl and beat the skin off of him.

Daryl didn’t understand why Kevin hated him so much, though he had many a conjecture:

  • Daryl was smart; he was in the top 15% of their class.
  • Daryl wasn’t athletic; he was small, with skinny arms and skinny legs and the coordination of an eggplant, Daryl was often teased in gym class by his classmates.
  • Daryl was black; Kevin used many racial slurs when he assaulted Daryl.

Growing up in the south wasn’t a big help on that matter, but Daryl knew not everyone was racist. Most of his classmates treated him like everyone else and he had several white friends, but for whatever reason Kevin Holler hated his guts and made sure that he knew it at least once a week.

Once a week, usually on a Friday (like this one), Daryl would spend his weekend black and blue and trying to mend his glasses for the umpteenth time. It was getting to the point that glue and tape just wouldn’t stick…

Daryl’s body suddenly became calm. He was done. He was going to run home and enjoy his weekend. Enough of this crap! He was going to get home unscathed and read his new comic book.

He just got it two days ago, the newest Batman comic; he’d saved it to kick off his weekend and he was going to enjoy the whole weekend, damn it! He was going to get over his fears and defeat Kevin once and for all… but probably not in hand to hand combat… running was his best option.

Bring!

The bell rang and a clamor of scraping chair legs, books thumping closed, and students muttering, chiming, and bellowing announced the start of the weekend.

Kevin Holler who had been asleep at his desk for the past 20 minutes, awoke to see his target zip out the door and out of sight.

His mouth curled into a smirk as he slowly stood up and picked up his books. ‘No need to run, nigger,’ he thought, ‘I’ll catch up.’

The Psychic Society: Chapter 4

29 Mar

Mathew Easton: The Phantom

Detective Mathew Easton, a man in league with the enemy, stood in room 1013 24 hours after Burr and the two senators were found dead. Mathew was born with a strange knack of figuring things out. He detected, what most would say, the undetectable. Top of his class of those destined for the title Detective, Easton had solved over 100 cases before the enemy acquired him. It was this uncanny ability that also attracted my late master.

The time was 20:00, and Detective Easton stood at the now open window of that 10th floor room, contemplating the photos taken by his people. He turned from the photos to the window glass. The holes from the rounds, spidering cracks, led him to believe that someone must have been perched somewhere with a high velocity rifle, but that was impossible, unless the man were superman.

His eyes wandered back to the pictures. The window was originally closed, blinds down, and a sheet draped over it, meaning zero visibility for anyone shooting a rifle… unless they were superman.

No casings were retrieved. Video footage was no help. The maid, they had questioned, saw Edward Burr walk out of the room at 13:40, but all the cameras captured was static at that time. Curious, however, that it was only when whoever it was passed by that the cameras went nuts. They were all working perfectly afterwards.

And though she had seen Burr walk out, it could not have been him, because forensics put him to be dead about that time, in the room, with that dreadful mark on his face…

This case was certainly the most perplexing case he had ever had, and not one bit of it made any sense. The assailant would have to be flying… or some sort of crane? helicopter?  Something had to hold him or her in place while he or she made those killing shots. At some point there was an entry, which led to Burr’s death, that was certain, but once again, the assailant had to be flying… or something…

And nobody saw anything?

Detective Easton’s mind tinkered and spun as it tried to conceive what had happened, but nothing meshed together. Discouraged, he looked to the bottom of that 10th story view and thought of what his bosses would say if he couldn’t solve this case.

“Hello, Detective,” came a voice from the front door, “How goes the investigation?”

speak of the devil…

“Not too good, Mr. Crouse,” said Easton, turning around. Mr. Crouse was an elderly gentleman, no more than 65, white beard and short hair and dressed like he had some fancy place to be.

“I hope you’re not so troubled by these events to check up on me while you are engaged in something else?” said Easton.

“Oh,” said Mr Crouse, shaking his head, “It’s no where that I’ll be missed, but I am very concerned about this investigation. Our superiors are very concerned about finding whoever is responsible, considering the election is a couple of months away, now to be postponed.”

“Well, as it stands, sir,” said Easton, “None of it adds up. I don’t suppose you have a list of people who would be interested in killing Mr. Burr?”

“You’re the detective, are you not?”

Detective Easton smiled. “Yeah, I suppose I am. Any super-human individuals that might want to kill Mr. Burr?”

“Super-human?”

“Yes. The initial shots were fired from outside this 10th floor window, from approximately 100 or 150 yards, meaning the killer was suspended in air, somehow. Two shots, sir, passing through blinds and a sheet to meet the two senators in the head, so not only can our assailant fly, he has x-ray vision.”

“At some point he broke through the window and entered the room to kill off Mr. Burr and retrieved his casings, including the ones outside, or rather we still haven’t found them.”

Mr. Crouse looked uncomfortable, as if he were hiding something.

“And if you know anything or anyone capable of this, I would love to know, because, though I am the best in my field, this answer I’ve come up with, though utterly preposterous, is the only one that makes sense to me right now.”

“I… may have to get back with you on that,” said Mr. Crouse.

“Mr. Crouse,” said Detective Easton, “By all means, get back to me. But if there is a shred of truth in my synopsis, if you can confirm any of it, there’s a lot more that you and your employers are going to have to tell me when this whole case is solved.”

Darkest Wish

17 Jan

What is your darkest wish?

werewolf1

Ever since I was young, I had this interest in wolves. I liked to pretend I was one and howl and growl while crawling on all fours.

When I got older, I became fascinated by werewolves. Being able to transform from man to wolf sounded like a really awesome ability to have. In addition to a wolf-like appearance, werewolves were strong and fast, with the ability to rip a man in two and jump over high walls.

Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me, but of course there is the drawback of having little to no self-control.

As a werewolf, I would be bent on rampaging through the streets mauling and eating any person in my path, without any feeling while doing it, waking up the next morning with a heart full of guilt.

I think that would be the worst part of the whole thing. As a werewolf, I would be an animal doing what the species does, but as a man I would feel the overwhelming pain of slaughtering (possibly) an entire town.

It’s definitely my darkest wish, one I still have. I don’t think one ever outgrows those, no matter how evil they may be or how good one may be.

So what’s your darkest wish?

The Psychic Society: Chapter 3

28 Dec

Jillian Perry: The Ghost

Jillian Perry, the future love of my life, grew up like James seeing ghosts, though for her, they appeared as shadows of different color. The ones that she feared the most were the ones that showed up as black; those, she said, were evil. But as time went on for Jillian, she saw the shadows less and less until she didn’t notice them at all and ultimately forgot about them.

Much was like her relationship with her brother after high school. James was the weird one. Having very little friends and a magnet for ridicule, Jillian shied away from him and his misery, often finding refuge in her textbooks.

Jillian studied voraciously biological sciences; she wanted to solve the mysteries of human biology and discover how to cure maladies and the pains individuals felt from their own bodies, both physical and mental. One of her more lofty ideas was to develop a means to permanently increase a person’s metabolism…

But all of that seemed so far away. She was very close to finishing her masters degree in biochemistry, but with the economy in the shitter, she was having a hard time finding a job that didn’t involve managing high school students and their burger flipping endeavors.

Patience, time, the economy will recover soon… When was soon? She went on to her masters specifically to wait out the failing economy, she even took her time and spent four years on her masters instead of two, all the while waiting tables… Waiting…

It was late; Jillian finished her first half of a double shift at The All-Night Burgers-n-Stuff, and she slid into a booth to enjoy a greasy burger and fries on her lunch break. The best part about working this late, or early, whatever the case, was the lack of people. The worst was over at 2 am with the usual gaggle of drunks and caffeinated punks, and now at 4 am she could sit in a quiet, practically empty dining room and scan the tv for something interesting to watch.

Upon turning it on, Jillian was annoyed to see the news. She hated the news; it was always miserable with death and bad news. It seemed like not only had the economy ruined her life, but everyone else’s, creating a domino effect of events where people just lost all sense of good, breaking the walls and falling into a fit of violence and greed…

It made her sick to her stomach and as she lingered to see what tragedy had stuck this time, she couldn’t help but laugh. Not a funny laugh, but an ironic and cold laugh: the two presidential candidates, who raced to inherit the job of revitalizing the US had been brutally killed in a hotel room with some no name executive.

Jillian smiled. They were the same guy anyway, dressed in a different suit, wearing a different cologne, but, regardless, the goods were signed by Armani… an illusion of choice that we fall for every four years… Maybe someone NEW will be nominated…

“The investigation continues as to why both candidates were meeting with Edward Burr, CEO of financial giant Stantz and Lee…”

Probably just collecting their campaign money. She took a long drink from her glass of cola. When she felt the buzz of her cell phone on her thigh.

She dug into her pocket and swiped her fingers on the touchscreen to unlock it. She blinked as she saw the name: James Perry… A text message? The two hadn’t spoken since a Christmas video chat. James, apparently was too busy to spend Christmas with the family that year.

She opened it up, her eyes dialated as she read it:

I’ve deposited some money into your account. I want you to visit me in New York; I think I have a job for you, if you’re interested. I understand that with your future graduation, you are still looking for a suitable position. What I have planned is more than substantial, it will change your life forever, for the better.

Cryptic and weird as ever, she thought, I wonder what he sent me. 

She opened up her bank account on her phone to see a deposit of $50,000.00 in her checking account. She did a double take. It was 50 grand… She stood up and walked over to the office.

“Hi, Jillian,” said the night manager, “I want to thank you again for taking that double. We were hurting for someone to stick around…”

“I quit,” she said, “Thank you for this opportunity. I hope I can count on you for a future reference.”

With that, Jillian walked out to her car and planned her trip to New York.

The Psychic Society Part 2: The Specter

16 Dec

James Perry: The Specter

“Who is James Perry?”

James Perry, my mentor and founder of The Psychic Society, was raised knowing one thing: that America was freedom. No other nation was as blessed as the United States of America. No other land had the opportunity, the resources, the people who the US had. We, as a nation, were blessed beyond that of any other, an example for other nations to aspire to.

He told me, once we had found each other, that it was a great lie. That though our country was in fact richer than most, we were still just as poisoned as all. With the desire for more and the lust for everything, our covetous nature was the cause for the disparity in our nation.

James wished to destroy the United States and recreate it… He was a bit of a fanatic, of that I am certain. Still, given all I had learned in the time I spent with him, I would follow him anywhere.

James Perry grew up with his twin sister, Jillian, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The two lived with their parents on the outskirts of the city, far enough to be close to the old battlefield and really get a glimpse through a soldier’s eyes.

The rolling hills, green and yellow, supporting trees, like toothpicks in clay, and depending on whose eyes you looked through, you might see the sticky, blood soaked mud and a million discarded body parts. The smell of gun smoke and cannon powder permeated the fog that settled in the early morning. James was the only one to notice these strange sensations. Even his talented sister never admitted to seeing the onslaught that James relayed to me.

But I suppose I’m going too far into the past. The point is that James was a very intuitive boy who saw the world differently than all the rest. Growing up was hard for him. He spent a decade separating alive people from dead people and then another half decade trying to separate alive ideals from dead ones.

After graduating from high school with honors, James Perry went on to a private university where he studied English and writing as a double major. He won some awards in fiction and was hoping, upon graduation, he would find a job at a local publishing company.

The economy tanked. The government created new bills that hindered businesses from hiring. Change ran rampant through America. The idea that education was the ticket to prosperity deflated in James’s mind as well as others who graduated and worked hard to get that diploma.

James got involved. He called his elected officials, read up on new policies, he did all of this while working part-time at a fast food restaurant, part-time at a library and part-time at a coin operated laundromat.

Every single person he talked to told him “to be patient” or, on the opposite side, “your generation is too entitled; nothing is handed to you, you have to work hard to get anywhere. Just cause you have a degree doesn’t mean you’re worth forty grand a year…”

‘But everyone told me after I got my degree, I would get a good job…’ James thought.

As time went by, and he applied to job after job, he secured some unpaid internships with companies and even got some temporary contract positions, but nothing ever stuck.

He was 27 when he decided to let his bitterness take over and that was when he became The Specter.

After meeting a mysterious man in a parking garage, James became obsessed with the American Ideal. He researched ESP and ways to enhance his abilities. Eventually he became The Specter you’re looking for.

“Hold up!” said Boyd, “You skipped over a lot of details there.”

“They are not important,” said Kurt.

“I say they are,” said Boyd, “Since you’re so smart, who was the mysterious man in the parking garage?”

“And how did he enhance his, so-called, ESP?” said Jessup, “If there is such a thing.”

“This guy is crazy,” said Hinkley, “Can we even take him seriously?”

“The mysterious man is not important,” said Kurt, “I’ll tell you about the enhancements later. It is not time for that explanation. If I may continue?”

As I have given you a partial understanding of who James was, I feel it is time to talk about the goal. James waited three years, planning his strategy and preparing himself for the inevitable assault on the true enemy, a conglomerate of the wealthiest individuals and politicians, who have been systematically crippling the American economy because of their own greed.

“Now that is the biggest pile of shit I’ve heard tonight,” said Boyd.

“You mean to tell me your group of terrorist killed innocent people because of some stupid conspiracy theory?” said Jessup.

“You keep interrupting me,” said Kurt, unabashed by their unbelief, “Do you want to hear the story or not?”

As it has been recorded in our minds, the minds of the society, day 1 of The Psychic Society began on a sunny afternoon in Washington DC. Three important individuals were about to meet. The location: the DC Hilton, the players: Senator Mitchell Davis, Senator Raymond Garvin, and the CEO of Stantz and Lee Finance, Mr. Edward Burr.

Burr got as far as he did in his company due to his cutthroat nature and ability to keep secrets. As you may know, during every presidential campaign, Stantz and Lee Finance contribute a substantial amount to both campaigns, both republicans and democrats. The reason is simple: to garner the favor of the winning candidate, or rather to sway the candidate in any way they choose.

This is how it has been done for decades…

Burr is a front man. Stantz and Lee is only one of many companies that is owned by a unique group of individuals who are the richest in the world, not just the US, but all over the world.

Republican candidate Senator Davis was late. Burr and Senator Garvin sat idly in Burr’s suite. Only one light was on, a small table lamp next to a king sized bed. It sat next to a large window, which would have had a view had it not been covered by the blinds and a large sheet.

Burr, as I’m sure you remember from the myriad of photos of him, is a middle-aged, financial expert with a whitened smile that almost glows in the dark. His blue eyes give off an air of confidence and knowledge, as brilliant a con man as there ever was.

Senator Garvin is an older gentleman, African-American, white beard, old,  brown eyes, the kind that are too deep and murky to see to the bottom. An expert in keeping secrets, Garvin supported many bills that his voters would have abhorred, all for the sake of being a presidential pic.

Davis was no better. An award-winning smile that conveyed honesty and humility but which covered up an inner monster of hate and pride. He only cared about his family in the long run. A kick back here and a kick back there to make sure his good-for-nothing sons received their rightful places at Harvard law… He pulls up in a new, black  Maserati Ghibli, a present from the American people who can barely afford their mandatory healthcare.

He jumps out of the car, whistling a happy tune, jovially swinging his keys on his fingers with a flourish of a man who just received a decent blow. He asked the Hilton desk clerk for Burr’s room and then ascends the elevator to the 10th floor and proceeds to room 1013, and with a spring in his step, he tap, tap, taps on the door.

His whistling could be heard from inside the room. Garvin chuckled as Burr looked at his watch. Davis was 20 minutes late. They didn’t have time to dily-daly; time was money, specifically his employers money and the longer this meeting took the more suspicious the situation looked to members of the media.

“Stop worrying so much,” said Senator Garvin, “Davis is just in a good mood. Probably got another quicky from one of his interns.”

“Regardless, Senator,” said Burr, “These meeting are very important and should be treated as such.”

Senator Garvin laughed as he watched Mr. Burr open the suite door. He gave a smile as he quickly ushered Senator Davis in.

“You’re late.”

“I apologize,” said Senator Davis with his perfect smile, “I got held up.”

“Which one? Blonde, red, or brunette?” said Senator Garvin, as he laughed at his own joke.

“Gentlemen,” said Mr. Burr in the most even voice he could muster, “If I may, I’m sure you know why both of you are here. One of you will become the next president of the United States. Both of you are going to get full support from Stantz and Lee. To me it sounds ridiculous, but we all know why that is: the American people are going to vote for whichever one of you they find the most likable.

“The lesser of two evils,” said Senator Davis, “Is what my mother always said.” He smiled. Senator Garvin laughed.

“The lesser of two evils indeed,” said Mr. Burr. He couldn’t help but smile. This is what he dreamed of, to be amongst the top people who made the decisions. To know how the system all worked.

“So, you two will both put up a good ‘fight’ and whoever wins will support Stantz and Lee and all their major, and minor, subsidiaries when it comes to veto or other duties we may come up with. In short, we will help you, you will help us and both parties will be happy.”

“I like that,” said Senator Garvin, “But what about the loser of the election? What happens to him?

“They, too, will be given a certain amount of power, which can be further discussed as the election closes. Right now, I just need you to sign these papers and then we have a deal.”

“Wait,” said Senator Davis, “What else is in this contract?”

“As senators, we know there’s more to a contract than what the salesman says,” said Senator Garvin.

“Oh, nothing you need be made privy to. I have explained in layman’s terms what is in it.”

“That doesn’t mean anything to us,” said Senator Davis. Senator Garvin shook his head.

“Trust in Stantz and Lee, gentlemen. One of you will be President, neither of you will be forgotten.” Mr. Burr handed them both a pen. They eagerly signed the contracts and handed them back.

“Excellent. Well sirs, we should disperse.” He looked back at his watch. “We wouldn’t want to be caught.”

“Washington is a small place,” said Senator Garvin, “No one will think anything of it…”

There was a crack of glass and a wisp of air that split through the sheet over the window. It was a round, that flew through the glass and through the sheet and effortlessly through Senator Garvin’s head.

At first they didn’t know what happened. His body just fell to the ground like a teetering vase. It wasn’t until the white carpet began to absorb the red, creamy filling of Senator Garvin’s head that either gentleman flinched.

Senator Davis’s smile turned to panic as his eyes planted on the window that now bore a single stream of light, and soon another as the next round sailed through and pierced him, splitting his face giving him an unprofessional cross-eyed stare.

Mr. Burr turned at the instant he saw Senator Garvin’s blood and then he dropped to the floor the second he heard the next shot break the glass. He covered the back of his head and waited. For what, he wasn’t sure… the next shot? It felt like five minutes. He looked at his watch. It was only a minute after the senators had signed the documents.

The documents! He had to get those to his employers quick… But did it matter now? Their senator’s were dead. He looked up at the window. The sheet ballooned with the wind outside, but there was also a shadow on the once sunlit sheet, a human shaped shadow.

Mr. Burr yelped as he saw an elbow break through the window. He crawled as quickly as he could to the door, all the while listening to the shattering glass behind him. He made it to the door and lifted himself onto his knees just in time to be grabbed by the shoulder and flung onto his back.

He knocked his head hard on the carpeted floor and at first didn’t believe what he was seeing. A man, dressed in some black armor-like suit with a hard mask-helmet. The mask face was white with black eyes, dark glass-filled eye holes, slanted devilishly with a wide, sharp tooth smile. In his right hand was a M-24 sniper rifle, Mr. Burr didn’t know it at the time, but I assure you that is what it was.

It spoke, raspy, like with a voice altering mechanism. “Hello, Mr. Burr. I understand you work for Stantz and Lee. I’ve been following you for a bit, researching your company, trying to figure out who you work for… and it’s not Stantz or Lee.”

Mr. Burr quivered and quaked as he tried to string any coherent line of words together. “Spare me, Burr! I know you don’t know anything. You may be at the top, but there is a bigger fish tank than the one you’re floating in. I’ve done my homework; rest assured, I will take them all down. All of them down and when it’s over, the American people will have their country back. But before that can happen, Mr. Burr, you have to die.”

Outside the door, the maid was performing her cleaning duties. She heard a shot coming from room 1013 and so she went to investigate.

knock, knock

“House-keeping?” she called.

There was no reply.

“House-keeping?”

It was silent, like nothing had come from the room at all.

She took her key card and slid it in the door to unlock it. Just as she turned the knob to open it, Mr. Burr opened the door.

She gasped as she saw him. “Sorry sir. I heard a shot. Were you watching a movie?”

Mr. Burr smiled. “Ah yes. It was one I have already seen though. I’ll be leaving now, but could you come back later? I have a friend in the bed who had an awful night at the club.” He moved in close to her ear, “Terrible hangover.”

She smiled and nodded and watched as Mr. Burr walked down the hall, briefcase in hand, towards the elevator.

She went on to the next room, unbeknownst to her that the real Mr. Burr lay dead on the floor, with a nasty, toothy smiley face carved into his cheek.

The Unfortunate Caroline Todd

15 Sep

The pain came and went for a while now. Caroline didn’t know how long she’d been sitting, strapped down, in what felt like a straight-back, wooden chair, all she knew was that she couldn’t feel her hands.

She couldn’t feel most of her body, all she felt was the pressure of a needle in her arm from time to time, but afterwards of world of nothing-numbness swept over her until the next shot. She wasn’t sure how long this had been happening. She tried counting once, but lost count after 12.

Falling in and out of consciousness was certainly not a good way to keep track of time, and the blindfold didn’t help either, if only she could see the sun or the outside world, escape would feel more possible. Instead, as she struggled with the nylon ropes binding her arms and legs to the wooden chair, hopelessness spread like a rash. She was stuck, captured, in an unfamiliar place with no possible way out.

But all of that fell behind her preoccupation with her hands. She could still wiggle her toes a little; she felt them in her fish-net stockings. Her hands, her fingertips, she could not move them as if they weren’t there at all.

She desperately wanted to scream. To give a horrifying reaction, and hopefully the one who was playing this awful joke would pop out and tell her it was ok, but she couldn’t. Whoever it was went the extra mile with a rubber gag and ductape over her mouth. Why go to such lengths? She was only a 12-year-old beauty pageant winner with little ability to defend herself. Her talent was singing and yet here she was, treated like criminal. It wasn’t fair!

She hadn’t done anything wrong. All she remembered was leaving the Hilton conference room after giving a stunning performance of “Teeth” by Lady Gaga. She remembered she received two 10s and an 8.5, but that judge was hard to impress anyway… Regardless, she was going to win, but then…

She felt it now. Feeling was coming back; she could feel the bruises on her arms and legs from hands as well as needle punctures. She also felt her clothing. It all seemed to be intact from her purple velvet jacket to her silk leotard and leather boots. Her purple velvet hat was missing and as the numbness drained away like a sleeping limb regained blood flow, she knew for certain now that her hands were indeed gone.

Panic. Caroline breathed in and out, quickly. Her body squirmed and her wrists reached out as far as they could, looking for their lost appendages, but they were gone.

In and out, in and out, rapidly her chest inflated and deflated, her teeth clenched around the gag in her mouth. Who had done this? Where was she? There were no discernible noises in the room she was in, but she could smell onions and garlic… She must be in a kitchen.

She also remembered the increased security at the pageant, due to the kidnappings at other pageants and shows. Many young girls were missing. The police believed it was a some sex offender, but nothing had been found. Caroline struggled against her bonds and wondered how much of her body had been violated since she arrived in this hell.

Then she heard a scratching noise, like a key being forced into a lock. A door creaked open and Caroline ould hear a man and woman talking and the crinkling of paper bags.

“I’m telling you babe,” said the man, “This chipotle BBQ sauce is going to make it taste amazing.”

She heard their footsteps come closer, until she knew they were right in front of her.

“Oh look,” said the woman, “She’s conscious.”

“Gotta fix that if we want to eat tonight,” said the man, “Can’t deal with all that screaming.”

“What?” thought Caroline. She struggled, wildly against her restrained, but it was no use.

“Wing or drumstick, darling,” said the woman. Caroline heard was sounded like metal scraping across a counter.

“What do you think would be the easiest to saw?”

“I think the femur would be significantly harder to cut through than the upper arm bone.”

Sweat collided with her tears as she continued to struggle against her restraints.

“Aww, she’s scared,” said the woman, “You won’t die, yet. We’re just going to eat pieces of you until you can no longer live.”

“You’ve got plenty of time before you die, baby,” said the man laughing. He pressed the saw teeth against her arm, but then he hesitated.

Many thoughts ran rampant through her mind, but the most curious one at the moment was ‘What’s going on?’

It was quiet for a moment, and then the woman said, “Who the hell are you?”

Caroline concentrated on her hearing, but she could hear a thing.

“Speak up, creep, or get the fuck out!” said the man.

Still nothing. Not a word, not a sound echoed from the supposed intruder.

“Ass,” said the man, “I warned you!”

Caroline heard a bang, a gun shot, she smelled the powder, and then she felt the round cut through her eye, and then, she felt nothing…

Caroline looked down. Her body felt pinned to the ceiling. But it wasn’t a body at all. It felt… light. Weightless. She raised her arms to her face; just as she suspected, her hands were gone. Gingerly, she raised her right arm to her right eye. It, too, was gone; the bullet must have shot it out.

She didn’t know why, but she wasn’t scared anymore. Her feelings of panic and despair were replaced by an overwhelming gratitude that felt like joy, but not, like love, but not. She couldn’t describe it. She didn’t even feel anything when she looked down on her assailants.

The man lay decapitated, eyes looking up, nearly all white, mouth agape, tongue lying dead on the ground. His body told the story of a mutinous right hand that raised a bone saw to his neck, dragging back and forth, blood spurt on the floor and walls. His wrist still twitched, fingers tightly wound around the saw’s handle.

The woman’s face wasn’t recognizable. A gun blast split her lower jaw; her cheeks dark and bloody, her eyes also turned up into her brain. Her right hand clenched the gun’s handle, shaking, finger stilled squeezed.

Caroline felt nothing; no, she felt relief, sorrow, guilt, happiness… Every emotion culminating in a blur of everything and nothing, inside her calm and still mind.

Then she saw her would be savior. He was ghostly pale, bald, a black trench coat, black pants, black shirt, leather gloves and boots. He moved silently. Though the man and woman creaked on every crack, he seemed to miss everyone. His feet light and nimble. His clothing, though loose-fitting, didn’t make a sound. He wandered the entire room before he returned to the kitchen, dragging the spirits of her murderers with his bare hands.

He threw them up into the air, each pinned on either side of her, looking just as their bodies did below. They shivered and stared in horror at their conqueror. And when Caroline gazed upon his face, she, too, felt fear again.

His eyes and mouth were sewn shut, his ears and nose cut off and plugged, though he still looked up at them… Or appeared to perceive them. Then his lips trembled and moved as much as they could, as if he were trying to speak and after a minute or two, they stopped.

Then there was a rumbling sound, as if the building were shaking. The room itself didn’t seem to move, and yet Caroline could feel the atmosphere shiver and shake all around her.

With quick hands, the man reached into his coat and brought out 3 empty coke bottles and uncapped them. One by one, Caroline and the other two spirits descended, squeezed and contorted into the three bottles as the man capped them and placed them inside his coat once more.

Like a ghost, he walked to the open window he entered and silently exited down the fire escape.

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